23 Jun Multisport GPS Watch: Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Copper Special Edition
If you’re reading this article, you may already be familiar with the regular Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR which comes in three different colors: black, blue and sakura (read: pink). Here we have a unique version of the GPS watch – the Suunto Spartan Special Edition. It comes with a black strap and compared to the original it looks less sporty and way more refined. All in all, it’s a great looking timepiece.
Let’s dive into what this watch can actually do!
- Heart Rate Sensor
The Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR targets runners or even more specifically triathletes so it’s no surprise there’s a heart rate sensor accompanied by some neat software options. As an example, you have the option to display real-time lap tables with both pace and heart rate tidily tabulated.
- Suunto Movescount App
And speaking of software and its options, a device like this would not be complete without mobile sync via Bluetooth. Suunto developed its own awesome app called the Suunto Movescount. I’m posting the company’s 72-second video below so you can see a quick demo of it.
- Training Insights
It feels like the company has thought of everything here for the Suunto Spartan Special Edition. I mean let me try and list the types of insights you can obtain all in one breath: 30-day training summary, personal best recognition, all-time personal best comparison with own age group, long-term progress analysis, ability to save how you’re feeling after workout in-watch, weekly planning tools and *runs out of breath*. I still think I missed a few.
- In-watch software options
As expected from a smartwatch (it’s no Moto360 but I guess I can call it that), the watch faces are customizable. There are 17 languages to choose from. You can actually graph your heart rate, get information about Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption and let’s not forget about the Calorie Burn Rate display too. Finally, it’s important to note that this multitude of views tends to arrive at just the right time – after a swim (300ft water resistant) or a jog that is. Oh, and toggling between them is as simple as pressing the middle of the screen which is kind of important since I feel like my hands tend to be shaky after strenuous exercise. I’m not looking forward to pressing any microscopic buttons at that point.
II. Battery Life
The Suunto Spartan Special Edition utilizes a few modes that will determine how long its battery will last. Expect about 8 hours in Best mode, 12 hours in Good mode and as many as 30 hours in OK mode. Clearly, these mode names don’t correlate with the battery performance in any way but that’s a conscious move on Suunto’s part. For example, the Best mode will use the GPS to update your location every second. On the other end of the spectrum, in the OK mode, the satellite ping will occur every minute which is obviously a steep drop in accuracy. Simply put, mode names are a reflection of how precise the GPS feature is.
With that being said, I am looking forward to the day where I can wear a fitness watch for an entire week without charging it. I want to be able to look at my resting heart rate over prolonged periods of time or perhaps unusual patterns during sleep. Admittedly, 30 hours is still a pretty good time window but there is room for improvement here.
III. Final Thoughts and a Note on Performance
A general consensus from users is that the precision of the heart rate sensor leaves something to be desired. This may be true but tracking your heart rate via wrist measurement is commonly known to be inaccurate. In other words, all fitness trackers suffer from this issue to some degree – it’s just something we have to live with. On the other hand, the GPS/GLONASS tracking is said to be almost without error. This goes for both route navigation and altitude.