Training Watch Recomendation

  • Creator
  • #9367

    My trusty 10 year old Suunto HR monitor gave out this morning. I’d like to upgrade to something that’ll pair with my phone to track running, skiing, hiking etc. I typically have my phone for tracking mileage so I don’t think GPS is critical.

    Any suggestions?

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #9382

    If you were interesting in a HR monitor /GPS watch I could make a few recommendations fomr cheap to expensive but since you are looking only for a HR monitor I’m not much help.

    This guy does the most extensive reviews of HR monitors on the planet.

    You can spend hours reading about all the options.


    Steve House on #9385

    Last month I lost my trusty Garmin Fenix3 with the sapphire glass (crucial feature for a clutz). I was pretty bummed because I liked that watch a lot. I was inclined to get a Fenix5 after giving up the search, but one of our coached athletes offered to set me up with a great deal on Suunto, and I thought I would try something else. My last suunto was an Ambit3 which was my watch prior to the Fenix3.

    I got a Spartan Ultra w/HR strap. I’ve used it only 2 days so far. I have to admit I like the User Interface a LOT better than the Garmin UI. The processor speed is clearly WAY faster than my F3 was. The screen is better, color, and most of all the menus are a lot easier to navigate. I also noticed that it connects to the HR strap and my iphone really fast, my Garmin seemed to sometimes struggled with this. My one complaint is that I have not yet figured out how to have a custom screen. I like to see watch-time, HR, and altitude. Garmin let me create that screen easily. I haven’t figured out how to do that in Suunto yet, but honestly i’ve only spent 5 minutes trying.

    All that said, DCRainMaker, who I also go to for reviews, doesn’t have much good to say about Suunto. His last review on the Spartan Ultra was pretty negative. Negative enough that I would not have paid full price. So it does sound like it will be important to keep pushing software updates to the watch whenever they become available. I also noticed that the Suuntos do go on sale a fair bit, but the Garmins never seem to. Hope that helps.

    RPM on #9389

    In reading up on the Fenix 5, it looks like these devices have become quite sophisticated. I’m admittedly curious about the tracking of recovery/stress. REI has a 90 day return policy so I may go with that and see if those features are really worth the extra $.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    dwpyle on #9392


    I just got a Spartan Wrist Trainer HR, a lower end model than yours. It takes a bit of getting used to after years of Garmin, but I’m starting to like it. On my watch you can customize screens through the site. Doesn’t appear to be a way to do it on the watch.

    sandijs on #9406

    I have Garmin Forerunner 935 which is basically Fenix 5 in different (plastic and lighter) shell.

    Regarding the tracking of recovery/stress – Garmin knows well enough how to track stress and load caused by running, cycling and swimming and it will mostly ignore everything else. For example, Garmin 935 will suggest that I need significantly more recovery time after 1 hour easy run than after 1h 30 strength training session even if I can repeat such running every day but certainly need at least 2 days between strength training.

    James H on #9407

    I use the Polar M400 its mid price range but has everything you need. Simple to use, I like how comfy the HR monitor chest strap is.

    amet1984 on #9408

    I recently bought a Suunto Ambit 3 for $239 on Amazon.

    So far I’m thrilled with it’s performance.

    hafjell on #9410

    Yes, customize the displays on the website, not on the watch itself. This initially annoyed me; now I prefer it. Much easier and faster to move things around or select options with a mouse.

    Now, if I could only get the HR monitor to work…

    Richie on #9412

    EDIT: phone disconnected and double posted sorry

    Richie on #9413

    I can recommend the Suunto Ambit series. The Suunto Ambit 3 peak is still available and as an older model it’s quite cheap and real bargain for the price. It will sync with your phone to upload your workouts. The built quality is excellent and made in Finland, not mass produced in China.

    Whichever watch you do decide to buy forget about the built in Optical Heart Rate monitor. They can be unreliable and are not really accurate enough yet (or ever will be IMO). You will need a watch AND a chest heart rate belt. Most (if not all) record R-R data which is very accurate and a more usable data type.

    If your budjet is really pushed you could always by a Polar H7 or H10 chest belt (Just as an example) and use it via bluetooth with your phone

    Alan Russell on #9477

    I’ve preferred optical HRM over the last couple of years as I started getting skin irritation from my chest strap. The accuracy of the optical HRM seems pretty good to me, and it’s most significant downside is the power consumption. There was a thread on this a few months ago that I posted on, which might be useful, link here: Like others have said, dcrainmaker is an excellent source of info.


Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.