Best TomTom Running GPS Watches Compared & Reviewed

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Running watches are an excellent and convenient way to monitor progress, sustain motivation and track your goals.  If your need is to set new personal bests, measure your development or just keep an eye on your statistics, it is a gadget you can’t really do without.  It is a great solution for those both new to running and for seasoned veterans alike.  This guide looks at the best TomTom running watches currently on the market.

Last Updated: August 31, 2017
By Gerrard Isherwood:

This guide has been updated to include the third-generation model of the Runner watch.  This model supersedes the second-generation model by introducing a limited number of new features: added trails mode, a compass and increased battery life, thereby being a refreshed model due to having new technology rather than being a significant upgrade.    

 

TomTom Runner 3 Cardio + Music
  • TomTom Runner 3 Cardio + Music
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • GPS, music, heart rate monitor
  • Price: See Here
TomTom Spark 3 Cardio GPS Watch
  • TomTom Spark 3 Cardio GPS Watch
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Cardio + Pulse Rate
  • Price: See Here
TomTom Spark 3 GPS Cardio + Music
  • TomTom Spark 3 GPS Cardio + Music
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Cardio & Music + Heart Rate Monitor
  • Price: See Here

10 Best TomTom Running GPS watches

 


TomTom Runner 3 Cardio + Music

This top of the range TomTom Runner 3 is a serious runners watch, offering useful and worthy upgrades on the previous Runner 2 model, the most beneficial being a longer lasting battery on top of now incorporating the most up-to-date versions of technology. The heart-rate monitor is more accurate, as is the Bluetooth which is used for both connection to the smart App and the headphones for making use of the in-built music player.
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Ease of Use
This revised version of the Runner model offers improved reliability and functionality across all aspects of the watch, most importantly in the GPS, Cardio and Music areas.

Aesthetics
The design remains on point, being understated and subtle, offering two sizes of strap.

Cost
This is the top of the Runner 3 range, incorporating GPS, Cardio and Music functionality, so you should expect to pay a premium. Now that this third-generation version has improved reliability, the cost can most likely be justified for the above the Music or Cardio only models in the range.
Pros

The watch is laden with useful features, allowing measurement and tracking of progress in many ways.

Version 3 brings improved battery life, heart-monitor, GPS and Bluetooth.

For serious runners and casuals alike, music and pulse monitors are two fantastic additions. This really is the next generation of running equipment.

Cons

Some users state that the strap can be weak and prone to breaking.



TomTom Runner 3 GPS Cardio

This offers the same useful and worthy upgrades on the previous Runner 2 model, also offering the features of the top of the range TomTom Runner 3 with the exclusion of the music player. It still benefits from a longer lasting battery as well as incorporating the most up-to-date versions of technology. The heart-rate monitor is more accurate, as is the Bluetooth which in this case is used only for connection to the smart App.
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Ease of Use
This revised version of the Runner model offers improved reliability and functionality across all aspects of the watch, most importantly in the GPS and Cardio areas.

Aesthetics
The design remains on point, being understated and subtle, offering two sizes of strap.

Cost
The cost of incorporating an improved heart rate monitor but not a music player is reflected in the cost and will no doubt be attractive to the majority of runners who value heart-monitoring over the inclusion of music.
Pros

The watch is laden with useful features, allowing measurement and tracking of progress in many ways.

Version 3 brings improved battery life, heart-monitor, GPS and Bluetooth.

For serious runners and casuals alike, being for those who have no need of the music functionality offered in other models in the range.

Cons

Some users state that the strap can be weak and prone to breaking.



TomTom Runner 3 GPS Music

This is the model of the Runner 3 range which offers both GPS and an in-built music player. It has the same useful and worthy upgrades on the previous Runner 2 model, also offering the features of the top of the range TomTom Runner 3 with the exclusion of the heart-rate monitor. As this is still a Runner 3 model it still benefits from a longer lasting battery as well as incorporating the most up-to-date versions of technology, with the Bluetooth showing improved connection to both the smart App and headphones.
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Ease of Use
This revised version of the Runner model offers improved reliability and functionality across all aspects of the watch, most importantly in the GPS and Music areas.

