Everyone has been expecting a Suunto 7 but I am not sure anyone had predicted that the new watch would be a WearOS device.
I feel like they could have differentiated the watch with a different naming scheme as it is a little confusing to have a WearOS watch sat in the middle of two normal multi-sports watches. However, I am still cautiously excited about the prospect of a decent WearOS sports watch.
In comparison, the older Suunto 9 and Suunto 5 devices used custom software from Suunto. The problem for Suunto was they were falling behind Garmin in terms of features, there were no music, no payments or mapping functions. The watches lacked any form of apps, whereas Garmin has Connect IQ. The move to WearOS completely changes this.
WearOS & Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100 chipset
With this being WearOS, everything about the internals will be different, they have used the Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100 chipset which is the best Qualcomm currently has to offer, but the still quite bad when you look at it. The fabrication process it is made on is 28nm which is archaic compared to modern smartphones with their 7nm chipsets. The ARM Cortex A7 CPU used inside it was announced back in 2011.
In comparison, the Samsung Exynos 9110 used on Samsung smartwatches uses a 10 nm fabrication process and a Cortex-A53 CPU.
Anyway, with that rant over, I am still excited about Suunto making this move, I just hope they stick with WearOS for future generations when Qualcomm finally improve things, and there have been rumours of the Snapdragon Wear 3300 with Cortex A53 cores and a 12nm fab process.
Even though Snapdragon 3100 has been out for a while now, not many companies use it. Mont Blanc was the first with the Summit 2, this was then followed by Fossil with their Gen 5, and many of the Fossil sub-brands including Puma, Michael Kors and Armani. When the chipset was announced it was reported that there was an exclusive sports brand working with Qualcomm, and it now seems like this could be Suunto.
The advantage of WearOS is that Suunto gain access to a wealth of Apps from Google, including mapping, music, payments and much more.
The downside of using WearOS is the abysmal battery life compared to the Suunto 5 and 8. From the website, Suunto state various battery life specs, for a normal person with up to 4 hours of outdoor tracking, you can get 18 hours use, which is better than most WearOS devices.
If you don't track anything, and probably keep your apps to a minimum you can expect up to 48 hours of smartwatch use
It then goes on to state an outdoor workout using GPS the Suunto 7 will last up to 12 hours. Indoors without GPS it can keep going 30 hours.
If you use music, the Suunto 7 can keep going for up to 8 hours if you're using it to control music that's playing on your phone.
Using maps can keep going for up to 7 hours during outdoor training with GPS and maps, assuming the watch map is on for 10 seconds once every 3 minutes.
If you drop all the smart feature and use it as a dumb watch it can last up to 40 days.
The Suunto 9 claims 25 hours to up to 120 hours of recording time with GPS tracking on, and that's not even using it as a normal watch.
Just to moan about the chipset more, at launch, Qualcomm claimed up to 15 hours battery life with GPS and heart rate via the sports partner they were working with, so that number has dropped 3 hours.
Display & Design
The 1.39-inch screen is a high contrast OLED, similar to what you find on the Garmin Venu, and considerably better than what you find on most smartwatches. It does, however, use more battery.
The screen can reach up to 1000 nits in “boost mode” so you should never have an issue seeing the display in sunlight.
The combination of the OLED display and metal bezel makes this watch look fantastic from the pictures provided.
Some of the features of Suunto 7 include:
Versatile sports experience
Track exercise accurately with easy one-button access to 70+ sports modes, GPS and wrist heart rate sensor.
Connect to popular services like Strava, Endomondo and TrainingPeaks, or share your training on the Suunto app.
Explore new places with maps
Find your own paths with free offline outdoor maps or follow the most popular routes with built-in heatmaps.
Music that motivates
Listen to the tracks that take you further – connect your headset to your phone and control music from your wrist.
Make it your own
Customize your watch with different watch faces and interchangeable straps, and download your favorite apps on Google Play™.
See your next meeting or to-do list, see who’s calling, view incoming messages and make quick, easy payments – all from your watch.
The Suunto 7 comes with free offline maps with terrain details, trails and contour lines. It is easy to glance the maps at any time, and they are always one swipe away during exercise. Built-in heatmaps for 15 activities including running, swimming, and cycling show you the most popular routes so you can train where others have trained or choose to stay away from the beaten track. Local offline maps and heatmaps will be downloaded automatically when you’re connected to Wi-Fi and charging. You can also manually select the map of your preferred location to be downloaded. With offline maps you’ll always find your way and know the best training routes, even when you leave your phone behind or don’t have network connectivity.
The maps are in full colour and have superb tracking accuracy thanks to GPS, GLONASS and even Galileo,
Physical Buttons for Outdoor Use
Many WearOS devices are touchscreen-only, and not really designed for the level of activity users of Suunto watches do. However, Suunto has made the watch shock, water, and dirtproof, the watch works in rain, mud, or snow. It has physical buttons so you can use it with gloves on and it’s extremely bright high-resolution touch screen is protected with scratch-resistant Gorilla® Glass.
Price and Availability
The Suunto 7 will ship from 31st of January and will be priced at £429 which makes it cheaper than the Garmin Fenix 6 but considerably more expensive than the current pricing for the Suunto 9 and Suunto 5. The Suunto 9 is a superb buy at £250.99.
It is also very expensive compared to other WearOS watches. the Fossil Gen 5 is £216.24.
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Last update on 2020-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API