Suunto Spartan Trainer

Suunto Spartan Trainer
10 Sep 17

Only days after returning the Suunto Spartan Wrist HR (WHR) loan unit back to Suunto (read my review here) the media pre-sale release hit my mailbox and a brand new Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR loan device arrived at my front door!

I really liked the Spartan Sport WHR and although not an issue personally for me, much of the feedback of the form factor centred around with device size and depth.. Suunto however have smashed that out of the park with the Spartan Trainer by fitting pretty much the same function packed unit into a smaller and lighter form factor… oh, and they had slashed the price tag at the same time!

The Movescount app and website are exactly the same as the Spartan WHR so I won’t cover that in depth again here, just take a look at the Spartan WHR review for all that goodness as there are some important points to understand..

Back to the Spartan Trainer and with this device it looks to me that Suunto have really cast their net wide in terms of target audience, creating a device which will appeal to men and women in terms of form factor, multi sport athletes because of the vast configuration abilities, it has the same well reviewed Valencell optical heart rate monitor of the WHR and best of all starting at £219 possibly the least expensive running, triathlon, heck even endurance watches on the market.. The user interface of the Trainer is identical to the WHR and also has all the smart bluetooth connected features you would expect such as multi-app notifications, text messages, calls, dual time zones, backlight etc.

Unboxing the Spartan Trainer was pretty much identical to the other devices in the Spartan range with the box containing the usual booklets, charging cable and the Device itself.. In fact one change for the Trainer is that the charging cable differs to the WHR in that rather than the magnetic connector it has the clip style connector like the Suunto Ambit series.

At 46mm x 46mm x 15.7mm / 56grams the Trainer feels very comfortable and much less bulky on the wrist than its big brother and is also smaller and lighter than many of its market counterparts. Although the screen is smaller that the WHR, the clarity of the Watch face and it’s displayed data is good when running. One key point and difference is that the Trainer doesn’t have the touch screen of the WHR however the 2 additional side buttons and the same intuitive, customisable interface make the Trainer very easy to use with the loaded activity options inc daily steps/calories burned, navigation, logbook and settings all flowing right from the ‘home’ screen.

The exercise menu covers several activities by default but using the Movescount portal this can be extensively customised across 80+ activities with multiple customisable data display options for each. Starting an activity is very straight forward and can be initiated on 2-3 button touches. Navigation works well and via the Movescount portal routes can be uploaded and sync’d to the watch ready for action. GPS location lock was fast and noticeably quicker than the Garmin 735XT that I was wearing at the same time during my runs.

As with the Spartan WHR, the Valencell heart rate monitor enables the ability to check your heart rate at any time and then monitor over a time period on the watch. It doesn’t however track continuously across the day outside of a specific exercise activity. This isn’t an issue for me but is a feature some look for.

Battery life is a touch better than it’s bigger brother and for most people would see you getting about 4-5 days between charges whilst using daily for workouts of 1-1.5 hours and notifications. Endurance/Ultra athletes may however find that best accuracy GPS set etc this may not last the distance without an interim top-up. Winding down on the GPS tracking frequency etc would obviously increase battery life here if needed.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s in the sports and endurance arena where the Suunto Spartan Sport really shows it’s strength and it’s the Suunto site www.movescount.com which is the main control panel for all the activities. Please see my Spartan Sport WHR for much more info on the excellent Movescount site, the portal used with a fitness/sports watch can be as important as the watch itself!

In summary, Suunto have totally hit the mark with the Suunto Spartan Trainer. It’s feature packed, a great size on the wrist and in partnership with the Movescount site it covers just about every possible activity and exercise that you could possible need.
The Trainer feels like a tough device rather than something delicate and is comfortable on the wrist, not overly clunk and no rubbing. The build quality of the unit and strap is excellent. Compatibility with Strava is there as you’d expect as well as MapmyFitness, TrainingPeaks plus others and the Suunto user community is thriving in terms of 3rd party apps covering a multitude of activity needs. What tops this all off is the excellent price point which for a device of this capability should make the Trainer a must look for anyone hitting a serious exercise activity.

Verdict – Starting at £219 this is a really great device at this price point!

The full technical specs are detailed on the Suunto site

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this review, please leave some comments below or drop me a message on twitter: @campionuk or email chris@britishtechnetwork.com

Author

Chris Campion

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