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TomTom launches runner's smartwatch with integrated heart monitor

TomTom's latest is a serious smartwatch for serious runners that could be a great digital tool for improving performance.

smart watchTomTom's latest is a serious smartwatch for serious runners that could be a great digital tool for improving performance. However, its premium price could cause some to run away from it rather than towards it. Its integrated heart rate monitor means that runners won't need to strap on a chest band each time they want to get some training in. And while existing TomTom customers will no doubt appreciate the innovation, for those looking to buy their first health and fitness-focused smartwatch, an integrated sensor isn't enough to clinch the deal. The latest Adidas smartwatch also has an integrated heart rate monitor as will the upcoming Samsung Gear Fit.

TomTom built its reputation on GPS technology and satellite navigation and this is where the watch is ultimately at its best. It can pinpoint the wearer's exact location and therefore track movement more accurately and, thanks to other in-built sensors, can still track location and movement when the weather or training program means that it's time to head indoors. (Read: Trail running: The latest gear for men)

However, as well as heart rate and location tracking, the device has a set of tailored features that the company claims will keep runners in the zone in terms of optimal heart rate. So there's a Sprint setting for interval training, Endure for building stamina, a setting for moderate tempo training ideal for burning fat and, of course, an 'easy' setting for those getting started or just looking to structure their warm-up or cool-down session. (Read: Fit for purpose: Samsung's latest smartwatches)

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Whatever your levels of athleticism, the watch isn't so bulky that it will feel unnatural to wear and it has a simple, single button operation for using on the fly. The data it gathers is compatible with a host of community platforms, including MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, TrainingPeaks and Strava as well as TomTom's own MySports website. Another welcome feature on the new watch is a supporting iOS app so that grabbing and analyzing data is even easier still -- earlier watches needed to be physically plugged into a PC via USB. The Runner Cardio Watch is waterproof up to 165 feet (50 meters) and is also available in a marginally more expensive Mulit-Sport version that offers extra features for tracking swimming and cycling too. (Read: 5 new products that could revolutionise your fitness regime)

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'The TomTom Runner Cardio GPS sport watch allows runners to improve their performance with accurate, real-time metrics that help them understand how their bodies are responding to exercise,' said Jocelyn Vigreux, President of TomTom, Inc. 'We realize that staying fit is a choice and a commitment, and believe the innovation and sleek design of the TomTom Runner Cardio watch will empower people to want to be more fit and help them reach their full potential.' But be that as it may, at $299 (or $339 for the Multi-Sport Cardio sport watch) it could prove a little too pricey for anyone other than serious, committed runners. (Read: BodyPower Expo comes to India a fitness event by leading fitness experts)

Source: AFP

Image source: AFP

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