Review: Suunto Spartan Ultra GPS Watch

The Suunto Spartan Ultra has been a while coming – rumoured for a while, then marketed heavily, the Spartan line is now Suunto’s flagship set of products, and encompasses a range of devices from the pocket-friendly Sport models, through to the desirable but pricey Suunto Spartan Ultra Titanium models.

Consigned to history are the old Ambits, and literally last year’s news is the ‘Vertical’ model line, both of which the Spartan replaces. So, what does the Suunto Spartan Ultra deliver? It’s intended to be the multisport tracking watch to rule them all, tracking 80 sports straight out of the box, logging GPS tracks, HR data, ambient conditions (via an inbuilt barometer), and providing GPS guidance and mapping. It’s a big spec list for such a small package!

I’ll get this out of the way early, but saying how successful the Suunto Spartan Ultra is at delivering all this is still hard to say, in spite of a UK launch earlier this year, and a UK onsale date of August 15, 2016. I’ll try and explain below, but I’ll be updating my ongoingSuunto Spartan Ultra review throughout the coming months (altitude testing in the Alps coming next month).

Suunto have moved the goalposts by updating not only their hardware (the new watch), but also their online portal, movescount.com, their desktop sync software, and their companion app. The Suunto Spartan Ultra even sports a new magnetic charging clip, a step change from the clothes-peg type device that’s powered their devices for some years. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the external HR belt which is still needed to track heartrate, although Suunto have announced they’ll make an optical HR version soon.

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