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TomTom Cardio Runner & Multisport with Optical Heart Rate In-Depth Review


Today TomTom has announced two new versions of their TomTom GPS watches.  These new additions add in optical heart rate monitoring straight into the back of both the TomTom Runner and Multisport GPS watches.  The new line – called the ‘Cardio’ utilizes the well known Mio sensor technology to measure your heart rate directly at your wrist, and does so in a form factor that’s waterproof to 50-meters.

I’ve been using the unit now on a number of rides and runs, and thus have a very solid grasp of how well they’ve completed the integration.  Which, is really what this is.  It’s essentially taking an existing TomTom Runner (or Multisport unit), and stuffing a Mio optical sensor in the back to measure heart rate and adding a couple of heart-rate specific information screens.  Beyond that, it’s basically identical to the existing units.  Of course, the addition of the optical sensor is a pretty huge thing.

Because I want to be transparent about my reviews – TomTom sent me a final production version of the TomTom Multisport unit.  Once I’m complete here, I’ll send it back to them in Amsterdam and then go out and buy my own (to be able to support y’all in the comments section down the road). Simple as that. Sorta like hiking in wilderness trails – leave only footprints. If you find my review useful, you can use any of the Amazon or Clever Training links from this page to help support future reviews.

Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular triathlete out there. I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background (my day job), and thus I try and be as complete as I can. But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out. Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed.

So – with that intro, let’s get into things.

Unboxing and contents:

As is often the case with earlier units, I don’t actually yet have a full production box to unbox for you.  I do however have a full production unit, with production firmware. Just…not the box…yet.

Still, as soon as I do I’ll quickly add those in.

In the meantime, the core contents are actually rather simple and straight forward.  It consists of three things: The watch pod, the strap, and the charging/sync cable:


The pod is virtually identical in size and shape to the previous pods (more on that in a minute), and is fully compatible with previous straps.


The core difference though is the backside, which now contains the optical sensor.  This sensor will read your heart rate via your wrist, by using optical light sensors to view down into your capillaries and then read your heart rate, which is typically transmitted to you in beats per minute (BPM).


Next, is the strap. The bright red and white won’t easily be lost.  And, thankfully they’ve tweaked the band a tiny bit to fix one issue myself and others had with previous editions: It falling out and hitting the ground.



There is also a black edition of the strap as well:



This new strap has a bit more rubber around the edge, making it rather difficult to pull the pod out accidentally (or, even on purpose).  I suspect the additional rubber is actually dual-purpose. First is to reduce incidents of the pod hitting concrete when taking off the watch.  But likely more importantly is because the rubber edging acts as a light barrier.  Light is the evil arch enemy of the optical sensor.  If light gets in, it reduces accuracy.


Just to be clear, I’ve tested the old pods in the new strap, and it works great. And, for fun, you can also place the new pod in the old straps (not sure why you’d want to, but you can).

Adding the strap in with the pod and turning it on, here’s how it all looks:



Finally, we’ve got the USB charging cable. This is used to to both charge the unit as well as to synchronize activities via your computer (PC or Mac).


The cable is identical to the existing cable, and works with new and old units alike.  Note that you can also use your phone to sync activities, which I’ll cover a bit later on.  Note that the unit does not enumerate as a standard USB mass storage device (like a thumb drive), thus, if you’re running a computer operating system outside of Windows/Mac, it won’t show up.

Size Comparisons and Weight:


As you’ll see shortly, the TomTom Cardio variant of the Runner and Multisport is identical in size to that of the non-cardio versions.  And, both the Runner and Multisport Cardio units are visually identical as well to each other.

But first, we’ll look how it compares to other units in the running and triathlon realm.  I tried to put as many competitive units as possible into the same picture, including those that compete with both the Runner and Multisport editions.

From left to right (above/below): Garmin Fenix2, Adidas Smart Run GPS, TomTom Cardio, Polar V800, Soleus Pulse, Suunto Ambit2 R (2S is identical), Timex Run Trainer 2.0, TomTom Runner/Multisport (non-cardio), Garmin FR620, Garmin FR220.


Depth wise you can see that the TomTom is among the skinner of the watches.  However, be aware that it does have a bit more of a curved plastic chunk sticking out the bottom where the button is.


Finally, here’s a bit of a closer look at the TomTom and some of the higher end units.


As I noted earlier, the differences between the previous TomTom units and the new Cardio ones are nearly physically indistinguishable.  Below, you can see the two from the front (ignore the screen, I had an older unit not updated with the phone option).


Below, you can see the back of the same units.  In this case, the only physical difference is that the new Cardio unit has the optical sensor, versus a solid backing of the other unit.


So how does that affect weight?  Well, it doesn’t seem to very much.  First, let’s start at the full weight including the newly designed strap – 63g:


If you compare that to the previous unit with a sorta similar strap, you’d see a 10g increase.


Except, that doesn’t really tell the whole story.  Instead, check out the actual pod portions.  Below, is the Cardio at 32g:


And then, the non-cardio at 31g:


In other words, it all really comes down to the strap adding the weight.  But I don’t find the weight excessive, and it’s certainly far less than most other multisport watches on the market (most of my reviews have weights in them).

Running – Outdoors:

The TomTom watch is really a runners watch, that happens to bike and swim on the side.  So in many ways, I find that it’s at its best while I’m running.  To start off an activity, we’ll dive into the menu using the button below the display.  This buttons acts like a little joystick to control the unit.  The display itself can be tapped along the right edge to turn on/off the light, as well as to create laps in certain situations.


Once we’ve selected running we’ll go ahead and wait for the unit to get satellites and initialize the optical sensor.  Neither take very long.  The TomTom unit will pre-cache satellite information each time you connect it to your computer.  In doing so it knows the satellite locations and can pickup satellites in just a few seconds.  My testing has found that I’m rarely waiting more than those few seconds (literally, a few, like 3-7 seconds).


The optical sensor is generally also quite quick, finding my HR in under about 10-seconds.  Though sometimes I’ll notice it takes a little bit longer (upwards of 20-30 seconds) to find HR and start displaying it.

Once that’s ready, we’ll press to the right to start the run.  As we do so the unit will immediately start recording data and displaying the metrics we’ve chosen.

The unit will always display two metrics up top (known as ‘left’ and ‘right’), as well as one metric down below on the main screen.  You can press up/down to change the main screen metric, and you can customize the left/right metrics in the settings.

For example, here’s the current pace:


And here’s my lap distance on the main screen, which in this case equals my main distance (shown in the upper left):


Or my heart rate in beats per minute:


I can then press to the right to trigger some of the heart rate training features.  This includes the ability to see visually where I’m spending my time zone-wise, as well as a heart rate graph of the last little bit of the activity:



When it comes to breaking up the data, you can use the lap function, which is found in the training menu.  The lap function allows you to tap the screen and create a lap whenever you’d like.  It’ll give you the lap count and the average pace for that lap:


This then also enables the lap data fields such as lap time and lap distance, which will be shown during the activity.  Within laps you can manually set them (as I do when running my custom workouts), or you can have them automatically created based on distance (as I do in my long runs, every 1-mile), or based on time (such as every 10 minutes).

Note that TomTom puts the lap function as a ‘Training’ option, which means it’s not compatible with the other training options, such as goals, intervals, pace, race or zone training…which, I’ll describe next.

In the case of goals, you can set a predefined end-state goal – such as 10KM or 60-minutes to run.  When you do so the unit will show a pie chart (like Pacman) of your progress towards that goal:


Along the way you’ll get notified at 50%, 75%, and 90% of your goal.  Goals can be defined based on calories, time, or distance.

Next, there’s the ability to train towards a zone.  This allows you to specify a target for a workout, using either pace or HR.  If you select pace, you can choose a specific pace range.  I like this implementation, as it recognizes the fact that it’s virtually impossible for a GPS to pace you to exactly 7:35/mile.  Rather, it’s much easier to keep you in between 7:30/mile +/- 20 seconds.


Next there’s the interval function.  TomTom has made some solid progress here in the last year, implementing a fairly solid interval function on the unit.  Within this you can define the warm-up (time/distance), the work period (time/distance), the rest period (time/distance), and the cool-down period (time/distance).  Then, you’ll simply define the number of reps, and it’ll walk you through the workout:


Note however that there’s no method to define a target – i.e. ‘7:30/mile’ or HR Zone for any portion of the workout, so you’ll have to remember what those are.  Though I suppose most people generally know the defined level of pain of the workout fairly well going into it.  But that means you won’t get any sort of alerting or pacing either.


Now, as you’re running in any of the modes you can pause the workout at any time by holding the left button down for 3 seconds.  This ensures that accidental button presses don’t trigger an immediate pause and then end to the workout.  If however you want that, you can turn off the ‘Lock’ setting within the unit settings.


Finally, to end a workout entirely (and thus automatically save it), you’ll go ahead and repeat the same procedure from the paused screen, holding for three seconds again.

In looking at accuracy between the units, I saw it perform within 1% of any other GPS I was using at the time.  For example, below, the TomTom measured 8.03Mi, while the Fenix2 measured 8.05Mi.


Or here, the TomTom measured 20.75mi, while the Fenix2 measured 20.83mi.  Well within the range of any consumer GPS device for accuracy differences.


Running – Indoors/Treadmill:

Next, we’ll look at treadmill capabilities.  The TomTom utilizes an internal accelerometer to measure pace and distance indoors without the use of GPS.  It does this by evaluating arm swing and cadence to determine pace.  TomTom was among the first major companies to introduce this on their units a year ago, and so I was curious to see how things have progressed since then.  Last time I looked at it upon launch, it generally didn’t work too well for me.


Treadmill mode is a separate standalone mode that simply enables only the optical HR sensor and the accelerometer for measuring the pace/distance.  Note that you’ll get most of the same training options as in outdoor running modes – so you can still do functions like laps/zones/intervals.

Once you start it, it’ll immediately start recording pace/distance like other modes.

However, upon completion of a treadmill workout it’ll give you the opportunity to ‘Calibrate’ the unit.  So I started off with a short run to calibrate things.  Interestingly, out of the box it was only .01KM away from what I had just ran.


All you do in the calibrate menu is simply enter in the actual distance that you ran, and it then adjusts the file:


As I often do for these tests, I find it easiest to just work my way through a step ladder of paces on the treadmill.  I start at a pace slower than my usual, then iterate every minute until a much faster pace than my usual long run pace.  In this case, I went with 10KPH (about 6MPH) up to 17KPH (~10.5MPH).  I’m using KPH/MPH simply because that’s what my hotel treadmill offered to me.

Here’s the result below.  In my case, the actual distance on the treadmill was 2.03KM, not 1.85KM.  Now, the trick is actually being able to see the data in the tiny little chart they give you.


It’s really hard to see there, so I had to zoom in and figure out where things were good and where things were bad, one little piece at a time by hovering over the top of the line and matching it to my known paces for each minute.


In doing so I found that even though I topped out on the treadmill at 17KPH, the unit thought I topped out at 12.8KPH.  What’s also strange is that for the last minute I actually dropped back down again to 12KPH (from 17KPH).  Which, you can see isn’t reflected at all in the graph.  Essentially, changing my pace had no effect on it.

So, for the fun of it, I tried another run on the treadmill – a different treadmill no less.  Not that it would have mattered, my body is very clear when I’m running nearly twice as fast in one section as the other.

In this case, I did the first part of the workout on my left wrist, and the second half on my right wrist.  Repeating an abbreviated 4-5minute pyramid build for each section.  Here’s what it looked like from a treadmill pace standpoint:


And from the TomTom’s perspective? Another flat line, just like the first time.

Essentially, best I can tell, the unit and me only have one basic speed.  When I speed up, it doesn’t really do anything (actually, eventually it says I’ve slowed down).  When I slow down significantly – it does slightly shift my pace, but only by about 10% of actual.

Ultimately, this is similar behavior to what I saw last year.  At the time, they were the first to attempt wrist-based speed detection in a mainstream GPS watch (Bryton had done it previously, as had a few other non-GPS watches).  Since then, others have joined them, including Garmin, Suunto and Polar.  While the jury is out on Polar’s attempt for a bit longer, in my testing of Garmin’s latest watch – the Fenix2, it pretty much nailed my indoor running based purely on wrist detection.  And Suunto was right behind it as well.

In discussing it with TomTom, they’re working on an update for Q2 that they believe should fix many of the treadmill issues I saw, and should give proper speeds.



(This section applicable only to Cardio Multisport edition)

The TomTom Multisport Cardio variant supports a cycling mode, which enables you to have a dedicated cycling mode.  Within this mode you can configure slightly different display screens, while also connecting to a cycling speed/cadence sensor.  Further, if you purchase the ‘Performance Bundle’ edition, you’ll also get a barometric altimeter.  Note this is a physical hardware change, and thus, is a separate physical unit and not just a simple firmware update.

In many ways, the cycling mode works very similar to that of the running mode.  The key difference however is that the default metric is ‘Speed’ (i.e. MPH & KPH) versus ‘Pace’.


In the cycling mode you can also connect to a Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence combo sensor.  This enables two scenarios.  First is that you can get cadence (both indoors and outdoors).  Second is that you can get speed indoors on a trainer, as well as outdoors in scenarios where GPS may not be accurate (i.e. a tunnel, or mountain biking in heavy tree cover with many switchbacks).


Now, you will want to be aware that the speed/cadence sensor needs to be manually configured with your wheel size.  If you don’t do this, you’ll get inaccurate distance.  Also of note that I discovered is that the speed sensor speed value will override GPS.  Thus, if you happen to have the magnet fall out of alignment with the sensor, you’ll get a zero speed/distance value (been there, done that).  This is a bit different than other units on the market that will look at situations where either GPS or speed sensor values equals ‘0’, and use the other speed source instead.


In addition to the speed data, you’ll get the cadence data, which can be added as a data field onto the unit itself.  Further, that data will be recorded for later viewing:


In addition to the speed/cadence sensor you can also mount the unit to your handlebars using bike mount kit.  This easily straps on using a rubber band type system, and securely holds the unit in place.



Now, the obvious problem here is that in doing so it’ll no longer measure heart rate via your wrist optically.  So instead you’ll need a Bluetooth Smart heart rate strap if you want to gather HR data.  The TomTom unit does indeed support connecting to external straps via the sensors menu.

In my case, I just kept the unit on my wrist so I could gather HR data while cycling.  I also paired it to a speed/cadence sensor.

Living in Paris, many of the streets have cobblestones.  It’s well known that vibrations and repetitive bumps cause issues with optical sensors (as well as accelerometers in other applications), and thus, it was the perfect place to test the validity of the HR data while riding.  However, instead of covering exactly how that test ended up, I’ve included all my comparison test data later on in the accuracy section.

Next, I took a look at the elevation data on one of my rides – the only ride with a big hill in it.  In this case I completed a nearly identical out and back – with the top of the hill being my turnaround point.  Now it was ‘nearly identical’ simply due to the reality of one-way streets limiting my choices.  But the elevation differences between the slightly different routes for a few blocks was minimal.  Below, you can see the graph I made.


Except, here’s the thing – in my case, I was using the non-performance bundle, and thus, the elevation data shown on the site is actually from the server based on my GPS route, rather than recorded by the unit itself.  This is true of the runner as well.

Ultimately, only the ‘Performance Bundle’ unit includes the barometric altimeter, and is/was not one of the units I was provided to test with.  In that unit, you can add/select the ‘Elevation’ data field into the list of data fields shown on the watch in cycling mode.  Down the road, they’ll be enabling it in running mode as well in a software update.

Finally, it’s worth noting that while the Multisport unit defaults to speed for cycling, you can actually use the TomTom Runner Cardio in running mode and just change the metric to speed instead of pace.  It’ll label your workouts as ‘Runs’ on TomTom MySports, but ultimately if you export to any other 3rd party sites you can easily just change the activity type to ride.



(This section applicable only to Cardio Multisport edition)

The TomTom Cardio Multisport includes the ability to capture swim metrics while in pool.  This includes distance (i.e. 2,100 yards/meters), strokes, time, and SWOLF.  It does not include heart rate while swimming.  Again, let me be really clear – as it stands today, the TomTom Cardio Multisport does NOT capture heart rate while in swimming mode.

Today, it focuses on the standard indoor pool metrics.  In this mode you’ll start by selecting your pool size.  The unit allows you to enter in any size from  15y/m to 50y/m.  What’s a bit annoying though is that it doesn’t allow you to entire either a yards pool or a meters pool.  Rather, you have to go back into your settings and change everything to yards or meters.  Given many swimmers, especially in the US, will alternate between a 25y and a 50m pool depending on availability, it’s sorta frustrating this is still an issue nearly a year later.  It also doesn’t allow you to enter partial yards (such as the 33.3M pool I swim in).  (Update: They’ve released a fix to enable this).  


In any case, the size is saved, but you’ll need to remember to switch back your total unit settings if your pool size doesn’t match what units you normally want displayed in running/cycling.

Once that’s done, you’re ready to start swimming:



Once you press to the right to start the unit, it’ll track each length of the pool.  In doing so it captures strokes, lengths, distance, time and SWOLF.  SWOLF is a combination of Swimming and Golf, and produces a swim efficiency score based on how many strokes you take per length.  In theory, less is better, but in practice you have to be sure you aren’t artificially producing less strokes (with paused gliding) simply to hit a number.  All major swim watches on the market today capture this metric.

You can press the up/down button to change display fields, and like in running and swimming you can specify the upper two display fields be whatever you’d like.



The unit in my testing has no problem with either flip turns or open turns (non-flip turns).  For the swim below, I pretty much alternated each length doing one or the other.  So you can mix them as well.  It’s important to note that the way all swim watches on the market work today indoors is not via GPS, but rather via accelerometers.  As such, pushing off the wall is ultimately what tells the watch whether or not you’ve completed a lap.

Thus it’s really important to push off the wall in a crisp manner, and to avoid random wanderings around the end of the lane when not in a paused mode.  Or, going to the bathroom while not in paused mode.  If you’re not swimming, pause the watch – simple as that.

I found it very stable in my pool, which on one day when I was testing I had 9 people in my lane, which meant I was constantly accelerating to pass folks, as well as slowing down when I couldn’t pass.  It matched the exact distance that I swam, and the Garmin Swim on the other wrist also matched that distance.


Upon completion you’ll be able to see your swim totals online:


As you can see above, it’s pretty minimal.  What you see above is the entirety of what you get.  That’s it.

Now, before we move onto the heart rate while swimming piece, I do want to briefly mention a few modes that are within the unit in swimming.  In my case, I just went with a straight ‘swim forever’ mode.  In this mode there isn’t actually a way to mark any laps (kinda annoying), so you can’t easily divide up sets.  But they do include the below modes which can help a bit:

Goals Mode: This allows you specify a total distance, time, or calorie target to aim for and gives you progress updates towards that goal.

Interval Mode: This works just like it does in running.  The difference though is that you’ve got to enter in the distances in miles or kilometers.  Which, isn’t really how most people swim.  For kilometers it’s easy, but for miles it’s a mess.

Lap Mode: This allows you to automatically create laps after a specified time or distance.  Like above, distance is entered in either in miles or kilometers.

Swimming – Heart Rate Metrics:

Now, I know all of you are wondering: How can I get heart rate while swimming?

Well, in the ‘Swim’ mode per the watch and as I’ve outlined in the previous section, it doesn’t turn on the optical HR sensor, nor will it pair with an external one.  However, for fun, I decided to see what happens if I just told it to use treadmill mode instead.  Treadmill mode on the TomTom Cardio is what I’m using as my ‘catch-all’ bucket for anything that I want optical HR on, but don’t want GPS on.

So, I turned on treadmill mode and waited for it to find my heart rate.  Standing at the end of the lane line (wet), it took longer than normal – almost a minute (versus the usual 5-15 seconds).  But, once it found it, it appeared accurate just standing there.

I then headed on out to swim some laps.  I watched as the heart rate rose steadily and seemingly in concert with my effort, then, I watched as the heart rate stabilized after about two laps.  The screen was incredibly easy to see underwater by just twisting my wrist slightly at the beginning of the ‘pull’ phase of the stroke, or pushing off the wall.

In doing so, I was able to monitor the HR pretty much constantly during that effort, and at no point did I see the HR veer out of control, or do anything unexpected.  Upon completion of the set, I went ahead and just stood at the wall with my hand still underwater to see how well it would return to normal.  In doing so, I saw no issues returning back to a resting/standing heart rate.

Below, is the heart rate snippet from that time period:


Again, because it’s in treadmill mode – there’s no strokes/distance/length data.  There’s just a bunch of random junk distance data from the watch thinking I’m running on a treadmill.  But, for those wanting the heart rate data, you now have a method of capturing it in a single unit.  Remember that the unit can easily export out to CSV file, or any other file type including .FIT and .TCX (more on that later in the review).

In talking with TomTom about enabling heart rate during swimming mode (so you get swim distance/stroke/pace metrics), they noted it’s something they’re looking at, but are at the moment focused on ensuring the running experience with the optical sensor is the priority.

Multisport Mode:

(This section applicable only to Cardio Multisport edition)

Like the regular TomTom Multisport unit, the Cardio Multisport unit does not actually have a ‘multisport mode’.  Traditional triathlon focused watches tend to have such a mode, which enables you to quickly switch between different sports in a race or brick (training) scenario.

It’s a bit puzzling that the unit still doesn’t have this functionality nearly a year later – especially given it’s focused exclusively on the multisport market.  However, I suspect that lack of feature likely comes from the fact that the unit doesn’t do openwater swim tracking and thus, it’s limited in usefulness in a full end to end race scenario.

Further, given the typical quick satellite reception, you can easily save (hold left three seconds, then again three seconds) very quickly and then re-start a new session near immediately from the same locale in just a couple seconds.  All of which most triathletes can do while running within transition.

I can only hope down the road we’ll see both outdoor swim functionality, as well as a multisport mode.

Optical Heart Rate Sensor Accuracy:

Before I dive into accuracy, let’s start back at the beginning though and explain what exactly an optical heart rate (HR) monitor is.  These are heart rate monitors that use optical light sensors to view down into your capillaries and then read your heart rate, which is typically transmitted to you in beats per minute (BPM).  While the end metric is the same, the measurement technology is different from heart rate straps of the last 30 years, which have been worn around your chest and pickup your heart rate electromagnetically.  In the photo below you can see this green light emitting from inside the band of the watch.


Mio initially introduced this technology about 21 months ago with their Kickstarter funded Mio Alpha unit, which I subsequently reviewed once they produced final units.  They subsequently launched their latest edition, the Mio Link, three months ago, which start deliveries in about 10 days.

Following Mio’s initial launch, another company – Basis, launched an optical HR device, the Basis B1 watch.  However, that device wasn’t aimed at the sports crowd, but rather more at the activity monitor/tracker crowd.  For example, it worked well for the 23 hours of the day you weren’t exercising, but didn’t measure HR during exercise.  Ultimately, it uses slightly different technology and algorithms on the optical side.

Finally, fast forward to last fall, and Adidas launched their Smart Run GPS with the optical HR sensor built in.  That sensor was provided by Mio.  And just like the Alpha and Link, it worked spot-on for me as well in measuring heart rate optically.

