Tech4o Discover GPS Watch

Tech4o-Discover-GPS-Watch

Manufacturer Description

Wrist-top GPS technology provides the most accurate speed & distance data, especially over rugged terrain or when stride varies. The Discover includes an HRM (heart rate monitor) and PC analysis software allowing you to download AND upload entire routes using Google Earth. Perhaps best of all – Discover our price!

Features

  • 5 customizable workout profiles: Running, Cycling, Hiking, Sailing, Other
  • Automatic Data Log – 120 Log Memory
  • Customizable view – 3 data metrics per view
  • Workout Metrics – Altitude, Calories, Distance, Heading, Average HR, Maximum HR, Current HR, Above Zone HR Time, Average Pace, Below Zone HR Time, In Zone HR Time, Lap Distance, Lap Number, Lap Time, Time of Day, Average Pace, Maximum Pace, Current Pace, Average Speed, Maximum Speed, Current Speed, Workout Time
  • Smart Lap/Track Log function- auto maps your route
  • 99 Lap Chronograph
  • View Workout History
  • Waypoint, Forward, Backward Path Tracking
  • Create up to 10 paths, maximum 99 waypoints each
  • Can create paths via PC and Upload ahead of time
  • Digital Compass
    • 1 Degree resolution
    • Compass Direction readout – 16 Cardinals & Bearing in degrees
    • North Indicator
    • Declination Setting
  • Heart Rate monitoring with 2.4GHz wireless transmission speed
  • Coded technology prevents interference from other watches or exercise equipment
  • PC Uplink & analysis software
  • Watch settings and Workout profiles can be easily configured on your computer then uploaded to the watch
  • Time Mode
  • EL Backlight
  • Full Dot Matrix LCD
  • Mineral Glass Lens
  • Dual Processor optimizes battery life
  • 30 meter (100 ft) Water Resistance
  • Rechargeable Battery with life indicator
  • Comes with HRM Chest strap
  • Measured weight – 55 g (1.9 oz)
  • Measured body size -46 mm x 46 mm (1.8 in x 1.8 in)
  • Measured depth – 16 mm (0.6 in)
  • Retail – $199

YMMV Review

Tech4o is a smaller company started in 2005 by engineers from the Swedish company Silva. Its focus was to make products that worked well and were not overly complicated or overly priced. The Discover GPS is their first GPS watch that is made for a wide range of activities. Thank you to Tech4o for giving me the opportunity to review the Discover GPS Watch.

Angled view on my wrist

Testing

I have been testing the Discover GPS watch for some time now, taking it on multiple runs, hikes, and other adventures. Here in Central Oregon we have fairly ideal conditions for GPS transmission, but I was also able to test it in the Columbia River Gorge, which is some pretty difficult location for the GPS.

Design ★★★½☆

Appearance (20%) ★★★½☆

Construction (40%) ★★★★☆

Features (30%) ★★★★☆

Sustainability (10%) ★½☆☆☆

The Discover GPS is similar to other GPS watches in that it connects to the satellite network which travels around the Earth’s lower orbit. There is a sensor in the Discover Watch, which is a signal receiver and picks up the data transmissions form the satellites as they are sent to earth. It takes at least four satellites to do the job and pinpoint your position. The watch uses the signals by determining the time gap from when the signal is sent to when it is received. By using the time gaps from several satellites the watch can locate the position in three dimensions. Once a user’s position has been determined, the watch can further compute information such as the current, average and maximum travel speed, distance and compass heading.

Top View

The watch itself is best characterized as midsize. The watch and band are all one unit with a sturdy closure latch. The watch has a smooth profile and recessed lens for durability and to be non restrictive. The Discover GPS Watch is not necessarily a running watch like many GPS watches are, it is made to work across a wide range of activities, including: running, cycling, hiking, sailing, and other activities you can think of. It even has a time mode where you can turn off the GPS and wear it like a standard watch. There are five function buttons on the watch, two on the left side of the face and three on the right. These buttons are labeled on the face but have other functions depending on the menu and mode you are in. There are five customizable workout profiles depending on the workout you are doing, There are also three customizable views that can show three data sets each. This allows you to customize it to see the data that you need for each individual workout. The Discover GPS has navigation functions, heart rate monitoring, PC analysis, workout mode, key tones, and time mode. I will touch on each of these separately below.

The watch can be recharged with a USB cable that is included. There is a clip mechanism with four pins that interface with the watch. This cable also allows the watch to transfer data back and forth from the included software. Furthermore, included in the package is a Heart-Rate Monitor Chest Strap. This strap uses a replaceable CR2032 battery. Other features of the watch are a backlight, water resistance, and battery life indicator, which let you know how much life it has left. Now I will go into a little more detail about each of the modes. Tech4o also has a very useful website that can help you with all the different features and how to use them, just click on the button.

