Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro Preview
The Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro Stealth is certainly a mouthful but probably better than SSSWHRBS.
I’m feeling sorry for myself today having just failed to get a 10 mile PB. Writing a full review takes a looong time so I got the camera out and enjoyed the sun…oh yes and I enjoyed playing with the Sport BARO too. It’s nice, I like it. Here’s why…
What is it?
It’s currently Suunto’s ONLY outdoor offering WITH a barometer AND optical HR. The SPARTAN ULTRA is a slightly bigger beast with the same firmware and bigger, better battery life but no optical HR.
It’s the same watch format as the popular SPORT WHR but, funnily enough, with the addition of a barometer. There are also a few tweaky things I’ve spotted too.
This post might morph into a Spartan Sport Baro review over time but for now I will just chat about some differences to previous models with the aid of images. I’ve also included some early and good GPS test results.
It’s NOT an optical HR version of the ULTRA. Well…not quite.
2x Suunto Baro’s – Stealth vs. Amber
The most obvious visual difference of these 2 Baro’s is that the one on the right has a orange strap (Amber model) and the Stealth model on the right is black. Looking closer you can also see the bezels are similar.
What you can’t see is that the Amber model is not real 😉 It’s a sales demo version. But the real equivalent does exist.
Suunto recently announced the ability to customise watches. The BARO models are not yet listed as being able to be customised. No doubt that will change soon enough (link to: suunto.com).
Suunto BARO – side view
No great surprises here. The BARO is pretty much the same as the Suunto Spartan Sport WHR (review linked immediately below)
As already discussed the bezels are subtly different but you can also see the small circle on the side of the bottom, black model. That’s for the barometer.
The main ‘case’ construction is the same as the regular SPORT models and the image above shows it in 2 ‘colours/finishes’. Once customisation is possible with the BARO then the case options will likely increase notably.
Suunto’s BARO vs. ULTRA
At the top is the SPARTAN SPORT WHR, the SPARTAN ULTRA is in the middle and the SPARTAN SPORT WHR BARO on the bottom.
The point of showing this is twofold. both to demonstrate the extra thickness of the ULTRA but also show the ULTRA and BARO sharing the holes in the side for the barometer.
Suunto BARO Buttons
The button placement is identical on these 4 from top to bottom: SPORT WHR, SPORT, BARO Amber (demo), BARO Stealth.
You can probably get a flavour of the different case materials too.
The keen-eyed amongst you might have already noticed something else that’s different. The BARO models straps lie flat. From my perspective I can’t tell you how wonderful this is as it makes taking images SO much easier.
Suunto BARO Straps
I measured the straps to be 25mm wide and, as you can clearly see, they are removable and presumably interchangeable with many others.
Perhaps you need to use an extra-long strap to go on the outside of your coat in the Winter? Not quite sure how you would then use the optical HR but, not to worry, you can use a BLE heart rate strap instead of the optical WHR.
Suunto BARO ‘new’ baro/altimeter screens
Here are the new screens for the SPORT BARO ie altitude and air pressure. It’s exactly the same as on the ULTRA model, as shown below.
Hiking profile and menu options
These options are not new.
There’s a hiking profile. There’s compass stuff including declination. There’s position format stuff. and there is a reference altitude that you can set at POIs which seems to automatically set my altitude correctly when it finds the place I have set as a POI with a known altitude eg my home!
The ski/snowboard profile has been expanded to include some new ski metrics, specific to the ‘runs’ you make down the pistes.
It’s quite likely that the main purpose and timing of the Suunto BARO is to offer hardware and software for the impending ski season. ie a sports watch with baro altimetry and some new ski/snowboard metrics.
Generally the SPARTAN SPORT+TRAINER devices have been AWESOME in my experience with GPS. And I mean GPS and NOT GPS+GLONASS. Generally I’m not impressed by GLONASS.
I’ve specifically re-tested the BARO just because I had variable results with the 3x SPARTAN SPORTs when compared 2x SPARTAN ULTRAs. In my experience, not all SPARTANs are made equal…
To cut a long story short; the BARO performed excellently in my standard test and is up there with the very best. You can look at the image to the right but it probably won’t tell you too much 😉 so here is a link to my GPS Test methodology & analysis (link to: the5krunner.com). There are also all the source files there if you want to perform your own analyses. oh yes, anda league table as well in the spreadsheet. Suunto does very well.
