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Suunto 7 review – impressive combination of smartwatch and sportwatch in one

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  • VERDICT

The Suunto 7 watch can satisfy both smartwatch users and sportswatch users in a single device with excellent mapping features, connectivity and impressive battery performance.

The Suunto 7 smart sport watch gives you the best of both worlds – all the smarts you’d expect when paired with your smartphone and also a reliable training companion that can keep up with you.

Other devices on the market usually focus on being really smart or on helping you run a marathon but the Suunto 7 is a nice combination of both that suits active users who also want to keep track of incoming notifications, control audio playback from their wrist and enjoy the convenience of Google anywhere.

Yes, the Suunto 7 is the first in the company’s portfolio to run Google’s Wear OS software which means users get access to Google Pay, Google Fit and Google Assistant.

Design-wise, the Suunto 7 ticks the first box by actually looking like a real watch complete with a round scratch-resistant OLED display that’s bright and easy to read outdoors.

It’s 15.3mm thick and has a 24mm band and also weighs 70g. It’s not bulky at all – no bulkier than a regular sports watch.

Of course, its waterproof, shockproof and dustproof and rugged enough to keep pace with even the most active users.

For us, it was a nice size and fit and didn’t look too big on our wrist.

The Suunto 7 only comes in one size so some female customers might feel it’s too big for them to wear.

But what might convince them to go with it are the attractive colours for the watch itself, the metal bezel and the bands.

There are four buttons on the Suunto 7 which complement the touchscreen capabilities as well.

Users have a choice on how they interact with the product depending on whether they are in a meeting or in the middle of a run.

The buttons are handy when you’re in the middle of a workout so there’s no need to slow down and fiddle with the touchscreen.

The Suunto DNA comes mainly from the fitness and activity side and the Suunto 7 delivers an ample level of sports features and tracking ability to attract really active users.

There are more than 70 different kinds of exercise and activities that can be tracked from your basic running, walking and cycling all the way through to hiking, swimming, basic weight training and martial arts just to name a few.

The Suunto 7 won’t detect you’re on a run or walk or other type of exercise like other smartwatches and fitness trackers – you have to kick off the session before you start.

You’ll be able track the usual information like your distance, time, average speed, maximum speed, calories burned, steps and average and maximum heart rate.

It will even note your highest point, ascent and descent, lowest point and average pace.

Users can see a graph of their heart rate zones and their altitude.

The Suunto companion app also gives you an easier way to see your data and graphs and to map your progress towards your fitness goals.

There’s plenty of information to work with.

But our favourite feature was the mapping courtesy of the built in GPS and the pre-loaded maps which are downloaded and updated every time the watch is connected to wi-fi and charging.

That’s right the maps are already on the device which means even if you leave your phone at home, the Suunto 7 can use GPS and show you exactly where you are and where you’ve been.

For us, it was the heat maps that really grabbed our attention because they showed popular routes and trails used by other Suunto users.

This is an excellent feature if you’re looking for a new run or if you’ve just landed in a new city and want to run a popular path.

For those who like to hike through bushlands it can not only show you the most popular paths but could also come to the rescue if you lose your way.

A quick scan of the map on your wrist (which you can easily zoom in and out on) will show you the highlighted routes that have been used by many other users.

But what about when you’re not exercising and hiking?

The Suunto 7 is also quite a capable companion that can deliver your notifications to your wrist so you can see who’s messaging or calling.

And with Wear OS you get access to Google Assistant, you can set up Google Pay to pay for items by scanning the watch and also activity tracking with Google Fit.

We really enjoyed day to day use but there were some things we didn’t like.

First, when you twist your wrist to glance at the time – it could be faster – just a fraction of a second. There was the odd occasion where the time didn’t appear and we had to give our wrist another twist. Not a deal breaker but it would make the device better.

We’d also like more watch faces – it only comes with five.

Yes, you can link to the Google Play Store through the watch to get more but we couldn’t do this through the Wear OS app or the Suunto app.

We think there should be a lot more free watch faces and designs right out of the box

The complications on the watch faces are also quite small which makes them hard to read – even harder if you need reading glasses.

We set one of the complications when we were in the US to show us Sydney time – and it was pretty hard to read.

But now the big question – battery life.

The good news is Suunto 7 can run for two days with regular use.

What taxes the battery is GPS mode but even with a daily workout we still got two full days of battery use.

Of course if you’re training for hours for a marathon or a triathlon your battery is going to take a big hit but it should still run for about 12 hours in total when used like this.

The Suunto 7 watch is available now and is priced at $799.

VERDICT

The Suunto 7 watch can satisfy both smartwatch users and sportswatch users in a single device with excellent mapping features, connectivity and impressive battery performance.