Much more than just a smart fitness tracker, the Suunto 9 Peak sports watch is for those who love to spend their time in the great outdoors.
These days, there’s more competition than ever for pride of place on your wrist – simply telling you the time no longer cuts it. So it’s important to know exactly what you want from a smart wearable before you strap one on.
The Suunto 9 Peak deliberately positions itself as a “sports” watch. This is wise considering that it’s overkill – in terms of price and features – if you’re simply looking for a “smart” or “fitness” watch. While it offers smart and fitness features, the Suunto 9 Peak’s real strength is its extensive sports/activity features which come into play when you’re exploring the wilderness rather than wandering the streets.
You can read other GadgetGuy Suunto news and reviews here
The Suunto 9 Peak has the look and feel of a slightly chunky traditional watch. In its defence, it’s actually Suunto’s thinnest, smallest and toughest watch yet – looking respectably stylish, perhaps aside from its rather thick bezel. The comfortable silicone strap features an extra clip which reduces the chance of it working loose or snagging on something.
The watch retails in Australia for $999 in All Black and Moss Gray finishes, or $an extra $200 for the Granite Blue Titanium and Birch White Titanium models.
While the watch face is easy to read outside, by default it’s not bright enough for easy indoor viewing (thankfully it’s adjustable, but not as impressive as the product shot below would suggest). It’s one of the first indicators that this watch expects you to be out and about. The watch combines a touch screen with three physical buttons on the right. Unfortunately, the menus aren’t always intuitive and can be a bit slow to respond.
It’s also frustrating that the onscreen interface doesn’t make more of the available screen real estate. It’s partly a question of resolution – at 240 × 240 pixels it’s not as sharp as many rivals – but the choice of fonts and colours doesn’t help.
When you combine this with the brightness issues, it means the menus and prompts can be difficult to read. Especially when you’re on the move, which of course is the whole point of this watch.
In this way, the Suunto 9 Peak doesn’t make the best first impression if you’re familiar with more powerful and user-friendly rivals. But if you can get past this, it has a lot to offer.
Suunto 9 Peak Specs
43 × 43 × 10.6 mm
240 × 240 pixels
Stainless steel or Titanium
22 mm Silicone
Suunto 9 Peak sport/fitness features
Once you look past the interface issues, the Suunto 9 Peak’s long list of features, sensors and activity tracking is impressive. It stacks up well as a “fitness” watch, tracking activities like walking, running, weight training, treadmill, circuit training and yoga/pilates.
You can easily see your basic fitness stats, such as daily steps, sleep quality, heart rate, blood oxygen levels and stress levels. Thankfully, the watch doesn’t harass you to get up off the couch or reach your daily step goals. Yes, I’m looking at you Apple Watch.
That said, if you’re primarily interested in health and fitness then an Apple Watch, or something running Android’s Wear OS, might make for a better all-round smartwatch. Yet, the Suunto gives you a wealth of fitness insights you may not find on other watches, such as tracking your training load. This includes data like training stress score, estimated recovery time and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. The watch also pairs with third-party devices like heart sensors.
It’s clear this watch doesn’t want to spend all day in the gym. It supports activities like trail running, hiking, trekking, triathlon, mountaineering, mountain biking, swimming, climbing and much more. There’s something for everyone, even fishing, roller skating and cheerleading. If the thought of being so active makes you break into a cold sweat, this isn’t the watch for you.
The Suunto 9 Peak really shines in terms of GPS features when you get off the beaten track. Think of it like a fitness sat-nav. You can plan routes for activities like hiking and it can create a digital trail of breadcrumbs as you walk, displayed on the watch face. It’s accurate to within a few metres, making it easy to retrace your steps when you lose your way.
The Suunto smartphone app lets you tap into the local community, with sport-specific activity heatmaps and popular starting points for activities. You can also share achievements.
Suunto 9 Peak smart features
This is where the watch falls short. It doesn’t pitch itself as a “smart” watch, but you’re entitled to ask what it brings to the party.
There’s not a lot of choice in terms of watch faces. Although there is a lot of flexibility when it comes to what’s displayed on the watch face, as well as what you see when you’re engaged in different activities.
The watch can also display app notifications and incoming messages, alerting you by vibrating and/or beeping. Unfortunately, you can’t reply and there’s no support for voice assistants.
The watch runs Suunto’ own OS, so don’t expect the ability to install or access a wide range of third-party services. It can control Spotify playback on your smartphone, which is handy if you listen to music and/or podcasts while exercising.
Suunto says you’ll get up to 14 days battery life, but that’s assuming you don’t do much – in which case you don’t need this watch. The promise of 7 days, with 24/7 tracking and mobile notifications enabled, is more realistic – still putting a lot of watches to shame.
It’s clear that the Suunto 9 Peak is designed more for weekend adventurers than health-conscious city slickers. Considering the price tag, if you just want a smartwatch which is basically a smartphone strapped to your wrist, this is not the watch for you. Likewise, if you just want a fitness tracker to count your steps and reps at the gym, you should weigh up the alternatives.
If you like to push yourself to the limit, and you think you’d push this watch’s feature set to the limit, then the Suunto 9 Peak might be a worthy sports companion.
Would I buy it?
Only if Apple/Android watches didn’t meet my sporting and fitness needs.
Suunto 9 Peak sports watch – off the beaten track (review)
A serious sports watch for people on the move, the Suunto 9 Peak shines when the going gets tough.