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After a year with its latest model on the market, TomTom decided to update its Runner 2 by introducing the TomTom Runner 3. Along with it came a new model, the TomTom Adventurer, which enters a new category in which it had previously had no presence.
It is not a very important update, as the basic operation of the TomTom Runner 3 (or Spark 3, which is the same in all its features and performance) is the same as in the Runner 2, but now benefits from the possibility of route navigation, including a magnetic compass. And it is a feature present throughout the range, from the most economical Runner 3 model to the top of the range, the Adventurer.
It is a detail that does not go unnoticed, especially in a watch in the price range of the most economical Runner 3. Usually navigation is something that was reserved for the higher range models, so the proposal of TomTom is a breath of fresh air within the most basic range of GPS heart rate monitors.
As I always make clear, the TomTom Runner 3 and TomTom Adventurer units you see below have been loaned out by TomTom, but only for a while, because once the test is completed I will send them back. It is important that you understand this, because there is no compensation of any kind from the manufacturers.
This is why the tests I perform are totally objective, as I can reflect my opinion freely. There is no pressure of any kind because there is no payment from the manufacturer (nor do I allow them to display advertising on this website).
So if you want to show your gratitude for the work I do and want to help support the site, you can buy the watch through the links I provide. This way I get a small commission that helps cover a small part of my work. Or through the Amazon image you can find on the right side of the page (or at the end if you read this from your mobile).
Once you've made your mind up, would you like to learn more about the new features of the new TomTom Runner 3 and Adventurer?
Today we have a 2×1 offer. Because there is nothing better than opening the boxes of two watches instead of one. In this case a TomTom Runner 3 Cardio Music and a TomTom Adventurer.
But before going in for the kill, it's interesting to look at the different details, because these details help you to easily understand what the difference is between them and what each one offers. For example, on the side of both boxes you can see the same image composition, but the image inside the phone simulation is different.
In both cases the new route functionality is highlighted, but while in the case of the Runner 3 we have a purely asphalt route within a park, in the Adventurer there is a mountain route (along with the difference between route exploration and trail).
As you can see, TomTom directs the Adventurer towards more adventure or mountain sports.
The back of the box, in addition to showing the straps, also leaves room for more details of the Adventurer, highlighting the automatic detection of ski lift and skiing, snowboarding or hiking activities.
I take the knife and start the killing. After opening the boxes this is what we have left. Both models include exactly the same, both in accessories and documentation.
Let's put the rest of the stuff aside and focus on the watches. If we put one next to the other they look like different models, right? In fact, you might get the impression that the Adventurer is bigger, to make room for a bigger battery or its barometric altimeter.
So wait, I'm doing a magic trick. A few turns of the hand and a touch of the magic wand and we have the clocks in different locations. But watch closely, because I haven't changed the screen saver sticker.
Indeed, the straps are interchangeable (you can attach Adventurer with a Runner 3 - or Runner 2 - strap and vice versa) because the dimensions of the watch are exactly the same. Adventurer is slightly wider simply because of its strap, which is somewhat bulkier to provide greater protection for the watch against more demanding use in the mountains.
Externally there is only a minimal difference, and you have to sharpen your eye to see it. The TomTom Adventurer (on the right) has a port where the barometric altimeter is located, something that the Runner 3 / Spark 3 lacks.
The straps do not only differ in the packaging of the watch. For example, while in the Runner 3 the strap is in one piece, in the case of the Adventurer there is a second strap section that uses a pin.
The fastening system is also different. The Adventurer uses a more traditional double buckle system, while in the Runner 3 we find a system similar to the one we already had in previous models, in which we have to click the strap in the corresponding clips.
Personally, I find the Adventurer solution a little more comfortable, both when wearing the watch and on my wrist.
Both models share the charger. The charging system is the same as in the Runner 2, with the base at the bottom of the watch being punctured. This can be done by slightly detaching the strap or by removing the watch from the strap and placing it directly on the charger.
This cable will be the one you use not only to charge the clock, but also to synchronize it with the software TomTom MySports ConnectThis program is simply the way to synchronize your watch with the cloud, as all your training data will be sent to the online platform TomTom MySports.
But most likely you'll use only the new mobile application you'll see later for synchronization, because now it works the way it should.
But that's another matter, let's first see what the differences are between the two models.
