The Suunto Quest is slightly different, it does not have GPS built into unit, instead you can customise the Quest with various Suunto PODs, such as a GPS unit.
The Quest is designed to take advantage of Heart Rate training. Suunto are a massive outdoor brand, and sponsor a lot of Ultra-marathon runners, so their products are geared towards the climbing area of the outdoor market.
I am a big fan on training with Heart Rate because it is a much more efficient way to train, however it has to be done correctly, because there are many pitfalls of training at the wrong level.
The Quest comes packaged in a small box,lifting the lid off and you are presented with the watch and the Suunto movestick mini staring at you like a mischievous school boy!
Once you have opened everything, in the box you will find:
•Suunto Dual Comfort Belt
•Suunto Movestick Mini
The watch feels incredibly light when you first touch it, I think it could possible come across as cheap feeling but it looks fantastic (especially in the Orange) so you quickly forget any negative thoughts you first had.
There are three buttons, all on the right hand side as you look at the watch face
On the top is a Start Stop button, naturally this starts/stops a workout, it also navigates you up in the menus.
The middle button is the Next button, which you use to switch views, and accept/move to the next step. Holding the button down for two seconds takes you straight to the settings menu
The bottom button the Light Lock button. This activates the backlight, it also navigates you down in the menus. Holding for two seconds locks just the Start Stop button.
Here is a shot of the Quest, in-between the 910XT and FR610.
This shot highlights how small it is compared with the FR610, the 610 dwarfs the Suunto Quest and it is hardly a beast itself.
As is the custom with most watches now, you must start by entering your vital information into the watch. As it does not use GPS, you must manually enter the time, and date.
This is also a chance to enter your personal settings, including sex, weight and age, these figures are used to calculate your maximum Heart Rate. Another piece of data you have to input is your activity class, which ranges from 1 to 10 depending upon how much exercise you do a week. 1 being very occasionally, 10 being over 15hours a week.
After all this is done, you will probably want to go out for a run.
From the home screen press the START STOP button until you see 'running'
Press next to confirm
The Suunto will then look for the HR belt and any other PODs you have paired with the device. This process can be skipped if you wish.
Once it has found them, press Start Stop and your workout will begin.
To end the workout press Start Stop, it will then pause the workout, press Stop to confirm the end of the workout, otherwise press continue.
Then there is the option of saving the Move (or workout)
After a session you will get a Summary of your session, the data displayed will depend on which Suunto PODs you had attached.
Heart Rate Monitor
The Suunto Dual Comfort Belt, or Heart Rate monitor is a bit larger than the Garmin device, it is still comfortable and I could not tell the difference between it and the current Garmin monitor when I was wearing them.
One difference is that the clip is where the unit connects to the Heart Rate Monitor device, not a clasp as with the Garmin and adidas models. It certainly takes that tiny bit more effort to take the Heart Rate monitor off, and it also worries me that the connection could go bad over time with that repeated clipping and unclipping. That said I am sure it is built to last!
During the run, there are 5 views to cycle through per exercise mode. The page is split up into two sections, with the first part in large font, and the second part is smaller and sits below. The pages will look like the following:
HR in the middle, then the stopwatch underneath
View 1: heart rate and stopwatch
View 2: heart rate and calories
View 3: heart rate percentage and heart rate zone
View 4: stopwatch
View 5: speed and distance
View 1: heart rate and stopwatch
View 2: pace and distance
View 3: pace and average running cadence
View 4: distance and time
View 5: stopwatch
View 1: heart rate and stopwatch
View 2: heart rate and distance
View 3: speed and distance
View 4: speed and stopwatch
View 5: distance and average speed
Unfortunately these are not customisable on the watch, so you are stuck with the views that Suunto give you. There is also a need for the various PODs to make certain pieces of data display. You will get a heart rate monitor with the Quest so that data will be displayed (as long as you are wearing the HR monitor). To edit the screens view, it must be done in Movescount (more below)
Whilst I am not a huge fan of the page views, they provide enough information but in a rather round about way.
During each session arrows will appear on the outer rim of the display, these start to represent recover time. They remain during and after the training in the time view. As shown in the picture below, the two arrows represent recovery time. The Quest will display unto 120 hours (the numbers around the face represent hours).
After each session, the Suunto will show you the recovery time. It is based upon Heart Rate data and your activity class setting.
I think that this is a fantastic feature on the watch, whilst I have not found it stops me from going out and training, it has made me focus on my recovery more and consider what each session has done.
