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Wearable Tech

TomTom debuts new Spark line of GPS running watches with heart rate tracking and music playback

There's no longer a need to run with your smartphone. TomTom's latest GPS running watch can store up to 500 songs right on your wrist.

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The bigger smartphones get, the harder it is to run with them. I always prefer to run with a GPS-equipped running watch, but many people still rely on their smartphones for both the GPS and music playback. (For more, see our smartwatch and fitness tracker buying guide.) TomTom's new GPS running watch looks to simplify things. The TomTom Spark can store more than 500 songs right on your wrist. You can use a pair of Bluetooth headphones to stream the music, giving you a completely hands-free and wireless workout.

The watch comes preloaded with Running Trax, which the company says is a 30-minute mix of "motivating, high-energy, upbeat dance anthems" that has been curated by the Ministry of Sound, a radio station and record label in London focused on dance music. Those who want to manually load songs and playlists to the device will be able to do so on a Mac or PC with either iTunes or Windows Media Player.

The TomTom Spark line of watches consists of six models in total, all of which include GPS, all-day activity tracking (steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes), automatic sleep tracking, Bluetooth to connect with smartphones, interval training and a water-resistant rating of 5 ATM, so you can wear the watch in the shower and pool. TomTom said that an update slated to arrive by the end of 2015 will also add smartphone notifications and continuous heart rate tracking.

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Here's where things get a bit confusing. The entry-level TomTom Spark only includes the features listed above. The TomTom Spark Cardio adds a built-in optical heart rate sensor. The TomTom Spark Music doesn't include a heart rate sensor, but does include 3GB of storage for songs. If you want both heart rate tracking and music storage, there's the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music.

TomTom is also offering two additional models of the TomTom Spark Music and the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music that will come bundled with a pair of TomTom-branded Bluetooth headphones.

The TomTom Spark Cardio + Music is available now for preorder in the UK for £190. Preorders will start on October 1 in the US for $249, while in Australia the Cardio + Music is AU$349. The full range of Spark watches will be available for purchase on October 15.

For more of the best of IFA 2015, see CNET's complete IFA coverage.

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