Our Verdict

The TomTom Touch Cardio is a heart rate tracking band at a fair price. However, interface niggles and relatively short battery life make it less breezy to live with than some. The main question: will you be happy charging it 2-3 times a week?

For

  • Smart-looking OLED screen
  • Simple operation
  • Reasonable price

Against

  • Slow interface
  • Software could be more fun
  • Mediocre battery life

Hear about a fitness band from a GPS wizard like TomTom or Garmin and you might expect it to be a massively feature-packed sports device that will fill your wrist and empty your pocket. The TomTom Touch Cardio is much friendlier than that, though.

It’s a simple fitness band, more like a Fitbit than a TomTom runner’s watch. The TomTom Touch Cardio is the simplest entry in the series, shedding the body fat analyzer feature of the TomTom Touch band we reviewed previously.

At $89.99/£79.99/AU$149 it’s the right price for a fitness tracker with a heart rate sensor. It’s not as fun to use day-to-day as a Fitbit, though.

Design

  • Smart, simple look
  • Water resistant, but not for swimming

Most fitness bands like the TomTom Touch Cardio have a similar make-up. They’re little plastic bricks inside rubbery silicone straps. The question becomes: what’s on that little plastic brick and how big is it?

You can see for yourself in this case. The glossy part of the TomTom Touch Cardio’s front shows you the rough outline of the module part, and the rest is silicone strap.

It’s quite a pure design, and looks better than the model up, which has a silvery pad below the screen to deliver the body-scanning feature missing in this more affordable band. In its place, there’s just a finger-welcoming indent.

You press this to wake the TomTom Touch Cardio up.

As the TomTom Touch Cardio is so slight compared with some more feature-packed watches, it seems unlikely many will have comfort problems here.

However, the module isn’t molded to the shape of your wrist. This actually seems deliberate, though, leaving some much-needed ventilation gaps that are missing in the solid strap.

It uses a familiar plastic-pronged fastener, common in this kind of fitness band.

The TomTom Touch Cardio is water resistant to the IPx7 standard, meaning you can wear it in the shower. We tried this: it survived. However, TomTom is also clear that the band should not be worn while swimming. It can handle sweat, but not the swimming pool or sea.

Screen

  • Small but clear monochrome screen
  • Slim rectangular shape with great contrast
  • Not an always-on display

One of the TomTom Touch Cardio’s neatest features is the way its OLED screen merges into its pure black surround. If it had an LCD screen you’d see a halo of light around the screen’s surface, revealing its dimensions.

Here you have to angle the tracker very carefully to tell the display from its surround. It’s a good look.

This is a monochrome display, with bright white pixels that have no tonal variation. In parts of the TomTom Touch Cardio’s interface you’ll see a patchwork pattern of lit and unlit pixels to simulate grey for a bit of variation, though.

Using OLED gives the TomTom Touch Cardio an important touch of class, but there are some issues with the display. First, this isn’t an always-on screen.

You have to press the little indent below the screen to get the clock to appear. It needs to be a pretty full-fingered press too, and the screen only stays awake for a couple of seconds.

TomTom likely did this deliberately so the Touch Cardio isn’t forever turning on in your pocket, but it does make the band feel a little unresponsive until you realize how picky the pad is.

There’s some of this effect in general touchscreen use too. The whole of the TomTom Touch Cardio’s front is a touch-sensitive surface, not just the circle below the screen.

Up and down swipes cycle through the ‘pages’ of the interface. Try to flick too fast and the TomTom Touch Cardio will miss a gesture. You have to be quite slow and deliberate, which isn’t great if you want to see stats during a workout.

Most of the time the TomTom Touch Cardio feels fine to use, but don’t expect smartphone-like reactions here.