🥇 Best Triathlon Watch 2019 | Detailed Top 10 Tri Comparison Recommendation

Best Triathlon Watch 2019

This is a summary of recommendations and analysis of the Best Triathlon Watch leading into 2019, with many detailed reviews linked to throughout these tri watch recommendations. If you want LOTS more detail behind your decision then please read those linked reviews. Many of the reviews link to discounted deals with my UK, EU and USA partners.

The newest Tri-watches are the Forerunner 945, Suunto 5 and Polar Vantage V Titanium

Updated 25 Aug 2019

 

Suunto Spartan Ultra - Best Triathlon Watch ?

Suunto Spartan ULTRA – Cool-looking huh?

The Best Triathlon Watch

What do YOU mean by BEST TRIATHLON WATCH? Most often it is taken as a watch having the ‘most features’. Back in 2017, the summer-announced Garmin 935 won on the ‘most tri features‘ front. But do YOU really need to know what your Vertical Oscillation Ratio is when you run? Do YOU really need to know what a Connect IQ data field can estimate your W’bal to be during those hard hill reps?thought not!

So if you count the best-BUT-ACTUALLY-USEFUL features ON A WATCH YOU CAN CURRENTLY BUY AND USE then the Suunto Ambit 3, Polar V800 and Garmin 920XT from pre-2016/7 do a great job. More recent watches like the Garmin 935 /945 / Fenix 5 , Polar Vantage & Suunto 9/5 from 2017/8 are broadly on par with each other and do the job:

Best Triathlon Watch

COROS Pace,, Vantage M, Suunto Spartan Trainer, Garmin 735XT (235 Shown)

What is best for YOU depends on your needs and budget. You’re an individual, not a number. Right?

All I would say, regarding whatever you end up buying, is: make sure that what you buy has Heart Rate and GPS recording abilities – simple ! The point of saying this is to exclude smartphone apps and basic watches which are NOT realistic alternatives.

Best Triathlon Watch ?

L-to-R Suunto Spartan, 935, 5s, Epson 810

Even when those uber-basic points are addressed you may go on to further complicate matters for yourself by including a list of features you will like – such as smartphone notifications, contactless payments, music, 24×7 activity tracking and 3rd party tracking of you. Maybe you want outdoorsy-features or mapping-features? Or to support sports other than triathlon? Adding some of those non-core, non-tri features to your wish list will probably help you narrow down your list.

Best Triathlon Watch ? Garmin Forerunner 920XT Review vs Garmin Forerunner 735XT Review ComparisonI have chatted to a few elite triathletes and lots of very good ones. You’ll be very disappointed to learn that many don’t wear the watches you’ll be thinking of buying unless doing photo shoots or appeasing sponsors. Most of them don’t have as much money as you to spend on kit and, in any case, are racing head-to-head rather than effectively time-trialling! You’ll also be disappointed to find that when you go swimming with your tri/masters club that there is almost an inverse correlation between cost of sports watch worn by the swimmer and the speed of swimmer! Think about it.

But that didn’t stop me spending lots of money on gadgets either 🙂 I’m just saying that it doesn’t REALLY matter that much what you buy.

Best Triathlon Watch ? Fenix 5x

Garmin Fenix 5X

Best Triathlon Watch – Garmin?

If you’ve already: got a Garmin; have invested money in ANT+ gadgets; and invested time in building up your Garmin Connect data, then you might as well go-Garmin when you upgrade, especially if you have an ANT+-only power meter.

IMPORTANT HEADS UP: Garmin announced an entirely new range of improved FENIX 5 devices, to purchase in Q2.2018, these address various EXISTING sensor issues. If you want the latest, greatest Fenix watch then you must buy from the FENIX 5 PLUS RANGE and NOT the previous non-PLUS versions – DO NOT TOUCH THE NON-PLUS MODELS WITHOUT PROPER RESEARCH.

