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TomTom Runner 2 / Spark | Full analysis

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Following the launch of the new TomTom Runner 2 (also sold under the name TomTom Spark) there was a lot to try, starting with the change of optical pulse sensor in the Cardio version, which now uses LifeQ technology instead of Mio; but also with the inclusion of a version that allows music to be played directly from the clock.

As you know, I like to clarify the origin of all the devices I test. This time the watch has been temporarily loaned by TomTom in order to carry out the analysis. Once the article is completed, I will send the watch back. This is how these tests work, there is no compensation from the brands (neither material nor monetary), which allows these tests to remain totally independent, and they will remain so.

I hope you enjoy this comprehensive review of TomTom Runner 2 and that it can help you in your buying decision, or if you already have it you can get the most out of it. That's why I created these extensive tests. My intention is to do them to tell you, athlete to athlete, how technology can help you in your training. If you finally decide to buy it and want to give me a hand so I can do more tests like this, buy it at Amazon through the links you can find at the bottom of this pageYou will get a great price and I will get a small fee that will help the development of future tests.

Unpacking

The only thing that differentiates the TomTom Runner 2 from the TomTom Spark is its packaging (and the range of colours for the strap). While the Spark comes in a classic cardboard box, the Runner 2 is presented as you can see below. In the box you can see the version that it is. In the case of the unit given by TomTom for testing, it is the Cardio+Music, the most complete version. At the top there is also a reference to the colour and length of the strap. I have been given the small strap version (and a somewhat feminine colour, so are these tests).

TomTom Runner 2

The top of the box is made of methacrylate, so it can be easily removed. On the side you will find a size reference, so you can compare on site what size of strap you need. Although I must say that in my case, and despite my more than 1.93m high, I have not had any problem with the small strap, not even when fixing it to the handlebar of the bike.

TomTom Runner 2

The other two angles of the case inform you of the other important details about the watch.

TomTom Runner 2

But let's skip the stories and get the content out. Whichever version you choose, this is what you'll find inside, unless you buy the version with headphones included, i.e. a manual (which doesn't explain anything, but luckily you have this proof), the sync and charging cable and the clock itself.

TomTom Runner 2

And speaking of the watch, it is made up of two pieces. And the strap is removed with little effort, so it is very easy to change it for another of different length or color, depending on the day. As you can see, the TomTom Runner 2 is not a flat device, but has a small curve. At the bottom is where you find the control pad to operate the watch, which also serves as a GPS antenna. Its placement is really good, because when running with the watch on your wrist that antenna will always be oriented to the sky, ensuring a maximum level of coverage.

TomTom Runner 2

If you turn over what's left of the clock, in the case of the Cardio version you can see the optical pulse sensor, developed in conjunction with the company LifeQ. In the previous version the sensor used by TomTom was licensed by Mio. Although LifeQ is really more of a "partner" in terms of the software that controls this sensor, not so much in terms of the hardware components themselves, which are not manufactured by this young South African company.

I'm always quite cautious about new optical sensors coming onto the market. Any manufacturer can put in an infrared sensor and green LEDs, but the real challenge is to create an algorithm that is capable of removing the noise from the pulse reading. And that's where LifeQ comes in, this being their first commercial development. So, TomTom's decision was quite risky.

As a curiosity, the sensor assembly is designed with three green LEDs and one red LED, but the latter they have decided to deactivate. In theory that red LED should make it easier to read in darker skin tones, but I guess they have not seen any difference between using it or not, so they have chosen to deactivate it for the time being. But maybe it will be used again in the future, if an update of the algorithm manages to take advantage of it.

TomTom Runner 2

In those connection pins you have seen in the previous image is where you will connect the sync cable. The cable can also be connected to the watch in the strap, it is not necessary to remove it.

TomTom Runner 2

Another feature of the strap is that it uses a fixed clasp. Instead of a traditional buckle, the strap has a "pin" where the hole in the strap is inserted. The usual clasp is probably more comfortable, but this clasp that TomTom has used is just as effective.

TomTom Runner 2

Before continuing with the full test, let me explain all the new features of Runner 2 and Spark, as well as the versions on sale.

What's new in TomTom Runner 2 and versions

In essence, the TomTom Runner 2 is the same watch that many of you love, with some new features added - a tune-up to bring it up to today's standards, and also according to the model chosen, with some quite new features.

TomTom Runner 2

This is what's new in the TomTom Runner 2 (or TomTom Spark, depending on which you buy), so if you already know the original model you'll quickly know what's new in this new iteration.

  • Music playback in the "Music" versions (with or without optical sensor)
  • Activity monitor
  • All versions are now multisport
  • New optical pulse sensor

Apart from these new features, everything else remains the same, with good and bad. It's not a totally new watch, it's a continuation of the initial model. What I do think is worth explaining is the different versions, as there are many of them. Too many in my opinion. And I think that if I don't explain the full range in detail you're going to lose out.

First of all, you may have noticed that I can refer to the watch as TomTom Runner 2 or TomTom Spark. Although TomTom markets them separately, the only thing that changes between them is the packaging and the available colours of the strap. Everything else is the same: same software, same hardware. Commercially, the Runner 2 is geared towards runners and the Spark focuses on fitness.

Well, once you've established the difference between the TomTom Runner 2 and the Spark (belt colours only), let's look at the different options available for both:

  • TomTom Runner 2 / SparkBasic version, with GPS and activity monitor. Bluetooth connectivity for sensors.
  • TomTom Runner 2 / Spark MusicMusic: Same as above, but with the possibility of playing music via Bluetooth.
  • TomTom Runner 2 / Spark CardioThe basic version, to which the optical pulse sensor is added (maintains Bluetooth for external sensors).
  • TomTom Runner 2 / Spark Cardio + MusicThe most complete version, with the optical pulse sensor and the possibility of playing music via Bluetooth.

Obviously, each version is priced differently, but I'll save that for last.. These are the only differences between the different modelsThe rest of the features are unchanged across the range: multisport (for running, swimming, cycling and fitness activities), with activity monitor and the possibility of connecting to Bluetooth sensors (also the Cardio versions).

Have you made clear all the versions available and the differences between them? Okay, so let's get down to business.

Running

With TomTom Runner 2, it makes sense to start with the running part, because that's what you've come for.

The activity is started from the control knob, that is, the crosshead under the screen. Pressing to the right you will access the different sports modes, where you will first find the race option.

TomTom Runner 2 - Running

The clock remembers the last activity you have done, so if you are not in the desired one you simply scroll up or down to find the desired one.

Again you have to press right, and the watch will stay on the standby screen. Here it will start searching for GPS signal and heart rate (either through the optical sensor in the case of the Cardio version, or an external sensor in either version).

TomTom Runner 2 - Start

On this screen you have four different options, depending on where you select from the crosshead.

  • Above: enter the history of recent activities, where you can review past workouts
  • Left: you return to the sports profile selection
  • Right: You start training directly, without any specific training options
  • Below: Enter all training options

I'll start at the end, with the different options it offers.

TomTom Runner 2 - Settings

The first thing you can select is the different training modes. Depending on which one you choose, the watch will behave differently and you will see different information on the screen.

No: Running without any other options. Not even separate laps on the clock screen, but you will see it once the activity is synchronized, so the screen will not warn you every time you complete 1 kilometer.

ObjectivesTarget: You train against a distance, time or calorie goal. Selecting each goal will add a screen with a circle representing how much you have accomplished of that goal.

TomTom Runner 2 - Objective

IntervalsYou can set up your workout with warm-up, interval, rest, number of repetitions and rest period. You can set each of these sections based on time or distance, but you cannot select a pace or heart rate target for each section.

TomTom Runner 2 - Intervals

Back toYou can set the clock to automatically mark you by time or distance (at the value you choose) or to mark them manually. To do this manually, you must tap on the screen. It is not a touch screen, but the clock detects the tap thanks to the internal accelerometer.

