*This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of TomTom.
The TomTom Spark GPS watch is the fourth GPS watch I’ve worn consistently. It is loaded with features and will have you running to a new beat.
- Music on your wrist – Holds up to 500 songs
- Built-in heart rate monitor
- Activity tracking (aka counts your daily steps)
- Sleep tracking
- GPS tracking
- Wireless syncing to the TomTom My Sports App
- Bluetooth technology to allow you to listen to music wirelessly
- Customizable straps
- Interval training
- Different training modes: indoor, bike, run, walk
- Water resistant
This watch really does it all. If you’re looking for one watch that tracks steps and also works well for tracking long runs and interval workouts all while tracking your heart rate, this might be the watch for you.
However, if you are more familiar with another GPS branded running watch, the transition to using this brand may not be as smooth as you’d like. If you’ve ever gone from using a Mac to a PC or vice versa, then you’ve experienced how I felt when I first wore this watch. This probably isn’t a deal breaker if you are looking to buy a new watch and are accustomed to wearing a different brand, just know that there will be an adjustment period.
Price – $249.99
The price is on par with other comparable models from other brands. With so many functions, this seems like you are really getting your money’s worth.
There are two different size straps available for purchase. A small strap and a large sized strap help ensure a better fit. I found the strap size guide to be accurate.
TomTom makes connecting to a satellite easy with QuickGPSfix. Despite living in NYC where it can be notoriously difficult for a GPS watch to connect with a satellite, it found a satellite within seconds.
Built-in Heart Rate Monitor
This is the feature I was the most excited to use. When wearing it while walking to Central Park, it read my heart rate to be in the 120s, while my Fitbit Charge HR read it to be in the 70’s. Maybe neither of these numbers are accurate.
While running it seems to be a bit more accurate/consistent when compared with the readings from the Fitbit Charge HR. The average heart rate recorded by each device while worn at the same time were +/- 10 beats.
The heart rate monitor stats did seem consistent over time. This means there is value in seeing these numbers even if they aren’t 100% accurate.
Coach’s Note: If you want to train by heart rate, any device that is consistent is good to use. You’ll need to learn what different heart rate readings mean for you as an individual instead of using a generic formula. Typically, assessing correct heart rate zones is done by performing heart rate-based assessments (ex: field tests, VO2 Max, etc…).
This is hands down my favorite feature of this watch. I don’t always run with music, but when I do I’m usually annoyed. Listening to music usually means making sure my watch and iPod shuffle are charged, trying to figure out how to wear my headphones so they don’t get tangled up, and having to wear two devices instead of one. This watch takes all those slightly annoying things away. You only have one device to worry about.
On one level, the design is great. The watch band not only comes in different sizes, but in different colors. It was also easy to set-up.
On another level, I didn’t love the design of the buttons. Instead of having separate buttons to push for different functions, like many other sport watches do, the TomTom Spark has one big button. To change screens, turn on GPS, play music, set up interval workouts, pause the workout, etc… you push one side of a large square to scroll through the menus instead of a specific button.
It sounds simple, but this was not intuitive for me. If I tried to scroll through different screens during a run, I couldn’t navigate back to the home screen. For certain functions you are to hit one side of the square once and for others twice. This function didn’t work smoothly for me and made transitioning from function to function a bit frustrating.
The TomTom Spark GPS watch is a good sport watch that does it all. It’s four devices rolled into one – gps run watch, music player, heart rate monitor and activity tracker.
Before purchasing a GPS watch, head to your local run store to see it in-person. Another good option is to borrow one from a friend so you can actually run with it before deciding if it is the right watch for you.