small size measuring 5.5 – 7.1 inches (140 mm – 18 mm) in circumference
large size measuring between 7.1 – 8.7 inches in circumference
the charging cradle
instruction manuals and other documentation
Fitbit Versa 2 Design
Continuing with the familiar and simple design that makes it look like an Apple watch the Versa 2 has some subtle and incremental design differences when compared to its predecessor.
Whilst, it won’t win any awards for innovation the design is practical, fits comfortably on your wrist and gets the job done.
The main watch unit is square in shape with curves in each of the 4 corners with the display centred within.
On the left hand side one single physical button can be assigned to a short cut with the majority of functionality accessed via the device’s touch screen.
The straps are made from the typical silicone material. They look like they would suit both large and small wrists. Indeed, the large band has 11 holes and the small one 12 holes which should give most people options. If you don’t like the ones that come out of the box there are lots of alternative designs available on Amazon.
As well as the standard black the Versa 2 also comes in a number of other color schemes included Copper Rose, Mist Grey and colors that are exclusively available via Fitbit.com.
Versa 2 has the capability to set up to 8 silent vibrating alarms directly within the tracker. You can customize both the level of vibration between normal or strong and the alarms themselves which can either be every day or for specifically selected days.
I’ve found that the normal settings wake me up easily and I usually set alarms at different times for the working week and non working days.
A notable new feature is also Smart Wake. The purpose of Smart Wake is to wake you up at the best point in your sleep cycle in the 30 minutes before your alarm is due to go off.
So for example, if you set your alarm for 6am and you enable the Smart Wake feature the vibrating alarm will start at any point between 530am and 6am.
To get the best out of this feature you need to ensure that your Fitbit has been regularly tracking your sleep. On a personal level, I tend to rise early naturally so when it start waking me another 30 minutes before I’ve found it strange. However, I think for other people it will be a really useful feature
Battery life & charging
The Versa 2 has a number of features that can significantly impact battery life such as always on display and music integration. If you don’t bother with these too much for typical usage the battery life is around 5 days,
Long battery life is definitely one of the Versa 2’s most appealing features.
Charging is simple too. Using the USB charger provided in the box simply pinch the sides of the cradle and line the pins on the back of the tracking device within the pins in the charger.
I’ve charged it from the mains, my computer and a portable battery pack and it typically takes around 2 hours to get to 100% charge.
Design wise the cable goes into the bottom of the charging cradle which means that counter intuitively you will need to rest the cradle on its side.
The display is a touch screen Color AMOLED which presents deeper colours to the eye.
If you don’t like the factory provided watch faces you can change to custom watch faces within the Fitbit app. So for example, if you are a healthcare professional you might want to download a face that displays a seconds hand.
With the latest update to Fitbit OS this functionality has been slightly enhanced. You can download 5 custom faces to the tracker which can then be switched using the Clocks app.
A quick settings page is accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen gives easy access to screen based configuration options
Always on Display (On or Off)
if On you will not need to press a button of flick your wrist to see the time. Does have an affect on the battery life
Brightness (Normal, Max, Dim)
Screen Wake (Auto(Motion), Manual(Button) –
in Auto mode the screen stays lit for around 10 seconds
If you want to track your run or bike ride you will need to take your phone along and use the connected GPS functionality.
Workout options like Bike and Run have a setting where you can turn On or Off Connected GPS. If it is on, the Versa 2 will try to connect to the GPS on your phone.
As soon as the connection is established the display will give you information such as pace and distance. After your run or ride is complete you can then view a map of your route by viewing that particular activity in the Fitbit app.
Heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking
Fitbit’s sleep tracking has a very good reputation, Whilst the majority of the insight is available within the app you are able to view the key indicators through the Today screen on the device itself.
As well as your previous night’s sleep, time in each stage and average sleep for the week you can view your Sleep Score. Fitbit say sleep score uses the data from your device and gives an indicator of your overall sleep quality.
Whilst we are on the subject of sleep the Fitbit Versa 2 now has a Sleep Mode. This can either be turned on manually or via a schedule which is configured on the watch
When it’s on the following will happen:-
notifications won’t cause watch to vibrate or screen to come on
screen’s brightness is set to dim
always on display clock face is turned off
turning your wrist won’t cause the watch to turn on
a sleep mode icon will appear at the top of the screen when viewing your stats
The Versa 2 has a 24/7 heart rate tracking functionality which samples at either 1 second or 5 second intervals dependent on what activity you’re doing.