TomTom Runner 2 - Set up laps

ZonesPace: You set a training range for pace, speed or heart rate. The watch warns you if you go outside the range set for pace or speed, or the heart rate range (one of the 5 default ranges or one you customize)

TomTom Runner 2 - Set up beats

CompeteCompetition: You can compete against recent activities, against activities you have marked on the My Sports page or against a distance or time you select manually. This is a "Virtual partner" option, a virtual competitor you can challenge to improve past workouts.

TomTom Runner 2 - Competing activity

These are the different training modes you can select, but before you go running you should also set up the data screens, which is the second option in the settings menu.

The screen is structured in the following way: you have a main data on the screen, of greater size, that you will be able to rotate when you press the crosshead up or down. But additionally you have two fields in the lower part of the screen that you will be able to choose from the following: clock, duration, distance, rhythm, average rhythm, speed, average speed, calories, heart rate or heart rate zone.

These same values are the ones you can see in the main part of the screen, as you move between the different options.

TomTom Runner 2 - Data screen

If you press the crosshead on the right you have three different graphs to represent your heart rate: an indicator from zone 1 to zone 5, the distribution you have made in each of the zones and a complete graph where you can see your evolution in the last minutes of exercise.

When you are running and you want to stop the activity, you simply press the left crosshead for one second, and you will return to the pause screen. Here you can see your current heart rate, and if you wait a minute you can see your recovery after the training. That is, how many heartbeats you have dropped since you stopped running. Sorry about the image, but I didn't have another one handy. As you can see, it indicates that there is no recovery because when I paused the activity my heart rate had already dropped quite a bit. On the second screen you will see the heartbeats recovered after the exercise.

TomTom Runner 2 - Recovery after exercise

TomTom Runner 2 - Recovery after exercise

After the break, you have options similar to those you could access before starting the activity:

  • By pressing up you will see the summary of your current activity
  • By pressing down you have the option to change the data screen settings, or select a playlist (in case you are using the Music version)
  • If you press right you continue with the current activity, and if you press left you stop the recording and the activity is saved.

As you can see, TomTom has not changed the way the clock behaves when training. This has its good side: it's still a very simple clock to use and with few menus to get lost in. No other device (phone or computer) is required to set any options and you can do everything from the same clock.

But the bad part is that this simplicity leads to a lack of training options. We still can't select targets for intervals (you can't set your exercise interval to be between 3:45-3:55, for example) and have to choose between the interval option and the zone option, when ideally you should select the interval option and then be able to set the zone for each of these intervals.

Cycling

As you know, the TomTom Runner 2 now offers a multisport option in all its versions. In the previous model you had to choose between the Runner (only running profile) or Multisport (in addition to running, you had swimming and cycling profiles).

TomTom has finished with that nomenclature and now all Runner 2 (and Spark) offer the other profiles.

TomTom Runner 2 - Cycling

When you train on a bike, the setting options are the same as for running: same training goals and same possibilities to set data screens (you can select speed, of course), but among the data options the cadence is also offered, if you synchronize the corresponding sensor.

However, there is a new option added, which is the possibility of setting the wheel diameter, in case you want to pair a speed sensor. Using such a sensor the speed and distance information will not come from the data recorded by the GPS, but it will be the speed sensor that will provide the information for the wheel turns, thus being totally accurate in the calculation of speed and distance (and much faster reaction).

TomTom Runner 2 - Wheel size

To pair the sensor you must access the options (on the main screen, cross down), and in the option of Sensors - Bicycle you must select yes. The watch will automatically connect to your speed and/or cadence sensor that emits via Bluetooth, and will do so before starting the activity, while it is looking for a GPS signal. In my case, with the Wahoo Fitness Blue SCI have not had any problems with the ANT+ and Bluetooth signal.

TomTom Runner 2 - Bike sensor

To clarify, there is no support for power meters, therefore only speed and/or cadence sensors.

If you want to mount the watch on the handlebar, you can use any of the available universal brackets (such as the Polar or that of Garmin).

TomTom Runner 2 - Bike Handlebar Mounted

If you have the Cardio version and ride it on the handlebar, you will logically lose the heart rate data, but you can tell the watch that you want to use an external sensor from the same sensor configuration where you chose the cycling sensor.

TomTom Runner 2 - External Pulse Sensor

When you synchronize your training session you get all the details of the activity, including the cadence data in case you have paired that sensor.

TomTom Runner 2 - Cycling activity

You will be able to see the average in the upper part, as well as in each of the automatic divisions that Mysports makes of the activity, and of course you will have the possibility to add the cadence graph in the lower part of the screen, selecting that data to show it.

Swimming

TomTom Runner 2 - Pool

And as there is no multisport version, all models also have a swimming profile. But as with the first version of the watch, this mode is only for pools without the use of GPS, so if you want to swim outside (sea, river, lake or pond of your choice), tough luck. The TomTom does not have this mode.

Again, the training configuration possibilities are similar to the other exercises, but logically focused on the particularities of this sport. To begin with, the first thing you must do is select the length of the pool in the configuration options.

TomTom Runner 2 - Pool length

You can swim by setting time, distance or calorie targets, in which case an additional screen is added, like in the race, where you can see how you are completing your target. It will alert you with vibrations when you are at 50%, 90% and of course when you complete it. You can also do interval sessions or train with respect to laps (of time or distance), which I have usually set to 100m laps. Or, of course, go freestyle.

And of course, the data selection on the screen also includes the specific swimming data, and in addition to the typical length and distance data you can also set the screen to show the number of strokes, the SWOLF or the stroke. These last two data are the ones corresponding to the last stroke, and they are updated every time you reach the end of the pool and turn around. Therefore, you cannot see the average SWOLF of the whole session.

As you know, you can configure two fields at the bottom of the screen and rotate between different data in the main part of the screen. In addition to the ones I have indicated above, the other data you can configure will be clock, duration, distance, average speed and calories.

When it comes to measuring lengths, I have had problems on some occasions, partly because of me, as on one occasion when I reached the end of a block I didn't remember to pause it and I may have interpreted some movement as one more lap, but the truth is that in a 1600-metre session (measured perfectly by another device) in the case of the TomTom it measured an extra 125 metres.

Once the activity is synchronized it is easy to see where you have introduced the error, because if I am swimming at 1:50-2:00, it is clear that if two sections appear at 1:30 there is something wrong. What I cannot easily determine is if the times that appear too high is due to not having paused the activity, or not having detected any of the laps made. That is why it is so important to pause when you stop to rest, otherwise the time will continue to run.

TomTom Runner 2 - Pool time

As I said before, while you are swimming the watch will have the GPS deactivated, and all the measurements are made thanks to the internal accelerometer. The optical pulse sensor, in the case of the Cardio versions, will also be deactivated, so you can't see heart rate information either during training or after synchronizing it. The reason for this is that the reading it makes is not correct, as I tried to do some lengths with a gym activity, for example, and the data recorded did not make any sense (80 pulses between lengths). At the moment no manufacturer has managed to use an optical sensor satisfactorily in the pool, although Finis may be the first to do so with its Element model.

After finishing the activity, it is exactly the same as in other sports. It is synchronized to the website and you will be able to see the details of your training.

TomTom Runner 2 - Pool time

The structure is the same. Quick overview of details at the top, automatic divisions in the middle and a graph at the bottom. But there are things I miss, such as the indication of the rhythm in minutes per 100 meters or stroke and SWOLF data, which do not appear anywhere (in the case of SWOLF, not even as an average at the end of the exercise).

Other sports profiles

Running, cycling and swimming are not the only sports profiles available on the TomTom. You also have two very similar ones which are running on a treadmill and cycling indoors. They are exactly the same as the ones you have seen before, but with the use of GPS disabled. In the first case, the pace and distance information will be given by the internal accelerometer. In cycling training, thanks to the speed and/or cadence sensor.

TomTom Runner 2 - Tape

TomTom Runner 2 - Indoor cycling

There are also two other sports profiles, gym for any indoor activity without using GPS (aerobics, weights, pilates, rowing, whatever) and freestyle, with GPS activated, for any outdoor activity.

