Suunto 7 – it’s here.

Suunto 7 Announced

Suunto 7The Suunto 7 is announced today.

There are ZERO genuine surprises that it is number ‘7’ in the current Suunto range, however, the BIG surprise to most of you will be that this is a WearOS watch. Most people expected the Suunto 7 to be a direct update of the Suunto Spartan Sport – essentially a cut-down Suunto 9. It’s not that…AT ALL.

This is essentially the realisation of the rumour from September 2018 where only 6% of you who responded to a poll about the identity of the mystery, new sports player in Wear OS (link to the5krunner.com)

Suunto 7 + Wear OS | Hands-on details & interface walk-through

Totally Different Inside

There are new hardware components such as the latest Qualcomm SnapDragon 3100 processor, which is supposed to be the best processor to run WearOS with right now. But the biggest difference is that Suunto’s proprietary firmware has been replaced with Google’s off-the-shelf software offering.

Suunto 7This has MASSIVE positive implications for what Suunto is now able to offer. Almost overnight, Suunto has an app store full of thousands of apps as well as swathes of advanced, built-in functionality such as Google Pay (G Pay). That’s definitely great for their future especially when you consider that there is a reasonable chance that Google’ acquisition of Fitbit will also force the transition of Fitbit products to the WearOS platform as well.

Finally, the Apple Watch people might start to nervously look over their shoulders.

Maybe Garmin hasn’t been looking back over their shoulder and, instead, has been looking forwards and they might also be planning a Wear OS watch? Remember we speculated on this a year ago too here: link to the5krunner.com.

Suunto 7 – Some Very Pretty Pictures

From my experience with other AMOLED screens running WearOS, these screens really will be representative of the new great-looking screens on the Suunto 7.

 

Here are some quick pictures I took, they’re not so good but everythings seems to work well for the first few uses.

Suunto 7 – Some thoughts

Based on information from Suunto and the images above, here are some initial thoughts.

  • Notice that the ‘Start Sports’ screen has a similar look to Suunto’s existing means of starting a sport in the Suunto 3/5/9 models.
  • Similarly, the in-sport screen is highly similar to the corresponding screens on the current Suunto watches. There is an app which starts the ‘copy’ of the existing Suunto functionality
  • Music – Spotify and Google Play will be supported from Day 1. As will any other music/podcast provider who supports Wear OS.
  • Google Pay uses the inbuilt NFC chip for instant payments. I now use watches to buy stuff every week, it’s the way to go. I believe that G-Pay is able to load up MANY MORE credit cards providers than are supported by Garmin Pay and I’ll tentatively say that I THINK G Pay can also support PayPal (edit..it can’t unless you have a PayPal credit card πŸ™ but I have loaded up multiple cards)
  • Don’t forget Wear OS watches can also work alongside iOS smartphones. You can finally ditch your Apple Watch too πŸ˜‰ Maybe.
  • Offline outdoor maps are supported by 15 sports modes. ie you won’t need a smartphone with you.
  • Suunto heatmaps are also available offline. The heatmap tile/watch face is COOL beyond belief.
  • It’s a rugged device that also supports 50m waterproofing.
  • Google FIT integration is also provided for linking and syncing health and fitness data elsewhere. PITA to download your FIT file but possible.
  • Google Assistant support is also offered via a built-in microphone. “OK Google, navigate to HOME” will give you routable guidance home.
  • There’s even a STRYD-supporting app for Wear OS to keep me happy. But this Wear OS watch, plus others that have come before, might start to make 3rd party sports sensor suppliers (like STRYD) want to support the Wear OS platform directly (eg STRYD and Humon already support Watch OS directly on the Apple platform). We’ll need to check if 3rd party sensors are supported by 3rd party apps as, initially at least, it looks like the Suunto WearOS app does not support 3rd party sensors itself. EDIT: 3rd party apps DEFINITELY support external sensors, I’ve got STRYD and a Polar H9 working.
  • Edit: so far I really like it. Best Wear OS watch for sports so far would be a tentative announcement with the inevitable caveats about sensor performance…hitch up a Polar H9 and STRYD and you have a piece of awesome smart sports tech.

Suunto 7 – Problems

Suunto 7One of the problems I’ve found with Wear OS-based sports watches is their reliance on the touchscreen. Hopefully, 4 buttons should be enough from Suunto to counter that one πŸ˜‰

Battery life too has been a problem with previous WearOS sports watches. Despite claiming > 1-day battery lives, earlier Wear OS watches that I’ve used soon SIGNIFICANTLY lower that life once the GPS and SCREEN are fully cranked up. Suunto is claiming “Up to 12 hours in (continuous) GPS tracking mode or up to 48 hours in daily use.” I’m sure that the reality Suunto 7 owners experience will be less than that HOWEVER Suunto’s claims are greater than, for example, Casio’s claims of 1.5 days with the WSD-F30. So I’m hoping that Suunto 7 WILL deliver market-leading battery life for a Wear OS sports watch that can easily support a full and proper sporty day.