There are other companies as well in this space, for example Texas Instruments supplies sensors to some companies.  And 4iiii’s recently announced their optical HR pod products as well.  And further yet other companies utilize various white label and internally developed solutions.  Below, you can see such a solution on the Soleus Pulse watch (non-GPS).


So with that background in place, let’s take a look at accuracy on the TomTom Cardio unit, and see if it continues the tradition of quality heart rate data from an optical sensor.

Hard VO2Max Interval Run:

This was an interval run that started off with a 15-minute build period.  Then, it transitioned into 8x800m, each at a fairly quick pace – resulting in a high intensity workout at pretty much my absolute max heart rate values.  Here’s how things looked on the TomTom Cardio unit:


And then next, using a traditional heart rate strap (Garmin HRM-RUN):


In this case, you see that the HRM-Run for some reason struggled a bit on the 6th and 7th interval.  I wiped away the sweat behind the strap and it immediately went back to normal.  It was a fairly warm night, and combined with the higher intensity workout, I was drenched.  On the first interval you see a bit of a delayed pickup on the HR strap as well.

In the above run, I saw no abnormalities with the Mio optical sensor within the TomTom unit.  It worked flawlessly.

Long Run: 2 hours 30 minutes

This was a long and steady run, once I warmed up into zone, I stayed with it and was completely constant based on heart rate for the entire run.  Here’s how things looked, first, the TomTom Multisport:


You’ll see one minor odditiy around the 7-8 minute marker, with a spike. I noticed it while running, and then tightened the strap. It was a little bit loose.  Once I did that, the spike immediately went away.

Next, we’ve got data from a traditional heart rate strap (Garmin HRM-RUN):


As you can see looking at the two they are virtually identical after about the 8 minute marker once I tightened the strap.  Throughout the run I’d glance and they were always the same or +/- a single BPM.  Very impressive.

Cycling…Cobbles and All:

This was an hour long ride through the streets of Paris.  In this case I wore the unit on my wrist, as opposed to using the bike mount – specifically so I could collect accuracy data.  My route included long stretches of cobbles (upwards of a half a mile at a time), which are notorious for throwing off all sorts of sports technology devices.

First, the TomTom Cardio optical HR data:


Then next, the traditional HR strap data from a different non-TomTom unit:


They are very similar.  The one difference you see is around the 33 minute marker, the HR strap seemed to produce a bit of a spike to 110BPM.  I’m actually not clear if this was correct, or if the TomTom was correct here.  I was descending (hence the lower HR’s), and thus I would have been surprised to see a spike.  But since I was descending at night on cobbles, I was slightly less focused on the HR’s there.

The Girl’s Long Run: 3 Hours

In addition to my running and rides, The Girl has also spent some time with the unit, or more specifically, a long 3 hour run with the unit.  I helped her get all set with the unit and then sent her along her way.  Here’s the data from the TomTom unit first:


Looking at the above, there’s one spot at about the 12 mile marker where the unit seems to drop by about 20bpm.  It’s unclear if that was reality or not (since the strap below doesn’t show it).  You can also see a bit more variability in the second half of the run with the strap, as she increased intensity.  She noted to me that the numbers were nearly always the same or within 1BPM or so when she looked at the displays.  So from her HR zone pacing perspective, they were both valid.

And then, the data from the traditional HR strap (HRM-RUN).


In her case, you can see a single spike early on in the run on the heart rate strap.  I checked with her, and she said that was erroneous and was not some sprint she did.  That brief HR strap spike only lasted a few seconds out of 3 hours of running.

Given we’re talking about The Girl’s run, I do want to point out that while she found the optical HR piece just fine and dandy, she was not terribly thrilled with the pod on the watch itself.  Specifically, she felt it dug into her wrist bone quite a bit and found it fairly uncomfortable for the run she used it on.  This is likely because the pod is hard plastic and leaves no room for movement or flexibility.


Overall though, looking at all the optical heart rate stats from all the above rides/runs, I don’t think anyone could realistically say that the optical HR measurement didn’t perform better than the HR strap.  It seemed to in almost every case, both for myself and The Girl.

All Day Activity/HR Recording:


First off, the TomTom Cardio does NOT record your daily steps. Nor, is it an all day activity tracker like a FitBit or Fuelband.  Those products are designed for that purpose.  Again, this is not one of them.

With that out of the way, I was curious.  I was mostly interested in how well it’d be able to track my heart rate over the course of an entire day.  Both in terms of accuracy, but also in terms of battery life.  I previously did this experiment with the Mio Alpha (first generation of the sensor used in the TomTom Cardio).  In that case I had to pair it to a phone in order to capture the data.

In this case though, I simply used just the TomTom Cardio itself.  I started by ensuring I had a 100% full charge.  Then I simply started a ‘Treadmill’ activity.  In this mode the unit keeps GPS disabled, but turns on the optical HR sensor.  It also tracks distance via the accelerometer inside the unit.  Obviously, it’s meant for running on a treadmill.


The watch quickly found my heart rate as usual and off about my evening I went.  For my walk to the grocery store the distance was roughly accurate, however, upon returning and starting to cook dinner the distance was no longer in the ballpark of reasonable.  It had chalked up some three miles in about 45 minutes worth of prep work in my kitchen.  My kitchen is roughly the size of two port-a-pottie’s floors.  I couldn’t walk three miles in there if I tried.  So with distance not really accurate, I focused on the heart rate side.

I’d occasionally glance down and see where things stood accuracy-wise, with each time the unit being right where I’d expect it to be.  While sitting around watching TV I saw my HR fairly low (50’s).  And while riding the city share bikes across town I saw it a bit higher (110-130bpm, with a slight spike once trying to make a light).  All was good there.

But perhaps the most impressive feat was the battery.  By the end of the first night the battery was still showing a full charge.  And it wouldn’t be too far from the truth.  It would end up taking 26 hours for the battery to drain fully – far longer than I ever expected.  In talking with TomTom, this mode would get anywhere between 24-36 hours, dependent on a bunch of factors, but partially influenced by how hard the sensor has to work to read through your skin (darker skin/hair, etc…).

Looking at the graph at the end, I didn’t see a single HR spike in the entire day.  The recording started around 6PM, and you can see when I went to sleep some number of hours later and the corresponding dip in heart rate, then when I woke up and set about my day.  The higher chunk towards the 20hr marker is when I had to bike across a chunk of the city on the bike share bike.


I did note however that the TomTom site failed to display/load my 26-hour journey.  Instead, I just used an export of the file and uploaded it to a 3rd party site that would take the file.  I suspect having a file longer than 24 hours was the issue.

Now obviously, there are devices that are better suited for this purpose.  The Basis B1 comes to mind specifically.  However, for those that want to record heart rate data at a much higher accuracy level than the Basis, this is definitely an option.  I wouldn’t use it for activity tracking (distance) though.

Sensor Support:

The TomTom Cardio supports two types of Bluetooth Smart sensors: The bike speed/cadence combo sensor, and the external heart rate sensor.  While you might think it odd that it supports the external heart rate strap given it has a heart rate sensor in the unit itself, with the strap you can then easily mount the watch to your bike for riding and still get heart rate data.

You’ll pair both sensor types under the sensor menu:


Within the heart rate section you can simply choose ‘external’ (for the heart rate strap).  For internal, you’ll just leave it as ‘on’.

For the bike sensor, you’ll enable it here as well.  The unit will pair to any Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence combination sensor on the market (that uses the official Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence device profile).  I happened to use the Wahoo Fitness Blue SC.


Somewhat frustratingly however, it won’t pair to the Bluetooth Smart cadence-only device profile.  This meant I couldn’t use the new tiny Wahoo RPM cadence sensor pod.  So, just be aware in case you’re buying a speed-only or cadence-only sensor.

Finally, note that the unit ONLY supports those two types.  It does NOT support any ANT+ sensors, nor does it support any analog sensors (such as older Polar straps).  It would support new Polar Bluetooth Smart straps, since those follow the Bluetooth Smart standard.  And lastly, it doesn’t support any of the Nike straps, as those don’t follow the standards either.

Day to Day Watch Mode, Backlight:


The unit functions as a day to day watch in non-GPS mode for an extended period of time (many weeks).  Within this you can setup a single alarm, such as for waking up.


When in standby the unit will always display the time of day (hours:minutes), as well as the date.  It does not have an option to display the day of week, nor seconds.  You can configure the time to display in either 12-hour or 24-hour format (i.e. 1:50PM or 13:50).

The backlight can be enabled at any time in standby mode by simply tapping the right side of the display.  Additionally, the backlight can be switched to enabled for an entire activity, such as a night run.  When you do this however you’ll burn through battery much quicker than normal – so be aware.  Below, you can see the backlight in action:


With the backlight on I found it quite easy to see the display and numbers, even while on the bike with the unit on my wrist in a slightly awkward position (for cycling with hands on handlebars).

TomTom Mobile App:


TomTom recently introduced support for uploading completed workouts via your mobile phone to the TomTom MySports site, via Bluetooth Smart.  When this was introduced back in January I did a full (and rather detailed) post on it, so I’d refer to that for more details.  However, I’ll run through the basics here.

First, you’ll need a compatible phone.  That means a phone with Bluetooth Smart support.  On iOS that’s the iPhone 4s or newer, or the 2nd generation iPad or later.  Once that’s done and Bluetooth is enabled you’ll download the MySports app.  From there you’ll open the app up directly.  You do not need to wander into your phone’s Bluetooth settings control panel.

You will however need to go into the phone option on your TomTom unit to start the pairing process.


Next, you’ll see the watch listed along the bottom in bold when it’s in range.  Or, later once paired in a lighter color when not in range.


Simply tap on that line to start the pairing process.  Once you do so it’ll show you a pin code on the watch, which you’ll enter in on the phone to validate you’re not trying to commit some sort of devious hacking of other people’s TomTom units within a few meters of you.


As soon as that’s completed the phone app will immediately enumerate the workouts from the watch and transfer them over.  It’ll then upload them to the MySports site:


From the phone app you can also view workout overview information as well:


Note that with the phone app you won’t get exports of other file formats like .FIT for export to 3rd party services, so that’s one downside.  TomTom has previously stated that they intend on adding in support for popular 3rd party companies directly from the app (i.e. a sync to Training Peaks for example).  However, that hasn’t quite materialized as of yet.

TomTom Training Website:

As part of the platform TomTom makes available a training log site called TomTom MySports, which allows you to see information about the activities recorded on your TomTom unit.  Like many sites in the industry, the backend is ultimately handled by MapMyFitness, and thus, one of the options you have is to link your MapMyFitness account to your TomTom unit.

For the purposes of this review though, I’ll just focus on the core MySports site experience.  To begin, you’ll need to get data uploaded to the site. For that, there’s two options.  The first, as previously shown is to use your mobile phone.  The second, is to use the TomTom MySports Connect upload agent that can be installed on your computer.  Once you plug the unit in via USB, it’ll automatically upload the workout to the MySports site:


Once on the site you’ll start at the dashboard.  The dashboard shows you a list of your activities, along the top, the most recent activity on the left, and then activity totals along the right.


If we click on ‘View Activity Details’, we’ll be brought to the activity detail page for that particular activity, where we can dive further into charts and graphs.

The upper half of the page shows your activity totals, such as calories, pace, time, distance and elevation gain.


Meanwhile, if you scroll down you’ll get charts shown for a handful of metrics, including pace, elevation and heart rate.  While the Multisport bundle will add barometric altimeter information, all TomTom units will show elevation on the site derived from the GPS path and then calculated by servers once uploaded to TomTom’s site.


You can mouse over any given spot on the chart to get the exact value for that particular point in the run:


Finally, there’s the option along the top to show your activity totals across a given timeframe.  In this case, I went with the month of March.


In addition to reports and graphs, you can also tweak a few settings from the site.  First up is the ability to modify your heart rate zones as shown on the unit.  You’ll define a maximum heart rate, and then you can use the little sliders to change the zones.  You are unable however to change the labels.  This is kinda a bummer, because most training plans don’t use those terms, but rather use terms like ‘Zone 1’.  I’d really love to be able to tweak the names as well.


Lastly, you’ve got the ability to change settings within the account.  For most people here, the primary item to tweak will be the measurement units.  You can change from miles to kilometers, as well as changing the weight from kilograms to pounds.  Why my country is currently showing as ‘Brazil’ in the below…I have no idea.  Maybe it’s telling me I should go to the beach.


Now, while it may seem like I rushed through this section – in reality, that’s all there is.  Seriously, there’s no other things to show or display.  What you see above in these half a dozen screenshots is the entirety of the MySports site.  There’s no ability to dive deeper intro metrics, nor any ability to display stats like laps that were recorded on the unit. And the granularity of the data leaves much to be desired, due to how smoothed it is.  Finally, you can’t tweak any other settings on the unit, such as data field display options.

All of this is sorta mind-boggling, because the MapMyFitness backend allows for much more depth than the TomTom site provides.  And every other training log site on the internet provides more depth as well, many of those sites totally free.

The good news here though is that TomTom makes it easy to use all those other sites.  As part of the MySports Connect desktop upload agent, you can configure the software to export out a multitude of file types that you can easily upload to any of the major services:


I’ve uploaded these files to all sorts of sites from Strava, to Training Peaks, to Sport Tracks, and even Garmin Connect, with no issues at all.  Plus, all those sites offer tons more options for slicing and dicing the information.

And, starting tomorrow (April 3rd, 2014), TomTom will enable automatic sync to Strava, which means as soon as you sync your watch via either phone or desktop, the watch will send the data to Strava.  TomTom plans to enable this for other services in the coming months.


As a side note, the unit does not enumerate as a standard USB mass storage device.  Thus, in order to access the files you must install either the Windows or Mac MySports Connect software.

Bugs and Notes:


As I’ve been doing on all reviews over the past year or so, I’ve been including a section on bugs and/or issues that I’ve seen within my timeframe using the unit.  Do remember that  a ‘bug’ is different than ‘by design’.  For example, the lack of a feature is something I highlight within a given section is considered ‘by design’, whereas something not really working right is considered a bug. In the case of the TomTom units, such bugs fall into one of two categories: The device, and the platform (uploader/site).

Device: These are items that I’ve seen on the device itself – outside of uploading to the web:

1) I see the GPS pace dropout occasionally on the display (it just shows a dash line). Sometimes for no particular reason, though sometimes closer to buildings (2-3 story ones).  That said, it hasn’t seemed to impact distances at all.

2) I saw a single case where the unit failed to turn on the optical sensor, and appeared to have some sort of failure of the accelerometer.  As if the software had sorta crashed internally.  I only saw this once.

3) I’m not seeing accurate readings on a treadmill.  This was continued from the first generation device.

Website: These are items that are specific to the TomTom MySports website.

1) I often saw a scenario where when I plugged in the device and completed upload and the site would automatically upload, the page would fail to load any data metrics.  I’d have to refresh for a few minutes until it finally loads the metrics.  In talking with TomTom, they are working to minimize this time delay, however, it still seems kinda silly to me to have any delay at all.

As far as the rest of bug-type issues on the site, it’s honestly a bit hard to find bugs.  As I discussed in a previous section about it, the site is so overwhelmingly underwhelming that to talk about specific broken things is actually really tough.  Thus, I kinda have to leave it at that.

Product Comparison Tables:

I’ve added both the TomTom Cardio Runner & Multisport units to the Product Comparison Tool, which means you can mix and match it against any other watch/unit that I’ve ever reviewed for feature comparisons.  Now, I’ll save you a tiny bit of time and just point out that the TomTom Runner and Runner Cardio are identical except for the line item regarding optical HR sensor.  That’s it.  Same goes for the Multisport and Multisport Cardio.

For the below, I’ve compared the TomTom Runner Cardio, Garmin FR220, and Suunto Ambit 2R.  However, you can easily make your own change with any device you want here at this link.

Function/FeatureTomTom Runner CardioTomTom Multisport Cardio
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated June 9th, 2016 @ 10:43 am New Window
Product Announcement DateApr 2, 2014APR 2, 2014
Actual Availability/Shipping DateMid-April 2014Mid-April 2014
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYes
Data TransferUSB/Bluetooth SmartUSB/Bluetooth Smart
WaterproofingATM5 (~50m)ATM5 (50m roughly)
Battery Life (GPS)10hrs with GPS-on10hrs
Recording Interval1-second1-second
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoNo
MusicTomTom Runner CardioTomTom Multisport Cardio
Can control phone musicNo
Has music storage and playbackNo
ConnectivityTomTom Runner CardioTomTom Multisport Cardio
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoNo
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNo
CyclingTomTom Runner CardioTomTom Multisport Cardio
Designed for cyclingNoYes
Power Meter CapableN/ANo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableN/AYes
Strava segments live on deviceNoNo
RunningTomTom Runner CardioTomTom Multisport Cardio
Designed for runningYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)No, has internal accelerometerNo (Can use internal accelerometer)
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNo
VO2Max EstimationNoNo
Race PredictorNoNo
Recovery AdvisorNoNo
Run/Walk ModeNoNo
SwimmingTomTom Runner CardioTomTom Multisport Cardio
Designed for swimmingNo (protected though just fine)Yes
Openwater swimming modeN/ANo
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingN/AYes
Record HR underwaterN/ANo (not enabled in swim mode)
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/ANo
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AYes
Indoor Drill ModeN/ANo
Indoor auto-pause featureN/ANo
Change pool sizeN/AYes
Indoor Min/Max Pool LengthsN/A15m-50m
Ability to customize data fieldsN/AYes
Captures per length data - indoorsN/AYes
Indoor AlertsN/AGoals only
TriathlonTomTom Runner CardioTomTom Multisport Cardio
Designed for triathlonNoSorta
Multisport modeNoNo
WorkoutsTomTom Runner CardioTomTom Multisport Cardio
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoNo
On-unit interval FeatureYesYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoNo
FunctionsTomTom Runner CardioTomTom Multisport Cardio
Auto Start/StopNoNo
Virtual Partner FeatureYesYes
Virtual Racer FeatureYesYes
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoNo
NavigateTomTom Runner CardioTomTom Multisport Cardio
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoNo
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNo
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNo
Back to startNoNo
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNo
SensorsTomTom Runner CardioTomTom Multisport Cardio
Altimeter TypeGPSGPS (Barometric for Performance Bundle)
Compass TypeN/ANone
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyYesYes
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYes (also internal optical HR sensor)Yes (also contains optical HR sensor)
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableNoNo
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoNo
ANT+ Footpod CapableNo, has internal accelerometerNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableYes (also internal optical HR sensor)Yes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNo, has internal accelerometer
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNo
SoftwareTomTom Runner CardioTomTom Multisport Cardio
PC ApplicationMySports ConnectMySports Connect
Web ApplicationTomTom MySportsTomTom MySports
Phone AppiOS/AndroidiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoNo
PurchaseTomTom Runner CardioTomTom Multisport Cardio
DCRainmakerTomTom Runner CardioTomTom Multisport Cardio
Review LinkLinkLink

Again, remember that you can mix and match and make your own comparison table quickly via the product comparison tool here.



Sometimes, it’s the simple things.  It’s the ‘just works’ factor.  And in this case, the TomTom unit really delivers, especially on the heart rate monitoring side.  A little less than a year ago, when the TomTom units first came out, I felt they were a bit unpolished, and somewhat rushed to market.  Since then, the company has polished most of those edges on the device itself.  The addition of the optical sensor – and most importantly, the fact that it just works, makes this an awesome running watch.

However, while I feel that TomTom has made strides on polishing the device (except indoor running), I still feel that the website is complacent at best.  It just lacks even a fraction of what every other company in the industry is doing when it comes to web enablement.

Now they have done well with implementing the phone upload support a few months back, as well as offering what I see as the widest file format export options in the industry.  For that specifically, I give them huge credit.  And to some degree it makes up for the fact that the web site lacks, because it’s so easy to use other 3rd party sites with more functionality.

Overall, I’m impressed with it.  While I’d love to see the option to enable heart rate recording while in swim mode, I think that the watch as it stands today is now definitely a contender in the mid-range running watch category.  True it lacks some of the advanced features of the Garmin FR220, but in many people’s eyes, getting rid of the heart rate strap will balance that out quickly.

Found this review useful? Or just want a good deal? Here’s how:

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased. You can read more about the benefits of this partnership here. You can pickup the TomTom Cardio units or accessories through Clever Training using the link below. By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers. And, since this item is more than $75, you get free US shipping as well.

TomTom Runner Cardio (select dropdown for color)
TomTom Multisport Cardio (select dropdown for color/performance bundle)

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the TomTom unit or accessories (though, no discount). Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells). If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.

As you’ve seen throughout the review there are numerous compatible accessories for both units. I’ve consolidated them all into the below chart, with additional information (full posts) available on some of the accessories to the far right. Also, everything here is verified by me – so if it’s on the list, you’ll know it’ll work (note that the bike sensors only work on the Multisport unit). And as you can see, I mix and match accessories based on compatibility – so if a compatible accessory is available at a lower price below, you can grab that instead.

ProductStreet PriceAmazon
2014 Summer Recommendations: Running Watches
4iiii Viiiiva ANT+ to Bluetooth Smart HR Strap & Bridge
Polar H6 Heart Rate Strap (Bluetooth Smart Only)
Polar H7 Heart Rate Strap (Gym equipment + Bluetooth Smart)
Wahoo Blue HR - Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Strap

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.

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  1. graziano

    no function at all for trail running (following a gps track i.e.) ?

    • No, there’s no navigational capabilities on the unit.

    • Nadine Schuurman

      Does anyone know if they are going to add navigational capabilities…. so that if you get lost on the trails, you can find your way back. Seems like a good idea for a running watch.
      GREAT REVIEW btw

    • No, it’s not currently planned. Given it lacks a magnetic compass, it wouldn’t be a great platform for that (you could do GPS-based compass, but that has some limitations).

    • Lisa Klink

      Thanks for the great reviews! I was wondering how small the Tomtom’s wristband with the built in optical heart rate monitor actually goes and is still effective? I thought I read that you tested it on a female with a 5 and 1/2″ wrist, however, my wrist only measures about 5 inches if that. Thanks!

    • Mike

      I wouldn’t’ find a reference in your fantastic reviews but will this watch work with the Adidas Bluetooth Smart miCoach (Mini) Footpod for better accuracy?

    • No, they haven’t added support for footpods.

    • Rejeana

      I just got the Multi-Sport Cardio watch and had the same concern. My wrist is about 5 inches and I have the watch strapped on the tightest setting. So far, the HR monitor seems to be working great. Hope this helps.

    • Cristina

      I got the Tomtom as a present for my birthday as I am a frequent runner and I find the chest strap very annoying. I am a fairly small girl and I always find it difficult to get the strap to stay in place. I was very excited with the idea of not using a chest band but I had to return it :( My wrists are very thin and it was very uncomfortable. When I used it, sometimes it was not able to detect my heartrate even when I had the wristband at the tightest possible position (even though i cant make it any tighter the rigid plastic structure of the watch does not fit with my wrist and as soon as I was slightly sweaty it was moving around and jumping).
      I really want to buy a heart monitor with GPS that does not use a chestband but I cannot find any alternative. Does anyone know if there is anything available in the market?

