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Suunto 7 Review

A large crisp touchscreen with a plethora of Google-based app integrations, but unfortunately a bit difficult to use
Suunto 7
Photo: Amazon
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Price:  $400 List | $279.00 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Great integration with Google apps, clear and crisp screen, accurate, 12 hours of GPS
Cons:  Button functionality is not well thought out, pricey
Manufacturer:   Suunto
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 18, 2021
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62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 12
  • Features - 20% 8
  • Battery Life - 20% 6
  • Ease of Use - 20% 4
  • Accuracy - 20% 7
  • Design - 20% 6

Our Verdict

The Suunto 7 has a large, crisp touchscreen display with Google play integration. It is relatively accurate with a host of features derived from the integration of Wear by Google OS. It features all that you'd expect from a more expensive GPS watch with the ability to control music, use Google pay, and more. Unfortunately, while the touchscreen is simple to use, the button functionality on the menu is sub-par with a relatively steep learning curve. Of our tested watches, this is one of our least favorites due to hidden menus and challenging features. Overall, it isn't one we'd recommend to our friends unless they are specifically seeking a touchscreen with Google app integration.

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Pros Great integration with Google apps, clear and crisp screen, accurate, 12 hours of GPSLightweight and thin profile, intuitive, fully featured, very accurateExcellent quality, accurate, simple design, astounding value, very easy to use, great feature set, very long battery lifeLow profile design, exceptional battery life, very accurate, low costLightweight and compact design, storage for 500 songs, great features, easy to use
Cons Button functionality is not well thought out, priceyExpensive, hidden features that take time to set-up and get to know, blood oxygen sensor has questionable accuracyBacklight isn't bright, heart rate monitor accuracy is a little offNo mountain sports or navigational featuresShort battery life with music, long uploads for music, bluetooth connection with headphones is subpar
Bottom Line A large crisp touchscreen with a plethora of Google-based app integrations, but unfortunately a bit difficult to useThis elite watch stands out for its high-end features that boast exceptional accuracy and performance in a low profile designA well-constructed and accurate watch with a minimalistic design, excellent battery life, and all the right featuresA fully functional and incredibly light GPS sports watch boasting out of this world battery lifeThis lightweight contender packs in extensive features including music storage and touchless payment
Rating Categories Suunto 7 Garmin Forerunner 945 Coros Apex Coros Pace 2 Garmin Forerunner 645 Music
Features (20%)
8
9
6
5
8
Battery Life (20%)
6
9
9
8
6
Ease Of Use (20%)
4
8
9
9
8
Accuracy (20%)
7
8
9
9
9
Design (20%)
6
9
9
9
8
Specs Suunto 7 Garmin Forerunner... Coros Apex Coros Pace 2 Garmin Forerunner...
Model Tested Graphite copper N/A Standard N/A Music
Watch Face Material Scratch resistant Gorilla Glass Corning Gorilla Glass DX Sapphire glass Corning glass Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Bezel Stainless steel Fiber-reinforced polymer Stainless steel bezel Fiber reinforced polymer Stainless steel
Case Glass fibre reinforced polyamide Fiber-reinforced polymer Alumnium Fiber reinforced polymer Polymer
Strap Material Silicone Silicon Silicon or nylon Silicon or nylon Silicone
Tools Required to Change Band? No Yes No No No
Size Tested One size only One size only 44 mm One size only One size only
Measured Main Body Size (diameter or W x H) 50mm 46mm 44mm 43mm 42mm
Measured Thickness 16.5mm 13mm 13mm 11mm 12mm
Measured Screen Width 35mm 30mm 33mm 32mm 29mm
Measured Weight 2.3 oz 1.7 oz 1.7 oz 1.2 oz 1.5 oz
Measured Charging Time 70 min 75 min 70 min 80 min 75 min
Battery Type Rechargable lithium ion Rechargable lithium ion Rechargable lithium ion Rechargable lithium ion Rechargable lithium ion
Measured Battery Life With GPS On 12 hours 46 hours 31 hours 38 hours 12 hours
Manufacturer-Reported Battery Life Smartwatch mode: 2 days
In time mode: 40 days (battery saver)
GPS: 12 hours
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 14 days
GPS mode w/ Music: 10 hours
GPS without music: 36 hours
Smartwatch Mode: 25 days
25 hours Hours in Full GPS Mode
80 hours in UltraMax GPS Mode
Smartwatch Mode: 20 days
GPS: 30 hours
Ultramax Mode: 60 hours
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 7 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 5 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 14 hours
Navigation Built In? Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Satellite Networks Used GPS, GLONASS, QZSS, BEIDOU GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO
Maps? Yes - basic Yes, detailed Yes - basic No Yes - basic
Back to Start Navigation? No Yes Yes No Yes
Water Resistance (max depth) 50m 50m 100m 50m 50m
Music Control? Yes Yes No No Yes
Music Storage? No Yes - 1000 songs No No Yes - 500 songs
Daily Fitness Tracking? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Touchless Payment? Yes Yes No No Yes
Sleep Tracking? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Blood Oxygen? No Yes No No No
Compass? No - added with Google Play Yes Yes Yes Yes
Barometric Altimeter? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Temperature Sensor? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Main Software App Suunto Garmin Connect, widgets for other features Coros App Coros Garmin Connect, widgets for other features
Can Software Cross Over to Different Software Ecosystems? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Suunto 7 stands out for its large clear touchscreen and integration with Google apps and features. The watch itself has basic functionality, but its niche is the apps that you can add via a unique app menu. Still, while it is nice looking, the price is high and the battery life short, and we think it's not the most intuitive.

