Spark 3 Battery Life Abysmal In GPS Mode

Strider
Strider Registered Users Posts: 3
Apprentice Traveler
edited January 24 in TomTom Sports
I've searched in vain for a thread on this but based on my experience I was expecting one. I have the basic Spark 3 model for which the claimed battery life in GPS mode is up to 11 hours. I knew this would not be enough for a full-day walk but I was hoping/expecting to get at least 10 hours' use; however, the battery is on its last legs (!) after about 7 hours, so I have to switch the watch off and carry a normal watch with me. I've had the first Spark 3 replaced by the retailer for this reason but the battery life of the second one is just as poor and nothing like the duration claimed. I do charge the watch fully before use and as it's the basic model, it's not using battery on any other functions such as HRM or music. How long do others find the battery lasts in GPS mode, please, and can anyone suggest how to improve it? My sole reason for buying this watch was to save measuring my walks with a wheel but at present I have to fall back on that for the rest of the walk once the watch has died.

Comments

  • tfarabaugh
    tfarabaugh Posts: 16,943
     Superuser
    Battery life is rated for around 5 hours for GPS/HR/Music, 9 for GPS/HR, 11 for GPS only, 2 weeks for watch only (that includes pause time as the sensors are still on - so if during a 2 hour activity you had 30 minutes of pause it was 2:30 of battery life, not just the 2 hours it was recording for). Those of course are estimates and best case scenario and are impacted by usage (using backlight, switching screens, etc.) and environmental conditions (overcast skies, tree cover, tall buildings, etc.). If you have night mode or the backlight on that is going to impact it greatly. I have found that they are pretty accurate estimates and my usage and testing has pretty well matched them. Bear in mind that the battery gauge is a rough estimate at best and I have gone many hours when it indicates that it was almost empty. Is it actually running out after 7 hours or just giving you a low battery warning (in which case it may go quite a bit longer)?

    I hope this helped answer your question. If so, please mark it as a solution so others can look for it if they have the same question.
  • elbo
    elbo Registered Users Posts: 49
    Apprentice Traveler
    I did a 2:15 run this morning with a fully charged tomtom runner 2 with gps hrm and mp3 player. It's a bit difficult to see (because battery is not shown in percentage but only in a hard to read tiny bar), but this run took over half of the batterylife. Not really near the 5 hour spec. 4 hours is more likely.
  • tfarabaugh
    tfarabaugh Posts: 16,943
     Superuser
    elbo wrote:
    I did a 2:15 run this morning with a fully charged tomtom runner 2 with gps hrm and mp3 player. It's a bit difficult to see (because battery is not shown in percentage but only in a hard to read tiny bar), but this run took over half of the batterylife. Not really near the 5 hour spec. 4 hours is more likely.

    5 hours is best case scenario with all those sensors running and 4 is probably more likely taking into account interference, weather conditions, tree cover, etc. Also bear in mind that the gauge is a rough estimate. My will generally show it down to a quarter or less and still run for many hours.
  • elbo
    elbo Registered Users Posts: 49
    Apprentice Traveler
    That means in Striders case, his 7 hours is quite what you can expect. Most companies exaggerate their performance. I think that's what he asked.

    The gauge shouldn't be an estimate. My Suunto Ambit 3 shows a percentage and its spot on. When I grab my watch with, lets say, 13% battery left I can go for one hour run without problems (100% is about 10 hours worth). If the gauge on my TomTom looks about a quarter know I can be in trouble on a one hour run. Or not. It's difficult to see/say. Make it a percentage and measure, don't estimate (but I think even TomTom doesn't estimate) and it's so much more usefull with only a small change. I often think, TomTom doesn't use their own products otherwise they would have come up with these simple improvements themselves.
  • tfarabaugh
    tfarabaugh Posts: 16,943
     Superuser
    I was not saying it was an estimate as an excuse for TT, more as an observation of the reality of the device. I agree it should be more accurate, but there seem to be issues with it for whatever reason. The gauge on the watch doesn't match the Connect software, it does not run down at a steady rate and it is not indicative of how much life is truly left. I too would prefer a percentage, but changing from a bar to a percentage will not fix any of this, if the underlying problems are not resolved the way they display it is irrelevant.
  • elbo
    elbo Registered Users Posts: 49
    Apprentice Traveler
    Good point. If reliability of the left battery time is not good, there is no point in increasing readability.
  • Strider
    Strider Registered Users Posts: 3
    Apprentice Traveler
    Thank you all for your comments and apologies: I'd have checked back sooner but did not receive any notification of replies despite opting to follow this thread. Interesting, though not ideal, to learn that the gauge supposedly showing battery life may be inaccurate, because that leaves users with the dilemma that if they carry on in the hope that the battery will last longer than indicated, they risk it failing and losing any record of that day's activity. Last time I attempted a long walk, as well as pausing the activity I actually stopped it a couple of times towards the end, noted my distances and re-started, in the hope that if the battery did then fail, I would have some idea of the mileage covered. I note the point that battery life is still being used when the activity is paused, but does anyone know, please, whether it is better to do as I did and stop completely, then re-start (provided you don't mind resorting to that) or simply pause? If one or other would preserve battery life it would be worth knowing.