Tech4O TraiLeader Pro Watch
Test Series by Kurt Papke
|| Kurt Papke
|| 6' 4" (193 cm)
|| 225 lbs (102 kg)
|| kwpapke at gmail dot com
|City, State, Country:
||Tucson, Arizona USA
My backpacking background has mostly been in Minnesota where I have
most of my adult life. I have hiked all of
Hiking Trail, Kekekabic and Border Route through the Boundary
This last year included hiking in Michigan, Wisconsin, Utah, Colorado,
south and North Dakota and Oregon. My preferred/typical backpack
trip has been one week, mostly in the
seasons, but I started doing more winter camping last year. I
recently moved to Tucson to take a new job, and am excitedly exploring
the surrounding mountain ranges. I am acclimating to the
altitudes and mountainous terrain by doing a lot of weekend canyon
where I hope to use the many features of this watch.
The Tech4O TraiLeader Pro watch is a multi-function wearable
|Tech4O (that's an
"Oh", not a "zero"...)
|CR2032 (two required: watch +
heart rate monitor)
2.11 in (54 mm) outside of buttons
The dimensions in the above table were measured with a digital
calipers, so they should be reasonably accurate.
The watch comes packaged in a robust yet compact
The plastic film covering the watch face shows a typical display of a
graph, time and date. Removed from the packaging, the following
photo shows the components shipped with the system:
Photo of package contents
The TraiLeader Pro uses a number of sensors to provide extensive data
- Upper right: the watch itself
- Mid right: heart rate sensor strap
- Lower right: USB PC wireless interface
- Upper left: 1-page quick start guide
- Lower left: 51-page user guide
- Lower middle: PC interface/software guide
- Not shown: software disk
|Date/time including 2 time zones
|Chronograph: 50 lap timer
|Alarm clock: 2 daily/weekly
|Countdown timer with chimes
|Distance, speed, pace, calories,
|Heart rate, % max
|Barometer, weather forecast
|North, direction of travel
Controls: the watch has five
Switch between time and trail menu (press twice)
|Selects modes within a menu
Enters settings modes (press and hold 3 seconds)
|Moves the cursor (selected
View alternative display (top row on watch face)
|Moves the cursor down
Enters laps and resets timers
It has been my experience with other multi-function watches and similar
devices where the designer has elected to minimize the number of
buttons or controls, that knowing which button does what takes a bit of
learning. As is obvious from the table above, this watch is no
exception, with some buttons having as many as four distinct functions
depending on context. Also evident in the table is the use of
multiple presses and press-and-hold operations to extend the button
function even further.
One key piece of information that must be understood to use the watch
controls are the two menus alluded to in the above table: time and
trail. The time menu contains all the typical timekeeping
functions: time of day, timers, alarm clocks, etc. The trail menu
contains all the other functions: heart rate, altitude, etc.
Within a menu the Mode button cycles the watch through the various
entries. As the Mode button is pressed the new menu is shown
immediately. Alternately, if the ESC button is pressed once, the
name of the current menu is displayed in the center of the screen, and
the menu that will be traversed to using the S/S or L/R buttons is
shown at the top/bottom of the watch face. About two seconds
after the last button is pressed, the display transitions from this
navigation display to the menu item shown in the center. Thus the
user can simply cycle through the menu using the Mode button, or use
the ESC button to aid in navigation.
The watch communicates wirelessly through a 2.4Ghz low-power radio
transceiver to the Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) sensor and a USB PC
interface. The HRM can also communicate directly to the PC.
The following screen grab shows a typical PC software screen:
In this case the PC screen is displaying the last 48 hours of altimeter
data from the watch. The two "hills" in the graph are my two
commutes to and from work showing the altitude difference between my
residence in Tucson and my employer's location in Oro Valley. The
reason the two graphs are not equivalent is I calibrated the altimeter
after the first day - that is the second descent at about hour 20 in
As the "Download from watch" button indicates in the above screen,
communication between watch and PC is not continuous, but requires
activating a command on both the watch and PC concurrently. On
the watch, I navigate to the Trail menu, select the Log menu, press and
hold the Menu button, scroll down to the PC Link selection, then press
the menu button again. This puts the watch into transmit mode,
where it will stay for a few seconds while the "Download" button above
is selected on the PC.
