The TomTom Runner GPS Watch is a great watch for a great price. The features are useful, the watch is lightweight and comfortable, and the data can be uploaded to a variety of online tools that runners use to track and share their performance stats. TomTom sent me a new Runner watch for review, and after taking it out a few times, my son inherited my Nike+ Sportwatch.
Some might say the tail is wagging the dog, but online services and apps are a major consideration in choosing the right hardware. In this case, the right GPS watch for you as a runner. When a device locks you into a single platform, or locks you out of others, watch out! There are a few bullies on the digital playground, and Nike is one of them.
You’ll be glad to know that the TomTom Runner is compatible with Strava, DailyMile, and GarminConnect. You can export runs in multiple file formats and setup automatic synching with your online accounts. TomTom also has its own service called TomTom MySports that logs your run data. If you run with a heart rate monitor, you can connect your watch via Bluetooth.
What’s In the Box?
The TomTom Runner watch kit consists of a watch strap, a removable GPS/Display unit, and a USB connector. It’s quite easy to pop the display unit in and out of the watch band, and it took very little time to get used to the 4-way control pod (located just below the display) for accessing watch functions and settings. It also makes connecting the watch to your computer easier than some models that require removal of anything in neighboring USB ports. And, for those of you that use your phones and apps exclusively, you can upload data from the watch to your phone via Bluetooth.
Programs and Functions
I tend to use my watch for the more basic functions like stopwatch, lap times, and GPS recordings of my workouts. However, there are tons of cool training modes to discover. One I have played around with recently is RACE mode. In RACE mode, you can run against yourself by competing against a stored run. For example, if I run 6 miles at hard effort today, I might want to compete against myself in two weeks and see how I’m progressing. I can do this with the TomTom Runner and see live updates showing my relative location to my earlier run. Pretty cool incentive to run hard for a guy like me that doesn’t always have a training partner.
ZONE and GOAL modes help you stay on target during training according to pace, time, distance, calories, or heart rate. LAPS and INTERVALS can be used for specific types of training workouts, and you can choose a number of different metrics to display. The TomTom Runner even determines your stride rate by using a built-in accelerometer.
Please wait… GO!
I’ve worn the TomTom Runner for over two weeks, and I’ve never had to wait more than 90 seconds for satellite link-up. The mileage is spot on, and the pace feels true as well. I’ve run in the pouring rain once, and under cloudy skies a few times as well. So far, so good. This was a problem with some of the other watches I’ve owned in the past.
Comfort, Fit, Style and Usability
I like the slim profile of the TomTom Runner and the watch band fit well on my wrist. The control pod below the watch face felt strange on the side of my wrist for the first minute or two I tried it on, but I haven’t thought about it since. As far as style goes, it’s not a dress watch. But, it’s not like you have a bread box strapped to your wrist either.
The graphic display for feedback in the training modes makes them easy to use, and easy to read when your running. TomTom’s compatibility with a variety of online services is excellent and much appreciated. For sure, there are other comparable watches out there on the market. But, for the price and functionality, I think the TomTom Runner is smart buy.