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packs in the most features for the price, coming in at around $200. 

While Garmin and Polar are usually top contenders when it comes to GPS watches, TomTom proved that it shouldn’t be overlooked with the Spark 3 Cardio + Music. It packs in a lot of features, bridging the gap between the high-end GPS watch and the everyday fitness tracker.

 I was recently able to test out my top pick to try out a few new features. After putting the Spark 3 through the paces, I can confidently say that it still lives up to the title of “Best GPS running watch overall.” The number of features it offers is impressive — even more so now with the new updates.

It doesn’t have the sleekest design when it comes to aesthetics and was a bit bulky on a smaller wrist like mine, so I personally wouldn’t use this as my daily fitness tracker. However, if you have a larger wrist or don’t mind the sportier look, the Spark 3 is fully capable of being used as a fitness tracker as well as a GPS running watch. It should be noted that if you swim, cycle, or cross train at the gym it can be used for these activities as well.

While I wouldn’t use this as my daily fitness tracker, as a running watch, I found the fit to be extremely comfortable. The same goes for the wireless headphones that come with the watch if you choose to get the fitness bundle. While I could hear some ambient noise, which I prefer so I can stay aware of my surroundings, the sound was crisp and clear with no skipping. I downloaded music right to the watch so I didn’t need my phone while out running, which felt freeing. I find the less gear I have to worry about, the more peaceful the run.

If you do like running with your phone, one thing you won’t find with this watch are smartphone notifications. It’s fully dedicated to tracking almost every aspect of your fitness, but text messages, app notifications, and calls won’t be showing up on this watch — yet, anyway.

Another downside: You’ll need to create a playlist either in iTunes or in Windows Media Player to download music to your watch. You won’t be able to download any music directly from your phone. This is a little annoying, but it’s worth the extra hoop to jump through to have your running playlist right on your wrist.

Now to the actual software update. Both the fitness age feature and the personalized workouts serve as great motivators. To determine your fitness age, the Spark 3 measures your VO2 max (the measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen that you can utilize during intense exercise). It then compares this to a global average of others in your actual age group.

While it’s disputed how accurate a VO2 measurement can be from a GPS watch, I found this feature to be a great motivator to keep running so I could keep improving — or at least maintain — my fitness age. After a few runs, I received a fitness age of 20. 

After I received my fitness age I tried out a few of the workouts that come with the new update. The workouts are personalized to help individuals reach their fitness goals, and are categorized according to these goals, whether that be fat burning, improving endurance, overall fitness and more.

I tried the first one out directly from the watch on my first go and found myself very confused. After a slightly frustrating run, I signed into the TomTom site with my account and went over the workouts online so I could understand each one better, and what the goal of each one was. After that, the prompts I received on my watch during the workouts made far more sense, and I liked having goals to work towards. Since I typically run on my own, it was nice to be able to change up my workouts and receive the extra coaching on days where I needed some extra motivation.

For those looking to meet specific fitness goals, or just looking for another way to stay motivated, these updates won’t disappoint. They make an already impressive GPS fitness watch an even more valuable tool — one that will not only please runners but all fitness enthusiasts.

Pros: Long-lasting battery, easy menu navigation, phone-free music, built-in heart rate monitor, route mapping

Cons: Bulky design, music support needs improvement (using third-party wireless headphones can be challenging), and limited app capabilities (using a third-party app with this is more favorable)

Buy the small TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music on Amazon for $200 (originally $249.99)

Buy the large TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music on Amazon for $215.00 (originally $249.99)

 

 


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Source : http://www.businessinsider.com/best-gps-watch-running

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