I first wrote a review of the Timex Global Trainer back in February for Amazon (found here). At the time I had only used the watch for a month and was just getting a feel for it. Over the past 10 months I have used this watch on an almost daily basis and raced with it in both single sport and multisport events.
This review is intended to be a synopsis of why you should consider this watch and examines the actual livability of it. However, it’s definitely not the “end all review” of the watch covering every specific feature in detail. If that’s what you’re after, I highly recommend Ray’s review over at DCRainMaker (here).
I have used this watch in conjunction with both a Cateye cycling computer and a Garmin Edge 500 computer. On trips over 30 miles all 3 systems have had a difference of less than .1 miles and have had the Timex within 1/100 of a mile over the same circuit multiple times.
Unfortunately, the time to get a signal lock does detract from the watch. It takes about twice the time of an Edge 500 to sync. Before each use I leave the watch on a fence post for about 2-3 minutes as I stretch and lace up my shoes. By the time I am done getting ready the watch is ready to go. I have had no issues with signal loss during a run or ride.
The watch allows for individual customization of 5 screens. Each screen can show between 1-4 data points. This allows you to set up individual screens per event. As a multisport athlete you typically want to set up 3 screens, one for each event.
The Timex supports what it calls a “multisport” mode that allows you to easily switch between sports as well as track time in transition by pressing the stop button. When you press stop the watch is supposed to move to either the next event or a transition countdown. Unfortunately, even after multiple attempts, I have never had the multisport mode work quite as expected. I believe the issue is that the multisport mode gets in a disconnected state when the lap\reset button is pressed. And unfortunately during the maelstrom of a swim start this can happen easily. To resolve this I have found it easier to just simulate the switching of events by hitting the lap button and making each “lap” either a separate event or transition. While this does not lead to easy data downloads, it does fill the requirements I have to providing real time data during a race.
This is clearly where the Garmin is superior to the Timex. Being that I use both the Garmin Connect site and the Timex Training Peaks site, I find the Garmin site to be much more detailed and have a cleaner user experience. After a 5K yesterday it took 15 minutes of sifting through the Training Peaks site for me to determine what my times were at the individual mile markers. In contrast, when using the Garmin software I can easily ascertain individual mileage on a 30 miler I did earlier this week. Additionally, contrary to one Amazon review, I have had no issue uploading my runs to a third party site (BeginnerTriathlete.com).
As with any of my electronics, I recharge this unit regularly so battery life is particular to individual workouts. I was able to use this watch through the entirety of a 70.3 with no issues.
This was the primary motivating factor why I bought this watch and not a Garmin. For $130 at the time (now about $169 on Amazon here) I got a GPS watch with full ANT+ capabilities that’s also waterproof (unlike the Garmin 305). The nearest equivalent Garmin (again, at the time) was the 310xt, which currently costs around $230. I was debating between the Timex and the FR305 but was concerned about the fact that the 305 was not waterproof, so I was going to have to take the watch on and off during transitions. Today the most obvious comparison is the Garmin 910xt, which currently costs around $399—more than twice that of a Global Trainer.
I am completely satisfied with this purchase. However, with the drop in price of the 310xt (and higher price of the Timex) I may not have made the same decision today. The combination of better software in the Garmin (both in the watch and bundled) and reports of a far better multisport mode make the roughly $60 difference an easy pill to swallow. With that said, if the Timex were to drop back down to the original $130 I paid, the difference would again sway me back to the Timex.
UPDATE – As of 12/11 this is available for $130 here