TOMTOM SPARK CAR­DIO + MU­SIC

HWM (Malaysia) - - TEST -

If you come across as the no-non­sense sort, the TomTom Spark per­son­i­fies ex­actly that. Its rub­ber strap is the eas­i­est to se­cure and de­tach. It even comes in a few col­ors and is re­place­able given that the ‘brain’ of the Spark can be de­tached. Frankly, it’s not the most at­trac­tive de­vice with its thick bezel and the knobby-look­ing GPS hous­ing, which dou­bles as con­trols for the non-touch­screen de­vice. It pro­vides sleep track­ing, but there’s no re­al­is­tic way of wear­ing it to bed with­out in­ter­fer­ing with your sleep.

The Spark comes in var­i­ous mod­els rang­ing from a base ac­tiv­ity tracker (US$129.99) to the Spark Car­dio (US$199.99) with built-in HRM and the Spark Car­dio + Mu­sic (US$249.99), which fur­ther adds 3GB for lo­cal mu­sic stor­age and play­back so you don’t need a sep­a­rate mu­sic player. It even comes pre-loaded with a cus­tom­ized Min­istry of Sound playlist to get you started. You can even get the Spark Car­dio + Mu­sic with a Blue­tooth head­set bun­dled – if you don’t al­ready have one – at a must costlier US$349.

The fea­tures of the Spark Car­dio + Mu­sic thrives in prac­ti­cal­ity. It has multi-sport track­ing in­clud­ing swim­ming, since the de­vice is wa­ter­proof up to 40m. Ac­tiv­ity track­ing is very de­tailed; tell the de­vice the type of run you’re go­ing for, and get de­tails other tracker’s apps don’t pro­vide, such as calo­ries and en­ergy burnt. The Spark’s HRM tracks ac­tiv­ity, which means you can’t get a pas­sive read­out, but it can give you a thor­ough break­down of your heart rate dur­ing ex­er­cise. It has nearly ev­ery­thing the Fitbit Blaze has and more, but it doesn’t push smart­phone no­ti­fi­ca­tions yet (to ar­rive via soft­ware update in Q2 2016).

The app’s in­ter­face looks straight­for­ward at first glance, un­til you re­al­ize that it hides most of its pas­sive data points in deeper menus. That said, it is still the most in­for­ma­tive app tested. While the Jaw­bone UP3 of­fers tips, the TomTom app is the boss of hard em­pir­i­cal data. Our run data even had the av­er­age num­ber of strides per minute.

The TomTom Spark Car­dio + Mu­sic is an easy choice if you lead a hy­per-ac­tive life­style, but de­pend­ing on the fea­tures you want, can end up be­ing a very hefty in­vest­ment.

The phys­i­cal but­tons that houses the GPS unit isn’t the pret­ti­est, but it sure works well with sweaty fin­gers.

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