Aesthetics
The design remains on point, being understated and subtle, offering two sizes of strap.

Cost
The cost of incorporating a music player but not a heart rate monitor is reflected in the cost and will most likely only be attractive to the runners who already have an independent heart-rate monitor.
Pros

The watch is laden with useful features, allowing measurement and tracking of progress in many ways. 

Version 3 brings improved battery life, GPS and Bluetooth.

For serious runners and casuals alike, being for those who have no need of the heart-rate monitor functionality offered in other models in the range.

Cons

Some users state that the strap can be weak and prone to breaking.

TomTom Runner 3 GPS

This is the most basic model of the Runner 3 range, offering only GPS as a premium feature. It foregoes the heart-rate monitor and an in-built music player which are available in other Runner 3 models. However, it has the same useful and worthy upgrades on the previous Runner 2 model, still benefiting from a longer lasting battery as well as incorporating the most up-to-date versions of technology, with the Bluetooth showing improved connection to the smart App.
Expand to see more
Ease of Use
This revised version of the Runner model offers improved reliability and functionality across all aspects of the watch, most importantly in the GPS area.

Aesthetics
The design remains on point, being understated and subtle, offering two sizes of strap.

Cost
This is the budget version of the Runner 3 range and represents value for money against the more premium offerings.
Pros

Even though being a basic model, the watch is laden with useful features, allowing measurement and tracking of progress in many ways. 

Version 3 brings improved battery life, GPS and Bluetooth.

It does the basics extremely well.

Cons

Some users state that the strap can be weak and prone to breaking.

TomTom Spark 3 GPS Cardio + Music

On par with the Runner 3 top of the range model, this Spark 3 gives the best of TomTom GPS watches. All the functionality a serious sports participant would need, presented in a fantastic package. GPS, heart-rate monitor, 3GB of music and great usability. It is pricey it is one of the best if you are willing to spend the money.
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Ease of Use
As with the other modern TomTom models, everything here works very well and is simple to implement.

Aesthetics
Again, like the other models, this looks great. The design remains on point, being understated and subtle, offering two sizes of strap.

Cost
With this premium model you get what you pay for – the functionality is great, as are the music and heart-rate features. It does it all.
Pros

As with the Runner 3 the watch is laden with useful features, allowing measurement and tracking of progress in many ways. 

Great battery life, heart-monitor, GPS and Bluetooth.

This is another really serious piece of equipment which gathers all of your needs and packs them into one handy little gadget.

Cons

Some users state that the strap can be weak and prone to breaking.

TomTom Spark 3 GPS Cardio

This version of the Spark 3 come with the same premium features and functions as the top of the range Spark 3 including the heart-rate monitor but excludes the music player. As such, if you are more interested in tracking your pulse and not too bothered about listening to music during your activities, then this may be one of the best TomTom watches for you.
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Ease of Use
The ease and function of everything here, as with all Spark 3 versions, is very good, and the added pulse functionality is very easy to manage and understand.

Aesthetics
This has exactly the same appearance as the other versions of the Spark 3 range. It looks good.

Cost
This is slightly more expensive than the TomTom 3 with music, owing to the cardio monitor technology, however, you are paying for high-end functionality and accuracy, all wrapped up in one fantastic device.
Pros

The watch incorporates a wealth of useful features, allowing measurement and tracking of progress in many ways. 

Excellent battery life, heart-monitor, GPS and Bluetooth.

For serious runners and casuals alike, being for those who have no need of the music functionality offered in other models in the range.

 

Cons

Some users state that the strap can be weak and prone to breaking.

TomTom Spark 3 GPS Music

The TomTom Spark 3 with Music brings the fantastic functionality and features of the TomTom Spark 3 with the added benefit of 3GB of music, which translates as over 500 music tracks. This non-cardio version still benefits from a long-lasting battery as well as incorporating the most up-to-date versions of technology.
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Ease of Use
This music player version of the Spark 3 offers great reliability and functionality across all aspects of the watch, most importantly in the GPS and Music areas.

Aesthetics
The design remains discreet and unfussy, offering two sizes of strap.

