the Suunto Race Review – with AMOLED? Tick ✔️

Suunto RACE ReviewSuunto Race Review

The 2023 Suunto Race is the best Suunto sports watch and the best value AMOLED sports watch from any company here’s a detailed review of it, warts and all, starting with a summary. Actually, there aren’t that many warts.

I love its looks and the many subtle changes to its screens, menus and case. The wholly new AMOLED screen keeps  Suunto on par with Polar and keeps Garmin firmly in its sights…at least from a hardware point of view. It’s just a beautifully made sports watch that looks fantastic and works excellently with the addition of the new digital crown. Battery life is bonkers long for an AMOLED screen and the mapping is a great addition having been proven on Suunto’s outdoor model – Suunto Vertical. The straps, the button, the crown, the touchscreen…it’s all good. And I mean ALL is good, even the price is extremely competitive.

Every silver lining has a cloud though. This time around it’s a very small cloud. I’m struggling to pick fault other than to pick fault for fault’s sake. There are a few minor annoyances that I’ll touch on as we go through the review but the Suunto Race is good to get now.

Launch Price: €449/£389/$449 (Black)

€549/£479/$549 (Titanium)

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ A supremely competent training and racing watch - with AMOLED
  • Price - 85%
  • Apparent Accuracy - 85%
  • Build Quality & Design - 95%
  • Features, Including App - 95%
  • Openness & Compatability - 85%


Suunto RACE running

Suunto Race Review – Summary

As the company’s top performance watch, the Suunto Race disappoints me only in that there isn’t a richness of flexible watch faces to fully take advantage of the excellent new AMOLED screen. That’s a relatively trivial criticism. It’s an accurate watch packed full of onboard sensors and accompanied by a great smartphone app for planning your training and routes.

Features: Any reticence to recommending Suunto Race exists because of Garmin, the industry behemoth that out-features all the competition yet Suunto’s relatively new app store has already transformed the company into a real contender when it comes to features. Apple also competes favourably with Garmin on features, albeit for different reasons. In some ways, Suunto’s approach beats Garmin as you only add the complexity you need via Suunto PLUS apps whereas having masses of features pre-loaded means that Garmin watches are complicated straight from the get-go.

Battery: The battery life is excellent for an AMOLED watch and even ignoring AMOLED, the battery life is still very good and will cover almost everyone’s battery needs and that is when using per-second GPS logging ie multi-day adventures are easily recorded. It’s 2023 and Suunto’s battery life no longer forces you to compromise on true sports features and an excellent screen – the same can’t be said of Apple Watch Ultra 2 as a sports watch.

Display: The display does have a relatively small bezel/black ring however I can’t distinguish its size from the same ring found on a Garmin Epix/Forerunner 965. Like most modern AMOLED watches, the display is easily readable in normal sunlight.

App: Then we come to the smartphone app which looks good and is good. The key facets of training and race planning have all been there for some time and Suunto has now progressed further in beefing up the features. There are many useful insights and training tools but I just can’t help but feel that now Suunto needs to better consider how and when they are presented to you. That said, Suunto’s route planning on the app is exceptional and benefits from your large smartphone screen, useful 3D visualization and usage heatmaps.

The titanium/steel constructions and 100% sapphire glass offer one of the best watch ‘shells’ possible. Anything can be scratched but Suunto’s ‘shell’ is far more likely to stay blemish-free for years than many of the alternatives. There you have it, durable and pretty…all on one wrist! Training planning is also comprehensively covered with everything from simple on-the-fly intervals to 3rd party digital plans all covered and executable on the watch.

Although it lacks the increasingly less important ANT+, multi-sensor support, it won’t match the Garmin Epix Pro in cycling sports where platforms and sensors can sometimes need many unusual connection options. Are you such a cyclist? If so, think carefully, if you are a regular cyclist…all will be good. But if you are a runner or hiker of any kind, Suunto has you covered and will support the 3rd party tech you use..even Heads-up-Display sunglasses (ActiveLook).

Suunto Race is a highly capable sports watch with improved training and now the physiology and sleep features have also been improved with HRV and sleep stages respectively.

One of the takeaways is that many people prefer Suunto’s aesthetics and just need the reassurance that Suunto Race’s features cover their sporty needs. They probably do and, like Garmin/Apple, if something is lacking there are apps to fall back on.

I like it.

