TomTom Spark 3 Review – NOT just for RUNNERS!

AT A GLANCE: QUICK RATINGS

Heart Rate Functions

85%

Fitness / Sport Features

70%

Ease of Use

85%

Battery Life

75%

Where To Get It

A Deep Dive Into TomTom Spark 3

The TomTom Spark 3 is a GPS running watch with wrist based heart rate, route exploration and internal music store reviewed by Tristan Haskins aka CardioCritic(formerly HeartRateMonitor UK). The TomTom Spark 3 is EXACTLY the same watch as the TomTom Runner 3. Throughout this product test I will refer to the watch simply as the Spark 3…

  • Who Is It For?

  • Video Review

  • Pros

  • Cons

  • Smartphone APP quite slow
  • Backlight activation can be temperamental

Main Features and Functions

  • GPS based sports watch – ideal for running, walking, cycling, cardio, treadmill, indoor workouts  and swimming
  • Wrist Based Heart Rate – highly accurate
  • Swimming Metrics – including SWOLF score
  • Store up to 500 songs in the internal music player’s memory (playback via Bluetooth headphones)
  • Battery life expectancy – Activity tracking: up to 3 weeks, GPS: up to 11 hours, GPS + Heart Rate + Music: up to 5 hours
  • Water Resistancy – 40 m / 130 feet (5 ATM) in other words, surface swim proof
  • Activity Tracker – 24/7 giving feedback on steps, distance, calories and sleep quality/duration
  • Route Exploration (new feature) – follow a pre-saved GPX trail
  • Multiple exercise modes – including Intervals and Zone controlled workouts
  • Digital Compass
  • Automatic breadcrumb trail generation – navigate back to the start
  • SUPER clear display – even in the brightest daylight
  • Skip to CONCLUSION and Price Checks

More Features

Trail Follow

Wrist Based Heart Rate

Heart Rate from TomTom Spark 3 (Runner 3)

Activity Tracking with the Spark 3

Customised Display – Training Views

Left and Right Training View Options

Styles of Training

Zone Training

Swim Metrics

Bluetooth Transmission

Top Alternatives

Next Model UP

This is the top of TomTom’s GPS running watch range. If you are a winter sports enthusiast you may be interested in the TomTom Adventurer with auto-detection of Ski Lift & Ski Run sessions.

Next Model DOWN

The next models down are the previous incarnations of the TomTom Runner/Spark watch. The Runner 2 is VERY SIMILAR to this model. The main difference being the inclusion of the explore route functions in the Spark 3, more details below … If all you really want is a good GPS running watch with wrist based heart rate without the internal music store or activity tracking then it still offers great value for money.

Closest Alternative Running Watches?

After general fitness watches, these GPS running watches are the second most popular category and subsequently it’s a very competitive market. Assuming you are predominantly a runner looking for a sports watch with built-in Heart Rate & GPS. Other running specific features would include auto-lapping and the support of a good smartphone app my shortlist as alternatives would be the Polar M430, the Garmin Forerunner 35 and the Polar M200.

  • Garmin Forerunner 35 user friendly, competent GPS running watch with wrist based HR
  • Polar M430 Brilliant GPS running watch with wrist based HR – also support 100+ other sport profiles
  • Polar M200 a more basic GPS running watch with wrist based HR & activity tracker

Update Oct 2017 > If you want your activity tracker to include built-in GPS & wrist based heart rate but remain SLEEK & DISCRETE then Garmin could have the answer … the brilliant Garmin Vivosport fitness tracker. Replacing the Vivosmart HR+, the Garmin Vivosport features built-in GPS, wrist based heart rate, dedicated running functions (auto-lap, pace alerts etc) a full colour display, VO2 max, Stress tests and much more. CardioCritic have awarded the Garmin Vivosport Best on Test in the Fitness Tracker category and expect it to be one of the best selling fitness trackers of 2018.

  • Garmin Vivosport Best on Test – a sleek, discrete fitness tracker with GPS and wrist based heart rate

Wearable Tech Running Fans

If you’re in to wearable technology then Android users may want to consider the Polar M600, powered by Android Wear or for users of iPhone the Apple Watch 2 Nike+. Both these watches feature built-in GPS, are swim proof, have wrist based heart rate and can store music on their internal memory for playback via Bluetooth headphones.

  • Polar M600 Android Wear connected smartwatch, supports Strava application
  • Apple Watch Nike+ iPhone connected smartwatch comes with Nike+ Run Club pre-installed

Comparison

What’s the difference ? Spark 3 vs Runner 3

Nothing other than the exterior aesthetics. For some reason, I still can’t quite understand, TomTom’s marketing team decided to give the same base product different names to appeal to different customers in different market places….

What’s the difference V2 & V3?

The key difference is the Spark 3’s ability to perform ROUTE EXPLORATION. This works in two ways.

REVIEW SUMMARY

If you’ve got this far then you must be interested in the TomTom Spark 3. It’s a GREAT GPS sports watch for everyone but the most dedicated multisport athlete. The only thing it does NOT do is allow multiple sports in the SAME session, something you only find in TRIATHLON watches like the Forerunner 735XT, Polar V800 and Suunto Spartan Sport. This MINOR issue aside I have NO HESITATION in recommending the TomTom Spark 3 to anyone looking for a competent GPS sports watch with both performance monitoring and activity tracking functionality..

Last Updated on March 28, 2019

Summary
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TomTom Spark 3
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