Freestyle Navigator 2.0 Watch
Initial Report September 22nd
Field Report due November 22nd 2009
Long Term Report due January 22nd 2010
Long Term Report
Photo courtesy of Freestyle.
Name: Andrew Preece
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
Waist: 39 in (100 cm)
Sleeve Length: 20 in(53 cm)
Chest: 42.5 in (108 cm)
Neck: 16 in (40 cm)
I have done a lot of hiking over the years but now carry a hammock and
gear for over night stays of one to two nights. I normally carry
approximately 35 lb (16 kg) which includes food and water. My trips are
usually between one to two days duration mainly over weekends. I hike
all seasons with winter temperatures ranging from 39 F (4 C) to 64 F (18
C) including periods of heavy rain at times to summer conditions with
the temperature ranging from 68 F (20 C) to 95 F (35 C) and very dry.
Bibbulmun Track: Sea level to 1,920 ft (585 m). Within this region I
backpack along old forestry roads, sandy tracks, and purpose built
walking tracks. The south-west of Western Australia allows for hiking
and backpacking from coastal plains to forested ranges. I hike in
varying conditions from forestry tracks, to sandy tracks to single
purpose walking trails, from rock hopping, to beach walking to
completely off-track through open and dense bush country.
It is now toward the end of our winter. Though we are still
experiencing some unseasonably warm days, and yet some mornings with
lows of 50 F (10 C) and highs of 68 F (20 C). In another few months it will be middle of
summer and the heat will set in. Daytime temperatures will range during
the testing period, from a minimum of 57 F (14 C) to 100 F (38 C). The average rainfall for
the next few months is, 1 3/8 in (35 mm).
September 22nd 2009
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Place of Manufacture: China
MSRP: US $125.00
1.77 in (45 mm)
1 3/4 in (45 mm)
2.18 oz (62 gm)
The Freestyle Navigator watch is a watch that has many functions
including compass, timer, chronograph, recall, alarm.
The watch is black with a silver bezel as pictured above. The bezel can
rotate clockwise and anti clockwise. The bezel is marked with an N, a W,
an S and another symbol that must be the Freestyle logo. The band feels
like a type of rubber with a small thin section along one side of the
band that the buckle tongue fits into. This mesh material allows the
buckle tongue to fit into to it at any point so that I can have any
amount of adjustment I like. The band has a small hole at the end of it
and on the other side where the buckle is, the keeper has a small lug
that sits into this hole to stop the end of the band coming out.
The watch has six display modes: Home time / foreign time, Compass,
Chronograph, Recall, Timer and alarm. The digital compass has sixteen
cardinal directions and digital direction with a one degree resolution.
The chronograph has a thirty lap memory and can be recalled. The timer
has two interval timers. The alarm has three available settings and can
be set for three different times on three different days or different
times on the same day.
The button locations.
The watch has four buttons
around the outside of the case and rather cleverly they fit flush with
the case and do not stick out as I would have expected. The case is made
of a type of plastic as are the buttons and has a metal backing plate. A
pdf file of the complete setup and how to use this watch is available
from the Freestyle website but without going into too much detail the
four buttons are, S1, S2, S3 and S4. S1 controls for example the
starting and stopping of the chronograph, also changing numbers
depending on the mode the watch is in. S2 is used to enter a setup mode
if I wanted to change the time for example. It is also used for split
times in the chronograph. S3 is the mode button and pressing this button
will scroll through the different modes. S4 is for the backlight. On the
face of the watch in time mode the watch shows the day, if the hour
chime is on, if the alarm is on. The time and date. It also shows more
icons depending what is turned on or off and if the chronograph or timer
is on. The watch displays a sand timer if the timer is on and a stop
watch if I'm using the chronograph. The size of the display is quite
large with the characters for the time being about 5/16 in (8 mm) high.
A very nice touch with this watch is an electronic second hand of sorts.
A little arrow flies around the outside of the face stepping forward one
place on every second, very nice.
On the face of the watch
in time mode the watch shows the day, if the hour chime is on, if the
alarm is on. The time and date. It also shows more icons depending what
is turned on or off and if the chronograph or timer is on. The watch
displays a sand timer if the timer is on and a stop watch if I'm using
the chronograph. The size of the display is quite large with the
characters for the time being about 5/16 in (8 mm) high. A very nice
touch with this watch is an electronic second hand of sorts. A little
arrow flies around the outside of the face stepping forward one place on
every second, very nice.