I will stress that my overall opinion of GPS accuracy is not simply formed by one or two repeated tests over the same route. I use my normal training experiences too. The standard test IS a hard one and acts as a sense check. So far I’ve seen nothing unusual with GPS only.
My advice for GLONASS would be to only consider enabling it in city centres and mountains and forests.
Optical HR Accuracy
Optical HR accuracy has so far been in line with what I found on the SPARTAN SPORT WHR (non-BARO). That review is linked to below and you can see the HR comparisons there. Performances ranges from ‘meh’ to fairly good. But that’s just on me. Other people with different physiology have had totally different experiences with the optical HR accuracy. I’ve even lent my watch to other people and they get better results.
So if oHR accuracy is very important to you I can only recommend buying from somewhere where returns are easy if you don’t get on with it.
FAQs & Tidbits
Q: Why is it a BARO version of the SPARTAN SPORT WHR rather than a WHR version of the ULTRA.
A: In best battery mode, the ULTRA is 18 hours and the BARO is 10 hours. Perhaps also adding a WHR sensor to the ULTRA would have made it heavier and thus ‘bouncier’, which sounds trivial but would likely reduce WHR accuracy.
|Best (1 second record)||Good||Okay (1 minute record)|
|Spartan Ultra||18 h||35 h||140 h|
|Spartan Sport||10 h||25 h||80 h|
|Spartan Sport WHR Baro||10 h||20 h||40 h|
Q: What about FusedAlti?
A: FusedAlti was originally announced with the very first SPARTAN. It’s a combination of GPS-derived altitude and Barometrically-derived altitude. There was also FusedSpeed announced to with a combo of GPS speed and footpod speed. FusedAlti is supposedly on the BARO (Source: dcrainmker.com) but I’d kinda assumed it had been there all along. Normally when I assume things they inevitably turn out to be wrong.
Q: Are there any other differences
A: One difference with the BARO model is that the bezel is RAISED EVEN HIGHER above the glass. Even higher than on the ULTRA. This will increase the protection offered to the glass. The Spartan Sport has a ‘flush’ glass and bezel and the ULTRA has a very slightly raised bezel. Now you know.
A: Both the straps I have are subtly different in texture/pattern to previous ones. My knowledge of Suunto straps is somewhat limited to the 6 SPARTANs I have here. These straps are new to me!
A: Oh yes there’s the storm alarm and the inclusion of altitude in some watch faces.
Q: What about accuracy testing
A: I’m definitely going to do something more on accuracy. I have had two ULTRA models and they were not as good as the SPORTs for GPS accuracy. The SPORTs have all been excellent with GPS accuracy (market-leading…unlike the Fenix 5X..oh dear). I always have tended to use just GPS unless under tree cover or in built-up areas and DCR has had something similar confirmed from Suunto on this point with the BARO basically saying to turn off GLONASS unless near large buildings.
Q: Any firmware updates FOR OUTDOORS functionality?
A: Funny you should ask. There is a new firmware coming out on Tuesday 17th October 2017.
…the outdoors update coming to the Spartan collection, there’s increased battery runtimes in “good” GPS mode, updates to navigation to (start to) use POI, storm alarm, and new downhill (sports) features which will be a lot of fun for trail runners and even better for Alpine skiing or snowboarding…
Q: What about new watch faces?
The BARO has new watch faces. These do NOT appear to be on other models yet with the v1.1.58 firmware. Not all of my SPARTANs will update to the latest firmware yet. BUT some have…no new watch faces on those. So the new watch face, below, has sunrise/sunset/altitude and other info that can be toggled. I’ll produce a slideshow if anyone is REALLY interested in that (please ask below)Source: zhangschmidt.com
The GPS watch for athletic multisport:
- Spartan Sport: Battery life 10h in training mode (up to 80h with Power Save Options)
- Spartan Sport Wrist HR / Baro: Battery life 10h in training mode (up to 40h with Power Save Options)
- Steel bezel, mineral crystal glass
- Outdoor-grade color touch screen
- 100 m water resistance
- Barometric altitude (Sport Wrist HR Baro)
- GPS/GLONASS route navigation with POIs and breadcrumb view
- Sport expertise and support for over 80 sports with racing and interval use
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20 thoughts on “Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro Preview Stealth+Amber”
The SSSWHRB Amber really interests me, mainly I think because it’s only watch I’ve seen <=£500 that looks the part (I still think that matters if it’s something you choose as your primary watch).
