Suunto announces new Spartan Ultra GPS watch, rolls out refreshed Movescount site


Today Suunto’s refreshing both its website as well as its flagship multisport GPS watch series.  With the website, they’re making it a bit easier to find and plan new routes, while with the watch they’re giving it a color touchscreen.  Let’s go ahead and briefly dive into things.

Movescount Site Refresh:

Movescount is Suunto’s web platform that your training data is stored on. Every activity you do on your Suunto device must go through Movescount first, even if you end up syncing the data to Strava or exporting to another 3rd party.  The platform has been around a while but hasn’t seen too many substantial changes.  The platform currently has over 100 million activities within it, which I thought was kinda interesting as I don’t believe either Garmin or Polar have ever listed even roughly how many activities they have in total.

Today brings the first set of changes, which includes a simpler user interface, as well as a heat map.  To begin from your main dashboard you’ll see a listing of activities below.  This is mostly re-arranged from the past:


In addition, they’ve added in a heat map feature.  This allows you to sort by sport in a number of major cities.


You can also select to show just your own activities, which is a pretty cool concept since most other platforms only generalize it for everyone.  Though, I’ll have to wait a few hours to show you that, since it’s not 100% cookin’ on the test site yet.


What I like about the heat map is the sport sorting capability on any activity type.  For example, I can sort by the ‘triathlon’ activity type, which is handy for finding where people are doing brick workouts that might include an openwater swim:


In addition, you’ll get a new Movescount Training Insights section that’ll give you a quick glance at totals and allow you to specify how you’re feeling, which can be used for general trending.


These changes will be made available today (within the next few hours) for all existing users, and then later this month on the mobile apps (Android/iOS) as well.

Suunto Spartan Ultra GPS Watch:

Today Suunto also announced their Spartan Ultra GPS multisport watch.  This watch is seen by Suunto themselves as the successor to the Ambit series (as noted in their press release).  You’ll remember the Ambit series started out a number of years ago being a hiking/running GPS watch, and then morphed into a multisport watch with the Ambit2 lineup.  The Ambit3 two years ago was a minor update, while then Suunto branched out with the Traverse and Ambit3 Vertical options this past fall/winter.  Those two watches got rid of the satellite bump on the wrist that was found on previous Ambit series.


With the Spartan Ultra, the physical form factor changes.  The satellite bump remains gone, and we got a color touchscreen with three dedicated buttons (down from 5 buttons).  The retention of buttons is important for multisport athletes, especially in swimming activities where pressure on touch screens underwater makes them unusable.

From a software standpoint, the unit adds in daily step tracking (with actual steps counted/shown) – a key feature that was missing from the Ambit series but added to the Traverse this past winter.  They’ve also refreshed a bit of how the interface works around recovery time as shown on the watch.  It retains a barometric altimeter and is waterproof to 100m.  It also includes sapphire crystal glass and a stainless steel or titanium bezel, depending on the model.

But aside from those two brief paragraphs, we actually know next to nothing about the watch in terms of actual features.

Seriously, nothing.

Suunto doesn’t plan to release further information until July 6th, 2016, as part of a “phased launch”.  Then they’ll begin shipping the watch sometime in August, at which point they’ll give us further yet details about the watch and future update plans.

Such a strategy seems rather peculiar to me, especially in the summer months.  It’s over the next few weeks (early June) that any remaining watch buyer hold-outs will be purchasing new watches for the popular summer sport months.  Those are the same folks that could be tempted to wait till the end of summer to upgrade if the specs are good enough.  Else, they’ll likely go to competitive devices versus waiting for an unknown.  By not releasing the full specs of the device now, Suunto is effectively making it easy for people to decide.  After all, you can buy a very capable new Ambit 3 Peak for less than half the cost of the upcoming Spartan Ultra, which will start at $699USD/649€ for the base model, and then escalates to $799/749€ for the Titanium models.  A heart rate strap is also available for $50/50€ more when bundled with either model.

Thus when I release my 2016 Summer Recommendations roundup next week, you definitely won’t find the Spartan Ultra on there.  How could I?  After all, I’ve not had any hands-on time with it, nor do we even have simple battery life specs for it.  When I pressed for clarity on that, I was simply told it will be ‘competitive’.  We also don’t know about GPS accuracy, an area the recent bump-less Suunto Traverse and Vertical have struggled with compared to the rock-solid Ambits.  Basically, we don’t know anything more than 2-3 sentences worth of specs and a few pretty pictures (though…it does look pretty).

Thus…stay tuned.  Thanks for reading all!

Update: New Suunto Spartan Details!


(Added July 7th)

Today Suunto released a bit more detailed information around the Spartan, including expansion of the series with the Spartan Sport (joining the Spartan Ultra).  This follows the same pattern that Suunto has used in the past of two price levels, with the major differentiator typically being the (lack of) barometric altimeter and usually slight changes to exterior build materials (case).  In the case of the Sport, it comes in at 150€ cheaper than the Ultra at 499€.

As part of this planned announcement update, we got more details around battery life of both units, as well as general specs.  Here’s the key things you need to know:

Cost: Starting at 649€ for Ultra, 499€ for Sport
Vibration Capabilities: Yes for Spartan series – Compared with no for Ambit3 Peak/Sport
Waterproofing: 100m for Spartan series – Just like Ambit3 Peak
Battery (GPS-on): 26hr for Ultra, 16hr for Sport – Compared with 30hr for Ambit3 Peak
Display Resolution: 320×300 for both Sport/Ultra – Compared to 128×128 for Ambit3 Peak
Color touchscreen: Yes for both Spartans – Compared with neither color or touch for Ambit3 Peak
Apps/Watch Faces: Watch faces on Spartan series, but no apps – Compared with Apps on Ambit3, but no watch faces
Altimeter: Barometric for Ultra, GPS for Sport – Compared with barometric for Ambit3 Peak, GPS for Ambit3 Sport
Sport Modes Saved on Watch: 100 for Spartan Series – Compared with 10 on Ambit3 Series
Data Fields: 2-7 fields per page + charts/graphs/curves on Spartan series – Compared with 1-3 fields on Ambit series
Purpose Specific Sport Fields (i.e. intervals vs racing, but still running): Yes for Spartan series, no for Ambit series
Display of rest/recovery/active/training/rest days on watch: Yes for Spartan, no for Ambit series
Optical HR sensor version coming in late 2016: Only on Spartan series (TBD exactly which one), and no for Ambit series.  Full details here.

Now it should be obvious that most of the changes here are really hardware focused with a new user interface.  Meaning, the majority of software-focused changes are in the changing the look/feel of the watch’s user interface.  Versus adding in a ton of new features or functions.  And in some cases, some features won’t be implemented until various points in the fall.  An example of that would be stroke type while swimming, which won’t be there initially.

Here’s a quick 4-page Excel screenshot gallery that outlines the changes between the different versions:

The one big ticket item that we kinda knew was coming was right now existing Ambit series apps won’t convert/work on the Spartan platform.  Additionally, at launch there won’t be a way to create any apps on the Spartan platform.  However, Suunto says they’re looking at what their options are for adding in that functionality down the road.

You’ll also notice (if looking at the slides gallery below) that a vast number of changes are more on the Movescount website platform, rather than the watch itself.  So you see aspects like coaching and peer groups being rolled out this fall as well.

Still, the display changes are impressive, especially the customization of it all.


No doubt battery life is the one many will focus on (for good reason). Suunto sent over some 91 slides, and two in particular do a good job of explaining both the top-line battery stats, but also how they arrive at those determinations.  You can click to expand the slides.



What’s that? You want to look at the 91 slides?  No problem.  I’ve uploaded them all into a massive gallery below.  You can click to expand one, and then just tap the arrows left/right to iterate through.  Roughly speaking the first section talks about the watch, and the last half talks about the Movescount changes.

More later this month once I’ve got a unit in-hand!  Thanks for reading!

Update: Want some videos of the Suunto Spartan Ultra? No problem – I’ve been shooting a bunch with the unit I now have.  Check out my Suunto Spartan Ultra playlist below:

Update: You can now pre-order either the Suunto Spartan Ultra or Suunto Spartan Sport from Clever Training.  In doing so you support the site, and save yourself 10% using the DCR Coupon Code DCR10BTF.  Plus, there’s free US shipping!

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  1. S-G0

    699-799?? GPS watch prices are getting increasingly insane :/

  2. Ian

    Wow, at that price point I do not see it as a replacement for tbe Ambit. If they release a future Spartan Sport at a lower price point, that make more sense, but this seems to be a competitor to the Garmin Fenix. I was hoping for something from Suunto that competes with the newly released Garmin 735XT that seems to incorporate a lot of features into a small and light package. Also I notice a lack of optical HR. Suunto are the last major vendor not to dip its toe into the optical HR watches.

    The lack of any major updates from Polar and this announcement from Suunto ms be helping Garmin sales.

  3. Rob

    Hope this time again with ANT+ … If not, Suunto failed again…

  4. Jason

    I am looking for a watch right now and I really like Suunto but just can’t see what this does over the fr235 which I still intend to buy after reading about the Spartan series.

    I saw the ad and my eyes lit up but in the end it doesn’t do anything new and costs twice as much .

    • Jason

      I for one hope Suunto never release integrated optical HR as its a clearly gimmick. Any serious athlete using HR would steer clear of optical HR until it becomes remotely usable and accurate

    • Which optical HR sensors have you tired Jason?

    • Jason

      FR235 and have seen the results of friends using the Fenix 3 HR before returning.

      Completely unusable for cycling and needed to be so tight on my wrist for running that was uncomfortable. Thats before considering practicalities of placement on your wrist during cold conditions with layers of clothing etc and being able to see your wrist.

      If you train exclusively via HR zones, like I do, accuracy matters and you are far far better with a traditional strap Suunto/Garmin or a Scosche Rhythm+.

    • Ahh, in that case, yes, Garmin’s Elevate sensor. Not the sharpest tool in the shed unfortunately.

      As you noted, the Scosche (and Mio sensors) are much better.

    • Tanel

      I hope they do incorporate optical HR at some point.
      How can optical HR in general improve if no company will integrate it to their watches. Scosche rhythm+ is very accurate. Although it can not yet measure R-R intervals. Maybe their next sensor will.
      And Garmin with their Elevate sensor is getting slowly better and more accurate.
      And it seems that Polar is also looking into optical HR with their A360 fitness tracker. We will probably see M-series getting one soon (I hope).
      I fear that whenever Suunto will come out with their own optical hr sensor and watch, they will be little bit late to the party.

    • Sparts

      Jason, you’ve read next to nothing about the Spartan Series…..you’ve seen a picture.

    • Andrew Clarke

      @Jason: I don’t understand. You state that OHRM is clearly a gimmick, but then you also state that you intend to buy a FR235. Then you go on in a later post and totally bash the FR235 OHRM along with the Fenix 3, and allude to the fact that you have at least tried them and find them uncomfortable. Which is it?

      If you don’t want an optical heart rate monitor, why not buy the Garmin FR230 instead of 235? It’s smaller and cheaper and doesn’t contain the gimmick you seem to hate so much.

      As for me, I’m happy to have an optical heart rate monitor for 24/7 monitoring, and a chest strap for exercising. That way I feel like I have flexibility and the best of both worlds.

    • Jason

      I had a 235, a gift, and returned its due to the inaccuracy. I am yet to speak to anyone in the triathlon community who uses inbuilt OHRM, its just not a serious offering. The practicalities of using it in colder climates as well make this feature unusable.

      I have seen people wear them who don’t use HR for their training, which then makes me wonder why buy such a device, but each to their own. This is the market that Garmin is targeting. Its the occasional user of HR that doesn’t use the data for any serious purpose and therefore doesn’t matter how accurate it is. I am of course purely taking about inbuilt OHRM on the watch.

      I don’t pretend to be any expert in 24/7 HR monitoring, but I fail to see how this can be useful if the data itself is inaccurate, which it is. Most watches will move around your wrist to some degree depending what you are doing. Compare your on watch data to your strap data and you will see.

    • Sebastien

      So why do you say you still intend to buy the FR235?
      I have a Fenix3 HR and I love it. I use the optical HR when I forget my strap or for impromptu hikes etc. when I didn’t think I was going to need HR, and most importantly for more accurate 24/7 tracking. I love to know what my resting HR is at all times.
      And for serious training, I use the strap and love the additional running dynamics data I get with it. Best of both worlds.
      I wouldn’t rely solely on the optical HR for serious training, it doesn’t work well enough for me (I had a TomTom Runner Cardio before), but it seems to be very user-dependent.

    • Harvey

      When you write that “I am yet to speak to anyone in the triathlon community who uses inbuilt OHRM” I wonder if “nobody in the triathlon community uses inbuilt OHRM” is a better conclusion than “my information about what members of the triathlon community use for daily heart rate monitoring is limited.”

    • Especially odd given just how many triathletes are now using the F3HR.

    • lolHR

      Here’s the problem. You train by HR.

    • Jon Rune Trengereid

      whether you can or should use the optical HR option depends greatly on what sports you do. Im not a huge fan of it, but I would still welcome any watch with it. It would be great for hiking, and most low-lvl activities, i think.

    • There’s a lot of very good reasons to supplement training by HR. There’s cases to train by pace, cases to train by power, and cases to train by HR. I think anyone that limits themselves to only one type is limiting themselves in general. A combined approach can be very helpful if done properly.

    • Jon Rune Trengereid

      I think you missed the fact that I wrote optical HR, not HR in general. 🙂

    • Jon Rune Trengereid

      And I missed the part where your comment wasn’t aimed at myself…

    • Jason

      And yet you don’t use it.

      Never said there wasn’t a market for people who don’t like using HRM straps. A large market I would suggest considering Garmins leaping right in. Kudos to Garmins sales figures.

      Still doesn’t hide the fact that no serious athlete trains with OHRM integrated into the watch who actually wants HR data.

    • Jason


      Feel free to name one serious athlete using integrated OHRM in your extensive knowledge of the triathlon community. I won’t be holding my breath waiting

    • How do you define serious? Not sure if I quality as I use optical HR sensors the vast majority of the time.

    • myneur

      I don’t use it at all on Fenix anymore. I stopped to trust it. It is unreliable, it can have 10-20 beats error for minutes without even realizing it. It can totally miss hr rise on intervals. That is the Garmin’s implementation. I am so frustrated from the Garmin’s quality I wrote had to wrote some thoughts why it can happen: link to medium.com

      I know it depends on skin and other conditions, but my results are simply terrible. Not just inaccurate, but totally off. I would describe the quality as accurate enough to trust it even though it can be couple beats off or delayed, but not completely wrong.

      TomTom did a better job by adopting Mio.

    • Tim

      I’ve read a rumour that they are planning to release a spartan version with optical HR monitoring around August time. Only a rumour though

    • myneur

      Around Christmas, they announced it in a press release.
      link to suunto.com

  5. Robert

    I’m chuffed with my polar gear, do you predict range expansion, ie sport and run models? Itching for something new and my current gear does everything I need, please send me to the funny farm

  6. Alisha Kharmoon

    there is a user guide here link to the5krunner.com but not a lot in it

  7. Asaf

    These is good news for all Suunto users, since hopefully, any new improvement will trickle down to the Ambit series (if it won’t be forgotten…). I still hope they will improve the Ambit interface by allowing 4 data screen on one page instead of just 3 (as seen on the new watch).

    • Asaf.

      The fact it’s got a complete new name, implies to me it won’t trickle back down to existing Ambits. Maybe new Ambits in the future yeah, but I reckon you won’t see much being done for the older Ambit’s now they have two new ranges out. Bug fixes yeah, but not sure about big improvements like you are talking about.

    • Given the Ambit3 Vertical features didn’t trick back to the Ambit3 Peak this past winter, I wouldn’t expect it either.

    • Matt H

      Yeah, I wasn’t too impressed by the traverse updates not coming to the Ambit 3 Peak given that the hardware is capable (barometer etc.) never mind, with tech you expect updates to stop flowing after a while (even though today the Ambit3 is STIlLL a current model).

      My biggest issue with the new movescount site is that it still doesn’t have a way to download moves in any format from a phone. Requesting the desktop site doesn’t work so I have to wait till I get home or on an iPad so I can download my moves and sync to my chosen sites. This was a function that was removed a couple of iterations ago and was a major part of my purchasing decision.

    • Christoffer

      I use tapiirik.com to auto sync all my services. Just have movescount setup to auto push to strava or trainingpeaks. Then tapiirik can be setup to repost to other services and/or drop the gpx-file in your dropbox. It’s a brilliant service, albeight a bit slow at times.

    • Striff

      I haven;t used this but when / if I move back to Suunto will used this.

      II think the only issue is Strava doesn’t record events if there’s no GPS data.
      So I’ll try to use it syncing to Endomondo then use it to to repost.

      I’d use it mainly for “syncing’ to My Fitness Pal which I don;t think Suunto does which is a shame.

  8. Andy

    Garmin must be laughing its way to the bank

  9. Dmitry

    Accordingly to Suunto web-site there are no ANT+


    Competitive battery life, titanium5 bezel, sapphire glass, 100 m waterproof, barometric altitude, navigation, GPS, compass, outdoor-proof color touch screen, Bluetooth Smart
    Sports expertise and training insights 24/7
    Progress with heatmaps and peer-group insights

  10. Pedro Silva

    Seems like Suunto is playing catch-up with Garmin…don’t get me wrong, I’m a Suunto fan and have an Ambit 2S. Despite not knowing much about the new model, it doesn’t seem to bring anything new compared to a Fenix 3 (who cares about the touchscreen?? With sweaty fingers it won’t work anyway…). Guess I’ll have to wait for your review and maybe Garmin’s next launch (Fenix 4??) to retire my Ambit 2S.

    Garmin also boasts those cool running metrics…though I don’t know in real life use if they can really make a difference and make you try improving your running form.

