The Kiprun GPS 900 is a full multisport watch with an attractive design for less than £200, which is excellent value. While it lacks some of the advanced features available on more expensive watches, it covers the essentials and lasts an impressive two weeks on a charge.
- Great value
- Battery life
- Training analysis
- Breadcrumb navigation feature
- Poor HR accuracy
- No multi-band GPS
- Minimal smart features
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The best sports watches are laden with features like AMOLED screens, color maps, music storage and training analysis that suggests what you should do each and every day. They’re remarkable, though sometimes I wonder how much of all that is necessary, and if it wouldn’t be great to have a device that nails the essentials for less, given that prices for the best running watches can hit four figures.
If you’ve ever wondered the same, the Kiprun GPS 900 is a watch to investigate. It’s the second sports watch in Decathlon’s Kiprun range, and one built on the platform of an old Coros watch. It’s fantastic value as a full multisport watch with a stylish design.
Decathlon Kiprun GPS 900 Review: Price And Availability
The Kiprun GPS 900 launched in April 2023 and costs £199.99 in the UK and €249.99 in Europe. It’s not currently available in the US, but costs CA$340 in Canada. Decathlon’s watch range also includes the cheaper Kiprun GPS 500 for £129.99/€139/CA$200.
The Kiprun GPS 900 is built on the platform of the original Coros Apex watch, just as the Kiprun GPS 500 is based on the original Coros Pace. Along with using Coros hardware the Kiprun GPS 900 links to the Coros app, where you can access records of your runs, create routes and structured workouts to send to the watch, and check Coros’s EvoLab training analysis.
While the Coros Apex is available in 42mm and 46mm sizes, the GPS 900 is available in only the 46mm option. It still fits well on my thin wrist, though I have to use one of the last holes to tighten the strap during runs, and some may find they have to change to a smaller band.
The watch has an aluminum bezel, which is a notable upgrade on the all-plastic design of the GPS 500. The screen is a 1.2in, 240 x 240 memory-in-pixel display that’s a little dull for general use, but I found it clear to read during outdoor runs in all conditions. The watch weighs 2oz/58g with its silicone strap, and has a water resistance rating of 5ATM, so it’s fine to swim and shower with.
The watch doesn’t have some sensors that are common on sports watches launched since the original Apex, like a pulse oximeter. However, the Kiprun GPS 900 does have a barometric altimeter and compass, as well as built-in optical heart rate monitor and a GPS chipset that allows it to use four satellite systems at once. There’s no multi-band GPS option, which isn’t surprising at this price. You can connect external sensors to the watch via Bluetooth, but not ANT+.
Battery life is a signature feature of all Coros-design watches and the Kiprun GPS 900 offers 35 hours of GPS tracking, which can be extended to 80 hours in a less accurate Ultra Max mode, and up to 30 days of general use.
How I Tested This Watch
I've been wearing the Kiprun GPS 900 for the past three weeks, using it to record my runs and other workouts. I’ve run more than 140 miles with the watch, as well as using it for several yoga and strength sessions, plus a couple of bike rides. I have been testing it at the same time as the Garmin Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 965, and I’ve also used the Kiprun GPS 500 to track a couple of runs to compare it with the GPS 900.
Sports Tracking And Training Analysis
The Kiprun GPS 900 has options for all the popular activities you’re likely to undertake, including a customisable triathlon mode and an open-water swimming setting. You can set up data screens that show up to six stats on the run.
While none of this is novel, there aren’t that many full multisport watches available for less than £200. Others include the Coros Pace 2 and Kiprun GPS 500, though the latter misses out on other sports modes like hike and indoor bike. Garmin’s cheapest multisport watch is the Forerunner 255, which is $350/£300.
The workouts are fed into Coros’s EvoLab training analysis, which has features like a breakdown of your training load to show your fatigue and whether you’re doing the right amount of hard, medium and easy training, plus predicted race times and a recovery time advisor.
I’d be wary of relying on the recovery advisor, which always seemed optimistic to me. Often when I finished a hard workout it would still tell me I’d be ready to train hard again in a few hours, which was not the case.