Suunto is implementing new algorithms for both oHR via a new sensor (NOT VALENCELL, PixArt or LifeQ) and GPS (Qualcomm). I’m hoping this is a good longer-term move but I’m not sure that both will be nailed at launch. The proof will be in the testing.

Suunto 7 – Thoughts

This is very exciting tech news. But is it good news for Suunto’s future?

Priced at rrp in the US of $479, it’s coming in a little on the high side.

I can already hear lots of you shouting about battery life. Fair enough. I would counter that and say that the Suunto 7’s claimed battery life is on par with, or may even turn out better than, the Apple Watch in real-world scenarios. FYI: The Apple Watch is the best-selling smartwatch (wearable)…ever. So there REALLY IS a market for this sort of thing! It’s that you might not be in that target market πŸ˜‰

One of the other elephants-in-the-room is the software platform that Suunto deliver. As well as migrating from Movesount to the Suunto app, we are now seeing Suunto throw Wear OS into the mix. So I’m not entirely sure to what extent Wear OS will be separate to the Suunto app or if the functionality will be fully integrated within your watch’s Suunto app.

It’s also obvious that Wear OS cannot ever be the one single future for Suunto. Wear OS will never be able to deliver the multi-day battery from the likes of the Suunto 9 Baro.

Whilst I have said that Wear OS comes off-the-shelf, it’s obviously more complex than that. The Casio WSD-F30 I had recently seemed to want to reboot itself from time-to-time (then again, apparently it wasn’t using a SnapDragon processor). So Suunto needs to nail the hardware/software integration from Day 1.

I’ve been a fan of Wear OS for a couple of years. Not necessarily as a pure sports platform, it’s not that. But it can be a smart sports platform for the masses. Things hadn’t looked too good for Wear OS over the last year as not too many exciting new devices came out. So the Fitbit acquisition and this announcement have cheered me up. FWIW: I WOULD STILL *BET*Β  that Wear OS will be around longer than Garmin’s Connect IQ…

Suunto 7 looks good and the screen will look good. That’s simply what a lot of people want. If Suunto puts a rich sports offering onto that, then I reckon they could be on to a winner here in the ‘mass fitness/sports watch market’

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31 thoughts on “Suunto 7 – it’s here.

  1. hmm, the entire β€˜ok google’ ecosystem is a huge turnoff and cheapens the brand for me. none of this is what i’m looking for in a suunto and i hope it doesn’t carry over to the updated versions for the 9. not for me i guess.

      • The point is that many people do *not* want to get “ok google” into their homes. Not because it’s not useful. But because your handing all your life data to Google (and the government). With Google, *you* and your data are the product. Google is at the hearth a data-collection company.

        The same is not true for Apple/Siri. With Apple, you pay a premium on the product, but your data belongs to you, and in many cases your data even stays on the device and is processed on-device instead of being sent (and stored) to any (US) cloud.

    • Ditto. Google owns enough of my life already, handing them biometric data as well is a bridge too far for me. I love the bright display and maps would be rather cool, but not at the price of going the Wear OS route…

        • “you can normally turn off sharing those things these days.”

          That’s an overly naive view. Over the last few years, there’s been enough leaks and discoveries in the news that clearly show that turning some knobs to “off” does/did in many cases not stop much of the data collection.

          It’s a shame you gave up. There are alternatives: Apple has become quite a strong advocate of data protection and they reflect that in their data protection policies.
          Also as an influencer, you have the opportunity of at the very least making people *aware* of the huge data gathering of some of the companies. You don’t have to say that it’s good or bad, but make sure that people understand what’s going on and can use that information to make an informed buying decision.

          I believe Suunto is a pretty much fully Finnish company so the switch from their native OS (and keeping data in Europe/EU) to Google (everything goes to the US) is quite significant.

          • I think most people who read this type of blog are aware of the data gathering.

            I am more than happy for people to raise their concerns here in the way you have for the benefit of others.

            PS Just moved to apple as it happens, I was annoyed I had to enable data sharing everywhere. I’d just rather opt out in the few cases where I want to do that. That’s just me tho. We are all different

            PPS Suunto were sold: https://the5krunner.com/2018/12/09/amer-sports-suunto-sold-almost/

        • Don’t have a “Reply” button to your other post for some reason.