Launch Price: €449/£389/$449 (Black) | €549/£479/$549 (Titanium)


  • Refined aesthetics on a comfortable 24×7 performance sports watch.
  • Many sports profiles with the usual, wide range of customisation opportunities including zones, alerts, power management profiles, many metrics per screen, many lap types, and more
  • Suunto Plus ‘apps’ and 3rd party link-ups support a wide scope of sports/navigational uses
  • All key sensors – Barometer, Altimeter, GPS, SpO2, Magnetic Compass, temperature, and optical HR/HRV.
  • Support for chest straps, power meters, cadence/speed sensors and novel sports sensors like STRYD, CORE, & ActiveLook Glasses/H.U.D.
  • On-wrist running/hiking power calculation
  • Revamped menus and widgets
  • Maps that support complex navigation in your adventures (routes, POIs, bearing nav, storm warnings)
  • 40 hours of highest-resolution, GPS-tracking; and  up to 120 hours in other modes like Tour mode
  • Battery management profiles; a full recharge in 2 hours; and 80% within an hour


  • Music control for your smartphone
  • Optical heart rate seems very sensitive to correct strap positioning
  • No contactless payments
  • The display area could be a tad larger but it’s OK.
Suunto RACE Comparison 2
AMOLED: FR965+Race, non-AMOLED: Vertical+Polar V2


Suunto RACE is the performance/race version of the Vertical watch that was released earlier this year. Compared to the Suunto Vertical,  RACE gains an AMOLED screen, gains a digital crown and loses the solar charging. That’s about it other than some nuanced differences with the battery life.

If you knew Suunto watches from 10 years ago this would perhaps be positioned as an upmarket Suunto AMBIT 3 RUN. But, other than the word ‘Suunto’ there’s little in common. Suunto has come a long way since then. Gone is the ugly antennae bulge and IN are a top-quality materials. Gone are the in-your-face colours and plastic buttons, and IN are titanium and high-resolution colour touchscreens. There are now real maps and probably just about every single feature the old Suunto’s had. Even the GPS accuracy is slightly better than in the good old days.

I’m not quite sure what I would say the direct competition is here other than the brand-new Polar Vantage V3, which is very similar overall. Coros has no direct competitor as its higher-end watches don’t have AMOLED and are more outdoors-focused like the Garmin Fenix. Even in Garmin’s extensive stable of watches what, exactly is the competitor? Maybe it’s the Forerunner 965 AMOLED but that shares the look of its plastic predecessors. Maybe it’s the Enduro 2 with its high-quality materials (but that’s a super-large size and hasn’t got an AMOLED screen). Maybe it’s Epix Pro but that’s marketed more as an adventure watch than a performance sports watch.

Suunto RACE and Polar Vantage V3 have cornered a part of the high end sports watch market for those who want a quality watch that can be worn 24×7

Key competitors – Apart from Wahoo, all have onboard maps and great-to-awesome battery life

  • Garmin – Enduro 2 (MIP Screen,) is more expensive (GBP930), more complex, has the most features, good app and a good app ecosystem. Perhaps Garmin Epix Pro (GBP829) is a closer match but that’s targetted as an adventure watch despite being able to do a very similar job but with a bulkier aesthetic. FR965 is a competitor but with Garmin’s historically bland & ‘plastic’ look (it actually has a metal bezel) but comes in at a higher pricepoint of $600.
  • Wahoo RIVAL – Has a similar customer in mind but lacks the finesse of Suunto’s construction, on-watch apps and maps.
  • Polar Vantage V3 (AMOLED, $600) – perhaps has better physiology metrics but lacks any kind of third-party app ecosystem. Good app and a decent ecosystem.
  • Apple Watch Ultra 2 – Wearing a Suunto would set you apart from the ubiquitous Apple Watch wearers. Even the Apple Watch Ultra 2 has a notably inferior battery life. Out of the box, Apple lacks very many sports features however there will be an app for what you want. The issue is curating a collection of apps only then to realise that the apps don’t work together simultaneously.
  • Coros – no direct competition (Apex 2 Pro is non-AMOLED and $500, Vertix 2 is a climb/adventure watch)

I suspect few people will switch from Garmin to this Suunto. So, the most likely buyer of a Suunto Race would be a new sports watch buyer or an existing Suunto owner looking for a significant upgrade.



Suunto RACE Comparison watch face

Suunto RACE – Some Design Details

Suunto is definitely aiming for improved usability. That’s why it’s made several changes and introduced the digital crown. In talking with the guys there, I think we all pretty much agreed that we’d rather have the looks of 3/5 buttons but that the digital crown simply gives a superior way to press and scroll through menus and maps more quickly. Indeed those menus have been redesigned and parts of the menus appear in multiple places which can be confusing but at the same time when you want an option for what you are fiddling with…there it is; there’s no need to back out and navigate off somewhere else.

Some of the button actions like long-press are customisable so, for example, you can have the bottom-right button hard-wired to bring up a map or a flashlight.

The one design detail that I really liked was where Suunto put their SUUNTO brand name on the SIDE of the bezel. How many self-obsessed companies insist on sticking their names on the watch face and in your face 24×7…yep, most of them.

