Timex iControl Ironman watch

Sports watches are a great training aid, but what about getting them to do something else, like controlling your iPod? We get out on the track with the new iControl from Timex. Should you tune-in or change the channel? Read on to find out.

Based on the company's Ironman watch, the iControl adds, with the help of a dongle, Play, Pause, Track skip and volume controls to your watch so you can control your iPod even if it's out of sight.

Two new dedicated buttons add the iPod control features, but Timex has made sure that the watch features have remained untouched.

There is still a plethora of stopwatches, spilt times, and features such as a 50-lap memory recall chronograph, the ability to store training logs, two interval timers for speed and endurance training, three alarms and 100m water resistance alongside its INDIGLO night light included for sports fans.

Connection is achieved using a Timex branded Belkin wireless dongle and the unit plugs into your dock connector on your iPod, and then allows you to control the MP3 player wireless via your watch.

Aside from the shuffle (it lacks the dock connector), the dongle will work with all the current iPod models including the newly announced nano, classic, touch and the even the iPhone when in flight mode. We tested our unit on an iPod 5th Gen video and a nano.

In practice and the system is incredibly easy to use, turning the unit on instantly pairs the two units and from there away you go saving you messing around with the iPod mid-run.

The results also mean you can lose it in a pocket, shoulder strap, or backpack.

Pressing the dedicated keys on the watch give you the required response and the only things you can't do is access menu screens, or see the name of the track on the watch screen.

Verdict

The iControl is a simple but effective offering from Timex bringing a really cool feature to what is already a good performing sports watch.

Not forgetting the watch functionality, the lightweight design, which has been appealing to runners for the last 20 years, is just as good as ever.

What we really like is that rather than confuse the issue, the iPod-focused buttons on the watch don't get in the way of day to day use and Timex hasn't tried to over complicate things with pairing issues or stacks of menus to navigate through.

While the system is clearly designed for runners, we could easily see this being used when you are simply out and about where you might not be keen to show your iPod credentials.

Top marks.