Two interesting stats the Versa 2 offers from a heart rate perspective are:
During an activity where your heart rate is relative to hear rate zones recommended by the American Heart Association.
A cardio score that compares you to your peer group
The Fitbit Versa 2 like a lot of fitness trackers that play music has the ability to either store music on the device, stream it from a subscription service or control music apps playing on your mobile phone.
If you’re looking to go out for a run without your phone you will need to download the music to your Versa 2 using the Fitbit app on your computer and connect a set of bluetooth headphones so that you can hear your music. It’s a fiddly process but it does work.
Alternatively, you can pair your Versa via Bluetooth and control the playback by using the Music icon which appears if you swipe down from the top of the screen. You can play, pause, rewind and fast forward this way. So a great way to control apps like Google Music and Podcast Addict.
Finally, the Versa 2 comes with a Spotify app which allows you to remote control Spotify on your phone or computer.
Spotify app only works if you have a Spotify premium subscription
Smartphone notifications is a feature that allows your Fitbit Versa 2 to alert you on screen and by vibrating when there is any activity in the apps you have configured in the Fitbit App.
If you receive a call the number or name will display on the screen and you will be able to either accept or reject it. It is important to note that you won’t be able to take to call on the Versa 2 itself and you will still need to speak on the phone itself.
Within the Fitibt app, you can also choose which apps send you notifications and these will appear as snippets on the screen. So you might to receive e-mails, WhatsApp messages and notifications from your banking app
For Android phones it is also possible to reply to messages using the quick reply functionality. The type of quick reply can also be customised for each app from which you receive notifications.
Unfortunately, sometimes on my Android phone the connectivity can disappear which is one of the most frustrating aspects of the Versa 2
Alexa integration is a new feature offered by the Versa 2. To make it work you won’t need to have any existing Alexa devices or subscriptions but you will need to have an Amazon account and your phone nearby as it uses your phone to connect to the cloud.
Also, bear in mind that you will not have access to the same level of functionality as the Echo devices and the afore mentioned connectivity issues can cause problems.
As opposed to the Echo devices the Versa 2’s Alexa isn’t listening all the time. It needs to be activated by pressing the app in the watch or if you have set up the short by pressing left button on the device. The screen will then indicate that Alexa is ready for your query.
You can ask it questions like
whats the weather like in New York?
Set a reminder to go for a walk at 1145
Because the Versa 2 does not have a speaker the answers to your questions you will not hear a voice all responses are displayed on the screen
minimal set of smart watch features like smartphone notifications
You shouldn’t buy it if you are looking for more advanced features such as ECG, fall detection, the ability to make calls from your device. Those features belong to smartwatches like the Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy watch
The Willful SW352 fitness tracker is a good option for the price. With an IP68 waterproof rating, long battery life and smartphone notifications it competes functionality wise with more expensive trackers. Given its price point it would be ideal as a first fitness tracker or as a gift for children.
Design wise the Willful Fitness Tracker SW352 goes for a slimline, narrow rectangular look. This means that it wouldn’t look out of place on your wrist at work.
Available in 6 colors and there is a single button to control the functionality. that wouldn’t look out of a place on your wrist at work.
The straps are interchangeable and extend from 5.5 to 8.3 inches by 0.59 inches wide so should suit most shapes and sizes of wrist.
To get the most out of the Willful tracker you will need to downloafd the VeryFitPro app which is available within the respective app stores.
Because the device itself is relatively simple, the app is where you control settings, phone notiications, alarms, historic data and time settings.
Like a lot of fitness tracker apps you need to sync to it daily before midnight then you will be able to see your workouts especially as the device itself resets at midnight
You can set up to 10 alarms in the app which then cause vibrating alerts on the tracker itself.
Can you use it without a smartphone?
In theory, you can use the SW352 without a smartphone but you would be limiting yourself to the very basic functionality that is on the device such as counting steps.
You would also lose the ability to track trends in the app as the device resets at midnight every day.
When it works it measure steps taken and the program coverts it to miles. It does not ask you stride length so it is all approximate distance.
this watch counts steps are implemented through a 3D gravity sensor, it will record some steps when you move your hands, so it may have some tolerance errors when you are using, but you can walk 100 steps to test if it is accurate or no
The battery life weights in at around 4 to 7 days for normal usage.
