SUUNTO VERTICAL | Turning point. Full analysis and opinion


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The Suunto Vertical represents a quantum leap for the brand. The turning point came last year with the presentation of the Suunto Vertical. Suunto 9 Peak ProThe link between the two? Both come to the market following the purchase of Suunto by Liesheng, the driving force behind this transformation.

What's new in the Vertical? For Suunto there are a few, but for the segment not too many. And despite that the Suunto Vertical is undoubtedly going to be one of the most important launches of this year. Suunto hasn't incorporated anything that the others don't have, but everything it has added to the watch has been "Suunto style": reliability, quality, simplicity. What the company calls Suunto DNA.

Make no mistake, just because there are no never-before-seen things doesn't mean that the Vertical won't become a reference in many aspects. Ridiculously high autonomy even with multiband (seriously) combined with a huge solar charging surface, maps that can be downloaded to the watch via WiFi, the best satellite reception on the market, new display, new optical pulse sensor... lots of little things that in the end make a great package.

I have been testing the Suunto Vertical for several weeks now, so I am already in a position to point out what is good and what still needs to be improved, because that is how I work. In these reviews there is no consideration of any kind from the manufacturers so my opinions are totally free.

So if you like the work I do in these tests and you want to collaborate with the website, you can do so by purchasing through the links posted. And don't forget to join the Telegram channel I post a lot of bargains there on a regular basis, thanks for your support!


Overall operation - 8.5
Training possibilities - 7.5
Platform and applications - 9
Battery life - 10
Finishes and comfort - 9.5
Price/performance ratio - 9



With the Vertical, Suunto is at the most important point in its history, perhaps not since 1936 but certainly in recent decades. There is a lot of work and a lot of hopes placed on this device that mark the beginning of a new era. Maps, WiFi, multi-band solar charging, record-breaking autonomy? Enough reasons for the Suunto user not to go to another brand? And to make those who are on another brand, go to Suunto?

User Rating: Be the first one !

The good

  • Satellite reception as never seen before
  • Incredible autonomy, even in multi-band mode
  • Downloadable maps with outstanding compass usage
  • At last two SuuntoPlus simultaneously
  • Competitively priced compared to what is available on the market
  • Suunto offsets the carbon footprint of each and every one of its manufactured watches.

The bad

  • Sensors, multisport profiles, emojis... the usual complaints.
  • Still without heart rate variability monitoring
  • Non-routable maps
  • There is some lag at some points in the menu.

Suunto Vertical, all the news

Before going into detail, let me give you a complete list of what's new in the Suunto Vertical, so you will have a quick reference.

  • New Sharp 1.4″, high contrast, touch screen
  • Sapphire crystal in any of its versions
  • Automatic display lighting with light sensor
  • Two models available: steel and titanium (bezel, body and cover, only a small part is polymer)
  • Solar charge on Suunto Vertical titanium for +30% of autonomy
  • 49mm circumference
  • 86 grams weight for steel model, 74 grams weight for titanium model
  • Strap 22mm
  • Maps for route navigation
  • 3 map styles: outdoor, dark and high contrast
  • Downloading of maps by communities, directly via WiFi on the watch
  • 32GB internal memory
  • Possibility of activating two SuuntoPlus applications simultaneously
  • Ability to switch between SuuntoPlus applications during the activity
  • Menu to select which widgets we have visible on the watch
  • Sunrise, sunset, daylight hours and moon phase widget
  • Weather widget (and clock face data) with data from Openweather
  • Solar energy widget with the incidence of the last 3h and last 7 days
  • Voice feedback, via cell phone, with lap and HR zone information
  • Flashlight function, activating the display illumination at 100%
  • New optical heart rate sensor
  • Multi-band chipset and near 360º antenna
  • Up to 60 hours with multiband and all satellite systems (85 hours in solar), 90 hours with single-handed all systems (140 hours in solar), up to 140 hours in energy saving mode with all 1s satellites (280 hours in solar) and a new Tour mode with 500 hours and infinite battery in the solar version.
  • Up to 60 days in watch mode, 1 year in solar version
  • Fast charge of only 1 hour and peak for 100% battery, 10 hours of training with 10 minutes of charging
  • Snorkeling and mermaid dive modes, with dive tracking down to 10 meters (33 feet)
  • Full metrics TrainingPeaks and Suunto Coach app with training, recovery and progress tips
  • Manufactured in Finland with 100% renewable energy
  • MIL-STD-810H military endurance certification
  • Water resistant up to 100m
  • Prices: £599 Suunto Vertical steel, £799 Suunto Vertical solar titanium

A quick summary of what's new is that it has maps, market-leading autonomy, the solar charge that adds the most to the battery, and GNSS reception that has never been seen before. Not a bad initial introduction for this Suunto Vertical.


