TomTom has been in the navigation game for some time, so it’s not a surprise it’s using its knack for keeping track of where you are by entering the world of fitness trackers. The Touch Cardio + Body Composition (See it on Amazon) is a basic tracker with a few add-ons that make it sort of an advanced entry-level tracker. At around $100 it costs a bit more than most basic trackers but it justifies the price by including a heart rate monitor and the ability to read your body fat percentage.
Design and Features
Unlike most fitness trackers the TomTom Touch actually consists of a two parts; a small, removable module with an OLED display and a rubber strap that it fits into. Like just about every other tracker currently sold, the Touch Cardio + Body Composition (which I will simply refer to as “Touch Cardio” from here on out) can track your steps and sleep patterns. Adding to the basic feature set is a heart rate monitor and the ability to determine your body fat percentage with the touch of a button. GPS is not included, which isn’t uncommon at this price point.
The band is held together by a loop and a pair of metal prongs. The loop helped keep the unit tight around my wrist, but the clasp was fiddly, and it didn’t take much force to purposefully dislodge it from the strap. Over the course of 15 or so miles of running and a week of general use, however, the band never came loose.
The tracking data selection process is controlled by swiping the screen or pressing the single button on the tracker. Lifting the Touch Cardio will wake the display, with the default screen showing the time and either the battery life, a step counter graphic, or the date. Swiping down will reveal screens used to start a Body Composition reading, heart rate reading, or to initiate the recording of some type of physical activity. Swiping in the opposite direction shows the screens for your step count, amount of calories burned, distance traveled, amount of time active, and amount of time asleep.
To record an activity, a few swipes down and a press of the button will initiate data capture until you tell it to stop. When looking at the app after obtaining the information, it records the activity under a general “Gym” category, but you can change its classification via the app to be more in-line with what activity had actually been performed.
In terms of software, TomTom guarantees an awkward “out of the box” experience by requiring you to pair the Touch to your phone by using a computer. Of the numerous fitness trackers I’ve tested from Garmin, FitBit, and Huawei, the Touch Cardio was the only one that required a computer for initial installation. Though it wasn’t necessarily a strenuous process, it was odd when taking into consideration how pretty much every major manufacturer allows their trackers to be setup using just your phone.
That said, the TomTom Sports app has a design that’s fun and clean, showing a summary of my daily and weekly statistics, with more information available under each category, whether it be steps taken, sleep patterns, or how far I had traveled over the course of the month.
The data collected by the app can also be linked to Google Fit and Apple Health. The information can also be shared with a wide range of additional services, including Nike+, RunKeeper, Strava, Jawbone, and MapMyFitness, although these have to be linked through TomTom’s website or the company’s desktop app — which is a hassle.
Through TomTom Sports I was also able to enable phone notifications that alerted me whenever something came through by way of my default messaging and phone apps (e.g., Google’s Messenger worked fine, but Allo and Facebook Messenger notifications were not delivered).
Real World Testing
When running, it would record my total time, calories burned, heart rate, steps taken, and the number of strides per minute. When I did actually go to the gym for a mixture of exercises ranging from the treadmill and body weight movements to free weights, the same information was captured. In this instance, most of the data is still useful, with the exception of stride rate.
TomTom claims that the Touch Cardio’s battery can survive for up to 5 days of tracking, but that was not the case in my testing. With runs and trips to the gym, battery life was closer to 3-4 days—less than many other trackers in this price range, but longer than your average smartwatch.
Sadly, the Touch Cardio’s ability to read button presses was incredibly inconsistent. Thankfully the screen would wake up when I lifted my wrist because pushing the button felt was typically followed by a sliver of hope that the device actually detected my movement—more often than not, it seemed like it would fail to do so. Unfortunately, this flaw also made its way to the Touch Cardio’s Body Composition feature. After dozens of tries, I gave up trying to obtain my body fat percentage. I tried a soft reset, a hard reset, re-reading the instructions, shoes off and shoes on, inside or outside, and nothing would work. Maybe it was a way for TomTom to tell me to stop grabbing that extra slice of pizza during last night’s dinner, but probably not.
If it would have functioned correctly, TomTom explains that the Touch Cardio obtains this information by shooting a small electrical current through your body and reads how much the current flows at different frequencies. I’ll have to take their word for it.
The TomTom Touch Cardio + Body Composition has an MSRP has an MSRP of $129.99 but like a lot of tech it is rarely sold for that price. It dips as low as $80 online, but can more typically be found for around $100: