Product review: SUUNTO Spartan Sport Wrist HR watch

Andy Tomlinson gets his hands on the latest offering from SUUNTO: the Spartan Wrist HR which, as the name suggests, gets an optical HR monitor upgrade.

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Who is it aimed at?

A GPS watch for multisport athletes.

Best bits?

Built in heart rate monitor, STRYD compatible and build quality.

What surprised you?

Ease of use. Touchscreen works well with practice.

Reasons why you would buy it?

For swimming, cycling and running along with data collection for pretty much any sport you can mention. The watch is a stylish addition to the SUUNTO Spartan watch range, the built-in HR sensor means you don’t need a chest strap to gather heart rate data.

Our experience…

We have previously looked at the Spartan range and you can see that here as the main differences are the built-in Valencell optical heart rate monitor and the use of GPS altitude rather than barometric. For many the altitude element will not be a huge issue compared to not having to wear a chest strap to keep tabs on your heart rate and this means you can monitor daily activity tracking with the watch.

Battery life takes a hit in daily use from two weeks on the Ultra down to about 10 days. Plenty ample for most as it will top up as you go and unless you are totally off grid it has been dealing perfectly with daily 5km runs and general wear. In training mode SUUNTO claim up to 12 hours of battery life.

Firmware upgrades are now a frequent occurrence with tweaks and new features being introduced to improve and develop the watches. This is a simple procedure with the SUUNTO software doing all the work.

As an addition to the exiting range with a suggested price of £399 it is not the cheapest watch but they are made in Finland and are very well built and the Spartan models tested have worked very well.

The touchscreen works very well and while it requires a more deliberate contact and action than say a smartphone, its consistent functionality have been a key feature in the watch being highly regarded and there are no accidental watch actions. If you don’t want to use the touchscreen the three buttons perform all the actions with ease with the screen graphics telling what the button press will activate quite clearly.

Accuracy of the heart rate has not been an issue to date although as with any wrist-based monitor a snug fit is essential for accurate data reading.

Out of the box

The unit comes in a minimal box, inside you get:

  • The watch
  • USB cable
  • Quickstart guide and warranty
  • SUUNTO sticker

Final verdict

As an addition to the Spartan range this is a very important model. It’s the mid-range model sitting between the top end Ultra and the entry level Sport. It gets very high marks for ease of use, functionality and data collection. As an alternative to Garmin or TomTom it stacks up very well, Garmin being probably its main rival in terms of functionality.

Dragging data out into the phone app or the desktop website is straight forward and the data captured has been reliable. The software has been easy to use and if you do want to export data for other training platforms it provides the usual .fit, .tcx, .gpx etc.

Again, the HR offers integration with data from STRYD chest and foot pod for the collection of running power data. You can also link it to cycle monitors too.

The colour touchscreen is easy to read and you fine tune the data readouts in the website via movescount website. You can alter the data fields to quite a good degree so you are able to readily view the data important to you.

Since the Spartan launched it has gotten to be a reliable and functional watch. There is nothing to not like here. Try one out or just buy one.

You can find out more via the SUUNTO website.

Written by
Andy Tomlinson
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