Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR Review

Suunto Spartan Trainer

Exploring the backcountry in the Rockies with the Spartan Trainer

Bottom Line:

The best GPS device I’ve owned to date. It’s a light, comfortable and feature rich GPS watch for training, everyday use and adventure tracking that won’t break the bank to purchase either. Highly recommended!

Suunto Spartan Trainer

Tracking a packraft trip on Maligne Lake, Alberta


A little background first. I’ve been using GPS devices for about 6 years now from stand alone bulky GPS’s, built in Smartphone GPS’s to more recently a Suunto Ambit3 Peak. The majority of that use has occurred while I was out on an adventure for tracking of my route. I wasn’t really interested in statistics or personal records.

That kinda all changed when I got the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR.

Out of the box the first thing I noticed is that the Spartan Trainer watch is both small and really light. It feels like a normal watch, not a watch with a GPS unit and Heart Rate monitor built in. Wow! My Ambit3 Peak is not exactly heavy, it only weighs 89g’s, but the Spartan Trainer, with the standard bezel weighs in at a mere 56g’s. A weight saving of nearly 40%!

Side by side with my Ambit3 Peak

The next aspect I noticed about the Suunto Spartan Trainer watch was the considerable size difference. It’s small enough that I don’t even notice wearing it. It has since become my daily watch for this reason. I find myself geeking out and checking my heart rate now during different moments of my day due to the ease of using the built in wrist heart rate monitor.

Further to that, the built in wrist heart rate monitor on the Spartan Trainer is amazing! It’s an excellent way to track which HR zone I’m staying in during activity. Different heart rate zones can affect if your body is burning fat or not, and if you are making advancements in fitness. Honestly I wasn’t really tracking it before, as I never found the chest HR monitors convenient. I definitely do now! The HR monitor is always with me.

The fall colors while tracking a trail run with the Spartan Trainer

Finally, something I’ve been using a lot more with this watch in comparison to my Ambit3 Peak is the different Sport Modes as well as custom Sport Modes that I create on the website and sync to my watch.

Below is an image of a custom Sport Mode I created for a multi-day mountaineering trip I went on. I changed the display face to show my altitude and cumulative elevation gain as well as tweaked the GPS accuracy and display timeout to give me a greatly increased battery life (up to 32hrs).

Suunto Spartan Trainer

Movescount custom Sport Mode


Mountaineering with the Spartan Trainer

This allowed me to track the three separate days of that trip without needing to charge the watch. Awesome!

Overall I highly recommend this GPS watch. It’s simple, but that’s what makes it close to perfect in my opinion. I haven’t worn a watch consistently in over a decade. The Spartan Trainer changed that, I wear it every day.

My average steps. A few days of being on the road really tanked my average.


  • Size: Small form factor. Hard to believe this thing has a GPS and HR monitor built in!
  • Weight: I can’t even feel it on my wrist it’s that light!
  • Comfortable: The silicone straps stretch and fit the wrist, and the light weight of the watch does not cause it to move around.
  • Feature Set: It has all the needed tracking modes for training and exercise. You can create your own custom modes if you need them also.
  • Cost: This is a big one. At $379.95, this is an affordable option for those looking for a GPS watch, HR monitor and tracking, navigation options all in.

Packrafting a river in the Rockies with the Spartan Trainer


  • Displaying Altitude: I personally spend a lot of time at different elevations in Canada and would love to be able to see my elevation on the fly without needing to enter a tracking mode. The Spartan Trainer does track elevation, and display it while tracking in some Sport Modes, but there isn’t currently a way to display it on the main face of the watch. It’s a minor peeve and could be added in with a future firmware update.
Suunto Spartan Trainer

Trail running with the Spartan Trainer

Buy it if:

You are looking for your first GPS watch and don’t know where to start or you already have a large full featured GPS watch and are looking for a lightweight, comfortable GPS watch for everyday use and training to compliment the one you already own.

Packrafting with the Suunto Spartan Trainer


Spartan Trainer Menu’s:

More Pictures:

Size on my arm

My partner using a black Spartan Trainer

Pretty small, light and compact.

The Heart Rate monitor flashing. Pretty awesome!

After a successful crossing of Garibaldi Lake in British Columbia

You can see your HR on the fly without running a tracker

Options for different activities

Suunto Spartan Trainer

Starting up a running tracker. You can customize the display at

Tracking a chill trail run above Lake O’Hara, BC

The watch face tracking a trail run

The Spartan Trainer fresh out of the box

The package as I received it


Review Date
Reviewed Item
Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR GPS Watch
Author Rating

Author: Leigh McClurg

I grew up in County Dublin, Ireland and moved to British Columbia, Canada with my wife in 2010. I fell in love with being in the Backcountry and Mountains that are all around me here and try to spend all of my free time exploring those wild places. My main goals are to chase happiness, see as much of this planet and its cultures as possible and grow every day through knowledge and experiences.

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  1. Not really a fan of the design – I like a “tougher” looking watch – the Steel and Black versions look a little better, but I suppose the simplicity is probably a plus.

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  2. Very nice review and pics! This watch looks very promising in it is interesting that you like it more than Ambit3.

    Did you also use it for navigation?

    Best regards

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  3. …sorry for few typos in my comment. English is not my native language 🙂 Here we go again…

    Very nice review and pics! This watch looks very promising and it is interesting that you like it more than Ambit3.

    Did you also use it for navigation?

    Best regards

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Matt, I have not used it for navigation yet but I’ve used the breadcrumbs display to reverse a route and found it really useful.

      Glad you liked the review. It’s still my number one used watch. Haven’t actually used my Ambit3 once since writing this review, I always grab the Spartan Trainer.

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