Differences between TomTom Runner 2 and TomTom Runner 3
If you're in a hurry, Runner 3 is a Runner 2 with the added option of route navigationPeriod. But you're not here for the quick explanation and you like things a little more detailed, otherwise you wouldn't be on this page.
The Runner 3 builds on the Runner 2, including new features that the Runner 2 has been receiving such as the ability to monitor your heart rate 24 hours a day. To that base TomTom adds the ability to track routes.
It's not just a software feature; if it were TomTom would have released the update on Runner 2. But there are changes at the hardware level, and that is that Runner 3 includes a magnetic compass to help us in route tracking. In fact, before you start your first workout it will ask you to perform the calibration.
You'll have to move the clock in circles to find magnetic north.
I'm warning you in time so you don't go out in the street at 0ºC and have to turn the clock like a fool, or worse, have to do it in the middle of your city's main avenue in front of hundreds of people. It can be a strange situation. Anyway, you can also skip that calibration and do it later.
The versions available for TomTom Runner 3 and Spark 3 are the same as those available in the previous model, i.e:
- TomTom Runner 3 / Spark 3GPS heart rate monitor with activity monitor and downloadable route tracking, with the possibility of connecting Bluetooth Smart sensors.
- TomTom Runner 3 / Spark 3 MusicMusic: Same as above, but with the ability to play music directly from the watch to a Bluetooth headset without the need for any other device.
- TomTom Runner 3 / Spark 3 CardioOptical pulse sensor: With an optical pulse sensor, valid for both training and monitoring heart rate throughout the day.
- TomTom Runner 3 / Spark 3 Cardio + MusicThe most complete version, which includes both an optical pulse sensor and the possibility of playing music from the clock.
Differences between TomTom Runner 3 and Adventurer
Let's now turn to the differences between the TomTom Runner 3 and the TomTom Adventurer.
To describe it quickly, the Adventurer is a Cardio + Music Runner 3 with barometric altimeter and some additional sports modesBut again, we're going over all the details.
The barometric altimeter is the most relevant difference, and given the target audience of the watch, it's a pretty important difference, since you will be able to have altitude data in a much more precise way than you can get just with GPS. That data will not only be important after finishing your session, but you will be able to know the amount of meters ascended or the current altitude directly from the watch with a very small margin of error.
Thanks to this altimeter TomTom has been able to include some extra sport modes, focused on the most adventurous users: trail running, hiking, skiing and snowboarding.
All these modes make use of the altimeter in one way or another. In the ski and snowboard modes it will allow you to automatically separate the descent from the slope, completing a lap in which you can see statistics such as speed or vertical descent.
Meanwhile, the trail running and hiking modes will use the altitude data to show the number of positive meters ascended or the current altitude.
However, the mode of hiking includes a specific mode of GPS use. Increases data logging time GPS at 2 seconds It's a really good idea because in the low speed walks through the mountain we will hardly have a difference in the quality of the recorded tracks or in the total distance, but it means an important saving of battery.
As for available versions, for the Adventurer has only one modelAs I said before, it is a TomTom Runner 3 Cardio + Music with the addition of a barometric altimeter and 4 extra sports modes, so it also has an optical pulse sensor and the possibility of playing music directly from the clock.
Since the changes with the previous model are very focused, I want to focus this test more on specific details of this new version (i.e. the route navigation and the new sports modes of the Adventurer), so I don't want to go into too much detail on settings or training options either.
In its basic operation nothing has changed from the TomTom Runner 2 (and by the way, from the original TomTom Runner either), so if you want to go into more detail about these options you can take a look at the complete test of Runner 2However, I do want to leave a few brief strokes to at least remember the basics of how it works.
The TomTom Runner 3 (or Spark 3, which is the same watch) is, again, a multi-sport watch. It allows you to record various activities such as running, swimming in a pool or cycling. But it is not multi-sport in the sense that it can be used for triathlon, as it does not offer a mode that can chain different sports together, nor does it have a mode for swimming in open water.
Training options remain the same:
- NoneRunning: Running without any kind of objective, not even separation of turns for each kilometer. The clock will not warn you every time you run a kilometer, but you will be able to check it at the end of the activity separated by kilometer.
- ObjectivesDistance, Time and Calorie Target: You can select a distance, time or calorie target, and a guide screen will be added so that you can check how you are doing against that target.
