Spark multicolorIs it waterproof? That is always one of the top things people want to know when looking to buy a pedometer or activity tracker. I’m happy to report that the Spark Activity Tracker by FitLinxx is indeed waterproof up to 100 feet. You never again have to worry if you accidentally ran it through the washer or dropped it in water or the pool. You can swim wearing it, you can shower wearing it all to your heart’s delight.

The second great feature of the Spark is its ability to automatically detect different activities and track them accordingly without the user having to log them in their online account manually. Needless to say, properly detecting an activity will result in better tracking accuracy.

The third outstanding feature is the free membership with your purchase to the SparkPeople.com online community which is the biggest and the best for providing all the information and tools and support you need to reach your goals to fitness and good health.buy1._V192207739_

Table of Contents
Click ahead!
1. Tracking Modes 2. Tracking Accuracy 3. 12 LED Lights
4. Connectivity & Syncing 5. Online Fitness Data 6. Dimensions & Weight
7. Ways & Where to Wear 8. The Battery 9. Items Included
10. Pros 11. Cons 12. Consumer Reviews 13. Price

What Does It Track?

Spark matteSpark trackingWhat’s the Norm…

  • steps taken
  • calories burned
  • distance covered
  • activity minutes

What’s Unique…
The Spark Activity Tracker can distinguish the type of activity you’re doing and the calories burned in the process, but important to note it registers activities as workouts only after 10 minutes of continuous movement. Should you stop for a drink of water, it will reset to zero.

Actually, I don’t really see that as a deterrent. Instead I see it personally as a great motivator to push myself a bit further and harder to reach the 10-minute mark in order to make sure the activity will be recorded.

Should the Spark not recognize a certain activity, all you need to do is reclassify or enter it manually online and use the calibration option on your SparkPeople.com account and it will give you an accurate tracking count.

According to users’ reviews, the following are some of the activities that the Spark has more or less correctly identified (keep in mind that it tracks forward stepping better as compared to side stepping):
– treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike (upright or a recumbent), Zumba, Pilates, riding a motorcycle, step aerobics, water aerobics, water walking, swimming, shoveling snow, line dancing.

Interesting to note that information on its website they claim that the Spark tracks “running up the stairs” as part of the all-day activities, although I have not read anything to suggest that it has an altimeter and I don’t think it does.

What Is Its Tracking Accuracy?

Spark on shoeThe Spark Activity Tracker uses a 3-axis accelerometer for motion pattern detection which allows tracking of total steps, activity duration and speed, which in turn calculates distance traveled and calories burned.

The majority of customer reviews express satisfaction with the tracking accuracy of the Spark. They also report they got the most accurate readings when worn on the shoe (with the open end of the clip facing towards the toe) as compared to the other recommended options of wearing it.

Customers have also reported getting similar results when comparing the Spark’s tracking with other pedometers like the Fitbit ones and apps like the GPS powered Nike+ and RunKeeper.

The fact that the Spark can distinguish between different activities allows for a more accurate assessment of the calories burned since, for example, you will burn more calories running or using an elliptical machine than walking.

As stated before, your workout activity must be done for 10 continuous minutes without stopping for the Spark to register the distance and calories burned. Stop to retie your shoelace and you’re back down to zero. However, depending on the type of activity, the Spark may track some done under 10 minutes as steps.

It may happen due to different circumstances that the Spark will not classify an activity correctly or be able to identify the type of activity. You then need to edit and reclassify it online in order to make the tracking more accurate and give you the activity duration and calories burned.

Also important for accurate tracking as is the case for most pedometers, the Spark must be calibrated. Its default setting is based on the American Heart Association standard of walking 2,000 step per mile which may not be accurate for you. Determining your stride length is easily done by walking a set distance and entering the data online on the personal/calibrate setting of your SparkPeople.com account. So it you are getting inaccurate readings, this may be the solution.

Also important, make sure to enter your correct weight in your personal settings as one of the criteria the Spark estimates calorie burn accurately is based on that.

Lights of My Life

Spark lightsLike the Fitbit Flex, the Spark Activity Tracker has no buttons or controls and no digital display, just LED lights in a circle that illuminate to show you your daily progress. There are 12 of them in a circle with each representing 1/12th of your total daily goal. The default goal for each day is set at 6000 steps so each light represents 500 steps. (You can go online to your free SparkPeople.com account and change it as you wish.)

