I found it very easy and intuituive to use. I decided for the sake of this review to start poking around with it before reading the instructions (okay, I probably wouldn't have read the instructions either way) to see how easy it is to figure out. There are no buttons on the side of the watch like you normally have- everything is done through the controller which sits directly below the face of the watch (in the picture above you can see it- the black square). It basically functions like the old iPod controller- you press Left/ Right/ Up/ Down to move through the menus- easy.
To start the run, you press to the right to choose your activity (run, treadmill etc) and once that's selected, press right again until you hear the beep and feel the buzz (which means it's got the satellite connection) and you're ready to go.
You can configure the watch however you like- it has all the configurations you'd expect from a running GPS watch- average pace, instantaneous pace, speed, distance, elapsed time, heart rate, clock time- all easily accessible. I usually leave it on either average pace or instaneous pace, but if you want to see any of the other fields, you just scroll either up or down to get to where you want.
The display is very easy to read- at least for the primary field that you are showing. I have it set up to show 3 fields- so if I have the primary display showing my average pace, then the smaller fields above show distance and elapsed time. The size of those fields is my only complaint with this watch- I find them a bit too small to see easily.
The lap function is nice with this watch. I know that lap function is a standard thing, but what I like about this one is that with each lap (I have it set to 1km) not only does it beep and flash up on the screen, it also buzzes, so if you're doing a workout and have headphones in that would keep you from hearing the beep, you'll feel the buzz.
Having a heart rate monitor is something new for me- I've never trained with one. This watch has the heart rate monitor built right in instead of having to use a chest strap as most other heart rate monitors do. Here's what the TomTom site says about it:
For battery life, I've only managed to kill the battery once. I was about 5 1/2 hours into a 50K race and the battery died, which I thought seemed a bit short. I contacted the company to find out if that was standard, and they responded back that if it died that quickly there was probably a reason, such as the watch constantly having to search for signal (I was in a very thick forest in the mountains of PA, and I did lose signal once). Their estimated battery life is:
- With GPS only- 10 hours
- With GPS & HRM- 8 hours
- With HRM only- 20-30 hours
- Clock only- 2-3 months
I have another long race coming up in a few weeks- I'll try turning the HRM off so that isn't draining the battery as much and see how long I get.
The website interface with the watch is great. This watch charges off USB, so when you plug it in to charge it automatically updates your profile on the TomTom site with your run. Here's what it looks like:
The website also if very good for FAQs and video tutorials. I did use the videos to figure out some of the functions after my initial playing around with it.