TomTom Adventurer GPS Watch with Bluetooth Headphones Review

TomTom Adventurer
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The TomTom Adventurer is a one stop shop for all your workout needs. Bold statement, right? It is. But if you read into what I said you see there is specific wording in there. For working out, running, and most of your every day workout needs the TomTom Adventurer has you covered. Unfortunately this is a review for an obstacle course racing website and the watch has a flaw or two that it has had since before it evolved from the TomTom Cardio to the TomTom Spark to now.

TomTom Adventurer Features

Music  – Part of what makes this watch awesome is that it has the ability to store your music and play it to bluetooth headphones. If you use the headphones that TomTom includes it is a breeze to get it paired. If you use your own it will be a little laborious but you will pair them eventually. The other thing of note for the music is that you can sync the watch to an iTunes playlist. I’m a mac user so for me that is a big surprise since Apple doesn’t play nice with most outside companies.

Wrist Based Heart Rate Monitor – This is not a new feature for GPS or exercise watches but it works and that’s great. Its part of what makes this a full featured workout watch.

Elevation Tracking – With a built in barometer you can track your elevation without needing to have your phone or see if based on your route when you sync to a computer. If you are training for many of the OCR events that take place on out of season ski slopes, elevation will mean a lot to you in training.

TomTom Adventurer Usage

On the initial unboxing my complete excitement for the features was tempered by seeing that the watch itself was the mostly the same exact design they have had for a few years now. It is a bit sad because TomTom has made their watches functionally so much better every time they update their product line but they have stayed with the same poor ergonomics. I would even hazard to say this watch took a slight step back in comfort and look.

The casing that you separate the watch body from is hard in the center and has bulky pivoting flexible arms to wrap around your wrist. They bands feel like an afterthought and the watch is generally not comfortable to wear if you aren’t working out. The looks are pretty much the same, even the black version has an orange loop around it to secure the extra part of the secured watch band – orange is out of the question for my everyday life.

Then there is the fact that you more of less need to dismantle your watch every time you want to plug it in by usb.  It isn’t hard to do but it’s the only device that I have used, reviewed, or owned that is like this. My final touch on the ergonomics is the one centered button control. TomTom – please, please, please stop using this design. When I’m running it doesn’t feel intuitive and when you are crawling in mud you will get little bits of debris stuck in there.

Let’s get positive because this is a good watch with a ton of features. I wanted this watch so bad because of what the Apple Watch 2 didn’t do. I love tech and will often kickstart things that have a huge upside for my daily life without ever having them in hand or reading the fine print. The Apple watch 2 falls into this category, it had what is basically the feature set of the TomTom Adventurer minus a few things like a barometer. I bought it because I wanted a one stop watch for working out it ended up being a nightmare to pair and unpair headphones, get music on it, use the GPS and many more gripes. This isn’t an Apple watch review but I’m saying this to point out that the TomTom Adventurer does all of the things that the Apple Watch 2 failed to do for me.

When you use the TomTom Adventurer you will notice it makes things in life easier. After you unplug your the watch from your computer just grab your headphones and hit the road/trail/ski slope. You can do additional things like add in GPX based routes for hiking but most people will use this to workout. It never fails to sync my heart rate accurately, with gps and the altimeter tracking my movement, while the bluetooth headphones play music from the watch itself. This is the watch I have been waiting for in the tech department.

TomTom Adventurer Pros and Cons

Pros

  • All in one watch – GPS, Music, HRM, Altimeter
  • Affordable for what you get at just under $300
  • Works well with iTunes

Cons

  • Watch strap is bulky
  • USB plug feels like an afterthought

TomTom Adventurer Conclusion

Here we are at the overarching question, should you buy this watch? I can’t say definitively one way or the other to buy the TomTom Adventurer, this is really a matter of what your intended use case is. If you plan on using this for ultra running and very muddy obstacle course races I would suggest looking elsewhere. If you need a watch with all the features baked into one for every day usage, buy this watch. You can’t go wrong with this watch if you plan on exercising with it every day.

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Dario

Dario is a long time distance runner and OCR athlete. When not on the roads and trails logging miles he can be found drinking coffee while reading bad science fiction books.
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