Suunto 9 Review – Designed For Athletes Looking For Perfection

suunto 9 review

AT A GLANCE: QUICK RATINGS

Heart Rate Functions

95%

Fitness / Sport Features

95%

Ease of Use

95%

Battery Life

100%

Where To Get It

A Deep Dive Into The Suunto 9

The Suunto 9 is a technical multisport GPS watch designed for athletes demanding the very best from their sports watch. What makes the Suunto 9 stand out is the amazing battery life – up to 120 hours with GPS and an intelligent battery life management system.

It even provides smart reminders to ensure it lasts as long as you need it to. Made to last – the Suunto 9 is designed for long, hardcore training and ulta-racing. You can rely on the Suunto 9 – it’s been tested to the extreme for thousands of hours in the most extreme, harsh and tough environments. The Suunto 9 has been reviewed by CardioCritic

  • Who Is It For?

  • Video Review

  • Pros

  • Cons

The Suunto 9 is a multisport GPS watch designed for athletes who demand the best from their sports watch. Suunto 9 delivers an amazing battery life – up to 120 hours with GPS and an intelligent battery life management system with smart reminders to ensure your watch will last just as long as you need it to. http://www.suunto.com/suunto9

Battery Modes

The Suunto 9 has 4 x battery modes :

  • 25 hours – Performance Mode
  • 50 hours – Endurance Mode
  • 120 Hours – Ultra Mode
  • Custom mode – you choose what’s important and it tells you the expected battery life

The various battery modes affect the duration of the battery by altering the following parameters

  • GPS Accuracy
  • Display Timeout
  • Wrist HR
  • Touch Sensors on/off
  • Brightness
  • Vibration alerts
  • Bluetooth

It is possible to change the battery mode in the middle of an exercise session (press & hold middle right button)

Suunto 9 – Key Features

FusedTrack

Suunto have used the “Fused” prefix to describe a more accurate method of measuring a certain parameter by combining GPS data with barometric pressure data (FusedAlti) and internal accelerometers for speed / distance (FusedSpeed).

HOWEVER .. in the case of FusedTrack Suunto have done something frankly amazing. In ULTRA battery mode the GPS is only sampling every minute or even less.

The Suunto 9 uses data from the gyroscope, compass and motion accelerometer to fill in the speed, distance, direction data between the missing GPS co-ordinates. I have seen an amazing review on DC Rainmaker’s site that shows some stunning accuracy comparing a track recorded with FusedTrack to that of a Garmin Forerunner 935 in full 1 second sampling mode.

What does it mean in the real world …

When you set your Garmin to UltraTrac battery mode – the GPS track is made up of straight lines between co-ordinates taken ever 60 seconds or so … If you switched back on yourself between samples this change of direction will be missed and the track will show you went straight from A to B.

With the Suunto 9 and FusedTrack all the “wiggling about” between data points is tracked and saved giving a far more accurate representation of the actual route. Great job Suunto !!

Sizing & Specifications

Mapping and App Support

The Suunto 9 is supported by Suunto’s movescount.com website and their iOs and Android movescount app. Having your phone connected to the Suunto 9 gives access to smartphone alerts and notifications and maps (on the phone).

Following Routes

Using someone else’s Route (publicly shared)

Top Alternatives

Next Model UP

This is the top of the range in Suunto’s ever increasing range of fitness watches.

When I first read the press release I was a little uncertain how the Suunto 9 fitted in with the existing Suunto Spartan range … to be honest, I’m still a little uncertain. Take a look at Suunto’s own COMPARE features – looking at the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR. Spartan Ultra and this model.

There’s so much overlap it’s quite hard to determine any substantial differences. Most of the differences can be found in the GPS & Navigation section.

Next Model DOWN

This is where the confusion starts for me … what is the model BELOW the Suunto 9. It could be the Suunto Spartan Ultra – but their features are just so similar.

Alternative Models?

