- Affordable price
- One of the better wrist heart rate monitors
- Suunto online software is very good
- Baseline smart features + activity features
- Tracks all of the sports you could ever want
- Just ok battery life
- GPS nub makes a comeback, but it is less intrusive now
- Onboard software is still a bit clunky
- Mobile app still needs more work compared to Garmin and Fitbit
The Spartan Trainer Wrist HR is essentially the Spartan Sport Wrist HR, but smaller and more affordable. This is one of the best watches Suunto has ever made. It’s not perfect, but pretty good, considering the price tag.
We really liked the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR, but our two biggest complaints is that the watch was very expensive with an MSRP of $500 and it is rather large. Suunto has fixed both of those things with the Spartan Trainer Wrist HR. We now have a much more affordable watch with an MSRP of $279 [check price on Amazon] and a much smaller watch that people with smaller wrists will actually be open to wearing. This is one of the best devices Suunto has even put out. It’s not exactly perfect, but all things considered this is a solid watch for sure.
What can the Spartan Trainer Wrist HR do?
Well, this is a GPS sport watch built for performance, but it also has a few smart features and activity tracking features. To be clear, however, if you want a GPS watch that is also a full blown activity and sleep tracker with a good amount of smart capabilities, you’re probably looking for something like the Fitbit Ionic or Garmin fenix 5, rather than the Spartan Trainer. If you want a watch for tracking workouts and you don’t care so much about those ancillary features, the Spartan Trainer is a great option.
It has a built-in wrist heart rate monitor from Valencell and is water resistant down to 50 meters. The heart rate sensor we found to be much better than other wrist HRMs for activities like strength training, but it wasn’t quite perfect for running, with some wild swings. Supposedly there’s a software update to help with accuracy and battery life. To be fair, accuracy isn’t bad, but there were a few odd spikes in the HR data. You can, of course, still use the Suunto chest strap HRM if you want for better data.
SEE ALSO: Deals on Health & Fitness Products
It also can track pretty much every sport you can think of, including running, trail running, cycling, swimming, open water swimming, triathlons, and more. It really is a capable watch. If you’re a marathoner or triathlete, that’s why you get the Spartan Trainer, not if you walk on Sunday’s with your friends (although it can obviously handle that as well). It also has navigation features built in so you can plan out routes online via Suunto Movescount and then follow those routes on your wrist. Suunto even has a heat maps section within their online portal where you can spot popular trails for hiking, running, cycling and more and you can even download those directly onto the watch if you want. We really like the mapping capabilities and heat maps that Suunto offers.
As for battery life, Suunto says it will be up to 10 hours with the best GPS accuracy and 14 days in time mode. What we found is that battery life is about 4 days on average if you’re pretty active. Battery life isn’t bad, but it is less than what we saw on the Spartan Sport.
Activity tracking with the Spartan Trainer is pretty basic, fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view. You get basic steps and calories and a goal, but that’s really it. Sleep tracking was just added in early October 2017. Smart features are similarly basic. When your phone is within Bluetooth range, the watch will display incoming notifications such as emails, texts, and calls. Works just fine, but that’s the extent of the smart features. Again, you might actually like that since there’s less to bog you down with the watch. Other people might prefer more smart features, and in that case we’d say check out the Apple Watch Series 3.
At $279, we can actually see people seeking out this device and being very happy with it. Consider this: the Garmin vivoactive 3 retails for $300 and as it relates to sport tracking, the Suunto watch is actually more capable. Garmin happens to pack in more activity and smart features and no question about it has the better app, but if all you care about is sport tracking, Suunto has more to offer. Something to think about.
RELATED: Fitbit Ionic vs Blaze