Tech4o Website

In the exercise mode, you can choose from one of the five workout profiles. These profiles can each be edited on the software and updated to the watch. Each of these profiles has three data screens with three sets of data per page. These pages can be advanced manually or can be set to automatically scroll. There is a total of 22 metrics that can be measured. The watch has an automatic data log and can keep 120 logs in the memory. On the watch, you can view the workout history or just wait until you get home to upload it to the PC. There is a smart lap function that can set automatic laps at a certain distance. The Discover GPS allows for 99 laps in the chronograph. The watch is also able to track your heart rate through the included heart-rate monitor. By setting your profile information and downloading it to the watch, the Discover can monitor your Heart Rate zones and can alert you if you go above or below them.

Heart Rate Monitor

The Discover GPS has a navigation mode that can be used in conjunction with your other activities. The watch can hold up to 10 paths (routes) with up to 99 waypoints each. The software can hold a lot more so you can download these paths when needed. The watch can manually track waypoints on a route or be set to automatically do so at intervals from four seconds to every 10 minutes. These waypoints and tracks all the watch to do path tracking in either forward or backwards. The watch can also use this to direct you to the next point and help you avoid getting lost. In this mode, you can also get estimated time to arrival and distance to location information. The watch has a dynamic electronic compass with a one-degree resolution. The readout has 16 direction cardinals and gives the bearing in degrees. There is also a north indicator, and you can set the declination based on your location. All of these with the proper training can help you find your way.

The watch can also be set in time mode and have the GPS turned off to save battery life. In time mode, the watch will give you the time, day, and date. It will connect to the satellite atomic clock so no adjustment is needed. It will also use your longitude based on the GPS to estimate what time zone you are located in. It has the option for a 12 hour or 24 time format, and you can set a dual time if you wish. There is a total of five daily alarms that can be set and an hourly chime if you wish. In time mode, there is also a countdown timer.

With all this data that is available and all the setting it is great that they have included software to manage the watch. This software is only for the PC currently which is a bummer for those Apple users. It does support multiple languages and multiple accounts for one watch are possible. The best feature is being able to set all the custom variable of the watch and workouts on the PC and then just transferring them to the watch. The software can take already created routes and can also export data for use in other systems as well. The mapping functions even work with Google Earth.

Clip for Recharging & Data Transfer

The actual material of the Discover Watch is not ever covered, nor is much of the company information disclosed. I am not sure if there are any sustainable practices or initiatives with Tech4o. For this reason, I gave them a low rating for sustainability.

Fit ★★★☆☆

Adjustability (35%) ★★★☆☆

Strap Comfort (35%) ★★★☆☆

Watch Size (30%) ★★★½☆

There is not much that can be said about a watch and its fit. Most watches with a reasonable band will fit on your wrist, but the shape or material may not be your preference. This is not the case with the Discover. It has a very plain look and design to the watch as not to draw attention to itself. That is a good description of the watch itself. While it does a lot, and I mean a lot, the watch looks very understated for its capability. Compare that to a Suunto which looks like it is from the Star Trek and can teleport you to the finish if you do not feel like running. (As a note…I have never watched Star Trek so forgive my comparison.) The band and buckle on the Discover are solid without many frills either. The band can be adjusted in small enough increments to get the appropriate fit, and the smooth surfaces are comfortable to the skin. Even when sweaty on my long runs I never noticed the watch which is the whole point. If you are noticing your watch, then there is most likely a negative reason why. The face and size of the Discover is about the same as some of the other smaller GPS watches on the market. I once had a Garmin Forerunner 305, and it was huge; I am glad the Discover is smaller than that. My wrists are fairly skinny, and it does not look out of place on them. Take a look at the pictures and you may disagree. The heart-rate monitor strap is a tradition kind, and it works fine. Almost all heart-rate straps always feel like they are falling off when I exercise and this one suffered from that same sinking feeling. Other than this it was comfortable enough; no heart-rate monitor has been unnoticeable for me.

Strap & Buckle

Performance ★★★★☆

Battery Life (10%) ★★★½☆

Connectivity (10%) ★★★★☆

Data Presentation (20%) ★★★★☆

Durability (10%) ★★★½☆

Ease of Set up & Use (20%) ★★★★½

Software (10%) ★★☆☆☆

Versatility (20%) ★★★★½

Man this watch does a lot. Most of my use was in the exercise mode as during my training I have many more opportunities to test it. I was easily able to upload the software onto my PC and set up all my heart rate zones and other statistics in my profile. I really like that all these can be updated on the computer as doing it on the watch is a little challenging. Okay, maybe a lot challenging. The watch is a good weight and size so it does not feel bulky on my wrist. The buttons are low profile, so I have not accidentally pushed them and done something I regret. Even though they are low profile, they are still easy to push and operate, even when on the move. While I have been using this watch for some time, the watch can still pass for new. It has not shown any signs of use or damage and is still going strong.

