Review of the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR: an excellent watch for those that participate in many sports

Wrist HR monitor for the Suunto Spartan Trainer

8

DESIGN

8.0/10

EASY TO USE

8.0/10

The application of the information

8.0/10

MOTIVATED

8.0/10

PROS

  • Excellent value for money.
  • GPS coordinates and accurate heart rate readings.
  • Multi-sport support
  • The design is light and has a good life for the battery.

CONS

  • Simple fitness information is available 24/7 with no touch screen.

New from Suunto, this GPS watch also features an optical heart rate monitor and is aimed squarely at beginners. Since the Spartan Ultra was introduced a little more than a year ago, this is the fourth and most recent gadget in the Spartan family.

The Finnish firm, which is best known for its variety of wearables, dive computers, compasses, and precision instruments, is taking a page from Garmin and its Fenix 5 device. Garmin is the company’s primary source of inspiration. The newest member of Suunto’s family of sports watches is far more compact than the earlier versions, despite the fact that it includes all of the same useful functions as its predecessors. It is also offered at a more affordable price point.

I have been putting this fully featured watch for triathlons, outdoor activities, and other sports through its paces. The following are some of my thoughts.

Design

The Spartan Trainer is an extremely portable and lightweight piece of equipment. Because it weighs only 56 grams (or 66 grams for the versions with a steel bezel), you will hardly even know that it is on your wrist because it is so light. The multi-sport watch is available in a total of five unique styles, including a chic gold and steel version with metal bezels for an urban appearance; ocean, blue, and black versions with plastic bezels for a sporty and outdoor-inspired vibe; and a combination of all of these. The whole cast is listed below.

I tried out the one in black (second from the left). Even this sporty version, with its streamlined design and configurable watch faces, may be mistaken for a regular every-day watch with ease. The design has been fine-tuned to work flawlessly with wrists that are not as thick.

The most recent wearable created by Suunto is the direct successor to the Spartan Sport Wrist HR, which was criticized for being cumbersome and pricey by a number of users. The Spartan Trainer Wrist HR has nearly identical specifications as its predecessor, but it is significantly more compact and sells for significantly less money. It also has a slightly longer battery life than its predecessor.

The device has actual measurements of 46 x 46 mm and 15.7 mm in height and width. This indicates that its dimensions are comparable to those of the Garmin Fenix 5, but it is somewhat larger and heavier than the Forerunner 935.

There is a color matrix screen that has a resolution of 218 by 218 pixels that can be found on the face of the watch. The resolution has suffered from a decline in quality in comparison to that of previous Spartan watches; nevertheless, the lower pixel count is in part attributable to the somewhat reduced screen size. Nevertheless, the resolution of the display is excellent, and it can be seen extremely clearly both indoors and outdoors. It also has a lot of customization options, such as the ability to switch between a black background and a white background as you workout.

This is not a device that has a touchscreen. You won’t find any virtual buttons here; instead, there are five real buttons for you to use. It takes some time and effort to become familiar with all of the functions, but once that hurdle has been cleared, using them will come naturally.

With 80 preinstalled sports modes, Spartan Trainer is prepared for almost every kind of physical exercise. Swimming is also included in this list due to its resilience to water all the way down to 50 meters. You can also use it as a watch for a triathlon, and it comes with interval training that you can customize.

In order to accurately monitor speed, pace, distance, and altitude, Spartan Trainer makes use of both GPS and GLONASS. Inside you’ll also find an accelerometer and an altimeter, but no digital compass. The devices make use of heart rate technology developed by Valencell, which is the same technology that is present in some of the versions that came before them. The LEDs are located on the underside of the watch, and to determine your heart rate, they will beam light onto your skin at rapid intervals. On the reverse side of the watch is where you will discover the LEDs. 

The lithium-ion battery life is satisfactory, all things considered. When used as a day-to-day timepiece, the Spartan Trainer can continue to function for up to two weeks, which means you can pretty much forget about recharging it and just top it off every so often instead. This is reduced to 10 hours when in training mode, but can be increased to 30 hours if the power saving options are used. This option gives enough time for training and is very different from the other choices.