TomTom Runner 2 - Freestyle

TomTom Runner 2 - Gym

Each of these modes will have their specific settings, just as you can set up the race profile.

Finally, you have a stopwatch.

TomTom Runner 2 - Stopwatch

As a simple stopwatch it will simply allow you to measure intervals normally.

Buscador de chollos

Optical heart rate sensor

TomTom Runner 2 - Sensor

Probably the optical pulse sensor has been the most time I've spent on it. The reason is simple, and is that between the first version of the TomTom Runner and this new Runner 2 the most important difference is in the optical sensor. In the first version of the watch the sensor was licensed by Mio, while in the current model is a development of LifeQ, being this Runner 2 or Spark the first to equip a sensor of the company, so I wanted to know in detail what their behavior is.

This new sensor can also offer superior performance to the Mio sensor it replaces, but it's just that, a sensor possibility that TomTom should incorporate into its watch. VO2Max estimation, pulse variability calculation (but only at rest), and it could even measure the COPD level, although this last point is quite green at the moment. You can view all these documents on the LifeQ resource website.

Like any optical sensor, when in use, green LEDs light up next to the sensor. This will happen when you are doing a sports activity or every 10 minutes to record your resting heart rate.

TomTom Runner 2 - Optical sensor

But the important thing for us is that, today, the TomTom Runner 2 sensor offers the same thing as the TomTom Runner, so now all that remains is to validate the data it produces. To do this I have done many activities together with other devices, being able to compare heart rate data with those obtained by many devices, such as a sensor Mio Link (also optical), the Garmin Forerunner 235 and chest sensors from Garmin, Stryd or Suunto.

If there's one thing I've learned over the past few days it's that the sensor is quite delicate in its placement. The first few workouts, I didn't wear the watch tight enough, producing some readings that were completely out of logic.

In this first example, you should look at the blue line, which corresponds to the TomTom. The yellow line is the data from a Fenix 3 with an HRM-Run sensor on its chest. There are three things to look out for. Firstly, the start of the activity, which takes a little longer than it should to give the correct data. And then it has a very high peak, probably caused by a watch adjustment (I remember releasing the strap to give it one more point of tightness).

But the most remarkable thing is the final stretch of the training, which ended with a high rate of climb, and here the sensor clearly lost the thread of the training.

tomtom-runner-2-comparative-pulse-1

Below you can see an extremely erratic behavior, caused by not wearing the watch tight enough. I did this workout during the day, so the light was most likely getting into the sensor area, causing bad readings throughout the exercise. This time you can also find data from the Mio sensor (paired with a Suunto Ambit3), although it ended up running out of battery so you'll see the graph eventually disappearing. Forget about the jump you see on the graph, I simply paused the activity to resume it later.

You can see how in this training, especially at the beginning, the TomTom had constant drops in heart rate. When it seemed to regain its composure in relation to the other two sensors, it would fall again to recover shortly afterwards.

tomtom-runner-2-comparative-pulse-2

Here you can see an enlargement of the first minutes of the training.

tomtom-runner-2-comparative-pulse-3

Analyzing that training made me very doubtful about the TomTom sensor, the data read was simply inadmissible. So in the next training (quiet recovery pace) I tried to wear the watch tighter. This time, except for the first minutes (where I made the final adjustment of the strap), the rest coincides with the other two sensors, both the optical of Mio and the HRM-Run of Garmin. Some delay or some different peak, but satisfactory for all three sensors. Although still not enough to give a positive or negative verdict, as it is an easy test for any sensor.

tomtom-runner-2-comparative-pulse-4

So the next test should be harder, because where an optical pulse sensor (of any brand) suffers the most is when doing interval training. I made 6 blocks of two minutes (500 meters), and although the reading suffered, of course the result is not as bad as in the training of days ago. The fourth interval nails the measurement with respect to the other two sensors, failing slightly in intervals 1 to 3 and the fifth, also similarly in all of them. The curve goes up well, but at a certain point begins to decline to meet the graph of the other two sensors. And from that moment, without further problems until the next interval.

The last interval has a very strange fall, which may be due to a bad placement of the clock

In the final part of the workout I kept recording the activity intentionally to see how the sensor reads the recovery and drop in pulse, which is something that the Garmin Elevate sensor suffers greatly from. In the case of the TomTom it has no problem, reading the heart rate recovery perfectly.

tomtom-runner-2-comparative-pulse-5

In short intervals (sprints) the behaviour is similar. Furthermore, in this training you can see how in cold weather the two optical sensors make the correct reading, while the Garmin HRM-Run has a too high reading (it is usual on cold days when the electrodes of the tape are not yet wet enough). This time it fails in some of the intervals, but in many others the TomTom reading is correct. Outside these intervals, during the continuous race, the three graphs are perfectly aligned.

tomtom-runner-2-comparative-pulse-6

In the example below, the sensor of the Forerunner 235 comes into play. During the warm-up all three sensors behave perfectly (with some peak of the 235), but in the working part, climbing hills, it is totally lost. At that time I was wearing another watch next to the 235, and I have the impression that I was touching and moving it, so in the higher intensity exercises I totally lost the reading. However, the performance of the TomTom with respect to the Stryd pulse and power sensor is perfect, both in continuous running and in the intensity working areas.

Garmin Forerunner 235 and TomTom Runner 2 optical sensor comparison

In the graph below the TomTom takes a long time to find the correct pulse, coincidentally exactly the same as the sensor of the FR235. The TomTom doesn't have much problem, and except for the first rise in the pulse (a small steepness) in which it doesn't accompany the rise and falls suddenly, it accompanies the Stryd sensor paired with the Ambit3 perfectly. But again the behaviour shown is somewhat better than that of the Garmin sensor.

Garmin Forerunner 235 and TomTom Runner 2 optical sensor comparison

Therefore, when running, the data from the pulse sensor is quite valid (after finding the correct belt tightening point). Except for intervals, where as usual with optical sensors, it suffers at times. But in continuous running, without sudden changes of pace, the data is reliable regardless of whether the pace is low or high. It is not yet a sensor that is at 100%, and you can tell that it still has development ahead of it. If I had to score it, I would give it a 7.5. Remarkable, but it is still far from being able to get an A.

For cycling the result is... bad. For example, in this test where the reading is only correct during a portion of the training, the start of the training is totally outside the heart rate zone, and at a certain point it is lost and barely recovered.

TomTom Runner 2 - Optical Pulse Sensor Comparison

It is a repetitive behaviour. Another training in which he is totally out of the correct zone, although at some point he recovers his composure and continues until almost the end of the training where he separates again. There is a slight gap between both graphs, but it is simply due to the difference in the time of the beginning of the recording. The truth is that saving those first two fragments the reading is frankly correct.

TomTom Runner 2 - Optical Pulse Sensor Comparison

But it seems that the previous case is a rarity. It is clear that it is not a sporadic mistake, but a common behavior when riding a bicycle.

TomTom Runner 2 - Optical Pulse Sensor Comparison

TomTom Runner 2 - Optical Pulse Sensor Comparison

This erratic reading when cycling is probably due to light entering the sensor area, because unlike other models there is nothing around the sensor to block light entering. Even the original TomTom Runner Cardio had a kind of "lip" that protected the sensor from light entering. It is likely that

GPS operation

The GPS performance of the TomTom is really good, both when comparing the distances after each workout and especially on the tracks produced, where I have hardly seen any erratic behaviour.