The Willful SW352 makes use of a standard USB charger which is extremely convenient. No more hunting around for the charging unit that you can never find.
To charge the watch you will need to :
separate the main body by pulling on the strap to expose the metal pins that plug into your USB port
clean the pins to ensure good contact and plug into your USB port
give it 2 to 3 hours and your device should be fully charged
The display is a 0.96″ OLED Color Screen which generally gets the job done.
However, some users report a couple of issues they have with the screen:-
hard to see in bright sunlight
tapping the screen to display the time can be a bit hit and miss
screen only lights up for about 5-10 seconds which can be too quick to see
Heart rate monitoring & sleep tracking
The Willful SW352 has sleep tracking and built in heart rate monitoring. It is fair to say that the implementations are slightly more limited than those on more expensive trackers.
The heart rate sensor is not continuous and takes intermittent samples throughout the day. There is no onboard display of heart rate so any details require you to go into the VeryFitPro app which is where you can also set details like maximum heart rate.
As with most trackers the Willful measures your sleep by interpreting the lack of movement of your body or wrist. It is quite limited by the fact that it only records the data between 9pm and 8am and only for periods of 4 hours or more. Again, to get the most from it you have to connect to the VeryFitPro app and ensure that all your personal information is complete.
Although not really a fitness tracking must have one of the best features of the Willful SW352 is the ability to integrate with your phone for notifications and remotely controlling your phone’s camera.
The VeryFitPro app allows you to choose which apps send you notifications and sends it to your wrist. It’s a really useful feature and does have its uses. However, the size of the display does mean that the text can be quite small
The good news is that the SW355 is IP68 rated so you can take it with you into the pool or the shower.
The bad news is that there is no swimming specific functionality so you can only real track your heart rate and activity when doing your lenghts.
The other issue that is common with a lot of touch screen trackers is that sometimes the water from the shower can inadvertently kick off an activity. Not the end of the world but a little bugbear.
You’ve never owned a fitness tracker before and want to get insight into your daily activity and whether a fitness tracker is for you
Want a cheaper alternative to Fitbit if you’re kids are pestering you for a tracker this is a great inexpensive choice which offers a lot of similar functionality to a Fitbit at a fraction of the price
You’re fed up of trying to find your charging cable – the ability to plug this directly into the USB port is a great advantage
The Versa is one of Fitbit’s main competitors to the Apple Watch in the smart activity tracker market. If you only look at it quickly you would be forgiven for mistaking the Versa for an Apple Watch. The question is are the good looks also matched with the same levels of functionality. There’s only one way to find out as we do a review of the Fitbit Versa.
What’s in the box
As you would expect from a major brand trying to compete with Apple the packaging is well done. Your Fitbit Versa comes with
The tracker unit (dimension and weight here)
2 x bands (1 large and 1 small)
1 x USB charging cradle
Quick start guide
Setting it up
As ever with electronics as soon as I’d taken the Versa out of the box I wanted to put it on my wrist and get it up and running straight away. Not so fast! The model that came to me was equipped with the small band. Way to small for me, I needed to change it to the provided larger band.
Size of bands
The bands that are in the box are typical of many activity trackers in that they are made of a flexible elastomer material which should survive the stresses and rigours of your workouts. The 2 provided bands are:
Small will fit a wrist between 5.5 – 7.1 inches (140 – 180 mm) in circumference
Large will fit a wrist between 7.1 – 8.7 inches (180 – 220 mm) in circumference
Changing the band took was more difficult than I expected
If like in my case you need to change the strap it is in theory quite simple but not being the most dexterous person in the world I struggled.
At the top and bottom edge of the tracker there is a metal pin which secures the strap in place and also releases it. It took me a good few minutes of messing around to work out how to do what I wanted which was quite frustrating. On the positive side when I had swapped it and since the strap has felt very secure with no signs it will fall off
If you haven’t owned a Fitbit device before you will have to download the Fitbit app to your mobile or tablet. From there you begin the setup which in my view seemed to take a long time. The initial set-up will ask you to enter quite a bit of detail including age, sex, height and weight. This detail is important as it allows your app and tracker to be personalised to you. For example, by choosing Female you would open the Female Health tracking features. Entering the correct height and weight will allow the software in the app and device to calculate the correct stride length and calorie burn for someone of your stature. This in turn will help with the accuracy of your Versa.
