Suunto has recently released its latest GPS watch - the Suunto Traverse - which is especially interesting for those interested in hiking and backpacking. So what are the differences between the Suunto 9, Spartan, Ambit3 and Traverse?

Suunto Traverse

The most important difference is probably that the Suunto Traverse has a vibration alarm and that the GPS receiver is now ‘invisible’ built into the watch.

Moreover, the Suunto Traverse has a thinner (1mm) built. However, you will not find multisport functions in the Suunto Traverse.

So, if you are for example more into triathlon, then you should probably go for the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical rather than the regular Suunto Traverse.

I mainly go running and hiking so the regular Suunto Traverse is the best option for me and there is no need to pay for features which I don’t use.

Of course, I could also get the new Suunto Spartan which features a color display and a touch screen. But are those two features worth the premium price over the Suunto Traverse or Ambit3 Vertical? It’s up to you!

Personally, I don’t need a touch screen and a color display, but I would probably buy the Spartan if I would have sufficient money and no Suunto Traverse on my wrist yet.

The Suunto Traverse weighs about 80 grams, and its water resistance is 100 m. The old Ambit3 (Peak) is only 50 m water resistant.

Both - the old Suunto Ambit3 (Peak) and the Traverse have a barometer. The menu on the Suunto Traverse is also more simplified than on the old Suunto Ambit3 (Peak) which I prefer.

The Traverse also has a flashlight function which could be quite useful (for example if you need to search something in your tent). Below you can see my Suunto Traverse next to my Finnish Roselli knife.

Personally, I like the new look of the Suunto Traverse more than the design of the old Suunto Ambit3. Also, the wrist strap of the Suunto Traverse feels somewhat more comfortable than the one on the old Suunto Ambit3.

The Suunto 9 seems like a great watch if battery life is important to you. With 81 grams it’s one of the more heavyer Suunto models.


Suunto 9

The Suunto 9 is the latest watch from Suunto and features great battery life and intelligent battery technology with smart charging reminders. It’s 100 meter water resistant, features Wrist HR, Fusedtrack and over 80 sport modes as well as weather functions.

Suunto 3 Fitness

The Suunto 3 Fitness weights 36 grams. It’s possible to connect to the Suunto app to measure speed and distance and tracks your route on your smartphone.

Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR

The Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR weights 56 grams and it’s batteries last for 10 hours in active use. The watch is waterproof down to 50 meters. It’s not the top model of the Suunto Spartan line but offers probably the best price value ratio if you are for example into running.

Suunto Traverse

And then you have the basic Suunto Traverse which I am also wearing on my wrist.

Suunto Traverse Alpha

If you are more into fishing or hunting, then you should consider getting the Suunto Traverse Alpha. The Suunto Traverse Alpha gives you the following additional features to the regular Suunto Traverse:

  • Automatic Shot detection
  • Fishing and hunting specific POI types
  • Moon phases and moon rise/set times
  • Red backlight, Night Vision Goggle compatible

Suunto Ambit3 Vertical

If you are more into trail running (on hills or mountains), mountain biking, climbing or into multisport then you should probably go for the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical or the Suunto Spartan.

The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical gives you a summary of your vertical gains and also displays the altitude during your ascent. This watch is an updated version of the old Ambit3 (Peak).

Accessories

Suunto Smart Belt

You can link a heart rate monitor to your Suunto watch.

Traverse Screen Protector

Screen protectors do not only exist for mobile phones. You can also protect your Suunto watch with a screen protector.

EasyAcc Rugged Outdoor Power Bank (IP67 Waterproof / 20000mAh)

On longer trips, it’s quite convenient to have a power bank with you. Usually, I charge my Suunto watch every day if I am on a backpacking trip.

Suunto Wristop Computer Bike Adaptor

On longer bicycle trips it might be quite convenient to have the Suunto watch attached on the Suunto Wristop Computer Bike Adaptor to keep track of your performance.

Quad Lock Bike Mount Kit for iPhone 6/6S PLUS

If you have an iPhone, you could also get a Quad Lock Bike Mount Kit and attach it next to the Suunto Wristop Computer Bike Adaptor.

It’s quite handy to have your iPhone in front of you when you are on tour. You can quickly check maps, use the iPhone as a second screen for your Ambit watch (to display, e.g., speed or distance) or just to listen to the radio.

Update 14.11.2015: I finally got the Suunto Traverse as you can see on our Instagram account below. It feels and looks much better on the wrist than the Ambit3. Now going running and test it for the first time :)

Update 27.11.2015: After testing the Suunto Traverse for 2 weeks I prefer it over the Ambit3 as an outdoor watch. For multi-sport, however, I would still buy the Ambit3 since the Traverse lacks this feature.

Update 19.12.2015: Suunto has released firmware 1.54 which brings GLONASS support to the Suunto Traverse - which means more accuracy of the GPS signals. However, I got a message on my Traverse that GLONASS will also consume more battery.

Update 7.1.2016: Suunto has released the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical which is targeted towards mountain runners or mountain bikers.

Update 19.4.2016: Suunto has released the Suunto Traverse Alpha which is targeted towards hunters and fishers.

Update 7.6.2016: Suunto announced the Suunto Spartan Ultra - A premium multisport watch with color display and touch screen.

Update 26.1.2017: Suunto announced the Suunto Spartan Sport - Another premium multisport watch with color display and touch screen.

Update 10.08.2017: Suunto announced the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR - similar features as the more expensive models but in a slimmer design.

Update 4.4.2019: Suunto has released the Suunto 3 Fitness watch.

Update 26.08.2017: Suunto has released the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR GPS Watch and the more affordable Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR GPS Watch. Both are featuring color displays and are the latest developments from Suunto. There is also the new Garmin Fenix 5X which is capable of displaying topo maps.

Update 5.07.2019: Suunto has released the Suunto 9.

Need some more inspirations on how to use the Suunto Ambit or Suunto Traverse watch? Here is a trip report from the Swedish mountains where I was wearing the old Suunto Ambit3 on a packrafting trip.

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