Suunto 5 Preview

FTC: Affiliate Disclosure: All links pay commissionReading Time: 13 minutes

Suunto have just announced their new Suunto 5 model and I’ve only had a few days to get to grips with, so a full Suunto 5 Review will follow in June. In the meantime, let’s have a look at what’s new. A quick heads-up, some of these images are of dummy units for the sales team but the black one is real!

Here is a quick summary followed by more detail further below

Opinion
  • Price - 90%
    90%
  • Build Quality & Design - 90%
    90%
  • Features, Including App - 90%
    90%
  • Openness & Compatability - 85%
    85%
89%

First Impressions

This looks like a great upgrade for Suunto to bring out. There is probably not THAT much extra in it to convince someone to upgrade from a SPARTAN TRAINER but the new Firstbeat metrics and Firstbeat Adaptive Training Plans are super-sweet and might tempt a few of you. It is a little unusual that the Suunto 5 has some features that the top-end Suunto 9 does not have.

BUT for your first tri-watch, or an upgraded running watch, then the Suunto 5 is a safe choice.

The Suunto 5 will probably never address the more specific tech needs of some of the higher level triathletes but for most casual- and wannabe-triathletes/runners then the Suunto 5 contains more than enough nuggets of info and configuration to keep you happy. At the same time, it does that without too much gumpf to confuse you. Also of particular interest are Suunto’s heat maps which I will cover later in the full review.

It’s a nice hardware package and has that ‘certain look’ that will convince many of you to wear it outside of sport for both activity tracking and SLEEP insights.

Pros

  • Many pro-level running/tri features including power zones and alerts for run/bike
  • Great battery life for GPS sports usage
  • Mostly intuitive interface
  • Sound construction quality and good looks
  • Adaptive Training Plans should be super cool

Cons

  • There’s always a premium for a new product and once the excitement dies down then so the price will fall a tad. The price is fair but the competitors older products are frequently discounted.
  • If you want lots of SMARTS on your wrist then buy an Apple, Huawei or Samsung.
  • Bands cannot readily be changed

Suunto 5 Preview – What is it?

The Suunto 5 is a mid-range running and triathlon GPS watch with route navigation and smarts. It’s got onboard oHR and a GOOD amount of features to please a diverse range of athlete and fitness types.

In terms of looks and core functionality, it seems nearly identical to its successful predecessor, the SPARTAN TRAINER. However, there are some cool new Firstbeat and SLEEP features borrowed from the 3 Fitness model as well as battery saving modes from the Suunto 9.

Suunto 5 Preview – What’s New, What’s Different

  • Exterior / Case – New bezel and case materials and colours with 4 design variants, All Black, White, Burgundy Copper and Graphite Copper.
  • New Sony GNSS/GPS chip – saves battery. This is likely to be the industry-standard chip for the next few years and is also used by Garmin, Polar and Coros. Same processor as the Spartan TRAINER.
  • PERFORMANCE & ENDURANCE Battery Modes to give 20 hours and 40 hours of GPS usage. The ENDURANCE mode is taken from the Suunto 9 (which also has ULTRA mode) and prolongs the battery life by using the sensors less and recording less frequently.
  • The Valencell Optical HR sensor unit is the same hardware as before (Source: Valencell, Suunto) but there have been a significant evolution in the algorithms since the same sensor was implemented into the SPARTAN TRAINER. So we shall have to see if this can handle my notoriously difficult-to-read wrists.

 

  • Breadcrumb route navigation was released with the SPARTAN TRAINER, so this is not a new feature as such, however, if you are comparing to the Suunto 3 Fitness then only the Suunto 5 has that feature.
  • This is still the same medium-format watch as the earlier TRAINER, so it’s smaller than the Suunto 9 and those of you with thinner wrists might consider this a good size option
  • As with the TRAINER, the screen material is MINERAL GLASS and not the sapphire glass of the Suunto 9 BARO.
  • SLEEP TRACKING is a feature that is shared across the Suunto range. However the SLEEP QUALITY assessment is only found on the 3 Fitness model and now the Suunto 5 too…but not the S9.
  • Similarly, the ALL-DAY STRESS & RESOURCE is on the Suunto 5 as well as the 3 Fitness…but not the S9.
  • Detailed feature-by-feature comparisons are below