At the end of all this set-up you will have a Fitbit account providing you access to their ecosystem where you can join challenges and share achievement and a Fitbit dashboard tied to your device. The dashboard is where you can view all your daily stats like resting heart rate, sleep, weight etc.
In my typical use the battery life is around 4 days. For the level of features it has the battery life is pretty good and definitely an area where it excels over the Apple Watch product line.
Having a long battery life makes it much more useful as a tracker. The Versa is also quite well versed in giving you details about how much battery life you have left. You will be notified of low battery life via notifications in the app, an e-mail and also a message on the device itself. And if that isn’t enough you can also check on the device itself by swiping up from the clock screen. This displays a small battery icon in the top left with an indication of how much juice is left. The display and the tracker make changes accordingly as battery life goes down:-
Red battery icon less than 24 hours battery remaining
Flashing red battery icon less than 4 hours remaining
Battery < 25% charge wifi is disabled
Charging itself is quite simple as you simply place the device into the provided USB cradle. Typically, you can go from low charge to a high percentage quite quickly so it is a pretty straightforward process. One of the main frustrations I have with the charging is that you have to use the proprietary cradle and there have been occasions when it wasn’t with me and wished I could have charged with a standard USB cable.
The main screen is an LCD touch screen which most commonly can display a clock face which can be changed from within the app. When it is not in use the touch screen turns off to preserve battery life and it requires a flick of the wrist to reactivate it. I’ve found that flick of the wrist doesn’t always work and requires some vigour to get it response. Your mileage may vary but I have ended up pressing the screen more often than not.
As with most touch screens you navigate around the options by pressing and swiping. From the clock face screen swiping to the left will show you which apps you have installed either default or ones that you have added and it is possible to reorder them. Swiping up from the bottom brings up your stats for the day after a little delay. These are the stats that are continuously being monitored such as calories burned, steps taken, distance covered and heart rate and your 3 most recently tracked exercises. Within each of the tiles that are displayed you can see some little dots which you can swipe through to see even more details about that particular stat. This works quite well considering the amount of options available to you, although it can be a challenge to remember what is where.
There are 2 button to the right of the tracker and 1 to the left for navigating through the various options. You can configure what these buttons do within the app so that for example pressing the right button will open the exercise app. Long pressing the left hand button will give you access to settings and music controls.
You have the ability to set up to 8 different silent alarms with the option to choose it to go off every day or on specific days. This can be quite useful if you get up earlier on a specific day which is how I use it when I go to the gym. Each one of the silent alarms vibrates gently at the time specified. I find it extremely useful and it helps me not wake up my partner but I am not convinced that the vibrations would wake up any deep sleepers. The other thing of note is that on my device the touch screen is slow to respond when the alarm is going off – maybe that is a deliberate choice. Of course you also have the option to snooze which you can do by pressing the zzz button or if you ignore the alarm for one minute. Either of those actions will put the alarm into snooze for 9 minutes.
Stopwatches and timers
The Versa is equipped with both a stopwatch and a timer accessed on the device and they can be used at the same time as each other
One of the main reasons to buy a fitness tracker it is to monitor how much activity you are doing. In this regard the Versa is well equipped and has numerous different functions which are going to delve into a bit more.
First things first, the tracker unit has the capability to store 7 days of tracking stats onboard the device between syncs, although Fitbit do recommend you sync at least once a day. These stats will include things such as steps, calories, distance, sleep stages and all the other exercise data that has been collected.
Out of the box your Versa is set-up to check when you are inactive and ask you to move every hour. If you haven’t do 250 steps in an hour it will remind you at ten to the hour to get a wiggle on. If you do meet the target you will get a celebratory message on the device. Personally, I’ve not found this functionality this useful, it’s not practical for my work and it has also continues to be displayed after I’d already done 25000 steps in day. That being said I can see how it would be useful but not for me. Thankfully, it can be turned off in the settings.
To get the most out of the heart rate monitoring be sure to wear the tracker in the place recommended by the manual. The Versa comes equipped with a continuous optical heart rate monitor and Fitbit’s PurePulse technology. This gives you the ability to view your heart rate on your watch in real time. However, if you so wish you can turn if off by going into the settings.
The heart rate metric is available in 2 places:-
In your today stats – swiping up from the clock screen will give your stats which include your current heart rate and also your resting heart rat
When working out – a heart symbol will be shown with different colours for different zones so you can easily view that you are working out at the correct intensity.
