New Balance RunIQ

8.4
8.4 score
[Editors rating (8.5) + Users rating (8.0)] / 2 = Runners101 score (8.4)/10


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Editor rating: 8.5 / 10
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New Balance RunIQ Review Facts

Because it is one of the cheaper GPS watches on the market, the New Balance RunIQ watch has gained traction and popularity amongst smartwatch users. At a base price of $299.99, this product is more accessible for the masses to purchase and at the same time is still able to provide real time GPS tracking, water resistance, metric tracking, and Bluetooth/wi-fi connectivity. Aside from its various functions, it also gives the user access to Strava, a social network for runners worldwide where you can share and compare workouts. The RunIQ can be customized by changing the watch face display, using interchangeable wristbands in different colors, and by downloading apps from the Play Store. Moreover, this device is able to pair to Android and iOS mobile devices which makes viewing notifications and text messages on the watch a breeze. Unfortunately, the watch has garnered a couple negative reviews claiming a low battery life and connectivity issues, but apart from this, the RunIQ is a quality product.

Pros
  • Inexpensive- a lot of uses for a small cost
  • Compatible pairing with iOS and Android softwares
  • Built in heart rate monitoring
  • Syncs your Google Playlist from Android mobile devices
  • Comfortable and sleek
  • Clear and vibrant screen
Cons
  • Excludes pairing with Windows mobile devices
  • No multi sport uses
  • Low battery life
  • Only one size and color currently available
Signal Strength

Signal Strength

This watch is supposed to connect easily with mobile devices and accurately track the user’s location and routes via GPS but has reportedly lacked accuracy and speed in this area. With that being said, most smart watches experience similar issues, and since the RunIQ is basically New Balance’s prototype, they will eventually be able to work out this kink. When working properly, the signal strength is pretty standard and allows one to use bluetooth, internet connectivity, and use the built in GPS technology.
Size/Weight

Size/Weight

When it comes to the size, weight, and general design of New Balance’s latest innovation, it is on par with similar watches by companies like Suunto or Garmin. It’s screen diameter is 1.4 inches which is on the smaller side, and the watch as a whole is roughly 14 millimeters thick. This essentially means the RunIQ isn’t the slimmest smartwatch out there, but it has certain features and technology that take up more room. As a result, thinner watches may skimp out on these features in favor of a smaller design. A lot of users have described the look and feel of this product as sleek, comfortable, and minimalistic.
Mobile Device Pairing

Mobile Device Pairing

As mentioned earlier, this product pairs to any iOS or Android mobile device. This is an unfortunate setback for Windows users, but New Balance is fairly new to the GPS watch game and will more likely than not update their software on future watches. When this watch is paired to a mobile device, it can receive any and all notifications pertaining to your mobile phone and apps on the watch as well. Like the majority of GPS watches, it is unable to actually send text messages, but being able to view alerts on the watch during hands-free situations is a great asset to this watch. Also, it can sync any Google Playlist from Android phones so you can listen to your music during runs.
Apps & Widgets

Apps & Widgets

Google Play, Android’s app store, has a vast selection of applications and widgets available for free or for a small fee that enhance both the customization and performance of the watch. Some examples of useful and fun widgets are custom watch face displays, a notepad, wallpapers, and weather displays. As for the fitness apps, many of them provide feedback about fitness regimens, track run times, or even remind you of when to drink water. There are also other gaming apps that can be played during leisure time when you’re not running or working out. New Balance’s collaboration with Android is great because the Google Play store has more to choose from than other watch app stores.
Notifications

Notifications

The New Balance RunIQ watch does not skimp on any typical GPS watch function, including the ability to receive notifications from your mobile device when paired to it. When you are working out or running, sometimes it is difficult to pull your phone out of your pocket and check for any notifications from your phone. This includes text messages, missed phone calls, emails, and alerts from any applications you download on the watch. Its great signal strength allows the wearer to get real time updates, even in more remote environments where cell phone reception is weaker. When connected to New Balance’s wireless Jabra headphones, you can answer phone calls instantly and with crystal clear sound.
Personalization

Personalization

One of the biggest letdowns of the RunIQ watch is the fact that it is currently only sold in black and in one size. With such a wide range of customers who prefer a looser or tighter fit, New Balance doesn’t seem to be reaching its full market potential in this area. However, there are several different wristband colors available for purchase that are easily interchangeable. In terms of software personalization, you can customize your watch dashboard or choose from hundreds of apps that help you personalize your workouts and training regimens.
Real Time Tracking

Real Time Tracking

Perhaps the most unique aspect of the RunIQ watch is that its technology focuses almost exclusively on runners rather than trying to squeeze in more specific or obscure features for other sports. The watch tracks location, cadence, distance, heart rate, and pace all in real time using its GPS technology. There are also a lot of apps that make runs more tailored to your fitness levels or workout routes such as Runkeeper, Google Fit, and City Mapper. All of this data can be synced through Strava so other runners can view your stats if you so choose.
Heart Rate Monitoring

Heart Rate Monitoring

Built-in heart rate monitoring technology is often difficult to find in most smart watches as many GPS watch brands, even the more high-end models, require you to purchase a compatible monitoring accessory in order to access the feature. It’s almost worth buying the watch at its low price just for this function, particularly for those who are more cautious about keeping an eye on their heart rate. The monitor measures your heart rate in real time, and there are also other additional apps, such as Google Fit, in the Google Play store that can provide further analysis about your heart rate and fitness levels. Again, this is one of the most fantastic features the RunIQ watch has to offer.
Key Features

Key Features

• Water resistant in up to 50 meters
• Access to social community Strava
• Hundreds of available apps via Google Play Store
• Built-in heart rate monitoring
• More bang for your buck
• Measures several aspects of workouts and runs
• Made with runners in mind
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Overall, I think this watch is a pretty decent choice for runners looking into buying their first GPS watch but are hesitant about paying the exorbitant prices that many other watches are sold at. I wouldn’t recommend buying this product if you are primarily a cyclist, swimmer, etc. because it lacks multisport modes and is really meant exclusively for runners. This watch has some minor issues (connectivity, battery life, and lack of color choice), but the built-in heart rate monitoring, comfort, and affordability make up for some of its deficits. New Balance is in its infancy when it comes to the GPS watch market, but definitely has potential to improve this watch’s software and that of future models. The RunIQ is a pretty average watch, but is great for runners who don’t need extremely detailed and specific measures/analytics.