 

Potentially I’ve saved the best until last. The adaptive CARDIO Training Plan from the Suunto 3 Fitness is now on the new Suunto 5. This, to some degree, lines up with Garmin Coach being expanded to cover distances up to HM and faster athletes who can run 21:00/5k. It’s quite hard for ‘athletic’ types like me to test out these adaptive plans, put simply we probably do too much training and too diverse training for even the cleverest of adaptive plans to fully account for. So my previous efforts at testing Firstbeat’s adaptive plan on the 3 Fitness and Garmin Coach involved ad-hoc attempts to break the algorithms as my normal training simply would not allow me to follow the plan. Anyway, my impression was that Suunto+Firstbeat’s did seem to be genuinely adaptive, simpler and yet more comprehensive in application – especially after Suunto/Firstbeat introduced 2 higher levels of training goals ‘BOOST’ and ‘IMPROVE’. This should address the needs of those with relaively high VO2max training 3-4 times a week (Source: Firstbeat)

Suunto 5 – What’s The Same?

There’s a lot to cover here and it’s somewhat beyond the scope of a ‘preview’ of a watch that is an evolved SPARTAN TRAINER. I’ll try to sum up the Suunto 5 in a few sentences as well as link to a detailed comaprison of the features that goes into a bit more depth than the info on suunto.com.

The Suunto 5 is a mid-tier triathlon watch that effectively competes against the Polar Vantage M, Garmin Forerunner 735XT and maybe the Coros APEX. These are ALL sports watches that have some smart functionality rather than, say, an Apple Watch that is a true SMART watch that can run sporty apps.

The Suunto 5 will properly help you record and complete a triathlon even if you are using a bike power meter, a running power meter, chest strap and cadence sensor. You can configure what goes on the screen and there are various zones that can be used to help pace your efforts in training and racing. You can plan & follow breadcrumb routes and, to a degree, organise and follow training plans. The Suunto app and Movescount platform are in a state of change but are still perfectly usable and, for those of you who wish to send your data beyond to STRAVA, TRAINING PEAKS, RELIVE, ENDOMONDO and others, then the Suunto ecosystem will be fine for you.

Suunto 5 – Some pictures

Here are some fairly nice shots of the new colours.

The metallic copper bezel looks good IMHO and the GRAPHITE/COPPER combo is only available through Suunto’s key account partners eg Wiggle in the UK (linked to below)

 

These are some details of the watch from various angles and with a comparison to the near-identical Suunto SPARTAN

You can nicely toggle the battery-saving mode at the start of a workout (or during it), although for most of you the battery will be perfectly fine on full accuracy settings, so you will likely rarely use this feature.

If you have a workout scheduled for the current day you have to achieve a certain TRAINING EFFECT in that workout; a nice touch here is that you can choose to do that with running/cycling (any sport?), it’s just the training effect that the watch is bothered about. During the workout, you are guided to go faster/slower or longer/shorter in order to achieve the TRAINING EFFECT target. In the end, you are shown what %age of the target you achieved…2% in the images, must try harder! That sounds simple but it’s actually a powerful approach to adaptive training AND one which  might possibly work for an adaptive  triathlon plan (which NO-ONE does AFAIK)

 

Links to your local store: Suunto 5 has an RRP of Eu/$329 which should be £299ish. Some partners linked to here offer discounts to new customers and loyalty schemes (like Wiggle’s 12-17% Platinum may not apply at launch but its new customer discount should NEWGB, but you should get REI’s 10% dividend and joining bonus)

PRICES & AVAILABILITY

wiggle logoAt the time of writing Wiggle are the UK’S ONLY key launch partner for Suunto’s launch of the Suunto 5 (Cotswold might be added). If you want a Suunto 5 on your wrist in June then Wiggle UK are your best bet. Maybe Wiggle in Europe have the same exclusivity…I don’t know.

