Dive in with Suunto

In a previous post I bemoaned the fact that the sports/fitness watch market was in general dominated by watch technology companies such as Apple and Xiaomi, or fitness app companies such as Fitbit. I pointed out that the market was desperate for a serious sports watch manufacturer to get their hands dirty.

Suunto make a splash

Now to any professional or recreational diver the name Suunto is renowned and held up as the pioneer of diving wearables. They almost single handedly drove the dive computer market for over 20 years, constantly improving their algorithms and hardware to constantly drive the safety of divers to the heights that they are today.

There cannot be a diver out there that hasn’t owned, or even hankered to own either a Gecko, or better still, a Viper, by the esteemed company.

Suunto have historically had a few models in the sports watch market such as their Spartan range, but even though they have begun to gain a formidable reputation with trail runners for their GPS accuracy, the need to pair the watch with a chest strap heart monitor has in the past held me back from trying my favorite dive computer manufacturer within this niche, as my reviews are modeled in the main at utilizing the modes of the watch within an everyday wellness monitoring scenario and a fitness tracker second. And the wearing of a chest heart rate monitor is impractical in this scenario.

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A New Barometer

My contacts at Suunto, tipped me off about their new model the Suunto 9 Baro. Now having an old dive bag still full of Suunto diving equipment, I have to say that I took very little persuading from them to accept the offer of a review model. I think they must have been parked around the corner because my shiny new watch was delivered by courier about six hours later.

Oh if only all manufacturers were this eager to have their products reviewed.

Let’s deal with the Baro thing first. There isn’t much point in having a sports watch without the inclusion of a GPS chip to help you track your exertions. However, there is a very patchy record of experiences with watch GPS caused in the main by cost-cutting on the part of many manufacturers resulting in less than accurate measuring and mapping results.

Let’s face it any niche in which Apple can reasonably claim to have the most reliable GPS chip has a major problem when that chip is the very same one in the notoriously poor iPhone. Watch makers have recently borrowed a trick from the Drone industry and paired GPS with GLONAS. The mistaken theory behind this is that pairing the two systems provides more accuracy, when in fact what it actually does is improve consistency and speed, accuracy is effected only very slightly.

Suunto have introduced an alternative approach to the issue of accuracy in their new flagship. They have linked their GPS chip set with a barometer and in doing so have produced an insanely accurate unit that not only matches the much vaunted Garmin but outstrips it. In that the extra data gathered even allows the inclusion of a storm warning.

 

 

Spot the Missing Activity

Now one of the main considerations in purchasing a sports watch has always been making sure that the object of your desire actually supports the sport or activity that you intend to track your efforts in.

I for one have been guilty of buying a watch that I like the look of and having to compromise on the selection of activities on more than one occasion. Very often kidding my partner, and more importantly myself that the data it gathered was near enough to enable me to make use of it.

There is every possibility that Suunto have you covered in both concerns here. Although I have been my usual boring self here and opted for the black. Suunto offer the model in a range of color options to boggle the mind. And the watch supports a mind blowing 80, yes you read that right EIGHTY sports.

About the only thing not covered is tiddly-winks.

 

Specs

Measurement 50 x 50 x 16.8 mm / 1.97 x 1.97 x 0.66 “

Weight 81 g / 2.86 oz

Bezel material: Stainless steel

Glass material: Sapphire Crystal

Case Material: Glass fiber reinforced polyamide

 

 

Fully Loaded?

If you are looking for apps a-la Apple, then do yourself a favor, look away. Because like the Xiaomi, and it has to be said, an ever-increasing number of manufacturers, Suunto believe in the serious sports watch and the details and accuracy that they can deliver and so they direct all the computing power of their device at the sporting software, with understandably impressive results.

If you are someone who want their watch to include ‘Fortnight’, or if you want to be observed jogging down the street talking to your wrist then holding your wrist to your ear in alternative motions, then move along this watch is not going to be for you. There are currently numerous manufacturers that work towards your desires. Although it does have to be pointed out that manufacturing base is diminishing.

Suunto, are one of a growing market share that have moved in another direction as they have realized that there is a serious and growing sector of the market who are beginning to take to the idea of a fully loaded sports watch over a string of gym measuring equipment. And that growing market is ravenous for flexibility and more importantly accuracy, and they are more than prepared to pay a premium for quality.

 

Double Vision

Suunto, are very rarely accused of hashing things, but this time it seems that the hardware has been made ready whilst the software department has been dragging its feet in the mud. This has resulted in the watch being released with a whole lot of features and data avenues that the older software (Movecounter) is not capable of making use of. While the new software (Sports Tracker) although capable of handling the new reports that the new data can facilitate, some still useful aspects of Movecounter are still to be hibernated across to the new platform.

