My first complaint with nearly all GPS-based fitness trackers is that the GPS technology is shit. I can't even count the number of times I've said to myself, "screw it," and just taken off on my run without it—and therefore without info on my pace or mileage—because the watch was taking way too long to find a satellite signal. I've even heard excuses from certain brands that their devices don't work well if there's cloud cover or a lot of tall buildings nearby. (Seriously? I live in New York City. When are there not tall buildings nearby?)
All of which is why I'm very excited about the new TomTom Runner Cardio ($270). A GPS sport watch from an actual GPS company—who would've thunk it? The Quick GPS Fix technology preloads the location of satellites every time you connect the watch to the TomTom website, allowing it to sync almost instantaneously, which means I don't have to wait more than 20 seconds before a workout. Precise GPS means accurate data on pace, distance, and elevation lost or gained. As a Type-A runner aiming to increase my speed, I'm a fan of race mode, which takes my saved stats and compares it to current real-time performance.
Even more impressive: the built-in heart rate monitor. Sensors on the back of the watch beam light through the skin to monitor changes in blood flow—no chest strap required. This is a boon for athletes who want to train in specific heart-rate zones, or just accurately measure calories burned—a worthwhile tool whether you're trying to set a new personal record, or just shed that top layer of fat before bathing suit season officially arrives.
(TomTom Runner Cardio goes on sale May 31, but you can pre-order now. Triathlon enthusiasts can get all this plus cycling and swimming modes with the company's sister watch, the TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio, for $300.)
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