Suunto M1

The Suunto M1 watch is a very specific product that targets a niche group of runners and other athletes. The watch can function as a simple timepiece for those looking for a sports watch. It also functions as a heart rate training watch. It's a very basic watch with limited functionality but there are surely some runners out there who want a watch that happens to be this simplistic.

This is not a sports watch for data geeks. The Suunto M1 will instead provide targeted data about a user's heart rate. It comes bundled with a heart rate strap so there's no need to purchase it separately. The watch cannot be paired with other devices but it does its one job very well. Easy to use with basic features, the watch is perfect for those who want to declutter their tech lives.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Quite affordable
  • Very accurate device when it comes to tracking heart rate
  • Large screen is easy to read
  • Watch design is sleek
  • Comfortable band can be worn 24/7
  • Interface is very easy to use (only 3 buttons)
  • Cons
    • Very basic
    • Interference can happen if you're working out in a well-populated location
    • Cannot upload data to computer
    • No backlight
    • Key Features
      The Suunto M1 is limited in its ability to track different activities. It's not a GPS watch, so don't expect to head out for a run and get information about your total distance and pace.

      In essence, it can work well for various activities but it can't actually track them. It will act as a stopwatch and provide heart rate data, but that's about it.

      You can use it to track your heart rate and time elapsed during runs. For bike rides, it's a bit more limited since it's not a great idea to check your wrist all the time on a ride. It is water resistant up to 30m so it can be used for swimming but only as a stopwatch.

      There's no ability to track laps or lap times. No mention from Suunto whether the heart rate data transmits to the watch in water but it's very unlikely.
      Basic Features
      The Suunto M1 watch can provide information on the time of day (like you find on a regular watch) and the date. That's what you'll see on the main screen. The watch also works as a basic stopwatch so you can time any kind of activity you desire.

      Remember, there's no actual tracking (GPS or otherwise) but you can still manage to get information on how long your workout was.

      This might be useful for someone who isn't interested in exact data. If you find yourself becoming a perfectionist on your runs, paying a little less attention to exact numbers might actually feel liberating.
      Advanced Features
      The Suunto M1 doesn't exactly have "advanced features" but compared to the other functions of the watch the heart rate monitoring is definitely more involved. The watch automatically tracks heart rate across three different zones. The zones are automatically detected and set by the watch so there's no way to configure them.

      The Suunto M1 calculates these zones with information you provide when you first set up the watch. In addition to seeing info about your heart rate during training, the watch also provides total calorie burn. Keep in mind that to get the functionality of heart rate tracking, you need to wear the included chest strap.

      The M1 will also provide audio feedback to let you know if you've reached a certain heart rate zone. You'll hear beeps when you've switched to a different zone altogether.

      The watch also features an alarm which alerts you via a beeping sound. And the watch is water resistant up to 30 meters.
      One of the biggest advantages of choosing the Suunto M1 over other heart rate monitors is how accurate it is. Reviewers were extremely impressed with the accuracy of the device. Still, without any other advanced features, it doesn't suit those who want to track their runs via GPS. It's far more suitable for runners who prefer to train by effort using heart rate zone data.
      There's not much connectivity when it comes to the Suunto M1. It can really only pair with one accessory: the heart rate chest strap. There's no ability to upload information either which many reviewers found annoying. The watch records up to 15 days worth of info but that's it.

      If you want to keep that information stored somewhere, you're forced to write it down in a training log.

      The watch is also unable to connect to your Smartphone. So you're not able to get any notifications on the device. Some might find this is negative for the M1 but for those who want to unplug it's a nice bonus.
      There are no additional apps to be used with the Suunto M1. You can't connect the device to your Smartphone or computer so you can't download new apps onto the device.

      As mentioned previously, this is a super basic device. It's meant to be used for heart rate training, and it does what it's supposed to and does it really well.
      No complaints from reviewers here. The Suunto M1 is comfortable even when worn by those with smaller wrists. The device isn't overly bulky or large and is comfortable enough to be worn day to day.

      That being said, it does not have the ability to track activities 24/7, and it won't provide you with daily heart rate trends like other devices do. But it can definitely be worn all day without needing to be taken off.

      Users were happy with the degree of comfort the watch offered.
      The Suunto M1 is surprisingly sleek for such a low-end watch. The round watch is nicely designed and looks more expensive than it is. The black band is plain but works well in contrast with the round timepiece.

