Suunto vs Polar & Garmin GPS Tests – again – this time harder

TomTom Runner 3 Spark
TomTom Runner 3 – pretty accurate in my experience

I did some more GPS tests with the Spartan Sport. This time more challenging.

Once again it did quite well. Sorry! I can only say what I find, maybe I have a good one? Maybe the pre-workout sync and dummy run make a difference? – which I have noted before.


This time I’ve put the workout files of all 4 watches in <this folder> in full.

There’s also a spreadsheet there where I score various parts of the run. On this occasion, the other watches were: TomTom Runner 3/Spark 3, Garmin 235 and Polar V800. Just look at the spreadsheet if you are pressed for time and please note I’ll spruce it up as time passes – got to prep for work tomorrow! Other watches/workouts will be added over time to this spreadsheet/folder.

In my opinion the Suunto and the TomTom drew as relatively clear winners over Garmin and the V800. The two winners were notably better at medium-difficulty GPS tasks. The V800 was not too great at all. However I point out that it was worn inside the wrist. For fairness, the test will be repeated for the V800 at some point and I will also do the Spartan ULTRA as well.

<This post> also looks at the methodology I follow. I’m not a scientist but I ‘d say it was an OK methodology and that the 11 mile test offers several typical challenges. Any suggestions for improvement welcomed – please note I have limited time so I can gladly implement straightforward changes.

Here is an excerpt from the top of the route. Well into the test. The section shown covers several KMs. The v800 (Orange) is still bad after several KM AND after obtaining a (presumably weak) fix. The green Garmin 235 struggles a bit at times. The bits where the (red) TomTom stands out are generally where it is correct and the others wrong.

Yellow=Polar, Green=Garmin
Yellow=Polar, Green=Garmin

Note: These results are consistent with earlier, relatively undemanding tests which I published summary comments on <here>, <here>, <here>, <here> and <here>.

Note: I appreciate many others have issues with the GPS on the SPARTAN and I note that Suunto acknowledge a GPS bug (unspecified in nature AFAIK). I note @fellrnr’s negative comments on the Spartan’s GPS accuracy and that his tests are probably the most rigorous of anyone on the net.

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4 thoughts on “Suunto vs Polar & Garmin GPS Tests – again – this time harder

  1. If you have the antenna downwards, how can you expect to get proper results? That’s like using a snorkel with the pipe pointing down and wondering why you can’t breath.

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