Suunto 5 Preview

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 Fitness Suunto 5 Spartan Trainer Wrist HR Suunto 9
GENERAL
Bezel material Stainless steel Stainless steel Stainless steel Stainless steel
Glass material Polyamide Mineral crystal Mineral crystal Mineral crystal
Case material Glass fibre reinforced polyamide Glass fibre reinforced polyamide Glass fibre reinforced polyamide Glass fibre reinforced polyamide
Strap material Silicone Silicone Silicone Silicone
Strap width 20mm 24 mm 24 mm / 22 mm 24 mm
Wrist sizes 120-210 mm 130-210 mm 130-210 mm 130-230 mm
Weight 36g 66g Plolyamide 57g / Steel 66g / Steel special 74g 72g
Customizable watch faces x x x x
Touch screen lock no during exercise no during exercise
Touch display no no no x
Color display x x x x
Water resistance 30 m (according to ISO 6425) 50 m (according to ISO 6425) 50 m (according to ISO 6425) 100 m (according to ISO 6425)
Battery indicator percentage / icon percentage / icon percentage / icon percentage / icon
Battery type rechargeable lithium-ion rechargeable lithium-ion rechargeable lithium-ion rechargeable lithium-ion
Firmware upgradable x x x x
Time, date x x x x
Alarm clock x x x x
Dual time x x x x
Integrated wrist heart rate x x x x
Automatic timekeeping no x x x
Stopwatch timer x x x x
Countdown timer x x x x
Vibration alert x x x x
Languages EN, CS, DA, DE, ES, FI, FR, IT, JA, KO, NL, NO, PL, PT, RU, SV, TR, HE, ZH*, TH* i EN, CS, DA, DE, ES, FI, FR, IT, JA, KO, NL, NO, PL, PT, RU, SV, TR, HE, ZH*, TH* i EN, CS, DA, DE, ES, FI, FR, IT, JA, KO, NL, NO, PL, PT, RU, SV, TR, HE, ZH*, TH* i EN, CS, DA, DE, ES, FI, FR, IT, JA, KO, NL, NO, PL, PT, RU, SV, TR, HE, ZH*, TH* i
Backlight LED LED LED LED
Configurable backlight x mode mode brightness / mode
Button lock during exercise during exercise during exercise during exercise
Display type matrix matrix matrix matrix
Display resolution 218 x 218 218 x 218 218 x 218 320 x 300
Metric and imperial units x x x x
Automatic daylight saving time x x x x
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 temperature 0° C to +35° C / +32° F to +95° F 0° C to +35° C / +32° F to +95° F 0° C to +35° C / +32° F to +95° F 0° C to +35° C / +32° F to +95° F
BATTERY LIFE
Intelligent charge reminders no x x x
In time mode up to 10 days 14 days 14 days 14 days
with 24/7 tracking and mobile notifications up to 5 days 7 days 7 days 7 days
Training mode with GPS up to 30h with connected GPS 20h / 40h 10h / 16h / 30h 25h / 50h / 120h
COMPASS
Digital compass no no no x
Tilt compensation no no no x
Declination correction no no no x
Direction scale no no no degrees
Needle no no no north indicator
Compass accuracy no no no
Compass resolution no no no
CONNECTIVITY
Connectivity (between devices) Bluetooth Smart Bluetooth Smart Bluetooth Smart Bluetooth Smart
Compatible with Suunto Movescount no x x x
Compatible with Suunto Movescount App no no x x
Compatible with Suunto app x x x x
Phone notifications on the watch x x x x
Compatible with online sports communities Strava, TrainingPeaks, Endomondo and more Strava, TrainingPeaks, Endomondo and more Strava, TrainingPeaks, Endomondo and more Strava, TrainingPeaks, Endomondo and more
Watch software updates from cloud x x x x
Smartphone compatibility Most common models supported, check here for detailed compatibility list Most common models supported, check here for detailed compatibility list Most common models supported, check here for detailed compatibility list Most common models supported, check here for detailed compatibility list
ACTIVITY TRACKING
Step counter x x x x
Calories burned x x x x
Activity targets Steps, Calories Steps, Calories Steps, Calories Steps, Calories
Activity history x x x x
Calorie burn rate and heart rate during daily activities x x x x
Daily minimum heartrate tracking x x x x
SLEEP TRACKING
