As a running watch, the TomTom Spark 3 performs well in virtually all departments, and while it may lack the ‘elite’ bling of a more expensive watch like the Garmin Forerunner 935, if you’re a regular pavement pounder looking for accurate, easy to digest data you won’t be disappointed.
Thanks to GPS and Bluetooth music streaming alongside its heart monitor, the TomTom Spark 3 also makes it viable to leave your phone at home, though it’s hit and miss when syncing data.
Who's this for?
The Spark 3 isn’t quite up to pro running/cycling, but it’s an ideal choice for anyone who enjoys their exercise, wants to improve and has started to crave the data produced from their workouts.
It’s a shame the app doesn’t offer more in the way of performance analysis and training programs, but the fact it can sync to Strava, MapMyRun and others automatically means your efforts don’t have to go unrewarded.
Should you buy it?
With a decent range of options available there’s a TomTom Spark 3 with something for most runners.
Priced as it is, the TomTom Spark 3 Music + Headphones feels like a bit of a bargain given the added route navigation on offer, but we’re not sure if it’s worth the extra outlay for the heart rate monitoring offered by the TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music.
That said, all the features work really well, and if you can afford the Cardio + Music you’ll have a fitness watch that will improve along with your fitness, while the comprehensive menu system is designed in such a way that you can even ignore features until you really need them.
And now the price is really coming down - the Spark 3 can be had for really bargainous prices if you shop around or wait until sale season.
There are very few true fitness watches that can stream music without a phone, but there's plenty of similarly priced competition that's just as full-featured in other ways. Below you'll find three strong alternatives to the Spark 3.
Garmin Forerunner 225
The Forerunner 225 is an ideal wrist-based heart rate tracking watch for recreational runners, thanks to a well put-together, feature-rich design that’s loaded with training insights for people looking to take their running to the next level or make their cardio training a little more effective.
It’s also a little cheaper than the priciest Spark 3 model, though lacks that device’s music playback skills.
- Read our full Garmin Forerunner 225 review
Equal parts fitness and Android smart watch, the M600 has built-in GPS, 4GB of storage for Google Play music files, Bluetooth, comprehensive coaching and activity tracking, plus all the notifications you could need. It’s feature packed, but also more expensive than even the top-end version of the Spark 3.
- Read our full Polar M600 review
Fitbit’s flagship model, until the Fitbit Ionic came along, has built-in GPS, real-time workout stats and heart rate monitoring all controlled via touchscreen. Head-to-head with the TomTom Spark 3 Cardio it’s a close call, but if you want decent smartwatch notifications Fitbit wins this particular race.
- Read our full Fitbit Surge review