All you need to do is tap on the Spark 5 times (a wee bit excessive I think) and the number that light up will show how close you are to reaching your daily goal. When you do complete your daily goal, all 12 lights light up and flash.

It’s my personal preference but I really love this simple way of checking my progress. I was never one for math or numbers and I just really find this way more fun and motivating. A quick tap and look at the lights and you know where you’re at and how much more you need to do. Keep it simple is my motto!

Connectivity & Syncing

Minimum Computer Requirements:

Spark connectionPCs: 1 GHz processor, 1 GB memory, 50 MB free disk space
Operating Systems: Windows XP (important reminder that Microsoft will discontinue support for XP as of April 8, 2014), Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8

Macs: Intel processor, 1 GB memory, 50 MB free disk space
Operating Systems: Mac OSX 10.6-10.8

Easy 2-step Set Up & Syncing:
First, you need to create a free account with SparkPeople.com where you will have access to all your fitness data and the Spark online community.

Second, plug the USB wireless connector included with your purchase into the USB port of your computer and the Spark Activity Tracker will wirelessly sync to your computer and automatically upload all the stats from your daily activities. You do not have to manually enter an activity but you will be able to edit the input if you wish.

NOTE: Syncing can only be done through your computer but data can also be viewed on your mobile smartphone after installing the free iOS or Android apps.

Spark-Activity-Tracker-girlI checked to see if their free app was available for my iPad but found only the SparkPeople Diet and Fitness Tracker available at a cost of $3.99. But their Healthy Recipes by SparkRecipes app was free. Needless to say I downloaded it and had a quick look. I love it! I can never have enough of healthy recipes.

Anytime you walk past your computer when it is turned on with the USB connector plugged into it and your Spark tracker being within 50 feet of your computer, all your data on your SparkPeople account will sync and update. You will see an online notification on your account dashboard when a sync has just occurred.

No need to worry if there are multiple users in your household with trackers and their own SparkPeople accounts on the same computer. Each Spark tracker has its own specific ID number synced with the user’s own separate account so the data will sync and upload to the right account.

The Spark Activity Tracker resets automatically at midnight back to zero but will store your data for approximately 21 days so make sure to sync before then.

Should you have problems with the installation, you will find a contact link to their technical support right in the set-up program. In addition, there is an excellent feature that logs details of your installation process which allows them to pinpoint exactly where you need help so that installation proceeds smoothly.

Your Online Fitness Data

Spark dashboardYour Spark Activity Tracker allows you access to a free SparkPeople.com account, which is pretty great as SparkPeople.com boasts being the largest online fitness community. It offers a wealth of resources and information on everything from weight loss to recipes to health-related articles to free workout videos.

With its free tracking tools you can set goals, track activities and monitor your daily Spark stats all from your personal online dashboard and you can earn trophies such as the Glow Getter for each milestone reached in your fitness journey.

If you want to lose weight, the SparkPeople nutrition tracker is a great tool to help you to reach your goal. Based on your profile, your food intake and activities, it will calculate what your daily intake of fat, carbs, protein and calories should be so that you lose weight in a healthy manner.

The best part of being a member of SparkPeople.com is the huge support you get from the online community. You can post your stats online and share personal stories so that you can encourage each other. There are even monthly challenges you can join with great prizes to be won to help keep you motivated. You can even link all your SparkPeople stats and achievements to your own Facebook to share with your family and friends who are not members.

From your online dashboard, all your daily, weekly and monthly progress data is clearly presented with graphs and charts along with feedback from SparkPeople coaches.

Dimensions & Weight

The Spark Activity Tracker is about the size of a quarter.
It measures 1.2″ in width and 1.33″ in length and 0.50 in height.
It weighs 0.4 oz.

Ways & Where to Wear It

Spark clipThe Spark Activity Tracker is small (about the size of a quarter) and round and lightweight. Its rounded edges make it very comfortable to wear especially when clipped to a bra.

It’s easy to wear – just clip it to your pocket, belt, bra or shoe. As mentioned before, it might be of interest to note that the majority of users as well as the Spark website both claim you get the best tracking accuracy when clipped to your shoe.

It is made of plastic and comes in a matte gray finish or a multicolor glossy finish. Some users prefer the matte finish as it is more discreet and less conspicuous. Whereas others prefer it with the glossy finish because seeing as it so small and easy to lose, the bit of color makes it easier to find.

