FREESTYLE NAVIGATOR 2.0 WATCH
TEST SERIES BY SAM STAMEY
INITIAL REPORT - September 15, 2009
FIELD REPORT - November 23, 2009
LONG TERM REPORT - February 07, 2010
samstamey at yahoo dot com
Santa Rosa, CA
6' 0" (1.83 m)
170 lb (77.00 kg)
Backpacking background: I started backpacking two years ago with my wife and two children (ages 8 and 10 at the time). We have been car camping for 20+ years.
Most of our backpacking has been three season camping in the Sierras, 6000 -12,000 ft (1800 m - 3658 m) and on the Northern California Coast.
We mostly do a combination of car camping and backpacking.
Our family recently switched from one 4 person tent to using two 2 person tents. I usually carry most of the weight and my internal frame pack weighs between 40-50 lb (18-22 kg).
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: Freestyle USA
Listed Weight: None listed
Measured Weight: 2oz (57 g)
Other details: Watch face is listed as 40mm (1.57 in)and it measures in at about 40mm (1.57 in).
The watch arrived in an ordinary brown box via UPS. It was packed nicely and well padded. Inside the box was a smaller blue box with the word Freestyle on the side of it. Nice cardboard which when lifted up revealed the watch sitting in a display case that I often see at a store to present watches.
The case was well made and presented the watch well. It had a $125.00 price tag on the watch and I could tell that the manufacturer took pride in their product by the way they took the time and effort to properly package the watch.
The first thing that struck me when I pulled the watch off of the display was "wow this is a big watch." I am used to wearing a slim watch with a fairly small face. When I put it on my wrist I noticed that it looked big on me (I have slim wrist) but it did not feel heavy at all. It felt solid but not heavy.
The construction of the watch is very good. I have not noticed any blemishes or quality issues on the watch. The face is solid, well built and seems to be real glass. The dial around the glass is metal and has the compass directions on it.
Time - Shows current time, date, and day of week
Foreign time - Shows a time that I can set for a different location
Compass - For finding my way in the world
Chronograph - For timing laps
Recall - Recall lap time
Timer - Setting a timer
Alarm- Setting/viewing an alarm
The watch band is one piece and molded around the watch itself. It is pre-curved to better fit a wrist and seems to work well on my wrist. The "Free fit Technology" is pretty darn cool.
Four buttons are around the side of the watch face and serve various functions. The buttons are almost inset and look like they will not get accidently bumped.
Overall the watch and the material look well constructed and functional.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The instructions came on 1 double sided 4x7 inch (10.16 cm x 17.78 cm) piece of paper. At first I thought that the instructions were lacking but I read them and was able to setup the watch in about 10 minutes. The instructions were clear, the buttons work well and the watch is well-behaved.
Included are instructions for setting the compass and the declination angle according to city. The compass was surprisingly easy to setup.
The thing I like most about the instructions is they came in little folded pieces of paper about the size of the watch face and they had a separate paper for each language instead of trying to cram all of the language onto one piece of paper. The website also had the instructions in PDF format in case I lose the paper instructions.
TRYING IT OUT
Do you own one of those watches where one setting is too loose on your wrist and the other setting is too tight and when you try to make a hole in the band between the other two holes it never works out? Well that seems to happen to me on most watches. This watch has what they call "Free Fit Technology" which is a strip of thin but strong material that allows me to adjust the watch band to the perfect fit. It is hard to explain and I tried to capture it in a picture below. The fact is that it works well and does what it promises to do. The watch fits my wrist well, does not loosen even while I am jogging and does not roll around my wrist until I can't see the face like my other watches do. A very cool feature.
Like I mentioned before the setup was very easy and the buttons work well. The buttons are flat against the side of the watch which takes a little more effort to push but I have not accidently bumped a button and changed a setting by mistake like I have with my other sports watch.
The time setting is nice and clear. It shows the time, date and day of the week which is great for me to have when I am in the back country, I often lose track of the date and day of the week and it can get embarrassing when I come back into civilization and have to ask what day of the week it is.
Chronograph has worked well for running and I find the recall of the lap times very useful. I coach a youth Cross Country team and the kids often want to know what their lap time is. Now I can let them know.
I have not used the timer or alarm yet but they were easy to run and set when I tested them during the setup of the watch.
The compass is a cool feature of this watch. It was easy to setup and very easy to use. I set the declination angle for my area, spun the watch around two times to calibrate it and now it is set. I checked it against my standard compass and it seems right on. Other than calibrating it and checking to see what direction my cubicle at work sits I have not put it to a real test yet.
I plan to wear this watch daily in a variety of settings from sitting in my cubicle at work, running, hiking, backpacking, fishing and swimming. I plan on testing the functionality of the watch, the durability of not only the watch case but the band as well to see if it holds up and fits as well the first time I tried it to 6 months later. The testing period will run through the fall and into winter. The watch should get plenty of time in sun, rain, wind, hopefully snow.
The Navigator 2.0 watch from Freestyle is a digital watch with a built in compass along with time, timer, chrono, and alarm functions. The unique band should provide a comfortable fit on my wrist for the life of the watch. The watch is lightweight yet appears durable and I feel is should hold up well to the activities I plan on putting it through.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
For the past couple of months I have worn this watch everywhere from the beach to the mountains in weather ranging from 80
F(26.67C ) to 35F (1.67C ). Sunny, clear, rainy, and windy days. I have not tested this watch in freezing weather or snow yet.
I wear the watch to work in an office, day hikes, fishing, and backpack trips. I have worn it while doing the dishes and I have had it in the water while fishing but I have never swam with it or bathed with it on.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
This watch has performed perfectly in the last two months. The time has been accurate, the watch is easy to use and the watch band is really well designed. I have used the compass only a few times for testing the function and ease of use but have not used the compass for real mapping purposes yet, this is something that is in my long term testing plan.
