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The New TomTom Spark: First Runs & Impressions

TomTom-Spark-TimeDate

Earlier yesterday I had the opportunity to test out the new TomTom Spark GPS watch.  This unit is unique in that it includes not only a new optical HR sensor, but also adds in music playback via Bluetooth headphones.  Further, as part of the upgrade from the units of past, they added in daily activity tracking (steps and sleep).

So rather than wait for a full in-depth review a few weeks from now, I figured I’d get you the details you’re looking for and a place to hold some discussion.  Plus, everyone likes pretty pictures.

I spent a chunk of the day at the TomTom fitness team’s headquarters in London getting the technical low-down from them.  Then we had a video conference call with the folks behind LifeQ (which are key to the new optical sensor), and finally, we went for a run around London’s Regent’s Park.  As usual, I paid for my own travel (just a quick 2hr 15min train ride from Paris).  They’ve provided a production unit for me to do testing on, which eventually I’ll send back to them (also like usual).

With that, let’s dive into things.

The Device Details:

To begin you’ll notice that the unit looks a fair bit like the existing TomTom Runner & Multisport units.  And in many ways it is, but it also differs a little.  For example, they changed the way they do the bonding on the screen to get brighter whites and blacker black text, as well as making it a bit crisper.  Additionally, the strap is significantly sized down from the larger straps of the TomTom Cardio.

TomTom-Spark-and-Cardio-Sizes

TomTom-Spark-Cardio-Side-By-Side

Speaking of straps, the unit can be bought in a few different strap colors.  First up is the larger teal color seen below, as well as the smaller purple color, and then a black variant.

TomTom-Spark-Main-Straps

For the black strap options, they’ve got both large and small.  It should be noted that in order to slightly increase confusion, the Spark will also be sold under a slightly different product name (Runner 2) at some specialty stores.  It’s the exact same watch, just a different black strap and a different box/packaging focusing on the black strap (because it has a different name, Runner 2).

TomTom-Spark-Black-Straps-Colored-Straps

On the bundle front, there are a bunch of different models for the Spark (plus those other Runner 2 models).  They are based on the features included.  You’ve got:

TomTom Spark GPS Watch: €149/$TBA
TomTom Spark Cardio GPS Watch: €199/$TBA
TomTom Spark Music GPS Watch: €199/$TBA
TomTom Spark Cardio & Music GPS Watch: €249/$249
TomTom Spark Music GPS Watch with Bluetooth Headphones: €249/$TBA
TomTom Spark Cardio & Music GPS Watch with Bluetooth Headphones €299/$TBA

Note that only the USD pricing for the combo Cardio & Music option has been announced. The remaining USD pricing should be announced next week.

Now if you flip over the Spark you’ll see the new LifeQ driven optical sensor in there.  I’ll get back to that in a minute.  For now just gaze into the lights.

TomTom-Spark-Lights

Next you’ll see the addition of activity tracking.  Like every other connected watch on the planet it now counts steps, distance, and calories from those steps.  You can also set a goal too.  But unlike every other device, it actually also shows you totals towards a weekly progress level.  This is notable because most people (especially athletes) have days where they run/walk more, and then other recovery days.  This heptagon helps to balance that picture out:

TomTom-Spark-Weekly-Totals

You can tap up/down on the screen to see your other metrics including calories, steps, distance, and sleeps.  These aren’t shown on the home screen (I sorta wish they were), but only on a secondary screen.

TomTom-Spark-Calories

TomTom-Spark-StepsRounding out the list of new features, we’ve got the addition of the music player.  This is done via an included 3GB of storage (technically there’s 4GB, but only 3GB accessible to music).  The Spark then allows you to connect Bluetooth audio headphones or devices to the unit, via a simple pairing process:

TomTom-Spark-Pairing-Bluetooth-Headphones

Depending on the model/version you buy, it’ll include a pair of wireless (duh) Bluetooth headphones with it, as seen below:

TomTom-Spark-Bundled-Headphones

During my run, these seemed to work fairly well, and fit well too (they include a small packet of earbud tips).  You can also use any Bluetooth audio device you see fit.  Heck, you could even pair it to your Chevrolet Spark car – for the ultimate in sparkiness.  Or Bluetooth Panda speaker.  Or Hootie, the Bluetooth Owl speaker.  Yes, I can find Bluetooth speaker animals all day long.

TomTom-Spark-Headphones

The unit also comes with 11 songs as part of an upbeat running playlist.  They’re actually pretty good tracks, and songs you’ve actually heard many times before (even if you don’t know the artist’s names).  For the fun of it, I created a Spotify Playlist with the same songs here (must have a Spotify account).

TomTom-Spark-Playlist-Included-Music

When it comes to the user interface, that’s pretty much unchanged from the existing TomTom wearables.  The menus are all about the same.  The icons are slightly different for the different sports though:

TomTom-Run-Sports

And soon they’ll breakout a new lap mode that’ll allow you to run laps concurrently with sport modes like intervals and a pacer function.

Today the unit gets the following battery life levels:

Music/GPS/Optical HR Enabled (aka Everything): 5 hours
GPS/Optical HR enabled: 9 hours
GPS only: 11 hours
Watch mode: 2 weeks

They’re looking at rolling out continuous HR monitoring (i.e. 24×7 HR monitoring) by the end of the year to the Spark, which will undoubtedly impact battery life in watch mode (they expect about a 50% hit).  They haven’t decided on a specific recording rate, as they’re still working on battery tests to see what makes the most sense.

Also on the near-term list for later this year is the addition of smartphone notifications for text and phone alerts.  This will display who is calling and texting, but they don’t plan on allowing you to answer the phone at this stage from the device.

Lastly for this year, they’ll be pulling in all data from the TomTom MySports mobile app into Apple Health.  This will include both daily activity data as well as workout data.  Google Fit support will follow early next year.

Over the next year plans include the ability to re-broadcast the optical HR signal over Bluetooth Smart.  This would allow other devices & apps to connect to the TomTom Spark and get the HR data from it in real-time.  Additionally, they’re working on enabling HR during swimming – but that’s dependent on it actually working well.  Today that effort is in feasibility/research mode.  Lastly, expect to see VO2Max at latest by early next year, but it might make it by the end of this year if Santa and his elves are cooperative.

LifeQ & The Future:

TomTom-Spark-LifeQ-OpticalSensorIlluminated

The key theme when talking to TomTom about the Spark was really about them building a platform for the (or their) future.  This was both on the device side, but also on the web platform.  They noted that while cost of the LifeQ optical solution was certainly less than the Mio/Philips offering, it was actually the deeper integration and future potential that was the major driving factor.  With Mio/Philips, the sensor was essentially plug & play – providing just heart rate as an output to the watch.  That was great for the Cardio, and worked well.  But they were concerned that long term it wouldn’t be as competitive as other companies added more and deeper features.

Whereas with the LifeQ solution they felt that they’d be able to get more ‘out of’ the solution.  In discussing their roadmap during the conference call with LifeQ, I can’t argue with that approach.

To begin, LifeQ is a mostly South African based company that has offices in Atlanta and soon Boston & San Diego.  At 70 employees strong, it’s certainly not four guys in a garage somewhere.  Their focus is really on the bio-mathematical algorithms that are behind the sensor packages they put together.  They don’t actually sell sensors, or hardware.  Rather, they are mostly about algorithms and down the road, big data-esque type solutions.

TomTom-Spark-LifeQ-Sensor-Off

That said, this is LifeQ’s first product.  That’s both good and bad.  On the obvious-bad front, it means that they lack the real-world user usage that can only come with deploying thousands of units.  No amount of studies or test runs (no matter how many years they’ve done them) will replace that.

On the flip side (the good side), with what is effectively one customer (TomTom) deciding their future as a company, they’re incredibly motivated to ensure they get it right.  They noted they really wanted to partner with TomTom, versus various knock-off brands seen across the CES floor, due to TomTom’s specific baseline requirement that it be just as good (or better) than the existing Mio sensor (in their current Cardio lineup).  The agreement between LifeQ & TomTom is not exclusive, and LifeQ certainly sees a world of potential partners down the road outside of TomTom.

As I alluded to earlier, LifeQ doesn’t make the sensors.  Instead, they take off the shelf components and put forth reference designs to companies like TomTom.  TomTom could if they wanted to come to LifeQ with a preferred set of chipset and sensor partners, but in this case they let LifeQ run with what they specialized in (a wise move).  As such, the TomTom Spark uses an multi-wavelength PPG (photoplethysmography) optical sensor from Osram (the SFH-7060).  That sensor includes 1xRed LED, 3xGreen LED, plus a single IR sensor.  That set of multicolor LED’s helps them to ensure greater accuracy across more skin tones.  For example, some companies (i.e. Valencell) use a yellow LED in addition to the green.  LifeQ specifically selected the red over yellow, because it would give them more flexibility down the road for blood oxygenation levels.

You can clearly see the different colored LED’s here. The 1xRed LED to the left, the 3xGreen LED’s in the middle, and then the IR to the right.

TomTom-Spark-LED-Package

Finally, they layer in a Texas Instruments AFE 4404 to manage the optical sensor, before calling it done on the hardware layer.  Now it’s really important to note that the firmware that LifeQ has is probably more important than the sensor set selected.  Meaning, just because you have a good sensor does not mean you have good data.  The hard work is taking that raw data stream and making something pretty out of it.  An area that the vast majority of optical sensors within cheaper fitness products today hose up.

As I noted numerous paragraphs ago before we got distracted on company background, a significant reason they selected LIfeQ was for the future expandability.  For example, LifeQ is able to measure RR, and then calculate HRV (while resting).  Further, they’re able to calculate VO2Max and VO2 (continuous).  And down the road they’re able to measure lactate threshold, sorta similar to BSX.  All features that could make their way into the TomTom Spark through firmware updates.

Right now TomTom has committed to getting VO2Max and the recording of HRV/RR data into the .FIT files by early next year.  Whereas features like oxygenation levels and lactate threshold probably aren’t on the near-term update list for TomTom, even if LifeQ is able to deliver them.  I’d suspect that any inclusion of those features would probably target a different (more advanced) user audience than the current TomTom watches aim for.  Fwiw, you can actually dive into many of LifeQ’s white papers on their site. Obviously it’s biased in that they’ve published it, but still interesting nonetheless.

Finally, one of the chief complaints myself and many others have had has been TomTom’s MySports website being about as functional as a pinecone.  When TomTom first started out, they leveraged MapMyFitness as their backend web platform.  That’s common for companies with new watches, as they can skip the complex and redundant development associated with building out a sports platform.  And that’s great, it offers a cheaper way to get started.

But it’s also limiting in terms of future development, and limits how much customization TomTom can do.  So over the last year they’ve built out a 25-person web development team in Edinburgh, and actually created a new web platform.  In fact, they did it so silently you probably didn’t even know it.  Today it runs in parallel to the existing MapMyFitness platform, but down the road you’ll be able to select to board the new platform fully.

That new platform is where you’ll start to see features such as fully web back ended sync to 3rd party services.  For example, today they support Strava, but soon they’ll add in TrainingPeaks and SportTracks, along with MyFitnessPal.  Don’t worry, MapMyFitness will remain as well as an option.  They’ll also revamp the user interface to be…well…useful.

Expect to see that fully rolled out by the end of the year.  They seem to understand that the web and mobile platforms are a significant part of the user experience in today’s devices – and if that piece is messy or incomplete, it throws off balance the whole value proposition.

The First Run:

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR0350.

We headed out for our first run right from the TomTom building, which is in a fairly dense downtown-ish kinda area.  The buildings are tall (upwards of 30+ stories) and tightly clustered together, which makes for excellent GPS testing grounds (for them and me).

TomTom-Headquarters-Buildings

In order to have some comparison data for the run, I used a Garmin FR920XT paired to a Garmin HRM-TRI strap.  I selected this watch simply because when I pulled out three watches this morning at 6AM before the train from my luggage, it was the one that still had battery left (I note this because often folks will overthink my watch selections, 99% of the time it’s just whichever one I have closest and has juice).

Anyway, after heading out we did a lazy loop around the park for about 5K.  I say ‘lazy’ in the casual sense, not in the pace sense – that was rather brisk at about 7:00/mile (4:21/km).

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR0362.

During this section, the optical HR and total distance tracked very well.  The optical HR actually tracked better than the heart rate strap, especially in the first 3-5 minutes.  I had wet the HR strap a bit, but not a ton.  As such the connectivity wasn’t so great there, so you see it slacked off in the 120BPM range, versus my actual HR that the TomTom Spark captured at 140-160bpm:

image

Distance wise, the TomTom and Garmin units matched spot-on for these sections.  Each time the Garmin chirped a mile lap, the TomTom was within .01mi of that – so definitely in the ballpark of expected.

We arrived at the base of a hill and waited for the group to catch-up (or, become un-lost as it might have have been).  We ended up waiting 6 minutes and 23 seconds.  I note the time, because I think it played a factor in what happened next.  Typically during a run I never stop and wait 6 minutes.  The most I’d ever do during a rest period of an interval would be 2mins and 30secs.

After waiting a bit at the base, we decided to start the hill.  We stood within 1 meter of the start of the incline, and took off pretty quickly.  No build into it, no warm-up.  Just run hard.  Meanwhile, the TomTom Spark decided it wanted to rest longer, resulting in the optical HR sitting there in the 90-100bpm range, while the HR strap tracked as one would expect when dying going up a hill:

image

By time I reached the top of the hill, the Spark hadn’t really changed much, though about 60 seconds later you see it realize it lost the plot and quickly played catch up.

We left the hill behind and went across the park for a while.  Along the way I did some variance in pace including one interval to see how the unit would react (when going from steady state to hard). Outside of an initial change in pace, it seemed to align itself back onto things and then follow along well.

image

Now, I’m actually not terribly worried (yet) about the random oddity with the lack of tracking on the hill.  In years of testing heart rate devices, I don’t think I’ve ever gone from what is effectively a resting HR level to an instant sprint up a steep hill.  It’s just not something any athlete would normally do.  Rather, normally you’d have been at a recovery heart rate level in between intervals, or gone from steady-state running to an interval.  Both of which tested just fine when I did that.

Either way, the TomTom folks did seem genuinely freaked out that it happened and were interested in getting to the bottom of it.  Normally they’d have had much deeper levels of tracing available on the optical sensor, but in a bit of a freak-occurrence the specific firmware build loaded on my unit didn’t.  The firmware unit this weekend did, and next weekend does.  But in between had no love.  By time we left, it does ow – so if it happens again they’ll have the raw sensor data to see why.

(Update: TomTom reached out this morning and has been working since I left last night to reproduce the issue and seems to have figured out the case and plans to have a fix next week at the latest.  It appears related to an edge case around high cadence that caused it.)

That one 60-second section aside, the rest of the run was pretty close, and generally better than the HR strap.  As noted, the first few minutes the HR strap was late to the game, whereas the optical sensor was spot-on.  And the rest of the run it was right-on as well, including through the other intervals (minus the first hill).

Lastly, on the GPS path, the units (Garmin 920XT & TomTom Spark) the units were very similar.  I’ve included links to the GPS tracks at the end of the next section.

The Second Run:

TomTom-Spark-Headphones-In-Rain-At-Night

After taking the train back home, I decided I wanted to take the Spark out for another test.  This one would be heavily focused on intervals, since that’s an area that most optical HR watches struggle.  Additionally, I decided to try and recreate the circumstances around the hill situation.  Regrettably, it was raining like a waterfall.

DCR-With-TomTom-Spark-and-Flipping-Wet

Still, out I went.  I decided on doing a 10-minute warm-up, and using TomTom’s interval feature within the watch.  Somewhat annoyingly in statute mode I can’t set 400m (aka .25mi), but rather only increments of .10 miles.  So it was either .20 miles or .30 miles.  I went for .30mi, and then decided on 8 repeats.  I again had the Garmin FR920XT with the HRM-TRI heart rate strap.  As noted, the weather was rainy, and cool, but not cold.

This time during the warm-up the roles were basically reversed.  The TomTom had issues tracking the HR initially, whereas the Garmin strap nailed it.  At about 6-7 minutes in, I adjusted the TomTom Spark a slight bit and after I did that, it instantly seemed to re-acquire my HR and was good to go.

image

A few minutes later I started into the intervals.  And then rinsed and repeated.  Literally…in the rain.

image

As you can see, it generally tracked well during the first 7 of the 8x.30 miles (done at about a ~6:20/mile ~4:00/km pace).  You can see it is a tiny bit slow on the rest portion (taking about 10-15 seconds longer each time to start dropping).  Not perfect, but hardly a deal killer.  It typically tracked fairly well on the increase side.  Here’s zooming in on one.

image

As for the #6 repeat? I’m not quite sure there, though I wonder if the high-cadence bug snagged again, since that was a downhill section I believe, which means my cadence would have increased, thus causing it to trip up slightly.

Then I just got back to an easy pace for a few minutes heading home.  It’s as I neared home that I wanted to test the same conditions as before, where I had a prolonged rest bringing my heart rate down to low levels before doing an instant hard effort.  From the hill earlier, that was about 95BPM, and about 6 minutes.  In this case, I did just under 5 minutes, and then the same 95-98BPM.  Once the waiting period elapsed, I ran like a bat out of hell – aiming to spike my HR to 170-180BPM as fast as possible.  The result below.

image

Basically, it did the exact same thing as earlier.  Though notably, this time I couldn’t get it to re-find the HR after that segment during my jog back to the house.  I tried twice to slow down/lower it to see if it’d catch, and no luck until the last 30-40 seconds.

