Suunto has launched its Suunto 7. That is a Wear OS smartwatch that is available for 479 euros. I have listed the pros and cons of the smartwatch.
Suunto is a Finnish company that is known, among other things, for making dive computers and measuring equipment. But Suunto also makes sports watches and smartwatches, and Suunto 7 is the latest example of this. Suunto 7 is Suunto’s first smartwatch to run on Wear OS, Google’s smartwatch operating system.
I have been able to test the Graphite Copper version for a while and in this article, I list some good and bad points of the Suunto 7. Based on that, I base my conclusion on this smartwatch and you can decide for yourself whether the Suunto 7 is for you.
Suunto 7 – the pros
1. High-end hardware and design
The Suunto 7 is a real eye-catcher. This is partly due to the fairly large and striking watch case of 50 mm, perhaps a bit too large for many. At least for me, it is the largest smartwatch I have tested so far. The watch will, therefore, fit better around a large wrist than a narrower one like mine. You do not notice by the weight of the Suunto that the watch is so big.
– Screen: 1.39 inch AMOLED 454 x 454 touchscreen
– Dimensions : 50 x 50 x 15.3 mm
– Water resistance: waterproof up to 50 meters
– Weight: 70 grams
– Memory: 1 GB RAM and 4.5 GB available storage memory
– Extra: wifi, NFC
The case is made of stainless steel, polyamide and on top is Gorilla Glass for extra protection. On the sides, there are four buttons, one on the top left and three on the right.
They have the color of the edge on the watch and look beautiful. The silicone strap has holes along its entire length, so you can be sure that it will always fit. The whole looks very premium and that is how it feels.
2. Suunto Heatmaps
In addition to the premium hardware and appearance, Suunto also has a super cool watch face pre-installed on the Suunto 7. Installing another watch face is not necessary.
The watch face shows a heatmap similar to Strava’s, with an almost real-time view of workouts in your area. You can adjust the view by level, such as the city, region, or neighborhood in which you live.
The heatmap is standard for running, but I quickly put it on mountain biking. Other sports are also possible, such as hiking, cross-country skiing, golf, and trail running. There are 15 in total.
Don’t you like the heatmap? Then there are a handful of other Suunto 7 watch faces. Of course, the Play Store offers more than enough choice of watch faces.
3. Recording heart rate and GPS
Compared to the Polar Grit X, the average and maximum heart rate differ only a few heartbeats per minute and there Suunto performs as you would expect from a watch of this caliber. The registration of routes is also very good. Suunto 7 excels especially during outdoor activities.
That’s because the watch supports offline outdoor maps. So you can still see where you are going, even if you don’t have a good connection. To do this, open the Suunto smartwatch app, click on ‘Map options’ and then on ‘Offline map’. These offline maps are automatically updated when Suunto 7 is being charged and is connected to WiFi.
The maps are also quite detailed, with terrain information, walking trails, and contour lines for different sports. The beautiful heat maps are here again. To do this, open the Suunto smartwatch app, click on ‘Map options’ and then on ‘Map style’.
4. More than enough workouts
The Suunto 7 can record workouts for over 70 sports, including running (outdoor, treadmill, interval, race, trail and more), walking, swimming in pool and open water, roller skating, athletics, pilates, downhill skiing, paddle surfing and many more. Other activities. If your sport is not listed, there is the ‘unspecified sport’ for indoor and outdoor sports. Incidentally, there is no triathlon mode, probably because the battery cannot last that long.
If you want to change the display of data on the screen for workouts, unfortunately, that is not possible. Polar and Garmin do offer this option in the form of training views and data fields. During exercise, you can choose to leave the screen on.
With the Suunto 7, you can access your music and other audio while exercising – even when wearing gloves or in damp conditions. You control your Spotify music via the screen or buttons, but you can also put your MP3s on the watch. The advantage of Wear OS here is the ability to stream music via Google Play Music or Spotify. So you are not limited by the limitations of storage memory on a watch.
