Hands-on With the Timex Ironman GPS: Is It Really ‘The Simplest GPS Watch Ever’?

Timex Ironman GPS
Courtesy Timex

These days, fitness wearables and watches are bursting with features: continuous heart-rate tracking, sleep tracking, voice recognition, and even stamina monitoring. It feels like every tracker and smartwatch is competing to see how many features they can pack into a single device.

Timex’s new Ironman GPS watch has a different approach, though: Instead of being a jack-of-all-trades, the Ironman GPS is designed to do one thing—track your workouts using GPS—and do that thing very well. Timex has gone as far as to bill it as “The Simplest GPS Watch Ever”. And at only $99, it’s got a price tag to back up that claim.

The design of the Ironman GPS is solid, if a bit unassuming, and in line with Timex’s other watches. It has no touchscreen, instead opting for five buttons. To start tracking a workout, you simply press the grey button, choose your workout, and then hold the button for 10 seconds to sync the GPS. In addition to running, biking, and swimming, the Ironman GPS can also track multisport workouts (triathalon training, for example).

One feature we were happy to see on the Ironman GPS is that, unlike other fitness bands or watches, there’s no proprietary cable or dock needed for charging. Simply plug any microUSB cable into the bottom of the Ironman GPS and you’ll be on your way. It may seem minor, but it’s a smart design choice that we hope other watches will quickly adopt.

The only issue we have with the Ironman GPS is the lack of Bluetooth. To sync your data with apps like Strava and Endomondo, you need to connect your watch to a PC or Mac and use the Timex Connect app to transfer the data. While this isn’t particularly complex, we can’t help but think it would be simpler to just sync the data to the apps via the phone instead of having to go through a PC. On the other hand, if you still have one of those old-school brick phones—or if your existing smartphone is so overstuffed that you couldn’t bear to load it up with yet another linked Bluetooth device—it’s the ideal companion.

Ultimately, the Timex Ironman GPS is a solid, no-frills watch that does exactly what it sets out to do—as long as you don’t mind plugging your watch into a PC every day. The Ironman GPS sells for $99.95 at Timex.com.

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