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Suunto Spartan Trainer sports / GPS smartwatch review

Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR smartwatch

£218
8.4

Build quality

8.5/10

Design

8.5/10

Ease of use

8.5/10

Performace

8.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Comfortable size
  • Decent screen
  • Easy to use
  • Accurate heart rate monitor and GPS
  • All those sports modes

Cons

  • Screen could be brighter

suunto spartan trainer leftsideI first heard about Suunto when they released their Ambit. More recently they let me know about their Spartan Trainer Wrist HR. I just had to take a look.

The Suunto Spartan Trainer is a smartwatch designed for a wide range of sports. So, whether you run, swim, cycle, ski or all the above, the Spartan Trainer will suit.

Even triathletes are catered for!

Let’s run in to this review – well, perhaps a steady jog. I can’t risk such a shock to my system 😉

Suunto Spartan Trainer design

The Spartan Trainer isn’t as chunky as I was expecting it to be. It’s not wafer-thin, but also not oversized. This can sometimes be the case with my skinny wrists.

suunto spartan trainer in handThe Trainer Wrist HR measures in at 14.9mm thick and weighs 66g. You also have a selection of models to choose from. There’s the gold and steel, which feature metal bezels while the blue, black and ocean coloured versions feature Polyamide (plastic) bezels. As you can see, it’s the black version I was sent to review.

The range all share the same 218 x 218 resolution display. Around that display are five function buttons, two on one side, three on the other. This is not a touchscreen watch, but that kind of makes sense.

The watch is waterproof to 50 metres so decent for most swimmers.

suunto spartan trainer sensorsAt the back of the watch you’ll find the sensors, including the highly rated optical heart rate monitor supplied by Valencell and used in the Sport Wrist HR.

Check out the new Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR range

Suunto Spartan Trainer performance

This watch is not short on specific sports modes. It is also sporting GPS so that you can track your routes or simply find your way back home.

In fact, it can store up to 20 different Sports Modes customised from the Suunto Movescount website. Each sports profile can be further customised by adding a ‘Custom’ mode. This enables you to set up which specific training metrics are displayed and how much data is shown on each training page.

Watch use

As I said earlier, not being touchscreen might appear a bit old-hat but, to me, it makes sense. The Spartan Trainer has modes for swimmers and skiers, while those might not appear linked, they are. Kind of. Wet digits don’t always play well with touchscreens, and the same can be said of gloved hands. Having the function buttons means that it works for everyone.

The Spartan Trainer has modes for swimmers and skiers, while those might not appear linked, they are. Kind of. Wet digits don’t always play well with touchscreens, and the same can be said of gloved hands. Having the function buttons means that it works for everyone.

suunto spartan trainer exerciseFlicking through the menus is intuative and responsive. The watch offers some choices of face design, but without the flexibility of Android Wear or Apple Watch OS. Thankfully, what is on offer, does look good and rather classy.

suunto spartan trainer trainingThe display is clear but, when in direct sunlight, sometimes is not bright enough.

suunto spartan trainer activityI just happened to be on the English south coast at the weekend where everywhere appeared to be holding triathlons. No, I was not in the slightest bit tempted. However, it did strike me just how many people do this kind of thing. For. Fun!

This makes the Spartan Trainer’s Triathlon Mode not only handy for those sports people, but surely fairly unique amongst sports watches.

Update

Being gadgety, the first thing I checked out was if the softwear was up-to-date. It wasn’t.

Suunto updateThe good thing was that it prompted me to download the Suunto sync software as well as Movescount.

suunto syncBoth pieces of software worked faultlessly and was simple to use.

Whilst I had the watch plugged in to my computer via the charging and sync cable, I discovered that you could sort out the notifications and more.

suunto spartan trainer notification settingsHaving texts, emails, Whatsapp messages appear on the Spartan Trainer’s screen was more useful that I have given credit being. I am actually warming to perhaps buying a smartwatch because of this.