Garmin announced the MARQ ATHLETE in early 2019. This is a super expensive tri watch. Essentially it is a Garmin 5 Plus but in a nice shell with slightly upgraded innards. If you can afford it…go for it. But it does not offer materially more features than the Fenix 5 Plus/945 series.

The Forerunner 945 is here. It is a faster version of the 935 with smart features like Garmin PAY & music AND VIRTUALLY ZERO extra tri features.

The almost-discontinued Garmin 310XT is more than fine as a tri watch and an old, but perfectly good enough, duathlon watch. If you’re a beginner swimmer it’s all you will need to count laps. The 910XT is a very competent tri watch and will also do the job; you might go for the 920XT, 735XT or 935 if you are a gadget nut and/or excellent swimmer.

Garmin Fenix 5X 5 5S Forerunner 935 Review Best Triathlon Watch If you loved the Fenix 3 and wore it outside of sport then you can now get your hands on one of the many Fenix 5 models (the 5, 5s, 5x and 935 are all variants on very similar hardware+software). But really there is not too much to upgrade for going from the Fenix 3HR to the Fenix 5 unless you want the maps of the Fenix 5X or the smaller size of the Fenix 5S. Going from the Fenix 5 series to the Fenix 5 Plus series introduces some pretty cool tech features (that have zero to do with triathlon) and the Plus Series also fixes sensor connectivity issues in the Fenix 5 and Fenix 5S (don’t buy those 2 – buy the plus version).

Suunto Spartan Ultra vs Garmin Fenix3 Best Triathlon Watch

Suunto Spartan Ultra vs Garmin Fenix3

If you like circular watchfaces and you like Garmin. Then, instead of the Forerunner 735XT  there will soon be the 745XT which will be a cut-down 935-looking device.  The 935 has near-identical features to the Fenix 5 and a more race-worthy, lightweight form but the 745XT will not have all the tri features but it might have a few smart features added in.

Jabra Elite Active 65t Review Garmin 5S Plus Best Triathlon Watch

Garmin Fenix 5S Plus – sweet, uber-techy and small

The 735XT is also round and pretty; it’s been built to be a lightweight populist run-cum-tri-watch but lacks a few professionally competitive features eg lack of bike mount. Great for small wrists though. Remember there probably will be a replacement 745XT this year (2019).

Is the 735XT as round and pretty as the Suunto Spartan SPORT (below)? Probably not.

suunto Spartan Ultra - Polar V800 - Garmin 920XT Best Triathlon Watch

Polar V800 -Suunto Spartan Ultra – Garmin 920XT

 

Then we have the Forerunner 935

 

Garmin Forerunner 935 STRYD Best Triathlon Watch

935 – Do tri properly and get STRYD as well

If you still want to go-Garmin why not get a running watch and a cycling computer? THIS IS becoming an increasing popular choice.

After all you don’t look at a watch much at all when swimming and a cycling computer is potentially a LOT better for cycling than, ahem, a tri watch.

Best Triathlon Watch – Polar+Suunto Options?

Polar and Suunto offer MUCH prettier and more rugged options.

IMPORTANT HEADS UP: Polar have announced 2 proper tri watches the Vantage M and Vantage V.

Polar, Suunto and Garmin will all allow you to get data out of their environment and sent ‘somewhere’ else. Don’t worry about that – any watch classed as a ‘best triathlon watch’ would be able to do that. If you haven’t bought a power meter yet then buy a multi-band one (BTLE+ANT+) when you can. Most are now multi-band and so will all work with any vendors’ tri watch. On the other hand, if you already have a power meter then you are likely to be sufficiently tech-savvy to know which manufacturers your PM limits your tri-watch choice to!

Suunto 9 Review

Perhaps you have other accessories, like HRMs and footpods, don’t let those sway your choice of watch; minor accessory replacements are relatively cheap.

best triathlon watch ? Polar-V800

Polar-V800

Considering the most useful tri-features, the Polar V800 and Polar Vantage are essentially as good as Garmin’s 935/945, 920XT and 735XT and now the Vantage & V800 have proper, native STRYD running power support.