Cost
The cost of incorporating a music player but not a heart rate monitor is reflected in the cost and will most likely only be attractive to the runners who already have an independent heart-rate monitor.
Pros

The watch is laden with useful features, allowing measurement and tracking of progress in multiple ways. 

Great battery life, GPS and Bluetooth.

For serious runners and casuals alike, being for those who have no need of the heart-rate monitor functionality offered in other models in the range.

Cons

Some users state that the strap can be weak and prone to breaking.

TomTom Spark 3 GPS

This is the most basic model of the Spark 3 range, offering only GPS as a premium feature. It foregoes the heart-rate monitor and an in-built music player which are available in other Spark 3 models. However, it has many useful and worthy features, still benefiting from a long-lasting battery as well as incorporating the up-to-date technology, with the Bluetooth showing improved connection to the smart App.
Expand to see more
Ease of Use
This basic Spark 3 model offers good reliability and functionality across all aspects of the watch, most importantly in the GPS area.

Aesthetics
The design remains true to the range, being discreet and unfussy, offering two sizes of strap.

Cost
This is the budget version of the Spark 3 range and represents value for money against the more premium offerings.
Pros

Even though being the basic Spark 3 model, the watch is laden with useful features, allowing measurement and tracking of progress in many ways.

Good battery life, GPS and Bluetooth.

It does the basics extremely well.

Cons

Some users state that the strap can be weak and prone to breaking.

TomTom Adventurer GPS Cardio + Music

If you are passionate about your outdoor activities, not just running, then this is the TomTom watch for you. Combining GPS, heart-rate monitor, music player, along with multiple outdoor sports modes (hike, bike, swim, gym, ski to name a few) this adds up to a serious device for a serious adventurer.
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Ease of Use
This watch has it all and allows it to be accessed and implemented with ease. GPS, Compass and Barometer Tracking. All give real-time stats adding up to an ultimate watch which even a seasoned experienced outdoor pioneer would be impressed with.

Aesthetics
Even with all its design features and functionality, the Adventurer keeps itself in-line with the rest of the TomTom watch range, being both understated and subtle.

Cost
Yes, this is a feature packed watch and so has a premium price. Those considering this adventure model over regular running watches will find that it does indeed offer good value for money.
Pros

A fully laden feature packed watch, perhaps allowing the ultimate measurement and tracking of progress for extreme runners. 

Great battery life, heart-monitor, GPS and Bluetooth.

A very serious piece of equipment which gathers all of your needs and packs them into one serious little gadget.

Cons

Some users state that the strap can be weak and prone to breaking.

TomTom Multi-Sport GPS Cardio

An older model, possibly appearing outdated next to the Runner 3 and Spark 3, but still a good value TomTom watch offering the user core functionality. A large display allows progress and cardio to be monitored easily and simply, thus allowing the wearer to stay focused on achieving their core goals.
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Ease of use
The extra-large display allows simple distraction free monitoring of activities such as cycling, running or swimming, making this watch far from obsolete and one of the easiest to watches from TomTom.

Aesthetics
Even with the large display the watch is light weight and slim in design, allowing it to fit wrists comfortably.

Cost
Now possibly showing its age, with the Runner 3 and Spark 3 ranges offering better value for money. However, the price may be worth it for focussed free running.
Pros

Large display allows distraction free monitoring of sporting activities.

Easy operation due to its one button control for all menus that is easy to navigate. 

Has features such as a graphical training partner to assist with training and help wearers stay motivated, along with its robust heart-rate monitor to help keep track of cardio activity.

Cons

Lack of fitness tracking for popular activities, such gym exercises.

Now superseded by the Runner 3 and Spark 3 ranges.

 

Overall, this guides shows the evolution of the TomTom Runner watch.  The earliest and cheapest model will do what is needed at the basic level, but with no frills.  If extra features are desired there is a requirement to dig deeper in terms of money, for functionality such as heart-rate monitoring and the ability to play music from the watch itself, with the results absolutely worth the investment.

All of these devices will provide basic GPS tracking and performance monitoring, with the pricier and more premium models being where the quality and features shine – and they come with the added benefit of more reliable and consistent functionality.