The product from other brands with the closest functionality to the Spartan Ultra is the Garmin Fenix 5 (also consider the Fenix 3 HR). The Fenix range, like the Suunto 9 and Spartan Ultra are aimed at customers looking for a ROBUST outdoor solution with ABC functionality (Altimeter, Barometer & Compass watches) and multiple sports modes plus training load and recovery analysis

Garmin Fenix 5 – Garmin’s top of the range ABC watch with wrist based HR for outdoor adventure and beyond
Garmin Fenix 3 HR – Garmin ABC watch with wrist based HR for the outdoor adventurer / multisport athlete

REVIEW SUMMARY

Here’s the bottom line – if you’re not partaking in racing or training events over 6 or 8 hours consider the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR (unless you need the weather / barometric features …).

If you are participating in training / race events over 10 hours or events over several days where charging the watch is not an options then consider the Suunto 9 or Spartan Ultra. What makes the Suunto 9 different to the rest of the Suunto and Garmin adventure racing watches is the FusedTrack feature.

Technical specifications

GENERAL

Bezel material:Stainless steel
Glass material:Sapphire crystal
Case material:Glass fibre reinforced polyamide
Strap material:Silicone
Weight81 g / 2.86 oz
Wrist sizes:

130-230 mm

Strap width:

24 mm

Integrated wrist heart rateYes
Customizable watch facesYes
Touch screen lock

during exercise

Touch displayYes
Color displayYes
Vibration alertYes
Automatic daylight saving timeYes
Water resistance

100 m (according to ISO 6425)

Battery type

rechargeable lithium-ion

Firmware upgradableYes
Time, dateYes
Alarm clock

1 configurable alarm

Dual timeYes
Automatic timekeepingYes
Countdown timerYes
Stopwatch timerYes
Languages

EN, CS, DA, DE, ES, FI, FR, IT, JA, KO, NL, NO, PL, PT, RU, SV, ZH*

Backlight

LED

Configurable backlight

brightness / mode

Button lock

during exercise

Display type

matrix

Display resolution

320 x 300

Battery indicator

percentage / icon

Metric and imperial unitsYes

CONNECTIVITY

Smartphone compatibility

Most common models supported, check here for detailed compatibility list

Connectivity (between devices)

Bluetooth Smart

Phone notifications on the watchYes
Compatible with online sports communities

Strava, TrainingPeaks, MapMyFitness and more

Watch software updates from cloudYes
Compatible with Suunto Movescount AppYes
Compatible with Suunto MovescountYes
Compatible with Suunto appYes

PHYSICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Operating temperature

-20° C to +55° C / -5° F to +130° F

Storage temperature
Recommended charging temperature

BATTERY LIFE

In time mode

14 days

With 24/7 tracking and mobile notifications

7 days

Training mode with GPS

25h / 40h / 120h

Intelligent charge remindersYes

COMPASS

Digital compassYes
Tilt compensationYes
Declination correctionYes
Direction scale

degrees

Needle

north indicator

Compass accuracy

Compass resolution

24/7

ACTIVITY TRACKING

Step counterYes
Calories burnedYes
Activity targets

steps, calories

Heart rate assisted daily calories trackingYes
Daily minimum heart rate trackingYes

SLEEP TRACKING

<table”>Sleep duration

Duration, average HR during sleep

Bed timesYesTime awakeYes

OUTDOOR FUNCTIONS

GPS TRACKING & NAVIGATION

Satellite systems

GPS

GPS recording rate

Best, Good, OK

Waypoint and visual route navigationYes
Zoom levels in navigationYes
Auto zoom based on route shapeYes
Breadcrumb trail in real timeYes
Route planning with altitude profileYes
Outdoor maps by satellite, terrain and topography in web

by Mapbox, Google Maps & Android

Yes
Heatmaps to browse and show on MovesYes
Route planning with heatmapsYes
Personal route library synced to watchYes
Point of Interest (POI) navigationYes
GPS track analysisYes
Track logging, viewing and sharingYes
Intelligent battery modes

