Friday, January 3, 2014

Nike Plus Sportwatch vs. TomTom Runner: Here's what I think!

Guess who is putting a dog in the ongoing GPS running watch fight? TomTom! While they have powered the watch I've worn for the past 3 years, Nike Plus Sportwatch, TomTom has decided to put their own product on the market. I've been wearing the Running model for about 6 weeks now, simultaneously with my Sportwatch (YES, I am a nerd), and Jeffy likey! Enough, in fact, we are now stocking the Running model and will add the Multi-Sport and heart rate monitor bundled versions soon! So, here's what I think about a few key selling points in which I will pick my favorite!


Looks: I have to go with Nike here! I mean it's Nike! Everything looks cool and sleek! The Nike Sportwatch is now available in color options and all are hot! The TomTom comes in two colors at the moment, BUT, and I'll elaborate on this in the next section, you can order the bands separately in different "widths" (wide or thin basically) and 5 different colors, with more color options in the future. Perfect segue to the next section...



Bands: TomTom takes this category for two reasons. 1. While the two hole band from Nike looks great and fits well, the TomTom band is thinner and lighter. Reason numero 2. TomTom sells bands separately, so if you happen to break a band or just want a different color or look, you can easily buy a new band from us! 






Displays:  There's a couple of things to consider when reviewing displays with GPS watches. First, size of the display and digits. Second, number of "fields" on which to display run and/or activity data. This was a hard decision, but I'm going with Nike on the display. The digits are very visible on the time and "run" screen. The deciding factor for me though was on the run display, there are only two fields which allows for larger digits and greater visibility. The TomTom has a 3 field display, and while one can see more data, the top two fields are a bit small and hard to see while running.  



Functions: One of the top selling points for us with the Nike Sportwatch over the past few years has been it's simplicity and focus on functions pertinent to runners like current pace, average pace, distance, calories burned, laps and intervals and a chronograph. Well, TomTom did the same, but then added some awesome features in a "graphical training mode", the coolest of which is simply called "Race". In "Race" mode, you can choose a past performance in almost any distance to which compare the current race or training run. For example, if I ran my best Mercedes Half Marathon last year, I can choose that performance in the Race mode on the TomTom watch at the start of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz Half Marathon, creating a virtual race partner to judge my current performance.  At anytime, you can touch a button to see where your current performance compares. 

GPS connection speed: This is a tie, as one might imagine since the GPS function is powered by the same provider! Both watches connect within 10 to 45 seconds, and here's why. I connect my watches pretty much everyday to my computer to upload data, charge the watch, and acquire firmware and satellite updates. If you do not connect your watch to a computer with internet access fairly frequently, IT WILL NOT WORK PROPERLY! Along with GPS, both the TomTom Runner and Nike Sportwatch have "backup" or indoor tracking methods. The Sportwatch can work simultaneously with the Nike Plus Sensor (a small, oval chip that fits under the left insole of Nike shoes or on the laces of other brands) to act as a backup, in case GPS signal is lost and/or work alone indoors. The TomTom Runner has a built in treadmill mode (no extra shoe pod required) that calculates number of strides based on arm swings. Both the Sensor from Nike and the treadmill mode from TomTom can be calibrated to improve accuracy.




 
Computer Interactivity: I'm going to have to go with a tie on this category! I've been thinking all along I'd pick Nike's website Nike Plus to win this category against TomTom's MYSPORTS, and between those two sites, I DO like Nike Plus better. However, TomTom allows you to download GPS and workout data to upload or sync to many popular running sites, and I think that is useful to many of our customers. Nike Plus wins on the cool factor though with a visually appealing dashboard that shows the most recent run on a colorful, interactive map. Nike Plus also logs all workouts and allows you to "Tag" your run with fields for how you felt, comments on the run, workout surface (treadmill, road, trail, etc...), workout conditions, AND my most favoritest and certainly most vital of features for a shoe geek, a shoe tracker that allows you to enter the style name of the shoe you wore for each workout and log the mileage for up to 8 pairs of kicks!! HELL YEAH! Other Nike Plus features include a social network like feel allowing you to "friend" fellow runners and see their workouts and set calorie, mileage and pace goals.




Both watches connect to a computer via USB with Nike's connection located at one end of the band and TomTom's using a dock. Other features for each include a back light activated by either tapping the display on the Nike or simply "swiping" the display on the TomTom, manual time setting or sync with your PC's or Mac's time and date, water resistancy up to 5 ATM's, goal settings, run reminders, alarms, and a night mode (exclusive to TomTom). 

These are the 6th and 7th watches I have wear tested and here are some tips I have learned along the way. Try not to wear you GPS as an everyday watch. While they look cool, they will certainly last longer if you put them on and take them off with your running shoes! Charge and/or connect to a computer frequently. Both the connection speed and accuracy of the GPS rely heavily on the battery and firmware. Lastly, if you are in the market for a new running GPS or just watch in general, stop by the shop! I will happily give you a full demo of these two and other products we carry!! 

HAPPY RUNNING!!

















10 comments:

Al D. said...

Great review of these two watches Jeff. As you know, I have been wearing the Nike for about 3 years I think. I had a problem with a few, but my present one has worked perfectly for a year. Wish the Nike site showed elevation gain. It does if you download to Strava. Footpod not very accurate but I doubt any is. Big numbers are great. I am disappointed however in that the chronograph seems to record runs slower than I'm sure I'm actually running!! Maybe they'll fix that soon.

Anass Achbani said...

you can find all the information about tomtom gps, tips, updates and his late versions, all this directory you can find it on my website : info-tomtom.blogspot.com

simon fox said...

Like you I have both watches.
I prefer the Nike+ website and because I have four years running on it don't now want to lose all that millage, Do you know if you can manually move runs from My Sport to Nike+

Thanks

shophome philly said...

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Winrich said...

Guess who is putting a dog in the ongoing GPS running watch fight? TomTom! While they have powered the watch I've worn for the past 3 ... tomtomrunner.blogspot.de

Emma Shanks said...

great info! can you switch to km on the tomtom runner?

Julia Dooley said...

Great review, really helpful!

Shakirra said...

I'm hoping that you can answer a question for me, but it looks like there haven't been many so far. I just got my Nike+ Sportwatch and am having trouble connecting it to the tom-tom MySport connect. When I try to connect it via usb it isn't even recognized. Any tips for me? I have googled and looked on the tom-tom site, etc. Any help would be appreciated.
A fellow runner.

howalice said...

Shakirra, I am having same exact problem & am looking for a solution!!

lee woo said...

Remember, the feeling you get from a good is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running. See the link below for more info.


#running
www.ufgop.org