The Suunto AMBIT3 Sport,  Suunto Spartan ULTRA/SPORT and Suunto 9 have several unique and peripherally innovative features (EPOC and age group comparison on MOVESCOUNT); if you own Apple products then you’d probably buy the  Suunto Spartan Ultra/Sport/9. I’m not sure why, just seems to be the way it is from what I’ve seen – perhaps it’s the aesthetics and quality of construction?

The older Suunto AMBIT 2 (two) is perfectly fine as is the old TomTom multisport. The Suunto AMBIT 2 has been replaced by the AMBIT3 then the SPARTAN but the TomTom will NOT be replaced with a new multisport model.

Other Contenders for Best Triathlon Watch

I’d probably NOT recommend ANY of these but here goes anyway…

  • As of Q1 2018, Amazfit have the STRATOS . This is probably the cheapest watch that is designed as a triathlon watch although it’s lack of accuracy BUT awesome range of features makes it somewhat of a pretty and intriguing toy.
  • 2017’s Suunto SPARTAN Trainer looks like the Ambit 3 it, sort of, replaced. This is at the cheaper end of competent devices to buy. The COROS Pace might sit alongside that space in the market in 2018/19
Amazfit STRATOS Review

Amazfit STRATOS

The Garmin Vivoactive HR is fine for beginners when used for “consecutive single sports” NB: this is not quite multi-sports/triathlon, it’s great for those who want a fairly nice-looking watch/band. Superseded by the Garmin Vivoactive 3 (review) .

Again, on the “consecutive single sports” point, you could also go for the competent TomTom Runner 3 / Spark 3 – Remember, watches like this are not triathlon watches – there are many more of these types of running watches that have additional and rudimentary standalone CYCLING and standalone SWIMMING modes.

best triathlon watch suunto spartan sport whr valencell

Suunto SPARTAN Sport WHR

I’d probably NOT go for the Garmin Fenix 2, there are better fish in the sea even if you get a good price.

For the one-off triathlon or duathlon you will also find that many running watches are waterproof enough for a race and have a rudimentary cycling mode eg the Polar M430 (Reviewed here).

But by the same token if you’re in it to finish then surely all you need is a timer and/or basic speed/hr info? Your current watch may well be OK for that.

Garmin 735XT

Guess below, you might win a kudos prize.

If you want the latest-greatest thing for pure triathlon pose-value then you will get the 920XT REPLACEMENT ie the  Forerunner 935

Best Amazon/REI/Wiggle/PMC price is linked to. Prices approx £265/$299 and likely to fall in 2019. Buying from my partners supports this site

2018 has seen the arrival of the Amazfit STRATOS. It’s flawed but I like it and I like the Sub-£/$200 price tag for LOTS of features – it’s the ONY tri watch that supports music. Before you buy it you will need to understand if the flaws affect you.

▷ Amazfit STRATOS Review – Triathlon Watch with Music

Best Triathlon Watch – Detailed Review Links

Still not convinced? You can read lots more about these individual watches in the links.

Best Amazon/REI/Wiggle/PMC price is linked to. Prices approx £180/$240 . Buying from my partners supports this site

Suunto have some unusual, usage-specific variants of the AMBIT 3, such as the KAILISH and VERTICAL models. They are not really triathlon watches, ignore those.

▷ Garmin Fenix 5 Plus – Is it worth it ? Detailed Fenix 5S Plus Review Link

PIE IN THE SKY PRICES?

You can spend somewhere near $/£/Eu1000 on the latest Garmin Fenix 5X Plus. You can spend twice that on the Garmin MARQ.

Let’s say this is all looking a little too expensive for you. Maybe you don’t want the best triathlon watch released this year and you might settle for what was considered to be “the best triathlon watch from a couple of years ago“.