The flush mounted buttons.
The watch in compass mode and the watch in time mode.
Navigation is provided with
an electronic compass with an adjustable declination angle, so that I
can set the watch to allow for the difference between true and magnetic
North in my area. When the mode is first changed to compass the watch
displays the time for a moment before showing the compass.
In compass mode it shows one arrow that points North plus three arrows
on the opposite side to the North arrow, in the centre of the face is
the degrees that the watch is facing, e.g. 65 degrees. Above the degrees
is shown the direction, e.g. NNE. The top of the watch is always the
direction that I am travelling and the arrow always points to North, so
if I am heading west the North arrow moves to the three oíclock position
shows me Iím head W and shows the amount of degrees Iím facing.
The compass only displays for twenty seconds before turning off and then
shows the time to conserve power.
The watch in chronograph mode and the watch in alarm mode.
- 100 Meters H20
- Declination adjustment.
- 30 lap memory chronograph.
- Timer with 2 interval timers.
- 3 Alarms.
- Digital compass with 16 cardinal directions and digital direction
with 1 degree resolution.
- Designed with
Freestyle's proprietary Free Fit Technology, you have the freedom to
chose a perfect fit with non-restrictive permeable wristband
The instructions are set out in a little booklet that comes with the
watch and covers everything I need to know. It took a little while to
find the instructions as they are tucked away in the base of the plastic
stand that the watch sits on. The instructions cover everything, for
S1. Start/stop button
S2. Lap/reset button
S3. Mode button
S4. Light button
How to set the date and time, How to set and use the timers, how to use
the chronograph as well as using the recall, the compass, the alarms,
the back light, and everything in between. I setup the compass and set
the declination but need to spend more time on working out just how I
use the compass to navigate by. It would have been better if the manual
had covered this aspect in a bit more detail.
The watch in timer mode and the watch in recall mode.
This is a very nice watch that feels nice on my wrist, is not too heavy
at all at only 2.18 oz (62 gm). I love that I can adjust the band within
a very small range if I choose. It was easy to read the manual and not
too hard to learn the features of it but the compass will take more
practise. I like the buttons and the way they sit flush with the case. I
have used all of the features and everything works well and is easy to
A couple of features not mentioned on the website but well worth
mentioning here and the first one is one I think all digital watches
should have. And that is a low battery indicator. When the battery of
the watch is close to depletion, the low battery indicator will be
displayed, a little icon of a half full battery will appear on the watch
screen. The second is a bezel activated backlight. When the S4/light
button is held on for about three seconds a little light bulb appears on
the screen and then the backlight can be turned on by touching the
bezel. This will only work while the watch is being worn or the back of
the watch is touching skin.
The mesh on the band.
Please come back in about
two months when I report on my field trips with this nice watch, where
I'll head bush and try out the compass amongst other things.
Back to top
November 24th 2009
I have now been using this
watch every day for the last two months. I wear it Monday to Friday to
work and then on weekends. At work I spend half of my time working in
our warehouse and the other half in my office. In the warehouse I have
not protected the watch while I work and I have treated it just as I do
I have worn it on weekends while hiking and camping and doing the normal
house husband type stuff. The watch has not suffered any scratches or
any other damage and looks like new. The only sign of wear is at the
point where the buckle passes through the webbing on the band. It is
not damaged in any way but just looks a little used at that point.
I have used the watch everywhere from across at the park with my
daughter checking the compass to a full hour and a half hiking off trail
bush bashing my way to a point that looked interesting on Google Earth.
On the last overnight trip I wore it for two days straight and it does
feel very nice on my wrist. The weather on that trip was quite warm and
hiking up through the White Horse hills along the Bibbulmun track I soon
became quite wet with perspiration but at no time did the watch band
irritate my sweaty wrist.
I have found the watch
keeps very good time and the display is easy to see and read in full sun
or inside the house.
In time mode I have time one set to my local time and time two set to
the head office of our company in Sydney on the East coast. It is easy
to switch between the two and as Sydney is three hours in front of us it
is easy to know just what time it is there.
