TomTom Runner Cardio is a basic running watch whose greatest appeal is the omission of the heart rate monitor’s chest strap. It does this by switching to a technology that determines the heart rate by measuring blood flow variations. This is one of those running watches that whittle down training programs to a small set instead of offering infinite customizations. In Runner Cardio’s case, training adjustments are divided into 5 zones, based on heart rate. The watch’s limited customization possibilities may put off more seasoned runners but it is definitely drawing light runners who are not zealous about fine-tuning their running.
Retail price: $269
Well-suited to Easy Runners
Priced at $269, the TomTom Cardio Runner is a good starter watch for running. It has a durable 1.3-inch scratch-free display. It calculates your heart rate by projecting a light on your wrist through a sensor and observing the changes in blood flow. It frees runners of constricting chest straps. The company claims that its method of measuring heart rate is more accurate than electrocardiography.
The TomTom Cardio Runner allows runners to choose between five intensity zones: easy (warm up or cool down), fat burn (moderate tempo training for weight loss), endure (moderate to high tempo training), speed (high tempo training to improve speed), and sprint (interval training). The system is intuitive and for light runners, it works better than personalized intensity settings. As you run, the screen keeps you updated of your performance goals, past performances, laps covered, and interval training. The battery life of 8 hours is average. It is waterproof up to 50m so you can wear it while swimming.
On the down-side, can’t measure dynamics (step count, step height, ground contact time), relies on Bluetooth connectivity for syncing data instead of wifi, and doesn’t allow comparing results with other users. However, it still gives light runners a nice functional watch to run with.
TomTom Runner Cardio Features
- 1.3-inch graphic display
- Bluetooth synching of data
- 8-hour battery life. Charging through dock
- Water resistant up to 50m
- Built-in heart rate monitor omits chest straps
- Five intensity-based training zones: easy, fat burn, endurance, speed, and sprint
- Measures distance, pace, speed, laps
- Real-time reporting f performance data and goals
- Syncs to MySport and other leading fitness apps
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