There are some GREAT options for older models that are still being sold but which are otherwise, effectively, discontinued. The two best contenders are both from Garmin and are the 910XT and 310XT. I’d personally go for the former. I’ve used both and I used both the 910XT & 920XT for a couple of years each as my main workhorse. They are essentially bug free and as cheap as you will get at the right time of year. They are both SPECIFICALLY triathlon/duathlon watches and they each were the best triathlon watch in their day.

The 310XT lacks a bit on swimming functionality but can be used in water. If you are just starting out in triathlon or just training for one particular event (which could be your last!) then the 910XT is great. The prices on both of these change quite a lot and you can get them for as low as $/£100 without a HR strap IF you are very lucky. For the lowest possible priced ‘triathlon’ watch you will need to go for a peripheral brand like the Amazfit STRATOS.

Amazfit Stratos Amazon

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As we finish 2018’s tri season, the 920XT can be a great deal at a sale price … sometimes. Check below for the latest Amazon price.

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best triathlon watch ? Suunto Spartan Sport (+Ultra)

Best Triathlon watch – Recommendations

If you want lots and lots of features that you won’t use, it’s “Buy the most expensive Garmin you can afford”. That is a bit of a boring, expensive and rubbish recommendation IMO. But, hey, we all have a budget; and here’s how to spend it

Price Tiers:

The Best in some way, shape or form

Go on, be different. Here are a selection of triathlon watches that, in some way or other, could be classed as the best triathlon watch:

    • Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Series – Reviewing now. Exactly same tri functionality as the original Fenix 5 but with EVEN more non-sport features. I’m going for the Fenix 5S Plus as it now has the same screen size and is the smallest/lightest of the 3 new ones effectively it has MORE functionality than the 935 and the same weight/size – only downside is a smaller battery.
    • Garmin Forerunner 935 / 945 / MARQ / Fenix 5 (5s, 5X, 5) – They basically each have the same features. They have the most features compared to the competition. On that basis they are the ‘best’ tri watch. All Fenix 5 (Plus) do have ALL THE proper triathlon features. The 935 has a quick-release kit and plastic shell. Note those branded as ‘Fenix 5’ are superceded by ‘Fenix 5 plus’ models and, in any case, have sensor issues (935 does not have the ANT+ connection issues nor some of the potential further issues of oHR with the 5X – see the review for more details on that)
    • Garmin Forerunner 735XT – Very many features, not necessarily all useful! No quick release kit. Good aesthetics and great for small wrists. Lots of features. This is Garmin’s tri-lite watch at a mid-price tier
    • Garmin 920XT – Feature-full, not necessarily all useful! A bit ugly. No direct replacement – although it’s mostly superceded by the 935. This is Garmin’s older pro-tri watch.
    • Polar Vantage V – Nearly all the features (some peripheral ones missing) but some nice unique ones as well including a great battery life and onboard power meter for running….no need to buy STRYD !! Great looking
    • Polar Vantage M – Nearly all the features (some peripheral ones missing) and a sensible price. Great looking.
    • Polar V800 – All the relevant features. If priced less than the AMBIT3 – buy it. Good looking. Accurate GPS. Replacement due Q3/4.2018. I use this in training.
    • Suunto AMBIT3/ AMBIT3 SPORT – Best value for money at the higher end at the moment. Accurate GPS. Replaced by SPARTAN ULTRA/SPORT.
    • Garmin Fenix 3 – Best selling of these. Mainly for non-tri reasons and outdoorsy/adventure reasons. Replaced by fenix 5, which is not that different. The Fenix 5 (Plus) will go on to be the best seller.
    • Suunto Spartan SPORT/ULTRA – Clever holistically featured ecosystem around a beautiful watch. ULTRA has been superceded by the Suunto 9
    • Suunto SPARTAN Sport WHR – Nice. Like many optical HR offerings – may or may not work well on you. Great GPS though. I use this in training.
    • Suunto 9 – it’s basically the same as the SPARTAN SPORT/ULTRAs ie outdoorsy but does multisport
    • Polar V800 replacement (V810/V900?) – A totally unknown quantity. Some thoughts on V900 functionality (here).
    • Suunto SPARTAN TRAINER WHR doesn’t have the pro triathlon features but it likely has all the ones that 90% of you will need and it’s the cheapest watch designed specifically for triathlon. It’s Suunto’s tri-lite watch. My COROS Pace recommendation will rank similar to this but with ANT+
    • Refurbished Garmin 310XT cheapest that I’d vaguely recommend
    • Garmin 910XT the cheapest option I’d personally go for if money WAS an issue AND it looks alright.
    • Amazfit STRATOS – it actually has more fuctionality that just about everything else here apart from the high-end Garmins. It even looks good. But…caveat emptor…read the review.
    • COROS PACE – This is a solid triathlon watch. It’s aiming towards the purity of a sport watch rather than a smart watch per se…although it’s smart too. RRP is a tad overpriced but consider it when on sale.
    • ACCURACY – If you want accuracy then older Polar and Suunto models generally have the best GPS accuracy (V800, AMBIT 3).
    • ACCURACY – If you want accuracy then you will not buy an optical HR device, although Polar’s Precision Prime MIGHT be the exception.
    • DISTANCE – If you are doing an Ironman/very long race then you really need to consider BATTERY LIFE. Turning all these fancy features on will empty your battery before you get off your bike. 935/Fenix 5/5 Plus/Suunto ULTRA/Suunto 9/Polar Vantage V are the best for a long battery life.
Garmin Forerunner 935

