new Suunto Features, new Suunto 9 Baro Titanium
First up today is the new Suunto 9 Baro Titanium (S9Bt). This is nothing too exciting other than a new shell material (bezel) for a slightly re-shaped Suunto 9 Baro and, you’ve guessed it, that material is super-tough Titanium.
The S9Bt is now available from suunto.com and you can see from the Suunto site that this product continues one of the company’s tactics of offering a good degree of aesthetic customizability on the watch so you can choose the materials for the case, bezel, (glass), strap, buttons and buckle. It’s one way to justify a slightly higher margin and the £539 price tag ($/Eu600ish).
However, also coming with the S9Bt are some new features that are also now on your existing Suunto 9 / 9 Baro plus other models down to the Spartans
New Features – battery mode, TBT, Vertical speed, POI creation/navigation via app
- New ‘Tour’ battery mode with up to 7 days of continuous GPS tracking
- Turn-by-turn alerts powered by Komoot. Plan your route on Komoot’s desktop or mobile app and sync it to your watch. When a turn is approaching, you’ll receive an alert, so you can enjoy the scenery instead of focusing on your watch.
- Points of interest creation and navigation: Save important locations in the Suunto app or on the watch. Navigate towards those locations with your watch.
- SuuntoPlus: Red Bull X-Alps (only in Suunto 9 Baro). Red Bull X-Alps is a handy tool to keep track of your vertical speed. Nice for paragliders to see, feel and hear how fast you are climbing.
Battery: Tour Mode
Several vendors including Garmin and Polar have now added a Tour mode to their battery repertoire. Tour modes typically allow multi-day operation by disabling almost all features but periodically grab a GPS position. In Suunto’s case, this results in up to 170 hours of recording, you can see in my image above that I have an estimated 80 hours in Tour mode with a half-full battery.
These battery modes have somewhat marginal use cases and Suunto makes use of these settings to achieve it
- Low GPS accuracy
- Once hourly data logging
- Low colour display
- 10s display timeout
- WHR – disabled
- Touchscreen – disabled
- Brightness – 10%
- Haptic/Vibrations – Disabled
- Bluetooth – Disabled
Suunto Plus Feature – Red Bull X-Alps
I guess this feature is sponsored by Red Bull and is initially targeted at paragliders. In the Alps, for example at Morzine, extreme summer sports are now highly popular and include paragliding, downhill MTB riding and more besides.
The new Red Bull screen includes metrics that show vertical speed, a bit like VAM for cyclists, perhaps?
Komoot is a highly popular route creation and sharing platform. I don’t really use it too much but it certainly is a visual pleasure to use and I know many of you are fans.
If you are also a Suunto 9 Baro owner as of today, you’ll likely be an even happier fan as Kommoot and Suunto link up. IIRC, Workout sync to Komoot previously existed and now we have synchronisation the other way so that you can get your planned routes from Komoot into the Suunto app and from that onto the S9
The process was not as smooth as on some other platforms. The key thing to watch out for is that you have to specifically flag a route on the Suunto app so that it is transferred to the watch.
Komoot also adds in turn-by-turn instructions with alerts to give you a little more navigational support than simply following a breadcrumb route. That said, if you go off-route the Suunto watch does not have the map intelligence to always route you back to where you need to be (the more expensive Garmin Fenix 6 watches have onboard maps which do that).
POI Creation & Navigation
I have a feeling that Suunto devotees might like this one most of all. POI creation and navigation is not the most advanced concept in the world of GPS watches but it is one of those things that perhaps the Suunto 9 Baro should have been capable of supporting a while ago.
In the Suunto app, you create a POI by simply tapping the screen and saving it. At that point, it’s also possible to rename it and flag it so that it is sent to the watch. It doesn’t seem possible either to use a POI as a point on a route or, as in some rare cases, to include a POI in a route file where the POI is not part of the route (from memory, Hammerhead does that). That said it is possible to follow a route on the watch and then navigate away from the route to a POI that is also saved separately to the watch. Obviously, you can also use the Suunto 9 to navigate to a POI with simple directional information.
Suunto 5 Gets More too
Some love is also shared with the Suunto 5 that gets the same POI features as the S9 as well as the TBT from Komoot
Suunto 7 gets a big hug
The Suunto 7 is a totally different product compared to the rest of the line. Essentially updates rely on either Google updating Wear OS OR Suunto updating their Wear OS app which runs on the watch. The Wear OS app is totally different from the smartphone app and totally different from the software on the Suunto 3/5/9, although long-standing customers expect it to be the same…but that’s another matter entirely.
So what’s interesting here is that Suunto is still improving the 7. I would class all of next month’s pending features as high impact, in that they meet the desires of significant numbers of people. Specifically, this level of detailed physiology insight is at a market-leading level for Wear OS as is the TBT. AS well as being high impact they are non-trivial to implement and this demonstrates that Suunto is still investing in the development of the product which, in itself, gives me hope that a Gen 2 product will be released next year as the Gen 1 product was from March 2020.
Due April 2021
- Sleep (duration and stages)
- Body resources (see how sleep, daily activity and stress affect your body resources throughout the day)
- Daily heart rate (quickly check your current heart rate and follow a 24-hour heart rate graph to see how your heart rate changes throughout the day when you are active and when you rest)
- Turn-by-turn navigation alerts powered by komoot
Released January 2021
- Route direction: Highlights the route ahead, helping you to anticipate the upcoming turns and know which direction to take
- Show custom waypoint names
- At waypoint notification
Spartan might get a pat on the back
I’ve not checked this out but some of the features driven by the app might trickle back onto your old Spartan…let me know below if so. It’s NOT listed on the SPARTAN FW updates page as there is no FIRMWARE update for the SPARTAN it’s just that updates made on the app might work on the Spartan. (Ah the good old days of the Ultra and Spartan Sport sans WHR…I liked them)
This announcement was perhaps not the new Suunto watch that some of you hoped for. Nevertheless, these new features do take the platform forward and do add some sought-after features to the watch and app. It gives reassurance that Suunto is investing in its products in these uncertain times.
Source: Suunto, v2.14.12
Source: Suunto 7 sub-site
Also shown: Apple iPhone XR
Also shown: Nomad iPhone leather case