Now again – TomTom has stated that they believe they’ve found the issue – so I’ll wait to see there and will update accordingly here.  But like any other product, I think it’s only fair until that point to show the test results – especially with it starting to ship next week.

Now, as I noted before – I’ve honestly never done this specific variant of a test.  As you can see within the regular intervals, things look (mostly) as expected.  As that’s how 99.99% of people would normally run.  You normally wouldn’t just go from standing still for 5 minutes to a flat-out sprint.  At least not endurance athletes, perhaps sprinters – but even then I think you’re still looking at a higher HR going into it.  That higher HR in turn is really just warming of the skin and body temperature in that area, so 5-minutes of standing around is basically telling the body you’re done.

Anyway…as for GPS tracks, they largely look pretty good on both tracks and both runs.  I see a case where the FR920XT swerves through a 30+ story building adding a tiny bit of distance in London, and then TomTom does more or less the same later in the run. So that kinda evens out.  In Paris, the 920XT gives a better track where at one point the TomTom goes on a slight adjacent diversion offset perhaps 20-25 meters, for a length of 100m or so.  Nothing huge though.

TomTom Spark Comparisons

Activity DescriptionDateTomTom Spark GPS Device #2 GPS Device #3 Comparison Link
London Park and City RunSept 24th Day5.33mi5.40mi (Garmin FR920XT)N/ALink
Paris City RunSept 24th Night6.07mi5.93mi (Garmin FR920XT)N/ALink

You can click on either of the links above to use the MyGPSFiles site to compare the tracks.  Note that the FR920XT on the London run was accidentally left on after I went into the building.  Thus I used a separate tool to chop off that extra ‘elevator’ distance for the distance noted in the table above.  But the raw file isn’t chopped, hence why you’ll see squiggles at the end when I go inside the massive building.

Note that the distances I include in the table above are the official distances reported on the companies websites.  Whereas MyGPSFiles recalculates the distances.  Interestingly, in the Paris Run case, the recalculated TomTom distance is nearly spot-on with the 920XT.  Whereas the one reported on the TomTom site is a bit longer.

Wrap-up:

TomTom-Spark-Lonely-Intervals-On-A-Bench

Phew – so that was a bit longer than I anticipated.  But basically, it was just written up in the time I had on the train coming back from London, plus a short snippet after the 2nd run at home.

Overall I think things are actually trending positive for the watch.  The two scenarios where the unit lost the plot are frankly edge cases I’ve never even considered testing before.  So it’s hard to judge it too hard there (and really, had the 2nd group run a bit faster, I’d never have stumbled on it Winking smile).  Plus, the company says they’ve identified a fix for it.

The GPS accuracy is within the expected/acceptable range and overall pretty good for a city environment.  On the music front, I’m actually impressed with the bundled wireless headphones – they’re pretty solid sound-wise.  Heck, I’m now regretting buying $400 worth of various expensive Bluetooth headphones to test with it.  And I like the slightly different take on things with the weekly trends in activity tracking – I think that may just be a better way to look at goals each week.

Additionally, I’m optimistic about where LifeQ can take the sensor technology – and as such, I think the first 3 months of promises will be key for setting the tone for the product.  Especially if they can incorporate continuous HR into the unit, as that seems to be the rare-bird that the only units out there with the capability have a rougher time of athletic tracking.

Obviously, there are still some minor kinks to work out – but I think things are generally trending in the right direction.

With that – thanks for reading!

Update! You can now pre-order the TomTom Spark from Clever Training (all models of it). In doing so you’ll save 10% on your order and support the site here by using coupon code DCR10BTF. Plus, folks in the US get free shipping!

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412 Comments

  1. Henry Collet

    You link to the Bluetooth owl speaker is actually the panda one; not that I’m looking for one…

  2. Colin Ledlie

    Great update. I’m really interested in this watch and will probably jump across from Garmin. I tried the previous Tom Tom and it was just too bulky for me and so the smaller size will be great if I can use it all day every day.

    The Garmin watches focus too much on just running and don’t reflect the reality of doing lots of other fitness activity. Folks at Strava seem to get annoyed when my bike ride gets recorded as a run via my Garmin ! Seems like a good range of activities you can input to the watch.

    Hopefully the wrist based HR will prove fully accurate in final models. Definitely want to make the switch as in every day use I just forget to put on the chest band far too often.

    Not really interest in the music option as I’ve found only a very limited range of headphones stay in place when I exercise (Sennheiser neckband models). If I can save a bit of cash by getting without music that would be a bonus.

    Notifications of phone calls etc of no interest to me.

    • Dom

      Depends on the Garmin watch. They have an awful lot of not-very-different from each other low-end running-only watches, but from £200 up the vivoactive, 620, 920xt, fenix all support cycling. All but the 620 support other sports too, either directly or via ConnectIQ apps. The upcoming 630 will support ConnectIQ too (unannounced, but Garmin haven’t been as good as usual about suppressing leaks). That’s going to leave Garmin in a strange position where every current model from £200 up supports any sport its hardware permits, and will produce files which are correctly identified by Strava, and nothing below that supports anything but running. Might be time for them to think about bringing in cycling at a lower price point.

  3. Matthias

    So if I go with the “GPS only” mode is it possible to connect an external HRM?
    I think this would be extremely helpful during running in winter if the watch is worn over your sleeves. Otherwise you have to choose between freezing vs. HR :)

    • Hi Matthias, yes, you will also be able to use a heart rate monitor strap with the TomTom Spark.

    • Amanda

      I do mostly interval weight training and had a terrible time getting an accurate HR read with just the watch. So I can add a HR monitor strap and my Spark will read it? If so, which one? the optical reading is not going to cut it for me. It’s delayed and very inaccurate.

  4. Meh

    I would not be bothered by loosing hr accuracy in a standstill-sprint situation. I don’t think algorithms on these wrist trinkets will ever be reliable for that sort of situation.

    I have a mio fuse, and every time I walk the 6 floors of stairs from cellar (hr at resting rate) to attic (hr above 150), the mio fuse will awaken to the rise in hr when I open the attic door. I do notice that I am fully out of breath at 5th floor, and hr has also stabilized at very high, but the mio fuse is still blinking blue suggesting hr below target zone.

    I might have some interest in this tomtom if they could implement some useful features, like hr based guidance over bt headphones during workout (run faster to keep pace at x, slow down because hr above zone etc).

    • Curt

      I would be a big fan of the HR based guidance, are there any watches out there at the moment that do this? oh, and great article Ray.

    • Alvin

      I already have the spark – they have HR based guidance. However, one big dealbreaker I have – Battery Life.

      With everything on – GPS/HR monitor/Music/Backlight(during night runs), I can barely squeeze in a 2 hour run. Not good.

      However, if your workouts are less than 2 hours – it is an amazing watch. Syncing is quick and automatic and it’s compatible with apps like mapmyfitness and nike plus.

    • Hi Alvin, glad to hear you are enjoying the watch! On the battery life comment, I’d like to add some information, so that you know what to expect and how to optimise the battery life for your TomTom Spark. What can certainly help with battery life is not using the backlight – with GPS, music and heart rate on, the battery life will go up to 5 hours. If you only use GPS and the heart rate monitor, then it will be up to 9 hours, and GPS only up to 11 hours. An idea for saving some energy is, instead of turning on the night mode in options, to cover the screen with the palm of your hand whenever you want to see the stats during your run. This will make the screen light up for long enough that you can check out your stats. I realise that turning off the backlight is not always feasible, and it’s not what I’m suggesting, but hopefully this info will help.

    • Trish Cochrane

      Hi,

      Are you able to email or post a photo of the screen so I can see how big the text is when it shows how many k’s you have run? As I wear glasses for reading only, I need to check whether the text is large enough for me to see without my glasses?

    • Ed

      You’re not alone. I am challenged to read my watch while running. Had the Nike+ TomTom, is/was a nice watch as customizable allowing two stats displayed in larger type. Still hoping TomTom will give us ability to customize screens to max font size 2 or 3 stats I/we need most often. Ave pace and heart rate are my main two stats, distance would be a nice third stat or ability to roll/toggle to a second or third data display.

  5. rodrigo

    I have a Mio Alpha and a Motoactv, and I just got the Adidas Smart Run. Will you try to reproduce this HR problem with any of the Mio sensors?

    • I might look at it. Though, since you have two Mio sensor products it should be quick and easy to test. ;)

    • rodrigo

      I can try, but the difference between my top speed and standing still isn’t as large as yours…

    • Ryan Finco

      I have a Mio Alpha and it seems to handle spikes just fine, but I’ll admit I’ve never specifically looked for instant sprinting without a warm up/increase to a base heart rate. I use lots of “Cardio Coach” audio workouts (not available anymore – a shame) and it’s all about intervals in odd ways, I’ve never had any problems with the Alpha keeping up.

      I’m very interested in this new tech though as it does things that the Mio sensors cannot. I tried to up my game and had a Fenix 3 sapphire for a bit, but – it just didn’t do it for me.. I really like the led light on the alpha.

  6. Bart

    Thanks for the first Impressions of the spark and insight of future plans of Tom Tom.

    One thing i don’t get, during the London run: “had wet the HR strap a bit, but not a ton. As such the connectivity wasn’t so great there”.
    Why didn’t you, if you want to compare the “new” HR to a “known” HR make sure the known (band) HR is prefect. (over wetting, just to be sure)(we all know dry contacts on bands can cause errors with some users).
    It’s like starting a run with a very lose optical HR sensor knowing it has to be tight around your wrist.

    • I wet the strap via licking, which usually works. I didn’t wet it via faucet this time simply because we were running behind to get out and I didn’t think of it.

      In either case, the symptoms of that are fairly easy to spot, as seen in that first section.

    • Bart

      I agree that the fault of the Garmin is easy to spot but it may hide a faulty registration of the Tom Tom.
      You will be running and comparing much more data in the future, but when i look at both runs from the Tom Tom both stay constant the first minute and than ramp up quick.
      However with only two runs (and firmware updates coming) things will get better and it’s to early to make conclusions i think.

    • True, one of the reasons I like to use three devices normally (in case one is acting). Just gotta finish unpacking to find my Scosche strap…

    • Bart

      Ray,
      I am also very satisfied with the Scosche but my strap is wearing out. Where in Europe I can still buy the Scosche ? Futurumshop no longer sell’s it.
      Thanks, Bart

    • Hmm, I honestly don’t know where to buy them in Europe. I’ve only ever got them from Clever Training. :-/

    • Daniel Sherman

      I ordered replacement straps directly from Scosche.
      The large SKU is 028RAB19LGB. The cost was $4.99 plus shipping.

  7. Pedro Lobo

    Hi,

    Thanks for the early preview! The watch really looks promising.
    One question, does it have GPS + Glonass for tracking?

    Thanks!

  8. Rick

    You kind of left us hanging on the part about USD pricing:

    Note that only the USD pricing for the combo Cardio & Music option has been announced. The remaining USD

  9. Steve

    Really interesting to read about possibility of HRV etc from an optical sensor – this promises well for future products from other manufacturers also…

    • Joe

      HRV is definitely possible from an optical sensor – The Lifetrak Zoom we are working on is able to get 99%+ accuracy relative to ECG based estimates of RR intervals and other HRV metrics (for most people).

  10. Brad

    Did you happen to notice if cadence is displayed on the watch during the run? On my previous TomTom it only showed up on the website. Thanks!

  11. pm

    I certainly like where this device is headed!

    The long exposure pic (albeit you’re soaking wet) turned out really well. Did you take that yourself?

    p.s. – You’re supposed to regret the Jaybirds purchase after using them, not before :-) I couldn’t imagine bringing them in the rain since multiple pairs of mine kept drowning from treadmill use.

  12. Tim

    Hoping to hear about more ant+ / BT HR sensors with capability discussed with LifeQ — RR, HRV, VO2… Lactate Threshold. I like it all, but at the moment am enjoying my fenix 3, so a Mio or Schoshe style product with said features would be nice.

  13. Asaf

    Will you be able to pair BT footpod? External HR? BT speed/cadence sensor?

  14. Sergio D

    Great article!

    I’ve been using the TomTom Runner for the last two years, and my only issue with the watch is the unresponsive touch screen once it gets wet (due to rain or sweaty hands)… And touching the screen is the only way to signal a lap change in the manual mode. Have you experienced any issue with the touch screen under the rain with the Spark?

    The Spark looks a bit larger than the old TomTom watches. For the review, would it be possible to have a picture of them side by side?

    Thanks a lot!

    • I didn’t try the lap function last night, as I just used the interval function automatically.

      Yup, can add in a side by side picture. But the screen size is identical between the two.

    • JR

      But it is still tap-to-lap, like it was on the previous versions? TomTom pretty much acknowledged that the previous screen had a defective design (triggers all the time in some conditions like rain, never triggers in other conditions no matter how many times you slap it).

  15. KK

    Is there a run and multisports version like the previous TomTom cardiac?

  16. Anne

    Thanks for the first look! Thinking about buying this for my husband for Christmas, he has an older TomTom, so I hope the HR gets worked out, and maybe a full length review later? Great read as always!

  17. RR

    Thanks for the write-up. How do you load music on to the watch? Do you have to have the actual mp3 files from a ripped CD? Nearly all of my music is streamed these days (via my phone or via my computer). If you’re loading mp3s then – to me – this watch would’ve been great to have 3+ years ago. Thanks again!

    • They support both iTunes and Windows Media Player to add music. Additionally, it enumerates as a USB drive, so you can just drag and drop.

      I do agree with you though in that 99% of the music I listen to these days is from Spotify (or occasionally iTunes Radio), streamed or offline within those services.

  18. Alexandra Stirling

    This just adds to my confusion! I had finally settled on the TomTom Runner Cardio as the one to go with after painfully debating features and $$$ of a few options. Now this!

    How might the TomTom Spark Cardio differ from the Runner Cardio? Should I wait to weigh that one into the mix or is it replacing it? In which case, perhaps I can look into a Runner Cardio on clearance :-)

    • Main differences between Spark and Cardio:

      A) New optical sensor
      B) Activity tracking functionality (sleep/steps/etc…)
      C) MP3 Player (depending on purchase)

      That’s basically it today. Of course, over time I suspect those two gaps to widen as they introduce new features.

  19. Dale

    Off topic a bit, but does this watch, or any other watch for that matter export their daily activity (steps) to the fitbit environment?

  20. Randy

    This watch looks very promising. How do you think it compares to the Adidas Smartwatch, which seems to be the closest in spirit? (GPS + Music + Optical HRM)

    I still use my Motoactv + HRM strap, but the unit is a bit bulky, I’m always worried about the waterproofing, and the GPS takes forever to lock. It may finally be time to upgrade…

  21. Hollyoak

    Thanks for the preview. Doesn’t look like there are too many improvements on the watch front (they’re still promising laps ?!)… the new cardio with RR is interesting though, is that the more advanced one you’d been hinting at or are Mio and Valencell working on that too? A 920 with an advanced optical sensor might tempt me to drop my FR610, still the BOB for running as far as I’ve found ;-)

  22. Jared

    Great first impression review! Thanks for the details about the optical sensor. I know this may sort of defeat the purpose, but but do you know if you the watch will allow controls of music from you phone? I get a little ADD with my song choice at time :/

  23. Jorge D.

    I have the TomTom Multisport Cardio as my running watch for over a year and my biggest complaint is not with the hardware (although some things need to be improved, e.g sensitive touchscreen) but with the software and lack of what I think are basic functions. Things like being able to look at your lap times (auto or manual) at the end of the run and auto-pause are some of the things that people in the TomTom forums have been asking (after being promised they would be “coming soon) for a very long time and have never been delivered. By the looks of it it seems that these features are lacking in the new Spark.
    This fact alone will stop me from upgrading to the Spark once my Multisport kicks the bucket. Too many features promised and then not delivered by the TomTom group. It is a shame since I really dont like to wear chest straps.

    • Yeah, lap times are coming to history (sorry, didn’t mention that). There’s also some minor tweaks in the user interface, for example the two secondary data fields are now at the bottom of the screen.

      The biggest changes that will come are really on the website, which will be seen by all watch users (not just Spark).

    • Nicholas

      I agree with this sentiment as well. I had to sell off my Tomtom Multisport because of broken promises by Tomtom. The promised features never arrived and many of the features they advertised were kludges where terminology wasn’t the same as understood throughout the industry. For example the “laps” training mode was the only way to get autolap and couldn’t be used with any other type of notification like heart rate, cadence, etc.

      This sounds far too similar, some very promising hardware and a somewhat promising website where everything missing will be made whole “real soon” except that the promises were never kept for the prior products and the website has been promised to arrive for literally years now.

    • Hendrik

      Thank you Ray for the Preview.

      I will certainly follow the further developments for this very interesting product, but just like Jorge D. and Nicholas have become a bit cautious due to the Tomtom Multisport Cardio history.

