Full Disclosure: I’m sitting in bed at 9:30am, 2hrs behind schedule, because my TomTom watch that I have used for a month in training is useless.
A GPS sports watch should be able to do following without fail. 1. Allow the user to simply hit ‘Start’ and begin running. 2. Easily transfer data to a computer. 3. Allow the user to navigate watch controls without having to look at a user manual. The TomTom GPS Sports Watch fails miserably at each of those.
I purchased two of these watches. One for myself and one for my brother. Initially I liked the price point and the slim design as other GPS watches can be very bulky. After using the watch for a little over a month, those were the only two things that impressed me.
My first and understandably biggest complaint falls into the user interface (UI) category. I purchased this watch specifically for the North Face Endurance Challenge Series in Georgia. The 50k started before 7am and in the dense woods, it remains dark for the first hour of the race. I started my watch (with a full battery) in ‘Night Mode’ so I could see my pace. After about 2 hours of running I looked down at my watch and half the battery life was already gone. A 50k takes me about 6hrs to complete and I knew there was no way the battery would last. When I brought the watch to the ‘Pause’ screen, I had hoped to see an option to change ‘Night Mode’ from ON to OFF. I had to stop my watch completely, thus losing all of my race data, to turn it off. Complete fail. It’s not like I was running a 5k. This was a 50k. You live and die by knowing how far you are to the next aid station and how many hours you have left to go. I went half the race with a dead battery. To say I was majorly disappointed was an understatement. The battery life might get you 6hrs with the ‘Night Mode’ off. With it on, you’d be lucky to get 3hrs.
In addition to UI issues, I had no clue how to use the majority of the features. They all seemed pointless. Like the ‘Treadmill’ function. I still don’t know the point to that. A treadmill already has time and distance functions and probably a lot more accurate! One would think you could go to the user manual that comes with the watch for additional support. Nope! They just send you to a website which doesn’t offer anymore help on how to get the full benefit from the watch.
Clear Your History- You can’t do this from the watch. I found this out the hard way during a 2 hour run yesterday. The watch becomes functionless and constantly vibrates telling you that your storage is full. Imagine having that go on for an entire hour. I was willing to give TomTom one last shot if I could successfully download their software to my computer, follow whatever instructions listed, clear my run history and go about my day. Nope! To start, I had to Google how to do this because it was fairly difficult to find on the TomTom website. The download process on my computer was going smoothly until I had to register with Map My Fitness.
I already have a Map My Fitness account. I entered my login information, clicked Authorize and nothing happened. I tried this process literally 15 time this morning. I even tried hitting Decline, thinking that I could go around that section and connect later. Same thing happened. To make matters worse, the entire system kept crashing! And crashing! AND CRASHING!
At this point I’m beyond frustrated. I can’t clear my history which means I have a $169 useless watch. As an avid runner/triathlete, I’ve tried several GPS watches: Garmin, Timex/Ironman, and now TomTom. I will never recommend a TomTom Sports Watch product after this. Nor do I really want to use a product powered by TomTom- sorry Nike. I’ve used this product now for a month and I’ve given it so many chances to redeem it’s value and each time it leaves me disappointed.
1. Price Point $169 w/o the HR monitor
2. Slim design- I actually wish the Garmin 310x fit this way
1. Battery Life- 6hrs of normal GPS mode. 3hrs with Night Mode on. I would expect both to weaken with age of the watch.
2. User Interface controls- You can’t change in and out of ‘Night Mode’ without stopping your run progress. You can’t clear your history while using the watch. You can’t use the watch as a regular start/stop watch without using the GPS.
3. Downloading TomTom to computer- Just didn’t work.