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TomTom Runner: Performance, Battery life and Verdict

Michael Sawh

By Michael Sawh
Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
TomTom Runner

Summary

Our Score

9/10

User Score

Best Deals

Review Price £149.00

TomTom Runner - Performance

Before you can take the Runner out for a run you need to go through a simple setup. You need to download the TomTom MySports Connect software from the website and fill in the standard details about weight, height, age, measurement units and watch settings. It’s here where the QuickGPS function is also set up.
Once charged you are ready to go. Again, TomTom has incorporated a foolproof menu system. If you click the left button on the control pad you can see the battery status, internal storage, QuickGPS status and the software version.

To begin tracking, you click the right button on the control pad to pick whether you are running outside or on a treadmill. Click right again and you’ll find the GPS finder screen. A click up lets you see the history from previous runs. Click down from the GPS finder screen and you’ll find the graphical training partner. Here you can pick from Goals, Laps, Zones and Race modes. The Race section already has challenges pre-loaded ranging from attempting a 10k in 50 minutes to a 5k in 20 minutes.

Once you’ve picked your training session and the GPS has hooked on, you can click right to see the real-time data. The screen is made up of three sets of digits. The large digits display pace, average pace, duration, distance, stride length, heart rate and current time. To change the display, you can simply click the down button. The two smaller sets of digits above alternate depending on what is displayed in the centre of the screen.
Putting the QuickGPSFix to the test in on the outskirts of London, the GPS receiver synced within 30 seconds. In our first attempt outside the TrustedReviews HQ, it took a frustrating five minutes to hook onto a signal. TomTom recommends syncing the QuickGPSFix signal every two or three days to improve accuracy. So in our second and third attempts the GPS syncing dropped to three minutes and then to under a minute. It clearly pays off to keep the Runner updated on a regular basis.

In terms of the accuracy of information, the TomTom Runner delivers data consistent with the Nike app and the Withings Pulse so we have no complaints with the Runner in this department.

Heading to the TomTom MySports website and uploading is really easy. Simply plug the watch module into the dock and the data is transferred over. The web tool is separated into a dashboard and account settings. In the dashboard things are pretty basic. There’s a map of your run and information on distance, time, calories burned, and heart rate.

Annoyingly, we couldn’t delete runs we accidentally logged and our attempts to upload data to Runkeeper and MapMyRun were unsuccessful. The site is still in beta, so there’s still time for things to improve. At the moment it’s not quite up to scratch compared to Garmin and Nike’s online tools.

TomTom Runner - Battery life

TomTom claims the Runner can manage 10 hours of battery life in GPS mode. It should last much longer when used as a normal watch. Heavy usage of the backlight and connecting accessories like a heart rate monitor can affect the battery life as well.
On full charge, we comfortably made it through two and a half days, including wearing the Runner to sleep. In that time we ran twice for approximately 30-40 minutes. By the second run, the battery had gone flat. It’s not as heavy-duty as the 16 hour GPS battery life on an outdoor sports watch like the Garmin Fenix. Compared to something like the 5 hours battery life in GPS mode on the Garmin Forerunner, it’s a decent performer in the battery department. You will need to keep that charger at hand though.

Should I buy the TomTom Runner?

At £149.99, the TomTom Runner is thearound same price as the Nike SportWatch but more expensive than the similarly sleek Garmin Forerunner 10 (£99). All three watches feature a light, comfortable design, a nice big screen and a plenty of features to help you stay motivated.

Crucially though, the Runner has a better battery life in GPS mode than the Nike and Garmin watches, some really useful Training modes and the QuickGPSFix technology that really improves the speed the watch locks onto a GPS signal even in built up areas.

It’s made specifically for runners so if you want something packing an altimeter to track cycling or sensors to count laps in the pool, you’ll need to spend more than £150 to get a suitable device.

There is an argument that you could simply download a running app like Endomondo or Runkeeper and use the GPS on your smartphone. It will collect the same kind of data. It really comes down to whether you want to strap on that armband and drain the phone battery.

But if you are a serious runner with your heart set on buying a watch to track performance, the TomTom Runner is a great option.