In the USA the link below goes through to REI who are a US launch partner.

Availability FROM KEY LAUNCH PARTNERS on June 4th. Official RRP is:

  • Eu/$329 (£299)
  • There are Endomondo, Traiing Peaks and STRAVA Freebies thrown in.

As you can see from the screen grab to the right, Wiggle Platinum customers get a market-leading 12% off a Suunto 5.

 

Links to your local store: Suunto 5 has an RRP of Eu/$329 which should be £299ish. Some partners linked to here offer discounts to new customers and loyalty schemes (like Wiggle’s 12-17% Platinum may not apply at launch but its new customer discount should NEWGB, but you should get REI’s 10% dividend and joining bonus)

Suunto 5 Specs vs Suunto 3 and Suunto 9

Suunto 3 FitnessSuunto 5Spartan Trainer Wrist HRSuunto 9
GENERAL
Bezel materialStainless steelStainless steelStainless steelStainless steel
Glass materialPolyamideMineral crystalMineral crystalMineral crystal
Case materialGlass fibre reinforced polyamideGlass fibre reinforced polyamideGlass fibre reinforced polyamideGlass fibre reinforced polyamide
Strap materialSiliconeSiliconeSiliconeSilicone
Strap width20mm24 mm24 mm / 22 mm24 mm
Wrist sizes120-210 mm130-210 mm130-210 mm130-230 mm
Weight36g66gPlolyamide 57g / Steel 66g / Steel special 74g72g
Customizable watch facesxxxx
Touch screen locknoduring exercisenoduring exercise
Touch displaynononox
Color displayxxxx
Water resistance30 m (according to ISO 6425)50 m (according to ISO 6425)50 m (according to ISO 6425)100 m (according to ISO 6425)
Battery indicatorpercentage / iconpercentage / iconpercentage / iconpercentage / icon
Battery typerechargeable lithium-ionrechargeable lithium-ionrechargeable lithium-ionrechargeable lithium-ion
Firmware upgradablexxxx
Time, datexxxx
Alarm clockxxxx
Dual timexxxx
Integrated wrist heart ratexxxx
Automatic timekeepingnoxxx
Stopwatch timerxxxx
Countdown timerxxxx
Vibration alertxxxx
LanguagesEN, CS, DA, DE, ES, FI, FR, IT, JA, KO, NL, NO, PL, PT, RU, SV, TR, HE, ZH*, TH* iEN, CS, DA, DE, ES, FI, FR, IT, JA, KO, NL, NO, PL, PT, RU, SV, TR, HE, ZH*, TH* iEN, CS, DA, DE, ES, FI, FR, IT, JA, KO, NL, NO, PL, PT, RU, SV, TR, HE, ZH*, TH* iEN, CS, DA, DE, ES, FI, FR, IT, JA, KO, NL, NO, PL, PT, RU, SV, TR, HE, ZH*, TH* i
BacklightLEDLEDLEDLED
Configurable backlightxmodemodebrightness / mode
Button lockduring exerciseduring exerciseduring exerciseduring exercise
Display typematrixmatrixmatrixmatrix
Display resolution218 x 218218 x 218218 x 218320 x 300
Metric and imperial unitsxxxx
Automatic daylight saving timexxxx
PHYSICAL SPECIFICATIONS
Operating temperature-20° C to +60° C / -5° F to +140° F-10° C to +50° C / 15° F to 120° F-20° C to +60° C / -5° F to +140° F-20° C to +55° C / -5° F to +130° F
Storage temperature-30° C to +60° C / -22° F to +140° F-30° C to +55° C / -22° F to +130° F-30° C to +60° C / -22° F to +140° F-30° C to +55° C / -22° F to +130° F
Recommended charging temperature0° C to +35° C / +32° F to +95° F0° C to +35° C / +32° F to +95° F0° C to +35° C / +32° F to +95° F0° C to +35° C / +32° F to +95° F
BATTERY LIFE
Intelligent charge remindersnoxxx
In time modeup to 10 days14 days14 days14 days
with 24/7 tracking and mobile notificationsup to 5 days7 days7 days7 days
Training mode with GPSup to 30h with connected GPS20h / 40h10h / 16h / 30h25h / 50h / 120h
COMPASS
Digital compassnononox
Tilt compensationnononox
Declination correctionnononox
Direction scalenononodegrees
Needlenonononorth indicator
Compass accuracynonono
Compass resolutionnonono
