Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Review: TomTom Runner Cardio GPS Watch

Guest Review:  I'm pleased that Kyle offered to write up a review of the TomTom Runner Cardio for durtyfeets.com.  Kyle is my cousin but he is basically like my brother.  We've logged many miles together on roads and in the woods.  I value his opinion greatly on most things so I'm sure you'll find this review helpful.

Kyle purchased the TomTom Runner Cardio at Miles To Go Sports in Sutton, MA.  At Miles To Go, this model retails for $269.  You can also purchase the multisport version for $299.

Here's what Kyle has to say...

     Ok, so you know who is writing, I am Kyle Klockars. I'm a recreational runner who tends to put on about 1000 miles a year.  This is my second “running watch.” My first was a Garmin 405 with heart rate band.  That watch is getting, well tired so I purchased a new one from Miles to Go in Sutton MA.  Overall, I have been pleased with the watch.   I have run with the watch for about 4 weeks now to get a better overall feel for it and the more I use it the more potential I see.
So lets start off with the things that need improvement.  Most of them are repairable by software.  It would be nice if the split times were accessible somewhere in the activates log.  I use them to see my performance. Did I do negative splits on that last 3 miles, etc?  I would find it helpful if there was a way to re-position the display on the watch so the categories I am concerned about are together.  It would be nice to have current pace near heart rate so I don’t have to scroll thru eight different screens to see my heart rate while running.  What would be better is if you could select two or three screens that would scroll by with the data you want to monitor, go one step further and allow me to pause on one item and monitor it for say a hard push up a hill and then resume the scroll when I am done. Lastly the “current pace” still seems like some kind of average not a current pace.
What I do think is wrong with the design of the watch is the glass is exposed to impact.  Guys this is a sports watch I may drop it with my slippery hands and it may hit the ground.  Having the glass proud of the protective rubber watchband is too much form over function, at least offer a band to correct for this. 

     Ok! What did I like?  The heart rate monitor is, well awesome.  I had a chest band for the Garmin, which lasted like three runs as it felt like a boa constrictor while I was running.  The TomTom takes a few seconds to start reading and seems accurate based on my feel. 
The GPS is also accurate compared to my route with known distances.  It locks on to the satellites quickly, which was a real drag with my Garmin.  I have yet to try it on trails to see how it does there.  The Garmin always seems to loose accuracy there.
     I love the ability to sync with a Bluetooth device (my iPhone) so I don’t have to be at a computer to upload my run.  You still have to connect with a computer for software upgrades.  That isn't a big deal to me.
     The watch is comfortable and disappears on my wrist while running.  I like the looks. Just a little flash but to the average non-runner it is just a watch.  
I don’t like the securing for the tail of the watchband.  It is secure but usually rips the hair out of my arm trying to get it to fasten.
 I find the vibration notification feature easier to notice than a beep.  The watch also tracks your stride rate.

    Battery life seems good.  I have only used it for about an hour and a half at this point but it doesn't seem to loose much.  I am sure it would do a marathon with ease.

     I did have to deal with TomTom customer service to get it serviced (yup I dropped it with sweaty hands) they were very pleasant and efficient at getting it repaired. 
Overall I think the few shortcomings for the watches are being addressed in the constant updates to the software.  I would recommend the watch to a friend, and am pleased with my purchase.