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Recommendations Looked at a Different Way

Let’s turn it around –  best triathlon watch by characteristic

      • Garmin Forerunner 735XTMost pro-tri solution: easy! Garmin 935 Review, Polar Vantage V not far behind but concerns over GPS/oHR.
      • Best triathlon watch for thin wrists: Fenix 5S Plus, Garmin 735XT, Suunto Spartan Trainer WHR
      • Best triathlon watch at a midrange price in a current model – Suunto SPARTAN TRAINER WHR vs. Polar Vantage M.
      • Best triathlon watch at a Budget Price – easy! Amazfit STRATOS
      • Best triathlon watch ‘solution’ if money is no object: Garmin 935 Review, or 945, Garmin HRM-TRI review, STRYD review, Favero ASSIOMA Review (DUO)
      • Best triathlon watch for ultimate techiness and smart features – Garmin MARQ Athlete (any MARQ)
      • Best triathlon watch for budget techiness: Ambit 3 Sport and Polar V800
      • Best triathlon watch on a budget with an old model: Garmin 310XT and Garmin 910XT
      • Best triathlon watch with music – Garmin Fenix 5 Plus SERIES
      • Best triathlon watch for a first Triathlon: Any old waterproof sports watch, Amazfit STRATOS if you want to.
      • Best triathlon watch for a biker turning to triathlon: Garmin Edge 520 Plus + a running watch!
      • Best triathlon watch for a runner turning to triathlon: Garmin 935 or Polar Vantage M or Fenix 5 Plus or Fenix 5S Plus
      • Best investment for future developments: 2019’s new models from FW
      • Best triathlon watch with maps: Fenix 5 Plus series (any), MARQ
      • Best triathlon watch for Ironman Racing – Garmin 935/945 or Fenix 5X Plus, also consider Polar Vantage V and Suunto 9
      • Best triathlon watch for those who complete an Ironman Racing – Garmin 935, either Polar Vantage and also consider Suunto 9
      • Best triathlon watch with most accurate GPS: Polar V800, Suunto AMBIT3, Suunto SPARTAN SPORT or SPARTAN TRAINER
      • Best triathlon watch for optical HR accuracy – None!! Different vendor solutions will work with different degrees of accuracy on different people. Suunto’s optical HR works in water. Garmin’s does not. I think it is likely that Polar Vantage may take this honour in 2019 if Polar deliver on some of the oHR features they presented to the media in 2018.
      • Best triathlon watch with proper & widespread power meter compatability – Garmin 935/945/MARQ/Fenix 5 Plus/920XT
      • Best triathlon watch to give a HR data for the full race – Polar V800 and Polar Vantage are the only devices that will give LIVE HR underwater – the V800 via a H7/H10 HRM and the Vantage via oHR.. Suunto and Garmin cache HR data but SPARTAN/9/935/Fenix/920XT all can retrieve cached HR swim data.
      • Best triathlon watch newcommer for 2018…easy Polar Vantage V
      • Best triathlon watch for ‘smarts’ – Apple Watch 4 – fine for casual triathlon – the 945 might possibly usurp the Apple Watch

