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The new Suunto 5 Peak is the renewal of the mid-range of the Finnish brand with a lighter and smaller watch than the previous Suunto 5, in addition to using the design patterns of its big brother the Suunto 5. Suunto 9 Peak.
The Suunto 5 Peak is not only aesthetically similar, the software features are practically the same as the higher priced model. And this is where the most interesting thing about the new watch is that it brings almost the entire Suunto experience to any user who is not willing to pay what a high-end watch is worth.
We have functions such as Snap-to-Route, battery modes up to 100h of autonomy, all the functions of SuuntoPlus, a screen with better display ... and all this plus the new Sony GNSS chipset that also uses the Suunto 9 Peak.
After a few weeks of use during all my workouts I can already tell you all the good (and bad) that this new Suunto model offers.
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- All the essence of the Suunto 9 Peak in a small footprint
- Higher display visibility than Suunto 5
- Suunto App is already an application to be reckoned with
- Very light and compact in size
- The 1.1″ screen is too small at this point.
- Maintains Valencell's optical sensor
- Menu somewhat slow
Features Suunto 5 Peak
The Suunto 5 Peak is a renewal of the model that was available until now. It has the same software that we find in the rest of the Suunto family, for better and for worse. It therefore enjoys more than 80 sport and multisport modes, allows connection to external sensors via Bluetooth, is compatible with a multitude of third-party applications (Strava, TrainingPeaks, Komoot), etc.
On that note, if you have used any Suunto model since the Spartan series, you will be very familiar with what it offers and how the information is displayed.
The changes are mainly at the aesthetic level by the reduction in size and the use of standard strap, but inside there are also some novelties at the hardware level.
Regarding the features and specifications, I summarize it in the points below:
- New exterior design, with stainless steel bezel, very similar to Suunto 9 Peak
- Size: 43 x 43 x 12.9 mm. Significantly more compact than the Suunto 5.
- Only 39 grams of weight, compared to 66 grams for Suunto 5
- Plastic lens, higher visibility than the glass lens of Suunto 5
- 1.1″ screen size, resolution 218×218 pixels
- 22mm silicone strap, standard design and quick-replaceable
- Autonomy in clock mode: up to 10 days
- Battery life in smartwatch mode: up to 7 days
- Autonomy with 1-second GPS recording: up to 20 hours
- Customizable battery modes that offer autonomies of up to 40h or even 100h in Tour mode
- Water resistance: 30 m
- Same GNSS chipset as Suunto 9 Peak
- GPS antenna is removed from the strap side
- Compatible with GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, Beidou
- Retains the same Valencell optical pulse sensor of Suunto 5
- Wireless upgrades just like Suunto 9 Peak
With respect to the Suunto 5 these are the things in which it improves:
- Smaller in diameter and thickness and lighter 41%
- It eliminates the antenna from the bottom of the watch. This makes it a more comfortable watch and allows the use of traditional 22mm straps.
- Updated GNSS chipset
- Updates directly via Bluetooth
What about the Suunto 9 Peak? There are a few things the little brother of the Peak family doesn't enjoy:
- No barometric altimeter: no storm warning or altitude data with maximum accuracy
- Smaller screen
- No fast charging
- Plastic lens in place of sapphire crystal glass
- No touch screen
- No illumination sensor for automatic display start-up
- Reduced autonomy and less energy saving modes
- Without the new optical pulse sensor (lower accuracy, no oxygen saturation estimation)
In short, it is a light and compact watch that has all the software features of the rest of the range (Snap to Route, Suunto Plus, music control, etc.), but with some cutbacks to make it a more economical model.
Suunto 5 Peak, a quick review
All control of the Suunto 5 Peak is done via the 5 buttons, as unlike the higher end models there is no touch screen. This presents no problem and, to tell you the truth, I prefer it this way.
The buttons are plastic, unlike the higher-end models. They don't have the feel or feel of metal ones (those of the Suunto 9 Peak are very good...) but they don't present any problems in use.
It is in the aesthetics of the watch where we will notice more differences with respect to the model it replaces (or complements). Both the software and the display are the same, but the Suunto 5 Peak is much more compact in size.
Within the aesthetic set is probably the strap the most significant change. In the previous model the GPS antenna was external and was located at the bottom of the watch. This causes that the strap must be specific and that the watch has greater thickness as a whole.
The Suunto 5 Peak has a standard 22mm strap. It is quick-replaceable so you can swap it for another Suunto or any other brand in seconds.
But my main objection with this model is because of the screen. More for its size and somewhat less for visibility, because it has improved with respect to the Suunto 5.
