Left: Sport (metal bezel), Right ULTRA
Suunto’s two current SPARTAN models are the ULTRA and the SPORT. They’re near-identically featured at the moment other than the ULTRA is a bit thicker to accommodate a larger battery with longer battery-life and it has a barometric GPS.
Consequently the menus are nearly identical.
As time progresses and new features are added, this post may become outdated. HOWEVER it gives you a flavour of the UI and <here> is a link to the manual.
Note: This is not a review/opinion piece – that’s for another day. It’s a mostly factual run through of the menus WITH THE AID OF IMAGES and what is there in firmware v1.1.30. If you already have one you will know all this! If not, the two watches help give an idea of the menu flow.
Menu Layout and Navigation (image, right)
The watch/time face is the ‘home’ screen. Navigation is by the touchscreen and/or buttons. You really can use either and I do use both. But I would say I use the buttons 80% of the time.
Simplistically: The up and down buttons have the same functionality as swipe up and swipe down.
The middle ‘Go’ button either moves you on to the next step or scrolls through versions of the current screen – eg shows more laps or toggles some data fields.
Swipe left/right does what it says.
Each menu list contains a top menu option to go “back”…this enables the buttons to be used on their own more easily.
From the ‘Home’ screen, going DOWN will show you: training activity; basic steps-like activity; and recovery.
Going ‘Up’ takes you to the sport stuff, navigation, stopwatch, logbook (history) and settings.
Here we have a pretty bar of each sport type on the screen. A nice enough glanced overview for the wearer. The detail is on MOVESCOUNT.
Training Activity – Hours or Distance
A token nod for basic activity metrics like steps and calories. I don’t think it needs much more than this.
Steps or Calories
So, selecting ROUTES gives me an option to go and see my bike mechanic and other routes including the mysterious “K to R” which I found on a MOVESCOUNT heat map. Moves are created in MOVESCOUNT and, to be used, you must select a sport and then, effectively, add the route to the sport. A route CAN be replaced/added mid-sport.
Had I chosen the bike mechanic route it would show me a blue line route with my current position and a compass heading. But I would not be able to do anything with that Route here other than use the middle button to zoom-in and -out.
On first-time use, the compass requires calibration. This is the point where you wave it around for ages. Instructions at the end of the post on the easiest way to do this.
You can recalibrate the compass and further increase accuracy and enter your declination (difference from magnetic to true North).
So with your calibrated compass and a GPS fix and a route selected you get something like this showing you where you are facing and where due North is. You have a blue line as the course and you are in the middle. A concentric circle shows the scale of the zoom on the route. the dots are the route’s gigital breadcrumb trail.
The logbook is quite a nice way to look at your history.
And you can drill down into a bit more historical detail. Personally I do little more than glance at this stuff, preferring to go online for more detail and more analysis. You probably have a life, so this may well be more useful to you than to me🙂
General settings cover the settings of the general stuff. Kind of as you would expect. Well, I did. I wasn’t disappointed. You CAN change the backlight intensity from NOT A LOT to QUITE A LOT.
Again all this stuff doesn’t warrant reams of explanation. I’m sure all of you know the broad way to pair BTLE sensors. You can have more than one type of each sensor eg 2x HRMs. The STRYD pod DOES work for running power if paired only as a simple HRM. The 4iiii Viiiiva V100 ANT+ to BTLE bridge only seems to currently pair as a HRM without the passthrough of ANT+ signals from my bike PMs. Grrrr (although I can’t update the 4iiii firmware, which might be the problem).
Suunto call them PODs. You know what they are.
So that’s all the peripheral stuff. That just leaves activating a sports profile and getting going. Here we’ve chosen the triathlon profile (of course!) and then when START appears you can see a directional arrow (GPS) , a HR icon and, indeed, one for each paired pod type. These AND ALL pod icons need to be solid to show they are properly connected. In some instances I found that, whilst exercising, the SPARTAN would not pick up a pod/sensor that it did not have fully connected at the start.
The options you have at the moment are for: setting a TIME-only target; choosing a route for your sport profile; and, further below, setting the GPS accuracy.
GPS Accuracy. For my usage I will only ever have BEST mode enabled. GPS Accuracy, targets and COURSE can all be changed in-exercise by pressing and holding the middle button.
It is not clear to me at the moment if BEST mode includes GLONASS. The specs say it does but forum reports contradict this. My GPS tests so far have been generally good for the SPARTAN (test1, test2, test3):
Every good thing comes to an end so, after you have finished your session, there is the resume/save option.
A great thing with the SPARTAN is how it handles MULTISPORT, pressing and HOLDING the top button enters transition. Whereas a single press of the BOTTOM button introduces a lap. so we can get manual laps in MULTISPORT – cool!
The last image is the most contentious as:
- Sport Profiles (5 metrics per screen, as shown) will be customisable imminently.
- It is not yet possible to discard a session, it must be deleted in MOVESCOUNT.
Reviews and opinions to follow later. A quick one for now:
If you want a good longterm buy then either SPARTAN looks promising. Presumably so will be the 3rd, VALENCELL-based oHR version in a month or so’s time.
- The SPORT model seems to be slightly faster at displaying and moving through menus than the ULTRA.
- Calibrating the compass is easier and quicker if you give it to someone else to do.
- Whilst the watch face always looks great ‘face-to-face’, EVERY SINGLE TIME you take a picture a fingerprint will magically appear. Sometimes, if you have just REALLY cleaned it, TWO fingerprints will appear. Welcome to my world🙂