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Suunto adds a heart rate monitor to the popular Spartan fitness watch

Outdoor and fitness watchmaker Suunto has announced a new addition to its popular line of Spartan watches. At the Consumer Electronics Show this week, the company revealed the Spartan Wrist HR, its first GPS-enabled device that comes equipped with an integrated optical heart rate sensor, giving athletes the opportunity to do away with the annoying chest strap monitors at long last.

Designed for multisport outdoor athletes, the original Spartan made its debut in the summer of 2016. It featured Suunto’s trademark rugged design and the ability to track activity across 80 different sports, including running, cycling, and swimming. The watch also was equipped with a color touchscreen, GPS-route navigation, smartphone integration, and a number of other great features too. In fact, the Spartan is probably Suunto’s most well rounded and robust fitness watch to date, although if it did have one area where it could be improved, it was heart rate monitoring.

Most models of the original Spartan shipped with a heart rate sensor integrated into a chest strap, which has been an accepted way to monitor an athlete’s heart rate for a number of years. But, advances in technology have made the process a lot easier to accomplish the same task directly from the wrist, which is the what most smartwatches, fitness watches, and activity trackers do these days.

When Suunto went looking for the right heart sensor to integrate with the Spartan, it decided to partner with a company called Valencell — which specializes in biometric measurement technology. Valencell’s optical heart rate monitors are among the best in the business, delivering accurate data from a small system that does not add much in the way of weight or thickness to the devices that it is embedded in. Considering Suunto’s commitment to providing the best fitness watches available for outdoor athletes, it seemed like a natural choice and thus the Spartan Wrist HR was born.

Suunto says the new watch shares all of the same features of its predecessor, with the only change being the onboard heart rate monitor. When it ships later this spring, the Wrist HR will be available in three colors –black, blue, and sakura, with a price of $649.

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