TomTom Spark 3 Cardio Watch
TomTom has made a name for themselves in the GPS watch industry, and while many users will still prefer to go with Garmin GPS, they are a brand that can be depended on. Today, we want to look at one of their specific models; the tomtom spark 3 cardio. Specifically, we want to see if it is a timepiece that is going to be worth your time and hard-earned money.
As for what it is, the TomTom Spark 3 is a do-it-all fitness watch that is jam-packed with features and superb functionality. From its 24/7 activity tracking to its GPS functionality to its built-in heart rate monitor, this great running GPS watch can be a great companion for you and your fitness needs. It is also highly water-resistant and can be used as a swimming tracker.
Then again, if you did not know any better, you would think the Spark 3 was a relic from the late 1980s as it looks like its interface was inspired by the Nintendo Game Boy (which is not exactly a compliment). Though still semi-decent to view, let’s say it will not be turning many heads on your wrist.
The GPS is really accurate when compared to the competition
Equipped with multiple different sports modes
Has a built-in heart rate monitor
Compatible with both iOS and Android
The strap has been upgraded and improved
It is water-resistant to 40 meters
Extremely lightweight design
Connecting to third-party Bluetooth headphones is almost impossible
The display is dated
The interface takes some time to get used to
Not the best battery life
The strap has been known to have longevity issues
Of course, the tomtom spark 3 takes this a step further and allows you to race and compete against yourself. If nothing else, you can also merely set goals for yourself and be notified when you reach them. The cool race mode gives you the chance to best some of your previous workouts.
There are even multiple different sports modes that you can use if you are partaking in a specific activity. For example, you have a bike, running, swimming, gym, and treadmill modes that have been built-in to track accurate and relevant metrics for those specific activities.
No external strap is going to be needed, as this bad boy can measure your heart rate straight from your wrist. For a system such as this, the accuracy is quite admirable but is still not at the level of an actual chest strap-based system. Plus, you can train in one of five different heart rate zones. This can allow you to see your results even quicker.
Past this, tom tom spark 3 timepiece also has a built-in compass for navigational purposes. However, this aspect of the watch is a bit limited as you will not receive turn-by-turn directions or a map of the current area. But, at least you are provided with some guidance in the instance you get lost somewhere.
If not, you can use your computer to access your progress, but you will still need to sign up for a TomTom Sports account. However, the issues with connectivity start to surface when you start to use this watch for music (as you can load audio files on it). If you plan to use any Bluetooth headphones that are not TomTom’s own, expect some serious syncing issues to occur.
It is so bad that you may not even be able to use the headphones you prefer. If this is a deal-breaker for you, then you may wind up being infuriated with this GPS watch.
But, it also helps that the band is very slim and lightweight. Oh, and the fastening system is a bit more secure than before to provide you both peace of mind and improved heart rate performance. Heck, you can even swap out the current strap for a different one if you wanted to.
All this praising aside, there is a severe issue with the provided band. It has been known to have durability problems with several users reporting that it only lasted anywhere from three to six months for them.
It lacks the color of any kind as it is a grayscale display and has a resolution of 144 x 168 pixels. The option is available to turn on the backlight, but if you leave it on for extended periods, the battery life is going to suffer. This becomes an issue as the screen can be challenging to view in low-light conditions.
With all this being said, the interface is still quite clean and not unnecessarily cluttered or anything like that. It gets the job done, but in the world of modern technology, it is fair to say that it is dated to some degree.
Ease of Use
Unfortunately, for some of you, this means there is no touchscreen interface as you will have to resort to the old-fashioned way. As for how the system performs, it is something that you need to get accustomed to. Because everything is mapped to the one button, you will need to get familiar with specific sequences to get to where you need to go.
Get ready to familiarize yourself with it as it is going to take some practice. After a while, however, you will be able to operate it much more smoothly.
If you were to just use it is an activity tracker without the GPS or the heart rate monitor, you could get up to three weeks’ worth of battery life on a full charge. When using the GPS nonstop, it would only last for up to 11 hours and this decreases to 9 once you bring the heart rate monitor into play.
As you can see, the specs are somewhat average and what you will also notice is the heart rate monitor is the largest consumer of the battery. Unless you will be using this type of functionality for hours on end, the battery life will be reasonable to work with, however.
If you plan on diving or doing any deep swimming, you will end up damaging this watch if you take it out as is. It is not built to withstand such water pressures, but it is going to combat most situations just fine. For example, you can take it out in the rain, wear it in the shower, and even do laps around the pool with it on.
Given the fact this can also track swimming metrics, it makes sense that it would be optimal for such occurrences. With that being said, it is not the most accurate swimming tracker out there and sometimes fails to record laps.
The official weight of the Spark 3 is just 49 grams, and this works out to the right around 1.7 to 1.8 ounces. No matter how you slice it, this sucker is lightweight and just a joy to wear day in and day out (and even when you sleep).
Remember, however, that you can use other bands with this watch. If you do, you may run the risk of adding a bit more weight. Yet, even if you only added a few more grams to the overall weight, it probably will not be anything substantial enough for you to notice.
It could even be classified as a jack of all trades and master of none type wristwatch. After all, in spite of the excellent functionality, there are just certain areas where this watch falls a little short. The display and interface are both dated and somewhat non-intuitive to operate, the battery life is certainly far from great, connecting to third-party headphones is impossible, and the GPS navigation is limited.
Those may sound like nitpicks, but they are legitimate reasons for some of you to avoid this specific GPS watch. However, when you look at this through objective lenses, you get a really strong outing from TomTom that happens to be flawed in some respects. We hope that our tomtom spark 3 review will help you make an informed decision when it comes to purchasing this watch.