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Tue 23rd Apr 2019
Review: TomTom Runner Cardio
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Friday 28th November 2014

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TomTom Runner Cardio

We have spent a few months now with the TomTom Cardio Multi-Sport watch and so it seems fair to update the review we previously posted.

We have previously looked at the watch from a running perspective only. The main upgrade as the name suggests is the ability to track swimming and cycling training and log them.

Swimming is well covered and it is easy to use. Select the length of the pool you are training in and away you go! Testing has shown to be suitably accurate, it tracked the lengths perfectly and I assume it was spot on with the strokes, I lost count! The watch seemed on the money. It offers up pretty similar metrics to the rest of the market and is straight forward to operate in use. As with most of the watches it uses an accelerometer over GPS (GPS is not suitable indoors!). It depends on your positive movements and push off from the poolside at each length. I have not explored this yet and I assume no firmware updates have addressed this but the Swim mode does not work with GPS so outdoor swimming is not fully functioning in a lake or the sea. I suppose you could use the run mode and capture GPS data and speed etc but I am guessing stroke data is not available. To ensure better GPS accuracy I would p the watch tucked inside your swim cap for better GPS reception and to avoid drop outs when you pull through your stroke as GPS is very poor under water!

Cycling offers you more connectivity options, speed and cadence and a handlebar mount. Of note here if you bar mount the unit you need to use a heart rate strap and connect it wirelessly. This is due to the watch reading your heart rate via green leds that measure you blood flow in the wrist.

In use I tended to stick to using the watch on my wrist but the option is there should you desire.

So, it gathers run, swim and bike data. It's straight forward to use and looks very striking. All good so far.

As with most data capture watches the other side of the story is the reading of the data. Here TomTom offer you a website and an app. Pretty standard so far. You have the ability to use third party software with the watch and the data is freely exportable from the watch. In some cases it was initially a little fiddly but once I learnt what I needed to do it was s synch! I tested the watch data with Garmin Connect, Strava, Polar Flow and Training Peaks and the new Xhale software. In all cases I was able to extract the correct file or the various training software. This is clearly not really going to be the case for most users. If you are just too geeky like me then take note. If you want to share the data with other software I would sync to the computer rather than the phone app. The reason here is that the app takes the data it needs and then only leaves the basic training data on the watch, not the whole training file. If you should encounter this issue, fear not, you can access the data via itunes on the mac and reinstate the data to the watch to re-export the whole data file. You can also use the watch here to convert its data file for most of the major training file types, .tcx, .gpx, .fit etc, very handy.

That said, most people will simply sync the data with the TomTom app or the software and away they go. Most simple. Just as it should be.

So with that updated now to pass back to our previous testers write up...

Following on from the launch of the the successful and popular TomTom Runner watch (more on that one HERE - along with our review HERE), TomTom have launched a new model with a built in heart rate monitor. Anyone that has run with a heart rate monitor strap on will know they can be a bit uncomfortable at times, so when TomTom let us know that we could "lose the strap", we sent a unit to Neil Thompson to review as he trained to take on the Liverpool Triathlon.

The watch arrived nicely packed in clear box with:

  • TomTom Runner Cardio (Red & Black)
  • Desk Dock
  • User Guide

TomTom Cardio Runner

As with most gadgets these days, the instructions to set up the watch were straight forward and using the quick start guide I soon had the watch and me ready to go. Connecting the watch into the desk dock was easy but I found getting the watch out a bit tricky at first, but after a few more attempts and working out how it fitted, it was relatively simple to remove from the the dock.

Although bigger then the original TomTom runner, it was a nice fit on my wrist with a small profile and not too cumbersome. I would say the design was stylish with good colours, and throughout using it lots of people noticed and commented on it.

TomTom Cardio Runner

Setting up the watch to read your heart rate was easy to do and the unit picked up my heart rate every time with no issues. It actually got addictive to have heart rate on, just on normal mode, as you have the time and your heart rate in the bottom corner, so seeing what your heart was doing during normal tasks was very interesting. The heart rate appears accurate and was very similar readings to when I would wear a chest strap.

The GPS on the TomTom is also very good, and the unit generally found satellites in 5-10secs. Very infrequently it did take up to 30 seconds, but never longer than that. When it finds the signal the watch vibrates and plays a tune which was handy as I didn't have to keep looking at it to know if the signal had been found.

Using the watch running it tracks your distance, time, pace and calories. One feature that is really good is the differnet heart rate zone alarms which are really easy to set up and work too. When you have finished the run you can pause the run or stop it and save the information.

After using the watch I also used the MySports TomTom application ( When you have done a run you have to plug it in and then mysports comes up with some excellent graphs and training information. The system also links into mapmyfitness, which was useful for me as I have used that a lot in the past.

TomTom Cardio Runner

It's good to see your PB's and I also used the watch a number of times while playing football and that brought up some really interesting statistics. With the watch not being very intrusive it was just easy to turn on before a game and this is not something I would have thought of doing had I need to put on a heart rate strap.

The watch also has the ability to monitor your indoor running but I did all off my runs outside so didn't get the opportunity to test that element. The watch screen is easy to read and navigate around once you get used to the TomTom navigation system. The battery life was good and the unit charges quickly which is also very handy.

Overall I found the watch very stylish and I ended up wearing it as an everyday watch as well as to monitor my running. I have never been a big fan of wearing a chest strap, mostly due to them rubbing when I run, but I also like the extra freedom this watch brings. I travel a lot with work so it's great to not have to think about bringing a chest strap. I can just turn on the heart monitoring whenever I feel the need.

If you are looking for a watch that you can use everyday and you want to "lose the strap" then I suggest you take a look at the TomTom Cardio.


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