    • Hi Cristina-

      Yup, there’s a few options that don’t use chestbands. The good news is you can buy any GPS watch, and then just layer in the strap.

      I recommend looking at the Scosche unit here: link to dcrainmaker.com

      It’s what I’m using the vast majority of the time. For you, i’d recommend then simply pairing it with the Garmin FR15 watch which tends to fit better on smaller women’s wrists (such as my wifes): link to dcrainmaker.com


    • Antonio

      It seems there’s no way to display more than 3 data (time, distance, pace for example).
      I like seeing time, distance, pace and heart rythm like i can do with garmin 610.

      I just bought it and i will return it tomorrow for this.

    • Nancy

      is it possible to convert my runkeeper files to the tom tom sports?

  2. Interesting to see the section regarding the watch as an HR activity monitor. I currently wear a chest strap all my time awake which is ok, but not ideal. This seems like a much better solution. I’m going to get one of these. Thanks for a great review!

  3. Robert

    Thanks, great review as usual. Do you know if the upcoming Samsung Gear 2 and/or Samsung fit will support continuous heart rate monitoring during exercise? Obviously, they have some sort of monitoring, but is it Basis-like or Mio-like?

    • The Gear 2 and Gear Fit will, however, it remains to be seen if that’s accurate. Most of the Samsung team I’ve talked to says it will not be terribly accurate for running. Thus, more Basis-like. I should know in about 8 days.

  4. Excellent review as allways. The underwater heart rate monitoring is really interesting, and perhaps an aspect to look more into.

    I assume the Mio Link will work under water as well (link to dcrainmaker.com) – but since the device has no memory it need to stream its heart rate measurements to a device for recording – so under water use is out of the question.

    It be really cool if say Garmin included optical HR in their Garmin Swim, or if the Mio Link added memory support to store the heart rate data for later (similar to the Suunto Memory Belt).

    Are you aware of any swimming related products coming out that is planning to use optical hr?

    • I’m not aware of any upcoming swimming products with optical HR. I do think long term we’ll likely see TomTom enable it, once they get past launch and incorporate feedback.

  5. Are you able to put the new Cardio in the older wrist strap? Or does that let in too much light to be reliable? I like the design of the older strap and the fact that it’s “leaner”. :-)

    • Community Manager, TomTom

      Hello Adam,

      The Cardio watch module will fit in the old strap but you will be sacrificing heart rate measurement accuracy. As you already guessed, the old straps let in too much light.

  6. dave m

    Given the optical HR sensor seems to work as well or better than traditional chest strap… do you think we will all be wearing optical wrist sensors this time next year rather than straps? Seems a logical evolution. I would lobby for an optical Garmin/ANT+ wrist sensor (sub $100.00 US).

    • I’d expect it’ll be relatively common place on new units a year from now. There are some tradeoffs though, for example, optical today can’t to HRV (heart rate variability). So for companies like Polar, that’s going to be a hard pill to swallow. Long term the technology will get over that hurdle, but not immediately.

      As for the product you ask for, it comes out in about a week, it’s called the Mio Link. ;)

  7. daddyruns

    Another informative review – thanks! Apologies for slightly off-topic, but The Wife’s interest was piqued by The Girl’s hydration pack – looks like a great fit for petite runners – what make/model is it?

  8. Miguel Zuza

    does it record a valid RR data? (hrv)

  9. Tim

    Great Review (as always).
    While this is yet another step in the right direction, it is equally disappointing that no company has managed to combine all the great stuff?
    A device with optical HR, that works while swimming, connects to Bluetooth and Ant+ (Phone, HR, Power, Cadence, Temperature sensor), clean multisport, running dynamics.
    It seems the Fenix 2 is close, the TomTom Multisport is close…. so I guess my trusty 310XT and Swim will be around for a while until a company combines all the goods in one unit…

  10. Rodrigo Valle

    To: DCRainmaker
    How do you feel the current firmware is doing, regarding:
    – Running GPS accuracy (path, distance), when compared to Garmin’s 220?
    – Swimming accuracy (stroke type detection, Nr lengths, etc), when compared to Garmin’s Swim watch?

    – To: Community Manager, TomTom
    When will the new optical-HRM Multisport unit be available in Portugal?
    Do you have a price in Euros?


    • RE: GPS accuracy

      Spot on. I included some shots in there, but I find the Fenix2/FR620/FR220 all in the same league on accuracy, with the TomTom unit right there with them.

      RE: Swimming detection

      It matched my Garmin Swim spot-on. Though, there’s no stroke type detection.

    • Rodrigo Valle

      Aaaahhhhhh…….. no stroke type detection?…
      Well, that breaks the deal for me, then. Without stroke type, all other swim metrics are useless in a mixed swim workout, where I swim a few lenghts in each stroke type.


  11. Dennis

    To me, the best and most impressive feature of this Tom Tom watch among all brands, is it’s ability to read HR while swimming yet, TomTom does not include HR in their swim mode but only in treadmill mode. They must not recognize how unusual and valuable this feature is.

    Not quite clear on why TomTom left out power readout while cycling. This lack of power readout while cycling is a deal breaker for me.

    • I suspect they see it as a bit of a lower entry watch that one with power meter support. I’d agree though, they could really get ahead of the game there if they supported it.

    • Geoff H

      I’m headed for Europe and will be using my TomTom Cardio Runner but I don’t want to take my computer. Any problems reported with charging from an iPad or iPhone block? Thanks

  12. @ajmooseman

    Arrrgghhh Bugger, just pre ordered the Mio Link. This is perfect for me. Could have given me sneaky nudge Ray while you where stuck in the lift! Garmin 910 with Mio link for sale i think! LOL

  13. eksi

    Thanks for the detailed review. Two questions:
    1) Is the GPS antenna located under the extended piece where the button is located? If so, that would definitely improve GPS accuracy.
    2) Does it have an SiRF GPS chip inside? If so, any idea about which version (III or IV)?

    • I’d defer to the TomTom folks on exact chipset and placement. I don’t believe the chipset has been disclosed, but my understand is it’s the same chipset as the original unit.

    • Rossco

      Hello eksi,
      On the Tomtom Multisport(my friends) I compared a older edge 705 (sirf III) and a magellan switch up. I did measured runs, plus rides comparing the units against each other and a standard magnet odometer on the bike. The TomTom is fantastic within 1% mostly so no worries there. It has glonass aswell as gps this means it will nearly always has more satellites. I looked at the gps paths with google maps and the tomtom and edge followed very close to my cycle route path the tomtom right on the bike path the whole 40km ride it was amazing. The Magellan was all over the place which shows in its accuracy which is from 1-5% on measured runs.
      The TomTom watch has fantastic hardware(gps accelerometers) in a light watch, quick menu screens. They just need to fix there data recording and history review and it would be killer watch and I would be buying it…. it doesn’t need to have full features of navigation etc as it is aimed at a lower price point.

    • eksi

      Thanks Rossco! That is exactly what I wanted to hear. I am not so happy with my Garmin FR620 in terms of GPS track accuracy so it is critical for me. It is good in terms of overall distance measurement accuracy but the tracks on the map look not so nice in general.

  14. Seth

    Thanks for the review, great work as always.

    Is the calorie computation based off of the heart rate or the activity? The other TomTom products don’t use the heart rate for calorie computation so I assume this is the same.

    • Tommy

      As far as I understand it from the TomTom folks on the forums, the calorie calculations have not changed, they are based on MET tables (which in my experience are very accurate, in some ways more so than HRM as heart rate can be impacted by factors that do not affect calorie burn (stress, mood, etc.).

    • In checking with them, calories are not based on heart rate, but rather based on speed and other factors.

  15. Chris Thompson

    Interesting. I just ordered the Mio Link as well. And, as I’ll use it for biking with my 910XT strapped to my handlebars I’m still happy with my choice. I seem to find a chest strap more annoying on the bike than on foot. Maybe it’s just me. If, however, I was just running this watch would be high on the list.

  16. Anh

    Hello Ray,
    Can this one act as a independent HR and broadcasting to iphone app?

  17. Michael H

    Is there any way to change the GPS recoding time intervals to increase the battery life?

  18. Triman

    “The TomTom Cardio Multisport does NOT capture heart rate while in swimming mode” … Oh no !

    This would have been a really impressive feature.

    Any idea as to why TomTom decided not to support HR while swimming ?
    Is it possible that this feature will be activated via firmware update in the next months ?

    • In discussions with them, the primary reason was they view the watch as a running watch first, and wanted to focus on ensuring the optical HR experience there was spot on, before branching out. Like me, they’ve tested it in the water as well a fair bit, and are generally seeing success. But the water introduces more variables so they want to spend more time before deciding if/when to update via firmware and enable that mode.

      From an enablement standpoint it’s fairly trivial via software.

    • Vincent

      Too bad, I guess heart rate monitoring underwater would have been a killer feature for most people and would really differentiate the watch from others.

      Let’s hope TomTom will activate it soon.

  19. Tom

    “In talking with TomTom, this mode would get anywhere between 24-36 hours, dependent on a bunch of factors, but partially influenced by how hard the sensor has to work to read through your skin (darker skin/hair, etc…).”

    So should we take the accuracy with a grain of salt since Ray hasn’t gone tanning lately?

  20. Asaf

    Can it be used to re-broadcast HR data to a Smartphone/Polar V800? In other words, can it be used as an alternative to Mio Link (the BT part)?

    • No, they don’t do re-broadcasting unfortunately (like the V800 is planned to).

    • Hendrik

      Also thanks from me Ray for the great review of this very interesting and promising product.
      Do you know whether implementing re-broadcasting would be possible with the current hardware? And linked to that, are you aware of any plans from TomTom to implement re-broadcasting?
      This would enable the watch to be used on its own when you do not need more and to couple it to a more advanced device when needed (such as f.e. a cycling navigation unit).
      Making it ideal for my usage and wish to rely on as little different devices (which need to be charged and managed (and bought)) as possible.

  21. grace

    I love the review. I ma a ruuner and I am debating between the Garmin 620 and this watch. What is your recommendation? Thank you.

  22. Mirek_

    How tightened Mio Link and TomTom cardio need to be to measure reliably? I’m considering buying one of the devices (or Gear 2 if it works well during running) as it should be more comfortable than a strap. And I’m a fan of new technologies. But I don’t like the feeling of tightened watch. I always leave some slack. So I’m wondering if optical HR would work for me.

    • It shouldn’t move around, but it doesn’t need to leave marks either. The extra bit of edging on the band of the unit helps it increase accuracy a bit, so that it reduces light getting under (which is the problem with being loose).

  23. Awesome review! I stumbled onto your site a few weeks ago and really appreciate the time you’ve taken to do all these detailed reviews.

    Question: How do you get alerted of a goal that’s in progress or completed? It is a beep or vibration alert? Thanks!

  24. Andreas

    How long does the battery of the cardio last in running mode with GPS enabled? (Much) less than the TomTom Runner?

  25. Thomas

    Hi Ray,

    Can you comment on optical HRM’s accuracy in cold weather conditions, say running in -20c conditions?



    • Having used the Mio Link (identical sensor, I’ve confirmed that with the Mio team), in cold weather runs this winter, I’ve seen no issues. Coldest runs I did with it were single-digit temps (F). So roughly in that ballpark.

  26. Christos

    Many thanks for the comprehensive report. My question is why not use it in open water since the unit is designed for swimming. It may be a naive question but i do not fully grasp the difference.

    • In openwater swimming when the watch goes below the surface it loses GPS signal, as a result the accuracy could be off either just a few feet each stroke, or a few hundred feet. GPS watches that support an openwater swim mode add an algorithm into it to basically look at all the random points and figure out your actual track. It’s rarely perfect, but usually it gets within a few percent.

      This is all different than indoor swimming mode which doesn’t use any GPS, but rather just an accelerometer to measure each time you get to the end of a pool length.

  27. Chris

    Hi Ray,

    two short questions :

    – does the tomtom record running cadence with the internal accelerator?

    – does alarm functionality work with vibrate only (without beeping)?


  28. Hoss

    Another great review, Ray. Bought the runner version less than a year ago and have been fairly pleased with it, especially at its price point. I’ve had issues with the HRM strap digging into my skin and leaving a nasty rash, which the optical HRM would resolve. It would be awesome if TomTom would allow me to trade in my model for this one for less than the price of purchasing a new unit. Perhaps the TomTom rep who monitors these comments will reply favorably.

  29. Hi Ray, thanks for the review. You were mentioning the lack of multisport mode and I feel that most of these watches seem to ignore a lot of other sports that people do but want valuable info for example indoor rowing. Do you sense there is not the demand for this out there? I do indoor rowing as part of my cross training sessions. I just use the iPhone with the wahoo fitness app, Blue SC heart rate monitor. I can only record heart rate, calories, time etc but would love to be able to record stroke rate and distance. I don’t think I’ve seen rowing mentioned in any review since I found your site last year but is there any watches out there that can provide more data those i’ve mentioned?

    • I agree, there’s a lot of sports that could be looked at. One thing the Motoactv did was captured data on a lot of sports (whether it was accurate or not in some of those sports is probably debatable). I think longer term as companies get more familiar with accelerometers, we’ll see that increase. We’re seeing it on some activity trackers (small units), but again, it’s more of a broad brush attempt at various sports, rather than very clear and deep/accurate support for other sports.

      Unfortunately, on rowing specifically it’s slim. There are a few units that send out ANT+ data from the paddle (kayaking), but all that data is fed over cycling profiles.

    • Dr. D

      @James Paul – The Concept 2 rowing machine with the PM4 monitor hooks up to the Garmin 910XT via the Gym Equipment ANT+ profile. I do miss the Gym Equipment profile on my Fenix2 :-(

    • Thanks guys for the replies, unfortunately I have a first degree fitness fluid rower which can be hooked up to a PC however I have a Mac and the software isn’t supported. I was easily swayed by the splash of the water :-) I had hopes that maybe the Tickr x from wahoo may provide some rowing data benefits. I guess we’ll find out in time. Thanks for the replies again

  30. Tim

    Hey, great review. Love HRM data, hate wearing a chest strap. Did like the mio technology but the lack of data recording put me off. Looks like this offers a better all round solution.

  31. Tom

    With regard to optical heart rate devices doing HRV, there is a product that claims to do this.

    link to zensorium.com

    Needs to be used with an iphone and does not seem particularly rugged / convenient to use.
    Would need to be used post workout vs. during workout.

    • Hi Tom,

      Interesting stuff. My understanding from others in the industry at multiple optical vendors is that anyone doing HRV today on optical is basically using guesstimates with lookup tables. This is, for example, what the Dash guys are doing for their earbud sensor unit.

  32. Rossco

    Do you notice less bulk, drag with this watch compared to the fenix 2 when swimming?
    I like the Fenix 2 – supper features(not even comparable) but I think those aside the watch maybe to heavy compared with this light weight TomTom.
    Sorry if his comment comes up twice but it appears my first one didn’t work. On the TomTom forums users of the first mulitsport where disapointed that it is not clear in the advertising or reviews that laps, or intervals do not get recorded in the exported file. (not a limitation of the website but the exported file). To you don’t any lap time splits, just one long time for the complete run (even if you used lap mode or interval mode). Same with swimming no lap split times or stokes for each lap. Is This still the case? Are TomTom going to work on this?

    • I kinda such at feeling the exact difference between watches hydrodynamically. Perhaps my swimming technique is so inefficient that such minor differences are lost on me. ;)

      As for the website, we had a long discussion about it yesterday. I think they understand there’s some (major) gaps there, and honestly, they’d agree with that straight up.

    • Rossco

      Thanks for the reply. I can live with tomtom website not being up to scratch seeing as they export .fit which means you can go to many other 3rd parties. Its just the fact that the .fit does not contain the lap info, times,averages etc If you get what I mean. I might not be explaining it well.
      Also the country I live in clevertraining isn’t really an option so I guess I will be sending you gold as per the FAQ :). Really appreciate the hours you put in.

    • Thanks Rossco-

      Gold is indeed an option, though it might cost a lot to send since you’re in Australia. ;)

      Fwiw, Clever Training does offer flat-rate international shipping for $29 for all watches. I don’t believe Australia charges any import taxes. Cheers.

  33. MartinF

    If they had a built in MP3 player, I’d be buying 2. I love the built in heart rate monitor, but i use my MP3 player more which is why i still use my MotoActv. So close though that I’m tempted.

  34. Ando Ellison

    Hi Ray,

    How do you think Garmin will respond? I have had good experiences with them in the past and am a bit hesitant to make the switch.


  35. BillM

    Have 910xt and ordered mio link. This tom tom would be a serious alternative for me if it supported open water swim, being able to ditch the chest strap as well as the footpod is super. Can’t say the bright red orange color and bulbous strap are very appealing, I’d imagine this strap/ pod will look very dated in a year or so when other more streamlined optical hrm gps multistory units hit the market.

  36. Raymond B

    Am I the minority that prefers to view their run cadence data via a trusty foot pod? Especially when traveling and running on treadmills this is very important to me.

    Given that they have BLE sensor support, why not provide an option for a BLE foot pod instead of the clearly inferior internal accelerometer??


    • I think in general cadence data is a wash between footpod and non-footpod. However, pace data is the real differentiator. That said, I’d agree that it seems logical to support the footpod given the BLE connectivity side.

  37. Victor

    Getting myself confused by how I’d use this with the Viiiiva unit and my indoor Schwinn AC performance bike. The Viiiiva currently captures everything but the cadence info from the bike. Also the Viiiiva doesn’t have the FIT profile. Was supposed to be in development but seems it’s dropped off the radar. Ideally, I’d like to use this for my outdoor runs without the Viiiiva strap, then use it indoors to capture all the metrics from the Schwinn bike – all ported to Strava.

    • It depends a bit on how the Viiiiva supports the Schwinn bike. Ultimately, they’d have to transmit outbound as a standard Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence sensor. If not, it won’t be compatible.

    • Victor

      Awhile back the viiiva folks were looking into support for fitness equipment profiles ( introducing a new profile ). Do you know what happened to it? Did they decide not to do it anymore?

    • I haven’t heard recently on that one. That said, they do respond to questions on the Viiiiva post, so may be worthwhile poking there.

  38. timmy

    awesome review fosho….
    $300 ! i’m out….

  39. Excellent review as always. The underwater heart rate monitoring is really compelling. I am keen to hear your views on if there is a wrist band underwater heart rate monitor that would pair with a Garmin 620?

    • Technically speaking you can pair the Mio Link (dual ANT+/BLE) to the FR620, and if you put the two side by side underwater, it should work. However, I haven’t re-tested how well the Mio Link works in the pool. I’m waiting for the production units which should arrive in the next day or two.

    • Corey

      Hmm… I like the combination of the Mio Link with the FR620 that I now have but then would I lose my run dynamics that are shown with the HRM-Run sensor? Thank you.

  40. So, as it’s April 3rd right now (at least here in Germany): Could you confirm that automatic sync with Strava is working right now?

    • As of yesterday evening, it was set to be enabled today, but I don’t know if that’s 1AM or 1PM or 11PM.

    • Community Manager, TomTom

      Hello Thilo and others interested in the Strava update.

      Unfortunately, the product team discovered a problem very shortly before the update was to be released. We need to sort this out before we send the update out so Strava sync will be available next week instead. Apologies for the delay.

  41. JV

    Did anyone notice that “stride” value is now added to the TomTom Mysports activity page (even for the Runner watch). The header always used to be there, but without a value. As of today it shows your strides/minute…..Nice !

    • Additionally, the existing Runner and Multisport watches will get the new data pages via firmware update shortly as well.

    • jv

      Unfortunately, the strides/minute value is as useless as the treadmill mode; compared to a fitbit (with logging an activity) and manual counting during a run the value is on average 20% too high on the TomTom:-(

  42. Hollister

    Woah, how nice. Is that the Adidas SmartRun killer?

    I was about to pre-order a Mio Link this morning…

  43. Arnie

    Hi! Is it now possible to plan advanced training sessions (warmup – multiple different intervals – cooldown) from the website/app and upload them to the watch for future use such as with the Garmin FR610? Thanks

  44. Torkil

    Does any of these running watches have the ability to plan an interval workouts with flexible warm-up distance / time? I like to run to a specific hill or the track to do my interval workouts, and then it’s quite annoying to have to plan the exact length or time for the warm-up…

  45. Raymond B

    Is there a way in a custom workout, or pre-built in option to do a Run/Walk program based on time or distance? (Ya know Run 2:00, Walk :20 with alert at each transition, repeating until chosen time or distance is achieved).



    • You could simply use the interval function:

      5 second warm-up
      2 minute run (work)
      20 second walk (rest)
      99 Reps
      5 second cool-down

      5 seconds is the minimum granularity. 99 reps is the max number of reps.

  46. Tom

    There appears to be a disagreement on how the zones — whether the tolerance (+/-) is in percentages or seconds?

    In your review, you say that
    “I like this implementation, as it recognizes the fact that it’s virtually impossible for a GPS to pace you to exactly 7:35/mile. Rather, it’s much easier to keep you in between 7:30/mile +/- 20 seconds.”

    However, on the TT forums, I read the following:
    “In case anyone’s interested, I raised the question of whether pace/HR ranges are in units or percentages with TomTom customer support and after several weeks, they finally got back to me with the answer that it is in fact in percentages. This means that setting a pace of 10m0s/mile +/- 20 means a range of 20% (or 2 minutes!) either way, not 20s either way.”

    Can you (or TT community manager) confirm which is correct? I used this feature a few weeks back for a half and based on when/how often I was buzzed for being below/above, I think it is percentage.

    • It only goes from 10 to 50, in 5s increments. Thus, I can’t see how it would be percentage.

      When I tested it the other day on a treadmill (since it was easy to control pace), I did 20s, and it beeped when I went out of that 20s range (which was about as far out of range as the treadmill function would go). had it been 20%, it would have meant 2-minutes out of range (which I couldn’t get the speed to vary that much on the unit).

    • Oliver Cowan

      Interesting. With the heart rate zones training mode, it does appear to be a % variation that you specify. E.g. on my target zone of 150 with a ’10’ variance, I get buzzed when it hits 165, not 160.

      At least I thought this was what happened…

  47. tony5

    Did I miss comment/response regarding pairing with a Power Meter? Can it? If it can, does this make it the top choice right now in the Tri category?

  48. Bart Bouse

    Really wanting the Mio Link but haven’t ordered it yet. I really have always hated heart rate straps and only wear them occasionally or on the bike. I have a fr305 and Fenix. Would you get the Mio Link or the Tom Tom multisport if you were buying? P.S. I listen to music when I run and really wish the Adidas Smart Run had better reviews. The Adidas should have been a gamechanger but doesn’t appear to live up to it’s potential. The Tom Tom seems to come close to being a gamechanger as far as eliminating a piece of gear.

    • tony5

      Great question Bart..this was my thoughts as well. I just had pre-ordered the Mio Link and saw things and thought I should cancel until the power meter comment…

    • For me, I don’t actually like wearing two watches (I know, sounds silly given I do on almost every run, but seriously, I don’t). Thus, I’d generally go with the Cardio over the Link, simply to only have to have a single device for running.