For example in this case, compared to a Garmin Edge 520 mounted on the handlebar of the bike (the TomTom on the wrist). Considering the better location of the Garmin cycling unit and its larger antenna size, the result obtained with the TomTom is outstanding, not only in terms of layout, but also in terms of distance, with about 100 meters difference between the two devices (actual distance obtained with the Edge 520 by the speed sensor).

tomtom-runner2-comparative-gps-1

By enlarging the graph you can see how both lines line up perfectly, even in areas such as roundabouts, clearly differentiating the side of the road when going up or down.

tomtom-runner2-comparative-gps-2

Running the results are just as positive. Here, for example, you can see how it has behaved better than a Garmin Fenix 3, which spins around a building and loses its trajectory.

tomtom-runner2-comparative-gps-3

But just like any other watch, which in areas with a lot of forest is more complicated to have a high precision, especially when the road has many turns. In this case you can see how none of the three watches he wore is correct with the route.

tomtom-runner2-comparative-gps-5

tomtom-runner2-comparative-gps-4

Here you can see another "trap point" that I usually use. When I turn, I do it by surrounding the small white statue that you can see in the image. It's a very demanding point that can be reached through a street with buildings on both sides and with trees on the road, so the signal has to be recovered when it goes out into the open. The only one that has drawn the route around the statue has been the Forerunner 230. The TomTom has also been quite close, less than a meter away. The one that has completely left the pivot point has been the Ambit3.

tomtom-runner2-comparative-gps-6

But as you can see, all three watches have traced the distance, 10 kilometers (which is the distance I make whenever I turn at that same point), so, regardless of the path drawn (you can't use the GPS as a precision instrument) the results are really good.

Activity monitor

Another new feature of TomTom Runner 2 and Spark is the inclusion of the activity monitor, something that was totally expected, since it is a basic option of any clock introduced in recent months. Manufacturers have very little difficulty in implementing it (they do not have to add anything at the hardware level, the internal accelerometer is used), so it is an easy way to add one more option to the list of features.

TomTom Runner 2 - Activity Monitor

The activity monitor can be accessed from the screen by pressing the crosshead to the left. One tap will take you to the current day's activity, where you can see the estimated step data, calories consumed (including basal consumption), distance travelled and minutes of activity. So far, a very basic functionality.

What makes TomTom different is that it also offers weekly data, which is probably more interesting, at least for those of us who do sports where there are high intensity or long training days. It doesn't help us if the activity monitor tells us that we've walked very little today, when you're recovering from the previous day's beating where you've run 35 kilometres or cycled 150 kilometres. Obviously you're on your day off, so looking at your activity as a whole is smarter.

TomTom Runner 2 - Weekly Activity Monitor

Keep in mind that distances covered include all sports practiced (such as cycling), so that figure may seem too high if you only expect information on walking distances.

TomTom Runner 2 - Weekly Activity Monitor

Within the configuration options you can modify the reference target of the monitor, but not only of steps (that you can select manually), also of time, calories or distance.

TomTom Runner 2 - Activity monitor, set targets

This will change the main metric of the activity monitor and adjust its scale.

TomTom Runner 2 - Activity monitor, set targets

But Runner 2 and Spark also analyze your "inactivity", that is, your sleep. When you are in the Activity Monitor section, if instead of pressing the crosshead down to see details of calories and distances, you do it up, you can see your sleep hours in the same way as the activity, at day level and globally for the whole week.

TomTom Runner 2 - Daytime Sleep

TomTom Runner 2 - All Week Sleep

All this information is synchronised with the TomTom MySports web service, either by connecting the watch via cable to your computer or via the Bluetooth connection to your mobile phone. This is where you can review all your weekly activity in more detail (in the progress tab).

TomTom Runner 2 - Activity monitoring

TomTom Runner 2 - Activity monitoring

What you won't be able to see is more detail regarding sleep - just the average sleep time for each day or, if you're in day view, the sleep time on that day. But there won't be a breakdown of movements by hours or quality of sleep, as you can find on other activity monitors.

Following the 1.2.0 update, TomTom has made it possible for you to monitor your heart rate 24 hours a day. The recording rate is every 10 minutes, which although quite far from what other manufacturers offer (Fitbit for example), at least gives you a slight idea of the intensity of your day. Ten minutes is a refreshment rate that may be sufficient when you're sitting on the couch doing nothing, but it's insufficient when you're doing some activity (walking, moving, etc), as values are lost along the way.

For example, in the graph below you will see that the maximum for the day is 160 heartbeats, when in the file of the last minute training I reached almost 170 ppm. Also the training consisted of first cycling session followed by running, so there was a transition in which the heartbeat dropped significantly. This transition will have entered within that window of ten minutes, so it does not appear in the graph. This recording time has no other reason than not to affect negatively the autonomy of the clock.

TomTom Runner 2 - Heart rate 24h

By default the option is off, so you have to activate it by entering the "Tracker" options, and in pulse indicate "Yes". Those ten minutes at least can be useful to measure your heart rate at rest, and comparing it between different days you can know when you are more tired after a hard training and know when you should not undergo another punishment in the form of training. But you will learn that by watching these graphs for weeks.

 

Bluetooth connectivity

The entire range of TomTom Runner 2 and Spark has Bluetooth Smart connectivity, which offers dual functionality, firstly to connect to external sensors and secondly to synchronise with your mobile phone.

In the sensors section, the Runner 2 / Spark can be paired with pulse sensors and speed and/or cadence sensors that have Bluetooth. Therefore it is not compatible with ANT+, analog or Polar Wear Link sensors. Bluetooth connectivity only.

In the case of the Cardio version, you can pair an external pulse sensor that would allow you to mount the watch on the handlebars of your bike, or wear the watch on the sleeve of a coat if you live in an area with a harsh winter.

When it comes to connecting to your mobile phone, everything is the same as with the first TomTom Runner. The only utility it offers is to sync activities and GPS cache data. But on Android it has little use at all, because the connection is very slow. And when I say very slow, I mean it. Passing an activity via Bluetooth can mean you have to be glued to your mobile phone for 15 or 20 minutes, and any break in the connection will mean you have to start syncing from scratch.

The only thing you can take advantage of this connection is to update the QuickGPS data (satellite cache), which will allow you to obtain satellite data much faster, by downloading satellite positioning information for the next 7 days to the clock.

TomTom Runner 2 - Update cache data

At least in iOS the operation is adequate, even performing synchronizations in the background that will allow to keep the daily activity data updated on the MySports website.

Finally, in the case of the Music versions, you'll be able to pair a Bluetooth headset, but that's explained below.

Music Player

At the user level, the most important new feature of the TomTom Runner 2 is the music playback offered by the Music or Cardio + Music version. There are few watches that allow you to play music (Adidas miCoach Smart Run, Motorola Motoactv or other Android-based watches, but not sport-specific), so if this feature is important to you, the TomTom Runner 2 / Spark becomes a clear option, probably the most satisfactory of them all.

To connect the watch with your Bluetooth headset, simply press the crosshead upwards, and the watch will start searching. If this is the first time you have paired the watch with them, you will need to put the headset in pairing mode.

TomTom Runner 2 - Headset Search

If your headset is already in sync, it will find it in a matter of seconds and automatically start playing.

TomTom Runner 2 - Music playback

When you're running, it's not possible to select tracks or playlists, so you should do this before you start training. Once you're in the activity, you can control the song you're playing through the controls on your headphones. The volume is also not controlled from the clock, but you must do this from your headphones as well. And if you want to stop playback, you can simply turn them off.

You can listen to music on the go, or simply on a daily basis, in which case you'll see an icon on the lower left of the main screen to indicate that the music is playing.

TomTom Runner 2 - Music playback

As is often the case, Bluetooth coverage is limited, and it is not just limited to the watch, but the headset also plays a very important role. It must have a good antenna design and enough transmitting power to avoid cuts in music playback. Despite this, TomTom has improved playback in its latest firmware version (at least as of this writing, version 1.2.0), trying to reduce such cuts. In the tests I have done before and after the update I have been able to see a slight improvement with one of the headset I was testing, the worst performing of the three. And if you want a recommendation, the Sony SBH-20 is my choice (because you can also use any headset you feel more comfortable with), with which I have not suffered cuts in the reproduction.

