Reviews You Can Rely On

Suunto 7 Review

A large crisp touchscreen with a plethora of Google-based app integrations, but unfortunately very difficult to use
suunto 7 gps watch review
Credit: Amazon
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Price:  $400 List
Manufacturer:   Suunto
By Matthew Richardson and Amber King  ⋅  Apr 29, 2022
56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 13
  • Features - 20% 8.0
  • Battery Life - 20% 4.0
  • Ease of Use - 20% 4.0
  • Accuracy - 20% 7.0
  • Design - 20% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Suunto 7 has a large, crisp touchscreen and Google Watch OS integration. While well-featured, we were disappointed in the ease of use and often felt frustrated. The features on this watch felt overwhelming and constantly in need of attention. We prefer the simplicity of more dedicated adventure/activity watches — this model is more dedicated to phone integration than activity tracking. Because of that, if you are in search of GPS recording but also want a high level of phone integration this model could be for you.
REASONS TO BUY
Google OS integration
Bright screen
Good touch interaction
REASONS TO AVOID
Confusing interface
Short battery life

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suunto 7 gps watch review
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Suunto 7
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Price $400 List
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Pros Google OS integration, bright screen, good touch interactionUltra-lightweight, thin profile, good for smaller wristsGreat design, responsive interface, inexpensiveLow profile design, great battery life, very accurate, low costSimple, inexpensive, lightweight
Cons Confusing interface, short battery lifeLess premium materials, potentially less durable, tool requires strapsMinimal navigation, shorter battery life, lack of tool widgetsMinimal activity profiles, no navigation features, plastic constructionLacks premium health stats, shorter battery life
Bottom Line A large crisp touchscreen with a plethora of Google-based app integrations, but unfortunately very difficult to useThis fully featured running watch is perfect for those who want the lightest equipment for the track and trailA premium-looking watch with loads of features and health metrics for a great priceA fully functional and incredibly light GPS sports watch boasting great battery life at an incredible valueA basic GPS watch that will be perfect for those looking to track their activities without the advanced features of premium models or extended battery life
Rating Categories Suunto 7 Garmin Forerunner 955 Polar Vantage M2 Coros Pace 2 Garmin Forerunner 55
Features (20%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
Battery Life (20%)
4.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
Ease of Use (20%)
4.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Accuracy (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Design (20%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Suunto 7 Garmin Forerunner 955 Polar Vantage M2 Coros Pace 2 Garmin Forerunner 55
Watch Face Material Scratch resistant Gorilla Glass Corning Gorilla Glass DX Hard-coated PMMA laminated lens Corning glass Chemically strengthened glass
Bezel Stainless steel Fiber reinforced polymer Stainless steel Fiber reinforced polymer Stainless steel
Case Glass fibre reinforced polyamide Fiber-reinforced polymer Glass fibre reinforced polyamide Fiber reinforced polymer Glass fibre reinforced polyamide
Strap Material Silicone Silicone Silicone Silicon or nylon Silicone
Tools Required to Change Band? No Yes No No No
Model Tested Graphite copper Standard N/A N/A N/A
Size Tested One size only One Size only One size only One size only One size only
Measured Main Body Size (diameter) 50mm 46.5mm 46mm 43mm 42mm
Measured Thickness 16.5mm 14.4mm 14.5mm 11mm 12.5mm
Measured Screen Width 35mm 33mm 30mm 32mm 26.5mm
Measured Weight 2.3 oz 1.7 oz 1.55 oz 1.2 oz 1.31 oz
Measured Charging Time 70 min 120 min 78 min 80 min 111 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 41 hours 38 hours 29 hours 19 hours
Manufacturer-Reported Battery Life Smartwatch mode: 2 days;
In time mode: 40 days (battery saver);
GPS: 12 hours
Smartwatch mode: Up to 15 days
GPS-only mode without music: Up to 42 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band with music: Up to 8.5 hours
All Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band without music: Up to 20 hours
Ultratrac mode: Up to 80 hours
GPS: 40 hours Smartwatch mode: 20 days;
GPS: 30 hours;
Ultramax mode: 60 hours
Smartwatch mode: 2 weeks;
GPS: 20 hours
Navigation Built In? Yes Yes No No No
Satellite Networks Used GPS, GLONASS, QZSS, BEIDOU GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO GPS, GLONASS GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO
Maps? Yes - basic Yes - detailed No No No
Back to Start Navigation? No Yes No No No
Water Resistance (max depth) 50m 50m 30m 50m 50m
Music Control? Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Music Storage? No Yes - 2000 songs No No No
Daily Fitness Tracking? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Touchless Payment? Yes Yes No No No
Sleep Tracking? No Yes Yes Yes No
Blood Oxygen? No Yes No No No
Compass? No - added with Google Play Yes No Yes No
Barometric Altimeter? Yes Yes No Yes No
Temperature Sensor? Yes No No Yes No
Main Software App Suunto Garmin Connect, widgets for other features Polar Flow 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 strong suit is a high level of phone integration. Unfortunately, this was often confusing and annoying to our testers who prefer less phone integration. If you are looking for a high level of integration then this model could be for you. If you have an Apple phone you may desire an Apple Watch instead, but if you aren't a serious athlete and have an Android this could be a perfect match — but you'll be limited by battery life.