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the5krunner’s Triathlon Watch

I now have and use a Forerunner 935, a Polar Vantage V and a Suunto 9.!! I borrow other devices from friends or PRs from time to time as I never quite have enough devices 😉

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I bought the Forerunner 935 in Q1.2017 it’s undoubtedly the best pro triathlon watch

I will buy the 945 in Q2 2019

Garmin Forerunner 935

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Pro Extras for Accuracy

If you want accurate actionable data from the best triathlon watch you also need this lot (sigh…more expense)

Best Amazon/REI/Wiggle/PMC price is linked to. Prices likely to fall below existing level from 2018 onwards £240/$340/Eu300. Buying from my partners supports this site.

Best Triathlon Watch – Summary

Remember: For your FIRST triathlon just use any waterproof watch you currently have, practice transitions, train appropriately and enjoy the race experience. You don’t NEED a watch.

The Garmin Forerunner 935 (945) is the Best Triathlon Watch. If you are going to take triathlon super seriously then you would buy either that, a Fenix 5 Plus (5S Plus) or the 920XT. A Vantage+STRYD+HRM is also a valid choice.

There are MANY scenarios I’ve covered where an alternative choice would also make sense if, for example, you have: a limited budget; thin wrists; a need for accuracy; or just simply a certain aesthetic desire.

Spend wisely and have great fun training and racing.

I need support to keep this blog going. It takes vast amounts of time away from my day job. I appreciate you are probably looking for the best-priced deal. If you click on any of the Amazon links to buy anything then I get a small commission from whatever you buy. Remember hopefully I helped save you a few hundred dollars/pounds/Euros by not buying the wrong watch.

power meter city

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If you want to help support this blog I’d really appreciate it. Anything you buy from the Amazon links or  PowerMeterCity (10% discount code – the5krunner10 on most products or 10% store credit) supports what I do – you either get  the same price or a discount (PMC). And this blog all takes a huge amount of time. Thank you.

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Garmin Forerunner 935

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Best Amazon/REI/Wiggle/PMC price is linked to. Prices could fall below existing level from 2019 onwards £249/$259/Eu279. Buying from my partners supports this site.

Best Amazon/REI/Wiggle/PMC price is linked to. Prices could fall below existing level from 2019 onwards £439/$499/Eu499. Buying from my partners supports this site.

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Garmin Fenix 5S

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Garmin Fenix 5X

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Garmin Fenix 5

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42 thoughts on “🥇 Best Triathlon Watch 2019 | Detailed Top 10 Tri Comparison Recommendation

  1. you ask for 2016 so my bet: Ambit4, solar powered (if sun goes down the licensed Seiko cinetic drive takes over), POD less (everything comes from the watch or the super smart sensor II) and Sundays it will make French toast, for Boris: it will have a step counter as well 🙂

  2. I am not a triathlete but enjoy jogging and swimming, I am terrible at counting laps or distance and would like a watch preferably to tell me what stroke and how many laps and how far I have run (even on a circle track). Can anyone suggest a good watch? I was looking at Tom Tom Multi-sport watch but was recently told it no longer available.

    • I have the Garmin Vivoactive, which is perfect for lap swimming and running. And it’s not crazy expensive like many of the others. The newest version has the built-in HR monitor.

