Comparison Suunto 3, Suunto 5, Suunto 7 and Suunto 9: the differences, which one to choose?

Suunto 7 vs Suunto 9 vs Suunto 3 vs Suunto 5: Wear OS more!Before comparing these 4 Suunto watches, it should be noted that the Suunto 7 (new for January 2020) is very different from the brand’s other models. It is a watch that is both smart health connected (like the Garmin Venu, the Samsung Galaxy Watch or the Apple Watch) but which also offers advanced sports functions.

Suunto’s strategy here is to catch up on its competitor Garmin by offering functions that were hitherto sorely lacking: music, a payment solution and mapping. Thanks to Wear OS, this is now possible.

The Suunto 7 has an AMOLED screen with rich and vibrant colors and works with Wear OS, the Google operating system for watches with the famous Google smart assistant, Google Fit activity tracking and access to many apps downloadable from the Google Play Store. On the other hand, some of its sporting functions, even if they are more advanced than those of conventional smart health connected watches, are less sophisticated than other Suunto watches and the autonomy of the watch is significantly lower.

The Suunto 7, compared to the Suunto 3, 5 and 9 models, is therefore more aimed at the general public looking for the equivalent of an Apple Watch but also offering advanced sports functions. It is suitable for occasional to regular athletes who want a watch for mixed use that can be worn on a daily basis and offering intelligent functions. For athletes practicing competition, long races (ultra) or activities requiring GPS navigation (hiking, trekking, ski touring, etc.) or complete training tools (race dynamics, advanced training, etc.) it would be better to turn to the Suunto 5 or, ideally, the Suunto 9.

Suunto 7
New for 2020, the Suunto 7 is a watch smart health connected to advanced sports functions with music, payment, color mapping and on-board heat maps. It embeds the Google assistant.

Elegant watches for all sports

Suunto offers 4 elegant and robust sports watches for sports, training, staying in shape or simply to wear everyday for 24 hour monitoring of physical activity. From the entry-level model intended for occasional athletes to the high-end model for athletes and competitors, via the smart and sporty smart health connected watch, there is something for all profiles.

Here is a quick overview and a comparison of these 4 cardio-GPS watches to help you choose the one that best fits your goals.

Suunto 3: a small and light watch to train and stay healthy
Suunto 3 Fitness fine watch

The Suunto (formerly Suunto 3 Fitness) is a very attractive entry-level sports watch, robust, small and very light (36 g), designed for active people who want to improve their physical condition and stay healthy. Note that it was called Suunto 3 Fitness but in January 2020, Suunto renewed its range and simplified the name. Only the design is slightly revised (new colors). The functions are identical.

Elegant and in colors that can match clothes, it is perfect for daily monitoring and for fitness training. Designed for both sexes, it will particularly appeal to people looking for a chic watch that is worn in town, at work or for formal outings.

Please note, it does not have a GPS, which explains its excellent autonomy (30 h). It is however possible to connect it to a Smartphone to know its position and record its route.

Its strong point is to offer scalable training assistance which allows you to progress without knowing anything about it. The watch offers a tailor-made 7-day program with optimal duration and intensity to be respected for each exercise. The program adapts according to the activities actually carried out. You just have to choose a mode (maintain your form, improve your form or boost your form) and follow the program.

The watch also tracks stress and recovery levels and provides an overview of the day. Finally, it helps to find the right balance between activity and rest.

Buy Suunto 3

Suunto 5: a compact triathlon watch with everything you need to train
nice Suunto 5 sports watch

New for 2019, the Suunto 5 is a mid-range multisport and triathlon watch with great autonomy, offering multiple sporting functions for training and daily monitoring. She is the replacement for the Spartan Trainer.

Elegant and robust, this smart health connected watch has a GPS and powerful navigation functions. It has an optical heart rate monitoring on the wrist. It offers 80 sports profiles and everything you need to analyze and monitoring your progress. But above all, it offers a personalized training plan which is updated according to the progress made.

Its other advantage is to offer an intelligent battery management (like on the Suunto 9) with display of the remaining autonomy time and the possibility of changing the battery mode along the way.

This watch should delight athletes looking for a watch that is both beautiful to wear, relatively light and has essential functions for GPS navigation, tracking and training.

Buy Suunto 5

Suunto 7: a smart health connected and sporty watch with mapping, music and payment
Suunto 7 watch

The Suunto 7, released in January 2020, is the first Suunto watch to run on Wear OS, Google’s operating system for watches. Unlike current smart health connected watches, this one offers advanced sports functions. It is therefore ideal for people looking for a watch with mixed use (sport and city).