There are three modes when you go for a workout with the Suunto Quest;
It is the Training mode which I will attempt to explain about now. You can create or download a training plan to the Suunto Quest and the Quest will guide you through your daily training targets.
www.movescount.com is the online hub for Suunto's devices. It is where you go to view your training sessions after your have done them and also to create the training plans online.
To start with, we have to set up a profile online
All you need is to enter some basic information and you will be good to go
It is as easy as that to create an account
When you log in for the first time, this is the homepage that will greet you. It looks a bit cluttered in my opinion, there is a big push of the social aspect of the training, with it possible to follow other members and share activities.
Connecting Quest to the computer
To begin with, we need to get the Quest talking to the computer, to enable each part to send data to the other
The first step is to download and install Moveslink, for the mac it can be done from this location, for Windows users click here
Once Moveslink is installed, it works in much the same way as the Garmin ANT+ Agent, as a little program that sits in the background waiting for an ANT+ agent to be plugged in.
Hovering over the program brings up the options for Movescount. It is a fairly basic program, and offers very little in customisation.
Opening instructions brings up this screen
One of my favourite parts of the Quest package is the Suunto MoveStick, which is essentially a tiny ANT+ Stick. It is so tiny that I would be really worried about loosing it, it fits into my macbook air and only minimally protrudes out the side of the device. One great thing is that the MoveStick works with the Garmin ANT Agent also!
Once MovesLink is opened, and the MoveStick is plugged in, you must navigate to webconnect on the menu of the Quest.
Once this is done, select enter, the watch will look for a PC and then connect and start to send the data to movescount.co.uk
This first time you connect the Suunto Quest to moveslink, you will get this pop up screen;
This makes sure you are syncing your activities or moves as Suunto likes to call them, to the correct account
This will be the display as the data is uploaded to Movescount.
The process is very simple, it is a slight shame that the uploading feature is not automatic, but it is only a tiny issue that I have with the process!
Once the data has been uploaded onto Movescount, it is possible to analyse the Move or session online
Navigating the to 'scoreboard', the page is updated with the latest move
Select "Check this Move' to have a look at the activity in more detail
It is very easy to see exactly what you have done, and if I had more PODs connected then that data would be viewable also.
Pressing edit move allows for data to be manually inputted, such as the weather, 'vibes' and any notes on the session.
Creating a training session or plan
The original focus of this section was to look at how to create a training plan, so let us look at that now.
Navigating to Tools > Training Program Planner will bring up the following page.
This is what it will look like before you make any changes or add in any activities.
Press Create New to start a new training plan
Some basic information needs to be added, then you can start planning your training.
Select the day you want to add the training on, then you can add the planned move
One disappointing feature here is that the planning is very basic. It is only possible to set the duration, distance and intensity. There is no function to create laps or build in a more detailed workout.
Navigating to Community > Get Stuff > Training Programs it is possible to see any uploaded training plans that other users have created. Some of these are just generic plans, some have been taken from RunnersWorld online plans.
What I would say is that is in no way enough detail in these plans to make them effective, especially the marathon ones. The other issue is that maximum allowed for the plans is 15 weeks, which seems rather short and an unnecessary decision to make.
This is the sub 3:30 schedule that I found online. Whilst it is very good of the user to upload it, all that you have is running at various speeds, and what does 3 miles hard mean? Is hard Flat Out? Very fast? Until you can't walk at the end of the session? It isn't the best thought out system in my opinion?
If you find a schedule that you like, it can be saved onto your profile, and it will then sync the sessions with the Quest next time you connect it to your computer.
To do the current days workout, on the Suunto Quest, navigate to Training
Press ok, and you will get a summary of the workout goals (distance and speed)
The Quest will then start searching for any PODs you have connected, then you are ready to go and do the session.
During the session you will be given guidance on intensity or pace. The Quest will go to intensity guidelines when a distance target has not been set.
The Quest has a cycling mode, my only issue is that the watch real estate is rather small when you consider that you are on a bike and do not want to be looking down at your wrist every few minutes to get an update on your speed and time!
Tap to Lap
One nice feature is the Tap to Lap function of the Suunto Quest. There is no Lap button on the watch, which is a slight oversight in my opinion, but by tapping the device you will set a lap. The device is rather unresponsive when tapping, and I didn't find it the best tap system I have used. I wouldn't really trust it in a session or race. The sensitivity can be changed in the settings but I found it made little difference.
