Epson ProSense 307 GPS Watch Review
Overview of the Epson ProSense 307 GPS Watch:
The Epson ProSense 307 GPS Watch is part of Epson’s new ProSense line of GPS watches. This multi-sport GPS watch with built-in optical heart-rate has a lot to like for the average runner and/or multi-sport athlete. However, we also see some key shortcomings which I will explain below. The 307 checks in to the middle of the line of five ProSense watches. The good news about this model is that it includes all the features and functionality of the two more expensive ProSense watches (the 347 and 367) so we can assume the accuracy and software/usability will be the same. What’s good versus what could be improved? Read on to find out!
Note: given the number of features available on GPS watches these days I’m going to focus on the items I hope most folks care the most about. If you are new to considering a GPS watch or simply want a full list of all the features available on this watch you can see that via the Amazon affiliate link (and you will be supporting URP if you decide to purchase this way too!)
Key Specs & Notes:
- Wrist-based optical heart rate (HR) sensor included (average accuracy, no major complaints)
- Weight: 51g / 1.8oz (middle of the road on weight; a touch heavier than most Garmin’s but lighter than most Suunto’s)
- Battery life: up to 20 hours in GPS+HR; 24 hours in GPS-only (all 1s recording specs)
- GPS-based altimeter
- Multi-sport modes (e.g., running, cycling, swimming, triathlon)
- Water-resistant to 50m
- GPS with Glonass and waypoint navigation (average accuracy, no major complaints)
- Smartphone notifications (note: it’s not an Apple or Android-based watch but includes a similar set of smartphone connected features compared to its fitness first based competitors)
The Epson ProSense 307 GPS Watch
Now for more details. In this review, we’ll break things down in to four areas:
- What’s good: the new, differentiating, or simply well designed or built features or aspects of the product.
- What could be improved: tweaks or improvements that could be made to make the product better.
- When to use it: the situations or scenarios where the product excels.
- How it compares: my current go-to product(s) and how this compares.
- Should you purchase? My overall recommendation on whether to purchase or not.
- Purchasing Information: where to go to purchase this product.
I’ll try to be as succinct as possible. After all, you’ve probably got more running you can do today!
- The feature set at this price point. Garmin nor Suunto offer a $250 (or less) watch with this many features. With Garmin or Suunto you either have to pay more, and often a lot more, to get the same battery life; or, you have to sacrifice features like a built-in optical HR sensor. Epson did a great job at combining the absolute ‘must-haves’ in my opinion at an attractive price point.
- The battery life. This, along with a watches accuracy, are the two biggest things that GPS watch manufacturers have to get right. And thankfully, Epson did with this watch. 20 hours in GPS+HR mode or 24 hours in GPS-only mode (both 1s GPS recording) is great and very appreciated at this price point.
- I saw what I would consider to be average accuracy with every activity I did. Both in terms of GPS accuracy and optical HR accuracy. (Editor’s note: I do not pit one GPS watch vs. another on the same run to compare accuracy after the fact. I simply rely on what I believe to be accurate from the routes I regularly run along with knowledge of my own perceived exertion / fitness levels and the HR numbers I’m seeing.)
- The display. Epson markets it as an EasyView display and I like that simple term. It is easy to view at all angles and in bright sunlight. The display itself is a touch smaller than I would like but because of its superior readability it’s not a deal-breaker.
The display is easy to read from all angles
- Data field customization. Up to three lines of data, across four screens (plus a lap screen) can be customized for each sport mode. Also, you can add graphs (e.g., HR graphs) in place of data fields. Very cool!
- Advanced metrics. Metrics like VO2Max and lactate threshold are driven (i.e., licensed) by a company called FirstBeat. Garmin uses this company as well for their advanced running metrics so it’s great to see Epson doing this as well.
- HR works underwater. This is the first optical HR sensor I have used that works in the pool. While rehabbing from a recent injury I was spending every other day ‘running’ in the local pool and I used this watch to check in my effort levels. I was impressed with its ability to track my HR and provide me with real-time as well as post workout HR data to analyze.
- Using the app, you can quickly tap anywhere in the world and save that as a waypoint. You then push those waypoints directly to the watch. Only Epson allows this today so if Waypoints are your thing then this is pretty neat-o!
What could be improved?
I am going to specifically cover issues I have seen during runs or in setting up or adjusting the watch. This isn’t designed to be the end-all-be-all of bugs that may exist in the product.
- Usability of mobile and desktop apps. While it’s great you can use either the mobile or desktop app to make all the necessary settings adjustments to the watch there is some serious usability concerns when it comes to the mobile app. Nearly after screen change or setting adjustment takes a while, sometimes a very long while. Not only that but the desktop app feels quite outdated.