Suunto RACE pretty bezel


The ridged bezel feels nice to the touch even though it doesn’t do anything…it just looks good and feels nice 😉

All that lets things down for me are micro-lags when scrolling through menus (Suunto has recently improved this and the same improvements are coming to Vertical), it’s not quite there. Almost. Certainly highly usable.

And then there are the watch faces. Suunto has too limited a range of watch faces and with restricted scope to customise the colours and complications of the ones that they do offer. There are a couple of nice ones, in my opinion, but there needs to be more. Indeed that’s one of my general criticisms of pretty much all the companies that have recently gone down the AMOLED screen route. The whole point of a beautiful screen is to show the watch off and to encourage 24×7 wearing – it’s literally making the watch part of your lifestyle which in turn can lead to significant brand loyalty. Suunto definitely has the awesome hardware to do that it just needs more awesome-looking watch faces as well.

Suunto Vertical – What’s New?

I’ll try to summarise what’s new and about to be new for the entire Suunto range for 2023 covering software and hardware (gulp!).

Suunto RACE Only – this is the truly new stuff as of today which you will only see on the Race.

  • AMOLED screen (1,000 nits brightness) and AMOLED options on the watch
  • Digital Crown and adaptations in the watch software to make that work
  • Progress
    • Running Race estimates
    • Heart rate threshold
  • Sleep Stages
  • Naps

Autumn 2023: Suunto RACE, VERTICAL and 9 PEAK Pro (only, on watch unless stated)

So there’s quite a bit of new stuff here for several watches

  • Do not disturb
  • Find My Phone
  • Media Controls
  • Multiple alarms
  • Improve watch interface speed – it’s now good
  • New interface layout with mini-widgets – much cleaner user experience, though occasionally a bit confusing
  • Widget customisation
  • Recovery stats and Suunto Coach now incorporate HRV
  • Progress with CTL, CTL ramp-up, and vo2max (mobile)
  • Rope skipping activity
  • Default app saved for sports
  • SuuntoPLUS: Gym & Strength training: Train.Red, Gym Timer Running: Backyard ultra, Peak pace Cycling: Peak power, Golf score with distance tracking,  Tennis scorekeeping, Soccer with half times, Badminton scorekeeping, Teams: Generic score counter
  • SuuntoPLUS Tools for training: & racing:  Movement intensity, HR zones Fused zones,  Race companion, Race nutrition, Train.Red (July)
  • Training summary analysis tools and training impacts are shown in workouts, the Interval Planner can be used for all sports (mobile)

Spring 2023: Suunto RACE, VERTICAL and 9 PEAK Pro (only, on mobile) – this is the older stuff from earlier in the year

  • Training widget for load/volume
    • Recovery incorporating TSB and Feeling
  • Suunto Coach
Suunto RACE SuuntoPLUS core
CORE and Train.Red are specialist sports sensors, Polar can’t pair to these, Garmin can, and Coros only pairs to Core

So that’s the visually obvious differences to the RACE over the Vertical and then all the top Suunto watches get updates to the menus, and some sleep, recovery and HRV stuff plus additions to the apps on the PLUS app store.

Suunto RACE Comparison

Deep Dive: Suunto Vertical Maps

Maps are perhaps less of a must-have feature for a performance watch but Suunto seemed to reason that its two top-end watches, Race & Vertical, should both have such a headline feature. We could perhaps assume that other, Pro-level watches in the future will also have maps.

Interaction with the maps via the new digital crown works well. Better than the buttons used by Suunto Vertical and the Garmin watch equivalents.  As you can see it’s not the most detailed of maps but shows the necessary tracks and roads with more than enough context around you.

Suunto RACE map
Map layers give a screen focus at these levels: 500m>200m>100m>500m>25m.


Here are some images from earlier in the year of maps on Suunto Vertical

The maps are not routable. This means that they are effectively a layer or picture of the terrain and any active, breadcrumb route is overlain onto the image as a layer without any understanding of junctions or other points on the map. Waypoints, contour lines and different levels of zoom are all effectively different layers. That’s OK though and perfectly normal. You do get the routing functionality on the Suunto app and, in any case, trying to enter an address into, say, a Garmin watch’s routing engine is a thankless task, best avoided.

One nice feature of the map is that you can open and keep it open without starting to log a sport.

Bearings, POIs, Pan/Zoom, compass and the ability to follow breadcrumb routes are all linked to the map functionality and there are 3 flavours of maps – normal, dark and high contrast.

Overall I’d say the watch by itself has more than enough to show on the maps to be a useful navigational tool. OK, you need to use the app for more complex route planning needs but that’s the best place lace to do those in any case with other brands.