But the most important tip is to wear your watch on your wrist on the same side as you wear your headset antenna. You'll easily know which side it is because by putting your watch on one wrist you can cut it and by changing it you can remove it completely. That's why it's important to have quality headset.

When you get ready to run and search for satellites, it will warn you with a voice message that it has already obtained a signal and that you can start running. Unfortunately it does not warn you when running about other data, such as rhythm or distances, as you can find in different mobile applications.

The clock has a total of 3GB to store music. It has a predefined list (Running Trax, made by Ministry of Sound), but of course you can include the music you want. Passing music to the clock has a problem, at least from the point of view of simplicity. You will not pass the music directly as a folder to the memory of the clock, but it behaves as if it were an iPod, and you must create a playlist with iTunes or Windows Media Player with the songs you want and then synchronize it with the TomTom Mysports application.

TomTom Runner 2 - Synchronize music

If you use either of these two applications you will have no problem, the synchronization will be very easy because you only have to select which albums you want to upload to the clock, but if you don't use them, first you will have to create the playlists there and then upload them to the clock through Mysports.

Battery life

In the case of the TomTom I have not carried out a range test as I usually do, partly because of the lack of time (the deadlines have been quite tight and I wanted to test, above all, the performance of the optical sensor). But mainly because it depends on many variables. And the fact is that the range is not the same if you are only using the GPS, or the GPS with the optical pulse sensor. Or you are listening to music, or you have the light on constantly... There are many possibilities, and several models available with more or less features. Also the new feature of recording heart rate throughout the day can have an impact on the range that the non-Cardio versions will not. In short, it is complicated to analyze and would need weeks to perform the tests alternating the different possibilities.

What I can confirm is that if you make use of everything (GPS + optical sensor + screen light + music) the battery disappears, literally. Which is normal on the other hand. To summarize quickly, this is the autonomy you can expect depending on each use, or each version:

  • Exclusive use of GPS: up to 11 hours
  • GPS + optical pulse sensor: up to 9 hours
  • GPS + optical pulse sensor + music: about 4-5 hours

New features that could be incorporated

When TomTom announced the clock at the IFA in Berlin they promised some updates. More than a promise in itself, you can take it as a letter of intent from TomTom, different paths that his new clock could follow. To summarize it quickly, these are the following:

  • Smartphone Email and Message Notifications
  • Automatically share activities on Facebook and Twitter
  • New features in the web application
  • Heart rate transmission via Bluetooth
  • Heart rate during swimming
  • VO2Max calculation
  • Resting pulse variability (HRV)
  • More options for automatic synchronization with other platforms (MyFitnessPal, Training Peaks, etc)

Just because you see something on this list doesn't mean that TomTom is going to include it for sure. In fact, take all this with a grain of salt, as some of these options TomTom is finally working on may not be able to offer due to problems such as battery life. TomTom has not had a great record of updates so far, although the truth is that a couple of days ago it released a major update that included 24h heart rate monitoring (which was also promised), so the rest of the features could be coming along in 2016.

Call and message notifications are something TomTom has committed to, but as the Bluetooth connection on Android is working right now (extremely slow), they should solve that problem first, as I don't think there is enough bandwidth to transmit all the data.

Other things listed, such as VO2Max calculation or resting pulse variability, are possibilities that LifeQ will be able to offer on its optical sensors. It's another thing to have TomTom incorporate it into the clock.

In short, if you buy the TomTom Runner 2, do it according to the specifications listed today, and don't let your purchase be guided by possible improvements that the clock may receive in the future. Because they may or may not come. So if these possibilities finally materialise, it's a reason to be happy, but don't buy the TomTom Runner 2 Cardio thinking about, for example, notifications. Because although it's something that TomTom is working on, it may never come true because of problems with the clock's autonomy (for example).

TomTom MySports

The TomTom synchronisation application, to be downloaded from hereThis is where you can synchronise your activities with both the TomTom website and any of the other services or file formats offered by the application.

TomTom Runner 2 - TomTom MySports application

The external services that may receive the activities automatically are the following:

MapMyFitness
RunKeeper
Strava
Endomondo
Taiwan MySports

MyFitnessPal
Nike+
Jawbone Up
TrainingPeaks

TomTom Runner 2 - Export to other platforms and files

And as for the files you can export to, they are the ones you will see below:

CSV format
GPX format

FIT format
TCX format

These files cannot be downloaded from the TomTom MySports website, but are saved on your computer. In the program window (the one I have placed above) you can find two buttons, one to directly access your MySports web profile, and the other to open the folder where all the files are saved. They are all organized by their corresponding date.

TomTom Runner 2 - Archives

And what you see below are the generated files that you could find inside each of the folders, depending on what you selected. The TTBIN file is the native TomTom file, while the FIT file would be a conversion that I requested from MySports Connect. You can also find other links, such as those of Strava.

TomTom Runner 2 - Archives

So with that configuration done, every time I connect the clock to the computer to perform a synchronization it automatically performs that procedure. In my case it's automatically synchronizing with Strava (in addition to the TomTom website, of course) and exporting the files to FIT and TCX.

However, the TomTom platform is too basic. Although it is easy to use it is quite sparing in functionality.

At the top you'll simply find three options: The main panel with an overview, the training tab where you can see the activities you've marked for use in "race" training mode and the activity monitor data in the progress tab.

In this panel you will be able to see your activity data of the day and the week, together with the last activities carried out.

TomTom Runner 2 - Panel on MySports

At least, when you access some of the activities you have done, the data is sufficient. On the top bar you will find the button to select the activity as a favorite, so you can compete against it and improve your time. Below, a complete summary of the training to see the details in a quick glance.

And below those generic details the breakdown by kilometer (or by laps, if you have trained with that mode), the map of the activity and the different graphs, where you can see rhythm, speed, heart rate and altitude.

TomTom Runner 2 - Web MySports

By clicking on "Heart Rate Zones" you will see a graph that will give you an idea of which zones you have been training in and what the intensity of the activity has been.

TomTom Runner 2 - Web MySports

That's the information for running. If the activity is cycling and you connect a cadence sensor, you will also have information from that sensor.

TomTom Runner 2 - Cycling activity

Naturally, the swimming activities will be shown in a totally different way.

TomTom Runner 2 - Swimming activity

As for the "progress" section, you will see a summary of all your activity, which you can sort into various views both in terms of time (daily, weekly, monthly or yearly) and the different sports you have played. If any of the profiles supported by the watch have never used it (for example, freestyle) it will not appear in the drop-down list.

TomTom Runner 2 - Progress on MySports

This is also where you can edit different targets for different sports, which will serve as a reference in the main panel.

TomTom Runner 2 - Web MySports

Following the 1.2.0 update, TomTom has made it possible for you to monitor your heart rate 24 hours a day. The recording rate is every 10 minutes, which although quite far from what other manufacturers offer (Fitbit for example), at least gives you a slight idea of the intensity of your day. Ten minutes is a refreshment rate that may be sufficient when you're sitting on the couch doing nothing, but it's insufficient when you're doing some activity (walking, moving, etc), as values are lost along the way.

For example, in the graph below you will see that the maximum for the day is 160 heartbeats, when in the file of the last minute training I reached almost 170 ppm. Also the training consisted of first cycling session followed by running, so there was a transition in which the heartbeat dropped significantly. This transition will have entered within that window of ten minutes, so it does not appear in the graph. This recording time has no other reason than not to affect negatively the autonomy of the clock.
TomTom Runner 2 - Heart rate 24h
By default the option is off, so you have to activate it by entering the "Tracker" options, and in pulse indicate "Yes". Those ten minutes at least can be useful to measure your heart rate at rest, and comparing it between different days you can know when you are more tired after a hard training and know when you should not undergo another punishment in the form of training. But you will learn that by watching these graphs for weeks.

Mobile applications

In addition to the application you need to install on your computer (because you actually need to connect your clock to your computer before you can start using it), TomTom has applications for both Android and iOS. Both applications are exactly the same, except that in the iOS version you can find the "Total Data" section, which is simply a summary of all the activities you have done.

