Hot on the tails of the Garmin product releases, Suunto has announced their latest watch, the Suunto 5, which is launched after the Suunto 9. Rather than name things in chronological order, the Suunto 5 fits in as the mid-range watch of the series.
If you are ready to part with your hard-earned cash you may be wondering how the new watch stacks up against the competition.
The obvious alternative choice is Garmin’s range, with this being priced identically to the new Forerunner 245 Music, but thanks to the competitiveness of the internet you can also get the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music for just £299.99.
Then there is the Polar Vantage M & V. The Vantage M has an RRP of £249 but it is just £202 at the time of writing. Whereas the Vantage V should be £439, but you can get it for £319.99.
So it is quite a crowded price category, and you have lots of choices.
Suunto 5 vs Suunto 9
The S5 is basically a cut-down version of the S9, it has a smaller battery, no compass, and no barometric altimeter, but that’s about it, in fact, they have added a few features the S9 doesn’t have. So if you have your heart set on Suunto but can’t afford the flagship device, then this is well worth considering.
The S5 has access to a bunch of FirstBeat features that the S9 lacks and these include:
- Stress tracking metrics
- Body resources (aka body battery) metric
- Sleep quality metrics
- V02Max tracking/metrics
- Adaptive training plans
The S9 is still probably one of the best endurance watched available on the market and it has battery options of 25/50/120hrs (depending on mode) whereas the S5 has 20/40h.
The S9 has a barometer and compass so it will be much better for hiking and climbing.
Suunto 5 vs Spartan Trainer
The S5 is the replacement for the older, but excellent, Spartan Trainer
- Increased battery life from 10hrs to 20hrs in regular modes, and 30hrs to 40hrs in extended modes
- Changed from plastic bezel (base option) to stainless steel bezel
- Changed from plastic screen (base option) to mineral glass
- Added adaptive training plans (not on Suunto 9)
- Added sleep quality metric (not on Suunto 9)
- Added stress tracking metric (not on Suunto 9)
- Added body resources metric (not on Suunto 9)
- Added VO2Max fitness level
- Changed GPS chipset from MediaTek to Sony
- Changed GPS recording track modes from Best/Good/OK to Best/Good
- Added additional GPS options: GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS
- Added intelligent battery modes: Performance, Endurance, Custom
- Approx. the same weight: 66g for Suunto 5, to 57g/66g/74g for Suunto Trainer variants
- Only can connect to Suunto/Sports Tracker platform/apps (not Movescount)
Suunto 5 vs Garmin
While this has the same RRP of the Forerunner 245 it may not be the best comparison, the FR245 is more of a running watch so lacks some of the multisport features this does.
The RRP of the FR645 should mean that it isn’t comparable to this, but at the moment you can get the FR645 for £299.
However, they are not like for like watches either. If you are a serious athlete doing triathlons or very long endurance events then he Suunto 5 is a better choice with triathlon modes and compatibility with bike power meters, as well as the 40h battery life.
For the average user that enjoys a variety of sports that wants a sort of hybrid smartwatch/multi-sport watch then the FR645 is likely a better choice with its music streaming, NFC payments, and generally superior Garmin ecosystem.
Suunto 5 vs Polar Vantage V
Another option, again, technically the Sunnto 5 would have been closer in price to the Polar Vantage M, but as that has been out a while now, you could get it for £202, so almost £100 cheaper, or pay an extra £20 and get the Vantage V.
The Vantage V has a lot of similar specs, with some worthwhile extras, in particular, it has built-in running power, so if you are a keen running this could be well worth it. It has a similar battery life of 40h and it also has a barometer.
When I reviewed the Suunto 9, they were in the process of phasing out Movescount, and with the launch of this watch, you no longer get access to it. My issues with the Suunto app/Sports Tracker platform was that it didn’t link it with apps like Strava, but since that review, it looks like Suunto have enabled quite a lot of connected services making it much better, and a suitable replacement for Movescount.