When I removed the watch from the package it seemed to be powered off,
so I did what any trained electrical engineer would do I popped off the
battery cover to make sure it was shipped with a battery. Indeed
it was, so I replaced the cover, touched one of the buttons and lo and
behold the watch sprung to life!
I attempted to follow the quick start guide and initialized the watch
with my biostatistics: gender, age, height and weight. It wanted
to know my stride length but I hadn't measured that yet. I
continued to enter my preferences for units (imperial). I then
proceeded to "pair" the heart rate monitor transmitter with the
watch by putting the HRM band on my chest and selecting the "pair"
function. The display changed a bit, so I assumed the pairing was
successful, put the watch in HRM
display mode and voila, my
resting heart rate of 53 bpm was displayed. Cool!
I put the watch through a few paces that first evening, bringing up the
various displays to make sure I understood the dozens of data values
The next morning I did a workout on an elliptical exercise machine with
the HRM strap on. The strap was quite comfortable (it is
adjustable and elastic), and stayed nicely in place. The watch
display was within 1 bpm of the display provided by the trainer every
time I checked. The wireless HRM is very nice -- I appreciated
being tethered by any kind of cable.
While I was at work that day I couldn't help playing with a few
features. The temperature readout was about 85 F (29 C),
but dropped to about 75 F (24 C)
when I took the watch off and placed it on my desk. Obviously the
heat from my wrist is
heating up the temperature sensor. This is pretty typical of
watch-based thermometers; designers don't seem to have found a way to
keep the thermal sensor far enough away from the body.
The next evening I interfaced the watch and HRM to my laptop.
First I installed the supplied software; this was quite straightforward
but a little scary as neither the application nor the USB driver are
Microsoft signed applications, so Windows puts up a scare box to warn
the installer that the programs may not be legitimate. I ignored
the warnings and all was well. It is quite obvious the PC
interface comes from China: the supplied disk has a Chinese volume name
when I bring it up in My Computer, and the screen on page 6 of the PC
POD Quick Started (sic) Guide shows an "OK" button displayed in Chinese.
On Nov 7 I did a little day hike up Pima Canyon with the TraiLeader Pro
watch. During the hike I had it mostly in HRM mode with the heart
rate monitor strapped to my chest. I liked being able to glance
down at my wrist to see how high my exertion was. During the
climb from 3000 ft to 5800 ft (914 m to 1768 m) my heart rate varied
from 110 bpm to
about 145 bpm, and on the way down I was mostly in the 110 bpm
range. The total hike length according to my Garmin GPS which I
also brought on the hike was 9.6 miles
considering I did not calibrate it before my
departure. The logged distance was 11.5 miles (18.5 km) using
again reasonably close considering I have not yet calibrated the device
for my stride length.
I am really excited to include the plethora of data provided by this
device in my future test reports. After several days of getting
to know the watch, my
initial thoughts include the following.
- Everything worked without a hitch. Considering the
complexity of the electronics, PC interfaces, etc. this is no mean feat.
- The watch has a very clean appearance, devoid of glitzy buttons
and ornaments. I feel like I'm wearing a piece of gear, not a
- Navigation is straightforward once the system is learned.
At first I was confused by the top and bottom lines of text as I
brought up the various screens, but once I realized that they showed me
where the S/S and L/R buttons would navigate to it all made perfect
sense. The "menu guide" (little numbers on the right) shows where
in the menu sequence I'm currently at, and that helps too.
- The heart rate monitor is very accurate, comfortable to wear, and
I really like the wireless connection.
- The rich set of sensors and extensive calculations provide every
parameter imaginable. I cannot imagine what else I could expect
from a watch.
- Comfort: given the size and heft of the watch I don't feel it is
- I like the ability to scroll through several measurements on the
top display row by pressing the S/S button: day of the week, weather
prediction, temperature, barometric pressure graph, altitude graph,
back to week day. Nice.
- The good news is first-time setup is reasonably straightforward.