Suunto assure use that this issue is planned for the next software update. But anyone with a knowledge of Suunto, will be aware that although they do update their firmware, it could very easily be 12/18 months before they do so, which leaves the matter of data manipulation a bit of a frustrating shuffle between both systems. This is obviously something that any purchaser should take into account.

In my humble opinion is that the quality of the product and the sheer amount of variation in the data streams far outweighs the negatives of having to manipulate two software programs.

I only have one urgent request of Suunto. Please, please enable the 24hr BP performance into the Sports Tracker system as soon as possible, because for those using your watch as a keep healthy system, this information is vital and they/we need to be able to download that from the watch.

 

A Bolt of Genius

Anyone who has experience of Suunto, will support the statement that the company applies a massive amount of common sense to complicated issues, often coming up with such logical solutions that have the genius of seeming simple.

Anyone who owns a Fitness Tracker, or sports watch will tell you that the weakest link of any watch no matter what price or which manufacturer, is the battery. Even with an expensive watch with the best battery power protection system, it really is only a matter of time before your confidence is tried by a battery failure either mid-event or even on the starting line. We have all fallen foul of forgetting to ensure enough charge before we complete. It is all too easy to do.

Riding over the hill on a white charger, swinging from the saddle and landing in the middle of the fight come Suunto, sporting a barrage of fresh ideas in the war against battery drain.

The Suunto 9 Baro, learns your training history and routines, so that if you plan a substantive event into the watch, in preparation for the upcoming event the watch will switch off various battery rich functions and begin to message the wearer that a charge is necessary. If you ignore the messages or even input an event at the last minute the watch will continue to turn off functions to enable the battery to survive to the end, even as far as stripping all the way down to a chrono.

Absolute Genius!

 

Big Fish, Little Fish

So am I about to change my daily driver?

Well no.

But only for one reason, and for once in my life it isn’t the software deficiency.

No. It’s size. As you can tell by the dimensions above, and some pictures. This is not Sharm-El-Shake, it’s Doncaster, and so wearing a dive computer would look more than a little out of the box.

I have very thin and weedy wrists and this substantial piece of equipment is relatively chunky and makes me look ridiculous. For those of you in the same boat as me, then please refer to my                                                                                                     Xiaomi Amazfit review to find out what I recommend.

If on the other hand. You have the wrist to enable you to mask such a large watch, then I would indeed point yo towards the Suunto, it really is a remarkable leap forward, and could easily become an icon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 Replies to “Dive in with Suunto”

  1. As someone who is an avid runner and sports enthusiast, I can appreciate a good exercise watch. This has to be one of the best ones I have seen in a while. The feature that stuck out to me as my favorite would have to be the power saving mode. I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten to charge the watch and then notice I am at 20% battery in the middle of an event. It is very frustrating! Thank goodness this watch has that feature!

    1. Hi Dave, I think that you would also like another unique feature that the barometer introduces and that is to accurately review any height distribution along your run.

      Rgds

      Ade

  2.  So after reading your review on Suunto I am left with the fact that even though Suunto is and always has been impressive, in this case not so much. Good they are finally giving Fitbit and Apple a run for there money but bad to hear that they are not yet up to speed on some of the software. Think I will wait till they do some more software updates,good review

  3. It’s amazing how technique and software has developed in the last ten years.

    Diver watches like these were unthinkable the time I was starting to go under water. I really like the Xiaomi Amazfit. sadly there is no link to your review as for now.

    No problem, I’ll be back anyway and see what more you have to say about these good looking tools.

  4. I honestly love smart watches. I use mine everyday and nearly never take it off. They’re honestly so practical and everyone should get one. This watch looks really sharp and well designed. I prefer round watches, but I have an iPhone so I have a square shapoed watch but I’m over it now. 

    I really like the white band to this watch it looks so clean. 

  5. I keep on wondering what kind of watch other people wear because it seem to me just an art and has nothing to do with time monitoring.

    I am learning a lot here in the internet that there are sports and fitness watches that monitors your health and what you do. Suunto is just one of them.

    As pointed out by this review I hope people will see the difference between Suunto and other sports watches. And if I’m into that sports I may opt to buy Suunto for me.

  6. I, for one, get tired of companies like Apple trying to dominate the market for everything, so I’m actually really excited about the Suunto!  I’m really excited that Suunto offers the model in a range of color options to, as you state, “boggle the mind.”  LOL!  I also love that the watch supports a whopping eighty sports?  It sounds like they are focusing (like you said, you don’t run while talking on your watch with this one, but it does what it’s designed to do!) Sounds like they hit the mark!

