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Comparison Suunto 9 Baro vs Suunto Spartan: differences, which one to choose?

par Philippe Baudoin © reproduction interdite (publié le 11/10/2018)
Suunto 9 and Spartan Ultra watches compared

Comparison and opinion: advantages of the Suunto 9 Baro and why you should buy it

Suunto offers the Suunto 9 Baro, a new high-end watch replacing the Suunto Spartan Ultra. It is mainly in the autonomy and accuracy of the measurements that the difference between the 2 models is significant. Should you buy the Suunto 9 Baro? What about the Suunto 9? What are the differences between the Suunto 9 Baro and Suunto Spartan Ultra? Discover our comparison, our advice and opinions to choose the model best suited to your objective.

Buy Suunto 9 Baro

Price (from)
649 499 €
349 247.99 €
299 219 €
406.84 €
599 442 €


Buy Suunto Spartan Ultra

Suunto released a new watch in 2018, the Suunto 9, which is an improved version of the Suunto Spartan Ultra. The characteristics are very similar. The manufacturer has mainly worked on the autonomy of its watch, in particular on the reliability of measurements in energy saving modes. This is a watch with a very long autonomy and whose measurement accuracy remains good even in power saving mode or when the GPS signal stalls. Suunto 9 also features intelligent battery management that allows you to know at any time the remaining operating time and allows you to switch from one mode to another as needed. In return, Suunto Spartan Ultra's price is falling and provides a real opportunity for those with limited budgets or who do not need to use energy-saving modes. All the details in this file.

The Suunto 9 watch has a record range (up to 120 hours) while remaining accurate thanks to a new FusedTrack? algorithm combining GPS and other sensors on the watch.

Suunto 9, Suunto 9 Baro, Spartan Ultra, Spartan Sport Wrist Baro: how to find your way around?

Suunto offers several versions of its Suunto 9 and Suunto Spartan watches. It is important to be clear about the differences between these models which are intended for different uses.

Suunto 9 or Suunto 9 Baro?

Both Suunto 9 and Suunto 9 Baro offer record battery life with high measurement accuracy and intelligent battery management. This watch will be of interest to athletes travelling long distances (trekking, ultra-trail, long hikes, etc.)

comparison Suunto 9 and Suunto 9 Baro
Suunto 9 and Suunto 9 Baro compared: an additional barometer on the Baro version for weather functions and a more accurate altitude measurement

Unlike Suunto 9, Suunto 9 Baro has a barometer and a thermometer, like Suunto Spartan. These instruments offer advanced weather functions. Thanks to the barometer, the watch is able to measure atmospheric pressure variations and generate storm risk alerts. Altitude measurement is also more accurate than with GPS. The combination of GPS altitude and barometer altitude (FusedAlti™ function) allows even greater accuracy, thanks in particular to the correction of altitude errors related to rapid changes in atmospheric pressure.

Suunto 9 will be of interest to long-distance runners who are looking for long range and accurate measurements but do not need weather functions or accurate altitude measurements. However, this model is less suitable for hiking, trekking or mountain running. It is lighter than the Suunto 9 Baro and it is less expensive by 100 €. A godsend for athletes interested in autonomy and precision but who don't want to pay more for a barometer.

Spartan Ultra or Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro?

Suunto has also developed its previous model, the Suunto Spartan, in several versions with different options and with some improvements. The idea is to attract as many buyers as possible by offering compromises and a lower price.

comparison Spartan Ultra and Spartan Sport Wrist
Spartan Ultra and Spartan Sport Wrist compared : an optical sensor from HR but a lower autonomy for the Spartan Sport Wrist

The Spartan Ultra model, the most complete, is offered with a titanium bezel, has an ultra-resistant sapphire crystal and offers a high degree of autonomy. However, he does not have a cardiofrequencemeter on his wrist. This model is suitable for very long-distance runners or hikers and adventurers who need a watch that is resistant to any challenge.

The Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR and Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro (with barometer) is a little less robust, with its stainless steel bezel and mineral glass. Its autonomy is also much lower (2 to 3 times less ! see our comparative tables below) but it will be sufficient for most athletes. The watch has a cardio optic on the wrist for activity monitoring. The Baro version includes a barometer for weather functions and greater accuracy in altitude measurements. The Spartan Sport Wrist has almost the same functions as the Spartan Ultra. So we have here a good compromise for people who do not want to pay more for an autonomy and/or a barometer that they do not need.

Suunto 9 Baro versus Suunto Spartan Ultra Comparison: the differences

Although the 2 models are very similar (same sensors, functions, software, widgets), the new features of Suunto 9 make a big difference for long distance fans (more than 18 hours) and demanding athletes looking for accurate measurements in energy saving mode. For the others, apart from the addition of an optical heart rate sensor, the new Movescount application and a tool-free interchangeable strap, the interest of this last model remains limited, knowing that it is more expensive.