- The bad news is there is a LOT to set up on this watch to use all
the functions accurately. I
still don't have my stride length plugged in - I have to make a special
walk & run with my GPS to record the distance and count my strides
(the watch will do the counting).
- The thermometer reads high from body heat.
- The graphs (altitude, barometer) seem pretty small to be of much
use. The number of vertical pixels allocated to the graphs is
pretty minute, so it is hard to learn much from looking at the graphs
the watch face, but maybe once I start using it in the field I might
discover their utility. Fortunately all the data is downloadable
to my PC
where I can display it in all its glory.
- The watch face displays are not as legible as I'd like. I'm
not sure the font that is used on the watch is as readable as it could
be. It is a very computer-looking sans-serif font. I use
2.0 strength reading glasses in my old age, and I find it difficult to
read the time from the watch without my glasses, despite the large size
of the display.
- The light doesn't seem very bright. It'll be interesting to
see how legible the watch is in the backcountry at night.
During the Field Report period I wore the TraiLeader Pro watch every
day as my main timepiece. The device also accompanied me on the
following hiking trips:
|November 14-15, 2009
|December 5, 2009
|December 6, 2009
|January 1, 2010
|Saguaro National Park, just east
of Tucson, Arizona in the Rincon Mountains
||Catalina State Park, Romero
Canyon Trail, northeast of Tucson in the Catalina Mountains
|Picacho Peak State Park,
northwest of Tucson
|Upper Javelina Trail, Tortolita
Mountains northwest of Tucson
|3088 ft to 5979 ft (941 m to
||2650 ft to 3600 ft (808 m to
|3367 ft to 6222 ft (1026 m to
|2758 ft to 3735 ft (841 m to
1138 m) [log filled up]
|1900 ft to 2960 ft (579 m to 902
|2707 ft to 3626 ft
(825 m to 1105 m)
|Altimeter calibrated prior to departure?
|13.81 miles (22.23 km)
||6.2 miles (10 km)
|13.27 miles (21.36 km)
|2.236 mi (3.6 km) [log filled up]
|6.352 mi (10.23 km)
|6.967 mi (11.22 km)
|Step length calibration
|25 F to 75 F (-4 C to 24 C)
|About 65 F (18 C)
|About 60 F (16 C)
|About 70 F (21 C)
Saguaro National Park
Ever since I moved to Tucson I had good intentions of doing some
backpacking in Saguaro National Park. There are actually two
parts to this park, one on the west side of the city in the Tucson
Mountains, and one on the east side in the Rincon Mountains. I
heard the view from the Rincons was spectacular, so on the weekend of
November 14 I thought I'd give it a try.
On this journey I decided to focus on the distance-measuring
capabilities of the device and use the trip as a calibration
exercise. I set the watch to distance mode and left it there
except while in camp. I figured this trip would be logical for
stride length determination, as it was an out-and-back hike, all
ascending on day one, all descending on day two, and I had my backpack
on and was hiking with my trekking poles. I figured the average
of the ascent and descent stride lengths would be the best
compromise. The following table shows how I calculated my stride
length, and the variability between ascent and descent.
|7.06 mi (11.37 km)
|6.75 mi (10.87 km)
|13.81 mi (22.23 km)
|30.96 in (79 cm)
|30.53 in (78 cm)
|30.75 in (78 cm)
After I did all these calculations I went to set my stride length in
the TraiLeader Pro and discovered it only works in whole inches.
I set it to 31 inches from its default setting of 28 inches.
On Saturday night it got quite cold, down to 25 F (-4 C) at
daybreak. When I checked my watch temperature reading, which was
inside my jacket cuff, it was a toasty 80 F (C). Obviously if I'm
going to use the watch to capture ambient temperature readings I'm
going to have to take it off at night.
A week in the upper Midwest
On November 21 I flew to Minneapolis, Minnesota for the Thanksgiving
holiday and to finalize packing of my worldly goods for the move to
Tucson. Before departure I set up the dual timezone display for
Central time so I could see my local time during my trip as well as my
"home" time in Arizona. I was pleased that the watch allowed me
to set the dual time for something other than an integral number of
hours different from the home time. In fact, it allows the dual
time to be set to an arbitrary hour and minute. I appreciate the
flexibility, because I used to work with many people in India where the
time is actually 11 1/2 hours offset from
Minnesota where I was working. When traveling to India, or in
general dealing with timezones in India, an integral number of hours
does not suffice to calculate the time there.
