BIA Multi Sport GPS Watch Review
Note, BIA is no longer in business
Thin is in. Less is more. This sleek GPS watch is all that and so much more. Simple and elegant. All the while very accurate and full of pertinent information. The BIA Multi Sport GPS Watch delivers! The watch itself is a stand alone, and is supported by a “GoStick” that needs to be in close vicinity when in use. The GoStick is a simple sleek device which easily fits in a pocket, clips onto clothing, your bicycle, or even your swim goggles. A new player on the scene, BIA is based in beautiful Boulder, Colorado.
First Thoughts on the BIA Multi Sport GPS Watch
There’s always a bit of a learning curve for me when it comes to electronics. I will read the instructions to a point, but quickly get antsy to try out my new toy. I’d rather just get going versus having to read the very fine print instructions. I finished reading these in about 2 minutes, and then went looking for more. That was it. Very easy. I also logged on to register my watch which also took all of 3 minutes. It asked me on which site tracking website I wanted this to link to; Strava in my case.
The BIA Multi Sport GPS Watch has an SOS function for emergencies. I added my wife’s name and completed the registration process. Off I went for a quick initial run to see how the BIA watch performed.
BIA Multi Sport GPS Watch Ease of Use and Fit
I initially put the watch on my wrist, and it didn’t feel quite right. With the angled design, the watch actually goes up a little higher on the wrist. Once I made that adjustment it fit perfect, and I never gave it a second thought. Not the largest of readable faces, but enough for a quick glance with the ability to gauge your pace, time, or progress. There are also several options for whatever you’d like to see while exercising.
I run a lot with my little girls, so I place the GoStick in the stroller most of the time. While mountain biking, I simply clipped it to my pack. Riding on the road I attached it to my bib shirt underneath my jersey. See photos below for placement while I ran solo. The waistband of my shorts seemed to be my best option. With winter running in full swing, my coat pocket is currently the best place for the GoStick. A handheld bottle pocket has also worked great. Options galore.
To start a workout, you simply shake the GoStick to “wake it up”. There is an LED light under the ‘B’ that lights up and turns green when ready. I accessed my account to see my first quick commuter run, and there was my little GPS map, mile splits, elevation, and every other detail you need. Picture big smile here.
Live tracking is an option for a small fee. You could sign up for a year, a month, or even a day as you compete in your big race. I would definitely consider the day option for when I’m running a marathon or competing in a triathlon.
One thing I am missing is the option to light up or glow even if it’s just for a few seconds. We have entered the winter months, the days are short, and a quick peek at my watch would be nice. I was running some mile repeats pushing an all-out pace, and I didn’t know when to stop exactly. Even a 3 second light-up option or ability to leave the light on for evening and night time runs would be great!?!
Download and connection
The GoStick is truly the brains in this tandem duo. Don’t let its simplicity fool you. My very first ‘download’ happened automatically. As I opened my BIA account, there was the workout in its full glory. BIA allows you to set up and connect to other popular on-line workout trackers. I belong to the Strava social fitness tribe (MapMyFitness and Training Peaks are also an option). With one click on the strava icon at the top, my workout loaded and was ready for kudos or ridicule (depending on the day). The map is fairly accurate although I did notice two squiggly lines when I ran an out and back that weren’t always right on top of each other. I have to assume there’s a small bit of wiggle room, so I’m not too concerned.
About 4-5 weeks into my test, there were some slight download hiccups. I had saved my workout, but they just wouldn’t show up on my account within a reasonable time frame. There are easy to follow steps at the trouble shooting Help Site. I did all I could, but still no luck. I contacted BIA through their email link, and they got back to me right away. They remotely checked my GoStick, and offered up solutions, options, and future steps to follow. The BIA multi sport GPS Watch works great now. It may have just been a bandwidth connectivity issue. I’m very impressed with their fast follow up and thorough customer service.
