TOMTOM SPARK CARDIO + MUSIC
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.