LAS VEGAS—It may sound strange to hear the printer company Epson mentioned in the same sentence as fitness trackers, but it’s not as far-fetched as you may think. The company has been developing wearables for the past few years, and this year the United States will see Epson’s Runsense line of sports watches that are poised to challenge the likes of Garmin and TomTom products.
While there are a few iterations of the Runsense sports watch, the most intriguing is the Runsense 810. It has a built-in GPS to track where you run, an optical heart rate monitor for monitoring intensity during exercise and Epson’s unique stride sensor, which is made to learn your running technique to calibrate stride length.
In addition to goal setting features and multiple running modes, the watch also lets you customize four different screens, so you can prioritize and see what’s most important to you quickly. Like other activity monitors, you can connect the Runsense 810 to Epson's Run Connect mobile app to sync your data and keep track of your progress.
When I saw the Runsense 810 at CES 2015, it reminded me very much of the Garmin Forerunner 220, just with a more traditional watchband. The display is black and white and its four buttons along the side of the watchface are used for exercise controls and changing between your set screens. Its design isn’t anything remarkable, but it crosses off all the standard features of a dedicated running watch.
Those features, however, don’t come cheap. The Epson Runsense 810 will cost $349 when it comes to the US in Q2 of 2015. There will also be two less expensive options: the $279 Runsense 710, which lacks the built-in heart rate monitor of the 810 (but can be paired with an external one), and the $249 Runsense 510 which doesn’t have the vibration notifications of the 710 and the 810.
While it's convenient to have options, the Runsense 810 is much more expensive than the $269 TomTom Runner Cardio, a device with many of the same features. We'll have to wait until we get our hands on a Runsense watch to test it out fully before coming to any conclusions, so stay tuned for a full review.