The Magellan Echo GPS watch is a light weight “smart sports running watch.” The Echo sports watch is linked to the user’s smart phone through a Bluetooth connection. When connected, the watch will display data such as distance traveled, pace, and workout timing information. Further, the watch functionally controls music selections and app functions (e.g., start, stop, etc.) Importantly, both the smart phone and Magellan Echo GPS watch must be worn by the user throughout the exercise event; phone and watch must be electronically tethered.
There are two Echo variants. I tested the basic model. The other model provides heart rate data for the user. The Magellan Echo is powered by batteries using “low power technology.” It never needs recharging. No extra cables are required either to recharge or link to the phone. Through apps installed on the iPhone, information that is essential to the athlete and hiker are streamed and displayed in real time.
Currently the Echo can only be paired with Apple’s newer iPhones such the 4s or 5 series. Android phone systems are not supported, but Magellan reportedly will fix that shortly. Note that this is not a GPS watch. GPS locating data is provided by the smart phone. There are no navigation features with this system.
I found that setting up the Echo and smart phone to be straightforward. I admit that I am not an app ninja, but the process was not daunting for this baby boomer. The Magellan web site (www.magellanGPS.com/start/echo) walked me through the process nicely. Magellan has also taken the extra step of placing many tutorials on YouTube.
I tested the Echo sports watch while hiking, cycling and driving in my car. It is modest in size as compared to other electronic chronometers. I found the display to be clear and bright. Relatively large buttons allow easy movement from display option to option. The wrist band is flexible and nicely ventilated.
The Magellan Echo Sports watch currently has four compatible applications (apps) that can be installed on the smart phone. These applications include:
- Whaoo Fitness
All are robust products for the serious runner or cyclist. These apps help the user achieve fitness goals by monitoring progress, distance, and speed while mapping one’s course. I used the app MapMyFitness. I was impressed with the functionality. The map of my route was spot-on and data presented made sense.
Interestingly, Magellan has left the door open for app developers to design apps to further improve the product.
- Light weight
- Set-up is simple
- Bluetooth operation is straight forward
- Several color options
- Low-power technology eliminates the extra cables and associated gear for recharging
- Smart fitness app options are free.
- Subscription options are available for more detailed data presentations.
- Will not work with android operating systems and older iPhones
- Not stand alone – must be paired to the phone
Summary: The Magellan Echo is a versatile and affordable watch for those with the desire to truly manage their workout. Though designed as an exercise accessory, its application supports the hiker too. For lengthy excursions, the duration of equipment support is most likely determined by the smart phone’s battery charge.
Echo data summaryManufacturer: Magellan Date available: Now Manufacturer’s Website: www.magellanGPS.com/start/echo MSRP: $149.99 Listed Weight: 1.55 ounces Dimensions: Watch display is 1” in diameter Model tested: Echo basic – without heart rate monitor Requirements: 1 CR2032 battery that will last 6-11 months. Not to be worn while swimming Colors Available: Dark Green, Blue, Orange