Suunto Kailash GPS Watch

In the sea of smartwatch-like fitness trackers, the Finnish company has created a travel watch. The Suunto Kailash GPS watch isn’t a fitness tracker, not a smartwatch, it’s a watch made for travelers who like to dive into their travel data. The idea is good and refreshing, while the execution ended up being a little wobbly, mostly due to firmware limitations and battery life.

That being said, Kailash is definitely worth the attention, primarily because of its great design and innovative features that might be the beginning of a new, travel-oriented Suunto line.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Beautiful design
  • Comfortable
  • High-quality materials
  • Durable
  • Adventure Timeline is an interesting feature
  • Cons
    • Underwhelming battery life
    • No sport modes
    • 7R app works only with iPhones
    • Pricy
    • Key Features
      The Suunto Kailash is primarily a traveler-friendly watch, aimed at people who love adventures, as well as exploring new places and countries. The name Kailash stems from the name of a Tibetian mountain peak that has never been climbed before, meaning that it’s primarily made for people who enjoy activities such as hiking, climbing, jogging, and running – everything that has to do with actually getting to know a new place on foot. That being said, it doesn't have any sport modes available for tracking different activities.

      This tracker will collect all the data regarding your trip and aggregate it into your Adventure Timeline, which we’ll discuss further down. This will excite data nerds and intrigue everyone else, seeing how the feature itself isn’t so much as necessary, as it is fun and satisfying to look at, especially once you’ve had your fair share of travels with the watch on your wrist.

      However, if you’re only after a good old fashioned activity tracker or a performance-oriented sports watch that can dive deep into your training load, fitness progress and training session, accommodating dozens upon dozens of different sport modes, it would probably be best to take a look at Polar Vantage V HR instead of the Kailash.
      Basic Features
      While the Suunto Kailash isn’t a full-blown fitness tracker, it does have a good amount of smartwatch functions incorporated into it. With it, you’ll be able to see calls, messages and push notifications from your mobile phone via the Bluetooth connection, which always comes in handy. It doesn’t have all the features and functionalities of an Apple watch, but it offers more than enough for an undemanding traveler.

      Staying true to its purpose, the Suunto Kailash provides automatic time and location update, with daylight saving time, via the GPS connection – provided that there is GPS reception at the place you’re at. You’ll also be able to see World time and Home time, eliminating the need to go online and see what time it is back home.

      Other basic features of the Suunto Kailash include step counter, sunrise and sunset times, vibration alerts, as well as one that isn’t seen often: a flashlight. The display of the watch can turn into a flashlight because of an extra LED located behind the display. Needless to say, this is another feature that will surely be welcomed by avid travelers.

      Additionally, this Suunto watch features a built-in pedometer, which a lot of people will find useful. The pedometer definitely takes the Kailash really close to being a fitness tracker, even though it isn’t marketed as one. With it, you’ll know the number of steps you’ve taken each day – even though there are no motivational alerts on the Kailash, this information could serve as a reminder to move in and of itself.

      Advanced Features
      The most exciting feature of the Suunto Kailash GPS watch is the Adventure Timeline. The brand is so dedicated to it that it even somehow managed to trademark the name. This innovative feature essentially offers map-based and timeline-based collected information on where you’ve been.

      The Adventure Timeline will let you see the number of countries you’ve visited, the total distance you’ve traveled, how many days have you traveled, the number of cities you’ve visited, the furthest location you’ve traveled to from home, and more. Oh, and if you’re interested in knowing what exactly counts as a ‘visit’ – you’ll have to take at least a thousand steps in each place in particular for the Kailash to count it as visited.

      You can access all of the information regarding the Adventure Timeline directly from the phone by pressing the 7R button, as well as inside the dedicated 7R app, in which all of your travel data is saved.

      All of this data is collected via on-board GPS signal antenna as well as Bluetooth connectivity. The Suunto Kailash features integrated GPS and GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System). GLONASS is a space-based navigation system which provides a decent alternative to GPS in situations when the latter isn’t available.

