new Suunto Firmware Major Release
Suunto has today issued several major firmware releases across all of its current GPS watch range as well as consolidating and adding to some recent announcements and features released in the Suunto app.
It’s a fairly big day for existing Suunto users today
Many of you, like me, expected the announcement of a Suunto 9 Gen 2. Clearly, that’s not happened today and, in one way, that is a good move by Suunto who want to stress their keenness to invest in the improvement of the existing products you’ve already bought.
Note: You will have the updates on 7/8-Sep
Suunto start marketing this next week
This is a complicated-to-explain release as there are several new features which apply to some watches but not to others, there are even different features applicable to the Suunto 9 and the Suunto 9 BARO. And there are new features that also apply to the Suunto app – today is an EVERYTHING-UPDATE day. Furthermore, the new features cover all of these; watch faces, partner connectivity, climbing/ascending, looping/lapping, sprinting and safety. In other media outlets, you will eventually also be reading about some ‘new’ route creation features, MyRadar abilities and some new connections…these were all ‘live’ at least a month ago!! and I covered them at the time in the following, short post.
Read the following post for ‘new’ features released over the last few weeks and others that you may not have been aware of, like live weather maps via MyRadar.
I’ll cover the new features one at a time, saying which models they apply to
Outdoor Watch Face
I like these. There is a new outdoor watch face in a multi-dial format. It looks nice as well as presenting some key info sweetly.
All the Suunto models (9 Baro, 9, 5, 3) get the Sunrise-to-sunset dial with steps. The Suunto 9 BARO gets Air pressure and Altitude.
How it works: Generally speaking, you just tap the screen to toggle between the different nuances of the watch face.
It’s just the Suunto 9 Baro that gets the weather screen which you add to your workout as a Suunto Plus ‘app’, the weather screen is nice and allows you to follow temperature, humidity and air pressure as you work out, with the air pressure shown here as a chart over time.
However, don’t forget that the Suunto 7 has compatibility with many Wear OS weather apps and Suunto are keen to promote their hookup with MyRadar which is pretty cool from my experience and also awesomely shows you incoming weather systems
There are several navigational features added and the easiest one to describe is the Suunto 9’s which lets you navigate toward a locked bearing – you specify remaining distance and direction and the arrow tells you which heading to take.
Different navigational features come to the Suunto 7 which gets offline route navigation in the Suunto Wear OS app and syncing of routes from the Suunto Android app to the watch. This was probably introduced as a battery saving feature that avoided the Suunto 7 continuously talking to your phone; putting that to one side the navigation on the Suunto 7 was already a good visual experience including, for example, sport-specific heat maps.
Finally, the Suunto App gets several boosts for its navigation competencies including the already-announced personal heatmaps, Popular Routes & Popular Starting Points. Add to that route sync from new partners like Ordnance Survey’s LAND and the Wikiloc app and you have some interesting route curation possibilities.
The Suunto 7 runs Wear OS and that is always battery hungry so Suunto has introduced some new battery-saving features here namely a low-powered, always-on sport display and a GPS mode that leverages the FusedTrack algorithms developed for Suunto’s top-end models a couple of years ago.
Next up is the SAFETY mode that comes to the Suunto 9 and Suunto 5 models. This screen puts your current location in context with the start point. This could be used as a ‘come and get me’ reference for a friend or the emergency services, it would be cool to add What3Words support here at some point.
Where to find: added as a Suunto Plus ‘app’/dynamic screen when you start a MOVE.
I’m glad that Suunto has gone down the next route by introducing what are effectively contextual laps. So we have: ‘SPRINT’ which creates laps based on your auto-identified efforts as your workout; ‘LOOP’ which creates laps based on location; and we have ‘CLIMB’ which gives stats for hill climbs be you mountaineering or doing hill reps. These essentially automate new forms of laps where you would previously have had to have pressed LAP manually. That sounds slightly dismissive but I don’t mean it to be, these are cool features.
You add ANY SINGLE ONE of these as a Suunto Plus ‘app’ just before you start the workout.
Climb – Hill training
The CLIMB ‘app’ works for extended or repeated climbing activities. So, as two examples, this covers a runner performing fast hill reps as well as a climber trekking up a long hill. The display and recording of the climbs is automated and the trigger is a 10m continuous ascent, once that kicks in you gt to see the climb-specific metrics like ‘vertical metres’ and ‘% grade’. It might also be worth adding that you can also show Grade Adjusted Pace (Suunto call it normalized, graded pace NGP), vertical speed (m/hr) and vertical metes.
Loop – Lap timer
The definition of a ‘loop’ is somewhat nebulous, which is great as it will cover laps of a running track, repeats of a piste when skiing or bike laps of your local park. The loop is defined as the point where you manually press LAP and is then automatically triggered later by proximity to that point, I’m guessing the sensitivity is something like 5m.
The LOOPS are treated exactly like LAPS normally are, so there is a LOOP summary displayed at the end of each LOOP for 20-seconds, LOOPS are summarised at the end of your MOVE and LOOPS are shown on the Suunto app.
The Loop will automatically keep track on each loop you are doing in your training. You can keep track of how you are doing with each loop and get results from each loop. I would LOVE this feature on my Wahoo Element.
Sprint – Running pace | Cycling power
The ‘Sprint’ app identifies harder efforts during the workouts while running or cycling and further includes functionality to allow for WARMUP/COOLDOWN. A SPRINT is triggered when either pace or power increases by 25% and then this works in the same way as LOOPS to introduce the various elements of displaying and recording the sprints.
Caveat: Using GPS causes a 5-10 second delay to identify the effort both when starting and ending the effort – for shorter efforts this notably reduces the usefulness. However, with a footpod or power meter, the delay is significantly less.
I like A LOT what Suunto has done here. Some of the features interest me personally, others less so. However, I’m pretty sure that all of the features will be loved by some Suunto users in different scenarios. So these are great and significant additions to Suunto’s already good offering.
This will make existing users happier but I’m not sure it will attract any new users into the Suunto fold. Commercial realities, aside this is an AWESOME move for customer service.