Adidas miCoach Smart Run Smartwatch review: Hands-on

We take Adidas' new running-focused smartwatch for 5-mile spin

What is a hands on review?
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Adidas MiCoach Smart Run Smartwatch review
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Adidas MiCoach Smart Run Smartwatch review
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Adidas MiCoach Smart Run Smartwatch review
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Adidas MiCoach Smart Run Smartwatch review
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Adidas MiCoach Smart Run Smartwatch review
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Adidas MiCoach Smart Run Smartwatch review
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Adidas MiCoach Smart Run Smartwatch review
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Adidas MiCoach Smart Run Smartwatch review
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Adidas MiCoach Smart Run Smartwatch review
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Adidas MiCoach Smart Run Smartwatch review

The first thing you need to know about the Adidas miCoach Smart Run smartwatch is that it's not really a smartwatch in the vein of a Samsung Galaxy Gear or the Sony SmartWatch 2.

This is first and foremost a running watch. It's a run and heart rate tracking device with some smartwatch touches but this isn't about answering your phone and talking into your wrist like Dick Tracy, it's about making you a faster runner.

For that reason its real competitors are the likes of the Polar RC3 GPS, the TomTom Runner GPS and the Garmin Forerunner series.

We've taken it for our first 5-mile run around London's Hyde Park and here are our first impressions.

Adidas miCoach Smart Run: Design

Lined up next to the competition the Smart Run is fairly big but you don't really feel that once it's on your wrist. Big it might be but it's not heavy and the curved underside combined with a soft-touch silicon strap mean it's actually very comfortable.

Far more so than the TomTom Runner with it's slightly more plastic strap and hard edges underneath. The Smart Runner just feels a bit more ergonomic.

One other big advantage of the Smart Run is the built-in heart rate monitor that sits on the underside of the watch, calculating your heart rate on your wrist without the need for a chest strap.

In our first outing it picked up a heart rate almost instantaneously and monitored it consistenly throughout the five miles.

Adidas miCoach Smart Run: Set-up

Setting up the Smart Run does take some time. First up, you'll need to have an Adidas miCoach account already set up. If you don't then you'll need to be by a PC.

The Smart Run won't work until you've gone through the process of connecting it to your miCoach profile so in addtion, you'll also need to be on a decent Wi-Fi connection when you first set it up.

There aren't many steps to the process of setting up the watch itself. The most cumbersome part being the fiddly typing required to input your email address. It's a great example of why people will never type texts on smartwatches.

Once you've got Wi-Fi the whole set up should take no longer than five minutes and then you're ready to run.

The inclusion of a Quick Start option on the home screen makes starting a free workout super simple. Just tap the Quick Start button, choose the options you want from GPS, heart rate, workout type (running, cycling, wlaking, nordic skiing), Auto lap and whether you want to connect a Bluetooth heaphones. After that the watch searches for GPS and heart rate and once you get a lock you're good to go.

In our first test it was quick to find GPS. Only marginally slower than the TomTom Runner in a fairly built-up part of London.

During the run the information is easy to see on the Smart Run's sizable 1.45-inch colour touchscreen. Moving between your vital stats (pace, heart rate, speed, splits, time, distance) was easy enough on the move with the touchscreen nice and responsive.

We didn't get the chance to test it but there is a built-in MP3 player, allowing you to load up your iTunes and MP3 music by dragging them into a folder on your computer and syncing via USB.

You can then use the Smart Run's Bluetooth 4.0 work to pair Bluetooth headphones giving you control of your running playlist from your wrist. For those of us who've gone to cloud-based music services it's real shame there's no Spotify.

Another nice touch is the ability to lock the touchscreen to avoid accidentally pausing, stopping or consigning that half marathon personal best to history but only realising once you cross the finish line.

Adidas miCoach Smart Run: Stats

We put in a first 5-mile run with the Adidas miCoach Smart Run at the same time as using the TomTom Runner and Endomondo Premium running on a Samsung Galaxy S4. Here's how the stats matched up:

Endomondo
Distance: 8.65km
Ave pace: 5:29 min/km
Calories: 808

TomTom Runner
Distance: 8.79km
Ave pace: 5:17 min/km
Calories: 681

Adidas miCoach Smart Run
Distance: 8.67km
Ave pace: 5:31 min/km
Calories: 725

Adidas miCoach Smart Run: Verdict

While more time is needed to test things like GPS accuracy and battery life, the Smart Runner looks like next-generation running watch. It's well designed, looks good and packs all the functionality to suit the more casual runner and the amateur working towards a personal best. Stay tuned for a full review

Adidas miCoach Smart Run release date: 1 November 2013

Adidas miCoach Smart Run price: £295

Adidas miCoach Smart Run video hands-on

Hit play to see our first run through with the new GPS running watch from Adidas.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.