Date:1 September 2016
This is a bold statement, but we reckon that the TomTom Touch (announced at IFA today) is the most advanced activity tracker on the market. Why? On-device body composition measurement. Yes you can measure your muscle and fat percentages at the touch of a button.
We alluded to these future abilities in our review of TomTom’s Cardio Spark + Music earlier this year. With that device TomTom turned to Stellenbosch start-up LifeQ for an optical heart rate monitor, the company’s so-called LifeLens. LifeQ designed its hardware to be forward compatible with protocols which can monitor blood oxygen, blood sugar and stress levels.
LifeQ have since partnered with TomTom’s navigation rival Garmin, so we’re not sure how much the South African company was involved in the Touch development, but the fruits of the original union are on display here.
How the Touch measures body composition is through an electric signal. You do it on demand and the function is accessory to the all day heart rate monitoring, step counting, heart rate-derived calorie burn estimation and workout intensity scoring. No on-device or connected GPS in sight, but That’s why it wins our vote for “most advanced” and not “best for most people” (Garmin’s Vitality-aligned and GPS-enabled Vivosmart HR+ still holds that title).
Five days battery, phone notifications and interchangeable straps complete the package. Hopefully it will play nice with wellness programmes at local launch.
Alongside the Touch is the latest incarnations of the Cardio Spark and Runner GPS watches, and the new outdoor activity focussed Adventurer. These devices don’t differ aesthetically from its predecessors, except for some slimming. Importantly GPS functionality is updated and no has track back powers to lead you back to your starting point.
Battery life is quoted as 3 weeks in activity tracking mode and 11 hours in GPS mode (more than enough for a Comrades attempt). The obvious blindspot again is the lack of smartphone notifications and a true multisport/triathlon mode. These new device should, however, remain at the top of our recommendation list for performance-focused athletes who don’t want to pay a premium for peripheral features.
Pricing is also a winner
TomTom Touch: 2499
TomTom Spark 3: From R2699
TomTom Runner 3: From R2699
TomTom Adventurer: R5499