New Balance is set to throw its hat into the very competitive, and occasionally overwhelming, ring of wearable tech with its newly introduced Run IQ watch.
Developed by New Balance in partnership with Intel, Google, and Strava, the watch features built-in GPS and heart-rate tracking, plus smartwatch functionality via bluetooth-enabled on-screen notifications, the ability to track cadence and auto/manual laps, and a battery life that'll get you through a marathon and then some. The Run IQ is compatible with both iPhone and Android phones and comes with the Strava app as a pre-loaded feature. It's also set up to stream up to 50 GB of Google Play music directly from the watch, making it easier to leave your phone at home when you head out on a run.
If all of this sounds somewhat familiar to you, that's because, aside from the Strava- and Google Play–related bells and whistles, it's all pretty standard for a GPS watch. People around the internet have been predictably eager to point this out as some sort of shortcoming, which, assuming everything works as promised, it absolutely is not. In fact, you could very easily make the argument that the Run IQ packs the most impressive set of features of any comparably priced watch on the market — and it outshines quite a few watches that demand far more than the relatively modest $299 New Balance is asking.
We had a chance to spend a few minutes with the Run IQ a few weeks ago, and while we can't speak to how it performed on a run, we can say it has a lot going for it. Navigation is intuitive, the materials are high-quality, it feels good on the wrist, and the screen is beautiful. We expect to have a test unit later this month, so we'll have a full review soon.
New Balance also announced the launch of Pace IQ, a set of wireless headphones designed with help from Jabra, one of the leaders in wireless headphone technology. They'll sell for $109.
Both items are available for pre-order now and will begin shipping on or before 2/1.