In our comments, we refer to Suunto 9 Baro (with barometer) and Suunto Spartan Ultra, the other two models mentioned above being "lighter" versions. However, we consider the 4 models in our comparative tables.

Design and structure

The 2 watches have the same screen (size, definition), a reinforced polyamide case and an ultra-resistant (scratch-resistant) sapphire crystal crystal. Suunto 9 has a stainless steel bezel (titanium for Spartan Ultra) that gives it a different look. It is a little thinner (0.2 mm) but 8 g heavier (81 vs 73 g) and its buds are a little larger.

FeaturesSuunto 9Suunto 9 BaroSpartan UltraSpartan Sport Wrist
Weight72 g81 g73 g74 g
Size50 x 50 mm50 x 50 mm50 x 50 mm50 x 50 mm
Thickness16,8 mm16,8 mm17 mm17 mm
GlassesStainless SteelStainless SteelTitanium Grade 5Stainless Steel
Touch Screen
Color screen
Resolution320 x 300320 x 300320 x 300320 x 300
GlassGlassCrystal of sapphireCrystal of sapphireGlass
CaseGlass fiber reinforced polyamideGlass fiber reinforced polyamidePolyamidGlass fiber reinforced polyamide
Wristband size130 à 230 mm130 à 230 mm130 à 220 mm130 à 230 mm
Suunto 9 vs Suunto Spartan: design and structure compared

Autonomy and accuracy of measurements: Suunto 9 stands out from the crowd!

Suunto has gone to great lengths to offer a watch that stands out from the competition. Suunto Spartan Ultra already offered a record range (up to 140 hours in Ultra mode). With Suunto 9, autonomy increases even further in Performance and Endurance modes and, above all, measurement accuracy (GPS track, distance, speed) is improved in power saving modes.

With Suunto 9, the battery life is extended to 25 hours (instead of 18 hours) in Performance mode (Best), 40 hours (instead of 35 hours) in Endurance mode (Good) and 120 hours (instead of 140 hours) in Ultra mode (OK) but with much better accuracy.

The novelty of this model is twofold:

  • Offer a better autonomy in Performance mode (1 GPS reading per second). The watch still offers 7 hours more autonomy than the Spartan Ultra, almost 40% more!
  • To offer better accuracy in Endurance and Ultra modes thanks to an innovation: the FusedTrack™.
Suunto 9 battery management display
Suunto 9 allows you to change battery mode during the journey

Note that in endurance and performance mode, GPS readings are less frequent on the Suunto 9 to save battery power (1 reading per minute instead of 1 per second but with reduced accuracy in endurance mode. 1 reading every 2 minutes instead of every minute in Ultra mode). But with the FusedTrack" function, Suunto guarantees greater measurement accuracy.

FusedTrack combines GPS data with accelerometer, compass and gyroscope data to reconstruct a more accurate track or "guess" the track when the GPS signal fails. For more information, see our article Suunto 9 : autonomy and accuracy even without GPS.

Intelligent battery management

Suunto 9 provides information on the battery status, including the remaining operating time. It generates alerts inviting the user to change modes if necessary. Its analysis is based on the history of activities. The watch therefore learns to better manage the battery over time.

The great advantage of the model is that it allows the user to switch from one mode to another and thus extends the watch's autonomy, knowing that the accuracy of the measurements will be little affected.

FeaturesSuunto 9Suunto 9 BaroSpartan UltraSpartan Sport Wrist Baro
Time mode14 j14 j20 j14 j
With 24/7 follow-up and notifications mobile7 j7 j10 j 
Training mode with GPS25 / 50 / 120 h25 / 50 / 120 h18 / 35 / 140 h10 / 20 / 40 h
Intelligent battery managementYesYes  
Suunto 9 vs Suunto Spartan: compared autonomy
view of the optical sensor
Suunto 9 is equipped with an optical heart rate reader on the wrist

Features: optical cardio and activity monitoring

Both watches have almost the same features. The same functions can be found for running, cycling, swimming. Suunto has added some functions here and there on the Suunto 9, but this is not the main objective of this new model.

It is above all the optical heart rate sensor that brings an additional advantage to the watch. It allows a permanent pulse measurement and 24-hour activity monitoring. It will be of interest to athletes who do not like to wear a seat belt or who are looking for daily follow-up (calories burned, heart rate, etc.). Note that the accuracy of wrist measurements is less good than with a belt. However, Suunto 9 is compatible with a chest belt.

