Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Review – Scandinavian Pride

Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Review

AT A GLANCE: QUICK RATINGS

Heart Rate Functions

70%

Fitness / Sport Features

85%

Ease of Use

85%

Battery Life

80%

Where To Get It

A Deep Dive Into The Spartan Sport Wrist HR

Welcome to my Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR review – an all sport GPS outdoor sports watch.

The Suunto Spartan range was released (UK) in October 2016 and had the enviable task of replacing the highly popular, reliable and successful Suunto Ambit 3 series.

This new model released in March 2017 takes the Spartan Sport and adds wrist based heart rate sensors. It uses the world’s best HR sensors from Valencell for accurate off the wrist recording.

For those who want any of the following main features > barometric pressure sensor, more than 8 hours battery life (in GPS recording mode), thermometer and sapphire crystal glass then please consider the next model up, the Suunto Spartan Ultra.

The Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR has been reviewed by Tristan Haskins aka CardioCritic

black sports watch

Introduction

Please refer to the original in-depth review of the Spartan Sport (with optional chest strap) for full breakdown of technical features, functions, pros and cons.

Feature wise these watches are identical. It is only the addition of the Valencell wrist based heart rate sensors that differentiate the two products.

Valencell (ext ref) are the world’s leading manufacturer of optical heart rate sensors trusted by many top brands. I have NO DOUBT the accuracy of the Spartan Sport Wrist HR’s heart rate sensor will be as good as an other on offer from competitors.

Read this and save MONEY!


I am a huge fan of the Suunto Spartan range. I really did enjoy my time using the Suunto Spartan Sport for several months training. In late 2017 I was lucky enough to receive a test model of the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR.

In all honesty I was AMAZED at how good this cheaper model was. It’s nearly HALF the price with virtually all the functionality of this model. It is one of the stand out all sports GPS heart rate monitor watches of 2017.

I have to recommend it to all athletes, including multisport and triathlon. Please ensure you read my review of the Spartan Trainer before committing to this more expensive model – you’ll be glad you did.

  • Who Is It For?

  • Video Review

What Is It?

The Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR is a GPS watch with built-in, wrist based, heart rate measurement. It features a color touch screen, 100m water resistance and has a battery life expectancy of up to 12h in training mode.

Like all other Spartan watches, the Spartan Sport comes with 80 pre-set sport modes with the ability to customise training metrics to suit your own personal needs. All Spartan Sport watches are hand-made in Finland

Main Features and Functions

  • Suunto’s first watch with WRIST BASED heart rate using Valencell technology
  • 24/7 Heart Rate and activity tracker with live steps, HR and calorie burn feedback
  • Triathlon mode for one buttons transition from SWIM > BIKE to RUN
  • Supports third party Bluetooth (BTLE) power, speed, cadence & HR sensors
  • Compatible with Suunto Smart sensor belt to store HR when swimming
  • Easy to read high colour touchscreen display (visible in ALL light conditions including DIRECT       sunlight)
  • GPS/GLONASS route navigation (follow breadcrumb trails from GPX files)
  • Supports real-time addition of POI (Point of Interests) eg Camp, Home, Danger etc
  • Navigate to POI’s during training mode – eg while Hiking navigate to POI “Camp2”
  • Customisable Training pages
  • Battery life expectancy up to 12 hours in power save training mode (8 hours in 1 second GPS & HR sampling mode)
  • Heart Rate, Altitude & Speed graphs during and post training
  • Durable steel bezel, mineral crystal glass and 100m water resistant making it a true outdoor sports watch
  • Sport expertise and support for over 80 sports with racing and interval use
  • Supports indoor swimming (self set pool length) with SWOLF efficiency score
  • Packed with Training Insights giving feedback on – Recovery – Training Load – Progression and Planning
  • 320 x 300 pixel display resolution (better than Garmin Fenix range)

Top Alternatives

Closest Competitors

The main attractions of this watch are it’s wrist based heart rate, robust case, hand assembled quality and multisport sports mode. The closest products from Garmin that can be viewed as direct alternatives are the Fenix 3HR, the Fenix 5 and the Forerunner 735XT. All these models also feature wrist based heart rate acquisition. For overall build quality, comparing like for like, it has to be the Fenix 3 HR and Fenix 5 that are true alternatives.

Note > in May 2017 Garmin released their most advanced Forerunner watch, the Garmin Forerunner 935. The Forerunner 935 is suitable for elite athletes of ALL sports (it also has Triathlon mode for multisport). Featuring the best ever training status analysis it’s certain to be one the best selling elite performance monitors.

Garmin Fenix 3 HR classic outdoor adventure watch with GPS, altimeter, barometer & compass plus wrist based heart rate

Garmin Fenix 5 beautiful outdoor adventure watch with GPS, altimeter, barometer & compass and wrist based heart rate

Forerunner 735XT another from Garmin with wrist based heart rate (aimed at Triathletes)

Forerunner 935 top of the range (2017) Garmin Forerunner with wrist based heart rate (aimed at elite athletes, ALL SPORTS)

Next Model DOWN

Naturally, the model directly below this is the Spartan Sport. Exactly the same functionality and features without the wrist HR sensor found in this model.

The new Spartan range replaced the Ambit range in Oct 2016. The Suunto Ambit reached version 3 with smartphone notifications and Bluetooth heart rate monitoring.

If you want to grab a genuine bargain and you’re not too bothered about the colour touchscreen display and wrist based HR consider the Ambit 3 Run or Ambit 3 Sport (for Triathlon / multisport users)

Suunto Spartan Sport exactly the same as this model but missing the wrist based heart rate sensor

Suunto Ambit 3 Sport still a great outdoor GPS sports watch for triathletes and similar. Chest Strap HR

Last Updated on March 28, 2019

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Author Rating
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