When it comes to adventure watches, the Suunto 9 Peak Pro is its own (excellent) thing.
If you’ll pardon the hiking pun, the Suunto 9 Peak Pro faced an uphill battle. This newest entry in the company’s outdoor line arrived the very day after I shipped the Apple Watch Ultra back to its maker. So for better or worse, comparisons were bound to be made.
But that’s not really fair. After all, the Ultra costs a whopping $800, while this Pearl Gold 9 Peak Pro tips the checkbook at just $549. Both watches have GPS navigation, sensor suites, and more workout options than you can shake a ski pole at. And though the 9 Peak Pro lulled me at first with its simple face and wallflower design, a week on the wrist proved it to be a thoroughly capable and very different beast.
In short: The Suunto 9 Peak Pro is a fully featured, ultra-accurate GPS watch that holds its battery charge like a camel. While it may not have the brightest or most colorful screen, its onboard sensors, navigation options, and workout catalog make it arguably the best choice for action off the grid.
Suunto 9 Peak Pro Review
- Measurements: 43 x 43 x 10.8 mm (1.69″ x 1.69″ x 0.43″)
- Weight: 64 g (2.26 oz.)
- Bezel material: Stainless steel
- Glass material: Sapphire crystal
- Case material: Glass fiber-reinforced polyamide
- Strap material: Silicone
The Peak of Sustainability
Beginnings are important. And at Suunto’s Finland manufacturing facility, much attention has been paid to getting the 9 Peak Pro off on the right foot. Or, in this case, footprint. Per the company website, the watch is “made in the land of a thousand lakes, using 100% renewable energy. We make them long-lasting and repairable to minimize waste and the impact on the environment.”
According to Suunto’s various CO2e numbers, each watch’s 7.5kg footprint is offset by reforestation projects through Tree-Nation. Does this make the watch wear or perform better on your wrist?
The answer, surprisingly, is yes. The 9 Peak Pro’s simple design feels sturdy and clean, with a stainless steel bezel, elegant case, and broad sapphire crystal. The touchscreen pairs nicely with the three buttons on the right side, and the silicone strap is the most comfortable of its type that I’ve worn.
So, while the focus of Suunto’s plant may be environmental, the attention toward creating a sustainable, durable timepiece shows through in the finished product.
What the Suunto 9 Peak Pro Does Well
What does the 9 Peak Pro get right? Almost everything. With its incredible GPS, strong compass, and excellent step counter, the watch slow-burned its way into my heart. As with the Ultra, the watch has more features than I have space to cover. You can check out the full listing on Suunto’s site, but let’s dive into the highlights.
Take the workout screens, for instance. While biking, the watch shows speed, distance, heart rate, and time — the four things I care about most. There’s also a small clock in the upper center which is, you know, a nice thing to have on your watch.
The screens for weightlifting, swimming, running, and hiking are equally straightforward. But behind this simplicity, the 9 Peak Pro tracks a wealth of vital data. Users can scroll through these stats during or after the workout as well as view maps and charts on their Bluetooth-connected phones.
But if I had to pick a standout number from this Suunto’s visit, it would be one — for the single time I attached it to the charger. Through a week of exercise and near-constant wear, the 9 Peak Pro was topped off only once, on the very first night I had it. This jives with the company’s listed 21 days of standard use or a full 40 hours in GPS mode.
There are, however, some downsides to its battery focus. The Suunto’s hues are decidedly muted when compared with the Apple Watch, and the brightness and resolution aren’t in the same ballpark. The interface itself is also much more basic, though it becomes straightforward enough once you learn its patterns of swipes and clicks.
Proving the Military Standard
But here’s something the 9 Peak Pro shares with the Apple: MIL-STD-810H testing. If you think I was cruel to the Ultra, check out the list of what Suunto did to its own timepiece. Salt fog, solar radiation, plus dust and sand? Sounds like a superhero origin story.
By comparison, freezing it inside a block of ice and throwing it off the balcony seems fairly restrained. As does its brief stay at the bottom of a pool. These tests, in conjunction with the usual slaps and bangs as I was attempting to repair my bicycle, proved that the 9 Peak Pro is more than capable of standing up to the rigors of daily adventure.
Conclusion: Suunto 9 Peak Pro Smartwatch Review
In the end, the Suunto 9 Peak Pro is the best kind of basic. Its deceptively simple chassis is filled with proven technology, and the straightforward screens and outstanding battery life will allow wearers to focus on the adventure at hand.
Yes, the Apple Watch has a flashier design. But at $549, this Suunto 9 Peak Pro review reveals at least as much rugged outdoor durability as the Ultra while blowing its battery life out of the water. With similar GPS accuracy and a built-to-last ethos, it’s like a steak without the garnish, or an espresso without the milk foam — no filler, just a whole lot of the good stuff.Check Price at Amazon