The advantage of Wear OS is to offer the best of the smart functions of the moment thanks to downloadable apps.

It has a high-definition AMOLED color touch screen and all the sensors useful for sport (GPS, cardio on the wrist, barometric altimeter, compass). It has topographic maps, a payment solution and allows you to listen to music without a Smartphone. Wear OS gives access to the Google assistant (the watch has a microphone to interrogate it), health monitoring (Google Fit), access to information (Internet).

In terms of sporting functions, this watch is close to the Suunto 5 but with the extra mapping. However, its autonomy is much lower, it does not offer adaptive personalized training and GPS navigation is limited.

Read our detailed review of Suunto 7 and our opinion on this model
Buy Suunto 7

Suunto 9: a record-breaking multisport and triathlon watch designed for demanding competitors and athletes
Suunto 9 watch

The Suunto 9 is a multisport and triathlon watch, equipped with a color touch screen, offering a record autonomy of 120 hours in energy saving mode and high measurement accuracy thanks to FusedTrack ™. FusedTrack is a function which combines GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope and compass to refine the GPS track when the signal is weak or when the energy saving mode is activated, provided you use it for slow sports like biking, walking, or running. The watch also offers intelligent battery management which assesses the remaining autonomy and allows you to change the battery mode while on the go. No more worries about low battery!

The “Baro” model also has a thermometer and an altimetric barometer. Thanks to these sensors, the watch offers weather functions (pressure, temperature, thunderstorm alarm) and precise measurements of altitude, elevation and rate of climb. Suunto 9 also displays sunrise / sunset times, an altitude graph, and other cool features for explorers.

With 80 sports profiles, advanced GPS navigation functions, weather functions, record autonomy and high measurement accuracy, the Suunto 9 is perfect for competition, intensive training, ultra-deep races (ultra- trail, ultra-marathon, etc.), outdoor and exploration. Demanding athletes will appreciate it.

Buy Suunto 9

The main differences between Suunto 3, Suunto 5, Suunto 7 and Suunto 9
CharacteristicsSuunto 3Suunto 5Suunto 7Suunto 9
Price
$
$$
$$$
$$$$
Sport profiles7080+70+80+
True multisports
 
Autonomy
•••
•••
•••••••
GPSWith SmartphoneGPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSSGPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS, BeiduGPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS
Wrist cardio
Scalable training assistance
   
Customizable training 
  
Split training
 
Evaluate recovery
Fitness and stress monitoring 
 
Sleep quality
Via Google Fit
24/7 activity monitoring
Via Google Fit
Sealing30 m50 m50 m100 m
GPS navigation 
GPS track
Barometric altimeter  
Mp3 player  Music via app 
Payment function  
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design and technical characteristics

 

pretty white and golden watch

Unlike Garmin and its Forerunner series with a rather sporty look, Suunto offers here versatile watches with chic design that can be worn as much for sports as for going out or working. The steel bezel, the colors of the bezel and the bracelets, the design of the watch are indeed very elegant. This is the advantage of these watches and the strength of Suunto with this series. Until recently, Suunto only offered silicone bracelets. The brand now offers fabric and leather bracelets.

Each model is offered with a color screen. That of Suunto 9 and Suunto 7 is high resolution touchscreen and the watch glass is ultra-resistant in sapphire crystal (Suunto 9) or Corning Gorilla (Suunto 7). These watches were designed to be robust.

The Suunto 3 stands out from other models by its small size and light weight (36 g), ideal for everyday wear. It is the perfect model to follow your activity and stay in shape. The Suunto 9, on the other hand, is made for very different purposes: it must last and offer all the necessary instruments for competition and extreme sports, hence its larger size and weight. The Suunto 7, a smart health connected watch for everyday wear, is an intermediate model aiming to compete with Apple and Garmin in the smart health watch sector. It is also designed for sport.

 

CharacteristicsSuunto 3Suunto 5Suunto 7Suunto 9
Case diameter43 mm46 mm50 mm50 mm
Thickness14.3 mm14.6mm15.3 mm16.8mm
Weight36g66g70g81g
Screen resolution (px)218 x 218218 x 218454 x 454320 x 300
Touchscreen  
Color display
GlassesStainless steelStainless steelStainless steelStainless steel
GlassPolyamideMineral crystalCorning GorillaSapphire crystal
Sealing30 m50 m50 m100 m
Bracelet size20 mm22 mm24 mm24 mm
Tool-free interchangeable strap  
 
Bracelet materialSiliconeSiliconeSilicone, textile, leatherSilicone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autonomy

Autonomy is a key parameter, even prohibitive, for athletes practicing long-term sports (ultra-bottom, ironman, etc.) and who seek the accuracy of measurements. Sports watch manufacturers have understood this and are working hard to offer increasingly autonomous watches.

