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In Review: Suunto Spartan Sport WHR

Posted by on 15. August 2017

Suunto Spartan Sport WHR brings the usual effective GPS and heart rate monitoring without the chest strap.  It uses a wrist heart rate monitor using optical sensors.  I find it a lot more comfortable without the chest strap because the chest tends to expand during uphill climbs on trails and mountains.

Suunto Spartan Sport WHR

Sometimes all you have to do is START.

Sometimes all you have to do is START.

Heart rate monitors is a great way to assess when you would push or pull your effort.  It can help determine your progress when it comes to training.  When you lack training, your heart beat shoots up immediately because it’s not used to the effort.  The more you train, the better you get at managing your heart rate and the faster you recover.  The same goes at managing your efforts during the race, if you push yourself to much, chances are you’re gonna bonk and would be harder to grab your second wind.  On a bigger picture, training with HR monitors can also gauge your overall fitness level as your workouts and efforts are measured more accurately.

Me vs Heart Rate Monitors

After my heart rate peaking after a long steep climb, I start to recover on the flats.

After my heart rate peaking after a long steep climb, I start to recover on the flats.

I train with heart rates regularly and is key in my races especially when I went on with my marathons, it really helped me manage the efforts.  When I switched to trails, there were times I’d use a heart rate and there where times I didn’t.  The chest strap felt uncomfortable especially as my chest expands during climbs. The lung power is on overdrive on the climbs so it tends to expand.  I went with feel especially since trail paces are slower than road races.  Still, I was looking at the advantage of seeing if I can push it further.  It still a lot better to wear heart rate monitors as it can really be advantage in managing your pace.

I’m a Suunto Boy

At Color Manila Challenge

When Suunto came out with Suunto Spartan Sport WHR, I knew that this was the one product I wanted.  I then had a chance to review it.  I’ve been a Suunto user since 2013 and never have used a different brand since then.  I started with the Suunto Ambit 2 Sport, which uses Ant+ and I still uses it with my bike since it’s cadence sensor is Ant+.  I switched for Suunto Ambit 3 Sports, which uses Bluetooth technology for better connectivity with mobile apps.  I also got to review Suunto Spartan Ultra and Spartan Sport, which is a big upgrade for Suunto using colored interface and more activity monitors.  Now, the Suunto Spartan Sport WHR is in Review.

Reasons I love Suunto

Suunto on Trails

Suunto Spartan Sport WHR on Trails

  1. GPS detection is fast.  It takes only a few seconds to detect GPS and you’re good to go.
  2. Easy to customize views and setting. Suunto measures a lot of metrics and you can customize your views.  My key metrics are distance, average lap pace, duration, cadence, heart rate and altitude.  With several windows, I get to mix it up.
  3. Lap summary – Included in the Suunto views is a lap summary with distance, pace and cadence.
  4. Cadence – Suunto can measure your cadence without a footpod using arms sways.  It can even measure your pace when you’re on the threadmill without GPS using your cadence.
  5. Battery Life – It’s longer than the average GPS watch. Battery life can last up to 12 hours in training mode. Suunto Spartan Sport also has a power save option to extend the battery life.
  6. Navigation – Suunto has a track back feature you can use when you get lost.  You can also save maps using GPX file, which you can use to guide you on the trail.
  7. Everyday watch – It can be worn everyday and on all occasions.
  8. Movescount App and Video Recap of your workout – Moverscount gives you all the metrics you need and it also has a video recap of your route using the movescount app.

Suunto Spartan Sport WHR In Review

Using Suunto at Salomon Xtrail 2017

Using Suunto at Salomon Xtrail 2017 – Photo by Paksit Photos

I used Suunto Spartan Sport for the first time at Salomon XTrail Pilipinas 2017 12K race.  Since I haven’t used Heart Rate Monitors for quite some time, it was on a getting to know phase back again at the start of the race.  With a bit warmer weather and a fast start, my heart rate went up real fast entering the trail head.  It took me time to recover as the trails went immediately uphill on really muddy dragging terrain.  By the midpoint of the race, I was back in control of my pace and effort.  It took me time to get used to.  Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas is always a tough race and I guess I pushed myself just right for this one.

Using Suunto at Color Manila Challenge

Using Suunto at Color Manila Challenge

The next race at Color Manila Challenge, I was on a relaxed pace but the rolling terrain at Bayani Road was a real challenge.  While it was a fun run, I played with my pace something running on the climbs to test how fast I can recover and it really helped that I can check my heart rate level with the Suunto Spartan Sport WHR.  Compared to a week ago, I was now better at managing my heart rate in a race and that’s because I’m starting to relearn proper pacing in a race.

Using Suunto Spartan Sport WHR at Double Terrain Challenge

Using Suunto Spartan Sport WHR at Double Terrain Challenge

The following week I was at the Double Terrain Challenge.  I’m in a much better condition, which makes managing my heart rate levels better. Even on a wet and wild condition, I was able to breeze through the flat and downhills before going on a steady pace on the river trek and the climb.  End result, I had a really good time despite the wild conditions – muddy trails, slippery rock surfaces, steep climbs on wet trails and a lot more.

That’s 3 different races and there’s a big shift in performance with just proper heart rate monitoring with the Suunto Spartan Sport WHR.  I guess the only drawback I see is that it consumes more battery with the wrist heart rate monitor compared to other Spartan Models.  That can be remedied by going on power saving mode.

Peaking at 181 on Training mode and stabilizing at 86 on rest mode.

Peaking at 181 on Training mode and stabilizing at 86 on rest mode.

Suunto Spartan Sport WHR can also be used as a regular day  to day watch and can be an activity monitor that tracks your steps and Heart Rate.  I really like the heart rate monitoring part as you can see how your body reacts on your activities like sleeping, climbing a flight of stairs, drinking a cup of coffee and others.  It’s gonna help you understand your heart rate levels better.

That immediate surge was after my morning coffee.

That immediate surge was after my morning coffee.

Suunto Spartan Sport WHR iis definitely something I need to train and race more efficiently.  It’s definitely on my to buy list especially when I eventually retire my Suunto Ambit 3 Sport

31 Responses to In Review: Suunto Spartan Sport WHR

  1. Rebekah (@rebekaheliz)

    how cool! I love in-depth reviews like this. I might have to get my uncle one of these

  2. Our Family World

    I do not do any running but I would love to have a heart rate monitor like that. It would be so convenient to have all that information in a little gadget I can wear on my wrist everyday. Thanks for the review. I am checking this out.

  3. Summer Mitch Ryan

    Cool! It looks so trendy that even if you’re not running or doing anything physical it would just feel great to wear it.

  4. Mommy Levy

    I bought a cheap smart watch from Lazada last month and I regret doing that because I’m not happy with my purchase (di kasi ako muna nag search). May I know how much is this watch? looks expensive.

  5. Joei

    I started training for a half marathon last year and it was only then I realized the importance of GPS and heart rate monitors! I’ve tried a number of gadgets and watches of different brands but I haven’t tried Suunto yet.


  6. Louisa Moje

    This review is amazing! I have a Fitbit but this Suunto Spartan Sport WHR looks very cool. I love the graphs and additional insights it provides.

  7. chewoutloud

    Nice! I stick with my trusty Garmin, but my son is looking for something like this!

  8. Fred

    Since I do not run, I have not ever worn a heart rate monitor. It is imperative to buy one of good quality to monitor heart rate and other pertinent health info.

  9. Elizabeth O

    This Suunto Spartan Sports WHR looks so interesting. Thanks for the review. I will check this out.!!

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