Suunto RACE sun and moon

Deep Dive: Suunto Race Battery Life, Charging and Comparison

Suunto Vertical remains the watch to get if battery life is the be-all and end-all for you. As a sweeping generalisation, Vertical’s battery life is 50% or 100% more than Suunto Race, depending on which battery mode you look at. These 2 watches are essentially the same under the hood and so it must be the hood (screen) itself which accounts for the difference…AMOLED screens need more battery.

That said, Suunto Race has great battery lives which are superior to those you’ll find on Apple Watch ULTRA 2 but broadly in line with other AMOLED sports watches from Garmin and Polar.

All I can really do is state the impressive battery life claims which are these:

Performance Mode (4 GPS systems, dual-band)

    • 40 hours of recording [cf Vertical: 60 hours of recording or 85 hours with solar @50k Lux, Garmin Epix Pro is *20* hours]

Normal/Endurance Mode (4GPS Systems, single band)

    • 50 hours of recording [cf Vertical: 90 hours of recording or 140 hours with solar, Garmin Epix Pro is 32 hours]

Ultra Mode (4GPS Systems on/off for 0.5 seconds, single band)

    •  70 hours of recording [cf Vertical: 140 hours of recording or 280 hours with solar]

Tour Mode (logging once every 2 minutes)

    • Race 120 hours of recording [cf Vertical 500 hours of recording or 30 days with solar]

That’s similar battery life to the Suunto 9 Peak Pro and more than 9 Baro and 9 Peak

Even better than that, the new fast charging mode gets an 80% charge in an hour with a full charge taking a further hour.

Note: In testing, Suunto found a GPS-only mode offered only slight battery savings of around 2% and decided not to use it.

Using Suunto to manage training

You can subscribe to 3rd party digital training plans like those from Training Peaks or AI Endurance and then follow structured workouts on your watch.

Together the watch and app cover key aspects of training like load (ATL, CTL) and form (TSB). It also covers how your body is handling the load by looking at HRV.

Using Suunto Race In a Race

Suunto covers the common race tools like HR/Power Zones and pace alerts plus many Garmin-like features such as nutrition alerts and a forward elevation profile. It also has a selection of key features to help manage your exertions as you race.

In a more complex, technical race you can give Suunto Race knowledge of the route beforehand, thus the Race Companion can explain where you are and what you are about to encounter – be that a simple waypoint on a map or an indication that the current ‘technical section’ needs more focus by you on the route perhaps to avoid getting lost or injured.

Suunto Race Accuracy

The earlier Suunto Vertical had very accurate GPS results for me and needed HR improvement when I tested it at its release.

Suunto Race is essentially the same watch yet I would say that the heart rate has improved a bit that the GPS doesn’t seem quite as good, although the GPS accuracy is still up there with the best. The elevation tracks don’t seem right to me at all and deviate from comparators in unexpected ways, although I’ve not completed any challenging elevation tests to further verify this.

Here are the results from quite a few completed tests and I’ll update you with some more over the next few weeks. I have no long-term concerns about accuracy.

Suunto RACE – Accuracy Report

Noteworthy – Weather Widget

The widgets have all been tweaked but the Weather Widget is especially nice to look at although there’s a lot of screen real estate that could be filled. Weather info is refreshed every hour from your smartphone.

Suunto RACE weather


Noteworthy: Daily Widgets

Suunto’s daily widgets are highly similar to Garmin’s widgets. From the main watch screen, the digital crown easily scrolls through the high-level number for Training, Recovery, Progress, Sleep, Steps, Calories, Heart rate and more to come. A quick click on any of them shows more details.

Noteworthy: Suunto Sleep

Suunto has improved sleep tracking and added HRV recording at night. Sleep stages are now available both on the app and on the watch.

I suspect that no smartwatch gets sleep stages correct. However, compared to the others I use every night, Suunto consistently gives more DEEP sleep which makes me suspicious about its accuracy.

Take Out – Suunto Race Review

Suunto’s new owners have made two more great calls by adding the Suunto RACE and Suunto WING (like Shokz bone-conducting running headphones) to its product portfolio. Both these products sit in grey market areas where the competition is not so obviously defined, clear product differentiation IS possible here. Furthermore, Suunto has jumped on the right bandwagon at just about the right time…AMOLED screens and the microLED screens that will follow soon really are the way to go. Then, to make matters even better, they’ve jumped on the bandwagon in the right way by having morphed Suunto RACE into an even more usable product with the digital crown. Everyone loves a product that’s easy to use.

Battery life has always been the stumbling block for companies keen to make pretty products with beautiful screens. That no longer seems to be the case as many vendors, excluding Apple, seem to have more than acceptably solved the problem with good battery life even when recording GPS every second.

