I’m a sucker for fitness gadgets. Do they actually make me run faster, longer or further? Probably not, but I like the idea of looking at the numbers and graphs after my run and seeing how I’ve improved (or worsened), and try to beat that on my next run. I use different running apps and wear a Nike Fuelband religiously, but still that wasn’t enough for me.
See, the FuelBand doesn’t give have the detailed stats I crave and my apps drain my phone battery practically instantly. As my phone is tucked away whilst I run, I also can’t really access them until after I’ve finished. Enter the TomTom Multisport Cardio Watch. This bad boy landed on my desk quite some time ago, but injury prevented me from really testing it until now. The key feature of the watch is the new integrated heart rate monitor, as well as the ability to use it for running, swimming, cycling and even treadmill action. So does it tick all the right boxes?
FIT & STYLE
First things first, let’s talk style. The design is pretty cool: the wide perforated bracelet is flexible and breathable and the watch interface is clear and simple, with an easy navigating button below. If you don’t like the standard colours, you can just get different straps. It could easily be worn as an everyday watch, which is a nice bonus. The only negative is that it’s quite big, so on a small wrist like mine it can be a bit bulky.
The main change from TomTom’s normal running watch is that it can be used for running as well as swimming and cycling. The built in heart rate monitor works via an optical light underneath the watch, so no more need for those annoying chest straps. As you’d expect from a GPS company, it perfectly tracks your , although I do find it sometimes takes a little while for the signal to come through when I want to start a run. There’s different training options, like heart rate zone training, intervals and even the option to race yourself from a previously recorded run, a feature I love. Little vibrations keep you aware about your goal progress.
During your activity, the large screen shows your data bright and clear, and the navigation button makes it very easy to switch between different numbers such as pace, speed, distance, heart rate etc. The battery life with GPS usage is about 10 hours, which means the watch does need regular charging if you’re doing longer runs.
(I should note that I have not yet used the watch for swimming and cycling, so I can’t comment on its performance during those activities.)
You can access your basic data straight from the watch, or for a more detailed view (like maps) there’s the ability to sync it via Bluetooth to the TomTom MySports phone app or via USB to the TomTom website. The app is really easy to use and has the detailed data which some of the free running apps charge a premium for.
(these are not my stats, sadly)
The TomTom Multi Sport Cardio watch looks great and is easy to operate, even if you’re not tech-savvy. For me, the built-in heart rate monitor is a real game changer, having never done heart rate zone training before. During your activity, it is easy to access and switch between different data, and afterwards it’s just as simple to upload your activities to the app. The fact that it is waterproof and can be used for cycling and swimming makes this every triathlete’s dream come true. The only real negative for me is the battery life, which means yet another gadget that needs regular charging.
At £249.99, it’s not a cheap gadget so it’s probably not aimed at casual runners or fitness enthusiasts, but if you’re looking to take your running to the next level, I would definitely recommend it. And if you’re not planning on using it for cycling or swimming, there’s a cheaper run-only version available at £219.
Final verdict: 8/10
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