      Once you’ve loaded your home location on the watch, the navigation tools available on the Kailash will track your movement. After you’ve gone more than 75 miles from home, the watch will consider that to be a vacation and will switch to the diary mode in which it will save the data collected during that time.

      Another GPS-related feature worth mentioning is Find Back. This feature enables you to measure distance and see directions to your home from your starting point or a Point of Interest (POI), which is very useful if you like to plan your routes ahead.

      The integrated GPS/GLONASS offer very accurate estimates of your movement and distance. This is all thanks to the receiver located on the inner side of the Suunto Kailash titanium bezel. The watch is able to connect to GPS quite fast, although some users have experienced certain issues with GPS connection and, consequently, accuracy.

      If you do experience GPS issues, the brand advises to always keet the watch up to date with the newest firmware, as well as aim to sync it daily with Suuntolink on your PC or the 7R app on the iPhone.

      Regarding its most basic function, we can report that the watch tells the time very accurately, without digressing from the same info given by traditional, high-quality watches.

      The only way to achieve a smart mobile connection is via Bluetooth connectivity, which will allow you to get basic mobile notifications on your watch. The most useful part of the Bluetooth connection is the fact that it’s necessary for your device to connect to the mobile phone in order to be used for the Adventure Timeline – which is kind of the whole point of getting the watch.

      Additionally, connecting your watch via Bluetooth enables you to customize and access your data within the app itself, without having to use the watch’s limited input methods.

      There is no WiFi connectivity offered with the Suunto Kailash, which is to be expected, seeing how while this is an innovative watch, it isn’t a flagship by any means.

      For the time being, the only app that is compatible with Suunto Kailash GPS watch is the Suunto 7R. The name of the app sounds weird at first, but its origin is interesting. It’s named by the human gene known as DRD4-7R, which is often associated with the wanderlust spirit that some people undeniably have in them.

      The name of the app fits the watch description and intended use perfectly, making it a great traveling companion in theory. However, the only people that are able to use the app are iPhone users, given that the app isn’t Android-compatible. Given the sheer amount of Android users, this is obviously something that limits the Kailash’s audience reach.

      Upon pairing the watch to the app, you’ll be able to receive notifications from your phone, as well as access the Adventure Timeline. Here, you’ll be able to dive deep into numbers of days you’ve spent traveling, miles you’ve passed, as well as the number of countries and cities visited.

      The Suunto Kailash has been deemed as comfortable by most internet users, seeing how it doesn’t feature sharp edges. The band will fit your wrist comfortably and won’t wobble or cause irritation, except if you have extremely thin and small wrists, in which case the band might be too big for you.

      There are four main colors in which the Suunto Kailash GPS watch is offered: Copper, Slate, Carbon, and Silver. Aesthetically speaking, this watch resembles the Suunto 3 Fitness HR, which is a good thing. This means that it’s probably more stylish than most of the competition on the market, blending timeless and elegant design with evergreen, yet modern colors.

      This trend of creating composite cases that blend functionality and contemporary look will probably become the developing route that the Suunto will take, seeing how it’s welcomed by users and how it can even compete with some traditional watches.

      If there’s one thing that the Suunto doesn’t play around with, it’s the quality and durability of their products. The Suunto Kailash GPS watch is no exception to the rule, boasting some of the strongest materials available nowadays.

      This travel-friendly watch features a glass-fiber composite body and space-grade titanium bezel that make it both lightweight and exceptionally durable. This means that you can take your watch literally anywhere – if you can sustain the circumstances and environmental conditions, the Kailash will as well.

      If you’re a fan of the sea and like to visit places that boast amazing water scenery, you’ll be happy to know that the Kailash is water resistant up to 100m. All in all, this watch will last you for a long time, and you’ll probably swap it for another model due to firmware or battery issues, rather than because the materials have worn off.

      The bezel material used in the Kailash GPS watch’s construction is Titanium Grade 5, while the glass material is the sought-after Sapphire crystal. The case is made of glass fiber composite, providing elegance and durability.