        • Hi the5krunner, I recently bought a Garmin Vivoactive HR & I can confirm after I used already now more than 2 months: it’s an awesome smart watch! Totally worth the price, I use for cycling & running, had a Half Marathon already with that watch, GPS tracking + HR is really accurate both in this little smart watch. At the beginning I used with my good old Garmin Edge 500 to compare the stats, data of my cycling & running & yep, the Vivoactive HR is pretty accurate, I really enjoy to use. 🙂

  3. Good review, thanks.
    One thing that matters to me is how easy it is to get the data from the watch to my chosen training diary. I use Sport Tracks and with Polar devices I have to first upload to Polar Flow then export to computer then import to Sport Tracks. Quite long winded! With my Garmin the file automatically transfers to my computer via Ant making it a single step import to Sport Tracks.

  4. I currently have last year’s Garmin VivoActive, but it doesn’t have an integrated HR monitor (like the new one), which I definitely want/need. Having a wrist-based monitor is most important for me. And I would love to upgrade to a true multisport watch for training and tri’s, but one that doesn’t break the bank! I’m super interested to hear what’s announced in the coming months, since it seems like Garmin is going mostly wrist-based, and I’m sure others will follow if they haven’t already.

  5. I am interested in this comment: “FWIW 1: For a xmas present for 2016 PERSONALLY I would want a Suunto Spartan ULTRA (not sport).” I am aware you have test copies of both devices. Is this to do with battery life?

    • ty firechimp for the question, I was hoping to get away without that one coming!!. Sad to say it’s solely because it’s very, very slightly prettier in the all black ULTRA!! The SPORT has a shiny metal bezel. Having said that, and trying to come up with a more professional answer (ahem), I think the purchaser has to see SPARTAN as a longer term investment in the development of the SPARTAN platform. It’s likely that the firmware differences in the two may become more apparent as firmware is rolled out over the coming few years. Personally I see myself doing more non-tri things in the coming years so ULTRA will most likely be the best fit.

      • Thanks for the answer.

        “Pretty” is a rare descriptor for many of the sports watches of recent years so this has to be seen as good thing (see new copper version… bit early?))! Especially so, with the increase in competition from less historically sporting brands and blurring of the lines with the smartwatch segment.

        I am aware of some of the issues and comments around the Spartan platform being quite erm “raw” to say the least. Even on Suunto’s own site it only has 2 stars which cannot be good for consumer confidence in the product. I personally hope they make a success of it, as numerous true sports brands as competitors must be better for driving the correct innovations. However we will see with passing of time.

        Keep up the good work!

  6. I bought my Polar V800 November 2014. After a while the battery charging area was swollen due to corrosion. Apparently a 1sr. gen problem. Polar immediately, and in a very friendly manner, swapped the watch. No problem at all since then! I wear the watch 24/7, swim-bike-run 10h weekly, and so far not a heartbeat missed. After heavy and daily use the watch still looks like new. I am very pleased with the meaningful updates and at the same time the features accommodate my needs. With all this positive it brings me to one single point of improvement. I am bridging my PM Ant+ data with a Viiiiva HRM, which perhaps offset the recovery recommendations because not using the Polar HR belt? Polar – please include Ant+ going forward! But wait! – why not buy another watch? No, I like the look and the build quality (and the brand).
    Then a word off appreciation for this site. In my opinion it hits the “nerve” what these “gadgets” are all about for the majority of us (and apparently many pro´s also).
    5Krunner – thanks for a great site!

  7. Hi there, I am looking for a triathlon watch – and the Suunto Ambit Sport 3 is calling to me – mainly because of the price! The main functions I am interested in are :

    1. swimming metrics , hr , laps , etc in a 33 m pool.
    2. Ultras/marathon running – I use a run/walk method (dodgy knees) – will the watch still work fine in gps + hr + interval mode for 8-10 hours?
    3. easy triathlon mode
    4. open water swims with good gps accuracy – so I know where I am going off course and how many extra meters I end of swimming.
    5. Swim-cycle-run brick sessions.
    6. (possibly calories from weight training, boxing?? or Am I asking for too much!)

