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Suunto 7 Black review, Pros, Cons, Performance, Price, Should You Buy It?

It is not often that you see a gadget that is a class apart from its competitors in the market. Mostly bearing a “premium” tag, such gadgets tend to showcase the expertise of their makers in their respective fields. The wearables market in India marked one such new entry recently, as Suunto launched a range of smartwatches in the country.

You might not have heard of the name. Make no mistake, though, as the company is not a new one. Suunto is a Finland-based equipment manufacturer that has been around for about 85 years. Over the decades, it has excelled in making measuring instruments for various, often extreme, use cases.

To give you a hint, some of the instruments sold globally by Suunto include compasses, dive watches, dive computers, sports watches and other such instruments for explorers and adventure sports enthusiasts. Suunto started coming out with its own smartwatches in recent years, all three of which have now been launched in India.

As for their names, the three smartwatches by Suunto include Suunto 5, Suunto 7 and Suunto 9. The associated numeric marks the hierarchy, with Suunto 5 being the entry-level offering and Suunto 9 being the most premium variants of the three. Suunto 7 lies in the sweet spot in between. There are several variants to choose from in all three watches.

Note that the smartwatches by Suunto are not your regular, affordable wearables that one would buy just to count steps. Instead, these are much more sophisticated than all other market offerings, and their price points reflect the same. The most affordable Suunto smartwatch you can buy in India costs Rs 29,999. The most premium one goes all the way up to Rs 64,999.

We had a chance to experience the Suunto 7 Black recently, and we tried to figure out how the unique smartwatch justifies its substantial price tag of Rs 36,999. After weeks of using it, here is what we found.

Suunto 7 Black review

One of the biggest reasons I have not opted to try too many smartwatches till now is the uninspired design most of them come in. Since smartwatches do not have physical hands to mark the time, there is a very bland appeal to their displays unless they are housed inside an attractive case.

Now I understand the interest to have an Apple Watch-like flat, user-friendly display. Though what I personally don’t like about it is the vibe it puts across, a squarish piece of instrument seemingly suitable for a corporate environment.

Since I use smartwatches mostly to track my physical activities, I like them better when they come in a finish suitable for a sports setting. A couple of Huawei smartwatches I’ve tried earlier have lived up to those expectations. Suunto 7 is unarguably the best smartwatch have seen on these lines in recent times.

Of course, design is often subjective, so that is a personal choice. What can be said for sure about the Suunto 7 is that it sports quite a bold design, complete with a prominent dial and several physical buttons.

The big round case has been made of “Glass fibre reinforced polyamide” as per Suunto. To wear, it feels quite durable but light at the same time. It manages to give the confidence of being your perfect partner in strenuous activities. It might be a bit too big for some, but it will fit in perfectly for all purposes if you have a substantial arm, wrist size.

Suunto 7 Black AMOLED Display Review

The display inside is protected by Gorilla Glass and a thick stainless steel bezel. So what you see and interact with is a completely round AMOLED display that sports some of the coolest watch faces I have seen so far. A particular favourite one is Heatmap that shows where other Suunto users have been exercising in your area. Another named Rose is quite cool for daily wear.

The entire case is linked to Silicone straps that go easy on your skin. The strap is, again, durable, lightweight, breathable as well as stretchable. Since the entire watch weighs just 70 grams, you would not be bothered at all to wear it on your wrist all day.

The easy wear does not undermine the strength of Suunto 7 in any way. The company claims that the watch can operate from -20 degrees Celsius to 50 degrees Celsius. I could not test the extremities, but it is evident to me that the Suunto 7 has been tested against extreme use.

That is also because the smartwatch did not gather as much as a scratch in my weeks of use. In the two sports and several workouts I used it for, it has been through falls, sweat, dust and occasional rains, and so far, it has survived everything surprisingly well.

