5 Reasons the TomTom Runner Cardio Rocks! GPS Watch Review


2014 looks set to be a fresh start for TomTom. Announcing their latest watch, the Runner Cardio, this product is on the pulse for exciting features to aid your training. Here’s 5 reasons why I think the TomTom Runner Cardio is a big deal


HRM built into watch

Measuring heart rate during a training workout provides valuable feedback on how your body is reacting to the pace you’re running. A higher than expected heart rate can even imply you may be feeling under the weather and should rest up.

My Garmin Forerunner 220 arrived with a heart rate monitor and strap to be worn around the chest. I’ve rarely worn it simply because the strap can become uncomfortable and the faster you run, the more it seems to move around.

While many GPS devices offer the ability to track heart rate, the TomTom Runner Cardio distinguishes itself from the competition by measuring from the wrist. The integration into the watch itself, means heart rate can tracked on every one of your runs without the faff of wearing a chest strap.

How does the Runner Cardio capture heart rate? Using a Mio optical sensor, TomTom’s latest watch shines a light through the skin to measure changes in blood flow. TomTom state this sensor is rated “extremely accurate when compared to electrocardiography.”

Though the Galaxy Gear Fit also captures Heart Rate under the wrist, the Runner Cardio has the GPS functionality required to track mileage accurately. With the imminent launch of Android Wear sports watches and more fitness band releases, expect to see more running watches with heart rate measured from the wrist in 2014.

Training zone alerts

Viewing your heart rate mid-activity is only useful if you’re going to act on it. TomTom makes heart rate zones clear and easy with five distinct intensity zones.

    • Sprint – Used as part of interval training. Short reps, short recoveries
    • Speed – High tempo training that focuses on speed and fitness
    • Endure – Moderate to high tempo training to improve lung and heart capacity
    • Fat Burn – Moderate tempo training
    • Easy – Warm up and cool down intensity

TomTom Cardio Runner Fat Burn feature

Before your workout, choose which goal correlates with your run the most. You’ll receive alerts from the watch if you’re outside of your chosen intensity zone. Simples!



Built with the latest GPS and GLONASS satellite technology, the Cardio Runner can track the distance of your training runs with ease.. As a GPS watch, nothing is more frustrating for a runner than waiting for your signal to lock. TomTom’s solution is QuickGPSfix; an option where your watch can store the satellite locations for the next 7 days.

By saving this info to the Runner Cardio, runners can expect to find positioning in approximately 10 seconds; just enough time for a quick calf stretch then! You can download the latest satellite positions from the MySports mobile app.

Connect TomTom to MySport via phone

Get Bluetooth Smart on TomTom MySports

As with the TomTom Runner, the Cardio also offers Bluetooth Smart connectivity. This means you can upload runs to your MySports profile via your smartphone without the need to plug your watch into a computer.

Unfortunately the Cardio Runner can only pair up with Apple devices at this present time (iPad and iPhone 4s and above). TomTom state they will update Google Play with connectivity for Android smartphones but no release date is confirmed as of yet. Realistically this could take months. If you own an Android and want to use Bluetooth Smart to transfer your runs, you could always take a look at Garmin which launched the connectivity in February.

Once your run is uploaded to MySports, there are options within the app to transfer your data automatically across to other apps such as MapMyFitness.


Measure distance ran indoors

For those times when you’re out of range of satellites, it’s always good to fall back on an indoor tracker to measuring the distance of your training runs. Select the treadmill feature and the Runner Cardio will track your arm swings to estimate stride pattern and distance ran.

To improve accuracy, it’s worth calibrating the watch via a treadmill the first time you use this feature. By pausing your activity and entering the distance displayed on the treadmill, you should receive a better representation of distance ran indoors. This feature isn’t restricted to a treadmill either, as it can be used when going round an indoor track or for shuttleruns.


TomTom Runner Cardio Review

So there’s a round up of the TomTom Runner Cardio. The heart rate monitor built into the watch strap has to be the stand-out feature, helping runners to collect their data without a chest strap.


About Author

I'm a super keen injured runner with over 20 years experience in races and endurance training. Get in touch with me over Twitter, G+ on in the comments below.