- IntervalsYou set up a workout with warm-up, interval and rest periods, the number of sets and cool-down time. But it's a very simple setup, as you can't have pace or heart rate targets.
- Back toAutomatic lapping: Automatic lapping by time, by distance, or that you mark manually, simply by tapping on the screen.
- ZonesIntervals: Training ranges for pace, speed or heart rate, e.g. cycling between 120 and 140 beats. This is the option I would like to be able to select in the interval option.
- CompeteCompetition: Competing with recent activities or activities you have marked on the MySports website, this is a "Virtual Partner".
The screen configuration options do not vary either, with two fixed data items at the bottom and a larger main data item that you can change using the control dial.
In the case of the TomTom Adventurer and thanks to the barometric altimeterIn addition to the most basic data, you can also select slope and climb, both in the fixed data on the screen and in the data you rotate.
The sensors you can pair are the same as before: pulse (in case you don't want to use the optical sensor or for the versions that don't equip it) or speed and/or cycling cadence, in both cases connecting through Bluetooth Smart.
But now within the sensor option we find the compass.
With regard to the optical pulse sensor there is no news, being the same sensor of LifeQ that we already saw in Runner 2 / Spark.
In terms of performance, little more than adding to what was already seen during the TomTom Runner 2The behavior is usually good at almost any time, for example this training ending with five short intervals. The three sensors (HRM-Run on the chest, Scosche RHYTHM+ and the optic of the Runner 3) are in line.
We can only find some differences in the interval periods, where the TomTom registers slightly higher peaks than the other two sensors.
Another example is much more variable. In the cold, there are different behaviours, as is usual when the temperature is low, but at all times it records the same values as the Scosche, which is one of the best optical sensors you can find on the market.
Forget about the different initial records of the Garmin sensor. At first I was having trouble keeping the sensor in place (the band was slipping) and later I disconnected the sensor in a snag, so the data is not valid until the 25th minute. Disadvantages of chest sensors...
As for the activity monitor, it was one of the innovations in the Runner 2. There is no variation in the Runner 3 or Adventurer and the possibility of reviewing the data not only daily but also weekly is still available. This detail is somewhat different from what other manufacturers offer and is, of course, a good decision.
Of course you can access the activity data via the TomTom website.
And if you activate the pulse-tracking option, you can also view heart rate graphs throughout the day.
Or see the weekly trend, something much more useful in preventing overtraining.
Remember that this has only been a brief review of all the options already known from Runner 3 and Adventurer. In the review of TomTom Runner 2 you can find the same information, but much more detailed.
Next we go with the News of the Runner 3 and Adventurer.
Route navigation is the most important innovation Not because it is a novelty in itself (TomTom was the only brand that did not have a watch capable of navigation in its catalogue), but because it is something that is available across the rangefrom the most economical model.
When navigating a route there is no difference between what a basic TomTom Runner 3 can offer and what you will find in the TomTom Adventurer. All models support route guidance, which is combined with the magnetic compass to guide you in the right direction.
On TomTom they haven't gone crazy and have implemented a very simple solution. There is no application of its own to be able to set up a route, there are already hundreds of applications that allow this. You can create a route on Google Maps, download it from Wikiloc or even create a user on Suunto Movescount (en free and you don't need to have one of their watches) and look at their different heat maps or other users' routes.
Therefore you will start by having a route in GPX format that you can upload to the TomTom MySports.
The procedure couldn't be simpler. You upload the route, save the details and it will be stored in your "paths" section. You can upload as many GPX files as you want and even browse routes already made (you will simply have to check the "Copy to paths" option within any past activity).
You can have as many routes as you want on the web, the only limitation is that the clock can have a maximum of 15. Therefore, all the routes you upload to the platform will be synchronized until there are more than 15, at which time you must start marking which ones you want to be available on the clock.
When you have the routes you want on the web, it's time to put them on the clock by simply synchronizing via USB with your computer or via Bluetooth with your mobile phone.
You can follow routes in any sport profile (not only race, also cycling), you simply select it from the training settings in the same way as you select training goals or data screens.
When you start the activity you can access the route by clicking on the right.
There is multiple levels of zoomIf you scroll to the right again, you will see the track on a smaller scale.
And if you press the crosshead a third time, you can see the full image of the route, and you can check where you are within the route, represented by an arrow.