Another feature is auto laps. Turn them on on the device in the Training Settings Menu, but the distance between the lap is set on movescount.com, in the advanced settings (see blow)
There are two ways of setting the watch up, on the device itself (and as I have said, it is a rather frustrating process) or in Movescount.com, in the Gear section.
The device you are setting up will appear under the gear toolbar, in our case the Suunto Quest
Opening each section allow the setting for that section to be changed
The most useful section is Customisation, and it is here that you can change the views for each activity, plus set some rather useful sections up.
Expanding the running activity, it becomes possible to set what you want to see on the display. Note that Stopwatch (the last one) is not editable.
Selecting any of the pieces of data brings up the following screen and the choices of data you can have displayed.
Whilst it is not a massive selection, it covers all the basics you could want.
By opening the advanced settings, there are a few more settings that can be edited, including the length of the autolaps,the PODs to look for and what the tap function does.
The Heart Rate and Speed Limits provide zones for you to work in, if you stray out the zones the Quest will guide you back into the zones.
It is useful that all these settings can be changed, however it all feels a bit of a complicated way of doing it. Having a separate bike and running profile is useful but it feels rather confused to me and likely that a lot of people would miss these settings.
As the Suunto Quest focus is on Heart Rate, it is important to get the personal settings entered as accurately as possible.
Resting Heart Rate -- best taken in the morning, lie down in a quiet room and relax for a few minutes. You may want to take this over the course of a few days and get an average.
Maximum Heart Rate -- this is the difficult piece of information which you will want to get as accurate as possible, as it is from your Maximum Heart Rate value that the rest of your training zones are calculated. The Quest will automatically work your maximum heart rate out based on the following sum - 207 - (0.7 x Age). Whilst this is supposed to be a more accurate estimate than 220 - age, it is still a generic formula which will not be accurate for everyone. See our article on Heart Rate for more information on working our your maximum.
If you do a training session and your peak heart rate exceeds your maximum heart rate, the device will ask you if it wants to update you maximum heart rate setting to set at the new level.
I do not like navigating the settings menu on the watch. If you make a mistake, you must cycle through all the settings then go back and turn on the setting you turned off, it just is not intuitive. The way the settings menu works is that you change, for example Personal Settings, it then moves on to Training Settings immediately, like a conveyer belt. It was just a rather frustrating experience.
Pairing POD/Heart Rate
To pair either a POD or Heart Rate monitor, navigate to setting 8/8 Pairing
Then select the type of POD you wish to pair, once the device is paired the following screen will display
To pair a footpod, you must go through the same process.
The footpod can also be calibrated, by adjusting the distance run at the end of a workout.
The Quest allows for you to see a summary of your previous move, or training session. Unfortunately it is only possible to see the latest workout, and just a summary. The watch will store data for a number of workouts but it is only possible to view the last one. The data displayed is the same as you would receive after a training session
navigate to prev. Move in the menu
Pressing enter, gives you the summary of the workout
data displayed will include average HR
Using every day
The Quest is small enough that it can be worn on the wrist all day and you will barely notice that you are wearing it. It has a dual time zone, and will display the date on the display.
The Suunto Quest uses a CR2032 battery to power the device. As it does not have GPS built into it, it is not at all power hungry and can run for months on one battery. The PODs that you plug in will require their own power source, with GPS devices being the most power hungry! This is a useful for those that often forget to charge their watch but I don't see this as a killer feature!
The Suunto Quest is not a watch I could recommend to every runner. It has some fantastic features but for the price one would perhaps expect a bit more. I really enjoyed using the recovery mode, and it is good to see a watch that focus's on Heart Rate, rather than just pace. However, more could be made of this fact in the literature that supports the watch. The online software, Movescount, feels a bit simple, whilst the social aspects are fun, I found it the whole process a little bit over the place. Creating a training plan and sessions is not in-depth enough, and it needs to be worked on. The Quest looks good, it is great to just pick up and go out an exercise with, but again, for £170, one would probably expect more.
Who would use this watch:
A runner that lives mainly on the trails, just looking for Heart Rate information, and can survive without distance data, unless you want to add GPS as an external unit which can then be linked to the Quest.
The Suunto Quest costs £170 and is available here.
However, the Forerunner 110 with a Heart Rate monitor is available for £128.90 just gives you more of a watch, the only item that I would be upset on loosing is the recovery mode, which has been very useful.