Many new features, but the basis remains the same

The Suunto Vertical represents a new era for the Finnish brand, but it is not a clean slate, it is not a revolution where absolutely everything that Suunto had until now has been changed.

User interface, buttons, aesthetics, feel, touch, feel... it's all still Suunto. The user interface is the same that Suunto revamped last year with the Suunto 9 Peak Pro. The control method is the same as before, touch screen along with three buttons on the right side. Although now there is a small change, and is that the central button is sheltered by the top and bottom that protrude a little more.

Suunto Vertical - Buttons

You will see that there are two yellow dots on the top and bottom buttons. According to Suunto, they are there to sharpen your sense when you go to look for the buttons. Although they look like it, they are not luminescent.

Regarding the buttons I would appreciate a design similar to that of the Suunto 5, which do not have a touch screen and make up for it with two additional buttons. One for illumination and one to go back in the menu. 

Although it is true that the watch recognizes very well the gesture of turning the wrist and the response is very fast (plus it has a light sensor), I have had moments when I have missed it. But more important seems to me the back button, which in the three-button design forces us to slide the finger on the screen -which sometimes does not recognize- or to hold down the center button -which is not the fastest way to move-.

The touchscreen works well, even when wet. While it is true that during the regular use of the watch I hardly use it, I prefer the buttons, when it is time to explore the map its use is crucial. 

The bezel of the watch combines smooth and grooved areas.

Suunto Vertical - Bevel

The grooved areas, according to Suunto, are to provide more grip when holding the watch and operating the buttons, especially when wearing gloves. They make it difficult for fingers to slip.

The quality of materials and workmanship is very good, typical Suunto. The Vertical is available in two versions, in steel or titanium for bezel and watch case.

Suunto Vertical - Clock case

But that bezel goes beyond being a mere aesthetic element, it is an extremely important part of the Suunto Vertical. It is the GNSS reception antenna itself, with almost 360º of coverage. So no matter how you wear the watch on your wrist or that you do not wear your hand horizontally, there will always be some area with direct satellite reception.

The display is completely new. And this is noticeable in terms of contrast and visibility, which is an improvement over previous Suunto models. Of course, we still maintain the typical reflections of the sapphire crystal, so depending on how the incidence of illumination may hinder visibility to a greater or lesser extent. But this is the same for any watch with sapphire crystal.

The case diameter is 49mm, so despite being a large watch it doesn't look huge on the wrist. The 1.4″ display takes up much of the front surface of the watch. 

Suunto Vertical - Front view

In the titanium version the solar charging area also occupies an important part of the surface, much larger than the one we have for example in the Garmin watches. You can see it compared below with the Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar.

Suunto Vertical - Solar Panel Comparison

The strap, meanwhile, is 22mm. The same size as for example the Suunto 9 Peak. So if you are upgrading from that model and you have additional straps the podrás take advantage.

Suunto Vertical - Belt

However, the Suunto strap is comfortable and quite elastic. It is made of silicone, so it is not the lightest. For this pod we could use the Velcro type ones that came with the Suunto 9 Baro Titanium or Suunto 7 Titanium. But the strap that comes standard is an important part of the aesthetics of the watch.

In the software section, the Suunto vertical also incorporates some new features. For example, another watch face that, in the case of the solar-charged Titanium version, includes solar incidence information at the bottom.

Suunto Vertical - Sun dial

The bars indicate the solar incidence in the last 3 hours, the more time you spend in the sunlight the more "filled" these bars will be.

This dial is also more complete than the ones that Suunto used until now, since it now has "complications" that can be changed. The two data that appear at the top can be changed, to do this simply click on each of them and they will change to another data. Date, altitude, time of sunset, remaining battery, weather and some more. 

We have new widgets. Starting with a solar energy widget for the Vertical Titanium.

Suunto Vertical - Solar Widget

In addition to giving us the same information as on the main dial, if we scroll down we will also have the sun's usage for the last week.