Performance Comparison


The display is clean and crisp, but some of the buttons and general...
The display is clean and crisp, but some of the buttons and general use are confusing.
Photo: Amber King

Features


This is a well-featured GPS watch. It includes the basics, such as GPS tracking, fitness tracking, and sports profiles (almost too many to count!) with some basic navigation. It has music control, Wear OS by Google (many features here), and a host of other options with third-party apps via the Google Play store. It uses the Suunto app, which offers nice features to view past runs, logs, and share your activities with friends. The watch itself isn't very featured without the use of a phone, but the integrations make it competitive with other competitors. It is compatible with Google Fit and the Garmin App.

This menu accesses all the apps that you can load up and use when...
This menu accesses all the apps that you can load up and use when connected to cellular or wifi service.
Photo: Amber King

Notable Features:

  • GPS tracking
  • Sports mode (tens of options on the watch itself)
  • Tones and vibrations
  • Music control
  • Music storage with a downloaded app
  • Free offline outdoor maps with navigation (via an app)
  • Smart notifications
  • Touch screen
  • Integrations with: Google Fit, Google Play Store, Google Assistant, and Google Pay
  • Google translate
  • Works with Apple iOS and Android
  • Interchangeable staps
  • Shock, water (50 m), and dirtproof
  • Scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass

We enjoyed the basic features of this watch while cross-country...
We enjoyed the basic features of this watch while cross-country skiing.
Photo: Amber King

Battery Life


Battery life for this watch is sufficient for any recreational athlete that doesn't need more than a few hours of GPS per day. Suunto claims a meager two days in smartwatch mode and 12 hours in GPS mode. During our tests, we actually got closer to three days in smartwatch mode with one or two activities, but we also weren't using music control or other apps that require a little more power.

During our GPS test, we got a little over 12 hours. We saw the GPS go from 100% to 80% during a three-hour run, which wasn't surprising for the estimated time. While this might last for a 50K run at best, it's not designed for super endurance events. It does have GPS battery saver mode, however, which will give you a little more juice. Charging it took only 70 minutes in our tests (the manufacturer claims 100 minutes) when charging from a wall port.

We felt like the battery was always drained, requiring frequent...
We felt like the battery was always drained, requiring frequent charges.
Photo: Amber King

Ease of Use


Of all the watches tested, we felt the Suunto 7 was less intuitive and more challenging to figure out. It was one of our least favorite watches for this reason. It has a touch screen design with buttons for added functionality, but figuring out the buttons took a bit of time. You can scroll down to see notifications, but that's about it. Two buttons seemed to access the music controller, which we thought was a bit silly. To get to the menu settings, we had to push the top left button twice. Even after a few months with this watch, we still felt mildly confused and frustrated by the design.

The dedicated Garmin app is quite easy to use, with activities synching automatically. A notable fact is an app can only have one watch device on it at once. So if you have multiple devices (like we did for testing), you have to disconnect and reconnect the watch you want to use. Overall, we like the touch screen capabilities that worked even in cold weather, but the overall design isn't very intuitive.

The buttons are large and flat, but not as clickable as other...
The buttons are large and flat, but not as clickable as other contenders.
Photo: Amber King

Accuracy


Accuracy is okay on the Suunto 7 but not great. We tested GPS on a known 10.8-mile bike ride, and it reported back 11.01 miles as the final distance. Even though this distance is only 0.3 miles off, this is a lower accuracy than many of the other tested watches. On the map, it was clear that the GPS wasn't picked up along sharper corners and through steeper canyoned sections of our ride.

The distance logged after our 10.8-mile ride. A little off.
The distance logged after our 10.8-mile ride. A little off.
Photo: Amber King

The heart rate accuracy, however, is good. The watch has a larger fit, but the band is flexible, making the fit a little better. We noticed it did an excellent job at keeping contact and attaining a heart rate reading during runs. During our resting heart rate tests, the variation in beats per minute (bpm) was between 1 to 7, which is quite good.

A look at the heart rate monitor.
A look at the heart rate monitor.
Photo: Amber King

Design


This watch looks sleek and stylish. Many like the color combinations, and we appreciate that the fit accommodates many wrist sizes. The watch face itself is a lot bulkier and chunkier than most. We measured the size to be 50mm (body) and a 16.5mm thickness. The manufacturer claims a 50mm body and 15.3mm thickness. For its chunky size, it isn't too heavy, with our scales showing 2.3 oz (claimed weight is 2.57 oz).

The screen is also quite large, with large fonts that are easy to see while exercising in both high and low light. The screen size is 35mm (measured), and those that like touch screens will appreciate its functionality. That said, we did find the buttons at an odd location for right-handed folks that wear the watch on their left hand (start and stop is close to the wrist and harder to use). Still, if you like a larger watch face, this is a nice design — if you want a smaller design, look elsewhere.

A larger watch face that's easy to see, but a bit bulky for our taste.
A larger watch face that's easy to see, but a bit bulky for our taste.
Photo: Amber King

Value


There are so many other watch options with better value. While this is a well-featured watch that integrates smoothly with Google OS, it lacks some features that others at a lower price tag boast. The stand-out feature is the touch screen. Other than that, you can find a better deal.

Conclusion


The Suunto 7 is a well-featured GPS watch with a touch screen and Google OS. It has many features like integrations with Google Fit, Google Pay, and music control. It's almost like wearing a smartphone on your wrist, with the ability to add apps from the Google Play store. The battery life is subpar, but it does have a nice look. Unfortunately, however, the price is high, so unless you really want Google app integrations, we feel there are much better GPS watches for the price.

Enjoy this watch on any outdoor mission. Just know we don't think...
Enjoy this watch on any outdoor mission. Just know we don't think its of very high value.
Photo: Amber King

Amber King