    1. Thanks for the comments. Yeah somebody had a eurica moment at Suunto and made a sports watch for monitoring sporting activity rather than the web, who’d have thought.

  7. I am always looking into the market of sports/fitness watches, or ipods that I am able to take with me while training. There is a lot on the market but nothing seems to catch my eye or do the things I would like for it to do with accuracy. When I first saw your article I did like the look of this watch. More so for my partner as I am the same I have small wrists and actually do not like large objects on my arms when training.

    I will be looking into your other recommendation and see what your thoughts are. Thank you

    1. Hi, Thanks for taking the time to read my article and comment on it. If you like i can do the research for you and come up with some suggestions. (Kind of a private shopper scenario if you like). If you PM me the kind of thing that you are looking for and the metrics that you want to measure, I will delve into my archives and the latest market releases and make some recommendations for you.

  8. Hi Adrian,A person’s personality can be seen through his wristwatch. And so I select carefully my smartwatch. Nowadays, there are incredible opportunities available in the smartwatch for technology. By considering all sides, I choose the Xiaomi Amazfit Smartwatch finally. But I do not know the price of it. Please do inform me. Thank you sincerely for the beautiful and artistic article. I want to share this blog with friends.

    1. Hi thanks for taking the time to read my article and provide your comments. As far as the watch is concerned I am presuming that you are referring to the Xiami Amazfit 2 in one of my articles. If so then I believe that currently it is around 169 GBP, you can find it by this link; https://amzn.to/2BZieM3 

  9. I am still exploring your website, you have some really good content here. Never heard of Sunto before. You are completely right when you said that Xiaomi and Apple dominate the market of smart watches. And that is the main reason, why I have not heard about this great watch.

    Specs are more then good, price quality ratio is great and I love the fact that this watch is very durable and very precise with its GPS coordinates.

    Thank you.

    Strahinja.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my article.As for Suunto, any diver will tell you that in the diving world they are the number one brand and lead the market in technological advancement. I am also aware that they hold a massive sector of the climbing market also, so it was only a matter of time before they moved into the smartwatch market in a BIG way.

  10. What a high tech watch Suunto is even with some of its flaws.  Watches have come a long way since my day.  There was no way to tell where you were then on them.  I understand this watch to be meant for men.  It must make them feel classy to wear the brand.  I would certainly wait until the technical issues had been resolved before buying one for a male but I would consider it.   

  11. Hey there,

    Your review of Suunto is very informative and an eye-opener.  Sunnto is a leading brand of sports watches and dive computers.  The quality of the Suunto and the variety available is unmatched and unheard.

    I am hearing a lot about Sunnto movescount, what it is?  Can pl let me know about it?

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my article. In answer to your question Movescount is an enhancement on the usual personal tracker app. It is a motivational fitness tracking app that has the added benefit of being community based.

  12. I agree with you. I have been telling my family for years that the Apple Watch or the Fitbit are not that great when it comes to spots. The hardware itself and the software are just not that advanced. If they really gear into health and fitness, how come you cannot really use the device in salt water? 

    Anyway, this is the first I heard of Suunto, is it a Japanese company? the product features looks good with a practical hardware. I personally do not mind the size of the watch. As long as it is durable, accurate and practical, those are what I look for. Thanks for the review, will check it out. 

    1. Suunto have been a specialist scuba diving computer manufacturer for many years, anyone involved with scuba will have heard of the Suunto Cobra, or Viper.

      Salt water is very, very corrosive, especially to electronic goods, even with a specialist manufacturer like Suunto, it is very important to make sure that any traces of salt water are swilled away.

  13. Hello Adrian, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. I am a sports guy so I think Suunto will definitely benefit me. What I like the most about it is its battery life. My previous watches of this type had a very low battery life which is sometimes pretty annoying. I am on the way to get it!

    1. Daniel,

      If batery life is of paramount importance then the Suunto only has one competitor as far as I am concerned and that is the Power watch, although that isn’t quite the quality of the Suunto offering.

  14. I am amazed at the battery extending technology they have put into this Suunto.

    That is one of the major downsides to every smartwatch of this era, and I’m glad to see that someone is paying attention. I also would like to see the 24hr BP performance added to the host of functions with this particular watch.

    While I am leaning more toward the Driver Marq series from your other article, I would consider this Suunto as a daily alternative, after they release the updates of course.

    Thanks for this article, and once again, I have another great watch to consider.

    Best Wish’s,

    Darren

    1. Darren,

      as a scuba diver of many years i am a massive Suunto fan and have had one of their watches for around 30 years, All that i can tell you, certainly as far as watersports is concerned they have no peers and as far as i can see never have.

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