CONNECTIVITY
Connectivity (between devices)Bluetooth SmartBluetooth SmartBluetooth SmartBluetooth Smart
Compatible with Suunto Movescountnoxxx
Compatible with Suunto Movescount Appnonoxx
Compatible with Suunto appxxxx
Phone notifications on the watchxxxx
Compatible with online sports communitiesStrava, TrainingPeaks, Endomondo and moreStrava, TrainingPeaks, Endomondo and moreStrava, TrainingPeaks, Endomondo and moreStrava, TrainingPeaks, Endomondo and more
Watch software updates from cloudxxxx
Smartphone compatibilityMost common models supported, check here for detailed compatibility listMost common models supported, check here for detailed compatibility listMost common models supported, check here for detailed compatibility listMost common models supported, check here for detailed compatibility list
ACTIVITY TRACKING
Step counterxxxx
Calories burnedxxxx
Activity targetsSteps, CaloriesSteps, CaloriesSteps, CaloriesSteps, Calories
Activity historyxxxx
Calorie burn rate and heart rate during daily activitiesxxxx
Daily minimum heartrate trackingxxxx
SLEEP TRACKING
Sleep durationDuration, average hrDuration, average hr, sleep qualityDuration, average hrDuration, average hr
Bed timesxxxx
Time awakexxxx
Sleep qualityxxnono
GPS TRACKING & NAVIGATION
Satellite systemsConnected GPSGPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSSGPSGPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS
Inteligent battery modesnoPerformance, Endurance, CustomnoPerformance, Endurance, Ultra, Custom
GPS recording rate1 secBEST, GOODBEST, GOOD, OKBEST, GOOD, OK
Waypoint and visual route navigationnoxxx
Zoom levels in navigationnoxxx
Auto zoom based on route shapenoxxx
Breadcrumb trail in real timenoxxx
Route planning with altitude profilenoxxx
Outdoor maps by satellite, terrain and topography in web by Mapbox, Google Maps & Androidnoxxx
Heatmaps to browse and show on Movesnoxxx
Route planning with heatmapsnoxxx
Personal route library synced to watchnoxxx
Point of interest (POI) navigationnoxxx
ETA (estimated time of arrival)noxxx
GPS track analysisin Suunto app with connected GPSxxx
Track logging, viewing and sharingin Suunto app with connected GPSxxx
ALTIMETER
Barometric altitudenononoBaro model only
GPS altitudenoxxx
Combined GPS and barometric altitude (FusedAlti™)nononox
Altitude in daily modenononoBaro model only
Total ascent/descentnoin exercisein exercisein exercise
Vertical speednoin exercisein exercisein exercise
Automatic alti/baro profilenononoBaro model only
Log recording rateno1 s1 s1 s
Resolutionno1 m1 m1 m
Rangeno-500 – 9999 m-500 – 9999 m-500 – 9999 m
WEATHER
Sunrise/sunset timesfrom mobile GPS location via Suunto appxxx
Storm alarmnononono
Sea level pressurenononono
Automatic alti/baro profilenononono
Temperaturenononono
Temperature display rangenononono
Temperature resolutionnononono
Pressure resolutionnononono
Move altitude graph in Move summarynoxxx
INTERVAL TRAINING
Setup intervals in watchxxxx
Interval guidance during trainingxxxx
HEART RATE
Heartrate measured from wristxxxx
Heartrate belt compatibilityBluetooth Smart beltsBluetooth Smart beltsBluetooth Smart beltsBluetooth Smart belts
RR intervalwith Suunto Smart Sensorwith Suunto Smart Sensorwith Suunto Smart Sensorwith Suunto Smart Sensor
Heart rate in beats per minutexxxx
Records heart rate in swimmingwith Suunto Smart Sensorwith Suunto Smart Sensorwith Suunto Smart Sensorwith Suunto Smart Sensor
Heart rate graph in real timexxxx
Real-time average heart ratexxxx
Caloriesxxxx
Peak Training Effectnoxxx
