New Balance RunIQ guide: An Android Wear smartwatch for runners

Everything you need to know about the sporty, GPS-packing smartwatch
New Balance RunIQ essential guide

A year after New Balance announced it was making its first ever Android Wear smartwatch, it's finally landed and we now know it's called the RunIQ.

Set to take on the Polar M600 and Moto 360 Sport, the $300 Wear watch is landing in February and is all set to get the Android Wear 2.0 treatment.

Hands-on: New Balance RunIQ review

We've already had some hands-on time with the New Balance RunIQ, but if you want the lowdown on what features and specs to expect, read on to find out more.

New Balance RunIQ: Design and screen

New Balance RunIQ guide: An Android Wear smartwatch for runners

New Balance and Intel has decided to take the circular smartwatch deisng approach with the RunIQ set to be available in matte black with a grey face. There's also the option to swap out the watch bands, which will be available in a host of colours including blue, red, pink and green. There's one additional band bundled in with the watch as well.

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It features a 1.39-inch AMOLED touchscreen display with a 400 x 400 resolution and 287 ppi so it's be up there with the best that Android Wear screens has had to offer us so far in terms of quality and size.

When you don't want to get your hands all over that touchscreen, the RunIQ has three physical buttons as an alternative way to get a workout started or control music playback features. The top one launches the Run IQ app and will let you start and pause an activity. The middle one is the home button and the one below that controls music and reseting laps during a workout.

The good news for swimmers is that it's water resistance up to 5 ATM, so you can take it for a dip in the pool as well.

New Balance RunIQ: Features

This sporty smartwatch will rock the kind of motion sensors we're used to seeing crop up in your standard fitness tracker and the current crop of fitness-focused Wear watches. There's built-in GPS, an optical heart rate monitor for on the spot readings and heart rate zone training, plus an accelerometer and gyroscope.

To take care of performance New Balance has gone against the Android Wear norm opting to follow in the footsteps of the Tag Heuer Connected and use an Intel Atom Z34XX processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. That should be enough room to fit 50 hours worth of Google Play music if you were wondering.

To take advantage of the ability to load on music, New Balance is partnering with Jabra who is launching a pair of PaceIQ wireless sports headphones that are optimised to work with the RunIQ watch and feature a dedicated Sports button to deliver real-time audio in-ear coaching.

New Balance RunIQ: Android Wear

New Balance RunIQ guide: An Android Wear smartwatch for runners

The RunIQ is set to run on the latest version of Android Wear, which probably explains the delay. It'll work with iOS and Android phones and you can expect Android Wear 2.0 to give you the standard notification support, Google Now integration and the ability to sync music over Google Play (Android phone only). It will also work with new standalone apps.

There's notification support of course when connected to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, although iPhone users will not be able to access the Reply feature. Sorry folks.

There's a NyNB app you'll need to download with big Strava integration to make it easier to upload and share workouts (running and cycling). There's GPS tracking letting you record routes, pace and distance. Additional metrics you can view from the watch screen during a workout include heart rate zones and cadence.

New Balance RunIQ: Battery life

New Balance RunIQ guide: An Android Wear smartwatch for runners

In terms of battery life, the RunIQ includes a 410mAh battery and you can expect to get up to 24 hours on one charge and up to five hours when you're making use of GPS and heart rate monitoring. So it'll last a marathon, but it falls well short of the kind of stamina you'll get from a dedicated Garmin or Polar GPS running watch.

New Balance RunIQ: Price and release date

New Balance RunIQ Android Wear smartwatch unveiled (finally)

The RunIQ is available to pre-order now from the New Balance website, priced at $299.99 and it will be available to buy from 1 February. That's a little cheaper than the Polar M600, our current sporty Android Wear favourite. If you pre-order one you'll get 3 months of Strava Premium to access of all of the fitness app's features. The PaceIQ smart earphones are priced at $109.99 and will also go on sale on 1 February.

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  • TheNewNormal says:

    About time. Have been waiting for this 

    • Sgodsell says:

      It has Google Assistant.  That is suppose to come with Android Wear 2.0.

  • R2deetard says:

    Battery life leaves much to be desired.

  • fitness60 says:

    Its looks good but Polar M600 has so much more to offer compare to new balance.

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