      In fact I hesitated for a long time last year to buy a Tomtom Multisport Cardio but in the end settled on a Mio Fuse (which is not without it’s own quirks but generally satisfies me until something betters comes along) for the following reasons:
      – the TT Cardio does not re-broadcast the optically measured Heart Rate, which means this data is only usable within the watch and can not be coupled to a smartphone, cycling computer, …
      – the TT Cardio did not allow to measure heart rate while swimming (the Mio does, the resulting data is sometimes off but that’s way better than nothing);
      – the TT Cardio missed basic functions with respect to indoor training (the Mio only records heartrate but that is OK for a much less costly device);
      – the TT Cardio does not track daily activity, let alone automatically recognizes an activity (as does my Android phone (very well actually) with Google Fit, but carrying a phone is not always practical). The Mio fuse does not do that either but again is simpler and at least can rebroadcast my heart rate to my phone and counts total steps.
      – no integration with Google Fit (Mio neither although they promised this from day 1, as said all is not perfect at Mio either);
      – the TT Cardio does not measure the heartrate troughout the day or the resting heart rate at night (neither does the Mio);
      – the TT forum clearly shows they have not been able to deliver upon their promises for the device;
      – TT clearly misses the necessary development team to get the most out of the great hardware;

      Looking behind I am glad I did not buy a TT Cardio based on the many promises at the time but instead decided to settle on a simple and less costly device until something better comes along (which I am really looking froward to).

      It is good to read that TT has put in place a 25-person web development team in Edinburgh and that they can leverage on a team of 70 motivated people at LifeQ for the Heart-rate part.
      What I do hope though is that they reinforce(d) the team responsible for the software on the watch itself.

      Which is why I will follow this watch from a distance. The promises made during your talk with them indicate they are looking into addressing most of the issues that stopped me from buying the previous generation. I’ll just sit on the fence for a while and look forward to your updates of this promising device…

    • filip

      I absolutely agree and was looking to the comments if anyone will mention.

      Sounds great. Super cool features comming “early next year” and so on. I was fooled once, don’t let myself be fooled twice.

      HR for swimming? great. HRV? super!

      What about the so stupid to make feature like Auto Pause my Tomtom Multisport still lacks?

      What about the TRI race mode (yeah the multisport is supposed to be a TRI gear not?), just the really stupid software update to let us switch by click. Still nowhere? Maybe “early next year or further next year?” WTF?

      Sorry. I gave up. I bought the Multisport with full bundle (only unit with barometric altimeter), cracked the “uncrackable super tough” screen of course in pool at poolside as many folks did in the TomTom forum, as it’s really not covered by anything. (I don’t see any update here I expected at least in next generation).

      I don’t believe this company’s promisses anymore and would be glad to be surprised, but I just don’t believe. :-)

      Don’t buy it.

  24. JohnD

    Thank you for the in depth early preview. I have been waiting to see your thoughts on this product as I am trying to decide between the Spark and getting a Scosche RHYTHM+ paired with a Garmin Vivofit 2/Vivoactive for activity tracking and HR info for cycling indoor/outdoor. Would you say the Spark is the best option out of the two?

  25. JohnPaul

    Thanks Ray looking forward to a full review. If I could suggest, I think you should review the native apps these devices are connected to. The app garners at least 40% consideration in the buying process….for me its 50%.

    • Yup, I usually include a section in the review for a given company about their apps. In the case of my previous TomTom reviews, I’ve noted how horrible the website was (they didn’t have an app at that time yet).

      On the bright side, TomTom does have really good 3rd party connectivity, and looks to improve that situation even further. But no doubt for TomTom it’s biggest weakness is the website (and a core reason why they’ve spent the last year getting themselves into the position to now do something about it).

    • Stephen Casey

      That’s the bit I’ve never understood in your or other’s reviews of Tomtom’s existing watches. Friends of mine who use Garmin are the poor cousins – the vast majority of my friends are on Strava or Runkeeper – with Tomtom I’m on both – I don’t even look at what Tomtom’s website says.

    • I guess that’s the point though – with TomTom you basically have had to use a 3rd party site. Whereas with Garmin you had the option of using a 3rd party site (because Garmin Connect is plenty good for many people).

      Both companies support 3rd party sync options, so that somewhat becomes a even line item.

  26. Codiak

    I’m currently on the TomTom multi-sport (non cardio) I’m curious to know if they said if any improvements are coming to the existing device line – apart from the backend website changes.

    • Nothing aside from backend and app changes.

    • Johnny

      What! Not even the long anticipated (promised?) “pacer” you mention?

    • I’ll find out if the planned pacer function (it was on some beta builds, but not on my watch) will be back ported to the previous generation.

    • Codiak

      Thanks, as others have already said there was a lot of promise for the TomTom platform.

      Personally I’m toying with a move to the current cardio version to ditch my Mio Alpha (the pains of being an early adopter) or moving to Garmin 920XT and just using a chest strap.

      I’d started using a Vivofit for steps so wearing three items on a run is getting silly.

    • Codiak

      Hi Ray, did you get any info about back porting to previous generation devices? or any other updates for that matter?

      I got a good deal from a mate on a TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio so switched to one of those. Considering selling it and moving on to a current gen unit or maybe go to Garmin as a change.

  27. CESAR AMADO

    Hello DC

    Do you know if Garmin is working on something similar? I mean I did not find good reviews on the Vivo Active (Which I found the best similar option for price and functions, except for the Heart rate already included on the TOM TOM). As technology is changing every day I would like to know if Garmin will launch something similar and wait just few months in order to make the best decision.

    Greetings from Mexico.

  28. Robert

    If you have the current TomTom cardio band will it work with the Spark. I have a couple and would prefer to keep my current bands.

    As always, thank you for your pre review.

  29. jamey Ward

    So looking at this new optical sensor, what on your thoughts on what Mio may need to do to keep pace etc? up to this point the Mio has been a pretty good standard. It’s why I bought the Fuse when you did that review.

    • I think it’s gonna be really tricky. This is because Mio licenses their sensor from Philips, and that licensing deal is expiring within the next year. At the same time, Philips has also been testing the water (very aggressively) with vendors, and heck, even at times trying to get me to change various wordings on things to reflect their involvement in sensors.

      I’d find it hard to believe that Mio would have access to next-gen sensors that Philips clearly wants to market to other companies directly, cutting Mio out of the loop.

    • jamey Ward

      WOW. that is going to put them in a weird spot. I suppose they will need to negotiate an agreement with another company or attempt to re-negotiate with Phillips(which from what you’re saying may not be an option) I’m sure they will have to come up with a plan since their main focus seems to be the heart rate training.

  30. Rafael Pivaral

    The video on their website shows an icon with a bike on a trainer. So I’m assuming bike mode will work indoors unlike the Cardio Multisport, which was unfortunate. Underwater heart rate readings would be nice too, if they can get it to work.

  31. Ryan

    Great to see a more credible entrant in the GPS+Music player space. I see they already have preorders up for the UK. Any word on a North American release date?

    • October 1st is the date US retailers are allowed to list. I believe delivery starts almost immediately thereafter. I know in talking to the TomTom folks that units were already enroute from China to distribution centers for distribution starting next week.

      And I know that companies (including Clever Training) have already placed various pre-order allotments. But oddly, nobody knows precisely when those will arrive in the US.

      (For some odd reason TomTom seems to do announcements like this, which makes little sense. Simply announce a price and availability date upfront, making people wait a month to get those pieces of information causes loss of interest and/or pre-orders. But…perhaps that’s why I’m not a marketing person.)

  32. Rachel

    Just as a note from a casual runner, the inadvertent test you did would be typical in our world. When we do a track work out or hill repeats, as a group, we might take that long occasionally between. Certainly if we are doing 8 we will take a longer break after the 4 th. If we have slower runners in the group we will wait till they come in to start the clock for the rest. Not something a more dedicated athlete would do, but for a group that is out there to enjoy themselves, absolutely.

    • JR

      Serious runners as well. I did 4x5k in 17 minutes per 5k with 6-8 minutes recovery between repetitions just a few weeks ago.

    • Just to clarify, I think the core difference between doing something like 4x5K and what I did was that my pace was a 60s sprint pace (so pretty close to full out as hard as you can run). Thus the increase in speed on a 5K distance-pace would be a big more gradual.

      Hopefully though, the fix they have planned will resolve that next week.

    • Stephen Casey

      And as a long term Tomtom customer – they do update their software regularly so I do hope they’ll iron out any problems (unless they’re caused by the hardware jump, I can potentially see that causing more significant problems but hope not).

  33. Sean

    If i used my 4iiii Viiiiva as the external HR strap, could I get Speed/Cadence from an Ant+ sensor?

  34. Mor

    Thanks for the review.
    I would like to know more about the Bluetooth earphones.
    All of the bluetooth earphones on the market (pricey ones (jaybird bluebuds, jabra pulse ect) as well as the cheaper ones) all fail after a random short time. be it one run or after a month worth of runs.
    I have completely stopped trying bluetooth earphones out for this reason.
    Do you have any recommendation on bluetooth earphones that actually live up to their water proof guarantee and don’t break/malfunction?
    It seems like the soft spot for all of them is the mic/button section that always has the sweat go into it and ruin the earphones.
    Could you please comment on this issue with the bluetooth earphones tomtom provided or on any other bluetooth earphones that you have tested?
    Thanks!

    • I had actually tweeted out earlier in the week asking for recommendations of BT wireless headphones, and got a ton of responses. Those as a result triggered my purchase of two units (both about $175).

      As for the TomTom units, obviously I ran in the pouring rain and they haven’t died yet. But most water-based deaths tend to take a much longer time to manifest (especially with salt/sweat). I’ll likely wear them every workout for the next 30-35 days. But I’m not sure if even at the end of that I’d be able to make a quantitative statement about long term longevity (unless they die).

      And in the responses I got on other headphones I seemed to get just as many “X unit died to water” as I did “X unit survived great” type answers, somewhat cancelling each other out.

  35. Mr. Smith

    Question about pacing- the cardio has less than optimal pacing information- has it improved here at all?

  36. marklemcd

    Whenever I see Ray post heart rate data my heart always wants to explode at how high his HR is. Admittedly, mine is abnormally low.

  37. John

    I’d be curious how this stacks up vs the HR monitor in the Apple Watch.

    • I’d say at this point it’s slightly better for sports (at pure HR BPM), depends on if they are able to indeed fix the oddities I saw.

      I haven’t tried cycling yet, which is an area where I found the Apple Watch really struggles.

  38. Dan

    Do you know of any other current or up and coming watches outside of the adidas and Apple Watch that offer music played directly from the watch? This is a fantastic feature!

    • Mario S

      I use the SONY SmartWatch 3 when running. You will not have the HR sensor, but you can connect to HR strap. It is an Android Wear watch, and has GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. I run with just the watch a pair of Bluedio’s Q5 BT headphones. My only problem with it is that I have had some updates of the watch OS and/or apps (I use GhostRacer) have made the GPS perform worse than before.

      Keep in mind it works very well for running, but it’s not a dedicated sports watch, and if you need athlete type level of precision and information, it may not be the best option.

  39. Dave Lusty

    Lol I don’t think using the 920XT where you’re comparing mile beeps will do you any favours with the conspiracy theorists, even with an explanation about batteries :)
    Nice to see you do still use it occasionally, the 920XT doesn’t seem to have been favoured for a while in your kit bag presumably for the same reason as the rest of us – it’s not as pretty as the others.

  40. Omar

    This new version works combined with a foot pod?
    Or, at least, combined and not only as alternative, with the internal accelerometer?

    Thank you for your great job!

  41. Mike G

    Thanks for the write up. I know you linked to the Garmin 225 above (which I have read extensively, thanks)…but what are your thoughts on the Spark vs 225? I actually just ordered a 225, but may return it and go w/the Tom Tom. I’m an avid runner, but like the more robust daily fitness tracker than 225 + music. I mostly run ultras, but only use my current Garmin 305 for training runs, not races, and use a simple training log (runningahead.com).

    Any thoughts/insight would be appreciated.

    Thanks from Japan,
    Mike G.

  42. Robert

    Any idea of using the current Cardio band with the new Spark?

  43. Gary

    So, Ray, no {true} multi-sport mode or savable waypoints? Was really hoping for those features. (My wife’s Ambit 2s, using the “save waypoint” feature in Movescount, “directed” me yesterday to a cabin in a remote part of central New Mexico that wasn’t in my Garmin Nuvi’s updated database. The accuracy of the 2s was amazing. When I reached the foot of the driveway, the watch said “0.00 miles to destination”.)

    • Correct, no to both. Essentially their line of thinking on lack of multisport mode is that they feel people expect more features from a triathlon watch (notably openwater swim mode and HR while swimming) that by not having multisport mode they believe they can sidestep some of those concerns.

    • Stephen Casey

      As I say elsewhere – big Tomtom Multisport Cardio fan, but I just don’t get why they’re taking this line. I get that this is the device that doesn’t have 1001 configuration choices, but why not allow GPS outdoors – we’ve all proven it’s possible. I have the barometric watch in their last rae and it’s always a pity that they all but ignore that extra data.

      I’d also love a “2mi from start as the crow flies” or waypoint facility. It would let me run in unfamiliar areas without bothering with my cellphone at all…

    • Wellsy1976

      Does the spark not have gps tracking for open water??

    • Matty

      Shame as this seems like a great (cheaper) alternative to a Garmin 920.
      Would it be possible to record an open water swim as a run, and then change it in Strava? That way getting HR and GPS, if not stroke data.
      Did you look at the other modes, eg swimming and cycling? Does it have the same metrics and capabilities?
      Last comment: my Scosche Rythm+ does the same slow-to-respond to rapid HR changes, say if I crank hard up a steep hill on my bike. I always thought it might have been due to muscle flex messing up the reading (I’m lean).

  44. andrew

    which is better? this or garmin 225? thanks

  45. LudwigD

    I’ new here (and to running). Very interesting site, congratulations! One question, which software do you use to extract your heart rate data so nicely? Very clear presentation.
    Greetings.

    • It’s currently a custom software suite that I’ve been working with a developer on and testing. I’m hoping to open it up to folks this fall (it does comparisons on power/cadence/HR/etc using pretty much any fitness file format today). It’s made my life a million times easier, especially for power meters comparisons since I can also dynamically apply smoothing and such.

  46. Ewan

    This is exactly what I’m looking for…except I would have to leave Garmin…hmm

  47. Eli

    Looks like LifeQ is just using the standard TI AFE4404 as the OSRAM LED and photosensor is one of the two parts it works with: link to ti.com
    Also appears that TI is the one doing the work to get pulse oximetry, pulse, and HRV

  48. Stephen Casey

    I’ve owned the Cardio Multisport for a while (long enough that the front screen has been smashed in a bike accident but it’s still going!) and have always thought that Tomtom have had a terrible time in the press for an incredibly impressive device.

    I’m a little nervous and regret that they’ve decided to go with a new HRM sensor – the Mio really was rock solid so I can’t see how they’re going to improve on the basics – but I have to hope you’re right and they’ll see fure feature-set benefits.

    But It’ll certainly be going on my Christmas list – especially since my existing screen has been wipe out – and I actually have some faith in Tomtom’s ability to deliver software updates. Pretty regularly I get told their PC software is updating and it’s not happened in a while but the Firmware had plenty of updates too.

    Honestly, this is an unusual device – it’s got two killers apps – first is the on-wrist HRM. Second is the PC software that means it doesn’t matter what Tomtom’s website is like – this integrates with the site my friends all use – whatever site that is. In my case it’s Strava, but I’ve got a few friends on Runkeeper so I update that too and obviously have the Tomtom mapmyrun site as well..

  49. Eli

    If the optical sensor can do HRV and they plan to enable 24/7 tracking will they also track HRV? As in the watch could automatically keep track of resting HRV trends like what ithlete and other apps do which could be a useful way of measuring training stress on the body and if you need more rest or not

    • Joe

      Continuous optical sensing 24/7 is generally too costly from a power consumption point of view. Some future products, like the Lifetrak Zoom, will be able to measure HRV at the same time every day, or intelligently but intermittently throughout the day. But not continuously.

  50. Mr. T

    So, I got an email from TomTom about the Tom Tom Runner2. What is the substantive difference, if any between it and the Spark. is the spark the “multisport” watch while the Runner is aimed at runners.

    Also, you say that they can accept some BT inputs like footpod. Any word on accepting Stryd, it seems Suunto is the only one so far.

    • No difference, just the strap (it’s black), that’s it. Seriously. Same pod, same everything. Just a black strap and a different name.

      The unit today connects to a BT HR strap and BT Speed/Cadence sensor. It does not connect to BT footpods or Stryd.

  51. Tim Grose

    Umm I do find it odd that I have been wearing HRMs since the early 1990s and here we are almost 25 years later and you could not get either method (strap or optical) to just “work” in a truly reliable sense. That said my 920 and HRM-Run has been working great for months (it needs need a good soaking BTW) with hardly a missed beat. Maybe the HRM-Tri has more issues? “Rest/low HR to sprint up a climb” is not uncommon. Any race with an uphill start would see similar sharp rises and in particular any XC race at Parliament Hill (not far from you here in fact) which traditionally starts with a climb where people jockey for position. Similarly first rep in a hill session etc etc. Optical HR technology seems great in principle but just seems too unreliable for me at the moment. Do I really want a device where seemingly some part of every run would be “wrong” ! No need to answer that…

  52. runnershigh

    does anyone know how heavy the full-featured unit (GPS, opt.HR, Music) is?
    More or less than 50g?

  53. Chad

    DC Rainmaker,

    As always – thanks for you techy, analytical, and unbiased reviews. I am looking to buy either a Garmin Forerunner 225 or a Tom Tom Spark GPS + music in the next two weeks. I intend to use the watch for a variety of activities, but mostly importantly for running and obstacle course racing (OCR). I read a review at another site that shows how the Tom Tom Cardio is prone to clogging with sand and grit, thereby rendering it useless.

    link to obstacleracingmedia.com

    My questions, if you would be so kind, are:

    1. The Tom Tom Spark seems to have a different control pad design than the Tom Tom Cardio. Do you have any idea if this eliminates or reduces the problem of clogging with dirt/grit/sand? Tom Tom sells their watches at Spartan Races, so I imagine OCR problems are on their radar.