Suunto RACE 22mm straps

It gets better. A few years back it became obvious that a watch-app store of some sort was needed even for an industry big-shot like Garmin. Even a company of Garmin’s size doesn’t have limitless resources or innovative abilities. There needs to be a 3rd party mechanism to get sometimes unusual and unexpected functionality onto our sports watches. Sure, Apple and Garmin go about that in a different way to each other but both achieve a similar end result that broadly satisfies the customer base. Suunto has gone down a Garmin-like route and is doing a decent job perhaps even beating Garmin by offering a highly agile app development system that gets apps working within days. Contrast that to Garmin where there is a well-documented infrastructure but it’s sometimes cumbersome requiring, for example, new ‘apps’ to effectively be tested (simulated) on every class and size of the Watch/bike computer.Suunto RACE lap history

The one strategic blunder is perhaps that this watch is aimed at wannabe to decent-level athletes and many of them will have their lives made easier by a watch that supports ANT+ as well as Bluetooth. It affects cyclists more than runners but it’s just plain annoying that sometimes you just can’t figure out why your sensor won’t pair (it’s paired to something else), and that you can’t pair more than one sensor of each type, furthermore, in the case of Suunto, the Race watch STILL doesn’t tell you the ID of the sensors that are paired. Sure you can resolve all this in most cases with a bit of patience as today’s sensors have multiple Bluetooth channels…but that resolution can sometimes be a PITA and you don’t recommend a PITA to your mates.

Finally. Finally. And this hacks me off no end. Why or Why do all these companies introduce awesome AMOLED screens and then give us awful watch faces? I used to think that people that complained about watch faces were a bit infantile but now I’m one of them…sorry. Whilst I may be infantile in thought, I have adult visual tastes and some of the watch faces by Suunto’s competitors (Garmin, Coros) are designed by children for children. C’mon grow up. Give us some decent watch faces that our boss could look at without firing us on the spot. Seriously though, in defence of Suunto, some of its watch faces are quite nice, well one in particular, but your definition of nice and mine will be different and there needs to be more choice. Then if we look at Apple’s watch faces; OK they’re often not that awe-inspiring but at least many are quite cleverly designed, often look good by any objective measure AND give app developers the ability to add clever screen complications via very tightly controlled software standards that stop the complications from crashing the watch.

Suunto RACE lap

Of course, there is always room for improvement, as is the case with any sports watch. The major feature sets are covered more than well enough by Suunto RACE.

Where next?

I’m assuming that Suunto Race sets the tone for every new product from the company for the next two years. Essentially that means lesser-featured versions in different sizes at lower price points. No doubt Suunto will do its usual trick and also offer customised versions. Fine, that must work as Suunto has done it for a long time.

For the high-end Vertical and Race models, we can expect some tidying up and plenty more apps. Perhaps we will see more Firstbeat-like physiological insights. Some of those really are key selling points in the eyes of some Garmin customers so it would make sense that there is an appeal in the Suunto owern base as well.

Overall, the Suunto Race is an excellent performance sports watch that is worth considering for both typical, existing Suunto users and wholly new adventure watch buyers. If  you’re unhappy with your Apple Watch Ultra, there should be a lot you’ll like about Suunto Race

Suunto Wing Review

Price and Availability

Suunto has nailed the price. There isn’t ANY credible competitor that also has such a high-quality case/screen and an AMOLED screen to boot.

Launch Price: €449/£389/$449 (Black) | €549/£479/$549 (Titanium)




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68 thoughts on “the Suunto Race Review – with AMOLED? Tick ✔️

  1. I think Sunto nailed the price 🙂 not Polar ( see the last section). Great review and great watch as well. My new 2nd Garmin 965 is still safe but the Sunto App in recent year is definitely better than Garmin and on pair with Polar ( which was the king but after many years of not UI evolution is no the king anymore). The lack of Ant+ is the only thing I see negative in this watch for most people with a lot of gadgets.

    1. ha, you forgot watchfaces 😉
      thank you for the kind comment about the reivew. I wasn’t 100% happy with some of the more boring bits but maybe noone gets as far as those sections anyway!
      suunto app: one advantage suunto has it that its app is more focussed on sports and there is less generally distracting gumph

  2. Optical heart rate was an issue on Suunto Vertical and if nothing has changed may still be the issue here.
    Except for this (and the lack of routable maps or the street indication even more useful), Suunto proposal can’t be ignored. However, accuracy still requires some urgent action from Suunto (and both Garmin and Apple still play in another league) and this aspect also can’t be disregarded (I returned my SV just because of this!).

    1. Early on in testing I found some HR bugs.I’ve not yet delved into yesterday’s final release firmware to check on their status. Suunto was certainly aware of them.
      ultimately this OHR sensor array simply isn’t an optimal configuration of LEDs, so it’s always going to struggle against Garmin/Apple (and of course depending on you and your use-cases). But those others struggle against heart rate straps. The bottom line is that if you want accuracy you wear a chest strap or even something like Polar OH1 during your workouts. Most of the wrist watches are of sufficient quality to do all the HRV pieces at rest.

