Suunto 9 Peak Review
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Suunto 9 Peak
|Price||$329.00 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Slim design, great mobile app||Ultra-lightweight, thin profile, good for smaller wrists||Great design, responsive interface, inexpensive||Low profile design, great battery life, very accurate, low cost||Simple, inexpensive, lightweight|
|Cons||Confusing watch interface, slow menus and scroll, expensive||Less premium materials, potentially less durable, tool requires straps||Minimal navigation, shorter battery life, lack of tool widgets||Minimal activity profiles, no navigation features, plastic construction||Lacks premium health stats, shorter battery life|
|Bottom Line||Great for those interested in top-of-the-line Suunto products, but we'd recommend choosing a different watch in our lineup given the price tag||This fully featured running watch is perfect for those who want the lightest equipment for the track and trail||A premium-looking watch with loads of features and health metrics for a great price||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 9 Peak||Garmin Forerunner 955||Polar Vantage M2||Coros Pace 2||Garmin Forerunner 55|
|Battery Life (20%)|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Specs||Suunto 9 Peak||Garmin Forerunner 955||Polar Vantage M2||Coros Pace 2||Garmin Forerunner 55|
|Watch Face Material||Sapphire crystal||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|
|Size Tested||One size only||One Size only||One size only||One size only||One size only|
|Measured Main Body Size (diameter)||43mm||46.5mm||46mm||43mm||42mm|
|Measured Screen Width||30mm||33mm||30mm||32mm||26.5mm|
|Measured Weight||2.19 oz||1.7 oz||1.55 oz||1.2 oz||1.31 oz|
|Measured Charging Time||68 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||23 hours||41 hours||38 hours||29 hours||19 hours|
|Manufacturer-Reported Battery Life||In time mode: 14 days;
24/7 tracking and mobile notifications: 7 days;
Training mode with GPS: 25h / 50h / 120h / 170h
|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, GALILEO, QZSS, BEIDOU||GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO||GPS, GLONASS||GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU||GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO|
|Maps?||Yes - detailed||Yes - detailed||No||No||No|
|Back to Start Navigation?||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Water Resistance (max depth)||100m||50m||30m||50m||50m|
|Music Storage?||No||Yes - 2000 songs||No||No||No|
|Daily Fitness Tracking?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|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
With its edgeless screen, slim body, and excellent touch screen, it's clear that the team at Suunto wanted to focus on design for this model. We think it's one of the sleekest models we tested, but we wish the performance matched. Unfortunately, the user experience felt slow and confusing, and we could never fully dial in the button layout when testing this model. Obviously, you'd get the hang of it after a while, but we don't find it as intuitive as the other models in our lineup.
The 9 Peak functions fine during activity, but we weren't fans of the watch during everyday use, which should be a priority at this price point. The screen, while bright, isn't as sharp as the other premium models in our lineup and closely mimics those found on the cheapest models we tested. We found the edgeless design to be beaten up easier, and the screen is far too small to be useful for navigation. Ultimately, unless your priority is exterior design and the app ecosystem, we'd recommend a different model.
Various sport modes, data fields, and health tracking are found in this model, but the only navigation features are bread-crumb mapping and route navigation. Topo maps aren't included, and given the screen size, they would probably be mostly unusable even if they were offered. There is no on-device storage like other devices in this price range, so we'd suggest a different model if you want to download music. Luckily the 9 Peak does include your ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass) functions.
- Heart rate monitor
- Assistance tool
- Several activity profiles
- Pedometer and calories burned
- Blood oxygen sensor
- Battery modes
- 100-meter water resistance
Take a look at the Suunto website to see the full scope of all the features offered.
Given the price tag, we feel this device is a bit lacking when compared to similarly priced models. Ultimately the features on this model work and can still lend themselves to good GPS functionality, but we find it a less compelling model compared to what you can get in this price range. If features are your priority, this probably isn't the model for you.
This model has a claimed max battery life of 170 hours or a performance tracking mode of 24 hours. Based on the on-screen options and the provided documentation, it's unclear what the sampling rate of these various modes is — the only information provided is Best/Good/Okay/Low. While this watch performed fine during activities, we found ourselves charging the device more even in standard smartwatch mode and using it normally throughout the week. There is a battery customization option, but you may be left wondering (as we were) what "Good" actually means.
Ease of Use
The menu systems found on the 9 Peak are confusing, and even after weeks of use, we still could not seem to operate the watch without hitting the wrong button. It's clear that the intended use of this watch is via the touch screen, which is quite good even when wet. The button interaction is annoying, with the enter button and back button being the same but with different hold presses. Swiping back and forth is more natural. The various widgets are accessed by scrolling up and down, similar to other models, but the action isn't a loop. When you get to the bottom of your tools or menu, you have to scroll all the way back to the top, a design choice we just don't understand.
Obviously, if this is your dedicated watch, you will come to be familiar with the nuances of the interface. You won't be using a whole pile of watches at once, as we were. But that illustrated the shortcomings with the 9 Peak because the interface gave us more difficulty than most models. On the flip side, the mobile application is well designed, and its interface is easy to learn and understand. Your content, activities, and metrics are displayed nicely, and the integration for syncing activities works well. We wish that the watch itself provided the same experience as the app.
When tasked with our three-mile GPS test route, this watch performed well and was similar to the other models in our test group, with just a +/- 0.01 variance for overall distance. With today's multi-satellite capabilities, there rarely are times when a GPS signal won't connect. If you often find yourself in advanced technical terrain, you may want to think about a dual-frequency model, especially at this price point. The Garmin Fenix 7 and Coros Vertix 2 both have this feature and only cost a bit more.
The heart rate monitor on this model worked better than on the other Suunto models we tested. This could be due to a better fitting watch, but we still only found a 3 - 5 bpm difference compared to our chest rate monitor at resting, which is adequate for our usage. If heart rate metrics are a priority for you, we'd recommend a dedicated chest strap heart rate monitor.
The design of the 9 Peak is elegant and sleek. The all-metal bezel and case proved to be durable. However, the edgeless design seems to attract scratches easier than other models. The screen bezel is also fairly large and is rather noticeable. The screen resolution leaves a bit to be desired given the price tag, but the colors are nice, and it's readable under most circumstances.
If you find some GPS watches to be overly large, this one could be a great option for you. Removeable watch straps are appreciated. We aren't a huge fan of the pin design for stowing the excess watch strap, though. It takes enough force to insert the pin that it generally is forced into your wrist — while not painful, this feels a bit overengineered. The small buttons are fairly thin, so the keypresses feel a bit cheap, another indication that the touch screen is the preferred method of interaction. Regardless of any negatives, the build quality is top-notch, and we give props to Suunto for creating such an elegant design and solid build.
We cannot recommend this model based on the cost. You can receive more features, a better interface, and longer battery life for the same price. This model is for those who prioritize design or desire a sleek model that will fit better on smaller wrists. If this design is calling to you, we would suggest waiting until improvements are made or if you can find it discounted.
We had high hopes for the Suunto 9 Peak, given the design, but unfortunately, the internals didn't impress us. A less than stellar user interface and short battery life makes us recommend other models, especially at this price point. This watch is for people that put a high priority on design or have a smaller wrist. Being one of the smallest watches in our lineup, we can understand the difficulty of including everything in such a small package. Case design and style are clearly the standout attributes, so if improvements are made in the future, this could be more of a contender in the market.
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