Mobile compatibility: iOS and Android
Data transfer: Bluetooth, USB
Features: tracks indoor and outdoor running, vibration alerts
The TomTom Runner Cardio has a large, brightly lit display that's easy to read while running. And unlike most watches with buttons along the outer edges, this watch has a single button located underneath the display that can be pressed up, down, left or right. While unconventional, this design makes it easy to navigate the watch during a workout.
Not only is the watch easy to navigate while running, but it's also easy to figure out how to work the Runner Cardio without reading any kind of instruction manual. You can upload data from the watch to your computer by plugging the device in with a USB cord, or you can upload data wirelessly to a mobile device via Bluetooth. But the most user-friendly feature of this watch is its built-in heart-rate sensor, which lets you leave your heart-rate chest strap at home and track your pulse right from your wrist.
Value of information:
This running watch provides all the information you need to track your progress, whether you're a seasoned runner who's training for a race or a beginner looking to monitor your improvement over time. The watch tracks distance, time and pace, along with calories burned, elevation gain and cadence (steps per minute). Unlike the Forerunner 620, an advanced running watch from Garmin, the Runner Cardio doesn't collect data about your vertical oscillation (movement up and down, or "bounce") or ground contact time (the amount of time your foot stays on the ground with each step). But running-efficiency data can actually be more overwhelming than it is useful, which is one of the reasons we chose the Runner Cardio, not the Forerunner 620, as our pick for the best GPS watch for runners. The heart-rate data that the Runner Cardio collects is displayed in an easy-to-read format in the TomTom MySports mobile app and on the company's website. It's easy to analyze your average heart rate, as well as your heart rate over the course of your run, in both the app and the online dashboard.
The straightforward design of this watch makes it enjoyable to use, even during intense workouts. The watch is missing some of the motivational features that come with watches from Polar and Garmin — like "badges" that you can receive for achieving your best time, or the ability to share your stats with other TomTom users — but these features aren't necessarily must-haves for GPS watches. The watch does have one great motivational feature: the "Race This" mode that lets you try to beat your time or distance from a previous workout.