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TomTom Runner 3 Review – TomTom Runner 3 Music Cardio Review

Now, it’s time. It was foreseeable that after TomTom Runner 1 and two now also the current model # 3 follows. Now I’m really into sports watches, but where exactly are the differences between the newer TomTom GPS watches? I’m asked that quite often by my running colleagues. And honestly, I do not always know what exactly. Confusion is spreading. And because it’s not enough there is also the TomTom Spark 3 and the TomTom Adventurer. First of all, the differences are not too big ( beware – except for the price ).

The TomTom Runner 3 Cardio has been added to the predecessor model with a GPS route function. And on request, there is also a built-in very practical MP3 player. The TomTom Runner 3 Cardio was my daily companion for almost six weeks now. I had them running, biking, swimming and hiking with them. On this website, I will share some of my personal experiences with this sports watch. 

For whom is the TomTom Runner 3 Cardio suitable?

  • You are looking for a comfortable, rather smaller, GPS sports watch with a good pulse sensor on the wrist
  • You want to listen to motivational music during sports
  • You like the route function to explore new trails without getting lost
  • Looking for an easy-to-use GPS sports watch without complicated Schnick / Schnack?
  • Nevertheless, you want to track and record several sports safely.
Tomtom Runner Gps Watch (Black)
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Tomtom Runner Gps Watch (Black)
  • GPS Running Watch: Measures time, distance, pace, calories burned, and live stats on the go QuickGPSFix finds your location quickly so you can get going faster
  • Designed for Runners: Ultra-slim, lightweight, and waterproof watch designed for runners An extra large display and one button control make it the perfect runner’s watch
  • Heart Rate Monitor Pairing: Pair the watch with an external heart rate monitor strap to track fitness and monitor your workout intensity
  • Training Programs: Set your own interval training program to improve fitness and speed
  • Race Your Past Performances: Compete against yourself and try to run a previous workout faster

Then the TomTom Runner 3 Cardio could become your new sports watch.

The scope of delivery

The TomTom heart rate monitor comes in a small chic box with viewing window. Inside, the sports watch is a charging cable (which also serves as a PC cable) and the user manual. A mains plug with charging cable is not included, as with all the other pulse watches from other manufacturers. The power plug from your smartphone or tablet is of course compatible.

The optics of TomTom 3 

The TomTom sports watch does not seem so “powerful” in comparison to other fitness watches. The display size is only 22 x 25 mm, and at 50 g, the TomTom Runner 3 is among the lightweights. This could be an important purchase argument for some athletes. Because many want a heart rate monitor that does not hang like a stone on the wrist. From the shape, it reminds me a little of the Polar M600  I tested in November and December. Also made in one piece. Only the TomTom Runner 3 is emotionally even narrower and flatter.

Currently, there is the TomTom Runner 3 in two colors. Pink / Orange and Black / Green. If there is no suitable color, then my tip would be, take a look at the TomTom Spark 3 Cardio. The functions are the same. They differ only in the appearance of the bracelets and also a little in the price. The TomTom Spark 3 is available in black and aqua color.

The bracelet

The wristband of the TomTom sports watch is attached to 3 points with a snap mechanism. So it remains fixed if you do not press a snap properly. The feel of the TomTom Runner 3, as well as its predecessor, is also top-quality. No edges or corners, it’s all rounded. It does not disturb or push anything in the form of protruding buttons or the like. Therefore, the watch is also suitable for “all day,” i.e., it can be worn the whole day, at work and during sports. Even after six weeks of continuous wear, I could not detect any pressure or scratch on the skin and only took the sports watch off to sleep.

The bracelet can be easily separated from the sports watch if you want to have a different color. This also has the advantage that the heart rate monitor can also be easily clipped in to load it. Just as easy is the TomTom GPS sports watch, with the help of 2 holding claws, also connected to the bracelet again.

The only downside here is that the dirt and dust can accumulate just in between. Since one cleans the clock anyway more often under running water, that is only conditionally a negative aspect. 

The TomTom 3 Cardio comes in 2 sizes. Like her predecessor models and the TomTom Spark 3.  Small for wrists from 125 – 175 mm and Large from 145 – 205 mm. If you do not have a tape measure at hand, take a thread or string to determine your circumference and then measure with a ruler or yardstick.

The display

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The display of the TomTom Runner 3 impresses with its high contrast. The ad is not colored like some other sports watches but only black and white. The glass is very scratch resistant. After I tested it now about six weeks, I do not see a single scratch. Even in bright sunshine, the numbers are wonderful to read. If you want to brighten up the display in the dark, you just have to stroke it with the palm of your hand. Then the backlight goes on for a few seconds. Why TomTom has brought with the Runner 3 Cardio, and the Spark 3 Cardio two almost identical GPS sports watches on the market, I can not understand. I find it unsettled in the purchase decision. But that’s just my personal opinion.

On the other hand, it is good that every athlete in the TomTom models can decide for themselves which functional and delivery he wants to order with.