On the other hand it seemed a little cumbersome to require that the
exact hours and minutes be set for the dual timezone. I can't
think of any instance where I would need other than half-hour
increments for this mode. It would be great if the manufacturer
could simplify operation by specifying the dual timezone setting in
When I arrived home in Minneapolis of course I had to show my new watch
off to my wife. Her comment was: "it's so big, it looks like
something that old people wear that have vision problems and need a big
time display". Apparently the TraiLeader Pro is not going to win
any fashion awards with my spouse.
I continued to wear the watch every day on the trip and appreciated
being able to see the local time on the main display as well as the
time back in Arizona on the lower line of the watch face.
Just for grins I had to check out what the altimeter would say on the
flight back to Arizona: 5900 ft (1798 m). Obviously the
cabin does a great job of fooling the air pressure sensor, though it
was interesting to see what the "apparent" altitude was in the airplane.
Catalina State Park - Romero Canyon Trail
Since I just moved into a house that I finally was able to buy after 5
months of searching, I
thought I'd do a hike close to home. Catalina State Park doesn't
sound impressive, but it actually has one of the better trails leading
up into the Catalinas. I decided to test the logging function on
this hike. About 2/3 of the way up to the Romero pools, the watch
display gave the error "Log Full". When I completed my hike I
checked the logging rate which was the default, and it was 1
second. This seemed a little silly, so I set it to 60
The watch data in the table above is a bit bogus as I took the values
from the log file, and since it filled up it recorded only about a
third of my hike.
Picacho Peak State Park
I had driven past Picacho Peak several times on the way to Phoenix from
Tucson and had promised myself to do the hike. The trail begins
gently, but the last mile or so is all scrambling and holding on to
cables to ascend vertical rock faces. As I get older I am
less comfortable with heights, and turned back after several vertical
cable segments of the trail.
When I arrived home I immediately tried to download the log file from
the watch. No data. The log appears empty on download
the log is stopped which I had not yet done, so I stopped it and the
download succeeded. I wore the HR monitor on this hike, and it
was nice to have a minute-by-minute capture of my heart rate, altitude
and distance. I saved the log file on my hard drive to include in
my report later.
Flash forward one month: I am preparing my Field Report and go back to
use the log file I saved for this hike to include in my report.
Horrors! I get an error message every time I try and open it with
the application saying that it is not in the proper format for use with
the program. Rats.
In early December I moved my worldly possessions from my temporary
housing in Tucson into my new
house. Somewhere during the move I misplaced the telemetry USB
for the watch. I don't think I actually lost it, but
I've looked in all the places I thought it would be and cannot find
it. This actually brings up one of the challenges of a complex
system like this: it's hard to keep track of all the piece parts.
The heart rate monitor band is hard to lose as it's pretty big, but
not always where I look for it before going on a hike or run. The
USB adapter is quite tiny, and in most circumstances would be left
plugged into the computer and therefore not likely to get lost, but I
mostly use laptops and I don't keep my USB peripherals plugged in at
The good news about losing the USB adapter is that it forced me to
how to examine the log directly from the watch. It's really
easy: go to the Log function, use the two buttons on the right to
scroll up/down to the log of interest, press and hold the Mode button,
press Mode again to select View, then use the two buttons on the right
to scroll up/down through the parameters of interest. They are
all there: min/max altitude, distance, min/max/average heart rate,
etc. There's even a cool facility to scroll through the log data
on the watch, with the log graphically displayed.
On the Tortolita Mountains hike I was careful to calibrate the
altimeter before departure -- I set the current altitude to the same as
my GPS. As can be seen from the trip table at the beginning of
the Field Report, the altitude min/max was quite close to that from the
During the last two months I wore the watch every day for ordinary
use. It makes a great normal watch: the time is easy to read, I
like having the day of the week and date visible without pushing any
buttons. One thing I have noticed is I must be inadvertently
bumping the S/S button, as more often than not the upper display line
has been altered to displaying the altitude or air pressure graph.
