Best Suunto Running Watches Reviewed

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Wearable technology is ideal for runners and these Suunto watches are among the most advanced traveling tech you can find.

Gone are the days of huge, ugly chronometers needed to process lap speed and track your heart rate. Though not exactly compact, this class of technology is svelte, designed for 24/7 wear and so packed with features that you may continue to discover new capabilities long into your ownership.

Ambit3 Vertical
  • Ambit3 Vertical
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Built-In Barometric Pressure
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Suunto Spartan Ultra
  • Suunto Spartan Ultra
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 80 Sport Modes Pre-Installed
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Suunto Quest
  • Suunto Quest
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Real Time Heart Rate
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Establishing “the best” from a selection of superior, durable products is a real challenge. The best running watch for you is the one that has all of the features you need, not necessarily the one that has all the features anyone could ever need. However, these watches have so many advanced recording, tracking and timing assets that you may find that you profit from moving beyond your list of “must haves”.

Suunto produces chronometers for almost every purpose and sport, so this piece focuses on those watches specifically designated for runners.

1. Suunto Ambit3 Vertical

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The Suunto motto for this watch is “Aim High” and it appropriately describes the key functionality and design of this offering.

Available in neon green, electric blue, and white and black for the more subtle among us, this watch is a stunner in appearance and performance. Designed with the ability to track elevation and power at its core, strap this on and watch as you improve your climbing speed and recovery time.
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Ease of Use
There is a learning curve with all new technology. Learning to use the watch itself is not difficult, however much of the power of the Suunto product line is in the tracking, reporting and community contributions managed by the Suunto Movescount App. Coordinating your data sharing and charting your progress takes a little while to learn, but it is well worth the effort.

Special Features
Plan your runs using the Movescount App topographical maps or even follow trails posted by community members. The vibration alerts guide you as you run. Also you can track your power and your ascent and descent speed.

Value
These are pricey tools. For professionals, an investment such as this is necessary, but that doesn’t mean it’s just a toy for the rest of us. Consider all you can do with this watch and how it can assist you in your workout goals; it’s much more than a watch – it’s a personal trainer. As a trainer, it’s a bargain.
Pros
  • Vertical tracker
  • Tracks power expended
  • Beautiful design
  • 24/7 usefulness
Cons
  • Price
  • If you don’t do much elevation training, you don’t need this model

2. Suunto Spartan Ultra

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If there is a functionality that an outdoor adventurer or runner might want that is not part of the Suunto Spartan Ultra, we weren’t able to find it. This tiny, multisport computer is preset with 80 sport modes, and of course you can download more. Barometric readings, compass, GPS, training data for all 80 sports and the rich support and metrics of the Movescount App. supply the power of this unit.
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Ease of Use
Yes, it’s easy to use! Which do you prefer? Touch-screen or easy access, large buttons? Both functionalities are available so you can receive and post updates without breaking stride.

Special Features
Plan your runs using the Movescount App topographical maps or even follow trails posted by community members. The vibration alerts guide you as you run and inform you of phone calls.

Value
This is the top of the Suunto line and is expensive by most people’s standards. Again, we invite you to consider this as less a watch than a technology investment. We don’t sell these so this advice is not for personal gain but to provide correct perspective.
Pros
  • Excellent training assistant for almost any sport
  • Water resistant to 100m
  • Touch screen
  • Beautiful design
  • 24/7 usefulness
Cons
  • No vertical measurement
  • Price
  • Some find the swiping a little sticky

3. Suunto Spartan Sport

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If you’re not ready to spring for the Suunto Spartan Ultra, take a look at its little brother, the Suunto Spartan Sport. You don’t sacrifice on GPS, preloaded sport settings, touch screen or water resistance. The compromise is less on functionality than hardware and compatibility with other electronics such as AppleMaps and Android, though it is still a hard-wearing portable, electronic assistant.

For confident men and women of all ages, we like the sakura (light pink) color watch; second in the beauty contest for this model is the blue which seems almost to glow.
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Ease of Use
Touch-screen or easy access, large buttons are both available so you can receive and post updates without breaking stride.

Special Features
Plan your runs using the Movescount App topographical maps or even follow trails posted by community members. The vibration alerts guide you as you run and inform you of phone calls.

