Tom Tom is is a very recognizable name within the navigation market, and is perhaps best known for it’s Line of vehicle GPS devices. However, this Dutch based company branched out into the fitness world back in 2013 with its line of sport watches and fitness trackers.
Personal devices which monitor activity, steps and map routes have increased in popularity throughout the last decade and it is no surprise that Tom Tom continues to pursue this market.
The Tom Tom Spark 3 is one of their latest forays into the fitness tracker world and it boasts some interesting and unique features, such as the development of maps that are deliverable to the user almost instantly and free accessories such as Bluetooth headphones.
Needless to say, with their extensive experience in vehicle GPS navigation and their recent fitness tracker offerings, this is one manufacturer that we have come to expect great things from. Let's take a more in-depth look at the Tom Tom Spark 3.
Criteria For A Good Fitness Tracker
Anyone who’s used their phone as a fitness tracker knows that the farther you run, walk or bike the heavier it feels. A good fitness tracker should be lightweight and easy to carry. When I run I want to be focused on excising and not distracted but a heavy piece of tech in my pocket.
However, after 30 minutes of running I may want to glance at a screen and have it tell me how many miles I’ve completed, how much time has passed and the number of steps I’ve taken. I want to know my heart rate, the calories burned and how close I am to achieving a pre set goal. A fitness tracker needs to communicate these things easily and succinctly. Pressing one button quickly to scroll through data is acceptable. Having to stop, pause and try to find the right display is not.
A stand out product may offer other amenities such as music and good water proofing but the basics have to be there first. Without these the amenities are wasted. A good sleek design is also beneficial, particularly if it can be worn as a fashion accessory and not just a tool.
Tom Tom Spark GPS Fitness Watch Overview
Let’s take a look at the basics of the Tom Tom Spark 3. Firstly, it’s cost is between $100-130. It can be slipped onto the wrist easily and is very light, weighing less than 2 ounces. It also has a very tactile feel, which means it won’t slip off when it gets wet. Its accuracy is very spot on, and it easily measures the time, distance and speed you have been running. As mentioned above, this a minimum expectation so I’m glad it fulfills this obligation with ease.
The Tom Tom Spark 3 also provides an activity tracker. A simple glance or press of a button provides live stats on the go so at any point on my run I can see how many steps have been made, calories burned and goals achieved. Navigating through the stats is fairly straightforward: All the buttons are on the front underneath the screen, and a simple press of the up or down buttons will scroll through your current stats.
And just like its predecessors, the Tom Tom Spark 3 can track your sleep. This is a nice added feature that most people like to have but not every fitness tracker provides. Sleep is important for anyone, and if you are want to be healthy it’s a crucial part of a balanced life style.
One of my favorite features is the Multisport Mode. It allows for tracking specific steps, calories, and time for multiple different types of workouts. It will also allow you to catalog what you’ve achieved in different types of fitness work outs, whether it be on a treadmill, swimming, running, or cycling. As an added bonus, it can track swimming and is waterproof to 40 meters.
The battery life on the Tom Tom is also good, offering 11 hours while GPS is in use and 3 weeks if it isn’t. It’s good to know that if you charge it over night and take it with you to work it’s still going to track everything correctly on an evening run or a gym workout before you head home. It gives you a flexibility to your workout schedule that some products don’t always offer.
The Tom Tom spark watch bands are also very thin but tough, measuring about 145-206 mm. They also come in 4 different sizes.
One major feature that its predecessors lacked is its ability to store and play back music (via the Spark music icon) from the watch itself. The device is able to store up to 500 songs. This is a great feature when coupled with Bluetooth headphones, as it allows you to leave your phone at home or in the car during your workouts.
Pros & Cons
Pros: As hinted at previously the battery life is a definite plus, as is the multi sport mode option to track fitness and workout metrics. As mentioned previously, the Tom Tom Spark 3 also comes with a music storage option, and can be upgraded to a Bluetooth headphones package for a small fee.
The GPS tracking works very well although there is an initial short waiting period of about 20 seconds for the GPS to locate you and begin the workout.
The device is also highly customizable and comes in 3 different configurations. The Tom Tom Spark Cardio, Tom Tom Spark Music, and the Tom Tom Spark Cardio Music. Or in other words, in addition to the base model, you can also add the music feature for an additional fee, as well as a optical heart rate sensor for another additional fee.
Cons: Perhaps one potential downside to mention in this Tom Tom Spark 3 Review is that it doesn’t have a touch screen, it has a touch pad. This is at the end of the world, but in an era of touch screens one has to ask why it was designed this way? It takes a little getting used to and the instructions aren’t the clearest but in my opinion you won’t even notice it after using the watch for 72 hours.
Lastly, the Spark watch app is bog standard and has not been upgraded since the first Tom Tom spark at the market years ago. It is certainly not the most robust app although it does get the job done. Users who are looking for a little more features and customization may want to look elsewhere.
The Tom Tom is an overall great fitness tracker. It has everything you can ask for, with upgrades available. The upgrades still leave the fitness tracker in a much lower price range than similar competitor offerings and it functions perfectly well without phone integration. If you want another product that has a bit more features than just a fitness tracker than this is the device for you.