The TomTom Adventurer marks a real opportunity to bring something new to the world of wearables and could be the first truly affordable outdoors smartwatch.
While there are plenty of watches out there to choose from – the Garmin Fenix 3 or Suunto Amit3 for example – $500+ by anyone's money is a big outlay, especially when niche sports may only be enjoyed a few times a year.
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While the marketing for those devices may portray customers as those who live life on the edge, the reality is that 99% of users grab their outdoor adventures between work, family and everyday lives.
Enter the TomTom Adventurer. Forged in the mould of the TomTom Spark 3, its list of supported sports reads more like a high-end Garmin than an improver-runner's GPS watch and it costs around $249.99.
Hiking, trail running, skiing and snowboarding are all supported alongside standard running, cycling and gym tracking, making it a little more versatile than your average TomTom.
But perhaps the best features are aimed at those hitting the slopes for their winter break. Firstly, the Adventurer should automatically detect when you jump on a ski lift, and will automatically display the stats of your last run. Those stats include speed, descent (captured by a built-in barometer) and gradient as you head back to the top.
The TomTom Adventurer is also a lot smaller than most of its major outdoor watch rivals. Fenix 3, Suunto, Casio Outdoor Smartwatch and Nixon The Mission are all absolute beasts, while the Adventurer succeeds in being a lot less noticeable. Like the Spark 3, it fits into removable straps, which have also been made lighter and more comfortable.
Underneath is the same heart rate monitor that appears on the original Spark, which is one of the most accurate we've tested. We're relieved that it's sticking with a winning formula.
Tracking hikes and skiing runs require long periods of connection – more than running a weekend Park Run or even a marathon. Hikes can go on for multiple days and there isn't always a place to charge your watch in the great outdoors. TomTom has adjusted the GPS frequency to ping every two seconds during hiking mode, double that of its running frequency, to up battery life to 24 hours. We'd have thought frequency could be slowed even more for epic hikes, but what do we know?
Elsewhere on the spec sheet is fitness tracking, featuring steps, distance and calories, which can be accessed from the four-way control under the screen. You can flick through these at any time and aren't restricted to when you're tracking hikes or walks, so you get a full report of your day's calories.
Just like the TomTom Spark there's 4GB of music built-in, which can be listened to with a pair of Bluetooth headphones.
In our eyes the TomTom Adventurer looks like a real winner. A great range of sports in a winning form factor all at a price half that of most of its competitors. Sure, it's not a fully fair comparison – the Fenix 3 is one of the most advanced all-round sports watches we've ever tested, but the fact is that we barely scratch the surface of what it's capable of. Any weekend and fair-weather outdoors enthusiast will find useful and meaningful stats in the TomTom Adventurer, and that's what really counts.