This arrow points in the direction you are located thanks to the magnetic compass. You do not need to be in motion for the GPS to determine where you are going.
As you can see it's a easy navigationThis is not a succession of points to follow, as is usual with other watches, but rather a line is drawn on a non-existent map. As there are no such points, there is no warning of a turn, no notification of leaving the route, and of course there is no possibility of marking points of interest that you might want to use to return later.
There is one thing that is quite unique, and that is that after synchronizing the activity you will be able to see on the map of it the route that you should have followed, along with the route that you finally completed.
In the image above you can see the two routes clearly differentiated. In dark green the route I initially downloaded, while the light green color corresponds to the route I finally completed.
There are many differences, and I wanted to check the effectiveness of the navigation when it comes to getting back on your feet, so I deliberately chose to follow a different path and, in the end, get lost on purpose in a forest area with no marked path.
Other watches will warn you as soon as you get separated from the route you initially set and indicate the destination and the distance to return to the route (as it is a route of points). In the case of TomTom, you need to keep an eye on the clock display to get back to the route.
Or, if you get lost and are off the trail, return to the path you followed until you get lost, so you can retrace your steps.
To this end, the compass is very helpful (available on all Runner 3 or Adventurer models).
Not only does it locate the navigation arrow in the direction you are actually looking at, but it also displays a specific screen where, in addition to having the cardinal points, you can see which direction you should follow to reach the starting point or end point of the route (if they are different).
Hiking mode on TomTom Adventurer
Among the various specific sports modes of the TomTom Adventurer, there is one that is special and interesting, namely the Hiking profile.
In this mode the Adventurer changes the recording behaviour of GPS data and switches to recording position every two seconds, instead of every second. In this mode the most adventurous TomTom watch is able to reach 24 hours of autonomy.
In exchange for this extended duration there are not many concessions to be made, since as it is a hiking activity in which you move more slowly the difference of recording position points every second or every two seconds is practically irrelevant. And yes, the pulse sensor continues to record data every second as in any other mode (although if you activate it you will not reach 24 hours).
In practice there is hardly any difference when we are doing a walk in the countryside. You can see this track recorded with a Phoenix 3 next to the TomTom Adventurer.
Don't be guided by the distance it marks under the track, as the actual distance marked by the Garmin was 2.84km (it is when it is passed to the comparator that it has been inflated). But more than the distance itself, you should look at the difference between the tracks marked by the two watches.
You can see how, except for the turns where the TomTom tends to cut back slightly, the record is perfectly valid. And it's a good solution to provide extended range without having to go to GPS record figures every 30 or 60 seconds, where clearly the track is going to be much more affected and by the time there are several turns in the route the distance will have nothing to do with reality.
But talking about autonomy in the more complete versions of TomTom is quite complicated, given the different operating options they offer.
Because it's not the same to use the watch only with GPS by deactivating the optical sensor clock, as to be listening to music. Or to tell you that the TomTom Runner 3 has a range of X when it comes to the optical sensor clock and the one you're interested in is the basic model.
So, before we go into detail, I'll make clear the official figures marked by TomTom.
- TomTom Runner 3The basic model is capable of reaching 11 hours of use with GPS activated, or any other model by deactivating the other options (such as the optical sensor).
- TomTom Runner 3 CardioIf we go to Cardio, then the maximum duration we can expect is 9 hours.
- TomTom Runner 3 Cardio + MusicIf you like to train while listening to your favorite music, then you will have up to 5 hours of enjoyment. As you can see, playing music significantly lowers the battery.
- TomTom AdventurerThe only thing to keep in mind is that using the walking mode allows you to reach 24 hours of battery life without using the optical pulse sensor or music playback.
Of course, the fact that the Cardio + Music has these options does not mean that the autonomy is that one. If you do not use the music, for example, the autonomy will be the same as that of the Runner 3 Cardio.
And what are the real data? Don't worry, you know I always have the information you're looking for
First of all, we're going to use the GPS exclusively, as if it were a basic TomTom Runner 3 without an optical heart rate monitor or music. Or for the specific case, with these options disabled. Remember, TomTom indicates "up to 11 hours".
Slightly short of the target, but it should not be forgotten that the temperature during use is also important in the life of the battery, so this is an aspect to take into account.
The next test is with the optical pulse sensor activated, which TomTom indicates reaches a maximum of 9 hours in use.