    • jason

      How do you seriously know what this watch brings, other than what it looks like?

    • Pedro Silva

      You’re right, I don’t…just a guess from what Suunto has been launching lately. They always seem to be one step behind Garmin…hope that changes with these new watches! We’ll have to wait for the full specs!

  11. Zambezi Boy

    Looks to me like they are holding out to know what the next Apple Watch will give. Expensive though even!

  12. Raul Freitas

    I have not only one, but two Ambit3.
    Rock solid, quick and precise on satellite reception, would call it wearable everyday, etc.
    However called a multi sport watch it will NOT sync swimming sessions with Strava nor Training Peaks. And their website looks nice on the surface, but not reliable at all and will never serve me as a depositary for my training.
    As a triathlete who wants to save time, this is a bummer to me.

    • Sparts

      Download fit files for upload to Strava – I’m sure you are aware of this. Takes 10 seconds
      I agree though, not sure why that is. I do know that is you are pool swimming (no GPS signal) it never uploads and manual intervention is necessary. If you are open water swimming then it does upload no problem.

    • Aaron

      SportTracks has had full support for Suunto indoor pool swims and stroke cadence / turn metrics for like 2 years. So it’s a limitation of SV & TP, not Suunto. Both of those solutions are primarily land based analysis.

    • Jason

      Could easily be Strava thats at fault for this, but yes it is annoying

    • You may also export non-GPS activities from SportTracks to Strava via tapiriik (I believe it’s $5 per year for automatic sync). It adds a few extra steps, but it’s all automated once set up.

  13. BartW

    Little disappointed by the lack of information Suunto released today.
    However from what i have read there might be some nice features. Like the different running modes (interval) could mean increase accuracy and fast response for short intervals (never needing a footpod anymore)
    Very interested in the mapping feature, can you only download a pre-defined route (simple line) or can this route be overlayed on a map which is transmitted with the route (in case you don’t want to stick to the route)
    On feature i always prefer above a clamping USB holder is the magnetic USB holder Suunto has.
    I guess we will have to wait another month of additional information.

  14. giovanni

    Just a question about the new movescount update…
    I found a website that gives you the possibility to create in an easy way every training that you wish (because it’s something that Suunto lacks completely, to be honest) (the site is http://www.ambitintervals.com and it’s not mine nor am I affiliated with it… and it’s free and without ads)
    To create your trainings you had to create 2 apps one for duration of the different segments and the other one for the intervals, and then each time you had to go to your app zone on movescount and paste the values for the new training.
    But right now, looking around the updated movescount website I couldn’t find a place where I can see all my apps and update them, but just the apps listed under the watch, without the possibility to edit them…
    Am I missing something?

    • Adam

      I just had a look and I think it’s still there, just very strange way to get to Your own Apps:

      Go to COMMUNITY in top most menu,
      then SUUNTO APPS in ‘middle’ menu (next to EXPLORE),
      then from second from the left list, choose ‘My Apps’ and You will get the list of Your apps,
      from there choose any app You wish and if it was private before, You can edit it (just like before). If not private, You can always create a copy and save as private to later edit (also like it was before).

      But I agree, this is not easy to figure out :-/

    • giovanni

      Thanks a lot…

      Usability, what a bizarre concept to expect…

  15. Bray

    I wish garmin or suunto would create a watch made for serious ultra runners, hikers, climbers, cyclists, ironman athletes… suunto ambit 2 was in the right direction, but 3 and this seems a step in wrong direction.

    All the people I know that own suunto ambit 2 and 3 are ultra athletes. Every single one of them. And most of them want:
    1- battery life & rock solid reliability
    2- good navigation features that can be improved (ex: downloading POIs like water and food points, shelters, having maps etc.)
    3- perhaps emergency satellite SOS signal or remote tracking
    4 – perhaps features like race / trip planning, with alarms, checkpints (ex: water, food, aid stations, target times at checkpoints, etc.)

    I understand the big market likes fancy irrelevant things like the smartphone connection, color, touchscreen, reading facebook notifications while you run in a park with a 800$ watch, but seriously…

    • Sparts

      And how much do you want to spend?
      Remote tracking?!

      All the other items on your wish list are available on Suunto watches already!
      The Peak has a 24hrs battery life at 1 second GPS reresh rates. Up to 100 or so at the lowest. Some guy just used it for a 5 day bike ride, 24 hrs a day – without charge.

    • skim1124

      I don’t bike. I don’t swim. And I don’t own any of these devices (still use a Garmin FR10). But as I’m just getting into ultras, I’ve been tempted by the Epson SF-710 for two reasons: 1) it reportedly has an accurate GPS and 2) it’s supposed to have up to 30hours of battery life, which seems enough for 100-mile races. So for me, it’d basically be a future-proof watch. I know something like the Garmin 230 has more features, a color screen, and 16 hours of battery life. And if I didn’t have dreams of running 100-mile races, it’s probably what I’d get.

      But for my own use, I don’t really care about websites, ease of uploading data, notifications from phones, fitness tracking, sleep tracking, HR tracking, or ANT+ connectivity or whatever else some watches can do.

      To me, the hardware is key: give me those two features listed above, make it durable and cheaper than watches with features I don’t want, then I’d buy it. The Epson 710 was on sale recently for $170 (now back to $230). Maybe if comes down even more in price around Christmas, I’ll probably buy it as an ultra runner.

    • Andre Costa

      I’m a biker, snowboarder, hiker, and all around normal guy with a day job. Not an ultra athlete. Though I do use an Ambit 2 on a daily basis. Yep, I wear it to work everyday. I have been wearing it everyday for about 2.5 years now and it serves me well and looks almost like new.

  16. Sparts

    The new website looks to be very good Indeed. I’ll give it a go later.
    Looks like a promising offering from Suunto. At that price I reckon we should have no concerns over battery life etc. After all, they want existing Peak users to upgrade – which will never happen unless things like battery life are equal or better than the Peak

    I don’t understand some of the comments, I can only assume that most have never owned an ambit. The build quality and reliability of the Suunto watches, when compared to say Garmin, is off the scale – in my opinion. The things are bullet proof and exceptionally well made. Missing “key features” amuse me somewhat:

    And DC, why the fascination with step counters (“a key feature”) . Seriously, who uses these. These are not “key features”, they are largely useless. A novelty feature that gives very limited information, none of it useful.
    Contributors – I’m sure if Suunto considered optical heart rate monitors to be accurate/reliable enough then surely they’d have incorporated one into the design. They obviously don’t. Personally I’d tend to agree with them and if that tech is still in its infancy (it is), then I’d not waste $100’s for inaccurate stats. The Suunto HRM also can be used in the pool of course. Another reason to retain the strap perhaps?
    I also doubt if it will come with the outdated ant+ tech. Garmin own the tech don’t they? Low power smart Bluetooth is the better option surely? If Garmin are slow to catch up, then that is their problem.

    Lastly, it’s cool that Suunto appear to be listening to their customers. I don’t see many other sports watch makers doing that 🙂

    • Paul S.

      Why want ANT+? You mean besides the large number of existing ANT+ sensors, and the multi-head unit capability that Bluetooth lacks (but coming to Bluetooth Real Soon Now)? How is Bluetooth more “modern” than ANT+?

    • Sparts

      Modern in the sense that most devices are made to sync across a broad spectrum of devices.
      Forget about your ant+ cadence sensors etc for a moment. Consider what other areas of technology are using – phones, speakers, tablets, kitchen goods, cars – Bluetooth. Not ant+.
      It won’t be long until we have two eco systems, those that are tied to Garmin and their refusal to ditch ant+ and then the rest of us that will be able to seamlessly sync and connect our broad range of devices. It’s just my opinion.

    • Dmitry

      Often bluetooth implementation is strange, unlike ant+. For example Powertap P1 with Suunto work very strange. In sports applications ANT + more qualitatively implemented than BLE. Perhaps because ANT+ is developed by companies who know better what to need for athletes. BLE promoted mainly by manufacturers of smartphones and other consumer gadgets.

    • Paul S.

      “Modern in the sense that most devices are made to sync across a broad spectrum of devices.” Yeah, but we’re not interested in headphones here, but sports sensors. I have Bluetooth headphones, keyboards, and mice (heck, even my car has Bluetooth) and they work well, but I don’t use them while out cycling.

      “It won’t be long until we have two eco systems, those that are tied to Garmin and their refusal to ditch ant+ and then the rest of us that will be able to seamlessly sync and connect our broad range of devices. It’s just my opinion.” You’ll be able to connect one-to-one, and no more (unless they actually do implement what they’ve been claiming they’ll do for a while). I routinely connect two head units (Edge 800, Velocomp PowerPod, occasionally also a VIRB Elite and/or an Epix) to my HR, cadence, and “speed” sensors. You can’t do that yet with Bluetooth.

    • Sparts

      Paul, would you consider yourself to be typical of the common user?
      I would suggest not. I would suggest that you are firmly in the minority. (Though not in these boards perhaps).

      People are interested in connecting more than just sensors. It’s natural that products would gravitate to the most widely used and I’d argue more stable?

    • DAvid

      I think I’m a fairly standard triathlete, but I have a Garmin bike computer and a Garmin 920xt, with both connected to all my sensors. I rely on the watch throughout a triathlon, but want the data to also show on the bike computer for easier viewing. BLE can’t do this.

    • Rob

      Are you looking for a sportwatch?

      Cyclists need ANT+ for most of their old and new Sensors…

      Ambits and Fenixs and now the Spartan are too much BlingBling…

    • John

      The problem with ANT+ is that Garmin has a stranglehold on the “standards” process and they’ve been very slow to adapt new features into ANT+ that aren’t already built into shipping Garmin products. (The Pioneer power meter pedal efficiency stats as just one example.)

    • Any ANT+ member can submit a new open protocol be created. So Pioneer could do that. Or Verve. Or whomever. The trick is getting someone to adopt it on the head unit side. Garmin doesn’t actually control that (approval of new protocols). That’s how you have the Gear Shifting protocol, SRAM proposed it for eTAP and was effectively the steward for it.

      Now, Garmin makes life difficult for others by not being the one to submit their Cycling Dynamics to be a standard. They see that as a competitive benefit. That’s fine, that’s their business. I think it’s stupid, but OK.

      As for not having ANT+, if they’re targeting triathletes (or cyclists), then yeah – it’s a big deal. Especially for power meter support. Given their ad prominently features triathletes (or openwater swimmers), that seems to be the target. One only need to look back at the Ambit3 launch to see how many triathletes they lost.

      The challenge today is the BLE standard for power is a mess (HR & Cadence/Speed is mostly fine). Suunto has actually done a great job at just rolling with the mess and making things work, fighting the fire house to house. Polar has done the opposite. Either way, for consumers, I’d generally recommend not buying a BLE-only head unit or power meter today, if you want power. The compatibility is just too unstable. Dual is great though.

    • Sparts-

      RE: Activity Tracking/Steps.

      It is important. The market wants it. And obviously Suunto agrees, since they’ve introduced it on all of their newest units.

      RE: Optical HR

      So is optical important if you want to try and truly start taking a stab at recovery. I’d easily take RHR values measures 24×7 over a generic recovery chart that simply takes the last workout you did and draws a straight line based on that. That’s not measuring recovery at all, that’s just taking a gigantic assumption. It’s a reason why I think all of the recovery stats from all vendors are useless. RHR certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s at least real-time.

      RE: Optical HR accuracy

      There are very accurate optical HR sensors on the market with other devices. Suunto certainly could utilize those sensors. They need not roll their own.

    • User

      Really, those are the priority of athletes today? Bluetooth that can connect to “phones, speakers, tablets, kitchen goods and cars”? I would think athletes are looking for at the least would be reliability, accuracy, battery life and function. While you’re out seamlessly receiving Facebook messages on your sports watch the rest of us will be monitoring our pace, HR, GPS….etc.

    • francois

      If that’s the only argument about ANT+, then let’s build a BLE power meter (and other accessories) and get rich. Both are on par performance wise, one is more open than the other.

    • Neither are more open than the other. It’s a wash.

      It’s not about building a BLE power meter. Those exist. It’s that none of these companies truly agree and have implemented the spec the same way. Each of them say they are correct. It’s why one day Stages works with a Polar V800, then the next day when Polar updates their firmware, it stops working. Or why you can’t use some left/right PM’s on some units, but you can on others.

      Until these companies tighten up the spec, and until the BLE Sig actually tries to fix it – it’s going to continue being a mess. It’s really the main reason why companies like Quarq and Power2Max simply haven’t bothered to dive into BLE yet.

    • francois

      You’re touching an interesting point. Unfortunately standardization bodies don’t imply interoperability, so it’s not about the spec to be tighten as much as it is up to these companies to promote and engage on IOT. That can only happen if there is a true will to work together and benefit from each other’s ecosystems. IOT has to be part of a product roadmap, especially in an open ecosystem like ANT or BLE. It is true for iPhones with carriers’ networks, and all the more true for Mio HR monitors with Suunto or Garmin.

      Otherwise and as for many things in life, unfortunately the bigger player has the better role. The accessories makers will have to live with things such as Polar upgrading their firmware and screwing the interop by updating their own. Similarly Suunto would never allow their watch to fall off the iPhone wagon. The accessories makers live off the main device makers.

    • Just a minor note Francois but BTLE and Ant+ are not IoT, they are just T (Things). IoT requires them to connect to the network and function alone which would in almost all cases imply WiFi or Ethernet. IoT is things like your connected thermostat, fridge, or vehicle tracker. Here we’re just talking about sensors which are essentially slaves to a watch.
      It’s a very good point though, Ant seem to have nailed the specs before releasing a profile whereas BTLE approval seems a bit half arsed leading to interpretations which are incompatible. This isn’t even hard stuff, they are sending timestamps and values as test for goodness sake, how can you make that difficult! For that reason, as of today Ant+ is the clear winner in the sensor arena and will be until the BTLE group start taking this more seriously.

  17. Aaron S

    I can only imagine that Suunto have rushed out this statement due to Garmin recent product updates. For those who were wondering Fenix 4 or Ambit 4, they have now got a solid option to choose from, I.e. The new Fenix 3 HR. I was in this position last summer and just held off. I’ll go with the Fenix 3 HR now that I know what Suunto are doing. Maybe it would have got more thought, but an August release doesn’t interest me. No mention of a wrist HR either. Something that I want from my next device.

  18. Wesley Brown

    Ray, I’m looking to compete in my first Swimrun event this year. It seems I’ll needa combination navigation/GPS tracking watch and it seems my 920XT won’t cut it. Would the Ambit3 Sport be a better option/price point over the Fenix 3? Since there are 10 transitions from swim to run over 10 trail miles and 4 total miles of swimming we’ll need navigation from point to point and data tracking. I’m just wondering what the best platform would be for this new type of racing format?

  19. Mark

    For some reason this watch reminds me of the NIXON MISSION smartwatch [ link to nixon.com ], which features a next gen. Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Wear 2100 SOC. That could explain some of the secrecy…

  20. kyle

    Ray, is Suunto really not going to release the altitude profile for the A3 Peak? The jump from no GPS hump and altitude profile will certainly not have owners wanting to upgrade, as much as they think it does. All the watches are basically running the exact same software.

    Oh and $700 for watch is insane. Ill stay with my Peak or wait for the Fenix 4 which im sure will be $499 or less

    • Robert Montgomery

      $499 or less? I seriously doubt that. The Fenix 3 starts at $499.

      Keep in mind, the Spartan Ultra has a sapphire lens. If you add sapphire into the Fenix 3 it jumps to $599. Spartan Ultra has a titanium bezel on one of the modesl. A Fenix 3 with titanium components runs $799.

      I would be SHOCKED if the starting price for the Fenix 4 ends up being less than $499. The freaking plastic 745xt starts at $450.

    • Robert Montgomery

      I obviously meant 735xt***

    • kyle

      All i meant was im sure Garmin will release another Stainless steel bezel and regular scratch resistant glass. I have yet to hear anyone complain that the non-sapphire version got cracked or scratched. Ray even did a write up about that sapphire vs regular I believe, or maybe it was just a big forum post. Either way, its not needed and just adds $$ to the consumer. If its touchscreen, I have no problem doing the same as my phone and putting a small tempered glass on the screen to protect it, you wouldn’t even notice its there.

    • I don’t know if they plan to in the future, but to date they haven’t. It’s been what, 4-5 months now?

    • Penny Mustard

      Obviously Mr. Montgomery Obviously…. To assume otherwise would have been preposterous.

  21. Sean G

    It’s unfortunate that they’re using words like, ‘competitive’, rather than ‘superior’ when discussing battery life.
    And I suspect the announcement/lack of information has more to do with the vendor leaking the product info than anything else. Looks like they were not aiming to reveal anything at this time, but the lid was off. This weekend they started showing up on their athletes arms, but with no visible data shown on photos – not that I saw at least.

    • Kyle

      Ya, unfortunately, I think we can kiss the 200hr battery life goodbye, we’ll probably be like the Fenix series at 50 hours at best.

    • Rob Montgomery

      Well, in Suunto’s defense – people complained that they wanted a color screen like the Fenix 3. If you add in the color screen, battery life suffers.

    • The Garmin colour screen doesn’t use more power than black and white. It’s true that if you use TFT or AMOLED or similar they will suck power, but that’s not what Garmin used.
      The major power components are flash storage and GPS processing these days, and those are needed either way.

  22. Robert

    Bit steep for me, hopefully there will be a more cost effective sport and run in the future, all I do is run but would stretch to €500/£400.

  23. Radu

    That is a very high price to ask for a device they very carefully describe as “state of the art” and “competitive”.
    For that price point it should be “redefining state of the art” and “the best” when compared to existing products.

    I’m really curious what they bring to the table.