Verdict

The TomTom Runner is a comfortable, easy to use GPS sports watch with good battery life and a great QuickGPSFix mode that makes it one of the best sports watches to buy for intermediate level runners.

Next, read our round-up of the best headphones for running

Scores In Detail

Battery Life
8/10
Design
9/10
Features
8/10
Performance
8/10
Usability
9/10
Value
9/10

Our Score

9/10

User Score

Previous page

Andrew Davis

August 1, 2013, 7:19 pm

FWIW I thought the My Sports page sucked compared to everything else out there. I especially hated that I couldn't delete anything. However, I had zero issues connecting it to RunKeeper. My biggest gripe is the lack of an ability to sync it to my iPhone. I hate having to plug it into my laptop to get my data sync'd up. Hopefully they'll get this fixed. Their My Sports site is basically back-ended by the MapMy guys so maybe we'll see some of their functionality soon. That said, I'm one week and 4 runs into using mine and its been great to leave the phone at home. Battery life for me (even with an HR monitor) is better when outdoors in the clear than when running with buildings near me.

Kevin Smith

August 4, 2013, 10:16 am

Bur can I use it with Strava?

Geoff

August 15, 2013, 3:55 pm

1 mm thick? Wow!

Michael Sawh

August 16, 2013, 12:43 pm

Hi Kevin, Strava is not one of the apps currently supported. TomTom have told us that it is trying to add more app support

Michael Sawh

August 16, 2013, 12:43 pm

Sorry, that should be 11.5mm thick!

compact treadmill

September 16, 2013, 6:20 pm

The ‘One Touch control’ is not really an accurate description.

SlightlyMiffed

October 17, 2013, 8:42 am

"The new graphical training partner is all about pushing you to work harder
in your running sessions, whether it’s competing against your last run
or setting a precise goal for a running session. When you race against
yourself, the training partner will display the current run and previous
run on the screen."... Really ? REALLY ? Because it doesnt work - never has - you can only run against the FIVE preset distances and their associated times - you can NOT run against a previous run.

Reki

October 19, 2013, 7:07 pm

Thanks for that information...I was close to buy it.

Alex Song

November 19, 2013, 12:44 pm

Question of details. The lack of USB charging seems a silly mistake by TomTom in a quite brilliant product. Crazy detail.

ninja_eggroll

November 19, 2013, 1:07 pm

Can your activities be posted on facebook from this watch?

simoin fox

November 29, 2013, 1:18 pm

is it water proof?

TTRunnerUser

December 15, 2013, 2:29 pm

In fact in the current firmware version (1.5.4) I was able to race any of my recent sessions (Run -> Training -> Race -> Recent). As mentioned in the review the watch displays distance behind / ahead and gives a signal when surpassing the previous run time.

JC

January 26, 2014, 3:20 pm

In response to the question about posting activities on facebook the answer is yes. When viewing your activities via TomTom MySports, a webbased software, you can make use of a link called mapmyfitness. It offers you the possibility to post your activities on various social media.

JC

January 26, 2014, 3:23 pm

There is one concern I have about my TomTom runner. For some reason it seems to have difficulty with uploading my activities to TomTom MySports. Thought this was just an update issue but I'm afraid its not. Anyone with this experience and a solution?

xplot

January 29, 2014, 9:41 am

Just got this device. Maybe you can help in getting answers to some questions?
1) What should be changed in settings in order to display lap (km) times during a run?
2) How to change main display settings if I want to see something else, not the pace?
3) the same issue as JC - how to solve problem with uploading activities to Mysports? Doesn't happen.
4) any idea when there could be app for iPhone (possibility to upload activities via phone) if any?

Ben Matthews

April 29, 2014, 3:20 pm

I've had this watch for a while now and love it. I have to say though, charging it is a pain. I do it at work, but if I forget and it is running low at the weekend (and I have a long run to do) it really is annoying.

Has anyone tried charging it using a USB port that is not connected to a computer (e.g. a car USB port) - does that work?

I sync it directly to my MapMyRun account, and it works brilliantly.

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