      For cycling, going with the Link would make more sense, paired with some other potentially more capable cycling head unit (for me, data-wise). Of course, the TomTom Cardio can also pair with the Link, in the event you wanted to ride with the Cardio on your handlebars and then put the Link on your wrist.

  49. Reinier

    if you could choose between the forerunner 220 and this watch what would you choose Ray and why?

    • Hi Reinier-

      When looking at the FR220 and the TomTom units, I’d balance whether things like Live Tracking (via phone) and custom workouts are more valuable to you, or whether optical HR is more valuable to you. I don’t think anyone would argue that the TomTom watch has more features than the FR220 (if they did, they’d be lying).

      However, what is very debatable is how important the optical HR piece is. For some, it’s an instant-buy, for others, it’s less critical. Totally up to you.

  50. Vikram

    Hi Ray,
    That’s a great review as always.
    I’m in the process of replacing my old (not-functioning) Timex Run Trainer 1.0. I don’t swim nor cycle and Running is my only routine. How well would you recommend the Tomtom Runner (or the Cardio one) over Garmin FR220? Almost everyone here use Garmin and continue to recommend Garmin than any other device.

    To the Community Manager, Tomtom:
    I live in Chennai, India. I obviously don’t find the GPS watches in Tomtom’s India website. Considering that, how well would the support & service be, if I’m to buy the Tomtom runner (through some friend who travel down from US to India)?

    • When looking at the FR220 and the TomTom units, I’d balance whether things like Live Tracking (via phone) and custom workouts are more valuable to you, or whether optical HR is more valuable to you. I don’t think anyone would argue that the TomTom watch has more features than the FR220 (if they did, they’d be lying).

      However, what is very debatable is how important the optical HR piece is. For some, it’s an instant-buy, for others, it’s less critical. Totally up to you.

    • Community Manager, TomTom

      Hi Vikram, thanks for the interest in the TomTom Cardio watches. Support and service should be completely the same as for any other customer as long as you keep the receipt of the purchase. Just ask your friend to keep it for you.

      This is the Customer Care contact page for India: link to in.support.tomtom.com

      Let me know in case you need more information!

  51. Patrick

    Hey Ray. Amazing review, as always. Thank you for all herculean effort you put into reviewing things.

    So, to Bluetooth or to Ant+? That is the question.

    I’m just starting out with Tris and have invested minimally in BT-LE products (wahoo HRM and wahoo speed+cadence sensor) because they work with my old iPhone (which sometimes – SOMEtimes – works with my Pebble), knowing that I might switch to ANT+ when I finally decide on a watch this season.

    I was hoping there would be more products that support both, but it appears the BT-LE/ANT roads are diverging rather than converging. Now that my iPhone is getting problematic to carry around and will be more so during an actual race, I was wondering what you thought the right direction would be. I had hoped the Polar V800 would obviate the need to invest in Ant+, but that is looking less appealing with the swim functionality being pushed out. Contrast that with the Fenix2 looking pretty sweet and being available now, I’m leaning towards going Ant+.

    Does it make sense to switch to Ant+ products or are there more BT-LE products on the horizon? Is there a general advantage of one over the other?

    • I think we’ll see more and more products simply doing dual. That’s the overwhelming trend, aside from Polar/TomTom. Both on the head unit/watch side, as well as on the sensor side. By the end of the year, dual ANT+/BLE sensors will be common on all run/ride sensor types. And I expect the same for any new devices being introduced more or less from here on out.

    • Patrick

      Ray, Thanks for the response! I just saw your email to/from the USAT official in the Edge 810 review (after reading the RFLKT+ review) about not being able to have a phone in your jersey for communicating with devices. That weighs against going with BT for the time being since my iPhone is my primary interface for the BT data from my HRM and Speed/Cadence sensor.

      I’ll probably wait for a bit later into the season to see how the V800 fairs at release and then make my decision then. Thank you again for all the info!

  52. Sal

    Once again a great review.Actually I always wonder how you manage to test all those products so deeply.

    To be honest I expected that kind of product by Nike as the announced follow-up of their sportwatch that should be released before summer. Have you any news on that side?

    TomTom’s watch sounds great. if it would have an integrated mp3-player and other wrist-band colours (red?!?), I would immediately sell my Smart Run.

    • A lot of running/ridding, and a lot of devices concurrently. Concurrently works out though, because it allows me to see how different devices handle different situations. For example, recently testing the Fenix2 and Ambit2R (+FR620) together on a long run I noticed oddities in the way the Fenix2 in one build was handling tunnels, it wouldn’t have been noticable just by itself on a long run given the run duration being so long, but when you’re watching 2-3 watches at once, you notice oddities (said oddity was fixed two days later).

      On the wrist bands, I’d agree that I’m kinda surprised they didn’t offer a less ‘wow’ color, just like a flat black one or something.

      As for Nike, I haven’t heard anything new from them.

  53. jwf

    It’s worth emphasizing the fact that the original TomTom Runner has a number of glaring flaws that the company has not fixed in the 9 months since release.

    Ray’s initial review last year noted that treadmill accuracy was subpar; TomTom employees publicly acknowledged last August that treadmill calibration needed to be fixed. It hasn’t been. The “Race” feature — which was promoted heavily in the watch’s advertisements — didn’t work upon release; TomTom told Ray last July that they were fixing it. It still doesn’t work as advertised, 9 months later. Pace zone alerts are unreliable at best. Battery life has degraded.

    In short: TomTom shipped a product that didn’t work, spent 9 months not fixing it, then released a new version (that, since it runs the same software as the old version, likely contains many of the same flaws.) Buyer beware.

    • hollyoak

      Correct and you’re being generous because it could be argued that they’ve been working on it since early 2011 when it was first shown at CES with (possibly) some support from Nike until they launched their own watches last year. It’s still as flawed as it was at the time. Either they don’t care or they’re clueless, either way, it’s pretty shameful to put a product like that on the market when there are many other much more “solid” offerings, possibly a little bit more expensive, but if a product doesn’t deliver, its price is a moot point.

    • jwf

      Right. Nobody should buy a TomTom watch thinking they’ll fix any bug or add any feature. For that matter, nobody should buy a TomTom watch thinking that the watch will successfully implement advertised features. The company has a clear track record of failing to do so. The watches are thin and light and cheap and there are a lot of reasons to like them, in theory. But in practice, they don’t work as advertised and you can’t trust the company.

  54. TomasC

    Hi Ray,

    I have the other Multisport TomTom watch (with HRM instead of optical) and had found a discrepancy when uploading file to Training Peaks (for example) as opposed to what my watch said or what their website said too. I have pulled out the CSV file to see what that distance says. The non-TomTom (including the CSV) say 4.53 miles while the TomTom watch and MySports website say its 4.60 miles.

    Not that the difference is that big of a deal, but it’s a strange little quirk to have the same device give two different reports. I suppose it could be how it’s calculated? Well, I was wondering if this new device had the same issue?

    • Oliver Cowan

      I have the same thing. I’ll run 10k as a target on the watch. Then I upload it to garmin connect and it will come up as 9.95k… As if I always quit 50m before the finish!

      Great review as ever Ray. You ever considered patreon for funding?

    • It’s interesting the CSV file differs, that sounds like a bug. Sites differing is completely normal, as happens all the time because different sites like to parse GPS distances differently – each assuming they are ‘right’

      As for Patreon, hmm, no, hadn’t heard of it till I just looked it up now. Interesting. I had done a Google Tip Jar for a while, but then they discontinued the service back a while ago. No worries, I appreciate just dropping by!

  55. Chris

    I would be very happy with the tomtom, but two things don’t fit my needs:

    – I would like to have 4 metrics on the display – and each of them changeable. It seems to me, that the display of the Polar V800 has a similar size, and there it’s possible to show 4 metics. @Community Manager, TomTom: any plan to do a upgrade on this? (or at least, making also the left and right data field editable for every page.

    – intervall mode is a bit limited. I’ve the need for more complex (marathon) training. @Community Manager, TomTom: this is only software, so is there anything planned for future?


    • Community Manager, TomTom

      Hi Chris, wanted to come back to your questions.

      1. At the moment I’m not aware of plans to implement a fourth metric or make the small fields editable for each screen. If there is heavy demand for this we can explore it.

      2. We are planning an update to the Interval training with more options that will be accessible through MySports. More information here :link to us.support.tomtom.com

    • Azure

      4 metics data field display would definitely be appreciated.

    • Steve

      Agreed with the comments above. I, too, would love a fourth metric. In the fence now, whether to purchase TomTom Cardio Runner or Polar V800. I know it’s not even a comparison. Polar V800 is overkill for me, but I use Loop and Polar Beat and have been enjoying its metrics and how everything seem to work easily.

    • Azure

      I’ve purchased the watch soon after my last comment. I’d still like to suggest to incorporate four metrics. Being able to monitoring distance/time/pace/heart rate simultaneously without touching the watch would be almost essential for me.

  56. Kirk

    Hi Ray, great report! Now TomTom also has an optical heart rate sensor, why can not Garmin, Polar, Suunto and Timex not have its own optical heart rate sensor invent? A chest strap is still very annoying to extremely many athletes. This year it will not be the case for Garmin, Polar, it will take many years longer, or not?

    • I could see Timex doing it, since they mostly OEM out the hardware side of things.

      Garmin, Polar, and Suunto are trickier since all of them design/create their own hardware, and tend not to license things into it with visible branding like Mio. I’d guess that Polar is the least likely of the bunch to do it, since they have so much dependence on heart rate variability in many of their marketed metrics.

      Garmin has discussed in the past that they are definitely evaluating it, and waiting for the technology to be the right fit for them. I suspect Suunto is more willing that either Garmin or Polar, but hard to say.

      Ultimately, I don’t expect any of those three companies to introduce optical watches in 2014.

  57. Enrique

    Great review.

    Have 1 question. Is the Multisport version the one that has the barometric altimeter? If not, is that available later?

    • only the multisport, performance bundle (the one with all the sensors) has it – its actually a physical difference in the device, so it can’t be added after the fact.

      Sucks becuase i have HRM and Speed/Cadence and don’t need the extra sensors.

  58. Gary

    Great review. Can’t wait till Garmin gets in on this and offers an equivalent optical HR sensor watch. The only flaw I can see for this is when running in cold weather and you strap the watch to the outside of your running wear. I’d love to see you get one of these Scosche arm band optical sensors in a review… s/b only $99. ( link to engadget.com ) and can pair with any good GPS watch. Let me know what you think. I haven’t seen it anywhere but it is supposed to be available around now.

    • Chris Thompson

      Good point on having outside cold weather gear. The Mio Link has the advantage there.

    • Gary

      Thanks Chris. I see Ray has a first look on the Mio Link here (link to dcrainmaker.com ). I think I like it better than the arm band above and it is available. I would wear it on my other wrist under my cold gear. 10 hours charge is enough for my purposes.

    • Olivier Champoux

      It’s not a flaw. The optical sensor will not get you heart rate over you running clothes. I’m running in the winter at -25 celcius with the mio alpha on one arm and the tomtom multipsort on the other and it works great. You just have to let a small gap between your gloves and your shirt to see the watch screen.

    • Hi Gary-

      Yup, there’s one of the Scosche dual transmission bands somewhere on a plane/truck to me. Will be poking at it soon.

  59. Harmless Harm

    Great piece of work Ray.

    To me this is the watch of the year, given the innovative aspect to integrate optical HR.
    But as you mentioned not supporting HRV (Heart Rate Variability) in the optical sensor is a limitation, and probably main reason the big players will wait till Philips is able to detect HRV data.

    On the Girl 3h run, maybe with some linear built-up her wrist get used to the strap. Wondering if she starts running with new shoes/clothes 3h right away.-)

  60. евгений

    Hello TomTom fit for skiers? how it will work in the cold?

    • I haven’t seen a published minimum temperature range for the watch, perhaps the TomTom community manager knows. Optically, there’s no issues in cold temps, so it’d just be a watch function.

    • Erik

      I did a ten minute swim in 8 centigrade ocean water the other day, and everything seemed to work fine, including heart rate and GPS. Given that your body will heat up the watch environment somewhat compared to the ambient temp, I think it would be fine.

  61. amico_pl

    I see that it still misses the auto-pause/auto start-stop functionality. As I predominantly run in cities this is a deal breaker even though I really like the simplicity of optical HR monitor and cadence data via internal accelerometer.

    Can I expect the auto-pause functionality to be added via firmware update or this is a conscious omission?
    I believe this needs only software implementation, so there is no hardware limitation in the current edition.
    This is quite strange of TomTom as even the basic Garmin FR10 has this functionality.

    • It’d just be a software update, if they selected to go in that direction. It’s somewhat simple to implement as one just takes the speed parameter smoothed and when it drops below X level, you pause the watch.

  62. Øystein Lorentzen

    Hi, Ray. thanks for the review.
    My question is about battery life during treadmill mode.
    Can you make the battery last longer than 10 hours if you use treadmill mode also outdoors. Isnt it normally the GPS that kills the battery?
    I am looking for a watch that can measure distance and altitude and keep going for a long ultra, up to 30 hours. Do you have any suggestions as to which watch to choose?

    Cheers! Øystein, Kristiansand, Norway

    • Yup, if you check out the ”All Day’ section of the review, you’ll see I got about 26 hours in treadmill mode (which included plenty of time outside). And that’s with the optical sensor enabled. So you could even turn off optical if you wanted.

      That said, until the firmware update addressing non-GPS running, I see the pace/distance as largely useless. In talking with them, they explained where the err of their ways is with the current treadmill mode, and the changes they’re testing in-house right now that should dramatically change this (read: basically make it work).

  63. RET1954

    Just purchased the Multisport about 6 weeks ago. The one thing I have always disliked about HRM’s is wearing a chest strap. Do you think TT will have a trade-in program?

    • No, I don’t expect a trade-in program.

    • Oliver Cowan

      Hi Ray – I bought my TomTom Runner from REI (for $220 w.strap), where I can return it for a whole year for any reason…
      Do you think it would be worth returning it and paying the upgrade?

      Again – loving the site and these reviews!

    • If you bought it rather recently – it probably makes sense (within what most would define as a normal return policy). But, if you bought it last summer, I’d probably shy away from that as ultimately it’s going to make REI less likely to continue their generous return policy if folks are using it to upgrade each year. Just my two cents.

  64. TheBlackKite

    Do I understand correctly, you can export to Garmin/Strava/Sporttracks but during this process you will lose the Lap times and other information as only a fit file?

    • Lap information when using a .FIT file does show up for me in Training Peaks, as well as .CSV files (for apps that happen to do something with those.

    • TheBlackKite

      Thanks Ray,

      But you don t know by any chance if it also works for Sporttracks mobi and/or Garminconnect?

    • Yes with Garmin Connect (in fact, all of the HR comparison screenshots you see here are from Garmin Connect with TomTom data uploaded).

      I haven’t tried ST Mobi, but I’m 99% it works since it just exports a standard .FIT file that they easily consume.

  65. hollyoak

    Thanks for the thorough review and you must really be commanded on your “patience” in reviewing products that have limited interest to you (an advanced runner/triathlete) but that you think might be of interest to others…

    …on the other hand you might want to point a bit more directly some unacceptable flaws, case in point, the TomTom website is a complete joke when it comes to analyzing swimming activities (yes you mention it), how can they justify that none of the swimming metrics shown on the watch during the activity are carried over to their site? I tried exporting a .tcx and opening it in Garmin Connect but same problem, nothing.

    The TomTom watch is complete work in progress with incredible oddities, (using “laps” is a mode ?!), no goals in training, etc…and unfortunately the progress is slow/absent (even compared to the 3 year old TomTom Nike Watch), it’s bewildering when you have the cheap and proven solutions offered by Garmin.

    • Hi Hollyoak-

      I tried to emphasize many times (I thought it bordered on too many) how bad and useless the website is, across all sports. I do try and balance that with beating a dead horse though (or, a dead site).

      And I agree that the laps as a mode never made sense, as I’ve noted a number of times. That’s probably one of my biggest pet peeves actually.

  66. st 1810

    hi Ray, thx for the review.
    Any info weather the watch will be able to sync time / time zone from gps ?

  67. Karin

    Hi Ray, great review.
    Do you know if the Mio Alpha has been updated with the new sensor from the Link and the Tomtom Cardio?

  68. ice

    Hi Ray, I have the TomTom Multisport bundle with HRM and CSS
    Unfortunatelly the CSS sensor was faulty and unable to connect with the watch
    Actually I’m waiting for a replacement from TomTom.
    Check me if I’m wrong: I guess the altimeter sensor is inside the CSS, isn’t it?
    Because according to your review, the altimeter feature seems to be available only with bike mode.
    I cannot check it myself as far as far as my watch never paired with the bike sensor

    • No, it’s inside the actual TomTom unit itself. Right now, it’s really only used in cycling, but they plan to enable running support for the barometric altimeter as well.

  69. JQC

    Thanks for another great review! Can the data be downloaded from the watch to your PC and converted/exported to another format without the computer being online? I guess another way to ask is, does the conversion/export take place online or locally by MySport Connector?

    • Yes, done fully offline.

      For fun, I just tested it. I disabled WiFi on my laptop, and then created an activity on the watch. Then upon plugging in the watch it created all the offline files (CSV/FIT/TCX/etc…) in the folder. No interwebs connectivity at the time.

    • JQC

      Thank you so much for the quick test to verify. I really appreciate it!

    • Martin

      Really great review and thanks for verifying the offline export – that’s an absolute essential feature for me. I find uploading your private data, especially your position to the cloud to be rather insane. When I am buying my next watch, I’ll try to use your links / referrers.

      Take care,

  70. Michael Heimes

    I’m a little confused about how to get the barometric altimeter. It’s only available in the Multi Sport “Performance Bundle” version? When I go on Tomtom’s site or Clevertraining the only options are Runner Cardio or Multi Sport Cardio. I don’t see “Performance Bundle” anywhere. I do a lot of trail running, and even though the Barometric Altimeter in running mode isn’t a current feature, I want to be able to use it when it is!

    Also, how long does it take to sync the watch with your iphone? I have read some people complaining that it takes 5 minutes or more to sync the Fenix via Bluetooth.

    • Michael

      I just saw the “w/cycle” option on Clevertraing. I assume that the one with a barometric altimeter? $399??? Yeesh!

    • Indeed, that’s the one. And yup, indeed, a wee bit pricey.

      I find that the TomTom sync is far faster than the Fenix2 sync. I suspect that’s for a few reasons, one of which being that the Fenix2 simply records a lot more data than the TomTom does (for example, temperature, elevation, etc…)

    • Michael Heimes

      Did you have a chance to really test the Tomtom’s elevation accuracy? Especially against a watch with a barometric altimeter like the Fenix.

      In a different review thread, you answered one of my questions and said the GPS elevation tracking is pretty close to barometric altimeters. I don’t know if and extra $$$ worth it. Especially with more interested in the Runner model.

    • No, I had the non-barometric altimeter model. Thus, the data uploaded was basically just correlated server-side with GPS and then the elevation maps were applied in post-processing.

      Honestly, I don’t really ever use elevation data in runs. Occasionally in rides if I’m in the mountains and wonder how far to the top, but that’s it. Otherwise, it’s all in post-processing for me (training log correlation).

  71. Ever-so-slightly off-topic question:

    If I buy a Mio Link to use with my Garmin 620 instead of the strap, what do I lose? It’ll still report cadence, right? Just not ground contact time and vertical oscillation? (which I don’t know what to do with anyway)

    • Correct, you’ll still get cadence from the wrist unit. So from a Running Dynamics standpoint you’ll lose GCT and VO (and I’d agree with your comment RE usefulness). You’ll also lose accuracy though on VO2Max and Recovery Advisor functions, since those depend on HRV, which won’t be accurate from the Link (it’ll spit out values, but it’s just fake values).

    • Ooh. I do like the Recovery Advisor. Keeps me honest! Tough call, but I think I’ll pre-order one from Clever Training through your link! :)

    • JD

      I was wondering if the fr220 with the mio link sacrifices anything over the strap. I really like the live tracking feature and the garmin’s tools/site but I am annoyed with the strap from my current hr monitor. And since my current hr monitor is not GPS I am looking at options for upgrade.

    • No, the FR220 doesn’t utilize any of the HRV features, so there’s no ‘loss’ there going from the HRM3 to the Mio Link.

  72. mateom

    Does this watch show the seconds after one hour activity or has the same problem as the previous tomtom?

  73. alexander y

    just wondering if the Tom Tom watch ablento record all three activities, as in a triathalon?

  74. Niclas

    Biased review?

    I like this site and your work but even though you usually state that you are not affiliated with the companies and that you don’t get “freebies” for reviews I’m starting to question if that really is the case. This watch uses the same software as previous TomTom Multisport and Runner. You are way to “nice” in this review and you have left out a slate few of the “bugs” and missing features in this watch. Why?

    Things you don’t mention in your review:
    Lack of basic swimming features – Swolf/ SPL inaccuracy, TomTom uses stroke cycle instead of nr of strokes. Pool length inconsistency, changing from m/yards gets pool length wrong after changing. Measurement data, measuring miles and km instead of yards/meters. Wrong calculation on first lap. No data on mysports for swimming… etc… etc…
    Pace is “Of” – Average pace is of +- 30s. This has been reported over and over since the first TomTom Multi & Runner was released. Users wanting the exact average pace has to re-calculate after each training session to get the “true” average pace. Current pace is of. Current pace is far from true pace when comparing with “true” current pace using a bike with exact measurement.
    Calculation of calories – This is completely of. This has been tested by users on the first TomTom Multi with a margin of error of +-30% from actual. This is far more than other products.
    No interval splits in data – makes interval data kinda useless
    Unable to delete activity on watch – basic feature on ALL other watches.
    Lack of MySports features – The page is still useless after almost a year since release.
    Lap button uses touch – This has been reported since release of previous TomTom watch. Touch button cant be reliable and that creates new laps making the laps-feat useless.
    Lack of history information on watch – basic “missing” feat.
    Inability to change the screen format – left and right data too small, reported by users since release, no update.
    Total uselessness of “Treadmill function” – You state it in your review so ok. This should have been fixed since users reported this 9 months ago to TomTom.

    The list of “missing” or “bugged” features can go on and on and on. TomTom has yet again released a watch with decent hardware for a fair price without the skill and experience in software-design in a consumer health and sport product. I still consider the software in the TomTom Multisport as in “beta” almost a year after release. This should have been mentioned in the review.

    • Hi Niclas-

      I think you’re confusing ‘bugs’ from ‘features you want’. Which is fine, but it’s important to understand the difference. The vast majority of your items are wants, and not bugs. For example, touch to lap. I didn’t have any issues with this. Sure, it’s not my favorite, but at the same time, I successfully walked through a VO2Max workout twice with it where I’m gasping for breath trying to hit it. No problems.

      Things like lack of additional history on the watch, lack of MySports features, lack of swimming features – they’re all things that you want more from. But they aren’t bugs.

