The Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR and the Garmin Fenix 5 watches are two of the top-selling GPS watches in the world. They both offer great features and functionality – but which one is the best?
Let’s compare the two together to see which watch is the better choice for you.
Both these watches are excellent choices for outdoor enthusiasts who want to track their activities and adventures. Both watches feature high-quality optical HRM sensors and provide accurate tracking of your heart rate during exercise.
The Fenix is the less affordable option when compared to the Spartan, but it has a few key advantages that make it worth the extra cash.
The Fenix comes with an integrated altimeter which provides you with detailed elevation data. This allows you to see how much climbing or descending you have done over time. You can also use this information to plan hikes and walks around mountains.
The Fenix does also feature an integrated barometer which measures air pressure, allowing you to make more accurate predictions when it comes to the weather. A sudden drop in air pressure could mean rain, so you know that you should seek shelter immediately.
The Spartan does not come with an altimeter or barometer, so if you’re planning on hiking up a mountain then the Fenix will be better suited to your needs.
Both watches include built-in music players. The Fenix includes a 4 GB internal memory while the Spartan only offers 2 GB of storage space.
If you like listening to music while you exercise then the Fenix might be a better choice because it offers more room for songs.
Both watches also include sleep monitoring capabilities. You can set alarms to wake you up in the morning and they will vibrate on your wrist. These functions allow you to stay rested and alert throughout the day.
Both watches include smart notifications such as text messages, emails, calendar reminders, social media updates, etc. Both watches are compatible with Android phones and iPhones.
You can download apps directly onto your device from the Play Store and App Store. However, the Fenix also supports Google Pay which makes it easy to pay for things using your phone.
- Ultimate multisport GPS watch with full color TOPO U.S. Mapping, routable cycling maps and other outdoor navigation features
- Fit for adventure with rugged design that features stainless steel bezel, buttons and rear case
- Built in navigation sensors include GPS and GLONASS capability to track in more challenging environments than GPS alone as well as 3 axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter
- Put key stats at your fingertips with the performance widget that shows your training status, training load and more
- Connected features include smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect online fitness community and personalization through free watch faces and apps from our Connect IQ store
The design on both watches is also a vital part to consider as it can influence how you use your watch and which is easier for you to use.
When it comes to customizability, both watches offer two different colors so you can choose which color best suits your tastes. Both options are black and gray, which look very similar in shade when put side by side so both watches don’t really have much to offer there.
The Fenix has a larger display size (1.39″) than the Spartan (1.36″). The Spartan has a higher resolution screen (320 x 320 pixels) compared to the Fenix (280 x 280 pixels). This means that the Spartan is easier to read thanks to its larger screen size.
It is also the Spartan that is easier to use thanks to its touchscreen technology. This means it is way easier to navigate and use the Spartan as you just need to use your fingertips.
This larger display size comes back to bite the Fenix when we tested the weight on both watches. The Fenix weighs about 10 grams more than the Spartan, which can make a difference after a long hike.
No one likes the feeling of a heavy watch, so the Spartan’s lightweight design gives it an advantage over the Fenix here.
The Spartan has a stainless steel case while the Fenix uses titanium. Both are very sturdy metals so both watches are made using durable materials that help them last for longer before breaking or being damaged.
This helps as both watches are shockproof and dustproof thanks to their individual materials.
Talking about damage, both watches are water-resistant:
- The Fenix is IPX7 rated meaning that it can withstand splashes from rain and snow.
- The Spartan is rated IPX5 which means that it can handle light showers and drizzle.
This means that the Fenix is the more durable watch and is more likely to last longer and suffer less damage when used in harsher weather conditions.
The battery life is incredibly different between the two models. The Fenix watch can last for 14 days while the Spartan can only live for 7 days, meaning that the Fenix watch will last you twice as long before needing another charge.
Battery life is a huge factor when it comes to which watch is best for you as the last thing you need is a dead watch while at the top of a mountain – so the Fennix is definitely the better choice here when it comes to battery life.
However, something important to note is that the battery life on the Fenix is drained while using the GPS. So while the Fenix is the better option if you want to use it as a regular watch as well, using it as a GPS will drain the battery more quickly.
When in GPS mode, it is actually the Spartan that has the better battery life – lasting for 40 hours compared to the 24 hours period lasted by the Fenix.
So while the Fenix is more versatile, the Spartan is the safer option to go with when it comes to using the GPS features while hiking.
Of course, 24 hours is still a very long time but if you are going on a trip and camping while hiking, you may be better off with the Spartan as you will less likely need to charge up your watch.
- 100M water resistance, GPS/GLONASS tracking and route navigation with customizable watch faces and instant heart rate graph/calorie burn rate
- Wrist heart rate assisted 24/7 activity monitoring with steps and calories while the mobile sync with Suunto Movescount App for iOS and Android pushes notifications to watch
- Support for over 80 sports with racing and interval modes
- Bluetooth Smart connected and outdoor-grade color touch screen with 3 action pushers with an extended battery life (8h with Full Power 1sec GPS fix rate delivering best GPS accuracy/12h with Power Save 1sec GPS fix rate delivering good GPS accuracy)
So – which watch comes out on top?
We have to go with the Garmin Fenix 5 watch over the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR.
Although the Spartan put up a good fight in certain areas like price and display, the Fenix watch contains so many useful and handy features that can really help a hiker out.
Its barometer and altimeter features are so useful, plus you can use the Fenix as a regular watch, making it more versatile and more likely that you will get your money’s worth.
So if we had to recommend just one, we would go with the Garmin Fenix 5.