Review: Suunto 9 Peak - finally new stuff from Suunto?

After unusally long waiting, Suunto is bringing new model of its top model line. Model Suunto 9 bare is not being replaced by model 9 Peak. It's rather supplementing it. Why? Let's see down in the review! 

Suunto 9 Peak is watch full of contradictions. Suunto was long sleeping on the bed of success and it looked like Suunto would be forgotten which was supported by agressive Coros coming out with their models. The Suunto hibernation was not real and in fact and new watch was born. Hold on. Is it really new watch? Really? It looks new! Yes, but it's new design, new HR sensor with SpO2 readings, but that's ... it. No big surprises. However - I like it like it was a completely new watch! 

During my testing Suunto released new firmware version and all the bugs and issues I found were gone. Thus I had to rewrite a lot of the review sections to reflect the new firmware and its bug fixes (and not only them). 


Design wise, Suunto was missing smaller watch form for tiny wrists and women. All was rugged and outdoor except of the Suunto 3 (no GPS) and Suunto 5. Finally, the Suunto 9 Peak is kind of a "premium" watch that feels ice on the wrist while daily usage but turns into full sports tester. But not just ordinary sports tester. Imagine - Suunto's flagship in a form of design watch. Top functions in small factory form. In small nice one. Well ... nice ... it depends - I didn't like the design when first unpacked the box. But through 

Suunto 9 Peak simply wakes up the emotions. Positive or negative ones, but it won’t let you say “hm, another watch”. You like it or not. Mostly, people like it. The design is rather causal than sporty.

Sleek design and band attachment in lower part of the case makes the watch perfect fit to your wrist. Unlike the robust Suunto 9 baro, Peak stays where you want it. On the other hand the design and “height” makes it not much different from other larger watches and you might find still a bit annoying wearing tight shirt over the Peak or neoprene removal.

Despites its size, the steel version of Suunto 9 Peak is not that lightweight as you might think. Anyway, thanks to the band fitting you can’t feel the watch on your wrist that much. Speaking of the watch size and fitting. Unfortunately, users with larger hands might not find the watch appealing and will rather opt for Suunto 9 peak.  I didn’t have chance holding titanium version, but assuming it’s way lighter and more comfortable to wear. 

steel version weight is 63 grams

Despites its size, the steel version of Suunto 9 Peak is not that lightweight as you might think. Anyway, thanks to the band fitting you can’t feel the watch on your wrist that much. Speaking of the watch size and fitting. Unfortunately, users with larger hands might not find the watch appealing and will rather opt for Suunto 9 peak.  I didn’t have chance holding titanium version, but assuming it’s way lighter and more comfortable to wear. 

The buttons. Let’s talk about them because that’s probably the only think I didn’t like about the watch. The buttons are … clicking? Yes … unlike Suunto 9 and 9 baro, the buttons on Peak are reminding me of joystick from ZX Spectrum. It was clicking same way. And – they’re not capturing all the commands. Sometimes it happens you press the button and no action happens. It’s very rare, but it’s there. I prefer reliable controls.

To sum up watch design - the only thing I don't like is the large area of inactive display. Black ring beteween bezel and active display. 

The rubber band. The rubber band is just perfect and fits the wrist great. It’s soft … and lot of perforations in there. Lot of small holes, that keep the band “breathing”  .. but also, that keeps the sweat and if you don’t wash the watch including the band regularly, the sweat would stay in those small potholes.  Good news is you can replace the band for a any other of 22mm in width. I like the clasp - pin mechanizm of band attachment. It's not flipping around but I found also one isssue - while sleeping with watch on, I've lost it off my wrist and sleeptracking didn't finish.

However, the original strap supplied with the Peak model is simply great. Smooth and nice to touch and more or less similar to the smartwatch tapes. The material is soft, stretchy, very pleasant to wear, and even if you tighten the strap, the elasticity does not choke the hand so much. 

There is even missing a loop for the loose end of the strap that goes from the buckle. Instead of the loop, there is a pin that you click into the perforation of the tape. This attachment mechanism is very good and the watch does not get loose. Although… it happened to me several times that I somehow managed to lose the watch from wrist during sleep (sleepwalking?) and the sleep monitoring was gone. I simply woke up and didn't have a watch on my wrist.   

