TomTom's new fitness tracker can estimate your body fat and muscle mass


TomTom has announced three new fitness tracking wearables today at IFA. The first one is called the TomTom Touch, and it’s a fairly standard wrist-worn fitness tracker in terms of its design, but it also measures your body fat and muscle mass in addition to the more common stuff like step counting, sleep tracking, and heart rate. The other two are updates to Spark, TomTom’s fitness watch line, which offer much more advanced (and GPS-based) activity tracking.

The TomTom Touch is a sleek little fitness tracker that will cost $129 when it goes on sale in October. It has most of the things you’d expect from a fitness tracker — it has a touchscreen display, and it can calculate heart rate, track sleep, count steps, and estimate the calories you’ve burned. It shows some basic notifications from your smartphone. It also has a five-day battery life, and is water resistant. But the standout addition is the body composition analysis feature.

For this, TomTom is using what’s known as bioelectrical impedance analysis, which is what you’d typically find in off-the-shelf body composition devices. The Touch calculates the amount of time it takes for a signal to make it through the upper portion of your body and return to the device, and using that data it can estimate your body fat and muscle mass percentages. You need two points of skin contact to perform bioelectrical impedance analysis — one of those is the strip of sensors on the underside of the Touch, and for the other one you have to rest your finger on the Touch’s silver button (which you also use to wake the screen).

(For what it’s worth, Jawbone’s UP 3 also includes bioelectrical impedance sensors that were designed to collect data on heart rate, respiration rate, and skin temperature, and that tracker never really lived up to its promises.)

TomTom also announced new products for more serious fitness fans. The first is the Spark 3, which is a bit more trim but is otherwise a pretty straight update to last year’s Spark. The big change here is TomTom has added GPS tracking and some robust "route exploration" modes. The first is a "back to start," or breadcrumb, feature, that lets you set a start point that you can always navigate back to. It’s the kind of thing that could be especially helpful if you’re exploring new trails or going for a run in a city that you’re not familiar with. Another is trail uploading — you can upload any .gpx file to the watch and use all of TomTom’s GPS features to explore that route.

The top-tier version of the Spark 3 will cost $249 when it goes on sale in October, and features a heart rate sensor, 3GB of storage and a battery that will last between five hours (heavy use) and two weeks (light everyday use). That particular SKU includes a pair of TomTom’s around-the-neck Bluetooth sport earbuds, too. The Spark 3 will also be available in different configurations — without heart rate monitoring or without music storage, for example — down to as low as $129.

The final new product from TomTom is called the Adventurer. It’s basically a souped-up version of the Spark 3 that comes with a built-in barometer for better tracking of trail running, hiking, skiing, and snowboarding. It will cost $349 (bundled with the same sport headphones as the Spark 3) and will go on sale in October as well.

Update September 1st, 11:00AM: TomTom has told us that all three products won't be available until October. This post has been updated to reflect that.


That first band (the Touch?) looks a LOT like the MiBand2, which does almost as much and only costs $30. Does having a band with a slightly larger screen that can tell you how fat you are warrant the extra $100?

I’d love for the Verge to actually test this. So first you get a doctor to test % of fat and muscle and see how far from that number, this thing gets.

Bioelectric impedance is pretty inaccurate compared to something like a DEXA scan or bodpod or water displacement method. However it might be good at showing you trends up or down over time. I just can’t imagine it’s very useful though. Plenty of scales have that feature built in and you really only need to measure it once a day maximum if you’re into that kind of thing. I guess if you want to see how your calculated BF% changes when you take a dump…

I think the key with this non-industrial grade devices is just to give you trend over time. So long as it measures consistently, correctness (or lack of) can be overlooked.

With all these fitness trackers getting better and better, they need to form an industry and release an API standard that’ll allow apps to work with all (or most) of them. I prefer Jawbone’s software but their hardware is crap. Fitbit’s hardware seems more reliably but their software looks like it was designed by developers.

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