Recovery timenoxxx
Personal heart rate zonesxxxx
Fitness level (VO2Max)xxnono
SPEED AND DISTANCE
Cadence based speed and distancexxxx
GPS speed and distancewith connected GPS from Suunto appxxx
Chronoxxxx
Foot POD supportBluetooth SmartBluetooth SmartBluetooth SmartBluetooth Smart
Autolapsxxxx
Manual lapsxxxx
Analysis of pace, speed graphs and tracks on the mapxxxx
TRAINING RECOVERY
Training based recovery timexxxx
Recovery time daily view in watchnoxxx
Feeling stored in watch after trainingxxxx
TRAINING LOAD
Logbook with Move detailsxxxx
Move summary with lap detailsxxxx
Training load with totals by sportnoxxx
Training logbook for long term overviewsxxxx
SHARE AND RELIVE
Move sharing to social mediaxxxx
Move rating and commentingxxxx
Follow other members and get feedback via activity streamxxxx
SWIMMING
Pool swim pace and distancexxxx
Openwater swim distancenoxxx
Records heart rate in swimmingwith Suunto Smart Sensorwith Suunto Smart Sensorwith Suunto Smart Sensorwith Suunto Smart Sensor
Swimming time by pool length, lap, totalxxxx
Swimming stroke rate, count and typexxxx
Stroke efficiency (SWOLF)xxxx
Automatic intervalsxxxx
Interval laptablexxxx
CYCLING
Cycling speedwith connected GPS from Suunto appxxx
Average speed in real timenoxxx
Bike POD with speed/cadence supportBluetooth SmartBluetooth SmartBluetooth SmartBluetooth Smart
Bike power meter supportnoBluetooth SmartBluetooth SmartBluetooth Smart
Bike Power (W), average and maximum (with power sensor)noBluetooth SmartBluetooth SmartBluetooth Smart
Bike Lap and Lap Maximum Power (with power sensor)noxxx
Real-time lap table with avg HR, avg power and avg speednoxxx
Interval guidance with power/speed/heartratenoon watchon watchon watch
RUNNING
Running pacenoxxx
Suunto FusedSpeed™xxxx
Running power with Stryd sensornoxxx
Foot POD calibrationautomaticautomaticautomaticautomatic
Lap comparisonsxxxx
Average, max, lap pace in real timenoxxx
Interval guidance with running pace/heartrate/distanceon watchon watchon watchon watch
MULTISPORT
Change sport mode during exercisexxxx
Preconfigured multisport modesnoxxx
Post-analysis of multisport exercise by sportnoxxx
Multisport exercise summary on watchnoxxx
SPORT MODES
Customizable sport modes and displaysnoxxx
Graph displays in sport modesheartrateheartrate, speed and altitudeheartrate, speed and altitudeheartrate, speed and altitude
Measurement parameters available on watchno>  50 values>  50 values>  50 values
Numeric displays in sport modesno1-7 fields, lap table view1-7 fields, lap table view1-7 fields, lap table view
Pre-installed sport modes on watch70> 80> 80> 80
SUITABLE FOR PORTSRunningRunningRunningRunning
RunningTrail runningTrail runningTrail running
Pool swimmingTreadmill runningTreadmill runningTreadmill running
WalkingPool swimmingPool swimmingPool swimming
Weight trainingOpenwater swimmingOpenwater swimmingOpenwater swimming
Circuit trainingWalkingWalkingWalking
CrossfitTriathlonTriathlonTriathlon
CyclingOrioenteeringOrioenteeringOrioenteering
Indoor cyclingMountaineeringMountaineeringMountaineering
Ski TouringSki TouringSki Touring
Alpine skiingAlpine skiingAlpine skiing
SnowboardingSnowboardingSnowboarding
Telemark skiingTelemark skiingTelemark skiing
Weight trainingWeight trainingWeight training
Circuit trainingCircuit trainingCircuit training
CrossfitCrossfitCrossfit
CyclingCyclingCycling
Indoor cyclingIndoor cyclingIndoor cycling
Mountain bikingMountain bikingMountain biking
HikingHikingHiking
TrekkingTrekkingTrekking

