Gear Review: PowerTap Joule GPS+
If you train with power, it’s likely that you pay close attention to a variety of metrics during your rides and for analysis later by you or your coach, so you’ll want to have every possible data point available. PowerTap’s Joule GPS+ is a bike computer that will reliably deliver all of that data and is a device any serious power meter user should consider adding to their toolbox.
First of all, with the use of 4 configurable screens and an Interval screen (PowerTap refers to these as dashboards), the PowerTap Joule GPS+ is able to keep track of your choice of 21 core metrics along with their complementary metrics. For example, by highlighting Watts (seen below), the bottom of the screen will also display Average Watts, and Max Watts. By presenting the data as it does with its screens, there is a total of 63 metrics to play with.
The interval screen is a smart inclusion by PowerTap. It is not configurable, nor does it require any modifications since it serves its function perfectly to keep track of all the intervals that you perform along with a brief summary of the average watts, kJ burned, distance covered, and the time duration.
As the name indicates, it is GPS enabled to track distance, speed, provide mapping and to enable you to ride routes that you’ve created. You’ll need to connect the device to a computer to upload those routes.
The ability to connect to Ant+ and Bluetooth Smart sensors makes the Joule GPS+ ready to handle any device you might already have or plan to purchase in the future. Connectivity to those sensors, whether it be a power meter, heart rate strap, or mobile device is quick and easy, at most it took 15 seconds to connect to a device. The “Pair All” option allows for a connection to a variety of available devices within seconds. This is particularly handy and eliminates the need to individually seek for a particular device and then connect with it. If you’ve ever experienced the unfortunate circumstance of your bike computer losing its connection to a device at the start of a ride (heading out of T1 for example) or during a ride, then having this quick connection option is a great feature.
A hidden unadvertised benefit is the ability to use the Bluetooth capability to connect to a mobile device, which can then connect to the Cycle Ops Virtual Training App for full functionality. No costly special adaptors are required.
That same Bluetooth capability also releases you from ever having to plug the Joule GPS+ into a computer to upload your data. Just simply connect to the PowerTap App on your mobile device for a quick upload. You can then configure to the App to have that data sent to your preferred app/service like Training Peaks, Strava, Map My Ride, Twitter, or Facebook to name a few. Firmware updates to the device is also achieved through the mobile app.
Even with all that Ant+ and Bluetooth transmission, battery life is relatively long. PowerTap specs lists it at 17 hours, and we found no evidence to dispute that. The button configuration (enter, +, -, and interval) quickly becomes natural and easy to navigate and scroll through all the options available. Purchasers of this product will appreciate that PowerTap included both a stem/handlebar mount and an out front mount.
The PowerTap Joule GPS+ retails at $249.99 USD, and $329.99 USD with a PowerCal Heart Rate strap.