The Criteria We Used for Our Evaluation of the Best TomTom GPS Watches

Watches are an accessory intended to keep us informed of the time of day and to complement our outfit.  However, a GPS running watch needs to be much more than a pretty time telling device.  It needs to be able to track every metric of a run, as well as a route, so being able to analyze the effectiveness of training and thus allowing the opportunity for improvement.

There is a set of metrics we applied when choosing the TomTom GPS Watches that made our list.  The metrics we used are based on product research and reviews about the TomTom GPS Watches that are available on the market, as well as questions that are commonly asked about TomTom GPS Watches.  Each of the key factors in creating our list of the best TomTom GPS Watches is explained below.

It must be User-friendly

A watch that you wear while out on a run has to be easy to use while you are in motion.  If you have to interrupt your run to use a feature on the watch, it most likely isn’t a good choice to use as a running watch.

A running watch should be easy to operate mid-stride and should have a large display that makes it easy and quick to view. The locations of the buttons or touchscreen functions should be convenient and make sense to the average runner so that the use of the watch enhances the run, rather than inhibit it.

Find the functions which suit your use

Modern watches offer quite a few features, to the point that it can be overwhelming to try and decide if one watch is better than another.  But luckily, you have RunnerClick to help you make a decision!

Some features, in addition to GPS, that a watch can provide are music capabilities, heart-rate monitoring, distance tracking, pace tracking, third-party app connectivity, smartphone connectivity, and pre-programmed workouts.  And… that is not an exhaustive list!

The features and functions offered by the GPS watches on our list were taken into serious consideration during our research.  It is important that these functions enhance your run and make you the best runner you can be, rather than become a hindrance to your performance.

It has to look good 

Does this seem silly?  Absolutely.  A pretty watch won’t make you a better runner. But let’s be honest- we, as consumers, buy accessories (like GPS watches) because they provide us with a function we need and we like how they look.

According to psychological research, the style of our clothing and accessories provides us more than just a fashionable look. Liking the style of the things we wear on our bodies, watches included, actually, boosts self-esteem, is empowering, and demonstrates to ourselves and others that we respect our bodies.  These are definitely three qualities to have as a successful and happy runner!

Find an option within your budget 

Money is important, and most people live on a budget.  The cost of technological accessories, like a GPS watch, can be prohibitive to many individuals, nor does RunnerClick want to encourage runners to empty their bank accounts just to have the latest in GPS watch technology.

What we do want, however, is for our readers to know what technology is available and how much it will cost so that they can purchase a watch that meets their needs and fits into their budgets.  Or, if they have their eyes set on a watch a little out of their price range, they can save to buy it later.

 Important Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best TomTom GPS Watch For You

Typically, when runners are presented with a wide range of similar products offering a slight variance of features, they can get a little confused. In fact, most runners agree that an exhaustive number of products and features can sometimes be overwhelming when selecting new technology to incorporate into their regimen.  To help our readers along with their search, and to provide a clear and concise list of things to consider when selecting their a GPS watch like this, we have compiled the key factors to keep in mind to maximize the positive impact that such an important tool like this can have on your run.

  • Metrics

The first thing to consider is your preference when it comes to the level of incorporation that you are comfortable with. Some runners do not like to keep track of advanced metrics such as heart rate or elevation.  They simply want to strap on their gear and use it’s large and easy to read display to maintain their pace and not much else.  Furthermore, keep in mind that with more metrics comes a heftier price tag and more menus to navigate through the interface.

The benefits of a running GPS unit for example, makes it a perfect choice for hardcore runners that just want to keep track of their distance, run time, and pace.  Although it also has training modes, they won’t get in the way of your run and a one-button control method is ideal if you don’t feel the need to have a lot of advanced data on your run or simply don’t want an excessive amount of technology or consider yourself to be “old school”.  You will get all the great benefits of a GPS device without having to own a smartphone or even connect it to a computer (although it supports this functionality).

  • Music

Another question that you should ask yourself is: how important is music to your run? A large population of runners have actually found that music with a strong beat has helped them to keep their movements consistent and on pace. One of the best benefits to taking the leap into utilizing a one of these is being able to leave your cell phone or MP3 player at home and streamlining your training without sacrificing the motivation that your favourite playlist can bring to your daily run or intense marathon. Just be sure to select a model with the “+ Music”.

