Suunto 9 Watch Review
The Suunto 9 is a multisport smartwatch made for adventurous people who are serious about their sport. There are a number of things that it can track and do, but the most impressive feature of all is for how long it can do it. The great battery life that isn’t achieved at the cost of GPS accuracy, is what makes this watch stand out from the crowd.
- Amazing 120-hour battery life
- Durable and high-quality
- Great training features
- 80 sport tracking options
- FusedSpeed technology
- Optical HR Sensor
- Smartwatch functions
- Simple design
- Complicated app sync
- Chunky for small wrists
While the number of sports that this fitness watch tracks is subpar compared to the Fenix 5 Plus, it’s definitely more than enough to satisfy the vast majority of fitness enthusiasts and professionals alike. The only obvious thing missing from the sports listed in the 80 modes is golfing, but if you’re not someone who enjoys it often (or at all), you’ll be good to go.
Some of the activities you can track with the Suunto 9 are: running (both indoor and outdoor), cycling, mountain biking, swimming (pool and open water swimming), weight training, circuit training, triathlon, variations of ski training and many more.
This fitness tracker is also suitable for people who are in love with adventure and extreme sports, such as ultra-running, kayaking, and multi-day racing, not only because of the varying sports modes but because of the watch’s sturdy build and amazing battery life.
Your daily activity will be tracked and shown through the total number of steps as well as total calories burned – both of these measurements are customizable so you can set your own calorie and step goals for the day. Also, you’ll be able to see your progress on the home screen so you can pace yourself during the day if needed. Additionally, you can keep track of your weekly training goals as well, which you can customize in the Suunto app.
However, one of the useful features that a lot of fitness watches have, that this one doesn’t is the nudges and reminders to move more in order to hit your set goals. Some people find these vibrations and sound alerts helpful, while others are irritated by them, so depending on which side you’re on, this could be disappointing or welcomed.
Once you’ve paired your watch to your device, you’ll be able to receive notifications from your cellphone to the Suunto 9 watch, although there is no quick-reply function as with some other sports watches.
When performing an activity, the following parameters will be tracked and available for you to see: time, distance, pace, calories burned, as well as ascent and descent. Additionally, you can expect this watch to showcase a plethora of weather-related functions such as sunrise and sunset times, upcoming storm alarms, sea level pressure, as well as temperature.
If you decide to track sleeping, you’ll be able to track not only your sleep times but the duration of your sleep, waking times and your sleep heart rate as well. In order to avoid boring night notifications, you can opt to set your Do Not Disturb hours, during which you won’t feel the notifications nudging away at your wrist.
This sports watch has GPS tracking on-board, but it also uses FusedSpeed technology, which allows the device to combine GPS and accelerometer data in order to get an accurate estimate when the GPS becomes unreliable on its own, or if you wish to preserve battery by only turning GPS on sporadically.
The FusedSpeed technology will come in especially handy if you’re an ultra-marathon runner because it will complement the Suunto 9’s Ultra power saving mode which logs GPS data every 120 seconds.
Just like Polar and Garmin, the Suunto 9 fitness watch offers pool and open water swim tracking, which will allow you to see your pace and distance in real-time, allowing you to adjust your performance. If you choose to connect your device to the Suunto's Smart Sensor chest strap, you’ll also be able to see your swimming heart rate – something you’ll want to invest in if swimming is your sport of choice.
The Suunto GPS navigation offers real-time breadcrumb maps that are very accurate, along with the point of interest navigation, route planning and finding, and a personal route library. The one thing missing from this useful list is a way to save the route you’ve just run to the route library. In the situations where the GPS was turned on every 120 seconds, this fitness watch provided stable results that were practically the same, if not even better than the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus.
Although the optical HR monitoring greatly depends on each person’s physiology, this sports watch gave more than satisfactory results when compared to the Polar H10 chest strap – an industry standard. The watch’s performance during swimming was also solid and without major hiccups, so you can count on all-round good performance both in the water and on the ground.
