CNET First Look
New Balance and Intel team up to make a smartwatchThe RunIQ Smartwatch has all the features you need to track a run phone-free, but it may have a hard time standing out in a sea of other fitness smartwatches.
The RunIQ is the result of a tech company and a fitness company coming together to create a smart watch. New Balance provided the running expertise and Intel the tech to power it. They say it's a watch designed by runners for runners. Complete with Strava integration, the popular tracking and social network app used by runners and cyclists. This means it definitely checks all the boxes in terms of running features. Heart rate monitor, built-in GPS, waterproofing up to 50 meters, and up to four gigs of onboard music storage to pair with your Bluetooth headset. Most importantly, it gives you complete independence from the phone when you're out pounding the. The pavement or treadmill. What it claims to do particularly well is heart rate. Though it uses a similar optical sensor as its competitors, it's specifically designed to prevent light from interfering with the reading to provide a more accurate result It gives a continuous read throughout your run and then the Strava app does a great job at breaking down the information for you by average, max and splits. Another useful feature, its physical buttons which allow you to quickly start or stop a run or access your music without bumbling with a screen with sweaty fingers. Sadly no barometer to measure elevation but Strava uses a database to calculate elevation when you're on the run. Battery is key when it comes to long distance running, and the Run IQ seems to be up to the challenge. It's supposed to last 24 hours of moderate use or 5 hours during activity, this means that continuous heart rate and GPS always on. That's enough to run a marathon if you're fast. Not the best in the market, but not the worst. So let's get to the non-running features. While elegance may not be a priority for runners, it's definitely a plus and I found the RunIQ to be attractive, if you're a man. On a woman's wrist it still looks a bit bulky even in the rose gold. It's surprisingly customizable for a running watch with three stainless steels bezel options and rose gold, gunmetal, gray and black, and interchangeable silicon strap. And let's not forget that there's a pretty powerful Android Wear watch under all this bells and whistles. With a dual core processor that can handle phone calls, notifications, app use and navigation. It works best with an android device but also paired with an iPhone. The RunIQ is already available to order from the New Balance website for about $300 which is on part with similar watches from [UNKNOWN]. [MUSIC]