      I’m not sure how many different ways I can say in the review that many of the features are basic. I’m sorry if you want me to repeat it another 5-6 ways in each paragraph. But eventually it gets repetitive. This isn’t a Garmin. It’s not priced as a Garmin, and the target really isn’t the high end Garmin users.

    • Niclas

      That simply doesnt cut it. Thats like saying that you bought a “car” and you didnt get windshield wipers or without seat belts or
      antispin. Hey… You shoulder have bought a BMW… If TomTom states support for swimming,treadmill and “multisport” that kinda entails you as a company to support certain features.
      Show me another watch that misscalculate average pace or misscalculate distances from any other competitor in the same pricerange. This watch software is not in any way competitive in its pricerange.

      We all have a right to have our own opinion. My opinion is that TomTom need some serious work on the software before selling any new consumer products in this category. That is what I would tell readers before giving out links to clevertraining…

    • Ignoring the Cardio for a second, since your beef is with the regular version. Which $199 GPS watch does indoor swimming, cycling, and running?

      That’s right, there’s none.

      Looking at my swim data, I don’t see a miscalculation in pace. I just did the math, it’s all fine and the numbers add up. The distance matches as well. And both match exactly to a Garmin Swim I wore on the other wrist.

      I appreciate you want more features, so do I (again, read the review, actually read what I wrote both in this review and the last).

      But, I’m also realistic. It’s not fair for me to compare features of a $199 watch with a $399 watch. Like it or not, in the technology world features are all not created equal. You pay money for features. Whether or not those features are valuable to you, differs for different people. Just like in phones, TV’s, and anything else.

    • hollyoak

      I certainly wouldn’t call Ray’s reviews “biased”, all the info is out there, i.e. nothing is “hidden” as it would in biased review. Having said that, and I said so much in my comment yesterday, a harder stance should be taken towards the unacceptable limitations in certain products, and the TomTom GPS watchers clearly fall in that category, at least currently.

      It’s just not right to let people buy a watch that will not serve them well because their attention was not brought to these unacceptable limitations that are obvious to an experienced user and naturally even more so to Ray. Some sites like dpreview have a “recommended” label at the end of their reviews, maybe that’s something to think about. In this case I can’t imagine that Ray would “recommend” a TomTom watch at this time regardless of whether it’s cheaper than a Garmin. It would help users and ultimately encourage TomTom to do something about these glaring omissions that have been there since early 2011 when the TomTom/Nike watch was launched.

      Just my 2 cents ;-)

    • Niclas

      Yes,a “recommended” and an “editors choice” signature at end would help.

      “Recommended” is a product that has no obvious bugs or missing features and is competitive in its pricerange and target market.

      “Editors choice” would be the “best” in its pricerange and target market.

      Would the TomTom cardio be a recommended or choice product by Ray?

    • Just as a general reminder, I put together Recommended lists each year, the last one back in the fall just before the holidays: link to dcrainmaker.com

      I’ll likely put another one together in May, once I wrap up the V800 review (which doesn’t mean it will or won’t make the cut, but I figure I should at least finish testing before deciding).

      I did for a while give ratings on units that showed in the comparison tables, but the challenge there is that people really value different features quite differently. For some, optical HR in a GPS device is far more valuable to them than other details that are skipped on the device.

      Thus I try and put devices into various categories, which sometimes results in overlap.

      As for the TomTom Cardio in a recommendations list, again, it really depends on how much someone values the optical piece.

    • Duncan Verel

      I agree with your reply Ray, but the big issue (regardless of simplicity) is the constant inaccuracy of the current pace measure. It is always OFF the correct pace by at least +/- 30s, that’s in clear unobstructed areas, in tree lined/ built up areas it can be 2/3 mins a mile out.
      If, as Niclas claims, this has been pointed out repeatedly when are TomTom going to resolve it?

    • Except, I don’t think that’s a widespread issue. I didn’t see it on my unit, and I’m not seeing it being reported here outside of you and Niclas. Said differently: A lot of folks have the watch, but only two have reported this here.

      I’m not saying you’re not seeing issues (you probably are), but if you are, I’d suggest working with TomTom support to try and get the unit swapped out.

    • Duncan Verel

      It is reassuring that you have only heard of this issue from 2 people. Hopefully, that means it is isolated and not just that no one else has noticed (particularly if it isn’t the case on your unit). I am awaiting a reply from TomTom support and hopefully it’ll be a fairly quick fix (factory reset didn’t work).

      Great website BTW.

    • bikeyUk

      some of the issues may have been addressed in the 25 Sept update, have a look:

      link to us.support.tomtom.com

      still got some beef with the watch but apart from the RPM-only gadget disagreement (works on the watch but won’t transfer the data) i’ve had no issues for my basic multi-sport needs

      maybe update the review to reflect the latest updates. it’s not 910X but is getting better with firmware updates

  75. Zak

    Gee Niclas! Who are you working for? Garmin, Mio, Sunto or maybe Adidas?

    Thanks for the review Ray and keep on with the good work!

    Can you clarify this calorie thingy for me. So, the watch doesn’t calculate calorie expenditure based on the heart rate!? I thought that was the main advantage of heart rate monitoring, accurate calorie measurement. I have Sunto Ambit and as far as I know that is how it measures calories burnt, not by some formulas, in which case I’d be happier pairing it with Mio Link than buying this watch. What do you think Ray, which way is better (more accurate)? Cheers!

    • Correct, it’s not using heart rate for calories – but rather just based on factors including distance. In general, that gets you into the ballpark for outdoor running, but is far off for indoor activities (such as weight lifting).

      Garmin, Suunto and Polar use heart rate for it on all newer watches. On the flip side, most sports/health apps don’t – they just use distance-based metrics as the baseline.

    • Hi Zak-

      Just for fun, here were the calorie counts on my latest long run:

      2,288cal – FR620
      2,407cal – TomTom
      2,042cal – Fenix2

      As you can see, the TomTom was about 5% higher than the FR620, and then the FR620 about 10% higher than the Fenix2.

      Ultimately, I have no specific way of knowing which one is ‘right’. Anyone who claims they do in this sort of circumstance is sorta making stuff up. If one of them had shown substantially lower or higher (i.e. 1,100c), then it’d be easy.

    • Phil

      Just curious, which apps do use HR for calorie calculation? I guess I had just assumed that those apps used HR data for calculating that as long as it was connected to my polar strap.

    • A bit off-topic but nevertheless interesing, I guess: Do you know which apps calculate calories based on heart rate: wahoo, Endomondo, MapMyFitness, RunKeeper – any idea?

  76. Tobias Ettl

    Hi DC Rainmaker,

    Sorry to bother you but I have the follwoing problem:
    ordered TomTom Multisport few weeks ago( through clevertraining thx for discount), now you did a review of the next generation of it!
    Can I stick with the old one??? Tried to find the comparison to the pre model for my decision but could not give me a clear answer after reading your reviews and I guess they updated the firmware of the old one heavily or at least will after the release of the new one so the new review applies for the old one too for example for menu changes and this stuff?!?
    My basic criteria for a watch that would make me more than happy(in order of importance):
    -swim(pool) and run functionality
    -quick and sweet gps connection and accuracy
    -run against your own trainingdata
    -light weight and small/compact
    -get-back-to-starting-point-function or even the possibility of directional advice for following a certain course with your watch
    AND I genearally would prefer a watch without strap but you said hrv is not the best with the optical devices of this generation but your tests did show pretty impressive data. But it would bother me to stick around with it a few more years and get a higher generation of the optical-watches, except they would enable the hr-function for swim-mode for sure then it is a game changer!

    Thanks for making this website. I will never need any other reviews from anyone THANKS!
    Your kind of in-depth-review should be standard for reviews of any product in general!!! You are asking all the right questions with understanding answers!!!

    Have a nice day and THANK YOU SO MUCH ;-)


    • The first generation units get all the software updates from the Cardio units So the only real difference is the optical sensor.

      As for HRV, that’s for heart rate variability, which isn’t actually anything to do with how accurate heart rate is. But rather, the data between the beats that’s used in some heart-rate driven calculations (often such as recovery, and VO2Max calculations).

  77. Hendrik

    Hi Ray. I suppose my question was burried by the many others, which is why I am posting it again here at the bottom. If you know the answer that would be great. If you can check with TomTom that would be even better. But if you don’t know or miss my question again that’s Ok too ;-) In fact I am surprised you manage to post all of these detailed reviews, answer the hundreds of questions and still manage to sport and test the next products on the block.
    Also thanks from me for the great review of this very interesting and promising product (even though clearly a lot of wrinkles still have to be ironed out, I hope TomTom will invest the necessary extra effort).
    Do you know whether implementing re-broadcasting would be possible with the current hardware? And linked to that, are you aware of any plans from TomTom to implement re-broadcasting?
    This would enable the watch to be used on its own when you do not need more and to couple it to a more advanced device when needed (such as f.e. a cycling navigation unit).
    Making it ideal for my usage and wish to rely on as little different devices (which need to be charged and managed (and bought)) as possible.
    P.S. I am also very inetrested in your view on the Mio 505 cycling computer
    P.P.S. I am extremely interested in the smart glasses / HUD’s developments and will follow your coverage of these closely. Personally I am convinced this would be extremely usefull especially for cycling (mainly navigation of new tracks/roads but also for the other data Today displayed on our cycling computers)

    • Hi Hendrik-

      RE: Re-Broadcasting

      Hmm, I’ll ask and see if the chipset implementation supports it. It depends a little bit on how they utilize it. I’d agree it would be nice.

      On the HUD front, it’ll be interesting to see that grow over the next few years. We’re not even to the starting line there.


    • Hendrik

      Thank you!

      Yes for me rebraodcasting will mean buy or wait, as I want the same device to cover standalone use as well as being coupled to more advanced systems (navigation device, smartphone, …).

      Regarding the HUD’s, yes we are only seeing the very beginning.
      However considering most if not all of the tech and ecosystems (Android, Apple, possibly others) are already mature thanks to the huge smartphone market, I could imagine this to evolve much faster than we currently think. In fact I hope so :-)

  78. Jenn S

    Hi Ray – love your reviews! I’ve been a long time reader but haven’t had a question until now.

    I’ve been running since 2012 with the Nike GPS watch. It’s been fine but after 18 months it’s starting to have issues so I’m looking to upgrade. I run – half marathons and marathons, probably an ultra after this last baby is here – and want to make sure I get something that will fit my needs so I don’t find myself saying, “I should have bought…” 12 months later. I’m between the Garmin 220, Suunto Ambit 2 R and now this TomTom watch. Eventually I have the lofty goal of training for Boston so I know I’ll likely need some form of HR monitor, tempo runs, etc. Is there one that you would say would be the best option? I’m mainly drawn to the TomTom only for the optical HR sensor as I have two Polar watches and hate the HR strap but I’m not 100% opposed. Thanks for the advice!!

    **Side note: have you seen the new Suunto Go activity tracker? I’m very curious to see how it fairs vs the FuelBand and Fitbit as it has a lot of features that have been missing from both.

    • Ultimately, I’d narrow it between the FR220 and the Cardio Runner. Why not the Ambit 2R? Well, if you’re looking at the Ambit 2R then you’re basically saying you don’t mind wearing a HR strap. In which case, based on what you’ve said, the FR220 is a far more capable watch. It doesn’t sounds like you plan to use some of the customization options in apps (on the 2R).

      Given you have the NIke GPS unit, you’ll find the TomTom very similar (same team designed them), thus, you likely understand some of the limitations there (though, the site is far more limiting on TomTom than Nike).

      So ultimately, it comes down to whether or not you want optical HR over features like Live Tracking or custom workouts, and smaller tweak-type features. If not, I’d go with the FR220. If so, then the Cardio Runner.

    • Bart

      You lost me on that one. Wouldn’t the Ambit and 220 both connect to a Mio Link for heart rate?

    • Of course, but I understood the question to be either wearing a HR strap with the FR220 or the Ambit 2R…or…. getting just the TomTom Cardio, no strap.

  79. Aron

    “Note however that there’s no method to define a target – i.e. ‘7:30/mile’ or HR Zone for any portion of the workout, so you’ll have to remember what those are. Though I suppose most people generally know the defined level of pain of the workout fairly well going into it. But that means you won’t get any sort of alerting or pacing either.”

    So to be exact..I can’t create precise manual workout regiment as in FR 220?

    • Aron

      That’s just too bad…with it’s superior HRM ability..virtual trainer would be very useful, especially if it’s HR guided, so we could set the intensity of each interval more accurately compare using specific pace target (since intensity is a matter of heart rate)..will there any possibility that such feature iwill be added to future firmwire updates?

  80. Maciej

    This might be a stupid question; forgive me if it’s answered elsewhere on the site.

    I primarily run on a track. I was a 400m runner in high school and college and my typical workout is a 1600 warm up jog, followed by twenty 200m sprints. Some days I do 800m runs, and on saturdays I do a twenty lap continuous run. Currently I use an old Nike Triax C5 HRM with watch, but the HRM part is no longer working. I mostly care about HR to figure out how many calories I burn, so I know how much to eat.

    I am interested in this watch because of the built in optical HRM monitor. I am also going on a long trip in Europe this spring and summer. My main question is, can I use the GPS to plan out shorter sprint workouts when I don’t have a track? I.e. can I have it buzz my arm after I run 200m? Or 800m? Or does it only work for longer runs? Can any GPS watch do this?

    • Pretty much any GPS watch can help you track distance. Most of them can do some form of interval workout. Using your example, it’s easy on the Cardio to have it beep after 800m as part of an interval workout, assuming each rep is 800m. It’s more difficult though if you do 4×800, then 4×200 as part of the same workout. For that, you’d need the ‘custom workout’ functionality found in the Garmin watches.

    • Maciej


  81. Marc

    Sorry if you answered this already, but are you able to select any fields for the 3 locations on the watch. As in could you have Pace on the main display, heart rate on the top right and distance covered on the top left? I am basically asking if you choose a field to display does it negate another as an option? And this is for running purposes.

    • Yes, you can choose which field to display in the upper left, and upper right panels. Then, on the main screen while in the activity all fields are available and can be iterated through by pressing up/down.

  82. Sam

    Great review as usual.
    I bought the TT MS back in Nov.2013 and wish I had known about this one as I don’t care for the HR strap. So, I’m thinking about selling it and getting the Cardio Runner instead. However before doing so, as I like to wear it as an everyday watch, I was wondering if they have different color straps besides the Black/Red and White/red and if they are planning on having slim straps specifically made for the Cardio Runner.


    • You can use your existing straps just fine, they’re 100% compatible from a fit standpoint, however, it might reduce the accuracy of the optical sensor a little bit.

      At present, those were the only new colors they had on the agenda. Perhaps the TomTom Community Manager knows of plans beyond that.

  83. Keith

    Awesome review, very thorough. I decided to go with the Runner Cardio along with discount, plus tax free it was a great price. I just started to really get into running and have been training for a half marathon this summer, so I enjoy getting the extra data and having a place to see my stats. Running with my smartphone is getting annoying on my longer runs now.

  84. Lee

    Any chance we could get a picture of The Girl wearing the watch? Really tempted to get this but the size and and comment about the hard plastic strap/comofort is making me lean toward the Garmin 220.

  85. Thibaut

    -Is it possible to have two different Speed/Cadence on two different bikes?
    Example: Tomtom Speed/Cadence sensor on the Mountain Bike and Wahoo Speed​​/Cadence sensor on the Road Bike.

    -Is that the application requires the diameter of the wheel each time the bike mode?

    -Is it possible to view the activities on the watch?

    • – No, it only supports a single ‘bike’, so you’d have to re-pair each time.

      – It saves the diameter

      – Yes, you can view an incredibly basic history summary (how far/fast/long, that’s it).

  86. ed rusk

    Ray – Looks like a nice unit, but epic fail if the battery life in GPS mode is only 10 hours. Surely they could do more than that? Am i in the minority for wanting better battery life? Can’t be used for IronMan events (since I’m not a 10-hour guy).

    • In their words….they aren’t really after that market. Specifically, they wanted to target a bit lower-end range of things, and don’t see themselves as being competitive with some of the higher-end tri watches that go 17hrs.

      Probably know the answer you want to hear, but I was sorta impressed they were fairly honest and straight-forward there.

    • Michael H

      Like I asked about before…all they’d need to do is allow us to reduce the GPS locating frequency from 1-second intervals to 3 or 5. Then the battery would last so much longer. I bought the watch with hopes up using it for up to 50 Mile Ultras (which I can finish in well under 10 hours). My first attempt, the watch quit on me in less than 7 hours. Now I don’t want this watch and I feel like it was falsely advertised.

    • Except, it’s not really as simple as that. There’s the question of whether or not said GPS chipset would actually support such a mode (not all chipsets do).

      I do agree that if it’s getting less than 10 hours, there’s an issue, have you contacted TomTom support on getting the unit swapped out?

    • Michael H

      Do you have a direct email for Tomtom Support? I go on the website and follow the menus and get nowhere. I can’t find any way to submit my problem.

    • PAC

      Michael – I’d call them up – they’ve been very responsive for me after the initial call with email.


    • Michael Heimes

      I got an email from Tomtom. We’ll see what happens.

      Something to note: in the email they said that I shouldn’t expect 10 hours of battery while using BOTH GPS and HEART RATE. With the tow, I should only expect around 8 hours.

  87. DGrus

    Hi, Ray,

    Thank you for review(s)!
    Could you please give me a piece of advice? I am a runner newbie and only starting to choose my gear. I run with endomondo right now, but I was told to buy a HRM to train. What’s better in your opinion:
    – phone + Mio Link
    – tomtom cardio?
    Thanks in advance.

    • I generally prefer ‘all-in-one’ solutions rather than using a phone to run, especially with heart rate training where you are semi-constantly validating you’re in a given zone. So be it the TomTom unit, or a Garmin or something else.

      That’s just my opinion though.

  88. Adrian

    Hi Ray,

    Regarding the new strap design, I have realized that it lacks the small ‘belt’ which keeps the strap into place. In this new strap, the end of the strap is clipped on the strap itself.

    Did you find this enough to hold the end of the strap in its place while swimming/running?

    • Yeah, no issues at all holding it in place. The little dimple/hole thingy is pretty strong compared to most watches. Quite a bit bigger as well.

    • I was actually pleased to see that. I gave up on the TomTom Multi a few months ago, mostly because of the lack of Android support for mobile uploads and the AWFUL treadmill accuracy… but one of my peeves was definitely the strap and the little “belt”. It was constantly moving or slipping out of position while running or in the pool and it was very inferior to the “push clip” style of my MotoActv. I’m now a very content Fenix2 owner but I keep rooting for TomTom to get this watch right and see that band design made me smile. They took at least one step in the right direction!

  89. Yury

    Hi ray Thanks for the review, everything is very clear and easy to understand. Begin to run and want to buy this device. Can’t the only one to understand, when will the sale and send on the tomtom website? On Amazon is the ship date is 30 April. On the tomtom website there is no date of dispatch. I don’t know where to order that would get faster, please tell me. Sorry if something is not clear I’m from Russia and I use a translator. Thank you!

    • It depends on the retailer. Different retailers got different allotments at various times. For example, Clever Training got a small allotment that’s already been sold, for shipment this week. All new sales will leave at the end of the month/early May. That’s when the next major production run is coming, and when the vast majority of retailers will get theirs.

      There was only 2-3 retailers in total to get units in the second week of April. I do believe there will also be some units at the London Marathon this weekend, and Boston next weekend.

    • Yury

      Thank you, Ray

  90. Michael

    Would you say this is the best watch for runners with built-in optical HRM? I was about to buy the Forerunner 220, but I really would like to get rid of the strap.

    • There’s only two: This and the Adidas Smart Run.

      From an optical standpoint, both are basically identical. So it comes down to features. The Runner is aimed mostly purely at runners, whereas the Adidas unit is really aimed at runners + gym folks. For me, with the battery considerations and ability to use it as a day to day watch, and being $130 cheaper, I’d take the TomTom.

  91. Dr Dom

    It’s really interesting to see the graphs of heart-rate measured optically and electrically (with chest strap). With only two data sets, how do you figure out which is “correct” or at least closer to the truth?

    One way to get closer to a reliable reference measurement is to use the disposable adhesive electrodes that are used in clinical ECG measurement. You’ll find that you can jerry-rig electrical connections to these. I’ve done it, but to be sure that I had good quality connections to the HRM strap electronics, I had to open up the case and solder wires to the circuit board inside. Probably overkill for all but the most insanely geeky.

    Even then, remember that there is not necessarily any right answer. The athletic heart is notoriously fickle, and frequently exhibits ECG abnormalities that may confuse the chest strap of your HRM. See for example this 2006 Cardiology review, paying particular attention to Figure 4. Strange artifacts on your HR graph may not just be issues of strap positioning or electrode contact but may be episodes of — for example — premature ventricular beats.

    In some ways, the peripheral optical measurement of HR may be more useful, since this is driven by actual capillary flow (or distension) and will not be confused by transient quivering of your heart mid-workout.

    • Hi Dr.-

      Yup, determining which is correct is always tricky. One of the good things here is that the two units tracked within 0-2BPM of each other the entire time, making it more of a ‘timing’ issue than anything else. For cases where they diverged, it was always easy to tell because the effort was significantly mismatched to the reading. For example, when I’m in the middle of a hard interval and the HR instantly shows half of what it should be. Or, the like.

      Having trained within HR for about 7 years now, I can pretty closely pinpoint an exact HR. So when it’s off by 50BPM, it’s easy to tell. Or, for example, if you adjust the strap/watch and it immediately corrects itself, another example of a technology problem.

  92. graham

    Great review. Saved me £280 as i wanted to measure heart rate while swimming. Will have to wait until the technology allows HRM in the pool :(

  93. Serena Curtin

    Do you know if I can pair my blue tooth headphones with the watch to hear the audible interval alerts and such that way?

  94. Sebastian

    Unfortunately I find the TomTom Multisport unusable (I sold mine after 4 month of frustration), it’s a great piece of hardware but the software side is a disaster. Since this is pretty much the same watch but with an optical HRM (again great hardware, s**t software) you’d be a fool wasting your money on any TomTom watch at the moment…maybe in a few years time.
    It’s a shame that only because the firmware can be updated, companies put products on the market that would have never ever been released like this 10 years ago.

    • hollyoak

      True but in the case of the TomTom GPS watches there’s a bigger problem, I mean it’s been work in progress for 3+ years now since the first version was shown at CES…for a company that ruled the mobile GPS market it’s amazing that the failure to come up with any decent software hasn’t seen some hard decisions been made by top management…like replacing the current team with people who have a clue.

    • Nadine

      How about if you just export the files to trainingpeaks.com. Will that work around the Tomtom software issues? I am thinking of buying one — strictly for the optical HRM and plan to just export my files to TP. Any thoughts?

    • Dr Dom

      I agree that TomTom released the original Runner watch too early. Software was barely beta quality at the time: full of bugs and missing a bunch of functionality. However, software updates have trickled out fairly frequently, and while it still feels as though the software team is a little under-resourced, I have to say that I am pretty happy with the current state. I use mine daily (it has become my GPS watch of choice mostly due to the slim profile which makes it comfortable to wear all the time) and have recommended it to friends.