    2. Which device do you feel would be a better overall choice for running, biking, OCR, working out, and boot camp style classes? I really like the look, interface, heart rate dial feature, and the software on the Garmin 225. I do not like that heart rate monitoring is not continuous, and that it does not have music or phone notification features.

    3. Do you know if the Tom Tom Spark can display seconds on the watch? This is very important because I want to wear it when I work as a nurse, where counting seconds is essential.

    4. Any idea which device is more durable?

    5. How do you feel that Tom Tom’s Software compares to Garmin’s now? Recent comments seem to lean towards Garmin being much stronger.

    6. Is syncing automatic on the Tom Tom Spark?

    7. When do you expect to have your full review of the Spark?

    8. Are further comments on increased heart rate reliability?

    Thank you very much,
    Chad

  54. Chris

    Hi,
    Have they kept the race mode/virtual partner for running?
    Thanks

  55. Jacques

    How do the headphones do as far as staying in? I’ve gone through many sets trying to find ones that would actually stay. Sadly these don’t look like the type that will take the Yurbud sleeves. Not a huge thing, just a point of interest.

    • They stayed in surprisingly well. They looked like giant snowballs, but in reality they fit my ears (The Girl tried them briefly, but hasn’t run with them yet). They didn’t pop out once on my 1.5 runs that I used them on. Though, it did run out of battery about 1/3rd of the way through my second run since I forgot to charge before heading out and I think I had left them on during the day.

      I usually have issues with headphones being a PITA to stay in, so thus far, fairly happy. More research still needed.

    • Mario S

      If you dare to take a chance, I am now a big fan of Bluedio’s Q5 BT headphones for running.
      My wife made fun of me – she had a wired set of headphones – until she tried mine, then bought a pair for herself. It’s that they work well, and they’re so cheap (~$20 USD) that I really don’t care if they get ruined if wet (and after 1 year of use and some 80+ runs, no problems so far). Keep in mind that Bluedio is one of those chinese whitelabel type of brands, so there may be other similar headphones just rebranded, so those should be good too I guess.

    • Imre

      Do you think it will be possible to buy the headphones separately? I love the memory wire type of headsets and if this is truly waterproof, it would the the perfect set for me.
      Also, how long is the remote part? Do you feel it heavy?

      Thanks!

  56. Maxine Birmingham

    hey there, DC
    how was the audio coaching? Can you set volume, frequency etc like you can with Runtastic?
    Having been trying to decide between Garmin FR225 and the TT Cardio, this seems absolutely perfect as i want a nagging voice to keep me going which up to now only my phone could do.

  57. Mario S

    Thanks for the hands-on, I am looking to replace my SONY Smartwatch 3, and this looks like it could be it. I am a casual runner looking to upgrade from 10K to do a Half Marathon, and I do appreciate listening to music when running. Not needing to carry around my phone is a big plus in my book.

  58. Steph

    Hello,

    Thanks for this review (helping me to remind my english class…)

    One thing I don’t understand : my TT cardio runner was 249€ (multisports was 299€).

    For the same price I could get this one : TomTom Spark Cardio & Music GPS Watch: €249, and all your pics seem to show a multisports watch.

    So my question is : is the 249€ model of the Spark multisports ?

  59. Joe E

    Thanks for initial review. Elevation data from the Spark looks strange in the MyGPSFiles. Any comments on that?

  60. Joe

    Are they promising a VO2max estimation from pulse ox data?

  61. blitzer

    Thanks for the preview, kindly let us know as soon as they fix the heart sensor bug, this is the only things that old me back to order one.

    Cheers from Italy

  62. rey

    Great review DC, I purchased the TomTom runner based on your review. Can the heart rate monitor (optical sensor) on this be turned off?

  63. OLA

    Hi,

    Hi, first i wanted to thank you for the great reviews. I bought my Multisport TT watch 3 weeks ago juster after reading your in-depth review post.

    But, now (3 weeks later) TT is releasing a new watch and my concern is about the long term support of the first version of TT watches.

    They are most likely to introduce new features/ correct bugs in the future for the spark & co, but will this features be compatible with the first TT version, i.e is the support of the first TT watches will continue ?

    Thank you in advance for your reply.

  64. Mike St. Louis

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for your thoroughness and dedication as always.

    Can you talk a little bit about how you control the music during the run? Can you create playlists? Is it easy or hard to navigate through music during the run?

    I myself like to listen to podcasts. I had trouble with my Polar M400 causing a problem with BT headphones paired to my iPhone. I sent the headphones back because they need to play nice with my watch, not the other way around.

    Having an integrated solution like this would probably eliminate this problem. However, it would need to be easy to use on the watch. I don’t want to have to stop my run in order to switch to another track.

    Thanks!

  65. theo geologos

    Hello. Has the tt spark any running dynamics stats such as vertical oscillation or ground contact time? Thanks.

  66. sal

    i spoke with tom-tom when i first herd about the spark and i was told the us price for the fully loaded spark would be $249 and come with the blue tooth headphones.

    • JohnPaul

      Well, best buy is selling it without the headphones (sold seperately):
      link to bestbuy.ca

    • sal

      i thunk tom-tom is giving them to you if you as a bonus for pre-order it through tom-tom. they where also giving the UK a free extra strap. I’m not sure if the us pre-orders will be the same but i did ask multiple times about us price for the spark cardio + music and was told $249. the rep. brought the free headphone up to me without asking. i was told Oct. 15th for us pre- orders. my email is on the list so as soon as its ready to pre order illl know all the final details.

  67. Thanks for the in depth early preview. Do you wear Asics DS trainer 20 nowadays ?

  68. Steve

    Three questions:

    1) Is ANT+ supported for external sensors (i.e. foot pod) or only BT

    2) Is running cadence supported without foot pod?

    3) Is running cadence supported on the website for review?

    • 1) No ANT+ support, nor footpod support (BT or ANT+)
      2) Yes (since they don’t support the footpod)
      3) Yes

    • Tabby J

      So back to ask another question. Does the Spark itself measure/track cadence? Wondering how cadence is supported without a footpod?

      I’m new to all this “techy-ness” but intrigued on how tracking cadence could improve my running.

  69. Eduardo

    Hi Ray,

    When can we expect updated GPS Recommendations?
    I had just set my mind to buying the Polar M400 instead of the Garmin FR225 and now this comes along… It’s too much. I can’t take it. I need updated recommendations. :-)

  70. Steve

    Maybe this is too early until full review. What data fields are available and how many screens available to display them?

  71. max

    thank you, great review.

    just 2 questions:

    – is it still compatible with nike+ mobile app ( in order to sync the workouts with my 3 years history on that app)?

    – does it show phone notifications, i.e. incoming calls, new message…
    thx!

  72. Lou bega

    Hi,

    How would you compare it vs the FR225 from garmin ?

    • From a pure running standpoint, they’re fairly similiar. The Garmin has more functionality when it comes to custom workouts and live tracking, whereas the TomTom obviously has music playback that Garmin lacks.

      Down the road the TomTom will have continual HR monitoring, whereas Garmin won’t. On the flipside, I think everyone would agree that today the Garmin app/site is far ahead of the TomTom site.

    • Eli

      But if all you use the app/site for is to sync and upload to strava or some other site then I’m guessing they are similar.

      Another watch does music: link to micoach.adidas.com Just because they haven’t updated in awhile it seems….

  73. manuel the road runner

    DC,

    No reviews around the accelerometer and treadmill workout modes or it does or have it

  74. John Deerhake

    So does this mean the end of firmware updates for the existing Runner/Multisport watches? I like my multisport but it still has some rough edges (random shutoffs with no hard reset, refusal to sync with my supposedly supported Android phone).

  75. Bart Bouse

    Does the Spark provide audio coaching and stats through the bluetooth headphones? How well does it work? Runkeeper and Nike do a fair job of this but I hate carrying a phone. Motoactv does but never was able to get it to work like I wanted.

  76. Gabriel S

    Just a friendly heads up: The TomTom Spark is now available for preorder on clevertraining.com with an expected ship date of November 1st: link to clevertraining.com

    Don’t forget to add DC Rainmakers coupon code for 10% off: DCR10MHD
    DCRainmaker Clever Training Coupon & VIP program details: link to dcrainmaker.com

    There was some question as to whether the headphones were in fact free and… it doesn’t look like it. The TomTom Spark Music Cardio GPS Watch & Activity Tracker version of the watch is $249.99. The headphones bundle with this watch is $299.99

    On an editorial note, I’d love to wait for the Fenix4 or 930xt with a built in optical sensor, but my watch just broke & this device looks like the most comprehensive thing out there right now: GPS, Pool Lap Counting, Activity Tracking, Optical HR, Bluetooth music. I just love running random places where I don’t have a HR strap on me and yet I hate missing out on the data. It’s like I’m not getting “credit” for my activity. Also, I hate bothering with the strap during weight training.

    Reading comments & Ray’s review, it seems like TomTom has been lagging on the software / firmware update side of things. I hope they catch up & add the features people have been requesting, e.g. heartrate in pool mode, 24 heart rate, etc.

    P.S. Love ya, Ray. I don’t know how you find the time to do all these reviews with the level of detail that has become your standard. There’s nothing else like it for triathlon equipment out there. Thanks again for all the effort. I appreciate it!

  77. likepend1

    thx for the first impressions Ray!
    i’m a little confused, maybe someone can help me out (with the different models):
    GPS: simple GPS (multisport) & (no optical HR) you need external strap for HR?
    Cardio GPS: GPS & (multisport) optical HR
    MUSIC GPS: GPS & music & (no optical HR) you need strap for HR ?

    thx in advance!

    • Gabriel S

      Check out the clever training link. It’s all in the title of the 3 models: link to clevertraining.com

      TomTom Spark GPS Watch & Activity Tracker
      $149.99
      (GPS, Activity Tracker; NO MUSIC, NO OPTICAL HRM)
      You need a strap or get no HRM data

      TomTom Spark Music GPS Watch & Activity Tracker
      $199.99
      (GPS, Activity Tracker, music; NO OPTICAL HRM)
      You need a strap or get no HRM data

      TomTom Spark Music Cardio GPS Watch & Activity Tracker
      $249.99
      (GPS, Activity Tracker, music, optical HRM)

      TomTom Spark Music Cardio GPS Watch & Activity Tracker Headphone bundle
      $299.99
      (GPS, Activity Tracker, music, optical HRM + TomTom bluetooth headphones)

  78. Ryan R

    Is this run only, or might this have a bike mode too?

    • Gabriel S

      To quote the TomTom rep who answered a similar question earlier:

      TomTom Community Manager replied
      October 2, 2015 at 11:09 am #128
      Hi Steph, to answer your question, all TomTom Spark models have multi-sport capability. The 8 modes are: outdoor run, outdoor cycle, indoor cycle, swim, treadmill, freestyle, stopwatch and gym.

  79. Rellik

    DC: I just spoke with a customer rep. And was told again that all the “cardio” versions come with free Bluetooth headphones. Is there anyway you could varify this with your connections?

    • Gabriel S

      After reading your comment, I just called TomTom as well. The rep told me that TomTom does not make and is not selling any headphones. This is obviously false, per Ray’s article & the product listings on various websites. I stopped asking questions at this point as the rep clearly didn’t know what he was talking about.

      And if this rep didn’t know what he was talking about, it makes me suspect about other reps’ claims about free headphones. Especially when certain websites are listing the bundle with the TomTom headphones as being $50 more expensive.

      Takeaway: Who knows. I’m more inclined to go with website listings, but time will tell.

    • sal

      thats what i am thinking! I’ve talked to three different reps. and all three said the cardio version cones with them. How come no one can do there jobs right anymore! so frustrating!!

  80. sal

    this is the reason I’m hoping DC can get us a correct answer from his connection (tomtom)

  81. Joe

    FYI LifeTrak is coming out with a optical heart rate pod that can be worn all over the body.

    See their Kickstarter: link to kickstarter.com

  82. Rellik

    If I go through clever training and use the 10% off is there any difference in coverage, or shipping date vs. going straight through TomaTom?

  83. Henrik

    Hi.

    Whe using manual laps, does the spark give you the laptime/Avg HR/ pace etc on the “lap summary popup” whan you use manual lap? The runner and Cardio just tell you the lap nr, and thats it, kind of useless for tracksessions.

  84. Randy

    Pre-order is live on Tomtom’s website. Despite mentions of free bands or free headphones, it looks like it’s just the watch (and only in black). Shucks.

    Clever has preorders up for a variety of packages and colors. Did my order through them w/ the DCR discount.

  85. sal

    i spoke to them again today and the rep this time put me on hold and talked to
    “the team” and i was told there will be no free headphones. also was told that there is no estimated shipping date. I dont understand how you “release” and expect pre-orders but tell your customers “we dont know when it will be shipping” they just say november. and then i was told they dont have a date b.c there is a possibility of them pushing it to December.

    on the other hand i spoke with clever and they didn’t have a date ether but require you to pay for the watch in full when you pre-order. I have never had to pay upfront for a pre-order. I’ve always been charged when the product was shipped to me.They to told me there is a possibility of December ship date.paying for a product two months before getting it is a little crazy IMO. I starting to lean towards a different brand.

  86. SaltyDub

    Will Spark have phone notifications?

    I currently use Garmin Vivoactive as my everyday watch and one feature I really like (and was not expecting to) is notifications — very nice to see who is texting/calling without having to dig out/open the phone. I can also answer with watch so it does not go to voicemail or decline call to stop the ringing.

    That said, I am a TT fan and still have my “old” TT multisport (non-cardio) — it does about 85% of everything I “need” for swim/bike/run training with simplicity of use and accurate gps.

  87. Bart Bouse

    Ray,
    Other than the obvious heart rate data, activity tracker, and waterproofing, how would you compare this to the Motoactv? For instance, is the phone app sync as carefree as the Motoactv wi-fi sync? Number of data fields? My motoactv is rooted for automatic sync to runkeeper then to garmin connect and strava through tapiriik. Does the sync to runkeeper occur from the phone app or do you have to go to the tom tom website? I got a 20% off coupon from Clever Training and think I’m going to pull the trigger on this. Thanks.

  88. Chris Cramp

    If you search through the manuals here link to download.tomtom.com
    It appears there is No Auto Pause on the replacement to the old TOM TOM Cardio watches and this was a feature we where going get but never materialised.

    • Bart Bouse

      That’s certainly not good. Auto pause and auto restart would seem almost basic functionality with something this advanced these days. It won’t win over many city dwellers who are forced to wait at intersections without it.

    • Gabriel S

      Couldn’t agree with this more :-( My Forerunner 305 from 2006 had these features.

  89. Gabriel S

    SHIPPED!

    After Sal’s last post, I thought I might have to wait until November or even December, but CleverTraining.com just sent me a shipping notification with tracking number. I chose free shipping. It’s Priority Mail from Florida.

    So excited! I hate being without a GPS watch.

  90. sal

    REALLY!!! lol that irritates me but makes me very happy at the same time lol.i will be ordering mine as soon as I’m done feeding the baby :D

  91. sal

    i just checked the sight and it stills sats november….. >:/

    • Gabriel S

      Yes it does. But I preordered mine on 10/2/15 and it just shipped today at 1:07 PM PST. If it doesn’t ship soon for you, you can always cancel the preorder.

      For the record I ordered:

      Items in your order Sku Qty
      TomTom Spark Music Cardio GPS Watch & Activity Tracker

      Size
      Large
      Color
      Black
      1RFM00201 1

      GL Sal :-)

  92. Rellik

    I just spoke with them and they said that 249 99 model which is the spark cardio GPS plus music model is not in yet. They said the only model they have is the Spark activity tracker. if you ordered the fully loaded model and it saying it shipped I would call and verify that they didn’t send you the wrong watch

    • Gabriel S

      That would definitely be disappointing as they charged me $224.99 ($249.99 minus 10%) & what I ordered was definitely the “TomTom Spark Music Cardio GPS Watch & Activity Tracker” and not the lower end version. It’s scheduled to be delivered on Friday. I’ll keep you posted on what exactly it is they actually shipped me.

  93. Rellik

    Ok thank you! This is so frustrating! If it’s as good as I think it’s going to be ill get over it but if not this will be the last TT product I buy…

  94. Thanks for the update. I was about to pull the trigger because I thought they were shipping the “TomTom Spark Music Cardio GPS Watch & Activity Tracker” out today.

    I have not ordered from Clever Training before, but for those that have…what are the chances of a better deal on the Spark on Black Friday next month?

    • I’d say pretty low for the Spark, and pretty high for the non-Spark. But then again, always kinda hard to tell with TomTom, they love having sales. Like Pringles, one is never enough.

  95. Richard

    Is it able to record swimming and cycling?

    • Gabriel S

      To quote the TomTom rep who answered a similar question earlier:

      TomTom Community Manager replied
      October 2, 2015 at 11:09 am #128
      Hi Steph, to answer your question, all TomTom Spark models have multi-sport capability. The 8 modes are: outdoor run, outdoor cycle, indoor cycle, swim, treadmill, freestyle, stopwatch and gym.

  96. Łukasz Rżanek

    Already got mine for couple of days. It is, actually, pretty cool. It works great, nice with the music from the wrist. I feel almost naked without my phone with me…

    • Peter

      Where did you get it so early?
      How do you feel about the size of the watch? I’d like to use it as an activity tracker, so i’d wear it 27/7. Single point im struggling with is the “style”-factor..