  24. Robert Montgomery

    I think it’s a little harsh to have a negative note just because a watch is releasing in August. I’d rather them release a finished product rather than rushing out 12 watches in 2 weeks like Garmin seems to do, and have to go through months of firmware updates just to be where it should have been at release.

    Also, the Traverse and Vertical seem pretty on-par accuracy-wise with the Fenix 3.

    • I just haven’t seen the Traverse/Vertical on-par accuracy wise, even in tests I’ve done in recent weeks. It continues to lag every time over any other watch I have.

    • Rick

      I have the traverse and the Ambit 3 Sport. I use them both, and I see very little difference in tracking accuracy.

    • Jason

      The point here is that any the Fenix3/Traverse/Vertical seem to get close to the GPS accuracy of the Ambit range. And I base this on the hundreds of recurring reports form users.

      If the Spartan range produces similar results as these three watches I will not be buying. For me at this price point its about accuracy of the data and I won’t sacrifice that just for looks.

  25. As a Suunto watch user I am really looking forward to the Movescount updates. Hard to say anything about the new watch without the specifications, but I am against the touchscreen. And it is very expensive. Hopefully it will be as good as in the Ambit line.

  26. Steve

    Somewhat underwhelmed… I am a long-time Suunto user and am in the market for a new sports watch but was leaning towards Garmin until I heard the rumours about the new Spartan Ultra. So I hung on. It’s certainly a prettier watch than the Fenix3 HR but the reluctance to confirm the features for a device that’s supposedly on sale in a matter of weeks is alarming.

    Oh. And the price. Wow…

    I was also hoping for more from the Movescount upgrade too: given that so much data is collected, there’s been no change to the online analysis tools or any real innovation (I don’t really find the heat map thing anything more than a gimmick). My early take on the upgrade is that it’s basically a UI change from a predominantly orange / red colour scheme to a yellow one.

    But, before making any concrete judgements, I’ll probably hold-off making my next watch purchase until I’ve seen Ray’s review!

    • Sparts

      As you use Movescount already, you should have got an email telling you that this is the first of many upgrades to it. More are coming in 2016. Check your inbox.
      I got an email earlier.

  27. Cato

    I wonder how visibility will be in low light, like the useless fenix3 or as good as Ambit3?

  28. Jari

    Certainly it’s missing ANT+, so it is unusable for majority of sensors :/ I will be very surprised if there’s ANT+.

  29. Chris Capoccia

    website refresh is interesting, but it doesn’t change enough really. there is no easy ability to import, so it only ends up showing the activities recorded with a suunto device. there is no way to specify units for shared links so all my american friends without suunto accounts have to puzzle around metric units.

  30. Jurgen


    Just for my understanding: what is a “satellite bump”? I have googled it, but have not found any useful answer.

    Take care

    • Sparts

      Its a little GPS receiver that protudes from the watch itself. It;s usually incorporated into the strap.
      On these watches, there is none. The receiver is better integrated into the watch.

      Some would say that a compromise is being made if you buy a watch without the lug – you are giving up GPS accuracy for something that some may think looks a little prettier.

  31. Finn

    The new movescount site is good. Loving the heat maps.
    For the new watch it is quite promising but I think I still keep my ever reliable Ambit 2S.
    Will just buy another band because it is broken again.

  32. i feel like suunto is becoming the next blackberry. iphone came to dominate the market because they offered features just like garmin did, any screen configuration, app, whatever, is available. blackberry sat on their hands, huffed and said: who wants a music player? who want a video player? who wants to surf the internet on a hand-held device? who wants a high res screen? what people want is a *speaker*.

    this really reminds me with the step count integration, or lack of it into any of the ambits, verticals. you have to get a dumb-downed version of a traverse to have those features but at the expense of not having bike or other peripheral sensors available? WHY??? the hardware is the same across, why cripple it with SW?

    now this spartan release is also reminiscent of blackberry torch — a response to the current market but again with deficient performance.

    mark my words, but the battery performance will be poor compared to what not only suunto currently has on the market but everyone else. the screen will have to be dimmed or turned off when not used in order to maintain any sort of reasonable performance and the whole touch screen — in my opinion — is extremely poor choice for a dedicated sports watch. try running with your apple watch in the rain or with sweaty fingers and you’ll see the frustrations.

    instead of building on what they have and making all the features available on all the models they’ve chosen to dilute their market and segment their customer in order to drive sales, now they’re trying to prolong the release and give their vendors a little time to dump inventory, as all of the “new watches” are now completely overshadowed 6mo later.

    • Stewart McMillan

      I’m somewhat surprised that you have gained such insight into a product that they’ve released no details about. You’ve drawn conclusions that you have no right to.

      I’m no Suunto fanboy, but I see no benefit in deriding them with no basis to do so. Do people want a market where only Garmin exist.
      That is good for nobody, not even Garmin. And certainly no good for you if you are in the market for a watch.

      Anyway, I’m off now, work to do!

    • Stanislav

      Agree with this comment. I am not buying this watch if it has an active screen that has to be dimmed or turned off. I don’t need a pretty screen and touch capability. I need one that I can run a 100-miler with and not run out of battery. Will be waiting for Ambit 4.

    • Rick

      Haha, I had the BB torch and it was the biggest POS phone I have ever purchased.

    • Mr. T

      I’m pretty sure that anyone has right to draw their own conclusions even if based on limited information. The quality of that option maybe suspect, but please.

    • @stewart

      I’m not sure you think I or someone else may not have a right to an opinion on a public, mass produced consumer item.

      there isn’t much information to go on, but i’m basing my opinion based on 1)knowledge of technology and 2)knowledge of product introduction.

      suunto’s hurdle with this product is two fold: the screen and battery, neither of which they control in-house and have to outsource; if they do control these in house then they’ve been working behind the scenes on some ground breaking technologies and you can rest assured they may as well start licensing those technologies to other companies and they’ll make 1000x profit then they make off any ambit, vertical or what not watch.

      problems with color screens, especially capacitive displays is that while they look great in pictures they’re terrible for activities that have a medium between the screen and your finger. these are usually weather related and are caused by moisture and or clothing. yes, there are coatings, but they’re not super effective and still do not resolve the issue with gloves, although those capacitive fabric tips do solve some issues they’re not as exact or precise as your finger touch.

      the second major problem is that these screens draw a lot of power, much more power than the dinky monochromatic displays that suunto has utilized and the ‘color’ display that garmin uses in fenix 3. that’s why apple and other manufacturers dim/turn off screens to preserve power. which then brings me to the battery point. primarily the major power consumer in these watches before was the gps signal, now you’re throwing more demanding screen on it and you’re trying to keep the size and weight identical. as far as i’m aware, battery power to size ratio has not doubled in the last 2-3 years, so that’s why they’re trying to lower the expectations and say that performance is comparable, for them to beat or exceed expectations a whole new generation of battery would have to be introduced. every picture you see of this watch live is with the screen off.

      so anywho, wait until july 6th and then august 6th with rosy utopian sunglasses thinking this will be some amazing product; it won’t be, it’ll be great for run-of the mill consumer market whose expectations lie with something like an apple watch, but i’m sure people that depended on their watch to time daily activities with charges 5-7 days apart will surely be disappointed. and then the consumer market will scratch their head and ask why they should pay 2-3x for a hideously oversized watch compared to their apple watch which does “apps” and notifications much better than suunto ever could.

    • Phellan

      It is not even out and you know already its performance???
      Whoa you amaze me really.
      Listen, as every major electronic device it will have its own bug or even hardware issues, just like always and early adopters are going to be betatesters besides it doesn’t mean is going to be a real failure. Time will tell but I’ve got high expectations for the watch since I’ve been waiting Suunto to release the ambit sucessor to replace my V800, which has been by far my worst purchase (I’m on my fifth unit now). I don’t want to go the garmin way, I don’t really like their products, they feel cheap and use the worst chipset not to mention their unreliability.
      I’ll wait till it shows it performance and drops the price a bit. Really fell in love at first sight with the black titanium.

  33. Frank

    Unlikely to have Ant+, only Bluetooth (BLE).

    See: link to apps.fcc.gov

  34. francois

    Although they don’t disclose much, I guess we are heading toward a full-on smartwatch with the spartan. The watch face is a hint. Maybe not so much in the calendar-email type, but it seems not only realistic but also a welcome thing in my opinion. The foray they made with the Ambit3 series (notifications) is something I really enjoy, although sometimes I wished I could scroll through a message.
    With more and more fitness apps on apple watch, LGs and Samsungs and whatnot, Suunto also seems very legit in that space. Way more than the 3 big ones mentioned above.

    Also the price point for a high quality, strong and resilient smartwatch sounds very reasonable compared to the high-end smartwatches

  35. Nedim

    Two comments:

    1) The best upgrade that they could have made to the Movescount site is to make it optional. It is down too often, or does not sync right or something. I want to have a clean option to just upload the data directly.

    2) With three athletes in the family and being a gadget guy, we have ton’s of GPS devices in the family, yet I prefer using the ancient Suunto 2R. Why? GPS accuracy. I am not hopeful based on what I read.

    3) The price is out-of-whack.

    OK, these were three comments.

  36. Tommi Vainikainen

    You wrote that Movescount has now over 100 million activities in it, and that neither Polar nor Garmin has released such statistics.

    For Strava it is pretty trivial to see that it has somewhat over 600 million activities stored because their activity URL contains numeric id, and most activities are public.

    For Polar same might be true, but difference is that most of Polar Flow activities are private, so it is not possible to verify if the scheme is similar or if there is some checksum or such. However if is just linear numbering, then it is currently going on somewhere around 630 million activities.

    In Garmin Connect, if you try to change the number in the url, it gives you clear error message that either you have no rights to see or page not found (if number is too big), so Garmin Connect has around 1 200 million activities stored.

  37. Jon-Paul

    Great looking watch, pricey. I’m in the market to replace my original ambit 1, hungry for more details on the Spartan Ultra. So what can we not do with the Ultra when wearing full on gloves, for example when skiing?

  38. Eric McLean

    I am a huge Suunto fan, I’ve had the Ambit 2 and 3 peak. I recently sold my peak and bought a Garmin forerunner 235. I regret that decision. I’m debating on whether to by another Suunto peak or wait for the Suunto ultra. What would you guys suggest. Money isn’t a huge issue.

    • Rick

      If money is no issue, wait it out ,and plunk down your money.

    • Eric McLean

      Nope, by using pluck I guess it would be a waste of money. I say money wasn’t a huge issue, but I was to spend it intelligently.

    • Vincent

      Hi Eric, I bought an Ambit 2 Sapphire 3 years ago. I find its reliability, the GPS performance, navigation second to none. After much thought, I bought a Fenix 3 3 months ago and I find it very good, but different: there are just so many functions that you don’t have on the Ambit 2. Still, when I need to navigate (for a run or cycling), I still prefer to use my Ambit 2. Also, the build quality of the Ambit feels largely superior. So if you can afford it and are interested by a broad scope of use, owning 2 watches is actually great as it lets you have the best of both worlds.

    • Michi

      The Ambit2 was the best watch of the Ambit series, considering the software/hardware combination. The Ambit 3 is now close again, but had so many software issues, it was terrible. If you swim, buy another A3 peak, if you need Ant+ Buy the Ambit 2.

  39. Alberto

    The physical buttons are also irreplaceable on the mountain where you are using gloves so thick that it makes you feel like an elephant.

  40. As you said, Suunto made it easy for me to decide: Should I be able to off-load my Ambit 3 Sport (which I really do love, with the exception of the HR strap—I’m more keen on optical HR), I’ll be moving to a Garmin 735xt. Garmin have been much better about so many things as of late, with Suunto slipping in offering features no one really asked for, while clinging to the ghost of technology past. The lone exception of customer service via social media is where Suunto still reign supreme. That said, that they wouldn’t let YOU take a peek at it early speaks volumes of just what they think of how the market works.

    • Matthew B.

      If you’re a trail runner/hiker, note that the 735XT doesn’t have a barometric altimeter.

    • ekutter

      I consider this a good thing. I find on longer outings the BP altitude often drifts by hundreds of feet. My GPS altimeter fluctuates over a few minutes but is generally within 50 feet. So if you want to know your altitude right now, I’ve found GPS to be more reliable. If you want to know how many feet you’ve ascended, BP will give you the better answer.

    • Stanislav

      Ambit3 Peak has FusedAlti technology that adjusts barometric altitude based on GPS altitude – this helps to avoid the drift but at the same time gives you much more precise cumulative elevation gain.

    • Paul S.

      Garmin has something similar (there’s even a patent. Worked pretty well on my Fenix 1, not so well on my Epix (seems to force a drift there, always about 100 ft high).

  41. RolandH

    For me ANT+ is an absolut crucial necessity – It’s mostly the multi-head functionality that I need. When cycling I’m using an Edge 520 (which I bought some months ago) and a Suunto Ambit 1 (which I’m using since years). With BLE I would need 2 heart rate straps to send the HR data to both the Ambit (or Spartan) and the Edge 520 – no way I’m doing that.

  42. Mark H

    Ray, one little nit pick about the touchscreen. Speaking as someone in the touchscreen business, the reason touchscreens are unreliable underwater isn’t due to pressure on them, but rather the water’s difference from air in dielectric constant and conductivity (really impedance to ground).

  43. Jochen M.

    I can imagine that we’ll see in the future different Spartans, and the Ultra is only the “all-in-one” feature monster. I hope for a sports-version without the all-the-day gimmicks of a smartwatch, would love to have 5 buttons, ANT+ (but thhere I don’t have much hope), long lasting battery and other here often named features instead. Until then I’ll be faithful to my Ambit2 Sapphire.

  44. Fredrik

    Great news! I´m all in for the spartan as very happy w/ Ambit3 & Traverse. Nothing beats Suunto in trailrunning (and I´ve had my share of frozen Garmin software, faulty downhill 235 heart rates etc)

  45. Stormshadow

    Starting at $699??? Does it make you a cup of tea and massage your feet at the end of the night? Entertain your annoying relatives?

    Suunto better have something VERY significant up their sleeve to justify the hefty price tag.

  46. Eric Mills

    Yep. I don’t get that phased roll-out strategy either. Maybe they just don’t have the specs or performance to impress. Doesn’t seem encouraging for a rock solid device at expected launch time. I will still wait and see. I use the Fenix 3 (pre HR) for everything now and its been great lately. Would love to see a major update (a Fenix “4”) but Garmin seems quite focused on releasing variants of the 3. Would like wrist HR, but not enough to invest 500 plus dollars just for that. Will see what future brings. Maybe Suunto will surprise.

  47. Adam

    there is sthg confusing (well for me at least…) in the ‘HR monitoring area’.
    Reading other blogs reporting Suunto’s release, they mention ‘built-in HR sensor’!!!
    Also, there is absolutely no photo of the back of Spartan anywhere in the webs.
    The Suunto’s site itself just mentions options as ‘with HR’, not ‘HR bundle’ like Garmin calls it.
    So maybe this is the mistery why they dont release specs?! Maybe they are still working on incorporating oHRM into the device?

  48. Hans

    I can tell you that the Spartan will have NO optical HR in any Version.

  49. gingerneil

    HOW MUCH!? A basic fenix 3 is £250 in the UK now. Suunto are clearly having a laugh.

    • Dmitry V.

      But there is a touch screen!!! And this is definitely the most important feature for sport watch! No? 😀 (agree, Suunto behaves very strange, ignoring the market situation)

  50. Tuomas

    What are your experiences with FusedSpeed?

    They explicitly mention that technology (at least in the Finnish press release) so it sounds it will be a major part (bigger than before?) with Spartan Ultra. But they could just be name dropping their own technologies…

  51. Álvaro

    In my opinion (happy Ambit3 Peak user):

    Let’s see when we know about complete specifications and after first tests of Spartan but:

    – I feel exceptic about touchscreen.
    – I just hope that Suunto keeps its high level of reliability and solid construction so don’t get corrupted during this “race” against Garmin & smartwatches trying to offer many cool dispensable features (in a cool and dispensable way too) demanded by the market.

    Cheers 🙂

  52. Mathew

    I have an M400 but am getting into triathlon so would like a multisport watch.

    I looked at the Fenix 3 HR and 735 XT as I would like optical HR, but now I’m thinking what’s the point if the sensors are not great?

    So no leaning toward a 920XT, Fenix 3 or Ambit 3.

    Can’t find a good enough deal on the 920XT yet, not much more expensive to get the Fenix 3 HR after discounts!

    Would also like to use it as an daily activity tracker and fully replace my M400 so that’s the Ambit 3 out.

    Might try a Rhythm optical sensor so I can do away with chest straps.

    I really like the spec and features of the 735 XT and Fenix 3 HR, just a nagging feeling about the point of it at the extra cost given the accuracy..

    • robert black

      Mathew, where in the world are you? or should I say if your in the uk, Decathlon are selling the ambit 3 peak with chest hr at £214

      link to decathlon.co.uk

      Regardless of the new Spartan ultra, I think there will either be a Spartan sport or Ambit 4, looking at the price points from a runners point of view, you have the very old quest, ambit 3 and Spartan ultra. They’d be fools to completely ignore the price point of £100-£200 and £200-300. The Spartan ultra going on exchange rates comes in at £500-550

  53. Dmitry V.

    “especially in swimming activities where pressure on touch screens underwater makes them unusable”

    It is not pressure, it is water itself (conductor) and how it works with electro-magnetic field on top of capacitive touch screen. (and this is why capacitive touch screens don’t work well in rain or shower)

  54. David

    Thanks God anyone is rich enough to spend 650€ in a sport gps, I guess we all agree this watch is too cheap.

  55. Alettou

    They need to incorporate an OHR and keep the ability to use the strap for biking etc. 700 bucks and no OHR? That’s mental. It does look nice though.

  56. The Spartan is an expensive watch, no doubt about it, but it seems like this will be their top of the line. Hopefully Suunto also releases a cheaper version for those who don’t care about titanium bezel and sapphire glass. Still, compared to the equivalent finish of a Fenix, the price is not far off.

