A closer look at Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR and Spartan Ultra All Black Titanium HR

It’s correct. Suunto doesn’t have a swimrun-mode.

Yet.

We hear it’s in the pipeline in a forthcoming update, but without an official release date.

So, if you plan to use the Suunto for swimrunning and to include transitions, you’re left with the old trick of using any custom sports mode and push the lap-button when changing segment, which works great by the way. You’ll still get the overall speed GPS tracing and other basic training data.

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The Suunto is slim, with only 3 buttons and touchscreen functionality, and smart in design with good screen resolution and a vibrant display. To make the watch easier to handle, Suunto has opted for moving some of the data fields customisation to their Movescount app. The majority of smartphone Bluetooth-connected features you’d wish for is there, including smartphone notifications. There are up to 80 different sports modes available to choose from, and a wide range of settings, including the possibility to create your own apps.

There are a lot of detailed statistics for these watches, why it’s best to check them out respectively, just click on the links below.

  Spartan Sport Wrist HR Blue Spartan Ultra All Black Titanium HR
Current approx price level: 375 Euro 560 Euro
Weight 75 g 73 g
Battery life (GPS active) 8 to 30h 18h to 65h
Battery life in time mode 10 days 15 days
Touch display Yes Yes
Colour display Yes Yes
Water resistance 100 m 100 m
Integrated wrist heart rate Yes, Valencell technology No, chest strap
Satellite systems GPS, Glonass GPS, Glonass
Digital compass Y Y
Temperature Y
GPS recording rate 3 levels 3 levels
Syncing is possible with other 3rd-party apps and communities like Strava, TrainingPeaks and MapMyFitness.

We’ve had the chance to test both watches over a couple of months, both in swimrun training and racing environments, most notably in the now legendary tough ÖtillÖ Hvar Swimrun race, as well as the ÖtillÖ Utö race in cold conditions.

Running

Both watches perform really well during the runs and they pick up the GPS signal very fast. Most of the time you could start running immediately after leaving the house. It’s very convenient to use the touch screen, not having to fiddle around with buttons, and the display is really great in both sunny and dark conditions. This is especially good if you want to cramp as much data output as possible into 1 display page, not having to toggle between pages. The display does not fog up in the cold.

Immediately after any run you’ll get plenty of summarizing data, e.g. distance, laps, pace, time etc. At first the GPS accuracy was a bit inconsistent, as was the HR optical measure compared to using the HR strap on the Spartan Ultra. But this went away after using both watches for some time. We believe it takes some time to properly accustom the way you mount and use the wrist HR on your arm, e.g. finding the proper fit, tightness and position and so forth.

We also like the new interval functionality, especially how the data is displayed in Movescount, as is the summary screen mid-workout. A really good feature is the progress tool which allows you to monitor your own development over time.

Swimming

Here the resolution of the display and the possibility to view a lot of data in 1 display page really comes to its advantage. Even under water while swimming can you track your progress, and if you use the wrist HR with optical sensor, it allows you to track and record your heart rate in real-time. Hence, no need for a HR strap, which is very good when swimrunning, since less gear is always optimal! Of course, there is the option to complement with a swim-designated HR strap which if you go for the watch without optical sensor. Also in swimming do you have the progress tool available.

Other features worth noticing

Movescount

Another big thing going on with Suunto is the Movescount feature. To get the most out of Movescount, you’ll have to use browser version. It can be a bit cumbersome to navigate at first, but once accustomed to their set-up, there are lots of things you can do like, creating or importing routes and sync with your watch, checking out points of interest where you train, create and download a training programs, see and analyse plenty of statistics also visible in graphs. There is also the option to do in-depth analysis and summaries, and to export data to other software tools like excel which is pretty cool for all statistical nerds out there. C:\Users\nikla\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\export possibilities.png There is even the built in online option to coach athletes or to be coached yourself, a great tool to help swimrunners around the world.

Heatmap

This is a very exiting feature for the young sport of swimrun. Suunto has developed a ‘heat map’ allowing you to locate training routes via their map function. Here you can see your own route but also routes chosen by your friends (and competitors), and given the many choices you have when swimrunning, just to explore what others have done and to have fun.

Swim heat map

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Run heat map

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Or why not create your own video of your training or racing session?

All in all

Even though Suunto doesn’t feature a swimrun mode at the moment, unless you’re in a top-tier competition segment, this is a pretty good all-round watch to have since it will give you basically every other option you need to track your training and racing progression. And a much cheaper option as well.

Given its sleek design with touch screen, few buttons and colours, it’s also a watch you can wear in everyday life without it sticking out too much.

Suunto also updates their software frequently why you can live with this type of watch for a long time.

/The WoS Team