  97. Well, I’ll take Clevertraining’s customer service’s word that the Spark cardio’s are indeed shipping and are in stock. I went ahead and ordered!

    • The reason for the confusion is that TomTom decided to ship a very very small shipment to Clever Training (they didn’t even know it was coming, it just showed up). Thus, some early pre-order customers did indeed get shipments sent out.

      They were hesitant to update the site’s stock status as to now cause even more confusion given it was really just a handful of units. And instead, just simply ship them to the early pre-orders. Obviously, that attempt at happily surprising a few might have caused some challenges here. :)

      Otherwise, it does remain Nov 1st. Thanks for the support all!

    • Thanks for the update!!!

    • Daniel

      Clever Training put about 10 cardio spark watches on eBay yesterday afternoon for $250 each, I bought two of them, I will have them by the 14th. There are four left, small size

    • Gabriel S

      I’m one of those happy few early preorders! Just got my watch this afternoon. It’s definitely the Spark Cardio + Music & Activity tracker $249.99 version. For the record, I preordered on 10/2/15. Ray’s explanation makes total sense. It’s like preordering a popular videogame system or something. Sometimes stores only get a limited initial shipment.

      I hope everyone else’s watches come in soon.

      I’ve loaded it with music and am impatiently charging it…

  98. sal

    I dont understand these companies. every person you talk to tells you something different. are you in the US?

  99. Steve

    Historically for TomTom watches how usable is the touch screen and touch pad with thin gloves on? Looks like you need to touch the screen since there is no physical buttons.

  100. Rellik

    The only touch part of the screen is for the light, everything else is with the joystick.

    • Steve

      According to Spark user Guide manual laps are set: “MANUAL – select this option to record yourself when you complete a lap. To mark the end of a lap, touch the right side of the watch screen, in the same place you touch to show the back light.”

      So my question remains if the screen or touch pad is usable with thin gloves.

    • Gabriel S

      Steve,

      Just finished my first run. To answer your question, yes, the lap feature works fine with gloves. I didn’t need gloves, but I put one on to test this for you. I don’t think the screen has any real touch sensitivity. The lap feature and the backlight feature both work by covering the screen for a second and gloves do not interfere with this in the least.

      The previous version of the watch, the Multisport has 3 lights on the right that you cover. The Spark, lacks these lights and therefore the only way to mark laps or turn on the backlight is by covering the entire screen. I wasn’t able to get it to work by focusing on the right side of the watch only as the manual seems to indicate. I’m guessing this line in the manual was probably written with the Multisport in mind.

      That said, the cover mechanic works fine, both for the backlight and for laps. Of course, if you’re running at night and want to use the lap mode, you’re probably going to want to activate the “Night” mode by pressing down -> options -> night.

      This will leave the light on while you are doing an activity. That way you will be covering the screen for the lap feature only and not merely to see the screen.

    • Steve

      Thank you for trying this and letting me know.

  101. Gabriel S

    FYI: The Music section of the watch doesn’t quite work as described in the manual. Specifically, you cannot pause the track from the watch. Songs can only be paused via headphone control for the time being. I contacted support about this, they say that is the way it is for now and this functionality might be added in the future. He said I was also the first support call about this watch and asked where I ordered as TomTom hasn’t even shipped their units yet. For the record, support was very courteous and I was talking with a person within seconds selecting my product type via dial tone.

    Also, the manual specifies that you can toggle between playlist and random by pressing right on the playlist. This does not work on the “All Music” playlist. “All Music” seems to always be random. This feature does function normally on actual playlists.

    The demo music appears to be only one song and not the compilation of songs that DC Rainmaker indicated in his preview. It’s “Lovin’ Me” by Ministry of Sound.

    • Yeah, the pausing/control from the unit should have been a firmware update that was scheduled for last week (launch basically). I suspect that’s why there’s some confusion there (either the update isn’t live yet or something).

      Try plugging your unit in/out a few times and see if that triggers a firmware update.

      As for missing music, very odd. It’s well documented on their site (you can look at the full list there). Somewhat ironic the only track you got was Lovin’ Me…

    • Gabriel S

      Thanks, Ray. The firmware is up to date per the TomTom app & I’ve connected the watch several times. Maybe they will release something new this next month when more people get these watches. This issue really isn’t a big deal, but I appreciate your response :-)

      As for the music… it’s strange, but, whatever.

      However, there is a bigger issue I encountered on my first run. I just emailed customer support about it.

      TLDR: the .FIT file produced is corrupt. It won’t upload in Garmin Connect & states the wrong time and distance in Sporttracks. However, teh tcx, pwx, gpx files and automatic uploads to Endomondo, MyFitnessPal, MySports, Strava, and Runkeeper all work just fine.

      Full issue (as emailed to support):
      —————————————————
      Dear _____,
      I just uploaded my first run. I selected pretty much every output platform on the TomTom My Sports Connect App (fit, tcx, csv, gpx, kml, pwx, endomondo, myfitnesspal, mysports, rk, strava, MMF)… the works.

      On the websites, everything seems fine. However, when I went to import the .fit file into Sporttracks 3.1 (the offline, Windows app), it read my run as a different time and distance than everything else read it as.

      – The watch, and all the online websites say the run was 4.0 miles and 41:09 minutes.
      – In SportTracks when I import the .FIT file, it says the run is 3.07 miles & 31:20 minutes
      – In SportTracks when I import the .tcx, .pwx, or .gpx, file, it say the run is the correct length: 4.0 miles & 41:09 minutes
      – On Garmin Connect, the .FIT file refuses to upload at all. It gives the error: “An error occurred with your upload. Please try again.” However, the .tcx file uploads just fine.

      The above points lead me to believe that there is something wrong with the .FIT file, especially considering that all other formats import correctly.

      The only thing strange about this run is that I paused it about 9 minutes in to move my watch from my left wrist to my right one because my Bluetooth headset transmitter was on the right side and I was getting dropouts with the watch on my left wrist. The move to the right wrist fixed the problem, BTW. I then resume the run.

      I’m attaching all the files associated with this run here in a zip file. It seems strange to have one file format crippled with no Garmin Connect upload possible and corrupted data in SportTraacks especially when the .FIT format is the one you yourselves recommend. Can your team please investigate what is wrong with this .FIT file?
      —————————————————————–

      Maybe it’s just this run? Who knows. We’ll see what support says & what happens with future activities. Either way, I seem to be covered with all the other formats available.

    • A couple of quick thoughts:

      A) I suspect the difference between the .FIT & .TCX files are due to parsing.
      B) I also suspect that the reason you see the time differences is your break (elapsed vs total), though I have no idea why you see distance differences.
      C) Uploading to Garmin Connect is always touch and go – as Garmin often implements little things to ‘break’ others. They’ll say they don’t, but they do and it’s pretty obvious when they do.
      D) That said, it’s up to TomTom to figure out what broke in the final and tweak it to work with Garmin, even if it’s Garmin’s fault.
      E) On the music, interesting that you found the right side worked better, they recommend the left side since it’s then closer to transmitter (which is below left ear).
      F) On dropouts, I’ve found that when the headphone battery gets anywhere near low, I get tons of dropouts. Whereas at full-ish charge, I get zero. For example today’s run I had it all charged and go no drops. Whereas yesterday’s run it was low on battery and it dropped the music like every few second unless I had my hadn closer to the earphones.
      G) I haven’t yet tried other headphones, but will start on tomorrows run.

      Cheers.

    • Gabriel S

      “A) I suspect the difference between the .FIT & .TCX files are due to parsing.”

      Anything I can do about that?

      “B) I also suspect that the reason you see the time differences is your break (elapsed vs total), though I have no idea why you see distance differences.”

      The break was for 20 seconds max. This cannot explain a 0.93 mile distance and a 9 min 49 second time discrepancy. As a follow up, my treadmill session this morning also showed different time and distance with the .FIT file being inaccurate.

      “C) Uploading to Garmin Connect is always touch and go – as Garmin often implements little things to ‘break’ others. They’ll say they don’t, but they do and it’s pretty obvious when they do.
      D) That said, it’s up to TomTom to figure out what broke in the final and tweak it to work with Garmin, even if it’s Garmin’s fault.
      E) On the music, interesting that you found the right side worked better, they recommend the left side since it’s then closer to transmitter (which is below left ear).”

      This is because I’m not using the TomTom headphones. I ordered the package without them and the bluetooth headset I’m using happens to have it’s transmitter on the right ear. Consequently, the watch should be on the right wrist to avoid dropouts. Were I using the stock headset or another one with the transmitter on the left ear then TomTom’s advice would certainly apply.

      “F) On dropouts, I’ve found that when the headphone battery gets anywhere near low, I get tons of dropouts. Whereas at full-ish charge, I get zero. For example today’s run I had it all charged and go no drops. Whereas yesterday’s run it was low on battery and it dropped the music like every few second unless I had my hadn closer to the earphones.”

      Not an issue in this case as everything was fully charged. It was just the transmitter placement. Putting the watch on the right wrist closer to the transmitter on the right ear fixed the issue completely. Although, that is good to keep in mind should the batteries ever run low.

      “G) I haven’t yet tried other headphones, but will start on tomorrows run.”

      If you do, keep in mind that the transmitter is often on the side with the controls & plan accordingly.

      One additional, different point: I’m starting to lament the fact that the watch can’t pair with a BT or Ant+ footpod.

      I use a treadmill desk when working, which is to say I am walking while I work on the computer, 4 – 12 miles a day. Since my wrist is often on the wrist rest of the keyboard, the vast majority of my steps end up being missed by the internal accelerometer on the Spark and, despite calibration, no metrics on the watch come close to matching the stats on the treadmill. With calibration, I can of course get the distance to match, but the steps are waaaay off.

      For example, I just walked for 32 min 40 seconds as a test. My distance was 1.08 mi as shown on the treadmill, which I calibrated to be correct with the watch. The previous distance before calibration was much less.

      But steps taken is where it gets ugly. My treadmill counts steps, so I can compare:

      Treadmill: 2,650 steps
      Spark: 68 steps

      That’s 2 STRIDES PER MINUTE. Either I have an 84 foot stride or something is off. Check the attached screenshot :-/

      It kinda defeats the purpose of a 12k step goal if you aren’t getting credit for almost all of your steps.

      This problem would be completely alleviated by being able to use an Ant+ foodpod. Tracking the activity from my feet would be more accurate than my somewhat stationary wrist.

      I’m sure not many users use a treadmill desk, but there are certainly others that would use this feature for greater accuracy when running on a treadmill.

      I know the original TomTom Cardio & Cardio Multisport never had this feature and as such it seems like a longshot that it will be added now. But one can hope. Or else sell this watch for a Fenix4 or 930XT when the time comes.

      Thanks, Ray. I love your site, attention to detail, and conscientiousness. And if I could offer a suggestion: you should create a forum! You’ve cultivated a community here that is populated with really nice, like minded, fitness oriented individuals. It would be great if they had a better medium to connect with one another than the comments section of your excellent articles.

      Thanks again :-)

    • Gabriel S

      I’m going to reply to my own issue for other people’s benefit here since I have found a workaround.

      Problem: The step counter doesn’t work when you’re not swinging your arms. In my usage, a treadmill desk, my arms are mostly stationary as it’s on a keyboard or mouse and not swinging with my foot cadence. Therefore, the step data is incredibly inaccurate. Like 2,650 actual steps being recorded as 68 steps on the spark.

      Best solution / feature request: Having the ability to connect a Bluetooth LE footpod would solve this issue. In my problem posted above I asked for an Ant+ footpod, but that is impossible as the Spark lacks an Ant+ chipset. That was my mistake. A Bluetooth (BT) LE footpod would work just as well.

      This issue is very important to me, so much so that I’ll probably end up jumping ship to the Fenix4 whenever that comes out with an optical HRM if TomTom decides not to include Bluetooth LE footpod in the future.

      However, I do have a solution that works right now:

      Strapping the Spark to the upper ankle / calf area will work. Heartrate will be the same and the foot is, by definition, always moving with your steps.

      The only problem is that the strap is too small for most people, even the large one. No problem.

      1. Simply disconnect one metal fitting from a small (3/4″ wide) binder clip (such as these: link to amazon.com) and put that binder clip into the pre cut holes on the strap on the underside of the watch. It should fit perfectly.

      2. Use a Velcro reusable Tie ( link to amazon.com ), or something similar, and loop it through itself and around the natural watch strap opening and run it through the binder clip and back out again, gripping the velcro back on to itself, locking the fit tight enough so that the watch won’t slide down your calf. Be sure the smooth side of the velcro is on the inside to be nice to your skin.

      See the picture attached to this post for the finished product and to get a better idea visually of what I’m describing.

      And… Voila. Accurate heart rate and steps that are within +/- 3% of the treadmill reading as verified by my TomTom data files and upload, even if you’re not swinging your arms.

    • Steve

      Will the Spark work with a non-Tom Tom BT headset? and does it support the Bluetooth SIG standard like A2DP / AVRCP?

    • Gabriel S

      Yes, I’m using mine with some QCY QY8 I got for $15.99 on Amazon. They work great, in full stereo. Only thing to keep in mind is that you want to wear your watch on the side that has the headphone transmitter. On these particular headphones it’s the right side, so I wear the watch on my right hand when running with them.

      Usually the side with the play/pause volume controls is the side that has the transmitter.

    • Tabby J

      So the Spark should work with any bluetooth footpod, right? If I have the “”Adidas Bluetooth Smart miCoach (Mini) Footpod” it should connect just fine? Just want to make sure I can BT my footpod and music.

      There’s any irony I still can’t quite leave the house with what feels like 10 things on and people you to go out and run with nothing and I think I need everything. Oh well, I like all the info I can get off my gadgets…

    • The unit does not support footpods of any sort unfortunately.

    • Tabby J

      Dang! Misread the comments on that and thought you could. Oh well. Thanksfor the reply!

    • Hi Steve, yes, it will. For example, with the Jabra Sport Rox Headphones or Beats PowerBeats2 Wireless Headphones. Make sure you wear your TomTom Spark on the left wrist for best connectivity.

    • Randy

      I just got my unit, did a firmware update, and so far as I can tell, there’s still no ability to pause music. (Any idea what button(s) it’ll be?)

    • You can use the headphones, but otherwise it’s supposed to be coming in a firmware update for the watch that was supposed to be out a week or two ago.

    • josh

      Hi Gabriel,

      I have the QY8 as well, does wearing the watching on the opposite, ie. left wrist, not work for the QY8 and Tomtom spark pair?

      That sounds really bad, i wear my motoactv on the left and my qy8 on the right, no issues with dropouts!

  102. Hunter

    Is this going to be available in the GPS + Cardio trim (without the music)? I original thought it was based on the listed versions early in the article (the 2nd one down), but I haven’t seen that version available for Pre-order.

    TomTom Spark GPS Watch: €149/$TBA
    TomTom Spark Cardio GPS Watch: €199/$TBA
    TomTom Spark Music GPS Watch: €199/$TBA
    TomTom Spark Cardio & Music GPS Watch: €249/$249
    TomTom Spark Music GPS Watch with Bluetooth Headphones: €249/$TBA
    TomTom Spark Cardio & Music GPS Watch with Bluetooth Headphones €299/$TBA

  103. Christina

    Hey,
    Great review! However I still have one question left.
    I am not quite sure about the connectivity. How many “devices” can i connect? Meaning can i connect e.g a heartrate strap AND the bluetooth phones at the same time?
    Because i would buy the spark music&gps and will use a strap. But obviously I want both when rzlunning: heart rate and music. So I both units to work alongside at the same time.

    Thanks!

  104. Jose

    I’m looking to get the bundle that includes everything. Is it going to come in anything other than black. Blue looks great. Thanks.

    • Hi Jose, in the box the TomTom Spark will be available in black and dark ale brown for large straps and in purple haze and black for small straps. Other strap colours will be available separately, in, for example, green, orange (large) or green, blue (small).

  105. sal

    the bands are interchangeable like the previous model right?

    • Hi Sal, indeed, you can change the straps on the TomTom Spark. We will offer them in two sizes: small (121-175mm) and large (143-206mm) and in a wide range of colours (either with the watch or as accessories): purple, green, blue, black, brown, etc..

  106. sal

    I just noticed that clever has 2 cardio + music in stock in the large. i just got one. so if you call up and say you noticed they had one they can ship it to you today, i cancelled my pre-order and had them send me the one in stock!

    • I called because mine is still in processing and the black ones, they didn’t get much of. I asked them because when I ordered, they told me they had them in stock. But I guess, they had the non-black versions in stock, black versions, they didn’t get many of.

      But if you get blues, I guess that is what they got in more. So, unfortunately, I have to wait until early November to get mine.

  107. Rellik

    It’s only blue on the inside and the very edges. I don’t care about that, it’s well worth it to get my watch a month early. I can always bye a replacement band when they come available. I have 2 10ks next month so I want to have it all set up and ready to go.

  108. Reebear

    did anybody of you guys already receive the Spark they ordered and could post a brief review. I went to the small fair at the Munich Marathon last weekend and TomTom did not bring any Sparks to their booth because they are so tight on supply.

  109. Landlord

    Anybody knows if it is possible to measure heart rate while swimming ? Also – are the headphones that come bundled with Spart any good ? Thank you for your answers !