    I take for granted that its battery life will be as good as in the Peak, otherwise, it’s not worth the upgrade. Still, I don’t think the Suunto folks are stupid, so I would be surprised if the battery life is worse. Regarding GPS, I doubt they’ll be able to get the accuracy of the Peak. I still don’t fully understand the push to move away from the bump. I don’t think I’m the only one that is ok with the bump if it does give the best GPS data. I hope I’m wrong about this or that software updates get that on par. Once people start testing it out, that’ll be the deciding factor for me. If it is as good as the Peak. Count me in. Otherwise I’ll stick to my Peak for a while.

    And last. I think that very few have actually tried both an Ambit and a Garmin. IMO comparing specs is pointless. I took for granted the things that Suunto does really well when I was seduced by the Fenix 3 and ditched my Ambit 3 Sport. One month later, I regretted having sold the Ambit and ended up selling the Fenix and getting an Ambit 3 Peak instead.

    The most important thing to me is accurate pace when running, and being able to analy my workout data afterwards. Here’s where Suunto does great in the way they massage the GPS data. I guess its their Fusespeed thingie. I can look at any workout in movescount and understand the pace graph is exactly as I recall the run. I assume they smooth it with the cadence variation. Compare that to looking at data in Garmin Connect, and to me that’s day and night.

    Garmin Connect has tons of features, IMO much more than is needed and still they suck at the basics and don’t even have route planning. Movescount is far from perfect, but the upgrades in this refresh are sweet. The route planning (somewhat a steal from Strava) is gonna be something I’ll use A LOT.

  57. Grzeg1

    A bit disappointed as I was hoping for Ambit3 successor with vibration alerts and solid GPS.

    As a current owner of Polar V800 I can say that bluetooth stuff is a mess and is currently not adequate for triathlon. People struggle to find a way of pairing their sensors to both a watch and bike head unit so they can see their data during the bike leg. Others bounce between Polar and power meter manufacturers to find out why their PM does not work. I bought a TACX trainer a few months ago, of course it does not transmit correct data to V800 via bluetooth.
    What’s interesting also is that the only working bluetooth footpod is giant Polar Stride sensor. There’s also Adidas Micoach one, but seems not to work right.
    So I guess ANT+ is the way to go if you want to get stable, no-hassle sensors interoperability.

  58. myneur

    Both site and watch look amazing. I am curious if they will come up with an optical heart rate later.

  59. Adam

    Huge bummer! 5krunner just posted some Q/A from Suunto about Spartan and this is one of the negatives:

    19. Presumably it’s not androidwear. does it come with new software features that existing/new suunto apps can plug in to?

    A: The Suunto Spartan will not be compatible with the Suunto Apps

    :-/ sucks big time!

    • Jari Timonen

      Good news! It might be ANT+!?

    • Jari Timonen

      Good news! It might be ANT+!?

      Bummer, no 🙁

      So, it’s garmin time!

    • tfk

      the Bluetooth to ant conversion devices eg 4iiii’s viiiiva v100 were also specifically stated by Suunto to still work with the Spartan, as they do with the ambit3. So you could use your garmin vector with your soon-to-be Spartan Ultra *IF* you were so inclined. The v100 works well enough, as well as having some special features, tho it didn’t support/covert some of the cycling dynamics when I last looked.

  60. naiboo

    i´m buying sport watches over 25 years now and even the very first good watches but the last 1-2 years the prices go crazy!

    400€ is really the max i´m willed to pay, 2 years ago you got the top multisport watches for this and now?

  61. Brendan M

    Hi Ray, On first glance I am amazed at the proposed price point for the new watch. I purchase an Ambit3 sport (with HR) in Oct ’15 with for €320 but that was after a lot of umming and aahing over that price. Now I am very happy with it but it better last 2 years plus to justify it’s cost.

    I just checked this link link to clevertraining.co.uk for comparison purposes. Doing some rough foreign exchange the €649 for new watch works out at over £500 stg. There are plenty of watches for more than £100 less to choose from that I am guessing will do close to 90% of what the new watch will do.

    I guess they are confident they know their target market’s willing to fork out hard earned cash for their product!!!

    • I’m sure it’ll last a long time. I’m stilling using my Ambit 1 with something like 800 or 900 workouts recorded. The only reason I’m looking to upgrade to the Spartan Ultra is because I’m a freak and I love new gadgets… 😉 I do think that the price is getting up there and to most of us it’s a big investment. But if it also will last me this long, then I’m a happy camper to be honest.

      Also I can make a friend happy when I give the Ambit 1 away. Perfectly happy with the watch and no faults what so ever… except I’ve had to get 2 new data-cables in its time.

  62. GF3HR

    Just bought Garmin Fenix 3 HR in late Apr. It had been fantastic! I don’t know about Suntoo. Until 2 days ago, it’s more old school to me, always playing catch-up with Garmin. We will see what this Spartan Ultra has to offer – better battery? I doubt it. More features? Don’t think so. Or may be that touchscreen? Anyway, whatever Suunto can bring to market, I’m sure Fenix 4 can emulate next year.. 🙂

  63. GF3HR

    Just bought Garmin Fenix 3 HR in late Apr. It has been fantastic! I don’t know about Suntoo. Until 2 days ago, it’s more old school to me, always playing catch-up with Garmin. We will see what this Spartan Ultra has to offer – better battery? I doubt it. More features? Don’t think so. Or may be that touchscreen? Anyway, whatever Suunto can bring to market, I’m sure Fenix 4 can emulate next year.. 🙂

    • Edgar

      How about quality? Suunto’s quality and precision is far superior when compared with garmin gps sport watches, no doubt of that. Maybe two or tree features more in garmin fenix doen’t make me want to change. In fact, for me, is far more important that in training or in a run, be sure that the watch is doing its job, and doing it well, than the extra bells and whistles the fenix may have (most of them useless: nobody cares about a color screen when competing at open sea, or running).
      I had a fenix, only to be frustrated in trainings when suddently it stops working and resets itself, loosing all the data. A total waste of time and money. And that happens not only with my first fenix, the second (warranty replacement) also had that problem. Bought a Suunto Ambit, and problem solved!.
      I want a watch that be my companion in sport activities, and record the data in a flawless way. And Suunto excels in that.

    • Sparts

      If I could give you a thumbs up, I would. All this chat about step counters, battery draining colour touchscreens, removing the lug etc, it’s all a lot of nothingness. If you want a quality made watch with superior components, one that is built to last, then Ambit is your choice. Every single time.

  64. Bill

    I wish Suunto could just make a stripped down ultra trail running watch complete with altimeter, solid battery life and vibration alerts. I could care less about everything else. Maybe I just need to buy a Garmin 230 – it’s cheap, simple and only missing the altimeter…maybe Suunto will put out a cheaper version of the Spartan to meet my needs…
    Ah to dream…

    • Rick

      I’m with you on the stripped down aspect. Steps counting is the least thing from my mind.

      You can always buy the peak or sport on heavy discount now. I bought a used traverse because the guy didn’t like the fact the steps were not incorporated into movescount.

      I still use the sport, but the GPS altimeter is a tad off compared to reality. I’m selling it.

    • bill

      So assuming the Spartan is more watch/features and $$$ than I need/want to spend, what would folks here choose if given the choice to use a Garmin 230 or Ambit3 Run for an upcoming 50K trail race?

    • Matt H

      I’m being slightly biased but I’ve had the A3 Peak for 18months now and bar one screen freeze (annoyingly on a 22m run) I have had no issues with it at all, It’s built like a tank and GPS Tracking is rock solid. My buddy has gone through two Garmin 210’s and is now on a 220 in the same period which have bricked. Personally I would go for the Ambit 3 Peak if you can get a good deal on one (there’s a barometer in the peak, the A3 Run gets it’s altitude data from gps).

  65. Peter Stone

    Ray, I very much agree on what you write about Suunto’s release and information politics.

    However, right now this feels better than what Polar is doing – which is nothing. Their major watches, the M400 and the V800, are completely outdated, and nothing new is on the horizon.

    The battery of my M400 feels weaker and weaker each week, so I have to load almost every two days now, or even every day when I do a little bit more training. It makes me angry that now my data for a couple of years is on their (IMO very good!) Flow site, but they don’t do any new hardware to further support it.

    If there is nothing new from Polar pretty soon, I’ll probably change over to Garmin while still in summer training mode; although they Garmin seems to have some serious problems with there website and app. However, the hardware looks very very good and up-to-date!

  66. Ingo

    The Garmin universe is way too convoluted and from the sources I have staff happiness there is quite low as they are struggling with resources to patch and update all the products they have out there.

    Some thoughts on the Spartan: no optical HR is a good thing imho because whenever I look at people’s wrists after they used any of these Fenix3 HR type products it’s pretty clear to me that you have to tighten them up a lot for the OHR to work properly – and who likes that really? I don’t and prefer it looser in the sweaty, hot and humid environment I am in. Still want OHR? Get a Rhythm+ and at some point I am sure Scosche will also offer one with increased battery life. It’s a lot more comfortable than most built-in OHR. Care about HR accuracy? Wear a strap.

    Touch screen? Turn it off if you don’t like it as I believe that will be an option.

    Battery life? The leaked information stated exactly the Ambit3 Peak battery life so nothing to complain I’d think.

    Less gadgetry than the Garmin world? Again a good thing! Compared to the Fenix 3 it’s pretty stripped down to essentials and isn’t that more or less what many of us have been asking for?

    Price? Heck, if it’s basically “just” a Fenix3 that works, is more reliable and bullet proof I am more than happy to pay up for that.

    The Spartan is what many have been waiting for so just be patient and it’ll be all good. Garmin is trying too hard to capture a very wide spectrum and they may get lost in that process. Suunto seems to know their niche and customers – and so does Polar. There’s no Garmin product that I didn’t regret buying. Polar served me always well for what their stuff was designed for and Suunto just caters to slightly different and posisbly more ambitious audience.

  67. Troy P

    I just wanted a Ambit 3 with vibration.

    That watch looked good, worked well, has phone-to-watch display notifications (though vibration notifications would make it much much better), and it doesn’t look too fancy to tempt people to steal it.

    Why overdo it? Certain newer phones, like the Nexus 6P, are not only coming out with much more accurate GPS sensors, but they also use these sensors to pair and synchronize with existing network towers to get a much more accurate location, something that GPS watches can not do.

    • Nick Gers

      the tower thing is used mostly to speed up the lock up of the satellites, when you enable gps on the phone, but as far as accuracy goes, it doesnt help at all.
      Accuracy is helped by good gps antenna and by using both GPS and GLONASS.
      I guess Suunto made a mistake by eliminating the lug, it seems the GPS accuracy is suffering in those new models.

  68. Paul Taylor-Morris

    Does anyone know how many Connect IQ apps you can install on the Garmin Fenix 3 / HR? I know you can install 16 on the Garmin Forerunner 235.


  69. Bill

    Can anyone confirm they will be making some sort of sport and run versions of this watch as well?

  70. alexei cavazos

    will this have vibrating alerts, temp sensor, difrences between this and the ambit2 s??

  71. Chris

    As an Ambit 3 Peak owner, who tried the Fenix 3 (twice), I’m interested in what the Spartan Ultra may bring.
    I too am puzzled by Suunto’s marketing strategy, but it’s the released product that matters to me ultimately, not discussion of marketing tactics. It’s not like the Fenix 3 pre-order situation was expertly handled by Garmin.

    My biggest concern regarding the Spartan Ultra would be a loss of accuracy. Without accuracy and stability no amount of features mean a damn to me after my time with the Fenix 3. For what little Suunto did release, I’d agree the price is high. Those unknown features will need to be pretty special for me to move from the Ambit.

  72. Rick

    I’m not sure why everyone is so worried about the GPS accuracy. Nobody is doing survey work with a wrist watch. I have both the Traverse and the Ambit 3 Sport. Tracking difference is minimal. So many variables for near perfect tracking.

    • Chris

      I have not used the Traverse so I can’t vouch for it’s accuracy, but I’d rather not use a watch that’s routinely anywhere from 5-20% off (usually short) like my F3’s were. Not asking for surveying accuracy or near perfect tracking. Being a mile or two off on distance in the mountains on running/snowshoeing/skiing when off trail but following and imported route, when on trail looking for particular points of interest or trail spits, or when trails are under snow and visibility is low, is not minimal error. However, it is why I left the Fenix 3.

    • Rick

      I see your point. No use plunking down a big chunk of change for something that isn’t accurate. My point was the traverse vs Ambit accuracy.

      But, I must admit I have never went over 10k for a single event with either watch. So the accuracy may deviate.

    • Stanislav

      Nearly all GPS watches have good accuracy when you run in straight lines on open terrain. But try to run on a twisty trail under a heavy tree cover and the accuracy might vary by as much as 20%, usually in the short side.

  73. Urtmurt

    Thanks Ray, I like both Ambits and Movescount (although I still have not been compelled to replace my 2r).

    One comment and I am wondering if you are in touch sometimes with the movescount developers:
    Their graphs and the binning (which I like in principle) makes no sense without the ability to set the range of the y-axis. After all pace really cannot be interpreted when looking at a range from 14min/ml to 6min/ml, which can easily happen when one stops briefly. It seems like such a simple thing and it would improve the usefulness vastly!

    • Sparts

      The Suunto devs are extremely helpful in my experience.
      If you are on twitter I would suggest that you can best connect to them via that platform.
      They really do listen – though they can’t please everybody.
      I don’t think DCR has a hotline to them 😉

  74. Kevin

    Looking forward to further updates.

  75. Nick

    I am a current F3HR user impatiently waiting for further details.

    Hopefully Suunto up their game even further by retaining the great GPS accuracy of previous products, while adding more and more features to justify that price!

  76. Peter

    First of all, hardware looks good, as expected (this is where Suunto excels over competition, I have the Ambit3 Sapphire at the moment). Too bad they refuse to share any information about the specs before autumn, bad call that I hope turns some potential buyers to competitors’ products.

    Sadly great hardware (assuming they get the specs right and won’t struggle with GPS) is pulled down by the inferior Movescount portal, that was a dreadful from the start, and not made any better with this long anticipated “update”. Still no public/private tagging per move, still no means to run any useful reports (over customer-defined time spans), still not enough sports (only a handful, Suunto calls it “several dozen”, where it would be just drawing icons…) and not possible to add your own – so you end up with ‘stars’ all over your calendar with all those “unspecified sport” splatted all around. Heat map is nice addition, but otherwise the user interface is probably even worse than it was (and it was pretty bad already), lots of bugs still as well (icons not aligning, language changes to default english when you browse around, etc.). Suunto hasn’t got a clue when it comes to online training portals (though their Training Manager was a whole lot better back in the times of T6)

  77. Hello Ray, by chance I stumbled over a announcement of the Traverse Alpha (Stealth). Probably the same ballpark as the Tactix Bravo and probably for the same audience:
    * People not wanting to loose their adopted night vision to blazing backlights
    * People with military and/or hunting ambitions (although I think the “shot fired” is a bit of an exaggeration)
    * People liking the design 😉

  78. Kees de Groot

    please notify me in case news is available when it enters the shops

  79. Colm Costelloe

    Suunto seem to have posted some more information as well as the ‘announcement’ of a thinner, lower battery capacity ‘Sport’ version of the Spartan.

    The full Spartan specs are here:
    link to suunto.com

    And the Sport version here:
    link to suunto.com

    Key takeaways for me on the non-Sport model:
    – 26hr battery life (16hr with 1sec GPS fix)
    – Vibration alerts

    • Adam

      the SPORT one looks really nice! And the price looks more normall! (maybe with brexit, we will be able to buy it for 390GBP that will soon equal 390E :-P), the thickness diff is quite big. The shorter battery life would not be a problem for me (10h/16h is very fine for my needs), but barometric altimeter loss is a pitty :-/

      And other bigger problem for me is that Suunto says that new SPARTAN series is NOT compatible with suunto apps! This means no ambitintervals.com! And since I dont expect any improvement in suunto’s native intervals, all this sucks :-/

    • Edgar

      Agree about barometric altimeter. Pity. Also as i found out – ultra is longer battery life, barometric altimeter, cycling power, coach (whatever it is) and the case – titanium + saphire.
      Most of it is redundand or too specific, so i preordered Sport. they promisr to deliver it in september. Ultra will be available in august. But sport with optical hr – around christmas

    • Adam

      I think only diffs are: size, battery and altimeter.
      The other stuff is common (cycling power, coaching, etc), at least according to specs:
      link to suunto.com

  80. Hi All (For those following on comment notifications)-

    As some of you know, Suunto announced additional details on the Spartan range yesterday. I’ve incorporated those details into this post, along with a 91-page slide deck which further clarifies many things. Plus an Excel sheet detailing the exact differences between the models. All of that can be found within this new section: link to dcrainmaker.com

    In addition, they also clarified which optical HR sensor vendor they’ll be using, and I’ve written a post on that here: link to dcrainmaker.com


    • Thanks for the update.

      Wow, Suunto has done a great job looking at the overall experience. I really like the holistic approach they’ve taken. I’m looking forward to your hands-on review. I hope their GPS accuracy remains as good. If so, I’ll definitely be upgrading from my A3 Peak…

  81. Janne

    Specs are out indeed. Hilarious, actual specs aside, that a Finnish company has half of the specs in English in the Finnish locale 😀 You would think they would at least check the local language when publishing anything on the site. Must be the same people doing the Movescount app. Again – great hardware, ridiculous online presentation.

  82. Freddie

    In my opinion it looks as Suunto starts to be on the right path. The Spartan looks like a solid watch so does the Traverse alpha. The updates to Movescount makes the web experiance nice and the heat maps are usefull. Being able to plan routes in Movescount is a good feature especially when it is possible to use OpenStreetMap (and i like the fact that it is possible to plan routes using a tablet) and finally, the android app works.