Table generated via DC Rainmaker
|FUNCTION/FEATURE||SUUNTO 5||GARMIN FORERUNNER 645||GARMIN FORERUNNER 245||POLAR VANTAGE V|
|GPS RECORDING FUNCTIONALITY||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|DATA TRANSFER||USB & BLUETOOTH SMART||USB/BLUETOOTH SMART/WIFI||USB, BLUETOOTH SMART, WIFI (ONLY MUSIC HAS WIFI)||USB, BLUETOOTH SMART|
|WATERPROOFING||YES - 50M||YES - 50M||50 METERS||YES - 30M|
|BATTERY LIFE (GPS)||UP TO 40 HOURS||14HRS GPS/5HRS GPS-MUSIC||UP TO 24HRS REGULAR GPS, 24HRS+ FOR ULTRATRAC||UP TO 40 HOURS|
|RECORDING INTERVAL||VARIABLE||1S OR SMART||1-SECOND, SMART, ULTRATRAC||1S|
|SATELLITE PRE-LOADING VIA COMPUTER||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|QUICK SATELLITE RECEPTION||GREAT||GREAT||GREAT||GREAT|
|ABILITY TO DOWNLOAD CUSTOM APPS TO UNIT/DEVICE||NO||YES||YES||NO|
|ACTS AS DAILY ACTIVITY MONITOR (STEPS, ETC...)||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|CAN CONTROL PHONE MUSIC||NO||YES (FR645 MUSIC VERSION)||YES||NO|
|HAS MUSIC STORAGE AND PLAYBACK||NO||YES (3.5GB)||YES (MUSIC VERSION)||NO|
|STREAMING SERVICES||NO||SPOTIFY, IHEARTRADIO, DEEZER||SPOTIFY, DEEZER, PANDORA||NO|
|BLUETOOTH LEGACY (PRE-4.0) TO PHONE||NO||NO||NO||NO|
|BLUETOOTH SMART (4.0+) TO PHONE UPLOADING||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|PHONE NOTIFICATIONS TO UNIT (I.E. TEXTS/CALLS/ETC...)||YES||YES||YES||Feb-19|
|LIVE TRACKING (STREAMING LOCATION TO WEBSITE)||NO||YES||YES||NO|
|EMERGENCY/SOS MESSAGE NOTIFICATION (FROM WATCH TO CONTACTS)||NO||NO||YES (VIA PHONE)||NO|
|BUILT-IN CELLULAR CHIP (NO PHONE REQUIRED)||NO||NO||NO||NO|
|DESIGNED FOR CYCLING||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|POWER METER CAPABLE||YES||NO||WITH SOME CONNECT IQ APPS (BUT CANNOT RECORD DATA)||YES|
|POWER METER CONFIGURATION/CALIBRATION OPTIONS||YES||N/A||N/A||YES|
|POWER METER TSS/NP/IF||NO||N/A||N/A||NO|
|SPEED/CADENCE SENSOR CAPABLE||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|STRAVA SEGMENTS LIVE ON DEVICE||NO||YES||NO||TBD FUTURE UPDATE|
|DESIGNED FOR RUNNING||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|FOOTPOD CAPABLE (FOR TREADMILLS)||YES||YES||YES (ALSO HAS INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)||YES|
|RUNNING DYNAMICS (VERTICAL OSCILLATION, GROUND CONTACT TIME, ETC...)||NO||WITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (NOT VIA OPTICAL HR)||YES (WITH ACCESSORY)||NO|
|RUNNING POWER||WITH EXTRA SENSOR||YES WITH RD-POD OR 3RD PARTY APPS||NO||YES (BUILT-IN)|
|DESIGNED FOR SWIMMING||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|OPENWATER SWIMMING MODE||YES||NO||NO||YES|
|LAP/INDOOR DISTANCE TRACKING||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|RECORD HR UNDERWATER||YES||NO||NO||YES|
|OPENWATER METRICS (STROKE/ETC.)||YES||NO||N/A||YES|
