Timex Marathon GPS
The Timex Marathon GPS is a great introductory GPS running watch. It’s affordable, extremely accurate and simple to use. For the price, the Marathon is the best watch currently on the market, lacking only the heart-rate monitor functions and advanced workout management settings of higher-end watches.
The new Timex Marathon GPS (Marathon) represents the new wave of affordable GPS watches retailing at around the $100 price point. While not full of bells and whistles like pricier models, the Marathon is meant to be simple and effective. It did not disappoint.
The Marathon does not feature PC connectivity—no downloadable workouts or linking up to sites like Training Peaks—but it covers the basics extremely well. It keeps track of a runner's run, pace, distance, laps, and calorie burn.
The Marathon GPS looks like a standard running watch (not like the old boxy Garmins or dinner-plate sized Ironman GPS trainer from Timex) and has the typical Timex strap that has been around for ages. The watch fits nicely and has plenty of eyelets for adjustments of small and large wrists. The unit comes with a standard USB charger and a small user manual.
Turning the unit on is straightforward and one can customize the user settings nicely (though note, the watch only allows for one saved set of user statistics, so if someone else wants to use the watch and have correct calorie calculations he or she will need to re-configure to their personal stats). After configuring the settings, satellite acquisition was quick, it took around 60 seconds the first time I used it and only about 20-40 seconds thereafter—about as fast as the average GPS watch.
Press the start button, which will track your distance and time. Pressing stop pauses your workout just like on any other running watch with start resuming your run. The Marathon is set up to take laps, splits, or intervals by pressing the button labeled "lap." Again, very straightforward and on par with standard running watches. It also does contain an auto lap function, which is handy for those who like to know their split at a given distance during the course of their run. (For instance, I set mine up to record 1-mile laps and it was spot on. Metric units are available on the unit as well.) The Marathon records a runner's current or instantaneous pace, not average during the course of the run. However, you can view your average pace at the end of the run.
When you are done running, you can view your history by pressing the mode button and looking at Run Data, which will give you your entire history of runs by selecting the proper “Run number” from the list given.
The Marathon is a very accurate unit, I found it only 20m off my standard 5000m track test which is incredible.
Overall, this is a great product for the price. While it lacks more sophistication from other more expensive GPS units, it does what it advertises and does it extremely well. Timex and Soleus are currently the only two major brands fulfilling the need for a cheap GPS watch and I wonder if Garmin will jump in as well. I highly recommend the Marathon given its ease of use and affordability.
How We Tested It
Several weeks of running and a 5,000-meter accuracy test on a track.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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Satellite Acquisition Speed
Gear Institute Rating (Total Score)
- Waterproof?: Yes