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Australian hands-on with the Suunto 9 Peak Pro
Peak a boo.
The Apple Watch Ultra has almost certainly directed people’s attention closer to the extreme smart watch category, where Suunto has stood firmly for many years. Divers, long distance runners, multi-day hikers, and many more have all been serviced by the likes of Suunto and Garmin previously, so will the latest device from this manufacturer have enough oomph to be able to attract the newly interested in the market?
Suunto’s latest smartwatch – the 9 Peak Pro – reportedly comes with 21 hours of 24/7 notifications, up 300% from the 9 Peak from earlier this year. It also connects to double the amount of satellites as the 9 Peak, meaning you’ll get far more precise GPS tracking than any other Suunto on the market. How this holds true is yet to be seen, but here are our first thoughts from the launch event in Australia.
- Touch screen response is significantly faster than previous models: When we reviewed the Suunto 9 Peak earlier this year, the touch screen responsiveness was far slower than other smart watches. From our initial hands-on, there seems to be a massive improvement on the 9 Peak Pro due to a new processor.
- Holds battery better than other watches: While I haven’t had much time with the Suunto 9 Peak Pro, in the few hours it has been on my wrist the battery is dropping significantly slower than the Apple Watch Series 8. After a hard reset – a notoriously battery intensive exercise – and a couple of hours’ worth of heart rate tracking and notifications, the Suunto has dropped by 2% where the Apple Watch is down by 5%.
It is still early days, but in our experience the initial set up and reset tends to chew through battery much faster than normal day-to-day use, so it will be interesting to see how close we can get to the 21-day battery target.
- More affordable launch price: Where the 9 Peak launched at $1,200 the 9 Peak Pro is now available for $759 for the stainless steel version, or $959 for the Titanium version. Although this is still a high price point for a smartwatch, it is refreshing to see products getting more affordable considering the state of ~the world~ right now.
- Screen resolution is still subpar: The on-wrist resolution is a step up from previous models, but it is lagging behind other smart watches. Despite an updated user interface, the animations and graphics are no more than basic, and look downright vintage when compared to the Apple Watch S8 for example.
Naturally you’ll need to make some sacrifices to get big battery life off of a device that sits snuggly on your wrist, but it doesn’t feel like a pricey smart watch even though it is.
- Slower operation speeds: Jumping off the last point, the processing speeds also have a vintage feel. The device navigation feels clunky with noticeable delays between action and animation. Although it initially seems to be faster than the 9 Peak, this is still behind where I’d expect a watch of this price to be.
We’re not looking at a drastic reinvention of the brand with the Suunto 9 Peak Pro, but the features that sold us on its predecessor seem to be stronger again this time around. Although some of the upgrades are still sitting in the 'cons' column, Suunto looks to be looking in the right places to make improvements.
Promising a significant increase in GPS accuracy, and triple the battery life of the previous model, it looks to be a worthwhile option for endurance athletes.