The Spark is a 24/7 fitness watch
whose sport functions include running, swimming, freestyle, cycling, weight lifting
, treadmill, stationary cycling, swimming, treadmill, weight lifting, and stopwatch. In addition, its internal storage allows for up to 500 songs to be stored, providing the user with a wireless music experience. Providing the wearer with an excellent look at their overall activity, this wearable has a long-lasting battery so depending on function, it can be worn for days to record all movements and activities.
The Spark is a relatively versatile activity tracker that’s not only designed to record the metrics of a number of activities (running, cycling, swimming, etc.) but within these activities also measures time, distance, pace, speed, calories burned, and sleep. With a built-in GPS that tracks your route and a built-in heart rate monitor to record and measure your heart rate throughout the day, the Spark’s basic features are what runners are looking for in a smartwatch.
Working with the TomTom Sports app to provide the runner a larger portrait of their activities, the TomTom Spark is also a 24/7 watch that records your activity throughout the day, the metrics of which health-conscious will find extremely useful. By uploading trail maps to the Spark, the runner is provided with a GPS-enabled map for their intended route. The Spark also connects with your smartphone so messages can be rerouted to the watch along with weather reports. In addition, it also works with a number of popular sports apps
such as MapMyFitness, Strava, RunKeeper, MyFitnessPal, and more.
With an internal GPS that acquires a signal in less than a minute, the Spark is a highly accurate activity tracker that may even throw some runners off because it may at first seem like it’s recording less than what other comparable trackers are. This is because it pauses when you stop at, say, a traffic light, so pace may not match up with speed or distance. Besides this, when tested against chest strap heart rate monitors
, the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music heart rate monitor proved as accurate as those more cumbersome configurations.
The Spark connects with both your wireless headphones and smartphone via Bluetooth. Its built-in GPS automatically acquires a signal, while a microUSB plug is included to connect directly to your computer to upload music to the Spark, update software, and transfer data to your desktop.
The main app for the Spark is the much-improved TomTom Sports app, available on both Android and iOS, which includes a dashboard that shows shows your current steps, a map of your most recent run, a Stats page that graphs key metrics like pace, elevation, best lap comparison, and heart rate, along with zone distribution and resting heart rate. An Activities section provides an overall look at your activities by type, a Trends tracker that provides the runner with various activities trends as recorded over multiple days, and a Manage section that allows the user to set up third party apps to also record data from the Spark. Through this function, the user can sync their Spark with a number of other popular fitness apps.
While slightly chunkier than comparable fitness watches, the Spark is still a comfortable and unobtrusive fitness watch. With a lightweight and removable band, the Spark weighs only 1.1 ounces/31 grams. Designed to be worn for long periods of time, the Spark sits comfortably on the wrist and stays firmly in place even during heavy activity.
With a longer, more narrow display and slightly thicker body due to the built-in heart rate monitor, the Spark is slightly chunkier than other wearables. However, this doesn’t take away from its overall style: it just makes it a straightforward activity tracker without the bells and whistles. That being said, it’s a sleek-looking sports watch whose easy-to-read screen, comprised of simple symbols and large fonts, makes it a relatively neat looking accessory. Perhaps not overly garish or eye-catching, instead the Spark rests on your wrist waiting for you to take the next step.
With a 4-way directional button at the bottom of the watch face that serves as your navigation tools, the main body of the Spark is purposely minimalist, preferring function over form. In addition, Spark bands are available in black, white, blue, pink. This may not be the flashiest activity tracker on the market, but what it has stripped away in style it makes up for in functionality - and isn’t that really the main purpose of these sports watches?
With a scratch-resistant face, the Spark aims to take a few bumps along the way without destroying its main body. waterproof up to 130 feet, runners don’t need to fear taking the watch off either in the shower or during a swim. However, the one weak spot of the Spark seems to be the default band that comes with it. Some have complained that it deteriorates over time and lacks overall durability.
One of the highlights of the Spark is its face: measuring in at 22X25 mm with 144X168 pixel resolution, this monochrome display is easy to read. With a backlight that senses light availability and turns on automatically, reading the information being displayed on the Spark is no problem. Using an analog 4-directional button to navigate the system, the entirety of the face is dedicated to providing the wearer with information and avoids the difficulty of navigating the menus that some touch screen activity trackers
Possibly the weakest link in the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music is its band, which is made of silicone and is flexible, adjustable, and comfortable. Some reviewers have complained that it wears down too quickly. Replacement bands are available for this eventuality, but this is one of the weaker elements of an overall solid activity tracker. Bands are available in a number of colors: black, white, green, blue, orange, and purple.
The size of the main unit of the Spark is 0.5 x 1.5 x 2.7 inches, which is slightly chunkier than other comparable activity trackers. There are two strap sizes available: small, which are for wrists measuring 121-175mm, and large, for wrists measuring 143-206mm.
Ease of Use
The Spark may have a slight learning curve for some users. Loading music onto it, for example, requires the TomTom desktop app, and while the interface user-friendly the music needs to be added via playlist instead of just by individual songs. The TomTom Sports mobile app is also required for the user to link the Spark to to third-party apps. But the real learning curve comes with navigating the Spark’s on-screen interface. Using an analog 4-directional button, users may become lost while paging through menus, which makes checking stats slightly inconvenient during a run.
Using a standard microUSB for both charging and transferring data to your desktop, the Spark is a fortunately convenient watch to charge, either using your computer or included power converter for outlet charging. The battery life is also long-lasting, which can run for 3 weeks for basic activity tracking, 11 hours with GPS enabled, and 5 hours with GPS, heart rate tracking, and music playback enabled. For those who have been disappointed with activity trackers in the past for being limited to just one stand-alone power source, the spark’s USB-centered power source will come as a relief, particularly since this is quickly becoming the most convenient way to charge many digital devices.
A GPS-enabled multi-sport activity tracker with a built-in heart rate monitor that can store up to 500 songs should be priced much higher than the TomTom Spark
Cardio + Music is. But this company has been on the forefront of consumer GPS technologies for some time and has made an aggressive move into the wearable activity tracker market, and as such the price is lower than expected. Shopping around for the Spark will reveal even more affordable prices, so the Spark may just be the best-priced watch for the wide variety of options it offers.
Replacement bands that come in a number of colors are available for the runner who likes a splash of color, along with desktop charging cradle is also available. But overall, the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music does not have a large variety of accessories from which to choose.
- Can store up to 500 songs and streams music wirelessly via Bluetooth
- A multi-sports watch that provides highly accurate measurements
- Surprisingly affordable for an activity track as versatile as this one
- Easy-to-read large watch face with a minimalist design
- TomTom Sports app provides runners with useful metrics and stats of their overall workout routine
As activity trackers go, for its price and for its abilities, the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music is a pretty great bargain. Able to store 500 songs and streaming music wirelessly to Bluetooth headphones, waterproof up to 48 meters, with a highly accurate built-in GPS and incredibly useful app, the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music gives higher-end (and higher-priced) wearables a run for their money. Although the silicone band is lacking and menu navigation may not be the smoothest, for both its price and its abilities, this is a great entry-level activity tracker that certainly won’t feel entry-level and one more experienced runners who like to listen to music while on the move will appreciate.