The Chronograph is
very good and gives me a lot of information. Once in the correct mode I
press S1 to start the timer and then by pressing S2 when I want I can
set lap times. I have a route set near home where I walk as a part of my
fitness regime and at certain corners I set a lap. Then at home I use
the recall to check my times.
Once in recall mode
I press S1 to scroll through the times I have done for each lap and the
last figure given is for the total elapsed time. If I had not set any
laps then recall will show "no laps"
Here is the watch worn and
shown against my Garmin GPS to indicate the size. The watch is in
compass mode but has gone into battery save.
I use the timer when
running intervals, I set the amount of time I want it to count down
which is normally two minutes and at the end of that time it will beep
and I know to walk for the next interval.
Once in timer mode I hold down S3 to scroll through the minutes and
hours also timer one or timer two. I can also set the action at end
function. This is a function that will happen once the timer has counted
down to zero.
I can choose.
CS, count stop. At the end of an interval the timer will stop.
CR, count repeat. At the end of an interval the timer will start again.
CU, count up. At the end of an interval the timer will count up.
Pressing any button will stop the timer.
The alarm works well
and is loud enough to wake me every time. I use it Monday to Friday and
use alarm one and two. I have alarm one set to daily and at 5:45 am and
alarm two set for 6:00 am on Friday. This way I am woken Monday thru
Thursday at 5:45 am and then I get a sleep in on Friday. There are three
alarms and each one can be set for daily or any one day of the week.
Pressing S4 will turn on the back light. I have found it to be ok as far
as brightness goes but would like it a little brighter. Holding S4 for
more than 3 seconds is supposed to turn on the bezel activated back
light. When it is activated a little bulk icon appears on the watch face
and then you are able to turn on the light just by touching the bezel as
long as the watch is on or touching skin.
Well that is the way it should work according to the manual. But it does
not. No amount of button pressing and skin holding would get this to
work. In the end I sent an email off to support for a request for help.
This is a copy of my email.
Thanks for your reply but I have a new problem now.
If I turn the watch onto bezel backlight it just does not work.
I hold in the s4 button until the light icon shows on the screen
but touching the bezel does not make the light come on.
I have tried while wearing the watch and also while holding it,
making sure my skin touches the back of the watch.
To which Annie replied.
The light icon is for the free-light, which means any button
pressed will turn on the light. The bezel has no light
I then replied with a
copy of the relevant paragraph from the manual which states
that it is bezel activated, which I quote below. I did not
receive an answer to my last email of the 29th of September and have not
received one to date.
1. Press and hold S4 button for around
3 seconds activated or deactivate
the bezel-activated backlight function.
2. When the function is activated, the
light bulb icon will be displayed.
You can then turn on the backlight
for around 3 seconds by touching
the bezel of the watch.
NOTE: To use the bezel-activated
backlight function, the caseback of the
watch must be in direct contact with
your skin during wear.
does happen in fact is that when I am in this mode I can
press any button to turn the light on, this sounds good but
in practice is not so good. For example if I am lying in bed
and want to check the time and press S1 the watch will
change to time two, if I press S3 the watch will change to
compass mode. Pressing either S4 or S2 will turn the light
on perfectly. So I am not totally sold on this feature.
When I first ventured off track with the watch I had set a waypoint in
my GPS that would take me to a spot that I had saw on Google Earth and I
wanted to find it. At the point where I was to turn East and head
through the bush I looked at the GPS and took note of the heading then I
aligned the watch and headed off.
At first I tried to look at the watch and head in the degrees shown but
the degrees change so often while walking that it became impossible to
navigate that way.
Later on at home I went to our local park with my daughter. I had her
record the changes in heading that I called out as we walked through the
park. Her log was taken over twenty seconds, the time the compass stays
shown before switching to battery saver.
Here is the log.
Start; 283, 290, 288, 283, 286, 286, 285, 083, 290, 284, 289.
So while I was
heading through the bush I lined up the watch with the degrees I had to
walk, direction of travel is always the top of the watch or where North
is on the bezel in the photo below. And I would sight off into the
distance and pick a tall tree and walk to that, once at that point I
would again line up the watch and sight another tree off in the
This method of navigation works well with this watch I feel and I was
able to find the spot I was looking for. It turned out to be nothing
more than an old gravel pit.