All of these metrics are available to view in the Fitbit dashboard where you can further analyze time spent in different zones for each of your days / exercises. By default it uses the American Heart Rate Association recommendations of 220 – current age to get a theoretical maximum heart rate (MHR). Percentages of MHR are then used to identify zones Out of Zone ( <50% of MHR), Fat Burn (>50 & <69% MHR), Cardio (>70 <84% MHR) and Peak (>84% MHR). To train for something specific you are also able to set custom zones in which case the heart icon will display as solid whilst you are in the zone and as an outline when you are not.
Cardio Fitness Score
Fitbit have taken the heart rate monitoring one step further with a metric known as Cardio Fitness Score which gives you the ability to track a metric known as VO2 and also compare your heart rate to your peer group.
Many fitness tracker can measure how you sleep and the Versa is no exception. In fact, I would say that overall I have been quite impressed by its sleep tracking capabilities. It is never going to reach the heights of a full on sleep study but I feel that it is broadly representative of how much sleep I feel I have had. My main frustration is that anything to do with sleep is not available on the tracker and you have to go into the app.
To use sleep tracking you have to wear your Versa in be whilst you sleep. If you do so, the Versa will track your time asleep and decipher how much time was spent in each stage of sleep. As the data accumulates you can go into the app and look in more detail as well as set things like reminders to go to bed at a certain time and send you sleep hints. By default the recommended sleep is 8 hours and you can check how well you are doing over periods of 1 month, 3 months and 1 year.
If during the course of your day you do any continuous movements of at least 15 minutes the SmartTrack feature will kick in and give you credit for exercise in the Fitbit app. Whilst this is useful, I have found it best to go into the exercise app on the device and start and stop what you are doing manually, The Exercise apps allows you to choose from the following:-
Run – for the best results you can use connected GPS from your phone as the Versa does not have an integrated GPS
The Versa gives you the option to receive notifications on your device when you receive a call, text, calendar event or what’s app message. The support varies between ios and android devices so you will need to check what is possible. When I have been using it on my Huawei phone I have found it to be a little inconsistent. When it works well, its great but when it doesn’t it can be frustrating.
In terms of music the Versa offers a few different options. You can:-
Download music / podcasts to the device itself using the Fitbit desktop app. Their is capacity for around 300 songs
Stream music from services like Deezer (you get 3 months free trial from Fitbit)
Remote control the music on your phone via bluetooth
Regardless of which method you choose you will also need a set of bluetooth headphones as you the device does not have a speaker or headphone jack.
Whilst not as fully featured as an Apple Watch the Versa uses Fitbit’s expertise to concentrate much more on fitness tracking aspects. It does have some smart watch functionalities such as onboard music and notifications but I don’t think these have quite reached maturity just yet. That being said I think some of these will be ironed out with firmware updates. Overall. if you are on the lookout for an affordable fitness tracker with smart watch capabilities and you can live with a few niggles the Versa is definitely worth serious consideration.
It’s that time of year when retailers entice us with lots of special deals. On this page we are going to keep an eye out for good value offerings on Amazon. Check them out soon because as you know these deals can go quick. We will also be looking to update the page with what we think are great offers as and when they become available
Fitbit’s aim to produce something like the Apple Watch. The Ionic looks less like a Fitbit tracker and more like a smart watch. It even comes with watch faces so you can use it like a conventional watch. The added bonus is that you still get all those Fitbit fitness tracking smarts, access to the app and coaching and relaxation settings. It is waterproof, so can be used for swimming and also has the ability to control your music. It is currently available with 30% off for Black Friday deals over at Amazon UK
Can control music from your watch if you have bluetooth headphones
Heart rate tracking
Straps seem to break easily
Battery loses charge quickly if GPS is on
App availability is poor so far buy likely to improve
Starting with a design and a dream, the Misfit Shine was the product of one of the more successful IndieGoGo campaigns, reaching its $100,000 goal in the first nine hours and closing its campaign with over eight times more than it had initially hoped to raise. At the time of its release, the Misfit Shine not only featured a pleasing minimalist design more akin to jewelry than that of a fitness tracker, but it also had something other models didn’t– Full waterproofing. However, as some of the big fitness tracker companies finally unlock the secret of true waterproofing while still having all their major features, how does the Misfit Shine stack up? Read our Misfit Shine Review to find out.
As Misfit Wearables, the company that produces the Misfit Shine, was co-founded by former Apple CEO John Sculley, it is understandable that you can see Apple’s influence in the design, particularly in the clean lines and relatively futuristic nature of it all. However, it is the design of the Misfit Shine that is one of the most striking things about the product overall.