Materials - I almost forgot. If I can recommend it, get a silver or titanium watch. Or count on that the beautiful black model will probably scratch soon. In Suunto, they didn't give the Peaks a DLC finish, which is very, but really very awkward in combination with the sharp edge of the watch's body. Why? Because they can be scratched very easily and just on that sharp edge, the silver background is easily visible and can be abraded very easily.


The design goes hand in hand with the display. Unfortunately, Suunto, like other brands, still holds a large inactive ring between the display and the bezel (black unused area). Although the battery consumption is lower (smaller active display), nowadays the active display area could increase … Not because you need it - in fact, during activity the actual display is pretty fine, but in looks odd when not in activity. I wouldn't complain about this, if Suunto 9 Peak wasn't watch for all day wear.

Display lens is made of sapphire. Sapphire lens is standard for all Peak watch models. As we're already used from Suunto brand, their sapphire lens implementation decreases a little bit the contrast of the display and reading is bit harder under certain light conditions. 

On the position of 6, there's light sensor that's controlling the display backlight. 

The font/text on the display itself is noce to read and even older users shouldn't ahve any issues reading the data during activity.

Heart rate measurement

There's a completely new HR sensor on the watch. First impression you might have is that it's same amount of LEDs that used to have first generation of Garmin sensors. Not true in this case. The sensor manufactorer producing the units for Suunto 9 peak is LifeQ company (same one that made sensors for model Suunto 7). That means the HR sensor is definitely more accurate than first generation in old Garmin units, however not as accurate as latest generation of Polar optical HR sensors. Unfortunately.

Compared to chest strap measurements, the Suunto 9 Peak optics sensor is quite accurate. No major deviations mostly thanks to the good size and fit of the watch on the wrist.

The new sensor can also read SpO2 (blood oxygenation). Unfortunately for Suunto, the SpO2 measurement algorithm is still out of tune, and even after the last firmware upgrade, the results are more like a round of luck than consistent output. For example - where Garmin recognizes bad measurement inputs and prefers not to show any value, while Suunto tells you that the percentage of oxygenation is 80%. And that's pretty unrealistic unless you're in the hospital with oxygen mask coming your way.

But if you give to the watch good input/measurement, they're almost on paar with Garmin. Simply it's better if you rather follow the trend of the values, rather than their exact value.

What was not corrected in the new Firmware release is HR connection to external chest strap during an activity. In case, you are going out of range from the watch (e.g. attached to your bike handlebar) in the distance or your battery is drained and later you come back or replace battery for fresh one, the watch won't reconnect back again. you have to stop and save activity and start new one again so the strap will be reconnected.

Unfortunately, even the wrist HR sensor didn't kick in after the HR chest strap battery died. Which is odd. Might be corrected in another firmware release.

GPS accuracy

Despites of steel bezel, the Peak has clearly good antenna or signal reception and processing. The accuracy even without function "snap to road/trace" is really great. The snap feature don't need to be used at all. The pace and trace looks always great and accurate. Almost as good as Garmin Forerunner 745 which are the most accurate Garmin watch on the market. And probably most accurate single band GPS watch on the market. suunto 9 Peak do really good job in this point of view and I was positively surprised. 

few laps on very non standard round in one of the parks in Prague. Non standard shape, length, but still the track is pretty good. 

However, that was for 1sec GPS readings. If you chose extended period of reading, I was surprised ... negatively. As with the older Suunto version, there's an issue. If you run, the distance is not updating as you go, but it takes like 200-300 meters for the watch to update distance. Pace looks to be updating, but still you're running 2 minutes and distance don't change. 

I've also experienced same behavior like DC Rainmaker did. From time to time it happens, that the activity recording is full. For example you run for an hour, there's 1 hour recording of elevation profile, HR, pace but there's missing route. The route on the map can be seen only for 30 minutes and then there's finish flag like at the end of activity and the route is missing. Rest of the data after that point however exist but the GPS track. Odd. Again. This happens like once, twice per month at maximum.

