GPS-sportswatch supremos Suunto brought out the Spartan series last autumn to much fanfare, but it wasn’t really ready. Now the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR is here. Any better? You’d hope so, right?
As the name suggests, the Spartan now has a wrist-based heart-rate monitor. Which is neat but, like all wrist-based heart-rate monitors, still less accurate than a chest-strap sensor. Daily HR data isn’t recorded in the Movescount app either – you can only see your last 12 hours. Sixteen hours of GPS-recording battery life is merely okay and syncing can still be a bit buggy. Other than that, though, it’s great.
The screen is amazing. It’s touchscreen, full colour and there are some proper nifty graphs. It seems Suunto’s priority here is to compete with the Apple Watch and, like with the magic of the iPhone, you feel compelled to play with it without clear purpose. Notifications, from any app, are easy to read. You can also thankfully now customise workout screens, and the intervals mode is the first on any Suunto device. GPS accuracy is much better and software improvements are coming thick and fast. The Spartan was already the lightest and most comfortable premium GPS sportswatch there is.
It’s not as sophisticated as the Garmin Fenix 5, or as rugged and feature-heavy as the Suunto Ambit3 Peak – still the best choice for the runner. But the Spartan Sport Wrist HR is much less disappointing than its predecessor. Instead it’s desirable, fun and full of promise.
Price: £399, suunto.com