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Gear Reviews Running Sports Watches

Suunto 9 – Smart Watch for the Adventurer

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Built for those who go above and beyond

Don’t get me wrong, the Sunnto 9 is an incredible piece of engineering. It’s battery lasts for a long time – from 25 to 120 hours – depending on the mode selected. Personally, I’m a big fan of the Apple Watch and Apple’s approach of the app being king. What I mean by this is that to record an activity, I can either use the Apple workout app, or Strava or something else. I can share my fitness data with a plethora of apps and get some degree of semblance of what this data means. It does not take a lot of swatting to learn how to use – strap on and play.

However, I’ve also been a few hours into a 100 mile cycle ride and my Apple Watch has ran out of juice and it’s that (not) old conundrum of ‘how can I prove that I’ve done this when I can’t share it to Strava?! Okay, I know – who’s cares? In 50 years time with anyone give a fig? Then again, for those of us who want the data for proper analysis in the hope to progress, it is something that we don’t want to happen.

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Many people now do far more than standard endurance activities – they now properly explore and I’m thinking particularly of adventure/multi-sports and the ever growing ultra-running. Having on-board reliable navigation and fitness metrics is useful (even life-saving!), especially in the parts of the world where ultra running means no signage, no support and the need to have a reliable friend on one’s wrist.

This is where the Suunto 9 comes in to it’s own and is designed and, through the Suunto app partners (e.g. Training Peaks), the ability to analyse fitness data and make good use of it.

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Our three likes and dislikes of this product…

Likes

  1. Built like a tank
  2. Battery life
  3. Multiple sport mode and data analysis

Dislikes

  1. The strap – it’s a heavy watch and the strap is strong, however, it feels like that one has to almost strangle the wrist in order to stop woggling whilst running
  2. Learning to use it. Like I say, I’m an Apple Watch fan (also use a Garmin) and I should not need level 4 study in order to learn to use something
  3. The face is dim – probably to save to battery – even with reading glasses on and light, it’s hard to read.

If you want to explore and have something solid for navigation, fitness data tracking and you have the patience to really study how to get the best out of it – this is a strong choice. In the U.K. it’s circa £500 to buy.

See our video review here
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