Friday, June 01, 2012

Timex GPS Global Trainer Review and Setup

Thanks to a friend whom his sister came back from US of A, an additional order of yet another GPS watch were made and delivered safely. As most of you would know, i have my Garmin Forerunner 910xt since earlier this month and have been very happy with it. With almost immediate or insignificant lag in signal sourcing, it will be interesting to see how another GPS watch that is being sold at almost 34% more expensive in Malaysia hold up to the price reputation. Malaysian always have the skewed perception that "if it is more expensive, it is better". 
FYI, the Timex Ironman Global Trainer (hereof be known as just TGT) is being sold in Malaysia by Timex Malaysia for the Recommended Retail Price (RRP) of RM1999. You can get it off for RM1499 if you were lucky.
taken from Timex Malaysia Facebook Page Here
I could not find any price reference to the watch above as it seems that the website is not loading/responding. Not too sure if they are still maintaining it. Anyhow, at RRP of RM1999, it is 34% more expensive than the Garmin 910XT (at RRP RM1490). Online retail price via eBay, similar to the one i bought (but did not reach me - i offered to refund the seller, but he do not want to take it) works out to be RM750maximum even with courier postage (with live tracking - best suggested method to get anything on eBay). So how much did this unit cost me? Because of the free shipment (hand delivered), it was less than RM1000. So, why is Timex Malaysia selling them at cutthroat pricing? Their after sales services is bad and expensive (many grouses, my own personal experiences included when i tried to change a strap on my Timex Ironman FLIX). So unless someone can tell me that they have consistent after sales services from Timex - things has not changed much.
Back to the TGT review. Again, i am not attempting to do a DC Rainmaker's review of the TGT that is not only comprehensive, but in-depth to the extend one might get lost in the review if one do not sieve the information shared. My point here is to provide an easy and direct approach so that many others that are like me, would appreciate the more basic setting up of the watch to gauge "if we really need this". As usual, unless noted, all items reviewed in this blog belongs to me and the free plug serves as an education for others not to repeat the same mistake (if the product is lemon) and to provide as frank of a discussion on the item. With that, the review starts here.
The TGT comes in a nicely packed box which looked as impressive as the Garmin 910XT. There is sufficient marketing materials on the box itself to let you know what the watch is for.
The Ironman logo adds on to the price as royalty payment to World Triathlon Corporation (WTC).
Removing the pack, the items were all stored in three layers of plastic holder which will reveal all the items below.
From top left (clockwise): Attachment for bike handlebar, the TGT, The USB/charging cable, The US pin charger attachment, the HRM with strap, the simple manual and the charger
Size Comparison to Garmin 910XT
One thing you will notice if you remove the TGT from the box is how HUGE the unit is. This is definitely a watch for the "exhibitionist" racer ;-) Suit my profiling.
With the screen sticker still on to provide a visual clue on how it looks
How does i stack up against the 910XT? Apparently, this TGT makes the 910XT looked "normal". Be reminded my wrist is pretty big and the TGT was worn higher up my arm - and it still look big.
Huge Mahder
Side view of the TGT and 910XT. Despite the QR Kit giving the 910XT extra height, they both looked about the same height
THe TGT got to be inching towards 20mm thickness as the 910XT with QR kit looked just slightly higher than the TGT from side profile.
Loading up the juices
For some of us that know about the shipping condition of the TGT, we would know that the watch comes with almost empty battery level. So, you can't take this out and use it immediately. You will need to charge it. The TGT comes with the USB charging cable which has four contacts (as opposed to two contacts on the 910XT) and a fool proof clip (with markers) that will securely clip the TGT for charging and data transfer.
The Red Dot should line with the other Red Dot, then you clip it whole thing on.
Visual of a correctly clipped USB cable and TGT.
Fully chaged in about 90minutes
Firmware Update. Important!
Now, while charging, there is an important step to perform, which is to update the TGT firmware. The new firmware will improve the signal searching and locking of the satellite better. The TGT was known to have issues with this. So, do yourself a favour by going to this website here (Training or just click here for the link to the software called Device Agent and also the latest firmware for the TGT here and follow the instruction here. Essentially, you will go from Firmware 2.94 to Firmware 3.14 if done correctly.
Ver 2.94 with file reference number
The process of re-flashing takes less than 2 minutes and unless you already own the TGT prior to this, there is absolutely no need to back up the setting (such as sex, age, height etc etc) as it is essentially a "clean install". If you are upgrading, there is adequate instructions and guideline for this  upgrading in the Training Peaks website.
Firmware upgrading. You won't Swim, bike or run faster - in case you are wondering.
Once done, it will reset the watch by itself
And by going to Configure ->GPS->Version, you will be presented with the new firmware version if done successfully.
Rock and Rolling!
Setting Up TGT To Your Preferences
Assuming that you managed to do the above, the Device Agent has already been successfully installed in your PC (and you had it re-started). The Device Agent is your One-Stop centre for the TGT from now onwards. Opening an account with Training Peaks is free and it is similar with how Garmin Connect works. While Garmin Connect is fully web-based, Device Agent resides in your PC and will upload datas once you are ready. I am still on the learning curve with both Device Agent and also Training Peak's interface, and i foresee myself getting familiarized with it within the next one week and will be able to answer most of your queries, if any.
One of the magic of Device Agent - configuring all the watches nitty-gritty at one place. Each option shown on this screen is replication of what is in the TGT.
Now, the next exciting thing will be to switch the unit ON. It is the middle button on your left side. Again, foolproof unless you can't read. Upon switching it ON, the TGT will go into searching mode for GPS signal. If you are in a building, do not waste your time. You will NOT get a signal.
This interface only if you updated the firmware to 3.14, else, the older firmware shows nothing except blinking satellite icon on the bottom right.
Next, as we are in Malaysia and are used to the Metric system, we have to get this part correct or struggle with the Miles, Feet and Inch measurement (English). It is easy to do by just pressing the MODE button to locate CONFIGURE screen and then scroll down to UNIT and do the necessary.
Press ENTER (middle button on right side) or just wait for 2-seconds for it to go into the option page.
Repeat the same for WATCH INFO and set the timezone to Singapore (GMT+8.00) as the default unit comes with US Eastern time. This is to ensure the GPS to show the correct LOCAL time (the mistake i made - wait up for the GPS signal posting review soon).
From the CONFIGURE menu, you can also update your USER INFO which includes the vitals. Alternative to all these is actually to do it via the Device Agent as noted above.
What's Next
With every push of the MODE button, the watch menu will change or cycle through a few options. We have covered CONFIGURE option, the other more important one to get the TGT setup and ready for first usage is to go to the PERFORMANCE option. In this option, you will be able use it for either SWIM, BIKE or RUN as THREE INDIVIDUALLY RECORDED DATA.
Like seriously...
SWIM Screen showing TIME SPLIT ONLY. Highly customizable, see below
Now, let's take the RUN screen as the screen we want to see. Standard view is split to 4-window which will show the HR, Pace, Distance and Lap time.
Similar to Garmin 910XT
The same is seen on the BIKE screen where SPEED, CADENCE (using an ANT+ device), DISTANCE and HR can be viewed.
A bit of further checking revealed that each of the screen is customizable - similar to Garmin 910XT. You can dictates to show between one and four split screen to monitor the vital data. For example shown here, the customization of the RUN data.
Can see One to Four split screen. If you need Five, get another TGT.
Extensive options for view change
If that is not enough, it allows two slots for customized view. You can also change both the name of the Custom 1 and 2.
Custom 1 to be...SUPERMAN WORKOUT?
The biggest differences to the 910XT is that the 910XT allows up to 4 screens with 4 split data views just for ONE SPORTS. The TGT allows only ONE SCREEN with 4 split datas - unless you convert the other two CUSTOM to your favorite view. To be frank, even with 4 data lines, there is already sufficient data to process. Perhaps the only reason for this is when you want to use the watch sans the HR monitor and you do not want to leave that view blank (0BPM).
As the TGT is an Ironman branded watch, expect the battery life (per charge on continuous usage) with GPS on and tracking of the sports to be ON to last at least 17hours (the Ironman qualifying time). Also, because it is a specific watch made for triathlon, you will get an option for MULTISPORT.
Now you feel like Superman
Just like the 910XT, it will track the Swim, Bike and Run portion as ONE continuous activity with option to track both T1 and T2 as well.
Moving On
I tried the TGT on one occasion after i got it and setting it up for wifey. This watch is meant for her and as a small motivation for our running-escapade together. In order for me to understand it a step further is to use it so i would know what to expect and be able to troubleshoot it. My biggest complain on this TGT is the duration it takes to lock on the satellite even though it has been hot-started. On the day i wanted to use it, i had to stand for about 3 minutes, perhaps 4 and wait for the watch to lock on to the signal. Compared to the 910XT, it was almost immediate (for the 910XT).
I will cover the GPS lock on in s separate posting soon.
1. The price online or from US of A is super attractive. Can't beat USD150 for a HRM.
2. Complete package includes the bike mount. Further saving on initial investment
3. Comes with HR Strap. Option in US include without the HR strap for about USD10 to USD15 less.
4. BIG display - which also can be a con for those with small wrist circumference
5. Free basic software for training planning.
6. 50m water resistance! Wow!
1. Slow satellite lock - whether it is hot-start or cold-start.
2. Big display - big even for my big wrist
3. Complicated software for data downloading/uploading. Steep learning curve.
Full Specification of the TGT

