SUUNTO Spartan Sport Wrist HR BARO
The Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro is a powerful GPS wristwatch. The watches of the Spartan series are currently the top models from Suunto. The Spartan Sport comes in a modern sleek design, has a high-quality finish and is equipped with an impressive range of functions. Suunto actually manufactures the Spartan series in Finland and much of it is handcrafted. The battery life is fine although more is always better, and that wish is not limited to Suunto products but every other brand.
The Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro boasts, among many things, a pulse measurement on the wrist and altimeter, is ideally suited for athletes who appreciate the bike but are just as active in other outdoor sports. The measurement of the heart rate at the wrist, in particular, makes it a practical multisport watch that is always ready. The bike compatibility of the Spartan is good, all relevant data and functions are available. If you additionally equip your bike with the bike sensor, it will not be far away from a bike computer since, in this case, cadence can also be measured.
The initial software problems were fixed and all functions are available now. The sports modes and customizable displays work well. They‘re great features for athletes who regularly participate in different disciplines, but also for everyday use. The Suunto Sport Wrist Baro has a simple design, but it is this simplicity that makes the watch look good. The size is just about right. It is a very large wristwatch, sure, however, that is completely fine for a sports watch. Personally, I even wear it in everyday life, despite its size.
The large display makes sense, of course, because you want to be able to read and operate everything easily. The watch fits perfectly on the wrist, as the wristband is very comfortable and robust at the same time. Nevertheless: With a slightly narrower wrist, the size can become a problem.
The Spartan is controlled via buttons on the side or via the touchscreen. The display is easy to read even in strong sunlight; the brightness is automatically controlled. The colour contrasts are fine, although they could be a bit more intense. But since the resolution is very high, the overall result is a display that is easy to read and navigate. The touch screen is easy to use even with wet fingers, which is very important in sports! Alternatively, the watch can also be controlled using only the buttons on the side. The navigation through the menus is clear and understandable. You can move around in the individual menu items either by touchscreen or using the keys; everything responds very quickly. Most settings can be made directly in the watch, everything else has to be done in Movescount.
As mentioned earlier, the Spartan had some initial software problems that are now a thing of the past. You can tailor the display settings to your own preferences (and your sport). In addition, there are predefined sports modes available that focus on certain settings. Our goal was to test the watch in different sports contexts in order to get to grips with its multisport character and get as broad an impression as possible. Of course, biking was still a very important focus. On the bike, such a GPS watch has strong competition, as there are even more specialized solutions with GPS bike computers. The Spartan is very quick to notice speed changes, which is good. You can also mount it on the handlebar with the matching bracket, which is much more practical.
We did further tests at Crossfit, and we also went running. Here we immediately noticed how quick the start-up is, including the GPS reception: Simply press ‘Start’ and off you go. The typically long wait for a satellite signal was no problem here. In the past, this was a big weak spot for previous Suunto watches. With previous models to the Spartan range, it wouldn’t be uncommon to be standing in the starting blocks, waiting for the watch to connect to the GPS and get going. That’s not the case with the Spartan.
The pulse measurement on the wrist was also immediately available and very accurate. This is, in our opinion, a very good feature, which didn’t get enough attention yet. The always disturbing pulse chest strap is no longer necessary, so you cannot forget the heart rate monitor, you cannot lose it and your battery cannot run out. Mega plus point!
We also put on a Polar V800 with chest strap while using the watch in order to test the accuracy side by side. The values were very similar when running and in CrossFit. The watch also did a great job while hiking. Here we took a closer look at the altimeter and compared known altitudes. The values were very accurate, Suunto’s FusedAlti™ works reliably. The technology combines GPS measurement and barometric altimetry, which Suunto says should increase accuracy. Of course, we couldn’t analyse it in detail, but we took a close look at the altitude measurement itself and can only say that it worked without failure and recorded a well as delivered usable reliable values.”
With the Spartan Sport, so-called point navigation is possible, i.e. you yourself are a point (or rather an arrowhead) that follows the route, which is represented in the form of a line. The GPS navigation can run within a sports mode but doesn‘t have to. When hiking or running, the GPS navigation worked very well, as was the case when cycling. So the GPS watch is perfectly sufficient for proper and reliable navigation when biking, even if it doesn’t offer map navigation.
Let’s get to the critical point of battery performance. It has to be said that despite the colour touchscreen and GPS, the watch has enough juice to go on all imaginable outdoor adventures. Suunto provides the following minimum information, which I can definitely confirm. Without GPS in everyday life, the capacity is sufficient for more than two weeks. Since many people wear their watches like that, we find it remarkable and very, very useful. With active GPS and depending on the setting, it can fluctuate between 10 to 16 hours, again, not bad at all.
Today, being ‘smart’ is almost nothing special anymore. The Spartan has already made this step, as well. It can be paired with your smartphone, it can display all imaginable messages on the watch, and of course, different alarms can be set. Thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, it is even possible to answer calls using the watch.
The Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro is clearly a smart multisport watch that won’t let the wearer down in everyday life. We immediately liked the design of the watch; but of course, that’s a matter of taste. It‘s really designed for multisport use, is extremely versatile and makes the most sense in this context.
For those who want to use it exclusively for biking, the investment is not worthwhile. Navigation cannot be used as a map function and having only the round watch display on the bike at all times is not exactly the perfect choice. For multi-sport users, this is a fantastic watch. It’s nice to have a versatile GPS watch on your wrist that’s always ready to use spontaneously. It will accompany you on many activities both outdoor and indoor giving you so many measurements and stats. A chic feature for daily life, by the way: By changing the dial display you always feel like having a different watch on your wrist! All in all, a highly recommended watch.