Shoes & Gear

TomTom’s New GPS Running Watch

TomTom’s New GPS Running Watch

Due for release in the UK in September 2013 the Runner is TomTom’s first standalone attempt at breaking into the highly competitive GPS running watch market. On first glance the Runner doesn’t appear to be anything special but there are a few key features which really set this watch apart from the crowd and it is already making waves before it has even launched.

This TomTom Runner Review is going to take a quick look this clever little running watch as well as taking you through what the watch does well and what still needs more work.

Review – Plus Points:

1) GPS Accuracy

As the Runner has been designed and created by a company that has made its name from GPS tracking and navigation technology you would expect it to have a pretty elaborate, complex and accurate GPS tracker. Thankfully this is exactly what TomTom offer and they have placed a lot of time and money into making this watch one of the most accurate and advanced GPS watches on the market.

The GPS tracker uses something called “hot fix” which means that you dont need to wait for all GPS satellites to be in range before the watch will let you start recording statistics. It has an intelligent chip which compensates for the odd drop in signal which ultimately means that you can get out running quicker. This is especially important for trail running as all too often have I been waiting in the freezing cold before a run as my watch attempts to find a signal.

Straight from the box the watch takes about 17 seconds to find a signal but this improves drastically with every firmware update (every time you plug it into the computer)

2) Simplicity

No TomTom Runner review would be complete if we didn’t talk a little bit about the user interface of the watch. Complex menus can be the death of a watch as nothing scares the user more than having to navigate a myriad of different options just to start running.

Thankfully simplicity if the name of the game when it comes to the TomTom Runner. The software behind the watch is incredibly easy to use and you can be up and running (literally) with three clicks.

The menu works in much the same way as the Nike+ SportWatch running watch as you navigate from “side to side” instead of in a breadcrumb manner.

Review – Negative Points:

1) Online Training Portal

Although this wouldn’t be a very good TomTom Runner review if I didn’t offer some constructive criticism I have to stress that this really is nitpicking.

The MySport web page is the TomTom version or something like the Garmin Connect Portal. If offers a simple and easy way for you to keep track of your total distance, times, speeds and calories but apart from that there is not much to the portal. Although upgrades are happening all the time there is very little going for the platform at the moment, and it is little more than a place to store your data. Hopefully if we give it a few months to develop then there should be some more advanced features on offer but at the moment it isn’t a great selling point for the Runner.

2) Too Simple?

Again this really is nitpicking here but the watch might have actually been made to be too simple! It is quite easy to accidentally cancel the training session that you are currently recording and end your run. This is especially annoying if you are on a long trail run or marathon training run as you want to see your essential training statistics in succession. All it would take is a simple software prompt as an extra check before finishing your run and this watch would be a very user friendly bit of kit.

That brings this TomTom Runner Review to a close. Largely this watch is a great bit of kit that offers very fast and accurate GPS tracking as well as being very simple and easy to use. Although it has some teething issues, considering this is Tom Tom’s first standalone bit of running GPS gadgetry it is a very good first offering and it set to be widely accepted by casual runners who have no need for an expensive and advanced running watch.

This post was written by Ross from the London Triathlon blog. Ross is a keen trail runner and triathlete currently living and working in London

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Ross originally started running at University whilst recovering from a Rugby injury. He found that endurance sports were more of his thing and went on to compete in cross country and club athletics both during and after university. He then went on to finish the UK Ironman Triathlon in 2011 and London Marathon in 2012. Ross can usually be found running and cycling around London Parks in the week but at weekends he likes to hit the trails and spends a lot of time in Snowdonia national park and the Lake District.

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