With regards to all-action multisport outdoors watches, your options are, well, expensive. The Garmin Fenix 3 – soon to be Fenix 5 – may be the standout champion, with famous brands Suunto close behind, but be prepared to lay out more than $500.
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Enter the TomTom Adventurer. An all-action sports watch manufactured in the mould of Wareable favourite the TomTom Spark 3, but exposed for all types of outdoor activities, such as for example trail running, hiking and skiing, together with running and cycling.
At £269 it’s hardly small change, but it’s a substantial improvement over your competition, for those seeking to hit the slopes and the fantastic outdoors this year. But does it match Garmin et al regarding data, versatility and longevity? We tested the TomTom Adventurer across three continents to determine.
TomTom Adventurer: Design
We’ve lambasted sports watches during the past to be almost unwearable throughout the day, but we’ll spare our criticisms with the Adventurer. While it’s unashamedly plastic and sporty, we dug the orange strap and flatter design, and even though we still wouldn’t use it out to dinner, it actually carried some personality.
It’s really light too, that is a plus over famous brands the Fenix 3. It generally does not weigh much more when compared to a basic running watch. The watch module pops from the strap for charging, and clips back securely.
You navigate the watch’s menus via the four-way button beneath the screen, which permits you to glide between your watch’s options, settings and training modes. It’s pretty simple to navigate and overall, very intuitive. There are always a handful of niggly complaints still, just like the way it is advisable to basically take up a set you back start to see the battery life and how you do not get yourself a summary of a good work out until you find the obscure history list (again, you will need to get started on a run). However the four-way button helps it be simple to change data view mid-run, it’s quick to implement fairly complex interval sessions, and no matter whether you have sweaty hands, or gloves on.
TomTom Adventurer: Features
Much like most multisport watches, the TomTom Adventurer is pretty feature-rich. We will evaluate different sports in more depth below, but there are dedicated modes for running, cycling, hiking, skiing/snowboarding, trail running, indoor cycling/running and standard open workouts.
That isn’t quite as complete as the Fenix, including paddleboarding and a complete host of random sports, however that many of these modes are simply just just GPS and heartrate data without the sport-specific metrics.
Having said that, we missed a kayaking/canoeing mode whenever we took to the water on christmas, so we wish to see more sports catered for. We just stuck the watch into hiking mode instead.
And GPS data, the TomTom Adventurer includes a heartrate monitor on the lower, in addition to a bevy of other sensors. The accelerometer works for all-day activity tracking, which is displayed on the watch, showing steps, distance and calories. The heartrate data isn’t leveraged here for all-day resting heartrate and more descriptive calorific burn, that is a shame. We also discovered that the watch didn’t store a lot of data without syncing – we suffered a couple of missing dates in India whenever we couldn’t sync the watch out for a week or two, which is something to understand.
Additionally, there are atmospheric sensors including a barometer, which adds elevation data to hiking and skiing modes.
However, the TomTom Adventurer includes a trick up its sleeve. Furthermore to all or any the sports tracking, its route exploration mode offers an authentic reason to take notice. This mode permits you to upload GPX routes to the watch via the TomTom web app, that you can then follow on the watch.
That might sound somewhat too advanced for a few, however the benefits are tangible. We created running routes in Strava (an incredible tool for finding popular trails and dodging hills) then added them to the TomTom and followed them easily. One route was a 12-mile find London from work to home, around roads we’d do not have navigated otherwise.
It also enables you to take benefit of a few of the brilliant walking routes you can find out online. We wish we’d had the Adventurer around on a previous hike at Glencoe in Scotland, as we tried to check out a lovely and lesser-known trail where in fact the path had faded beneath a carpet of heather and gorse. Adding GPX is a genuine game changer for hikers, runners and cyclists alike, and among the finest reasons to plump for an Adventurer.
The only bugbear with this feature may be the have to calibrate the compass. This calls for some rather random arm-swishing, which we found just a little temperamental. We also found the TomTom Adventurer irritatingly slow to have a lock-on to GPS.
Of course, another big benefit may be the addition of integrated music listening, and you get 3GB of storage and the capability to pair wireless headphones. Just like the Spark, it’s just a little fiddly to really get your headphones paired, and our Jabra buds took some work. The state TomTom headphones certainly are a dream to pair, but ours packed in pretty quickly.
And a word on battery life. It’s heavily dependent upon your activity, but we found around 10 days of activity tracking, five hours of GPS tracking and more than 14 hours of hiking.
