Suunto introduces GPS sports watch with Wear OS

The Finnish sports watch manufacturer Suunto is presenting its new GPS sports smartwatch “Suunto 7” at the CES in Las Vegas. It is based on Google's Wear OS.

With the Suunto 7, the manufacturer of professional sports watches is leaving its usual terrain and for the first time offers a watch based on the Wear – 3100 – Qualcomm platform with Wear OS running on it. Thus, the new Suunto straddles the gap between the smart watch and the sport watch and the resulting runtime problems, but offers payment on the wrist using Google Pay or playing music via the watch in conjunction with a Bluetooth headset.

Suunto plus Wear OS, a good combination?

What Suunto attaches particular importance to during the presentation is the observation that Suunto 7 is a typical sports watch from the company. So Google's Wear OS was taken as the basis, but the Suunto features were saddled on it. That sounds like the best of both worlds.

Since Suunto 7 is a Wear OS watch is good for paying with Google Pay. (Photo: Suunto)

So the manufacturer promises a term of 48 hours when used as a smartwatch, i.e. without sport features. With full GPS use and heart rate measurement, it should still be a remarkable twelve hours. This would make every marathon run with the clock.

Touchscreens tend to be stubborn during training, which is why smartwatches do not have an unreservedly good reputation in sports. Suunto 7 does not rely solely on the touchscreen for the Suunto 7, but uses three buttons that can be used to operate the watch with gloves, sweaty fingers or even in the water.

Suunto 7: The technical facts

If we look at the technical specifications, Suunto delivers a 7 with the 70 gram-heavy watch in a stainless steel case with a diameter of five centimeters, which has an AMOLED touchscreen with a very good resolution of 454 × 454 pixel houses and is protected by gorilla glass. A maximum brightness of 1. 000 Nits should ensure good readability even in full sunlight. In addition, the Suunto 7 is to a depth of 50 meters waterproof and even, as usual with Suunto, as a diving watch according to ISO 6425 certified.

Suunto 7 has an integrated GPS for route recording and navigation. To determine the swimming distance, the watch uses an acceleration sensor that determines the number of strokes. Suunto 7 also has a barometric altimeter and a digital compass.

Communication between the watch and smartphone is via Bluetooth and requires the free Suunto app, which is available for the Android and iOS operating systems in the major app stores.

Suunto 7: Forced to compromise by Wear OS

Similar to competitor Polar a few years ago with the M 600, the only attempt to make a sports watch based on Wear OS, Suunto essentially relies on integrating its own features into the watch using an app. So there is the Wear OS system on one side and the Suunto app on the other. Apart from communication via interfaces, e.g. to Google Fit, there is no integration into one another.

Suunto 7 is available in five color combinations. (Photo: Suunto)

A closer look reveals further compromises that Suunto had to make for Wear OS. And they start with the battery life. Suunto customers are used to run times of at least one week with mixed use, Suunto 7 will last a maximum of two days, rather less.

An always-on display is also standard on conventional Suunto watches. The Suunto 7 comes with an AMOLED display that is activated by an arm gesture. There is a mode in which the display remains switched on permanently. However, this is only recommended for training purposes and never for continuous operation, if you do not want to have to wire the watch to a power bank.

It is also not possible to pair an external heart rate sensor in the chest or arm strap with the Suunto 7. Of course, this is also standard for sports watches. The Suunto 7 can only use the integrated heart rate monitor, which is also much more delicate compared to the Suunto 9.

Since no chest strap can be connected, other accessories such as step or bicycle sensors can of course not be connected to the Suunto 7.

price and availability

The clock now stands for 479 Euro in the Suunto online shop in different colors for pre-order. Delivery should begin on 31. January.

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