TomTom Runner Cardio Review – How far, how fast and HOW HARD you run?


Heart Rate Functions


Fitness / Sport Features


Ease of Use


Battery Life


Where To Get It

A Deep Dive Into TomTom Runner Cardio

This unit was released in 2014 and has been superseded by the Runner 2 with built-in MUSIC storage and activity tracking functionality and again by the Runner 3 (Spark 3) … However, If you don’t want or need activity tracking then this model still offers good value for money as a GPS watch / off the wrist heart rate monitor designed for runners.

  • Who Is It For?

  • Video Review

The TomTom Runner Cardio is for the RUNNER who wants to know how far, how fast and HOW HARD. The how far and how fast is calculated by the QuickFix GPS, just like other TomTom sports watches… however, what makes the Runner Cardio different is the BUILT-IN heart rate sensor that takes HR data directly off your wrist. Remember, there is also a TomTom Runner which has the same features as the Cardio WITHOUT the built-in HR sensor. The regular Runner still has the option of heart rate, but that must come from a traditional heart rate belt.

Main Features and Functions

In a word, MIO - MioGlobal are the clever team behind the strapless heart rate monitoring technology used by the TomTom Runner Cardio. We’ve sold HRM products since 1999 and if we had a pound for every time someone asked if there was an alternative to a heart rate belt, we’d have a lot of pounds …

Having heart rate measured directly off the wrist is brilliant. It’s accurate and 100% trouble free. We’ve used this watch for hours of training and not once have either myself or Louise seen and spurious spikes or glitches in the HR data. With the Runner Cardio gone are the days of having to spit on the back of your HR belt to get a good reading… just pop it on the wrist and you’re good to go.

There are several other key features in this model (also found in the basic Runner). I’ll include them again here just in case you’ve not read the other review. As a runner who wears glasses in the day I am particularly fond of an extra large display. I found the high contrast display clear and easy to read in all light conditions. Another favourite feature is the one button control. Unlike other watches with buttons around the outside of the case, the TomTom Runner has a simple to use toggle switch. Moving around the functions of the watch is easy and intuitive. Simply press up-down-left-right to move through menus.

The INTERNAL accelerometer is also a great feature. When running indoors on a treadmill you still have access to speed and distance data from a built-in sensor that accurately measures your running performance when no GPS signal is available.

Strapless Heart Rate Sensor

That’s easy, this is one of the biggest selling points of this GPS runners watch. We love it. It’s been rested cycling, running, walking. It’s been tested by large people with thick wrists and Louise with her slender 15.5cm circumference wrists. No problems at all getting an accurate HR reading.

Quick Fix GPS Technology

The Runner Cardio uses QuickFix GPS technology to ensure a quicker synching of the GPS satellites. Dock it regularly, about every 3 days, and your TomTom will know where the satellites are without the need to search for them.

Race Previous Tracks

After a run you can pop it in your RACE BANK. Next to you run the same route you can compare your current run with past performances. The Runner Cardio shows you where you are compared to the stored RACE. A great way to motivate yourself running the same local circuit.

>>Looking for an alternative running watch? Tomtom Spark 3, Read more here<<

Goal Setting

The Runner Cardio let’s you set a goal based on distance, time or calorie goal. Check progress in a full screen graphics. Get GOAL ALERTS as you run, when you’re halfway there, almost finished and when you have achieved your goal.

Additional Features

Zone Training

Interval Training

Top Alternatives

Next Model UP

The next model up is the Multisport Cardio. For the customer who may also have an interest in other sports it has SWIM and CYCLE support as well as RUNNING. There is also a treadmill (using the built-in accelerometer) and freestyle mode for general exercise.

It’s not a true multisport GPS watch like the Polar V800 or Forerunner 920XT as you cannot change sport in the middle of ONE FILE.. however, for the person who RUNS, BIKES and SWIMS and does NOT need all the data in ONE FILE, then it’s a great option.

Next Model DOWN

The next model down is the TomTom Runner. It’s pretty much the same watch WITHOUT the built-in heart rate sensor.

TomTom Runner Specification from the Manufacturer

Ultra-Slim Design

Run with a lightweight watch designed for runners. The slim design comfortably fits all wrist sizes.

Vibration Alerts

Stay focused on your run with vibration alerts. Hear beeps and feel vibrations to get milestone, lap and interval alerts, even when listening to your music.

Super-Tough Display

Run with a durable, scratch-resistant display. Super-tough scratch and impact-resistant display stays easy to read, run after run.

Indoor Tracker

Track your run indoors and on a treadmill. The TomTom Runner’s built-in sensors count your strides so you can monitor your pace and distance. No extra foot pod required.

Stop Watch

Train more efficiently. A stop watch can be a useful tool to help you time various routines and improve your performance.

Waterproof up to 50 metres (165 feet) / 5ATM

Run in all kinds of weather. The TomTom Runner is waterproof up to 50 meters (165 feet) / 5ATM and as weather-ready as you are.

QuickGPSFix Technology

Get out on your run faster. QuickGPSFix helps your watch find your precise location quickly so you can start your run.

With the latest in GPS and GLONASS satellite receiver technology, you are sure to get a fast start to your run.

Up-to 10 Hour Battery Life [GPS Mode]

Run more, recharge less, with up to 10-hour battery life [GPS Mode], and up to 30 days on a single charge with normal watch use.

Multi-Platform Compatibility

Sync, analyze and share your stats on popular running sites or apps. Easily upload information about your runs to track progress against your goals.

With compatibility across a broad range of online running community platforms, you can choose where you store your statistics.

TomTom MySports Mobile App

Sync your TomTom Sport Watch automatically. Use the TomTom MySports mobile app to easily upload and access your key activity information without connecting to a computer.

Desk Dock

Charge and sync your watch. The Desk Dock connects to your PC or Mac easily, quickly and reliably. Connect to sensors using the latest wireless technology. The TomTom Runner uses Bluetooth Smart Technology to connect to the TomTom Heart Rate Monitor* and other compatible Bluetooth Smart accessories.

*Heart Rate Monitor Optional accessory

Software Updates

TomTom are constantly working to update and produce new software updates to make your GPS Watch better with tweaks and new features.

Technical Specifications


An area that I could see improving is the MySports APP and web area. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s not got the level of detail that something like Polar Flow has. I’ve had it crash quite a few times, for example when changing ACCOUNT data from metric to imperial… as it stands MySports APP is stuck in metric when I want miles/min (which is what the watch is displaying)…. It’s not a huge criticism and I am confident it is work in progress.

If possible, it would be great if TomTom could add an ACTIVITY TRACKER. I’m not a watch engineer, but I would imagine that the internal accelerometer that is already inside the unit could be utilised to provide 24/7 activity tracking. It’s not an essential feature but something more and more competitors are adding to their line up including the Polar M400 and Garmin Forerunner 620 and 15. (and now the FR225)

Related Article: TomTom Touch Activity Tracker, Accurate Tracking?

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt from Texas has been the best-selling author in 2014. He was the most appreciated writer in 2015. Different organizations have honored him with different awards and memberships as well. He is a tech shop owner and completed graduation in Electrical Engineering.

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