Tuesday, December 13, 2016

My Favorite Running Watch Ever - TomTom Spark 3

When I started my very average running career seven years ago I didn't even own a watch. I did my first marathon completely naked of a timing mechanism (I did wear pants). I was free and very zen-like.

But, then running got the best of me and I quickly jumped on the GPS bandwagon with this guy (Garmin Forerunner 205):

Image result for garmin forerunner 205

This was actually a decent and dependable watch, but the problem was it weighed 95 pounds and covered most of left arm.

Eventually, I graduated to this (Garmin 210):

Image result for garmin 210
Another great watch, but still kind of large and masculine (kind of like me before the sex change operation). The one thing missing from this watch was the ability to track elevation gain and loss. I really wanted this when I started doing a lot of trail running and races.

So...enter this watch, which was sent to me by Epson (yes, the guys who make printers). The SF-810.
Image result for epson gps
This watch and I developed a very close relationship this summer as I ran myself ragged over the Colorado mountains. I loved the fact it kept track of my elevation and it has a really nice display. I could also print documents directly from the watch (jk). However, eventually I realized that the tracking was not always so precise. And, again, it is a bigger and bulkier watch.

It was in September when TomTom sent me a GPS watch to review. I was still pretty happy with my Epson, but thought I'd try it out.

And...wow. I have no vested interest in going on and on about how much I love this watch. I'm going to gush about it simply because I love this watch THAT MUCH. Let me tell you why.

But, first - here he is. His real name might be TomTom, but I call him Tom for short because it is very clever.

I present to you the TomTom Spark 3 (cardio + music):

Related image

First, let's talk about the look/design/size. This watch is sleek and reasonably sized. Not bulky at all. In fact, I wear it now as my everyday watch as well as my running watch. It can hold a charge for up to 11 days depending on how much you use the GPS features, so no need to charge it much.

How it looks on my almost-50-year-old arm:

Next - this is going to blow your mind. This watch comes with Bluetooth headphones. You can load up to 500 songs directly onto the watch. You then sync the watch with the headphones and GO. No wires, no fussing, no need to carry your phone. It's genius. And, it's super easy to load your playlists onto the watch from iTunes, etc.

The watch has all the traditional and expected measurements - anything you could want. Pace, duration, distance, time, elevation loss/gain, cadence. There is a built in heart rate monitor that measures heart rate on your wrist, so no chest straps and other annoying crap.

Another cool thing? The watch can be in any mode you want - running, swimming, biking, even treadmill! And, for you triathlon folks, it is fully waterproof.

What else? Well if you are into the whole tracking thing, the watch doubles as kind of a fitness tracker in the sense that even when it's not in GPS mode, it is tracking your steps, calories, etc throughout the day. I am not big on counting my steps but it has been fun to see how far you actually walk in a day (especially in airports! And Vegas! Who knew?).

Lastly, after runs, I sync up the watch with the TomTom app on my phone to get all the fun details. the app is extremely user friendly:

So, basically this is the rock star running watch of the century. IMHO. I've worn and run with it non stop now for two months. Once you go Tom you realize it's the bomb. Or, something like that.

If you are looking for a last minute holiday gift for your running friend/partner - this is it. Trust me on this one. There are a few different models, but if you want the one with the headphones and all the bells and whistles, go for the TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music. There are two sizes available for the watch band - small and large. The small works well for me (I have about a 6" wrist).

If you want a more professional and detailed review go HERE to DC Rainmaker's site. I don't do that here.

What kind of running watch do you use? Would you recommend it?


This watch was sent to me by TomTom. All opinions are my own.


  1. I have a Garmin 235 with HR. No swimming component but a great watch for me.
    Hubby has the Felix 3 with HR and that is Mack daddy. He ran a 12 hour Ultra and the battery still has over half a charge left. It does have swim capabilities.

  2. I have a Garmin 305 which I love. This is my second one. But, yes, it is big and bulky.

  3. Can you look at your history on this version of the watch, or so you still have to connect to a computer to see splits? I have an older version of the Tomtom and I love everything about it except that I can't go back and look at my splits on the watch! Call me lazy, but I never take the time to connect to a computer.

    1. From what I can tell, you can look at history on the watch but it only shows time, pace, distance, calories and heart rate. You can't see mile splits.

  4. Ông chạy một giờ 12 Ultra và pin vẫn có hơn một nửa phí còn lại. Nó có khả năng bơi lội.Đây là một trong những thứ hai của tôi.

  5. You had me at "user friendly". Because, Garmin? Notsomuch. I'll definitely add this to my list when it's time for a new one. Not yet, but soon. Very soon.

  6. I use a very basic watch--I think it's the Garmin 110. It's perfect because I only go three miles and therefore I'm not concerned with anything other than distance and time. But this morning I found out I got in the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile by lottery, so maybe I should buy this watch as a bribe. As in--I spent $200 on top of the race fee, so I better get my damn ass out there and train for this.

  7. I have a Garmin Forerunner 220, given to me as a gift when I first started running in 2013. I like it, but it is much too bulky for me. My son has the same one, and it fits him perfectly. Thanks for the post...I think I might check Tom out!