Sleep duration Duration, average hr Duration, average hr, sleep quality Duration, average hr Duration, average hr
Bed times x x x x
Time awake x x x x
Sleep quality x x no no
GPS TRACKING & NAVIGATION
Satellite systems Connected GPS GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS GPS GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS
Inteligent battery modes no Performance, Endurance, Custom no Performance, Endurance, Ultra, Custom
GPS recording rate 1 sec BEST, GOOD BEST, GOOD, OK BEST, GOOD, OK
Waypoint and visual route navigation no x x x
Zoom levels in navigation no x x x
Auto zoom based on route shape no x x x
Breadcrumb trail in real time no x x x
Route planning with altitude profile no x x x
Outdoor maps by satellite, terrain and topography in web by Mapbox, Google Maps & Android no x x x
Heatmaps to browse and show on Moves no x x x
Route planning with heatmaps no x x x
Personal route library synced to watch no x x x
Point of interest (POI) navigation no x x x
ETA (estimated time of arrival) no x x x
GPS track analysis in Suunto app with connected GPS x x x
Track logging, viewing and sharing in Suunto app with connected GPS x x x
ALTIMETER
Barometric altitude no no no Baro model only
GPS altitude no x x x
Combined GPS and barometric altitude (FusedAlti™) no no no x
Altitude in daily mode no no no Baro model only
Total ascent/descent no in exercise in exercise in exercise
Vertical speed no in exercise in exercise in exercise
Automatic alti/baro profile no no no Baro model only
Log recording rate no 1 s 1 s 1 s
Resolution no 1 m 1 m 1 m
Range no -500 – 9999 m -500 – 9999 m -500 – 9999 m
WEATHER
Sunrise/sunset times from mobile GPS location via Suunto app x x x
Storm alarm no no no no
Sea level pressure no no no no
Automatic alti/baro profile no no no no
Temperature no no no no
Temperature display range no no no no
Temperature resolution no no no no
Pressure resolution no no no no
Move altitude graph in Move summary no x x x
INTERVAL TRAINING
Setup intervals in watch x x x x
Interval guidance during training x x x x
HEART RATE
Heartrate measured from wrist x x x x
Heartrate belt compatibility Bluetooth Smart belts Bluetooth Smart belts Bluetooth Smart belts Bluetooth Smart belts
RR interval with Suunto Smart Sensor with Suunto Smart Sensor with Suunto Smart Sensor with Suunto Smart Sensor
Heart rate in beats per minute x x x x
Records heart rate in swimming with Suunto Smart Sensor with Suunto Smart Sensor with Suunto Smart Sensor with Suunto Smart Sensor
Heart rate graph in real time x x x x
Real-time average heart rate x x x x
Calories x x x x
Peak Training Effect no x x x
Recovery time no x x x
Personal heart rate zones x x x x
Fitness level (VO2Max) x x no no
SPEED AND DISTANCE
Cadence based speed and distance x x x x
GPS speed and distance with connected GPS from Suunto app x x x
Chrono x x x x
Foot POD support Bluetooth Smart Bluetooth Smart Bluetooth Smart Bluetooth Smart
Autolaps x x x x
Manual laps x x x x
Analysis of pace, speed graphs and tracks on the map x x x x
TRAINING RECOVERY
Training based recovery time x x x x
Recovery time daily view in watch no x x x
Feeling stored in watch after training x x x x
TRAINING LOAD
Logbook with Move details x x x x
Move summary with lap details x x x x
Training load with totals by sport no x x x
Training logbook for long term overviews x x x x
SHARE AND RELIVE
Move sharing to social media x x x x
Move rating and commenting x x x x
Follow other members and get feedback via activity stream x x x x
SWIMMING
Pool swim pace and distance x x x x
Openwater swim distance no x x x
Records heart rate in swimming with Suunto Smart Sensor with Suunto Smart Sensor with Suunto Smart Sensor with Suunto Smart Sensor
Swimming time by pool length, lap, total x x x x
Swimming stroke rate, count and type x x x x
Stroke efficiency (SWOLF) x x x x
Automatic intervals x x x x
Interval laptable x x x x
