By Jason Boyle
Epson has been around since 1942 and is well known for ink jet printers and projectors and has now added GPS watches to their lineup. The Epson line up features five different models that range in price from $99 dollars to $399 dollars. Epson has a simple to use website that allows the user easily navigate and find the different products that they sell.
The ProSense 57 is a GPS enabled smartwatch with an amazing number of features for a watch that retails for $149 dollars. The features include RouteSense™ GPS and CardioSense™, an intuitive menu, long GPS battery life, all day activity tracker including steps and sleep tracking, and connectivity to the Epson View App to transfer data to popular running apps.
I will highlight a few of the features on the watch. The CardioSense™ heart rate technology is neat. It uses a light and sensors on the back of the watch to measure the wearers heart rate which is then displayed on the watch.
I also like that the watch is fairly simple to use. There are 5 buttons on the watch and easily readable lettering on the watch face that tells the user what the buttons do. The up arrow lets the user cycle between activity pages – heart rate, steps, calories, sleep and finally a combined steps, calories and heart rate display. The down arrow lets the user cycle through activity modes – run, walk, treadmill and a stopwatch. The user can also add two more activities to this mode using the Epson View App.
To start and stop an activity the watch has a silver colored button. This also starts the GPS. I found that the watch picks up a GPS signal pretty well as long as I have a clear view of the sky. It also seems to pick up GPS more quickly if I have the watch paired with my Iphone via Bluetooth.
I have mentioned the Epson View App a few times. The app is available for free download on android and iPhone applications. The app pairs with the watch via Bluetooth and will track the various activities the user engages in. It also has a calendar function that shows daily activities and exercises per day. There is a trends function that can track weight, daily activity over a day, week, month and year. The app can also be used to adjust the settings on the watch including the display, date and time, notifications, and alarms.
The watch face is smaller than many of the other GPS enabled watches on the market. However, I feel like the display is easy to read. There is a main line that takes up the majority of the display and then a smaller line of text above and below the main text.
This watch is chocked full of features and there is a downloaded 84 page pdf that explains them all. The watch is even able to change music on a smart phone and display incoming texts and phone numbers.
There are several factors that I look for when reviewing GPS watches. The first is ease of use. When I go for a run or a hike I want to be able to connect via GPS and get going. I also want to be able to easily get the info from the watch so I can track my activities. The watch also needs to be durable. I am hard on my gear, so it needs to last – the band and the face. Another characteristic that I am interested is battery life. I run marathon and ultra distances and I want my watch to be able to track my speed, distance and so forth. I want to know how long this watch will last before it needs to be recharged.
Update: Epson ProSense 57 GPS Watch March 10, 2018
I have used the Epson ProSense 57 GPS watch on all of my outdoor adventures over the last couple of months. Some of my adventures included – hikes on the Mississippi River Levee near my house with my dog, backpacking in the Black Creek Wilderness in Mississippi, running in Oklahoma over the holidays, hiking and running on trails at the Woodlands Conservancy, hiking the swamp trails of Jean Laffite National Park, and camping and hiking in the Homochitto National Forest. Overall, I have recorded over 400 miles of hiking and running with the watch. I have experienced bitter cold in the 20s with light snow and temperatures in the 80s. I have also worn the watch while swimming laps at the local pool.
I am a pretty simple guy when it comes to electronics. I want the product to work, and I don’t want to spend hours trying to figure out how to get something to work. I can say that the ProSense 57 fits my desire for an easy to use product. I invested a little bit of time figuring out how to make it capture my hikes and my runs. It can and will do more than just recording my hikes and runs, but at a basic level this is all I really want it to do, and it meets that expectation.
The GPS seems to be fairly accurate. It connects quickly if there is an open sky. However, it usually takes a couple minutes and is slower at acquiring a signal than some other watches I have used. As a user, I can skip waiting for the connection by clicking the skip button and the watch uses my average pace running or walking until it picks up the satellite. The watch gps has been trustworthy and has always connected.
The data accuracy has been decent. The distance function of the watch works well and is accurate and agrees with other watches I have used or with the distance shown on fellow hikers and runners gps. However, the elevation profile seems to be off. I live in New Orleans, 11 feet below sea level, and on my levee hikes and walks the watch has me gaining and losing over 100 feet of gain – this is inaccurate. I might gain and lose 20 feet total climbing onto and off of the levee.
I really like the concept of the wrist heart rate monitor. I think it does a good job of presenting an idea of what my heart rate is. However, I have not had good success with it measuring my heart rate while running or hiking. I was running on a treadmill at the gym and the treadmill was reading my heart rate in the 130s and the Epson57 Watch was reading my heart rate in the 100-110 range. I wear the watch kind of loose and I think this may affect the ability of the monitor. I will try to wear the watch more tightly over the next month to see if it makes a difference.
