TomTom's first running watch was a great first step two years ago. Last year it got even better, with an integrated heart rate monitor. For this year's watches, TomTom is adding full activity tracker capabilities and the ability to stream music to Bluetooth headphones, all for a pretty reasonable price.
There are three versions of the TomTom Spark. The Spark GPS Fitness Watch, The Spark Music GPS Fitness Watch (which adds 3GB of storage for your audio), and the flagship Spark Cardio + Music GPS Fitness Watch, which is almost definitely the one you want because it adds the integrated heart rate monitor. That last one will run you $US250, which is pretty solid considering all that it can do. It tracks running (outdoor and treadmill), lap swimming, cycling, and "other" workouts via its heart rate monitor. It also tracks your steps and logs your sleep. It can be used for interval training and it can export your workouts to apps like Runkeeper. It will have persistent heart rate monitoring (like our favourite fitness trackers) and smartphone notifications added with an update later this year.
TomTom is definitely emphasising the musical element here, and yeah, I guess it's nice to have an all-in-one kind of system, but personally, the music element doesn't excite me much. Why? Because I always have my phone with me when I run or ride. Not only do I stream most of my music these days, but I think it's good to have a phone with you anyway, in case of an emergency. I think the addition of the activity tracking features is a bigger deal. Regardless, I can't think of another watch in this price-range that has so many solid features. The Spark Cardio + Music GPS Fitness Watch will be available for pre-order on October 1 for $US250. The other watches will be available on October 15. I'm planning on getting some wrist-time with it soon, and I'll report back when I do. [TomTom]