Made from aerospace grade aluminum, it not only puts the “shine” in Misfit Shine but it makes the entire product incredibly light. The small aluminum disc attaches to a dongle, wristband, or necklace (that is sold separately) via a powerful magnet. On its own, it only weighs about 9g, rising up to 16g when the wrist strap is included.
The nicest feature of the design is that it can indeed be worn anywhere. If you have never particularly liked the look of fitness trackers or don’t want people to know you have joined the trend, the disc can just as easily be slipped in your pants pocket while you still reap the benefits. As the Misfit Shine is also fully waterproof, you don’t need to worry about accidentally running it through the wash either. Unfortunately, the fact that you can actually wear it anywhere does make it occasionally prone to inaccurate readings since you tend to move arms more than any other part of the body, making the readings higher when worn on the wrist, for example.
Of course, if you do decide to wear it, it doesn’t look like a fitness tracker either. It can easily be passed off as a piece of jewelry with no screen to give it away and only a ring of LED lights that come on when tapped to display your daily goal progress. It also uses the LED ring to display the time in a slightly more confusing way with the hour being a solid color and the minute flashing at the closest location on the LED ring. Unfortunately, that lack of display features, as well as a few other key features that people look for might be a con for some just as it is a pro for others.
The Misfit Shine was released at a time when there really was no good waterproof alternative, and with waterproofing of up to 50m, it still remains one of the best waterproof fitness trackers on the market. Unfortunately, to get this waterproofing, they had to sacrifice a lot of the nice extra features that non-waterproof models have.
So what does the Misfit Shine have? Well, it lacks some of the more advanced features like GPS and heart rate monitoring, and it also lacks an altimeter to monitor how many stairs you climbed. However, it does feature all the key features that people look of in a fitness track such as steps taken, calories burned, and sleep monitoring, although the sleep monitoring can be a little spotty if you toss and turn, or worse, forget to triple tap to activate it.
All of that information is transferred to the Misfit app that was once iOS only, but is now available on Android as well. The interface is clean and easy to understand and the Misfit Shine seems to recognize when you are doing activities like running, cycling, or swimming really well. However, you have to first tag the activity in the app before you start.
The app provides a lot of different metrics that you can look over if you are tracking your progress on a long-term basis, but it doesn’t have any nice little features like inactivity reminders. However, its daily goal log does allow you to give yourself a nice challenge.
As for the battery life, the Misfit Shine has a pretty stunning four month battery. However, it is not rechargeable, so every four months you will need to replace the watch battery inside.The Bluetooth LE connectivity keeps power usage to a bare minimum, so depending on how much you use the display, it could very well keep working beyond the initial four months.
When it first came out, the Misfit Shine was probably a little expensive for anyone who didn’t need its sturdy waterproofing. However, while time has lowered its price and made its major selling point – the waterproofing – a little moot, time can’t change the fact that it is a solid fitness tracker. It does everything a fitness tracker needs to do, and it doesn’t even need to clutter up your wrist to do it. Whether you choose to wear it or just keep it on your person, this definitely isn’t a product you need to worry about getting damaged by blunt force or water, so the sturdiness itself can be a major boon.
If you don’t want to wear your fitness tracker, but still want to be able to track certain metrics for your health, athletic, or weight loss needs, the Misfit Shine has now become a great and affordable alternative to other models that have a lot of bells and whistles you don’t actually need or maybe even want.
After Garmin made the huge leap from GPS production into the fitness tracker game, it seems only natural that their eternal competitor, upon seeing the success, would make the jump as well. So they have with the introduction of their feature-packed TomTom Spark.
Aimed at more serious athletes like those who enjoy running, cycling, and swimming, the TomTom Spark packs a huge amount of functionality right onto your wrist in a sports watch-fitness tracker hybrid that aims to fill a broader need than some other models. However, with so many competitors already out there in this increasingly crowded market, how does the Spark stand up? Find out, in our TomTom Spark Review
[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B015CDWGQA” locale=”US” localize=”y” src=”https://www.trackershowdown.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/51hFonBFu2BL.jpg” tag=”tracker-showdown-20″ width=”457″ alt=”Tom Tom Spark review”]When it comes to design, you probably shouldn’t judge the TomTom Spark by it. It doesn’t exactly jump out of the box with sheer style. While it may sit relatively thin on the wrist, it still looks like a chunky piece of black plastic with its fairly large LCD monochrome screen. The strap is much of the same, lacking the supreme flexibility of silicone and instead being made of sturdy-feeling black rubber. However, the clasp is made up of a loop and two poppers that does happen to give a very secure fit. One plus of its external design is the sturdy rubber is likely what lends to its waterproofing of up to 40m.