    2. I returned my SV for the same reason (HR accuracy during the first 10′ or 15′ was horrible)

      Currently with my F7SS I am more than happy with HR accuracy

  3. Do the Race and Vertical sit identical on the wrist? From pics it looks like the race sits a little flatter. Could you confirm? My biggest gripe with vertical was how the lugs dug into the wrist bone. Only watch I’ve owned that did that. Hoping they made a slight design tweak.

    1. Thanks for your reply.
      You are right almost any device struggles vs a chest strap but some accuracy is nonetheless required. My SV sometimes was spot but other times highly inaccurate…

      1. Hmmm. If it sits lower that is actually a good thing. Might have to take the leap on this. Miss the vertical. Can you tell a difference between Vertical and Race on your wrist?

      1. My 965 is currently at garmin. I have such a long list of bugs, garmin Netherlands wanted to replace it (yes, I know. You cannot solve bugs in software by replacing hardware). But now garmin has some sort of problem which causes delays in replacing my watch.

        My 965 is really buggy and garmin doesn’t show any intent to work on software quality.

        So, now I use my old 935 again, for the time being.

      2. i have a 935 too and use it as a backup logger. often for a hrm-pro track. however it’s REALLY slow.
        what bugs tdo you find on fr965. i get the odd reboot and some other minor inconveniences that i can’t recall just now. but i think most are linked to a) me using beta software and/or b) ciq data fields.

      3. Updated of widgets cause glances to be reorganized.
        Routes are synced double.
        Using torch causes aod to be turned on.
        Calculating a simple routes takes for ever.
        After charging with my macbook, the charge screen stays on.
        During navigation the zoom mode of the map keeps getting activated when you wake the watch.

        To name a few.

  4. The most astonishing bit here is the price. And the back to made in China (like others).
    Great review.
    I cannot emphasize enough on the retrograde aspect of the mono-sensor, no name BT connection that Suunto’s still proposing. I can easily live with the lack of ANT+. But having to pair a new sensor each time I switch bike/trainer/HR belt/Verity sense is…non-sense.
    Can’t wait to get my hands on one 🙂

    1. yep, I hear you. that defintiely loses some customers.
      yep the one i have is made in china. it might be that mine and ray’s come from an early test batch that was made in china. I wont ask Suunto. They will soon jump in if the real ones are made in Finland (I expect they will be)

  5. Overall I’m very excited by this watch! I was a one time Suunto fan and user however I thought they lost their way some years ago with both their hardware and software. So I moved to COROS first with an Apex and then an Apex Pro, and then on to my current Garmin F935.

    I think the Racer at this price point could definitely tempt me back to the Suunto fold.

  6. Love the last paragraph: « Polar has nailed the price… ». I think you need to revisit that.
    Thanks for that excellent review.

  7. A Garmin watch for 3k (a price point at which you can get decent swiss-made automatic watches) and Suunto headphones. We live in intersting times indeed.

    I get that Suunto’s design are those narrow bezels (Spartan Sport, 9, 9 Peak (Pro), continued with the Vertical and now the Race) BUT with the still rather broad black edge around the screen they sure will not convince a few potential buyers. It’s 2023 and Fenix, Vertix and even Grit hide it better with broader bezel and second marks on the black edge.

    I am however highly intrigued by this one and pleasantly surprised by the pricing not being 600 to 700 euros.

    Thanks for the review and I think there is a freudian slip in the last paragraph where you say that “Polar nailed the price”. Whishfull thinking of a Polar connaisseur I’d wager.

  8. Hello, “forward elevation profile” is it something like ClimbPro from Garmin? Best GPS and navigation ON, how many hours will watch last on batery? Thank you for this review, I have Ambit 3 RUN (excelent watch btw.) and I am feeling it is time to change.

    1. there is an image above.
      it’s just the forward elevation of a planned route.
      garmin and others give special stats on each individual hill as you tackle them on your planned route (simplistic explanation)
      battery life is stated above.

      yes it’s in a different league to ambit3run

  9. Maybe I’ve misser something here, but what is hour experience with the crown when touch is disabled (can you disable it?). I do not like a watch with touch, specifically during a swim.

    1. i’ve not disabled touch
      i dont especially like touchscreens either.
      i’ve encountered zero issues regarding accidental touch, if that is what you were getting at.
      to the point where i forgot it had a touch screen!!

  10. This has no bearing on the watch or features or performance but I will post anyway. My main issue is the band width. They keep making bigger watches on skinny bands. I maybe nitpicking but that’s an issue for me.

