ugh, i wanted to like this android smart watch, i really did. The RunIQ was supposed to be the smart watch made by runners for runners. But sadly there are so many software bugs plaguing the Run IQ right now that it makes it hard to recommend right now. Although the RunIQ is a partnership between New Balance and Intel, should they both share the blame or is one more at fault than the other?
the unboxing experience from the run iq is very similar to the new fit bits. inside the box you’re greeted by the run IQ watch face and some text out lining its capabilities. lift the tab and you'll find a quick start guide and some warranty documentation. and under that you'll find the charging cradle and USB cable.
New Balance set out to make a smart watch that was perfect for runners. a smart watch that could stand on its own, track your run with its integrated gps, have built in storage so you can play music directly off of it, and have a much more accurate heart rate sensor than any other smart watch on the market. they even designed the ui and ux so that you don't have to touch the screen to log lapswhile you’re running.
and they did a great job when it comes to the design of the watch. you get a fully circular screen that easy to see in most conditions. the watch is made out of stainless steel and its super rugged. its water resistant down to 5 atmospheres of pressure, and it has wrist bands that are vey easy to swap out. but its HUGE and heavy. and i find it really hard for women wanting to wear this watch since it'll dwarf their smaller wrists. and the wrist band that comes included with the run IQ feel pretty cheap as well compared to other smart watches I’ve reviewed.
one of the biggest issues plaguing the run IQ right now is the battery life. the run iq is advertised as having a 24 hour battery life with typical use, or 5 hours of battery life with continuous gps and heart monitoring turned on. but even with light use i was lucky if i was able to get through half the day without needing to put the run iq on its charger. actually the run iq has an even worse battery life than the apple watch series two.
whats supposed to make the run IQ stand out above the competition is the inclusion of built in strava support and their Run IQ App. the run IQ app is very well designed and is a pleasure to use. at a glance you can see your distance, heart rate, cadence, and time. and you simply just have to press the side button to log a lap. the starve app on the other hand is pretty much useless all it rally does is just send your data to its mobile app. but neither app really matters since the watch’s gps connection is spotty at best. and a spotty gps connection isn't the only problem, the run iq constantly disconnects from your phone, forcing you to routinely restart your watch so that it can reconnect to your phone. one thing i did notice was that if you have either run iq or strava running in the background of the watch, expect it to lag when scrolling through other cards in android wear. like a lot
the run IQ is currently running android 1.0 but should be upgraded to android wear 2.0 sometime in the future. although the run iq is best when paired to an android phone, you can still connect it to an iPhone. you just lose a lot of the functionality and you really just end up getting notifications on your wrist.
over all, its hard to recommend the run IQ to any one right this second. battery life is very poor, the watch constantly disconnects from your smartphone, gps connection is spotty, and the watch needs to be restarted regularly. perhaps most or all of these issues can be solved through software patches or when the run iq gets upgraded to android wear 2.0. we might need to revisit this product once its gets android 2.0, cause right now it feels like it was rushed out the door.