The watch is easy to use and setup. I needed to change the time to daylight savings time from standard time this fall and it was very easy to do without the need of looking at the instructions or searching on a website.
I find the light on this watch to be very useful and not overly obnoxious. I had a digital watch in the past that would light up the entire tent when I checked the time during the night. It worked great if I wanted to attract every bug in the camp or night blind my tent mate.
This light is a very subtle blue color and only really lights up the numbers so it does not bug anyone else who may be around when I am checking the time at 3am.
I may have mentioned this before and I will probably mention this against several times in this report; the watch band is great!
What a great design. The "rubber" watchband with the mesh adjustment strap is brilliant in my mind. This watch fits my wrist perfectly and fits on everyone that I have had try it on. It will adjust fairly large to fairly small and hold in that position. The fact that I can make holes in the mesh anywhere I want makes this watch so I can adjust it as loose or tight as I feel comfortable. On cold days I even wear the watch on the outside of my long sleeve which is not something I could do with any other watch I have used.
My only complaint so far would be that the watch is a little thick which means it stands off my wrist pretty far and often bangs into something or catches on something. I am getting more used to it the longer I wear the watch and it is more of an annoyance than a problem. I found that the watch is very durable and I have not noticed any damage on it from all of the banging and bumping.
After wearing this watch almost everyday for the last two months I would say that this is a very good watch. It is durable, easy to read, keeps accurate time, and the compass is an added bonus. I think that Freestyle really did a good job researching and developing a well designed watchband that is easy to use and very adjustable. Besides the minor annoyance of the watch being thick I have not other complaints about the watch performance or the design.
Check my long term report to find out how the watch performs over the long haul.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Over the course of this long term test I have worn this watch on an average of 5 days a week. The watch goes everywhere that I have gone in the past 4 months: from sea level to about 6500 ft. (1981 m) around Lake Tahoe California.
The weather for the last two months has included a lot of rain and some snow and ice. The temperature has ranged between 17 F and 50 F (-8.32 C and 10.00 C)
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Freestyle Navigator watch has worked flawlessly over the entire testing period. The time has been accurate, the buttons have worked well, the timer and compass have been very useful and the watch band works as well as the day I received it.
I set the time when I received the watch and it has not gained or lost time since. I set it using an atomic clock website and have checked it about once a month to make sure that the time on the watch is correct.
The buttons on the watch have worked well when I press them firmly with my finger tip. There are times when nothing happens when I attempt to press a button and this is because the buttons are flush against the body of the watch and don't actually get pressed unless and press them with my finger tips. This can be frustrating while I am wearing gloves. Sometimes I can push the buttons with gloves on and sometimes I need to remove a glove to press the button I need.
I understand and appreciate the design of the buttons to be flush against the body of the watch. There has not been one time during the testing when I have accidently bumped one of the buttons and changed a setting. I have had that happen on several occasions with my other digital watch.
I found the compass feature to be useful for basic navigation and for reference but I don't think that it would be my first choice for off trail navigation. It is easy enough to orient a map to it and choose a path to follow. I found that if I wanted to get a very accurate reading I would need to stand very still and be sure and hold my arm at just the right angle and point the watch were I need to go.
With a conventional compass I would normally place the map and compass on a flat surface and get my bearings. I would then hold the compass flat on my hand and get a reading. Because the watch is on a band I cannot set the watch flat on the map, I am required to hold my watch and arm over the map and get a rough reading. As I am walking a reading the compass it moves several degrees as I am walking which makes me move my arm to try and compensate for the change which then makes it move several degrees to the other side. This may be the nature of all digital compasses. For now I will stick with a conventional compass for my main off trail navigation.
The other functions on the watch have worked as they should and have been very useful to me. I often use the stopwatch and lap counter for running. The alarm has saved my butt on more than one occasion while on a trip and the timer I have used for cooking and for taking a 10 minute nap on a hike. I simply push the mode button 5 times, set the time for 10 minutes, and push the start button and its nap time!
As I mentioned in my field report the light really works well. The light is a back light that is very subtle and does not blind me or make an obnoxious glare while I am checking the time.
Wear and tear on the watch is very minimal for the amount of time that I have used this watch and the abuse that I have put it through. With all of the banging on various items I have done because I was not used to the thickness of the watch, it only has one small scratch on the bezel. The glass is still clean without a scratch or a chip. The watch band still looks great and I can barely see any holes in the mesh from the buckle.
This watch has worked flawlessly for the entire testing period. I like the desgign of the watch, the functions available and the watch band design and function. I found it easy to set and use the functions and visually it worked well for me; the face is large and the numbers are easy to read both in the daylight and at night with the back light.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
If I could change anything about the watch I would change the thickness of the watch face and I would make the buttons stand out from the side of the watch slightly.
The watch face seems a little thick (it stands off my wrist too much) and I find it difficult to get my arm in some of my shirts and jackets with the watch on and sometimes it bump it into objects while moving my arm around or when I reach into a drawer or backpack.
I did not once accidently bump any of the buttons on the watch during the entire testing but I did find it frustrating sometimes trying to push one of the buttons because they are so flush. I found it more difficult, but not impossible, to push the buttons with gloves on.
Overall I was very satisfied with the watch and found that it performed well and functioned as well as advertised. I will continue to wear the watch on a regular basis.
This concludes my test of the Freestyle Navigator 2.0 watch. Thank you Freestyle and BackPackgeartest.org for the opportunity to test this great product.
Read more reviews of Freestyle gear
Read more gear reviews by Sam Stamey