Get comfortable, you might be here a while.
- Lack of on-watch setting adjustments. You cannot adjust the data fields/screens on the watch itself; you have to use the mobile or desktop app to do this. Suunto users may not mind this limitation but Garmin users sure will. Similarly, you cannot create an interval-based workout on the watch and instead need to first create it on the mobile or desktop apps before pushing it to the watch.
- Lack of sensor support. This is an odd omission I must say. Due to the lack of any ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart connection options you cannot use it with any external sensors (i.e., no power meters, no HR chest straps, no third-party optical HR sensors, etc.). This makes very little sense to me when you consider that they have a cycling sport mode yet don’t allow cadence or power meter support.
- As already stated you cannot create intervals on the watch itself. Not only that but even when you create the interval workout on the mobile or desktop apps you cannot include a warm-up or cool-down as part of that overall workout. So, much like Suunto has done in the past, you need to start a run to complete your warm-up. Then, you have to stop and save the run. Then, you have to start a workout to complete the interval portion, and then stop and save that workout. Then, you have to start another run to complete your cool-down before stopping and saving it. Argh – I feel like I am taking crazy pills! Garmin has figured this out so long ago – why is this so hard? Do GPS watch manufacturers not understand that athletes routinely do interval-based training every week and would like to simply start the watch at the beginning and stop it at the end while having the watch beep or vibrate what each step should be?!
After far too many clicks I finally figured out how to edit the interval settings only to be disappointed that you cannot include a warm-up or cool-down segment.
- Form factor. The ProSense 307 is not terrible in serving double-duty as an everyday watch but it’s also not the sexiest GPS watch out there. I’d love to see the depth decreased (i.e., the watch face slimmed down a touch), the screen size increased slightly, and the watch band widened.
It’s not the thinnest or sexiest GPS watch I’ve ever seen (Epson ProSense 307 on the left, Garmin 230 on the right)
When to use it?
- Any run up to 20-24 hours where on-watch adjustments or fairly quick mobile/desktop app adjustments are not needed (i.e., you are a set it up once and run kind of person).
- The Epson ProSense 307 also serves double-duty as a nice swimming watch too
- Due primarily to the lack of sensor support it would not be my first choice as a cycling or triathlon watch
Similar products to compare with:
I will only compare it with competing watches I have actually used:
- Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR (review here): Suunto easily wins on usability and their apps but the Epson wins on nearly all hardware-related features (e.g., battery life, accuracy) so as a result I’m pick the Epson ProSense 307 over this Suunto variant. It also helps the Epson is half the price!
- Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro (review coming soon): Battery life and accuracy have been improved in the Baro compared to the Sport Wrist HR variant. However, at $550 I’m not sure it’s more than 2x the watch of the Epson ProSense 307. What this really comes down to is how much do you value the barometric altimeter and how often are you using the mobile and/or desktop apps?
- Garmin Forerunner 230. My trusty day-to-day watch. The Garmin 230 lacks a built-in optical heart rate sensor and it lasts 16 hours compared to 24 for the Epson ProSense 307 in GPS only mode. However, it’s far easier and faster to adjust and simply easier to use. Plus, the price is the same. Again, hardware versus software trade-offs. Unless I really want to track my heart rate I’m most likely sticking with the Garmin 230 as my most heavily-used watch at the moment.
Should you purchase?
So, the $250 question – should you purchase the Epson ProSense 307 GPS Watch?
In a word, maybe. If you are the kind of runner who sets up the data fields you want to see once and simply want an accurate, long-lasting GPS + HR watch – this is a great value. However, if you want to regularly adjust data fields, have a watch guide you through interval-based workouts, or use the watch for cycling or triathlons as well then I believe better options exist today.
Questions, comments, or feedback on this watch? Please share! And thanks for reading!
If you’re interested in purchasing this watch, please first check availability at your local, independently owned running specialty store. They need your business and are a great resource for the community.
If that’s not an option, please consider using this affiliate link for Amazon. The return policy is great, and it’ll drop a few nickels into URP bucket if you decide to keep it. Thank You!
Meet Your Reviewer: Ben Zuehlsdorf
I am an avid running gear junkie. When I’m not smelling new shoes I’m usually running or racing around the local trails in Marin County, California or talking shop with the San Francisco Running Company community of friends. I was once a road marathoner but now have transitioned almost exclusively to the trails and racing ultras the last few years.
Disclaimer: This watch was provided to URP/Ben for testing purposes. All words and thoughts are ours and no compensation was offered or received.
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