In the following table, I have compared the most important TomTom sports watches with their most important functions. Sometimes it makes a lot of money in the price. Maybe this brings a little light into the darkness.

modelHF measurement
on the wrist
Multisport modeMP3 player 
for 500 songs
Outdoor sports
ski lift detection
to the Amazon 
TomTom Runner 3 
TomTom Runner 3 
GPS + Cardio
TomTom Runner 3 
GPS + Cardio + Music
TomTom Spark 3 
TomTom Spark 3 
GPS + Cardio
TomTom Spark 3 
GPS + Cardio + 
TomTom Runner 2 
GPS + Cardio + 
Outdoor GPS Watch

Operation of the TomTom Runner 3

The TomTom sports watch is operated with a 4-directional pad located just below the display. The operation with the 4-way button requires a little practice at the beginning.

The first few days I did not find the right pressure point. But over time I got used to it. The good thing about this form of control buttons is that you can put it on when putting on jackets or similar. Not unintentionally operated a button and in the worst case, a workout breaks off.

A short insight into the menu:

  • Left button: current day and week overview, pedometer, calorie consumption…
  • Right button: the actual training! Here are many modes such as cycling, swimming, running, etc. Available
  • Button below: Settings menu
  • Button above: Music

First settings:

In the following, I would like to go into the settings only briefly, as each of them should find out for themselves. 
With one click down you have access to various settings options:


The TomTom Runner 3 has built the connection with my smartphone an HTC 9 very quickly. All current smartphones should recognize the sports watch without any problems. A list of TomTom with which smartphone the heart rate monitor is compatible can be found here … 

The connection between the TomTom Runner 3 and my smartphone was unfortunately sometimes not so stable, as it often came to disconnections here. Personally, the evaluation on the PC was firstly more accurate and secondly also more beautiful in the view. For the eye, it is on the PC simply more pleasant to read and evaluate!


Here you can switch on and off the different sensors for biking, heartbeat, and compass. Since each sensor costs a little battery, it is quite helpful just to start the sensor that is needed. 

Fitness Tracker:

The fitness tracker of the TomTom sports watch records a variety of data such as steps, calories burned, sleep, miles lost and much more. Here you can also set daily goals, for example, steps in km. The sleep tracker I have disabled after a few days to save battery. The daily goal of steps can be set here. From one to 15 km. Every day starts again with the same daily destination. This is similar to Polar. Only Garmin has a dynamic daily goal, see Forerunner 235 test. This means that if you have set 10,000 steps and only 9000 have left that day, then you have to go only 9800 steps the next day.  Every day is recalculated.

When you reach the set target of TomTom Runner 3, you will hear a short tone. What’s good is that the daily goal is always added to the weekly goal. Unfortunately, the fitness tracker is not too accurate. It is easy to manipulate by moving the hand. So far, all my heart rate monitors and fitness bracelets have been tested by me. The calorie consumption can be found in the same overview as the pedometer. I think that’s very accurate. I manually recalculated the calorie consumption over several days and am positively surprised. Therefore, the sports watch TomTom Runner 3 Cardio is also recommended for people who want to consciously eat and check their calorie consumption with the sports watch.

Unfortunately, the TomTom sports watch has no inactivity alarm. That means if you sit for more than an hour only at the desk or on the couch, then she could remind you that you are moving. (Get coffee, bring out the garbage or the like.) The competitors Garmin and Polar have already in almost every new sports watch. 

Which sports do the TomTom sports watch support?

The TomTom Runner 3 supports the following sports:

  • To run
  • To go biking
  • swimmer
  • treadmill
  • Fitness Studio
  • Indoor Cycling
  • and freestyle mode for other sports

Setting up the sports watch

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The initial setup is done quickly. As soon as the watch is connected via PC or laptop, the TomTom sports watch is displayed for download with the MySports Connect software. After installation, you can create an account or log in with an existing account. Here only common information such as age, weight, etc. are queried.

I worked almost exclusively with the laptop on the TomTom Runner 3 Cardio. The smartphone app was often not that reliable and comfortable during the transmission. And just syncing new running routes or songs to the sports watch, much easier on my laptop.

The MySports Connect program has many features:

  • It updates your new sports watch and finds the current satellite for a Quick-GPS signal
  • It makes it easy to play music on the TomTom sports watch and create favorite lists.
  • Running routes can be exported to a.Gpx format using some websites and transferred to the clock.
  • Here you can set goals for your fitness, sport or your desired weight.
  • Here you can export activities from other apps like MyFitnessPal, NikePlus uva to this software.
  • And much more …

TomTom is working hard on developing the apps and the TomTom Sports software. But I think it’s not as extensive and exciting as Garmin or even Polar. At Garmin Connect, it’s, even more, fun to evaluate my results and statistics and “share” with my friends. Polar Flow is my number one choice for training suggestions and running event preparation.

What’s new about the TomTom Runner 3?

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New in the TomTom Runner 3 Cardio over the predecessor model is the GPS route function. With this innovation, you can quickly create a Gpx file with a GPS plane, for example. This route can then be “run off” after being transferred to the sports watch. There is currently a maximum of 15 trail routes possible to save.

