No matter what sport or type of physical activity you decide to do, having a fitness watch or a smart watch that tracks that activity can help you improve your skill set, increase your endurance, and stay on track to meeting your goals. Because these watches give you cold, hard data every single day, I can’t imagine sticking to an exercise program without one.
I’ve swapped out my regular fitness tracker this past week to test out a new tracker: the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR. It’s a GPS fitness tracker with a built-in heart rate monitor, and it can track different types of sports, keep track of your laps, and is water resistant up to 50 m.
Here’s a look at the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR, how it works, and what it’s like to wear it.
Appearance and features of the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR
I was sent the HR Steel Gold Suunto Spartan to try out, and as far as watches go, this one is a stunner. Even if you didn’t know it had GPS and heart rate built right in, you’d still want to wear it because it’s a great looking accessory. There’s also a Suunto Spartan Trainer in quite a few other colours including Amber, Blue, Ocean, and HR Black.
The watch strap on the HR Steel Gold is made from durable silicone, and I like how it stretches comfortably around my wrist. Even after I tightened it so I can get it snug against my skin for the best heart rate, I found it comfortable.
This GPS watch has quite a large watch face with two buttons to the left of the bezel and three buttons to the right.
Features on the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR include:
- Heart rate monitor that can track you during activity or 24/7 at ten minute intervals
- GPS built right in to track speed, distance, and pace, and has breadcrumb trails so you’ll always find your way back if you go off trail or road
- Ready to track swimming, running, cycling, gym, hiking, and has custom sport modes
- Tracks all activity including steps, calories, duration of exercise, and distance
- Use intervals to train with just a push of a button
- 50 m water resistant for swimming and water sports
- Monitors and tracks your sleep
- Keeps an eye on your heart fluctuations in case you’re stressed or anxious
- Sends incoming calls, text and calendar notifications to your watch
- Amazing battery life of up to 14 days in time mode
Testing the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR
The Suunto Spartan Trainer is easy to wear and easy to use. After wearing it for a few weeks I feel as though this would be the perfect watch for a triathlete or fitness enthusiast; someone who is focused on improving their performance and would enjoy taking advantage of all the fitness extras this watch has.
How the Suunto Spartan Trainer syncs data with your phone
When you set up the Suunto Spartan Trainer you’ll be prompted to download the Moves Count app. The app stores all of your data including activities, history, calories burnt, and a summary of your day. You can add photos and your mood to the app so you’ll know how you felt that day. It’s very easy to thumb through, but the watch itself also holds all of your data. I didn’t spend much time looking through the app because what I needed to see was right on the watch.
It’s a quick process to add the watch to your app, and once it’s connected it will sync whenever you open the app.
Tracking your fitness with the Suunto Spartan
This is a fitness watch with serious fitness features. It really is the perfect watch for anyone who cross trains, because there is a long list of different activities you can add to the watch for precise tracking.
I added running, trail running, and circuit training. You’ll have to tap the buttons on the watch to get it to start tracking, and once it does it will monitor your pace, distance, heart rate, calories, and track your laps. Lap tracking is automatic, and you can set your watch to vibrate each time you start a new lap.
You’ll be able to scroll through your data during and after activity, and when you’re done you can choose a ‘mood’ to register how you felt about your workout that day.
If you’ve had a fitness watch with a touchscreen, it takes a bit to get used to the buttons. Once you do, tracking your fitness is easy and accurate with the Suunto Spartan Trainer.
You can even track your every day activities that aren’t exactly ‘fitness’ oriented. Take gardening for example: I got my heart rate up to 150, which is a great fat burning zone, because I was turning the soil in my garden.
Heart rate monitoring on the Suunto Spartan Trainer
The main appeal on this GPS watch is the 24/7 heart rate monitoring. It’s very accurate, and I like how the software keeps an eye on your all day heart rate so it can tell if you’re under stress. As long as the watch is snug on your wrist, you’ll receive an accurate heart rate.
You can look at the graph right on the watch to see what your heart rate is, but I found the bar graph in the app to be really useful. I want to hit peak but not max out my heart rate when I’m working out, so having that graph really helped me realize I was pushing myself a bit too much. It makes me want to keep tracking to see if I can keep it in peak zone most of the time.
Those heart rate zones are great for triathletes who want to improve endurance, and it’s nice to see that my resting heart rate has dropped to more acceptable levels than it was a year ago when I was totally out of shape.
Tracking your sleep
The Suunto Spartan Trainer will monitor your heart rate 24/7, and it will track your sleep as well. When you settle in for the night you can tap through the menu to indicate you’re about to go to sleep, or it will say, “It looks like you’re ready to sleep.” Within the watch you can set your usual hours of sleep and a do not disturb so the watch doesn’t buzz you when you are sleeping.
I found the sleep tracking pretty accurate, although if I’m going to sleep with a fitness watch on at night, I personally tend to choose a smaller watch given that I tuck my arm under my head.
Notifications on the Spartan Trainer
One of the settings on the Suunto Spartan Trainer is for notifications, so you can have your wrist buzz when you receive a text message, phone call, or your social media alerts. You don’t have to set anything up other than tap the button to allow alerts.
It’s really handy to have your wrist let you know a text comes in, although you can’t reply right on the watch. I liked how it would tell me if someone was triggering my outdoor cameras, because then I knew to grab my phone and take a look.
Changing the watch face
You can change the watch face within the Suunto app. There are a few different styles and colours to choose from, and they are definitely easier to see if you have the automatic backlight set. If you don’t, you’ll have to tap to wake up your watch whenever you want to see the time or your data, and that can be challenging during a run.
Charging the Suunto Spartan Trainer
The Suunto Spartan Trainer includes a USB charger that clamps onto the watch, but trust me, you won’t be using it much. This watch has an extremely long battery life; probably one of the longest I’ve ever seen in a fitness watch. I kept looking at the watch face to see what the charge was, because I wore it for days before I took it off and charged it.
If you only use it in time mode you’ll get 14 days, but if you use it with GPS and heart rate monitoring you’ll get anywhere from 10 to 30 hours. I’ve been wearing it in time mode with notifications and not continuously tracking my heart and I’ve been going on 4 days and still have 50% battery left.
Overall thoughts on the Suunto Spartan Trainer
The Suunto Spartan Trainer is a great looking watch with a nice bezel, great colour choices, and a seamless watch to app experience. Although I’m used to touch screens, the buttons on this watch were easy to navigate and it’s loaded with data it tracks during your day.
Having data like this really does make a difference when you’re working toward fitness goals. Specifically, I can take these heart rates and compare them to my heart rates from a day, week, month, or year ago. I can also see how my lap times have improved per kilometer run, and I can track my runs via GPS so I always know where I’ve gone.
If you want to improve your fitness and have a watch that lets you choose from a long list of activities instead of just running, cycling, or swimming, the Suunto Spartan Trainer is a great choice. You can find all colours and styles of Suunto Spartan Trainer on Best Buy right now.