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Suunto and Wear OS

Suunto and Wear OS is a cultural shame. I like Suunto because it’s a European company with a European OS developed in Europe. It’s nice to buy their products because they’re reliable and hardly ever let me down. They’re also great because it’s European tech developers working together to create something interesting and reliable.

It’s not that I don’t like Google as a company. I do. I have liked Google since I first learned about them on my website’s visitor log. I only went from Android to iOS because DJI hated the Sony Xperia that I was using at the time. Without DJI I would still be an Android user.

Suunto devices have batteries that can last for weeks depending on how you use them. With the Suunto Spartan, I have now I charge it every few days and I can do a number of activities before I need to charge it. With the Apple Watch, I need to charge it every night. With the Suunto 7 the battery life is meant to last up to 48hrs. That’s down from 30 days with the previous OS on Spartan and Ambit 3 watches. The Suunto Device is yet another device that you need to charge every day.

What I like about Suunto’s own OS, what I like about a Sports tracker, rather than a smartwatch, is that you can use it for sports and choose which GPS precision you want for the battery to last for hours or even a day and a half of sports tracking.

By making Suunto 7 a smartwatch rather than a sports tracker you’re adding features that you don’t need. You don’t need to read e-mails, play music and other features. For that, you have Apple Watches and other city optimised smartwatches.

Suunto, with this move to WearOS, is going from a niche product maker with a core of dedicated users like me to a generalist company running as a “Haluamme tulla mukaan” (We want to be included in Finnish, according to Google Translate.)

Now to be a Google Fanboy. I prefer Google’s activity tracking via Android than Apple’s Move tracking. I like having a map of everywhere I’ve been and how much I’ve walked in a year. I also like that images I take are automatically geo-located in Google Photos. We’ll see how well the Suunto 7 plays with Google Fit.

I have had my Suunto Spartan Sport HR Baro since 2018 so I may upgrade in 2021 if I see a development that justifies upgrading. Currently, Suunto 7 is not an upgrade for me. It’s a lateral move simply to play with Google fit and a different map display. No support for external sensors in WearOS makes it uninteresting for cycling. For more information check this blog post.

The Apple Watch series 5 sells for 522 CHF whereas the Suunto 7 sells for 529 CHF so the difference in price is just 7 CHF at the moment of writing. If you need something that will survive real sports then I’d go for the Suunto 7. Both the Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 4 have scratches on them despite me not rock climbing and enjoying via ferrata with them as enthusiastically as with the Suunto Ambit 3.

This advert mentions heat maps and there is one heat map that I haven’t been able to find yet. A walking/hiking heatmap. It would be great in countries where there is a culture of walking, to see where people walk most. We could look at the heatmap and find routes that we never thought of exploring.

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