TomTom Runner Cardio Review Facts
The TomTom Runner Cardio is a running-specific watch, as its name implies. It is a bit lower cost than other fitness watches, and its goal is to provide a simple but effective tracker for those who want to view their running data. Though simple, it does its job well and is a great watch in particular for those looking to get their first GPS watch.
The TomTom Runner Cardio is primarily geared towards running. Its modes are reflective of this, and it offers a good amount of tools for running, including interval
modes, heart rate zone measuring, and lap times.
Apart from running, the TomTom Runner Cardio is not really suited for most activities. It can be used for walking measurement, and also for general distance and speed tracking with activities like biking or skateboarding, but it is primarily optimized for running. This is especially true for workouts.
The TomTom Runner Cardio offers basic features that would be expected from a standard running watch. The watch of course functions as a traditional watch with time and date settings. It measures distance via GPS and time traveled during a run by navigating to the run option, and can also track laps and pace. As mentioned above, it is also capable of displaying heart rate
zones, and for setting intervals for training. The TomTom Runner Cardio is also waterproof to an extent, so it can be kept on when swimming casually, though it won’t track data. Finally, the watch has a backlight, which allows it to be more useful in non-lit areas, at the cost of more battery.
When it comes to advanced features, the TomTom Runner Cardio does not particularly stand out. This is mostly because it is focused only on running but what it offers in the way of running is definitely very solid. The TomTom Runner Cardio features a built-in heart rate sensor
, which is a major change from the previous model. This can be used to view heart rate data, and make use of the heart rate zones feature without the use of an additional strap or accessory, which is very convenient. The watch will still sync with other heart rate monitors though, should one choose to use that over the built-in one.
Another useful feature of the watch is its ability to sync with the TomTom smartphone app. Like most smartwatches, this is done wirelessly via Bluetooth. A host of running data is viewable in the app. Some users have noted that syncing the data can take a long time, however, which can definitely be off-putting for some. The TomTom Runner Cardio’s GPS unit can also be removed, which is a pretty unique and handy feature. You can take it off and use it to measure both general distance and time traveled with activities like biking. For training, this will probably be inadequate, but just to keep track of some stats for fun, this is a pretty cool feature that many watches do not have.
Accuracy is pretty strong
in the TomTom Runner Cardio. The GPS unit itself is fairly precise and does a good job of recording a correct distance. Consequently, the pace timers are also pretty accurate. The time measurements are, of course, accurate as well for general time telling and for stopwatch use. The only area that has any question when it comes to accuracy is probably the heart rate sensor. The TomTom Runner Cardio has an optical heart rate sensor. These work by using light flashes on the skin, and though they are decently accurate, can be prone to mistakes. This is especially true when compared to heart rate straps, which are extremely accurate. Overall, the accuracy is definitely not horrible for general heart rate measurements, and might certainly be adequate for most. For those seeking an extremely accurate heart rate measurement with little variance, a strap might be preferred.
The TomTom Runner Cardio can sync with the TomTom Mysport app via Bluetooth. This app is primarily a means of viewing data about runs, and not really about planning workouts or interval training. It offers a pretty good range of data regarding previous runs. The process as a whole is fairly simple and painless, though there have been some complaints that syncing can take a long time.
The TomTom Runner Cardio can also be synced through the TomTom webtool, which functionally is quite similar to the app. This allows you to view your data online as well and pretty much offers the same data as the Mysport app.
As mentioned above, the TomTom Runner Cardio is primarily designed to sync with the TomTom mysport app, which offers some pretty good data about runs. It includes fields like calories burned, elevation gain, pace, lap pace, and heart rate graphs. Again, this is also available via the web tool.
Apart from the TomTom app, the Runner Cardio is compatible with most apps
and services that are capable of syncing with running watches. This includes apps such as Strava
, Training Peaks, and MapMyRun. To do this, there is a setting via the TomTom account that allows for automatic exporting of data to these services, making it a pretty painless and automatic service.
Comfort is an area in which the TomTom Runner Cardio has changed a good bit since its original TomTom Runner design. The inclusion of the heart rate sensor increased the weight of the GPS unit and the watch as a whole a decent bit. This, of course, makes it a bit less comfortable as well, though the weight of the watch as a whole is still not too bad. The band also changed from the previous model, switching from plastic to rubber. This was a pretty good switch, as rubber is a bit more comfortable usually, and also offers better security and flexibility. The band itself is also a bit wider, which can be seen as a positive or negative, depending on personal preference. Overall, the watch is decently comfortable.