However, I’m torn at the moment between this and the Fenix 5. Trying to weigh up all the pro’s and cons among the various reviews and feedback from other sites and still there’s no definitive answer.
Can someone, anyone, give a reasoned argument as to why you’d spend your own hard earned on either of these watches???
try this: https://the5krunner.com/2017/11/20/garmin-fenix-5-review-honesty-didnt-pay/. most stuff youread will be either intentionally biased or based on ignorance/lack of research.
in my opinion looks are important for a primary watch
Thanks, I clocked this the other day and enjoyed the read!
Might I ask what you currently use as your watch of choice and the reason you chose it over the competitors?
It’s not a fair question for me to answer as I HAVE to use devices that I otherwise wouldn’t use. so my answer wouldn not necessarily help you or anyone else.!!!!!!!!!
look at the pages currently linked to on the home page eg best running watch, best bike computer, etc. they should answer the question you should have asked 😉
Too wiley to take that bait…. 😉
I guess what I’m after is the reassurance that I’m choosing the right equipment for the right reasons, and although everyone has their own requirements/preferences specific to them there surely has to be commonality between the readers/writers on here.
Well seeing both the Fenix and baro at £400 yesterday made the decision tougher still but ok more for the baro that will arrive Tuesday. Time will tell whether that was the right move or not I suppose
Does the Spartan Baro display Temperature?
yes TEMPERATURE is a field you can add
How can one add the temperature field ?
all fields that can be added will be in movescount. there should be new ones added next week.
i bought the spartan baro and i feel like there is some missing features in the watch like:
1) when there is more the one unread whatsapp message it want show you the rest
2) cant lock display and only had “dont disturb” option
3) there isn’t any digital seconds watch face
4) watch face analog second display turn off when standby mode kicks in..
5) while locked cant scroll between screen in activity mode
6) no temperature display in watchface
7) countdown timer won’t let set time with seconds such as 1:45
8) no interval timer without turn on exercise mode
some of those are quite specific.
there is a firmware relase due next week. maybe some will be addressed
really hope so, i wish there was a way letting suunto’s tech stuff how important those things are…. in my opinion it also very simple to fix…
i THINK that the strategy for Suunto is that they wnat to maximise new fuctional areas ASAP for SPARTAN – mainly becuase they started out lacking in a few areas.
I suspect that ‘little’ changes add no value to the headline marketing message but consume resources.
Do you think is worth it over a Fenix 3hr, for activities like hiking and running?
no, unless there is a very specific feature you ‘need’
I’ve only recently stumbled onto this site, which I like a lot….
I currently own a Garmin VA3 and have previously owned the Fenix3HR.
I’m very disappointed with the VA3 and also Garmins Customer Support….
I’m thinking about making the switch to the SUUNTO SSWHR Baro.
I was wondering if any of you have experience with the SUUNTO Smartbelt
I was thinking about buying the bundle…
For 2 reasons
1 I do a lot of swimming and it seems that the Spartan Trainer supports the oHR during swimming but the Spartan Sport doesn’t (I know about the whole discussion with oHR in water…. – the VA3 used to have a bug where oHR didn’t actually shut off during swimming and the data I got looked good…)
2 I was hoping that using the heart rate belt instead of the oHR would extend the watches battery life – does anyone know if that is the case?
yes the battery life will be extended. by how much, i don’t know. when you pool swim there is no GPS on either…that will significantly extend battery life by not having GP+ohr
interesting about the va3 hr bug.
Thanks for the quick reply. Yes it was strange the first time. The watch said Heartrate disabled but when I got out of the pool the heartrate was monitored. The latest software update killed that bug ?
I’ve written SUUNTO and asked them to allow oHR on the Spartan Sport as well – fingers crossed
Right now I’m holding of because I’ve got this gut feeling that there is some more announcements coming when they release the Fitness 3
That adaptive training feature is very interesting
Their current spring sale on the Ultra ans Spartan Sport make me wonder about some unannounced minor update to the line….
Could you tell me – I’ve got a very big wrist….(21cm)
What is the length of the watch from the tip of the watch band all the way to the tip of the buckle…..
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