Suunto 9 Peak review

Suunto 9 Peak review

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Epblogs verdict

There is no question, Suunto 9 Peak is a beautiful sports smartwatch built with outdoor enthusiasts in mind. The problem is that for the price, the functions and the software they don’t live up to the competition. If you are looking for a good mix of design and software, there are certainly better alternatives in this price range.

Price and release date

The accuracy of the GPS system is good, but not perfect. The navigation support is quite basic and does not offer the complete mapping functions that can be found on other devices in the same price range. The battery guarantees about a week of heavy use, and can last well beyond if handled sparingly.

The main problem with Suunto 9 Peak is that, for being very nice, it does not offer the same functions and the same speed as the competitors Garmin and Coros in the same price range.

Suunto 9 Peak was released on June 17, 2021 and the list price is € 699. About a year later it can easily be found for under 500 euros.

Design and Display

  • Titanium case and strap
  • Slow and jerky display

Suunto 9 Peak is undoubtedly the most beautiful watch made by Suunto, but it has some flaws that are far from negligible …

Let’s start with the positives. Suunto 9 Peak has a suitably sized case (43mm) which gives it a unisex look, making it lighter than other models on the finer wrists. The case is dominated by a thin titanium bezel which matches well with the 22mm light blue strap that you can see in the images of the tested model.

Suunto 9 Peak is also quite slim and compact, at 10.6mm and an overall weight of 52g. If you want to get an idea of ​​how thin it is, think that the 47mm Garmin Fenix ​​7 is 14.5mm thick and weighs around 20g more.

If you are a diving lover you can rest assured, Suunto 9 Peak can go down to 100 meters deep. On the right side of the case there are three physical buttons, while on the upper side stands a 1.2-inch touch display with 240 x 240 resolution protected by a layer of sapphire glass.

Unfortunately it is terribly slow and the transition from one screen to another is excessively complicated. Among other aspects that have not convinced us is the bulky black frame that surrounds the screen.

The screen holds up well to external light, but it smudges easily and the large black bezel surrounding it steals space from the data. On board we find a system of present a LED backlight to improve night visibility, which however remains discreet.

The design and general appearance of the Suunto 9 Peak are excellent, but we were disappointed with a touchscreen not up to par, which often forces you to rely on physical keys to avoid wasting time.

Sport activity

  • 80 sport modes
  • Maps for routes

Suunto 9 Peak offers over 80 sport modes that include numerous indoor and outdoor activities including running, cycling and swimming. Profiles labeled “basic” track only the duration and heart rate detected during the activity, while the others provide more comprehensive metrics.

As for the sensors, a digital compass and barometric altimeter are available to monitor altitude, as well as ascents and descents on steep terrain. There is also support for the five main satellite navigation systems, as well as four GPS options that can be chosen according to the autonomy available.

There are also several weather-centric features, such as storm warning system, outside temperature detection, sea level pressure data, and sunrise and sunset times.

Very useful is the optical heart rate monitor, which is used to measure the levels of effort during exercise and offers continuous monitoring of the heart rate. On board we also find the innovative SpO2 sensor that helps keep blood oxygen levels under control.

Unfortunately, although the sensors are of good quality, the tracking experience is compromised by a slow and inaccurate display. Often we find ourselves having to stop waiting for the modes to be loaded and the waiting times are excessive.

Too bad, because Suunto 9 Peak always managed to find the GPS signal quickly during our tests. We tested it against the Garmin Epix (Gen 2) and, in general, the two watches recorded similar distances and paces (although the Peak 9’s recorded maximum pace seemed optimistically fast compared to that of the Garmin). 

A more in-depth analysis of the paths traced has shown some inaccuracies, reporting for example the crossing of some canals that in reality we had only skirted. Suunto offers “snap to routes” which relies on route loading to improve GPS tracking in more difficult areas. 

This option is particularly useful for races, where you have to strictly adhere to the established routes.

Heart rate monitoring works pretty well. During our running tests, Suunto deviated by 2-3 bpm from our chest strap heart rate monitor. On longer rides, the difference in average heart rate readings was up to 20 bpm relative to the chest strap. During the activities, the disparity between the numbers was greater, so it appears that the data was smoothed out by the software after the workout.

In the case of daily readings, Suunto 9 Peak also recorded 20bpm more than the chest strap and reliable optical sensors from Garmin and Polar. The blood oxygen measurement takes a long time, and while it appears to be very accurate, it is not properly stored on the watch or app.

Much better data provided during the sessions again, where Suunto 9 Peak offers some fundamental statistics such as distance tracking, average pace and SWOLF scores similar to those of Form smart swimming goggles.

There are several functions focused on training, some of which refer to the famous TrainingPeaks platform. This allows you to create interval workouts and works with third-party applications, including TrainingPeaks and of course Strava, keeps you informed of your training load and recovery and measures VO2 Max which you can check in detail at the end of the workout.

By logging into Suunto app, you can view dedicated graphs to compare your fitness level and fatigue over defined time periods.

The recovery times suggested after runs and pool sessions were not excessive and largely matched the recommendations of the Garmin app. 

Of course, using a heart rate monitor you will get more in-depth values ​​and make the most of the aforementioned functions.

A self-respecting sports smartwatch must be able to help you find your way and provide you with a series of track data. The Suunto 9 Peak offers such features, but cannot keep up with other models of the same price.

You can create and import routes into the Suunto application, but you can also rely on the internal search system which finds the most popular routes available based on your activity.  

The navigation is pretty basic and rather easy to use, but it lacks some route details that are easily noticed on the Garmin and Coros models, both of which are capable of offering much more detailed maps.

Suunto 9 Peak can act as a daily fitness tracker , counting steps and monitoring stress through heart rate changes, which can be viewed in detail in the integrated application. The same goes for sleep tracking, which tracks duration, quality and heart rate during sleep.

Sport There are some smartwatch functions, but as in the case of other activities, they are limited by the unresponsive touchscreen. You can control music playback and view app notifications, and there’s an option to reject calls if the watch is paired with an Android smartphone . However, as we have said several times, the slowness of the interaction makes these functions rather unpleasant to use.

Autonomy

  • Seven days with regular use
  • 14 days in smartwatch mode

The autonomy of Suunto 9 Peak is identical to that of the standard Suunto 9, ie seven days if you use the detection and notification functions. The duration goes up to 14 days if you use it as a simple watch.

As far as localization is concerned, various GPS modes are available: if you choose maximum accuracy, the autonomy drops to 25 hours. If you are willing to sacrifice precision in favor of autonomy, you can easily reach 170 hours.

Suunto has also included reminders that take into account your activity history and suggest switching to a less energy-consuming mode if the battery is running out quickly.

Suunto 9 Peak lags a bit behind similarly priced watches, such as Garmin Fenix ​​7 which offers up to 57 hours of battery life with active GPS, Coros Vertix 2 which can reach 140 hours in GPS mode and the older Fenix ​​6 Pro, capable of reaching 36 hours in duration. 

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