Monday, August 15, 2016

Gear Review: TomTom Spark Cardio + Music

Momma got herself a new watch! I scored with an Amazon Warehouse Deal, picked this baby up for less than half off the price from TomTom directly. My fitbit died recently, literally the button you push to see your stats ceased to exist and with it, the entire back of the watch was no longer held in place. Bye Bye Fitbit. Turns out, I'm hard on my stuff. Like really hard. Like I really should have spent the $130 on some new Brooks Adrenalines, but alas, they will have to wait until the trails are really happening... right now they're just happening in my mind while I slog away on the dreadmill.... ah, summer in the desert. But I digress. I'm hard on stuff. Things don't last. Let's just leave it at that.

So, welcome TomTom. I don't know how I'll use you or when, but I'm hoping you'll fill the vacancy on my left wrist for a while. Long enough so I can use you inside the gym, and on the trail, time to organize my playlists, watch my heart rates and track my calorie burn. Long enough to motivate me into the true running season here in Arizona, enough for me to keep on keepin on.... run without my mongo huge phone strapped on some random part of my body? Yes please. And yes, I run with music. You're not going to change my mind on that front. End of discussion.

What this watch does:
- Tracks heart rate, calorie burn, sleep, activity, by day and week.
- Tracks activities:
    - Outdoor runs, outdoor cycling, and swimming.
    - Indoor treadmills, indoor cycling, gym workouts, and "freestyle"
    - There is a stopwatch function and the ability to set up interval training.
- Plays Music. This watch holds music - up to 500 songs. The songs have to be in a playlist form. So, plan your playlists ahead.

I'm now a week into wearing the TomTom. I've tried her out in the gym on the treadmill setting and the gym setting. I've loaded my old Apple playlists (wow, I need some new music!), and synced a pair of bluetooth headphones. Hello wire-free world! I think I'm gonna like you. A couple of thoughts thus far... I can't chalk these up to actual faults with the watch yet because there are probably answers to my issues, I just haven't found them yet:

1. On first charge, it took this blonde a while to figure out how to actual plug the phone into the charging cord. I had to pop the watch face out, then clip the body of the watch into the little handle of the USB cord. Ok, no biggie. But then, how the heck do you disconnect this thing? I actually had to google it - give it a hard downward pull- voila. Watch separated from cord. These seems a bit un-user-friendly but I can deal.
2. Prepare to scroll. This isn't a touch screen watch, so your big main button will be your friend.  The button seems to need a good push too. None of this whimpy pushing like on an iphone... nope, you gotta punch this thing. I'm still figuring it all out but thus far....
3. I miss my running heart rate information ala Fitbit. The only time the heart rate is front and center is when you are engaged in an "activity". Ie. you're working out. I was endless entertained by my HR on my Fitbit and so far, I miss it,
4. TomTom's My Sports web application is pretty terrible. Despite bluetooth connectivity, it doesn't seem like my activities sync to the phone app and the web app is clunky and boring. Maybe I'll like it better when I've got more info or some GPS runs logged but so far, this is no GarminConnect or Fitbit.
5. And one last little annoyance... every time I charge the thing, the settings revert to military time. Not hard to change, but WHY?

My overall impression is that this watch - for the price - gives me an amazing range of functions and for runs where my clunky Android can stay home and I can still rock the tunes... I'm in. The TomTom Cardio Spark + Music is worth a try if you are looking to go wirefree!

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