I was in a training class a few weeks ago and wanted to use the
stopwatch capability in the class to time a team exercise. It was
a little frustrating to fumble with the buttons under stress and time
pressure; this is a complex device, and I found it difficult to
remember the incantations required to get the watch to do what I wanted
when I was not thinking clearly.
This is a great watch for serious athletes (which I am not): it
collects every piece of data imaginable I would want in a training
log. The following sections comment on some of the functions I
In the above picture the watch compass and a typical backpacking
compass are compared. Note that the Suunto on the right has not
been compensated for magnetic declination, so comparing the north
pointers of both instruments seems reasonably close. Clearly the
TraiLeader Pro cannot be used for precision work using a map, but for
getting the general direction of where I am going it worked just fine.
In the above picture a rough comparison of the watch thermometer and my
poor excuse for a field thermometer are shown. It seems like the
watch was reading a bit higher, but I didn't have the watch off my
wrist for all that long before snapping the photo, so chances are it
was still adjusting to air temperature. Obviously the analog
temperature gauge on the right is of dubious accuracy.
I really wish that watch manufacturers could come up with a way of
reading ambient air instead of wrist temperature. I know that it
difficult, otherwise it would have already been done. The bottom
line is that the temperature readout from the watch is only useful when
I'm not wearing it.
It's a great watch. I used it every day. I liked the dual
time zone mode. I generally do not use an alarm clock to wake up,
and did not use that function of the TraiLeader Pro. The
chronometer/stopwatch works pretty typical to other sports watches, but
I always wrestle with getting them to work right as the watch seems to
want to record splits for laps, and I never do.
The altimeter worked reasonably well, but I didn't always remember to
recalibrate before setting off on a hike. I do like the altitude
logging, but I have not yet learned to used the various altitude
statistics the watch is capable of generating.
The barometer, though used in the altimeter function, never really
captured my attention, nor did the related weather-predicting
function. The weather in Tucson is pretty steady, if
I was still living in Minnesota I'd probably pay more attention to it.
The pedometer worked as well as I could expect a pedometer that
measures steps to work. I've grown accustomed to logging my hikes
with my GPS, which is much more accurate. I did use the
TraiLeader Pro on several running/jogging outings, but the watch has a
separate calibration for running stride that I have not set yet, nor
did I remember to take my GPS with me on my runs to do so.
Hopefully I will remember to do this in the next two months of use!
Heart Rate Monitor
Very nice. I liked being able to quickly check my pulse on canyon
climbs. The chest strap is quite comfortable, and I liked that
there is no on/off switch to think about. Just snap it on and
go. I can see where the heart rate logging would be useful, but I
am not knowledgeable enough to have much use for most of the
information. I did like being able to quickly get my
min/max/average heart rate from a hike or run directly from the log
Overall, things I like so far:
- I like having all the data at my beck and call. I
particularly enjoy the three-line display so I can see more data
without pushing a bunch of buttons to get to it.
- The PC interface capability is very nice. I liked being
able to download the log files from the watch and save them to a disk
file for posterity. I do the same thing with my GPS so I have a
record of all my hikes.
- The watch is very comfortable. Its lightweight and easy to
get on and off.
Things I'd like to see improved:
- It seems a shame that the stride length does not allow fractions
for greater accuracy.
- Rather than going to the Tech4O website to calculate
my stride length, it would make sense to me if after a trip I could
simply enter in my real distance and it could do the math (which it
could easily do since it does so many calculations already) using the
stored step count. That would allow me to instantly recalibrate
in the field with minimal data entry. It seems rather silly to go
to the website and enter numbers that are already in the watch.
- Allow the upper display line to shift to displays other than the
name of the mode (e.g. "Dual") when possible rather than wasting the
display space on the mode name.
- Simplify dual timezone settings by having me specify an offset in
half-hour increments from local time rather than an arbitrary time.
- I'd like to see "start hike" and "end hike" functions that
combine several things that I find it difficult to remember to
do. The "start hike" could zero the log and ask for an altimeter
calibration. The "end hike" could freeze the altimeter reading so
stationary changes in air pressure don't show up as altitude changes,
and it could also stop logging.
