The Crane GPS Watch & Heart Rate (HR) Monitor was featured in Aldi’s fitness sale starting on the 6th of July 2013 for just $99.99.
The watch sports a variety of features from tracking your movements with the in-built GPS, counts the calories you’re burning, and monitors your heart rate. It’s manufactured by Aldi’s in-house fitness brand, Crane, and comes with 2 years warranty and is water resistant to 30 meters. The chest-strapped is also water resistant, however, in the user manual it explains that it is only resistant to light rain and heavy sweat.
In the box you have the Crane GPS Watch & HR Monitor, chest-strap (for HR reading), USB cable, mount for a bicycle, a user manaual, and a small brush for cleaning the connection for the watch. The watch comes with a rechargeable lithium battery whilst the chest-strap comes with a small 3 volt CR2032 battery – similar to that of your standard wristwatch.
Overall I’m rather impressed with the features and the quality of the watch, it does a lot of things that the more expensive Polar & Suunto brands offer such as live heart-rate monitoring, warnings for heart-rate zones, being able to set minimum & maximum heart rate’s, and customization screens based on your preferences. You are also able to configure the watch to your own personal attributes such as gender and weight for more accurate readings. There are a few short comings however; There is no stopwatch feature at all and the timer on the watch must be set through the menu, and can not be set on the fly, which can be rather tedious and annoying.
he chest-strap on the Crane GPS Watch & HR Monitor is average. The sensor & battery component of the feels sturdy and well made while the elastic strap to secure it to you body feels a little uncomfortable initially. I also noticed that over the course of a 40 minute walk/jog the strap started to fall down my torso slightly even though it was done up rather tightly.
When comparing the calorie consumption and heart rate with the sensor on a True brand Elliptical machine I noticed a vast improvement in the accuracy of the watch over the machine. The Crane GPS & HR Monitor kept a real time recording of my heart rate and calorie consumption whilst the Elliptical machine continuously jumped up & down with my heart rate. There was also a difference between calories consumed on the elliptical with the Crane GPS & HR Monitor reporting a lower calorie consumption than the Elliptical machine by 26 calories over a 10 minute session.
The GPS took a while longer than I would of liked to secure a signal under a sunny blue sky. It wasn’t a dreadful long wait but it felt a little long. I compared the accuracy of the watch to a GPS tracking app on my Android phone and found no differences between the two. They both tracked my time, distance, and speed, with the exact same specifications.
The propriatry app the comes with the phone for downloading the maps onto your computer is GPS Master. The app works well but still looks like it was designed in the early 90′s. The app is capable of showing you your followed path via map or satellite images, below the route is a graphical data map which you can switch between speed/time and speed/distance. GPS Master is also capable of a small summary detailing your maximum heart rate, workout time, and various other tidbits of data. I would recommend using GPS Master to export your .gps file and then upload it to a website such as RunKeeper or Runtastic for their nicer looking interfaces.
The GPS abilities also include waypoint marking and an active compass which I was unable to test but for anyone interested in hiking or other outdoor activities would be highly beneficial.
Overall the Crane GPS Watch & HR Monitor is a nice watch for the price. It has a lot of features and will suit most people for their needs. Those who require more from a HR Monitor such as activity/workout plans, fitness testing, and some of the other options associated with high-end watches will be left wanting a little more for the experience.
Overall Rating: 4/5