Suunto SPARTAN – new GPS algorithm + GLONASS – provisional test results in ULTRA vs SPORT

spartan-sport-vs-ultra

Ultra in red

I knew something was wrong when the autolaps were quite a bit different from each other.

With the new gps algorithm, with GLONASS enabled, and with firmware v1.6.14, I re-did my standard GPS test for the Spartan Ultra and the Spartan Sport

I followed this methodology and this precise, standard route: http://the5krunner.com/courses/test-route-for-gps-devices/. That link also has all the source files there NOW if you want to verify things or just be a bit nosey 🙂 All previous test results are there too.

Analyse away !!

For good measure I also re-did my TomTom Adventurer test from before Christmas. The last time was a total failure as I could not get the file from the device. The results SHOULD be the same as for the TomTom Runner 3/Spark 3 which previously scored very highly. I also had the 920XT for good measure (albeit in a waist belt)

I’ve not had a chance yet to analyse these results in detail as it takes a few hours. I also have to analyse some from a couple of weeks ago too. I should have that for a post next week when I will give a TOP 10 GPS accuracy list. I will also link to results from other sites who have different methodologies and results – in the sake of balance.

However I had a quick glance at the two SPARTANs. Note they were properly and fully ‘warmed up’. But as you can see from the image above there is something wrong with the ULTRA. The section shown, as well as the rest of the track, looks very good for the SPORT. Other parts of the track show the ULTRA to be WAY out too. The ULTRA actually seems WORSE than before the firmware update.

This, sort of, supports my earlier tests from several months ago on the same units. Bizarrely, then, I found the SPORT to be VERY GOOD…one of the best. And yes I appreciate no-one believed me…the files are there. But the ULTRA, even then, was not great.

So the GOOD and BAD results for the respective devices appear superficially to have carried through to the new GPS algorithm and when GLONASS is enabled. I’ll verify that over the coming days by looking at the files more closely.

My conclusion is that there is something wrong with my ULTRA.

And this leads to an uncomfortable conclusion that there may be more than one.

On a positive note, referring to the SPORT, the SPARTAN clearly has the capability to be GOOD.

FYI: Both SPARTANs, I believe, use the CSRG0530 (SiRFstarV)  chip.

0 thoughts on “Suunto SPARTAN – new GPS algorithm + GLONASS – provisional test results in ULTRA vs SPORT

  1. This is yet another source that I have read pushing me further and further away from ever purchasing a Suunto watch. Garmin has its problems, but the Spartan line has shown time and time again (from my perspective) that Suunto is just over their heads with creating a watch like this.

    Am I wrong to feel this way about them? I’ve been told that the Ambit 3 was a solid watch line but everything about the Spartan line makes it look like it was rushed/underdeveloped.

  2. Agree totally there are some bad units out there, mine is likely one of them. While the update shows some improvement I’m still seeing tracks going through houses where it cuts corners. Hopefully now a fix is out they will start to recognise where there are hardware issues and replace watches under warranty.

  3. Spartan Ultra owner here. Been having GPS issues from the start. Similar behaviour what is seen in the screenshot and sometimes the GPS goes completely haywire resulting in weird serpentine mess. I’m starting to also lean on the device to device variability after seeing how clean the Spartan Sport track in this test looks like.

    I haven’t had a chance to test the GPS after the GLONASS update (don’t do outdoor sports in the winter) but will for sure test it in the spring and if the GPS continues to perform as poorly as it has until now, I will probably exchange my unit.

    • don’t forget to get a good satellite lock first. (more than you are thinking you already do right now). google: ephemeris and/or look at my methodology for this test

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