Features

The watch is equipped to monitor activity around the clock, providing the standard coverage. This involves measuring your daily resting heart rate as well as the number of steps you take, the calories you consume, and the amount of sleep you get. This sounds like it may have been heard before.

Because the edition I tested was a pre-launch edition, the app’s functionality regarding sleep tracking was not yet complete at the time of my testing. The watch itself did, however, provide information in the morning on the duration of sleep as well as the average heart rate while the wearer was asleep. Overall, the fitness tracking summary in the app is not particularly advanced, but Suunto has assuaged our concerns by assuring us that the company will improve this capability in the very near future through software updates.

There are additional notifications for incoming calls and texts, in addition to alerts for the calendar. You may even add notifications from third-party apps like Facebook and Twitter, and the integration will be smooth in both cases. When it comes to monitoring your athletic performance, the device, however, really shines in its own right.

The watch requires immediate adjustment after being removed from its packaging. To accomplish this, wake the device up, go through the setup process, choose the language, and then follow the prompts to finish configuring the initial settings. After that, use the specialized USB cable that came with the watch to charge it until the battery is fully charged.

You will not get the full benefit of Suunto Movescount until you first register for an account on the website and then download the mobile application. This will provide you with the ability to examine your data in one of three different places, including on the dashboard of the website, the app on your smartphone, or the watch itself.

You can find the most information on the Suunto Movescount.com website, which also gives you the opportunity to find new places to train, design paths to follow, and discuss your actions with other users. The heatmaps, which can be accessed through the portal on both the app and the website, are a very helpful feature.

You are able to zoom in on your current location, filter the map based on the sport you’re interested in, and view the most popular routes. Additionally, you are able to organize your workout sessions and synchronize your plans and routes with your device.

The watch itself displays multiple panels, some of which include a programmable clock display as well as activity, training, and recovery data. In addition, there are other sections, such as the settings, the stopwatch, the navigation, the exercise, and more.

By pushing the various buttons on the actual controller, you can go across the various screens. The button in the upper right hand corner is used to move up in views and menus; the button in the middle right hand corner is used to select an item or view alternate information; the button in the lower right hand corner is used to move down in views and menus; the button in the upper left hand corner is used to activate the backlight or view alternate information; and the button in the lower left hand corner is used to return to the previous view or menu.

The Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR obtains optical readings of the user’s heart rate from the wrist, as the name of this product suggests. The watch utilizes technologies created by Valencell in order to take these measurements. Customers of Valencell come from all around the world and include companies that manufacture consumer devices and wearables. Its technology may be found in a variety of products, including the Scosche Rhythm Plus, the Jabra Elite Sport, the Bose SoundSport Pulse, the Atlas Wristband, and a great number of others.

For instance, the Scosche Rhythm+ is one of the suggested heart rate monitors. It utilizes technology called Valencell and has an accuracy that is comparable to that of chest straps, despite the fact that it may be worn on either the upper or lower arm. You should still consider using a chest strap whenever you engage in high-intensity training or other types of exercise that raise your heart rate to its maximum level. The accuracy of heart rate measures taken from the wrist is improving, although it is still not as accurate as those taken using chest straps.

I put the watch through its paces by running a few miles and swimming a few laps. Switching from my Garmin Vivoactive HR to the Suunto was painless and didn’t take any work on my part.

To begin recording an exercise, press the button located in the upper right corner of the screen to open the launcher. Select exercise by pressing the button in the center, then browse through the available modes and pick a sport. Using the center button, you are able to make adjustments to the display even while the recording is in progress.

Pressing the button in the rightmost corner of the screen will suspend the current activity. You can pause the game and save your progress by pressing the right lower button, or you can carry on by pressing the right upper button. To summarize, learning how to traverse the screens is not overly challenging, and the majority of it can be done without any prior instruction. There are displays that are specialized for the sport, complete with customisable charts and information that is both relevant and up-to-date. In navigation mode, you will be able to follow a path that has been preloaded.

When you are running, the watch will vibrate and make a beeping sound to let you know when you have run one mile (or one kilometer, depending on the settings you have chosen). This is a fantastic tool that acts as a helpful reminder to quickly peek over and check on your numbers in order to see how well you are doing overall.

After you have finished your workout, you will be given the opportunity to rate how you felt on a scale that goes from outstanding to poor. It is likely that the watch makes adjustments to your recuperation times based on this information. After that, the data is saved on the watch, where it will remain until you sync it with another device.

The running app will provide quite a lot of information regarding your workout. When compared to the Garmin Connect app, I discovered that the information is presented in a manner that is easier to understand here. It also covers a wider range of topics. You are able to chart various aspects of your performance, such as your pace, speed, heart rate, altitude, and EPOC. You’ll also have the ability to chart your VO2Max, energy consumption, vertical speed, and R-R on the website’s dashboard.

In order to get a good basis for comparison, I put on my Scosche Rhythm+. The two sets of data did not significantly differ from one another. In the run that was described above, the Spartan Trainer registered an average heart rate of 157, but the Scosche Rhythm+ armband only registered 154. I did discover, however, that in order to ensure accuracy, the band needed to be pulled tighter around my wrist before I set off. However, this was to be anticipated. Also, some of the numbers were a little bigger than what was written on the arm band.

The GPS data was likewise of satisfactory quality. If you lived in London, you could believe that the GPS signal was robust, but in reality, this could not be further from the truth. Because it is such a densely populated region, you may see fluctuations in accuracy as well as reductions in signal strength as a result of interference. On the other hand, the GPS that came with the Scosche Rhythm didn’t function any better or worse than the one that came with my Garmin Vivoactive HR. In fact, I found that it gave me readings that were slightly more consistent and accurate.

In addition to that, I went swimming a couple of times. It is interesting to note that the watch will continue to monitor your heart rate even while you are submerged in water. However, Suunto does issue a health caution regarding the data, stating that “the optical sensor may not offer accurate heart rate readings for swimming sports.”

The app allows you to track not only your heart rate but also your EPOC, stroke rate, swim pace, and SWOLF. The website portal allows you to chart your VO2Max, energy consumption, vertical speed, and R-R. Even though I was swimming, the watch’s screen was easy to read, and I had no trouble moving between the different panels or pausing and starting the activity when I needed to.

Overall, I thought the watch did a really good job and had a pretty nice feel to it. The fact that I was previously a Garmin user made the switch to Suunto’s tracker fairly simple. It’s important to emphasize once more that the version I tried out was a pre-launch edition of the product. In the coming weeks and months, further software capabilities will be implemented, and faults and idiosyncrasies (which I didn’t actually find) will be sorted out.

Summary

This is not your typical wrist-worn fitness tracker; it’s the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR. There are other options available that can save you a substantial amount of money if you are searching for a way to keep track of the number of steps, calories, or floors that you can log in a day.

If you’re looking at purchasing a watch like this, it’s safe to assume that you take your physical activity and health very seriously. And it is with sports monitoring that Spartan Trainer truly comes into its own as a piece of fitness software. The watch comes equipped with a wide variety of sports profiles, an internal GPS system, one of the most accurate optical heart rate sensors on the market, an altitude measurement function, breadcrumbs that will help you avoid getting lost, and a large number of other functions. And all of this in a brand new, more compact style.

This watch’s most immediate competitors are most likely the Garmin 235 and the Polar M430, both of which are running watches. New trackers from Suunto, however, come with an increased number of functions while maintaining the same price range. It undercuts the competition in terms of price by a large margin thanks to its capacity as a multi-sport watch that can also be used as a watch for triathlons.

Suunto has introduced a device that is very reliable and offers an outstanding level of value for the money spent. If you take your interest in sports seriously and are searching for a multi-sport watch that offers a comprehensive set of features, this is an option that you should think about purchasing.

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