There are fitness trackers and then there are fitness trackers with the latter being the kick-ass and take names sort that is a throw everything and the kitchen sink style of sports watch that may be indestructible. The Suunto 9 Baro, is designed for the modern athlete who wants a multisport watch that can accompany them no matter what the adventure and offer all of the conveniences needed to seize the day!
The folks at Suunto have been marking sports watches for some time now, with the companies’ lineage dating back nearly 80 years. They identify themselves as a brand that offers consumers accuracy, robustness, reliability, design, and are proud of being Finnish to the core. In fact, most of their products are put to real-world tests in Finland as a means of product control which we appreciate. What started as an endeavor to make an outdoor watch with versatile navigation functions and multisport plus heart rate tracking has culminated into one of our favorite watches for those that care about their health, the Suunto 9 Baro.
Let’s start with the design. The Suunto 9 Baro features a robust stainless steel construction, paired with a 50mm LED display protected by sapphire glass and an uber-comfortable silicone watch strap. It also offers consumers an impressive 7 day active/14 day passive battery life and 100m water resistance. It is so tough that it has undergone thousands of hours of real use in the toughest conditions by Suunto’s internal testing team and athletes all over the world. There is also an accurate heart rate sensor that can track your heart rate in real-time.
Like most fitness trackers, you get the usual bells and whistles needed to gather some real metrics on your body health including the ability to track over 80 sports, recovery time data, pretty accurate sleep tracking, daily activity tracking (e.g. steps, calories, etc), and a fairly widespread weather tracking list including storm alerts. As the name would imply, being a GPS watch with access to GLONASS and QZSS satellites, it also has a built-in altimeter, compass, and barometer too! The Baro 9 uses Suunto’s own Fusedtrack algorithm to combine GPS and motion sensor data to improve track and distance accuracy and it works very well. In fact, in our real-world testing, it went toe to toe with our Apple Watch Series 4 when using GPS data to trace our workout routes.
You also get a comprehensive companion app that allows you to view GPS map data of your adventures, activity heat maps as well as your daily training activity and sleep data. You also get some powerful connectivity options when paired with your smartphone including incoming call alerts, messages, and notifications. However, best of all, is the ability to connect to your favorite sports services, such as Strava, Adidas Running, UA MapMyRun, Endomondo, TrainingPeaks, Relive, Sports Tracker, and even Suunto’s personalized online community which is a great motivation tool.
After using the Suunto 9 Baro for the past 3 months alongside my Apple watch, there is just something reassuring about not having to charge my watch every day and knowing that I don’t have to be delicate with it when hitting the free weights, mountain biking or running. Let’s face it, we’ve been all conditioned to think that because it is shiny and sleek it is a better watch for our fitness needs. However, one quick Google search will reveal a plethora of damaged Apple watches and broken dreams. The 9 Baro is one tough sports watch and if you want one that can take a beating and keep kicking, this is the one for you!