- Review Price: £220.00
- GPS tracking
- Activity tracking
- Multisport mode
- Route exploration
- Three-week activity tracking
- 11-hour GPS tracking
- Water resistant to 40m
Hands on: TomTom has updated both its Runner and Spark running watches with a ‘Route Exploration’ mode to help you stop getting lost
Considering TomTom’s heritage in satellite navigation, it’s perhaps a little unsurprising that its new TomTom Runner 3 and Spark 3 running watches now have a rudimentary navigation system built in. Called ‘Route Exploration’ this can be used to either preload .gpx running maps or, if you’re wanting to just go out and start running, drop what I like to call digital breadcrumbs so you can find your way back.
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I wish I had such a function when I went for my morning run on Berlin’s unfamiliar roads this morning. It would probably have saved me 10 minutes of trying to work out where I was (although my cardiovascular health probably benefited from the extra distance). There’s both GPS and a compass inside, meaning finding your way back to the start is less of a headache. Frequent travellers rejoice.
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As before, rather confusingly there are actually two variants of TomTom’s new running watch. There’s the TomTom Runner 3 and the TomTom Spark 3 and they’re essentially the same save for differences with the strap. The Runner 3 has far more vibrant colours whereas the Spark 3 has more subdued shades tying into its positioning as more of an everyday tracker.
Both the Spark 3 and Runner 3 have all day tracking in any case; so will also keep count of your steps throughout the day and sleep tracking, too. There are dedicated sports modes, too, for swimming, cycling, gym sessions and, of course, going running.
The watches don’t look drastically different to the previous models. The face is fractionally thinner, making them a little sleeker. Otherwise the actual tracker still pops out of the strap for charging and if you want to change design down the line.
The watch feels comfortable on your wrist as it wraps around nicely and the strap is made from a soft rubberised material.
Navigation is the same as before, with a four-way control below the display that lets you navigate menus and make selections easily. It’s intuitive enough to set off on a run without much faff and to be able to cycle between data screens during a run without falling into a ditch because you’re distracted.
Battery life seems very reasonable on paper. TomTom rate it as 11 hours of GPS tracking or three full weeks of simple activity tracking. As before you connect the watch to its proprietary dock to charge over USB.
As with the Runner 2 and Spark 2, there are different models available. Top of the range Cardio + Music options have an optical heart rate monitor and built-in storage for music streaming. You can connect a pair of Bluetooth headphones so you can leave your smartphone behind. This will set you back £220. Then there’s simply the Cardio model that has the HRM for £170; Music + Headphones that has built-in storage but no HRM for £150, and the standard model that has none of the extras for £120.
The previous TomTom Spark 2 Music + Cardio was a decent running watch that, at launch, was hampered by poor software and app. The accompanying TomTom MySports app eventually improved over time but I’ve yet to see if it performs any differently with the Runner 3 and Spark 3. The apps are just as important as the devices when it comes to making all of the metrics and data useful so I’ll have to reserve judgement until I see how it all comes together.
As for the watch itself, comfort has never been an issue with TomTom’s watches and this continues here. I don’t foresee having any problems going on long runs and the multisport tracking is a bonus. The new route exploration function will be handy for frequent travellers who find themselves put off by the thought of running in an unfamiliar location, but I’ll have to go out on a few wayward runs to really give it a thorough test. Everything sounds very promising. Be sure to check back for a full review as we’re expecting a review sample very soon.
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