Suunto 9 Peak – Substance meet Style!

The problem with most fitness-focused smartwatches is that while they can take a beating and keep on kicking, they are only suited for extreme activities and rarely cross into the daily wearable category. Put simply, most can’t be worn with a suit and jacket, that is normally reserved for the classic wristwatch. Until now. The Suunto 9 peak is not only a high-end fitness watch, but it also brings some sleek modern styling that makes it perfect for work or play.

The team at Suunto has 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, and design, and are proud of being Finnish to the core. 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 released in the past few years, the 9 Peak.

What immediately catches your eye with the 9 Peak is the beautiful symmetrical circular design with its edgeless screen, slim body, and excellent touch screen. It is clear from the onset they were targeting a very different type of consumer with this design. Speaking of design, the watch features a perfectly sized 43mm Sapphire watch face flanked by three physical buttons on the right side of the case, and a 1.2-inch, 240 x 240-pixel transflective display. This is housed in a uber strong stainless-steel body and comes with a very comfortable and ventilated 22mm watch band on the base model. It also weighs in at just 52g and is less than 11mm thick. It might be one of the best-looking fitness watches ever made. It is not all roses though; the screen is bright enough but could use a little bump in peak brightness, especially when outdoors and the touch screen and general navigating of the watch interface are a little slow and could use some optimizing.

The 9 Peak is also packed with all the sensors one would need to gather up some good health metrics such as a digital compass plus barometric altimeter to track altitude, ascents, and descents. There’s also support for the five main satellite navigation systems, an optical heart rate monitor that offers continuous heart rate monitoring and par for the course in 2022 is the inclusion of a SpO2 sensor to help track blood oxygen levels. As with previous Suunto fitness wearables, you also can receive data on incoming storm alerts, temperature readings, sea level pressure data, and very convenient sunrise and sunset times. Accuracy-wise, when compared to our Garmin Fenix 6 and Apple Watch Series 7, most of the time the 9 Peak went toe to toe for accuracy especially when it came to heart rate data. GPS accuracy was also excellent thanks to their ‘snap-to-route’ feature which seamlessly maintains accuracy when you are in areas with a low GPS signal. You can create routes and import routes in the Suunto app, we particularly love their heatmaps which allow users to find popular routes depending on your activity. Unfortunately, you only get some basic breadcrumb navigation to get around with the lack of GPS mapping integration being a bit of a miss here.

The Suunto 9 Peak does feature an impressive 80 different sport tracking modes making this one of the most versatile fitness devices we have tried this year.  Suunto has all the basics covered here like running, cycling, HIIT, cross-training and even swimming as well. It is also worth noting here that the watch is waterproof up to 100m for those that want to take this bad boy to the extreme. I particularly like the company’s integration with the TrainingPeaks and Strava platforms which can provide some very good post-workout data such as training load and sp02 readouts. For more accurate measurements, external Bluetooth sensors can be added (for example, a Stryd sensor as a source of distance and pace data to compensate for the lack of a power sensor for running). Also, for those that care, the watch does have some basic smartwatch functionality, such as, you will be able to see incoming calls, text messages, and social media notifications, but not respond. Lastly and most important is the battery. We are happy to report that with regular use, Suunto promises 7 full days in smartwatch mode (with 24/7 heart rate monitoring), 25 hours in sports GPS mode, or up to 170 hours in GPS Eco mode.

To conclude, we like the direction that Suunto is heading with the 9 Peak, with the news of an update coming to this line with the 9 Peak Pro, we have never been more excited for a company that was one of the first and best in the fitness watch space. For now, those seeking a capable, beautiful fitness tool that can double up as a svelte and sexy wristwatch, look no further than this offering.

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