      The display visibility becomes really low in direct sunlight, but one of the ways to fix this is by switching the display view from negative to positive. This means that you can invert the display, so to speak, making the background black, and the letters white, or vice versa. This can help you achieve the optimal contrast when in direct sunlight.

      The band of the Suunto Kailash GPS watch is made from high-quality silicone and measures 12.7cm plus 9.3cm in length. The band is notch-based and its size can be adjusted so as to suit the circumference of each person’s wrist.

      The silicone used in the making of the band is flexible, meaning that it won’t break easily. It’s also worth noting that it’s tested so it won’t cause irritation on human skin or harm your health.

      This beautiful watch is on the heavier side, weighing 71g or 2.5oz. This isn’t the sort of weight that you can’t get used to sitting on the wrist, so even if it feels a bit weird at first, most people will soon get used to it.

      The face of the watch measures 50.4 x 50.4 x 14.7mm or 1.98 x 1.98 x 0.58in. Some of the users objected to the size of the face, claiming that it has ‘eaten’ their entire wrist. It has been suggested that the 40mm diameter would better suit more people, without significantly compromising display size.

      Ease of Use
      There are a total of three buttons on the side of the Suunto Kailash case, two of which look the same, while the remaining one is different from the others and reads ‘7R’. Several users have said that the buttons worked like a charm and that they are sturdy and easy to learn. The buttons have a smooth feel to them, and the watch will vibrate slightly upon pressing each button.

      By pressing the sapphire crystal-topped 7R button, you’ll get instant access to navigation view, from which you can select different options such as distance from home, define your POI, and more. After that, the watch will direct you and inform you about the distance between your position and the desired point on the map.

      Power Source
      The brand claims that the Kailash has 10 days’ worth of juice in its rechargeable battery with the GPS turned on, and up to 30 days with GPS turned off. However, unlike the brand’s assessments that have turned out to be true for some of their other watches, the overwhelming impression is that the Kailash gives an underwhelming performance, battery-wise.

      The most realistic battery expectation here is for the watch to last for up to two days with the GPS turned on; some people have even reported having to recharge it daily in order for it not to shut down on the second day. Depending on your activity, you might squeeze 3 days of battery juice from the Kailash, but that’s about as far as it will go, realistically speaking.

      This is the perfect watch to have if you’re in love with data, technology and traveling. While its features aren’t as plentiful as with some full-blown fitness trackers, this watch has enough to offer for most travelers to be satisfied with. The only problem with it is its high price. Unless you’re extremely interested in the Adventure Timeline feature, and you own an Apple iPhone, this really won’t be a rational purchase.

      Unlike some Fitbits and Garmin watches out there, Suunto has a limited number of accessories that their watches are compatible with. You can purchase different Suunto Kailash straps, as well as the power cable, but that’s about it.

      Key Features
      ● Traveler-friendly, no sport modes
      ● Adventure Timeline
      ● Basic smartwatch functions
      ● Bluetooth connectivity
      ● Suunto 7R app, only compatible with iPhone
      ● Accurate GPS
      ● Pricy
      ● Great design
      ● High-quality materials, durable
      ● 50.4 x 50.4 x 14.7mm or 1.98 x 1.98 x 0.58in
      ● Titanium Grade 5 bezel, Sapphire crystal glass
      ● Comfortable silicone strap
      ● Below average battery
      Bottom Line
      The Suunto Kailash GPS watch is somewhat of a unique device on the watch market. It’s neither a fitness tracker, nor a smartwatch, but it blends some of their functionalities in order to create a travel smartwatch, with features that the brand thinks would be most important to your regular digital nomad.

      If it weren’t for the high price and short battery life, and if the 7R app was accessible to Android users, the Kailash would have gotten a resounding ‘yes’, just for being beautiful, innovative and audience-specific, if anything.
      Where to Buy
      By Lizzy Pavlovic
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 24. 2021

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