    What I cannot understand is why Suunto is making it so hard to sync data from other servicen TO Movescount. It is easy to sync FROM Movescount to Strava or TP and it is easy to connect from Stryd Powercenter and extract Moves.

    However, If you, in addition to your watch, want to use a bike computer, the easiest thing is instead to sync to Strava (or Sporttracks) and use that as the primary service. I cannot understand why they aren’t making it easy to sync, for instance, data from the wahoo ELEMNT to Movescount. But i guess we all should all be happy that they don’t want to lock us in to their service.

  83. Scott

    What I would like to know which isn’t clear with the Spartan Ultra:
    1. WIll it let you zoom into a route / track as much as the Fenix 3 does, I find it very useful at times to zoom in as much as 25 metres.
    2. Compas doesn’t mention it does Mils? Is this correct…
    3. Can settings be changed on the watch, for example changing an alert for running pace during a run. Or saving a POI, and the ability to rename it on the watch (both of WHich the Fenix 3 allow you to do)
    I often find I’ll go for a run / MTB ride on a whim and if I do would like to configure the settings, usually I’m no where near a computer so the ability to change settings on the watch is a great option for me.

    I’ve had an Ambit 1 and 2, now currently a Fenix 3. Looking to go back to Suunto.


    • Jim C

      Out of curiosity, what about your Fenix 3 makes you want to go back to Suunto?

    • Scott

      Hey Jim C.

      Just a few things, I’ll list in no particular order.
      1) GPS accuracy, it’s not bad riding / mountain biking, but running it constantly short tracks the distance. If using it for walking, looks like I’m drunk with a zig-zag course.
      2) Sport modes, Ambit did great at this, if for example you have Mountain Biking on the watch, sync it up. It would be Mountain biking in MovesCount, in Garmin Connect it’s Cycling, and you have to change this manually to Mountain Biking. Same with a lot of other activities. Seems it’s focused really on Running / Swimming and Cycling, Anything different and you have to manually change it in Garmin Connect.
      3) Garmin Connect website, I think the Website should get considered in these watch reviews as they play a big part.
      3a) The biggest problem is you can’t do a full screen map, this is so restrictive, worse still if trying to plot a route.
      3b) Creating a route in Garmin Connect, no way to add waypoints or Turn by Turn Navigation. Instead you have to use 3rd party websites, and 3rd party tool to do this. The watch has the ability but Garmin do not employee this on their web site, crazy!?
      3c) The Scale of the metrics in Garmin Connect, for example elevation scale no matter what you did the scale is too great. Looking at a run I did recently, the scale is -100 to 100 Metres. The graph then looks almost flat, where in MovesCount it would scale, and be like 10 to 40 metres, giving a better graph.
      Plus, I love the dynamic graphing in MovesCount, where it will colour coordinate the route to the graph you have selected. Very cool feature.

    • Johan

      Extremely poor GPS performance (on trail and in the mountains) maybe, that is why I gave up om Fenix3…

    • Sxcott

      I just did a 5km Park Run.
      The F3 says 4.93km
      Asking other runners and majority are coming up with 5.1km

      Friend uses Strava App and it too said 5.1KM

  84. Paul D

    “What’s that? You want to look at the 91 slides? No problem. I’ve uploaded them all into a massive gallery below.”

    Why not just upload the PPTX/PDF? 🙂

  85. Steve

    I must admit that I’m now more excited about the Movescount refresh than the new watches! Some of the upcoming Movescount improvements revealed yesterday look great and – if they’re as good as they sound in the write-up – they will be a very big step forward for the platform.

    I commented above on the initial Spartan Ultra news that was released in June and mentioned how disappointing the first info was but that I was going to wait for further info in July before making any concrete decisions on which new sports watch to buy. I’ll still be waiting for Ray’s Spartan Ultra review before upgrading from my current Ambit3 Run but I’m now less likely to be moving to a Garmin on the strength of the Movescount refresh.

    Final thought… I am still confused as to why Suunto didn’t release more of this latest info in June to generate interest and excitement. I can’t imagine that most of the features listed yesterday weren’t already in scope / in progress at that time…

  86. Paul F

    Ray, one of the promotional pictures in your slide set showed a training plan ‘2km warm up, 4x 7km @pace, 2km warm down’. This is something would be easy to do using Garmin’s workout creator but impossible to do using the workout creator on the Ambit series. This was a big fail for Ambits: the inability to create structured workouts properly. You had to work around using the ‘ambit intervals’ website that created an app, but this was clunky compared to Garmin’s simple system. The promotional picture suggests they remedied this failure. Do you know whether that is the case? Or am I just being optimistic! Thanks! Paul

  87. Scott

    Why was my post delete, this time I’m screen capturing it! :/

    What I would like to know, and I coming from an Ambit 2 to a Fenix 3, and looking to jump back to Suunto are the following, which I can find details of.
    1) compass, does it allow for Mils?
    2) Route / course zooming in, does it allow to zoom in at least to 35 metres or closer, something the Fenix 3 does? Really find the ability to zoom in very helpful.
    3) Ability to change settings on the watch which I do more than I like to admit, some useful settings is to change alerts, like the slow pace alert and also renaming save POI’s / Waypoints insteads

    • Scott

      Ooops, my post is still there, apologies, wasn;t coming up when searching !?
      Feel free to delete this and the above

  88. Hugo Paredes

    For the price they asked for the Sport edition (499 eur), the lack of barometric altitude is inexcusable. 499 eur should be the price of the Spartan Ultra.

    • morey

      Think of it as not just paying for the hardware… but paying for that *free* software as well. Movescount was already better than Garmin Connect. Now it’s way better. Plus- the Spartans do have what appears to be a much brighter, clearer touch screen. that’s worth extra. the Sport- they took out the pressure sensor and some battery life, and made it 13.8mm thick (F3 is 16mm). There are plenty of multisport athletes for which this is the perfect watch. (for $50 more than a F3).

      You want a great deal on a watch? Check out the Ambit 3 Peak or Sport. you can get them for a song these days and they’ll do everything you need.

    • Ralf

      Quite on the contrary, as Movescount is hardly worth a penny. It tries to do eyecandy (some of it ok but experience is ruined by the miserable UI), but lacks basic functionality that even Garmin Connect has. Garmin has its own set of hurdles (also not the best UI), but at least it offers things like user defined reports. Also, Movescount insists to keep moves either public or private, w/o option to be public and hide some of the moves (like your daily commute, if you like), very very basic thing to add, but still missing. The lack of sports is also annoying – if you do, let’s say longboarding, kite skiing and fishing, all you have in Movescount is bunch of stars as ‘undefined sport’, not being able to identify one from another (let alone run any meaningful reports, should they exist in the future in Movescount). If you think how easy it would be to have a long list of sports (like Garmin has, though they also struggle with it as Fenix uses icons to dictate the sport and once uploaded it all goes wrong with too limited options, requiring manual update in Connect (but at least it’s possible manually there)), it’s odd the list is so limited.

    • Antonio

      Hi Morey;

      Thanks for your comments.

      I’m not worry about the cost. For me it not clear the total features of Spartan. The “pros” for Fenix (in my opinion ) is the – has the the hart rate monit on my wrist and also has features email alert, mobile connect Totaly agree the design and toutch screen is great. Battery life it important and both has the same LF TM.
      Just checking witch one to by

  89. Ralf

    Indeed the Sport is pretty badly priced, way too expensive for what it is. Does not make Ultra cheap, or hardly a bargain (or more value / money), but still the better ‘deal’ of the two.

    As for lack of apps, that’s a strange omission by Suunto. The App base for Ambit is limited but growing, so why to essentially kill it? Especially when Ambit (and likely the Spartan as well) is missing basic things that would be easy to provide by default, but left for users to code – say, a simple 5-minute race timer for sailing.

    I don’t see the point adding touch screen, what do you guys make of it? Where would it be useful over the buttons? Scrolling? Tap/select? Color screen I get, I had a Fenix 3, and colors added value. Same for the vibration alerts – once you have them, it’s difficult to go back (but I did, as I like the Ambit3 Peak Sapphire hardware more). Connectivity means nothing for me, as I never use it (sync by cable only).

    Fenix 3 color display is pretty lame in terms of saturation (colors have no ‘pop’), Spartan looks better in this regard, hope the promo pictures won’t be misleading. I am cautious about the lack of buttons – hope the interface is designed so that touch screen is not mandatory to operate the watch on the go (starting, stopping, changing views, changing sport, lapping, navigation/backgracking etc)

    • antonio

      Hi – I agree that the color display is much better comparing to FENIX 3. I´m want to by on of those Spartan Ultra or Fenix 3 hr sapphire; could you give me some “pros and cons” to help me to decide.

    • In general, for smart watches, I’d avoid focusing too much on the screen clarity. The reason being the most clear/crisp screen of them all – the Apple Watch – is the least awesome as a sport watch.

      Not to say you want it to look like 1988, but at the same time – for sport/etc the functions/accuracy/etc are more important.

    • Ralf

      Say what? Screen clarity don’t matter? It surely does if you wish to read the data on the go, and if the colors are diluted, the less useful they are (Fenix3 struggles with this) – contrast needs to be there and colors need to pop, so that you can easily read it in bright daylight and whatnot tricky conditions. I guess it doesnt matter if only use the watch to record and exercise and browse the watch only at home.

    • Sorry, I mean resolution not clarity.

      I haven’t seen any true usefulness on the Fenix3 for example where defined colors actually mattered. At the same time, I also don’t see a case on the Fenix3 where colors are so bad that you can’t tell what they are. For example, the HR graph screen is perfectly clear.

      My point being you don’t need Apple Watch resolution for a good unit. If Suunto can do that in the package they have – then great. But I don’t think most people buying that watch want to sacrifice significant battery life for higher resolution screens that burn more battery. Rather, clear and contrast should be the name of the game.

    • Ralf

      Agree, contrast is the key. But, I was myself quite disappointed on the diluted colors on Fenix3 – understand the power consumption issue (if that’s the reason for poor color contrast/pop), but then again, if you cannot do it properly, then rather skip it. Monochrome on Ambit3 is nothing inferior imo. Eyecandy aside, rather design the UI in a way that it requires no colors. Your reference to Apple Watch is spot on, and these multisport watches (utility watches I say), imo again, should not try to catch up, but rather follow their own path. That’s why I am reserved about Suunto’s catch-up game (vibration and color screen from Fenix3, touch from Apple Watch), and not being whole very original about it. Of course, copying the best parts is what made Apple reign the smart phone domain, so perhaps Suunto can pull off something similar (vibrations are very useful, and if the color screen is contrasty and beautiful and touch adds value but does not limit usage by being mandatory for day to day usage, they’ve done it from my point of view). Movescount blunders are harder to overcome, but none of the competition has it figured out perfectly either, so guess that’s just how the cookie must crumble, for now.

    • okrunner

      Amen. Great colors and resolution can be great ala Motoactv. But battery suffers tremendously for it. Simple clarity such as Tom Tom Spark goes a long way. Although, I wish the numbers were larger on the Spark. I’ve played with the colors on the F3hr and even with Connect IQ fields showing one data field highlighted by a different color accomplishes very little in true readability.

  90. antonio

    Could you give me a comparative SPARTAN ULTRA vs FENIX 3 HR; witch is the best ?

    • I’ll add the Spartan series into the comparison database tool once I have a unit in hand. I can kinda do it now, but I usually like to be able to do it with something in-hand since it allows me to quickly check things 100%, versus having to play back and forth with a company on features.

      Also, sometimes companies have different interpretations of my feature headings than I do. Or rather, they take liberties with it. In Suunto’s case, they pretty much know what my definitions mean – but sometimes others stretch the definition of things (‘Interval function’ being an example where I have a very strict definition of a feature).

  91. Paul

    The Suunto site says pre-orders start on the 15th with shipments on August 1. Any chance you will have done a preview before the pre-orders start?

  92. Leigh Whitworth

    Can anyone advise me if the new Suunto Spartan allows syncing of Moves via Bluetooth as is the case with the Ambit3 Peak. The information might be staring me in the face but I cannot see it. I use it a lot when I’m away and don’t have access to a computer. Thanks.

  93. Nick

    For those who looked through the slides that DCR provided so kindly. Did you see a key couple of words towards the end of the slideshow?

    Suunto apps support being planned for!!!

  94. Jonas Peterson

    Are all planned software updates planed for movescount also applicable for us that right now uses older watches like Ambit 2 S?

  95. luke997

    Thanks for details Ray, this watch ticks all the boxes for me and I’ve decide to upgrade from Ambit3 and placed pre-order after reading this post.
    Usually I’m not an early adopter, but given Suunto’s reputation and solid performance of their watches I’m confident they’ll deliver (no pun intended).

  96. Dave

    Does anyone know if you’ll be able to charge the Spartan Ultra while in use?

  97. Paul

    Have been looking at this market recently and the Spartan looks like what I might be interested in, but there are some deals around (I’ve seen fenix 3 sapphire for $599 CAD in-store and less online) so was after some advice.

    Main use would be for hiking with some openwater swimming and pool swimming in the winter and some mixed trail/road running, skiing in the winter would be a plus. I also like the idea of HR monitoring, but wrist based on the device so that would mean holding out for end of the year on Spartan it seems and the Fenix HR isn’t on sale. Being in the Pacific northwest and good GPS is important, I have a SPOT alert/tracker (solo hiking safety, we have regular issues with lost/injured hikers in area so wife gets concerned) and have seen some of the limitations of using GPS in mountainous wooded area’s.

    So wonder if it’s worth looking at the Fenix 3 on offer (birthday coming up) or holding out for the Spartan with OHRM (sounds like Christmas) or just going for the Fenix HR as it would be comparable to the Spartan. Or are there other alternatives anyone would suggest?

  98. Wolakko

    Can you post a fair comparison between garmin fenix3 and suunto spartan ultra?

  99. Thibaut

    Is Spartan integrate the functionality “LiveTrack” as the Garmin?
    I like It because my family can track me without drain my battery (GarminConnect use the GPS of the 920xt).

  100. Eli

    The decreased battery life is kind of a downer compared to the price.

  101. PaulT

    I’m going to be in the UK for August and wondered what experience anyone has with Suunto and reliability of dates as I’m tempted to order an ultra, but only if I’ll be able to bring it back with me, no pint having family ship it on later.
    The lack of units in the wild and further details this close to launch isn’t great, though I suspect it maybe firmware and hardware and expect to have to go through a few updates anyway.

    • Nick Yanakiev

      Hi Paul- I am based in the UK myself. I have had the Spartan on pre-order for a while.
      I called Suunto yesterday to ask about the specific release date for the watch.

      The only official information right now is some time in August. I asked for him to escalate this and get back to me with something more specific. I will make sure to post here when I hear back.

    • Paul T

      Thanks Nick appreciate it, considering per-ordering and delivering to family then having someone collect it/bring it with them as there will be some family member visiting most of August.

      alternatively as part of my travel I’m going to be passing through London and Paris mid-August so if anyone can recommend a good store that’s likely to stock the Spartan (in either city, might have more chance persuading the wife to splash out on my Birthday present in Paris though!) I’d be interested as I can always contact them and see if they expect to have stock. Really liking the look of the titanium stealth at the moment

    • sarah

      I believe Cotswold will be stocking this, as its listed online. They have stores in London so might be worth checking, not sure if its just online.

    • Agustin

      As per their email today (Jul 28), they will start shipping Aug 15 in the US… no idea in the UK, but it may serve you as guidance.

  102. hooghan

    looking for updates on suunto and garmin gps watches

  103. Brad Wingler

    2 Questions…
    1-With the GPS sensor moved more internally and not on the band will it effect gps accuracy?
    2-Will a person be able to charge the Spartan Ultra on the go?

  104. Agustin

    So I sent an email to Suunto customer support to find out if they are effectively shipping out the Ultra on August 1st as they promised, and also if some form of fast shipping was available and this is what I got… (sorry to be the bringer of bad news):

    Greetings from Suunto.
    With regard to your Suunto Spartan Ultra order, we just gotten word that it will be available globally on August 15th, two weeks later than originally promised. Those customers who have pre-ordered the watch will be the first ones to receive it. An official announcement will be released regarding this information.
    We are truly sorry for the delay as we would like to make sure that the device is completely working before we send them out. All pre-order deliveries will be Express but we could not guarantee the 2-3 business days since it will go out of our warehouse in batches.
    We will let you know if there are any update regarding this concern.
    Thank you for your patience and understanding.
    Suunto Customer Support Team

    • I chatted with Clever Training last night, and they mirrored roughly the same due to some sort of manufacturing delay.

    • Agustin

      Yes… I checked Suunto’s website, and they’ve updated their website to show the change.

      Also, as per a second email I got this morning:
      1. Android mobile support for Spartan will be available by the end of September (Android 5.0 and newer).
      2. Your credit card will not be charged before the product is available (not true, they charged my CC the day I placed the order).

      My point being… Suunto is taking orders and charging for a watch that basically… doesn’t exist yet, in the style of Apple every time they come up with a new iPhone (that’s why it took them so long to send you specs to post on your website, I guess).
      Shame on us overexcited consumers of sports gadgets. 😉
      In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my timely delivered Forerunner 735xt… which is VERY light, works perfectly, and tells me it’s 4:20 🙂

  105. massimo

    it has the same flat tire like the Motorola 360!!

    link to youtube.com

  106. Chris

    Are there other GPS polling options such as 10 sec. or 30 sec.? It would be nice to eke out a bit more battery life with relatively accurate GPS recording. If the Ultra can get 26 hours of battery life on the OK setting with 1 sec. polling, could it get closer to 36 with 10 second polling? Something that would allow Ultra runner to record a 100 mile race. Ray – do you have any insight into this?