It is nice that you can not only evaluate your well-known and always used routes, but also new and unknown routes. This is very convenient on vacation. This eliminates the need to remember any points when running, biking or hiking, which you may not find later on the way back anyway. However, the graphics leave a little to be desired on the rather small display. The track is recorded as if a Cookie Monster lost his beloved biscuit crumbs. On the display of the TomTom Runner Cardio 3, you always see your position and the further route.

Nevertheless, even if the optics on display is not a highlight, with the help of the built-in compass, and the possibility that you can also zoom in on the view, it is quite easy to find its destination. Unfortunately, a map view as known from Google Maps on the smartphone is not (yet) available. 

The new route function of the TomTom GPS clock I could take very good while hiking and biking. The compass was also handy and had none of my tested heart rate monitors yet. When running, however, it was quite exhausting always to check exactly if I’m still on the right track. So I say the function is very nice but still expandable. 

The MP3 player in the sports watch

  • As with the TomTom Runner 2, the TomTom Runner 3 Cardio comes with the additional equipment + music, a built-in MP3 player. That’s awesome. When running or in the gym, I can always leave my cell phone at home. As headphones, I have used my existing Tao-Tronics Bluetooth headphones. The sound was great.
  • Pairing with the headphones works within a few seconds. Just push the button of the TomTom sports to watch up, you’re already in the music area. The program for the music control is kept quite simple, but in my opinion is lovely. Different bass or treble settings are not possible. The headphones control the volume.
  • Up to 500 songs can be stored on the TomTom Runner 3 Cardio. The easiest way to play over the music tracks via drag and drop with the PC. However, it also works with the My Sports app. Depending on the size and quality of the MP3, the “pull over” takes about 8 seconds per song.
  • The comfort of an MP3 player on the wrist, I already know from the tested Polar M600. I think there will be many more pulse watches coming out soon with this new feature. After all, for many of us sport also includes motivational music.

Heart rate measurement on the wrist

As with almost all new sports watches so also measures the TomTom Runner 3 Cardio the pulse without annoying chest strap on the wrist. That’s very handy, of course. Nevertheless, there are athletes in whom the pulse measurement is apparently too imprecise on the wrist. Whether this is due to the sports watch, in the wrong position or to hair or tattoos, I can not say. For me, there was no deviation from the heart rate measurement on the wrist to the chest strap.

I even find that with the TomTom Runner 3 Cardio I did not have to wear the bracelet as tightly around my wrist as with some other sports watches. And yet the pulse values were very accurate. However, if you prefer to do sports with a chest strap, you can also buy the chest strap with the current model. 

If you want to know how high your resting heart rate is, then you have to switch briefly to sport. I mostly do freestyle. Then it does not take 5 seconds, and the TomTom Runner 3 Cardio will show it to you. This is not as clear as, for example, the Forerunner 235, where you can see the pulse of the last 4 hours beautifully on a chart, but for the quick query that’s okay.

The GPS signal

The GPS signal is just as reliable as in the TomTom Runner 2 Cardio. The distance measurement deviated a maximum of 1-2% of the exact distance in my runs. That’s great. The current running speed was not quite as accurate as I already know from other heart rate monitors, but still good.

The GPS signal from the sports watch is found very quickly. Whereby it can take a bit longer if the last GPS contact with a satellite was several days ago. Then the fitness clock has to search again for the current satellite. Takes 15-30 seconds. So always at the latest every few days to do sports or briefly connect the clock with the TomTom MySports app. Then finding a signal never takes longer than 5-10 seconds.  

The battery life of TomTom Runner 3

TomTom states regarding battery life that it has power in normal activity tracking mode for up to 3 weeks. With GPS in sports about 11 hours and if the music is still running with at least 5 hours.

In my practice test, I have not quite reached the values. But still, the TomTom sports watch in the GPS sports mode with music the 4 hours easily held out. I am delighted with that.Compared to other GPS sports watches, the TomTom watches consume relatively little battery. Also, individual sensors can be switched on and off so that you can endure relatively long with a battery charge.

Conclusion – TomTom Runner 3 Cardio + music

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  • very nice slim design 
  • comfortable bracelet in two sizes 
  • very accurate GPS and good RF measurement 
  • MP3 player with good sound


  • Display only in black and white 
  • Also the third model only in the old design 
  • Software and App slightly behind the competition

The positive thing about the TomTom sports watch is certainly its sleek design. This not only scores points with many athletes who do not want to wear a giant fitness watch on their wrists all day long. It also convinces with the ease of use and that it is not overloaded with useless functions. 

I particularly like the TomTom Runner 3 Cardio, which I can have my heart rate monitor and MP3 player in one. And that with sufficient battery power. The route function with the compass has been made especially for us adventurers. Even if there is still a little bit of room for air here. I think the price-performance ratio you get for relatively little money a very nice and reliable GPS sports watch no chest belt needs more. Nevertheless, I would like to TomTom not bring out again a 4th model series but soon surprised us with a brand new heart rate monitor.

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