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Tomtom Spark 3 Review

We’ve been talking to you for a while: the sports season will be connected, or will not be. But running connected with his cumbersome, heavy smartphone is impractical. And not everyone likes to have an armband around their arm.

Based on this reflection, the manufacturer TomTom has launched the TomTom Spark 3, the multi-sports watch connected who wants to get rid of your smartphone during your workouts … Betting successful? This is what we will see in this test!

Unboxing

The Spark 3 comes in many versions and includes a cardio sensor, a memory of 4GB to store your MP3 (about 500 titles) and even a Bluetooth headset depending on the model chosen. The Spark 3 acts as a sensor of activity (no, duration of activity, calories burned, distance traveled), but draws all its potential in the tracking of sports activities , and they are numerous to be supported: race to foot (indoor and outdoor on carpet), cycling (outdoor and indoor too), swimming, fitness and walking. It is obviously equipped with a GPS (accurate and fast) and many other functions (chronometer …)

Before you make your purchase, take the time to put your wrist on the case, to find out which size bracelet is best for you. The settings are numerous, rest assured, and the area common to both sizes is suitable for 95% of users.

CONTENTS OF THE BOX:

  • The screen and its navigation system
  • A bracelet (be careful to choose the right size at the time of purchase)
  • USB charging / synchronizing cable
  • A quick start guide
  • A complete manual

GETTING STARTED / USE:

The test of the TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music starts with an excellent first impression. The case fits perfectly on the bracelet, without any difficulty and without any fear of seeing him get the trunk in full exercise session. The design of this watch is a success. The Spark 3 is a sporty watch that also wants to be an everyday watch. Although modern and resolutely high-tech, it goes wonderfully with a suit or outfit “city.” Another rare point to be reported: even if its size is consistent, it is neither “nerd” nor “girly,” so it is suitable for both men and women. (Madam has quickly piqued us during this test …)
Much more than just a connected watch, the TomTom Spark 3 is a (un) connected watch. Understand that she is self-sufficient in your sports activities. Now you do not need to carry your bulky smartphone next door, it takes care of everything, even GPS, music and heart rate (depending on version), and allows you to synchronize your data at the end of your day or of your session. And that’s practical!

The entire navigation is done via the buttons on the screen. Yes, the Spark 3 is not tactile. But finally, it’s pretty well done. Up / down / left / right allow you to navigate through the different menus and move from one activity to another (fairly) easily.

Design

Without a doubt, the Spark 3 looks great, although it still has the same visual concept as earlier versions. A watch that is not bulky, a sleek finish with a contrast of the screen that allows a quick read without forcing the eyes. Aqua color was available only with basic version and cardio.

Comfort

A watch with 24/7 activity monitoring must be comfortable at all times and especially during sleep. This sporty watch, although bigger than the TomTom Touch Activity Bracelet, for example, can be worn like a charm. Throughout my test, I did not feel any discomfort related to the watch, even at night.

Display

The huge highlight of the TomTom Spark 3 is its large screen. In addition to being beautiful, the high contrast negative display allows it to remain permanently lit and ensure perfect readability in all circumstances, even in low light or on the contrary in full sun. It’s a real success! The bracelet and the tie are very practical with three safety notches: you can not lose it even during the sporting activity. In this regard, it is important to note that the Spark 3 is an example of comfort, despite its size, both in activity and daily. We love!

Functionality

There are many: 24/7 activity monitoring, GPS tracking, multisport mode, new course discovery, built-in cardio frequency meter, over 500 titles capacity and a Bluetooth wireless headset.

GPS tracking is accurate and has a built-in compass gives you a little extra to guide you at all times. Always practical to find your way in the forest, especially after you have gone to the hunt … Made live during the test!

Multisport mode that allows you to test a wide variety of sports: running, cycling, indoor bike, mats, swimming, freestyle, gym, and stopwatch. Depending on the mode you are using, some functions are active and some that are not. Take for example the gym; there will be no course that will be quantified.

Discovery of new courses that I have not been able to test new courses, however, the use is straightforward. You just have to go to your MySports application on your computer and choose a route already made then you can, like the image below, copy it. And either, save the route for reuse or download them on the Internet GPX.