Smart battery management display
On the Suunto 5 and Suunto 9, the sportsman is alerted of the remaining autonomy time and can change the mode at any time.

Failing to increase the capacity of the battery and being limited by the size of the boxes, it is then necessary to play on the consumption of the components. It is especially the GPS chip and the optical heart rate monitoring that are very energy-hungry. The energy saving mode (Ultratrac) saves the battery by reducing the number of GPS and heart rate readings, but this alters the accuracy of the measurements, which is not to please demanding athletes.

GPS track versus real track
Illustration: the imprecise line (in yellow) is corrected (in pink) by FusedTrack by combining the GPS data with that of the other sensors of the watch.

Recently, manufacturers are moving towards Sony chips that consume less energy than the models offered by the companies SiRF and Mediatek. This allowed a great good in autonomy.

But at Suunto, we go further. The Finnish company had the idea of ​​combining the energy saving mode with an ingenious system improving the accuracy of the measurements despite the reduced number of readings. It’s the FusedTrack system. It combines data from GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope and digital compass to extrapolate missing data. This gives correct accuracy in UltraTrac mode or when the GPS signal is weak. This innovation available on the Suunto 9 is therefore very interesting and a definite advantage compared to the competition.

In addition to FusedTrack, Suunto offers intelligent battery management on the Suunto 5 and Suunto 9. The function analyzes activities to better estimate the use of the watch. It estimates the remaining battery level and issues alerts when the autonomy is low or if it is insufficient for the programmed route. The user can then change modes, for example switching from Performance mode (recording every second) to a more economical mode.

Despite its small size, the Suunto 3 offers excellent autonomy. This is due to the fact that it does not carry a GPS.

Finally, the Suunto 7 is a bit apart with a relatively low autonomy linked to its AMOLED screen with exceptional rendering. It hardly does better than the Apple Watch (6 p.m.) in a smart health connected watch and therefore requires regular recharging. Autonomy falls to 8 a.m. if you play sports while listening to music and to 5 a.m. when you are outdoors. This limits its use and removes it from long-term activities such as long-distance hikes and ultratrail. The Smartwatch does not do so badly thanks to its energy-efficient processor, a Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip from Qualcomm, the latest, designed to optimize power consumption. Qualcomm is currently working on a new chip that will offer a faster processor.

ModelSuunto 3Suunto 5Suunto 7Suunto 9
Watch mode10 days14 days40 days14 days
Watch mode + 24/7 monitoring + mobile notifications5 days7 days2 days7 days
GPS mode30 hrs8/40 p.m.12 noon25 h / 50 h / 120 h
Smart charge reminders 
 
FusedTrack   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sensors

The Suunto 5, Suunto 7 and Suunto 9 are equipped with a GPS chip compatible with GPS (American satellite system), GLONASS (Russian system), GALILEO (European system) and QZSS (Quasi-Zenith Satellite System) also called Michibiki ( Japanese system). The Suunto 7 is also compatible with the Chinese satellite system (Beidu). This increases the chances of receiving the GPS signal in sensitive areas.

The Suunto 3 Fitness does not carry a GPS chip but it can be smart health connected to a Smartphone to acquire the data (you must therefore carry your phone if you want to record the GPS track). It also has an accelerometer that allows it to count steps and measure the distance traveled without GPS, including indoors, on a treadmill for example. The advantage of the model is to offer great autonomy despite the small size of the watch.

wrist cardio optics
The 3 watches have an optical heart rate sensor on the wrist

The 4 watches have a heart rate monitoring on the wrist for permanent pulse measurement and 24-hour monitoring. The watch deducts the caloric expenditure during the activity and during the day. For more precise measurements, these watches, with the exception of the Suunto 7, are compatible with the Suunto Smart Sensor chest belt. The belt is necessary for swimming and highly recommended for interval training if you want reliable records.

Apart from the Suunto 7, each model can also be coupled to external sensors (cadence, speed) for running and cycling. The Suunto 5 and Suunto 9 also allow the coupling of a Stryd power sensor for running and a power sensor for cycling.

