First Look: Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR Watch
Suunto has just released a new lightweight multisport GPS watch. The Spartan Trainer Wrist HR offers the daily activity tracking, heart rate measurement and integrated training features that are already present in the Suunto Spartan family of sports watches, but the Spartan Trainer Wrist HR is a smaller and lighter variation at a lower price point than the other watches in the Spartan collection.
For Suunto, this is an emergence into the lives of urban athletes who may want to track general fitness — city runs, spin classes, yoga and circuit training — more frequently than long adventures. It’s also geared for the active person in the mountains who aren't as worried about having a barometer but wants the GPS features, “breadcrumb view” navigation, and sport versatility that has put Suunto sports watches on the map, but without their higher price, larger size and heavier weight. This watch is ideal for anyone who does not want to spend more than $350 on a sports watch, but those who want to track much more than their heart rate, steps and calories. The retail price on this model starts at $279. It weighs 56 grams (the style with the metal bezel is 66 grams).
Like with most fitness trackers, the Spartan Trainer helps you reach you daily targets for steps and calories. Using side buttons (this Suunto is not touch screen), you can program it to buzz on your wrist when you’ve reached a goal, and you can program the watch to buzz about most anything — mileage points on a run, when the battery is low, and/or when a text message, phone call or email comes through from your phone. You can always turn off notifications and put the watch in “airplane mode” if you do want to get away from your inbox, but the option is there to stay connected. If you do get a phone notification, you can’t respond or answer with the watch, but need to pick up your phone for that.
One downfall on the Spartan Trainer: Steps measured on the watch are slightly inaccurate — at least that has been my experience with it in day-to-day use. I will even be sitting at my desk and notice that after hand or arm gestures, my steps increase. With this watch I am clocking 10,000 steps much more quickly than usual; hitting goals feels great, but only when you know the accomplishment is legitimate. But in motion, like on runs and walks, the watch seems to stay much more accurate in terms of both steps and mileage.
The watch is water resistance to 50 meters, and it holds battery power well even with the use of daily exercise modes — it has 10 hours of battery life and up to 30 with power saving options. If you’re using the watch only as a timepiece (with a classic clock view or analog screen, your choice), with use activity tracking too, it can last up to two weeks without requiring a recharge.
The Spartan Trainer uses GPS to measure speed, pace, distance and altitude, and its wrist heart rate measurement technology is by Valencell, which is also featured in the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR. The watch is also compatible with chest heart rate sensors like the optional Suunto Smart Sensor.
Eighty sport modes are pre-installed and ensure that sport-specific displays for activities like cycling, swimming and running display relevant information. Rate a complete activity with a feeling like “Excellent,” “Good” or otherwise, and you’ll then see when you hit highs and slumps during training programs, if you have a “feeling” pattern on certain days during the week, for instance.
Like other Suunto watches, the Spartan Trainer can be synced up to your phone and the Suunto Movescount app, allowing you to see your training at a glance. Movescount can be accessed via the Movescount website (movescount.com) as well, and Suunto wearers can view activity breakdowns, set goals, connect with other users, develop training plans, view activity maps and more.
The Suunto Spartan Trainer HR comes in five model types: Gold and Steel have stainless steel elements and are priced at $329, while Ocean, Blue and Black are a more sporty look and retail at $279. The Spartan Trainer in Ocean, Blue and Black variants will be available beginning August 31, while the Spartan Trainer Gold and Steel will start with limited availability during September. Read more about the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR at: www.suunto.com/spartan.