Runner 2 - worth it over Polar RC3GPS ?

HillyRun Registered Users Posts: 7
Apprentice Seeker
edited January 24 in TomTom Sports
Wonder if I could ask for people's input here ?
I run pretty much every day - 5 and 7 days a week I run with my 2 dogs for about 45 minutes 1st thing in the morning. I do try to get out without the dogs for a longer/faster run at the weekends for 5 - 1 5 Kms but at worst we all go out for a bit of a longer run.
In 2014 I ran a 1/2 marathon and would love to get the time to target a few 10k+ races again but not sure when that will be.
My main activity used to be cycling but around 4 years ago the lack of time meant that running took over and in 2014 my wife bought me a Polar RC3GPS. I didn't feel I needed a fancy running watch as I was using Sports Tracker on my phone but the Polar has been great.
18 months ago I was given a Runner 2 Cardio w/music but at the time I felt a replacement for the Polar wasn't needed so it stayed in the box. It is still there ! I now need to either sell it or unbox it and use the thing.

Is it the sort of watch that people might wear 24x7 - for me that would mean I could ditch my crappy £5 watch that I is my weekday watch.

As a running watch I've felt the RC3GPS is great: accurate (I think) GPS, reliable HRM, doesn't need charging too often and is ok at picking up GPS signal - that can sometimes take 60 seconds or so which can be a little frustrating but it does always manage it after a while.

I've been aware of issues with both the responsiveness/accuracy of the Runner's optical hrm and it's GPS tracking - obviously my Polar uses the strap which would be nice to do away with although I'm not normally bothered by it - occasionally it slips during use but if I am careful about placement then it's fine.
My Runner was probably manufactured in 2015 so it's firmware will be well out of date - does the current version provide accuracy for distance/hrm or is this still an issue for some ?

Any feedback would be appreciated.



  • tfarabaugh
    tfarabaugh Posts: 16,935
    Distance accuracy has never really been an issue with the TT watches, so you are fine there. if you update the QuickGPS at least every three days you will get GPS in seconds generally. HR accuracy is okay, about as good as any optical HR is (there are technological limits still), but you will generally see better accuracy with a chest strap if you are willing to wear one (I can't wear one while running and the optical is close enough for my needs). When you first plug the watch in, it will automatically bring it up to the latest firmware so you will get any improvements made since then.

    The 24/7 use is again fairly accurate, all those items (steps, calories, etc.) are meant to be directional to a discrete number and are meant to indicate progress over time. It will overcount some steps and undercount others, but is generally accurate within a range of acceptability.

    i am not sure if you will get a different price selling it opened or unopened but my suggestion would be to try it out a few times and see how you like it. It is a very personal decision and everyone has different thresholds for issues and annoyance. Another key item to consider is the ecosystem and platform the watch uses. You may find that MySports doesn't give you what you want compared to Polar's platform, which may be a determining factor for you.

    I hope this helped answer your question. If so, please mark it as a solution so others can look for it if they have the same question.
  • starfleetyaj
    starfleetyaj Registered Users Posts: 42
    Legendary Explorer
    I owned Polar watches for years, though not the RC3GPS. As a strict running watch, I'd say the Polar watches were ahead of the Runner 2, particularly if you are interested in splits/interval workouts. Runner 2 does not show split times on the watch or phone app. You can see split times on the website, though it is rounded off to the nearest second (does not show tenths/hundredths of second). Additionally, I've had occasional trouble getting it to register a split, since TT doesn't have a dedicated button. Instead, the use must cover the watch face with the fingers/hand to register a split. When my hand and the watch get too sweaty/wet, it will sometimes not register the split. The majority of the time the TT method works fine, but if manual splits are important to you then Polar is ahead. Polar also included a couple of HR metrics (specifically HR max/end per split) that TT does not. All of that said, the watch meets 90%+ of my running needs.

    The OHR is hit or miss as tfarabaugh suggests, as is the case with most OHR watches. I always use a bluetooth enabled HR strap when I really care about the data, but having the OHR option is nice.

    The biggest reason I would select the TT is the Music feature. The ability to bring music, podcasts, audio books, etc. out on the road without a phone or separate MP3 player is HUGE for me. There are some quirks around headset pairing and the range of the bluetooth signal, but I've been able to work around/through all of those and it's one of the most enjoyable aspects of owning the watch for me.
  • HillyRun
    HillyRun Registered Users Posts: 7
    Apprentice Seeker
    Thanks for your really useful responses. I am still a bit undecided but I think I will probably give the Runner a try and see if I like it. The music, I agree, could be a significant plus but when I run with my dogs I never have it whilst I used to always have music playing (via phone) when I ran on my own but the recent solo runs I ran without. My circumstances (job etc) are changing so it could change quite a bit and it may or may not become something I regularly want to have.

  • q345456
    q345456 Registered Users Posts: 11
    Legendary Explorer
    If HRM accuracy is key to your use, I would think very hard before using the Spark. I use the Adventurer, so not direct comparison, but I believe the HRM units are the same. IN my experience, the HRM is woefully inconsistent - around half the time it is accurate, but then the other half it is grossly inaccurate, by which I mean 30 - 60 BPM or more in excess of an accurate reading. That makes heart zone training, calorie tracking, VO2 improvement impossible. If you only want HRM data for fun and don't mind those inconsistencies, it is a good watch. Otherwise, sick with something else.
  • HillyRun
    HillyRun Registered Users Posts: 7
    Apprentice Seeker
    Hi - thanks for replying to this query of mine from months back!
    I eventually decided to try out the Runner/Spark and see whether it had any value or not - partly as a result of my daily watch breaking.
    In brief I find good and not so good things about it:

    A bit big to be my normal watch for everyday - for now I am using it all the time but its size/shape seems to result in my knocking it on things and I do fear that I'll damage it but it's ok.
    Music - I've been lazy and not uploaded any of my music to it but the preloaded ones whilst not my cop of tea actually are very listenable for my running - most times I run with my 2 dogs and don't have music. Sound quality with really cheap (£7 or so) is pretty good and only occasionally do I get flickers of drop-out.
    HR is generally ok (comparison with my Polar on a few occasions) - it does have times when the HR is just not believable. In the past I used HRMs for cycling that sometimes badly misrecorded however my Polar is 95+ accurate so really the TomTom is quite a bit below it in quality in that respect. Optical HR sensors are just not good enough still maybe ?
    Finding GPS signal - I can be synched with a satellite often before I leave my house, occasionally I need to stand still for up to 60 secs but I'm impressed by the speed it achieves this most days - one of the best features of the watch for me, my Polar often took quite a bit longer most times.
    Distance measurement - seems good (again compared to my Polar). Not expecting 100% accuracy - no domestic GPS device will be - but it does this fine.
    I've not looked in-depth at the daily activity recordings but when I scroll through this info it seems to record my step count way higher than realistic, not sure whats happening here.

    Overall for the price I've seen it now offered at (sub-£100 for some models) I'd say it is probably decent value if HR accuracy isn't crucial and the watch size suits you.