I've prepared an image gallery so you can see what the iOS app looks like.

And of course another Android app gallery.

As you can see in both cases you can access the same information from past activities or progress reports (where you will also see the data from the activity monitor). A very simple application that limits itself to replicating the same information that you can access from the web.

Where there is no similarity is when it comes to synchronizing the clock via Bluetooth. In that sense the iOS application works perfectly. It synchronizes activity data without any problem and updates the satellite cache quickly. But the Android application is unable to do so. The data transmission in the Google operating system is extremely slow, impossible to use. I'm talking about minutes and minutes to achieve synchronization of an activity (it may well need a minimum of 15 minutes), provided that there are no breaks in the connection. In which case, the synchronization would have to be restarted.

So if you have an Android smartphone, forget about automatic syncing via Bluetooth for now, you'll need to connect your watch to your computer every time you want to sync an activity.

My opinion

The TomTom Runner 2 is a slight evolution of the initial model, with a more refined aesthetic, adding the activity monitor function (and in the Music version, music playback).

TomTom Runner 2

The Runner 2 is, above all, a watch designed for running. Not for nothing is the watch a "runner" and not a "biker" or "swimmer". In that sense the optical sensor of the Cardio version works quite well when running, although it behaves somewhat worse than the Mio sensor I used before. But the LifeQ sensor is brand new, so there may be improvements in its performance. Still, it's enough to get a B.

If you are going to ride frequently, you should buy a chest pulse sensor, as the data provided by the optical sensor is not reliable when you move your wrist on the handlebars of the bike.

Despite being burdened by an online platform that is too simple, the possibility of automatically exporting activities to other services (Strava, TrainingPeaks, etc) means that we can do without it completely, although Bluetooth synchronization with Android is not a feature, it is a punishment.

But where TomTom wants to stand out is in the offer of a clock with music playback, where it stands out notably. The use is simple and the synchronization of music does not present many problems (as long as you are already using iTunes or Windows Media Player). There are not many clocks that have this function and of those that offer it, in quality/price ratio, the TomTom wins by a landslide.

In short, a watch focused on the popular runner who is less competitive, but still likes to participate in competitions but not with the intention of winning them. If this is your user profile, the TomTom watch can satisfy you in many ways, as long as you don't need to schedule much more complete workouts than the watch offers.

Did you like the test? Support the website

I hope you liked this test. Usually these detailed analyses take many hours of work. Besides, you know that I am available to answer all your questions in the comments that you can find below these lines. In them you can find answers to all your questions, not only thanks to my comments, but also to the comments of other readers, so do not be afraid to participate and give your opinion.

If you want to show your gratitude, buy the device through the links I provide below and you will be able to support the website. By doing so through the links I provide, you will report a small commission which is what helps maintain both the website and my work. And don't forget to share the proof on your social networks because I'm sure your friends will like it too.

 

Buy TomTom Runner 2

Do you like this page and the information you find on it, and do you want to help? You can do so by buying your TomTom Runner 2 or Spark (it's the same watch, change the packaging) through Amazon.

You can also buy it directly from the TomTom websitewith free shipping.

TomTom Runner 2 version

 

TomTom Spark version

 

RATING

Operation - 8.5
Connectivity - 7.5
Design, finish and comfort - 9
Battery life - 8
Aplicaciones - 6.5
Price - 9

8.1

TOTAL

User Rating: 5 ( 1 votes)

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84 Comments

  1. Great review Eduardo, as always.
    I'm thinking about buying a gps watch with an optical pulsometer and I was very fond of the forerunner 235 (at the expense of reading your full comments about its optical sensor) but after reading this review I had some doubts.
    I'm waiting for you to tell us how the sensor of the FR 235 is doing to decide, but with the feeling that I have left is that the FR235 has more training options, VO2max, better app and android connection, a similar gps positioning and a worse optical sensor than the tomtom. Is that so? In direct comparison how do you see them?
    Thank you and a greeting

    1. Yes, basically the quick summary is what you've done. More options the FR235, simpler to use the TomTom which for now has a slightly more accurate sensor. It already depends on the importance you give to each of its strengths and weaknesses to decide between one or the other.

      1. Thanks for the answer, Eduardo,
        When I read your review of FR235 I'll see what decision I make. If the sensor doesn't penalise too much I'll go for FR235 head-on.
        Thanks again!

  2. Good morning and congratulations for the reviews. I currently have the same doubt as the previous user. I had the fitbit charge HR, and I had to return it because after only 5 months the strap was coming off (apparently very common). Well now I want to buy another watch and I am between the FR235 and the Spark. The use will be activities in the gym (treadmill, elliptical, etc..) and pool, and sometime trekking. Which do you see more recommended for this use?
    Thank you very much.

    1. The TomTom is multisport, so it will give you more information in the pool and has specific sport profiles for the gym, which you will not find in the FR225. With the Spark you will be more comfortable.

  3. Good morning, Eduardo,
    first of all, congratulations on the website you have.
    After selling a Compex fit 5.0 I decided to spend some of the money on a good heart rate monitor, but the more I read the more doubts I have. I always used Polar with a chest strap but it ends up being a bit uncomfortable so I'm opting for one with an optical sensor.
    Now come the big doubts, I was thinking either the Forerunner 225 or 235 or the Tomtom cardio 2. But of course for what they are worth as you know you can buy one much better or something better than if it has an optical sensor. is it worth giving the step to an optician? I imagine it will be the future when the big brands are implanting it and have not removed it yet but I do not want to be wrong because of my inexperience.

    Thank you very much.

    1. It's clear that it's going to be the future, and that's where the manufacturers are directing almost all their efforts. But today, although they generally give correct data, they still don't measure up to what a chest sensor offers. It all depends on your use and what you expect from the sensors. If you're going to do continuous running, that's where they show themselves to be the most reliable.

  4. Hello, Eduardo. Great review. I know what will be my tutorial to configure my newly purchased TomTom when I get it. I have a question that I think you already answered in the review but I wanted to specify. When you sync the clock via app, android, you say that it is very slow. Do you get to sync? I tell you because the use of the PC I do is almost non-existent, I work, like many, based on tablet and mobile. And I wanted to know if the management of the satellites is also done effectively synchronizing via app. I'd rather have to avoid the use of the pc, aj you say that the first time before using it is mandatory to plug it into the pc, right?

    Thank you!

    1. If you don't use a computer and your phone is Android, you're going to have quite a hard time. Syncing, you'll end up syncing, but after many attempts. The initial configuration requires a computer.

    2. If you don't use a computer and your phone is Android, you're going to have quite a hard time. Syncing, you'll end up syncing, but after many attempts. The initial configuration requires a computer.

    3. If you don't use a computer and your phone is Android, you're going to have quite a hard time. Syncing, you'll end up syncing, but after many attempts. The initial configuration requires a computer.

      1. Morning,

        After several days with the TomTom I can only say that I've got it right. For what I want it to do, training at an amateur level, putting in kilometres and controlling distances, race pace and heart rate is perfect. And the issue of downloading the sessions via the android app, although it's not perfect, is not bad at all. I'll explain. When I sync the tomtom with the app, it usually goes well, it doesn't take long. But it's true that sometimes it has happened to me that the downloading is very slow. I fix it easily: I uneven it and sync it again and then it works perfectly. A success. Thanks again for the review Eduardo.

  5. Hi, thanks a lot for the review. I just got my Tom Tom Spark and I have a first question. The tracker that measures steps, calories spent, etc; it measures it based on heart rate? In that tracker (hitting the button on the left) there is no reference to heart rate and if I take off my watch, the heart rate monitor is off. You talk about the 10 minutes, but that pulse every 10 minutes is only seen in the MySports application? Thanks for the help, I'm a bit of a fish in this matter.

