Back in October I had mentioned that I would be reviewing the Tech4o Men’s Accelerator Trail Runner watch and I’m finally getting around to posting my findings. The watch is basically a pedometer and like all pedometers it needs to know the length of your stride to be as accurate as possible. It took a couple of easy laps at the track to determine my length (stride length that is, minds out of the gutter) and I calibrated the watch. The first test was to run a few more easy laps and check the distance; it was pretty exact, reading 0.248 miles after one lap. The next test would be to run some intervals at a faster pace, and unfortunately the watch was not as accurate at the faster pace. Perhaps I’m too fast for my own good. It gave me a single lap reading of 0.20 miles at the faster pace, a miscalculation of almost 20%.
I ran home from the track at an easy pace, and once again the watch easily fell within the 95% accuracy rate that Tech4o claims on their website. Predictably, the watch is very accurate when running at the pace at which you calibrate it, but woefully inaccurate at a faster pace due to the likely change in your stride length. Here’s a few more pros and cons:
- Size matters (a great deal according to my junk mail folder) and this watch is nice and compact.
- It can be used as your everyday watch.
- There are several advantages in it being a pedometer and not a GPS system:
- It doesn’t take 5 minutes to start up and find a signal.
- It doesn’t ever lose a signal and can thus be used near tall buildings, under trees or even indoors.
- It even works on the treadmill. (Not sure why you’d need to use it on a treadmill, but there you go.)
- It doesn’t need to be charged after each use, although presumable the battery will die at some point and I’ll have to replace it.
- Not as accurate as a Garmin.
- Doesn’t track nearly as many stats as a Garmin and doesn’t upload to your computer. This will be a major disappointment for those of you who like to geek out over your splits and elevations and heart rate etc.
- It’s not useful at all if you plan to be running at varying paces.
- It doesn’t display pace, instead it displays your speed in mph so some math is required to convert that to a miles/minute pace (or you could just look up a conversion chart online). However, the speed is listed to 2 decimal places (i.e. 6.24mph) so it can still be an accurate indicator of pace.
While I won’t be doing a whole lot of training runs with this watch I will probably use it when I travel so that I don’t have to worry about bringing the charging dock for my Garmin or worse yet, losing my Garmin. If you’re just looking for a simple watch to give you distance and speed (assuming you’re running at a fairly consistent pace) then the Tech4o line of watches might be right for you. At a list price of $69.99 it’s certainly cheaper than a Garmin.