Suunto 9 Peak Pro Review
Consider this a Dummies Guide to Suunto watches. In this case, the Suunto 9 Peak Pro.
I’ve been using Suunto watches for over 20 years and reviewing them for our sites for about ten. As it turns out, I am the Dummy because as I recently learned, I’ve really only been using about 40% of the watch’s potential. My guess is that I’m not the only one.
For years, how I used my Suunto was limited to the standard watch functions, GPS tracking, and some metrics. I customized my sport modes with all the data I wanted to see and was content until a new model came along with better battery life.
When I wrote up my last review comparing the Suunto 9 Peak with the Suunto 7, I thought I had a good handle on things. That all changed when, at the beginning of this year, I started working with a coach from our friends at Uphill Athlete. Our coaching relationship goes through Training Peaks where my workouts are uploaded to a calendar and my coach monitors my training via the data that transfers from Suunto to Training Peaks.
The first morning I went out to run a specific workout, I launched the Trail Running sport mode and was greeted with the workout on my watch. Also on the screen were directions from my coach about what to do. It was like magic, I hadn’t downloaded any of this, it just appeared in the watch. At the end of the prescribed running time, an alarm went off notifying me I should be done which I totally ignored, but okay, cool.
My excitement about all of this was starting to build. Now I know that a lot of people out there, even some reading this, know all about these features. I did not. I was one excited kid discovering the potential of something I thought I knew.
As I continued working with my coach, I started needing tools to help with various things; interval timers, TSS scores, heart rate target zone monitoring, etc… Suunto offers two different tool types that are downloadable to your watch: Suunto Guides and Suunto Apps.
Guides are the workout plans I was seeing in my watch. My coach created workouts in Training Peaks that then transferred to my watch as a routine to follow, customized for each day with the option for real-time guidance. Inside the Guide are even her personal notes to review prior to pushing the start button. Guides can be created by a coach, various 3rd parties, by yourself, or available from Suunto as part of their custom workout plans.
Apps provide additional data views for information not measured as part of any standard Suunto display.
For example, for each of my workouts I am provided a target TSS (Training Stress Score). But until I download my data after a workout, I wouldn’t have any idea what I’ve actually done. This is where an App comes in. Within the Suunto Phone App is a list of Suunto Apps for the watch. By selecting an App and adding it to your watch you get a new window with whatever data you select. In my case, I chose TSS and then had the live TSS score to view as it grows while I am running.
Other Apps include things like vertical training, threshold & fitness tests, weather info, and interval timers that make keeping track of a workout much easier.
Suunto 9 Peak Pro Battery Life
The single most striking feature of the new Suunto 9 Peak Pro is the battery life. I go weeks without charging it. Suunto claims that at Best GPS Mode, it’s good for 40 hours. And for daily use, they claim the battery will last 3 weeks. I haven’t measured any of this, but I don’t charge my watch frequently and use it for training 20+ hours per week.
When the time does come to charge, a fully drained battery is at 100% in less than an hour.
With a new, more user friendly, and modern interface combined with a super fast processor and finely engineered buttons, Suunto has created their best watch yet. To make it better still, it’s not the Suunto of just a couple of years ago that sat on your wrist like a small brick. The 9 Peak Pro is only 10.8mm tall and easily allows you to pull shirt sleeves over it. Suunto users of yesteryear will know of what I speak.
Whether you’re using all sorts of training metrics, following a workout plan, or simply sending your workouts to Strava, the Suunto 9 Peak Pro is going to do everything perfectly in one sexy little package.
By Dan Patitucci