6. Wear OS
Despite the limitations of Wear OS in terms of battery life (see point 1 of the negatives), I still want to put Wear OS as an operating system on the plus points. I do that because the operating system for smartwatches is very extensive. You can respond to notifications in several ways.
This is much less extensive with many sports watches. On the left-most screen, you will find the Google Assistant that can help you if you need an answer, you always have your tasks and appointments ‘at the wrist’ and so on. Wear OS also supports contactless payments via Google Pay. Unfortunately, this payment option is not yet available.
Still, I see that many apps are stopping development for Wear OS, like Runkeeper did. This is because these companies focus on other areas and consider Wear OS as a platform less important. If Google doesn’t pay more attention to this platform anytime soon, I’m afraid more companies will abandon their Wear OS app. Wear OS as a platform is good, but I do not think it is very future-proof yet.
Suunto 7 – the negatives
1. Again that battery life
Suunto 7 is the first Wear OS watch powered by the Snapdragon 3100 Sports Mode launched in June 2019. This chipset should improve the poor battery life of the Snapdragon 3100. So you will not find a new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 in this watch.
Suunto promises with the 7 a battery life of 48 hours in normal use, 12 hours in continuous GPS tracking and up to 40 days in the special battery saving mode).
Battery life: 48 hours in normal use and 12 hours in continuous GPS tracking
I made those 48 hours almost every time, with an exception to 24 hours. The battery life improved significantly when I turned off notifications on the Suunto of 90% of all my apps. All in all, there is therefore a slight improvement compared to other Wear OS smartwatches.
The battery life has been extended by one day. But competition in this area is still much, many, many times better. The Honor and Huawei smartwatches last about 14 days, the Garmin Venu and the Polar Grit X a working week.
It is therefore annoying that you have Suunto 7 on the charger every time you go to bed. You will not be able to monitor your sleep. Especially if you are used to one of the above watches, you can step back in time with a Wear OS smartwatch.
There is also a battery saver that turns on when you’re below 10% energy. You have to look at a very simple watch face. You can also activate this function via the menu at the top. Pressing the left button for 12 seconds will get you out of this mode. But why 12 seconds? The battery-saving is of course useful if you are not able to charge the Suunto 7 for a while.
2. Operation via the touchscreen
A rotating ring around the Suunto 7 would be ideal, especially because that control works so well in combination with Wear OS. Unfortunately, this smartwatch has to do without. The operation takes place via the physical buttons and the touchscreen.
Nothing but good about the physical buttons. These give a light vibration when you press them and simply work very well. Especially during exercise, if you have sweaty hands, or during rainy weather. The touchscreen, on the other hand, requires a little more effort to operate. Touches are not always properly registered and the buttons in various apps are often too small to tap. That despite the big screen.
3. The Suunto app is as bare as it gets
Although the Suunto app has been available for about two years, you certainly cannot speak of an extensive app. You cannot view data about your steps, distance traveled, calories burned, etc. in the Wear OS app or the smartphone app.
It seems that Suunto left this to the preinstalled Google Fit app, but as you may know, this app doesn’t excel in extensive statistics either. Especially if you are used to apps from Polar, Garmin, Fitbit, or Strava.
You can only provide complications or complications for the watch faces with data from Google Fit such as steps, calories, distance, or heart points.
First of all, I discuss Google Fit for Wear OS. In this app, you will find your heart points, steps, exercise minutes, training data, and you can do breathing exercises. Google Fit also shows your resting heart rate, only it is recorded once every 15 minutes, while other (sports) watches do this at one-second intervals.
Even, Samsung and Huawei. Google Fit has taken steps in recent years, but it is still a fairly basic app. Hopefully, Google will take bigger steps soon with this app, especially because they have recently acquired the knowledge of Fitbit.
The Suunto smartphone app does not make you happy either. The home screen shows the weekly training goal in hours, the sunset and rise, tips and workouts of yourself and friends. That’s it. No steps, no calories, no sleep (the app does nothing with that at all), no heartbeat, none of that.