Suunto Vertical - Solar Widget

There is a weather widget, which is automatically updated when we are near the cell phone, with data from the Openweather platform. In addition to current weather, it also offers a forecast for the next 8 hours; data on humidity, wind and probability of rain; and finally air quality to take into account when thinking about training.

Suunto Vertical - Weather Widget

The truth is that it is the widget of this type that provides the most information of all the competition, especially for the humidity, wind and air quality data.

And finally we have a third new widget, with sunrise and sunset times, daylight hours and moon phase. In this case it is all pretty standard.

Suunto Vertical - Sunrise and Sunset

Continuing with the new features we now have a flashlight option. It is not a flashlight with dedicated hardware as in the Garmin Fenix 7X (and recently in all the Fenix 7 Pro and Epix Pro), but uses the illumination of the screen to give us light.

It's not a lighthouse and won't make you be seen two miles away, but it's good for minor tasks like zipping up a sleeping bag or finding a door lock.

But I can leave this photo for you to see how much light it can provide in a dark room.

Suunto Vertical - Flashlight

As you can see it is not very powerful, but it can be enough for some kind of uses. However I have some complaints with the implementation.

The first is that there is no direct access, for example by holding down a button. To activate it we have to enter the menu and look for the flashlight option, something not too practical for a function that is there for when you need light quickly.

Suunto Vertical - Flashlight

The second complaint is that the flashlight will only last for 30 seconds. After that time the watch returns to the main menu automatically. I understand that it's a battery consuming feature... but it's hard to forget that it's on, firstly because we have a light emitting from the wrist and secondly because we don't have the time on the screen.

Fixed after the first update of Suunto. After widespread "complaints" the lighting now stays on for 10 minutes instead of turning off after 30 seconds.

Sport profile management remains the same. The Suunto Vertical has dozens of different profiles that come predefined (with the settings that Suunto thinks are best for each one) and cannot be edited. But you can create your own profile for any of these sports and call it whatever you want. A system that works perfectly and to which the Suunto user is already more than used to. 

However, we still have the limitation of multisport profiles such as triathlon, duathlon and others... but I'll talk about that later.

The configuration of the sport profile is done from the mobile application, although compared to the competition it is somewhat limited. That limitation was understood when the memory requirements of the previous generation were a brake, but in this new platform there should not be.

Only pod can configure three different data screens, where pod can choose between data that you configure yourself (with a maximum of seven) or predefined screens with graphs, lap table, intensity zones or intervals. 

Possibly the three data screens are more than enough for the vast majority of users, but if you like to have large data screens you are going to be quite limited.

All other profile settings are made directly from the watch. Battery mode, target, auto lap, backlight and background color, etc. Also the SuuntoPlus options which, with the Suunto Vertical, is extended to two simultaneously.

Suunto Vertical - SuuntoPlus

SuuntoPlus are small applications that podemos add to the profile and that will add additional screens. For example third-party applications, such as the possibility to use ActiveLook smart glasses, but also more basic ones such as metrics from TrainingPeaks or Strava.

It is very positive that Suunto has extended the possibility of use to two SuuntoPlus simultaneously, as well as allowing to activate or deactivate the functions without stopping the activity, but many of these functions should be integrated in the sport profiles and not depend on an external application (for example adding TSS metrics or nominal power in any data page, and not in the exclusive TrainingPeaks one).

There is a second limitation and that is that if you are doing an interval training, it is loaded as a SuuntoPlus guide (a training is still an application, but of sporadic use) so it will only leave "space" to load another additional SuuntoPlus.

But hey, I understand that maybe these are limitations of the previous platform, so there is room for improvement here.

In the menu we find another new option, voice feedback. If we activate it, we will receive messages with information on automatic laps or when we change heart rate zone.

The alerts will be heard through the cell phone or headphones you have paired with the phone, but not through the watch (because it does not have a speaker).

And to recall some of the new products presented at the Suunto 9 Peak Pro and which are also present in the Suunto Vertical, we have power estimation during the race.

Suunto Vertical - Power stroke

There are no changes in reference to what came with the 9 Peak Pro.