The display is the same as the Suunto 5 that was available up to this point. It is only 1.1″ and, by 2022 standards, it is already getting small. There are no quality issues because the resolution is good (218×218 pixels). Personally I haven't had any visibility problems, but this is because I have no eyesight problems. If you are a bit short-sighted I would recommend looking at a model with a slightly larger screen.
But in the Suunto 5 Peak two things have changed. The first is that we no longer have a mineral glass lens but a polyamide (plastic) one. At first it may be negative because it is easier to scratch, but it has two positive aspects:
- The plastic material offers better visibility than the mineral glass that Suunto has been using until now.
- Allows the display to be brought closer to the top of the watch. This increases the incidence of light on the transflective display.
This last point is of utmost importance, because usually the problem we had with the Suunto displays was that they were too far away from the top of the watch. This made them darker and difficult to see, especially with the watch tilted.
In the image above you can see how the screen of the Suunto 5 Peak is closer to the outer lens, while in the Suunto 5 there is like a small step between screen and lens, which shadows it somewhat.
It is not that now the screen is a technical marvel, but this improvement is noticeable. And it is welcome, because it was necessary.
The display is not the only thing that Suunto has reused. The optical pulse sensor is also the same Valencell origin as in the previous model. And it is the same as with respect to the display, I think it is not a sensor worthy of a watch of 2022. In fact neither Suunto 7 nor Suunto 9 Peak use it anymore.
More than recording problems, which are generally correct thanks to the low weight of the watch (only 39 grams), its age is noticeable in power consumption. For example in the daily log mode it only takes one record every 10 minutes, which does not give too much depth in the information collected.
Continuing for the things that remain the same, also remains the charging connector and the clamp type cable that comes from the time of the Suunto Ambit. Obviously it is not as convenient and practical as the magnetic connectors of higher models that are placed alone, but it fulfills its function. Data transmission is exclusively via Bluetooth with the phone (including updates), and the cable will be used only for battery charging.
The menu is a bit slow when moving through the different options. The feeling is the same as with the Suunto Spartan of many years ago, there have been no changes in this regard despite all the time that has passed. As with the screen size it is something that is not up to par for the year we are in, but that is not a strong enough reason not to recommend the purchase. I would like it to be faster, but it is not that it is uncomfortable to use.
But hey, those are my three main criticisms with the Suunto 5 Peak (fair screen, old optical sensor, and somewhat slow menu speed). But luckily there are a lot of other things I like.
The software is almost the same as pod we can find in higher end models, and where we find differences is because there is no hardware to allow it, not because Suunto has cut back on features. In fact one of the things that Suunto is doing very well lately is that new features are coming to all models in the range, they are not reserving features for the latest models or those that are more expensive.
All the new features that have been introduced such as Snap to Route, the SuuntoPlus functions, the meter-by-meter altitude measurement debuted with the Suunto 9 Peak... all that has made its way to the older models, which includes this Suunto 5 Peak or the previous Suunto 5.
In the daily activity tracking section of the 1TP11 watch, we can see the steps and calories we have consumed throughout the day.
Or consult the instantaneous heart rate or the heart rate of the last twelve hours.
And also sleep data.
All this data is synchronized with the Suunto App where podemos consult everything as a report, first from the main screen and then from the reports themselves.
Within that data you can see the resource graph, which is also present on the watch. This is practically the same as what is called "Body Battery" in Garmin. In both cases it shows the same information, only with a different name. It allows us to see how we are consuming our energy resources throughout the day, calculating how much energy we have available at any given time.
And it is the same because it is a FirstBeat algorithm, as is the case with other algorithms such as the sleep log or recovery time.
We also have a workout suggestion mode (like other brands such as Polar or Garmin) that will make dynamic recommendations based on your latest workouts.
But these are very simple recommendations and it will simply guide you based on the intensity of your training, not that it will set you interval workouts or create a training plan for a half marathon.
In short, in terms of daily activity and tracking, it meets the minimum standards that 1TP11We can demand from a sports watch.
Suunto 5 Peak, important details
After this brief review of the Suunto 5 Peak with the differences and similarities to other models in the range, as well as a quick review of what the daily activity tracking is, I want to highlight a few points that I think are worth noting.
Suunto has been a bit convulsive for a few years with respect to their management applications. They had a pretty good online platform in Movescount, which was joined by a very basic mobile application. One day someone at Suunto came along and decided that Movescount had to be killed and replaced with a new mobile app.
Suunto received a lot of criticism at the time, more for announcing the change when the application was literally in its infancy than for the move itself. Clearly, technology has moved to mobile in recent years and the change was necessary. But early versions of the app were rickety in terms of capabilities.