    1. garmin’s medium sized FR965 and many others have pretty much the same case sizes and same strap width (22mm) as this Suunto RACE. i think a skinny band would be 20mm and a band for a larger case would be 24mm.

      strap width is the mesurement between the lugs. i guess after-market straps could give you something wider with a different strap design away from the lugs? ie 22m lug fit but say 25mm wide strap tapering or cut to that smaller size

      1. I have the newer Garmin watches too (I have a problem haha) and their 26mm bands look better. Again not any diss of the Suunto watch features I really like the Suunto brand. I have a band maker who uses paracord that helps to broaden the width but I would love it if suunto would do so as well.

  11. Hi! Thanks for the very detailed review. The watch looks awesome. I wanted to ask a question about OS. In the review videos of the watch it looked a bit laggy. Did you experienced anything like this ? and can Suunto fix it with updates later on ?

  12. You seem to keep dissing the FR965 for being plastic, while the body of the Race is also a plastic… Yea both have titanium bezels, but the Race has a stainless steel back, which is not important for “durability”. (Newsflash, titanium scratches VERY easily and shows it compared to the polymer that Garmin uses that more easily hides it. My opinion is that these are competitors, the price is similar, they are both aimed at running (Race, it’s in the name come on. Enduro has nothing to do with this).

    And re calling the Epix bulky… I have the 51mm Epix Pro, it’s titanium front and back, and weighs the same as this despite being 2mm wider and 1mm thicker (I have a Nylon band). In real life that’s a tiny difference. Nvm the 47 mm that you were referring to that’s lighter. Yea it’s double the price, but it’s not the competitor to this Race watch.

    Despite my gripes with your seeming hate towards Garmin, if I didn’t have my Epix already, I would have gotten this Race, it looks gorgeous and the battery performance on max GPS accuracy is impressive.

  13. It’s a small feature but one thing I use all the time on my Garmin is the parkrun barcode widget, do you know if there is anyway to get a parkrun barcode on the Suunto Race?

  14. Hi, some say there is a difference in memory size between steel and titan Version. I can’t find anything about on the suunto Website. Do you know something about it?

      1. Sure? I have a suunto race stainless steel here and without maps it shows only 12GB free storage.

    1. Hi,

      A note to this. It is a fact, though maybe not emphasised, that the Suunto Race Steel version has 16GB memory for the maps where as the titanium version has 32GB. In Vertical all models have 32GB. However 16GB will fit a quite large amount of maps so the relevance of this difference is maybe not huge when selecting the product.

      Markus from Suunto 😎

  15. It is a pity that they did not update their sensor. It seems to be the same than within Vertical and 9 Peak Pro. According to my personal experience and also extensively documented in the Suunto Forum they seem to have serious quality issues with it. After a few month of use it shows bubbles and the first layer might even peel off. Just check the Suunto Forum for sample photos and further details.

    1. Using a forum thread to make such a statement as “extensively documented” and “serious QC issues” is a bit of a reach. There is however, anecdotal evidence of some watches with the bubble issue which might be a result of QC issues. I’d imagine if this were a broader issue we’d see a bit more than a few folks on a forum.

  16. Hello,

    First of all, thanks for the review.
    My fenix died and so I naturally ordered the 965 to replace it before seeing this Suunto Race. So I also ordered the race and both watches are arriving tomorrow. I have to send one back and would like your opinion. Changing brands doesn’t bother me, but which one do you think is the best for a triathlon (Ironman) and trail oriented profile. My only doubt is leaving Garmin and the connection with the Edge devices, the HRM belt and the Garmin Connect and Zwift connection with the training effect etc.
    But, the fragility of the screen (non sapphire) and the dual band autonomy of the 965 leave me doubtful.

    Interest by your opinion.

    Thank you !

    1. 965 has Gorilla DX so not too bad but not as good as sapphire. mine hasn’t scratched yet and ive used it quite a lot.
      i’d say they are both alright for what you want.
      perhaps its only that you can only have one sensor of each type paired to the watch with suunto. that might cause you issues and the need to re-pair each time for indoor/outdoor biking
      i assume a garmin hrm that runs BLE
      If you have an Edge and Connect history then it makes sense to keep all your recording devices in the one platform.

      garmin has more features as you know. suunto is perhaps more task/sport focussed and not too distracted by the SMARTwatch side of things.
      i just think the suunto looks cooler 😉

      1. Thanks for your return.
        Just, I don’t understand why I should re-pair each time when I go from indoor to outdoor? When I’m indoors I don’t use the watch, it’s my HRM tri belt which is connected to my computer for HR, so normally I won’t have to switch the Suunto sensors? or I forgot something. I’m French so maybe I misunderstood something in english.

        I also find that the Suunto is cooler 😁

  17. Great review, thanks for sharing it.

    Quick question, does the race show the altitude acclimation like on the Garmin widget in the watch? Also, is there a Barometer / 24h screen graph with trend?

