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The Suunto 7 is simply the best Wear OS sport/outdoors watch…by a long chalk. However, it’s battery effectively limits you to day-long adventures. Don’t dismiss it though, you can do some very demanding one-day adventures and stick it on charge in the evening.
I’ve covered much of the ‘new’ stuff over the last few weeks but here it is again as it should now be fully rolled out to all Suunto 7 owners:
- FusedTrack is a longstanding Suunto feature on its other watches, it’s cool – Lower the battery mode to ‘Good’ and the Suunto 7 takes a GPS reading every 10 seconds and fills in the GPS-track gaps with estimates from the gyroscope, compass and accelerometer. The resulting track is ‘alright’, especially when walking at low-speed, and you can expect a ballpark 20% increase in battery life from using FusedTrack.
- | Always-on display | Always-on Maps | Set brightness to 11 | – Beautiful displays eat battery for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But sometimes we just want the screen always-on and to hell with the consequences. Suunto has leveraged a lower power processor in the underlying chipset to make ‘always-on’ much friendlier even during workouts. Sure, a bit more power is used compared to the blank screen of old but the savings compared to a normal ‘always-on-sport’ screen seems very good. However, what Suunto giveth with one hand, they taketh away with the other, in this case, the ‘other’ is an always-on map screen option. My understanding is that this uses the regular higher-consuming battery mode. Do you still have some of that battery left? Not to worry there’s also a ‘Sunlight Boosting Mode‘ which will use up even more juice as you crank the volume knob up to 11/10 (yes brightness really does go that high), at least this will permanently put to bed any complaints of poor readability in bright sunlight 😉
- Offline Route Sync – There are plans to get routes to download automatically from routing partners. Suunto showed slides for WikiLoc, OS Land and OpenRunner so I can only assume they will sync routes to the app/watch soon. Furthermore, there are already connections to 3rd party platforms available in the Suunto app, for example to STRAVA, MayMyRun and yet others. So Suunto MAY have even grander designs to implement a broad route-sourcing platform in the future. On the Suunto app right NOW, you can create routes and import GPX routes then when you tell the app to sync them to the Suunto 7, the appropriate map tiles are also copied across to the watch along with the breadcrumb trail. By using these offline maps there will be further speed and battery-saving benefits.
- Integrations – there’s a whole host of integrations/connections that no-one has ever talked much about. Some of these are cool, like with Klimat. I covered how Klimat worked with STRAVA months ago and works the same way with the Suunto app by appending weather conditions to your completed Move/Workout. I think the premium version puts both starting and ending weather conditions for the longer workouts.
This update seems to be more wide-reaching than just the Suunto Wear OS app. It seems to build on improvements to the latest release of Wear OS operating system which Google has rolled out at the same time. These give further battery saving improvements when in normal use ie when not using the Suunto Wear OS app and include
- Deep sleep mode – activated when not worn for 30 minutes
- Smart-resume apps – start off where you left off to save the battery from restarting apps
- Low-power battery saver mode – activated when the watch is in a low power state
Remember: The Suunto 7 is not aimed at super-serious outdoor extremists. One-day hikers…sure, you can buy one.
Releases which talk about battery-savings always keep bringing the discussions back to the inability of Wear OS/Apple Watch type watches to handle multi-day trip scenarios rather than focussing marketing minds on some of the awesome stuff that the Suunto 7 can perform. The Suunto 7 is a well-made ‘shell’ to Wear OS, certainly one of the best, and the Suunto app is the best sports Wear OS app. It’s just that Wear OS isn’t the best OS, even though I like it.
So then we inevitably go on to muse about future techy things like the next generation of SnapDragon WearOS chips and the next technical release of Wear OS – neither of which will solve the battery problem for multi-day adventurers by the way. I would have rather talked about seeing my STRAVA Routes syncing straight through to my Suunto 7, that would solve a problem that many of us have. That would have been a nice story.
Detailed Suunto 7 Review
Worth a Look: EnduranceSport.TV (they have NOT paid for this link, I used their image of Jon Albon and felt obliged to include it)