Suunto 7 Black review: Feature loaded

Just as it promises big on the built, Suunto 7 Black comes with loads of features to help you with a wide variety of activities. WearOS power the watch, so it comes with Google’s set of apps, including Google Assistant and the Play Store.

Though there are others like Google Pay and Google Fit, I used the two of these extensively. The former allows you to give voice commands to the watch for most activities. So you can make calls, play music, set alarms and perform more such functions easily. But the big plus is the Play Store, which lets you have a plethora of apps that you usually use on your smartphone, right on the Suunto 7.

This means you can download apps for music streaming, workouts, games and even daily tasks like Keep Notes and Translate. Then there are inbuilt Suunto apps, mainly to keep track of your health. In addition, you can use over 70 different sports modes as per the sport you play.

For those on the move, it maps the speed, distance, altitude and even heat maps. A very important feature, unheard of in other smartwatches, is the option of offline outdoor maps, complete with navigation. Though I did not personally use it much, I tinkered around to see how it works, and it seems to be a perfect fit for a trek in the wild or cycling on long routes.

Suunto 7 is also able to record other health points related to sleep and recovery. For example, it can capture your heart rate during sleep, sleep duration, sleep quality, stress and recovery status and other such data.

Suunto 7 Black Performance Review

Having numerous features is one part of the job. The other is to deliver a smooth experience across all of them. This has been a bittersweet experience with the Suunto 7.

To start off, the smartwatch comes with a total of four physical buttons, one on the left and three on the right. Each one performs a specific function based on the app you operate. Unfortunately, figuring out which one does what becomes way too confusing at several stages.

It will take you a couple of days to get adjusted to the basics. You can operate most of the functions through the touch screen, but the watch would suddenly switch to physical buttons at certain points, like when ending a workout. Suunto has a good reason for doing so, as buttons can be operated even with gloves. But as an end-user, you will have to get accustomed to these practices.

Till the time your use is restricted to the touch display, you are guaranteed an extremely smooth experience. It has a very fast and accurate response and works well even with water splashes across it.

Suunto 7 is fast in executing commands too. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform that is able to respond well to inputs and does not lag at all, even while connecting to WiFi or phone.

I also found the watch to be accurate with the health data it records. As this is part of its USP, Suunto 7 records a whole range of attributes associated with a workout. These include heart rate, calories burnt, recovery time, Peak Training Effect or PTE and Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). To be honest, I had never heard of the EPOC count prior to experiencing the Suunto 7.

The smartwatch is backed by a lithium-ion battery that will last you around a day of smartwatch use. If you switch on the training mode, this further drops down considerably. For example, two hours of badminton I played dropped it down by over 30 per cent.

Though it is quick to recharge, I charged the Suunto 7 through a car charger as well as through a laptop, both of which recharged around half the battery capacity in just over 20 minutes.

Suunto 7 Black Pros

  • Extremely durable built
  • Feature loaded
  • Offline navigation

Suunto 7 Black Cons

  • Complicated operation
  • Average battery life
  • Too costly for regular use

Suunto 7 Black Conclusion

Should You Buy Suunto 7 Black?

  •  Suunto 7 Black has been priced at Rs 36,999 in India.
  • The smartwatch features over 70 different sports modes to track health data accurately.
  • It features Google WearOS, enabling access to numerous apps on the Play Store.

Suunto 7 is in no way your regular smartphone watch. It comes with a rare build quality that carries an equally rare set of features. A premium experience is thus guaranteed right from the time you wear the watch to when you perform various tasks on it.

Keeping this in mind, its price tag of Rs 36,999 is justified at the least. You can wear it as a regular smartwatch all day, use it as a health monitoring tool or treat it as guidance for your off-the-map ventures. It promises to be a great companion for a range of such tasks.

Though it is true that most of these functions are not necessarily required by all, a regular smartwatch user might just want it to stay connected and measure some of the health data like steps and calories burnt. Suunto 7 is way too feature-loaded and, correspondingly, costly for any such use case.Live TV

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