The only way you can take control over the notifications received is if you turn this function off inside the app, and then turn it back on once you’re ready to face the world again, and by setting your Do Not Disturb hours as well.
This Bluetooth smartwatch doesn’t have WiFi connectivity, but that’s not a deal-breaker, seeing how a small number of watches has it.
The Suunto app is more health-oriented, focusing on data regarding steps, sleep, calories burned, and your recent exercises, while the Movescount app offers a much deeper insight into your training performance, individual sessions, and progress. Upon pairing, you’ll be prompted to connect the watch using the Suunto app, which indicates the brand’s desire to improve its interface and capabilities and slowly let go of the Movescount.
There are some disadvantages to using the Suunto app at the moment, seeing how the app doesn’t sync data with third-party apps such as Strava, TrainingPeaks, and MapMyFitness – nor does it sync to Movescount, for that matter. This transitional period will be a bit irksome, especially if you’re coming to the Suunto team after using an Apple watch or Garmin, both of which have smooth and completely functional apps.
Until then, the only way to get the best of both worlds is to sync the watch to the Suunto app on your phone, and then repeat the sync process, this time with your laptop or PC, that will have the Movescount app installed. Someday, possibly soon, all of the different functionalities of the two apps will be readily available on the same app.
The only comfort issue the people with small wrists will probably face is the fact that the watch can be too chunky to be worn to bed. While not that big of a deal, it will prevent some people from measuring their sleeping heart rate. However, seeing how this watch is marketed to adventurers and endurance athletes, the durability and a nice-sized screen were the top priority to Suunto.
The basic design manages to look great, thanks to the high-quality materials used in its construction, with the wristband being on the thicker side and the control buttons being as prominent as they are. Some users even noted that the buttons were too big, causing them to be pressed involuntarily. That being said, if you’re a fan of simple, chunky designs, this watch is right up your alley.
The stainless steel bezel won’t get scratched or chipped, and the thickness of the silicone band serves as a guarantee that it won’t break any time soon. Also, the Suunto 9 is waterproof up to 100 meters and capable of functioning in temperatures ranging from -20° C to +55° C / -5° F to +130° F.
You can expect this watch to last you for a good four years or more, and you probably won’t switch it because you have to because it got broken – it’s more likely that you’ll just get bored of it and wish to try a new, fancier watch.
Staying true to its battery-saving features, you can manually adjust the brightness of the screen if you wish to save battery, and you’ll also be provided with an option to use the display dimmer as well. However, even with the brightness on 100%, the display isn’t that easy to read in direct sunlight, so you’ll have to create some shade in order to read the screen.
The screen offers satisfactory responsiveness, although there are quite a few controls that are accessible via the three buttons, which come in handy when your hands are dirty and/or sweaty.
Ease of Use
Just like the Suunto 9 Baro Titanium, this sports watch features three battery modes: the Time mode (14 days battery life), 24/7 tracking mode (7 days battery life), and the Training mode with GPS.
The latter has three performance-oriented modes: the 25-hour Performance mode, the 40-hour Endurance mode, and the famous 120-hours Ultra mode. The Ultra mode doesn’t support HR tracking, it functions with the screen brightness dimmed to 10%, but it’s capable of providing highly accurate GPS data, thanks to the FusedSpeed technology.
Depending on your current activity, the Suunto 9 can tell you how much battery life you have left and it will suggest you switch between modes in order to prolong battery life. The watch will also alert you when the battery power comes down to 20% and 10%.
The straps on this smartwatch can also be swapped via a simple clip system, but the compatible Suunto straps are few, so you definitely won’t be able to enjoy the stylishness and versatility offered when you own a Fitbit.
● Smartwatch features, Calories, Sleep tracking, Weather notifications
● GPS, FusedSpeed technology
● Optical HR Sensor
● Solid accuracy
● Polar Flow, Strava, TrainingPeaks sync
● Bluetooth Smart connectivity, no WiFi
● 81 grams, 320 x 300 color touchscreen
● Stainless steel bezel, silicone strap
● Waterproof up to 100 meters
● Comfortable, but chunky
● Rechargeable battery, 120h battery time