TomTom Launch Runner and Multisport Watches

tomtom-gps-watch

As previewed by Latest Gadgets in April, TomTom have finally launched their exciting Runner and Multi-Sport wrist-pieces. Boasting a GPS pedigree that’s second to none, and a tried and tested track record (literally) powering Nike’s Sportswatches, TomTom have clearly done plenty of legwork and timed their debut sole entrance into an already healthy market very well indeed.

From the basic/borderline budget models (Timex’s Marathon or Soleus’s GPS 1.0 Running Watch) to the big ticket professional sports mates (anything in Garmin’s extensive range) the running community are blessed with a bounty of wrist-bound tracking options. But whether you’re spending £50 or £300, one thing remains consistent: bulkiness.

So far the chunky size of sports watches has largely regarded as ‘par for the course’. Even by today’s standards watch technology that tracks your distance, your route, your heart rate, your speed and your calories while offering you ghost running buddies AND tells you the time simply must be on the chubby side, right?

Not any more… Both TomTom’s Runner and Multisport are 11.5mm thick, making them some of the skinniest running watches in town. And don’t worry; there are no concessions for functionality, either. In fact they’re both teaming with exciting functions for runners in all conditions outdoor and indoor as TomTom have included highly accurate sensors to allow complete indoor track mapping for treadmill running (just in case you think the treadmill’s own distance data function is fibbing!)

Other benefits shared across the two models include a distinctive, bold data display, multi-platform functionality with all running-based social media sites and, most interestingly, TomTom’s QuickGPSFix. Another bug-bear of all sportswatch users (even the really pricey ones) is waiting for the GPS to identify your location.

Sure, that time is best invested in stretching and warming up, but on a rainy day when you’re finding it hard to drum up the intestinal fortitude to get out there in the first place, waiting for your watch to find your location can be rather irksome. TomTom reckon their GLONASS technology will bid this mild running annoyance adieu.

Enjoy more than running? Then the TomTom Multi-Sport is for you. An ideal solution for any triathletes, its design lends itself to both cycling (outdoor and track) and swimming thanks to a cadence sensor, an altimeter and motion sensor. Go for the top of the range and you’ll even enable a SWOLF score that details your swimming efficiency.

Sounds great, right? Well, here’s the best bit… There’s only one button to access all of these functions. No fiddly touchscreen techniques, no multi-button combos like you’re back on Street Fighter on the SNES, TomTom have ensured a very simple way of reaching the information and data you need to enhance, record and share your sporting successes. Both weatherproof, waterproof and home to a 10 hour battery in GPS mode and sitting pretty at the middle of the market with a price tag between £149.99-£179.99, TomTom’s arrival in the sports watch world appears to be very impressive indeed.

Magellan Echo Running Watch: GPS + Bluetooth Join Forces

Magellan-Echo

Magellan are GPS experts so it’s nice to see that they have finally joined the smart running watch race. But rather than show up late to the party with your arms swinging (a lovely Nigerian expression for when you don’t bring any food or drink to a party), Magellan have a neat, and potentially game changing party trick – Bluetooth Smart connectivity.

Magellan have acknowledge the dominance of smartphones in the current tech landscape – I now sort of automatically expect any device I have to play nicely with my smartphones. This is especially useful when I’m doing something like running and don’t want to be distracted by fiddling with buttons in my pocket. Via the Echo you gain playback control over your music, and can input start, stop or lap controls – handy if you want to take a quick breather or if New Edition starts playing and you’re not in a New Jack Swing mood.

Echo-Running-Man

In what I consider to be a nice touch, the Echo wirelessly connects smartphone fitness apps like Strava, MapMyRun, Runtastic and RunKeeper to your wrist rather than making you upload utilise a bespoke app and related ecosystem. The data is displayed in real time and leverages the Wahoo API found in things like the RFLKT.

Echo-Water

If you’re a hardened running pro, you’ll be pleased to know that the Echo is just as tough as you and has a ruggedized, water-resistant design giving you no excuses not to fight your way through damp running conditions (other than “it’s cold and I don’t want to”, which is what normally stops me).

Magellan opted for a replaceable battery to avoid charging issues. I have a USB-powered sports watch that is sitting in need of a charge by the side of my bed so I can see the wisdom in this decision – but I do like the general idea of rechargeable batteries from an environmental perspective at least.

The exact UK release date is unknown but should be some time towards the end of this year. What is know is that the Echo will be out in three colours – Black, Cool Blue or Warm Red. US pricing is $149.99 or $199.99 with a Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Monitor.

Trax: The Smart Way to Monitor Kids and Pets

Trax

Thanks to smartphones equipped with GPS we’re constantly reporting our position to social media, employers or anyone else who’s interested. Being tracked is simply a part of everyday existence for most of us. But what about the precious things in your life that you want to track, your pets or your children perhaps? Buying the cat an iPhone is a bit over the top – quite aside from the fact that they’re hard to use with paws.