The Suunto 9 has other useful instruments for hiking, mountain outings, trail running: a thermometer, a barometer, a barometric altimeter and a compass, all combined with weather functions and measurements of altitude, elevation gain and vertical speed. A gyroscope also improves the accuracy of GPS readings (FusedTrack mode described above). We find these instruments (except the thermometer and the gyroscope) on the Suunto 7 smart health connected watch. However, on this model, the weather functions, including the local temperature, are provided by dedicated apps requiring a connection to a Smartphone.

CharacteristicsSuunto 3Suunto 5Suunto 7Suunto 9
GPSWith SmartphoneGPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSSGPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS, BeiduGPS, GLONASS, QZSS, GALILEO
Wrist wrist
Accelerometer
Compass  Via App
GPS altitude 
Barometric altimeter  
Gyroscope   
Thermometer   
Suunto Smart Sensor belt compatible
 
Compatible with Stryd power sensor (running) 
 
Cadence & running speed sensor
 
Cadence & speed sensor
 
Bike power sensor 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Features (sports training, exploration, navigation)

These functions, which are increasingly present on sports watches, provide invaluable assistance to athletes for training and performance monitoring.

custom training screen
On the Suunto 5, personalized workouts are adapted according to the progress made.

The compared series offers the basic training tools (HR, speed, distance, course recording, training programming) but few tools to help athletes. Aside from the measurement of cadence, we don’t really find running dynamics for example and very few physiological measurements. This is the big difference with Garmin watches (Forerunner Series for example). On the other hand, at Garmin, triathlon watches are rare while at Suunto, all the watches in our comparison, except the Suunto 7, have this profile.

The Suunto 5, Suunto 7 and Suunto 9 offer many measures that are relevant for cyclists, runners and swimmers (power, cadence, swimming functions, etc.).

Suunto 5 also offers adaptive custom workouts, a feature that should appeal to many athletes who need to be guided in their training. The watch assesses physical condition and takes into account the athlete’s objectives to propose a 7-day training plan. Just respect the number of outings, the duration and intensity of the exercises on offer.

small Thumb Thumb trace screen
Suunto 7 displays maps and GPS tracks. The other models allow you to follow a pre-recorded route (guidance).

Suunto 5 and 9 watches offer powerful functions for GPS navigation in order to find your way and go anywhere without getting lost (small thumb track, navigation to a point of interest, following a programmed route, etc.) . Suunto 7 also offers color mapping and heat (or attendance) maps for 15 sports activities including running, biking, hiking, skiing. They indicate the routes most frequented by the Suunto community. On the other hand, the GPS navigation of the Suunto 7 is minimalist (no direction indication, no turn-by-turn navigation). You will need to zoom in on the map to find your way around and locate the GPS track if you want to retrace your steps or follow a recorded route.

On the Suunto 9, there are complete mountain instruments: barometric altimeter, compass, thermometer. The watch can detect changes in weather, alert its user if there is a risk of thunderstorm. These functions are also present on Suunto 7, sometimes via the Smartphone (temperature, weather).

Unlike Garmin and its Forerunner series, watches more suited to running (with the exception of the Forerunner 945 which is designed for almost any sport), the Suunto 3, 5, 7 and 9 watches are versatile. They are suitable for a large number of sports (70 to 80 registered profiles). The Suunto 5, Suunto 7 and Suunto 9 are particularly well equipped for most activities, whether for endurance sports (running, trail, cycling, swimming, triathlon, cross-country skiing, cardio, rowing, etc. .), the mountains (hiking, trekking), exploration, or even extreme sports (paragliding, diving, mountaineering, etc.).

 

 

 

 

Functions for training

CharacteristicsSuunto 3Suunto 5Suunto 7Suunto 9
GPS speed and distance
Course recording
Sport modes and customizable displays 
 
Split training
 
Race dynamics    
Personalized training
   
Adaptive training 
  
Race time predictor    
Audio instructions 
 
Compatible with Strava, TrainingPeaks, Endomodo
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Physiological measurements

Although Suunto uses Firstbeat data, there are few physiological measures. The Suunto 3 and Suunto 5, more complete here than the Suunto 9, estimate the VO2max, the Body Resource (body energy) and the stress level. The Suunto 7 does not benefit from any Firstbeat algorithm and depends on the apps offered by the Wear OS.

These measures make it possible to assess the level of physical condition and to offer advice and plans adapted to the user.

