TomTom Spark Cardio At A Look
- Far smaller than predecessors, but full of much more wonderful tech
- Loads of classes to go well with you coaching, it doesn’t matter what sport you’re into
- 4-way rocker navigation change is sensible to make use of whereas exercising
- Constructed-in exercise tracker makes it a terrific two-in-one gadget
- Wirelessly streaming music to headphones means no extra iPhone armband
- Clear limitations relating to swimming
- Some points with music streaming headphone connectivity
- Accomplice app feels primary in contrast with rivals
- Excessive worth level
RECOMMENDED: TomTom Spark three Cardio + Music 5-Star Evaluate
TomTom Spark Cardio In Depth
The TomTom Spark is the fourth-generation sports activities watch from the Dutch GPS specialist, and it’s protected to say that the engineers at TomTom have constructed on every successive technology to make this newest mannequin one thing fairly particular.
The corporate’s first foray into the sector was its 2011 partnership with Nike that produced the Nike+ SportWatch, which was designed to combine seamlessly with the Nike+ operating portal. It was , if primary, system that traded on the Nike+ compatibility greater than its personal function set.
In 2013 the TomTom Runner appeared, with out Nike branding. It was a handsome sports activities watch, however once more lacked some options and was hamstrung by a poor on-line portal. However when the TomTom Runner Cardio arrived in 2014 it fully modified the sport.
The TomTom Runner Cardio was the primary sports activities watch to incorporate an built-in coronary heart charge monitor. Now not did you must wrap a strap round your chest to get a continuing coronary heart charge readout, the Runner Cardio might measure your coronary heart charge straight out of your wrist.
Now TomTom has raised the bar once more with the brand new Spark, which as an exhaustive function set and improved app and on-line assist. Should you’re in search of a sports activities watch that may do just about every thing, the TomTom Spark must be excessive in your listing.
Appear and feel
The unique TomTom Runner was one of many smallest and slimmest GPS sports activities watches out there on the time, however the brand new Spark is smaller nonetheless, regardless of having significantly extra tech packed into it.
TomTom has managed to cut back the width of the face by offsetting the time-of-day show, simply because it did with the Nike+ SportWatch. Studying the ToD continues to be straightforward, and when you get used to the date being squeezed into the highest proper nook, you’ll don’t have any downside recognizing it at a look.
There are not any buttons surrounding the primary watch face – as a substitute, there’s a four-way rocket change under the face. That is additionally the place the GPS receiver lives, which is partly how TomTom manages to make the primary watch casing so small.
The Spark is pretty unobtrusive for a sports activities watch, particularly should you pair it with a black strap – you possibly can swap between straps should you desire one thing a bit brighter. The strap itself has fixing holes operating its total size, so discovering a snug match is straightforward. There are additionally three separate lugs securing it, so there’s virtually no probability of the strap coming undone when you’re coaching.
The four-way rocker change is just very good for navigating the menus on the Spark, and in a world dominated by swiping screens it’s good to see old style, tactile controls on a tool that you simply’ll be interacting with whereas exercising.
A small however welcome enchancment is the Spark’s backlight operate. On earlier TomTom watches you wanted to the touch the right-hand fringe of the display screen to activate the backlight, which wasn’t all the time straightforward to do whereas operating. On the Spark you merely cowl the entire watch face together with your palm for a second and the backlight will activate.
There’s nonetheless an evening mode function to maintain the backlight on continually throughout your run, however because of this new technique of backlight activation, you’ll hardly ever must make use of it.
The TomTom Spark is a multi-sport watch, so it can fortunately observe operating, biking, swimming, treadmill runs, stationary bike rides and even fitness center work. There’s even a freestyle setting you can apply to something that doesn’t match one other class.
Clearly there are limitations to what might be measured utilizing every of the exercise settings.
Operating would be the staple for many customers, and right here the Spark is effectively coated. While you embark in your run, the built-in coronary heart charge monitor will observe your BPM all through the exercise, and the GPS will observe your route, whereas measuring velocity and tempo. The accelerometer can even measure your cadence when you run, providing you with a mean strides-per-minute studying on the finish.
For biking the Spark will pair with any Bluetooth Sensible sensors, so if you have already got TomTom sensors in your bike you need to use them, however you can simply as simply use the velocity and cadence sensor from Wahoo Health, which merely wraps round your bike’s crank arm. The sensor is simply actually including cadence to the combination, although, because the watch itself will observe velocity, distance, route and coronary heart charge.
Should you’re fascinated with attempting a triathlon, then the Spark’s capability to trace your swims is a bonus. Whereas not a particularly tri-focused watch just like the Garmin 930XT, the Spark will nonetheless assist anybody coaching for a triathlon. The Spark will measure your train time, laps and tempo when you’re swimming. Neither the center charge monitor nor GPS are lively throughout swimming, so should you’re in search of a watch that may observe your distance and route throughout open-water swims, you’ll must look elsewhere. You may nonetheless measure your coronary heart charge throughout a swim, however you’ll want to make use of a Bluetooth Sensible chest strap HRM to take action.
For treadmill operating the Spark makes use of its built-in accelerometer to rely your strides and estimate distance, whereas additionally timing your run and monitoring your coronary heart charge. You may, after all, edit your run while you’ve completed, utilizing the treadmill information, which is able to probably be way more correct. We tended to seek out that the watch over-estimated our runs, however so long as you bear in mind to replace it earlier than saving it’s not an issue.