    • Gabriel S

      Not officially, but it does kinda sorta work in treadmill mode or Gym mode. It took Ray longer to get the initial heartrate but then seemed to work. Of course you lose the lap counting & swim metrics as it thinks you are on the treadmill. It seems to work like it did on the older Multisport. Check out the swim section of Ray’s article here for the lowdown: link to dcrainmaker.com

      They have thought about adding official support to the swim mode, but it hasn’t happened yet.

      Read Ray’s article on this page that we are commenting on. He talks about the TomTom headphones and seems to like them. I just use some $16 QCY QY8s and they work great!

  110. Martin

    Hello Ray,

    I picked up a Tom Tom Runner 2 Cardio + Music (as it’s called in the UK) off the Tom Tom stand at the Royal Parks Half Marathon in London last weekend. All working fine so far and much lighter than my old Nike Sportswatch. Only thing that’s a bit odd at the moment is how it records sleep. I’ve only worn it for one night and it correctly got about 7 hrs of sleep (can only view this on watch – is it viewable online somewhere?) but now shows I’ve had 19hrs sleep. I’m guessing it uses some combination of inactivity and heart rate to work out if you are asleep. Didn’t buy it for activity and sleep so not really bothered just curious. Heart rate pickup seems very quick and accurate so far so new sensor gets a thumbs up for me. Definitely beats wearing a chest strap. Somewhat amused that the tech world has fallen in love with heart rate monitoring all over again.

    • Gabriel S

      To quote tfarabaugh from the TomTom Spark forum:

      “[sleep tracking] it is based on movement detected by the accelerometer so it will assume and extended period of inactivity (like it sitting on your desk) is sleep.

      Sleep time is not currently being uploaded to the app or the website. It is supposedly going to be rolled out in the near future. No timeline has been given, nor will one be, as TomTom will not publicly answer any questions regarding coming upgrades or features (understandably so, as they do not know how long things will take to develop and if there will be insurmountable roadblocks preventing it).”

      Therefore, if you’re going to leave the watch somewhere, motionless, it’s best to manually turn the sleep tracker off. Yes, this isn’t great. But there you have it.

      Personally, since I can’t even upload the data to the website, I’m just leaving the tracker off for now. I don’t particularly like sleeping with a watch, though I might if I was getting data. Being able to look at it on the watch only isn’t enough of a payoff for me to leave it on at the moment.

    • Sleep into both the app and the website is scheduled for this month (October).

  111. Nathaniel

    Does the runner 2 have an auto pause function? I see that older models do not. Living and running in London it’s a must.

    • @Nathaniel: there is no auto pause function in the watch.

      MrTranquille

    • Remichi

      Do you know if autopause is likely to be added in one of the future updates? I agree with Nathaniel that autopause is a must when running in the city.
      Are there any alternative running watches that have GPS, HRM and autopause function? I was deadset on the Tomtom but missing this feature is a shame and not knowing when it will be available in home country Holland is making me look at different watches.

    • Nicholas

      I seriously doubt it. Tomtom had included it as a promised future feature on their prior generation of watches but pulled the roadmap that had it and deleted anything making mention of it. This watch appears a continuation of the same type of hardware with minor refinements. If they haven’t included it from the beginning, I doubt they can or will include it in the future.

  112. Rellik

    She’s here!! :D

  113. sal

    i did a quick 4mile run and love it!! its 100x better then my current multi sport watch. i love the way it feels on my wrist.The music uploaded in 2 min and was easy as cake. also the new band locks in 3 different spots so its never going to fall off.I think tomtom hit a home run. They didn’t go super crazy with the upgrades. they added a couple missing link and improved on the current. I also noticed it locked on to gps pretty fast. the new HR sensor allowed me to wear my watch 2 notches looser then my current multi sport thus giving me a much more comfortable feel and experience.

  114. Great news! CleverTraining received more shipments and I should get mine next week.

  115. Dan C

    Thank you for this great review on the new TomTom device. Ray, seeing as the choices are rather limited to get a fitness watch that has GPS, optical HR, and a music player (this and the Adidas watch to my knowledge are pretty much it), which one would you guide a newbie runner towards? Is there another one that I haven’t considered? Thank you in advance for the advice!

  116. Federica

    Great work Ray!

    I discovered your web-site just now, because I was looking for more info on the Tom Tom Spark and I found a really depth review about it and I love the rest of the articles too!

    I was wondering if the music player runs even underwater (while swimming, for example), maybe if connected with waterproof Bluetooth headphones. Anyone knows it?

    Thanks!

    • No, unfortunately Bluetooth communications won’t transmit through water more than about 3cm, so it won’t work there. Sorry!

    • Federica

      Thanks for the answer!

      May I take advantage of your kindness and expertise, to ask you exactly which additional features the spark has that the tomtom multisport cardio has not, beyond the music player and the activity monitor?

      I’m ready to buy my first GPS watch in order to use it while running, cycling, swimming and maybe for my first sprint triathlon, but I’m really confused… there are too many watches on the market!
      The possibility of running without a chest band and without my smartphone (used as a music player) really attracts me, but even after comparing various watches through your Product Comparison Calculator, I still be doubtful: supposing the prices equal, is better the Garmin Fenix 2 Perfomer (plus a music player) or the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music?

    • Hi Federica, I’ll help answer your question by comparing the TomTom Spark to the TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio. Some of the main differences: Spark has two new multi-sport modes: indoor cycle and gym. In terms of design, it is smaller (up to 37% lighter) and gives you the choice between a small or a large strap. The screen quality is also improved – which means it will be easier to see the stats on the screen as they will apear sharper. It also offers 24/7 activity tracking and sleep tracking, as well as smartphone notifications and audio feedback. Of course, some big ones that Ray mentioned are music and a new heart rate monitor.

    • Gary

      What size wrist will the small strap fit? Lengths of the large and small bands? TIA.

    • Federica

      Thanks for the information.

      Can I deduce that the other features not mentioned are substantially the same of the tomtom multi-sport cardio?

    • Hi Gary, the measurements for the small strap are 121-175 mm and for the large one 143-206 mm.

  117. Tabby J

    Just wanted to say thank you for the review! Just pre-ordered the Spark Cardio with Music. This will be my first GPS watch (I’ve always ran with my phone) and really wanted one with music. Looking forward to being able to run with just my watch, no more 50 devices, contraptions, & holders…?

  118. Bob Schwartz

    Which of these new watches upload wirelessly? The old runner watch required a cable. Even if you use you phone it lets you see it during the activity but not upload to the mysports site or other sites like runnkeeper. Problem is the cable (at least in my case) connection stops working fairly soon. I have needed to replace it in the 1st 6 months of use and I am very gentle. I am amazed that the watch can connect to the phone via bluetooth but will not upload the data for saving.

    • Mario S

      Hi Bob,

      These new watches upload wirelessly, once they are paired with a phone via Bluetooth. After you finish an activity, once you have the watch in range of the phone (and the phone’s bluetooth is on), it should sync the activity with the phone (and from there to different websites/file types, depending on your TomTom MySports account sync configurations). I have it sending the activity information to file (TCX and FIT) and to several different accounts I have on RunKeeper, Nike+ and Strava.

    • And, just to clarify – all TomTom watches act the same way in this regard (old and new).

      Further, once the new website rolls out fully, you’ll be able to shift the linking of accounts to the backend, so you won’t need the desktop piece anymore (meaning, you can do it all mobile).

  119. Fermi

    Hi, Ray
    Thanks for the great review!
    Some questions about swim function: does this watch detect the breaststroke style/strokes/laps… as well as it detect freestyle? What about the breaststroke detection correctness compared with Garmin swim watch? Some people say the tomtom multisport detects breaststroke as backstroke.
    If the two watches can’t detect breaststroke well enough, can I edit the recording file on the computer later on to the right style? Great thanks!

  120. Hi Ray,

    huge fan of your site and as always very detailed review, keep going on!

    There are questions which aren’t answered yet, maybe you (or others) can answer:

    1. How long can this device store data without synchronising with the mysports app? The previous model could store data up to 27 hours which is very low to my opinion.
    2. Does the device counts e.g. pushups in gym mode or does it only measures the heart rate?
    3. Are there any programs in gym mode like e.g. pump up 1 min, then pause 30 sec, pump 1 min again and so on?

    Thanks a lot,
    and all the best from Germany,
    Buelent

  121. Bart Bouse

    Ordered on the 6th from Clever Training and got it today. Charging now for a run tonight!

  122. Christian

    Received my Spark from CT but it arrived defective. Pushing the button to the down position was almost impossible. Back it goes. Still have my Adidas watch in the meantime.

  123. sal

    i am really loving the new design . its 100x easier to pop in and out of the band for charging and it now locked into the charger so there is no guess work if its charging or not. after a nice 8 mile woods run i am sold on the fact that the new sensor is much more accurate and steady vs. the previous TT.

    the one thing that is irking me is the new back light activation. you have to completely cover the screen for like 3 second and its not reliable. sometimes it works and sometimes not. liked the touch activation from my old watch a lot better. other the that I’m enjoying it very much.

    i have a question for those that have already got theres, is it just my watch or does the button giggle around a little bit like its loose?

    I’m hoping a near software update will give the watch capability to show you the way back to the start and how far from it you are. the adidas watch just had a software update that added this. this is a very useful and needed feature for trail runners like myself so I can go out on new trails with confidence i will be able to get back.

    just FYI, the spark will vibrate and notify you when you the battery is almost dead instead of just dying like my old watch did in the middle of the run,

  124. Mario S

    Hi,

    I would recommed a serious test with bluetooth headphones and the Spark/Runner 2 in a full on review, because things are not looking good…

    Yesterday I did a thorough test (as far as I could with what was available to me) of the TomTom Runner 2 bluetooth connection to headphones. Having read some of the replies that mention “change it to the other wrist”, when my experience with my previous smartwatch did not involve such a requirement, I was anxious to make sure I could use my current headphones with the watch. Spolier: Huge disappointment !!!

    Here is what I used for the tests: 2 (two) TomTom Runner 2 Cardio + Music, both bought last Thursday, one for me, one for my wife. There were no packages available at the time with TomTom’s BT headphones incldued. Both watches were fully charged, latest firmware (as reported by MySports Connect application). I used Windows Media player to create and then copy a playlist with MP3 to both watches, making sure the files’ bitrate was supported as per the watches’ user manual. I did NOT start an activity of any kind, heart rate was on (but I believe the sensor was not on during the test, the lights were off) and I had goals tracking disabled, (sleep mode was also off). So, it was just a matter of testing the music playing abilities, even without having GPS/steps/activities running. The watch was placed 2 inches (5 cm) from the headphones, so no excuse about being in the “wrong” wrist.

    Headphones test:

    – Pair with watch
    – Select playlist
    – Test normal playing
    – Test shuffle paying
    – Test controlling music playback from the headphones

    Headphones tested (all owned for over one year):

    – Bluedio Q5 (link to amazon.com)
    – Bluedio T2 (link to amazon.com)
    – Bluedio R+ (link to amazon.com)

    All headphones also tested with:

    – SONY SmartWatch 3 (my current running watch, which does not have HR capabilities, hence the purchase of the TT)
    – BQ E5 FHD smartphone (Android 4.4)
    – Apple iPhone 4S (iOS 9.0.2)
    – Apple iPad 2 (iOS 9.0.2)
    – Nokia Lumia 535 (Windows Phone 8)
    – Minix Neo X6 (Android 4.4)
    – Samsung laptop (Windows 10)

    Here are the results:

    – ALL headphones work flawlessly with ALL devices above, EXCEPT:

    – Bluedio Q5 paired but is not able to properly play music from TomTom Runner 2 (half a second of music followed by 5 seconds of silence).
    – Bluedio T2 paired but is not able to properly play music from TomTom Runner 2 (half a second of music followed by 5 seconds of silence).
    NOTE: Both headphones are able to control start/stop music playing in the watch

    So, the brand new TomTom Runner 2 cannot play music to 2 out of 3 my bluetooth headphones that work perfectly with an array of other different devices, including a SONY smartwatch which is not picky about what wrist I use it on. When using any of the 3 headphones with the SONY, I am able to use it on whatever wrist, while running with the GPS on (I use GhostRacer app) and a heart rate strap connected also through bluetooth, with no problems at all.

    My advice to other potential customers of this TomTom watch: wait for obviously necessary firmware updates (let’s hope that it is not a bad implementation of the BT chip used on the watch, poor “antenna” location, etc…), and make sure the watch works with whatever bluetooth headphones you plan on using, on BOTH wrists, because I do not believe proper testing was done by TomTom to ensure the correct quality of the bluetooth connection/streaming.

    I would suggest, meanwhile, for current owners to report their own experience, so that a list of bluetooth compatible headphones can be made and shared, in order to avoid problems for current/future owners.

    NOTE: I already posted this to the TomTom support forums, waiting for some kind of feedback…

    • Bart Bouse

      Mario,
      Went on my first run with the Spark and Jaybird Bluebuds X headphones last night. Just got the Spark yesterday. Pairing easy and audio quality was excellent with no dropouts whatsoever. I did have the Spark on my left arm with the receiving side of the Bluebuds on my left ear. My unscientific test would indicate, however, that the Spark’s pairing is as good or better than the Motoactv and much better than an iphone 4 or 6. You might try better bluetooth headphones.

    • Fwiw, I’ve been using with success the PowerBeats headphones with success (watch worn on left side), the last two runs. No issues.

      Note: Also seen what someone else noted that with backlight on, optical HR on, music on, GPS on, there’s no way you’d clear 2hrs of battery life. Backlight appearing to be a massive draw.

    • Bart Bouse

      Day 2 with the Spark. Began using it yesterday and went for a short 5 mile run, left it on all night to check sleep tracking, and used all day. At 5:00 p.m. showed about 30-40% battery left. The run was with everything on except backlight. Still had charge after another 5 mile run today. I did have an issue pairing with the iphone today and had to tell the iphone to forget it and re-paired with the Spark. Used Planatronics Backbeat Go2 headphones today rather than my Jaybird Bluebud X without issue. As the the Jaybirds, the Go2 paired easily and no dropouts. Both headphones changed tracks, volume, etc. without a problem. I’m seeing absolutely no issues with decent bluetooth headphones. There are some issues that I’m trying to sort out. Still would love to have autopause. Not sure what the value in the sleep tracking is at this point, it doesn’t show on the app or website. I haven’t figured out the audio coaching. Very little info on the audio coaching that I can find. If anyone can point me in the right direction to set the Spark to tell me pace, time, and heart rate at each mile, that would be great. Not sure it even does this though.

  125. sal

    i tested three different sets of headphones and have zero problems with connectivity.

    LG 700
    LG 730
    QCY7

    I hope everything works out for you. do you have a link for the tom-tom forum i can’t seem to find it

    • josh

      Hi Sal,

      Does the QCY7 plays from the Tomtom if the receiver side (right earpiece) is on the opposite side, i.e if the tomtom is on the left wrist?

      I have a QCY earpiece and hope to know if it is supported!

  126. Mario S

    Hi sal,

    Yes, sorry, I should have it included:

    link to en.discussions.tomtom.com

    Meanwhile, the topic already got a rpely, with a list of heapdhones “compatible” with the TomTom, which I find a bit disturbing seeing that there are three different “compatibility” tests: right/left/both wrists:

    link to uk.support.tomtom.com

    • I’m not sure I understand the ‘serious problem’ (of any sort)? You did a test, and found that 2 out of 3 headphones from a single vendor weren’t compatible – that matches what TomTom shows. Wouldn’t that likely tell you that the issue is probably more with how a given headphone vendor implemented support between models? So while TomTom can probably put a shim in there to help compatibility, it’s likely that will take time.

      So in the meantime, TomTom published a list of compatible 3rd party headphones, and even went as far as to publish them by left/right compatibility. The reality of Bluetooth audio devices is that it’s distance limited, so that’s going to be a factor. Thus I would think it’d be a good thing that TomTom actually split those out (as they did). I can’t see how that’s disturbing. And, for clarity – that’s no different than what Adidas has as far as left/right wearing challenges, or even your phone if you wear that on a different arm.

      The simple bottom line is that 3rd party companies implement the BT audio spec different ways (just like sport companies somehow implement the BT power spec different ways). Some of those companies do it the right way, and some do it the wrong way. That introduces issues.

    • Mario S

      Hi Ray,

      Thank you for you input, greatly appreciated. I am a fan and an avid reader, even though I only recently commented in this article.

      I understand your comment, and I agree that the topic name in the forum was a bit overstated, I should have used something like “Disappointed with TomTom BT implementation” or similar. I actually will see if I can change it.

      I also understand that BT is not perfectly implemented by different vendors, but I did mention I did the test with what was available to me at the moment (like many reviewers do), and I tested the 3 headphones with 2 (two) TT watches and 6 (six) different devices. I did not prove anything. I shared my experience, in the hope of helping someone else like me, by also sharing the list of headphones I read some users had success with in the same forum topic.

      I do not want to start a tech discussion here, since I reported the problem in TomTom’s user forums, I just wanted to suggest here to include a BT headphones test for a future review and warn future buyers to be careful with the headphones they select to use with this watch.

      However, I did not mention a “serious problem” in my comment here, but instead I recommended “a serious test with bluetooth headphones” for the full review, as an owner of the watch and a fan of your work. It may even prove exactly what you say, that TT did a great job, and some headphone vendors really may need to up their game.

