QStarz GPS Sports Recorder (BT-Q1300ST) and QSports software review


OVERVIEW:
If you are an endurance workout junkie, this is the perfect tool for you. Lightweight, easy to use, with multi-functional software, the QStarz GPS Sports Recorder and its associated QSports program allow you to track your routes and your progress throughout your training regimen. The GPS unit itself is compact and simple, but the software provides the user with a gold-mine of information related to health, fitness progress, and workout details.

GPS UNIT:
The data logger itself is straight-forward to use. The included instructions describe what each light means, but the take-home message is that pressing and holding the main button will achieve any functionality that you need. The only drawback to this design that I encountered had to do with the brightness of the indicator lights. In the glaring sunlight, it was sometimes tough to see if the GPS was in fact tracking, data logger was active, etc. Simply shading the unit alleviates the issue.

When you first download and install the Qsports software, you must plug your data logger into the computer using the USB cable included with the unit. Leave the unit plugged in for the specified amount of time (included in software instructions) to charge the battery for use. Once the software recognizes the data logger, the first thing you should do is configure the GPS unit using the button highlighted below.

At this point, determine what activity that you’ll be using the GPS device to track. Runners, hikers, and cyclists will all want slightly different settings, and these will even vary by athlete. You can use the default settings to require the GPS to log a data point at specific time intervals, or customize to your liking. As I used this to track running routes in Phoenix’s South Mountain park trails, I selected the running setting. The default ‘running’ setting logs every 5 seconds, which works perfectly for most runners. Since South Mountain trails can be sinewy and full of switch-backs, I changed the setting to log every 3 seconds to achieve even finer “accuracy” of my routes. Make sure to play around with the options and become familiar with all setting to determine which might best for your workout. There’s really no “wrong answer” here.

Also, be sure to set your User Profile at the bottom with height, weight, and age, which assists the tools under the Health Management tab.

After configuration, the GPS is ready to take into the field. I used the arm-band that came with the device; a “standard” runners’ armband. Even in the mid-90s dry, desert weather that I encountered, the band was quite comfortable. Before starting on my runs, I’d make sure the GPS signal indicator was recording my position, along with the data logger. I never waited more than five (5) minutes for a signal lock, allowing me plenty of time to stretch and prepare my gear without having to wait for the GPS to achieve a signal.

Keep in mind that this GPS has no interface that displays real-time data. Some runners prefer having the GPS devices which show speed, location, etc. on the fly. If you prefer having constant updates during your workout, I suggest wearing a watch in addition to the GPS data logger. Personally, I’m a runner that prefers to minimize electronic gadgetry, particularly on trail runs. Too often, I would find myself looking at my watch and other instruments while working out, instead of paying attention to how my body reacts during workouts. For this reason, the GPS suited me perfectly. This is strictly personal preference, though.

Battery life never became an issue on my runs. Some of my longer trails runs would range between 90 and 120 minutes. So long as I charged the battery before each long run, I could track the entire workout without issue.

The GPS data logger does include Bluetooth functionality, but I did not interact with this functionality, as I do not own any Bluetooth devices. I guess that means I’m behind the times in some regards…

Finally, regarding the GPS’ accuracy, I found the positional accuracy to be comparable to a Garmin unit. Certainly for the purposes of tracking a workout, the accuracy of data on the QSports software’s Google Maps interface was impressive.

QSPORTS SOFTWARE

This feature is truly where the strength of this purchase lies. After returning home, I could plug my GPS back into the computer and view my workout across the Google Maps interface, and view the vital statistics (the software comes with the Google Maps map, satellite, and terrain views). Downloading your track from the device to the software requires plugging the USB cord back into the data logger and choosing the “Import Wizard” function in the QSports software interface. Once the track is uploaded, each data point logged in the field will show two attributes of interest at the time (choose from speed, altitude, distance, time acceleration, total ascent, and SRTM elevation). **Note SRTM refers to shuttle-collected elevation data, which will produce slightly different elevation values in some locations**

The three basic tabs (Summary, Graph, and Play) comprise the ‘Activities View’ window. Summary tab shows the basics: total time, moving time, distance, moving speed, elevation gain, and calories burned. The subfields of Time, Distance, Speed, and Elevation offer more detail. The graph tab offers up the information at each logged data point, as described above. The Play tab is a playback of your total route, with each logged data point serving as a point of reference (see below). This allowed me to see places in my runs where I slowed or accelerated.


Above is example of data accuracy taken outside my office in Phoenix, AZ. I was standing precisely there when I activated the data logger

The Statistics tab lets you track all workouts in monthly, weekly, or daily increments to see spikes or dips in your training time, which is handy to compare against recommended training plans.

The plethora of data and statistics available to the runner, cyclist, hiker, or any endurance athlete makes this a useful training tool. Short-term and long-term workout analysis are available to those using the QSports software. I would highly recommend the QStarz GPS Sports Recorder (BT-Q1300ST) and QSports software for any and all endurance athletes.

One Response to “QStarz GPS Sports Recorder (BT-Q1300ST) and QSports software review”

  1. theo schürholz Says:

    Unfortunately the programme does’nt work anymore since Google-Maps needs a new API. Can you help?


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