- The S/S button is too easily accidentally pressed causing the
upper line of the display to change modes. It's nice to have
easy-to-press buttons, but this one seems a little too easy to press
when not intended by bumping things, and it has an immediate impact on
- Lots of pieces that can get misplaced, like the USB adapter.
- The PC software is a bit confusing, and had problems reading a
log that I had saved a month beforehand.
Long Term report
Use for Running
As the morning weather warmed up this spring and the sun started coming
up early enough to run before going to work, I began reasonably regular
morning runs. Most mornings the TraiLeader Pro and its heart rate
monitor accompanied me. I have been impressed with the battery
longevity considering there is no power on/off for the sensor
strap. I've found the strap easy to get on and off on a regular
I did have one run when I thought the battery failed as the monitor was
no longer registering my pulse. The strap must have shifted a
bit, and with a little readjustment it was working again. I have
found that a quick lick of the sensor before strapping it on does help
it to begin sensing.
Calibration for Running Stride Length
The following table shows my running stride
length calibration experimentation with the watch.
|3.22 mi ( 5.18 km)
|39.31 in (100 cm)
|3.763 mi ( km)
setting set after run
I had good intentions of doing this calibration several times, but I
never seemed to both have my GPS on the run and turn on the watch
logging. Too many pieces of gear to keep straight early in the
Long Term Report Test Conditions
|Saturday February 27, 2010
|Monday, March 1, 2010
|Wednesday March 3, 2010
|Friday March 5, 2010
|Saturday March 6, 2010
|Saturday March 27, 2010
|Sunday March 28, 2010
|Santa Rita Mountains, south of
|Tortolita Mountains, northwest
of Tucson, Arizona
|Santa Catalina Mountains, just
north of Tucson, Arizona. Pima Canyon.
|Chiricahua Mountains, southeastern corner of
Arizona. Echo loop trail in the Chiricahua National Monument.
|Santa Catalina Mountains, just north of Tucson,
Arizona. Bug Spring Trail.
|Santa Catalina Mountains, just north of Tucson,
Arizona. Sutherland trail.
|Tortolita Mountains, northwest
of Tucson, Arizona
|High desert, somewhat forested, mountains
|Deep mountain canyon with many stream crossings
|High desert, well-maintained but rocky trail
|High desert with some forest, many stream
|High desert foothills, several stream crossings
|5400 ft to 7200 ft (1646 m to
|2400 ft to 2900 ft (732 m to 884
|2900 ft to 3400 ft (884 m to
|6050 ft to 6800 ft (1844 m to 2073 m)
|5850 ft to 6300 ft (1783 m to 1920 m)
|not recorded, around 2800 ft (850 m)
|2400 ft to 2900 ft (732 m to 884
|3044 ft to 3724 ft (928 m to
|3270 ft to 3717 ft (997 m to
|6271 ft to 7126 ft (1911 m to 2172 m)
|not logged (log full)
|not logged (log full)
|Altimeter calibrated prior to departure?
|I *thought* I did, but the watch altitude range
doesn't match the GPS very well
|6.0 miles (9.66 km)
|4.2 miles (6.76 km)
|3.3 miles (5.31 km)
|3.3 miles (5.31 km)
|4.0 miles (6.44 km)
|estimated at 3 miles (5 km)
|estimated at 3 miles (5 km)
|6.34 miles (10.21 km)
|3.913 miles (6.3 km)
|3.766 miles (6.06 km)
|52 F to 65 F (11 C to 18 C)
|70 F (21 C)
|65F to 70 F (18 C to 21 C)
|60 F (16 C)
|50 F to 60 F (10 C to 16 C)
|60 F (16 C)
|65F to 70 F (18 C to 21 C)
One of my take-aways from the above table is that I struggled to
remember to calibrate the altimeter before leaving on a hike, which
resulted in some pretty good discrepancies between what I logged with
my GPS versus what the watch recorded due to daily barometric pressure
fluctuations. On the Chiricahua hike I
*thought* I remember calibrating it before departure, but perhaps I
remembered wrongly as the altitude range still diverged substantially
from my GPS topo map recordings.
