When I started getting deeply into the running movement, I wanted a wearable device that would monitor my health data and distance while running. As you may know, there’s a lot of fitness GPS watches in the market with different features and price tags.
I was looking for a fitness wearable that was reliable, with built-in GPS/HR sensor and that didn’t empty my pockets!
I finally choose the TomTom Spark 3 GPS watch. After more than 1 year with the wearable, I can say is that I am really happy of the results and it fits perfectly for what I wanted: running. I never had the chance to review this watch but now is the time to show you that it can be a great addition for you.
Here’s my TomTom Spark3 review.
Spark3 Models and Price
There’s 4 different models of the TomTom Spark 3 watch. Take a look to compare. 🙂
Spark 3 Cardio + Heart Rate Monitor (GPS and HR sensors)
Spark 3 GPS watch (GPS sensor only)
Spark 3 Cardio + Music (GPS and HR sensors + Music storage *)
Spark 3 Music (GPS sensor + Music storage *)
* : You can also purchase the Headphones bundle with this model
I purchased the Spark 3 Cardio + HR monitor that was used (looked new to me!) on Amazon.com for less than $200.00. Brand new, it will cost you 40 bucks more.
Spark 3 Design and Accessories
The watch comes with a black wrist strap (there’s different replaceable strap colors, in two sizes available), a proprietary charging cable and the instructions sheet. The strap looks great and keep the watch well tighten when running. A big downside of the strap (for myself at least) is that after a period of time, the strap tent to rip and break due to movements.
I generally use the watch all the time. In 1 year and half, I replaced the strap twice (the first time TomTom sent me a free strap, no charges). Recently, I bought 2 replacement straps from a third party company called TUSITA and so far so good. They are good-looking and not as expensive as the genuine TomTom Spark 3 straps. For more info about TUSITA straps, click here.
Going back to the charging cable (proprietary). It is well done and by default, you need to use a USB port from a PC to connect the cable and to charge the watch but you can also use a third party charger with a USB port and it does the job. Connecting to a PC is not the best scenario when you want to charge the watch overnight… It takes less than 2 hours to fully charge the watch and it lasts about a week if you do normal workouts/runs. TomTom suggest that it last 11 hours of battery lifetime when using the GPS and 3 weeks only with activity tracking.
The Spark 3 is waterproof (ATM5). So you won’t be stressed about wearing this wearable in the shower or while swimming. In my opinion, this is a MUST when purchasing a high-end fitness GPS watch. I love to keep my watch most of the time and not think about removing it before cleaning my dishes! 🙂
The LCD screen is bright but can be a pain when facing sun light. Running after sundown? No problem, if you cover the screen with your hand for a couple of seconds, they backlight will turn on (10 seconds) for easy reading.
Beside his GPS and HR sensor, this watch is capable of monitoring plenty of extra features. Here’s the complete list:
GPS Tracking: Time, Distance, Speed, Pace, Routes, Live stats (connected to a phone).
24/7 Activity Tracking: Heart Rate, steps, active minutes, daily calories burned.
Multisport Modes: Track all your workouts (Run, Bike, Swim, Treadmill, Gym, Indoor cycling and more.
Route Exploration: Find your way back to the start and explore new routes.
Indoor Traning Mode: Track your performance on the treadmill or in the gym.
Race Mode: Select one of your past workouts to race against.
Interval Training: Improve speed and fitness with custom work-rest sessions.
Automatic Sleep Tracking: Monitor how much you slept the day before.
The other sensors included are an accelerometer, digital compass and gyroscope.
Menus and Navigation
All the menus from the watch are controlled by the 4 ways button below the screen. Take note that the display is not touch sensitive, so the only way to navigate thru the menus is using that 4 ways button. At the beginning, I was a bit confused in getting into the good menus but after some time you get easily used to.
Pressing the left side of the button would give you details about your sleep, calories (weekly and daily), steps (weekly and daily), distance and active time. Hitting right side of the button would show you the type of activity you want to start. Pressing at the bottom, gets you into the general settings. From there you can pair your watch with you phone, see your battery life and data storage left, set the clock and turn off or on your sensors (heart and bike).
Make sure you set your profile (age, weight, height and gender) in the settings to have the best reliable fitness data after a workout. This is important if you want to analyze your fitness data properly and more deeply (using one of TomTom apps).
One downside noted is that you can only see your real-time data on the watch when performing the workout or if you pause it. If you finished (and stopped the watch to record your data) your workout, you cannot go back and look at the data that you just did. You need to sync your Spark 3 watch with your PC/smartphone to see your post-workout information.
App and Connectivity
Like all TomTom fitness wearables, the Spark 3 connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone using the TomTom Sport app available on Android and iOS. You can also use the USB cable provided and connect on a Windows PC running the TomTom Sports Connect app. Both apps look very similar with most of the menus (located differently) giving you a lot of precised information about yourself. The apps don’t show your real-time workout progress like Runtastic since it doesn’t use the internal GPS of your phone.
If you want to see your last runs or workouts, it is there. If you want to plan your next run, it’s there too. You can check your stats from previous years and current year how see what is your progress so far. The Fitness Age, that’s based on your Vo2Max is a great feature that they have included.
”VO2max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise, per kilogram of body weight, per minute. It is a gold standard for measuring your overall aerobic fitness level.” The best your Vo2Max is, the best your fitness level would be (based on studies). You can know more about the VO2Max factor by clicking here.
You can share your workouts with most social medias feeds (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc…) and you can also export your data (automatically) to other apps like Strava.
If you are planning to acquire a new fitness watch that includes a fast GPS and precise HR sensor, the TomTom Spark 3 could be a great option for you. If we compare it with other sport watch models, the Spark 3 worth the price.
It is an affordable all-around watch that would fit perfectly for any kinds of sport geeks that want to step up a notch. Beside the strap usage issue and not being able to see your post-workout data, the TomTom Spark 3 is a winner.
I hope you enjoyed this review! Leave a quick comment if you like.
Have a good one, Al.