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That picture looked familiar to me so I dug back to the press shots from the Suunto SPARTAN TRAINER release from August 2017 and found the one below. The Suunto 3 Fitness is clearly NOT a re-formatted TRAINER. It’s a different FORM with no antennae lug.
The Suunto 3 Fitness comes with Valencell’s optical HRM so that’s why I initially thought it was, instead, a variant on the SPARTAN SPORT WHR. Or is it?
Look more closely at the way the strap is attached to the main body of the watch. The Suunto 3 is like the SPARTAN SPORT WHR BARO. Not many people spotted that the BARO had that change to the band compared to the SPORT WHR. Or maybe they did and it wasn’t so interesting in itself!
The BARO has a ‘featured’ bezel and the Suunto 3 Fitness has the smoother stainless steel bezel.
So let’s say the Suunto 3 Fitness is a slightly more dressy version of the WHR BARO?
Except that’s not right either. If you look below you will see an image of the Suunto 3 that has 5 buttons. Like the Spartan Trainer. We’re back where we started!
Oh. And apparently it’s a bit smaller than the SPARTAN SPORT/ULTRA too. So that would make it SPARTAN trainer-sized.
OK, so it’s a new watch format! 😉 Albeit with SPARTAN firmware. Or a WHR BARO with a nice bezel and 2 more buttons!
Here is an interesting screenshot from Fristbeat.com about the same watch.
Suunto are also now starting to mention their hook-up with Firstbeat. Firstbeat provide several heart-rate based pieces of individual functionality to a variety of watch companies ranging from PulseOn to Garmin. And Suunto.
First-up, Suunto are providing a new piece of training GUIDANCE. Look at this image
OK. It’s not overly exciting in itself. But Suunto are today saying that they are providing ADAPTIVE TRAINING guidance.
Training with Suunto 3 Fitness is easy. The watch automatically creates seven-day training plans, using the user’s fitness level and overall exercise history as a base. However, if the user misses an exercise, or does more than planned, Suunto 3 Fitness automatically adapts the training plan accordingly. Additional real-time guidance with heart rate zones help ensure the right intensity. Source: Suunto
IF the mechanics of that are physiologically sound across all age groups and abilities, then that is probably THE best approach for MOST people to train to achieve the most benefit. I looked at adaptive training methods a few years back in quite some detail for non-the5krunner stuff and ithlete did some studies recently in the same field.
The objection from atheltes would be that they would much prefer complex, structured WORKOUT integration. ie they want detailed daily instructions for an overall (coached-) plan that they are following. The Suunto adaptive training seems to give more generic, high-level daily targets for an adaptive weekly schedule. Not quite the same thing.
HOWEVER. Let’s hold fire for now.
“Firstbeat’s Personalized Training Plans rely on the combination of expert training advice and ongoing analysis of your personal training data. Your goals and training ambitions are interpreted in light of your personal background information, current VO2max fitness level, and training history. Training Effect is utilized to guide your daily activity prescriptions towards the perfect level for you. Recovery Time feedback ensures you receive the maximum benefit of your efforts with a healthy, balanced approach. The result is a highly personalized method of training prescription that automatically adapts based on your individual needs.” Source: Firstbeat
Indeed the adaptive training guidance algorithm may well derive from the once excellent, but now withdrawn, Firstbeat Athlete consumer software. (Edit: Firstbeat confirm THIS IS TRUE)
So maybe I can move from an intially grumpy “Where’s my complex, structured workouts’ to ‘Cool! it’s got state-of-the-art adaptive training’. That’s a big MAYBE.
Heart Rate Zones: In today’s press release Suunto have announced that they are supporting heart rate zones “real-time guidance with heart rate zones help ensure the right intensity.” More details will follow on that next week.
Sleep Quality & VO2max
So it also looks like Suunto are implementing 3 of these (link to: Firstbeat.com) standard Firstbeat features/algorithms.
VERY interestingly if you click on this link to FirstbeatSleep Quality Assessment,you will see that this particular metric uses HRV. So, I reckon that Suunto are using resting levels of HRV from the Valencell sensor. I know Valencell were working on that a few years ago and that some other oHRM makers can record HRV at rest. So…why not here? (TBC, obviously)
Less interesting is the VO2max. Lot’s of people do that now. On the other hand though, it bodes well for the future of Suunto’s watches as a lot fo other Firstbeat ‘stuff’ can then be bolted on once the basic measures are established.
And finally we come to the noGPS feature. Yep that really means zero GPS. So it’s either aimed at indoor use OR people who don’t care about GPS or, perhaps, a GPS linkup via a smartphone is planned
Me being creditable: If you can pair this cheaper device with a cheap Milestone pod then who needs GPS? You get a lightweight running watch with a great battery life as it hasn’t got to power the GPS. Add in to that the use of a HR strap to avoid using the oHRM and the battery will last even longer. Maybe it can be geared towards indoor gym classes and treadmill running?
Me being less than creditable: Despite any contrived logic, excluding GPS is crazy. PLEASE TELL ME I AM WRONG, below. Ray seems to think the jury is out on this in some way and says “The question becomes will the Suunto 3 Fitness be able to achieve [happy customers/value for money] without GPS“. ?!?
Jeez…Accurate GPS was one of THE KEY AREAS where Suunto (& Polar) easily beat Garmin. At least there are some software bits that Garmin hasn’t quite yet got in the Suunto 3. Suunto’s strength has broadly been towards premium- and mid-priced watches…is the low-feature end with a mid-price point their forte?
A rather bland press release turns out, in fact, to be quite interesting.
At least I thought so