Tomtom Spark Xlab Torpedo Versa 500 Versa 200
$200 GPS-ONLY MODEL $250 UNIT WITH MUSIC PLAYER $300 WITH HEART RATE MONITOR BUILT-IN $200 $113 ALUMINUM MOUNTING PLATE AND NYLON COMPOSITE CAGE
The Tomtom Spark is a significant upgrade for triathletes from the Cardio, last year’s budget-conscious unit. The headline feature of the Spark is the ability to play music. The Spark features three gigs of music storage, or about 500 songs, and you can easily add playlists from itunes. It connects to any Bluetooth player, including headphones or a speaker. Additional notable upgrades include: a sharper monochrome screen that sports a large, easy-to-read layout and the ability to track swim distances in the pool via an accelerometer. You can also track your metrics on the run.
The Spark can also double as a 24-7 device, keeping tabs on steps, workouts and even sleep. When used as a watch, the Spark can operate for four weeks on a charge. It gets about two weeks with activity tracking on, and about five hours of continuous GPS and music playback. Post workout, data is easily uploaded to Strava, Trainingpeaks or to Mysports, Tomtom’s proprietary training site. Xlab has updated the Torpedo Versa with two significant changes. The new carbon plate base, which comes in two designs (Tribal and Airflow), can accommodate extension widths from 75–150 mm. Even over bumpy roads the carbon Torpedo cage stays put and won’t rattle and, thanks to the sealed and leak-proof Torpedo 26 oz. bottle, riders won’t get sprayed with its contents. A flexible straw with bite valve allows for easy drinking even while staying aero. Our favourite adjustment is the telescoping Garmin mount, which allows riders to tweak position as needed even while riding.