TomTom Spark Cardio Review Facts
The TomTom Spark Cardio is TomTom’s all-in-one GPS watch and fitness tracker. It debuted a couple years ago and and even though there is a newer version available, the TomTom Spark Cardio can do everything you need to track your fitness progress.
It was designed for people with active lifestyles who want all their training data in one place. Many watches have the same features as the TomTom Spark Cardio, but what distinguishes it from similar multi-sport products is that it has a built-in wrist heart rate sensor while remaining affordable. Keep reading to find out if the TomTom Spark Cardio is the fitness watch you have been looking for!
The TomTom Spark Cardio covers almost every metric you could possibly need. In cycling, running, and freestyle modes the TomTom Spark Cardio records heart rate, pace, distance, calories burned, and duration. With a separate cadence monitor, it can also record cadence
. For swimming it records laps, distance, speed, calories burned, and stroke count. In gym mode it tracks heart rate, calories burned, and duration. The activity tracker uses an accelerometer to track steps, distance, calories burned
, and minutes active. Even though it has multi-sport features, the TomTom Spark Cardio is not a triathlon watch. It does not have the ability to record data for full triathlons as each activity must be completed separately.
The TomTom Spark Cardio has a multitude of advanced features that make it competitive with other multi-sport watches. It records laps and intervals like most GPS watches
. A more unique feature is its ability to set target training zones such as target heart rate
or pace. The watch notifies you via audio notification or vibration if you are outside your target zone. You can also set daily or weekly activity goals. It is also cable of setting goal distance, time, or calories burned for any activity. The watch can be worn for almost all activities as it is water resistant up to 5 ATM or 50 meters (which I have found covers almost all activities except for diving). A newer feature TomTom added is the “Race” feature which allows you to “race against” past activities or downloaded activities. The watch also has Bluetooth capabilities so that your activities sync to any apps you are using.
The TomTom Cardio Spark is a multisport watch. It can track running (indoor and outdoor), cycling (indoor and outdoor), swimming, and gym activities. Additionally it has “freestyle” mode, for tracking activities not aforementioned. This feature is useful for open water swimming if the watch is not worn on the wrist but in the cap out of the water. It is intended to be worn 24/7 as it has a built-in activity tracker that tracks your daily activity and sleep.
A common concern with wrist heart rate monitors is their accuracy. However this shouldn’t be a concern with the TomTom Cardio Spark as it has shown impressively accurate measurements compared to chest strap monitors
especially for running. If you want more accurate heart rate data when biking, a chest strap would actually provide more accurate results compared to the TomTom Spark Cardio's heart rate sensor. Also the heart rate sensor is disabled in swimming mode as it cannot record accurate data submerged in water. The built-in GPS sensor repeatedly records accurate distance and pace when compared to other GPS watches. Overall, the TomTom Spark Cardio records accurate measurements when compared with other GPS devices so if you're looking for a reason to dislike this watch, it can't be accuracy!
The TomTom Spark Cardio has Bluetooth capabilities for wireless connecting to your phone or cadence monitor. The software for the TomTom Spark Cardio is TomTom’s MySport Connect. When you connect your watch to your computer, it transfers all your activities to be viewed on MySport Connect and installs any software updates. TomTom has had software issues in the past and though it's still not perfect, they have improved the software in many ways including making it easier to view and find activities. The TomTom Spark Cardio can also receive notifications from your phone via bluetooth so that you can view calls or texts.
The mobile app for the TomTom Spark Cardio is TomTom MySports Connect. It has a basic user friendly interface to view your activities although users have said it is difficult to find specific activities. There are several third-party apps available to use with the TomTom Spark Cardio such as Runkeeper and Strava. This is an important feature because the app is not the easiest way to track your activities.
For having a built-in wrist heart rate monitor, the TomTom Spark Cardio is surprisingly comfortable. The band is a soft plastic with plenty of aeration. However, it is quite thick so it can get uncomfortable when your wrist gets super sweaty. Although you definitely don't notice the heart rate sensor when you are wearing the watch, it makes the watch feel just bulky enough on your wrist that you don’t want to wear it 24/7. The big button below the screen doesn't help with that either. But once the TomTom Spark Cardio is on your wrist, it is comfortable enough to wear for any of its intended uses.
