Maptaq - Neo Watch
By Wayne Jones
I have not used a watch for a couple of years. Teaching bushcraft is more about the seasons and moving with natures rhythms. Then I saw myself on ITV's 'The Hungry Sailors' and didn't recognise the fat man on the screen. It was time to get myself back in shape.
Serious fitness requires proper timing, seconds matter if you are going to gauge improvement. Therefore I needed a watch for training.
I used to own a Polar heart rate monitor so I had a look at their offerings but nothing seemed to fit the bill. I wanted a watch that had a heart rate monitor and a GPS function to log my cycle rides.
I then looked at Garmin's Forerunner GT 910. It did everything I wanted of a training aid but was huge on my wrist and the price was far more than I was prepared to pay at the time.
After a search online I found the Maptaq Neo GPS watch. The price looked reasonable and the features were about right. It does not have the swimming functions of the Garmin but best of all I liked the styling.
ReviewMy first impressions of the Neo were good. I like the look of the watch. Itís a good sized timepiece without screaming that itís more a GPS and HRM. It is comfortable to wear and fairly light compared to other GPS watches. The Neo looks like a stylish sport watch. I donít want to have several different wrist watches one for training and another for everyday use.
I have been using the Neo for many months and it has become my constant companion. I use it for all my training activities. The heart rate monitor function is accurate and gives good information. The HR strap is comfortable even on long rides and hard endurance sessions in the gym. I like the ability to set different training profiles and easily manage the data screens displayed.
The GPS unit accurately logs your training routes and it is simple to upload each session to Maptaq GPS Software on the pc. You can then export your route to sites like Stravaô. I have not found the navigation applications to be particularly useful as I am much more a map and compass man. The navigation gives simple instructions to each way point. I have tested it on some fairly featureless terrain and it has guided me back to my start point so would be a useful back up to a regular GPS unit.
I have used the watch to log way points when tracking. I can quickly locate the local badger setts I monitor and have managed to create a picture of the local wildlife movements. I also have used the watch to record the locations of my favorite fungi.
The watch has proved pretty robust and is still looking like new even after constant use swimming in the sea, climbing, cycling and general abuse. The glass is very scratch resistant as I have dropped the watch more than once onto concrete floors.
The only drawback is the terminals on the base of unit that the USB cable clamp to. You have to ensure a very good connection to get the data to upload. At first this was quite frustrating as uploads often failed and the watch proved a challenge to recharge the GPS battery. A little bit of perseverance and light use of a toothbrush on the terminals means I no longer suffer from a poor connection. It is important that you take your time to ensure the clamp is accurately positioned.
The GPS unit battery is good for 8 hours use. There is a screen that lets you know the time remaining. This is useful as you can then decide whether you need to recharge before going out on the bike. Getting half the data would be a pain.
ProsItís very robust and scratch resistant.
I have used the watch to log distance travelled on my canoe sprints.
The mapping uses Google maps and also displays average heart rate and speed plus elevation gained. The calorie data of most gym machines is often quite varied but the Neo is consistently good.
ConsHowever, route is logged accurately on Google maps so I donít find this a huge problem.
ConclusionI wasnít sure when I got the Neo if I was going to like it. It is a lot less expensive than the competition so could it possibly meet my needs as an aspiring triathlete? I expected it to under perform or be badly put together. This has proved wide of the mark, do not let its competitive price fool you. This is a serious piece of kit for any outdoor enthusiast. It provides me with all the information that I require to accurately manage my training program. The only added feature that would make this watch perfect would be a swimming function. It is great for logging the routes whilst enjoying the great outdoors. The Neo doesnít log your swim stroke or distance in the pool.
If I managed to break one or lose it in the woods I would buy another tomorrow.
RatingRatings are out of 5, 1 being bad and 5 being the best
Fit for Purpose - 5/5
Versatility - 4/5
Durability - 5/5
Value for money - 5/5 Pricing £111.26 on Amazon.co.uk
Overall - 5/5
Manufacturers Description.NEO Fitness Watch with state-of-the-art GPS technology.
Records completed workout course, difference in altitude, distance profile, heart rate, calories burned, etc. Ideal for walkers, runners, climbers, cyclists, skiers, etc.
The built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery stores power for up to 8 hours.
The supplied pulse monitor records your heart rate and transmits it in a 2.4 GHz frequency to the GPS watch.
Choose between 5 different training profiles with specific display:
SpecificationGPS and Navigations
GPS accuracy: 4 meters or less in normal GPS mode.
Waypoints: 80 waypoints
Navigation feature to guide the user to a stored waypoint by indicating the direction and distance
Tracks log features with configurable log period (default is 2 sec) and up to 20,000 track log points.
Integrated in navigation function
1 degree resolution
Backward bearing direction
Display cardinal direction
Show the different measured information. (e.g. longitude, latitude, altitude, distance, speed, moving time, compass etc)
Can configured 3 views (each view with 3 rows of information)
The views setting can be saved to different profiles and loaded from profiles.
With 1/100-second chronograph feature (Up to 99H59M59.99S) with 50 laps memory. - Each lap record include lap time, lap distance, lap max speed, lap avg speed.
10 daily statistical records
Battery: Rechargeable Li-Polymer Battery, upto 8 hours continuous GPS tracking (Recharge by USB)
LCD level adjustable: 16 LCD contrast level adjust
Key Tone on/off
Low battery detection
Normal Time with month, day, day of week, hour, minute and second display
12/24 hour format selectable
Calendar range: 2000 to 2099
Dual Time function
Two independent alarms with daily and weekly selection.
Count Down Timer
1 second resolution
Count down timer up to 99H59M59S
One user defined value and five pre-defined value (3 min, 5 min, 10 min, 15 min and 45 min)
Adjustable timer range from 00:00:00 to 99:59:59
Last 10 minutes shall beep every minute
Last 1 minute shall beep every 10 second
Last 5 seconds shall beep every 1 second
Beep 30 seconds when timer reaches zero
Range: 30 to 180 bpm (beep per minute)
5 bpm per step
Link with chronograph
Maximum count up to 999999
Connection to PC via a USB cable
Download track log data to PC
Configure waypoints in PC
2.4 kHz Heart Rate Strap Monitor
Measuring Range: 30 to 240 BPM
Heart rate alert on/off selection
Heart rate alert on: Audible and visual indication for out of HR zone limit
Heart Rate In-zone timer
2 Heart rate zone limit selection:
Fitness zone (65% to 85% of estimated max. HR)
User defined by HR