Side View

I really like how the watch is rechargeable and has a battery indicator screen that lets you know how much battery time you have. More watches would be good to have this option. The battery life is about eight hours in full use, and that seems to have been what I found as well. The only drawback to the rechargeable watch is when I am hiking. If I am on a multi-day hike, then I need to find a way to recharge it while on the trail. With some of the new solar charger options, this has been easier than before. As charging and connecting to the computer goes, the included clip has four pins that interface with the watch. This system is much easier to connect then some of the other clips I have used. It especially compared to the Garmin Forerunner 110 I tested where it was hard to get it to connect correctly.

The Discover GPS has an easy to read pixel screen and being able to either manually change the view or have it cycle through is a nice feature. I find of the three sets of data; the middle one is really easy to read on the run, and the smaller ones take a little more effort. Once you get the hang of where to look for the piece of information you want it is much easier. Tech4o has tried to make this watch easy to use, but they have chocked it full of features and information that there is definitely a learning curve. Even know I have to go to the website to learn how to use certain features that I have not used for some time. Once you learn all the features it is pretty straight forward to do what you want. Each of the modes makes sense and displays the information clearly. I did notice that when running my distances were slightly shorter than they were with my other GPS watches. It was pretty small differences, about .05 miles over a 5-mile run or 1% difference. As far as connecting to satellites goes, the Discover GPS is on par with the other GPS watches I have used. The Heart-Rate Monitor works well and never did I have any interference. I did try to pair the watch to my Garmin Heart Rate Strap, and it did not work. I am not sure if it can be, I have not found any information on this capability yet. With the HRM, I did like how you can either set up your own zones for training or use their preset zones: health, fat burn, and aerobics. The watch can even give you alerts when you go above or below those goals.

The software that comes with the watch is a little underwhelming to me. It does a great job in changing the watch settings, and the information is clear. What it lacks is more visual than anything else. It is really plain and boring, which makes it less likely for me to interact with it more than I have to. I found that toward the end, I would just download the GPX file and upload it into my other programs for analysis. The other thing I found puzzling is that the software only works on a PC. That seems to be eliminating a good portion of your potential customers right off the bat. Hopefully, they can fix this so it is available to Apple users.

What comes with it

What really makes this watch stand out from some of my other GPS watches are the compass and navigation modes. With these modes, I am able to create a path on the fly or preload one from the software. This way I can use waypoint marking in the navigation setting to help me get from point to point and not get lost. Even if you just marked your car, you can use your watch if you go off trail to find it and get home. The compass setting is also a great feature if you need to navigate. It works with the GPS turned off so you can have many more hours of usable time than you can in the navigation mode. While I am unlikely to use my watch compass over a reliable hand-held one, it is good to know it is there for emergencies. The only thing the Discover GPS does not have compared to my hand-held Garmin Oregon GPS is the ability to bring up maps on the screen, other than that it is a pretty good replacement. (There are a lot of other options on my Oregon, I just have not found the need to use any of them yet.) Using the navigation feature on the watch is great, especially for hiking. The two ways I have used it is by either creating a path when hiking out and then using the waypoints on my return or just uploading a GPS track before hand to follow. In both cases, it makes for much easier navigation, especially if you are off trail or in the snow.

Overall ★★★★☆

Overall, I have been pleasantly surprised with the Discover Watch. When I first saw it; I was a bit skeptical but the more I used it the more I liked it. It is missing some of the hardcore training features of other watches but makes up for it with versatility across many activities and having many features found only in handheld GPS units. The software that comes with the watch is completely functional but is pretty basic. I think the fact that it is PC only is disappointing as well. Fortunately, I use a PC. If you are looking for a GPS watch that can be used for a variety of activities and gives you plenty of information to boot, this is a great watch to look at. While not as flashy as other options out there, I would recommend it. The Discover GPS retails for $199, which puts it in the same ballpark as the others. As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros

  • Good size and understated look
  • Lots of data available on 3 screens that manually change or scroll automatically
  • Navigating Paths is a nice feature
  • Battery Life Indicator in Time
  • Heart Rates zones can be done manually or use presets
  • Software can Update Setting

Cons                                                                                             

  • Software is plain
  • Software only works with PCs
  • With so many features there is a learning curve
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Adventures

About the author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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