a littlebit of this, a littlebit of that…

Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS

Even though I don’t do triathlon, I am not an enthusiastic swimmer nor a great runner either, I decided to buy Timex’ new GPS sports watch, the Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS.

So most likely, some of you might ask, why I even bothered to buy it – well the answer is fairly easy given: I’ll mainly use it for mountain biking, hiking and for my Alpine ski-tours in winter.

Within the next couple of weeks and probably months, I’ll constantly (on a more or less regular basis) update this entry and tell you about my personal experience with the Ironman Global Trainer. Sometimes, especially when it comes to hiking, I’ll compare it to Suunto’s X10, which I’ve previously owned.

Some of you might also know Ray’s (DC Rainmaker) excellent in-depth review on the Global Trainer – some parts might repeat themselves in my review, some parts might be completely new. But as Ray is doing quite a bit of running and lots of triathlon, I think our reviews won’t have to many overlaps, when it comes down to the daily use of the watch.

On the subpage …in the field I will also post my experience with the TGT in the field.

Decision making & Buying

As mentioned above, I don’t do triathlon, neither do I really run nor swim. But I do quite a lot of cycling (both road and MTB) and hiking and in winter, as I am living in the middle of the Alps, I go on a couple of alpine ski-tours every once in a while.

As I am kind of a tech-freak, I like to play around with GPS devices and, when on my bicycles, with my cycling computer (VDO Z3 PC link). I simply like to know where I’ve been cycling and hiking, compare routes and simply get as much data as possible.

Previously I’ve owned a Suunto X10 GPS watch, which was quite nice, but I wasn’t too happy with its GPS receiving abilities – especially when hiking in forests. The X10 lost the satellites quite often and for cycling the X10 was pretty useless. So when I first hear about TIMEX’ plans to launch a GPS trainer, I was all ears.

Since the official launch of the watch in Europe was only in September 2010, I was happy to read some first reviews of users from the US, who were able to get the watch from REI already before the European launch – and what I got to read made me really want to buy the Global Trainer.

After TIMEX announced the official worldwide release, I immediately searched for dealers in Austria an Germany – but i couldn’t find any, I couldn’t even find a shop, which already had the Global Trainer listed.

More or less by chance, I then read about triathlonmagazine.eu.

It’s a pretty new online magazine focusing on triathlon. Besides a lot of information on actual triathlon events, they also run an online shop, and there I finally found the Global Trainer.

After a exchanging a few emails with Zalán Briglovics, the editor of the magazine, I ordered the Global Trainer, and thanks to the excellent service of Zalán, I received the watch within 48 hours.

And that leads me to the next point…

Unpacking & Content

The packaging of the TIMEX Ironman Global Trainer GPS is pretty unspectacular, but see for yourself:

Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS - Packaging

Nothing really fancy, which is not really a big problem, except that you don’t really have a caring case in which you can put the watch when travelling (and not having it on your wrist)

Next step – unboxing

Unboxing > getting to the content

In the box is all you need – the watch itself, the heart rate strap, the USB sync/charging cable, an AC power-plug (with European adapter), and a thin Quick User Guide, as well as a bike mount adapter.

What I was missing is a CD with the Device Agent Software and a complete Users Guide – there is none. You’ve got to download the software from the internet and get the complete Users Guide from the Timex homepage.

First Steps

The first thing you probably want to do, to use the Ironman Global Trainer, is to charge the watch’s built in battery.

There are two ways to do this – you can charge the Global Trainer using one of your USB ports on your computer/laptop, or you use the AC Power Charger.

In any case you have to connect the USB cable to the watch – and that’s how it’s done:

watch” src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4125/5013707111_2fcdcd8a58_o.jpg” alt=”connecting the USB to the Global Trainer” width=”400″ height=”300″ />

connecting the USB to the Global Trainer

on the end of the USB cable that’s connected to the watch, as well as on the watch itself, you’ll see a small red Dot. This Dot tells you, which side of the connector hast to on which side of the watch.

The four metal pins have to go on the four metal points on the watch.

if connected correctly, it should look like this:

USB cable connected

USB cable connected

Charging the Global Trainer for the first time will take about 3 to 3.5 hours. The battery icon in the display will tell you when the watch is full charged.

Once the Ironman Global Trainer is fully charged, you can start with setting up the watch and enter your personal data as well as other information.

And here’s the first big thumbs up for TIMEX – the whole set-up process can be done via your computer by using the Device Agent. So you don’t have to worry about scrolling through all the menus on the watch itself. More about this very nice feature later on – for now we stick to the Global Trainer itself.

The default mode on starting the Global Trainer up is the Performance Mode. In order to get to the Configuration mode you…

Entering Configuration Mode

One of the first things….

Turn Off Options

pushing enter will show this scree:

Now let’s set the time – in configuration mode let’s scroll to Watch

Watch options

Now let’s enter some Personal Info…

entering personal data

Now, the most important data has been entered and you are ready to use the Ironman Global Trainer for first testing.

review currently on hold due to lack of time…

2 responses

  1. Fabien

    Hi Ste,
    I am living in the French Alps and I am very concern about losing sattelites when hinking in the bottom of a valley, or in a canyon!!! not much line of sight with GPS when down in between mountains!!!
    can you tell me about your experience doing that!
    thanks
    Fab

    June 22, 2011 at 16:36

    • in a deep canyon every GPS device will have its problems with the GPS fix – the Timex is the same – if you’re really deep down in a canyon and the rock walls are close on both sides then the Time has problems finding the satelites.

      on the other hand it performs pretty well under trees in tense forest surroundings, and for normal alpine hikes it’s also great.

      even though it’s water resistant and can be used for swimming, I wouldn’t use it for canyoning or kayaking, as i think it’s not robust enough to really deal with heavy impacts on rocks and the like.

      for all other water sports is fine, same for mountainbiking,…

      July 5, 2011 at 19:31

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