TomTom ups its wearables game and gets touchy feely

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Believe it or not (but do, because it’s true), TomTom still makes satellite navigation devices. It’s got a new one of those, but far more exciting (to those Google Mappers among us, at least) is its new wearable lineup. It’s top-end running and multi-sport watches have both been updated to include new routing features, and there’s a new device in the lineup: the TomTom Touch, a slim, basic fitness tracker that measures body fat percentage and muscle mass at the push of a button. Steps? Psssh, steps are for rookies (though, of course, it’ll track those, too).

First up, there the new Route Exploration feature TomTom Spark Cardio + Music 3 and Runner Cardio + Music 3 devices, both of which are priced from R2,700. Want to boost your distances or go out for a run in a new city and worried you won’t find your way back? Yep, you guessed it, TomTom’s sports watches will now guide you back to your starting point. It’s the sort of thing it’s sort of surprising we haven’t seen before given the built-in GPS is one of the range’s key selling points. It’ll also track every route you’ve run and let you input new ones you wish to explore that it can then guide you through.

Run, fatboy, run

Run, fatboy, run

As the names suggests, both devices also include built-in storage for music and support for Bluetooth headphones, so you can ditch your phone entirely for workouts. Let’s hope that the storage has been bolstered from the piddling 4GB offered in existing models. Given there’s no mention of it in the official release from TomTom, though, we’re not optimistic. Nonetheless, it’s a great feature, even if the interface for loading and removing content — TomTom’s desktop software — is pretty clunky. Perhaps that’ll get an overhaul, too?

First prize, of course, would be support for offline playlists from streaming services like Spotify or Simfy, but that would probably entail costly licences and a mountain of paperwork, so we’ll make do with MP3 files for now.

Nice one, Sparky

Nice one, Sparky

While both the Spark 3 and Runner 3 can be used as all-day activity and sleep trackers, we’ve always found TomTom’s sports watches (and, in fact, most brands’ sports watches) too bulky to wear all the time, let alone take to bed. Which is where the TomTom Touch comes in. Slim, basic fitness trackers are something TomTom hasn’t tried before, and it’s entering the market with an interesting feature it hopes will make the Fitbit faithful and Jawbone massive pay attention.

Push the single button on the TomTom Touch and it “measures the percentage of body fat and muscle mass in you body,” the company says. The step, sleep and heart-rate tracking you’d expect is there, too, of course, but this “body composition analysis” is certainly a novel addition. We’ll have to wait and see both how accurate it is, and whether or not it’s something we use. TomTom’s hoping it helps wearers trying to slim down or tone up answer the question, “is what I’m doing, doing anything for me?”

To our minds one of the best feature of the Touch is that it charges via a microUSB port… you know, the one that Android phones and approximately a bazillion other devices use and which most of us already have plenty of. With a price tag of R2,500, it’s also in keeping with equivalent offerings from its rivals. We’ll be sure to let you know what it — and the new Spark 3 and Runner 3 — is like once we’ve slapped one on our wrist and gotten sweaty and wheezy.

No more fat shoulders

No more fat shoulders

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