A look at the Suunto Spartan Ultra at firmware 1.6 (released Dec. 19, 2016); after entry #1 which looked at performance during runs.
Overview: All the Watch
There are still features missing on the Suunto Spartan (Ultra) if one goes by all the functions of an Ambit3 Peak as the standard.
At the same time, it becomes possible to see more clearly again the direction in which the Spartan Ultra wants to go, seemingly: To become a training progress tool on the wrist (plus, with quite a bit of online interaction of a somewhat social / digitalized kind … Amer Sports now doesn’t just follow such a drive as core program, the CEO of Suunto is out to be replaced by a “President Connected Devices and Digital Services”…)
Sports Mode Customization, Phase 1
Suunto now speaks of a phase 1 of the sports mode customization. Here, since the requisite update to Movescount (the website) and the 1.6 firmware on the Spartans, one can set up one’s own sports modes…
However, it is yet limited to one display with 4 fields, one display with 5 fields, one lap table display*, and the breadcrumb track in activities which use GPS.
*I figured out later why autolap should have been on in the “trail running” mode I customized for the video: Of course, if you have a lap table as a display, you’ll also want to use laps… (Still shows the need for this to get developed further; who really uses laps on trail runs or wants to be forced into having a lap table…).
Suunto has already said that they are mainly working on finally getting the GPS performance fixed now, still. Even beyond features, of which many should be added, and fast, whether they manage to do so or not (and how well, compared to the Ambit3 Peak, which ended up as the gold standard for many a runner and ultramarathoner) will be pretty decisive for the Spartan (Ultra)…
Especially now (January 4, 2017) that Garmin has released its lineup of fenix5 models, which are evolutionary but have a loooong list of features, up to topo maps displays on-watch with the X models, Suunto will struggle.
Suunto at least had the advantage that the Ambits were very trustworthy (and usually, cheaper), but that has been pretty destroyed for many people with the Spartan’s GPS performance and the talk of the Spartan line as successor to the Ambit3, followed by its release with far fewer functions.
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