Suunto's Spartan multisport watches pack more features than you can shake a stick at

'FusedSpeed' GPS failsafe tracking, full-colour touchscreen and 80 preset sport modes

Finnish tech firm Suunto has finally pulled back the curtain on its newest GPS watch. About a month ago Suunto announced the Spartan range of multisport watches. But, beyond telling us that it was coming, the Finnish tech company didn’t release tech specs – until now.

According to Suunto’s performance business unit director Sami Arhomaa, the Spartans are the trimmest GPS watches Suunto has ever made, and feature a full-colour outdoor grade touchscreen. Three buttons on the side of the watch are for use during activity.

At launch Suunto will release two models the Sport and Ultra, with the latter being slightly more feature rich and expensive.

Both watches are water resistant to 100m / 300ft, and have glass fibre-reinforced polyamide casing. According to Suunto, the touchscreens offer great visibility in direct sunlight. Both the Spartan Sport and Ultra will be available with a stainless steel bezel, while the Ultra is also offered with a titanium one.

The watches come with 80 preset sport modes, providing sport-specific metrics and full colour display options while training for sports like running, cycling, swimming, triathlon and various adventures, such as hiking or ski touring. There’s also the ability to download specific training plans and workouts for targeted training, including specific interval workouts.

Both the Spartan Ultra and Sport will see built in GPS and GLONASS functionality, and an accelerometer. Like other GPS watches in this price range, the addition of an acclerometer alows the unit to compare the GPS speed and distance information against what the acclerometer is reading to calculate accurate real-time data, even if the GPS temporarily cuts out – Suunto calls this FusedSpeed.

With Suunto’s founder Tuomas Vohlonen being credited as the inventor of the liquid-filled field compass, it’s no surprise both watches will feature a digital compass. This features full tilt compensation and a claimed accuracy of five degrees.

Utilizing Bluetooth Smart the Spartan series of watches will not only connect to external sensors, including power meters, but also your smartphone for wireless uploads of activities, push notifications and on-the-go firmware updates through the Movescount app, currently available for both IOS and Android.

Movescount, Suunto announced at the same time as unveiling the Spartan watches, has been newly revamped and now provides heatmaps for more than 15 sports, including running, cycling, open water swimming, hiking, skiing, and surfing. Like Strava and other training software, it allows for in-depth analysis of key metrics as well as keeping track of personal bests and annual totals. Movescount also plays nice with third-party applications, meaning activities can be automatically synced to the training software of your choice.

The Spartan watches will also keep track of things like steps and daily calories and are set to begin shipping in in August.

Spartan Ultra

The spartian ultra is the more expensive of the two and features a full range of built in sensors and a saphire crystal screen: the spartian ultra is the more expensive of the two and features a full range of built in sensors and a saphire crystal screen
The spartian ultra is the more expensive of the two and features a full range of built in sensors and a saphire crystal screen: the spartian ultra is the more expensive of the two and features a full range of built in sensors and a saphire crystal screen

Serving as the flagship model, the Suunto Spartan Ultra has a claimed battery life of 18 hours with Full Power 1sec GPS fix rate delivering best GPS accuracy. There’s also a Power Save 1sec GPS fix rate, which offers a slightly less accurate GPS information but extends battery life to 26 hours. In watch mode Suunto says the Spartan Ultra will last 15 days.

In addition to built-in GPS, the Spartan also features a built-in barometric altimeter and Suunto’s FusedAlti, which like the FusedSpeed function uses both GPS altitude and the built-in sensor to provide an accurate reading even if the GPS signal is temporarily lost. A thermometer is also incorporated – though as history has shown, watch-based temperature readings are heavily influenced by body heat, so we'll be keen to see how well this works.

Breadcrumb style navigation is set to be released as a firmware update in September 2016.

The Ultra gets a sapphire crystal screen for ultimate durability, is claimed to weigh 73g, measures 50x50x17mm and offers a display resolution of 300x320 pixels. The Suunto Spartan Ultra Starts at $699 / £599 for the stainless steel bezel option and $799 / £509 for the titanium bezel. Australian pricing is to be confirmed.

Spartan Sport

The sport is slightly cheaper and gets a mineral glass screen. there's also a wrist base heart rate version of the sport on the way: the sport is slightly cheaper and gets a mineral glass screen. there's also a wrist base heart rate version of the sport on the way
The sport is slightly cheaper and gets a mineral glass screen. there's also a wrist base heart rate version of the sport on the way: the sport is slightly cheaper and gets a mineral glass screen. there's also a wrist base heart rate version of the sport on the way

The Spartan Sport is still pretty feature rich but sees a slightly reduced claimed battery life and has a mineral glass screen.

At Full Power GPS with a 1sec fix rate, the Spartan Sport is claimed to last 10 hours; it's 16 hours in the Power Save 1 second fix mode, and 10 days in watch mode.

While the Sport lacks a barometric altimeter and relies on GPS based altitude, Suunto say it’ll be releasing a wrist-based heart rate version around Christmas time 2016 – an upgrade the Ultra isn't pegged to recieve.

Like the Ultra, the Spartan sees a 300x320 pixel screen but gets a slightly sleeker profile measuring 50x50x13.8mm and claimed weight of 70g.

This slightly more wallet-friendly option starts at $549 / £359 and is available in four colours. Australian pricing is to be confirmed.

Colin Levitch

Staff Writer, Australia
Originally from Denver, Colorado, Colin now resides in Sydney, Australia. Holding a media degree, Colin is focused on the adventure sport media world. Coming from a ski background, his former European pro father convinced him to try collegiate crit racing. Although his bright socks say full roadie, he enjoys the occasional mountain bike ride, too.
  • Discipline: Road, mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Tarmac mountain climbs into snow-covered hills
  • Current Bikes: BMC TeamMachine SLR01, Trek Top Fuel 9
  • Dream Bike: Mosaic Cycles RT-1
  • Beer of Choice: New Belgium La Folie
  • Location: Sydney, Australia

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