I get so many questions about my experience with the Suunto 9 Baro that I wanted to create a post to put it all in one place for you!
In full disclosure: I am a member of the Suunto Squad for 2019 and 2020. The watch was given to me to use, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
First thing, if you are new to Suunto then yes it may take you a little bit to get used to the overall function of the watch coming from a different brand. Overall, I’d say it took me about 2-3 days to get it figured out and be able to select the correct buttons when I was running quickly and without thought.
There are many places you can go and look up a full review of every feature of the Suunto 9, but I wanted to highlight what YOU wanted to know. I asked on Instagram what you wanted to know about it and I did my best to highlight all of your questions!
First, let’s look at some key specs about the watch:
- Intelligent battery modes
- GPS navigation
- FusedTrack (more info on that later)
- Over 80 sports modes
- Wrist heart rate
- 100 m water resistance
Intelligent Battery Modes
The Suunto 9 Baro can last up to 7 days with 24/7 tracking and mobile alerts. In it’s generic time mode, it can last up to 14 days.
It seems unbelievable compared to some of the watches I have used in the past, but I will confirm that this true. I have gone 2 weeks without having to charge my watch even when I use the GPS for 1-1.5 hours 6 days a week. If I have a longer run in a week then sometimes I will need to charge once a week.
The Suunto 9 also comes with intelligent battery modes. This is especially important for those ultra runners who need the watch to be able to last in GPS mode for extended hours.
There are three main battery modes:
- Performance – Performance mode should be used most often in every day training. It has the best GPS accuracy overall and would do fine for most road races. In GPS mode the watch should last 24 hours.
- Endurance – Endurance mode has good GPS accuracy but not as great as performance. It dims the brightness of the watch by about 20% and can last in GPS mode for 50 hours.
- Ultra – The only time Ultra mode would be necessary is if you are truly running a LONG ultra race (100+ miles). The GPS accuracy is not as good as the previous two modes, the brightness of watch is dimmed again, wrist HR is turned off, the display will time out after 10 seconds, but the watch will last in full GPS mode for 120 hours.
The watch itself in performance mode would be good for 5k, 10k, half-marathon and even marathon. If you are someone who enjoys ultras as well the endurance and ultra modes allow your watch to save battery to handle the entire duration of your event.
As runners everyone wants to make it more efficient and easier to get in their workouts right?
If your’e someone who likes to have their workouts programmed into their watch I’m happy to say that yes you can do this with the Suunto 9!
I’ll post a video below of exactly where to go to program the workout, but here is a quick rundown.
Select exercise, select running, select options, scroll down to intervals, turn ON intervals, select number of repetitions, select interval either in duration or distance, and finally select recovery amount in either duration or distance.
Once you have set up your intervals you select back make sure your intervals setting is still shown as on and hit START!
If you’re someone who prefers just to hit the lap button during your workouts (which is what I do 80% of the time) then you would select the bottom right button during your workout.
Here is a quick video showing how to set up the workout on your watch:
One of the biggest benefits I had heard about before making the switch to Suunto was the GPS accuracy specifically on trails. While I still don’t get to make it out on the trails very often I have run several runs with friends or my husband and made it a point to test the GPS accuracy.
Overall, the accuracy is pretty spot on. The only issue I’ve had with it was when I did strides and kept starting and stopping my watch for some reason the overall pace for the mile the strides were included in was pretty off.
However; the distance I have never had a problem with and normally areas that I know are issues with GPS due to tall trees or buildings I haven’t had the issue with the Suunto 9. When my husband and I ran on a section of our local trail that head heavy tree coverage we actually went by the distance on my watch because the GPS didn’t seem affected by it when his Garmin was spotty.
Just like other competitor watches, Suunto has an ap that records all of your run data. After each run my watch uploads the run to the Suunto ap. It looks something like this:
As you can see it shows you everything from pace, distance, heart rate, VO2 max, calories, average speed, max speed, ascent, descent, cadence, elevation, temperature, heart rate zones, and of course miles splits.
(There also is a map segment but I have not shown that on the blog for safety reasons.)
I also have it synced so that the run will automatically link to my Strava when I upload the run to the Suunto ap. It’s overall very simple. There were some hiccups in the beginning with a few issues between Strava and Suunto but in the last 6 months all those problems seem to have been resolved.
Syncing with Your Phone
Since we are talking about the phone ap already, let’s talk about syncing your watch to be able to receive messages from your phone.
The sync is really simple: scroll and select settings, select notifications, turn on mobile notifications. It will then walk you through how to sync it with your phone.
Notifications will appear on the watch just like they would on your phone. Text messages, email, phone calls, etc. If you are in the middle of the run and you want to clear the message you just push the middle button and it will return to your previous screen.
The Suunto 9 comes with over 80 pre-installed sport modes on the watch. Chances are you will be able to find just about any sport you are looking for!
You can easily scroll through different sport modes within the watch when you go to start a new activity.
Creating and Navigating Routes
One of the coolest things to me when I was reading about the Suunto 9 before I received it was the ability to plan out routes and then transfer them to your watch. It’s always my fear that I’ll get lost so I often run out and backs instead of exploring like I really want to.
Once you program and upload the route to your watch you can find it under Navigation. During your run you can watch the map and make sure you are staying on the correct path.
During the run you can tap the screen to switch between the overview map and a more detailed view. If you are in the detailed view, you can zoom in and out by tapping the screen or keeping the middle button pressed. You adjust the zoom with the upper and lower buttons on the right side of the watch.
If you go more than 100 ft off the route, the watch with notify you that you are off the route and will then again notify you when you get back on.
Even though I have only used it a handful of times, this gives me tremendous piece of mine! It also will navigate you back if you need help getting back from a certain point on your run.
I didn’t find the transition to Suunto difficult. Overall, it did the same things that Garmin did with slightly less bells and whistles. If you are an ultra runner then the Suunto 9 DEFINITELY is your watch.
The Suunto 9 is heavier than a lot of the other watches on the market, but that allows the watch to have a longer battery life.
I also like that I can wear this watch for running, daily life, and really any activity that I choose!
I’m 100% happy I made the switch to Suunto and don’t have any plans of going back!
Don’t see your question answered in the post about Suunto 9? Feel free to drop a question in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer!