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It seems like only yesterday that TomTom introduced us to Runner 2 (or Spark, same watch but focused on a different market), with the new LifeQ optical pulse sensor and the possibility to play music via Bluetooth. This was one year ago, during the IFA fair in Berlin.
Well, today and in the same place, TomTom has renewed it with the TomTom Runner 3 -which will also have a Spark 3 version- and has been accompanied by a more "country" version called TomTom Adventurer.
The most important novelty in both is the route navigation and some aesthetic changes, so without further delay we are going to unpack both models so you can get to know them better.
TomTom Runner 3 - Spark 3
Before I start commenting on the TomTom Runner 3, I want to clarify the differences between this and the TomTom Spark 3. They are the same watch, the only thing that changes are the colors of the straps and the "packing" of the product.
The Runner 3 is focused on runners, while the Spark 3 targets the fitness market (yoga, crossfit, etc.) But it's just a marketing move because, I repeat, both watches are exactly the same, with the same performance and the same sports modes.
Well, once we have that point clarified and, to paraphrase one of the most important figures of the 20th century: "What's new, old man?". Navigation.
That's right, now TomTom Runner 3 allows you to navigate routes in GPX, that is, routes that you download from the Internet (Wikiloc is a good place to find them or create them), to send you a friend or to facilitate the organization of a race. Or to repeat a route made another day.
The route will be added to the clock via the MySports website, although there will be no TomTom-specific online utility to create it (at least for the time being). But frankly, it is not necessary as the options available today are varied and of high quality, it is better that TomTom focuses its resources on other tasks.
In addition, if you have not loaded any routes, the back to home function is available, so you can go out to explore the terrain on the mountain and, when you have passed the same place three times and confirm that you are lost, ask the watch to guide you on your way back. To help with navigation, we also have a compass to help you find your way around. This last point is what makes Runner 2 and Spark unable to receive the update with the new navigation functions.
The other new feature of the Runner 3 is a new collection of slightly thinner straps with a different design. These straps are also compatible with previous models, so you can aesthetically upgrade your Runner 2.
The rest of the features are the same as in Runner 2 and you can check them out in the test I did at the timeActivity monitor: activity monitor, versions with optical pulse sensor or integrated music player (or both), various sport modes (including swimming in the pool), swimming profile for the pool, etc.
The TomTom Adventurer explores a new market segment for TomTom, that of mountain sports. And I don't just mean trail racing, but also other sports such as hiking, skiing or snowboarding.
Of course, the Adventurer also has route navigation just like the TomTom Runner 3; but it adds two key details to the use you want to make it much more interesting: barometric altimeter and longer battery life (up to 10 hours of use).
And why do you specify the new ski or snowboard modes? Because thanks to the barometric altimeter, the TomTom Adventurer is able to identify when we take a lift to stop the activity and give us precise data of our days in the snow. Although they are not the first to offer this function, as both the Garmin Fenix 3 like the Garmin Vivoactive HR already have sports profiles that work similarly.
In addition to stopping the recording of the activity automatically when you finish the descent, it will also indicate speeds, slope, track length, etc.
TomTom Runner 3 and TomTom Adventurer, availability and price
You can now book the TomTom Runner 3 / Spark 3 and TomTom Adventurer via the TomTom websiteAs with the previous models, there are four different versions, depending on what they include:
- TomTom Runner 3 / Spark 3 – 129€
- TomTom Runner 3 / Spark 3 Music with Bluetooth headset – 179€
- TomTom Runner 3 / Spark 3 Cardio (with optical pulse sensor) – 199€
- TomTom Runner 3 / Spark 3 Cardio + Music – 249€
The TomTom Adventurer is only available as a single version with an optical pulse sensor and music playback capability:
- TomTom Adventurer – 299€
It is now also possible to buy the new TomTom Runner 3 through Amazon.
And also the TomTom Adventurer
I have mixed feelings. I think that for the recent buyer of a Runner 2 it is a stab in the back to find now a "new" model with route navigation capability, and at the same price as the previous one. But the only thing we have the right to do is to kick ourselves, because in the end we know how consumer electronics works lately: small changes from year to year for almost similar products. It happens with telephony, with televisions and of course, sports watches should not be less.
And no, your Runner 2 or Spark cannot receive this update because there are small differences in the hardware, such as the compass. Because I understand that, although it is not specified in the features, it is magnetic
But when I look at the prices again and see that we can access a GPS watch with navigation, activity monitor and easy to use for just over £100, I can't help but be surprised. Until now this was a feature reserved for far superior models. TomTom makes it available to everyone in an access range watch. My sincere congratulations.
As for the Adventurer, the price scale is very interesting. For only 50 euros more (compared to the Runner 3 with the same features) we have an altimeter, a larger battery and specific modes for snow sports. Although at this point we have already entered more rugged terrain, a sector dominated by other brands with more roots in the sector, such as Suunto. And that is because today we can get an Ambit3 Peak for the same amount of money.
Obviously the Peak has no optical sensor, no music playback and no winter sports profiles; but these are not features that the classic mountain runner will take advantage of (especially music playback).
Despite this, it is always good that competition increases. The more products there are in a sector, the more dynamic it will be for the sector and the more the brands will have to make an effort to surprise us with their successive renovations. We will be the end users the main beneficiaries.
And with that... thanks for reading!