    • Sebastian

      The problem is that the watch doesn’t seem to record manual laps or interval splits. So interval and manual laps will show up as one long run no matter what online platform you use.
      It really depends on what you are looking for, if it’s just want a very basic gps watch then this watch might be for you. But I would definetly try before you buy if you get the chance.

    • It does record them. It just doesn’t show them on the TomTom site. If you load the .FIT file to TP, you’ll see the splits/laps.

    • Sebastian

      Maybe your watch is different, but all I’m seeing are the auto-laps (every km/mile) but no manual laps or interval data.

    • advaita

      hi can you elaborate more on this pint i would like to see my laps and interval on the computer but did not understand what you are talking about

  95. Shorty

    Great review, as usual.

    I’m still scared of these guys based on all the horror stories on their forum for the last year or so and this is the same software.

    One question though . Can you set the interval times on the watch at the start of the run or do you need to be connected to the computer ?

    • As a general rule of thumb, looking at any companies forums is a poor way to determine whether or not users are having issues. That’s ultimately the only reason why companies have forums (for people to post issues). It’s the same for TomTom, Polar, Garmin, or Apple.

      As for interval times, it must be done on the watch itself.

  96. Andreas

    Excelent detainled review!

    I would like to ask you if you can test mainly the heart rate sensor using the watch positioned on the wrist to the inner side, not to the outer side.

    Thank you very much!
    Have a nice one!

    • All of my testing was done with the watch positioned on the outside of the wrist.

      I can try some brief tests on the inside probably sometime this week.

    • Andreas

      Thank you very much!

      I was curious to see how it works positioned on the inside of the wrist as I use wristwatch so when running or swimming.

      Thank you!
      Have a nice one!

  97. Mick G

    Hi Ray, nice review, i am interested in this watch but was wondering if the optical sensor has the same quirk as the alpha mio.

    I bought an alpha mio and i found that if i was to increase my heartrate very fast like doing weight training then the true heart rate had a delay of about 10 to 15 seconds before it showed on the screen, i noticed that if i had a chest strap on, then that updated in real time, so did the heart detectors on the cardio machines in the gym but the alpha had a delay with fast exertion.

    It was ok if i used the cardio machines and my heart rate went up slowly or down slowly but it just couldnt show a massive heart rate jump without a delay, for instance if i did heavy weights my heart rate could go from 70 beats to 140 beats in ten seconds but the alpha couldnt keep up ?

    Do you know if this has the same limitations?, i have read your posts in full about the alpha but you do not mention about it having limitation with delay on big heart rate jumps.

    • I suspect it will. It is indeed the exact same sensor (I confirmed it with them). The TomTom folks simply added a bit more shielding around the edge.

      For me, it’s not possible to get my HR from 70 to 140 in 10-seconds, so I don’t tend to see that issue. I do sprints though where I’ll take it from about 130 to 170 in about 30-seconds, and no issues there (it tracked same as HR, per the graphs).


    • Triman

      Hello Mick,
      I am interested to see if you faced the same limitation on a classic strap HRM ? (That is a delay in the HR pace increase).

  98. Jan

    I’m looking for some watch that replaces my Smartphone (runtastic + HR-Strap). So far the TomTom looks nice, as i always hated the strap. a Mio Alpha lacks the GPS Data and running with both is kinda useless.

    What i did not really read: in the (runtastic) app i get info after a km with pace (which i really like) is there such feature (e.g. show pace for last (km/mile/time))?

    I understand right, that interval training does not let you plan a pyramid traning (e.g. 2 mins fast, 2 mins slow 4 mins fast, 2 mins slow, 6 mins fast, ….) at least not now?

    • The Runtastic app isn’t compatible with the TomTom Cardio. It would be compatible with either the Mio Link or Mio Alpha units though.

      Unfortunately, it’s not an app I use, so I really can’t provide much comment there.

    • Jan

      I’m not looking for runtastic compatibility – i just look for whether the (only) features i tend to like in runtastic are supported. so i can switch and let the phone at home ;-)

      Runtastic shows the pace/km and anonouces that by speaker.

      So i’d love to see something similar with the tomtom.
      I understand that you can do something with laps features but that you can’t mix that with others?
      So it is not possible to e.g. train inside a specific heart rate zone whilst having the time /km shown?

      I wished some shop near me had it, but the once i asked only stock polar, gamin and suunto

    • Correct, you can’t mix and match the ‘goal’ functions with the zone functions with the lap functions. A bit annoying, as noted.

      I don’t think we’ll see announcements on the immediate radar. I agree it would be handy, but I suspect it’s a lower priority for them.

  99. Ken

    Does anyone know if TomTom will offer any kind of buyback program since they released this updated watch so closely to the original model? I have the TomTom Runner with HR Strap which is only 4 months old and would love to exchange it for this new version and pay a nominal fee. If anyone if this is possible, please comment.


  100. David


    great review, which you are sharing with us.
    To get rid of the heart strap, I want to buy this running watch.
    And of course using your link :).
    Do you have any experiences with shipping to Germany?
    From price side, it is still cheaper than buying in Germany and paying in €.


    • Hi David-

      Generally speaking Clever Training will ship via USPS to Germany. They tend to correctly declare customs, so as to whether or not your local delivery person asks for that – it’s up to them (here in France, they happily ask for it every time).


  101. Estui

    Amazing site. I am a beginner and have found it very helpful. After reading some of your reviews, i think i would like to get the tom tom multisport (not the cardio) becuase I dont want to spend that much on a watch and dont care much (yet) for the HR metrics. Do you think that the TT MS’s price will drop now that this one is out? ie, should I wait unitl may or something to get it, or do you think theprice wont change and I should just get it now? Thank you. Great site.

    • I suspect we might see the price drop a bit. Though, they just launched a sale yesterday on the non-Cardio Runner, but only with the HR strap. And honestly, it’s not that great of a sale (down to $199).

    • Sawtooth

      Is it possible to easily display both average heart rate and max heart rate for a given workout? Thanks for your great reviews.

  102. Khai

    Great review. As always. I am wondering if the tom tom is still able to take HR reading using the chest strap while charging? It will be great if it does, so I can monitor my heart rate 24/7. Thinking of getting the basis but it does not ship outside of the US.

  103. Hendrik

    Hi again Ray,
    I was wondering whether you had the chance yet to ask TomTom whether Re-Broadcasting is technically possible and whether they plan to implement this in the future?
    Thank you.

  104. Chris


    Really nice article and it’s so detailed, I like it.
    Is there a back to start function on board?

  105. Scott

    Hi – This may be a really stupid question. But I was kind of wondering about battery replacement. When the battery dies and no longer charges or a severly reduced holding time; how does one replace the battery? or is it a throw away watch? I called the tomtom support number and the woman actually told me that they basically only replace watches under warranty, but do not service them. I find this alarming considering you can spend upto 399 for the performance bundle. I am looking at getting the multisport cardio.

    • Community Manager, TomTom

      Hi Scott,

      Wanted to come back to your question. We actually can and will repair malfunctioning watches beyond warranty for a fee. Within the warranty we usually directly replace them – that’s what the Customer Care agent probably meant. Hope this is now clear!

    • Scott

      Thanks for the follow up.

    • Scott

      BTW – Ray – good work on all the reviews. I looked through a lot of them and decided on the multisport cardio. FYI – I ordered from Clever training. You deserve credit. I am pretty sure a lot of people make buying decisions based on your reviews.

    • Thanks for the support Scott, I appreciate it!

    • david

      Sorry I don’t understand you.
      If I buy the product and after for instance after 2 ½ years works bad the battery.
      Do you fix it?
      Thanks and sorry for my English!

    • If after that period the battery starts to have issues you’d need to contact support to have the battery repaired/replaced.

      While it’s a common concern with sport watches, it’s actually very rarely an issue. Just now as an example – some 8 years after the Garmin FR305 was released are people having battery issues with the unit (some earlier at 4-6 years). Meaning, for a sport device even with frequent use the battery dying tends to be the last thing to go. Most people tend to kill it in other ways first, or simply upgrade due to technology improvements.

  106. Gary

    I have a Garmin Forerunner 610 and would love to get rid of the chest strap. I’m trying to decide if I should jump to the Tom Tom or just get a Mio Link. Any thoughts? I realize the Mio Link would involve wearing the equivalent of two watches, but can’t tell from all the features if I’m giving up functionality in the 610 that I’ll miss in the Tom Tom.

    Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, Gary

    • You’ll be giving up a fair bit of functionality going from the FR610 to the TomTom unit (any model). The question being more whether you use said functionality. If you don’t mind wearing two devices (strap + watch), I’d probably just go with Link.

  107. Phil

    Bonjour, tres intéressant test qui m’a motivé a acheter cette montre. Celle de base, pas la multisport, pour le velo de toute façon le cardio et le GPS suffisent, et je pratique la course a pied. Par contre l’altimètre, je ne suis pas certain d’en avoir besoin. Avec les transfert de fichier on doit avoir le D+ D- d’indiqué…
    de plus j’ai pu profité du code reduc de 10 % mais pas du transport. 5you Rain

    • Running mode doesn’t quite yet support the use/display of the altimeter, but it will in a near-term firmware update.

    • phil

      ah !!! c’est pas tout a fait au point, c’est pas bien de mettre un produit non abouti a la vente, bon de toute façon j’ai choisi la runner cardio gps, donc je ne suis pas concerné. Si le produit me plait, j’en achete une pour moi, celle ci est pour ma femme (cadeau)

  108. ben

    Hi Ray, thanks for the awesomE Review,Was WonThanks Whether The Optical Sensor Scratches Or Digs Into Your Skin After Prolonged Wear ? Since The Back Surface Of The Watch Is Not Longer Smooth Like The originAl Runner Watch.
    I Am Using The Original Runner As A Day Watch Too.
    So Am Concerned With The Wear Comfort level. thanks

  109. D.B.

    Which watch would you purchase this new TomTom or the garmin forerunner 620?

  110. JJ from Canada

    Rainmaker, first off, thank you for taking the time to publish such in-depth reviews. What a pleasure to find all the information I need in one site. I understand that you’re just one opinion but I’m a critical thinker and I can see that your reviews do not have an obvious bias towards any particular brand(s).

    I like this watch a lot. I’m very excited to get one but you mentioned that it’s a candidate in the mid-range runners watch. I know you have comparison tables but can you maybe make a post about what differentiates the mid-range to the top-end watches?

    Lastly, do you have a top 5 guide by range for watches? Or is there a watch you’d recommend as your favourite in the mid-range?

    Thanks again!

  111. Waldek

    I agree 100%: “…rebraodcasting will mean buy or wait, as I want the same device to cover standalone use as well as being coupled to more advanced systems”. My sets:
    Short distance: TomTom Cardio
    Long dinstance: TomTom Cardio as a watch and optical HRM + Galaxy S4 (as a music source and voice coach. For this Galaxy must see TTCardio as a HRM BT).

  112. Alex

    Thanks for a great review. I’m looking for a watch that I can use for running and swimming, but also to track my walking. Not day-to-day activity, but when I’m out walking several miles. Does this watch have a walk-mode? Or does any watch have that? I realise that I can just use the run-mode, but then the name of the workout will be running, and I would have to remember which ones are in fact running, and which are walking. Any comments or help on this?
    Which watch would you buy: this one or the Garmin xt910?

    • PAC

      Alex…..wouldn’t it be kind of obvious which were runs and which were walks from their speeds?

    • It does not have a separate walk mode.

      As to the FR910XT vs TomTom, the 910XT is an entirely different beast. From TomTom’s own admission, they aren’t trying to compete there. It cost twice as much (depending on which model of TomTom), but does probably 10x as much.

      Personally, I’d use the FR910XT because of the additional sports I’d use (and things like power meter support). But for purely running/walking, then I’d look very seriously as the TomTom units.

    • Alex Petersen

      Thanks for your replies.
      Yes, it will be obvious, but it would be better with a separate walk mode :o)

      Does the FR910XT have a separate walk mode?

    • No, not a walk mode. But, you could use the ‘Other’ mode for that.

      I don’t believe there are any GPS watches on the market that specifically have a walk mode.

    • Alex

      Thanks for your reply.

      In Denmark, the TomTom watch cost 265£, the 910xt cost 300£, and the 310xt is on sales to 150£ (the two Garmin models are with soft strap hr).

      Which one would you go for giving these prices? I think the 310xt is pretty interesting at that price, but would I get disappointed?

    • If you don’t want to track indoor swimming, then go 310XT.

  113. Scott Burton

    I’d like to track HR and calories burned of non treadmill cardio activities such as elliptical, weight lifting and rowing. Would this unit work to do that and sync to Runkeeper or should I use the Mio link or alpha instead combined with my iPhone for GPS on runs.

    • Unfortunately, TomTom doesn’t use HR in any of their calorie calculations. So to that end, no. And, since it doesn’t transmit the HR to other apps (such as RunKeeper), it wouldn’t help there.

      I’d look at the Mio Link, or other BLE strap.

  114. Peter

    Clevertraining shows in the Black/Red Runner model in stock…..multisport still showing early May :(

    • Correct. They got a bunch in Friday (that shipped out), but that was it until early May. It was basically just them and one other retailer that got an early shipment in of them.

  115. DGrus

    Hello, Ray
    One of the situations I will use this watch in is: running indoor on the track (not treadmill). So the question is: is it possible to work towards the heart rate zone (with alerts) and enter laps manually, by pressing the button?
    So metrics on the screen should be: HRM, total time and if possible number of laps. Laps will be entered manually.

    • DGrus

      Actually, I have already ordered it (using your link to CT), but now I’m in doubts if it will work as I suppose..

    • Steve

      Great honest review, watch looks like it will suit me well. Just ordered on clever training, shipping to Australia as I write.

    • Thanks for the support via CT, I appreciate it!

    • Community Manager, TomTom

      Hi DGrus,

      Wanted to come back to your question. To get laps and heart zones at the same time I recommend starting your activity in Laps mode and selecting Manual. At any time during your activity you can press right to scroll through the more in-depth heart rate metrics. (such as Zone spread, HR graph over time etc.) Alternatively, you can use one of the two small display sections on the screen to view your current heart rate zone. Unfortunately, you cannot get heart rate zone alerts and have Laps functionality at the same time. I’ll share your use case with the product team.

    • DGrus

      2Community Manager, TomTom,

      Yes, would you be so kind to share. I suppose laps would be useful for everybody in almost all modes.
      And also heart rate zone would be useful (or extremely useful for newbies as my Coach says :) ) in all modes.
      Anyway, thank you for listening your customers! We all appreciate it a lot!

  116. DGrus

    Hi, Ray
    I’m sure buying via CT is beneficial for all three parts, so I appreciate your help too, thanks! :)
    But anyway could you please check whether this scenario is possible?
    “Is it possible to work towards the heart rate zone (with alerts) and enter laps manually, by pressing the button?
    So metrics on the screen should be: HRM, total time and if possible number of laps. Laps will be entered manually.”
    Thank you!

  117. Gunnar

    Even though I have a Tom Tom Multisport (non optical HR) I thought I’d make a quick comment on it since it’s almost identical to the new optical unit.

    I just sold my fenix2 and this replaced it. The fenix2 was a good watch. A bit bulky but well executed over the original. But, it would always seem to have problems connecting to the mobile app. The Tom Tom watch is spot on every time I finish a activity. This feature is important for me as I hardly ever use a laptop/desktop computer. The instant Strava upload once the activity makes it to the Tom Tom website is the icing on the cake. Love it.

    The fact you can get super fast sat. acquisition, swim features a compact design and fast mobile upload and instant link to Strava makes this a fantastic watch.

  118. António Baião

    Hi all, as a follower of these fantastic reviews as my duty to warn of the fact that the amount of problems that currently exist with the tomtom GPS watches is huge and the support and proactive them to solving them is almost nonexistent. I am saying this because as a customer bought a tomtom runner and I am truly sorry for besides all other problems such as the inability to connect to the tomtom MySportsPage, shared difficulty for months with dozens of users, now with the latest firmware watch it only serves as an adornment since ceased to be possible to export activities, this hard difficulty 3 weeks ago and no solution in sight.

    • Have you contacted support and opened a support incident/case for the issues around exporting (or other problems)?

    • António Baião

      Yes I did, the issue related with the connection to tomtom MySports is a recurring issue that affects many users and as never been solved as you can see in link to discussions.tomtom.com, and regarding the issue related with exporting activities the answer I’ve got from support is that they are investigating… there are records of people complaining from this in the past 3 weeks, 3 weeks with watches completely unusable and still investigating? This sounds like incompetence by my standards.

  119. ashley

    First of all, I would like to thank you for your profound and in-depth review of these products. With your knowledgable insight in the sports world and technology market, you truly make it easier for us, consumers, to decide on the right gadget.

    I am looking into purchasing the Cardio Runner, but here is the make or break in my decision to buying this watch: Although, I am big into running, I am also involved in Cross-Fit and would like a watch that would allow me to use doing those types of work outs. Would I be able to use the “treadmill” feature to track my HR and calories burned during those types of work outs, like you did in tracking your full days worth of HR monitoring?

    If not, do you suggest a watch that has capabilities of a GPS/HRM and also can be used in exercises like cross fit?

    Thank you very much for your time!

    • It’s tough in that at the moment there isn’t really a lot of options that do full day activity tracking as well as GPS style tracking. I think we’ll see more coming down the pipe, since that’s going to effectively be the baseline. But as of today, the options are more either/or, rather than both, unfortunately.

  120. DGrus

    Hm, one more question :)
    Does anybody know if the touch button (on right of the screen) is “gloves-friendly”?

  121. Gunnar

    What are your thoughts on Tom Tom integration in the future with Bluetooth power meters (Stages)?

    This is the only thing I really find lacking in the multisport at this point. I imagine it would be easy to do?

  122. Yvonne

    Great review!

    How long does it typically take for a new item reach retail stores like REI or Runner’s Roost?

    • There’s a ton of factors involved depending on the retailer and the company making the unit. Most retailers need to pre-order a set amount of units to get inventory anywhere near launch dates. However, sometimes companies have certain preferred retailers – or a smaller subset (companies also sometimes have retailers that often get units further down the list for a variety of reasons).

      In the case of the TomTom Cardio units, a very small number of units was shipped to 2-3 retailers (REI, Clever Training and someone else I can’t remember) in early April. Beyond that, everyone else is waiting another 1-2 weeks for full inventory.

    • Yvonne

      Thank you! I went ahead and ordered from Clever Training :)

  123. WR

    Thanks for your review, Ray!

    Received my TomTom Runner Cardio two days ago (amazon.de).
    HRM works perfect (in contrast to the MIO LINK, which I tested one week ago), GPS search ist fast (5-20 sec), GPS precision is great, far better than with my Garmin FR 610.

    You’ll find my Garmin FR 610 + HRM belt on ebay in a few days…

    • Jojo

      Hello WR

      I’ve got my MIO Link two weeks ago and it also did not work well.
      It shows significant differences to a strap and quick changes of heart rate are totally ignored by the MIO. What are your problems?

    • Siobhan

      I have a Garmin 610 and have been thinking of switching to the TomTom. I HATE the HR strap. I don’t use a lot of the functions on the 610. Mostly just keeping an eye on my pace, distance, and HR. If I’m doing a specific workout I’ll set it to the distance – ie 6 miles, so it’ll vibrate when I hit it.

      Will I hate the loss of functionality??

    • You can set a mileage goal, which will do exactly that. Enjoy!

    • Siobhan

      Thanks! I used your guide to get the 610, which is a great watch.. but I think TOO MUCH of a watch for me. Plus, as I mentioned, I dislike the HR strap. I train by HR so that bit is essential for me. I think I’ll be picking up the TomTom.

      As soon as I saw it was coming out, I went to your site to see if you’ve done a review. Thanks for all that you do!

  124. Jens

    Thank you for this comprehend and awesome review. You review helped me a lot in my buying decision. I hope a lot people will support you by clicking the links.

  125. Nadine

    Just want to add that I also ordered this watch from CT (runner version). As a Canadian, I had some kind of visa problem ordering (kept getting a message saying that fraud detection had kicked in :), so phoned Clever Training. They immediately processed the order and helped me to choose the shipping option that would incur the least duty. So they are definitely worth ordering from. Plus they are getting the watches in early May rather than May 30 (as Amazon advertises).
    Thanks again to Ray.

  126. Michael

    It seems as though the Tomtom Cardio is better than the Garmin 220 for running intervals outside of a track due to the 1sec recording vs smart recording. Would you agree with this based on your testing?

    • In general, I’d be hesitant to focus on using any GPS as the absolute distance-keeper on the track – 1s recording or otherwise. Most GPS units struggle there.

      I haven’t done any comparison between the two on running tracks.

    • Michael

      Ray, sorry I wasn’t clear. I was specifically referring to their effectiveness on a straight path for running intervals (when there is no other judge of distance besides gps). I can’t always make it to a track and want the pace reading to be as accurate and quick as possible (especially for shorter distances). Any thoughts between the two on this?

    • Oh, no problems there. Generally speaking though if you’re looking at less than about 100m, you’re going to see issues using GPS to accurately pace that. But I do 200m sprints at the end of most of my runs, and have no issues using GPS to pace those.

  127. Oddvar

    Great review. I’m looking for a gadget to boost my workout motivation, and I think this watch could do the trick.

    I was hoping for a reply on Ashleys comment above. (#303) Do you have any thoughts on that? Or a recommendation for other gadgets/watches/fitness trackers that combine running and indoor workouts.

  128. Willsonn

    Nice review – seems to be a nice watch. I have one question:

    Is it possible to upload your run-data from TomTom Cardio to Endomondo. And will Endomondo recognize the HR Graphs fra TomTom?

  129. Dana

    DC Rainmaker- Thanks for the AWESOME, comprehensive review. I wanted a watch that could track my heart rate, but that would also tell me how far I’ve run when I go out and improvise routes. Currently, I will run some random route, then go home and “map-my-run” it. (Not convenient.) I have never used a HRM watch before, but can only assume that the chest strap is a hassle. I do not need advanced features that the upper-level Garmins, etc. are capable of. I also would like to try to keep the cash outlay as low as possible. Therefore, this watch seems like a good fit for me. I have ordered the watch in black/red, which seems a more subdued color combo than the white/red model that they show in most of the ads.

  130. Siobhan

    Can you set the pace displayed as an “instant” pace, or is it only average pace?

  131. John Pughe

    Hi Ray,
    My 8yr old daughter has recently taken up cross country racing (very successfully !) and as an ex-track athlete I’ve been doing a little coaching with her, mainly in large muddy parks/playing fields. I would like to be able to accurately track her training sessions, especially distance, and set customized interval workouts for her. I could see a use for a virtual partner (as she leaves me standing !) and a hrm-strap to help show her how her fitness improves as she goes forward. I would like the watch to be light and easy to use. Looking at the comments above, a Garmin fr220 or 620 may be better than this TomTom, but your advice would be very much appreciated.

  132. Duncan Verel

    Great reviews across the board. The only thing I don’t get and I can’t reference to it, although I will go back and read again just in case I missed it, is why it is no good for open water swimming?