Style has also changed a decent bit from the previous design of the TomTom Runner. As discussed above, the addition of the heart rate sensor makes the watch a bit bulkier and as a result, a bit less fashionable overall. The thicker band also has a similar effect. While these two features are useful in making the watch more stable and durable, they take away from the minimal size and sleekness of the previous TomTom Runner. Overall, however, the watch is still pretty stylish, and is probably passable as an everyday watch, though it does have a pretty sporty appearance which may be off-putting to some.
Durability is pretty solid in the TomTom Runner Cardio. Abrasions, scratches, or drops, shouldn’t do too much to the face and GPS unit unless the drop is from a very high height, or if excessive force is applied. For day to day running use, the face is pretty well equipped to handle any common accidents. The face is also waterproof to a certain depth. Though the TomTom Runner Cardio cannot be used to train underwater, there should be little fear of the watch getting wet. The band is also quite durable, and the rubber is an upgrade from the previous model’s plastic. The band also has little to fear from getting wet, which is a nice plus. Durability in the TomTom Runner Cardio should be adequate overall.
The face of the TomTom Runner Cardio fits a pretty nice spot between large and small. It is definitely large enough to view all the data necessary while running but is not excessively bulky like some other watches. Though heavier than the previous model, the face is still not excessively heavy, which is definitely nice. The buttons on the face are all easily accessible and in intuitive spots as well. The face also has a light, to make it more readable in dimly lit areas, or at night time.
The material of the TomTom Runner Cardio’s band is rubber. Rubber is a pretty common choice for bands, though it is also a good one. Rubber is pretty comfortable, and also does not have issues getting wet. Some bands get odorous when exposed to water, and the band of the Runner Cardio luckily does not have that problem. Many have said that the band of the Runner Cardio offers a more secure fit than the previous model as well, which is a nice improvement. The band is also replaceable, should one prefer a different band, as the GPS unit is detachable.
The TomTom Runner Cardio is only available in one size. The watch weighs about 63 grams, which is not a huge amount at all, especially considering the optical heart rate sensor inclusion. The only part of the watch that is somewhat customizable when it comes to size is once again the band, which is replaceable.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is one area that the TomTom Runner Cardio shines. Because the watch is oriented primarily towards runners and is more of an entry-level watch than a very high end one, much of the interface is very intuitive and simple. Using the watch to start and stop runs, lap, and check pace during runs is quite simple. Syncing the watch to the app is also pretty straightforward, though it can take a long time. Apart from these key features, the Runner Cardio doesn’t actually have too much else that it can do, again because it is mostly focused on running. In this case, however, it is definitely a plus, as it does not have many confusing or complicated features. Overall, the watch is fairly simple to use.
The TomTom Runner Cardio charges via the cable that comes with the watch, which can be plugged into a wall or USB port. This is pretty standard of most running watches. The battery lasts about 8 hours with both the GPS and heart rate monitor turned on, or 10 hours as a normal watch. It should be noted that using the light will also lower these numbers. 8-10 hours is pretty good and should be adequate for about 4-5 days without charging, or a week, for those running a bit less.
The TomTom Cardio Runner is available for somewhere between 100 and 150 dollars. It was previously available for about 150 from the TomTom website, but it is no longer being sold from the original source. For those seeking a good budget watch for running, or seeking to get their first watch, this is a pretty good value if you can find it in the 100 to 150 range.
The TomTom Runner Cardio doesn’t have too many additional accessories available to it. It does offer the ability to replace the band as mentioned above. It also is compatible with most running related apps, such as MapMyFitness, Strava, and TrainingPeaks. It is also usable with external heart rate straps. Apart from this, however, there aren’t a huge range of accessories available to the TomTom Runner Cardio.
- GPS measurement for distance
- Interval training supported
- Solid battery life
- Great beginner or first-time buyer watch
Overall the TomTom runner Cardio is a simple but effective running watch. It is a bit bare in terms of features, but that makes it a perfect choice for beginners looking to get their first watch, or for those who want a running watch with a heart rate sensor built-in. There aren’t too many issues with the watch, apart from its size being larger than the previous model, and the general inaccuracies of optical heart rate sensors. Overall, the watch is a great value for the price and would be an excellent buy if found for the lower end of its prices.
Read also about best beginners running shoes.