Suunto 7 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Google OS integration, bright screen, good touch interaction
Cons: Confusing interface, short battery life
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|Price||$399.00 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Google OS integration, bright screen, good touch interaction||Good battery life, comfortable, easy to use, great value||Excellent quality, accurate, simple design, very easy to use, great feature set, very long battery life||Low profile design, great battery life, very accurate, low cost||Simple, inexpensive, lightweight|
|Cons||Confusing interface, short battery life||Lacks some toolset functions, scroll wheel has unintended clicks||Backlight isn't bright, heart rate monitor accuracy is a little off||Minimal activity profiles, no navigation features, plastic construction||Lacks 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 use||A fully-featured GPS watch at a great price makes this one of our top recommendations for all user types||A well-constructed and accurate watch with a minimalistic design, excellent battery life, and all the right features||A fully functional and incredibly light GPS sports watch boasting great battery life at an incredible value||A 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||Coros Apex Pro||Coros Apex||Coros Pace 2||Garmin Forerunner 55|
|Battery Life (20%)|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Specs||Suunto 7||Coros Apex Pro||Coros Apex||Coros Pace 2||Garmin Forerunner 55|
|Watch Face Material||Scratch resistant Gorilla Glass||Sapphire glass||Sapphire glass||Corning glass||Chemically strengthened glass|
|Bezel||Stainless steel||Titanium Alloy||Stainless steel bezel||Fiber reinforced polymer||Stainless steel|
|Case||Glass fibre reinforced polyamide||Alumnium||Alumnium||Fiber reinforced polymer||Glass fibre reinforced polyamide|
|Strap Material||Silicone||Silicon or nylon||Silicon or nylon||Silicon or nylon||Silicone|
|Tools Required to Change Band?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Model Tested||Graphite copper||Standard||Standard||N/A||N/A|
|Size Tested||One size only||47mm||42mm||One size only||One size only|
|Measured Main Body Size (diameter)||50mm||47mm||42mm||43mm||42mm|
|Measured Screen Width||35mm||33mm||33mm||32mm||26.5mm|
|Measured Weight||2.3 oz||2.0 oz||1.7 oz||1.2 oz||1.31 oz|
|Measured Charging Time||70 min||80 min||70 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||36 hours||24 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: 30 days;
GPS mode: 40 hours;
UltraMax mode: 100 hours
|Smartwatch mode: 25 days;
Full GPS mode: 25 hours;
UltraMax GPS Mode: 80 hours
|Smartwatch mode: 20 days;
GPS: 30 hours;
Ultramax mode: 60 hours
|Smartwatch mode: 2 weeks;
GPS: 20 hours
|Navigation Built In?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Satellite Networks Used||GPS, GLONASS, QZSS, BEIDOU||GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU||GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU||GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU||GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO|
|Maps?||Yes - basic||Yes - basic||Yes - basic||No||No|
|Back to Start Navigation?||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Water Resistance (max depth)||50m||100m||100m||50m||50m|
|Daily Fitness Tracking?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Compass?||No - added with Google Play||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Main Software App||Suunto||Coros App||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 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
— Matthew Richardson and Amber King
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