Reviews, Running Gear

Review: Tom Tom Spark Cardio

TomTom for runners

With the release of the new Apple Watch 3, many runners are left wondering: what is the best watch for runners?  While there certainly are higher priced options, at the time of this review, the TomTom Spark 3 Cardio is only $150 on Amazon!  Continue reading to see how it holds up as a running watch…

I am an information hog, and you can believe I poured over reviews and specs before I made my new running watch purchase.  I was upgrading from a Garmin 220 and was looking for a GPS watch the had wrist based heart rate monitoring.

Features about the TomTom Spark 3 Cardio that I love:

1. It can store playlists!  I have two playlists on mine, one for songs and one for podcasts.  You upload playlists by using the MySport software on your computer.  It was pretty easy getting my playlists from iTunes to TomTom.

2. Heart rate monitoring: I’ve tried using the Wahoo Tickr, and while it gave me some great metrics, it didn’t go well during my long runs.  I love the fact that the TomTom has wrist based heart rate monitoring.  From what I can tell, it’s pretty accurate.

3. Interval training: yes, you can program intervals into the watch.  However, you cannot do a ladder type workout.  All of the working and rest intervals need to be the same.  This is one thing Garmin has over the TomTom

4. Running Metrics: After uploading your workout, you can go to the app to see the basics (time, distance, pace, average heart rate) but it also shows you cadence, time spent in heart rate zones, splits, and elevation

5. PRICE!!! I still can’t believe how affordable this device is, despite all of its features.  I really think this is a hidden gem among GPS watches.

TomTom Spark 3 Cardio Pitfalls:

1. Battery life: It’s decent, but you’re not going to run an ultra marathon with this thing.  So far, my longest run has been 16 miles.  I still had 40% percent battery left, and this was with everything running.  Still, there are GPS watches that will offer you a longer battery life.

2. Time it takes to sync: for some reason, it takes FOREVER for your workout to sync to the app once it’s done.  I’m talking 5-7 minutes for long runs.  While this isn’t a huge deal, if you’re a data junkie, like me, it’s kind of annoying to sit and wait for your data while you’re sweaty and gross.

3. It’s bulky: you can use the Spark as an everyday fitness watch, though you probably won’t.  It’s large and not that pretty to look at.  I use the Fitbit Charge 2 as my everyday watch.

Should I buy the TomTom Spark 3 Cardio for Running?

YES!!! When it comes down to it, you really can’t beat this price.  As long as you don’t want an everyday fitness watch as well, this will save you a ton of money over the competition, while doing pretty much the same thing.  Save your money for races!

Get it here:

TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music, GPS Fitness Watch + Heart Rate Monitor + 3GB Music (Aqua, Small)

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