Fast forward a few years and the app has nothing to do anymore. The Suunto App is simple, tidy and has all the information we podamos need both our daily activity and workouts. Nobody remembers Movescount anymore and the only reason you miss it is to review workouts from your computer (for which you can also podéis login with your Suunto username and password to www.sports-tracker.com).
In the application we will find all the training data perfectly ordered. Basic data such as average pace or distance, and other more specific data such as TSS, PTE, EPOC, ascent and descent time...
And all this accompanied by graphs of pace, heart rate, altitude, cadence, vertical speed...
There is also training load tracking, thanks to TrainingPeaks' licensed metrics.
And it will also be what you use to customize the more than 80 sport profiles available or to set up any other from scratch.
Suunto App is, in short, a fully mature application. It is no longer the ugly duckling of the brand or something to criticize every time you talk about one of their watches. In fact there are many things that other brands should copy for their own apps.
Snap to Route
Snap to Route (translated in watches by Snap to Route) was introduced with the Suunto 9 Peak and soon came to the rest of the range through a software update. This feature, frankly interesting to use for example in competitions, is of course also present in the Suunto 5 Peak.
It is part of the route navigation since to work it is necessary to load the route that we are going to make previously.
You can read all the details in the review of the Suunto 9 Peakbut I will tell you here briefly what it consists of.
Snap to Route consists of, based on a navigation route, perfectly adjusting the pace and distance data to the route that is planned, thus avoiding GPS errors caused by poor reception or a complicated route giving us information that is not correct.
As I said before, it can be useful in both mountain and road races, and also in any other route. But the situation of doing a race is the clearest when it comes to explaining what it is for.
Imagine a marathon in a big city, let's say for example Chicago. When running along avenues with large skyscrapers, you will most likely have constant GPS errors: complicated reception, signal bouncing off buildings, etc. Add to that passing through tunnels, under bridges, etc.
But you don't have to go to big events. As you will see later it is even worse in small towns where there are no large avenues but very narrow streets.
These errors cause the distance recorded by the watch to be incorrect, so you will also have problems with the pace information. If you have run a marathon (or even a half marathon), you will surely have encountered the situation where your watch shows the 20th kilometer when you still have 200m to go to reach the signpost. This is caused, among other reasons, by the errors mentioned above.
Here you can see an example of the same route with one watch using Snap to Route (Suunto 9 Peak) and another with the normal GPS mode (Suunto 9 Baro).
As you can see the Suunto 9 Peak performs the turns between buildings completely correctly, giving correct pace and distance data at all times. Something that the Suunto 9 Baro cannot offer given the difficulty of the chosen route and being surrounded by buildings.
It's not something intended for everyday use. Not even that you're going to use every week. It's a sporadic use, but if I'm running a race and I can have this way a reliable distance and pace, I will be eternally grateful. Regardless of the fact that later when I review the track I see things that were not humanly possible, like making 90º turns perfectly.
When thinking about route navigation, we all think of using maps for orientation. Suunto offers that option in the Suunto 7 (at a similar price, but they are two very different watch concepts) and there are other brands that also have maps in their watches. But not everything is maps, there are also many other factors to consider. And we must not forget that we are dealing with a 300€ watch.
The navigation of Suunto is good even if we do not have a base map that podamos use to guide us. First of all from the aspect of route creation, for which we have the application itself Suunto or podemos import routes also from Komoot or directly from a GPX file.
In the Suunto application we have heat maps, in which podemos see popular routes that other users have done.
From the point of view of navigation on the watch, the on-screen indications for a breadcrumbs type route is very complete. In addition to the route also 1TP11We can include our own POIs when designing the route, modify the zoom of the route, we have arrows indicating the direction in which we should head and recently also added the warning of previous turn.
There is also an elevation profile display, showing where we are with respect to the route and what we have left to cover.
Within what are mid-range models, the Suunto proposal works quite well and is more complete than the basic options of other manufacturers.
When Suunto has been adding functions lately, it has done so through a function that calls SuuntoPlus. This function allows you to add a very specific data page within the approximately 15 that Suunto has available.
The initial concept was very interesting because it allows us to add predefined pages with data that may be interesting, being able to choose one from the whole list. However, it has limitations that have to do with the clock's own memory and processing capacity limitations.
We only podemos select one to use with the sport profile. And we have to like how it's set up, because we can't edit it.
At the user interface level there are also several aspects that I would like Suunto to modify. Every time we start an activity we have to remember to select one of these data pages, it does not keep in memory the last one we have used.
