First Look: Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR

Review: Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR

A unique feature is the svelte heart-rate sensor. Instead of a chest strap, Suunto works with biometric-sensor brand Valencell to add LEDs that measure blood flow in your wrist.

I have long found chest-strap heart monitors annoying. Watches like this Suunto give convenience for anyone hoping to monitor their heart rate without a strap.

In my review, the sensor worked but had issues. For one, to get a readout you need to move the watch up further than it’s normally placed on your wrist then buckle it tight.

Fortunately, Suunto uses a soft silicone strap, and the material, even when tight, does not chafe.

Accuracy was close to that of my chest strap monitor, but not dead on. I also found the watch took a while — sometimes even up to a few minutes into a run — to register a heart rate.

And the company concedes that optical heart-rate sensors are not as accurate as straps. “Currently, the best optical wrist measurements stay 90-percent of the time within 5-percent of the chest-measured heart rate,” Suunto notes.