      Unfortunately, for a watch so recently released on the market with music playback as one of its great new features, there are already a few complaints in the forum about music playback and BT headphones, and initial replies were “try changing the watch to your other wrist”. Keep in mind that the compatible headphones list you mentioned differentiates left / right / both wrists, when in the watch’s user manual there are no mentions of the need for that. No only that, but from that list, TomTom’s own Sports Headphones are only reported to be compatible if the watch is worn on the left wrist ?

      Again, it is my opinion, based on my experience of >1 year with 3 different BT headphones and other devices including my previous watch, that TT did not test properly the bluetooth audio streaming feature. It does not mean TomTom is a bad company or that their watches are bad. It means that they are simply a company like many others, launching products not properly tested, patching things up as they go, and we consumers end up their beta testers.

      I accept that, but I also believe we should be able to share our experience to other potential users and consumers.

      “Some of those companies do it the right way, and some do it the wrong way. That introduces issues.” – I just want to be sure which one TT is with their Spark/Runner 2…

      Looking forward to your review.

    • Steve

      Wearing a watch on a certain wrist to be compatible with certain headphones does not makes sense to me if it’s an open environment (no hat, etc). Bluetooth is short distance, but with the proper antenna location on the watch it should not matter which headphones are used. There are many everyday use cases that prove short distance with close proximity to your body can be overcome. (Should I put my phone in my right pocket rather than left in order to link with my handsfree car kit?) With an up-to-date chipset and proven stack, the compatibility with other devices should work with a simple music use case. MotoActv (four years old) with a BT headset works fine on either wrist and with different headsets. I guess the only way to tell is to buy it and try it.

    • Bart Bouse

      Steve,
      I agree with you that the Motoactv works on either wrist and with several different headphones. Motorola certainly got that part of it right. My first experience with the Spark would indicate that the audio quality and bluetooth strength is as good as the Motoactv but I’ll try different headphones tonight, maybe another wrist, and update.

    • Mario S

      I have a SONY SmartWatch 3 which is/was my running watch, and worked with my 3 bluetooth headsets, no matter what wrist I wore it on. Unfortunately, it does not have HR monitoring or activity tracking /steps counting for treadmill running).

      I tested those same 3 headsets with the TomTom from 2in/5 cm away (no wrist problem) and 2 of them didn’t work properly. And I found some problems syncing activities to the phone too using bluetooth, but that is another matter…

      TomTom already replied to me and are doing their best to help and to test with similar headphones, while I am also willing to help in any way I can. I will probably even have to buy a new pair of headphones if all else fails, maybe return both TT watches as a last resort. But they do seem to be a genuinely a good company with prompt and helpful feedback for customers, so I really hope these glitches get ironed out quickly.

    • Mario S

      Hi everyone,

      I have good and bad news.

      The good news is that I had some more time tonight to play with both watches and two sets of Q5 headphones, and I got it to work. So my assumption that it was a bluetooth implementation was WRONG (I still think having a “correct wrist” to wear my watch when listening to music is something silly, but ok).

      The bad news is that one set of headphones worked with my wife’s watch, and the other pair worked much better than with mine since it managed to listen to music, although it still had slight sound glitches (small cracks every 5 seconds or so). With my watch, they had the same behavior I described here, half a second of sound, then 5-6 seconds of no sound. This means that the problem is almost certainly with my watch.

      I will have to return it tomorrow for a new one, let’s hope they still have it in stock…

      Still looking forward to your review, still a big fan.

    • Mario S

      Just an update on the Spark’s Bluetooth problems, 3 months after I bought the watch and reported the problems:

      “(…) we have a new BT stack running on the watch in test since pre-xmas, it has much improved audio performance and has been with our beta testers since 2 weeks. Except for the PowerBeats Wireless 2 most previous headset issues seem to be resolved (eg Bluedio and Jabees now work fine). I expect this will be integrated in a public release shortly.”

      link to en.discussions.tomtom.com

  127. Sebastien

    Thanks for the great review!

    I wonder what you would recommend between the TomTom Spark music cardio (seem the Tomtom Spark Cardio only isn’t available in Canada) and the Polar M400 (with a Mio Link).

    I can get both options for almost the same price.

    I’m a beginner since I started running last July. Multisport support isn’t required, but it would be a nice addition. Last years, I didn’t have in mind to start running. So who knows what I will do next year. And having the option to use it indoor (probably cycling) for the coldest months of winter would be nice.

    For the TomTom Spark
    – I’m not really interested in the music part, but seem I must have it the get the Hearth rate sensor. Look like the Tomtom Spark Cardio isn’t available in Canada. Also is seemed to be lacking the smart coaching and training function like the ones on the PolarM400.
    – Web platform and mobile apps doesn’t seem to be really good.
    – I like the future possibilities for the heart rate sensor.

    For the Polar M400,
    – Since I’m looking to wear it as an daily wrist watch, I’m a bit worried at the idea of having to wear 2 devices at once
    – The watch seem more complete with its smart coaching and training functions like the running index.

    Any advices?

  128. Matthias

    I have bought the TomTom Spark Cardio & Music GPS Watch and use the actual firmware 1.0.51.
    I don’t have any issues with BT. On the contrary. For me it works absolutetly flawless with headsets. I used it for many hours without any problems while walking and running. I can reccomend a cheap BT 4.0 headset (like the TaoTronics, first Link)
    link to amazon.de
    link to amazon.de
    link to amazon.de
    link to amazon.de
    It works also quite well to copy your music directly to the device. But beware that you always disconnect the device through MySport Connect. I encountered problems when I disconnected it through the mass storage symbol on my Windows 10 PC.
    I am using the watch without the mySports Online Software. Instead of this I export the fit-Files to MyTourbook which I am using with portable Java.
    Is there any possbility to export the Tracking and sleep data?

    • Mario S

      Thank you Matthias, I am trying to make sure if I buy new headphones that they work with the watch.
      I will take a look at those TaoTronics headsets that you suggested. Which of those listed did you use with the TomTom, and on which wrist did you have the watch ?

      Thanks again.

    • Matthias

      I use all of them differently: Harmon & Kardon sometimes at home and the other outside. For my small ears this one are my favourite
      link to amazon.de
      I think I got these from China for a very small amount 3-5USD. There are some other BT headsets exactly like this HS from different chines companies. I can really ashure you that the BT works 100% perfect. I have a fast connection and never had any dropouts while listeing to music (MP3 @ 320kbit, AAC I didn’t test yet). I use everything offline atm without any app for my smartphone. If you have serious problems replace the watch!
      I am lefthand and prefer the watch (Size Small) on my right wrist.

  129. Jed

    Wondering what your thoughts are for the new spark vs the Fitbit Surge? The obvious difference would be music but how would you compare them otherwise? I apologize if this question has been addressed I skimmed through the comments and didn’t see anything. Thanks

    • The TomTom has much better fitness focused capabilities, while the Fitbit has much better daily activity capabilities. I also think the sensor on the TomTom is better for workouts than the Fitbit.

      It’s really going to come down to which piece you value more:

      Workouts (accuracy, functions, etc…): Easily TomTom
      Daily activity (steps, sleep, etc…): Easily Fitbit

      Plus of course however your rank the music portion.

      Make sense?

    • Jed

      Thank you and yes that makes sense!

    • Jed

      Forgot to ask will the watch send audio updates to headphones on current pace avg pace heart rate etc. so you don’t have to look down at the watch if you don’t want to?

    • Hi Jed, the TomTom Spark will tell you several things. As general prompts, you will hear the voice coach telling you when the watch is ready or in demo mode. The TrainingPartner prompts will tell you, for zones, if you are in the zone, below the zone or above the zone; if you are training towards a goal, when you are at 50%, 90%, 100% and 110% of the goal; and if you are racing, if you are ahead, behind, lost or won. We are also working on adding more metrics to the voice coach, so that when you use laps, for example, you hear what your speed or pace over that lap is. Once we have news on when it will become available we’ll comunicate it via our regular channels.

    • Tabby J

      This will be my first tomtom product purchase. I currently run with my phone and have it tell me my avg pace at every mile marker (that’s all, i like to keep it simple, not a lot of interruptions). Is this something the TomTom Training Partner can tell me or no?

      Regardless I’ve ordered, it’s not a deal breaker. Doing all the research while I wait so I can hit the ground running when the watch arrives. TIA!

    • Rudeq

      Hi TomTom Community Manager
      Is it possible with TomTom to create workouts online (where you define intervals, zones, etc;..) and then download those workouts to your watch. Can you also get notified in when a new interval starts and if you are in the correct heart rate / speed zone?
      I tried searching this information online, but I believe it was not possible with Tomtom watches. I hope somebody you can enlighten me
      If I can only create workouts on the watch itself it would be a real dealbreaker for me …

    • Hi Rudeq,

      You can only define the workout in the watch.
      When a new interval start or if you are (or not anymore) in the correct heart rate / speed zone the watch vibrate.

      MrTranquille

    • Rudeq

      Thanks for confirming what I thought MrTranquille. Although the spark seems like a nice watch (I especially like the music feature) it’s just too bad that you can’t define workouts on advance. Maybe the FR235 is more what I’m looking for… I guess I still have to take my smartphone with me to have some music :)

    • You kind of can.
      Its quite a work-around and a hassle. Info on how to do it can be found on TomTom’s discussion board.
      I have the multisport cardio and have found it is much more simple to keep the info on the phone and listening to earbud commands.
      As is you can only create these training forms on the watch:
      Intervalls – warmup, set 1, set 2, cooldown and nr of sets. Set can be defined as time or distance.
      Race – race a pace. I.e. distance in x time.
      Zone – heart or speed/pace that has to be kept.

      No possibilities such as in Garmin Connect…at least at the moment.
      So perhaps the 235 is a better choice for you?

  130. Stefan

    The released a update today, check tomtom discussions

  131. Scott

    Initial thoughts on the Spark vs Forerunner 235? I thought i had decided on the Spark before your article yesterday….kinda starting over again to compare.

  132. Lionel

    Hi,
    Could you add it to the comparison chart ?

  133. Luc

    New review, link to wareable.com

    Our testing showed the TomTom Spark to be the most accurate optical heart rate tracker that’s been put through Wareable’s tests. As you can see from the data below, not only did the average heart rate data match up exactly to Garmin’s chest strap, it was never more than 1bpm out. A highly impressive performance.

  134. Ronny Raet

    Thx for a really good prereview!

    One question:
    Will you compare the Spark with the new Runner 2 (also from TomTom) and the new watches from Garmin (235 & 630)?
    And
    When will the complete rewiews be published?

    Thx again :)
    Ronny

  135. Jaime Barillas

    I’ve been looking for a GPS watch able to play music via Bluetooth.
    I had a previous bad experience with a TomTom device that I had to return it. It probably was my unit.
    I hope to see a full review soon.

  136. Arthur P Kiwacz

    Competetive Cyclist has TomTom Spark available and in stock, plus you can use 20% off coupon OCTOBER20
    which gave me $50 off.

  137. Joshua Smith

    I just ordered from Competitive Cyclist (Thank Arthur) I was worried Clevertraining wouldn’t have it in stock Would anyone be able to tell me what they recommend for bluetooth headphones for around or 100 USD.

  138. J Serrano

    In case anyone is interested competitive cyclist website has the fully loaded version for 249.99 with 20% off and free shipping. Which roughly translates into 200 bucks. Though I believe the large sizes were already snatched up. Maybe they’ll get more large sizes soon.

  139. Bob190

    Looks like Amazon had changed their in stock date to December 1. Still showing as November on Clevertraining.

  140. Kostas K

    Does anyone know if you can install MapMyRun or any other app on this phone?

    Thanks

  141. Stijn Vranken

    Hello,

    Thank you for the review. I’m getting really interested in this watch.
    Will you do an In depth review as well?

    Thnx

    Stijn

    • Yes, shortly. TomTom released a firmware update in the past week that adds many of the features I was waiting for to include in a review (i.e. sleep on the site). So it’s on the short list right now.

  142. Alberto

    Hi DC Rainmaker, could you please write a comparison between TomTom Spark and TomTom MultiSport Cardio? Which GPS and which optical HR sensor is more accurate? Would you move from a TT MultiSport Cardio to a TomTom Spark?
    I use my MultiSport Cardio for gym activities (fitness, indoor bike, treadmill), for indoor swimming and for running outdoor but I am fed up with tracking fitness or indoor bike activities as “treadmill” activities (I have to edit the activity type after sync) and the lack of precission when I swim backstroke (TT counts 2 pool lengths each pool length I swim backstroke). What would you recommend?

    Does it notifies with vibration as TT Multisport Cardio? That is very important for me ( for example notifying laps).

    I don’t really care about daily activity tracking because I use a Xiaomi Mi Band but did TT include deep and light sleep statistics in the last firmware update?

    Thanks and regards.

  143. Neil

    Does anyone know if the Spark offers 24/7 heart rate monitoring? I’m looking for a triathlon watch that also offers daily fitness monitoring. I’m ready to order the watch but need this question answered before pulling the trigger.

    • Bart Bouse

      No.

    • To clarify, it will however (just not yet enabled).

      That said, be mindful of the limitations of the TomTom multisport offerings in terms of not really being triathlon watches.

    • Kristi

      I am considering this watch vs the Polar v360 mainly I need a HR monitor 24/7 due to BP issue that is new for me. I also love my Pebble that I get notifications from my phone for text and calendar alerts. Keeps me on time for meetings.
      When with this Tom Tom get the 24/7 HR as well as notifications?

    • The A360 does not do HR 24/7. Neither does TomTom.

      TomTom has previously stated to me that it would be coming by the end of 2015, but I don’t know if that’s accurate still.

  144. Aaron

    Hi, thanks a lot for this review!

    Do you think that watch might be added soon to the product comparison tool?

    Also, which shop(s) in Paris would you recommend for good advice on shoes/equipment?

    Cheers!

  145. Koen

    I’m veryy happy with my new Tomtom spark but can’t seem to figure out how the night light works. Mayby anyone who can help me?
    Thanks

  146. I’m realy happy with my new Tomtom spark but I can’t seem to figure out how to activate the night light. Mayby anyone who can help me?
    Thanks

  147. Bilgin Ozkan

    Those who already have their watch, can you shed light on how many data fields you can see per screen?

    I miss the MotoActv where I used to be able to see 6 metrics at a time. With my Garmin 620, it’s 4. From various press photos, I fear the TomTom is only 3. I know you can probably swipe to toggle between different data screens, but seeing a lot of info at a simple glance was awesome.

    Also, does it auto-resume music playback? I exclusively listen to audiobooks and podcasts on the MotoActv and although you have to make it think your audiobooks are a podcast themselves, it remembers the position and simply pressing play resumes where you left last.

    • It’s three screen. The two ‘mini-metrics’ that you see on the screen, plus the big one.

    • Josh

      I wish Motorola will come out with a Motoactv 2! Mine has been serving me well over the past 3 years and I cannot find a replacement watch that has all it’s features!! :(
      We just need a motoactv with a built-in optical HRM and we are all set!

    • Bilgin Ozkan

      Goddamnit, my point exactly. The MotoActv was THE perfect running watch. If they came out with a V2 and asked a ridiculous amount for it, I wouldn’t hesitate!

      Sure, it had its flaws. The biggest downfall for me was the MotoActv portal and the inability to properly sync with third party sources (I did root it, installed TCX exporter, even installed ClearDroid’s ROM and all that jazz but that was never ideal). But as the standalone device to carry with you (apart from a HRM strap) it was the bees knees. Plus, the screen was always on during your exercise, so no need to constantly push a button (Garmin) or hold your palm over your watch (TomTom). Yes, battery life was not ideal, but for someone like me who runs simple daily 7K runs, the MotoActv was the best. Even the coaching! I had it pretty much at launch and I was hearing new stuff for years to come!

      Nowadays, I carry it with me because it is my designated Bluetooth audio player, but I just wish that they gave us the opportunity to sync with third party services when they literally abandoned their own portal.
      MotoActv should’ve been an independent startup project instead of coming from Motorola, who probably expected exaggerated sales and revenue.

    • Josh

      YES! I love the Motoactv and it is years ahead of all the watches they are JUST releasing this year! Can you imagine that?!?! I’ve look at the Adiddas Smartrun, which seems to be the closest rival to the Motoactv, but it’s flawed by it’s buggy software. The Timex One seems interestingly, but it does not have a built-in HRM.

      Sigh.. wishing Levono brings back the Motoactv! And yes, i’d gladdy pay $399.99 for it! Even $499!

    • Randy

      It’s not ideal by any means, but this (www.redsneaker.us) combined with this (tapiriik.com) will get your workouts to every service.

      As for everything else – totally agree. I love the MOTOACTV and bought a Spark thinking I’d finally have a replacement. So far, I like the quick GPS acquisition, the HRM and the screen (for telling time; I do miss having more than 3 metrics), but have been extremely frustrated by the audio controls and the watch’s inability to sync with my Android phone.

      It may end up going back to TomTom if they can’t fix some of these issues…

    • Josh

      Thanks for the Feedback Randy, Let us Motoactv diehards know how your testing go and if the tomtom is a worthy replacement to the motoactv!

      I sure hope adidas fix the software and gps problems in the smartrun 2 and then we can relook at it again!

    • Steve

      As a current MotoActv user I continue to nurse the watch along because no one has yet offer a more complete solution for running. The features and usability of the watch is still unmatched. I’ll keep it going until something better comes along or it finally dies, but after 3 years it’s still going.

    • Randy

      It’s such a mixed bag…

      The run-tracking component is far superior, but the music features and controls are far worse.

