Suunto Spartan Ultra and Sport
$965 ULTRA, $800 SPORT Finland-based Suunto has been making products since 1936 when outdoor enthusiast Tuomas Vohlonen figured out a way to mass-produce liquid-filled compasses. Since then the company has been making high-end sports watches, instruments and dive computers. The Ambit 3 was one of our favourite GPS watches from a few years ago. Last fall they launched the new Spartan series, which fits perfectly into Suunto’s wheelhouse of high-end products. Since the Ultra and the Sport share many of the same features, we figured we’d have a look at them both for this review. Suunto has released a few updates to the software of the Spartan watches since they were launched, too – the company seems bound and determined to keep the Spartan amongst the category leaders.
The Spartan watches are the most expensive in our review, but offer both a huge amount of functionality and look extremely stylish, too. Both the Ultra and Sport come with HR monitor straps. In addition to the extra battery life found in the Ultra (26 hours in training mode vs 16 hours for the Sport), the Ultra comes with a Titanium frame with a steel bezel and sapphire glass, while the Sport has a plastic frame with a steel bezel and mineral crystal glass. Both have touch screens and are water resistant to 100 m.
When it comes down to using the Spartan, you can either use the touch screen or work your way through the menus using the three buttons on the side. In addition to the included HR monitors, the Spartan watches will pair with Bluetooth compatible devices like Smart Speed sensors, cadence sensors and power meters. You can sync the Spartan to your IOS or Android phone through the Movescount app to be able to upload your workouts and also get smartphone notifications. You can also use the Movescount app to be able to create different sport modes so you can dial in exactly what data you want to be able to see on the watch.
Starting a workout is easy, you just find your sport and get things rolling. GPS acquisition is quick and easy and the watches both seem to provide lots of accurate info for distance, speed, HR, altitude, etc. At the end of the workout you’ll get asked how the workout felt – a nice way to keep track of how you felt right after a workout. The Movescount App allows you create routes, so you can use the watch to help navigate your way around.
The Spartan watches offer a stylish sports watch that offers an incredible amount of training data. Even with the reduced battery life of the Sport, you’ll still get yourself through all but the longest of fulldistance races.—km
Suunto Spartan Sport with optical HR