The answer may lie in the Trax. Claimed to be the world’s smallest and smartest GPS tracker it allows you to monitor its location via a smartphone app. It’s waterproof and comes with a clip that can be attached to a pet’s collar, a child’s coat or whatever you want. In addition to location tracking it has a sensor that monitors speed and direction which means it can alert you if it’s dropped or if it exceeds a certain speed – so you’ll know if the dog has secretly got itself a motorbike.

The Trax app is available for Android and iOS. If you’re worried about the kids straying too far from home, it lets you draw virtual geo-fences on a map and can tell you when the Trax unit strays over the boundary.

Whilst its aimed at parents and pet owners, and could see an end to those photocopied pictures of missing moggies taped to lampposts, we can think of a few other uses too. Leave Trax in your car and you’ll always know where you parked it. Attach it to your partner and you’ll know if he’s really working late at the office or if he’s just sneaked off to the pub.

The Trax is due to be launched in September at a price of €185 which includes two years of data and roaming across the EU, US, Canada and Australia. If you think your dog is headed for South America, therefore, you’ll lose touch with him once he’s across the border.

You can find out more and register your interest at http://trax4you.com/

Go ‘Big Brother’ on Your Pets: MSP 340 pET Tracker Collar

Pet-Tracker

The pet gadget industry is a vastly expanding market. And why not? You love gadgets, so why shouldn’t your furry family member, too?

Admittedly much of the market is novelty and frivolity-based. From DJ-style cat scratching turntables to dog umbrellas via pet painting kits the interactive, fun and fashion potential for pets has never been stronger. But there’s also a much more serious way gadgets and technology can enhance the quality of life for both you and your pet. Like Take2Techology’s snappily-titled MSP 340 pET Tracker Collar.

Perfect for when your dog’s understanding of the term ‘walkies’ stretches further than your own interpretation, the MSP 340 is a collar-fitting tracker device that communicates directly with your smartphone. Available on both Android and Apple platforms, it’s actually a pretty neat bit of kit. And so it should be for its near-£90 price tag.

Here’s how it works: the tracker snaps securely onto your dog’s collar (with the power switch on the inside – so Rover can’t switch it off when he wants to maintain radio silence), download the app, sync the tracker and the hard work is done. Using GPS and GSM mobile network positioning you can track your pet’s every move.

There’s some interesting functionality at play here. You can set Geo-Fence parameters so the app won’t waste your time and will only alert you when your pet has gone further than you’d like it to. The alarm itself will notify you using both SMS and app-based alerts. You can track your pet in real time and there’s also a history recall so you can playback their movements throughout the day… Very interesting if you’ve ever wondered what pooch gets up to when you’re at work.

The tracker device itself is rather smart. It’s lightweight (only 35g to be precise) and available in a range of colours (so your Alsatian won’t look foolish in poodle-ready purple). It’s also housed in a waterproof casing and alerts you when the power supplies are low.

All pets are priceless to their owners but this is especially suitable for those who own valuable breeds. And with Take2Technology’s pedigree (sorry!) for GPS and tracking based kit, its robust build and reliability are difficult to question, too.

Find out more at Take2Technology

C5 Childs Tracker Watch: Forget big brother, big mother is watching you

Tracker-Watch

When children are little, it’s reasonably easy to keep your eye on them – you can attach them to a strap on both your wrists, strap them in a buggy, or hold on to their reins. Once they’re bigger, Take2Teq is offering a new solution in the form of the C5 Childs GSM GPS Tracker Positioning Watch Phone.

When your kids are older, how do you know where they are? Sure, you might keep an eye on them, but if you take them to festivals (a more and more popular pastime in the summer for families), or for days out, what happens if you get separated? And if they are at secondary school and have a journey to make, and after school clubs to go to, how can you keep track of where they are?

That’s where the GPS GSM Tracker Phone Watch comes in. The phone allows parents to keep track of their child using a smartphone. The makers say that the watch not only offers the child a discrete way to send an instant alert should they be in trouble but also to make and receive calls to up to four set numbers.

This makes it a good in-between product for anyone who doesn’t want their child to have a mobile phone – for whatever reason –while offering them a communication device to use in event of problems.

The phone watch has a SIM card and parents can locate their child using the ‘On Demand GPS location’ function. This will send the GP co-ordinates of the child to the pre-set mobile phone numbers – you might choose parents, childminder and best friend’s parent, for instance.

A total of six waypoints can be inputted, showing entry and exit time from the waypoints, which are sent to the guardian numbers.

There is also an intelligence voice monitoring function, which lets parents covertly dial into the watch and listen in, although this sounds a bit too big brother for my liking.