  107. For those interested and following along via comments, I’ve just posted the Spartan Ultra unboxing and size comparisons video to YouTube: link to youtube.com

  108. RolandH

    Hi Ray,

    could you please cover the following 2 points in your upcoming detailed test of the Spartan Ultra / Sport:

    1. What’s the maximum number of route points of any route uploaded to the watch ? On the current Ambit and Ambit2 (and I believe also on the Ambit3) every route uploaded to the watch is reduced to 1000 points. Can’t find that information on the Suunto Spec sheet.

    2. Is the GPS activated (and therefore consuming valueable battery power) if a move is paused ? This is the case on the Ambits and I haven’t found a way to switch off the GPS sensor while the move is paused. I’m used to do long cycle trips in summer and I’m really missing the 30 minute battery power in the evening which is wasted during a 30 minutes lunch rest when the move is paused but the GPS continously is using power.

    thanks and best regards, Roland

  109. As a quick update for those following along in the comments section, I’ve posted a few new videos:

    Unboxing Video: link to youtube.com
    Spartan Ultra Menu deep-dive: link to youtube.com
    Touchscreen while wet & with gloves video: link to youtube.com
    GPS Instant Pace/Responsiveness/Outdoor Visibility/GPS Track Analysis Video: link to youtube.com

    And, for those interesting in digging around and doing their own analysis on GPS tracks:

    Run (shown in video): link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com…4-de10e2d53f29
    Ride (not in video, just tonight): link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com…b-3babb5035978

    Obviously, these are merely two activities, and my GPS accuracy section on most reviews is between 10-20 activities or more, so…take it with whatever grain of salt you want. I’ll eventually add a table to this post which I’ll update after each ride/run showing comparison data, probably in the next day or two. But for now, the above are the direct links.

    • Johan

      Great thanks, finally some GPS indications. From what I can see it looks pretty good 🙂 How well it works for my trail-running, we will se quite soon… If you do more comparison, could you bring the V800?

    • Nick Yanakiev

      Looks quite good indeed! Hopefully this is really the first (to my knowledge) good implementation of a bezel-based antenna that still allows for good GPS accuracy! Hopefully that touch screen can a) be switched off completely and b) can be fine-tuned a great deal before release.

    • Chris

      Great videos and much appreciated! If possible, a GPS comparison that includes the Ambit 3 Peak would be great to make it easier to tell how the new form factor compares in accuracy.

      Also interesting to see that elevation data (barometric vs gps).


  110. Brad

    Just got an email from Suunto that the GPS chipset is the same as ambit 3 (SirfstarV). Hoping that means good accuracy.

    But it lead me to wonder, what chipset is in the Ambit 3 vertical? It seems the vertical has some accuracy issues whereas the Peak is much more accurate.

    • Paul

      The Vertical has the same chip – it’s the lower profile antenna that reduces its sensitivity.

    • Nick Yanakiev

      Well, I’m guessing Suunto engineers used some forbidden art to get GPS accuracy that looks to be up there with the best. At least based on what we’ve seen from DC Rainmaker and some other athletes, who have the watch.

    • Brad

      So will the Spartan have the same issues as the Vertical? I’m hoping to switch from the Fenix 3 because it does terrible on the east coast trails under trees. My Ambit 3 friends are spot on. Wondering if I should go Spartan or ambit 3?

    • Robert

      Having watched the early preview videos by DC, definitely Ambit 3 is the way to go. Price drop plus the fact it works perfectly (GPS), and the fact Spartan looks like its designed by the people behind Movescount app (ie bad, non-intuitive UI). Touch works horribly and clearly is just a gimmick, Suunto trying to differentiate. Having used Fenix3, I miss the vibration with Ambit 3, but that’s it. Did you see DC struggling with the menus, touch and buttons mixed with no common sense (especially going back seems omitted from the logic). Touch adds no value, especially when implemented this poorly.

    • Brad

      I wonder if it is just a matter of getting used to their touch screen. Each screen is different on phones, tablets, and watches. It seems you learn the gestures over time. The other thought is that there is supposedly more updates due in September, wondering if those will fix the issues.

    • Robert

      Possibly, but would not count on it (since there’s quite a few issues: poor sensitivity, lag and odd logic – though logic surely could be fixed easily, allowing to skip touch without oddities like going back in the navigation). I think they skimped on display quality, that poor touch sensitivity reminds me off very early touch screens before iPhone era (except those could at least be used with gloves and when wet, as they were resistive, not capacitive).

  111. panos

    Having an Ambit 3, the only real improvement i can see is that you can read clearly up to 5 data fields on the watch. In the previews ambits you could read basically ONE data field. Of course that improvement does not justify the price.

  112. psilo

    Hello Ray,

    Can you elaborate a bit on the touch screen quality? I have seen you videos (unboxing, GPS etc) but I’m missing your judgement if during excersise the touch screen is usable. I think that some other users are interested in this issue too.

    • It’s ok during exercise, but not great. I find I get about 80% of touches correct, but about 20% fail.

      I demo this a bit more within the ‘all about the menu’s YouTube video, as well as during sport about 2/3rds the way through the GPS accuracy one where you see me trying to swipe a few times mid-run.

      So it’s usable, but it’s just not great.

    • Jonas

      80% is hardly usable, or am I expecting too much from a mere 700 USD watch? Missing a swipe once or twice per day is acceptable, but 20% is ridiculously bad user experience. Imagine buttons would have the same success rate (and it’s apples to apples comparison from usability point of view)?

    • Buttons are 100% success rate for me. Work great.

    • Jonas

      Sorry, forgot the ‘if’ in the sentence – so imagine if (the buttons would have 80% success rate). Of course buttons have 100%, but pretty much the same is expected from touch – especially nowadays when touch is old news, matured tech. Not sure why Suunto settled for something this poor quality (could be bad coding as well, not just poor hardware). Unacceptable, even if you get the watch for free, imo.

    • Ahh, gotchya. I could do with something at a higher success rate but not perfectly 100%. For example, the FR630 for me as a touch-screen works like 95-98% (unscientific gut feeling) of the time. It’s not perfect, but the thought process never enters my head as to whether or not the touch will work. It does almost every time.

      This, less so.

    • Jonas

      Comparison with FR630 is useful, would expect at least a comparable performance. Would be nice to try out one myself, let’s see if there’s any visible improvement once the watch hits the market in couple of days. Still holding strong to my Ambit 3 Peak Sapphire, that suddenly does not appear dated at all 🙂

  113. psilo

    Thanks Ray, I appreciate your efforts. Keep us informed about new findings. All the best.

  114. Josh

    Ray, I’m not sure if this Spartan blog or the other one is more active, so I’m moving my follow up comment over to this one. Regarding my question and your response on the elevation data being strong on the Spartan Ultra, can you please clarify if you expect the elevation data to be strong or poor on the Spartan Sport. Based on this, users will have the decision to make of waiting for the Sport with OHRM, or if elevation data is more important then buying the Spartan Ultra.

    • Johan Lundberg

      Since the Sport version doesn’t have the barometric altitude it is pretty clear that if you need reliable elevation info the Ultra is the only option. I dont really care for optical HR so my decision is easy…

    • Potentially.

      Though, Suunto has always done a pretty impressive job with GPS-based altitude. We saw that with the Ambit Sport for example. So it’s hard to say.

    • Johan Lundberg

      I based my decision from my experience with TomTom runner and the result I get in Strava. Guess that is irrelevant here. If you calculate altitude from the 3D fix (latitude, longitude, altitude) I can understand that you can be better or worse in presenting altitude. Lets hope SSS is doing a good job here 🙂

    • Adam


      what do You mean by “TomTom runner and the result I get in Strava”?
      What You see in strava is not what Your TomTom recorded!! Strava (for all not barometric devices) assumes that elevation data is not ‘trustworthy’ and replaces/overwrites it with it’s own elevation data. Even simple comparison of elevation gain on Your watch / TomTom’s service and strava will show You quite some difference. I have the same with my FR230. In some runs (funny thing that the flat ones are the worst) difference can be +100m vs +300m!!

  115. Andy Tomlinson

    Hi Ray,

    I managed to disconnect the Spartan Ultra from the Moves website and I wondered if there was any way to re connect it so I can see it in Moves again. It currently is being seen by Suuntolink to charge the unit but not so it sees it as a watch in the watch tab. Make sense?

    Cheers in advance,


    • Matt Ellard

      Did you manage to solve this? I’m having the same problem.. Finding this watch so frustrating so far…

    • Andy Tomlinson

      Sorry, I have been away and I am just back so will retry the pairing and try to get Movescount to recognise my watch. Update to follow.


  116. Brad

    Did anyone buy one through Clever Training that has heard of shipping updates? Just ordered mine!

    • I shot a note over after your message, and they said they’d validate the status of the shipment first thing in the morning. I’ll report back probably in the next few hours.

    • Brad

      Thanks Ray!

    • Dave

      Awesome. I ordered mine from CT too and hope to see it this week.
      And Ray, thanks so much for your reviews…the best.

    • rob

      just received my suunto spartan ultra today. thank you dc for guiding me on how to get the best out of it. I am wearing it now very comfortable, heartrate monitor paired brilliantly.

    • Brad

      Awesome! I can’t wait to get mine and run some loops in the woods to test out the GPS accuracy!

    • Hey folks-

      Checked with the CT peeps and they’re expecting Ultra units to start showing up tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday. As usual, pre-orders are fulfilled in the order they are received, and if UPS/FedEx/etc. comes before early afternoon, then usually things are turned back around again the same day to shipment to you.

      Meanwhile, in talking with Suunto today, it sounds like Sport versions won’t be out till later this month – but they didn’t have a specific date yet.

      Thanks for the support!

  117. Jay Mijares

    As others have always said, your in-depth reviews are appreciated! Have you seen a complete list of the 80 pre-defined sports modes? I’ve always wanted a “foil/sabre fencing” mode or icon. If there was something like that, or it could be created, I’d definitely buy the Spartan Ultra and keep my Ambit3 as a backup. I’d use the Spartan Ultra for fencing and trail running, water sports, etc.

    • I haven’t written them down. However, in my most recent video on the sport profile (see the playlist above at end of post), I do actually scroll through the list, so that might help.

    • Jay Mijares

      Oh, interesting! From your video, I noticed that they actually have a Spartan sports mode. I’m guessing there will be additional changes to Movescount as they roll out the Spartan Ultra because currently, of the 80 sports that are on the website, none are the Spartan icon.

  118. Ryan

    Ray, please show us in your next video how the steps work on the site.

    I quite like the 2 year model change. Similar to Apple iPhones in terms of time of the year as well as life cycle.

    My Ambit3 is ready to be replaced. Note I can also rest my Garmin VivoFit (used only for steps). Will be nice to have all in one.

    • Yup, it’s coming up! I’ve got two videos I’m working on:

      1) Navigation/etc – this will be my next one
      2) Steps/Recovery/Training pieces (probably on Friday)


  119. Johan Lundberg

    I made my first trailrun with the new Suunto Spartan Ultra yesterday. I have a sync setup so that Movescount sync all activities to Strava. In SSU/Movescount I get an Ascent of 276 meter but after syncing, Strava shows that my Ascent was 155 meters. It looks like the barometric/watch ascent doesn’t get transferred to Strava for some reason. With my other watch (Polar V800) I always got correct (same ascent in watch and Strava). Anyone knows what I am doing wrong?
    link to movescount.com

    • Matthew B.

      My guess is Strava doesn’t have the Spartan Ultra mapped in their system yet and thus don’t “trust” the altitude data coming from the device. If you download the TCX file from Movescount and manually upload, does it get the right elevation? (I believe the TCX is the only version Movescount embeds the elevation into? or at least that’s the only kind I’ve had success uploading to Strava and having the altitude work.)

      Perhaps Ray has a better idea of this.

    • Johan Lundberg

      Importing the tcx doesnt seem to help, I get the same false ascent data. Did a new run today and get similar result. 198 meters on SSU and 60 meter in Strava. Really annoying, did send a question to Strava support, hope they can help. Wrote on Movescount on Facebook as well. Hope to find someone who can tell me where and what is wrong.

    • I shot over a note today, they’re working to get it added in.

      Matthew is correct, unless they know the identity, they assume all elevation data is bad. 🙂

    • Johan Lundberg

      I got the same answer from Strava support 🙂

  120. Nick Yanakiev

    First proper Move with my brand spanking new SSU- quite happy to be fair!!

    link to movescount.com

    • Nick Yanakiev


      First proper run with the SSU: around 12km, over 1 hour of running. I had my Scosche Rhythm+ paired to the watch- it all worked like a charm! Could not be happier- including GPS/instant pace.

      link to strava.com

      My friend’s Ambit 3 Peak:
      link to strava.com

    • Johan Lundberg

      On the right side i am running on a mountain ridge with open sky on the left I am in the woods. Blue is SSU and red is Tomtom runner. It is clear that SSU cant handle the trees very well. I was definitely hoping for better performance. Suunto needs to adress this GPS problem as soon as possible.

    • Brad

      That is upsetting. I ordered the SSU to replace my Fenix 3. The Fenix 3 was terrible in tree cover.

    • Matthew B.

      Pretty sure declaring something a failure after literally one run with one watch is the definition of an overreaction. SO many things could be the cause. How long did you let it soak? Did it precache satellites? Was one watch facing a cliff and the other not?

    • Brad

      Out of curiosity, what did you use to show both watches on a single map? I would love to do some comparisons!

    • Johan Lundberg

      I have made 4 runs with the SSU now and all in this kind of conditions so this GPS problem is not a one time happening, I can se it in all of my runs. The watch was synced with Movescount just prior to the run and I made sure the indication for the GPS was lit. There should be no need for any long “soaking” as I see it, if Suunto thinks wee need longer time to get more satellites, the indication on the watch should take care of that.

      Anyway, sadly this all feels like a bad flashback to when I got my first Fenix 3 and was seeing the same problems there. Lets hope Suunto realizes that there is a problem here and can fix it. Otherwise I will return it. As I bought it directly from Suunto I have 15 days to return it if I not happy, so that is what I will give the them, 15 days…

    • Johan Lundberg

      Comparing gps tracks:
      link to mygpsfiles.com

    • Jonas

      Very disappointing indeed. I suspect it’s the new bezel antenna that simply isn’t up to the task, or has someone had a chance to compare Spartan with Traverse yet? Does Traverse fare well in the woods, haven’t tried that myself?

      How’s the touch – still a 20% failure rate as Ray originally estimated from his early sample?

    • Nick Yanakiev

      Touch works great for me, I would say that the watch fails to execute property about one in twelve taps/swipes.

      The watch is very stable from a software perspective but also very limited at the same time. GPS performance is certainly worse than what I expected, my Ambit 3 Peak was much better in the same area.

      I hope that Suunto try to rectify things quickly but most importantly try and improve the GPS as this is looking like a Ambit 3 Vertical in the making…

    • Johan Lundberg

      The touch is ok, and the more time I spend with the watch the better it works. However the buttons work well so I find myself using them most of the time. Both touch and color screen is more of marketing features and doesn’t really define the watch in my mind. I find the screen easy to read both in door and out door.

      What I am waiting for now is to be able to modify the screens. I am running without my glasses and my sight is not very good without them. So setting large single screens is a must for me…

      The biggest concern for me right now is if Suunto will be able to get the GPS performance on par with the best in the market (V800, Ambit 3, TomTom). I had a very disappointing time with Garmin Fenix 3 and I really hope this will not be a repeat of that.

    • Brad

      I’m thinking the same thing. I’m coming from the unreliable F3. If I have to return the SSU I will and then purchase an Ambit 3 Peak.

    • Nick

      Same here. Guys, make sure that you open a support ticket with Suunto. I am sure that they will look into this if more people start reporting the problem.

      It is a brand new watch- their first update for the GPS chipset will show if the situation can be improved or not. Looking at what happened with the Ambit3 Vertical, however, I am not expecting much of a change.

    • Johan Lundberg

      Ok, I will send in a ticket right away.

    • Johan Lundberg

      This is actually quite funny…

      I just tried to open a support ticket with Suunto regarding my trail condition GPS problem. But there is an error when I try to send it. It tells me there was an error an that I should report this to support. How the he.. do I do that 🙁

      If this is a normal part of the Suunto universe, I am no longer in. I had my problem with Polar too, but their support was always the best.

    • Nick

      Make sure that you complete all fields. I was getting the same mistake through Chrome (no idea why); I tried Microsoft Edge/Internet Explorer and everything was submitted just fine.

    • Johan Lundberg

      OK, I will try again 🙂

    • Johan Lundberg

      Nope, it doesn’t work. Tried Chrome, IE with no luck. Will try again later tonight when I get home…

    • Johan Lundberg

      This is today’s run with Spartan Ultra and it is an absolut disaster. It is even worse than what I experienced with the early fenix 3

      Soaking for 15 min before start. I have done this run more than 60 times so I know exactly how long it is. It measures 6.85 Km but with SSU I only get 6.59!!!
      But it is when the track looks like this I get really frustrated and sad. If Suunto doesn’t have a very good answer to this I will send it back next week. It is not even close to the trail!

      link to movescount.com


      Wow, that looks terrible indeed!
      Well I guess they will have many units available now, with all the returns that they’re going to get… 🙁

    • Agustin Whittaker

      Johan, I love the area where u run though… Looks awesome. The GPS on the spartan doesn’t know what it’s missing 🙂
      Is your background pic on movescount from St. John V.I. by any chance?

    • Cool thing though – you seem to be able to walk on water 😉

      That surely is disappointing performance for a supposed to be top-of-the-line watch. Was surprised to learn about the lack of apps (for now) and with the GPS issues (and apparently touch is not very good either from what I’m reading here), happy to stick with my Ambit3, which has no such shortcomings. I just wish it had the vibration alerts, really miss those from Fēnix 3 that I tested/reviewed back in 2015.

