Hands on: TomTom Spark Cardio + Music

Leave your phone at home: TomTom's Spark Cardio + Music has GPS and onboard music storage

Serious fitness fanatics will love TomTom’s Spark Cardio + Music, with its onboard music storage and GPS tracking.

The fitness watch market is seriously competitive, but TomTom believes it has an edge with the new, top of the line Spark Cardio + Music. This sporty wearable combines accurate activity and sleep tracking with the ability to listen to music on the go without a smartphone in your pocket.

Musical motivation

The Spark Cardio + Music attempts to soothe the pain points that fitness fanatics and sporty types tend to feel when it comes to fitness watches. The main addition here is the music function. Everyone loves a backing track for workouts, and music has actually been shown to enhance performance in some circumstances.

There’s 3GB of onboard storage here, which is enough for up to 500 songs, and you can plug into your computer or laptop via the USB cable to just drag and drop your music files. Through a partnership with Ministry of Sound, there’s actually a half hour mix of classic dance tunes to get your motor running.

You’ll need to pair the watch with a set of Bluetooth headphones to enjoy your tunes, though. You get a basic set of earbud headphones with the TomTom, which sport volume up and down controls that double as track skipping when held down, and function as a play/pause button. Of course, you can pair the Spark with any set of Bluetooth headphones, but it’s nice that TomTom included them in the package.

Bluetooth headphones and onboard music storage is a smart idea, because, as any runner will tell you, it’s no fun jogging with a smartphone bouncing around in your pocket. The pairing is easy, you just press up on the four way controls, and it links up any Bluetooth device in the area. However, you can’t be hooked up to your smartphone and headphones at the same time.

Seriously sporty

Moving beyond the music feature, the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music is a solid fitness watch. It has GPS capability for plotting your runs or cycles on a map, and it accurately tracks your distance covered, steps taken, calories burned, minutes of activity, and sleep. The watch picks up the intensity of your sessions, too, thanks to the built-in heart rate sensor.

This is a serious device, not a casual fitness tracker.

TomTom has gone with an unapologetically sporty look here. The watch is chunky with a monochrome display, and there’s a fairly large square on the strap under the screen, which houses the GPS unit. It was deliberately placed there, as you tend to have that part of your wrist pointed skyward.

Around that square are the four way controls, which make for a pretty easy and quick navigation system, even with sweaty fingers. Scroll right to set your activity for a session, scroll left to see your daily progress, and left again to see the weekly readout. You get the numbers for steps, calories, and so on, with a circle around the outside that fills in as you meet your preset targets.

Simon Hill/Digital Trends
Simon Hill/Digital Trends

The main unit pops out of the strap, and you’ve got a double width manly option or a thinner strap that might suit women or the slender-wristed. The watch itself is going to be chunky regardless of the strap. It’s not an unobtrusive wearable, so it’s hard to imagine anyone other than sporty types or fitness fanatics wanting to wear it all the time. However, this is a serious device, not a casual fitness tracker.

You can use the TomTom MySports app on iOS or Android to sync your progress, and see it laid bare in a series of attractive maps, graphs, and pie charts. There’s support for other popular apps, such as Runkeeper, too. The syncing process is quick and easy, and the app appears to work pretty well. One obvious missing feature is smartphone notifications, but TomTom told me support for incoming calls and messages is in the works.

The TomTom Spark Cardio + Music was announced at IFA as the top of the range option. It comes in plain black, or you can get a bunch of two-tone strap variants. It is set for release in the UK and Europe this October at 190, and you’ll be able to pre-order it Stateside, also in October, for $250. It goes on sale via the TomTom website and other outlets on October 15. That’s an impressive price point for a fitness watch this feature-packed, and it really doesn’t have many competitors with this specific blend of features.


  • High-end fitness tracking features
  • Onboard music storage
  • Bluetooth headphones included
  • GPS tracking


  • Bulky design isn’t for everyone
  • No notification support — yet
Product Review

Garmin’s 4G LTE VivoActive 3 keeps you safe when you’re out on the trails

Garmin takes its already great VivoActive 3 Music fitness smartwatch and adds a 4G LTE connection, courtesy of Verizon. The watch now has streaming music, independent GPS, and best of all, SMS support and various safety features. We’ve…

REI slashes prices on Suunto, Garmin, and Fitbit Versa smartwatches

Though fitness trackers and smartwatches can get pretty pricey, REI is offering some sweet discounts on top brands. Right now, you can get a new smartwatch from Fitbit, Suunto, and Garmin for up to 35 percent off its normal price.

Omron HeartGuide brings blood pressure monitoring to your wrist

High blood pressure leads to heart attacks, strokes, and many other health problems, so it's important to keep an eye on. Omron's HeartGuide is a fitness tracking watch that can also monitor your blood pressure from your wrist.

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.

Start your fitness journey with the best Fitbit deals available now

If you're ready to kick-start your fitness regimen (or just take your current one to the next level), we've created a quick rundown of the best, most current Fitbit deals to help you decide which one is best for you.

Before buying a Fitbit or Apple Watch, check out these fitness trackers under $50

Fitbit and Apple Watch are top of the line when it comes to fitness trackers but if you want to save, we have alternatives. If 2019 is the year you keep track of your health and budget your expenses, then take a look at these fitness…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for January 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Product Review

Apple brought ECG tracking to consumers. Withings is making it affordable

The Apple Watch Series 4 starts at $400, and the highlight function is the electrocardiogram, which has the potential to save lives. Withings’ new Move ECG has the same capability but at a fraction of the cost.

Walmart slashes prices on the Fitbit Versa smartwatch and Charge 3

We are officially halfway through January, and for a lot of us, that means the struggle to stick to our New Year's resolutions is in full force. Walmart is offering some great discounts on Fitbits to help you stay on track.

How to switch TicHealth to Google Fit on the Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro

The Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro are both much-loved and feature-packed watches, and they offer excellent fitness tracking. Recently, Mobvoi has switched out Google Fit for TicHealth, but you can switch them back. Here's how.

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…

Check out the four cool Swatch watches you can use for mobile payments

Swatch has announced its Swatchpay technology is now available in Switzerland, enabling mobile payments from your Swatch watch. It works in a similar way to Apple Pay and Google Pay. Here's everything about it.