Suunto 5 takes the GPS Accuracy Crown but…

Suunto 5 Review appI’ve just finished scoring today’s test run with the Polar Ignite and the Suunto 5. The Suunto 5 briefly, just briefly, took the accuracy crown away from the Ambit 3.

HEADS UP: Suunto 5 Review

I’ll cover the IGNITE first…it’s easier: I like the Polar Ignite as an overall package aimed at being a  “fitness offering” but today’s GPS test results were not good. I’ll have to add a positive and say that its oHR DOES seems good. I’ll say no more and return to the more interesting news.

>> Test Methodology + spreadsheet results for all watches HERE <<


Test Route

Back in August 2017, I had the AMBIT 3Run turn in a very impressive 85% in my test. Since then, apart from the Coros Apex 46mm, it’s only really been some Suunto devices that have come close to taking the accuracy crown away by delivering scores of over 80%. Putting it into perspective, the highest ever Garmins are the Fenix 3, Fenix 5s Plus and Forerunner 935 all at 79%.


Yet today the Suunto 5 DID score 85%. However, its GPS track is not ‘pretty’. I don’t take prettiness as an objective criterion but the track just doesn’t look right and jumps up and down every second; albeit jumping up and down very close to where I really was at the time. I’m guessing that the jumpiness then led to a relatively bad over-reporting of distance by more than 200m (or >1% over 10 miles). In itself, that over-reporting of distance is unusual and normally means that I will see a bad score.

So I looked closer.

Even when reviewing the track I think I was ‘balanced’ the first time around. However, I think the lack of prettiness means that I need to be harsh and stern in a grumpy-kind-of-way. So a few marks were docked and a final result of 81% ensued. That’s still good and it’s based on GPS-only.

Just ONE of many examples of the Suunto 5’s jumpiness (red)

Instant Pace: I was running with STRYD, so the pace was accurate and stable because of STRYD.

Final Thoughts: This is a tricky one. I think Suunto need to be a bit cleverer here and take a leaf out of Apple’s book. If they cheat and add in a bit of smoothing probably based on the simple GPS points rather than taking into account accelerometer movements then the track will look super-sweet. I’m not sure that will help the over distance inaccuracy though.

I’ve also revisited my results from last month and I can’t see the same level of jumpiness there (there had been SOME jumpiness). I also double-checked at GPS-only WAS used. So this is also a little confusing.

I guess I could re-do this with GLONASS and then GALILEO. But it all takes a lot of time and my life is only so long. In any case, GALILEO will probably need a few more months (as we have seen with Garmin)



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10 thoughts on “Suunto 5 takes the GPS Accuracy Crown but…

  1. I’m having somewhat of a hard time with the Suunto 9 and GPS+GALILEO. It’s hit or miss.

    If the sky is clear and the stars align (no pun intended) so I get a good satellite lock, it can be accurate to 99% of the distance I planned with the route builder! Yes, the traces could be smoothed for a better look and they usually look “jiggly” as you pointed out.

    But, more often than not, it takes minutes to get a lock or I don’t even get a good one and then it’s way less accurate than my old Garmin 630.

    Thanks for the post.

    1. you need to sync firsat to get a-gps updated.
      once updated it shoud be good for a few weeks 9thats how it works for everyone)

      if it is still not behaving properly THEN talk to Suunto customer support as ther may be something wrong

  2. I have an ignite inbound as I type this and will be alternating between it and the Vantage V Titan that is replacing my returned FR945. I’m going all-in with Polar after years with Garmin. I figure using the Ignite for the inside activities (Lifting, HIIT, Circuit, Cardio, etc…) and all-day tracking while shifting to the Titan V for the external things (running, cycling). Once Polar pushes out the October update I might shift it the other way around.

    It’s a shame they aren’t going to bring Fitspark over to the Vantage V line though, it sounds promising and honestly can’t hurt the user experience to do so. I know Polar’s reason for not doing it, doesn’t mean I agree.

    As for the GPS, well, I hope in my neck of the woods it’s not all that bad, but I run with Stryd so, yea.

    1. like any watch the pretty post-run track frm the IGNITE will suffice.
      seriously tho it’s not great. polar will almost certainly improve it in a short time frame. they certianly know about the gps performance (i shared with the product manager).

      1. Good to know. Like I said though, probably using the ignite for everything BUT outside stuff and V for outside. Just waiting on my refund for the 945 to grab one.

      2. one thing i’ve not nailed down yet is that when you have a V and an Ignite on the same login/account then it might enable extra metrics that you otherwise wouldn’t get with the ibite only.

      3. Yes, you unlock features in Flow by linking devices to it, with any linked device having access to, and contributing to those features as a result. No matter what device I record a workout with (Vantage, M430, Polar Beat, manually added, shared by RunGap et cet.) contributes to Cardio Load Pro for instance (even retrospectively). Or take Muscle Load, a metric I unlocked with my V, is now added to M430 recorded files as well. Features like Recovery Pro or FitSpark on the other hand are watch-bound though, and don’t show up in Flow. Which means you are limited to those on supported devices.

      4. that sounds correct (for anyone who is reading this!). Polar also state that duplicates from multiple devices are double-counted and should be deleted.

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