Spartan Sport Wrist HR

Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 5 stars
£399 to £449
  • 100%

  • Heart Rate functionality
    Editor: 70%
  • Heart Rate Accuracy
    Editor: 95%
  • Activity Tracking features
    Editor: 65%
  • Running functions
    Editor: 80%
  • Cycling functions
    Editor: 70%
  • Fitness monitoring features
    Editor: 85%
  • Ease of Use
    Editor: 85%
  • Battery Life
    Editor: 80%

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. The Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR 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

The All Black Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR GPS sports watch

Release Date (UK) > March 2017

Product it replaced > None – Suunto’s first GPS watch with off the wrist heart rate sensors

Recommeneded Retail Price (when new) > £399

Replaced by > none – current model

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. 

Sakura Pink version of the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR

Who’s it For?

The Spartan Sport Wrist HR is for anyone who partakes in outdoor sport that requires speed, distance and heart rate tracking. An obvious contender for the title of best new running watch for 2017.  It’s 8 hour battery means it’s suitable for runners of all distances and abilities. Also suitable as a triathletes watch with a dedicated triathlon mode and 12 hour battery life (in extended power mode). The convenience strapless heart rate is obvious, just select your exercise and go, no chest strap required. For those who want exceptional heart rate accuracy it can be paired with a Bluetooth HR sensor.

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.

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Spartan Sport Wrist HR Features

  • 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)

Closest Competitor

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)

The Valancell Heart Rate sensors on the back of this watch

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

Full review to come very soon, in the meantime, please refer to my original review of the Spartan Sport.

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Tristan Haskins – aka the CardioCritic