    • Edgar

      Not sure if it’s a spartan problem. The map could be a little misplaced, and GPS data could be OK. What is really more important is the fact that the watch uses GPS data to calculate distance. From the post of Johan, I can see that the accumulative “error” is 250m in a 6K run. It’s good or bad? maybe not so bad I think.

    • Johan Lundberg

      It is a Spartan Ultra problem, trust me! I have been doing test and comparisons for the past 5 years using this very track. I heard the same argument when I first tested the Fenix 3 and I know this erratic/inconsistent behavior is watch related.

      There is no problem with map overlay in Strava, Movescount och MapMyRun.com. Lets hope it isn’t hardware related and that the Spartan Ultra isn’t suffering from a weak antenna as the Fenix 3 and that Suunto can fix it in the September release.

      About the 4% error I see in relation to the reference watch, in this case the V800 and TomTom runner is not acceptable. If you plan to run 42K, as I do in October this will accumulate to 1680 meter. That is not ok!

      From the statistics I have (over 60 runs on this trail) the difference between tomtom runner, V800 and Ambit 3 on this trail is just over 1,2%.

    • Johan Lundberg

      The picture was taken in south of France this summer. It is our favorite beach west of nice in Theoule sur Mer. Great running there, great hills and mekka for bikers as well.

    • tfk

      Johan, I accept your data and your conclusions.

      I have had variable results. On the one hand I have situations like you show; on the other hand I have done >12k distance runs simultaneously with v800 and 920 and had their autolaps all beeping at near-exact same times. (Other kinds of gps-test results too)

    • Agustin Deffis Whittaker

      Beautiful place! for some reason it reminded me of Cinnamon Bay in St. John… check it out: link to peterbayestate.com
      Any updates on the GPs accuracy ?

    • Edgar

      Ok let’s assume that it’s a spartan problem. so, the only hope for spartan is that suunto can correct those GPS errors with some software trick. But, take in account that the problem may be not only software. We are talking about GPS reception, so a good antena can make a big difference. I couldn’t see an easy software fix for that.
      In both the Ambit 3 series (except vertical) and V800 from Polar, they have good antena, unconfortably located, but good antena after all. Maybe that’s the price we have to pay for a good GPS watch.
      I’m very happy with my Ambit 3 right now. I’m thinking in change my ambit for a spartan in a near future, but, maybe I’ll wait a little more, to see if suunto can fix those problems.

  121. Matt

    Can anyone help with any suggestions to sort my connection woes with my iPhone & Mac

    iPhone – When I start Movescount and go to add a watch, it sees the watch, but when I press ‘pair’ it just goes back to the ‘Found a watch’ screen. So far I have tried restarting the phone several times and uninstalling and reinstalling the app, all to no avail.

    With Suuntolink on my Mac, when I plug the watch into the computer, Suuntolink starts and the watch shows that its charging, but Suuntolink acts as if nothing is connected and just tells me to connect my watch via a cable. It had initially gone through the setup procedure in Suuntolink and updated to the latest Firmware (which is installed on my watch), however I have somehow managed to disconnect the watch from the website, and can see no way to add it back. Again I have tried uninstalling an re-installing etc.

    • pfefferdude

      I was on the phone with Suunto yesterday, my watch also does not connect They are aware of this and are working on a fix…..

    • Sounds like the issues you have are likely Spartan-related. But having said that, the Movescount app (not sure if you’ve had Suunto watches before) has been notoriously bad in Mac environment. For example mine (for both Movescount and Movescount2) has been unreliable at best, often refusing to connect, and more often simply crashing and requiring a restart. I’ve been sending the crash reports to Suunto, but haven’t seen any improvement over the lifetime of Ambit3 I have (reinstalling the app doesn’t help either). Haven’t used the iPhone app basically at all, so cannot comment on that.

    • Matt

      I spoke to them Friday and was told the same.. Although they also told me it would be out early this week too, and no sign of it yer

    • anton39

      Hello Matt! I had the same problem with connection iPhone and SSU. You must delete in iPhone bluetooth menu your SSU, next you must delete in SSU connectivity menu your paired devises – mobileApp.

  122. Nick Yanakiev

    SSU vs Garmin Edge 820 (GPS+GLONASS)

    link to movescount.com
    link to connect.garmin.com

    Both devices were very close to each other during the ride- maybe 5cm apart. The Edge 820 looks cleaner to me personally. Movement speed averages are very similar, while elevation gain vs elevation loss range is similar.

  123. Nick Yanakiev

    Just got off the phone with Suunto support. Many people have reported problems with many escalated cases being investigated.

    People have also been submitting reports on the poor GPS accuracy we have been witnessing since launch.
    Suunto is working on a fix that will come along with the big update in early September!

    • Johan Lundberg

      Thanks Nick for that info. I have been trying to file a report through Suunto web but is isn’t working right now. I really hope they can come up with something for the disastrous GPS performance I am seeing.

  124. David Wariaro

    Hi Ray!
    Any info on when the Spartan will be availible to order from clevertraining in Europe?
    Thx David

  125. Itamar Kass

    Hi Ray,

    I am sure you are working hard on a review of the Spartan family, for the benefit of us all. Any idea when it will be out?


    • I’m waiting for the September update. Mostly because if I did a review now, I’d have to pretty much re-do it in less than 30 days with all the new features/functions.

      At the same time, I continue to use it every day, so I’m getting a clearer picture of where things stand. The challenge for Suunto as I see it now, is deciding what goes in that September update. Currently the watch is pretty far behind existing Suunto devices in terms of features (even basics like watch alarms or being able to customize/change your data field). Let alone aspects like accuracy. So it’s got a bit of an uphill fight.

    • Itamar Kass

      Thanks Ray,

      I fond your review not only an important tool for deciding what to buy, but also interesting to read.


  126. Maximilian

    New problems keep popping up with my new Spartan Ultra:
    – can’t update to latest firmware 1.1.24 (mine is 1.0.18, and my stubborn watch keeps telling me it’s the latest version)
    – syncing with Movescount app is a pain in the bum: everytime I open the app to sync, it does not recognize my watch – I have to “forget” and re-pair the watch (I’ve had this problem with the ambit 3 in the beginning, too)
    – sport modes don’t show me the graphs described in the mode, e.g. I see no HR graph in weight training mode, no altitude graph in cycling mode etc
    – the watch drains battery like crazy – from 100% to 62 % in 48 hours of watch(!) mode – no sports/ navigation done

    I’ve sent my last email to Suunto support on Wesnesday – no reply. Either they don’t care, or they’re having a lot of trouble

  127. Nick Yanakiev

    6k run from this morning- lots of trees as it was in the park- not impressed…. I was not zigzagging at all….This is probably the worst I have seen from this watch so far.

    For Suunto’s sake, I hope that they are actively looking into improving overall GPS performance.
    link to movescount.com

    Here is my friend’s longer run on the same course with a Garmin Vivoactive HR- a watch that does not even do every second recording:
    link to connect.garmin.com…n&t=1471778958

    For comparison purposes, here is a run that I consider to be “good”:
    link to movescount.com

    • Johan Lundberg

      And here is may race from yesterday. Yellow: Polar V800, Blue: SSU. It does not look very good, there are even drop outs in the GPS flow.
      I agree. For Suunto’s sake, lest hope they have a fix for improving overall GPS performance soon.

    • Jordi

      Hej Johan. Your tracks are by far the worst I’ve seen out there. Are you sure you’re on the best GPS accuracy setting? I’ve been looking at the tracks of other people at movescount in similar trails and look quite good. Maybe you’ve got a faulty unit…

      I’m also in Sweden, where forest and cloudy weather is probably the worst you can put a GPS through. But your tracks are just too much…

      It’s obvious Suunto launched way too soon. There’s too much missing. Still, looking at other people’s tracks and with glonass coming in September, it’s looking good IMO. Your screenshots are the ones that are making me worry the most though. 😉

      I’m waiting for my SSU. I’ll bring it to the trails with my A3P and let’s see… but if they don’t nail this on a $750 watch, it’s gonna be a big ***k up.

      The part I just don’t really get from a business point of view is how features that have been incrementally added and advertised in the A3 line like recovery tests, running performance or workouts are missing in their flagship…

    • Johan Lundberg

      Hi Jordi
      Yes I am on the best settings, I have checked more than once 🙂

      What I also know is that I had poor GPS performance on my three Fenix 3 that I used to own. The trail I am testing my watches on are for some reason demanding but I really dont know why. There are parts on the trail that are clear open sky and most watched work fine here. But as soon as I get into the trees I see rather large deviations. The three Fenix 3 that I owned behaved exactly the same but Garmin thought that they were all broken…

      After trying out all of them I returned my last F3 and went with Polar V800. The Polar V800, Ambit 3 and TomTom runner are the only watches that seems to work fine for me.

      My worst fear is that I will see the same result from SSU that I saw from Garmin, and that a poor GPS antenna will permanently stop SSU from performing good enough.

      Functionality wise I agree with you but I have all the faith in Suunto that they will add all the bells and whistles that we can think of. But none of that will make any sense if they dont get the GPS performance on par with a $40 watch from tomtom…

  128. Braf

    Hey Ray!

    Question…it seems the early reports are the Spartan is similar to the Vertical, in that they both have issues on heavy tree covered trails (unlike the Ambit 3 Peak). Can it be expected to see the GPS accuracy issue fixed in a software update typically, or is this primarily a hardware problem? Thanks for the input!

    • It’s hard to know. Some things, possibly. For example, I’m seeing an issue with open water swimming where when the watch goes underwater for a few seconds it adds hundreds of meters. That’s like ya simple algorithm issue. Whereas poor tracking can be a host of causes from firmware to antenna placement to algorithms at the watch level.

      I just don’t know.

  129. Maximilian

    Oh my god, what an incredible f**kup this product is…

    Finally I managed to update the firmware to 1.1.24, but now movescount app does not sync anymore (always freezes on “syncing settings”-text).

    I’m missing so many features it’s incredible – most of all the graphs (altitude graph, hr graph etc)

    I really don’t know what to do – ok the one hand, I still hope the September update will be a big, Big, BIG step forward (my god, how the watch needs it), but I can only return the watch within two weeks.

    What are you guys going to do?

    • Johan Lundberg

      I am going to make them take it back if the september release doesn’t solve the GPS tracking.

    • Johan Lundberg

      Look as today’s joke of a track, SSU is totally lost even in open sky conditions.

    • Brad

      I bought mine through Clever Training’s website so I have 60 days to return it thankfully.

    • Kevin

      I have been patiently awaiting the new Suunto Ultra release, deciding on weather to move across from Garmin to Suunto……….it’s not looking that great a product currently.

      Maybe the latest Fenix from Garmin is a better investment.

    • Agustin Deffis Whittaker

      Hey well I took mine for a short pathetic little run with no elevation and mostly open space, but some tree areas as well… and it actually didn’t do so bad, I had the Garmin FR735xt on my other wrist and to be honest, everything showed up pretty similar. Hate to be the one that doesn’t hate the watch on a thread in which we all seemed to agree on being a bit disappointed, but well… have to tell the truth and that’s that. BTW, no problems syncing either.
      Check Suunto vs Garmin links…

      link to movescount.com

      link to connect.garmin.com

    • Nick

      I also own the watch. I feel that GPS accuracy is simply inconsistent ie I have had very accurate tracks but also disappointing ones as well. This leads me to believe that Suunto can fix this through software updates.

      As for the rest of the watch- it is rock solid in stability terms, even if a little short of features right now.

    • Maximilian

      I’m wondering, does nobody else suffer from the enormeous battery drain I keep experiencing? First time it went from 100% -> 47% in two and a half days in watch mode only, this time it’s only marginally better (100% -> 76 % in 36 hours, did 1 hour of weight training). I don’t think I have any specific battery drainers running…

    • robin cleverley

      I am presently on the telephone to Suunto who are based in the USA and me in the UK!

      I went on my first trail run and the watch has frozen again. I am so fed up with this, I only received the watch last week. I am now sending the watch back for a refund. Please DC can you recommend a watch of similar price (I have the Fenix 3).

      many thanks great forum for moaning

    • David

      Hi Maximillian.
      I had the same issue with the sync. My problem was that the watch was trying to sync with the phone at the same time. Try to disconnect the Bluetooth of your phone. And after sync repair the watch with the phone.

      My experience has been good so far. No track issues at all. I also use a Garmin Touring Plus in my cycling and the routes are very similar.
      The only thing I have noticed is the difference in altitude. But I had the same issue with the Ambit 2.

    • RE: Other options.

      Honestly, there aren’t many others. Basically when it comes to hiking-type watches, it’s the Ambit3, Suunto Spartan, or Fenix3. Though, at this point the V800 has more functionality than the Suunto Spartan.

    • Sparts

      You are fed up after the first run?

    • Rob

      Special trail run I meant to say . Had done several runs in the last week or so with spartan and problems occurred most of the time. Eg press start and spartan says starting…… … and stays like that until you reset it. I have been plagued with problems with suunto from the t6c days and Firstbeat, but hoped this was all in the past with this new watch. now sent it back. Garmin seemed to have the edge.

    • Nick Yanakiev

      I am loving the watch so far. Both battery life and the GPS have been great! Just did a one hour run on “best” accuracy and lost 7% with a connected Scosche Rhythm+.

      That’s roughly 14 hours of battery life on best accuracy if the battery were to deplete at this rate.

    • Nick Yanakiev

      Here is the run in question:

      There’s a couple of rough spots but the running environment was quite GPS unfriendly at times. The run took place around Canary Wharf/in the Docklands area in London. I was running with the watch facing towards high rise buildings for long stretches of the run.

      Quite happy overall! link to movescount.com

    • Nick Yanakiev

      Another longer run with the SSU- one of the first I did since getting the watch. Excellent in my view:

      link to movescount.com

  130. psilo

    Good news: SSU is not that bad compared with my Ambit1. Sometimes Ambit is off the track, sometimes SSU. On few runs that I made the total distance difference between the watches is less than 0,5% so nothing to worry about. On the bike it’s accurate enough as other people reported. No issue with battery drain.

    Please charge it severall times and discharge during normal usage and then check the battery drain.

    So far I believe that Suunto will fix the GPS issue (that is not that critical for me) and I’m enjoying my gear.

    I’m not a Suunto fanboy but normal user that is enjoying activities and not treating them as religion.

  131. Sparts

    People are odd. There is a lot of alarmist complaints on here. All complaints are of course valid and based upon personal experience. But some people ranting after using it once and/or not understanding what they are doing.
    Many posters in here complain about having the raised antenna on a GPS watch, such as the Peak, many complain that they want a touch screen, many complain that they want an optical HR sensor. All three of the above are inferior to the current offering compared to say three Ambit 3 sport or Peak. All three are gimmicks that certain companies told you, you needed.
    What Suunto and others have delivered is what you all wanted. I’m sure they can churn out many iterations of the great Ambit series. But you never wanted that and what you do want (the consumer) is going to deliver an inferior experience.

    For me, there was never any doubt that the GPS accuracy of the Spartan or any watch without the raised antenna would have inferior GPS accuracy. For me there was never any doubt that any watch with a touch screen would be an inferior experience to one would expect using a decent tablet or phone (unless of course you want to be shelling out bucket loads of cash on replacement screens each time you crack thme). I never had any doubt that a watch requiring more power would have a slightly inferior battery life. I have no doubt that once the optical sensors do come out, people will not appreciate them because they are not as accurate as the HR chest belts. Butpeople have stated on these forums that they want firms to use optical despite the tech still being in its infancy and very inaccurate.

    If you want top accuracy, functionality and battery life, get the Peak. If you want the sparkly touch screen that everyone complained Suunto never offered, get the Spartan.

    As for connectivity to the mobile Ap. I think its improved greatly recently and I know Suunto put a lot of effort into testing and rolling out fixes. If you have problems, try a reinstall of the Ap and then repairing your watch again. It usually clears up any issues. This is the curse of using modern tech, these things are necessary sometimes. The end user has to bare some responsibility for understanding the basics.

    • Aslan

      I’m okay with GPS being slightly worse than Ambit 2 & 3 Peak but I’ve experienced one run where SSU was WAY off and the performance is simply unacceptable. Haven’t had time to try and reproduce yet. See below:

      link to movescount.com

      Same route with Ambit 3 Peak:
      link to movescount.com

      I haven’t had time to do much more testing with SSU GPS except for a short walk around our block and that time the SSU was behaving much better. And since it was so far only one failed run I’m going to do more runs and also see if the next update will improve things.

      Other than the potential GPS issue, I’m loving the watch. The software is a bit rough at the moment but I’m sure updates will improve it. The feature I need the most is to be able to customize the sport modes. Indoor cycling as it is today is pretty much useless to me. There is no way to get my Wahoo cadence data visible during the exercise and I hate that it automatically creates 10 minute laps during training.

    • Maximilian

      Sparts, for the hardware part I more or less agree with you – it’s the software at launch that’s inacceptable to me. There are so many key features missing (spirts mode customization, graphs, sunrise/-set, barimeter, storm warning,…).

      Just imagine Porsche launching a new 911, but at launch, it has only 200 instead of 350 horsepower, the navigation is not working, you can’t open the windows and it goes no faster than 120 km/h, but they tell you “hey, don’t worry, with your first service we’ll fix things”…

      I wouldn’t accept that, would you?

    • myneur

      No, it’s like launching new Porsche in full power but without navigation.
      If you can choose to buy a new Porsche now, or wait for navigation 3 months, what would you choose?
      I would buy the Porsche for speed, not for cruising through the city, so I would choose to buy new Porsche and get the update of navigation later.
      So I don’t see missing features an issue. The issue is if the GPS accuracy is bad, or if there is a battery drain or if the touch display sucks, because you need that for the core activities.

  132. Joern

    Hi, thanks for sharing your extensive review. Can you tell if the Triathlon mode has transition times? I saw on older Ambit 2/3 videos that they change directly from swimming to cycling.