Powered by GPS:
  • SiRFstarIII Powered GPS Technology Requires No Calibration
  • Calculates Pace, Speed, and Distance in Real Time
  • Measures Location with Altitude Ascent and Descent Distances and Rates
  • Records up to 100 Location Waypoints to Track Back and Create Routes
  • Recalls up to 50 Custom Routes for Pace Tracking
Performance Training:
  • Customizable Display Shows up to Four Data Windows
  • 20-Workout Memory with Dated Summary Records up to 1000 Laps of Information
  • Chronograph with Interval and Countdown Timers Measures Performance
  • Records Elapsed Time, Calories Burned and Performance Data for Each Lap
  • Performance Pacer Helps Meet Finish-Time Goals
  • Hands-Free Option Automatically Starts and Stops Data Capture Functions
  • Multisport Event Mode Records Activities and Transitions in One Sequence
Connected & Compatible:
  • Performance and Route Data Downloads to Online Training Software Powered by Training Peaks
  • Advanced Desktop Software Manages Users Settings for Easy Customization
  • Battery Recharges when Connected to USB Port or AC Adaptor
  • Compatible with Windows® XP or Newer and Mac® OS X 10.4 or Newer
  • Compatible with Timex® Heart Rate and Bike Sensors Using ANT+
  • Compatible with Third-Party Bike Power Sensors Using ANT+
Other Watch Features:
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German and Italian Language Support
  • Water-Resistant to 50 Meters (GPS and ANT+ Features Not Available Underwater)
  • INDIGLO® Night-Light with Night Mode® Feature


  1. but....can Facebook or not?

  2. bro,
    can you share how to set the interval sessions (HIIT) in this watch?

    1. On the Timex? I have no idea sir. I believe you can do it via training peaks. :)

  3. yes timex...let me google arnd 1st... :)
    read from the manual, can be set at Timer menu, but i can't activate it...