 

PRICES & AVAILABILITY

wiggle logoAt the time of writing Wiggle are the UK’S ONLY key partner for Suunto’s launch of the Suunto 5 (Cotswold might be added). If you want a Suunto 5 in June then Wiggle are your best bet. Maybe Wiggle in Europe have the same exclusivity…I don’t know. In the USA the link below goes through to REI, I don’t yet know if they are a launch partner.

It’s available to pre-order now with deliveries and availability FROM KEY PARTNERS on June 4th. Official RRP is:

  • Eu/$329 (£299)
  • There are Endomondo, Traiing Peaks and STRAVA Freebies thrown in.
Links to your local store: Suunto 5 has an RRP of Eu/$329 which should be £299ish. Some partners linked to here offer discounts to new customers and loyalty schemes (like Wiggle’s 12-17% Platinum may not apply at launch but its new customer discount should NEWGB, but you should get REI’s 10% dividend and joining bonus)

Reader-Powered Content

This content is not sponsored. It's mostly me behind the labour of love which is this site, meaning it's entirely reader-powered content ❤️ I'd really appreciate it if you'd follow, subscribe or Buy Me A Coffee ❤️ Alternatively please buy the reviewed product from my partners (which costs you no extra) and, for that, I receive a small commission. Thank you!
FTC: Affiliate Disclosure: All links pay commission
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
29 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bob

Suunto 7 next 🤔?

Pieter

I like the ext antenna (like the SST). Curious to see track accuracy as opposed to the ‘bezel / face ‘ embedded antenna architecture.

TK

-10C operating range is a little on the low end. In winter I frequently run at temperatures at little lower than that and have my watch strapped over my clothes. -20C would be more what I’d expect and in line with the other products.

Bob

I wish they’d increase the screen to watch ratio, ie, reduce the size of the bezels. I know it would impact battery somewhat but as these watches (including the ones from garmin, polar etc) are designed to be worn all day, they look pretty ‘cheap’ with such a small screen on a comparatively large watch.

Dmitry

Didn’t get what the difference with Spartan Trainer. Does not look as reasonable upgrade. very disappointed

Tim

Well, there’s actually a lot of stuff.
– The battery life with best GPS accuracy just doubled (10 to 20 hours)
– The Suunto 5 has Firstbeat metrics – stress, VO2, sleep quality, adaptive training
– It’s made in Finland, not in China.
– It’s by default mineral crystal + steel, like the Trainer premium.
– It’s slightly thinner.

Finn

In the comparison you mention Galileo for the Suunto 9, but i don’t see this on the Spec sheet on Suunto’s website (and I don’t see Galileo or QZSS as an option on my Suunto 9 Baro). Does the 9 actually have it? Will be interested in seeing how the antenna design of the 5 impacts accuracy compared to the 9. Thanks for your review!

TKTKTK

Can you see the upcoming training in the adaptive mode in the app – or is it only on the watch you can see the 7 day plan?

Roberto

Hello
Suunto 5 supports strava live segment? thank you

Dulko

Hi, which watch has the best quality build, Forerunner 245, Vantage M or Suunto 5? Which one is the most suitable for mostly road running, occasional hiking and using adaptive training plans? Thanks for help.

Dulko

Thanks for feedback. Is the difference in build quality due to better materials used for Vantage M? Have you yet managed to test suunto’s adaptive training plans?

Dulle

Cheers.

Fran

Great post!

Dulko

Hey, full review coming anytime soon? 😉

Dulko

Great, thanks for feedback. Can’t wait to read it. Good luck.

bruce

Hi, an heart rate alarm was missing for working on heart rate ranges in previous models. Is this fixed now ? Thanks !