No longer a newbie in the world of fitness watches, the TomTom Spark 3 is an update to the impressive TomTom Spark range.
It adds at-a-glance Route Exploration to the existing GPS, 24-7 activity tracking, multiple sport support, heart rate monitoring and phone-free music streaming via Bluetooth headphones.
[Update: It's worth noting that TomTom is stepping down its involvement in the wearables game, and while it's promised to keep supporting these products you might find that there are fewer opportunities to buy them in the coming months - so it's best to snap them up when you can.]
Being able to head off for a long run and not care about getting lost – or download and follow a new path entirely - will appeal to any runner guilty of plodding the same route day-after-day.
But it could be especially useful for frequent travelers who want to explore a new city, safe in the knowledge they can get back to the hotel without flicking that data roaming switch.
TomTom Spark 3 price and release date
- Out now
- From $129.99/£119.99/AU$199 to $249.99/£219.99/AU$349
There are four models in the TomTom Spark 3 range, all featuring the new Route Exploration, plus 24-7 activity tracking, GPS tracking and multi-sport modes.
The TomTom Spark 3 (launch price": $129.99/£119.99/AU$199) is the entry level option with just route navigation separating it from the original Spark, while the TomTom Spark 3 Music + Headphones ($169.99/£149.99/AU$249) includes 3GB (500 songs) of onboard music storage and, if bought in the US, comes with TomTom Bluetooth headphones.
The TomTom Spark 3 Cardio ($189.99/£169.99/AU$299) loses the music playback but gains built-in heart rate monitoring.
Then there's the flagship TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music ($249.99/£219.99/AU$349), which includes the lot, boasting both heart rate monitoring and music playback, and also comes with a free set of headphones in the US.
We tested the TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music with a pair of TomTom Sports Bluetooth Headphones, (free in the US/£30/AU$50).
It’s a headline grabbing list of features for any sports watch, but has TomTom done enough to tempt both first-timers and fully fledged fitness freaks away from brands like Garmin and Polar?
- Extremely comfortable strap with super secure three-point fastening
- Slim, light and understated
- What it lacks in bling it makes up for with simple usability
- Screen is easy to read in the day
- You’ll need the battery-draining backlight after dusk
Nobody is ever going to accuse the TomTom Spark 3 of showmanship. The simple, uncluttered design is difficult to hate, but equally hard to lust after.
With so many color screens doing the rounds you could argue the 22 x 25mm grayscale (144 x 168 pixel) display looks a bit dated, but, while slightly boring, we’d rather have practical features than bling any day of the week.
The Spark 3’s design is almost identical to the original TomTom Spark, with the large screen sitting above the curved GPS unit and four-way controller. There’s no touchscreen, but when it comes to changing settings while running, this is no bad thing.
The watch module sits securely in the strap, and easily pops out when you need to charge. Admittedly the need for yet another charging cable might irritate, but at least TomTom has designed a cradle that clips firmly in place. No magnets or fiddly clamps here.
What original Spark users will love is that the watch is now much more snug in the strap - it doesn't just pop out of its own volition now, making it more comfortable to use day to day.
The strap has been upgraded from the original TomTom Spark and, as well as a few new color options, is slimmer, lighter and better in most respects. The three-point fastening is extra secure, and helps get a consistent pulse for your heart rate training, while the rubber is soft and well ventilated.
The TomTom Spark 3 display can be back-lit, but you’ll need to turn the light on manually, and without it the screen is all but impossible to read in low light, but once activated the backlight will absolutely eat into your battery.