|INDOOR METRICS (STROKE/ETC.)||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|INDOOR DRILL MODE||NO||YES||YES||NO|
|INDOOR AUTO-PAUSE FEATURE||NO||NO (IT'LL SHOW REST TIME AFTERWARDS THOUGH)||NO||YES|
|CHANGE POOL SIZE||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|INDOOR MIN/MAX POOL LENGTHS||15M/Y TO 1,200M/Y||17M/18Y TO 150M/Y||20M/Y TO 250 M/Y|
|ABILITY TO CUSTOMIZE DATA FIELDS||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|CAN CHANGE YARDS TO METERS||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|CAPTURES PER LENGTH DATA - INDOORS||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|DESIGNED FOR TRIATHLON||YES||NO||NO||YES|
|CREATE/FOLLOW CUSTOM WORKOUTS||NO||YES||YES||YES|
|ON-UNIT INTERVAL FEATURE||YES||YES||YES||NO|
|TRAINING CALENDAR FUNCTIONALITY||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|VIRTUAL PARTNER FEATURE||NO||YES||YES||NO (BUT CAN GIVE OUT OF ZONE ALERTS)|
|VIRTUAL RACER FEATURE||NO||YES||YES||NO|
|RECORDS PR'S - PERSONAL RECORDS (DIFF THAN HISTORY)||NO||YES||YES||NO|
|DAY TO DAY WATCH ABILITY||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|TIDAL TABLES (TIDE INFORMATION)||NO||NO||NO||NO|
|JUMPMASTER MODE (PARACHUTING)||NO||NO||NO||NO|
|WEATHER DISPLAY (LIVE DATA)||NO||YES||YES||NO|
|FOLLOW GPS TRACK (COURSES/WAYPOINTS)||YES||YES||YES||NO|
|ROUTABLE/VISUAL MAPS (LIKE CAR GPS)||NO||NO||NO||NO|
|BACK TO START||YES||YES||YES||Feb-19|
|IMPROMPTU ROUND TRIP ROUTE CREATION||NO||NO||NO||NO|
|DOWNLOAD COURSES/ROUTES FROM PHONE TO UNIT||YES||YES||YES||NO|
|OPTICAL HEART RATE SENSOR INTERNALLY||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|PULSE OXIMETRY (AKA PULSE OX)||NO||YES||NO|
|HEART RATE STRAP COMPATIBLE||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|ANT+ HEART RATE STRAP CAPABLE||NO||YES||YES||NO|
|ANT+ SPEED/CADENCE CAPABLE||NO||YES||YES||NO|
|ANT+ FOOTPOD CAPABLE||NO||YES||YES||NO|
|ANT+ POWER METER CAPABLE||NO||NO||NO||NO|
|ANT+ WEIGHT SCALE CAPABLE||NO||NO||NO||NO|
|ANT+ FITNESS EQUIPMENT (GYM)||NO||NO||NO||NO|
|ANT+ LIGHTING CONTROL||NO||YES||YES||NO|
|ANT+ BIKE RADAR INTEGRATION||NO||YES||YES||NO|
|ANT+ TRAINER CONTROL (FE-C)||NO||NO||NO||NO|
|ANT+ REMOTE CONTROL||NO||NO||YES FOR GARMIN VIRB||NO|
|ANT+ EBIKE COMPATIBILITY||NO||NO||NO||NO|
|ANT+ MUSCLE OXYGEN (I.E. MOXY/BSX)||NO||YES||YES||NO|
|ANT+ GEAR SHIFTING (I.E. SRAM ETAP)||NO||NO||NO||NO|
|SHIMANO DI2 SHIFTING||NO||NO||NO||NO|
|BLUETOOTH SMART HR STRAP CAPABLE||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|BLUETOOTH SMART SPEED/CADENCE CAPABLE||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|BLUETOOTH SMART FOOTPOD CAPABLE||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|BLUETOOTH SMART POWER METER CAPABLE||YES||NQO||NO||YES|
|TEMP RECORDING (INTERNAL SENSOR)||NO||YES||NO||YES|
|TEMP RECORDING (EXTERNAL SENSOR)||NO||YES||YES (TEMPE)||NO|
|COMPATIBLE WITH FIRSTBEAT HR TOOLS||-||N/A||-||N/A|