Sports modes

Swimming

Pool swim pace and distance yes
Openwater swim pace and distance yes
Records heart rate in swimmingyes, from wrist or with Suunto Smart Sensor
Swimming time by pool length, lap, totalyes
Swimming stroke rate, count and typeyes
Stroke efficiency (SWOLF)yes
Automatic intervalsyes
Interval lap tableyes
Lap table for swimming analysis with stroke and pacein Suunto Movescount.com
Interval guidance with swim pace/duration/distance training supporton watch

Cycling

Cycling speed yes
Average speed in real timeyes
Bike POD with speed/cadence supportBluetooth Smart
Bike power meter supportBluetooth Smart
Bike Power (W), average and maximum (with power sensor)Bluetooth Smart
Bike Lap and Lap Maximum Power (with power sensor) yes
Power distribution and graphswith power sensor (available in Suunto Movescount.com)
Peak Power Curve for peak power outputswith power sensor (available in Suunto Movescount.com)
Real-time lap table with avg HR, avg power and avg speed yes
Interval guidance with power/speed/heart rateon watch

Running

Running pace yes
Suunto FusedSpeed™yes
Running power with Stryd sensoryes
Foot POD calibrationautomatic
Lap comparisonson watch and in Suunto Movescount.com
Average, max, lap pace in real timeyes
Interval guidance with running pace/heart rate/distanceon watch

Multisports

Change sport mode during exercise yes
Preconfigured multisport modesyes
Post-analysis of multisport exercise by sportin Suunto Movescount.com
Multisport exercise summaryon watch

Step counter

Not being particularly sporty, I didn’t really get out and push the various sports modes. I did, however, wear the watch for the week I had it to review.

Suunto Spartan Trainer activity step counterMy lifestyle of being basically stuck behind a desk and computer was about to be publically shamed. However, I was surprised to see that, on occassions, I actually do cover some ground.

I feel that I must add that on Saturday I was at a function and so was wearing one of my vintage Rados instead of the smartwatch. The Spartan Trainer didn’t really fit the theme of 1920s-1940s styled outfits.

GPS

I really liked having the GPS functionality on a piece of wristwear. I belive that the module is under the hard bump below the watch bezel and forms part of the strap.

You can create routs on the Movescount software as well as using the Spartan Trainer to plot where you have been.

You are also able to save points of interest (POI) as well as tag them – Base camp, home, hotel, etc.

suunto spartan trainer navigationI used this for the more pedestrian functionality of being able to find my way back to the car when I parked in an unfamiliar city.

As you can see in the picture above, you are given the current time, and distance away from the saved POI. The big blue arrow is really clear, as is the taget sights.

Sleep tracking

I might not be much of a sportsman but I can sleep. In fact, I am Olympic standard, when given chance.

suunto spartan trainer sleep trackingAlthough, the Spartan Trainer wasn’t impressed by my average 5ish hours per night of not very restful kip over the testing period.

Still, this function is still a handy one to have.

Battery Life

I have been impressed by the battery life of the Spartan Trainer. In normal watch/step counter use it will see most people easily through a week.

suunto spartan trainer watch faceHowever, hammer something a little more strenuous, such as GPS, and you’ll see that stamina drop to around 10 hours.

Naturally, most people looking to invest in such as smartwatch will be using the mapping, monitoring and analytics more than I. I still reckon that battery life is pretty darned good.

Suunto Spartan Trainer review conclusion

I have been impressed by the feature set of the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR.

Not only is it a good looking watch, it appears to offer everything that fitness freaks will be looking for. There is enough modes to cover anyone’s specialty. This watch doesn’t simply have a swimming mode, oh no. You can actually select open water or pool. There are similar specialties when you drill down in the the running or skiing modes.

Furthermore, the heart rate monitor and GPS both proved to be very accurate.

The Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR is brilliant and offers excellent value for money.

Suunto Spartan Trainer price and availability

You can buy the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR right now from £219 direct from Suunto.

 

Suunto Spartan Trainer sports / GPS smartwatch review

by Jay Garrett time to read: 6 min
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