New Balance RunIQ Review Facts
New Balance is a brand usually known for its shoes, though they have released the RunIQ which is a fitness watch designed specifically for Android users. The watch boasts a big range of features, notably, GPS, phone notification and response, built in heart rate measuring, and Strava integration. This review will explore the positives and negatives of the watch.
The New Balance RunIQ is pretty much geared towards only running. This is very evident in the watch's design, being integrated very closely with New Balance’s running app and Strava straight out of the box. The data offered from these services is mostly for running and can be used to plan running workouts. The watch is waterproof, however it does not track swimming
. The watch could definitely be used for biking as well, as tracking biking
is very similar to track running, however, the workouts and information is mostly tailored towards running.
The New Balance RunIQ offers most features that would be expected of a running watch. One can track the length of their runs via the GPS sensor built into the watch. This of course also allows for pace
timers, and lap timers during runs. Laps can be set manually or automatically, which is a useful feature for workouts to be sure. The watch of course also functions as a traditional watch for time telling. It also features a backlight which can be turned on or off. Notably, the RunIQ also has a touch display, which is less common in fitness watches, but definitely seen more in smartwatches.
There is a pretty wide range of advanced features offered by the New Balance RunIQ, all of which are tailored towards running and running data. The New Balance RunIQ has a built in heart rate sensor, a trend that is pretty common among higher end running watches. The heart rate sensor is optical, meaning it uses light to measure heart rate. These types of sensors tend to be a bit more inaccurate than traditional straps, but still are a fairly good measuring tool, and a useful feature to have overall.
The New Balance RunIQ also has direct integration with the New Balance app and with Strava. The New Balance app itself doesn’t really provide much data about running, but serves more like a hub, linking to the Strava account and other settings. Strava is a pretty cool tool that allows runners to see popular routes in their area, and the best times that have been running on them, serving as a heat map of sorts. Another cool feature stems from the smartphone integration built into the RunIQ. This allows the watch to view and even respond to some notifications your phone receives while running. This is handy for those who don’t like to fumble with their phone while running.
Finally, the watch itself has 4 gigabytes of storage and is capable of playing music. This means that you can transfer your favorite songs to the watch, and listen to them while running via Bluetooth headphones, without having to lug your heavy phone around. This is a pretty cool feature to have as well, though playing music will add a bit to the battery drain.
Accuracy is pretty solid in the New Balance RunIQ. The GPS tracking is pretty spot on, as is to be expected of a GPS watch nowadays. It tracks distance pretty accurately, and consequently, it tracks pace and lap pace accurately as well. Most distance and elevation related stats should probably not be an issue with the RunIQ. The only real area where one might find issues with accuracy is in the heart rate
sensor. As mentioned above, heart rate sensors that are optical tend to be less accurate than traditional straps. For those who don’t require an extremely precise reading, this probably won’t be an issue with the watch. Those that do, however, might consider purchasing a strap for that extra accuracy.
The New Balance RunIQ syncs with the New Balance app and consequently the Strava
App via Bluetooth. The data is transferred to the apps fairly quickly, so long as the data is not backed up too much. The New Balance RunIQ also can connect to wireless headphones via Bluetooth, which lets you listen to music while running. This is great for those who enjoy listening to music but don’t want to lug around their heavy phones.
The New Balance app is the main hub for all activities with the watch. The New Balance app itself doesn’t have too much data available and is actually a bit ad-heavy which is a bit annoying. It serves as the center of all the apps, however, and setting an account up is required for the Strava account to work. Apart from the New Balance app, the watch is compatible with the standard host of running apps that is to be expected of a running watch. This includes Strava, through the New Balance app itself, Training Peaks, MapMyFitness, and more.
The New Balance RunIQ is a pretty comfortable watch overall. The band is made of silicone, a popular choice for bands. Silicone is decently flexible and light and doesn’t feel too cumbersome on the wrist. It also is not heavily affected by water which is a nice plus. The weight of the watch overall is pretty light as well, which bodes itself to be more comfortable. Comfort overall is a pretty strong suit of the New Balance RunIQ.
When it comes to style, the New Balance RunIQ is a pretty strong suitor. This is partly due to the fact that it was designed as a smartwatch, which tends to be more for everyday use than athletic watches are. The face is bigger than a lot of common watches, but it still is quite passable as a regular watch. The overall design is pretty clean and the watch has a simple but elegant design. Fashionably, the RunIQ is pretty strong, thanks to its design as a smartwatch.