  6. After reading your incredible report, you are a true professional, I decided to buy the runner 2, my previous watch was a Suunto ambit2S, I know that are not comparable this is multisport and that was a triathlon with transitions, but to train independently is incredible, the tomtom has absolute accuracy in the pulse, measuring meters and mapping, for me much better than Suunto.
    I was about to buy the Garmin 235, but I don't average indoor pools and apparently the pulse sensor is not so accurate yet it is much more expensive, (it is also true that it has other more extensive functions) but for my amateur sportsman who only does 35km a week I don't need so much technical information.
    On the brutal bike it is perfect, very precise and super comfortable.
    To top it all off, you put a protective film on the screen and give it miles!

  7. hola Eduardo me encanta tu blog, sige a si. mi pregunta es cual es la diferencia entre el runner 2 y el spark???
    Thank you very much.

      1. I'm not quite sure about that, the spark is usually more expensive I guess because unlike the runner2 has a "24 hour activity monitoring". That is, in addition to doing the runner2, also monitors you throughout the day, it's like you have a flex fitbit.

        By the way, piece of review with all the details. Quite a detail on your part.

        1. Both are the same watch. As you can see from the test, I'm also talking specifically about the activity monitor.

          1. I'm sorry to bother you, but on the same tomtom website you open one and the other and click on "compare product" and you will see what one has and what another has, and the runner2 does not have a 24 hour activity monitor. The truth is that it is a bit strange because it does not specify that the runner2 has GPS and it does. In several videos out there they also say that the runner2 is more oriented to professionals and the spark is more oriented to fitnes.

  8. Congratulations Eduardo, great job. And thanks for all the information! I've almost decided to buy a tomtom spark/runner 2; the only difference is the strap, right?
    In addition to this, I have a couple of questions about pool activity:
    - I understand that with an external submersible band I could read the pulses while training.
    - And the second question is about music, can you listen to it in the pool? Would you simply need waterproof bluetooth headphones?

    Thank you very much!

    1. Yeah, it's the same watch, only the colors change.

      Bluetooth is a digital connection, and this type of signal is not capable of penetrating the water beyond 5cm, so you will not have data or heart rate or possibility of music.

  9. Hi, Eduardo,
    I have the tomtom runner 2 cardio + music and I would like to know if you could solve a problem I have. Having a correct synchronization with the bluetooth headset (plantronics), from one day to the next I have lost the synchronization between the clock and the headset and I can't get it back on. could you help me?
    Thank you, a greeting.

  10. Hola Eduardo, ante todo enhorabuena y gracias por este análisis, yo tengo una pregunta y es que no se como puedo entrar para hacer una lista de reproducción, desde la App no me sale y desde la web tampoco me sale la ventana que tienes en el analisis.
    Thank you.

    1. Playlists are not made from the TomTom application, they have to be from iTunes or Windows Media Player. The TomTom application only synchronises the list you have created with the other program.

  11. He probado el tomtom runner 2 cardio al mismo tiempo que runtastic y da un ritmo mayor por de 7 min por km que runtastic!!! Es normal? Cuál es más fiable??

      1. I was running at 5:35 and then I changed pace to 5:15 for two kilometers straight and the tomtom was still at 5:35!

        1. Make sure that the display showing the clock was the instantaneous rate or the cumulative rate. Generally, the clock will show the data more reliably, as it has a higher recording rate (per second) and a better antenna design.

  12. Hi Eduardo! I've been following you since I wanted to buy the fitbit charge HR, thanks to you I didn't make a big mistake, you are one of the few who do a good job, well clarified, with sincerity and very very complete. My congratulations!
    The day after tomorrow is my birthday and I finally want to buy a bracelet or watch to measure my activity (which I will start in June...hahaha). I am a total amateur, but I want that what I buy does not fail me. I was looking at the fitbit blaze but it is not compatible with my lg g4. Please help me, advise me which one I should buy, I will use it for hiking, running (both in depth and speed) and in the gym. I would like to measure the stairs you climb (even if it stops xx to absurd) but especially that the gps and the sensor do not fail. Oh and another question. Are the applications that you bring for the mobile important? That is, if the fitbit blaze is not compatible with my mobile, it may work with the computer? Thank you very much and forgive me if I have written too much.

    1. Thank you, Esmeralda.

      Your LG G4 is compatible with Fitbit Blaze (it has Bluetooth Smart, which is the only requirement), but for the use you're going to make, I would recommend that it has integrated GPS and does not have to rely on the phone's GPS (and its battery).

      The Garmin Vivoactive HR would meet all the requirements, but it hasn't been released yet, so it wouldn't make it to your birthday (congratulations!!) But it's what you're looking for: GPS, optical sensor, floor-counting and different sports modes.

      1. Thank you very much for your answer, my birthday was on the 9th and I didn't buy one waiting for your answer and I'm glad I didn't. So where I've been waiting for so long, I'm going to wait a little longer and follow your advice. I really appreciate the time you spend with people, I know it's a lot of work and you help us a lot with indecisive people like me. Keep it up.

  13. Good night, Eduardo,
    I'm an amateur runner, just finished his first marathon and a fan of your website.
    I'm looking for a gps watch, preferably with an integrated pulse meter. I'm between the 2 Cardio runner (I'm not interested in the music option), the garmin f235 (it's a bit pricey) or the garmin vivoactive HR. I was almost decided on the Tomtom when I read some bad comments about its android app.
    What would you recommend? I'm looking for a watch that will help me improve my workouts (mainly I run) with Gps and integrated pulsometer. (~200-250 ?)

    Thank you very much and to continue with your blog, it is of great help to us.

    Greetings

    1. Yes, the TomTom Android app leaves a lot to be desired. If you can make the extra investment, with the FR235 you'll be happy and it has a better app.

  14. Hola, gran análisis se agradece mucho. Una consulta, estoy comenzando correr y de preferencia en interiores (cinta), este reloj es recomendable, es mucho o es mejor buscar otra opción. Hago la aclaración que en algún momento pretendo correr en exteriores. Gracias.
    Marcelo

  15. Hi, Eduardo,

    My partner's birthday is coming up, and I don't know which one would be better.

    I had in mind both the TomTom Runner 2 Spark, as well as the Garmin 235 and the Vivoactive. But as I say, I'm quite lost. The only requirement is that you have to wear the built-in heart rate monitor on the same watch.

    I put you in a situation. My partner goes out two-three times a week for a run and goes to the gym three times a week, doing mostly weight training.

    Is there really a clock that is good-complete for running and that also takes advantage of the work I do in the gym? The thing is, I see that in all the analyses there is no talk about the aspect of taking advantage and taking into account the work in machines.

    On the other hand, he is a physiotherapist and because of his job he cannot wear it, but he has told me that for the rest of the day he would like to wear it to collect as much data as possible. In this sense, I have seen that there is a way to control the hours of sleep. I would like the final choice to wear it as well.

    The price range of the Garmin 235 would be the maximum I can afford, if less is much better.

    Thank you very much.

  16. Hi Eduardo, I'm interested in a TT Spark Cardio + Music and a Garmin FR 235, of course I read your reviews about it, I'm a bit hesitant, I'm an amateur runner looking for his first marathon, my training includes series with recovery time, changes of pace at intervals of time or distance, and of course funds, besides cycling as a second activity, it would be my first sports watch so I'm looking for one that covers most of these needs in addition to involving the FC monitor in training, what can you recommend?
    Greetings from Merida, Mexico

    1. I think the 235 will be better suited to the type of training you do because you can set up the training through the platform.

  17. Hi Eduardo, how are you? Very good review, it clarified many things about the TomTom. I make a consultation, it brings me doubts as the issue of the maps for the GPS. Do they come loaded or do you have to buy them separately? I have seen that updates are sold so that is the doubt. I'm from Argentina and would not know if it works properly. Thank you very much!
    Greetings

    1. I don't understand what you're asking... The TomTom Runner 2 doesn't have any navigation and, logically, doesn't support maps of any kind.

