SOLEUS CEO and owner David Arnold visited the country in a whirlwind side trip to his hectic schedule. He was brought to our country as part of his drive in making sure that the technical production of his latest top of the line gps and hrm watches in Hong Kong are in place. With the current trend in sports watches and accessories running in light speed, he cannot afford to be complacent. This is what the Soleus Philippines head honcho Judith Staples pleasantly found out, though not new to such situations herself, when she posted in her Facebook status:
Indeed everything was all worth it as even a matter of a little less than an hour worth of listening to Mr. Arnold would prove very enlightening and encouraging not only for me but for my fellow running and sports bloggers. As a backgrounder, I found out that he had worked for Nike for almost 15 years and that Soleus as a brand is 5 years old based in Austin, Texas. This makes it just a year younger than its Nike sports watch counterpart being 6 years old. However, after a year or two of initial offering, the product undertook a thorough evaluation from an independent brand research company to reposition itself in the market. The outcome is what Soleus is now in the international market – an affordable but quality gps sports watch with presence in almost 30 countries worldwide. But not for long….
As I mentioned how Mr. Arnold made a side trip to visit our dynamic Philippine market on his way to Hong Kong where the production of Pulse is ongoing. Pulse is the first of its kind pulse-based heart rate monitor (hrm) watch. Unlike the ones currently in the market that come with cumbersome and uncomfortable chest straps most specially for the women. He will make sure personally that the accuracy and the technology to ensure such readings are in place. This will make Soleus not only and affordable gps watch for runners but an accurate and much portable hrm watch. But not for long…
It is a given that Soleus is synonymous to affordable gps watches – for runners that is. After all the owner himself is an avid runner in the very running friendly environment and landscape of Austin, Texas with “plenty of scenic hill country routes to run, as well as the famous Town Lake trail in downtown Austin” as their website states. But this time around, with the acknowledgement of the growth of running in our country and the rest of the world trickling down to other sports like biking in particular, a gps instrument for this market is on hand. Enter GPS Draft – a mini cyclocomputer-like gadget that can be mounted on the bike to read speed and distance. Like its watch counterpart, it has rechargeable battery and uploadable data to the internet for sharing, studying and comparing of results.
All the attendees of the Soleus Media Launch held at 100 Miles Café, The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City, got a surprise gift out of the “loot bag” – a GPS Fit 1.0 watch in a bright and fabulous dodger blue shade with lime green face edging that will match the similarly brightly colored running shoes and apparel. This color combination I learned was a result of an online voting winning over bright orange as the other alternative choice. An equally eye candy Fit model in the shade of bright fuchsia is also available for running fashionistas! This is an upgrade to the GPS 1.0 model in terms of:
- data uploadability
- more enhanced gps sensitivity
- readability – bigger digit display
- simpler navigation with lesser buttons (4 as compared to 6 of the previous model)
- more intuitive interface which to put it simply, more user friendly
- and of course the fabulous colors!
Another innovative and great looking addition to this ever-growing family of Soleus watches having the progressive dna of aggressive color scheme and more intuitive design and interface is the GPS 1.0 version specially made for women – the GPS Mini. I highly recommend this model for these reasons:
- It is smaller like the little sister of GPS Fit
- It comes in some flashy colors as well! Well fuchsia and turquoise that is!
- Not only that, this is the only model that comes with a watch-integrated usb hub! Anytime and anywhere there is an available usb port, you can just plug it in without the hassle of bringing or looking for a separate adaptor unit. Now that is what I call intuitive designing!
- It is waterproof as well so there is no danger of destroying the port once submerged in water or perspiration as Mr Arnold assured us during the question and answer portion.
Core and entry level models which are equally rich with running and sports specific features like chronograph, timer with lap memory and, for me a more important feature not usually found in other “basic” sports watches in the market, interval timer. With the later, you can set your watch to beep when it is time to run and time to walk when doing Galoway; or run fast and recover during speed interval training. This for me sets them apart from the rest of the field asde from, of course, the fab color combination these models come with. A bevy of choices in varying price range and specs includes:
- Chicked – with its nice thin but sturdy straps for women who loves to “chick” men!
- P.R. – which is basically a Chicked version for men
- Dash – which comes in a small and large version, depending on one’s choice and arm size that is, is the cheapest of the lot but still with interval timers to boot!
- Ultra Sole which has its own design and feature variation but in almost the same geometry and price range as the above mentioned ones.
For the more serious athletes who want more not only out of running but of every gadgetry that they use to further enhance their running experience, the brand got its top of the line model Tour to cater to them. It got all the bells and whistles in a compact and nice looking design one can use even out of running and not look like some geeky robotic instrument. It got both gps and hrm capabilities integrated with to give all the needed information while running aside from having a night mode for, well as the name suggests, night running. Despite being jampacked with features, it still comes relatively affordable in keeping with the brand policy of producing affordable but quality products.
Despite its foray into producing a gps device for cyclists, Soleus is still a brand with runners in mind. This new set of models for this year is proof of that special dedication. Afterall, the company is driven not by producing champion athletes, but building this passion for running in each unique indvidual, nurturing this community worldwide as one big faimly sharing this love for the sport and not forgetting the fun that running should be. Each one of us are champions, David Arnold emphasizes, in our own individual ways be that coming in first or last at the finishline and creating our own moments of triumph with each finishing of the race. Those are the very purpose that keeps Soleus above the rest.
Best Cheap GPS watch – GPS Fit 1.0
Best Cheap GPS watch for women (the integrated usb port is a good design inclusion and if you like it smaller that is) – GPS Mini
Best Super Cheap but feature rich (interval timer) watch – Dash
Best Super Techie watch – Tour