Garmin has more or less had a monopoly on the GPS watch market for years now. But since September’s launch of the Timex Global Trainer GPS ($250 street), Garmin has a new competitor. While the Global Trainer is a valiant effort from Timex, it’s going to have a hard time challenging the breadth of Garmin’s line, especially the Garmin Forerunner 110, as well as its range of price points.The first thing that strikes you when you first lay eyes on the Global Trainer is the sheer size of it. This behemoth of a sports watch has a huge face — wider even than my wrist. On the plus side, this means that it can show a lot of data on the screen while you’re running, but this also makes it a bit cumbersome. Luckily it’s still on the light side, so the watch won’t weigh you down when you hit the road. AdChoices广告Otherwise, the design is unremarkable; it’s a plain black watch with a main button for starts and splits on the face, and power and menu buttons on the side. One gripe is that the start button does not also function as the stop button. While having a start/split button is intuitive if you’re keeping track of splits, you have to train yourself to press the smaller stop button on the right-hand side instead when you’re done with your workout. If you’re concerned with exact timekeeping, this will be a bit of a pain for your first few runs. I do appreciate that the Indiglo button is easy to find. Other GPS watches, like the Suunto X10, make it harder to activate the light, which makes tracking your progress tricky on night runs.The biggest gripe I’ve heard about GPS watches is how difficult it is to sync them with satellites. While testing in New York City, I’ve found that the tall buildings and general lack of open space can make it particularly difficult to find a signal. This is one area where the Garmin watches have the advantage. While the Garmin I tested quickly synced most times I used it, the Timex was a bit more finicky. The trick, I discovered, was to start it, let it try to sync for a minute or two, then restart it. Usually the second go-round would go a lot smoother, with the watch syncing within seconds, or a minute at most. Without a restart, the watch could fail to sync for 10 minutes or more. I never had the patience to see if it would ever eventually find the satellite signal. Of course, the syncing occurred faster in wide-open spaces like parks. In Performance mode, the watch offers several different views that correspond with the information it captures. My favorite view features heart rate (which tracks very effectively with the included heart-rate monitor if you get the deluxe package), distance to the hundredth of a mile, time, and pace. Other views display cadence, altitude, and calories (based on a body weight you enter). Other modes include Multi-sport (Timex partnered with Ironman in designing the watch after all), Navigate, Review, Configure, and PC Sync. Navigate allows you to create maps if you want to redo runs in the future. It’s a bit of a pain to enter waypoints the first time around–you have to stop and wait for the watch to calibrate–but it’s easy enough to connect the waypoints to create a route. I tested it out on the lower loop of Central Park and found an unfortunate issue with connecting waypoints: the routes consisted of straight lines so the route looked more like a box than a loop. As I retraced my run a few days later, I noticed myself deviating from the route most of the run and only really intersecting with it as I crossed the waypoints.For all the functionality the watch offers on your wrist, the online software is even more robust. When you’re ready to upload your data to your computer, you’ll need to download the desktop client from Timex’s Global Trainer site. The client is merely a way to get your data on Timex online training partner site, TrainingPeaks. The watch itself has enough memory to store an impressive 20 workouts and 50 routes, with a long 15 hours of battery life (nearly twice any of the competition). It’s telling that the TrainingPeaks orientation video is 30 minutes long; the site offers such robust functionality that it would be hard to use it all. From daily workout reminder e-mails to meal planners, TrainingPeaks promises to handle practically every training need. The workout summary includes the essentials–duration, distance, speed, pace, calories, elevation gain, etc.–and there are plenty of facts and figures to please any stat-obsessed runner. You can also choose to view your workouts on a calendar or a spreadsheet, and as straight stats, as a graph, or on a map.Though the Timex Global Trainer isn’t the most intuitive watch, nor is it the most responsive for the city runner, it offers plenty of capabilities for the multi-faceted athlete, and a robust Web interface for performance-obsessed competitors.