Gear Review: Soleus GPS Fly

image As someone who has tested and tried a variety of running gear over the years, one product that I have never owned is one of that a sizeable majority of runners have - a GPS Watch. It almost feels blasphemous to say out loud (right up there with admitting that this past year was my first Hood to Coast race), but it's true. But even despite having the luck of checking out some top of the line gear, I am a pretty simplistic guy. Aside from a a few really nice pieces of running apparel, I primarily hit the street in race shirts and gym shorts. While I enjoy and appreciate "fancy", it's not a necessity in my book. That's why the Soleus GPS Fly fits in perfectly into my running closet.

The Fly is an upgrade to the Fit, which is Soleus’ #1 selling GPS.  It tracks all of the pertinent info: pace, speed, distance, calories, time, etc., and is compatible with Strava for data upload, if that’s your jam.

The Good:

Looks: The Soleus looks like a solid GPS Watch. I found the front face to be a tad large, though (full disclosure) I am not familiar if that is a trait consistent with other GPS watches. I’m assuming it is. Even despite the size, it did not feel over the top and was easily worn with casual non-running attire without feeling like I was trying to show off a big piece of running hardware.

Function: There is nothing really fancy about the looks. The color scheme is simple, the font is simple, and the design is simple. All that simplicity is much welcome to those who just want a straightforward device that gets the job done. Those who desire more features (uploading direct files to a PC or iPhone, GPS mapping, etc.) may need a step-up from the Soleus Fly. I personally liked the (eventual) ease of use and the ability to go straight from unboxing to running without needing to read a huge manual to understand the basic features.

Battery Life: I also found the battery life to be decent for my usage. I was able to utilize the watch for a week’s worth of runs (3-4 runs / week of about 5 miles each) in addition to day-to-day usage before charging. I couldn’t tell you how it does on a marathon or longer, but I wouldn’t anticipate an issue as long as it’s fully charged. Speaking of charging, it’s a nifty little device that feels like a big “chip-clip” that attach to your watch with monster teeth. That’s probably the worst description ever, but its the best I can do (see picture).

The charging “chip-clip” in action.

The “Bad”: There isn’t a whole lot on the bad side of things. I found that over the first few weeks of use, I had a tough time remembering where everything was located and what each button accomplished. However, that is the truth with any new piece of technology and the Soleus alone can not be faulted for that. I bet it’s probably more user-friendly than many fancy GPS watches on the market.

I also had some struggles with connectivity. Working in downtown Salem, there are a few “tall-ish” buildings (think 5-6 stories) nearby where I start my afternoon runs. There appeared to be a connection issue when nestled amongst the tall buildings, but I always ended up connected…eventually. It just took upwards of 2-3 minutes to do so – definitely not an eternity, but enough to be a little frustrating when you are getting amped to run. I utilized the extra time for a little additional dynamic warm-ups, but still.

If you’re looking for a straightforward and simple GPS watch, the Soleus GPS Fit is a great choice. It may not have all the features of more expensive watches, but it gets the job done without breaking the bank. The watch sells for $99.

About Matt Rasmussen (1630 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

1 Comment on Gear Review: Soleus GPS Fly

  1. How precise do you find the “current pace” to be? It’s always going to be an approximation because the watch needs at least two data points to determine current pace, and those data points are constantly changing as you move. I’ve found the current pace on the Garmin Forerunner 220 to be not very useful, as it comes in 5 second intervals (i.e., 7:40 or 7:45) and fluctuates quite rapidly. That also makes the warning alerts for going too slow or too fast (i.e., to help you stay on a race pace) not helpful because it’s constantly beeping or buzzing. Does the Soleus do a better job?

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