Capacity of over 500 song titles

What you do not want during a race or any other activity is to make you bother by Facebook notifications or by a mobile that jumps in all directions (even with a nice little holster on the arm, it’s tiring). In addition to having a large capacity (depending on the size of each), the headphones intra auricular Bluetooth do a great job. The only problem with in-ear earphones, and especially these, is that the earplug is so good that when you run, the “rebounds” of your running pace are felt at every step. After a while, you do it, I guess?

Sports use

The TomTom Spark 3 can seem quite confusing for the beginner or the very amateur sportsman who never took in hand this kind of device. Whoever wants to run by simply launching a time may be a little lost as the functions, and sports programs are numerous. On the other hand, it is very satisfactory as soon as you plan to buy it for a “sports program” use, offering you a real accompaniment, varied training sessions, and specific sessions.

For running and mountain biking, the GPS tracking system is very satisfying; signal acquisition is as fast as accurate. (every time the watch updates with the phone, it retrieves the latest positioning data “GPSFix,” allowing him to know in advance where and what GPS signal to look for according to the time of your training). The audio notifications of statistics during the race are reserved for users of a Bluetooth headset.

We will simply regret the lack of ergonomic menus that makes programming training (split, etc …) not very practical or very intuitive. For years, global ergonomics, without being catastrophic, remains the bane of TomTom. Let’s hope that a future update can improve all that.

The real weak point of this watch is finally the same as for all its competitors: the use for swimming. Although the TomTom Spark 3 is waterproof up to 40 meters, like its competitors it does not offer a GPS track in the basin or so in whitewater. You must go upstream the length of your pelvis and choose a goal, time, distance … by crossing your fingers so that it understands when a length has been made. Our different uses in swimming pool each time raised the same problem with very approximate data. As you can see in this summary, we would have started our training session by five good minutes … board. We are monitoring future updates, hoping that TomTom offers a convincing fix soon!

Note that the watch also has functions and programs designed and optimized for indoor use on carpet, exercise bike, gym and even freestyle. The Spark 3 is the sports watch with the widest range of training on the market today, making it an ideal partner when you touch different sports activities!

Application

After the training session, simply open the TomTom My Sports application so that the data synchronize instantly between the watch and the smartphone. We then find ourselves with an excellent GPS track, an exhaustive detail of the race and a faithful rendering of the heartbeat. Bravo!

The smartphone application is still not a reference regarding ergonomics. But fortunately, the watch and its data are compatible with the primary sports applications of the market: MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, Strava, Endomondo, Taiwan MySports, MyFitnessPal, Nike +, Jawbone UP and Training Peaks. And that’s great!

Music

We will not lie, music is many a source of motivation when practicing a sporting activity. TomTom is one of the forerunners in the field since it offers with the model “Cardio + Music” nearly 4GB of storage space to slide your MP3s, and listen to them using a Bluetooth headset (provided or not depending on the level of finishes). It’s a great idea. The goal of TomTom is clearly to free you from your phone during your workouts. And the bet is successful! The Spark 3 supports MP3, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AAC-LC and HE-AACv2 files.

But again, TomTom is overtaken by its eternal ergonomic flaws. Forget the idea of stupidly slipping your music into the watch; TomTom PC application is essential to transfer your files in the internal memory of the Spark 3. There has been better since the previous model, but it takes more and always group your songs as playlists created with Media Player or iTunes, as on the Apple Watch … shame!

Autonomy

We are here (again) a huge highlight of Spark 3:

In use “watch,” the TomTom holds nearly three weeks (!!), even though its screen remains lit and displays permanently the time and date (which is not the case for all the competition!)

In use “amateur sport” (3/4 sessions per week with GPS and cardio), the watch easily exceeds the week of autonomy.

In use “daily training,” the watch can hold more than 4/5 days, while the GPS tracker and the heart sensor are regularly lit. Very satisfying for the connected watchenergy sobriety which places it among the best autonomies of the moment. Bravo TomTom!

Recharging is done simply by removing the frame of the bracelet and clip it on the USB cable. Child’s play.

Conclusion

Testing this watch was a real charm! I loved the diversity of these features, its very soft comfort and ease of navigation. Although the MySports application needs improvement, among other things with the speed of synchronization and the depth of the software, the Spark 3 is to be considered for your next purchase. A watch that adapts to the everyday life of everyone!

The entry-level of the Spark 3 is at $ 219.99 and can go up to $ 349.99 for the  Spark 3 Cardio + Music + Wireless Headset, which we tested. If you are the type always to lug your cell phone, I recommend the Spark 3 Cardio which has all the nice features except music and wireless headphones.

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