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TomTom Runner 3 review

by editor
Monday 7th November 2016
Tags  TomTom   |   TomTom Runner3
I take products like this out of the box with some trepidation as I’m not particularly techie. Fortunately, the TomTom Runner 3 has an easy set-up so I’m away quite quickly. Phew.
I’ve never used a TomTom before, so I’m not familiar with the screens or how to navigate them. However, the first thing that strikes me is how simple it all is, luckily for me. There are no buttons on the sides, just one square button below the face, which you use to navigate everything. 
The second thing I notice is that the display is big and clear, much clearer than other watches I’ve used. You can customise the screens to display the information you want, so whether it’s the time you’ve been running, the pace or the distance that’s important to you, you can make this really prominent.

TomTom Screens

To record your run/exercise it’s as easy as pressing the right hand side of the big button once (then scrolling up and down if you want to select ‘run’, ‘cycle’, ‘swim’ or any other activity), pressing it again, and when it picks up the GPS signal (which it does very quickly - I tested it in the countryside, in London and in Cyprus) you get a vibrating beep and a message on the screen to say it’s ready to go! Simple. 
One of my favourite things about the Runner 3 was the ease of downloading your runs. If you’ve installed the TomTom MySports app on your phone it’ll automatically download to that, and if you link it to Strava it’ll automatically upload your run to there too. Obviously you still have to go in and edit it to add 8 selfies and give your run the clever name you spend the entire run thinking up, but it’s easier than uploading via laptop/cables/USB stick.
The Runner 3 also has a heart rate monitor built in. You can check your heart rate during your run, if you’re trying to stay in a particular zone, or just monitor your resting heart rate daily as a measure of your fitness. 
It also has a built-in fitness tracker, which I think is a great innovation. It monitors steps, calories, sleep, distance covered and minutes of activity each day. This information also downloads to TomTom MySports, so you can keep a track of your activity levels. 
This was the bit that really blew my mind (bearing in mind I’m non-techie): you can also put music on it. I feared that this might be quite complicated but it was really simple to load up, then you listen to it via bluetooth headphones. I used these headphones a lot as it was just so nice not to have to take a separate device with you to listen music/headphones, and not to have cables. 
This watch has loads of clever features, such as route exploration. You can upload routes to your watch, as you can with many other GPS watches, but with the TomTom Runner 3 you can also follow a breadcrumb trail back home if you find yourself a bit lost, or if you just want to run in a new place, then find your way back to the start easily. There’s also a compass, which is also handy when you’re in the middle of nowhere, it’s quite cold and you’re not entirely sure of the way back to the car (as happened to me yesterday). 
Inevitably there were things I didn’t like about the watch. I wasn’t keen on the strap, which has holes that you have to clip bits into. I found this quite fiddly. Battery life is a big thing I look for in a watch as I run ultras. The battery on this watch is great for everyday use (I charged it every 3 - 4 days when using it as a normal watch and fitness tracker and logging runs of 5/6 miles most days) but used constantly as a GPS watch it will do about 11 hours. But it’s not designed for ultras so that’s not a criticism. 
This watch gives you everything in one. If you wear a separate heart rate monitor and GPS watch, it will do both. If you wear a fitness tracker as well as a GPS watch, no need to with the Runner 3. If you take an iPod or phone for music out with you running, you won’t need to with one of these. And if you’re inspector gadget, who currently runs with a fitness tracker, HRM, fitness tracker and iPod, then this watch could save you a good 5 minutes faff time before and during each run, then download time post-run.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use GPS watch and fitness tracker, compact enough to wear on your wrist all day, this is a great option. Prices start at a very reasonable £119.99 for the GPS watch without HRM or music, then go up to £149.99 for the music version, £169.99 for the cardio version and £219.99 for the model with all the features. We reviewed the £219.99 model and it was sent back to TomTom after review.

Watch this video to find out more about the watch from the UK launch:

Find out more from the TomTom website here.  

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