          Thanks for the link, too bad to hear Suunto was sold, and now belongs to a consortium, which also includes the Chinese…

          In so many cases, I would love to support and buy from a European business, but it is impossible so often πŸ™ Really sad.

          • REPLY BUTTON: yes the comments management is a nightmare. ihad a great system that allowed you to post images and edit comments for 15 minutes…but it ground my site to a halt.
            yes i share similar personal sentiments about buying ‘locally’
            I suspect the new external investment will be good for the Suunto brand at least in the short term ie it will get new product investment.

  2. WearOS watch with 4 buttons is a step in the right direction. Now if only Suunto can make one with a transflective screen.

  3. My initial thought was, that Suunto took the easy way out of a situation, where Garmin is running so far ahead. But they entered a whole new market which adds a whole ne challenge to the bunch. While I do understand the motivation, I was hoping for a similar big step, but within their own ecosystem. Strangely what puts me off the most is that Suunto’s recent releases are all based on the same old watch designes. I would expect a different look for the S7, rather than just a recycled casing with a new screen and hazel. But anyhow, let’s see how it turns out in the end… But without always on display and <6 days battery, I not intrigued to spend my money…

    • i mean, yes I agree with the sentiment.
      however to change their own ecosystem must be highly time consuming
      this is a quick way to an admittedly, sor of, new market.
      Remember the Suunto 3 Fitness, that was a new take as well

  4. Hmmm
    – 1 day of battery…(!)…?
    – Size is still very big with Ø50 x 15,3 mm thickness.

    Although good looking definitely not a watch for me (with a F6 titanium).

  5. Battery life would be OK if they made the display always-on like latest Apple Watch. Claimed 48 hours is wit max. battery saving options (default) so one step behind.

    No external HR for Suunto Wear app? https://www.suunto.com/Support/Product-support/suunto_7/suunto_7/heart-rate/follow-your-heart-rate-with-suunto-7/ It seems Suunto Wear app supports only oHR. Most likely it won’t support other sensors as well. So if one wants to record power or HR from external sensor, another app has to be running and recording. This is a mess… for athlete. It’s fine for other consumer groups, I guess.

    • yes i need to get to the bottom of that.
      the suunto Wear OS APP may well not support a strap but Wear OS, as far as I know, certainly does support it. So some of the other Wear OS apps might just work with the external HR strap
      Perversely, my general understnading is that using an external sensor will LOWER battery life due the the power requirements of BLE over the internal power requirements of the LifeQ HR sensor (oh that’s new as well, I need to add that)

          • there’s a new-new Qualcomm chip coming out ‘soon’ (links above). yes, this chip used by Suunto is ‘recent’ rather than ‘new’ to the market.
            but there was not the uptake of this Qualcomm chip that I expected. tho having said that, IIRC, it wasn’t massively better than the previous one.

      • I really like the idea of this watch, it’s the lifestyle watch I’ve been looking for. But I’ve tried to pair my sports tracking down to 1 device, and the lack of support for external sensors is a turn-off. As a WearOS fan, what apps do you know of that can support external sensors (I’m particularly interested in power/HRM)

  6. I like the look of it, but, yes, I do fear for the battery life if you’re running with display, GPS, HR and music all firing that’s going to be interesting what they can squeeze out in terms of life. I’d be interested to know what they plan to sell this for, as there is a lot of competition and if they don’t get it right they will be toast. They need to build their user base away from their traditional market.

    Also, stopping jumping back and forth between model numbers πŸ™‚

      • How much? Think I’ll get the MI Watch. Similar hardware specs but half the price. Add the sportygo app and it’s good to go with stryd

          • Sorry I was being sarcastic about the Suunto price. My wife, mother-in-law and I have owned three generations of Xiaomi phones now. All have been trouble free, no freezes, unexplained reboots, no nothing.

            The Mi Watch is still reliant on the 3100 but should see the day out as it has a 570mah battery. My fossil sport needs changing twice a day if I dare do a workout with it. That’s with the screen off, WiFi off, NFC off, suddenly it’s not so smart after all. Glad I didn’t pay more than Β£100 for it. Low and behold the new puma is the same damn thing only Β£250 ouch!!!

            Mi Watch and FR655 likely acquisitions this year. Keep up the good work.

          • definitely no sarcasm allowed here
            err, wait a minute πŸ˜‰

            how many watches are you up to now Robert? Have you seen anyone about this? please share the details πŸ˜‰

            interesting about the fossil sport. i was close to pressing the BUY button myself but then heard things similar to what you say about the battery life. I would not have been happy about that.

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