And that while Suunto does show this data in its app for other Suunto smartwatches. You really feel let down for 479 euros. Even dirt cheap Xiaomi fitness trackers show your daily activities at a glance.
Do you want to register any of this on your Suunto 7? Then you will have to download more apps in addition to the Suunto app and Google Fit. Think of pedometers and apps that track your sleep.
Do you want to adjust the screens on the watch (the tiles)? Then you should be in the Wear OS app. You can add tiles from the Suunto app, Google Fit, Google News, the weather, a clock, and a timer to wash your hands to the Suunto 7. Perhaps other apps also support such tiles, but for now, I came alone this against.
4. No support for external heart rate sensors
Unlike other Suunto watches, Suunto 7 is not compatible with external sensors. So heart rate belts, footpads and power meters are not supported. Since many athletes use a heart rate sensor, including myself, that’s a shame, to say the least.
There are apps in the Play Store that offer this support, but those apps often offer so little. In addition, many important apps are increasingly shedding their Wear OS development. Suunto has indicated that support for external sensors can be added if necessary with a software update. If you have or want to buy the Suunto 7, complain about this immediately.
5. Created routes cannot be synchronized
In the Suunto app, you can create routes but unfortunately not yet synchronized with the Suunto 7. Unfortunately, that button is not yet visible in the app, while according to this help document that should be possible. Fortunately, Suunto has already made it possible to import routes to Suunto 7. This was not possible a while ago.
6. No turn-by-turn navigation
The Suunto 7 is equipped with a so-called breadcrumb navigation or breadcrumb trail. That is a route to easily find the way to the starting point. Turn-by-turn navigation is unfortunately not available, which makes Suunto 7 much less functional than any GPS watch Suunto has ever made.
That’s too bad. If you want to use the more extensive turn-by-turn navigation, you will have to download an app for this, such as Google Maps or Strava. You can not use the Suunto app and that is a pity.
The Suunto 7, I have very mixed feelings about it. Suunto has delivered a great smartwatch with an advantage in the field of hardware, data recording, and design. In addition, the watch can compete with the Fitbit Versa, the Samsung Galaxy Watch (Active), and the Huawei and Honor smartwatches in terms of apps.
That’s because of the Wear OS platform. Still, I have my reservations about Wear OS because Google paid too little attention to it. Hopefully, the acquisition of Fitbit will change this soon.
Suunto, on the other hand, has delivered a sports watch with the 7 that performs much less well than other Suunto watches. Despite the fact that the watch captures more than 70 sports for you, it seems that the Suunto app (Wear OS and smartphone) is not finished yet.
There is so much data missing, and Google Fit is not a worthy replacement for this. Also created routes cannot be synchronized with the smartwatch. It seems as if Suunto has forgotten the button for this in the app. In addition, you cannot pair a heart rate belt with the device and there is no turn-by-turn navigation. Things that the competition with watches for this recommended price (and lower) have done.
Thanks to the Snapdragon 3100 Sports Mode processor, the Suunto 7 gets an improvement in battery life by a day. That is an advantage, but still a disadvantage for me. Especially if you deposit 479 euros for a watch, a battery life of one or two days is not justifiable.
Who is Suunto 7 for? For the people who want to be seen with a beautiful, stylish smartwatch. For the novice or recreational athletes who want to get started with apps, with which they can play music and contactless payments (via Google Pay).
For those who need simple stats of workouts via the Suunto app, and want to download another app for more elaborate stats. For the people for whom budget is not such an issue.
The Suunto 7 is quite expensive with its 479 euros, especially since it has fewer options than the cheaper Suunto 3 and Suunto 5.
Good alternatives to the Suunto 7 are the Garmin Venu (349.99 euros), the Galaxy Watch Active 2 (from 299 euros), the Moto 360 (299 euros), and the Fossil Gen 5 (299 euros). Cheaper alternatives are the Fitbit Versa 2 (from 199.95) and the Huawei Watch GT 2 (from 229 euros).