SOS Safety Alert
As I was trying to download my initial workout, I should have used the touch screen to save my workout. Instead, I pushed and held the power button for a few seconds. thinking that would save my workout. But no, that activated the SOS alert! Literally 10 seconds later my wife calls me asking what’s going on. I had not really told her yet about the specifics of the BIA Multi Sport GPS Watch including the SOS feature. I now do know that it works as advertised. I’ll actually have my wife run with the watch as well. She does take our 65 lb. weimaraner, but this will add an extra layer of security and peace of mind.
List of all measurements that BIA Multi Sport GPS Watch can track
Run – As I am a runner first, and a biker second, this is the function I used most.
Bike – A great way to record your training. It doesn’t compare to the bike mounted bike specific GPS units to see things like speed, avg. speed, cadence, etc., but for only having one piece of equipment it does the job just fine.
Swim – Unfortunately, I was not able to test the BIA Multi Sport GPS Watch in any open water swims to fully appreciate this function. For kicks, I did try to see if it would work in my local Rec. Center pool, but the GPS function does require an outside connection. Rumor has it that they are working on something that will work for indoor use.
Multi-sport – As the Tri season is behind us, I did not get to test this function, but hope to next year as another Ironman is on the books.
Stopwatch: as you might think. It keeps a running time. Although you could start and stop, it didn’t ever give me the ability to save one lap and continue or start another lap.
Cardio – ANT + Heart Rate straps can easily be linked to the BIA Multi Sport GPS Watch. Simply scroll down on the screen before each use. Wait 0:30, and you are all set.
Setting – Time, Units: Imperial or metric, Pace, Registration: average, real time, or lap.
GPS Watch Battery Life
The BIA Multi Sport GPS watch has a reported battery life of 17 hours. I did not go out and run a 100 miler to test that. You are more than welcome. I did see how many workouts I could partake in before the battery died. Every 4 or 5 workouts of an hour or two, I would have to charge her up again. I have to assume that the GoStick is also live or in use as it’s laying around “talking” to the watch or in download mode. In all honesty, I actually plug it in after every use to ensure a quick download of the workout, and to charge it for the next time.
Mileage accuracy and linking to satelites
The BIA watch takes approximately 1 to 2 minutes to find a satellite connection. I try to always shake the GoStick, and place it and the watch on my front porch before I put my shoes on. By the time I’m laced up and my Weimeraner pup has his leash on, the watch is ready to go. The distances run or ridden appear to be spot on. I compared the accuracy to my running and riding mates a few times, and our distances were within .01 miles each time. I will take that as accurate!
BIA Multi Sport GPS Watch Specifications
- 17 hour battery life. 50M water resistance.
- Track. Laps. Galloway-style walk-run intervals.
- Open water swim.
- Compatible will all ANT+ heart rate monitors.
- Full triathlon and multisport race mode.
- Weight: 50g (compare to the iPhone 5s at 112g)
- Battery Life: Rechargeable, lasts 17 hours
- Technology: GPS, GSM cellular, Accelerometer, ANT+
- Water Resistent: Yes. 50m or a trip through the washing machine
- Weight: 30g (compare to the Garmin 910xt at 72g)
- Battery Life: Replaceable, lasts 18-24 Months
- Thinness: 6.5mm (the Garmin 620 is 12.5mm)
- Technology: Accelerometer, ANT+, Touchscreen
BIA Multi Sport GPS Watch Final thoughts and Conclusion
I had mentioned that this is a wonderful new company based out of Boulder, Colorado. What I have intentionally left out was that this product was created by two endurance triathletes exclusively for females. It has also been marketed as such, but BIA is now also reaching out to the male athlete. In my humble opinion, this is not just a women’s product. I was asked to test it, and I think it is a wonderful product for the boys as well. I have noticed that they have now added a few more masculine colors. If they would give the boys their own Men’s Product Tab on the website, no one would be the wiser. Just my opinion, but those big ol’ watches are a thing of the past in my book. The slim sleek BIA Multi Sport GPS Watch is the wave of the future. See you. Gotto run!!!