I slept with the watch to see how well the sleep function worked. I was surprised that all of my sleep was very light with only 10 minutes of deep sleep. I think this is neat function, but I cross my arms when I sleep and I found that the watch was leaving bruises against my arm where I was sleeping, so I stopped wearing the watch while I sleep after the first week or so.
Durability has been superb. I have worn the watch while working out, camping, hiking, while building a mardi gras float using power tools, basically all the time. The bezel and the rubber band look new except for some white paint that I got on the band. All of the buttons function properly as well.
The final characteristic I was looking for in the Epson 57GPS watch was how long would the battery last? The answer is it depends. I found that if I leave the Bluetooth on and connected to my iPhone the watch lasts about a day before it needs to be recharged. If I only connect the Bluetooth after exercising, I find that I can get about two days of life out of the watch including 2-4 hours of connected GPS exercising. The user manual does a nice job of laying out how to turn off different functions such as the heart rate measurement or the daily activity tracker. Two days seems to work ok for me. While I was camping in the Homochitto National Forest, I forgot to charge the watch before I left, so after a 9 mile hike the watch battery was almost gone. Fortunately, I had the cable and a Lander Battery pack that allowed me to charge the watch battery back to a full charge.
Overall, I am pleased with the Epson ProSense 57 GPS watch. It is a great entry level GPS watch that is accurate for hiking and running. I like that the watch is the same size as a normal watch and blends in well in casual and outdoor settings. Battery life is ok, I will be running a marathon over the next month and will see how the watch operates for 4 plus hours of running.
Final Update Epson ProSense 57 GPS Watch
Since my last update, I have used the watch while at the following places in Virginia: hiking at battlefields in Yorktown, hiking at Holiday Lake near Appomattox, camping and hiking at Devil’s Marbleyard in the Jefferson National Forest, hiking the Dahlgren Heritage Railroad Trail, hiking at Caledon State Park and finally hiking at Newport News State Park. Temperatures ranged from the around the mid 30’s while walking the battlefields in Yorktown to the mid-60s while climbing the boulders at the Devil’s Marbleyard.
In addition, I have used the watch while running the Little Rock Marathon in Arkansas, and the Oklahoma City Marathon. I also used the watch for my everyday watch and adventures here in Louisiana and Mississippi. To be sure I have put the watch through its paces with everything from thunderstorms to hot and humid days near 100.
Bottom line up front – the Epson 57 GPS watch is perfect for the runner who wants a watch that is easy to use, will work for distances up to a marathon, and doesn’t want to look like they are wearing a GPS watch.
I look at three main characteristics when reviewing a GPS watch: functionality, durability and battery life.
The functionality of the Epson 57 GPS watch is good. It measures my running and hiking distances but can do much more. I think the daily activity tracker is a good function that lets me see any trends in my daily habits. I have had to cut back on running to keep my Achilles tendinitis in check, but I still wanted to get at least 10k steps in daily, and the watch helped me track and meet this goal.
I have tried to use the sleep function a few more times, and I seem to get similar results – about 6-7 hours of light sleep with 10 minutes of deep sleep. The numbers seem to be consistent at least in what is measured. I have done a small amount of research that says I should get more deep sleep than 10 minutes.
The other function I was excited to use is the wrist heart rate monitor, but as I mentioned before it is not reliable. I am doing PT for my Achilles tendonitis and one of the exercises I have to do involves jumping from side to side for several minutes. This exercise spikes my heart rate fairly quickly, but the watch, even when tight, never registers more than about 90 beats per minute. I find that the heart rate measurement is pretty accurate as long as I am stationary, but does not work well when I am moving, regardless of whether I am wearing the watch loosely or tightly.
Durability of the watch has been superb. I have worn it every day for almost 6 months and the band is in perfect condition. No stretching or wallowing of the pin holes in the band. The watch face has a few scratches but they are hardly noticeable. Overall, I am very pleased with the durability of the watch.
Battery life has remained about the same as before. I can generally get about 2 full days of use before it needs to be charged. I have pushed the battery to see how long it will last and I was able to go almost 4 days before it quit. I wasn’t really using the GPS function during this time though. I would be hesitant to use the watch for tracking my running and hiking over longer trips. I can charge the watch using portable chargers, but this becomes a bit excessive if on a trip longer than a week.
Overall, I really like the watch and wear it every day. I like that it is comparable to a standard size watch and does not stand out like other GPS watches. I would like to see the battery life and some of the other functions improved, but overall this is a great entry level watch.
Thanks to 4alloutdoors.org and Epson for providing the watch for this review.