Again a very similar result, with 30 minutes less than the maximum indicated.
What about the new 24-hour mode on the Adventurer? Well, I've done the test as well.
In this case the result is favourable for the TomTom, exceeding the time announced by the brand by more than an hour.
Remember also that it is for exclusive use with GPS and in hiking mode (which records GPS data every 2 seconds). If you were to use the optical pulse sensor and above all, music, the range would be considerably reduced.
New TomTom Sports application
During the CES in Las Vegas TomTom presented a new mobile application, something very necessary because the previous application left a lot to be desired as it is very frustrating in several aspects.
The new app, called TomTom Sports (and which replaces TomTom MySports) will be available later this year on Android and iOS, and not only will it be compatible with Runner 3, but any TomTom sports watch will be able to sync with it.
TomTom has completely revamped the application. It is not a version of the old one or an improvement on it, but is developed from the ground up.
I'll show you the Android app below, but it's identical to what will be offered for iOS.
The new application offers several improvements. synchronisation is now fasterIn the original application, activity synchronization (both daily activity and workouts) could be "forever" or "all life". And I'm being benevolent. In fact, most often synchronization was done by cable for this reason.
What TomTom has not yet reached is automatic background synchronization. Other competing models are capable of updating data several times a day without any user intervention. In contrast, TomTom still requires a forced connection.
Although it's as simple as accessing the watch menu by simply scrolling down, the Bluetooth connectivity is then activated and it will search for the phone, which will have the application running in the background.
In addition to improved connectivity there is more NewsNew metrics, workout analysis capabilities or trend tab - you may not be able to install it on your phone yet because at the time of writing this test has not yet been officially launched, but I'll give you a quick review below.
The main panel has changed, now offering more information and a much more modern look. The image on the left is the old version of MySports, and on the right the new screen.
The display of the training sessions is similar, but the details of the training sessions are more important than the map of the route.
The activity statistics now show more complete information, with a specific graph for each parameter as well as a distribution of the heart zones. Previously it only showed one graph where two different data could be selected.
The timing section allows you to access lap times, but also allows you to select individual segments to display the heart rate and rhythm graph for that specific segment.
The list of activities is also more complete, since in addition to showing better the type of activity performed with a graph of the route (or heart rate if there has been no use of GPS), also allows you to filter the activities by many parameters.
You can see trends from different data such as sleep or steps. And of course the resting heart rate on successive days.
Finally, the trend tab is totally new.
It offers different comparisons in the last activities carried out, comparing distances or rhythms between them. Although the information provided is not very determining either, because for example my last race is slower than the previous one, but it is a training series much more demanding than a race at a continuous pace, but in the final rhythm it is slower because of the rest periods. These are details that it does not take into account.
All in all, a good development by TomTom that was much neededI'm sure all TomTom users will be very happy when the application is launched for the general public.
The new TomTom Runner 3 and Adventurer are not a revolution, but they are a breath of fresh air. Bringing navigation closer to the more economical ranges is a real bonus. Navigation may be simple, but it has been done by including the magnetic compass that makes the watch work well.
TomTom continues to exploit the market niche it has found, and remains virtually the only manufacturer to offer a solution that allows you to listen to music without relying on other devices - all without overly complicating the use of the clock.
As for the Adventurer, it seems a bit risky in its segment. It is true that it offers far fewer features than models that are not so far off the mark, such as the Suunto Ambit3 Peak or the Garmin Fenix 3Both use better materials, their online platforms are more complete and the navigation possibilities are much wider.
But it is also true that neither of them has the possibility to play music, they do not have an optical pulse sensor (you would have to go to the Fenix 3 HR with a much higher price) and its use is more complex.
TomTom has a clock with a good GPS, an optical pulse sensor that works reasonably well (at least in racing, cycling is always another story), with activity monitor and a mobile application that is now up to the clock. The web application can be improved, but given the possibilities of automatic export to other platforms it is not very important.
The Runner 3 is a good choice for a very determined audience. If you are a runner who is just starting out or you don't have very high requirements it is a model that will leave you totally satisfied. And if you are one of those who value training with music very much, I can't think of a better option (except the Polar M600but in some respects it is more limited).
Buy TomTom Runner 3 or Adventurer
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That's for the Runner 3. As I explained, the Spark 3 is exactly the same watch, so I recommend you buy the cheapest one.
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