The Body Resource function, which is also found on the Forerunner 45, 245 and 945 Series, is intended to prevent overtraining. It helps the athlete to find the right balance between training time and recovery time. For this, the watch estimates the level of recovery by taking into account physical activity, rest times, stress level, quality of sleep. She is thus able to say whether it is wise or not to go to train.

The 4 watches estimate the recovery time after an effort, that is to say the number of hours it will take the body to recover after an outing.

CharacteristicsSuunto 3Suunto 5Suunto 7Suunto 9
Calories expended
VO2max
  
Body resource
  
Stress and recovery assessment
  
Recovery time according to training
 

 

 

 

 

 

The exploitation of the heart rate

Unlike other models, the Suunto 7 can measure the heart rate underwater from the optical monitoring on the wrist. Suunto notes, however, that the measurements may be wrong. Unfortunately, it is not possible to connect an external sensor (chest belt or armband) on this model.

CharacteristicsSuunto 3Suunto 5Suunto 7Suunto 9
HR zones
Real-time HR graph
Average HR in real time 
Calories expended
Record HR during swimming

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our opinion: Suunto 3, Suunto 5, Suunto 7 and Suunto 9: which one to choose?

The Suunto 3, Suunto 5, Suunto 7 and Suunto 9 are 4 very different watches since the first is an entry-level watch, more oriented towards fitness and well-being, while the latter is a high-end watch and very complete designed for any sport.

Suunto 3: elegant, perfect for everyday wear and staying in shape

The Suunto 3 (successor to the Suunto 3 Fitness) is interesting for its elegance, light weight, small size and sufficient functions for most occasional sportsmen or non sportsmen. It tracks your daily activity (calorie expenditure, distance covered, etc.) and records the essential data of your sports outings (endurance, gym, weight training), even triathlon! We particularly appreciate the evolutionary training assistance which allows you to improve or maintain your form without knowing anything about it. Please note, it does not have integrated GPS but it can be connected to a Smartphone to benefit from it. Its accelerometer, however, makes it possible to estimate the distance traveled, outdoors or indoors.

Suunto 5: very complete, the best value for money

The Suunto 5, released in 2019, has the advantage of bringing together, in a reasonably priced watch, a large number of sensors and functions for serious sports monitoring. It will meet the needs of most athletes. Versatile, it is suitable for almost all sports, whether at sea, on land, in the mountains or in the air! It offers new functions that are unfortunately not found on the Suunto 9, such as the Body Resource function, adaptive personalized training, measurement of VO2max, stress assessment. This watch offers great autonomy and intelligent battery management. It is the best value for money model which, moreover, will meet the requirements of most regular athletes.

Suunto 7: for its smart functions and advanced sports functions

Released in 2020, the Suunto 7 will be of particular interest to people looking for a smart connected watch to wear on a daily basis (city, work) and which can also be used to practice occasional to regular sport (two-in-one watch). In our opinion, it is a good alternative to the Apple Watch for those who do not have an iPhone with, in addition, much more advanced sports functions. In a sports watch, it competes with Garmin by offering on-board mapping, heat maps, music on the wrist, a means of payment (NFC chip) and many apps to download.

The only downside is its low autonomy, its incompatibility with external sensors and its limited sports functions compared to the Suunto 5 and Suunto 9. These limitations make it obsolete for a certain number of activities: triathlon, long races (ultra), activities requiring advanced GPS navigation, sports requiring the use of external sensors (cadence, speed, power, cardio). For this type of activity, it would be better to go for the Suunto 5 or Suunto 9 or see another brand (see our comparison of cardio-GPS watches).

Suunto 9: for its record battery life, precision and instruments

The Suunto 9, on the other hand, offers more complete instruments, including a barometric altimeter and a compass, as well as weather functions that make it more suitable than the Suunto 5 for mountain or extreme sports. It is suitable for competition and intensive training. This model is particularly interesting for its record autonomy, its intelligent battery management and its precision thanks to FusedAlti. These advantages make the watch compatible with very long outings (ultra-long distance races). Its screen is also more comfortable and more robust than the other two watches. It is just a little bulkier in size and weight.

3 triathlon watches and 1 connected watch offering numerous sport profiles

The advantage of these 4 models is that they are versatile. They are suitable for many sports including, with the exception of Suunto 7, triathlon. Suunto 5 and Suunto 9 can be used for almost any sport. They also have advanced GPS navigation functions and allow you to download routes to follow. Heatmaps allow you to enjoy the routes of other community members and even compete against them. At Garmin, the functions offered are certainly more complete but the on-board sport profiles are fewer, unless you pay dearly for a versatile model.

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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