If you are looking for a stylish fitness tracker and GPS watch that you never have to take off, you might want to look elsewhere. There are plenty of other devices ahead of the TomTom Spark Cardio in terms of style. I would hardly call it a lifestyle watch though as it is not sleek enough to wear it out as I sometimes do with my Garmin Vivoactive
. The thick plastic band and block shaped watch face do little for it's attractiveness. The wrist heart rate monitor and button give the watch a slightly bulky appearance although it is really only half an inch thick at its thickest. TomTom's attempt at style for this watch is the interchangeable bands so that you can customize your watch with your color of choice.
The TomTom Spark Cardio was designed to be worn for all activities, every day, and so it was built to be fairly durable. However, the wrist strap is not the most durable plastic and some wearers have complained of it tearing or breaking. The screen is also made of glass and can crack. But in most cases, the TomTom Spark Cardio holds up against other watches in terms of durability. If it doesn't, TomTom has a one year warranty if bought from an authorized dealer.
Depending on the user, the watch face is either a plus, or nothing to rave about. It is a simple, black, LCD monochrome glass screen. If you favor a simple, classic look, you will like this design. It is large (about one square inch) making the display very easy to read. To activate the backlight, you simply hold your hand over the screen. It is non-touchscreen which can be favorable for those who prefer pressing buttons. Below the face is the GPS receiver with a 4-way button surrounding it to navigate the watch.
The band is a thick but soft plastic. The watch can be purchased in different colors or you can purchase different colored bands separately as accessories so that you can match with your favorite pair of shoes! The band is comfortable enough and keeps the watch securely on your wrist. It has plenty of size adjustment holes so that it can fit on any wrist and keeps your wrist aerated. The band actually encases the watch, and must be taken off when the watch needs to be charged or plugged into your computer.
The TomTom Spark Cardio is available to buy in two different sizes, large or small. The two sizes are only different in band length. The watch itself and band thickness are the same for both sizes. The small size is for wrist sizes between 4.76-6.89 inches and the large is for 5.63-8.11 inches. The band has plenty of adjustment notches so that it fits any size wrist.
Ease of Use
Like all of TomTom’s other products, the TomTom Spark Cardio is very easy to use. The user interface is simple and easy to navigate. Instead of a touchscreen, you navigate the watch’s functions with an easy to use four-way button below the watch face. The left button navigates to status which displays battery life and storage, right to activities, and down to settings. All of it is very intuitive except it is a little tricky to navigate to the heart rate screen.
The TomTom Spark Cardio comes with a USB charging cable that plugs into your computer. In order to plug the watch in however, you need to take it out of its strap which seemingly lowers the lifespan of the strap each time you take it out for a charge. The good news is, the watch typically takes 15-20 minutes to charge fully. The battery life itself is impressive, lasting up to 3 weeks without using any features, 11 hours with GPS, and 9 hours with GPS and heart rate. To extend the battery life you have the option of turning off any sensors you are not using.
The price is very reasonable and affordable for a multi-sports watch and activity tracker. Even if you don’t use all the watch’s features, the GPS, activity tracker, and built-in HR monitor make it worth the price. TomTom recently came out with a newer version of the watch with updated features that is priced a little higher. There is also the option to buy the even higher priced TomTom Spark Cardio + Music which has the added feature of music storage. All these options are still less expensive than other similar multi-sport watches such as the Fit Bit Blaze
or Garmin Vivoactive HR.
The TomTom Spark Cardio is capable of connecting with cadence sensors and external heart rate monitors. However with the reliable built-in HR monitor there is no need to add another accessory to your activity! If you are someone that puts your watch through the ringer, it might be a good idea to buy a TomTom Spark Cardio specific screen protector to protect the glass. Another neat accessory if you are a cyclist is a bike mount. You remove the watch from the band and insert it into the bike mount which attaches to your handlebars. If you opt for the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music, bluetooth headphones are a must to get the full benefit of the watch. Other accessories include different colored watch bands.
• Multi-sport features
• GPS and Bluetooth sensors
• Wrist heart rate sensor
• 24/7 activity and sleep tracker
• Goal setting and zone training
• Water resistant
If you are looking for an all-in-one training watch, the TomTom Spark Cardio is a great option. There are only a few other watches out there with all the same features. If style is a huge thing for you, then the TomTom Spark Cardio might not be the way to go. But if having all your training needs and HR monitor in the same watch is what's important to you, the TomTom Spark Cardio won't disappoint!