Fitness specialist brand, Suunto, already has a strong following among hard-core fitness fans – and the latest smartwatch from the company, called the Suunto 7, delivers even more smarts for active Australians. For the first time, this Suunto watch is running on Google Wear OS and this gives it access to Google Pay and Google Play among many more apps, making this one of the more capable sportswatches on the market.
While Suunto’s previous smartwatches have all run on the company’s own OS, this one runs on Google’s Wear OS and many reviewers have suggested that transferring to this platform – along with all the other standard Suunto features – could make the Suunto 7 one of the better combinations of lifestyle fitness power and outdoor ruggedness yet.
Designed by the Finns, the Suunto 7 is shock proof, water resistant up to 50 metres and dirtproof. Suunto says it has a battery life of 48 hours on straight smartwatch use or up to 12 hours in GPS tracking mode. After trialing the Suunto 7, we found it does need charging each night if you’re using a few of the sports features but if you turn off GPS tracking mode, this can alleviate the load on the battery.
Everyone seems to have a fairly active lifestyle these days and the Suunto 7 counts your steps, calories burnt and gives you access to maps. You can customise your own sport modes and they’ve thrown in heatmaps to show you where the popular routes are for running, cycling, swimming or hiking.
As well, Suunto has pushed the display brightness to 1,000 nits, making it easy to read in the brightest of sunlight – a great feature. Announced at last year’s CES, the Suunto 7 includes many of the same fitness features that have given the Finnish brand a following already.
As well as trialing the Suunto 7, here at Women Love Tech, we spoke with Fraser Jones, Head of Suunto ANZ, and asked him about the latest smartwatch.
This is the first Suunto watch to feature Google’s Wear OS platform. What would you say this adds to the watch’s appeal?
“We feel that up until now, there have been very good sports watches and very good smart watches but none that have really straddled both worlds well. Suunto’s heritage means that we are leaders in sports watches, and the way we have integrated Google’s Wear OS means that people can now seamlessly experience the benefits of both smarts and sports. This means that the Suunto 7 is as beneficial in everyday life with features including Google Pay, as it is as the ultimate fitness support tool.”
It’s been said that having the Google Wear OS platform makes this one of the most capable smart watches on the market. Where do you think the Suunto 7 fits in to the smart watch market?
“I believe that Google Wear OS is one of several premium and customisable features that elevate the Suunto 7 to be the watch that we believe delivers the best of both worlds in smarts and sports, giving it a compelling offering when set against others in the smart watch market. And we think that it also delivers bang for buck when you consider the benefits of Google Wear OS on the smart side of things and the proprietary features from Suunto on the sports side of things. Integrating all of this isn’t easy so I believe this seamless experience also makes it a compelling option against other choices in the smart watch category.”
Some reviews have said the watch is great except the battery life doesn’t last long enough if you have a long day of activity. What would you say to comments like that?
“We are confident that our battery life is more than enough to cover a busy day, and will generally get to close to 48 hours in everyday use. This comes down to 12 hours when GPS tracking mode is on given the power required to deliver such a feature, and as such we recommend that this mode is switched off when GPS tracking isn’t required, to maximise the battery life of a given charge. While this may have been the experience with some reviews, there are other reviews that acknowledge how good the battery life is against others in the market when GPS mode is not activated.”
The Google Pay feature would be popular these days when we’re using so little cash. Do you get positive feedback about this feature?
“While the range of Wear OS features are beneficial to consumers, the Google Pay capability has presented itself to be particularly beneficial. Even before the current environment we are in, there was a strong shift towards minimising the number of things we need to carry around with us, including wallets and cards. An easy tap and go option via your watch was already enticing, but this has only escalated in interest and demand in the current circumstances, allowing users to tap-and-go and be entirely contact-free through their Suunto 7.”
The Suunto 7 is now available from Officeworks and JB Hi Fi in Australia – plus the Suunto website. Are the staff at these stores trained in all the features the Suunto 7 offers so they can show customers all the features?
“Anytime you’re introducing a new product that includes several new and enhanced features while also rolling out to such a large number of stores, education and demonstration become challenges, and this is the case with us too. But JB Hi-Fi was selected as our exclusive launch partner as it is a destination for tech-savvy consumers and passionate, well-versed staff members. We do have training and product education strategies in place and will continue to invest in these as it is in our interests for consumers to be able to effectively demonstrate the Suunto 7. This is also why our website and other online resources become important aspects too for consumers as they undertake research pre-purchase.”
What features of the Suunto 7 do you think would appeal most to female users?
“There are many features that appeal to everyone in their active lifestyles. In terms of day-to-day activity, Google Pay adds a new level of convenience. On the sports side of things, accurate measurement of activity is important, and the new sport mode customisation feature allows anyone to create their own sport modes, in addition to the 70 pre-defined already on offer. For runners, cyclers, swimmers, hikers and more, the Suunto 7’s in-built Heatmaps shows exactly where the popular routes are. This can provide people comfort that these are populated routes that potentially provide a higher level of safety, especially if you are in a new city, for example. In today’s climate such heatmaps may also provide comfort by showing some less busy options too. When you add the smart features with the sports functionality, all tied together with some very attractive designs, then we believe this is an appealing option for women with busy and active lifestyles.”
Timely release for the Suunto 7
The release of the Suunto 7 comes at a time when more Australians are looking to invest in their own personal health. As well, there’s been more data published about the clear linkages between physical activity and overall wellbeing and happiness.
For example, recent study by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia found that consumer spending on health and fitness-related goods and services is at a record high, with Australians increasingly making the effort to stay fit and healthy during this recent period where many of us have been either in some form of lockdown or not doing the same activities we would usually do such as going out with friends etc.
Here’s a quick round up of some of the features the Suunto 7 brings to the table:
- 70+ sport modes, from running and cycling to skiing and surfing, with accurate exercise tracking, music controls on the watch and access to the Suunto app for detailed training insights.
- Built-in Suunto Heatmaps across 15 activities which allow users to find their way and know the best training routes, even when their phone is left behind or there isn’t network connectivity available.
- Wear OS by Google makes everyday life easier with Google Fit™, Google Assistant™, Google Pay™ and thousands of apps available from Google Play™, plus daily features like notifications, calendar updates and weather when you need it.
- Adventure-proof design tested in Finland to be shock-proof, water-proof and dirt-proof.
- Suunto is a Finnish brand which has been designing outdoor devices since 1936 when it came out with liquid-filled compasses. Now it designs sports watches, dive computers and other outdoor instruments.