      It's inconspicuous and won't distract from your outfit. It's small enough that it can easily be hidden under a sleeve but there's little reason to conceal it since it really looks quite stylish.
      The Suunto M1 is a watch that will last a long time. Unless you don't take care of the heart rate strap, you should get many years of functionality out of this watch. The band is sturdy and the watch itself looks like it could take a beating.

      It has a replaceable battery so the battery life won't be an issue either. It should keep "ticking" away for a long time.
      The Suunto M1 features a very easy to read screen with a large font. The screen itself is made of durable acrylic. It's a great option for those who normally have trouble seeing what's showing on their watch.

      There's no need to squint since the screen is very clear. One problem with this aspect of the watch, though, is the lack of a backlight. This makes the watch a poor option for those who tend to workout in dimly lit conditions.
      The band of the Suunto M1 is very comfortable according to most reviewers. It closes via a standard watch clasp and while it's secure, it's also easy to remove. The band is made of resin and feels nice against the wrist but there's no ability to change up bands.

      That's a shame since it limits the styling possibilities. The watch itself is nice enough to be worn with a more premium watch strap and Suunto could have offered options for sale to those wanting a less 'sporty' look.
      Sizes Available
      The Suunto M1 does not come in different sizes so you'll have to make sure that the fit is right for you before purchasing. The smallest wrist size that the watch can fit is about 6 inches in circumference. This might be limiting for those with very tiny wrists.

      The fit is customizable and can be adjusted using the band. Reviewers did not note any sizing problems. If you do have a smaller than average wrist, it's probably a good idea to visit your local running store to get a sense of the fit on your wrist. The band might fit fine but the watch itself might feel too large to be comfortable for everyday wear.

      The watch weighs about 40g overall which is fairly lightweight and should work well for everyday wear.
      Ease of Use
      The big bonus of the Suunto M1 is that it's super easy to use. It's a basic watch but that also means there aren't a whole bunch of applications, modes, and features to confuse less tech-savvy users. Reviewers commented on the ease of use of the M1 and felt that it did what it was supposed to exceptionally well.

      It's easy to navigate since there are only three buttons and since it auto-sets your heart rate zones that means you don't have to figure them out for yourself. Many reviewers shared that they picked the Suunto M1 because they wanted to keep tabs on their heart rate after a cardiac event.

      The watch won't warn you of problems and isn't a medical device but it might help you pay closer attention to what's going on with your body.
      Power Source
      There's no need to fiddle with power cables or USB cords with the Suunto M1. The device works on a single CR2032 battery. It lasts a long time, apparently close to a year, and it's easy for users to replace themselves.

      For those who are fed up of having to remember to charge devices, the simple M1 provides a break from that particular hassle. You won't forget your watch at home on the charger because it should always be on your wrist ready to go.
      The Suunto M1 was originally $100 when it was first released. However, newer versions have been released and the price has come down to about $50. It comes bundled with a heart rate strap as well which helps with its overall value.

      It really is a basic device, though, so whether it's a worthwhile buy really depends on your needs in a watch. It provides accurate heart rate readings, allows you to track time elapsed, and acts as a regular timepiece. Is that enough to make it a good purchase?

      If you enjoy training using heart rate data and if you don't mind not having a ton of other features, the Suunto M1 is a quality watch.
      The Suunto M1 only comes with one accessory. The heart rate strap works with the device to provide you with accurate heart rate data. It's meant to be worn around the chest. However, in this version, the strap is made of plastic which some reviewers found a little bit uncomfortable.

      In the M2, the strap is made of a softer material and feels a lot more comfortable against the skin. Some users of the watch complained that sometimes, in cold weather, the heart rate data had issues with transmission to the watch. Some users also reported interference when working out in public places like a very busy gym.

      The device is not compatible with other accessories like footpods or bike sensors.
      Key Features
      - Comes bundled with heart rate chest strap
      - Provides heart rate data and calorie burn
      - 3 heart rate zones auto-detected
      - Time of day and date display
      - 1 alarm
      - Water resistant (30m)
      - Records up to 15 days of information
      Bottom Line
      The basic Suunto M1 is the perfect watch for runners who want to train using heart rate zones without being bogged down by tons of other data. If you prefer to run by feel and don't mind not having GPS to track your distance, then the M1 might be a good choice.

      You can wear the watch 24/7 and use it as a regular timepiece. It's affordable and sports a sleek design. The long-lasting battery won't ever need to be charged and replacing it is easy. For someone who wants to keep a close eye on the heart rate metric, the watch does it well and accurately.
      Where to Buy
      By Steph Coelho
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 28. 2021

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