In these days of do-everything devices, sometimes simpler is better, and with apologies to Dr. Freud, sometimes a watch is just a watch, even when it has an accelerometer. The Timex Expedition Trail Mate is a great example of a device that does a few things very well at a price that won't have you taking out a(nother) home loan.
The first thing you notice – or don't – about theTrail Mate is the subdued design. No flashy chrome here. Then you notice the large numeric display and generously sized controls. The Trail Mate invites you to look at it and manipulate it, and that's a good thing.
All the normal timekeeping functions are here: dual time zones, 24 hour timer, lap and split times, even a halfway alert. Alarms are loud and clear, and setup is easy enough, allowing you to enter your height, weight, age and the weight of what you're carrying. An accelerometer uses this data to enable the trail features, which include pace (you can manually enter your stride length), distance and calories, as well as time spent stopped versus moving. Overall the pedometer functions are roughly accurate, more so if you use a known-distance course to tinker with it, making the Trail Mate a good low-cost alternative to much more expensive GPS-equipped watches. And if you're a real data hound, you can review your past ten activity sessions right on the watch.
The lighting is nicely done, with just the digits lighting up when you press the Indiglo button. The display even blinks when an alarm goes off so you can find it in the dark faster. The Trail Mate is water resistant to 100 meters, so don't worry about the weather. Bottom line: If you're looking for an inexpensive digital hiking companion to keep you on time and on target, the Timex Expedition Trail Mate watch is just the ticket.