As if this were not enough, it also does not allow you to activate it in the middle of the activity (as 1TP11We can do with a navigation route). It is quite common that you start the activity and 20 minutes later you remember that you might be interested in having the Burner page (to see the use of energy between fat and carbohydrates) or Climb (for training on climbs).
Well, it will not be possible to add it and you have two options: you can resign yourself without the desired screen or you can stop the activity and start a new one by selecting the SuuntoPlus option chosen before hitting start.
My wish is that going forward these special data will be included as possibilities to be configured within the sport profile itself, being able to have a specific Burner page or some of the TrainingPeaks data on any of the data pages you have configured.
Finally I want to talk about the sensors, and specifically about a limitation (in my opinion absurd) that exists in these watches since the time of the Suunto Spartan. And everything seems to indicate that after such a long time it will be something that will never change. Or who knows, it also seemed impossible that interval training would arrive and it's just around the corner.
Perhaps this is something that does not affect the vast majority, or that the main "victims" are cyclists or triathletes.
What is the problem with all Suunto watches? It is only possible to have only one sensor for each type of device. So if you have one heart rate sensor connected and you want to use a different one, you will have to delete the first one and pair the second one. Something that only happens with Suunto and is not present in any other competing model.
Obviously this is something that will only affect those who use external sensors and who also have several of the same type. I recognize that my case is very particular and that it is something that will only be noticed by a few.
But to give an example, I can have the potentiometer of a bike (for example, a triathlon bike) paired to my bike. If I want to go gravel riding, I will have to pair the power meter of this one. Tomorrow I want to go rolling? Then I'll have to replace the sensor that is paired again.
It's an awkward situation that will affect a few users who have a lot of sensors, but it's there and you should be aware of it if your usage is similar to mine.
GPS and optical HR sensor performance
Now it is time to talk about the internal sensors of this Suunto 5 Peak. Both I already know, since the GNSS receiver is the same Sony that uses the Suunto 9 Peak (with very good results) while the optical pulse sensor is the Valencell that has been present in the Suunto range since the Spartan, but that Suunto did not use in Suunto 7 and Suunto 9 Peak.
I don't have any defined route to establish a score for the simple reason that there are other external factors that we should never forget. Things like clouds, tree leaves or simply the position of the satellite can alter the GPS results from one day to the next. It is for this reason that I prefer to do this type of comparison instead of having a predefined route and evaluate it based on this.
I'll start with this gentle workout just recovered from COVID. A short workout at a gentle pace to get back in the groove. Along with the Suunto 5 Peak I'm wearing a COROS APEX Pro and a Garmin FR745.
From a bird's eye view there doesn't seem to be any problems from any of the people in the comparison. But I'm going to zoom in on one of the specific points I wanted to test. It's the one I've circled.
At that point you have to cross the road underneath through a tunnel. Obviously all devices lose signal, so I'm interested to see how long it takes to get it back and how it does it.
On this occasion the Garmin Forerunner 745 has been the best at the exit of the tunnel, recovering the signal at the exact point where I finish climbing the stairs. Almost at the same time also recovers signal the COROS, but it is slightly wrong where to do it. The Suunto 5 Peak takes a few seconds longer to regain signal, but it does so next to the section of sidewalk where I continue on my way. OK performance from all three devices.
The rest of the training continued without major incident. Only a couple of curves with some small detours by the Suunto 5 Peak, in the first one slightly lengthening the curve and in the second one shortening it.
And what about the heart rate during this training? Well, we'll look at that next. But first I want to remind you that the Suunto 5 Peak continues to maintain the Valencell sensor that Suunto has been using for many years and which in my opinion should have been replaced by now. Not that there is anything wrong with it per se, but it is already quite outdated in all aspects.
Keep in mind that a wrist heart rate monitor does not work the same way on all bodies. We're all different, and if we put things in the equation like skin tone, tattoos, body hair... the difference from person to person can be quite big.
In my tests it is not that the spectrum of users is very broad: it is me, myself and I. So what works well for me might not do it for someone else, or it might be better.
But the most important thing to keep in mind is that you have to follow some guidelines to wear the sensor. It should be tight (but not cut off your circulation), enough to keep the watch from moving freely on your wrist, leaving a separation of approximately one finger from the wrist bone. By following these details you will ensure that you get the best results that your conditions can offer.
It is also important that you understand that while a heart rate sensor on the chest performs effective measurement, the optical sensor estimates our pulsations. In this post I explain all this more broadly.
With respect to this training there is not much to highlight because at the sensor data level it is very undemanding.
