SUUNTO Spartan Ultra HR Multisport GPS watch
The SUUNTO Spartan Ultra HR is designed for hardcore multi-sport enthusiasts/ athletes in mind. Unless you are part of that rare breed, this piece of tech, however incredible, will be a waste of your money. On the other hand, if you belong in that unique and rare category, the Spartan ultra HR can be so much more than just a watch. It provides training and endurance sports performance measurement and analytics so extent, with such precision and accuracy that it is an investment worth making. The Suunto Spartan Ultra takes on the Spartan Sport and gives it super powers. The main differences between the two models (apart from the optional Titanium bezel) are the higher battery life, barometric pressure sensor, thermometer & watch face glass material. For most people looking for a highly functional, competent GPS sports watch with Triathlon mode and the ability to switch between ANY of the sports profiles within the watch mid-session the Spartan Sport is ideal.
Those undertaking FULL IRONMAN racing distances or any other mega endurance events taking more than 8 or 9 hours will need to get this Spartan Ultra version with it is extended battery life. Naturally, if budget no real issue, or you need/want the barometric pressure sensor and you like the titanium bezel & sapphire crystal watch face then you’re in the right place.
The Suunto Spartan Ultra is for people who rely on their GPS watch to monitor their performance, recovery and location. It’s for the athlete who does more than pound the pavement or eats up road miles on the bike. It’s for people who partake in several different sports, sometimes one after the other, in the same MULTISPORT session. It’s also specifically designed with the TRIATHLETE in mind, with its dedicated triathlon mode. If your exercise/race times are less than 10 hours you may consider the cheaper Suunto Spartan Sport.
This particular model, the Ultra, features an extended battery life of 18 hours in standard GPS mode (1 second) and 26 hours in battery save mode. The inclusion of a barometric pressure chamber in the Ultra provides more accurate altitude feedback. The Spartan Ultra has approximately 50% more capacity than the Spartan Sport. The watch comes with the highest quality sapphire crystal glass. This is the same material used in the Ambit 2 and Ambit 3 sapphire models. It is highly resistant to scratches and should remain blemish free even in the harshest environments.
The Spartan Sport also features a scratch-resistant watch glass, but this one is mineral crystal. Although not quite as robust as the sapphire crystal it is still highly resistant to scratches. The Spartan Ultra is aimed at everyone and anyone who participates in MULTIPLE sports, whether running, cycling, swimming, rowing, climbing, football, whatever, the more the merrier. There are TWO great features for those partaking in multisport events/training.
From any one of the 20 pre-loaded sports profiles (there are 80 to choose from) you can simply press and hold the top right-hand button to change the session from a single discipline, let’s say running, to a multisport session, for example, switch to weightlifting. You can switch the sports profiles as many times as you want, eg. weights to running to indoor rowing to cycling. The result is ONE training session with a detailed post session breakdown of each segment/sport. Each time the sport is changed, the displays changed to those relevant to each sport.
The Spartan Ultra has a dedicated triathlon sports mode. When in this mode pressing and holding the top right button switches from swim to T1, to bike, to T2, to run, to finish. In the end, you are presented with a breakdown of each discipline’s results, swim time, speed, etc, T1 time, Bike speed, time etc, T2 transition time and finally Run pace, time etc.
For those of you thinking of doing a FULL IronMan then you will want to consider this ULTRA model over the SPORT as the Spartan Ultra will record for up to 18 hours in maximum sampling rate, the Spartan Sport only 10 hours.
We can confidently recommend the Spartan range and especially the Ultra model as the top of the range GPS sports watches. It was originally released too early and with some issues but all that criticism can be put aside. The Spartan Ultra is now a reliable, robust, attractive and functional GPS sports watch, now a viable alternative to the Garmin Fenix due to Suunto’s relentless improvement of the firmware.
Wondering how this sports watch compare to other similar high-end options? Read our Best Running Watch article for an interesting take on what alternatives you could consider.
With the Suunto Spartan it’s all about functionality and build quality. There’s not much out there that comes close to the quality of the Suunto Spartan Ultra. Would we recommend that you buy one? Yes, we would. It still has some minor issues, but Suunto is making the Suunto Spartan Stronger every week …