Thursday, September 29, 2016

Suunto Spartan Ultra for a month: Week 4

Yet another update has arrived for the Suunto Spartan Ultra!! :-)

I'm pleased that Suunto keeps generating updates for the watch, and I'd very much like to follow their progress of updating the functionalities of this highly specked watch in the future. However, this might be my last week having the watch available for testing, so I will probably not get to test a fully optimised version of the watch and all the new functionalities such as interval planning and customised displays. :-( 

However, I'm very pleased to have had the opportunity to try it out and test it throughout September and I am very honoured that Suunto chose to include me in this with the customised packing of the watch and description for why I was chose and all.

Thank you very much Suunto!! :-) 

Right - I've updated the watch to software version 1.2.0 and the response time in the watch menu is now quite good. I believe the delay between pushing the start-button and actually start of the timer when starting an exercise session has been eliminated. :-) 

An alarm has been added for the everyday clock usage. However, it would be great if it was easier to access, e.g. together with the stopwatch instead of being located in the settings menu. You can also change colour of the clock-face. Moreover, you now get asked how your exercise was after a session. Sadly the support for Android phones have been delayed a bit and was not a part of this update as first planned.

It is now possible to see battery levels during an exercise session by tapping the display. I would very much like the battery level to be displayed when charging it as well.

I've tested the 3 GPS modes again after the software update, and it seems to be performing similar to my findings of last time. In OK-mode, where the update rate is 60 seconds, I'd expect a crude course. I do get a very crude estimated route, but not until several minutes into the run shown by the RED arrows below. The first part in OK-mode is actually very similar the GOOD and BEST modes (displayed by the GREEN arrows). The watch should be able to hold for 65 hours in OK-mode, but I think it's too crude for many purposes. The battery should last for 26 hours in GOOD-mode and 16 hours in BEST-mode.

I've been having some issues related to the heart-rate monitor ranging from disconnection to odd flat values to unrealistically high values while running at slow pace throughout the whole period of time I've been using the watch. And the run above was no exception... :-( 

There are still a few things I'd like to have added to the next updates:
  • Make the auto-start of a session after approx. 30 sec. optional. 
  • I'd like to have customised interchangeable icons/data areas on the main watch-face like battery levels, steps, calories, time of alarm, time to next planned session, temperature, etc.
  • Customising the number of steps and calorie levels for the daily activity tracking
  • Show all data in the overview of a session in Movescount. For example is "cadence" (stroke rate) not displayed for kayaking.
  • Auto-estimate activity levels to be used in Movescount, instead of me having to set my levels manually - the watch is after all monitoring my activity 24/7 anyway... Why not exploit this?!
  • Make it possible to track different types of kayaks and canoes (e.g. K1, K2 and K4) to be able to track PBs in each discipline.
  • Show battery levels on the watch when charging   
3rd place at Henley Hasler - K2 Kayaking
It's a bit sad that I'll most likely have to return the watch now that things have started to come together and the basic usage is in place. I'd very much like to follow the progress though the next many months of updates to experience the continuous improvement of this highly specked multi-sport watch!

The Suunto Team seems to be listening to user-feedback and adjust the functionalities of the watch accordingly to give the users the best experience. I can only speculate, but my guess is, that this is the reason why they have put a not-fully-updated watch on the market - to get user feedback for optimising it for what ever the users want and desire.

However - It's been fun testing it, and although I've experienced a few issues, I still believe this watch has a great potential when fully updated! :-)

The next scheduled updates are: (From
  • 28.9. (Released on time) Improvements to daily use (such as alarm clock) and training functions, peer-to-peer coaching on Suunto The Android compatibility is unfortunately delayed. We expect to release this within the first 3 weeks of October.
  • 12.10. Ability to adjust default sport mode settings
  • 19.10. Progress Tool, Personal Bests and Community Training Insights on Suunto 
  • 26.10. Sport mode customisation, training plans to your watch and more 
  • 11/2016 Altitude and Barometric trends, POI Navigation & heart rate zones graph for training
  • 12/2016 Rest & recovery 
  • Q1/2017 Route altitude profile, interval training support, performance and recovery analysis on the watch

#SuuntoSpartan Ultra
See you out there :-)
Best M.

PS: Views are my own! The watch has been provided by Suunto for me to test for a month, after which it has to be returned.

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