      My complaints:

      Only mode of playback is shuffle
      Can’t pause from the watch
      Can’t select a specific track (can only randomly skip in a playlist until you find what you want)
      Can’t resume a track from a previous run
      Can’t access any music controls or info from the watch once you’re running – only run metrics

      If you just want to shuffle music while you run, it works fine. That’s what I do if I’m racing. However, if I’m just going out for a jog, I like to fire up podcasts. This watch is not well-suited to that.

      I’ve had some issues with the HRM getting wonky once I’m really, really sweaty, too.

    • Josh

      Thanks for the comparison Randy!

      Did you have a chance to try out the Adidas Smart Run? Seems like the latest update fixed most of the GPS woes it was having.

      My Motoactv is getting weaker by the day, i just lost my bluetooth connectivity. :(

    • Randy

      No; never had any experience with the Adidas watch.

    • Christian

      The GPS works perfectly on the Adidas watch and gets a signal very quickly. The HR is also the best of any optical device that I’ve ever tested.

  148. Paul

    Has anyone else had major issues with pace reporting on this watch? I just took my first long outdoor run with it and it read a pace that I suspected was 30 seconds or more per mile faster than I thought I was running. Even worse, when I would slow down a bit, the pace would not update. I would drop by just a second or two per mile over a minute. Slowing to a walk seemed to get it to kick in and lower the pace.

    When I got home, I uploaded a run and confirmed my suspicion. The pace I read for most of my run was a good deal faster than 90% of my recorded paces for the same run. The discrepancy makes no sense, and will earn this watch a trip back to TomTom if I can’t resolve it.

  149. Mags

    Have the TomTom multisport and a vivosmart fur daily activity which I’m happy with. Are there any positives in upgrading to the spark. Not bothered about a HRM. Also do you know when the app is to be upgraded and will it benefit multisport users? Thanks

  150. Randy

    I’ve been having serious problems syncing through my Android phone. Every time, it starts syncing then drops the connection once it gets to 20-30% done. I’ve tried forgetting/repairing the bluetooth and even did a factory reset on the watch, but no luck.

    Not a good look, TomTom.

  151. Tony Lo

    Will the New Tom Tom support interval training and custom workouts?

    • It already supports basic interval workouts – used it for one on Thursday. You configure: Warm-up, Work Length, Rest Length, Reps, and Cool-down.

      It does not support more complex custom workouts than that.

    • Tony Lo

      Hi DC: thanks for clarifying. How is the new Tomtom wearing comfort as compared to the old version? Are the straps interchangeable between two versions?

    • Comfort is pretty similiar for me, however they made changes that should help those with smaller wrists.

      The straps are not interchangeable between the older units and the Spark. They are changeable between the Spark and the Runner2, since it’s the same unit just branded differently.

    • fermi

      hi, Ray
      Has tomtom enabled HR monitoring while swimming? and when could you please post your deep review of the spark cardio watch? thans!

  152. Martin

    Is the HR sensor issue solved with the recent updates (high-cadence bug)?

    • Martin

      There’s a new software update, which should hopefully solve the high cadence bug.

      We’ve just released a new software v1.1.19 for TomTom Spark and Runner 2 watches and it’s available for download in MySports Connect.

      WHAT’S NEW?

      – For watches with a built-in optical heart rate monitor, we have improved the performance in case of sudden speed increases for running or treadmill.
      – You can now start indoor cycling activities without a Cadence and Speed Sensor.
      – Various performance improvements and bug fixes have been implemented

  153. Phil R

    Hi DC Rainmaker – Did you manage to test out the spark in cycling mode yet. Looking to buy a cycling / running watch and am wondering what features the spark will display whilst on the bike i.e. distance, speed, altitude gain, time

    and can you customise the display like you can on a Garmin 500 bike computer so show the fields you want on each page / screen,

    Is there a virtual race mode

    Have you tested the pairing / uploading to strava.

    thanks in advance

    Phil

  154. Attila

    Can you upload training programs to the watch, like on Polar RC3?

  155. Matt Hall

    Apologies if this has already been asked but can you actually turn this model on and off or is it on all the time. I have the very first TomTom Nike model and its always on. Thanks

  156. Joost

    I love this watch “all in one” use everyday as tracker, running, biking, curcuit training. And music for my runs. Nice job Tomtom, and nice price point.

  157. Giri

    Hi DC,

    Thanks for an amazing review.
    Now i am genuinely confused between Microsoft band 2 and this. Could you please comment?

  158. G

    Any way The Girl could try this out in the full length review? :)

  159. Eric

    Will they be adding the step count feature to the multisport?

  160. Eddie

    I’ve been lookin for a new fitness/sports watch after my Suunto Core had an accident. I’ve been waiting to see more comparisons between the Surge, Band 2, and Spark. All look really interesting but I love my music in the gym so Spark really has me excited.

    Then yesterday I heard about the upcoming Moto 360 Sport! Looks like it has it all apart from being waterproof. Have you seen much yet to let you say how well the Spark and 360 Sport size up against each other?

  161. Wayne

    Will this watch transition through a Triathalon, or would you need to stop between each leg and start for the next. i.e. start swim, end swim, start bike, end bike, start run, end run?

  162. Remko

    Hi DC,

    could you give us an estimate about when you will be able to upload your in-depth-review. I need/want to order my multi-sports watch within a couple of days. I still have to make some decisions and your reviews are really helpful in this decision. FYI I am very interested in the swimming-results, first of all in the pool. And what are the possibilities in outside water allthough there is no dedicated mode for it.

    • My Spark review should be out sometime tomorrow.

      As for swimming, I’ll be discussing the normal swimming mode (which has no optical sensor enabled), but also giving a small snippet of what results look like with it enabled in Freestyle mode.

    • Ezechiel2517

      Hi, I’ve been using the spark for a few weeks now, +- 15 swimming sessions. Performance in the pool was equally bad in all sessions, missing 30% of my laps on average. This despite my technique being not so bad (20k/week freestyle) and using every trick tomtom recommends (hard push, swith arm, same pace, etc). Also posted my experiences about it on the tomtom forums (link to en.discussions.tomtom.com). Really disappointed as my polar v800 does register my swims flawless. All other sports on the spark work fine though..
      Interested in what other users experiences are with the spark and swimming.

    • Remko

      Thank you very much Ezechiel. This is exactly what I wanted to know… it really sounds like a big disappointment. The watch sounds perfect and gets good reviews for the running and cycling. I don’t need fancy stuff for the swimming… just stroke count and lane count. But it looks like even this basis functions is not good. Can’t wait to read DC’s experiences.

    • Paul

      That’s great news about the review. Yours are the most comprehensive I can find anywhere. Curious to hear if you see pace issues for running (real time pace is much too fast) like I do with the Spark. I’ve been trying to get an answer from their customer service, and they’ve been silent since I sent a log file last week.

    • fermi

      Hi, DC
      great to hear the in-depth review is around the corner!
      I am also very interested in the swimming function of the tomtom spark, this is the only exercise I do regularly. could you give a review about if the spark can count the breaststroke and freestyle strokes and lengths correctly. if not, maybe I will have to turn to Garmin swim for this purpose. thanks!

    • Ezechiel2517

      Testing the new update tonight, hope this fixes my swimming issues. If not, I kind of hope DCR has the same issues, that way Tomtom may be more inclined to solve them asap.

    • Alberto

      I’m still waiting for that in my TomTom MultiSport Cardio… so I would return the TomTom Spark if I were you.
      I reported the problems with swimming metrics to TomTom many times and it stil fails on most of backstroke lengths (about 60-95%).

    • Martin

      Is the review ready yet? I can’t wait to read your conclusions :-)

    • No, I’ve run out of light today, so unfortunately it’ll be delayed till Monday morning – first thing. Sorry!

      (This whole getting dark earlier thing is killing me…well…that and spending the first 5 hours of my day in class.)

    • Jason

      Ray, any update one when the review will be out?

      Thanks!

    • Sigh. Wednesday sometime. This weekend as one might imagine was a bit…rough.

      Nonetheless, I got all the pics I needed and all text is done. Just simply cleaning up photos and adding them in.

      Sorry, super apologies!

    • Jason

      Hey man, no worries. Can’t imagine what it’s been like over there. I shouldn’t be so anxious, just excited to get my first watch sometime in the next couple of months hopefully and trying to figure out whether I should get a sale item or not. Any chance the fr 230/235 review will be here before Black Friday? No pressure, I kind of hate to even ask!

      Thanks for all you do. Taking the time to respond to so many questions is amazing and shows just how much you care about the readers.

      Jason

    • Yes, the FR235 (likely combined with the FR230) review will be out mid-next week. I’m aiming for Tues/Weds. I don’t see any blockers to that (aside from the usual, time).

    • Jason

      Great, thank you again!

  163. Cat

    Do you know how to determine if you’re a size small or large ?? I’ve been looking for this answer all over the internet…
    Thanks !

    • Martin

      You can check here
      link to tomtom.com (click the “strap size guide” at the bottom of the page), or …

      SIZE UP YOUR WRIST
      Use a tape measure and wrap it around your wrist on which you plan to wear your TomTom RUNNER 2. Make sure not to wrap too tight or too loose for the best measurement.If you do not have a tape measure, you can also wrap a piece of string around your wrist and measure the string using a ruler.TomTom Watch Strap measurementsSMALL: 121-175mmLARGE: 143-206mm

  164. Dave Camp

    First, Ray, let me say prayers for those in Paris. We’ll understand if your in-depth review is delayed. Question on the clock-face. Any reasonable looking options from what we’re seeing in the photos?

  165. Tony Lo

    I am Garmin 620 user but interested to try other products like the new Tom Tom but concerned with the data upload. Is it possible to upload TomTom data to Garmin Connect or is there way to centralize all training data from HRM and GPS different watches? is it necessary to use third party training software (i use MAC computer
    )?

    • Barry

      In theory you can save the workout files from your watch as .fit files and upload them to Garmin Connect, but I wasn’t able to gain access to the .fit files on my watch.

    • Alberto

      You can save as fit or tcx or gpx files your workouts when you sinchronize using the PC application. Just upload the file to Garmin Connect manually after that.

  166. Attila

    Does this watch has a simple stopwatch countdown timer option.
    I miss that on my RC3,

  167. Barry

    I’m really glad TomTom has good customer service and technical support. Using this watch was a nightmare. I ordered one, and the sync cable didn’t work, so because it wouldn’t sync with my computer I couldn’t create a MySports account to sync it with my phone and get workouts off my watch and into either the computer or the web app. Luckily, TomTom quickly shipped a replacement device to me.

    Then, with the second device, it was horrible at bluetooth syncing with my phone, and TomTom was unable to push software updates to the device, so there was no way to see the .fit or other data files from workouts. Just returned it today for a refund.

    The MySports interface has come a long way, but without a way to share individual workout pages with people who aren’t mysports members, it keeps data walled off pretty well.

    I’m taking my refund plus another $100 bucks and purchasing the equivalent Garmin.

  168. Philippa

    Hi there Ray,

    Been enjoying your blog for quite some time and really appreciate your reviews. I am a longtime user of Garmin Forerunner watches and currently want to upgrade from the FR220. I was almost sure I was going to get the FR 235 until I saw the TomTom Spark. I desperately want to run without a HRM strap but running with music and minimal wiring/gadgets is almost as critical, so you can see my dilemma. I am not a “hardcore” runner, so don’t need a ton of stats, but I do like the ability to program runs from Garmin’s website, which I believe you are unable to do with the TomTom Spark. Which brings me to my next question…(and I am sorry to hassle you)… is there any update on when the TomTom Spark review might be up?

    I know it has been a difficult week and I hate to trouble you on this but based on what my requirements/running needs, I took a preliminary view that the TomTom would be a better choice for me than the FR 235 based on its ability to play music. Therefore I placed a pre-order for the TomTom Spark +HRM+earphones with CT, but I now starting to get cold feet based on what some current TomTom Spark users have said thus far about their experience and wonder if I should just give in and order to Garmin Forerunner 235 instead?

    Also, do you have any “inside info” on when TomTom will start shipping the TomTom Spark wireless earphone bundle? I already have a PowerBeats wireless which I know is compatible, but my experience with it to date has been less than consistent, so I believed it was probably worth investing the extra $50 for the TomTom wireless headphones.

    Many thanks!

  169. Hey All-

    I’ve just published the TomTom Spark In-Depth Review. You can find it here:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Sorry for the delays. Things kinda got a bit unweildy and it ended up bigger than I expected. I think you’ll enjoy though.

    Sometime later tonight I’ll close this preview post to new comments (as usual), and direct folks to the review. Just helps to keep things a bit cleaner.

    Cheers,
    Ray

  170. Angel

    Is it possible to use GPS and music but not HRM? I will be doing a marathon next summer and would hate to get in that 4+ hour time and have it die right before the finish. Will it eventually have the capability for continuous HRM? Thanks for the great review.

  171. Diogo

    Anyone tried this device in water – in swimming activity – does it work on that?

  172. Mendel Tomas

    Hi Ray. Thanks for the review. I’m looking for a replacement for my “obsolete” Motoactv and the TomTom Spark with HRM seems to fit the bit. A question for you: Does the TomTom Spark work with the Nike + shoe sensor for improved tracking when GPS is not available? Please let us know. Thanks! Regards, Mendel.

  173. Mike

    Can this watch (or any other) be tracked via computer? I want to get my wife one, she’s always going on big runs and then gets really lost. But when she does get lost I can’t track her through her Garmin forerunner, leading to her wandering the streets at night until she manages to find her way home!

  174. sofie

    Is everyones step tracker way inaccurate… are the planning to fix this? Also when running if you speed up for slow down it takes awhile to figure that out..

  175. Tom

    I’d love to know how it performs in the swimming pool. I look for device to run with, cycle with (on my hand) and swim with (I hate counting laps!!!!)

  176. Aric Ament

    I have the tomtom spark and have set the wheel diameter size to work with a speed and cadence sensor.

    My question is… for every bike the magnet will be placed differently, giving a different circumference vs what was entered for the wheel diameter. How does setting the wheel MM size & a speed sensor calculate the speed accurately?

  177. Ruan Dayananda

    I bought a Tom Tom Spark in Feb, 16 and it already started having software issues by April, 16 and even though I emailed Tom Tom Customer Service twice I only got one vague reply which did not address my question and by May, 16 it had crashed completely….so disappointed and very very upset given i spent nearly 300USD on it ……sucks big time …

    • AC

      I got my Spark in March and sometime in May, it started crashing and activities weren’t syncing. It took me a month to get TomTom support to agree to get the device replaced. TomTom support has THE most condescending attitude I have ever encountered, they were very unhelpful and they didn’t appear to read the content of the messages I wrote them. Plus, they don’t even know how their products work. For example, they wrote me that the Spark doesn’t track steps in gym mode – yes, it does! I sent in the broken device a week ago and today I got an email from them, stating that if they decide the fault isn’t covered by warranty, they will send me the bill for the repair. Not only did I already lose 250 euros on a watch I can’t use, TomTom can potentially ask me to pay for the repair, based on their own assessment. Nice.

      The best part – I asked them if they’re planning to make this experience better for me in any way. Their answer was that I can return the Spark (I can’t, the retailer won’t allow that where I live) so I can get the device that I really want to use. I actually wanted to use this one, that’s why I bought it in the first place (duh!), except I can’t. I will never buy a TomTom device again.

  178. Naren

    Hi

    I’m confused between buying the basic Runner and Spark.My purpose is mostly running – Splits/ laps etc ..as customised for running as possible.

    Like in the spark Im not keen on an activity tracker as such though there is the lure of multisport tracking.

    Does the running menu options/ tracking of the Spark match the Runnner. (Mind you solely for running)

    Ive seen the detailed reviews here but im unable to capture this to decide on my buy.

    • partisano

      It would be nice reading the review before asking… “It should be noted that in order to slightly increase confusion, the Spark will also be sold under a slightly different product name (Runner 2) at some specialty stores. It’s the exact same watch, just a different black strap and a different box/packaging focusing on the black strap (because it has a different name, Runner 2).”

    • Naren

      @ partisano : I did – The Spark is runner 2 – I understand this and it is clear.

      What i ask is between runner “1” ( Yes out dated ) and the Spark.

  179. Simon

    Oh boy. Just went for my first run with the Tomtom Spark Music….the music was really smooth and clear that one time I scratched my shoulder. Running normally I couldn’t go more th..an..five….sec..ond..s……wit…hout…stutt…tt..t….tering. Music was unlistenable.
    Really pissed me off because it’s just marketing hype bullshit. This isn’t a music player unless you are 4′ tall and enjoy running with your watch on your shoulder. I am returning this and will go back to my TRUSTY 10 year old ipod shuffle. And when their advice is “try putting your watch on your other wrist so it’s closer to the reciever” – a) don’t tell me how to wear my watch, and b) if your product specifications are so tight that 20cm difference is all it takes to ruin the bluetooth connectivity, maybe this product isn’t ready for market.
    So what do people like in the Garmin range?

    • Which headphones? The ones that came with it – or 3rd party?

      As for being on the same wrist – that’s actually the reality for many BT headphones and music watches. TomTom isn’t alone here.

    • Simon

      The headphones that came with it. If the Bluetooth signal is so weak that the wrist you wear it on makes a difference then the product isn’t good enough for the market IMO

  180. Steve

    Couldn’t agree more. I could wear MotoActv and use Bluetooth just fine, four years ago. Garmin 230 has been great and use my trusty iPod Shuffle.

  181. Bocha JM

    I make the final solution for broken straps……better strap
    I show my new strap
    video: link to youtube.com
    Regards