TomTom has been making GPS navigation hardware devices for just over a decade and today its GPS tracking product range extends beyond cars and bikes. The TomTom Runner is a fitness tracker targeted at both indoor and outdoor runners.
This GPS fitness watch bears a striking resemblance to the Nike+ GPS watch that was, in fact, developed by the same TomTom team. It has a 1,5-inch monochrome LCD display, with a backlight for viewing it in low-light conditions. The watch’s dimensions are also quite a bit slimmer than most of its competitors and is only 11,5mm thick. This is largely due to the fact that the watch’s control buttons are not situated next to the face but on a 4-way control pad placed just below the LCD.
The unit comprises two parts, the watch face and the strap. TomTom has a variety of additional straps available should you want to opt for a different colour or design. The reason why this GPS watch is removable from the strap is so it can easily dock with the supplied USB docking station. Doing so downloads your tracked data to a PC or Mac, and it simultaneously charges the battery.
Aimed at the midrange market, the TomTom Runner has a number of features that will assist runners during a workout, both indoors and outdoors. It has a built in accelerometer and tracks time, distance and pace. It is also able to track your workout on a treadmill without requiring a foot pod, but you do need to switch to this feature before your run.
The watch’s display is easy to read while running, and the data it displays is customisable to your liking — the watch displays distance/calories, pace and heart rate. There is an optional heart-rate monitor accessory that connects via Bluetooth to your watch. This fitness watch also has a number of training modes, which include lap-tracking and a goals mode that allows you to set a goal for your workout.
Workout data can be uploaded to TomTom’s MySports website, which stores and analyses your workout data. The website is powered by MapMyFitness and supports the upload of data to mobile apps, MapMyRun and Runkeeper. The TomTom Runner also works with TomTom’s mobile app, which allows workout data to be synced and uploaded from your smartphone via Bluetooth. The app is currently only available for iOS devices, but an Android version is in the works.
Once the watch is set up for your run, it is remarkably efficient at fixing your GPS coordinates. TomTom says that this is because of its QuickGPSFix technology. Another feature that TomTom seems pretty proud of is its “graphical training partner”, which allows you to beat your own running times by displaying, graphically, your current time versus a previous time. This is a great feature to keep up your pace and aim to beat your best times.
During our tests, we found the battery to last well beyond the time required to finish a marathon. The manufacturers have indicated that the battery should last around 10 hours with GPS tracking enabled. The TomTom Runner is also waterproof up to 50m, though the unit does not support swim-tracking.
The TomTom Runner retails for R2 099. With a heart rate monitor, that goes up to R2 699. — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media