Durability, though not horrible is probably not the strongest aspect of the New Balance RunIQ. Smartwatches tend to lack the ruggedness of sports watches, and this is the case for the RunIQ as well. The band should not have many issues, as it is a fairly standard silicone, which isn’t really prone to wear and tear in an egregious way. The face, however, is probably a bit less resistant to heavy drops and abrasions than a regular sports watch. The touchscreen probably contributes to this, as touch screens usually are less durable than nontouch enabled ones. Overall, the durability probably shouldn’t be an issue for most. For those who frequently drop their watch, or have had issues in the past, however, just note that the RunIQ, while not fragile, is definitely not the most heavy-duty watch around.
The face of the RunIQ is a pretty average when it comes to size, perhaps leaning slightly towards the smaller side for running watches. The face has a very clear display, that shows stats during runs, including distance, pace, heart rate, and also shows phone notifications. The face also is touch-enabled, which is especially common of smartwatches, though not really in regular sports watches. The touchscreen, though a cool feature, is a bit impractical for use during runs, especially with sweat, and users will probably be pushing the buttons located around the face instead. The face also has a backlight for clarity in nonlit areas, or at night.
The New Balance RunIQ has a silicone band. Silicone is a very common choice for watch bands, even out of the smartwatch world. Silicone is lightweight, and also does not feel overly imposing on the skin, which is nice, as uncomfortable bands are particularly grating on longer runs. Silicone also has the advantage of being water resistant, so you don’t have to worry about excessive sweat, or the watch getting splashed by anything. The band is 22 mm long, though it is replaceable should one need a shorter or longer band. Overall, the RunIQ’s band is pretty standard though it is definitely effective, and there are not too many negatives to it.
The RunIQ itself is only available in one size. The watch weighs about 73 grams or 2.6 ounces. While not extremely light by any means, the weight is decent for a smartwatch or fitness watch. The band, as mentioned above is 22m, a pretty standard length that should fit most people. For those with smaller or larger wrists, the band is replaceable.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is pretty good in the New Balance Run IQ. The general running watch features, such as starting runs, lapping, and recording distance, pace, and heart rate are fairly straightforward using either the touch interface or the buttons on the face. General use for the watch is, of course, pretty simple as well, as nothing needs to be done for the watch to function as a traditional one. The more complicated features might be challenging for those who have never used them before, but for those who have general experience with smartwatches should not have too much trouble. This includes things like syncing the watch with the New Balance app, transferring music to the watch, or using and responding to push notifications on the watch itself. For those that don’t have much experience, the resources provided to help a good bit. Overall, using the New Balance RunIQ should not be an issue for most runners.
The New Balance RunIQ is available for about 300 dollars from New Balance itself though it can probably be found for a bit cheaper elsewhere. 300 dollars for the features offered in the RunIQ is pretty average. The watch is pretty basic in terms of running and sports capabilities, and where it really tries to set itself apart is with its smartwatch capabilities like push notifications and music storage. It doesn’t do terrible at this, and overall the price works out to be decent though not great.
The New Balance RunIQ doesn’t have too many specific accessories, but there are some available. As mentioned, the strap is replaceable, so those who have a specific size, material, or color preference can change their strap however they desire. The watch is also compatible with most sets of bluetooth headphones
, which can be used to listen to music while running. External heart rate straps are also an option for those who want more specific heart rate readings than those offered by the optical sensor.
- Touchscreen face
- Music storage
- Push notification response
- GPS distance tracking
- Smartphone integration
Overall, the New Balance RunIQ is a decent watch. It does offer some pretty good features, but it is a bit lacking in some areas. The sports capabilities of it are pretty limited, confined mostly to running. The battery life is also a bit of a disappointment. The smartwatch features are pretty nice, but they are not really enough to make the watch unique. For the price, the RunIQ is very average. The biggest problem is that it is not exactly sports oriented
enough, nor smartwatch oriented enough but is somewhere in between which makes it average overall. That said, for those who want a watch that can balance the two, and are primarily focused on running, the RunIQ is not a bad choice, especially if found for cheaper than retail.