The COROS APEX Pro has a difficult start in the first few minutes but quickly catches up with the other sensors. During the rest of the training, there is total similarity between the Polar H10 and the two optical sensors of COROS and Suunto.
I change to something totally different with a mountain training. For this test I change the companions and I take a Suunto 7 (to make use of the maps) and the Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL paired with the Polar H10 sensor. And while we're at it, we're doing the analysis of the Craft with carbon plate.
Paces that continue to be gentle given my recent post COVID recovery, but without the need to walk up all the hills.
Even so, the paces are low, which makes all the tracks a little less aesthetic, because the points are closer together and the straights are less straight.
The left part of the track, next to the swamp, is an uphill area with some slope but without being complicated at the level of reception by trees.
However, if I make use of the 3D map of the Suunto App you can see that I am located at the bottom of a small valley, something that does not help the GPS reception because of the signal bouncing off the mountain in front of the one I am climbing.
But despite the fact that it is not a clean track, because I am not able to climb hills at 4:30min/km, there are no reception errors by any of the members of the comparison.
Actually in this activity the most serious thing I find is what you see in the image below.
I have marked with arrows some turns where the Suunto 5 Peak deviates slightly from the correct route, something that does not happen neither with the Wahoo nor with the Suunto 7. Here the reception is complicated by trees and not so much by being inside a valley.
Neither are errors that worry me too much, it will be common to see them both in the Suunto 5 Peak as in any other model on the market, although this time the Suunto 5 Peak has come out a little worse (within what is a good performance for a GPS watch).
With respect to the heart rate here I have some more incidents. At the beginning of the training, there is a lack of interest on the part of the Suunto (as happened to the COROS in the previous example) but after a short time it finds the right path.
This is very common for any type of sensor at the beginning of the activity, even for chest sensors.
The next mark I have made on the graph corresponds to the uphill areas where I do a bit of run-walk and there are sudden changes in intensity. Reviewing the graph closely I am not able to discern which sensor is doing well.
In principle the usual thing is to think that the Polar H10, in the chest, will be the one that gets it right. But it is curious that the two optical sensors of both Suunto watches (which have nothing to do with each other) coincide in the error. So it could be that both Suuntos are wrong, or that they are right and it is the Polar that is registering something wrong. To know...
But further on there is some strange behavior on the part of the Suunto 5 Peak, these are the points that I have marked with both arrows (blue line corresponding to the Suunto 5 Peak). Here the Suunto 7 sensor does match the Polar H10, so it is clear that it is the 5 Peak that is not working properly.
Finally comment on the elevation measurement, which in the case of the Suunto 5 Peak, since it does not have a barometric altimeter, it is done exclusively with GPS. As you may already know, this measurement is quite inaccurate, but in the case of the Suunto it has worked quite well. I think the manufacturer has managed to design an algorithm that without being totally accurate (remember that the barometer is not either), it can serve perfectly well to those who are not very demanding with this data in the middle of the route.
For example this gravel outing where both the Garmin Edge 830 and the Garmin FR745 have barometric altimeter.
And running? Well, it also shows a very similar graph to that recorded by Suunto 7 and Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL.
Final conclusion to all this? I have found what I expected to find. In the GPS section the performance is quite good. I have had some moments in which it has worked somewhat below the competition when recovering signal at the exit of a tunnel or area with poor reception, but nothing that has been traumatic. In general the performance has been good, with special mention to the altitude registration through GPS.
As for the optical pulse sensor is already showing its age, it is not at the height of what other brands use or even other models of Suunto as the Suunto 7 or Suunto 9 Peak. It is correct for basic uses or race at a steady pace, but when we demand a little it does not give confidence. In this case if you want to have good heart rate data I recommend the use of an external sensor.
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Opinion Suunto 5 Peak
I liked the Suunto 5 Peak better than I expected. There are no new features at the software level nor has it been presented with new functions for the brand. But sometimes a watch is not just about adding more and more features, it is also important that overall there is cohesion between design, performance and intended use.
And I think Suunto has hit the key in this small Suunto 5 Peak. It is a discreet, beautiful, comfortable and lightweight watch. Easy to use and with a mobile application that has slowly and quietly gained a lot of functionality over the years.
If I compare it with the previous Suunto 5 it has gained in image, size and weight. Even in the display which, although still too small at 1.1″ in diameter, is now sharper and brighter.
The Suunto 5 Peak is a miniature Suunto 9 Peak, with which it does not have too many differences in terms of performance but there are in terms of price. Of course it is not perfect and there are things that could be improved, but as I said at the beginning the important thing is what is offered as a whole, and what the Suunto 5 Peak offers may interest quite a few people.