  • Trackable Activities

Another important factor to consider is what you will be doing with your particular model and where would you like to take it.  TomTom goes above and beyond to bring cutting-edge technology to athletes everywhere, so it’s crucial to pick one that’s right for your sport.  For example, if you plan on taking advantage of its waterproof design and keeping track of laps in the swimming pool and having all day battery life, the Runner 3 or Spark 3 Cardio is your best bet.  It’s their answer to most fitness-lifestyle minded individuals who like to keep track of sleep, calories burned throughout the day, and swims to name just a few “all day long” activities.

  • Wearability

Think about your comfort levels when it comes to wearing a watch all day long to get all the advantages of the unit.  Are you looking for a “run only” watch, or do you need a more robust adventurer time piece?  All the options are covered above.

  • Running Enhancements

Finally, and perhaps the most crucial thing to consider when selecting your model: What will it do for your run?  Sometimes runners or cross trainers can forget just how critical maintaining focus and pace can be during a run or specific exercise.  They are really good about not overlooking this important factor.  Whenever runners have to fumble with a bulky cellphone in their pockets or strapped to their arms (of all places), they lose invaluable focus on endurance and pace.  This company has developed a number of GPS watches that will keep track of advanced metrics and play music, all while being tucked conveniently out of the way and available at a glance.

We hope that we have helped you to consider what factors are most important to you how to best match them with the right model for their needs, we have also compiled some frequently asked questions that most users had when making their choice.


FAQ

In order to further assist in your search, we have researched just a little bit more to see what others had for questions and concerns while shopping for TomTom GPS watches. Hopefully these will help answer some of the question you might have as well.

 

Q: I am already using Nike + on my smartphone, are these watches compatible and if so, will I lose my current data?

A: All of their GPS watches are compatible with Nike +, as well as with Endomondo, Strava, Runkeeper, and MapMyRun. Additionally, no data is lost when switching over. Just be sure to follow the instructions for this process.

Q: I run outdoors about once a week, but I use a treadmill more often. Will this still keep track of my distance, even though I’m running in place?

A: Yes, their technology captures your strides to keep track of you distance as well as pace without the need for a foot or heel pod. Whether outdoor running, indoor running, or treadmill running.

Q: Can I set a distance goal for myself and track progress without having to look at the watch itself?

A: Yes, the watches can be set to alert you when you are halfway there, almost there, and when you’ve made it via beep and vibration. Additionally, you can set time and calorie goals as well, no matter which model you choose.

 

Q: I have an above average body fat that does not allow chest sensors to accurately measure my heart rate, will I have a similar problem with the their Cardio models?

A: No, the Cardio models measure your heartbeat by shining light through your skin and onto your capillary veins, then it measures the reflection feedback. It’s accurate and is not affected by body hair, skin type, or body fat percentage.

 

Q: Is there a subscription service or a fee for keeping track of metrics or storing information long-term?

A: No, you can pair any TomTom watch to your iPhone or Andriod device for free via their app stores. From there you can configure the app preferences as well as keeping records of all your activities. You will have to create a free account using an email address. You can also do this on your computer by downloading the free MySports Connect program directly from their website.

 

Q: What is the storage capacity of the TomTom Spark Music?

A: Any model with “music” in the name (the Spark 3 or Runner 3) can store about 500 songs. Additionally they also come equipped with audio performance feedback for a clear, crisp sound.


Here is a list of sources we used when conducting our research:

We utilize many different resources while trying to provide the best information to our readers. Some are scholarly or clinical sources, some are information provided by medical and dietary professionals, and some sources are even other sites which may specialize in information that is relevant to our topic.

 

Sources

  1. Kieran Alger, How to Choose and Buy the Right Running Watch for You, Informational Technology Website, Jan 04, 2017
  2. Sally McGraw, 4 Important Links Between Personal Style and Positive Self-Image, Informational News Website, Oct 18, 2012
  3. Joachim Bardua, What are the differences – TomTom Spark 3, TomTom Runner 3, TomTom Adventurer, Informational News Website, Dec 13, 2016
  4. the5krunner, Review Website, Sep 20, 2016
  5. tomtom.com, Forums, Aug 31, 2017
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