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Suunto Spartan Wrist Trainer, complete, compact and functional
With a very affordable price (from €279 rrp on the official website), it’s a real temptation for lovers of multisport gps, and we´ll try to squeeze the most out of the capabilities of this mini -computer from the Finnish brand and see just what it can do.
it is aimed at a crowd that isn't looking for maximum performance, but rather at new group of users who not only want to monitor their activities, but also to have control of their daily lives and stay connected at all times.
a few of the elements that we are going to analyse and that make it a very important gps, are the built-in heart rate sensor, the connectivity, the activity control (steps, recovery, sleep control) and the navigation mode.
contents of the box and first steps
when we open the case we are presented with an attractive-looking watch. suunto have done a great job of the design, staying faithful to the spartan range, and concentrating all the sensors in a small space. the result is a very compact, functional and elegant watch. in fact the metallic dial can even mislead the uninitiated, making it look like an ordinary watch.
at the bottom of the box you will find the usb cable that allows you to charge the watch and transfer data to your computer, as well as the instruction manual and guarantee. in this case the chest heart rate monitor is not included, as this model has an optical wrist sensor. however, it can be purchased separately and linked to the device.
the setup is fast and intuitive. once removed from the packaging, we turn on the device to configure it and enter our data. language, sex, age, unit system, weight, time and date. use the upper right button to move up the menu, and the lower right button to move down. to accept, we use the centre line.
firstly, we'll need to create ,,,,a movescount account (the program that suunto uses to manage all our activities) so that we can synchronise activities, update ,,,,the gps, create ,,,,routes or training sessions, modify screens, control our daily activity and many other options that this platform offers us. i would also recommend downloading the application to your mobile phone, as in a few seconds you can link both devices and upload the data automatically once you have finished the activity.
we can also modify the screen colour of the device, and choose from different options on the face, digital or analogue for example.
as you might expect the device comes equipped with smart bluetooth, which among other functions, will allow us to receive instant notifications on the screen, accompanied by vibration, so you won't miss anything, whether its whatsapp messages, emails, incoming calls or any other information that interests you. you can configure the items you want to receive from the same menu.
one of the strengths of the suunto spartan trainer is its ability to quantify daily activity and sleep. the watch allows you to set daily step and calorie targets and also has a sleep monitoring function, which shows you how long you've been asleep, along with a minimum heart rate or an all-night average.
all these values are stored when you sync your device with movescount, so you can view them at any time.
but this suunto is not just an activity bracelet, it's a multi-sport watch with built-in gps and it's in this area that we can really get the most out of it.
you'll find a wide variety of pre-installed activities in the menu. running races, indoor running, cycling, indoor cycling, swimming in a pool, open water, alpine or cross-country skiing, gym training, hiking and much more. each one of these is configured with specific screens, modifiable from the movescount program, which allow us to see the values and fields that interest us most for each sport.
i've been able to use the watch in different sports modes, not as many as i would like, but enough to draw some good conclusions.
the most widely used was the race mode, followed by cross-country ski mode, and occasionally road cycling, indoor running, mountain running and swimming.
the watch gps finds a signal with great speed and precision. it doesn't matter if it's a sunny day or if it's raining. the weather is not an issue for this device.
the suunto spartan trainer does not have a barometric altimeter and uses gps to measure altitude. in the various race activities that i've done, the total difference in level did not resemble reality. however, this problem has not occurred with cross-country skiing or cycling activities, where the figures have been very accurate to say the least.
the heart rate sensor worked very well for me at rest. but problems came up during more demanding activities. the company itself tells us that the wrist sensor heart rate data are not as reliable as those obtained by the chest bands. in my case, the figures have seldom resembled reality. the reliability depends a lot on the type of skin, how well the watch fits, sweat and other parameters. what may happen in my case is that i seem to bring about all of the above issues, since i have tried various brands and have always had erroneous data.
it is not a weakness in this model in particular, as a general rule and from sharing experiences with other users who do sports regularly, few have agreed on the reliability of wrist sensors and the tendency is to use chest bands.
the actual battery life is very similar to the one indicated in the specifications (10h in activity mode). wearing it with the bluetooth on, the heart rate sensor activated and doing activities 4 times a week for about an hour, the watch lasted for 8-10 days without charging. only in cycling mode have i found that the battery had more consumption than usual, probably caused by the power sensor synchronisation.
two tools that i have missed are the screen modification and the creation of training sessions with different variables from the same device. it can be done, but only from the computer using movescout, where you can modify all the data fields for each activity, and also create ,,,,your own workouts or copy other people’s.
another interesting function, which also has to be done from movescount beforehand, is sending routes to the watch and following them with the navigation widget. you can use routes from past activities, create ,,,,new ones or copy them from other users. the route will be shown on the watch with an arrow indicating the direction and position. you can also see data such as the distance or incline for each route.
when you customise the route, you can also set the eta and ete fields, which relate to the estimated time of arrival at a reference point and the end of the route, respectively.
it is not as complete a navigation as other devices that have topographic maps, but enough to enjoy and get to know new places without having ,,,,to suffer getting lost.
as i have already mentioned, i would recommend this model to a not very technical or professional public. not because the watch does not perform well, but it is a matter of its capabilities within the spartan range. this device is perfectly adequate for training at the highest level in any sport, with a casual design and very much focused on providing information on daily activities and lifestyle.
-Design and variety of colours
-Extensive multi-sport functions
-Very intuitive use
-Screen modification from movescount