Review of the TomTom Touch activity tracker
At first glance, the TomTom Touch is a sleek, easy to use fitness tracker with a built-in Body Composition Analysis as an interesting USP. While the Fitbit Flex and other similar devices have been very popular, the TomTom seems to give a little more. The TomTom press release describes the device as “the first fitness tracker on the market that combines body composition analysis with steps, sleep, and all day heart tracking, right from the wrist”. This is a lot of features to packed into such a relatively cheap device (£129.00 at the time of writing) and we were interested to see how well it performed.
The TomTom comes in both large (5.51 to 8.11 inches) and small sizes (4.92 to 6.96 inches) depending on your write size and the band is 0.45 inches thick. Comparing the TomTom with other brands such as Fitbit, and Apple it isn’t much of a looker. It is very much a fitness tracker, with no play to be fashionable. That said because it doesn’t aim towards to fashion market made us feel that maybe there was a bit more going on inside. It doesn’t weigh much at all, and after a few weeks of trialling the device, we found that we forgot we were wearing it.
The device itself is modular and sits inside a rubber strap. This allows easy customization of the strap which currently comes in black, blue, purple and orange. Although a nice touch, this is where the positives points of the strap end. Due to the heartbeat monitor needing to be snug against the skin the TomTom must be attached firmly, unfortunately, the clasp does not make this easy. It is fiddly to attach and came undone several times during the trial. This is particularly annoying when you are mid-activity, as we found during a game of football (at least that what we blamed the loss of the game on).
For basic use, the “touch” element of the TomTom is brilliant. There are no buttons, only a small metal circle that sends electrical signals into your body, and the touch screen. Using only these it is very easy to cycle through the devices menu and check your steps, heart rate and of course, check the time. This makes healthy conversation of “who did more steps” as easy as the flick of a finger. However, due to the touch area of the screen being fairly small it can become tricky to use during an activity. On some occasions, it was hard to wake the device, rather than a gentle touch it required a press for a prolonged period of time. This may be due to the dryness of my finger, but should have surely been factored into the design?
The battery life is pretty good, lasting up to 3-5 days after a full charge. The device must be “unmounted” from its strap to charge, using a microUSB slot in the back. It is held inside the strap to limit water damage so you can wear it in the shower etc, but due to not being entirely watertight it cannot handle being fully submerged, such as going swimming with it.
The instructions included in the box to set up the device made the whole process more confusing than it needed to be. Probably to save costs with different languages, the instructions were a set of numbered pictures. Thankfully TomTom also provided “reviewer instructions” to make this process easier.
To pair the TomTom you need to download the free MySports app from TomTom and create an account. Pairing was a relatively simple process, and once paired the tracker automatically syncs if in range. Alternatively, you can use the Windows PC program and sync your devices using the microUSB provided.
The app is one of the better features of the TomTom Touch. Once the device is paired to your phone, it regularly passes TomTom data to the MySports system to updates both on the website and on the app.
Goals can be set for your activity, body fat ratio, weight loss etc but there seems to be no further motivation to keep you interested. In comparison, Fitbit allows you to compete with your friends and walk across the world. That aside, the graphs and charts provided allow you to really nail down into the data. Once again, seeming to move away from the fashionable accessory and more towards a hardy exercise tracker.
For some reason, the app could not show the number of miles covered in an exercise. After some extensive Googling, I attempted a reset, which solved nothing. It seemed a problem limited to only a few devices, but as an avid runner, it was a big issue. It was confusing that this was a problem, as the Touch was able to show the miles covered from the whole day.
It seems that the TomTom Touch tries to cram too many great features into one space without thinking about the overall user experience. Whilst the body fat composition is a brilliant concept it doesn’t seem to be as good as a simple pair of scales (but the graph is prettier). The touch element is great for simple tracking, but multiple tasks can become a nightmare, especially with activity tracking. The saving grace is the ease in which the app links to the Touch and allows you to track your activity and set goals.