    I’m not a triathlete, but do do the odd open water swim. I’m not overly bother in measuring much, but it would be nice to know just the distance and strokes. Surely as it’s GPS it can do that (can’t it)!

    • It doesn’t have an openwater swim mode (yes, I agree, it’s odd). Which means that while in regular swim mode the GPS is off for indoor swimming (uses accelerometer). While outdoors it would need to have a swim mode that can smooth data, since it’ll lose GPS signal every time it goes underwater.

    • Erik

      I did do an open water swim with the Multisport Cardio in Run mode, and the GPS track was quite smooth actually. And I got heart rate (not supported, and the accuracy is difficult to verify, of course).

  133. Marc

    Anyone notice that the release date went from April 30th, to May 15th, to now May 31st in the last couple days on the TomTom website? Any idea why the release date got pushed back a month?

    • Serena

      I called TomTom today and the guy on the phone said they just noticed a technical ‘glitch’ in the watch in the last couple of days and they made a decision to postpone shipments versus dealing with unsatisfied customers b/c of a ‘glitchy’ device. I for one am furious! I have a couple races lined up this month and was really looking forward to using the watch for it.

    • Siobhan

      Yes. I pre ordered, and Monday it switched from 4/30 to 5/15. Now it is 5/31. Mucho annoyed.

    • Serena

      So, I spoke with a lady at TomTom support and she is telling me that the dates keep changing for “new orders”. Those that ordered early will still receive theirs earlier. At this point there is no way for them to tell which ones will ship on which dates, but some will be shipped today, others on May 15th and then others on May 30th. I ordered mine on April 21st and it does not look like it will be in today’s shipment. I’m really hoping for the May 15th shipment.

    • Yvonne

      I ordered mine from CT on 4/24. I got an email update from CT saying that they spoke to TomTom and that they should be expecting the shipment of the watches the week of 5/19 and they will fulfill the orders then, in the order in which they were placed.

  134. Dana

    DC Rainmaker- Thanks for the AWESOME, comprehensive review. I wanted a watch that could track my heart rate, but that would also tell me how far I’ve run when I go out and improvise routes. Currently, I will run some random route, then go home and “map-my-run” it. (Not convenient.) I have never used a HRM watch before, but can only assume that the chest strap is a hassle. I do not need advanced features that the upper-level Garmins, etc. are capable of. I also would like to try to keep the cash outlay as low as possible. Therefore, this watch seems like a good fit for me. I have ordered the watch in black/red, which seems a more subdued color combo than the white/red model that they show in most of the ads. It was ordered from TomTom on April 23 and it arrived today, on April 30. I hope it does not have any “glitches,” as mentioned in some of the recent posts! Also, I am a smaller female, and found the watch to be comfortable (I was a little concerned that it would be uncomfortable because it has to be on a certain way for the HRM to work).

  135. Mindless

    Decrease in battery life? Option to turn HR off, will it negate that decrease?

  136. Mindless

    Does lap counter in swim mode work well with breast stroke?

  137. Jedimaster

    Thanks for the info, For me it was between the TomTom and Forerunner 220. After reading that both mobile and web sites have their issues etc, with transferring data etc, I figured it was a wash and went with the TOMTOM.

    I love the idea of a strapless HRM, I give up some features by not going with the Forerunner 220 but I’m a beginner at running. Maybe in a year or 2 we will get a Hybrid watch that has all of these features. LOL

    I ordered from clever training, Says mid May, fingers crossed.

  138. Dang Thai Hoa

    Hi Ray,

    Is the device compatible with external foot-pod? Thanks.

  139. Dang Thai Hoa

    My wrist is tiny (16cm). Do you think it’s going to be a problem with this device regarding HRM.

  140. Liam

    Thanks very much for the review Ray. I have read this and also the FR620 and decided to go for the multi sport as I hate HR straps – so constraining. I have found your reviews really helpful in making that decision and am very grateful for your time and effort. I will try to support the site by clicking on the links in the future and would encourage everyone else to do likewise.

  141. Jimlefkas

    Hi Ray!
    i want to ask you if Runner Cardio can be paired to a chest strap (BLE of course).

  142. Claire

    Just wanted to know two things.
    1. Are they going to have an Android app and if so when?
    2. When running will it automatically bring up your time taken to do each mile like the garmin, no matter what you have selected it to display?

  143. Marty


    thanks a lot for scrutinizing review. I would like to ask is it possible to update watch’s firmware via mobile phone app? Or do you have any hints this function will be introduced in forseeable future?

    Thank in advance,

  144. Chase

    Great review–ordered one on Clever Training and have been using for a couple of weeks. Quick question–are you finding that Strava has a hard time processing these things? I keep getting bizarre, meaningful differences between Strava and other services (which never happened with my Garmin), culminating today in the Orange County half marathon where Strava says I actually ran 13.0 miles (impossible). Mapmyrun and anything taking the .Fit file sees it as 13.16 miles.

    • The vast majority of online sites process distance tracks differently, Strava included.

      Here’s a detailed explanation of how they do it: link to strava.zendesk.com

      Ultimately, everyone thinks they ‘know better’, but in reality, it’d be really better if the companies just took the file header information that’s in all files and stuck with it.

    • Chase

      Agree. Pretty sure the half marathon organizers and file header information are more accurate than Strava’s post run processing. Wonder if there is something weird about the way Tom Tom records that makes Strava even more wrong. I have never had Strava come in under the race distance with the Garmin.

      Thanks for the quick response, by the way! You have the best reviews in the business. We runners would be lost without you.

    • Jeff

      I’ve been getting pretty shocking differences in distance between the watch and Strava too. Strava has been consistently coming out about 3-5% longer than the watch says.

  145. Sal

    Actually I use Runtastic Pro (Iphone)-app with the Mio Link.
    Is it possible to use the TomTom Cardio Multisport as HF-tracker paired to the Runtastic app while running?
    So I could still use Runtastic for running and the Tomtom-watch for cycling and swimming.

  146. Jedimaster

    For those waiting for the Android app, looks like over at the Tom Tom forums the plan is to release it in September.

  147. Serena Curtin

    Do you know if the multi-sport will pick up other cadence/speed trackers such as those on the spin bikes in a gym if they are blue-tooth capable?

  148. chris

    Hello Ray
    Actually I have a garmin fr210 but it’s getting old and I have a lot of problems with it so I want to buy a new gps. Which gps would you choose between the garmin fr220 and the tomtom cardio runners ?

    • It depends really on whether or not you want optical HR. If you do value optical HR, I’d go the route of the TomTom Runner. If that’s not a big item to you, I’d likely go with the FR220.

      From a GPS standpoint, but units are just fine and I see no differences between the two on accuracy.

    • chris

      I think the strapless hrm is a big plus but I wanted to be sure not to choose a less performant gps

  149. Ben

    After reading ray’s excellent review, I am tempted to buy using the CT link.
    However, I am now hesitating to do so after reading some comments above that the shipment dates were delayed to mid-/late-May to iron out some “glitches”.
    Have the glitches been resolved ?
    My concern is whether the shipment will be further postponed to June , especially after placing an order with CT ?

    • I should have confirmation first thing in the morning (Eastern time) that it’s still planned for this week. I checked with them today and last they heard lats week it was. Keep in mind that units going to different companies vary based on a lot of factors from how soon the company got their pre-orders in, to geographic coverage, etc…

    • Ben

      I just checked the CT website. Now the shipping has shifted to late May >.<
      Any ideas whether the glitches has been ironed out ?
      Can the Tomtom community manager shed some light on this issue ?
      Thanks and appreciate the help.

    • Note that the dates on the product page of the CT site are for new orders.

      They did receive units in this week for a good chunk of the backorders, and I think when I checked on Tuesday they’re expecting another large chunk to come in next week.

    • Peter

      Clevertraining must have had a huge number of orders really early on…I ordered April 7th and still no joy. :( Hopefully this week…..

    • I’d expect you’re pretty early on. The product was announced the 2nd of April, and typically those first couple of days are the biggest rush.

    • Peter

      Product announcement? HA. I waited for your incredible review!

  150. Mike


    Is it possible to download data while offline and then have it sync when I connect later? I don’t have internet at home or a smartphone and would need to donwload data daily and then sync every 3-4 days or so. Thanks.

    • I’m travelling and don’t have a unit with me, but I’m 99% sure you do have to be connected to the internet for it to download. I vaguely remember trying to capture screenshots on a plane and having it error out because of that. But another reader might be able to confirm (by simply turning their WiFi off).

    • Mike


      Below is what Tom Tom customer service sent me about this issue. I have not tried it because I don’t have a Tom Tom unit yet. Wonder if someone wants to test it?:

      If you want to export or upload previous activities, or if an activity has not been transferred to a website automatically, you can transfer it manually.
      Connect your TomTom GPS Sports watch to your computer.
      Open TomTom MySports Connect.
      Select the UPLOAD & EXPORT tab and make sure that the desired file format and websites are added.
      Tip: To get the best results we recommend that you use .FIT files. If this format does not give you the desired results, try .TCX, and then try .GPX.
      In TomTom MySports Connect, click the folder button.

      A window opens showing folders for each day your watch has saved activities. In each folder you find activities in several file formats named after the type of activity and the starting time. For example, Running_11-45-15.ttbin is the file of a run started at 11:45 and 15 seconds.
      To upload the files save on your computer to the website
      Double-click the .ttbin file for your activity

      MySports Connect re-exports your activity. The new format is stored next to the .ttbin file in the same activity folder

  151. Merouane

    Thanks for this review.
    Is there an option to share our results on facebook via the tomtom app or via the website ? Kind of post that runtastic shows when you decide to share with your friend on facebook.

    Many thanks

  152. DutchRolf

    Thank you for your detailed and well-founded review! Here in the Netherlands I wasn’t able to find a review of this quality. Furthermore you are the only one who has several gps watches photographed in one setting -attached to a tube!- that enables the viewer to compare sizes and dimensions. Good work, I will visit your site more often in future.

  153. Ben

    Ray, is there any chance you could do a review on a similar product – the Soleus GPS Pulse with optical hrm functions ? Would like to hear your thoughts on this before I commit to buying. Thanks

    • I’ve actually been working on it a bit on the side the last month or two. I bought a unit a while back (the non-GPS version). Thus far, not impressed. The HR accuracy is all over the map, and the distance accuracy (non-GPS version) is about 50% of reality.

      I’ve been waiting for the GPS one to show in stock so I can buy one and give it a whirl. I expect that’ll solve the GPS piece, but likely not the optical piece.

      At the moment, I’d definitely go Runner Cardio for a slew of reasons over Pulse GPS.

  154. Steve

    I received my tomtom cardio runner gps from ct 2 weeks ago, previously used garmin 210 until band broke. I run quite seriously, 36 min for 10km, therefore accuracy is important. The accuracy of the gps in the tomtom is fantadtic, picks up a satellite within 10 seconds, my favourite display is average pace, this way if I’m aiming to do 45 min for 10km, all I need to do is check the watch is showing 4:30min per km. The watch can be set to vibrate and buzz at lap distances of your choice, I select 1km, this way I can see my last km split in exact time. I cannot ask for anything more, the watch tracks heart rate perfectly, has never dropped out, the website displays heart rate, elevation and pace, this is very interesting data. Just wanted to write my comments as this is a great watch, until garmin get heart rate monitoring in watch, I think this is the best product for the serious runner

  155. len

    thanks Ray. replacing my Motoactv (which i love, just not supported anymore and getting wonky). just ordered my cardio multisport via CT thanks to your review. will let you know how i like it.

  156. Mattias

    Hi great review. I cant find in the instructions how to make it buzz/vibrate every kilometer. Any clue anyone?

  157. Justin S.

    How well should this work for semi-dense trail running? Would there be any huge benefit going from the Runner to the Multi w/ Altimeter?

  158. Jeff

    Hi Ray,

    congratulation for this rewiew (and for others !)

    I’m hesitating…. my Marathon’s training is based on distance (after a warm up, I have to run at maximun for x km, and cool down) or time (after a warm up, I have to run at maximun for x minutes, and cool down)

    will I be able to set it in this watch ? in a perfect world, I would like to be able to “start” my run manually after the warm up, it means my using the button to start the run, whitch it stop automatically (and indicate it by sounding/vibrating).

    As I read on your reviews of Fenix2 or FR220/620, It would be possible for Garmin’s features, but freakly speaking, except to wear a high-end watch”, I don’t need all the others features.

    one more thing, is it possible to “support” your job by an other way to purchase via your partners ? for example by eating a lot of Girl’s cupcakes ;-)) (i’m living in Paris)

    many thanks

    • Hmm, not easily. However, you could just use manual lap to take care of separating that. But there isn’t a way to create a custom workout that’s just got the WU, then one big chunk, then CD. Interval workout might barely work, but I don’t know offhand what the max length/time of a single ‘work’ portion of the interval is.

      As for supporting via the partners, Clever Training does ship globally, so that might help. And there’s Amazon.fr/.co.uk (on sidebar). Else, you can enjoy lots of Cupcakes at the shop near Notre Dame. :)

  159. Reep

    Question on cadence. Is the running cadence (from the internal accelerometer) available to be viewed live? My idea race watch would have distance/heart rate/cadence displayed live. I did not see any mention of the live display, but only that the data is available later.

    If it were (maybe future upgrade), do they usually have a delay so that when you bring the watch up to check it it doesn’t immediately fall to zero since you stopped swinging your arm?

  160. Martin

    Hi Rainmaker. Thank you very much for review. I am really considering to buy TomTom multisport as my first GPS sport watch, but can`t decide which should I buy.

    Just to be clear I want to ask some questions:

    1. Software and funcions in Multisport and Multisport Cardio is the same ?
    – basically the only difference between these two is that Cardio has that optical sensor instead of HR belt ?

    2. Do you need to have watches pinned really tight to your wrist to show correct datas ? Is it comfortable to wear them and run for a long time ?

    Thanks in advance for answers :)

  161. Kyle

    Just reading on the TomTom forums that the Android App wont be released until September. Thats embarrassing in mid 2014. BLE has been a standard for Android since 4.3 (last summer), a company as big as TomTom should not have an issue with it.

  162. Greg

    I found your blog looking for gps watches reviews. Great place for information (thanks for the time you dedicate to it!) and very well written. I am debating between a few models including the TomTom Runner, Runner Cardio, Garmin FR220 and Suunto Ambit 2S or 2R. I’m a novice runner and have been convinced by my girlfriend to train for a half-marathon. I’m not naturally good at long-distance running (I run 5Ks only…and very slowly) and am looking for technology – tech nerd that I am – to help me get better. I really like the Race mode on the Tomtom Runner…I need that kind of visual motivation to keep pushing myself. Anyhow – How are you liking Paris two years later? Funnily enough, I was born there (13eme). To be totally honest; even though most of my relatives still live there, I would never move back there. Now the Riviera, where I lived for 10 years…totally different story. I’ve been living in the midwest since 2000 and Minnesota since 2002. Ton français a dû s’améliorer des tonnes en deux ans, non? Ha.

  163. bas

    Hi, besides running I want to use the TT device also for cycling. However I also have a Garmin 500. Since the TT uses the same optical sensor as the Mio Link, is it possible to use the TT as a heartrate sensor for the Garmin 500 ? In other words, can you link the TT multisport watch to a Garmin 500 device? I hope this isn’t a stupid question or was answered before… Thx for the reply.

    • bas

      Sorry, I now understand that this is not possible because of no “rebroadcasting”.
      1. Is there already answer from TomTom on this (see reply 195 and 261-263) ?
      2. I was (and maybe a lot of people) put on a wrong track because of the remark that the TT uses the same sensor as mio link. Clearly the MIO link can be used as a heartrate device for the garmin 500. So maybe it may be good to add a remark on this in the review ?

  164. For a friend

    I am looking for a device which could be used to track runs as well as provide GPS enabled (car-like) bike navigation, as a gift for a friend. Of course tracking biking data will be a bonus. Could you help make a recommendation. The device should not need a smartphone for any functionality.

    If one device would not meed this need, which two separate basic units would you recommend?

    Thank you for your help,

    • Reep

      See dcrainmaker’s review of the Garmin Fenix 2 and see if that is what you are looking for. I just bought one. A bit heavier than I like for running, but you can do low-res navigation on it.

  165. Samantha

    Hi Ray,

    I was wondering if you’ve done any openwater swims with this? I see you put in the review table for openwater swims ‘swimcap only’ and I assume you would throw it on run or cycle to get the GPS data. I was just curious if you did any tests with it?

    Also, you mentioned that TomTom could possibly do a firmware update later to leave the hrm on during swim mode, is it possible for them to also do a firmware update that would allow the GPS to run during Swim mode to make it for openwater swimming (either on the wrist or in the cap)? Or would that have to be a full hardware update?

    I’ve actually already purchased this from CT and it should be in tomorrow or Friday, but I am curious since I’m planning to set it to run and put it in my swim cap for my race in September. I really don’t do openwater swims, so I really just need that function during races.

    Any insight from you would be very helpful!

    • I didn’t do any tests on my wrist in openwater mode. The unit could definitely be updated via firmware to accomplish an outdoor swimming mode (either a proper one, or just the option to half-way give it one). I’m not 100% confident we’ll see TomTom do that however, as the pace of development hasn’t exactly been super-fast.

      Otherwise, I’d just put it in bike-mode for the swim cap, since most people track swims using MPH or KPH, rather than minutes/mile.

    • Samantha

      Thank you! I figured it wasn’t something they would be working on or seeing anytime soon, but I had no idea what was possible. Thanks for the info and suggestion!

  166. Atlantis

    Hi Ray !

    I have my tomtom runner cardio since two weeks and don’t see it as reliable as you say in your test. at all. I had a tomtom runner before. GPS tracking is just as perfect as before. But the cardio powered by myo had stupid values on EACH run so far. Not at begining, always after 7-8 km. At first I thought the radar of the military base of Creil was driving the device crazy, but that’s not the case. Then I thought it was the rain. Well it does change a little the measure (tested under shower) but range is not comparable. On todays run I had a hard time in a climb, I guess I was around 90% max BPM or higher but the device was telling it was 50 bmp behind my (fast) run I had before with no real slope. I’m always trying to find out the source of the issue but can’t find one. I even end my run with a pretty print of the myo tracker on my wrist because trying to tie it up after seeing abnormal cardio values.
    And for each run I see weird behaviours on figures. plateau’s, counter tendencies slopes and so on. I guess I’ll try another week or so. if I cant find an answer I’ll contact tomtom to have it changed or reimboursed. I was so entouhsiaste after ready your test but realty is just the opposite. Seems like keeping cardio values in check for my training isn’t in my destiny so far (had ton of issues with traditional cardio captors) …

    • The first thing you should check is that the unit is snug. But if you’re getting valid values for 7-8KM, then you’re probably good there. I’d probably contact TomTom support to see if they have an idea. Perhaps there’s something such as a small crack that’s letting water/sweat in after a period of time.

      Generally speaking, optical technology tends to be pretty consistent on people (save a random spike/etc.. for a second or two). Usually it’s not something that works for half an activity and then stops working.

    • Community Manager, TomTom

      Hello Atlantis, indeed as Ray writes this should not be happening. If the issue persists even after Ray’s advice, please reach out to us so we can look into what the cause of the issue might be! You can contact us via: link to bit.ly

    • atlantis

      Of course i checked it tied/snug. And testedim dozens small changes to find a solution.
      You have the device now since I sended it back. Nice after sale service (so far) btw.
      But I tested (too many) several ways to make it work. On the last run before sending it to you it didnt record HRM for 1/3 of it (hotweather) and then corrupted gps track also (first time ever I have some lost run not due to my mistake, all devices ever used). It might be defective in a way but I’ll stick to the reimbursement asked rather than having another one. To young technology i wont get into it till few years now.

  167. torben

    I am testing the cardio runner right now. Is it right that there is no possibility to check your avg and max heart rate stats straight away after the run? the summary of the workout i think is rather poor both on the website and on the watch. Or do i do something wrong?
    max heart rate is possible to scroll over the graph on the website, but i cant find any good summary on the website.

  168. Jason

    Curious, you mention in one of your previous posts (#362) that you would choose the FR220 over the TomTom IF you are NOT set on having an optical HRM, and I am wondering why? It appears that the TomTom Multisport has more features based on the watch comparison tool with two exceptions: ANT+ connectivity and customized workouts/interval training. However, according to the Cardio website, they are planning to add “advanced interval training” via the TomTom website in a future update around September which I assume means customized workouts.

    I am in the market for a new watch. My hesitation to change brands is that I’ve had two iterations of Garmin watches which I’ve loved and have no experience with TomTom.

  169. Craig Downie

    I’ve just got my Cardio watch and having trouble uploading my activities.
    It say in the info to go to the “Upload and Export” tab on the My Sport website.
    Where is that tab? Can’t see it anywhere. Thanks.

  170. Craig

    I just worked out what I did wrong. I’m not too good at I.T.
    I reloaded the software for the website and I discovered the tabs for uploading and exporting.
    But still having problems exporting the data to Strava

  171. Mark Petrillo


    No response needed… I just wanted to let you know how helpful your reviews were to me in my search for a new GPS to replace my old Garmin 305 that has finally reached its end of life. I’m pretty Garmin-loyal, but decided to go with the TomTom Cardio pretty much for the optical heart-rate monitor capability alone. My wife has the Garmin 620, and it’s great, but I don’t need its super-advanced features (vertical oscillation – really?) and I am excited at the thought of getting heart rate data without a chest-strap. Combine that with it being waterproof and your ideas for how to use it in the pool in treadmill mode, and I’m in.

    I used your link just now and ordered one from Clever Training. I was super-excited to see a Black/Black color option there, but am too impatient to wait a month for it to ship, so Red/Black it is!

    Thanks, and keep up the great work.


  172. Pooh Bear


    Can this TomTom Cardio Runner pair with Polar Beat app with Bluetooth smart on iOS?

    Is the calorie burnt calculated based on the measured heart rate? And it seems the maximum HR and the HR zones cannot be customized?


    • No, it does not pair with it, it does not transmit outbound.

      And no, the calorie burn is not based on HR, but rather based simply on more of a simple speed/distance formula (generic).

    • Pooh Bear

      Thanks for the reply. I mainly do weight training and treadmill running in gym. Right now using Polar RS400 but I want to get rid of chest strap. But seems there is no good solution at this moment. I think I will stick with my Polar RS400 then.

    • Well, maybe a Mio Alpha or Mio Link could fit you, if you only need heart rate, it has the same optical sensor and transmits data via bluetooth

    • Karl

      That’s why I’ve gone with the mio link. The chest straps work ok for running and cycling, but throw chin ups, dips and sit-ups at them and they fall over.

      Hoping the link works better for gym stuff and then strap for cardio.

  173. Dean

    Hey Ray,
    I’ve had my tomtom multi cardio for a couple of weeks. I’ve just done my first long run (17km) and during the last 4-5 km I lost hr. My wrist get a little smaller and the watch started slipping with the sweat. I tried moving the watch further up the arm, but no signal.
    Did this happen to you, any advise?

  174. anton s

    I could not notice any mention of calorie counting.
    Does the TomTom multisport count burned calories?

    Otherwise great review

  175. len

    Hi Ray. thanks for your reviews. I bought the multisport cardio and the last 3 days have 2 runs and one ride. the ride and run started out getting cardio, but then lost it pretty quickly into it. i have this thing pretty tight on my wrist. not sure if you or anyone else has had problems with this. i’ll keep trying it for another week, but if it doesnt work, then it kind of kills the whole point of getting this vs the garmin 620…. any ideas are appreciated.



    • ice

      if you have a dark/tanned skin there is nothing to do
      else you can try shaving your wrist, just under the HR optical sensor
      hope it helps
      I have a TomTom Multisport (not cardio) and was willing to upgrade, so I am interested if this tecnology is ripe or not

  176. Lisa Klink

    I was wondering how small the Tomtom’s wristband with the built in optical heart rate monitor actually goes and is still effective? I thought I read that you tested it on a female with a 5 and 1/2″ wrist, however, my wrist only measures about 5 inches if that. Thanks!

    • Yvonne

      My wrist is also pretty small – I use the smallest adjustment possible. When I sweat, it moves around too much and often loses its HR. I’m still pleased with using it for the other functions but I ultimately went with this watch for the HR capability and I’m pretty disappointed.

  177. Peter

    I really really wanted to like the Tomtom Cardio — after DC Rainmaker’s review I was looking forward to a device that gave accurate HR data, sadly, like others above, I’ve found it to be inconsistent. I find I just can’t count on it to not drop out randomly for a minute or two — or worse just completely stop getting a HR. I’ve tried tightening it to absurd levels and reinstalling to firmware to no avail.

    Hopefully others have better and consistent experiences. If anybody has a solution I’d love to hear it before I need to return it to CT.

    • While not ideal, have you tried wearing it on the inside of your wrist?

    • Jeff

      I’m pretty sure I’m returning mine, but I’m going to give it a few more tries. The heart rate monitoring has been really atrocious. It always stops working before the end of a run, at which point it’s impossible to get it to work again. I’ll stop, clean it, dry my wrist, re-tighten it, but there’s still no reading. I haven’t tried the inside of the wrist, but I don’t have any interest in using it that way.

    • Jono

      Same problem here. I’ve done 7 runs in the last week, and every time my heart rate reading has dropped out… If i loosen the watch and use my shirt to dry my wrist and the back of the watch, then the reading returns briefly before dropping out again… Pretty sure it has to do with sweat… From what I can see in your photos, DCrainmaker, it doesn’t look like you sweat a lot! Maybe that’s why it works for you…

      I think i’m going to have to sell the watch and go back to my old one :(

    • len

      having the exact same problem…

    • Ily

      Same problem, posted my comment too. Pity that it doesn’t deliver what it supposed to do.

    • Jeff d

      I’m disappointed by yours comments because I have the reverse problem ! When I start a new run, my HR isn’t consistent, staying around 100 bpm, even if I speed up. I have to stop the activity and restart a new one, and then it’s work perfectly up to the end (more or less 90 min.). Strange ?

  178. len

    third day in a row that HR worked at the start and then dropped out during my run. today it dropped a few times and I paused, took the watch off, wiped off the back and my wrist, and then put it back on and it got HR again, and I restarted and kept running. when it went out after mile 8 or 9, I just had enough and kept running.

    i am resetting w tom tom now, and will try again tomorrow, but if i cant get it to work, i’m returning mine…

    i really wish it would have worked

  179. Eugene

    Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me if the Runner Cardio (not Multisport) watch can be used as a heart rate sensor when I’m on my bike. Specifically, can my Garmin Edge 510 link to the watch and display my heart rate (like the Mio Link’s function) ? Hope to hear from you before the sale ends on Clevertraining. Thanks!!

  180. len

    factory reset didnt work. had it tourniquet-level tight. wiped off everything. wore it farther up my arm to keep away from my wrist. i wasnt planning on shaving my forearm, and i dont feel like i am overly hairy, but i’m giving this thing a few more chances and then shipping it back to CT and getting the 620… bummed.

  181. Jason Tanner

    I’ve seen GPS watches used for soccer and other not necessarily running activities (but not triathlon). I run also. But I haven’t bought a GPS watch. If it were just for running, you get the runner cardio. But if you are going to use it for nontraditional activities (soccer, basketball, ultimate frisbee) would you get the runner cardio or the multisport cardio (a multisport general feature is coming in July, but I’m not sure if that is for triathlon competition or if it would be better in this scenario). Any thoughts?

    • Jason Tanner

      Could anyone help me understand if multisport has value for me (see above)… Pretty please with a cherry on top :)

    • Jason – I’d honestly get the Runner Cardio. The reason being that the swim/bike pieces won’t really get you anywhere with those sports, so you might as well just stick to the runner edition (since you can simply switch from pace to speed if needed).

  182. len

    6 days, 5 runs and 1 ride. not one time has the HR worked for a full workout. heart rate works for a while then stops. today, had HR for the first 2 miles then nothing for the next 3. am i the only one who has this problem? i did factory reset after talking to tomtom support. i really want this to work. if i am the only person having this issue, then i’ll ask for a new unit and try it again. but if lots of people lose HR (a small amount of sweat seems to mess it up), then maybe i need to return it and try a different watch…

  183. Ily

    I also recently bought the TomTom heartbeat watch, tested it for indeed 5 days and 4 times the HR function did not work. After the first failure I checked at the TomTom website what the reason could be and I followed up on the suggestions: not wear it on the wrist-bones and close to the skin: I explicitly checked this, but still no performance.

    I sent my complaint to TomTom and they came back to me that the sweat causes a thin filter which hinders the laser to measure the HR. I may return my watch, what I also will do. I’m flabbergasted with this feedback, as I would expect when bringing a runner watch to the market that you can consider runners to sweat.

    I’m very disappointed in the product so far and wanted to share it with you because of the good and extensive review. Hope this feedback can be off added a value to your review.

    • Weird, I’ve been on 5 or 6 runs with my TomTom Cardio now and it always performed very well despite being drippingly wet from sweat on the inside when I took it off after my run. Sure hope I won’t start seeing the same troubles.

  184. jeff

    Same problem as others…HR stops working when I sweat. It’ll work at the beginning of the my runs (3 so far), but stops around the 2 mile mark….about the time the sweat really starts rolling off my skin. 6’1″, 195lbs and not hairy so I don’t think it’s any combo of improper placement, tightness, hair or flab….just sweat. I’ll be posting a negative review on Amazon and then sending this bad boy back unless I hear something from the TomTom folks soon. Your original review convinced me to buy the TomTom, but it just isn’t working for me.

    • Jeff – On waiting for TomTom’s response, do you mean here, or via TomTom’s support channel? I wouldn’t wait for a response here (if so), but rather, ensure you open a ticket with TomTom so that they can track and/or try and address.

  185. Mark

    I have only received my watch few days ago and had two runs so far. I’m an average caucassian male with no tan and not much body hair.
    On the first run it was raining for the most of the time and HRM function stopped working somewhere in the middle of the 18k run but went back after few minutes and continued to work till finish. On the second run it was windy and dry, I tried to do some intervals, the HRM stopped registering right after I reached 170 bpm, came back few minutes later, but same thing repeated twice until finish.
    I can’t be bothered to stop in the middle of my run just because my new £250 watch needs attention to wipe off the sweat to get the data. I’m giving this thing a few more chances, I might try trim/shave off a patch of hair on my arm, but something tells me I should not be doing this – since when I am working as lab rat for TomTom? If it does not perform as advertised then it goes back to the shop.
    Apart from this problem, the watch is great, quick gps and clear display with a cool legible font are standouts so far.

  186. Jeff

    Do you have answers for the sensor problem ??? Is it hardware or software problem ? Thank you

  187. ice

    _all the people having problem when they start sweating
    _a person sweating a lot having no problem
    _a person running under the rain having just a drop then worked again
    _the CARDIO works while swimming

    put your whirst and watch under the water, so for it to be completely wet
    either you can try putting some gel (lite the one used for ECG or ecography on the sensor
    The idea is to have the space in between your shin and the optical sensor filled with just ONE element, being it air, sweat, gel or water

    please confirm

  188. albrun1978


    I wanted to ask a question about the type of fastening the strap, making a comparison with the garmin 310, positioning it as recommended for the tomtom cardio, it seems to me that when I finally string a bit ‘the gps to go with the touch’ bone of the wrist instead of staying in place as it should be with the tomtom.
    Therefore I would not buy the tomtom cardio and then find that for my type of wrist watch slides losing count of BPM.

    thank you very much.
    ps. sorry for my English is not good.

  189. jolie

    fwiw, I’m a relatively small female (i.e., small wrist, no hairy arms!) and have had the same problem w/ the HR dropping out. I called Clever Training, and they were *very* polite about refunding the cost and sending a shipping label to return. I’m pretty bummed ’cause I really liked the idea of not having to wear a chest strap for HR, but I tried the TomTom about a half dozen times and tried fidgeting with it, but had the same problem every run — the HR drops once I get good & sweaty. Good thing this website is so helpful in figuring out which watch to try next.

    • Michael Heimes

      Is it moving up and down your arm as you run? If it works in water, it’ll work when you’re sweaty. I found when the HR seems off, I either tighten it or slide it up my forearm an inch. I’ll also pause my run and resume right away. This seems to make the sensor jump back into finding your HR.

    • jebu

      I just got it today. I was really excited and all over it …but direct the first little try an easy one hour run – 8 miles ….it was working for just the first 26 minutes and never ever came back. I changed the wrist, I tried to dry it during run, – just bad.
      Reading all this here – I’ll send it back tomorrow and get another watch.
      I would never stop my run …or workout just because my funny $300 watch doesn’t work. No way

    • jolie

      Happy update: I was all set to return my TomTom — mostly mulling over whether I can justify the price of the Garmin 620 if I’m not an Olympic athlete — and I noticed that there was a software update; so I decided to give it another shot. All other conditions were constant (mid-morning trail run in western North Carolina; slightly humid but not horribly hot [low 60s F]; impish mutt in tow), and I started out wearing it slightly looser than I had been. At mile two on the button (really, it’s almost uncanny), the HR dropped. So I switched the watch to the other side (i.e., the palm side) of my wrist, which Ray recommended above, and it quickly got a credible HR read and kept it the rest of my run. I’m going to do a couple of other runs before I decide whether to keep it. If sweat is a problem, it won’t work in a NC summer. There Will Be Sweat. One other happy byproduct of this discovery, I actually found the watch more comfortable to wear this way, since the hard plastic doesn’t rub on my wrist bone. So, I’m back to being cautiously optimistic about my TomTom — I’d really like for this technology to work!

    • jolie

      Sigh … no dice. The HR on today’s run bounced all over the place, no matter what I tried. I’m not sure if it’s me, the climate, or the watch, but I’m afraid I must return. Bummer. Am grateful, though, that this site is so helpful in choosing an alternative and that Creative Training makes returns so easy.

    • Michael Heimes

      Have you tried pushing it up your arm a little? I think if it moves a lot, it can’t detect your pulse. I push the watch up my arm and wear it a little higher that I normally would. I sweat like a pig and I have fairly hairy arms. The watch works jus swell if not better than a strap for me.

  190. Mimmo

    Any new about the Hart Rate during swimming? Thank you

    • No, nothing new there.

    • Michael

      Is there a precedent for such a change or update? How likely are they to achieve it?

    • TomTom did release a major update for adding in Bluetooth Sync back in the winter, and, they did release some early interval stuff last summer. But beyond that, almost all updates have been bug-fixed focused.

      If they can get the algorithms to work widescale (more than just ‘worked for Ray’), then I’d expect them to release it. But, if they can’t get it working across larger numbers of people they’ll probably hold off.

  191. PAC

    Ray – right now there is no other strapless HRM option (outside of the Mio itself) right?

    I’m waiting on a replacement from TomTom and really hoping it’s a defective batch – if I remember correctly there was pause early on in shipping the initial units so possibly there was an issue….

    Thanks for the incredible reviews.

    • There is the Adidas GPS watch with it. Also the Scoshe strap. Then there is Soleus unit, but I’ve found that kinda rough (thus far in testing).

    • Oh, and just to clarify – the delay was actually planned. Even weeks before launch it was going to be a small manuf run for launch, and then a larger run about three weeks later. I wouldn’t read anything into it other than factory availability and likely being able to decide how much for first production run based on initial demand.

    • PAC

      Thanks for the clarification ….although it dashes my hopes of that being the issue! ;)

  192. Mark Petrillo

    I’ve been following the comments in this thread for the past week since ordering my TomTom Cardio from CT. With several people posting about problems with the heart monitor, I’ve been nervous… then again, maybe for every 5 people who have problems and post about them, there are 100 who have no problems and don’t post. You never know.

    My GPS arrived yesterday and I went for a run. There are some things I like and some that I don’t (it kills me that I can only see 3 data fields on the screen instead of 4, for example, and I can’t believe that once I stopped my run, I couldn’t (figure out how to?) access the data on the watch itself – even total distance and total time). Really? Hopefully some of the minor annoyances like these will be addressed in future firmware updates, but the MAIN reason I bought this watch was for the no-chest-strap heart monitor.

    I should mention that the watch fits me comfortably, I have hairy arms/wrists, and I sweat a lot. I wore my old Garmin (with a borrowed, still functional chest strap) next to the TomTom to get comparative data. During the run, every time I looked at the heart rates, they were within 2 beats of each other and usually identical. The TomTom did appear to add .06 miles to my distance early in my run, and the two devices were consistently .06 off every time I looked at them. I thought maybe the TomTom didn’t have a great satellite lock in the beginning and maybe that explained the difference (I did start under some tree cover). But when I got home and uploaded the data, I was surprised to see that the TomTom was recording my laps at .98 miles (I set it to auto-lap every 1.0 miles, same as my Garmin), even though it was reporting the splits to me at 1 mile intervals during the run. Looking at the data online, the .06 difference disappeared too, seemingly absorbed into those splits. Very strange. Any theory as to what was going on with that?

    Here is a side by side graph of the HR on each unit, plus the splits, which again, were supposed to happen every 1.0 miles: Comparison HR Graphs and Lap Data

    Other than one crazy HR spike at the beginning of the run for the TomTom, the HR tracks very nicely, albeit a little smoother on the Garmin… This could be because the TomTom reads the HR more frequently, but for my purposes, either would be acceptable. What isn’t acceptable is when the HR disappears mid-run, which is what a lot of people have been complaining about.

    I’m going to go 5-6 miles tomorrow and will see how it works then, but I’m hoping the complaints I’ve read have been isolated cases from a bad batch of units, and not something that is going to happen to ALL units.

    • Mark Petrillo

      Update: I found out how to access my past runs on the unit. It wasn’t intuitive for me initially, but makes sense now: Select Run and then press Up for History. I was looking everywhere else.

      Now, if only I could figure out how to actually turn the unit OFF………….

    • sal

      Nice summary Mark!
      And for what concernces your search for the OFF-button: you won’t find it! You can’t turn the watch off, you can only put it on “flight mode”. I did it last weekend (from Saturday morgning to Monday evening) and I still have full charge.

  193. françois ducroz

    thanks for this great review
    is it possible to have heart rate in pourcent of maximun frequency and not in bpm
    thanks for your reponse

  194. Steve

    I received my tomtom cardio runner from clever training, I have completed over 20 runs, in terms of gps accuracy, I recently completed a certified 10km course, watch distance was 9.99km. My watch is measuring hr very well, only averages 1 small spike per 1 run, overall very happy.

  195. len

    latest update from me. i’ve used the watch on 12 runs and 3 bikes. i lost hr on all but one of the runs after 2 miles. todays 40m bike ride it was in and out, but the download from the watch shows data the whole time. i wore the watch upside down so maybe that helped. still likely sending it back….

  196. Alan Young

    Is there any way of being able to show number of seconds mid-run once goes past an hour or will it be added in future upgrades? Going for a half-marathon in under 1:45 and every second counts

  197. jeff

    HR crapped out again on mile 2 and nothing I did could make it come back. I tried repositioning, retightening, loosening, taking it all the way off and ensuring it was totally dry (and drying off my arm), wearing it on my opposite arm and finally wearing in on the inside of my arm….nothing worked. On my previous run, HR worked like a champ for all 8 miles…unfortunately the GPS didn’t work at all. I really want to like this watch, but the intermittent HR and GPS = return. I picked up the Garmin Forerunner 220 instead. TomTom, I hope I just had a lemon, but your lack of a response to my “fix it or replace it” email two days ago on your website sealed the fate of this clunker of a watch.

  198. Marek

    Just a quick update on my previous comment #447.

    After reading comment #449 by ice I decided to test his hypothesis. I do not want to be overtly optimistic but it looks like he is right – the breakage in heart rate reading happens when something (be it sweat, rain, any type of liquid, probably also hair) comes in between your skin and the HRM sensor, therefore why not simulate the same environment BEFORE the reading actually begins.

    Since my last post I did four runs. On two occasions I left the patch of skin on my arm under the watch completely dry. Later during the runs I was not surprised seeing HRM gone blank right after I started sweating (on the first run I did short bursts of max speed, and the second one was a long & at steady pace). On the other two runs, before I left I had put some water between the watch and my arm, and also made sure that I waited a couple of minutes for HRM to detect the blood flow. After doing this, the HRM worked flawlessly on both (20k & 12k) runs in hot & humid weather.

    I still have some time to test the unit and consider sending the watch back but it looks like there might be a solution. I would urge other owners to see if above works for them.

    • Community Manager, TomTom

      Hello Marek and other people commenting on the heart rate reading inconsistency occurring after extended sweating. Thank you for the detailed feedback. At the moment we are busy trying to get one of the few watches owned by a user mentioning this issue back to us so we can properly investigate. If you keep experiencing this, could you please email us some more details on when it happens on inbox.reviews@tomtom.com? We will make sure to share that with the product team.

      We will also keep you posted on what we discover.

    • jolie

      This post by Marek inspired me to try my TomTom again — out of curiosity and because I’m awaiting a Garmin from Clever Training. I went out for one of my regular runs, and ceteris paribus (see above — trails, climate, mutt) I put some water on my arm and put the TomTom on snug about an inch and a half up from my wrist crease on the “normal” (i.e. back of hand) side. The first thing I noticed was that the HR seemed to be much more consistent and credible (dropped when mutt stopped to pee, elevated when we did). I really had only had one run with really erratic readings (the one before this), but it just seemed to be a more reliable read this time than all the others. I hit the two-mile mark and still had an HR (yay!) and still seemed very consistent. Cautious optimism restored, I was contemplating the chagrined call to Clever Training to return the just-purchased Garmin when — boom — at mile four my HR dropped, never to return. I think I’ll still switch over to the Garmin for now, but I think that ice & Marek are onto something here — my HR reading lasted twice as far as it had been before and seemed reliable while it worked.

    • Just as a quick note, I would definitely encourage folks to reach out to TomTom via the specific e-mail address noted above in the event you are seeing those specific issues.

      They had a sidebar with me and are seemingly quite interested in trying to track down what’s causing the issue with it stopping mid-run.

    • Pedro

      Dear TomTom Manager,

      It is pretty simple to find out when the HR problems occur: is when you start sweating. In my case, it is just after roughly 3 kays, that is when my TomTom Cardio Runner starts telling me that I am on zombie mode, that is, without heart beat. Major drawback for me and so I will be sending you my unit one of these days.

      Please try to fix this major problem, otherwise you risk serious reputational damages.

      Best Regards,


      PS: one last comment re the laps feature; why on earth would someone have it as a specific training mode? It should be standard for all running activities/modes.

    • Hi Pedro-

      Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s that simple – which is really why they’re asking to see specific units that are having the problem. I assure you: I sweat (and, sweat a fair bit). I also even used the watch swimming. If it was just water – then either of those would have cause the issue to surface.

      Also, given how many units have been shipped, it seems to be a fairly small number – hence the interest in getting to the bottom of why those units are having problems (be it software, hardware, or something else).

      In my experience here, it’s generally fairly rare that a company actually comes on, gives a specific e-mail address to folks to try and track down a very specific issue. Thus, I’d really try and take advantage of it.

    • len

      I agree with Ray. I reached out to TomTom and sent them my watch and they are sending me a replacement. I hope it was a bad unit and the new one works. I will let you all know.

    • Pedro

      Hi Ray,

      Thanks for your swift reply and advice.

      Please not that I am not implying that all TomTom Cardio units are defective, otherwise your review would have been interest different.

      All I am saying is that for those units that are defective the problem seems to be fairly easy to determine: it is sweat, no question about it. Now, if this problem is easy to fix, that is an entirely different story.

      In any case, I understand that such problems may occur in a relatively new available technology such as a cheap waterproof laser HR monitor. What I do not understand is TomTom’s quality control procedures not being able to detect them before making the watches available to the general public.

      If you only new the trouble and expenses that I will have to go just to return my unit you would undesnad my frustration… Just a hint on this: I leave in an African country without any TomTom representative and where the cost of ship something via express mail is in the 3 digits range…

      In any case, thanks for caring and for your great and very much appreciated work.

      All the best to you,


    • Pedro

      Hi Ray,

      Thanks for your swift reply and advice.

      Please note that I am not implying that all TomTom Cardio units are defective, otherwise your review would have been entirely different.

      All I am saying is that for those units that are defective the problem seems to be fairly easy to determine: it is sweat, no question about it. Now, if this problem is easy to fix, that is a different story.

      In any case, I understand that such problems may occur in a relatively new available technology such as a cheap waterproof laser HR monitor. What I do not understand is TomTom’s quality control procedures not being able to detect them before making the watches available to the general public.

      If you only new the trouble and expenses that I will have to go just to return my unit you would understand my frustration… Just a hint on this: I live in an African country without any TomTom representative and where the cost of shipping something via express mail is in the 3 digits range…

      In any case, thanks for caring and for your great and very much appreciated work.

      All the best to you,


    • Community Manager, TomTom

      Hello jolie,

      I’m sorry to read you experienced this. It’s clear your watch is not working as intended. Did you already reach out to our Customer Care department so they can assist you with this via link to us.support.tomtom.com ? Alternatively, you can send me an email to inbox.reviews@tomtom.com. I’ve received a few emails from other people but have not seen one from you I believe. I want to make sure we resolve this for you as quickly as possible.

  199. Diggedy

    Hey Folks,

    I have a quick question. Is it possible to use the tomtom plus optical heart rate with apps for HRV, just like the one from ithlete?


  200. Martin Golder

    Great review. Infact, all the reviews you do are epic in comparison to others. This made my mind up and I bought a Runner Cardio and it arrived today. I have not run for years, but recently lost over 30lbs with a FitBit Flex and a couple of apps, and decided running was going to help further. I need technology to keep me motivated in things, and this watch should do the trick for me. Did think it was a bit excessive (don’t convert the uk price into $s unless you want a shock), but as my dad (an ex marathon and mountain marathon runner) has had an issue with his heart of recent times, I can’t be too careful so the monitor is needed. Plus, it’s geekily cool.

    Anyway, I’ll be bookmarking and visiting here regularly I think.