Suunto 9 – First Presentation

Why do I do these reviews ? Why am I interested in ? Why I invest so much time to research ? 

It is because I am looking for the perfect and most functional gear to be used in most outdoor athletic situations. I enjoy geeking out on stuff, that is for sure, but honestly, once I have found the one, I am not gonna keep on searching. I need tools for constant outdoor use, but also for high performance training. I like mapping and pre-programming outings.
I’d like to have the perfect gear, what is light, resistant long term, comfortable for athletic endeavours, packable, safe to produce and safe to use. 
I hope that the Suunto 9 will be the one. It has enough battery life and good functions for navigation. It can give all the necessary data. It has a usable optical heart rate. It is tough and comfortable. Well as an initial guess, it looks perfect. 

The most interesting fact about the new Suunto 9 is that after years of collaboration with SirfStar , the GPS chipset in the new model will be furnished by Sony.
For sure that there is a business decision behind this, but the goal with this new component is to reduce energy consumption. Yes, a smart way of thinking and I like it ! Instead of focusing on getting a small battery with a giant capacity, just obtain components what are consuming way less energy, while being the same efficient and precise the meantime.

The Suunto 9 also has an Optical Valencell HR sensor. It is getting there with the new softwares and constant development. For endurance training and activity tracking it is fantastic, for track sessions I still use my trusted belt !

Battery Life

The autonomy of the watch – normally – is greatly increased too. Actually on the Suunto website, a 2 fold increase can be seen, which is identical to the very initial data given to the Spartan before release.

  • 25hours in full GPS mode of 1second reception acquiring rate.
  • 50hours in 60sec precision
  • 120hours in 2minute precision
    • (Corrected info: Satellite Acquiring Rate used to be 1sec / 1sec ECO / 1min)

These stats are true with half of the non-essential functions turned off, like touchscreen and vibration. In low colour mode and backlight low as well. Also when I see data like this, I take it with a big spoon as usually it is measured in ideal circumstances: Obstruction free GPS signal, no buttons pressed, no external HR, no autolap, moderate temperatures. Either ways, if we subtracted 5 – 10 and 40, we will be still well over the Spartan’s battery life. I had a couple of occasions when the watch could go over 15hours, but I emptied it out other times in only 6 ! Recently my wife did a short 3h race followed by a 2hour hike and it went dead on her ! Her last race was 12h30min and she had 30% left . Zero consistency since the very first day ! When we did the ELS2900 24h mountain race, my friend’s Spartan had 10h of battery life in ModeECO mode ! Yeah, it was cold for a couple of hours, we used it for navigation time to time, but 10h in  modeECO ? 

Suunto came out with a brand new battery management system, what is capable of extending the battery life on the go ! This is what I find however extraordinary. Finally somebody is adding training functions, not non-sense payment and music management options. We can adjust GPS precision on the fly.
Also when just a few percentage of juice left, it goes into chrono mode ! I mean we can see still the watch timer  ! That is epic !


This is very much associated with the battery modes. Why ? The watch uses it’s accelerometer and compass to “imagine” slash calculate your directions and intermittent distance between 1min apart GPS points. Instead of having a straight line between two points, you’ll have some sort of contour-line. This will make a lot more accurate GPS track in those 10sec and 60sec GPS sampling modes. For those of you looking for long over 24h tracks without charging your watch, that can help a lot.

Video preview on English


Avis en Français

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