TomTom Runner 2 Cardio: The Best Mid-range Watch available?

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TomTom Runner 2 Cardio: The Best Mid-range Watch available?

If you are looking to get your first GPS device to track your workouts, but you don’t feel the need to break the bank on a high-end device, look no further. The TomTom Runner 2 Cardio is the bizznizz!


For the last couple of years, the Polar M400 was the go-to option in the mid-range running GPS watch scene. I bought Aanikah a M400 and she’s been loving it for more than a year and even used it during her maiden Two Oceans Ultra – it does the job and it goes the distance


But the tables have turned since TomTom released their Runner 2 model with features perfect for mass appeal. Now you can choose a device that not only does running, swimming and cycling, but has a few variants to suit your needs: whether you are looking for just the watch, or for one with a HRM in the strap or even with space for music. You can find the right combination for your wallet.


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It’s got everything you will need and is perfect for those wanting to take their training up a notch – or whether you are just sick of carrying your phone around with you on training sessions


Personally, the music option isn’t really high on my priorities list. However, I do know how tough it can be when you’re struggling through those first few months of running and how a well-placed “Eye of the Tiger” can get you up that hill 🙂 So if music in your training is important, then this is the only GPS watch available that brings it to the table.


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For this review, I got my hands on a TomTom Runner 2 Cardio and here are my thoughts:


What worked

  • A simple to use interface (once you get the hang of the joystick – see comments on this later)


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Simple to use app


  • It looks good on both men and women. They’ve even got different size options to help you get the right fit


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Looks decent at work


  • It’s got a simple one page of metrics that can be customised for each exercise. Bearing in mind that that this list is not exhaustive (like higher-end devices), the metrics available are all relevant and you should be able to find the right combination for your needs
  • You get a HRM, smart notifications via Bluetooth, activity tracker and an app to manage your device with. It ticks all the boxes for a fraction of the price of high-end devices at R2,999


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Charging clip


What needs work

  • I wasn’t the biggest fan of the joystick. I thought I would get over it after a few uses, but every now and then I’d get a random selection or navigate to a page I didn’t intend to. I still prefer buttons to select watch functions
  • The battery life will take a solid hit if you keep the HRM on during a run. I would advise being very selective with the additional options you enable if you intend to train for longer than 2hr30min
  • The strap construction concerns me. It’s got this two directional locking mechanism that just looks like it’s going to break off after a couple of months. I suppose that it has been designed to lock down tightly while ensuring that the Optical HRM doesn’t have any interference from other light sources. But I worry how long it will last after prolonged pool swims and sun exposure


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Current strap poses questions of long-term durability


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Not sure why they moved away from the locking mechanism on the original TomTom Runner


  • No open water swim mode and only pool swimming. So if you are an occasional gym swimmer, then you are fine
  • No triathlon mode and you will need to select each sport mode individually – remember there is no open-water swim option (see previous point). It seems that “multisport” refers to the fact that there is more than one sport and not necessarily to the inclusion of a triathlon mode


The Verdict

In my opinion, I believe that the TomTom Runner 2 Cardio should be your go-to device if you are looking for your first GPS watch and you are on a budget. I will be recommending it to everyone who asks me for a “decent watch that I can start training with” 🙂


I especially like the gym timer mode which is so relevant for the market that this watch is aimed at i.e. the everyday fitness enthusiast. Actually that is the best way to describe this device: it is relevant


There are some questions about the quality of the strap links, the battery drain and the lack of a proper triathlon mode, but if you are confident that it will be your watch for no more than 2yrs while you are starting out on your fitness journey, then I think you can go ahead and buy this baby. The Polar M400 will still be a good option for those who are running focussed, but for everything else this is a pretty decent buy.


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If I have left out anything in particular that you may think is a critical feature/experience that you’ve had with the TomTom Runner 2 Cardio, please feel free to comment below.


– Peace


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Great starter GPS device






  • Reyanah Manuel

    June 7, 2016 at 6:30 pm Reply

    Shoto Fareed this helps narrow down the options!

    • Fareed

      June 7, 2016 at 9:08 pm Reply

      No problem Reyanah. Just be aware that I would not recommend this watch for anything more than Marathon distance. You will need to fork out the big bucks for a watch that can tackle Comrades etc.

  • khaliq

    June 8, 2016 at 9:01 am Reply

    I’ve been using the original TomTom multisport for around two years now. Not sure how the new strap changed, but I’ve not had any issues with my strap and have not wondered about the durability at all. I’ve gotten completely used to the joystick. Find it really easy to cycle between screens. I had a few times of accidently stopping an activity, enabling the lock function solved that. Battery performance has been impressive, given that I don’t have a built-in HRM. I’ve not tested battery life completely, but I have had at least 2x 2,5hr runs without recharging (without HRM strap). I’ve used run, swim and bike modes – would love a triathlon mode to combine the functions. lack of Open Water swim isn’t a big deal, most watches battle with GPS signal underwater, so almost everyone wears the watch inside their swim caps (not ideal), the freestyle mode on TomTOm can be used to track swim distance. Obviously other swim metrics are not available.

    My biggest gripe is the sampling rate for running pace (real time). Seems the TomTom algorithm doesn’t update fast enough, so real-time pace information is useless. Pace/km is more accurate. Have they fixed that in the new watch?

    And the biggest thing (for discovery members) is that (new) TomTom users are not supported on the platform. Mine still syncs (registered before a certain date), they apparently building a new interface.

    • Fareed

      June 8, 2016 at 9:56 am Reply

      It may be that my fingers are just sausages and I’ll need more time to get used to the joystick. But my experience with buttons on Suunto, Polar and Garmin devices are way better to use.

      The battery life on the Runner 2 is definitely an issue which has been reported on widely with users getting just over two hours with all features turned on (as what I experienced during my testing). They are using a few different components than your Multisport watch which could explain the difference in experience. But with HRM turned off, at least 8hrs of battery life with GPS can be expected (box says 11hrs)

      There is a bit of a lag to update pace/km on the watch, but I found it to be fine and I was okay to live with it. Let’s hope Discovery sort out their interface issues because there are some new Suunto devices that I have my eye on 🙂

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