Tom Tom Releases First GPS Watch with Built-in Heart Rate Monitor
On April 2nd, Tom Tom announced the release of a new breed of GPS watches that are capable of monitoring the user's heart rate and other aspect of physical activity and fitness. The new “Runner Cardio” and “Multi-Sport Cardio” watches are geared towards long-distance runners, free runners, cyclists, and other athletes that are in need of a powerful navigation device. Although there are already many watches that feature a heart rate monitor, the Runner Cardio is the first GPS watch to incorporate this feature, making this device useful for blazing new paths in unknown territory. The device is designed to help runners exercise within their optimal heart rate range.
Five Different Intensity Zones
The watches can be set to operate within five different intensity zones to accommodate users with different levels of physical fitness and training goals. The five intensity zones are as follows:
Easy – good for the initial warmup and cooling down stages of your run
Fat Burn – an excellent temp to maintain moderate and healthy weight loss
Endure – excellent for expanding lung capacity and strengthening the heart muscle
Speed – ideal for athletes that are looking to build speed and agility
Sprint – typically only used in intervals during short bursts
Optical Heart and Blood Flow Monitoring Light
The watch not only includes a massive library of maps and directional assistance features, it also displays real-time heart rate, pace, distance, and other important vital signs while running. As high-tech as it sounds, the watches is so advanced that it can shine a light through your skin to monitor the rate of your blood flow. Whether you're recovering from an injury or training for high-level athletics, this watch is a perfect accessory for the explorer/exercisers.
Too Expensive, or Too Long Overdue?
Some would say that it is surprising that other manufacturers have not already come up with a device that does this, but then again this is a crossover product that merges two existing offerings – a sports/fitness monitor and GPS watch all-in-one. At the price tag of €269 this watch is certainly not an entry-level item, but given that it is the only device that can provide detailed navigation assistance and physical fitness monitoring, we're sure many serious exercise enthusiasts will have it on their wish list this year.
Style, Comfort, and Organization
The design style itself is hyper-futuristic, with a red and gray spaceship-looking theme with a bright green light that illuminates through your skin to reveal just how strong your blood is pumping. As with other Tom Tom navigation devices you'll have access to map groups and categorized hiking/biking/walking trails that you'll be able to easily find and explore using the Runner Cardio's/Multi-Sports Cardio's built-in directional assistance features.
Both of the new watches have a 22x25 mm display with an integrated motion sensor, optical heart rate monitor, and compass. They're also equipped with Bluetooth for easy map downloading and transferring, and the batteries last for an impressive 8 hours – as if anyone would want to run for more than 8 hours straight. At the light weight of 60-70 grams the watches are extremely comfortable and the flexible plastic casing prevents unnecessary friction on the wrist and hands.