Field Test | Runtastic GPS Watch and Heart Rate Monitor

Runners these days have it easy. With a multitude of wearables lately, gone are the two-fingers-on-wrist pulse count for the heart rate method as these new wearables can instantly show information such as heart rate, distance, elevation, pace and calories burned at ease. Runtastic GPS Watch and Heart Rate Monitor is the offering from the famed Runtastic Apps brand. I reviewed their other wearable Runtastic Orbit which is a cheaper fitness tracker. The Runtastic GPS Watch has more features for people seriously starting or are already into running.

Unboxing the Runtastic GPS Watch
Unboxing the Runtastic GPS Watch

In the Box

  • The Runtastic GPS Watch
  • Heart Rate Monitor with adjustable strap
  • Clamp-type connection USB cable for charging and uploading data
  • Bike Handlebar mount
  • Small cleaner brush
  • Manual
The watch
The watch

Using the Runtastic GPS Watch

The watch design is sporty and functional. It’s not something I would wear though casually but it can be worn everyday if its your fancy. The Runtastic GPS Watch is splash proof so I can run under the rain or don’t need to worry about heavy sweating. Display is clear and fine even under the sunlight.

There are five main buttons for controls and this is the part where reading the manual would help to truly utilize the full feature of the watch. There’s the buttons Mode, Light, Start/Stop, Lapse/Reset and View. And there’s also the long-press options for the Mode button that would open up the more settings like the User Profile, Type of Activity (Running, Cycling…), GPS and Heart Rate Monitor (HRM). It can be pretty overwhelming at first but once you get the idea like using the Start and Lapse button to move through the options and View Key select and Mode to return.

The GPS Workout-mode
The GPS Workout-mode

Runtastic Modes

The Runtastic GPS Watch cycles through four main modes: Time, GPS Workout, GPS Navigations and Compass.

The Time-Mode is basically a regular watch mode. It is in the GPS Workout-Mode where the Runtastic GPS is fully utilized. I first make sure the GPS is set. There’s an indicator there on how strong the signal is. There’s a cool and warm start mode for the GPS. When the watch GPS hasn’t been used of a time, it would be a Cool Start and may take some time to lock-in on location in about a minute or less. Warm Start is when the GPS has been used regularly and it can lock in on position instantly in a few seconds. GPS is activated on the Workout-mode via a long-press on the View button. I tested the GPS Workout-Mode biking in Nuvali Laguna and also a run around the neighborhood. The pace is the main display then there’s the time, distance, GPS signal. I tried running with my phone GPS on and their no big discrepancy on both tracking results.

GPS Navigations is more on waypoints and pre-loaded route data. I haven’t utilized this one but it seems you can downloaded routes. The Compass-mode is quite nifty especially for travelers like me. Though I can use the same app on my smartphone it’s hand to know which is north just by looking at my watch.

The heart rate monitor with open battery compartment
The heart rate monitor with open battery compartment

GPS Workout-Mode and Heart Rate Monitor

At first I thought the Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) is quite bulky and uncomfortable to use. I strapped it on my chest just below the pectoral area. Make sure the battery is properly placed. The Runtastic GPS Watch and the HRM has a unique ID and is easily paired. Once worn and HRM Mode activated, it adds an HRM mode on the watch display the current heart rate and percentage. It’s pretty neat as I observe the different heart rates prior and immediately after a workout. It can be used in the gym as well. The HRM doesn’t work over a cloth it must be close to the skin.

The Runtastic Connect for MAC
The Runtastic Connect for MAC

Runtastic Connect

All workouts and data are stored in the watch. Once connected via Runtastic Connect software (available on both Windows and MAC) it downloads and uploads data to your Runtastic account online with useful graphical data. Do note that to get the most out of the graphs like Heart Rate charts, pace, and elevation comparison you have to get the GOLD membership. And each GPS watch is connected only to one account. Since I was using a demo unit, I had to ask the previous user to disconnect the watch from his account so I could connect it to mine.

The online workout data details
The online workout data details

Summary

If you’re a running enthusiast and serious about monitoring your progress the Runtastic GPS Watch and Heart Rate Monitor is a useful tool. Wether you get the Runtastic GOLD account or not its handy as it is. The price is on the high side at Php 9,500 but the combination of these two devices is hard to beat. It is a lot better than a simple fitness tracker. I would even recommend it over their own Runtastic Orbit which I reviewed earlier. It’s not bad using it as a regular watch as well as the battery life last long. With GPS on, it claims a 14 hours battery life but on regular use, I can have it working more than a week without charging. Runtastic GPS Watch and HRM is a good buy and is a good companion in your your fitness journey.

Runtastic GPS Watch and Heart Rate Monitor is available at Lazada for Php 9,500. It comes in three colors: black, blue and pink.

Check Price and Buy Online

The Runtastic GPS Watch and Heart Rate Monitor
The Runtastic GPS Watch and Heart Rate Monitor

What ya think?