    I feel given the £150-200 price of the Suunto HR in comparison to Polar V800 HRM (£250+), Garmin being out of my price range, Suunto would be the best option here. I have gone through all your reviews and Suunto seems to be my best option.

    Any advice appreciated!

  8. I read somewhere that there will be some news coming from Suunto in the end of March 2017. If this rumour is true, could it be the Suunto Spartan Sport WHR that will be released? This since there have been several improvements in the Suunto Spartan software recently in regards to 24/7 tracking?

      • Thanks for a great review – after much study and soul searching I have just purchased a Garmin 935.
        Which very neatly proves your point that the slowest swimmer in the swim squad will be wearing the most expensive sports watch…sad but true.

        Thanks again for all the hard work!!

  9. You mention “Stryd (& EPOC, don’t know what that is)” support on the Ambit’s in a way that makes it sound like a feature not on the V800, however the V800 also supports Stryd, has for awhile in some limited fashion, and fully as of this spring/summer updates. Your picture caption seems to clearly indicate it (one of the 3 mentioned with “Stryd:”), but the text seems to imply that it doesn’t compared to the Ambit’s. Just pointing out a little clarity item there.

    • thanks Chris.
      i’ll have a look at that.
      this post is fairly old but has been updated. it’s quite long and likely I overlooked a few bits.
      yes I have done various pieces on stryd+various devices, including v800 when the compatibility was first announced.

  10. Enjoyed your take. Although I prefer the Stryd Foot Pod over the Pioneer. Tried them both. Sometimes changing the battery in the Pioneer screwed up the electronics. Then went to the foot pod which has its own USB charger. When you buy an Ambit3 Sport ( not RUN ), you get a chest strap HRM comes with it. For me the cheapest way to go was thru Ebay. Reconditioned Ambit3 Sport and 920XT. Along with the Stryd Foot Pod. HR – Power – Cadence

    • yep I liked the pioneer at the time but the footpod has won me over.
      ebay – yep, often cheap.
      amazon is weird sometimes really expensive from 3rd parties but once amazon have bought too much stock of their own then super cheap. sigh
      reconditioned – no, I definitely wouldn’t do that. they were originally sent back for a reason (isent back maybe 5? 6? 920xts over a few years)

      • Well, I have been lucky so far. But I do not use them for swimming.
        Also, I do not own a Smart Phone. So, no Apps for me to deal with.
        And, I do not let them discharge to under about 50%. Keep them on their
        chargers when not in use. I do not know if that has any problems with
        their lifespan. I have only been using the watches for about 18 months now
        with no failures. Sometimes one of my 910XTs becomes squirrely. But
        I turn it off and back on to clear it.

  11. I just damaged my aging V800 while replacing the strap (those pins REALLY didn’t want to come out). It’s still soldiering on but I thought I’d see what’s out there when it gives up the ghost. How disappointing to find that the best watch in my price bracket is … another V800! The thing is what, 4 years old?! Maybe the Suunto is worth looking into, because the V800 looks like a museum piece these days. I love it, but I don’t wear it for its looks!

  12. If I buy a wahoo tickr or garmin heart rate monitor can i connect it to my iphone, my elemnt bolt (bike computer) and a garmin watch all at the same time? Or am i limited to just one or two of the 3?

    Thank you in advance!

    • the tickr X has the ability to SIMULTANEOUSLY pair with one bluetooth smart connection (ios) and unlimited ANT+ connections (elemnt, garmin)
      the garmin hrm-dual has the ability to SIMULTANEOUSLY pair with two bluetooth smart connections (ios + either elemnt or some garmin models like 935) and unlimited ANT+ connections (elemnt, garmin)
      the garmin hrm-tri/run/swim has the ability to pair with unlimited ANT+ connections (elemnt, garmin)

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