Review: Nike+ GPS Sports Watch by TomTom

By Andrew Fultz

As a beginner runner, I must begin this product review of the Nike+ GPS Sports Watch by Tom Tom by admitting that I have very limited experience with GPS and running equipment. With that said however, I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of use of the watch in question. Here is my experience with the watch along with the technical jargon many want to hear about.

From the moment I cut the box open, I simply plugged the watch into my Mac via the built in USB Cable (in the watch band) and downloaded the free Nike+ running application for my Mac. I had read that many users had technical issues with the Nike application and the Mac operating system (specifically Snow Leopard). I am using an IMac from that is about 2 years old, but had the newest operating system and updates. I had no issues whatsoever.

The Nike+ running application allows you to make several user specific choices: input your weight, your height, sex, etc. The application says that this will help the watch better calculate distance and calories burned. Additionally, you can choose what you want your watch to display. The user interface allows for two calculations to be shown at once. The primary display can only be changed from your PC/Mac. This is the large prominent display on the watch face. I tend to focus more on distance, so I simply selected the watch to display distance as the primary display. The secondary display is the smaller display near the top of the screen. During a run, you can select distance, time, calories burned, time elapsed, and pace. The runner simply uses the green up and down buttons on the side during the run to cycle through these choices.

Nike+ SportsWatch GPS Settings

Nike+ SportsWatch GPS Settings

Additionally, the user can elect to use the lap function for the watch. This is really one of the only negative parts to this review. The lap function is a little bit less user friendly than the rest of the watch is. The user is given three options: one is to not use laps, the second is manual laps, and the third is auto laps. If you use auto laps, it takes over the primary display on the screen. For users like me who obsess over every tenths of a mile, I was unhappy with the fact that I could not display my distance on the large prominent part of the screen and use laps. This simply depends on user preference though. It was convenient to see how fast my miles were. The other choice, manual lap, was the most complicated aspect. To mark a lap, the user can touch the screen (a little bit less sensitive than I would have liked) or press the up and down key. The issue here is that I kept pressing the up and down key to display my distance, which just kept making more and more laps. It dawned on me that the user would do best to use the lap function if that is the focus of the run or forgo the lap function otherwise.

Additionally, the watch allows the user to use the foot pod (included with the watch) and a heart rate monitor (not included). The foot pod was seamless to activate and sync. I have not purchased a heart rate monitor as of the writing of this review.

The GPS function itself is very user friendly. I have been able to use my watch in two states: Kentucky and Louisiana. The watch typically has very little trouble connecting to the Tom Tom satellite (in fact it has never failed to connect), but I have had issues in Louisiana where it took more time than I would have liked (1-2 minutes). This may have to do with my geographical location. When you end a run, you get very basic information from the watch (time elapsed, distance, calories burned, and pace). However, when you plug the watch into the Nike+ running app, you get more information than you could ever need. You can see a display of the route, which will include hot spots and low spots. You can see a true second by second display of the effort put out by the runner. The information given by the Nike+ application, which uploads directly to nike+running.com, is incredible.

Nike+ SportsWatch GPS Run Review

Nike+ SportsWatch GPS Run Review

Pros: Weighing in at only 2.33 ounces, I would have been more inclined to forget the watch was on my wrist if it were not the focus of my run. The user interface is brilliantly simple. The watch itself is sleek and modern. I cannot tell you how many compliments I have had while wearing the watch. The battery is great. I have run it on stand by for more than a week without needing to be recharged, but I have to charge it about every 4th or 5th run (2.5 mile runs). The readability of the screen is fantastic.

Cons: The lap function, in my opinion, seems to take over the watch and decreases the customization of the user interface. The connection time of the GPS function is also a bit slow in Louisiana (not in Kentucky), but this is simply fixed by using the foot pod and choosing to start the run before the GPS systems link. Lastly, I was very aggravated with my first run. Apparently, the watch needs to calibrate during the first run ever which means it will not record your measurements. Hint, do not run a hard run to impress your watch on your first run because it does not record it.

I would recommend this watch to beginner and intermediate runners. Advanced runners need to get their hand on one to decide if it is enough for you. I will be rocking my Nike+ Watch for years to come.

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