TomTom Runner review
TomTom Runner reviewT3
TomTom has gone it alone with its latest GPS tracking watch - the TomTom Runner. With the Nike collaboration over, what's new, and what's improved?
TomTom Runner review
- Simple to use
- Rapid to set up
- New strap with removable face
- No micro USB charging
We first saw TomTom put its GPS smarts into a running watch with the launch a few years back of the Nike+ TomTom SportWatch. It was a simple device aimed at putting the essential running stats where the recreational runner could see them - on their wrists. The new TomTom Runner is a similar tool.
The Nike branding and collaboration may have gone, but many of the features we saw in the Nike TomTom SportWatch still remain along with a few improvements.
Before we deliver our verdict, it's worth noting where this watch sits in the grand scheme of GPS run tracking watches.
Just like the original TomTom watch, this is an entry-level device that offers more for the couch to half marathon runners, or first time marathoners, than the seasoned amateur looking to shave seconds off a personal best.
TomTom Runner: Design and Build
The TomTom Runner is lightweight, durable and more subtle looking than its predecessor, although some of the Nike-inspired flourishes of colour are still there.
One of the biggest changes is the decision to put the controls on a separate four-way button below the watchface.
This new square toggle four-way control makes using the watch while you're running far easier. It's a big improvement on the previous Nike+ SportWatch where the touchscreen at times made it hard to control on the move.
There's still no option to lock the buttons but the placement of the controls means it's unlikely you'll accidentally knock them. In fact, in our tests it didn't happen once.
While TomTom has been smart with the new controls, for some reason those smarts went out of the window when it decided to make the watch detachable from the wrist strap. The problem here is that all too often and all too easily the two become separated. We found this happening even when the watch was on the wrist, unless the strap is done up tightly.
The result? We often found ourselves scrabbling around in our gym bag searching for the missing brains to the Runner.
Charging is still a problem too. TomTom is not alone in using a different connector to charge its GPS watch, Garmin and the Suunto Ambit are guilty of this too, but having to carry yet another special USB cable around is irritating. What we really want is micro USB charging like you find on the Polar RC3.
Once the watch is powered up and on your wrist, it's comfortable to wear. It certainly feels lighter than some, which is a bonus. It's also waterproof to 50m so you don't have to worry about getting it wet.
TomTom Runner: Screen
What you see on your TomTom Runner screen is customisable with seven options to choose from for both the top left and top right hand side.
The simplicity of data displayed on screen has been carried over from the Nike+ TomTom SportWatch and this is really welcome. Too often GPS running and tracking watches can overcomplicate the types and amount of information crammed into one screen. This puts all your vitals - pace, distance, elapsed time - in one place.
The light works with a simple tap of the screen in the same way as the old Nike TomTom SportWatch, but with the other functions now managed by the controller there's no danger of pausing or stopping your tracking when you're just trying to throw some light on your stats during those dark winter night runs.
Unfortunately there's no way to keep the screen lit, a good thing for preserving battery life, but the option would be nice.
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