The TraQ by Titan is the first activity tracking sports watch from a major Indian brand and it comes in two avatars—TraQ Cardio and TraQ Triathlon. Both watches are aimed at serious runners and recreational endurance athletes. However, since they’re also activity trackers, they not only go up against market leader Garmin but face competition from a host of budget options such as Amazefit and Mi Watch. Since I received the TraQ Triathlon for a tryout, I pitted it against the Garmin Forerunner 745, which is one of the best triathlon sports tracking watches out there right now, for context.
Price: The Titan TraQ Triathlon has been priced at ₹17,999. This is cheaper than Garmin’s entry level running-specific smart watch Forerunner 55, which costs ₹20,555. The Garmin Forerunner 745 costs a whopping ₹51,999. The TraQ easily wins the pricing battle.
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Design: The TraQ does win the pricing battle but to do so, Titan has had to make quite a few compromises. The TraQ looks and feels plastic-y and at 52mm, it is huge and a throwback to the running GPS trackers of at least a decade ago. It comes with one black button at 3 o’clock and four plastic red buttons placed on four corners, which are not very responsive to touch. The Garmin 745 by contrast comes in a classy 43.8mm carbon case with five metal buttons for menu, start/stop and navigation that feel good and responsive.
The TraQ Triathlon also suffers from the fact that its music option can’t be accessed with a shortcut button, which the Garmin has. One other design flaw on the TraQ is that it has no lines demarcating the metrics on the three data fields showing distance, heart rate and calories. The user has to scroll down to see the time, which is a crucial metric for every endurance athlete. As a result, unlike on the Garmin, the TraQ is difficult to read while running or cycling.
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GPS: I switched on both the Garmin and TraQ in Kolkata together and let the watch detect time on its own by connecting with the GPS. While the Garmin gave me the Indian Standard Time (IST), the TraQ logged onto the GPS and displayed the Bangladesh time, probably owing to Kolkata’s proximity to the neighbouring country. Bangladesh is, of course, 30 minutes ahead of IST. Despite resetting it a few times it was still showing Bangladesh time at the time of writing this review.
The TraQ connects to the GPS system well enough, but it does take some time, at times more than 90 seconds. For the same distance that I walked, the Garmin showed 970 metres compared to 1.3km on the TraQ. Just to be sure which one was off, I compared my cycle ride distance covered on the TraQ with an Apple watch. The TraQ showed 2.8km compared to 3.2km on the Apple Watch.
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Battery Life: The TraQ in smart watch mode has a monster battery life. On a single full charge, the watch lasted more than two weeks but in activity tracking mode it lasted just 13 hours. This could be an issue, since most Ironman races have a cutoff of 17 hours. So, if you are a slow and steady endurance athlete, the TraQ is likely to not finish the race with you. For comparison, the Garmin Forerunner 745 lasts a more modest 7 days in smart watch mode. In activity tracking mode with optimized settings, this goes up to 20 hours.
Verdict: It was always going to be tough to break into the proper sports smart watch space for Titan. The company’s first attempt is just about decent and the pricing certainly is lucrative. However, its looks, GPS tracking performance, confusing user interface, and the fact that it only tracks distance in multiples of 100 metres, makes the TraQ fall far short of the Garmin.
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The TraQ by Titan app (for accessing your activity data) is pretty basic and doesn’t give you much information. It may be unfair to compare this to the Garmin Connect app, which has been refined with over a decade’s worth of user feedback. But if you’re looking for a map of your run, or information like ground contact time and number of steps taken during a run, TraQ by Titan at this point in time doesn’t offer all this.
And my biggest complaint against the TraQ app is that users are required to first log in with a phone number and then go on and register with an email id and password as well. If it’s a GPS watch, why do you need my phone number?
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To sum up, if budget is an issue, then certainly try out the TraQ Triathlon. But if you plan on becoming more serious with your runs, workouts or other athletic activities, you will need to upgrade to a higher-spec smart watch.
Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and co-author of The Shivfit Way, a book on functional fitness.