If you’re out shopping, or at a theme park, for instance, there is a bluetooth tethering function, which sends an alert message if the pairing or connection drops out, which happens when the phone and watch are more than 10m apart.

The watch also acts as an MP3 player and comes in a number of colours. It costs £74.40 from www.take2teq.com.

Top 5 Cycling Gadgets

Cycling-Gadgets

Cycling has been in the news a lot lately, with the trialling of Dutch-style segregated roundabouts appearing alongside less positive stories about fatal road accidents. However, technology is playing a big part in improving the lives of Britain’s cyclists, and this list of gadgets and apps will assist with everything from safety and maintenance through to fitness and entertainment.

ProNav

1. Safety

Road safety has historically been a major problem for cyclists, and HGVs have been involved in over 50 per cent of cycling deaths since 2010, despite only making up around four per cent of our road traffic. Now, a brand new device called Cycle Alert aims to eliminate the blind spots that can precede collisions with lorries and trucks. This ingenious system sends direct warnings to the drivers of nearby HGVs, alerting them to the presence of any bicycle within two metres. This is achieved by a unit (carried on either the bike or cyclist) communicating with sensors in the lorry cab, immediately triggering a warning alarm and flashing light.

Cost: TBC. Available from nationwide retailers and cyclealert.com later this year.

2. Navigation

Garmin was the first company to launch GPS into the cycling market, and their Edge 510/810 devices incorporate numerous cycle-friendly features. Alongside the usual GPS positioning and speed displays, these compact systems can display gradients, elevations, heart rates and even lap times. Best of all, it’s possible to share the details of your journey in real time with friends and family members, through the Garmin Connect smartphone app. Waterproof, glove-friendly and with a 17-hour battery life, these are among the best GPS devices on the market for cyclists.

Cost: Upwards of £250. Available from Amazon.

Basis-Band

3. Fitness

Cycling is one of the best ways to improve your fitness, but it can be hard to keep tabs on your progress and health. Enter Basis Band, an American device worn on the wrist that acts as a personal cardiologist and fitness instructor. It calculates numerous metrics including heart rate, temperature and galvanic skin response, before distributing this information via cloud technology to a computer program, where users can track everything from calorific output to how long they sleep at night.

Cost: $199. Available from www.mybasis.com

Westone-R4

4. Entertainment

There are countless varieties of portable headphones in the market today, and many people will already have a preferred brand. However, cyclists with deep pockets and no brand loyalties might wish to consider the Westone 4 R-Series of earphones, whose name promises Ultra High-Performance Stereo sound. Sure enough, clever engineering has created impressive ergonomics, while removable cables can be replaced in the event of damage occurring. These in-ear speakers use four-driver systems, based on half a century’s research and innovation, and provide a tolerance of +/- 2dB between earpieces.

Cost: £389.99. Available from The Headphone Company

5. Maintenance

Every keen cyclist will be able to tell tales of mechanical issues and breakdowns, and many of us struggle with even basic repairs like reattaching a slipped chain. Enter the Bike Repair app, which is downloadable onto any Android or iOS device, and offers step-by-step solutions to common problems encountered by cyclists. With over 80 written features and 64 photo guides, this should be enough to resolve anything short of a double puncture.

Cost: £2.49 from iOS, or £1.93 from Android. Available from The Bike Repair App

Image courtesy of @each1teach1

Top 5 Running Gadgets

Scosche-Rthm

It’s that time of year again. The sun is beginning to shine, the days are getting longer and everyone is proudly plastering social media channels with details on precisely how many miles they’ve run. But wait; there’s plenty more potential to running gadgets than showing off the distance you’ve wheezed your way around the local park. Plenty more. Latest Gadgets rounds up five of the best…

Scosche Rhythm

From: Scosche

Like to keep your finger on the pulse? Enjoy running? Then look no further… Scosche have just launched their simple Rhythm strap which, with the help of your smart phone, can provide all your essential pulse data, and plenty more.

Designed with simplicity in mind, the three button gadget straps onto your forearm and communicates to your smart device via Bluetooth. Not only does it record your pulse via integrated dual LED sensors, allowing you to closely monitor just how hard you’re pushing yourself, Rhythm also provides complete control of your music collection as well as generating other essential stats such as distance covered and calories burned.

It’s also compatible with myriad existing running apps such as iPower, Spinning, RunDouble C25K and many more. And yes, thanks to its social network flexibility, you can join the masses and tell the world just how good a runner you truly are.

Yours for $99.99

Running World: Zone Dome

From: Running World

For those who can’t rely on reasonable seasonable climes, Running World’s somewhat aspirational Zone Dome can whisk you away to a variety of desirable running locations in the world and you don’t even have to leave your home. As featured on Latest Gadgets in March, the 1.5 metre screen is compatible with most treadmills and offers the choice of 20 or 40 minute runs at speeds between 9-12 km/h.