    I hike in at relatively high altitude 4/5 km above sea level mountains and these features are important to me.

    Thanks in advance

  18. Anyone order directly in the EU on launch day and still waiting on shipping? What is the expected deliver time? 😐

    1. I orderd mine via Amazon Prime, came next day.
      If Suunto ships from Finnland, it will be a few days.
      Btw. Suunto Support confirmed that all units are assembled in China.

    2. I’m in the UK and ordered the Race steel version directly from Suunto on release day.
      It took 9 days to arrive which Suunto put down to high demand. they did offer a £20 refund (Or £60 voucher) for the delay but CS is very slow and the haven’t replied to my option.
      I also messed up because I didn’t realise there would be duty and fees added so ended up having to pay UPS £79 extra before they would hand it over.

      Should have just ordered from Amazon or somewhere local. It would have arrived quicker.

      1. part of that UPS charge will be duty and part will be import VAT. you have to pay VAT somewhere. everyone in the EU has to pay vat too. only businesses escape and people outside the EU/UK who have the manufacturer ship directly to them (proof of export)
        Suunto should have sold it to you vat free or made ups aware that vat had already been charged (assuming suunto Oy has an arrangement to pay UK VAT, which they probably do)

        basically you shouldn’t pay vat twice but you should be charged : vat plus an import duty and maybe also an admin fee.

      2. Thanks tfk.
        further to my previous comment about being charged fees when ordering from Suunto direct. Your response is timely.

        Suunto support have replied..
        “there was an error from the delivery services side and the customs should not be applied to the end customer”. They have refunded the fee and given an extra refund coupon to spend in store for the trouble.

        Good customer support from what I can see. Not the fastest but it is Scandinavia!

  19. I was waiting for Polar V3, but after I read specs, design and finally price, I change my mind. Bought Suunto Race and so far I am very pleased witch this watch.

  20. I can also confirm Suunto has indeed made a design tweak where the watch sits a little flatter and the lugs are not as steep. Seemed to have solve the issue of the lugs digging into the wrist…at least for me. For those concerned about lag. I think you can rest easy. To my eyes this thing is very good. I guess if you stare at something long enough you’ll notice something. I’d recommend going for a run and stop scrolling through widgets!!

  21. hello, great review ty.

    I need a new watch, I use Suunto spartan ultra, and it is not bad. I would mostly use it for running and skiing, so what is your opinnion what is better option for me, sunto race or garmin F965.

    It would also be used for a bit of sea swimming.

    Also, Race offers media controls ( does this mean I must have my smartphone with me and I cant store music or use some app) and how about F965?

    thank you

    1. media controls = smartphone needed.

      the FR965 will have ski-specific maps with pistes. for the running and swimming you’ll probably be ok with both unless you have any specific niche need.

      the aesthetic of each is quite different, although both are pretty robust and will handle the cold, you’ll probably need whatever watch you buy to handle a few knocks with poles and the like.

  22. Very informative review, many thanks. I’m in the Twickenham / Teddington area and run in Bushy Park most weeks. I have an Ambit Run 3 that has served me well for quite a few years, the only thing I consider to be a limitation is that the real time pace information is displayed in 5 second steps. I have recently added a STRYD foot pod and I can see from recorded data that the pace is logged in much more detail than I see on the display while running. Is this any different in the latest generation of GPS watches?

    1. thats a more complicated question than you’d think.

      With stryd you get instant pace (sort of) transmitted to the watch. What the watch then does with it is another matter. There are issues with how stryd is autocalibrated on Ambits, you could check the stryd website.

      that said you should still get near-realtime pace on the Ambit? I cant remember exactly what it did. Maybe you have set smoothing.

      i have a 3 second average what is continuously updated.

  23. Hey, thanks for the review!

    Great as always.

    But I might be missing something. I have bought the Suunto Race and don’t seem to be able to have the alerts (for pace, HR and power) when I follow a structured workout on the watch via a Suunto+ guide.
    I am never notified when I get out of the zones, which is most important when you follow a power based workout. Do you have any recommendation on how to get those alerts?
    I have talked to people on the Suunto community forum and they told me that you don’t get any alerts when following a structured workout and the only way to get alerts is to select a specific zone before doing a run session for example. But even then I don’t seem to get alerts? Anything to do with the airplane mode being on?


    1. good question
      it’s neither offline music nor streaming music. A phone must always be present. essentially its a relatively old feature, admittedly one which many people will use.

  24. Interesting to see that new batches on Race Titanium are being produced with some minor changes to the back of the watch. Made in China has now been removed and replaced with the devide ID#, UK/CA has been removed from the OHR and placed directly on the backplate of the watch. Also, the Suunto websited now says the watch is made of grade 5 titanium. Wondering if these subtle marketing changes were made to give confidence in the quality of the product and limit noise around made in china.

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