While the biggest complaint with other pedometers usually concerns the clip getting loose or slipping off, most users report the Spark clip to be strong, tight and secure despite the various ways of wearing it… clipped to clogs and sneakers, shoelaces, flats, sandals, slippers, insides of my socks and even boots.

As mentioned before, it is waterproof! No need to worry if you accidentally drop it in the pool or put it through a washing machine cycle. It will survive. Just make sure if you’ve just replaced the battery that you’ve closed it back properly.

As mentioned in my intro, the Spark Activity Tracker is waterproof to a depth of 100 feet. Did you drop it in the pool? No problem. Did you forget it in your pocket and put it through a washing machine cycle? No problem. Can you wear it while swimming or showering? No problem. Just make sure if you’ve recently replaced the battery that the front and back are properly locked.

The Battery

The Spark Activity Tracker utilizes a replaceable CR2032 battery that boasts a battery life of 6 to 12 months and users’ reports support this. In any case, you get an additional battery with your purchase so you should be guaranteed 12 months of battery life at the very least.

You can check your current battery level online on your SparkPeople.com dashboard and when your battery is running low, you will receive a 2-week warning.

What’s Included & What’s Not

Items Included with Purchase:

  • Spark tracker plus clip
  • Extra watch battery
  • USB wireless SyncPoint connector
  • Free SparkPeople.com membership
  • Free iPhone and Android apps
  • Quick start guide

Extra Item Available for Purchase:

  • Extra USB wireless SyncPoint connector for easy syncing

The Good

  • Waterproof to a depth of 100 feet
  • Easy integration with a free membership to SparkPeople.com, a large active community offering extensive information and support combined with motivational trophies and prizes
  • Wide range of SparkPeople products available for purchase from workout videos to cookbooks
  • Automatically transfers your daily fitness data wirelessly to your SparkPeople.com account
  • Ability to identify different activities automatically
  • Syncs to your computer with the USB connector provided plugged into it and automatically updates your data
  • Great customer support via email
  • Affordable
  • No battery to recharge, long battery life and shipped with an extra battery
  • Easy to connect and easy to use
  • The clip is strong and reliable
  • USB connector can be bought separately should you happen to lose it
  • Receive a weekly progress report every week to monitor your progress
  • Perfect for whatever fitness level you’re at
  • 30 Day 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed Return Policy
  • 1 Year Limited Warranty Policy for defective items

The Not So Good

  • Example List Item
  • Does not track heart rate
  • Does not track sleep quality
  • Has no GPS
  • Has no digital display so you must check online to view your progress stats
  • Only starts tracking after 10 minutes of continuous activity so anything just short of 10 minutes is lost and his might pose a problem for people with heath limitations (for example, knee issues) who need to take frequent breaks
  • Some complaints from users concerning a faulty USB connector
  • Some complaints concerning issues with the Spark syncing to SparkPeople.com where it took too long or did not sync
  • Sometimes the Spark has trouble differentiating workouts despite claims that it does so automatically so you must edit the activity manually online
  • Battery not rechargeable
  • Customer support was sometimes slow to respond
  • Its small size makes it easy to lose
  • Is not compatible with other fitness apps, limited to only SparkPeople
  • Data can only be synced via computer and not smartphones
  • Having to tap 5 times on the Spark to view your progress is a bit excessive and tedious

The Spark Activity Tracker Consumer Reviews

Even though the Spark Activity Tracker is fairly new on the market (September 2013), it has already made the Amazon bestseller list with over 140 users giving it a 5-star rating at the time of this review.

The majority of customers are satisfied with its tracking accuracy. They are also pleased with its ability to automatically identify different activities without one having to do it manually online and with its convenient automatic synching to their free SparkPeople.com account.

However, the highest praises were reserved for the online community of SparkPeople.com with its incredible array of resources and tools that provide excellent support and motivation to help you reach your health and fitness goals.

A Price You Can’t Beat for the Spark Activity Tracker

For what the Spark Activity Tracker offers in comparison to similar pedometers on the market, the cost is considerably less at around $60.

For being the only tracker able to integrate freely with SparkPeople.com and all the advantages that come with it as well as the long battery life and additional battery included with your purchase, the cost of the Spark is no doubt a great bargain.

Filed under: Reviews

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