      1. Perfect, I got confused with something else I read about the updates. The GPS should work correctly here as you indicated in the post for the place where you tested it, and the tracking should be correct at the time of the route as well.
        I thank you for your answer!
        Greetings

  18. Hello, very good analysis, maybe you can solve some questions for me.

    can i import the .tcx files of the training plans from endomondo to the tomtom runner 2 cardio+music?

    And if possible, does the tomtom runner 2 cardio + music, warns you of the changes in rhythm and intervals that you have to make at each moment?

    Thank you
    Greetings

    1. No, the TomTom does not have any kind of workout tracking. Garmin does have this feature, but workouts must be scheduled and cannot be done via TCX.

  19. Hi Eduardo, congratulations on your analysis and articles. They are very complete and helpful.
    After checking them and looking at prices and so on, I look for a simple watch just for running, and this in doubt between the polar m400 or the tom tom runner 3 what do you think? thanks

  20. Hi Eduardo, thank you very much for this post, it has been of great help to me when I decided to buy this watch that by the way I have bought through the link that you have put to Amazon and it has left me great of price, thank you very much for this also. I have bought the Tom tom spark cardio + music. Yesterday I released it and I am delighted. I only wanted to expose something that happens to me and I do not know if it is problem of the watch or problem of mine of something that I have made badly when configuring it. I give 15 steps and it puts me in the account steps that I have given 140 steps and that I have spent 105 calories......the account steps seems that it goes by free and that affects the spent calories. Somebody has observed this problem?

    1. Calories include basal intake - that is, not just the calories related to your movement, but simply to being alive.

      It is not a pedometer placed on the foot, but the measurement is made through the accelerometer on the wrist. There are hand movements that can make the watch think that it is a step.

      The Activity Monitor should be used to check trends rather than going to the "exact step", i.e. if it shows 17,000 steps in a day, regardless of whether there are any that have not been taken, it is clear that you have walked a lot during that day. On the other hand, if it shows 3,000, it means that you have not had much movement.

  21. Hi Eduardo a question I am about to buy a watch this Christmas, I have read and compared some data and I am between three watches according to their price and characteristics, I hope you can help me make the best decision. The watches are the following:
    1) TomTom spark 3 + Heart Rate Monitor
    2) Vivoactive HR
    3) Polar M400

    Thanking you in advance for your response.

    1. If you value music or the ability to follow routes, the TomTom. In everything else the Garmin is superior. As for the Polar, it is not up to the other two, the years do not pass in vain.

  22. Hola, hace unos meses que me cogí este reloj, muy bueno el análisis. Por suerte el tema de la sincronización lo han arreglado. Mi pregunta es con qué 3 auriculares te sincronizó. No quiero gastarme 90€ en los que recomienda TomTom y los oficiales no me convencen. Los que salen en la foto son los Urbanista Río? Gracias

    1. Right now I don't remember which ones I used them with. I know for sure that one of them was the Sony SBH-20 but I think they are not sold anymore. Anyway, I recommend you to buy any of the ones sold by Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2j1oN68

      If it doesn't work, you have no problem asking for a refund to change them.

  23. Good article, like all that you do of analysis, I comment to you, I usually go out in bike either in mtb or road, I am looking at clocks like the tomtom, I would like that it took band and gps, between all which you recommend, polar, garmin or this tomtom, considering reliability, effectiveness and performance.

      1. Hi, thanks in advance, i'm thinking of buying a gps watch and i'm between garmin vivoactive hr and tomtom runner 3. i go skiing every now and then so the altimeter interests me. on the other hand i also ride a bike and this is where i have the problem since i have a bluetooth smart chest band and i think garmin can't support it. do you think i'd compensate buying another ant band or will garmin update the watch to be compatible?
        Do you also know how the touch screen works with gloves in winter?
        Thank you again.

  24. Hi Eduardo, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I've been tempted to get a tomtom Spark, but I've also read about the Vivoactive hr. I'm not a pro at sports, but I'd like to measure what I do and set myself new challenges every day. How are these two doing in the gym? And can they connect to any android device or should it just be a smartphone? ...Thank you!

    1. At the gym level the requirements are quite low, so virtually any model offers the same. If it's mobile integration you're looking for then clearly opt for the Garmin. Although the TomTom has improved its applicationGarmin's solution is still superior.
      Whether it's a phone or a tablet, you can connect to both without any problem.

      1. Thank you, Eduardo!
        Finalmente opté por el Vivoactive y tienes razón, la aplicación es muy buena. En resumen, tiene todo lo que esperaba (de todo un poco) y me motiva el ver todo escrito, que era el principal objetivo.
        Thank you for your response and for the analysis 🙂

  25. hello eduardo very well explained, but I have doubts, I want it to go running, some bike I'm afraid of going from band in the chest to integrated pulse as the runner 2 and runner 3 of tomtom,
    estoi dudando entre esos 2 modelos lo que pasa esque por el tomtom runner 3 cardio me vale 174 euros y el runner 2 cardio vale 170 ,,no se si merecera la pena por 4 euros cogerme el 3 que no es dinero y tener un buen reloj..
    many thanks

  26. Hi, Eduardo,

    First of all, thank you very much for this comprehensive review of Tomtom Runner 2.

    I go out running about 3 days a week doing every day 5-7 km, I'm not a professional but I like to see my progress both in heart rate (I have very high heart rates and I'm slowly lowering them) and in times and routes. So far I go out with my mobile phone with Runtastic's app, wired headphones and Polar Pulse Meter with band.

    I have decided not to carry so much junk and I have bought the Tomtom Runner 2 cardio+music that will arrive to me in 3-4 days. With it I will be able to keep track of my pulse, listen to music and see times and distances and just by wearing my watch.

    The only thing I don't like is that I'm used to being informed about the time/km with Runtastic. According to what I read in your review and in the comments, the Tomtom is not capable of doing this, but do you think it is possible that they will implement it?

    I read in some other review (not as complete as yours, by the way) that it has audible alarms that might warn me when I finish every km with a beep. If that were the case, just looking at the clock at those moments I would see the time/km without problems. How do you see it? Is it true about the beep?

    Thank you very much for the review and your comments!

    1. No, there are no comments of any kind, nor will they be included. Runner 2 will not receive any more updates.

      You do have a chance to have a return-alert mode

  27. Hi, Eduardo!

    Super detailed review. I have a question. I'm a super newbie at running (I've only been running for 3 months) and I'm loving it. After reading several of your reviews I think this is my option but I still have a question. I'm asking the same thing, but if I program the interval option with different running intensities, will it warn me when my heart rate goes too high? I mean, are they two compatible options or do they go separately? I don't know if I explain myself.

    Thanks a lot for your time.

    1. No, it is not possible to mix interval training with zones.
      That would be the right thing to do, but TomTom continues to keep it separate.

  28. Very good and complete analysis, as always. Just a comment; I just bought the Runner 2 in the cardio music premium version and I have to say that the sync with the android app is practically instantaneous. No more than 5 seconds. The software version is 1.3.255. Tomtom must have improved a lot this point since you made the analysis.

      1. I know it's a lot to ask and that updating old entries would be a never-ending task, but considering that it's one of the main problems that are told about Runner 2, maybe a little update note here could be useful. Thanks again Eduardo.

  29. Congratulations on the analysis.

    Just a couple of things I'm not clear on.

    The first of these refers to the outdoor CYCLING option. I understand that it is not necessary to have a cadence and speed sensor to be able to use the watch when you ride a bike. It is true that with a sensor of this type, the data recorded is more accurate, but you can wear the watch directly on your wrist and you will get your heart rate, km travelled, etc... anyway. Am I right?

    The second question concerns the activity monitor. When running, for example, it is necessary to place the watch above the wrist bone for a correct reading. To read the hours of sleep, steps taken, etc... is it necessary to wear the watch on that part of the wrist or can it be worn like any wristwatch without affecting the recorded parameters?

    Greetings and thanks in advance.

    1. Distance and speed can be obtained through GPS without any problem. As for the use in the rest of the day, you can wear it looser without any problem.

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