I received the Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor from Timex to test out and have had a couple of months to test it. Overall it’s a good watch, it’s a good training piece, and definitely provides all the necessary info on your training and races that you’ll need.
This is my first training/heart rate monitor watch. In all my training before (mostly trail running) I relied on an old Timex Ironman (the classic model) and used the stopwatch to track my splits. I always used maps to gauge my distance and used a little math to come up with my pace. Heart rate was taken sporadically with the old-fashioned two fingers on the throat method. Let’s just say the Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS is a huge step up from that.
Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor Features
- Featuring SiRFstarIII™ GPS technology, the watch quickly locks on to satellite signals to measure pace, speed and distance in real time
- Watch measures your location and tracks altitude ascent and descent distances and rates
- Records up to 100 GPS waypoints so you can find your way home or create custom routes; recall up to 50 custom routes so you can track your pace
- Included heart rate chest strap takes continuous readings of your heart rate and sends them to the watch so you can monitor how your body is performing
- Adjustable and flexible elastic strap makes the sensor comfortable to wear; ANT™ technology eliminates cross talk with other heart rate monitors
- Custom heart rate target zones help maximize performance, whether your goal is to burn fat or train for a race; visual and audible alarms alert you when you fall out of a zone
- Watch counts and displays calories burned during a training session
- Customize the display to show up to 4 windows of information so you can monitor pace, distance, split time and heart rate all at the same time
- Chronograph with interval and countdown timers lets you develop personal workouts that will help you improve your performance
- Performance pacer mode helps you meet goals and set personal records
- Watch is water resistant to 50m (165 ft.)
- Download your workout and route data and analyze it using online training software
- Customize and manage watch settings using the included desktop software; compatible with Microsoft Windows XP and newer as well as Mac OS X 10.4 and newer
- Recharge the internal lithium-ion battery by connecting the watch to your computer with the included USB cable or plug it into the wall with the included AC adapter
- Compatible with Timex bike sensors (sold separately) that use ANT+™ wireless technology; also compatible with third-party bike power sensors using ANT+
- Watch includes a bike mount
- Price: $299
Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor Review
The Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor has all the features you’d expect from a GPS training watch. It keeps track of all the basic functions: stopwatch, splits, time, alarms, etc. Throw in the more advanced features: heart-rate monitor, GPS which enables pace, distance, and mapping; a bunch of different functions and screens for different activities (swimming, running, biking), computer software, and you get watch that is going to handle most all of your needs.
Set up with the watch was easy. When I first opened up the watch I thought it was going to ridiculous to get set up and learn how to use. I did read through the small manual that came with it and that is all I’ve needed so far. Getting in all your information (age, gender, height, weight, heart-rate thresholds, etc) was simple. Navigation between the different modes, settings, screens, etc is also simple. I think it took me all of 10 minutes to get through the manual, get it set up, and learn the basic functions. One of my favorite features is the large screen that can display up to 4 pieces of information. My default screen shows distance, pace, heart-rate, and time. A quick glance lets me know how I’m doing.
Running my was main use for the watch so far although I did put in a handful of rides on my mountain and cross bikes to see how it’d do in those varying conditions. I don’t have a bike sensor so I wasn’t able to get into all the bike specific training metrics but those don’t really matter to me. I like to keep it simple with distance, pace, and speed. Once again, the large screen was of benefit, especially on the bike. I like the bike mount, it was easy to put and take off, and it kept the watch secure to the handlebars, I didn’t have any issues with it rotating out of place.
The heart rate monitor is super nice. I’ve never used one and it’s good to see how my heart rate fluctuates during training. As I said in the intro, my previous HRM was dtwo fingers on my neck. After awhile I was pretty good at knowing my heart rate range, but seeing it tracked the entire workout has been good. You can set thresholds and alarms for yourself so if you get out of your range (high or low) the watch will let you know. Once again, I mostly use it as a tracking metric. One thing I found though is the watch never seemed to get my resting heart rate correct. I’d take it myself and compare to the watch and the watch was always high. It’d range from 75-100 when my resting heart rate would be about 60. Once I was running or biking it’d be accurate. When I noticed the discrepancy with my resting heart rate I tested it a lot by stopping and taking my own measurement and compared it to the watch and the watch was always accurate.