TomTom Adventurer: Hiking
As a hiking watch, the TomTom Adventurer does a excellent job. You may get a map of your heading if you are not by using a pre-loaded GPX route, and even though this did be fallible using one hike in South India, that was a concern with these calibration, and other walks were correctly mapped.
You can observe data on distance, duration, pace, elevation gained and descended and heartrate during the walk. Additionally you get yourself a live compass, which is quite useful if you’re carrying out a good old-fashioned paper map, and you could take good thing about GPX uploads here, too.
And it’s that make use of GPX uploads for hiking which for our money helps it be an improved buy than previous favourite the Garmin Fenix 3. When you get the same detailed data there, the opportunity to upload a walking route and ensure you’re sticking with it is a huge deal for hardcore ramblers. We loved it.
Of course, the main element thing you will want to make certain of is battery life. TomTom claims a day of battery when hiking, though we’re uncertain you get that the truth is. You’ll certainly get yourself a full day’s walking, nevertheless, you might want to discover a way to juice up if you are on a multi-day trail.
TomTom Adventurer: Running and cycling
As passionate runners, the TomTom Adventurer had a need to build up here. The watch features two running modes, and we were very happy to see a choice for trails aswell.
As you’d expect, running modes are ripped from the TomTom Spark 3, and that is a sensible choice. The Spark 3 is a superb running watch, which means the Adventurer excels, too. Firstly, you get all of the data you will need on the easy-to-read screen, and we’ve never really had any accuracy issues.
In running modes you can cycle between live pace, average pace, distance, time, heartrate and heartrate zone. If you decide on a trail run, you can include elevation stats aswell. It’s a great mixture of features that’s well organized and simple to read.
Cyclists get speed rather than pace, and ascent details aswell.
Even though the TomTom iphone app and ecosystem is currently much improved – more on that shortly – it’s simple to hook up the Adventurer to Strava, just what exactly more do you will need?
TomTom Adventurer: Skiing
The rugged outdoor GPS watch is obviously comfortable enough to wear all day long for 24/7 activity tracking, including heartrate, sleep stats, steps, etc. And the addition of the barometer signifies that in ski and snowboard modes you get metrics like gradient and altitude change furthermore to things such as maximum speed and distance. Apart from the stiffness of the button, which we found just a little difficult to click on through our mittens and took another minute or two to use because were taking them off, we found the Adventurer easy to setup and use in snowboard mode.
The ski and snowboard tracking is effective; you need to be warned that the battery drains quicker when working with sports modes, which means you ought to be fully charged if you wish to track a complete day on the slopes. GPS pick-up is swift aswell, usually only going for a minute or so to ready for tracking.
It’s so light and comfortable that it is simple to transform it on at the start of your day and just forget about it. Which may be why the programmed lift detection automatically alerts you and makes the watch buzz if you are in the chair, to help you be sure you look down and see your stats from the prior run flash on the screen. It offers a snapshot of your last run, including maximum speed, distance of descent in metres and steepest incline.
The route exploration feature also enables you to share your hike or ride with a file that friends and family can download with their device and use to trace your route, predicated on coordinates. Though that feature is mainly relevant for hikers, it’s an excellent fit for off-piste skiers and snowboarders aswell.
TomTom Adventurer: Heartrate accuracy
Chest strap (l) and TomTom (r): Two MHRs of 191, 2bpm apart over 4 miles
For hardcore trainers, heartrate is paramount and we’re very happy to report excellent accuracy across steady and high-intensity runs. Average paces were locked onto our Garmin chest strap and the Jabra Sport Pulse SE buds that aced our tests this past year.
Also, peaks in heartrate were also accurately represented, and displayed quickly onto these devices instantly. That demonstrates not just a robust sensor but lag-free implementation, that makes it highly usable for all those focusing on biometrics within their training.
TomTom is still our pick of the optical heartrate crop.
TomTom Adventurer: The app
Among our big bugbears with TomTom devices has been the ecosystem, and we’ve reserved specific criticisms for the terrible smartphone app. Well, those issues have already been addressed, and the brand new application is a huge improvement.
Firstly, syncing is currently more speedily and easier – that was the largest issue. And today there’s an improved and clearer mixture of workout and activity data within the app. We’re also fans of the snippets of analysis, which show if you are training better or worse than your averages.
However, for actual workouts we’re still more likely to see and analyse them in Strava, which may be the best available, for our money. But that’s no slight on TomTom’s new app, which is no more a black mark against investing in a device, and that’s a substantial improvement.