Value
Objectively expensive, we invite you to consider this as less a watch than a technology investment. We don’t sell these so this advice is not for personal gain but to provide correct perspective.
Pros
  • Excellent training assistant for almost any sport
  • Water resistant to 100m
  • Touch screen
  • Beautiful design
  • 24/7 usefulness
Cons
  • No vertical measurement
  • Price
  • Some find the swiping a little sticky

4. Suunto Traverse

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The motto for the Suunto Traverse is “Go Explore” because it is designed to be a simple, effective exercise tracker for people who must work out in the great outdoors. You can use it for running and hiking, but the designated audience is less the driven runner than the runner/general exerciser.
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Ease of Use
Very easy, intuitive for experienced small device users. The coordination with Movescount, the Suunto app is also easy as is sharing with the community, which is always an attractive feature, but for people who love to explore the outdoors, it is even more important.

Special Features
It has a storm alarm and real time breadcrumbs so you can look back on your route. Provides sunrise/sunset times so you don’t miss those key events in the wild. It has GPS and GLONASS for route and POI for navigation. It also tracks steps and calories and includes mobile notifications.

Value
Good value. These are not inexpensive tools, but they do provide a great deal of customized functionality, are supported by an established company with a track record of customer service and have good, extendable warranties.
Pros
  • Excellent for wilderness training, hiking and exploration
  • Good calorie counter
  • Water resistant to 100m
  • Attractive design
Cons
  • Some users report less than expected battery life
  • Display can be difficult to read in bright light

5. Suunto Quest

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As much fun and as versatile as the higher ranking watches in the Suunto line are, the Suunto Quest with the running pack is an excellent watch for most runners. Professionals may demand more, but for heart-rate tracking and zones, interval timer, laps, running cadence and distance, the Quest meets your needs.
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Ease of Use
Designed to be particularly easy to use.

Special Features
Includes the Suunto movestick mini, dual comfort belt and foot POD mini to enable full running/walking data interface. Smaller than many sports watches and attractive and inconspicuous enough to wear every day.

Value
Another very good value. You get the Suunto quality in a smaller, more targeted package. If running and walking are your real focus, this is a good value match for you.
Pros
  • Easy to read display
  • Very well-reviewed heart rate monitor accuracy
  • Water resistant to 30m
Cons
  • Loss of connectivity between watch & strap, resulting in lost data
  • Need the running pack with the watch for a complete running watch

6. Suunto t3 Heart Rate Monitor

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As much fun and as versatile as the higher ranking watches in the Suunto line are, the Suunto t3 Heart Rate Monitor, though a little older, has qualities and a price range that most of us can live with.

The t3’s special trick is analyzing the effectiveness of your training using a simple numeric system. You can add miles and stack on more weight without knowing if it really is advancing you toward your fitness goals. The algorithms built into this device take the guess work out of training.
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Ease of Use
You have to do some setup to get full use out of this unit, but it is more fussy than difficult.

Special Features
The watch comes withTE or Training Effect measurement and alert. It is also compatibility with most gym-style training equipment. It calculates caloric use, heart rate. It stores up to 15 workouts and interacts with Movescount for data tracking and planning.

Value
Very good value. You get the Suunto quality in a general fitness tracker/heart rate monitor that works well for runners, weight lifters and users more focused on fitness than competition.
Pros
  • Easy to read display
  • People love the Training Effect feature
  • No wasted effort in the gym anymore; every move counts
  • Water resistant to 30m
Cons
  • may need to read the directions rather than just figuring out how to use it from the menus.
  • Not specifically designed for running; more of an overall fitness tracker

This piece focuses on Suunto watches that include features specifically designed for runners or with running as a primary focus. However, Suunto distributes similar technology, customized appropriately, for many sports and activities.

These devices, for lack of better terminology, are called watches or wearable technology. Neither term begins to describe the expanse of features, interactions and data they offer and manipulate, but we don’t have a better term to offer at this time either.
These small devices really are high-tech fitness support and management machines. As long as we keep in mind all of the technology packed into these small, wearable computers, we maintain a better perspective of the cost.

As mentioned in the descriptions of the individual watches, many come with 80 sports preloaded and the triathlon is one of those sports.  Consequently, if you are a runner who dips into the triathlon, your Suunto running watch is ready to track your miles on land, in the sea and on the bike.