>Performance, Endurance, Ultra, Custom

ALTIMETER

Barometric altitudeYes
GPS altitudeYes
Combined GPS and barometric altitude (FusedAlti™)Yes
Altitude in daily modeYes
Total ascent/descent

in exercise

Vertical speed

in exercise

Automatic alti/baro profileYes
Log recording rate

1 s

Resolution

1 m

Range

-500 – 9999 m

WEATHER

Sunrise/sunset timesYes
Storm alarmYes
Sea level pressureYes
Automatic alti/baro profileYes
TemperatureYes
Temperature display range

-20° C to +60° C / -4° F to +140° F

Temperature resolution

1° C / 1.5° F

Pressure resolution

1 hPa

Move altitude graph in Move summaryYes

TRAINING FUNCTIONS

INTERVAL TRAINING

Setup intervals

on watch

Interval guidance during trainingYes

HEART RATE (requires HR belt or wrist HR monitor)

Heart rate measured from wristYes
Heart rate belt compatibility

Bluetooth Smart belts

RR interval

with Suunto Smart Sensor

Heart rate in beats per minuteYes
Records heart rate in swimming

yes, with Suunto Smart Sensor

Heart rate graph in real timeYes
CaloriesYes
Peak Training EffectYes
Personal heart rate zonesYes

SPEED AND DISTANCE

Cadence based speed and distanceYes
GPS speed and distanceYes
ChronoYes
Foot POD support

Bluetooth Smart

AutolapsYes
Manual lapsYes
Analysis of pace, speed graphs and tracks on the mapYes

TRAINING RECOVERY

Training based recovery timeYes
Recovery time daily view

on watch

Feeling stored after training to watchYes

TRAINING LOAD

Logbook with Move details

on watch

Move summary with lap details

on watch

Training load with totals by sport

on watch

Training logbook for long term overviewsYes
Training analysis with graphs, lap tables, maps, totalsYes
Training insights totals duration/distances by sportYes
Training types stored to Moves

on watch

SHARE AND RELIVE

Move sharing to social mediaYes
Move rating and commentingYes
Follow other members and get feedback via activity streamYes

SPORT EXPERTISE

SWIMMING

Pool swim pace and distanceYes
Openwater swim pace and distanceYes
Records heart rate in swimming

yes, with Suunto Smart Sensor

Swimming time by pool length, lap, totalYes
Swimming stroke rate, count and typeYes
Automatic intervalsYes
Interval lap tableYes
Lap table for swimming analysis with stroke and paceYes
Interval guidance with swim pace/duration/distance training support

on watch

Stroke efficiency (SWOLF)

no

CYCLING

Cycling speedYes
Average speed in real timeYes
Bike POD with speed/cadence support

Bluetooth Smart

Bike power meter support

Bluetooth Smart

Bike Power (W), average and maximum (with power sensor)

Bluetooth Smart

Bike Lap and Lap Maximum Power (with power sensor)Yes
Power distribution and graphs

with power sensor (available in Suunto Movescount.com)

Peak Power Curve for peak power outputs

with power sensor (available in Suunto Movescount.com)

Real-time lap table with avg HR, avg power and avg speedYes
Interval guidance with power/speed/heart rate

on watch

RUNNING

Running paceYes
Suunto FusedSpeed™Yes
Running power with Stryd sensorYes
Foot POD calibration

automatic

Lap comparisonsYes
Average, max, lap pace in real timeYes
Interval guidance with running pace/heart rate/distance

on watch

MULTISPORTS

Change sport mode during exerciseYes
Preconfigured multisport modesYes – 80
Post-analysis of multisport exercise by sportYes
Multisport exercise summary on watchYes

SPORT MODES

Customizable sport modes and displaysYes
Graphical displays in sport modes

heart rate, speed and altitude

Available measurement parameters

> 50 values on watch

Numeric displays in sport modes

1-7 fields, lap table view

Pre-installed sport modes on watch

> 80

Sport modes for specific purpose (racing, intervals, long training…)Yes

External References

Last Updated on May 2, 2019

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Suunto 9 Sports Watch
Author Rating
41star1star1star1stargray