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Suunto Spartan Ultra, the best in the range!

Suunto Spartan Ultra, the best in the range!

Date 21/09/2017

It’s been a few months now since one of the most anticipated watches by Suunto, El Suunto Spartan, came on the market. The truth is that, after an excellent experience with Ambit 3, we were eager to test the jewel in the Crown of the Finnish brand.


Upon opening the box, we noticed that the brand has managed to introduce all the components in the watch’s circular box without affecting the thickness of the box and eliminating the traditional bulkiness seen in its predecessors. Stretching and narrowing the box works much better.

Another detail that is worth noting is its incredible lightness of 77 grammes. An important aspect, after more than 4 months of testing, is that you’ll forget you’re wearing it as soon as you put it on, during any sporting activity. It’s been tested for walking, running through asphalt courses and mountains, mountain skiing, road and mountain biking; Biathlons, triathlons and swimming in the swimming pool or in the sea.

Putting it into practice
Expanding the Suunto range, the device has intuitive menus that allow the user to Benefit from 100% of the device’s options without needing a support manual. An aspect to consider for all those that are looking for a watch that is decisive, powerful and easy to use. After first charging it, the device will ask you for your personal details and, after that, you can get started using it.

Where Suunto gets a Little more complicated is in the Movescount portal, the network space where you’ll be able to store all your activities, analyse your workouts in detail and carry out configuration functions for the device that can’t be managed on the watch itself. In this portal, patience and tutorials are required to be able to understand and explore it to its full potential, but don’t be worried, everyone can grasp it.

The battery
It’s a device with a colour touch screen, Bluetooth Smart connectivity with the mobile, that follows your daily activities and is able to document your activities with precision. I think that it’s amazing that the device can maintain 18h of battery life with the watch running at full power. If you train 10h a week and forget to charge the watch, according to our tests, with 12% battery, you’ll be able to get approximately 1h more out of the device. We advise charging the watch to 20% to keep it operational, this way you won’t lose any of your activity information.

Since its release, Suunto has expanded the Spartan family and now on the market you’ll find:
Suunto Spartan Ultra Series:
*Suunto Spartan Ultra: Device + USB charging cable + manual
*Suunto Spartan Ultra: Device + USB charging cable + Bluetooth HR strap + manual
*Suunto Spartan Ultra Wrist OHR: Device with integrated HR sensor + USB charging cable + manual.

Suunto Spartan Sport Series:
*Suunto Spartan Sport: Device + USB charging cable USB + manual
*Suunto Spartan Sport: Device + USB charging cable + Bluetooth HR strap + manual
*Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist: Device with integrated HR sensor + USB charging cable + manual.


Precision and optimum reception
In this aspect, Suunto Spartan Ultra is a like a lightning bolt, it does everything it can to try to get a signal, a feature that is appreciated in places where people usually train. Suunto will memorise the position of satellites so that, when you leave your house, you will immediately have signal.

With regard to precision, the incorporation of compatibility with GLONASS satellites allows the watch to overlap information gathered via the GPS system with that from GLONASS, considerably improving the accuracy in centimetres in optimum conditions.

One of the things I like the most about Suunto is being able to adjust the update time for your position in the activity. Nonetheless, unless you’re going on an activity that will last for several days and you won’t be able to charge your device, always wear the watch for maximum accuracy so that the data is true.

Following routes.
If you want a device in this range, one of the main functions that you’ll be looking for will be following routes in real time on the device itself.

Like in the majority of devices on the market, you can add a base map cartography to Spartan Ultra, through which the watch will show you the route that you want to take and will guide you through it with an arrow. In this regard, the colour screen has an important role in helping us to follow the route. You’ll see a blue tracking line, which is the route to follow, and white spots, which is the route you’re taking.

To upload routes to the watch, you’ll need a computer, a GPX archive with the route and to be registered on Movescount. Once logged into Movescount, there’s a section with maps. There, find the GPX archive and check the box for ‘use on my Suunto Spartan’. After that, all you need to do is synchronise the watch, go to the navigation menu and start to walk.

An important characteristic is the ability to Zoom into the route in real time, this way it’s much easier to find your location in relation to completed sections of the route. 

Other useful features for use in the mountains
Apart from tracking the route you’re taking, Suunto Spartan will also give you precise information on the altitude and the air pressure during the route. It has graphics that will allow you to control your route in real time during the activity.

Regarding the altitude, except for extremely isolated areas, the FusedAlti system will automatically calibrate the altitude by combining GPS information with the altimeter. This way, you’ll only need to calibrate every now and then, unless you’re engaging in an activity where you need absolute accuracy. In that case, if you want to get it down to the exact millimetre, you can use the manual calibration system.

On the other hand, through the navigation menu you can Access the electronic compass that will show you which way is north and the degrees of deviation from it with an arrow.

This same arrow will appear when you navigate through a route so that you never lose sight of which way is north.

While swimming
While swimming, you can obtain information on how many metres you have swum, your swimming styles and your heart rate. Unfortunately, on the other devices on the market, the accuracy in certain circumstances is relative and the difference between swimming in swimming pools and swimming in open seas accumulates a certain margin of error. However, in my opinion, it’s a bearable margin.

On the other hand, the heart rate sensor is intended for swimming, so it has an internal memory and it constantly synchronises the information available on the watch. However, the fabric belt won’t work properly on your chest if you don’t wear a one-piece swimsuit that holds it in place or a wetsuit as it can slide off during the activity. This problem could be solved by replacing the fabric belt with a silicone one.

During other activities
Suunto Spartan offers the possibility of configuring the device’s screens for measurements, so that you’ll be able to see the information you need according to your activity at all times as this device is able to monitor all the required parameters during any activity. To do this, you’ll need to synchronise the device with external sensors, for example, a speed and cadence sensor for cycling.

Multi-sport mode
The device has a preset mode for triathlons that includes transitions, but also allows you to switch activity any time you want by manually holding down the button on the top right-hand side for several seconds.

Track daily activity
By pressing the lower button or swiping down on the screen, you’ll be able to see the number of activities you’ve undertaken and the calories you’ve burnt in real time. You’ll also be able to set your own objectives to motivate your activity.

The only feature that the device is missing is the ability to monitor sleep, an interesting aspect which is the most important invisible aspect of training and which would only require an update.

Interval training
With the current features and the new features that are being developed, the device allows you to configure easy interval training sessions (3 sets of 1000, 2-minute rest) via the watch itself. This feature can be accessed through the menu options in each activity and can be personalised throughout the activity.

In the pipeline
While waiting for new updates, the watch still doesn’t have a storm alarm feature and it doesn’t allow you to preset personalised multi-sport modes. However, we know that they’re working on it. They are also making great efforts to provide the ability to programme complete training sessions through the app or on a computer.

All-round sports people that like to engage in all types of sports and are passionate about mountain or alpine sports. Similarly, its exclusive design also makes it a piece of jewellery that you’ll be able to wear at any type of event, whether it’s at a bar for a beer or at a posh wedding.

* High resolution touch screen
* Good battery life
* Light
* Easy to use

The device doesn’t reach its full potential and some basic features, as noted previously, are still in development. However, it’s improving at a steady rate with updates and, at the moment, the current features will meet most of the users' needs.

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