Very interesting is GPS during bike riding. It's accurate, however, if you select extended GPS reading period, the GPS track is accurate as well. And is as accurate as if you set the 1 second GPS reading. Not sure, how this is done by Suunto, but it kind of amazed me.  


Suunto completely dropped its Movescount platform and now there's only Suunto app, which is basically Sports-tracker platform that Suunto leverages. However, the thing is - there's no way of updating Suunto 9 Peak over cable. All is done over the air through Suunto app, which is great on one hand, on the other hand, what if some people just can't run the app on their devices. Then the watch will be "just a watch" with no option of analysis the activities post exercise. I know it's not likely to happen. But still. If you want to export the activities, you have to sync them first to the app and the you can work with these. .

USB cable for the watch is just used for charging. Nothing else. 

There's no ANT+, no WiFi in the watch. Only BT for mobile connection and for pods. Which is not a big problem. All pods today are mostly working with BT as well thus you can pair the Suunto 9 Peak to almost any accessory. Best thing is - you can attach even Stryd and the recordings of watts apear in the Suunto app. However, there's an issue - you cannot see the watts on screen. They're being recorded, but if you want to make the change, you need to create new activity and configure screens there.

In my case the watch could work well with 3 different HR sensors (Polar, Garmin), bike trainer TACX Neo 2T, powermeter Garmin Rally (single sided). The watch cannot see the dual channels from the TACX thus you cannot see the balance of your legs like it's possible with Garmin. Though this daa are transferred primarily through ANT+ which is not supported by Suunto at all.

Unlike the Garmin watch, Suunto cannot control the bike trainer, thus you cannot train on the "bike trainer" per predefined training schema in the watch. With Garmin you can upload even an activity and ask for navigating along the route from outside and Garmin simulates up/down hills on the trainer by automatically changing the resistance. Not with Suunto. you can only read the data from trainer. 

On the other hand, Suunto is natively supporting Stryd. You pair the Stryd and it records all the data from it. For already some time sinc eolder Suunto watches, so Coros is not the first watch that started to support Stryd natively. 

Unfortunately, the screen with power displayed is not added automatically. 

If, by any chance, you feel like the values from HR strap are not reflecting reaality, you might want to go to the activity options befoe start of the activity where you need to enable the particular pod. Why? No idea, but it happened to me ... though the strap was paired, it was disabled by default in one of my activity profiles. 

Last firmware update brought to Suunto 9 Peak the option of answering text messages. This is, however, only for Android mobile phone users. No iPhone users.

Unlike with Garmin or Apple, there's no (for me very important feature) crash (incident) detection which notifies your contacts about your location and that "something has happened". This is very important for exmaple when you're in the bike training. I'd be grateful to have this implemented. 

Mobile phone connection brings yet another stuff ... that's maybe rather annoying. It's sound settings. The message notification on the watch are annoying after some time. Thus you switch them off. Naturally. BUT this switches off ALL sounds, including the ones during training and only not that strong vibrations remain. Which obviously is a disadvantage. I'd welcome or stronger vibrations or option to setup sounds only in the activities. 


With Suunto, I like one thing. It looks like they're not copying and if they do, it doesn't look like that and Suunto knows how to mask copying the competition. But sometimes it just s*cks. C'mon Suunto, do something about the navigation. I mean - it's not terribly bad ... it's just as bad as couple of models since last years. Please - do something about it. The navigation literally almost stuck (minor improvements at least from user point of view). Please add at least estimated time ofarrival based on averaged pace for up/down hills and flats. 

Not to just criticize - good about GPX course navigation in Suunto is, if there are some trace crossing, you are getting arrows on the course line on the display so you know which direction you go if there's trace loop. But that's all to highlight. Unfortunately. 

Sure, Suunto 9 Peak will do its job. But without the comfort we know from Garmin competition and ... even without innovation we can see with Coros and their maps addition. Just FYI - if you are afraid of planning courses on your mobile phone, go to the website and import the course over there. Sometimes the web based interface is more comfy than small display. And not much people know about this ... 

To sum up - Suunto has great options for planning and importing routes to the watch, but they forgot to upgrade the watch navigation experience. 

