Runtopia S1 review

A new cheap running watch contender

Runtopia S1
Image Credit: TechRadar

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The Runtopia S1 is far from a fashion orientated watch. Solidly in the running watch/fitness wearable camp, it offers a reasonable amount of features for the price.  

We're not really a fan of its looks and it's a shame it lacks a couple of nice bonuses like swimming functionality or NFC support, but it seems like a watch that will end up heavily discounted at retailers upon release. 

Once dipping into a price band that's on a par with fitness trackers like the Garmin Forerunner 10, it feels far more tempting.  

That's certainly the case when you consider its sturdy battery life. Its suitable hands-off in its approach and you'll soon appreciate not having to think about it too much, even if you do ideally need to take your phone (and the Runtopia app) with you to gain music playback or audio coaching.  

Simply put, if you're on a tight budget, you could do a lot worse than picking up the Runtopia S1. For others though, you may be better off waiting to see if there's a Runtopia S2 that rectifies the original's issues.  

Who's this for?

The Runtopia S1 is aimed at those on a budget. If you're keen to take running a little more seriously but you're also aware that you can't afford to throw hundreds at it (or there's a chance that your interest may fade), this is a decent watch to buy.  

It's never going to look good on a night out, even if you swap out the watch strap, but it's able to withstand a few knocks and blows when out and about on your Saturday morning run or gym session. And that battery life means you won't have to think about charging it the night before in preparation.  

Should you buy it?

The Runtopia S1 has the basics covered. It's useful to have constant heart rate tracking as well as built-in GPS, and its minor inaccuracies are forgivable and hardly a big deal. 

That sweet battery life also endears you towards putting up with its occasional slow moments because really? Who wants to spend every day remembering to charge a multitude of devices? Its app is pretty good too which is lucky as you'll need it every now and then to get the most from the watch.  

Don't buy it for its looks, and if you can afford more, then go with that. But if you want to keep things cheap, this is a decent proposition. 

The competition

Not attracted to the Runtopia S1? Check out the following three alternative options. 

Apple Watch 4

The Apple Watch 4 is far more expensive than the Runtopia S1 but if you can stretch that far, you'll be happy. It looks great, it's packed full of useful features, and you can actually do things with the notifications you receive. 

Price wise, it's far more of an investment but if you know you're passionate about running or cycling or swimming, the Apple Watch 4 does it all.

Read our full Apple Watch 4 review

Garmin Forerunner 235

Keen for a running watch rather than an all-rounder smartwatch? Pay more and you can get the Garmin Forerunner 235. It's not the most feature rich of the Garmin range but it offers more than the Runtopia S1. 

Among its extra features, it offers VO2 Max readings highlighting the maximum volume of oxygen you can use, along with sleep tracking. You can also pair it with ANT+ chest straps, something the Runtopia S1 doesn't offer.  

But it's ageing technology and costs more than the Runtopia S1, so it won't be for everyone. 

Read our full Garmin Forerunner 235 review

Fitbit Inspire

The Fitbit Inspire is a fitness tracker rather than smartwatch. It looks nicer than the Runtopia S1 but at the detriment of useful features. It offers pedometer features and a constant heart rate monitor, but there's no GPS and battery life is only about 5 days. 

However, the Inspire is still more expensive than the Runtopia S1 right now and sleep tracking doesn't make up for that extra $30. It's important to realise that going for a lesser known brand like the Runtopia S1 can mean better value for money than sticking with something popular like the Fitbit.  

Read our full Fitbit Inspire review

Image credits: TechRadar

Jennifer Allen

Jennifer is a roving tech freelancer with over 10 years experience. Having graduated from Swansea University with a degree in Media and Communication Studies, and later with a diploma from Staffordshire University with a post graduate diploma in Computer Games Design, she's written for a huge number of publications, including T3, FitandWell, Top Ten Reviews, Eurogamer, NME and many more. 

Her main areas of interest are all things B2B, smart technology, wearables, speakers, headphones, and anything gaming related, and you'll find her writing everything from product reviews to buying guides and hunting down the latest coupon codes to save you money. In her spare time, she enjoys the cinema, walking, and attempting to train her pet guinea pigs. She is yet to succeed.