Mellow Mummy: TomTom Touch Fitness Tracker Review : Taking life as it comes...

Sunday 26 February 2017

TomTom Touch Fitness Tracker Review

Last year I started using the TomTom Spark fitness watch for recording my runs - I was really impressed. But I have to admit I'm not a great fan of wearing a watch throughout the day and found myself missing out on the step-counter feature because I'd leave the watch at home, or on my desk. I'd used a simple, compact and lightweight fitness tracker successfully in the past so I was very tempted by the TomTom Touch fitness tracker as an alternative way of simply measuring my activity levels throughout the day.

My TomTom Touch Cardio is a step counter, an activity timer, a sleep tracker, a heart rate monitor AND a body composition calculator all in one. It is much more than just a pedometer, it is an all-round health monitor which, if you want to, you could keep on all day to give you a picture of your overall health and fitness levels.

I've been using the TomTom Touch for about a month now. Largely I use it as a step counter and I find that wearing a step counter helps to encourage me to try and get out for a walk during my lunch breaks. During the day I wear it on my wrist so it can act as a watch but it is far more discrete and lightweight than wearing a fully-blown fitness watch. The default screen shows the time and a visual indicator of how close you are to your 10,000 step goal for the day. You can swipe through the screens to see a count of the number of steps, the distance you've walked today, the time you've spent active today, the time you spent inactive (asleep) last night, calories burned and then your heart rate.

The TomTom Touch has a a heart rate monitor built into it so you can monitor your heart rate all day. It actively tracks your heart rate when you are recording a fitness activity and you can ask it to tell you your current heart rate at any point during the day at the touch of the button; I found it particularly fascinating to watch my resting heart rate increase while I was on a call to an important client of mine the other day! Tracking your heart rate gives you a more accurate measure of calories burned during an activity because each of us is different in the way our bodies respond to exercise.

Starting an activity is easy - press the button to start recording. I've used this for a walk with a friend but in general, I prefer to use my fitness watch for tracking walks and runs because my watch can also give me GPS location data. I actually find it too easy to accidentally start an activity on the TomTom Touch and have ended up with quite a few 3 second activities by accident! I had my TomTom devices linked to automatically upload to Strava when it completes and activity but because I kept sharing 3 second activities, I had to switch it off!

One of the most appealing features of the TomTom Touch was the body composition monitor as this is something I'd only ever had measured at a gym before. As long as you wear the device tightly on your wrist for at least 15 minutes, it can capture a measurement of your body fat percentage and muscle percentage. As I've been marathon training I was interested to see the impact that the training was having on my body composition and I'm sure that if you were on a diet or a fitness training programme this would be really interesting and helpful data to monitor.

I have two bugbears with the TomTom Touch - the first is that I have to touch the button in order to wake up the screen so I can see the time, or my current step count. I'd really like to be able to do this just by moving my wrist.  The other is that it seems to drain battery - I've found myself having to recharge it about every two days and charging doesn't seem fast.  I ended up charging it through my computer overnight so didn't get the benefit of the sleep tracking. I think you can turn off the constant heart-rate monitoring which may save battery life but for me, every 2 days is far too often. I tried to take it away for a long weekend and found it to run out of battery half way through a family walk.

The TomTom Touch connects to your phone via Bluetooth so that you can synchronise all your data with the TomTom Sports app; it also means you can receive notifications on the screen of your fitness tracker for new calls or messages on your linked phone.  The TomTom sports app is very new and it is a significant improvement on the previous app - massively faster and feels far more intuitive - I think it looks great and has all the stats I want to see in one place. I like the fact I can see how my body composition is changing over time, and I can see my heart rate behaviour during my runs, walks or gym sessions.

The TomTom Touch with cardio costs around £129.99. Mine is black but you can customise it with a range of different coloured straps.
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