However, the initial impressions of the design should fall by the wayside once the TomTom Spark is charged up. It does have some rather unintuitive features to it, like turning on the backlight by placing your hand over the display, for example. However, the display itself is big, bold, and super easy to use and understand if you are in motion and just want a quick check.
Controls aren’t done by touch screen, but rather a four-way button that navigates the menu. While the slight bulge of the button does little for aesthetics, it does make it simple to use with logically laid out menus to boot. Since the [easyazon_link identifier=”B015CDWGQA” locale=”US” tag=”tracker-showdown-20″ localize=”y”]TomTom Spark also features music playback[/easyazon_link], the buttons and menus that are easy to use even with sweaty hands are actually quite welcome.
Ah, the features. If you aren’t at all impressed with the design of the TomTom Spark (and nobody blames you for that), it’s okay because it is the features of this fitness tracker that really sell it. It might be faster to put all the things that the TomTom Spark doesn’t do, but you probably don’t mind if it doesn’t tie your running shoes or order a post-gym beer for you.
All joking aside, the TomTom Spark actually does a lot. It does the usual things like tracking your steps, calories burned, sleep monitoring, and stairs climbed, but it also features GPS, music playback, and heart rate monitoring. But wait! There’s more! The TomTom Spark can even go deeper into all your favorite activities like running, cycling, and swimming by tracking your routes as well as measuring more specific metrics like your strokes and your strides.
Not a single one of those features is pioneering in the field of fitness trackers and sports watches, but to find so many features in one product is actually pretty spectacular. What’s more is that almost all of those features work well.
One really great example is the heart rate monitoring. In many fitness trackers, it can be relatively hit or miss, but in the TomTom Spark it gives relatively accurate metrics, and it is the same with calories burned. While you can see many of your current numbers and goals right from the watch interface, you can actually see [easyazon_link identifier=”B015CDWGQA” locale=”US” tag=”tracker-showdown-20″ localize=”y”]your heart monitoring and activity log for the entire day[/easyazon_link] and the long-term in the TomTom MySports Connect app. While this app is incredibly detailed and you should take advantage of it for your fitness needs, the Spark also connects with other fitness apps like RunKeeper and Strava.
While the TomTom Spark’s app is incredibly detailed, making it impossible to cover every single metric you can track and monitor. Those not incredibly into every physical activity might find it too detailed. Sometimes the simple things you want to look at can get lost among all the details, which might make it less appealing to less active people.
While it has many features, the Spark lacks a few other small features like the ability to download training plans and doesn’t have the connectivity to other music apps like Spotify. While the TomTom Spark and all its capabilities work without even needing your phone on your person and easily syncs up to wireless headphones, you still have to tediously connect it to your PC or Mac and drag and drop MP3s into a software despite the Spark appearing as a drive, which would have been much easier. Mac users actually have it worse as they are forced to upload their entire iTunes library.
Finally, let’s talk about the battery. At this point, everyone knows that the more a fitness tracker does the less battery life it will have. It is the heart rate monitoring, GPS, and music playback that are the real energy sinks. So the battery life varies.
If you are using the GPS, heart rate monitoring, and the music playback, you only have about five hours of battery. That rises to nine hours with just GPS and heart rate monitoring, then 11 hours for GPS only. If you are just using the watch functions, the charge extends to around 14 days before you will need to juice it back up.
It is important to always remember there is quite a world of difference between fitness trackers and sports watches. Fitness trackers are aimed at a more casual market while sports watches are for more hardcore athletes. The hybrid products of these two fill a market for people that are occasionally casual but want to move into a more dedicated realm.
The TomTom Spark is more sports watch than fitness tracker, and while the huge number of features makes it seem like it is the best of the best, sometimes more casual users will get lost in those features. For those who prize simplicity, this isn’t the fitness tracker for them. However, if you are an avid runner, cyclist, or swimmer and want to get the most accurate and in-depth readings into your desired physical activity, the Spark packs a lot of substance into a tight package for the price.