A runners watch that uses GPS to track your speed is the latest from TomTom. With simple operations performed by just one button, the TomTom Runner is a runner’s watch that will monitor your pace, allow you to adjust your speed, and always come in faster than your previous performance.
The TomTom Runner is set up to monitor your running on either a road course or on a treadmill. As you run, it will display distance, time and pace. Pressing the button up and down cycles you through the displayed information. Press left to stop when you’re done and press right if you start again.
For training purposes you can set your goal pace and the watch will constantly monitor whether you are ahead or behind of your intended pace.
With many sports watches, smaller stature people often find the wrist bands way too large, and they don’t fit well on their wrists. The last thing you want while you run it to have the watch flopping around. The TomTom Runner will never do that as its band has adjustment holes punched the entire length and will fit the smallest wrist. The watch itself is also amazingly thin considering there is a GPS tracker onboard.
If color is an issue, TomTom Runner has that covered as well. The watch face and one-touch button simply snap out of the band, allowing you to substitute a new color band to match your wardrobe.
The Runner uses QuickGPSFix technology which helps you quickly locate the GPS satellites so you are ready to run much more quickly. Simply attach your watch to your laptop to update the quick fix location as you travel. (Even if you don’t have a laptop, the GPS will still work – it just takes a little longer to locate all the relevant satellites before you start.)
When you select RUN, the GPS measures your distance traveled. When you select TREADMILL, it uses an internal motion sensor to measure your strides on the treadmill. From here it estimates your speed and distance traveled based on your height profile. I was delighted with the accuracy of the treadmill function - within 2% of the reading on my machine. There's even a Calibrate function to fine tune it further.
There are five choices for training purposes:
None – just measure and report your statistics
Goals – select from distance, time or calories. You’ll be alerted at 50%, 90%, 100% and 110% completion.
Laps – time per lap desired, distance per lap desired, or manually record each time you complete a lap.
Zones – Pace lets you set your intended time per mile (km) and a margin above or below that you allow yourself. Speed lets you set your target speed. Heart lets you measure heart rate with the optional monitor.
Race – In this mode, you can load a previous race or a predefined race. As you run, the watch will show distance to go and how far you are ahead or behind the pace you set as a target.
If you listen to music while you run, you’ll appreciate that the watch vibrates if your pace is off. You don’t need to keep constantly checking your watch face to make sure you’re running the race you want to run. The watch can be set to make an audible clicking sound, vibrate or both.
When your run is finished, merely plug the special USB cable into your watch to recharge it and to upload your stats to the cloud, where you can track your progress and share your results with social media if you like.
The TomTom Runner is Bluetooth ready, so you can add on an optional heart rate monitor and other Bluetooth Smart accessories. In addition to the running functions, the Runner also displays time in 12 or 24 hour format along with an alarm function – complete with snooze button. At night, you can set the backlight to come on temporarily or stay on permanently.
To see all its capabilities, download the owner’s manual. (There is also a “Multi-Sport” model that also adds cycling and swimming. They both use the same manual, so don’t get confused about the additional capabilities of that watch.)
If you are looking for a simple to use, but feature-rich runner’s watch, you’ll do well to consider the TomTom Runner. If you also enjoy cycling and swimming, consider the MultiSport. Both are available online and at dealers worldwide.
Doug Bardwell, based in Cleveland, OH, writes about interesting new travel technology topics, across the country and around the world at DougBardwell.com. Feel free to drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions for future products to be reviewed. If you've ever used one of the products he's reviewed, please leave your thoughts in the comment box below. To get his stories delivered to your inbox, click the RSS feed or the "Subscribe" button above or follow him on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. To read Doug’s disclosure notice, click here.