About the experience. What's good and what remained from the past models is the automatic zoom of the course ratio. It's not bad feature, though it oculd sometimes confuse a bit until you get used of the feature. Why? You run and you see there's course change in 200m. But as you approach, the zoom increases and in case you won't notice you will see the change of the direction still bit more further than you'd expect. Because of automatic zoom. But you'll get used of this very quickly. 

To explain - sure, you'll find your way during the race, you'll find the way in the mountains as you have planned. I'm just highlighting the fact tha everyone tried to improve. Some competitors did well, some not and Suunto is one of these. 

Interestingly - S9 Peak allowed me to set the GPS reading in longer intervals and I was able to launch navigation though. This was not common for the older Suunto devices. But not sure how long the battery with navigation on would last.  

Battery life

Suunto 9 Peak don't have that long battery life like their larger predescessor - Suunto 9 baro. However, considering the size of model Peak, which is close to Garmin Fenix 6s, the battery life is just great! .

33 hours and 53 minutes in standard GPS mode. Nice achievement for such small watch. 

Ultra mode I have to test yet. But to be honest, this watch is not for adventures and expeditions. For this kind of activities you have rather model Suunto 9 baro. Model Peak is rather for training and racing from fast 1 miler race through 100miler in the mountains. That's sufficient. Model Baro is rather for guys with larger hands or someone who goes for longer expedition race. 

Sports features and sports profiles

It looks like Suunto did sports profile baseline with Suutno Spartan or slightly improved with Suunto 9 and Suunto 9 baro. Today's watch is from my point of view still the same like it used to be. Nothing new was introduced. On the other hand - what else you need? 

While I was travelling for a business abroad, I was staying in hotels. With small gyms only and some only used to have rowing and eliptical trainer. Suunto was only sports watch capable of tracking the eliptical trainer exercise including RPM and distance metrics. 

I believe that if you'll feel there's any activity missing, you'll be able to create/add your own in the Suunto app by yourself. 

Sports that you will not find in the standard list can be delivered through the application. Suunto has introduced a set of sports in the basic settings that can be removed. You can add more profiles as you need, but only from the application - not from watch itself.

The application cannot edit the basic sports screens that are already in the watch. If you want to edit screens, you need to create a new sports profile from scratch - for example, running with a wattmeter and you want to see power data? You can, but you have to create a profile from scratch and add a screen with watts. However, if you use a running or cycling profile (basic) with a paired sensor, watts will not be visible on the screens by default, but the data will be recorded though (after the sensors are paired, of course).

I haven't found where and how I can enter interval training in my watch, or where and how I can import a training calendar for a week in advance, as Garmin or Polar and even Coros. Unfortunately, Suunto doesn't have this. Again. The main reason for missing the feature might be migration from Movescount to Suunto (sports-tracker). However, I believe that this will be corrected in the future and Suunto will bring this back yet again. Anyway, if you have written a training from your coach, it will probably be better to write down the steps/interval on the palm or piece of paper and use the watch as a tracker only rather than a tool for automatic control of the training unit. Unfortunately.

Sleep tracking is enabled on Peak, but it has also some flaws. The deviation from Garmin and Polar watches sometimes reaches up to 75% of difference in results. 


During the run, you barely feel the watch. Even the steel version of the watch is light - by feeling. The fonts of the texts are reasonable even for older people and well readable during the run. In the basic sport profiles, you can see the day time on the top of the first screen. Automatically. This is good tweak which I really appretiate. However for reading this one (small font) I had to stop. 


Cycling is OK-ish. Thanks to the small display size looking on your wrist might not be the easiest task for you to do during fast downhill ride :) 

There are standard metrics for bike riding. Unfortunately no VO2Max estimation, neither cycling FTP tests are available even if you have powermeter. 

The good point about model Peak is that they're quite small and well fitted to your wrist. No shuffeling, no sliding neither vibrations. They just sit where they need to and the fit is comfy. 


Comfort fit is very important for a lot of sports, however swimming might be one of the important ones where you really feel is the watch is not stable on your wrist. The elasticity of the strap even allows you to fasten it tight but without feeling any pain. I really like it. 

The downside of the watch in swimming pool is, if you hit the end of the pool and hold yourself on the side of the pool, you can scratch the bezel. Pretty easily - especially with the black coated steel one. 