  8. I have the Garmin 225 and love it. It's my 3rd Garmin. I kind of like seeing how my heart is handling all my running. I hear Santa might bring me an Apple watch this year. Could be learning a whole new way watch this winter. :)

  9. My Garmin 235 with HR is my current watch, and I love it--wear it all the time as my everyday watch. A little bigger than I'd normally wear, but I love having the fitness tracker built in and being able to customize the display a bunch of different ways. It also gives me some insight into my sleep patterns as well.


  10. افضل شركة نقل اثاث بالمدينة المنورة تساعدك على نقل اثاثك بامان فلا داعى للقلق مع افضل شركة نقل اثاث بجدة

    عزيزى العميل انت من محبى التنقل باستمرار بالتالى انت بحاجة ماسة وضروية الى الاستعانة بالمختصين في نقل العفش خاصة ارخص شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض لان الاستعانة باى من عمالة الشوارع الغير مدربة والتي لا تمتلك خبرة كافية في نقل العفش او الحفاظ علية وليس هذا فقط فقد يؤدى الاستعانة بعمالة الشوارع الى حدوث حالة فقدان وتكسير للاثاث بالتالى التاثير الضار عليك عزيزى العميل

    لا تقلق مطلقاً الان بشأن نقل اي منقولات خاصة بك طالما استعنت بشركة الاول لـ نقل الأثاث في الرياض وخارج الرياض فنحن ليس الوحيدون ولكننا متميزون عن اى مؤسسة أخرى داخل وخارج الدمام وشهرتنا كافضل شركة نقل عفش بينبع
    نقل اثاث بجدة

  11. I'm married to a tech/data geek so I've had my fair share of running watches! I currently use the Suunto Ambit2 and love it. I've had it for 3+ years and the battery life is still strong, the GPS tracks really well, and it now syncs to my Stryd power meter. The desktop application makes setting up the watch for different workouts really easy, too.

  12. I think I need to consider this watch a little more since Timex is discontinuing AT&T data on my GPS ONE+ at the end of the year. A gps watch that cost over $300 & I can't use half the functions now.

  13. Just got myself a Garmin Fenix 3 last month after my Tactix (yes, I'm a Garmin gal) died-ed on me!

  14. I have the Garmin 225 and love it. It's my 3rd Garmin. I kind of like seeing how my heart is handling all my running. I hear Santa might bring me an Apple watch this year. Could be learning a whole new way watch this winter. :)

  15. I have a Garmin 305 which I love. This is my second one. But, yes, it is big and bulky.

  16. I got a chuckle out of how big the time display is, from one almost 50 yo to another almost 50 yo. I have used a Garmin 310 for years and like it but good to hear about other options.

  17. Just curious what you eat before you do an early run, especially such a long one? I like running first thing but usually not long runs as I don't like to eat first.custom t shirts vancouver

    1. It depends. I usually eat something very light like a piece of toast or a banana, then bring fuel if it's a run longer than 6 miles. Typically I'll have some sort of chews or a gel with me.

  18. Any thoughts on it versus some of the newer Garmin run watches. I see Garmin is running some pretty aggressive deals for the holiday season like the Garmin Forerunner 230 for $180

    1. Yes, that's a good deal. I can't speak to the newer Garmins as I've only had older models. I think the unique thing about the Tom Tom is size, bluetooth headphones (if you care about music when you run) and the heart rate monitor on the wrist.

    2. I got the Garmin 230 and the Scosche Rhythm heart rate monitor band. The Garmin is awesome. The Scosche band goes around your upper arm or forearm and transmits heart rate to the Garmin!!! Brilliant!! No chaffing from the chest strap!!

  19. I am pretty partial to the Garmin Vivo Active. I have the first version from last year, and I just got the new version with the heart rate monitor because it was a good deal on Black Friday! The old one is very flat on my wrist, so it is my work watch. Turns out, you can get in a fight wearing it and not break it! Just your average, normal running watch review!!!

    1. I need to know more about this fight.

    2. Once we had to fight a guy who was trying to pull a sprinkler head from the ceiling and hit my Garmin. Recently we had to break up a good fight and banged it again! I also fell so hard on a trail last month, but the watch still held up!

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  21. Hi Beth! I'm seriously considering buying this watch for myself after reading your review a few weeks ago. Quick question for you - can you program custom intervals for run workouts? This is a biggie for me. Thank you so much for this review. I was looking at a Fenix 3 but it's super bulky and does way too much for me to ever figure out. And it's way more expensive than the TomTom. Thanks for your feedback and Happy New Year to you and your family!

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  25. Hi there, I am wondering if you are still that excited about Tom. My old Forerunner 305 is having more and more issues. So I am looking for a new one now. What you have mentioned above looks good to me. But we can say that from a lot of new stuf. Therefore my question: how do you feel right now about your Tom?
    Is the battery still functioning well?

    One serious question: do you need to switch on the gps function when you go for a run, and is it off during the day?


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