FeaturesSuunto 9Suunto 9 BaroSuunto Spartan UltraSpartan Sport Wrist Baro
FC wrist
Cardio belt compatibility
Digital compass
Barometric altimeterNo
Profile altimeter/barometerNo
Vertical velocity
FC real time average  
Real time HR graph
Recovery time  
Activity monitoring
Steps, colors, sleep
Customizable watchface
Vibrator alert
Waterproof10 ATM10 ATM10 ATM10 ATM
Number of clocks (time)2222
Hours sunrise/sunset
Storm alarmNo
Interval training
Tilt compensation
Version correction
Bluetooth Smart
Suunto 9 vs Suunto Spartan: Main features compared

GPS: GLONASS out of the picture

Curiously, Suunto 9, unlike Suunto Spartan, is compatible with the American satellite system (GPS) but not the Russian system (GLONASS). It seems like a step backwards. However, this choice is strategic. Detecting GLONASS consumes energy and reduces battery life. In addition, access to several satellite networks does not guarantee better accuracy because GPS chips cannot connect to 2 different systems at the same time. GLONASS remains useful especially in urban areas where GPS is less effective. Suunto made this strategic choice to further optimize the autonomy of its watch without penalizing users of a watch designed mainly for outdoor activities.

FeaturesSuunto 9 BaroSuunto 9 BaroSpartan UltraSpartan Sport Wrist Baro
Real Time Track (small inch)
Route Planning with Elevation Profile
Movescount Heat Cards (Moves)
Route planning with heat maps
Recording, viewing and sharing routes
Navigation to a POI
GPS trace analysis
Suunto 9 vs Suunto Spartan: GPS navigation

The bracelet: interchangeable without tools

The Suunto 9's strap remains interchangeable, as on the Spartan Ultra, but without tools. Suunto has also adopted this system on the newer Spartan Sport and Spartan Sport Wrist HR models.

A new Suunto application

Suunto 9 is compatible with the new Suunto app that allows you to keep a (historical) log of training performed, daily activity, and hours of sleep. It also allows you to share your data and performance with other members of the community. The new application is available in the Apple Store and Google Play.

The price

Suunto lowers the price of its Suunto Spartan following the release of the Suunto 9, bringing its previous model back to an attractive price. If you don't need a lot of autonomy, this model will be more than enough.

Suunto 9Suunto 9 Baro Spartan UltraSpartan Sport Wrist
Price (from)499 €599 €379 €499 €
Suunto 9 vs Suunto Spartan: price

Our opinion: Suunto 9 Baro or Suunto Spartan Ultra? Which one to choose?

For demanding athletes travelling long distances (events lasting more than 18 hours), Suunto 9 is clearly the model to choose for its record range combined with high measurement accuracy (distance, track) thanks to the brand new FusedTrack™ function. It is very suitable for ultramarathon and ultratrail races. We recommend it without hesitation for this type of use.

hiker wearing Suunto9
The Suunto 9 is particularly well adapted to very long runs (more than 18 h)

It is also interesting to keep an accuracy even when the GPS signal fails (cuts).

The presence of the optical heart rate sensor is also a plus for people who do not want to bother with a chest belt or who want to use the activity monitoring function. However, the accuracy of the reading is much less accurate and can even be quite poor depending on the type of skin, outside temperature, hairiness. In cold weather, the blood vessels at the wrist are not very open so the sensor may not work during the first few minutes of racing.

However, investing in Suunto 9 is not necessarily useful according to your objective. If your sporting activity is limited to outings of less than 18 hours, the Spartan Ultra will do just fine. It will be just as accurate and less expensive as a result of the price decrease. For short outings, the Spartan Sport Wrist may even be enough.

For athletes who do not need a barometer and weather functions (e. g. flat field races) but who want to benefit from a long range and accurate measurements in energy saving modes, the Suunto 9 (without barometer) will be perfectly suited for an attractive price. The watch offers the new features brought by Suunto (autonomy, measurement accuracy, intelligent battery management) but without the barometer, thermometer and associated measurements.

Price and availability

Suunto 9 Baro is available in specialist stores and on the Internet in 2 colours: Suunto 9 Baro Black (black) and Suunto 9 Baro White (white) at the recommended retail price of 599 €. The watch is also available with or without a cardio belt. Count 50 € more for the model with belt. Suunto also offers a cheaper, barometer-free Suunto 9, which is lighter but less suitable for adventurers and hikers (from 499euro;).

The price of Suunto Spartan titanium is lowered with the release of Suunto 9.

Take advantage of offers, promotions and coupons de réduction.

Philippe Baudoin
Copyright © Sport Passion

Buy Suunto 9 Baro

Price (from)
649 499 €
349 247.99 €
299 219 €
406.84 €
599 442 €


Buy Suunto 9

Price (from)
499 299 €
249 €
399 249 €


Buy Suunto Spartan Ultra

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