TomTom Spark Music+Cardio watch #ExpressReview: Meant for fitness freaks

We reviewed the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music GPS Fitness Watch, and here's what we think of this fitness watch.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Written by Shruti Dhapola | Updated: February 29, 2016 3:39 pm
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Fitness tracking in India is growing, and tops players like Fitbit, Jawbone have now easily available here. Unlike an Apple or Samsung watch, the focus for Fitbit has been geared towards health. TomTom is another such player, making watches aimed at those, who are heavily into their fitness regime; the gym-rats, the swimmers, the runners, or those who do all of this.

TomTom’s latest launch in India are watches that can store music, and support Bluetooth headset. Called the new Spark Fitness series, these start at Rs 13,999. TomTom Spark Fitness watches comes in four options: TomTom Spark GPS Fitness Watch (priced at Rs 13,999), TomTom Spark Cardio GPS Fitness Watch (priced at Rs 17,999), the TomTom Spark Music GPS Fitness Watch (also Rs 17,999) and TomTom Spark Cardio + Music GPS Fitness Watch, which is priced at Rs 21,999.

We reviewed the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music GPS Fitness Watch and here’s what we thought of the fitness watch.

TomTom Spark Cardio + Music GPS Fitness Watch

For starters this watch is not meant to look pretty, and I don’t see that as anything to complain about.  While the large sized, black colour watch looked way to big for my hand, the tight plastic strap means that this is uncomfortable to wear.  There were days when the watch left a prominent mark on my hand as well.

TomTom Spark Fitness, TomTom Spark Fitness review, TomTom Spark Fitness Music watch review, TomTom watch review, Smartwatches, Smartwatches in India, Health tracker, technology, technology news The TomTom Watch supports multi-sport modes from treadmill to cycling to swimming.

So, if you’re looking for a fitness device that is light and comfortable, the TomTom is not for you. However when it comes to the actual fitness bit, this is the one of the most accurate watches you’ll get.

What’s good?

Accuracy is its biggest asset. On the treadmill, the watch will count the distance walked based on pace and steps; the heart-rate sensor reflects the accurate number while exercising. I could see that this one was accurate, because it showed the exact same heart-rate as the treadmill.

Yes the total distance differs at the end, because the watch is calculating based on pace, but it’s actually closer to the real distance that you would have walked. I liked the fact that I could use the watch for regular exercises as well, and it tracked the heart-rate along with the amount of calories burnt in this mode.

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One must keep in mind that simply pushing on the Treadmill mode doesn’t mean that the watch has started counting. You need to push the right button at the bottom once more, and the watch will prompt ‘Go’, and that’s when it will start recording the data.

Additionally there’s option of setting a goal before one starts, based on either distance or calories. The watch reflects how one is doing based on preferences set; these include pace per minute, heart-rate, etc. I preferred keeping the goal in terms of distance covered, and the watch reflected what percentage of that goal I had achieved.

The app is where I could see the exercise session in detail. It showcases the pace, the heart-rate, the speed; all of it is charted beautifully. For those obsessed with health numbers, it’s full of details. A lot of it I personally didn’t care for, but someone who’s running judiciously will probably be taking this very seriously. Where it helps mid-level beginners like me, is that I could see my daily progress for my running capacity goes.

TomTom’s watch has a daily activity tracker as well, which is accurate. The total weekly steps, daily steps, calories are displayed in this part. But like I’ve said the watch is meant for big sports, rather than just calories counting and steps. The sleep tracker is also accurate on most days, except sleeping with watch is not really that comfortable.

TomTom Spark Fitness, TomTom Spark Fitness review, TomTom Spark Fitness Music watch review, TomTom watch review, Smartwatches, Smartwatches in India, Health tracker, technology, technology news The fitness app displays the data in great detail. You can tap on each session and see heart-rate, pace, etc.

The watch connected easily with the Plantronics Bluetooth headset that were sent along with this. I didn’t face any issues while transferring music to the watch either. To transfer music, one needs the TomTom app on their PC and has to transfer playlists, rather add each individual song or album.

What’s not that good?

Accuracy of the watch aside, I faced a daily struggle trying to connect the watch with the app. It would never detect the watch in one go, and I kept tapping on the Pair New option at all times.

TomTom Spark Fitness, TomTom Spark Fitness review, TomTom Spark Fitness Music watch review, TomTom watch review, Smartwatches, Smartwatches in India, Health tracker, technology, technology news The TomTom Watch is definitely not one of the prettiest looking devices on the market.

My other big problem with the TomTom Watch is the way the data is reflected live, when you’re exercising. There are at times too many confusing metrics thrown at you, with pace, pace per minute, sprint, even though you might have strictly chosen two metrics. While I exercising, I’d like the UI to be cleaner.

Honestly figuring out the watch takes time. The giant button/trackpad at the bottom is not easy to navigate, and sometimes I would find myself needlessly going back and forth in an attempt to find one piece of data on the watch. TomTom definitely needs to figure an easier way to navigate.

TomTom Spark Fitness, TomTom Spark Fitness review, TomTom Spark Fitness Music watch review, TomTom watch review, Smartwatches, Smartwatches in India, Health tracker, technology, technology news More details on how the app reflects the health data for each session.

Is it worth a buy?

At Rs 21,999, this version of the TomTom Spark Fitness competes right in the big league. There’s the Gear S2, which costs slightly more than this but has a lot more features ( Rs 24,300); Fitbit has a whole series of popular bands, sleeker, costing much less. FitBit Blaze will soon be available in India (currently up for pre-orders), and it looks way better.

With TomTom Spark Fitness, there are versions that costs less, though the cheapest version doesn’t have the heart-rate sensor. TomTom’s Spark watches are geared towards giving data to monitor daily fitness goals, and if you’re one of those who strictly swears by these goals, then this is an option to consider.