The Ironman is just the first entry in the Timex Smart line of timepieces, which the watchmaker will slowly roll out over 2020. These models will be geared toward performance and people with active lifestyles who want to focus on specific health and fitness goals.
Timex describes this new iteration of the Ironman line, first launched 34 years ago, as "overbuilt but not overpriced." It has impressive specs for any smartwatch, with up to 25 days of battery life in smartwatch mode—and 20 hours when used in GPS mode.
The Ironman R300 has always-on optical heart rate monitoring and users can download workouts created by professional athletes. It's as sturdy as many non-smart watches, with 50 meters of water resistance. It also has a uniquely readable screen, something too many smartwatches skimp on, considering wearers often need to read the screen while outside and in motion.
Maxim got a chance to try out the Ironman before it went on sale earlier in 2020, and it's a fascinating entry into the field. It comes equipped with a uniquely comfortable rubber strap that's been designed for maximum flexibility and give with minimum stickiness or wrist hair-pulling.
The Ironman R300 GPS in some ways comes across like a smartwatch invented in a universe where the Apple Watch was never invented. In the interest of readability, the watch graphics are reminiscent of old school computer games, and that's not a slam—it may limit choices when it comes to varied watch faces, but it lends an oddly retro appeal.
It has both buttons and touchscreen control, and this is the one spot where Timex might need to reconsider their design; it takes users accustomed to Samsung Galaxy watches or to Apple quite some time to get used to the way Timex has divvied up controls between the pushers and touchscreen.
The GPS is just as accurate as any other watch on the market and Timex isn't just bragging when it comes to battery life—it's so good that there's a danger of forgetting you need to charge the thing. Some users might find themselves surprised when it does eventually run out of juice.
Overall, this is a superb budget smartwatch. The Ironman R300 GPS comes in three colorways: charcoal, black and gray, and it retails for just $120. Learn more about it and Timex's upcoming smart offerings at timex.com.