The GPS feature is awesome. The GPS was accurate for me every time. I took it out on runs and rides where I knew the mileage and after each outing everything matched-up correctly. One point I will say about the GPS was linking up with the satellite has been inconsistent. Sometimes it’ll take the watch a good 10 minutes to link up. If I don’t remember to start the watch up early, I usually start my run or ride without the GPS signal and partway in it’ll connect. I’ve been standing outside in the middle of an open field and it’ll have issues, other times it connects right away. I can be sitting in the middle of my office and it’ll connect right away and the next day it won’t. Once the watch has GPS signal it keeps it, I haven’t had any issues with it cutting out.
The computer software is pretty good. You can download your training data from your watch to your computer, upload it and you have a suite of features to analyze the data, map where you went, see graphs and charts of what you did, compare to previous workouts, create new workouts, schedule workouts, set your diet, and more. Once again I personally don’t take my training too seriously. I am not fully regimented, but I like to know what I do. I usually don’t decide what I am going to do until that day. Sometimes I’ll plan a week out if I have a long run or ride that I want to do. So with that in mind I haven’t fully used the software to it’s full capabilities. What I do like is it allows you upload your workouts (you can get nitty-gritty with your pace goals, heart rate, etc) and set your goals for each workout. Then you can receive daily emails telling you what your workout for that day is. What I like about this is you do your planning one-time and then you don’t really have to worry about keeping track, it’s all software. I haven’t used this yet, but I’m toying with the idea of a 50k next summer and I’ll definitely use it then. Once everything is uploaded and saved you can share the information with friends through any number of ways, including the popular social networks or just by sending them an email or a link. I will say though, the navigation and the way the software is set up could be a little more intuitive. Learning how to get around do what I wanted wasn’t the simplest process. Once it’s learned it’s not too bad.
The watch itself is the biggest watch I’ve ever used and put on my wrist. It has it’s pros and cons. The screen is big and easy to read and you can see a lot of data at one time. The watch is a little heavier and can get in the way if you are wearing on your wrist when riding (but this dependent on how loose the watch is and if you can slide it up your arm a little bit). With those cons in mind, it took me all of 5 minutes to get use to it. The watch is heavier than others but the difference isn’t that noticeable. My left arm (the arm I wear it on) hasn’t become Incredible Hulk sized so yeah, weight isn’t an issue. Yeah it takes a little getting used to, but seriously, it took me 5 minutes.
The charger is kind of funky. It is definitely a one of kind charger. If you forget yours, good luck finding someone with something you can use. This is one complaint I have against most electronics. How about a little standardization? One thing I do like about the charger is it consolidates what is normally two chargers into one. It comes with a USB adapter for charging and downloading your workouts and it comes with an AC adapter plug. The AC adapter is just the unit that plugs into the wall and it has a USB port in the bottom of it to plug in the USB cord. Two-chargers in one. I know this isn’t a “make or break” feature, but I thought it was kind of cool.
Overall, the Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS is pretty awesome. It can do far more than I expected and far more than I think I’ll ever use…the fully regimented/meticulous athlete who is super detailed when it comes to their training could use this watch its full potential.
- Large Screen
- Shows a lot of info at once
- High level of customization
- Easy to use
- Enough functionality to track all your training needs
- Training software is fairly powerful
- Watch itself is big (but you get used to it)
- GPS can take a long time to connect (has taken up to 10 minutes)
- Software isn’t the most intuitive
- Charger is unique, good luck borrowing something that will work if you forget yours
The Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor is a powerful training tool. It has the functionality and ability to bring your training and tracking to the next level. Timex has some work to do to make it absolutely great, but as is it’d be a good investment for the training athlete.