Something a bit different today: a review of the Aldi GPS Watch! So Ben and I went out shopping this morning, and since starting running a few weeks ago, I’ve been wanting to step away from the Endomondo App and up to something more functional and reliable. I’d had my eye on the pink Garmin Forerunner 10 (mostly because I know Charlotte has one, and I’m basically following her lead with running), but I’d been holding off buying one. So when we went into Aldi this morning and spotted their GPS Unisex Watch on their special buys section for £64.99 as part of the Tour de France range, as opposed to the £72 for the Garmin 10, Ben said I should just go for it. After a quick scan of the box, I realised it did exactly what I wanted it to do, and a bit more: it has GPS, a heart rate monitor with chest strap, a compass and probably a lot of other things I haven’t figured out yet.
So as soon as I got in the car, I opened the box to take a look – it came with a nice quick start guide as well as a thick instructions booklet, which is what I like to see really! It also has a 3 year warranty, and is rain and splash-proof, but can’t be submerged in water (although to be honest, when will I be out in the rain?!).
I’m only onto Week 3 Day 2 of the Couch to 5K, although I’d done an extra 2 minutes running on my day 1, so today was supposed to be my rest day, but I just had to give the watch a try. I was surprised at how similar it looks superficially to the Garmin Forerunner 10, but then again, that’s what these stores do! It seems to have more similar functions to the more expensive Garmin Forerunner 110 though with the heart rate monitor too, although that one doesn’t come in pink (which appears to be my running gear colour scheme – accidentally, I swear!). The watch is fastened by a series of rectangular holes along the strap and held in place by a band that can be moved up and down the length of the strap depending on where you need it (again, similar to the Garmin watches I believe). I found it held in place very well and was comfortable to wear. It has five buttons around the face: “Light”, “Mode”, “Start/Stop”, “View” and “Lap/Reset”.
The “Home Screen”, as you can see in the pictures above displays the day, time and date as set by GPS, so it should be very accurate. Pressing “Light” with “View” will put the watch into Lock mode so you don’t accidentally press any buttons while running. Pressing the “View” button will show you the battery life, followed by a timer, an alarm, and dual time (an hour ahead), see below:
You can also programme it with your gender, age and weight so that it can calculate the calories that you burn more accurately. Holding down the “Mode” button will allow you to change any of these settings, including “Workout” to choose from running, cycling, hiking, sailing and “user” (which I imagine means user-set?!). In this menu, you can also change settings such as “Navigation”, switch the GPS and Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) on and off.
This is one thing I was quite intrigued by: the Heart Rate Monitor and chest strap. I have a tachycardia anyway, which means I have a pretty exceptionally high heart rate (don’t worry, I’m going to the doctor to check up on this with running next week!) – my resting heart rate is between 100-130 on average (when it should be between 60 and 80 apparently). So I wanted to see how I was doing with the running and my heart rate, so thought this would be great.
I got my running gear on, then strapped myself into the chest strap. It has two clips (see above) on either side of the monitoring part, and has an elastic back strap which can be adjusted by a slider (see above). I have a narrow ribcage, so may need to do some sewing adjustments on the strap as I had it on the tightest and felt it moving a bit while I was running. The wavy panels on the second section sit at the front of the strap, and these need to be dampened and placed on the skin underneath the breasts (on me anyway!). I just managed to get it positioned under the band of my sports bra and ended up securing it place a bit better by placing the very bottom of my bra’s band of the strap. I expected it to feel weird and uncomfortable while running, but it didn’t at all. It’s important it’s touching the skin though or else it won’t work. It connects wirelessly with the watch then to send the HR data over.So, as it was W3D2 of the C25K, I was running 90 seconds, walking 90 seconds, running 3 mins, walking 3 mins, and repeat. I also added in an extra 2 minute run, 5 minute walk at the end. I kept checking the watch throughout, and found this much easier than pulling my phone out the sports bra (sshh, I need an arm strap!). Several times I was alarmed by my heart rate (oops), but it was nice to see how long I had left of each running/walking session and how far I was already. I set it searching for the satellites a few minutes before starting, so as soon as I stepped out the door and started the warm up, it was ready to go with the press of the “Start/Stop” button.
The above is the screen displayed while running, showing your distance, HR, percentage of max HR (I think?) and time. Pressing “View” will then show you the “Lap” screen with an average time for a mile and overall time. Pressing again shows elevation, the present time and calories burnt. Pressing “Mode” also shows you the compass (not pictured) with a direction of travel and degrees. Image of software removed as, despite making an effort to remove identifying place names, someone still decided to analyse the map and announce where I live based on it.
The device uses the GPS Master software which can be downloaded from a website using the code provided in your booklet. It records all the information you’ll need including map of where you’ve run, elevation, time, distance, speeds, heart rate etc. The chart at the bottom can be changed to dispay any/all of these, but this is what I had mine set to (again, please ignore the crazy HR).
So overall, I’ve only used this once, but found it’s been really useful and does exactly what I need. I can’t directly compare the functions to the Garmin Forerunner since I haven’t used it, but looks-wise it is very similar and does similar things. I think the programme used to record the data could be brought a bit more up to do aesthetics-wise, but it does everything I currently need. For the price of £64.99, I think I’ve done pretty well here. As I said, it’s available on Aldi’s special buy for today, and seemed to be selling very well.
Does anyone else run and use a GPS watch to track it? How do they compare to this one?
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