The watch count lengths (you need to setup proper pool length in advance - you can choose length between 15-330m), strokes, swimming styles ... actually. Suunto 9 Peak is probably too strict trainer about technique, but even skilled swimmer with really nice technique couldn't make the watch convinced what swimming style did he use. The style recognition was failing a bit. 

Garmin, Polar, Coros, all these watch brands can recognize the swim styles pretty well. But Suunto 9 Peak. Not sure where the problem is. Even if the test subject was trying his best (breast strokes/freestyle 1 hour long session of swimming with even ratio between styles) the watch said "all was freestyle". 

Some extras

Higher price of the watch (compared to the others on the market) is balanced by something that you cannot see at first sight. That is pretty large collection of free codes for following applications. It's worth of couple of hundreds of USD.

The coupons will hit your mail only once you register the watch in Suunto application:
  • Strava 60 days Summit trial
  • Training Peaks training plans
  • Training Peaks Premium trial 30 days
  • Relive 3 month free trial
  • Today's Plan premium 30 days
  • Sportstracks free 90 days
  • PWR Lab trial version 60 days
  • MapMyRun 3 months free 
  • Land premium - 50% discount
  • Wikiloc premium trial version for 60 daysí
  • PerfectPace AI training 75% discount
  • Runmotion Coach Premium trial 2 months
  • FatMap Explore 30 days trial version
  • Komoot 2 regions for free 
What else? Oh yes. The integration of Trsaining Peaks algorythms into the Suunto platform. You can see fatique, training load, form and their progress through the time. I loved this in Training Peaks. Now you've got this one integrated in Suunto app. Suunto or paid it or got it for free (no idea - choose what you feel is good explanation), anyways it's there for you and for tracking of your progress. 
On the position of 6, there's ABC sensor input 

Subjective evaluation 

I feel like I really like the watch. I'm Garmin ecosystem fan with full integration of bike and other activities. But the feel and experience using Suunto 9 Peak, the design are making the watch a little bit special. Even when internally, they didn't change! Suunto did a good job - they're hitting the feelings rather than extending the functionality. Suunto also brought in partner platforms and ... wow, there we go! Additional value outsourced, but who cares! It works.

Despites some flaws of the watch (like the annoying notification sounds), the watch is great. It's fit for purpose and looks good for daily usage and having it on your wrist all day long.

Just, please ... Suunto, if you don't plan adding payments or maps, at least fix the settings for sounds and copy some enhancements for the navigation. That would make the watch even better. 

Despites I like the watch and its design. Despites the size and battery life, I'll stay with the Garmin. And here's why I'm staying with Garmin:

  1. Full activity tracking with full training load calculation
  2. Connectivity - BT and ANT+. Wifi is additional advantage
  3. Bike trainer control functions
  4. NFC payments
  5. Option to setup the watch behavior (sounds/vibrations) during activity/no activity/sleep
  6. Complete Garmin Connect platform that I like, including sync.between devices - e.g. Edge computers
  7. Maps - very important for busines trips to cities I don't know, for skimo or mountaineering if there's some event which makes you change the course - maps are definitely helping saving your life 


I tried to summarize into this review at least something of the large scale of Suunto 9 Peak functions. Still it's long one. Because Peak is a new Suunto flag ship which brings glory to the Suunto again. But if Suunto will stay like that for another 4 years before they do some FW or HW upgrade, they'll drop from the most wanted sports watches list behind Coros. Sorry, but it's like that. We've been waiting for Peak about 4 years and yet we got just Suunto 9 Baro in smaller form. 

If Suunto didn't partner with the service providers I would strongly recommend thinking twice before buy. Now it makes more sense since the applications will enable you and your training to be more meaningful and efficient. 

I didn't speak much of the music controls added through new firmware, but to be honest - this is not the decission saving feature. If you don't fall for Suunto the music control is not going to change it. If yes, the music is not the feature you chose the Peak model for. 

Personally, I'd say that for the price the Peak model is sold at the moment and considering the platform Suunto offers - it's a bit overpriced. If this watch didn't have Suunto brand on it, it wouldn't sell almost I am afraid.


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