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We’ve been playing with the TomTom MultiSport Cardio and it’s going to be a tough one to give back, so… we’re not going to, instead we’re going to give it to you (provided you enter the competition above)! Let’s be clear – this new generation smartwatch is not without its flaws (most noticeably the awkward syncing process, especially with Android platforms) but if you’re getting into sports then this is a terrific watch to buy, which will improve your training massively and actually make it more enjoyable.

TOMTOM_MULTI-SPORT_CARDIO_WATCH_001

What’s Good About It?

This is a good-looking, comfortable and versatile watch. It uses GPS tracking and has a built-in heart rate monitor which you don’t need a separate chest strap for. According to the blurb it “accurately measures heart rate with a Mio optical sensor, which monitors changes in blood flow by shining light through the skin.” You can see those sensors shining away on the right. This is such a useful function to have meaning you don’t need to mess around with straps which always makes you feel a little like you’re putting a bra on.

The cardio element works terrifically. You need to wear the watch “comfortably tight” but that’s no big deal. We found the measurements to be accurate. Most importantly, they provided really insightful information about how hard we were working. It also allows the watch to tell you if you need to step up the pace to hit the optimal fat-burning zone.

The running function is probably the best element of the multi-sport offering. It’s very comprehensive, tracking distance, pace, time and real time heart rate. It allows you to race yourself, set training programmes and measure which heart rate zone you are working in. This is a choice of five zones – fat burn, sprint, speed, endure or recovery.

The cycle function isn’t quite as good, but it does measure speed, distance and duration, and if you wear it on your wrist it will show the real-time heart rate too. However, the watch comes with a bike mount so that you don’t need to take your hands off the handlebars to see where you are up to. Obviously, if you use this you won’t get your heart rate data (unless you buy a Bluetooth smart heart rate strap at around £59.99). Serious cyclists can also add on an optional cadence and speed sensor for better stats. This retails at approx. £59.99 so to use it properly it would need additional investment.

The swim function is really useful  for measuring your distance and time, particularly if you get bored of counting your laps and you swim in a pool, however it won’t measure heart-rate, and the GPS will not work so open-water swimming is out –  it tracks your laps by by pool size which you set on the watch before you start. It will give you some useful stats including laps, strokes, times and speed and tell you about your SWOLF (swim efficiency score – or swim-golf score).

If you like graphs, stats and cool insights about your training you’ll like this watch – It supplies lots of data which makes it a really useful tool for anyone who is serious about their training. It should be attractive to triathletes but unfortunately the watch’s GPS function not working for open-water swimming will put some off.

What’s Bad About It?

Although the watch is relatively straight-forward to use, there is a learning curve to getting it all working. TomTom don’t help you that much in this regard as the instructions need to be massively simplified and are not currently user-friendly. The ones that are supplied with the watch are minimal, while the information on the TomTom website is at the other end of the spectrum – there are 17 youtube videos linked on the TomTom website to explain the different functions of the watch! It would be great to have just one to give a quick start guide and then a more in-depth one.

Sadly, the worst bit was the syncing process which was not smooth and even in an office of tech-loving writers, getting it to play nicely with an Android phone was not easy. The upside of this is that TomTom seem to be aware that things need to improve and release updates quite frequently for their products which do make a difference. The lesson is that if you buy one make sure you check regularly for updates, which could have a big impact on battery life and GPS reception.

Would we buy one?

There’s a tendency when you review technology to focus on the features that would make any product truly great (“I can’t wait until it has wifi as standard!”) and to completely overlook the strengths that a product currently has. This is all tied into the fact that tech changes so quickly that we’re forever thinking about the next version. Ultimately, this smartwatch does things that even five years ago we would have thought were straight out of Star Trek. The fact that it works so well, is testament to the job TomTom have done on delivering their multi-sport vision.

The marketing says it addresses the needs of runners and multi-sports enthusiasts alike and is the “easiest way to improve”– in our view it does address the needs of runners who like to cross train, and certainly provides great statistics and information for athletes to base their training on. If you’re looking to properly invest time and effort into cycling or swimming then there are other options on the market that might be better for you but this is certainly money well spent.

Anyway, who cares what we think – why don’t you just win the thing and decide for yourself?

BASIC INFO

  • Battery Life – Up to 10 hours (GPS Mode)
  • Display Resolution – 144 x 168
  • Display Size – 22 x 25mm
  • Manufacturer’s Guarantee – 1 year (however if you buy from John Lewis they offer a 2 year guarantee on electricals as standard)
  • Strap Length – 11.5mm
  • Waterproofing – 50m / 165ft (5 ATM)
  • Weight – 50g

SHUT UP ALREADY – LET ME JUST WIN THE DARN THING. ADD YOUR EMAIL HERE:

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Any other gadgets and tech out there you’d like to see reviewed?