The rise of smartwatches have proved serious competition for GPS sports watches, since the darn things can track multiple sports activities just as capably, all while doing a whole load of other things. And while sports watches could compete by integrating more smartwatch features, the Suunto 9 goes another route: by offering the kind of battery life smartwatches just can’t match.
Equipped with “intelligent battery life management,” the wearable can last for up to 120 hours of continuous use, with both GPS and activity tracking engaged. That means, you can run for five days straight with no sleep and the darn thing will track every second of it, complete with GPS location data, so you can trace your exact path after nearly dying from exhaustion. Or something.
No, the Suunto 9 doesn’t achieve the extended battery life by throwing in a gigantic power module in the watch case. Instead, it’s fitted with a rather conventional battery size for the category, with the software doing the heavy lifting to lengthen the extent of its charge. Specifically, the watch comes with three battery modes: performance, endurance, and ultra. In performance mode, the watch engages all normal functions and performs precise tracking for up to 25 hours, while endurance mode stretches that to 50 hours by lowering the GPS accuracy and lowering the screen brightness. Ultra mode allows it to reach maximum battery life by further lowering GPS accuracy and screen brightness, while turning off the display after 10 seconds, along with vibration and Bluetooth.
In case you’re wondering how the GPS will work with the lowered accuracy, the outfit employs a unique algorithm that combines the GPS and motion sensor readings to estimate your position data, allowing it to collect fairly accurate GPS information even with the sensors on a lowered setting. The watch, by the way, will provide smart reminders regarding the battery, from telling you when a recharge may be needed to making suggestions on the fly about which battery mode to use.
The Suunto 9, of course, comes with the same capabilities as the outfit’s previous GPS sports watches, so you can use it to track a variety of sports activities, from running and cycling to swimming and a whole lot more. According to the outfit, it comes with 80 different preprogrammed sport modes, which should cover most sports and fitness activities you’re likely to engage in. Of course, it can also be used for GPS navigation, route planning, and weather functions, making it useful for those times you need assistance during your backcountry adventures.
Features include a wrist-based heart rate monitor, 100 meters of water resistance, Bluetooth compatibility (it can pair with both iOS and Android phones), a round display with a 320 x 300 resolution, and compatibility with popular online communities (e.g. Strava, TrainingPeaks). Construction is glass fiber-reinforced polyamide for the case, stainless steel for the bezel, and sapphire crystal for the glass, with the band cut in elastic silicone.
Slated for availability June 26th, the Suunto 9 is priced at $649.