On one trip out I checked the accuracy of the compass against another
compass watch and it was about the same. When I checked it against my
GPS though the watch was out. I set the watch up with my compass
which I know to be correct and the difference is about thirty degrees. I
moved both the watch and compass and set them together a few times
before taking the photo below which shows the difference. After taking
this photo I remembered to calibrate the watch, after calibration it was
I have yet to
work out how the bezel can be used to navigate by and don't think that
it can be used in such a way.
In this photo the
compass is set to exactly 180 degrees or South and the watch shows 211
degrees, enough to get a long way lost. But after calibration it was
So on to likes and
dislike at this stage of my report.
I do like to wear this watch and a few times I have gone to take out my
own Timex but I have put it back and gone with the slightly smaller but
quite a bit lighter Freestyle watch.
I like the micro adjustable band, I like that it can be read outdoors in
the full sun. I really like that the band does not irritate my wrist when
I am not so happy
with not being able to use the backlight as I wrote about above. I am
not sold on the accuracy of the compass but I will test it a lot further
in the long term report stage before saying any more about it.
Back to top
Long Term Report
January 18th 2010
It has now been another two
months since my last report and during this time I have continued to use
the watch every day. I wear the watch to work Monday to Friday all day,
and off and on over the weekend.
This watch performs
very well, almost all of the features work as they should and without
I even used the timer
mode to help cook my Christmas turkey. I set the timer to count down for
one hour, then at the alarm I would go outside and check the roasting
turkey. I also like the recall function of the chronograph and being
able to look back at my split times and so on.
The only function that
does not work at all is the bezel activated back light. As I explained
above it just does not work as the instructions state. I have just this
minute checked the Freestyle web page to check if the pdf file had been
updated but it has not been changed.
The mesh on the band looks a little worn where I
press the pins on the buckle through it. But not damaged or worn out in
any way. I can just see a point where I buckle the watch up all the
I wanted to test the
compass mode more in this phase of my report and I will get onto to that
next but first a little about the buttons. At first I really liked the
sleek buttons and the flush fitting of them to the case. But in use over
these last months I find that I just do not like them at all, I have
just found them hard to use. When using this watch at any time I cannot
feel the buttons with my finger tips. I must turn the watch on its side
to look for the button. Normally with the buttons standing out from the
case a little my fingers would just feel for the button I want and then
be able to use it. This problem is even worse when in the dark when I
cannot see the buttons either. The other problem I have is when I try to
press S1 with the forefinger on my right hand, my thumb at times presses
S3 thereby changing to another mode or just not doing anything at all.
If I could feel the buttons this would not happen.
Now to the compass. I wanted to be able to read
my map and transfer the degrees from the map to the compass, now with a
base plate style compass this would be easy but with a watch a little
harder. The very first thing I made sure of was to calibrate the
compass, I made that mistake before, and it is well worth doing every
time I have to use it.
What I did was to place my map on the ground, then using the watch held
to zero degrees or North I moved the map slightly so that the North and
South grid lines faced the correct way. Once I had the map aligned
correctly I find a little straight stick on the ground and used that as
a ruler. I placed one end on the spot on the map that I knew, and the
other end on a quarry. I then held the watch over the stick and read
that I had to walk 60 degrees to get to the quarry. I then turned my
stick around and pointed it at another spot I knew on the map and it was
This proves that as
long as I have a map and this watch I could navigate to any place I
Here is the watch and a
stick for a ruler, the stick is pointing at 60 degrees.
I like this watch
and will continue to wear it to work each day. In the months I have been
wearing it, it has not been scratched or damaged at all. I like the
different alarm times and the watch feels nice and light on my wrist.
The size of the watch is good too and the display is a nice size and I
can read it easily. I have proven to myself that the compass does work
very well and could be used in the bush with a map.
I am not happy with the
buttons and in camp at night it would be a little painful to get a torch
to be able to see the buttons. I am also disappointed that the bezel
light does not work as it does in the instructions.
Would I recommend this watch to a friend, I am not sure. I may give them
my watch so as they could use it for a while and see how they feel about
the buttons. It may not be a worry for others.
Thanks Freestyleusa and
backpackgeartest for this opportunity to test out a compass watch. I
have had fun using it and discovering just how useful this compass is.