Suunto 9 Baro
For £449 you can get the latest and (almost) greatest from Suunto, although we reckon stretching to the £539 ‘Baro’ version is worth it as you get the barometric altimeter sensor and a sapphire screen cover rather than the smartphone style ‘mineral glass’. Either way, it’s solidly built. The Suunto 9 is pretty big, but it’s comfortable on the wrist and screen is large and super legible while outdoors. There’s no maps here but while following routes you don’t really miss them; switching between elevation profile and breadcrumb path gives you all the information you’d typically need. Navigating the watch is a mixture of the three pleasingly ‘clicky’ buttons and the touch screen although the latter is, sensibly, deactivated during activities. Smartwatch feature are basic, notifications from your smartphone replicated on the screen.
Suunto have played to their strengths here – no diverting resources to payment platforms or music streaming. Your purchase gets you accurate GPS data and a consistent heart rate from the wrist sensor and best-in-class battery life. If the 25 or 50 hour gps tracking settings aren’t enough there’s a lower resolution (120 hours!) that fills in the data gaps with accelerometer data to provide a decent trace for super long hikes! Add a classic “why did no-one else think of it” feature; if you’re running low on the best setting the watch will suggest a lower resolution setting to get you to the end of your run!
Also worth a mention is movescount.com where planning routes is a doddle, magically springing to roads, tracks and paths alike. And sending the resulting track to the watch is as simple as flicking a ‘Use on my Suunto 9’ digital switch.
Accurate and consistent data from a well built device that’s smart in all the right places… especially battery management!