AW puts TomTom’s new model, the Multi-Sport GPS watch, to the test

Unless you are technologically savvy, some GPS watches can potentially leave you with a headache. An overwhelming array of options, buttons and menus can sometimes be too much.

This is not the case with TomTom’s latest models, though. The TomTom Multi-Sport and TomTom Runner are simple and user friendly, while still offering an impressive array of easily readable and downloadable stats.

AW‘s editor borrowed the TomTom Multi-Sport to test and found that simplicity was its trump card. The main feature is one large button which allows even the clumpiest of thumbs to navigate the well-organised list of options. The watch vibrates a little as you scroll through the choices. These include your speed, distance, pace and, if you pay a little more for a chestband, your heart rate.

Setting up the device via a USB cable is fast and could not be more straightforward. Once outside, picking up a GPS signal is similarly quick and efficient. When on the move, the battery life also has fantastic endurance.

When it comes to looks and comfort, the main body of the watch slips out of the strap in order to hook up to the USB/charger. On the wrist, it feels slimmer and lighter than most rival watches and scores highly for comfort.

Initially, one of the few negatives we found was that the stopwatch didn’t go down to tenths or hundredths of a second and it’s not really designed to click on and off during an interval training session. However, the watch has the ability to improve after you buy it and recent updates, which are easily downloadable when you hook the device up to a PC, include the addition of a stopwatch and lap times.

In the crucial category of accuracy, the watch could barely be faulted. We put the watch to the test by doing several laps and miles on a 400m track and the TomTom was typically only 0.01 of a mile out for every four laps covered. Although if you consider that a mile is 1609m, the TomTom was possibly spot on!

It really comes into its own when hooked up to the computer, though. Here, using platforms such as MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, or TomTom’s own MySports service, the stats are downloaded and you can re-live your run by analysing the impressively accurate maps and data.

After its laps on the track, AW took the TomTom along coastal footpaths but it mapped the route perfectly, even when skewing randomly through sand dunes.

Running aside, the TomTom Multi-Sport produces similar stats for cyclists and also runners on a treadmill and swimmers in an indoor pool. So it is ideal for triathletes or simply runners who love to cross-train.

» TomTom Multi-Sport GPS watch is £179.99 (or £149.99  for the TomTom Runner), see tomtom.com