CYCLING
Cycling speed with connected GPS from Suunto app x x x
Average speed in real time no x x x
Bike POD with speed/cadence support Bluetooth Smart Bluetooth Smart Bluetooth Smart Bluetooth Smart
Bike power meter support no Bluetooth Smart Bluetooth Smart Bluetooth Smart
Bike Power (W), average and maximum (with power sensor) no Bluetooth Smart Bluetooth Smart Bluetooth Smart
Bike Lap and Lap Maximum Power (with power sensor) no x x x
Real-time lap table with avg HR, avg power and avg speed no x x x
Interval guidance with power/speed/heartrate no on watch on watch on watch
RUNNING
Running pace no x x x
Suunto FusedSpeed™ x x x x
Running power with Stryd sensor no x x x
Foot POD calibration automatic automatic automatic automatic
Lap comparisons x x x x
Average, max, lap pace in real time no x x x
Interval guidance with running pace/heartrate/distance on watch on watch on watch on watch
MULTISPORT
Change sport mode during exercise x x x x
Preconfigured multisport modes no x x x
Post-analysis of multisport exercise by sport no x x x
Multisport exercise summary on watch no x x x
SPORT MODES
Customizable sport modes and displays no x x x
Graph displays in sport modes heartrate heartrate, speed and altitude heartrate, speed and altitude heartrate, speed and altitude
Measurement parameters available on watch no >  50 values >  50 values >  50 values
Numeric displays in sport modes no 1-7 fields, lap table view 1-7 fields, lap table view 1-7 fields, lap table view
Pre-installed sport modes on watch 70 > 80 > 80 > 80
SUITABLE FOR PORTS Running Running Running Running
Running Trail running Trail running Trail running
Pool swimming Treadmill running Treadmill running Treadmill running
Walking Pool swimming Pool swimming Pool swimming
Weight training Openwater swimming Openwater swimming Openwater swimming
Circuit training Walking Walking Walking
Crossfit Triathlon Triathlon Triathlon
Cycling Orioenteering Orioenteering Orioenteering
Indoor cycling Mountaineering Mountaineering Mountaineering
Ski Touring Ski Touring Ski Touring
Alpine skiing Alpine skiing Alpine skiing
Snowboarding Snowboarding Snowboarding
Telemark skiing Telemark skiing Telemark skiing
Weight training Weight training Weight training
Circuit training Circuit training Circuit training
Crossfit Crossfit Crossfit
Cycling Cycling Cycling
Indoor cycling Indoor cycling Indoor cycling
Mountain biking Mountain biking Mountain biking
Hiking Hiking Hiking
Trekking Trekking Trekking

 

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)

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

Support this site with purchases at these partners - should click to a local choice in your country

29 thoughts on “Suunto 5 Preview

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

    • yes it’s the same format as the ambit 3 (and then the SST).
      the ambit3 remains one of the best for gps accuracy. so it clearly is more than just antennae design.

  2. -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.

  3. 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.

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

    • 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

      • 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?

        • I’m not too sure how many reviewers will properly test out the adaptive training plans. It takes too much time and requires too much focus away from other tests and, inmy case, my training.
          I looked at adaptive training for about a year for another venture , so I know a bit more about it than i let on.
          I looked at the adaptive trainign for the Suunto 3 Fitness (same) and that looked like it should work well.
          Garmin’s is not really fully adaptive .
          it depends on your ability level and sports you want to train with.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *