Suunto's new GPS sports watch built for the outdoors brings big battery life, but it also has some interesting smarts on board to make sure your GPS tracking will always go the distance.
Suunto promises you can get anywhere from 25 hours all the way up to 120 hours with GPS in use with three different battery modes (Performance, Endurance and Ultra) to choose from. To put that into perspective, Garmin's Fenix 5 can deliver up to 75 hours in its UltraTrac GPS mode, which reduces sampling rate and leans more on the accelerometer motion sensors to help track distance without hammering battery life.
Essential reading: Suunto 3 Fitness in-depth review
It's a similar story with the Suunto 9, as far as pushing battery life further, which relies on the company's FusedTrack tech combining GPS and motion sensor data to improve track and distance accuracy while lightening the load on the battery.
What's really interesting here is the ability to create custom battery modes that will give you an estimate of how much battery life you have left in your tracking mode. That then gives you the chance to switch to a less power-sapping tracking option. That's also backed up by smart reminders which use activity history to ensure you have enough battery for a future outing that will cover a similar distance. It will notice when battery is running low, too, automatically suggesting when to switch up to a different battery mode.
In terms of tracking, there's 80 sport modes in total, full GPS route navigation support and an optical heart rate sensor with the tech powered, as usual, by Valencell. All of the data is stored inside of the new Suunto app, where you can also review fitness tracking data and sleep. It packs in some smartwatch features, as well, letting you see notifications and get incoming call alerts without reaching for your phone.
In terms of design, the 9 appears to have more in common with Suunto's Spartan sports watches than it does with the Suunto 3 Fitness, featuring stainless steel bezel and buttons, sapphire crystal glass accompanied by a silicon strap. It will also be available in either black or white models, so not quite the variety in shades that you get with the Trainer Wrist HR and the 3 Fitness. Suunto says it's put the watch through a rigorous testing process to ensure it can perform in all conditions, whether that's tracking in hot and humid conditions or tackling trails in freezing temperatures.
The Suunto 9 is set to be available for from 26 June and will be priced at $599. So that's just slightly more expensive than the Fenix 5 ($549.99) and Suunto's Spartan Sport Wrist Baro watch, which launched in September last year. We'll be getting our hands on a 9 to put to the test very soon, so keep a look out for our full verdict on the outdoor beast over the coming weeks.
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