Though the rise of fitness-focused smartwatches has helped chip away at dedicated running watches and multi-sport champions, there are still plenty of limitations which leave triathletes, marathon trainers and hardcore athletes sticking with what they know.
There's still a very clear divide between watches from Apple and Fitbit and the stables of Garmin, Suunto and Polar. And though that line is present in the features department, there's also a stark contrast in price. While top smartwatches retail between around and , it's easy to spend at least double that on a multi-sport tracker.
Read next: The best GPS sports watches
But aiming to give you the same features you'd expect from a high-end multi-sport device in more affordable package is startup Geekery, whose IronCloud smartwatch is currently available on Indiegogo for $375 ahead of expected shipping in May.
"We know people want to go outside and track whatever their workouts may be, but we also know that people want things to be affordable," Geekery's Shirley Hy told us. "Obviously, Garmin is the biggest name in the space and our biggest competitor, but while it offers notoriously strong multi-sport watches, these devices are also very expensive."
With the company candidly aiming to follow the path that others have blazed in order to find success, what exactly are you getting for trusting an alternative? Well, on the spec sheet, the IronCloud offers 50 days of battery life, GPS, BDS and GLONASS, 100M water resistance and an always-on touchscreen display, as well as heart rate monitoring smarts from Valencell.
On the software side, users will also be able to tap into training zones, AI-developed training plans, and, naturally, be able to track everything from their outdoor runs and hikes to swims and cycles.
"The feature that we're most proud of is the battery life. If you're just wearing this as a watch, you can get up to 50 days – Garmin can't do that, and neither can watches from Suunto or Casio.
"But, generally, we're happy to be able to create a device that's pretty rounded. The battery life is the biggest difference we have between ourselves and competitors, but to be able to have all the other features and still maintain an affordable price for the campaign was the number one aim," Hy said.
Essential reading: Valencell talks HR monitoring from around the body
As is the case with most multi-sport devices, though, while battery life can be stretched out when certain settings are tweaked, the most important factor is often the level of juice provided when GPS is continuously in use. After all, these dedicated devices are often employed by athletes aiming to track their progress for hours on end.
According to Geekery, the IronCloud is able to offer a whopping 30 hours of GPS tracking, which bests the Garmin Fenix 5, perhaps the strongest multi-sport watch in the space, and its 24 hours of monitoring (although the company's low-powered UltraTrac feature stretches this to over three days).
There's no doubt that price is the biggest factor to consider when looking at Geekery's IronCloud watch.
On paper, at least, it offers one of the more feature-packed multi-sport options in the market – certainly one that takes a significant swing at replicating a high-end Garmin – and the fact the company has already far surpassed its funding goal and is currently edging towards $150,000 raised speaks to the fact that there's a significant group of people that want in on cheaper sporty watches.
However, while there's a fair bit to like about the campaign, we do have concerns that the IronCloud's most appealing feature, the price, is set to skyrocket to the same bracket as its competitors when it eventually retails. The fact is, there's probably not enough the device does differently to pull people away from heavyweights such as Suunto and Garmin in the long term.
How we test