TomTom Spark Cardio + Music review

TomTom’s Spark feels like a logical culmination of everything that has come before it. This multi-sport watch features a heart rate sensor — TomTom ditched chest straps a generation or more ago — and, of course, a GPS.

New to the range is 3GB of inbuilt storage for music. Pair the Spark with a set of Bluetooth headphones and you’ll find a playlist from the Ministry of Sound already included, a nice touch.

This is a watch that’s not just about music, though: it prides itself on its multi-discipline nature, with tracking options for running, swimming, cycling, gym work and ‘freestyle’ when you simply want to monitor your heart rate.

Everything here has been designed with ease of function in mind, and you’ll quickly become familiar with the UI — the four-way button helps a lot.

In testing, we found the wide, double-notched strap kept the Spark secure during rough surf, and felt comfortable over a week spent swimming, cycling and running.

On dry land, the watch displays your heart rate and distance thanks to the GPS, though in water, these functions (and Bluetooth) are disabled, relying instead on your stroke to determine distance and calories burned.

The GPS can be a bit slow to register a signal, and we often spent a couple of minutes impatiently waiting for the watch, even in clear skies.

What’s most disappointing, though, is that it’s highly inaccurate in water. We went through two test units, each with the latest firmware, and both incorrectly measured our swim distance by an enormous margin.

Which is a shame, because on dry land, the Spark’s a treat. A noticeable buzz alerts you to training milestones, and metrics can then be uploaded (using a proprietary USB cable) to TomTom’s web service, or to your favourite sports site (like Endomondo, Strava and so on).

Expect about a week out of the battery for low use, and roughly five hours with constant GPS usage.

Price: $349
From: TomTom

Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5