Daily Addict tries out the latest smart-watch & fitness tracker from the Finnish brand Suunto. Does it have what it takes to keep up with the pack?
+ Huge array of fitness tracking options
+ Google OS software
+ Heat-map functions
+ Music playback from device
– Needs two apps to work
– Steep entry price
– Crowded market
– Too big for smaller wrists
Finland is famous for a few things; they are the Happiest Country in the World, they have one of the best education systems and incredibly clean air. Now Finland can add another thing to impressive resume, smartwatch manufacturer. The Suunto 7 premium smartwatch is the latest in wearable tech from the Helsinki-based company. Inside the dark (and durable) casing is the combination of cutting-edge sports-tracking technology, combined with Google’s Wear OS which, on paper at least, combines the best in smarts & spots capabilities.
Style & Design
Designed and tested in Finland to survive the toughest of conditions and adventures and to withstand shock, water and dirt with a Gorilla Glass screen the Suunto 7 is a tough cookie. On appearance alone the 7 gets a big tick from this writer. The 50mm reinforce polyamid casing is large for this segment but at just 70g the watch doesn’t feel too bulky. There are four stainless steel bezels on the sides with different user functions, in homage to the bezels of an analogue watch. The 1.30” AMOLED touch display has reasonable levels of resolution with a pixel density of 454 x 454 which is good for this segment. 5ATM water and dust resistance coupled with the Gorilla Glass means that you aren’t worried about taking the Suunto 7 on any adventure you like.
The home screen is adjustable but like this writer, many will love the heatmap screensaver function. The user gets a map view of the area they are in, and the colours correspond to the amount of movement of other Suunto users. Heavily travelled areas are dark while light traffic generates grey or softer coloured lines. You can choose to see the heatmaps of people doing 15 different activities including swimming, running and hiking.
With Wi-Fi connectivity, software updates are automatic, so your watch is always up to date and has the latest features. Via the GPS function users are also able to always find their way and know the best training routes, even when their phone is left behind or there isn’t network connectivity available.
The smartwatch & fitness tracker is a crowded market with consumers increasingly wanting a watch that does it all. Competitors range from more fitness-based Fitbits, to GPS & outdoorsy Garmin’s and stylish Apple watches and with the 7 Suunto is trying to muscle itself a bigger slice of the market pie. The aforementioned side bezels are relatively easy to figure out with the top left directing you to main menu/all applications, the top right is a non-programmable Suunto app button, and the other two are programmable with this writer choosing to use them as a workout stop/start.
The Google OS software is relatively user-friendly however when you first setup the watch this writer was unable to do so properly without having downloaded both Google Wear and Suunto apps. The biggest benefit would be for people who are used to OS as they can jump straight into the user experience. The touch-screen menu navigation can be a little clunky with larger fingers finding difficulty pin-pointing elements occasionally. The watch would benefit from a rotating bezel to navigate these menus with a bit more ease.
Texts, calls and application notifications (Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp etc.) all come through in real-time however you are unable to reply if using anything but a Google phone. One strange notification is when it tells you that there is an active call, it’s unnecessary and adds one more vibration to the wrist that you don’t need.
The Nuts & Bolts
Sports experience brings 70+ sport modes, from running and cycling to skiing and surfing, with accurate exercise tracking, music controls on the watch and access to the Suunto app for detailed training insights while delivering up to 12 hours battery life in continuous GPS Tracking mode. The 7 is based on the advanced Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform, and Suunto claims it is the first smartwatch to deploy the dedicated Sports experience mode with up to 12 hours with continuous GPS tracking or up to 48 hours in daily use enabled by the platform. The claim of two days of use can be substantiated by this writer with the super handy ‘low-power mode’ giving it even further life rather than simply shutting off. For those on a run without their wallet or smartphone you can also use the Google Pay function.
The price for a new Suunto 7 is relatively steep at $599 which brings it very close to the cellular-capable Apple Watches and further away from its more direct fitness-focussed competition which sit closer to the $300 mark. Without a doubt Suunto is a premium brand and with the Google OS software there is certainly a case for the spend.
The Suunto 7 certainly is a notable offering from the Finnish brand and you can certainly tell the amount of thought that has gone into the product design and capabilities. As a fitness tracker the 7 runs with the best of them (literally) and as a smart watch the Google OS integration makes for a use-friendly experience. There needs to be further work done on integrating Google into the Suunto App experience so that the user only needs to download one or the other. At $599 the price is steep but for some the huge array of fitness integrations will be worth the sticker prices alone, chuck in the durability and style and Suunto won’t have trouble shifting the 7 off the shelves.
Tech Addict Rating: 7.5/10