The fitness center and freestyle choices will observe your coronary heart charge and motion, however basically it’ll be the HR zones and period that quantity to something in these situations. All that mentioned, it’s nonetheless good to have the ability to observe just about any coaching you undertake.
Exercise trackers have change into ubiquitous – it’s not uncommon to see mates or colleagues with a Fitbit or Jawbone round their wrist. The power to measure our every day exercise, reasonably than simply our particular coaching classes, is welcome. Whether or not you’re beginning down a brand new street of health or are already coaching usually, the extra information you’ve gotten, the extra you understand about your physique and what it’s telling you.
TomTom is clearly conscious of how widespread exercise trackers have change into, as a result of it has built-in that performance into the Spark too. Whereas urgent proper on the four-way rocker change will take you to the coaching choices, urgent left will present you what number of steps you’ve taken that day, whereas urgent left a second time offers you your whole steps for the week.
So, the Spark can prevent the difficulty of carrying an exercise tracker, whereas additionally monitoring all of your coaching actions – not a foul two-in-one resolution then. It’ll observe your sleep too should you put on it to mattress at evening.
Music to your ears
Unquestionably, the stand-out USP for the Spark is its music playback function. TomTom has outfitted the Spark + Music with 3GB of storage, which you’ll fill with MP3 or AAC recordsdata. You may import playlists from iTunes, though I discovered that I wanted to bodily drag a playlist from my library right into a folder earlier than the Spark would discover it.
When you’ve transferred your playlist to the Spark, you possibly can stream your music wirelessly to a pair of Bluetooth headphones, basically eradicating the necessity to strap your telephone to your arm while you run.
Given the scale of contemporary smartphones, it’s extremely liberating to have the ability to go operating with out having to hold one with you, whereas nonetheless taking your favorite tunes alongside for the experience. You may pause/play your music direct out of your headphones, in addition to regulate the quantity – identical to you possibly can when utilizing your telephone.
TomTom does supply its personal Bluetooth headphones, which might be purchased as a bundle with the watch, however the Spark paired completely with quite a lot of Bluetooth headphones whereas we had been testing it.
You might discover that it is advisable put on the Spark on a selected wrist to get a gentle connection, although. It’s because some Bluetooth headphones have the receiver on the precise and others have it on the left – basically it is advisable be carrying the Spark on the identical facet because the headphone receiver. This often entails trial and error – should you’re operating and your music drops out, it’s a protected guess that switching the Spark to the opposite wrist will lead to rock-solid streaming.
You may select to play the tracks in your playlist so as, or you possibly can shuffle them. It’s also possible to select to shuffle between all of the music on the system reasonably than only a particular playlist, simply keep in mind that the Spark comes preloaded with TomTom’s “Operating Trax” playlist, which might be jarring when it cues up – midway by way of one run it felt like we’d walked out of a Foo Fighters gig and into the Ministry of Sound.
Recording your information is simply half the story, although – you additionally must put it someplace after your coaching classes. That is an space the place TomTom fell brief prior to now, with its MySports app and net portal proving to be lacklustre and buggy. Fortunately these points have been addressed and, because of TomTom’s open syncing mannequin, the standard of its personal portal is considerably moot anyway.
While you hook the Spark as much as your pc it can robotically hook up with MySports and switch your information. Inside MySports you possibly can analyse your coaching, analyzing velocity, distance, tempo, route, cadence and so forth. The MySports smartphone app can be used to switch your classes, and it’s good to see that the Spark is way faster at transferring information than the TomTom Runner Cardio was.
Whereas MySports is okay for logging your exercise and monitoring it over time, it’s nonetheless a fairly primary affair in comparison with different choices out there, particularly should you’re in search of options like coaching calendars and social interplay with mates.
However TomTom has been good on this regard. Relatively than attempting to reinvent the wheel and persuade customers to desert the web platforms they’ve been utilizing for years, it has made it very straightforward to hold on utilizing your platform of alternative with the Spark.
Inside the TomTom app in your pc you possibly can choose from a plethora of platforms and output your information on to them. So should you’re already invested in Strava, or Nike+, or RunKeeper, you possibly can keep on utilizing them and the Spark will robotically output your information to your chosen platform. Actually it can fortunately output to as many platforms as you want and, as soon as initially arrange, the entire course of is automated each time you join the watch.
There’s an enormous quantity of alternative relating to sports activities watches, whereas the most recent exercise trackers and smartwatches are blurring the strains and positioning themselves as viable alternate options. However with the Spark, TomTom has created a tool that may attraction to anybody who’s severe about their coaching, whereas providing an in depth function set and exercise assist.
The design is unobtrusive sufficient for the Spark to be your on a regular basis watch, thus making the activity-tracking function much more pertinent. It’s small, mild and straightforward to navigate, even while you’re pounding the paths.
The power to stream music straight from the watch and go away your telephone at house is one other large bonus, particularly since our telephones simply hold getting larger and greater.
At £189.99 the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music is dear for a sports activities watch, but it surely has sufficient options and performance to justify that worth, particularly should you had beforehand thought of a separate operating watch and cycle pc.
Whereas hardcore triathletes might want GPS performance whereas swimming, for extra leisure health fanatics, the Spark must be all of the sports activities watch you want, it doesn’t matter what exercise you select to do while you get up within the morning.
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