With a choice of five lavish scenery settings, you can take your pick from Route 66 to Area 51 without a fear of rain, traffic, pollution or runner-hating neer-do-wells lurking around any corner. Providing you have your own treadmill and can honour the £3,940 price tag, the Zone Dome is ideal for running regardless of the unpredictable weather. File under luxury: there’s no surprise Zone Dome’s manufacturers are targeting the gym chains with this cinematic running gadget.

Yours for £3490

Misfit-Shine

Misfit Shine

Misfit Wearables

Looking like some sexy pendant or broach from the future, Misfit’s Shine is similar to Scosche’s Rhythm (and indeed a whole host of competing wrist-based running gadgets such as the Nike FuelBand, The Runalyser and the Fitbit One). What the Shine does that most other arm-based running gadgets do is look very cool.

Looking further afield than the standard rubber or plastic models, Shine is manufactured using hard-wearing but super-lightweight aluminium. With a smooth spherical finish and minimal controls (in fact none: Bluetooth all the way, baby) the Shine will be just at home hanging from your neck or sitting sweetly in your pocket.

Okay, so it looks great. What else does it do? Well it tracks every move you make and the ground you cover ensuring favour from all forms of exercise fans from runners to cyclists. Soon-to-be-launched over the States at $99, Shine has potential to impact the ever-growing exercise market.

Yours for $99

Swimming-Sports-Watch

TomTom GPS Sports Watches

From: TomTom

Satnav kings TomTom are no strangers to the running world, having worked closely with Nike on their sports watch ranges. Now sprinting into the market with their own unit, TomTom are taking things next level.

With a clear, simple-to-read high contrast display, one-button functionality, a whole range of training programs and built-in stride sensors, few activities can go un-checked by the TomTom Sports Watch. Naturally, GPS comes as standard and allows for upwards of 10 hours battery life. Impressed? Jog on over to Latest Gadget’s full review.

MileStone-Pod

Milestone Pod

From: Milestone

It’s all good and well knowing how far you’ve run, what your pulse is saying, how many calories you’ve burnt and just how many people you can tell about your achievements. But let’s not forget the most important ingredient in running… Your feet!

Appropriate footwear is essential for running. But once you’ve made that investment, how much lifespan do they have? The most common rule of thumb is approximately 400 miles. But unless you’re tracking that via some of the other gadgets in this list, how do you know when your trainers need a reboot? Change them too soon and you’ll waste valuable tread. Change them too late and you’ve got a one-way ticket to Injury Town.

Enter the Milestone Pod, a thumb-sized pedometer that attaches to your laces and records how much life is left in your faithful daps. What’s more, you can also save easily accessible essential personal data such as medical history and emergency contact details in case you suffer from an accident while out training. Launched as a Kickstarter project earlier this year, they failed to hit their target of $60,000 but they’re continuing their product roll-out with determination. See their website for details.

Sony DEV-50V Digital Recording Binoculars: Bring Nature Close

Sony-DEV-binoculars

For many people, their phone is now a camera and their music player is now a phone. Doubling up on functions, however, works best when the two purposes are connected. Enter Sony’s new DEV-50V digital recording binoculars. Improving on the previous model, the DEV-50V is almost one third lighter, and with splash and dust resistance it allows for easy viewing and recording of various far-away scenes. The SEV-50V is ideal for nature-lovers, with rare or unusual wildlife now easier both to see from a distance and easier to record, whether via HD video or digital photographs in a very nice 20.4 megapixels. Of course, it is also of benefit for sports-watchers and holiday-makers.

Sony-DEV3-Binoculars

The DEV-50V offers a host of technological tricks to make taking video as easy as possible. The main draw for many may be the weight reduction to just over 0.75kg, but inside the housing (99% recycled material), is some very fancy software and hardware. The XGA OLED Tru-Finder allow for clearer images via improved contrast and resolution. Active Mode image stabilisation with Optical Steady Shot minimizes blurs even at full 25X zoom, so that tiny robin or bluetit is easily seen and admired. Inbuilt GPS lets you keep an accurate record of your favourite locations. Autofocus smooths out the viewing experience, which is something anyone used to the tricky focusing of normal binoculars will welcome. For early morning or late evening pursuits, the Hyper Gain function offers increased brightness in dim lighting conditions. Late night football game with the action way down at the other end of the pitch? No problem.

The Dev-50V offers HD and 3D recording, which is appealing to gadget-fans, although 3D viewing devices still don’t have widespread penetration. However, for those that have already invested in a 3D TV, the June launch of the DEV-50V is sure to be even more anticipated.