  133. Jordi

    I got my SSU yesterday and took it for a first run today. SSU on my left arm, and Ambit 3 Peak on the right. Here’s the two tracks: link to bit.ly

    In general, I’d say that the SSU did very well. I was expecting worse from other people I’ve seen around here. The Ambit has a slightly smoother track, but I also think that this track in particular is probably easier for the A3P on the right arm, since I did run it counter clockwise, and the watch was mostly facing to the water. Still, the path isn’t very close to the buildings on the left either, but it could influence a little bit.

    In general, I donät see the SSU being very far off. In some spots it did better than the ambit, and where it was slightly off, I’d say it was within the expected from GPS tolerances. What’s clear though is that the A3P has a better algorithm when it comes to smoothing the raw data or the recording rate, which make the track of the SSU look more irregular.

    In general I’d say the route was pretty easy. Mostly open skies, 4-5 passes under bridges, a couple challenging spots running by a 8m rock wall and some areas with a bit of trees and foliage, but not very dense forest.

    Let’s see upcoming runs, but the first impression is ok. With glonass and further updates, it’d be on par with the A3P IMO. The software though is definitly glitchy. Touch in general feels ok, but it’s a bit laggy. Probably something that can be fixed with software updates, but at this point it feels more comfortable to stick with the buttons, and the display is quite good on low light. I dont like leaving the light on when it’s dark, and this one is easier to read with the light you get from street lamps.

    I’ll keep sharing upcoming runs, since I think a lot of people care about A3P vs SSU comparisons.

    • Jordi

      Another one: Ambit3Peak, SSU and iPhone 5CÖ link to bit.ly

      The first part is always tough because of the tall buildings and all devices struggled, but after leaving tall buildings behind the SSU did even better than the A3P.

    • Jordi

      Well, looking at it again… in some areas the A3P still did much better, specially towards the end where there were some sharp turns.

  134. Yannick

    First, thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts on the SSU, good or bad. It’s a great source of information.

    Seems to me Suunto did it again. Screw up, that is. I have had issues with all my Suunto watches (t3, t6c, Ambit 1st gen). I bought my Ambit the day it became available, and within two months I was already at my third device, the first two failing badly. Since my 3rd Ambit still works perfectly, I needed some good reasons to shed that much cash to by a new toy -I mean, tool-, and the Spartan Ultra looked the part… But something told me I should wait a couple of weeks if not months before caving in. Looks like I did well.

    I have been wondering for a while of the decision makers at Suunto have been replaced by geeky teens not really interested in sports; connectivity, really? You ABSOLUTELY need to know who’s calling you when you’re on a run/ride/swim?? Or you just can’t enjoy your activity if you can not add a picture/video to it?? As one who runs to get away from everyday hassles, I would prefer if Suunto focused on sports-related improvements (longer battery life, better GPS accuracy, vibration/audible alerts, etc…) than on iterations designed to broaden the crowd of buyers. Then you can beautify your product and add bells and whistles and ask for a truckload of money for it. Lately it appears the bells and whistles have become more important than the sports features. I see this as a clear sign raking in money is more important for Suunto than maintain their reputation as a serious sports item manufacturer. Suunto has not significantly inovated in the field in sports watches in a long time -when is the last time you saw a feature in a Suunto watch that was not already done in a Garmin??-, maybe they should go back to the drawing board.

    To confuse me even more, Suunto releases an unfinished product 2 weeks before a major firmware update. Why not save yourself all the negative publicity and postpone your launch another two weeks, then?? How can their reputation mean so little to them? And, as I said in a previous post, why choose to release an OHR model 5 months after your main launch??

    I can’t wait to hear about the major September update and Ray’s review once said update rolls in.

  135. Eric

    I bought the Spartan Ultramon preorder and got it on 8/16. It is pretty, but as they used to say in the old Campbell’s commercials, it’s not soup yet. Or to use another analogy, the cake isn’t done baking.

    To start off, the documentation is AWFUL. Secondly, syncing it to Movescount is an adventure. With just about every other device/site, Garmin, Microsoft, Apple, syncing is both seamless and visible. With the Spartan Ultra, it happens, but not nearly quickly and there’s no sign of the watch syncing to the app as it happens. I actually called Suunto support because it didn’t sync after 5 minutes and by the time I got a rep on the line, I was surprised to see it synced.

    The heart rate strap is another experience. It paired nicely and quickly to the watch. But as I was noodling around with the iOS app, I saw it had a field to sync the HRM strap to the app, so I synced it. Then I did a long 90 minute run with both the watch and the phone and the watch couldn’t sync to the strap, apparently because it was synced to the phone. I tested this – I shut my phone off and the strap synced to the watch. I ran 5 miles with the phone off and the watch tracked my heart rate with numbers comparable to the Garmin I was wearing as the same time. Then I turned my phone back on and the watch couldn’t sync to the strap again. I had to delete the strap from my phone.

    Then there is the issue of accuracy. The heart rate numbers seem to be in line with my Garmin device with a Garmin strap and my Apple Watch. Average was about 132- 138 across all devices. Calorie burn is a whole ‘nother story – the Spartan Ultra was left in the dust – it was always at least 40% less than the other devices on the same runs even though my personal data is the same and the heart rest averages were in the same range.

    I spoke to Suunto and they are aware of many of these problems and more than they didn’t tell me about because I didn’t mention it. They said that there would be a major firmware update released in the second or third week of September. However, that takes me past the 30 day return policy date and there’s no assurance they’ll get it right.

    This clearly is an unfinished product that shouldn’t have been released. They don’t even have the android app ready yet. Even with a two week push back from the originally scheduled ship date, the watch needed a major firmware update out of the box and these are the first units of the assembly line. We’re not talking about a mature product that has a supply pipeline.

    It’s going back on Monday.

    • robin cleverley

      i have already sent mine back last week. Have to say their returns policy was extremely efficient (unlike the watch). Have just received my Fenix 3 Sapphire Titanium and am well pleased with this.

  136. Bernd

    Anybody knows if I will be able to see the actual coordinance of my location on the Spartan? I would hope so……

    • Jochen M.

      I used this function on my Ambit2 yesterday, so it would be a very big surprise if this ain’t possible with the Spartan Ultra.

    • Bernd

      Maybe it will be available after the September update.

    • Regrettably, no such way at this time that I know of.

      Unfortunately, as a general rule of thumb right now if something was on the Ambit series, it can’t be counted on to be on the Spartan. It’s really hard to explain how few features are truly on the watch at this time.

    • Matthew B.

      If that weren’t bad enough, there is barely any documentation to know how to actually USE the watch. For example, how does one restart the watch or do a soft reset?

    • Agustin Deffis Whittaker

      Yes, it’s unbelievable. I searched for long til I finally gave up trying to restart it. Even though my experience hasn’t been that bad with the watch itself, from what I’ve been following in the posts, it seems already that this is the biggest flop ever for this company (September “major” update or not). Of course there’s no android app til September (maybe?) so it’s impossible for me to know (although easy to forecast) at this point, if there will be problems or not. BTW, while searching on Youtube for a video on how to reset it (didn’t find one), it seems that most Spartan reviews seem aimed to prevent others from buying it, there’s so many BAD reviews it’s not even funny. It looks like Suunto will be soon having TONS of ‘refurbished’ (aka returned) units for sale. I’m still trying to decide if mine will be one of them as well. It seems like there’s many questions, like:
      1. why buy an unfinished product when we can wait until it’s ready and buy it then in any case?
      2. why rush (even 15 days late) an unfinished product to the market in mid August only to release a MAJOR (?) (as they call it) update in September?

      Meanwhile, my Garmin FR735xt keeps working seamlessly…
      It looks like the only MAJOR thing happening in September will be the party that Garmin will be hosting to celebrate its competitor’s disaster.


  137. julien

    Hi Ray,
    I have a question for you? do you know which sport mode in Suunto Spartan I must select to have power data on the watch.
    I have the powertap p1 paired on the watch but when i launch on the watch “cycling power” mode, the watch only search GPS and Heart rate sensor 🙁 nothing about the powermeter
    Do you have tried it?



  138. utmb2016runner

    ok so i bought this watch at Chamonix to use for UTMB 2016. 1 week before the race.

    I tested it. Felt bad. There are lots of missing features. So I went to Suunto booth to update the watch.

    Still a big issue for me: I cannot view the time of the day when running mode. So I have to use another wrist watch.

    Then came race day. After running 105km, the watch reboots!! Suunto OTA updated it!! record gone!!

    The update is I can view the time of the day by tapping the screen when in running mode.

  139. David

    Just in case you want to take part in the survey.

    I hope this help them to finish the SSU. Obviously it is an unfinished product. Finger cross for future updates.

    link to suunto.fluidsurveys.com

  140. Piotr

    RC – did you get Suunto Spartan Ultra already? I cannot wait for your detailed review.
    (your Ambit1 review was the trigger for my purchase of the watch few years back – now I would like to exchange it, but am not sure whether it is worth the $ – esp. that Ambit3 has everything I want and need). I am sure your review will help me making a decision on “Spartan Ultra vs Ambit 3”

    • Not sure if I’m RC or not, but just in case…

      Yes, I have a unit and have included various comments here. My review is planned for after they release their September update.

      Right now, there’s far more features on the Ambit3 than the Suunto Spartan Ultra.

  141. Dot Your I's and Cross Your T's

    So, today I received the Spartan SPORT which I had pre-ordered a couple of weeks ago. And today I received a FENIX 3 which I have ordered in-between. Now both watches sit on my desk side by side … and I will return the Spartan.

    What happened? I was really excited when ordering. I fell in love the moment I saw it. I fall in love when I see it now in front of me. But what I have read over the past 3 weeks made me totally insecure. It started with some worries, but I was still hoping that would be just individual problems. Then I had to read that the current software has so many bugs and lacks so many features. Complaints don’t stop. Yes, there is supposed to be an update this month. But can I trust? How am I supposed to know what Suunto will fix and add? It’s like buying a pig in poke. May be it’s getting a really great product at some time. But could also that I’ll be sitting there in 6 months and it is still not a compatible product.

    At this price point it’s simply impossible for me to give it such a big leap of faith. Maybe that would be different if Suunto would start a very clear and transparent communication. It’s obvious this product launch has gone a disaster. Having worked myself in the consumer electronics industry, I know how this goes. There is sales pressure, you rush – and then and you mess up. Happens. But than you have to faith it and communicate openly. Why not publish the list of recognized issues and add a clear release plan with bug fixes and features. And add some return guarantee (Sunnto promised to take it back for 30 days but that’s simply not enough and actually doesn’t apply for used products)! I would be on board then. Suunto, what do you fear? Sales decline? Then you probably believe consumers buy high-priced stuff without doing their homework of researching independent reviews.

    Unfortunately I need a watch now, so I simply don’t see any other option then to send it back.

    Very sorry.

    • myner

      before returning, do couple of runs with both watches for all us to compare the results please. Do it with the best GPS settings set.

      I personally hate Fenix 3 for its bugs and bad UI as well. Mainly because
      – the pace is frenetic because Garmin unlike Suunto did not bother to filter out gps inaccuracy by sensors in watch
      – the optical wrist heart rate monitor (which I bought it for to get rid of the strap) is useless: many times off without indicating where it is right and wrong
      – even heart rate from wrist is not that smooth as from Polar/Suunto (however it is usable)
      – the UI is fragmented, so you can’t even have HR gauge together with an interval time and destination on the screen at the same time
      – the UX is so poor I can not even believe they have UX designers (including their Garmin Connect, which is disaster compared to Movescount)
      You will discover the bugs soon as well:)

      I would really appreaciate if you can do couple of runs with both watches and share with us GPXs to check the GPS and pace accuracy. I would appreciate also a comparison of a battery life.

      These are the most important features of this kind of watch. Together with heart-rate from strap, which I expect both are fine.

      Thank you!

    • Jonas

      I have to disagree about Garmin Connect. Is a bit messy usability wise (so much tabs and menus and all), but at least it allows you to do normal things, which Movescount doesn’t (reports, privacy, changing exercise types, etc.). Following the disastrous Spartan launch, it really feels as if the same people designed Movescount and Spartan UI – illogical, eye-candy driven, missing essential features. Damn shame.

    • Agustin Deffis Whittaker

      Yep, honestly we all know this was an obvious emotional buy because of the (not so) great marketing videos and email push we probably got. But after days of following this posts up, there is absolutely no doubt that this was an urged release of a product that was not ready for the show. Many of the functionalities not ready, regular to bad GPS in most cases, bad connectivity with the iphone app, NO android app at all (just a promise for the future that has yet to materialize and see how good/bad it is), and the promise of a Messiah update arriving sometime in September to fix ALL the problems (yeah right) and probably end world hunger too. To add my own metaphor to the many I’ve already seen, this is like ordering a $199 birthday cake, and when you pick it up and pay in advance somebody with a bad temper tells you that you still have to finish baking it at home, it’s not chocolate but vanilla because they thought they would have chocolate in time but didn’t, and you will have to apply the icing on your own, which you will *maybe* receive in the mail sometime in September. Suddenly Suunto sounds like Walmart, except that my birthday was yesterday (it was). Suddenly there’s also a UPS box with yet another SPARTAN RETURN that I will be dropping off today. I’m willing to wait until September to see what happens with the update and the Android App, and can always buy the watch when it actually IS READY and REAL… in the meantime I’d rather keep MY money in MY bank, instead of Suunto’s (or Amer Sports, it’s parent company in the US).

    • bob

      What you are requesting is of great interest but there have been a bunch of posts on WatchUSeek Suunto forum, so you can go right to that comparison. Also might interfere with the OPs ability to return his SSU, as he said.

  142. Mike Osborn

    Noticed there is a planned waypoint upgrade. Does anyone know whether this includes the ability to see your GPS position? In various formats (MGRS,UGM,BNG,WGS84)

    I’m in the military and was a function I expected and need. Just bought mine today but will be returning it if this is not delivered.


    • Sparts

      Ask Suunto;)
      They are very responsive if you care to ask the question. In my experience, ask them using twitter.

    • Mike Osborn

      Got an answer, the ability to get a grid references will not be included in any future releases. Thus I will be returning my suunto spartan ultra today as the gps watch cannot provide me a gps position…. the ambit 3 peak managed this well. Highly disappointed!


    • Bernd

      Is that what Suunto said? How odd, the information is there and they don’t want to display is? If this is the case after the Update, my Watch will go back as well.

    • Mike Osborn

      Yep, spoke to them on the phone and via email. Apparently some upgrades are due every month up to December. Potential to see road layouts when following routes… very interesting. He would not tell me what would be in all upgrades but promised to let me know whether GPS position would be in one of them. The response is attached.

    • Bernd

      Thank you kindly Mike. Will see what happens after the Update. You know they can change there mind if enough people ask for the GPS location


      PS I really like the way it looks and feels, will be traveling to HK next week, want to see if the time is automatically corrected.

  143. David

    Hi again.

    Has anyone tried to sync a pool swimming + heart rate move?. 3 different swimming moves i have been trying to sync but all that I have got it is a 0 moves moved to movescount. They are shown in the watch log. But they are not transferred.

    Suunto, you have a ton of stuff to fix. I am holding mine until the September update.

  144. Arlene

    Well, I bought it and it came today – a Suunto Spartan Sport in “Sakura” which is a very nice pink. Not a bright pink but a sort of dusty flesh-toned pink. Assuming it is meant for women (will men wear a pink watch?), the wrist strap is rather large and long. It’s OK for me, but might not fit women with smaller wrists unless they cut off the end of the band.

    It was at 70% battery and I charged it up for about 1 hour. I did a very brief treadmill run/walk with it, and then a short test run in my tree-ish neighborhood; the GPS was a bit slow to lock on at first (compared to my Ambit 2R), but eventually got it. It overestimated my treadmill walk/run by quite a bit.

    They have a new program to link it to to Movescount – instead of Moveslink (used with Ambit2) they now have SuuntoLink which I downloaded, and right away it didn’t work. I called up the support line and they said I had and old software version in the watch and needed to upgrade. However I have a Mac computer and the upgrade only works for Windows. The Mac version will be out in a week or two according to the support guy. So now I have to wait till they come out with a Mac upgrade. Not happy. I do like what I’ve seen with the watch so far, but it was obviously not ready for runner use yet.

    • Arlene

      Update – The Mac update for the Spartan came through and now I’m connected to the Movescount website. Went out for a short 2-miler and the GPS was good. Still trying to figure out the buttons and settings – how to “stop” rather than “lap”. Miles instead of kilometers. The HRM dropped out for a few minutes. I’ll try using some EKG gel next time. It’s quite different than the Ambit. Looking forward to more future updates.

  145. Yannick

    The more I think about it, the more I suspect Suunto knows things about the 2nd generation Apple watch that the rest of us don’t. The 2nd iteration of said watch will be officially announced in a couple of days from now, on September 7th, and from what I read it might well focus on fitness. Probably not as a serious sports watch “à la” Suunto, Garmin and Polar, but still.

    Now I read in one of the comments here by Mike O. that updates are already scheduled every month from now till December??? So basically there’s no way to know what the fully functional watch will be like… The Ambit 3 Peak looks more and more appealing at its discounted price.

  146. Brad

    link to mygpsfiles.com This is the comparison between my watches today…Suunto did better in heavy trees on the trails.

    • Johan Lundberg

      I got some interesting feedback from Suunto support today about my SSU that show really crappy GPS tracks.
      According to Suunto we are never going to see the same GPS track performance from Spartan Ultra that we see in ambit 3, at least not in more demanding environments. This is, and I quote Suunto Support “a result of the significantly smaller gps antenna compared to Ambit 3”. This is really a quite surprising statement but a very clear one… If you need really sharp GPS track, look elsewhere…

    • Sparts