Suunto has recently released its latest GPS watch – the Suunto 7 – which is especially interesting for those interested in hiking and backpacking. So what are the differences between the Suunto 7, Suunto 9, Spartan, Ambit3 and Traverse when looking at the specifications?
The Suunto 7 is the latest Suunto model and the first Suunto watch which comes with WearOS by Google. Probably, Suunto realized that they were not able to compete with their own operating system with Apple watches and you can use the watch with both – Android and iOS phones. The watch comes with 70+ sport modes, GPS, water resistant up to 50 meters and a heart rate sensor. Probably, one of the most interesting features is that you can use now maps on your watch and listen to music. Fully charged, the watch lasts for 48 hours or 12 hours in GPS mode and weights 70 grams.
Suunto Traverse is already an older model and 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 for 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 heavier Suunto models.
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
The Suunto 9 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 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 if the Suunto 7 is too expensive.
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).
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.
Update 31.01.2020: Suunto has released the Suunto 7 – the first Suunto watch with WearOS by Google.
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.