Santa Rita Hike - Thermometer Observations
This was a climb up the Old Baldy Trail and down the Super Trail.
The upper 1/3 or so of the hike was all in the snow. As I was
walking, I took the watch off my wrist and held it by the strap to try
and get an idea of what the temperatures were like. It seemed to
equilibrate around 52 F (C). I didn't start the log until after
we started climbing, and the log filled up about 1/2 down the Super
Trail, so I was not able to correlate with my GPS readings. It
was nice to have an idea of how the temperatures were varying, but it
was not convenient to carry the watch, and I was only carrying a lumbar
pack so I didn't have a nice spot to strap it to.
The other hikes didn't have any particularly significant activities
associated with the watch, other than on the last few Catalina hikes I
to turn on the log before I departed, or the log was full. Too
many things to
remember. A few pictures of the watch on the trail follow:
TraiLeader Pro with altitude display in the Chiricahua National Monument
TraiLeader Pro with altitude display in the Santa Catalina Mountains
overlooking the city of Tucson
TraiLeader Pro with date & time display and Mexican poppies in
bloom in the background
TraiLeader Pro with barometer and weather display in the Tortolitas,
and a pretty Silver Cholla in the background
Weather prediction indicator: the display above on
the top of the watch face indicates the TraiLeader Pro was
predicting sunny weather (safe bet for Tucson!). Indeed, this agreed
well with the National Weather Service calling for sunny skies for the
next 3 days. I glanced at the weather prediction several times
during the test period, and in general it agreed quite well with the
The bad news: I still have not found the USB PC wireless
interface. The good news: it forced me to learn how to access and
use the log files from the watch face.
All 17 log files from my last run before filing this report
In the above photo a composite image shows all 17 log files from my
last logged run. The date on the log file is on the main log
display, and not pictured above. I believe the log memory filled
up before the end of the run, so the entire data set was not
recorded. This was the 11th log file stored in the
watch. The pictures show the incredible detail of information
that is available for any given trip when the log function is
used. Note the wide range of max and minimum temperatures shown
in the last two images. I started the log with the watch off of
my wrist, so the minimum temperature was the ambient, and the maximum
temperature was my peak wrist skin temperature.
After just over 4 months wearing the watch without re-calibrating the
time I checked it against the NIST standard. The TraiLeader Pro
had fallen behind about 1 minute and 20 seconds over that time period,
or about 80 seconds. That is approximately 1/2
second loss per day, not bad at all. I consider that very
acceptable long-term accuracy for a watch.
After 4 months with the watch I never really used the chronometer/lap
timer. I do run, but not on a track, so lap times are not really
useful to me. I did not really use the compass as much as I
thought I would. Maybe that is because in the areas where I've
been hiking lately there are very prominent mountain ranges that are
easily recognized, and except in some of the higher elevations there is
no "green tunnel", so I am able to orient myself reasonably well
without consulting a compass. I also rarely used the barometer; I
guess in Tucson where the sun comes out about 360 days/year, it is just
not that much of an issue.
That said, I would not remove any of these features from the
watch. If I was a on a long trail in a northerly climate I would
find the barometer and the compass useful. I also have a running
track at a school near my home that I hope to use in the future, and
the lap timer will come in handy someday.
My opinions did not significantly change in the last 2 months since the
Field Report, and my summary there still holds. My bottom line is
that I will continue to wear the TraiLeader Pro for the foreseeable
future as my main watch, both for everyday use and for hiking and
backpacking. I like this watch a lot. A few updates:
- Good battery life on the watch and heart rate monitor
- Still looks good after 4 months of daily wear
- The heart rate monitor works great for running. I like to
see my pulse rate and the % of max rate at the same time, nice feature.
- I really liked the ability to view the summary log data at the
end of a run or hike with just a few button presses. This is a
very easy way of keeping trip statistics.
- My biggest irritation continues to be accidental bumping of the
start/stop button causing a shift in the top line display. It is
not a big deal to correct this, just a minor annoyance.
Many thanks to Tech4O
and BackpackGearTest.org for the
test this product.
Read more reviews of Silva gear
Read more gear reviews by Kurt Papke