The training analysis doesn’t extend into suggested workouts and doesn’t integrate information about your sleep or general activity, which is now available on other watches, but it’s a useful tool to help nudge your training in the right direction.
GPS And HR Accuracy
The Kiprun GPS 900 doesn’t provide multi-band GPS tracking, but you can set it up to use four satellite systems at once. I set it to GPS, Glonass, Galileo and QZSS, but you can swap out Glonass for Beidou or set it to GPS-only—which I expect to use less battery life.
In comparison with the Garmin Forerunner 265 or 965 in multi-band mode the Kiprun GPS 900 was less accurate, frequently cutting corners or veering off my exact route when under tree cover. However, the overall distance stats posted by the watch were similar to the Garmins, and I could use the Kiprun GPS 900 to pace runs, since it was never so inaccurate that the stats it gave were out of whack.
That’s not the case with the heart rate accuracy, which was often wrong when compared with the reading from a chest strap. Even when it was mostly correct during a run it would lag behind spikes and dips in heart rate when running intervals. You can pair an external heart rate monitor with it, and I’d invest in a chest strap to get more accurate data on this front.
Coros-design watches have always impressed on battery life and that is the case with the Kiprun GPS 900, which lasted 14 days on a charge. There is a battery-life breakdown on the watch too, so I can see that during that time the biggest drain was 15 hours of GPS activities, which accounted for 50% of the battery usage.
Part of the reason the watch lasts so long is the fairly dull display, allied to the fact it doesn’t measure your heart rate continuously outside of workouts by default (though you can turn this on). It’s also doing less than other watches in that it doesn’t track heart rate variability.
If you’re not fussed about a dazzling display or these other features, however, it’s great to have a watch that prioritizes battery life, and the GPS 900 will comfortably outlast watches that cost a lot more.
Smart Features And Navigation
The Kiprun GPS 900 doesn’t have many smart features. It will mirror the notifications on your phone and tell you what time the sun will rise and set, but doesn’t have weather forecasts, let alone the music storage or NFC payments you can get on other watches.
It does, however, offer breadcrumb navigation, which is not a common feature at its price. You can load routes on to the watch via the Coros app and then follow a line with a pointer on your wrist. You don’t get turn-by-turn directions, but you will be alerted if you’re off course.
The Kiprun GPS 900 has a back-to-start feature for use during an activity, which will guide you back to your starting point. This is a great failsafe if you’re running in a new place and you don’t have the time or inclination to set up a complete route.
Activity And Sleep Tracking
The Kiprun GPS 900 will track your steps, active calories, time active and floors climbed each day, and you can adjust your goal for active time or calories burned. It also tracks your sleep stages at night and shows the time spent in deep, REM and light sleep.
Neither activity nor sleep tracking is a priority on the watch, and the sleep tracking falls well short of the insight you get from Polar and Fitbit products. The fact the tracking doesn’t feed into your overall training analysis means it also falls behind other brands, like Garmin, which adjusts recovery times based on how active a day you have outside your training. However, the basic details are there for those who want them.
Is The Kiprun GPS 900 Worth It?
If you’re looking for the best-value sports watch then I’d say it’s a straight pick between the Kiprun GPS 900 and Coros Pace 2. Both are full multisport watches that nail the essentials of tracking, with long battery life and low prices. The main difference between them is the design, and I’d say the Kiprun GPS 900 is more elegant, thanks to its metal bezel.
There are cheaper watches, including the Kiprun GPS 500. This is also a multisport watch but has fewer sports modes than the GPS 900, shorter battery life, no barometric altimeter, compass or navigation features, and a less appealing design.
If you have a bigger budget, you will get a better experience with the Garmin Forerunner 255, which has music storage and a better user interface than the Kiprun GPS 900, along with more accurate multi-band GPS tracking. The Forerunner 265 is even better, with an AMOLED screen and Garmin’s useful training readiness feature, though it’s more than double the price of the Kiprun GPS 900.
Those who just need a running watch could also consider the Garmin Forerunner 245, which is often available in sales for a similar price to the Kiprun GPS 900. There is a music version of the Forerunner 245 and it offers a slick user experience, though the core tracking is similar to what’s available on the Kiprun watch.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.