Performance Comparison


suunto 7 gps watch review - one of the brightest screens we tested unfortunately it comes with...
One of the brightest screens we tested unfortunately it comes with major sacrifices in battery life.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

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.

suunto 7 gps watch review - tools and widgets found on the suunto 7 integrate well with google...
Tools and widgets found on the Suunto 7 integrate well with Google platforms, but if you use Apple we'd recommend an Apple Watch.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

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

Take a look at the Suunto website to see the full scope of all the features offered.

suunto 7 gps watch review - we enjoyed the basic features of this watch while cross-country...
We enjoyed the basic features of this watch while cross-country skiing.
Credit: Amber King

Battery Life


The 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. However, it does have GPS battery saver mode, 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.

If GPS life is a priority, you will want to consider other models that put more importance on this attribute. We often found ourselves approaching the 12-hour mark on outings and we would be worried about having to reduce GPS accuracy to lengthen the life of this watch. If you are an active user, Suunto claims 18 hours of smart-watch use on a full charge with 4 hours remaining for GPS activities. This likely means you will be charging your watch every day, which was our experience during testing.

suunto 7 gps watch review - we felt like the battery was always drained, requiring frequent...
We felt like the battery was always drained, requiring frequent charges.
Credit: Amber King

Ease of Use


Of all the watches we tested, we felt the Suunto 7 was the least intuitive and the most challenging to figure out. This is pretty much a deal-breaker for us and we could only recommend this watch if you are looking for more smartphone-specific features. You'd also want to consider an Apple Watch at that point if you use Apple.

If you are a dedicated smartwatch user this difficulty of use may be understandable, however we couldn't accept this on a daily basis, especially during activities where we depend on our watches for metrics and, to some extent, safety. The touch gestures on the Suunto 7 felt inconsistent and the button mapping was strange. To be fair, this watch was by far the most unique, which could be why it gave us the most trouble.

The dedicated Suunto app is easy to use, with automatically synching activities. A notable fact is the 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.

suunto 7 gps watch review - featuring a touch screen and dedicated buttons, this watch has many...
Featuring a touch screen and dedicated buttons, this watch has many modes of interaction which at times can get confusing.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

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.

suunto 7 gps watch review - the distance logged after our 10.8-mile ride. a little off.
The distance logged after our 10.8-mile ride. A little off.
Credit: 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 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.

suunto 7 gps watch review - the accuracy of the heart rate monitor works well thanks to the...
The accuracy of the heart rate monitor works well thanks to the hinged strap design which fits different shapes of wrists.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Design


This watch looks sleek and stylish. The removable hinge design straps are easy to replace and fit many different types of wrist sizes. The screen is also quite large, with big 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. The screen is bright and crisp and while the battery life suffers because of it we think it's one of the best looking we tested.

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 are close to the wrist and harder to use). Design opinions are fairly specific so choose what you like best. If you desire a large bright touch screen, this could be for you. If you desire longer battery life with a larger screen there are other options in a similar price range.

suunto 7 gps watch review - 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.
Credit: Amber King

Value


We cannot recommend this watch at this price point based on the difficulty of use. Of course, Suunto has created a great-looking watch but that's not enough to price it this high, especially with today's competition. If you desire high integration with an Android and care less about athletic features this could be the perfect model. For others, we would recommend looking elsewhere for a model with better battery life and a more natural user interface.

Conclusion


If you are in the market for a GPS watch that prioritizes phone integration then this is the model for you. Suunto is known for its designs and build quality and this one excels in these metrics. Unfortunately, we can't recommend this model due to the confusing interface and high level of difficulty while learning the unit. Our ideal GPS watch is dedicated to performance and use while in activity. If that isn't your priority, this could be the perfect model, especialy if you have an Android. If you use Apple but still desire a more specific smartwatch we imagine an Apple Watch would better suit your needs.

suunto 7 gps watch review - 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.
Credit: Amber King

Matthew Richardson and Amber King
 
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