As for the barometric altimeter, it can also be used for snorkeling and mermaid diving. I am not going to expand on this because I already commented on it in the review of the Suunto 9 Peak ProBut we would like to remind you that these are profiles that, although they are not going to be useful for the most serious divers (the log limit is up to 10 meters deep), they are an option that can be quite fun for when you decide to leave the beach bar and take a dip on the beach... or much more than that.

And now that I show the application, the Suunto App is becoming a very important asset for the brand. Admittedly, the move from Movescount to Suunto App was pretty catastrophic, and will be studied in universities as how not to do a platform migration... but the end result has been worth it.

Suunto App right now is arguably the best app out of all the competition. I want to make a video for the YouTube channel I will be detailing a little more all the news that have been presented, let's see when I can find the time to do it.

He has recently added all the training load tracking metrics from TrainingPeaks (perhaps the most scientific method and, for those of us who are triathletes, our personal bible).

Suunto Vertical - Suunto App

And it has just added Suunto Coach to provide guidance and advice to those less experienced in both training and the data provided by TrainingPeaks.

If the application is so good, what is missing then? Well, having all this data on the watch in some way, either as a widget or as some other option within the watch, but that it is not necessary to enter the application to poder visualize it. This is something that is present in the competition and that Suunto should also add in the Vertical.

Ultimately these are things to allow us to bring cohesion to the platform, improve the Suunto ecosystem and make it all work better collectively. But I'm sure they know all of this inside out at Suunto and that the deeper pockets of the new owners will make it happen.

Navigation maps on the Suunto Vertical

Suunto Vertical - Map

Maps are possibly the most important new feature of the Suunto Vertical, or at least one of the most demanded functions by all of you. It is not the first watch of the brand to have maps, as the Suunto Vertical is the first one. Suunto 7 I did, but it is in a watch with the orientation of the Vertical where it was needed, because it is precisely the one with enough battery to get lost in the mountains and need those maps.

There are a number of quite interesting things in Suunto maps, solved in a very good way. We have 32GB of space to download maps, but it won't be easy to fill them given the fantastic management that Suunto has come up with. 

However, you must take into account that the watch does not come with the downloaded maps and it will be one of the first things you will have to do as soon as you take the watch out of the box.

It is not a complicated process, it will simply take a few minutes and the download takes place directly on the watch through the WiFi connection it has, all commanded from the application.

But the management is quite intelligent, because depending on each country you can download the complete map or as in the case of Spain (and many others) do it by communities. In my case for example I have downloaded Andalusia which is the area where I usually go out and, if I have to travel to some other community or country, I simply download the area that interests me.

This makes the management very fast, because it avoids having to download for example the complete map of Europe. Not because of memory capacity, because with 32GB we have plenty of space, but because the transmission takes time (as in any device of this type). A wired solution would be faster, but it is also true that we will not be downloading maps constantly.

Each map includes three different styles: outdoor, dark and high contrast. Depending on what you are going to use it for, you will prefer one style or another.

In general it will be the outdoor style that we will use, or at least the most common. Here you can see how it looks in each of the different map styles (outdoor, dark, high contrast).


Suunto has done a very good job with these maps. They are very detailed and perfectly mark green areas in green, water areas in blue (even swimming pools!), major streets and roads, etc. There are no street names or other points of interest, although that is something that may come later.

The maps stand out in a totally fluid use, both in scrolling by sliding your finger across the screen and when zooming (press top button to zoom in, press and hold top button to zoom out), but especially with the use of the compass when moving.

To see it is worth watching the video, because it is an immediate displacement and something of great help when you arrive at an intersection and you are not clear which of the various paths is the one you should choose.

What don't we have? Routeable maps. This type of maps allows more interaction from the watch itself, such as poder create a route directly from the watch (marking a point and the watch calculates it) or in the middle of a journey ask the watch to return to the starting point by the fastest route.

That would be the next step and only Garmin offers it. They obviously have the advantage of having been selling car navigation devices for a lot of years. Although it also has its dangers, such as calculating a route and guiding you by bike through a firewall or along roads that appear on the map but don't actually exist (it has happened to me).

But despite not having maps of this type, the implementation made by Suunto is really good. Everything is done from the practicality, from the moment we download only the communities we need, the information offered on screen or the creation of routes in the application. And the truth is that it has not affected me when navigating a route.

In fact nothing prevents you in the middle of the route to take out the phone and create a new route that you can send at that moment to the watch to vary the navigation as you need. Of course, doing so would be practical poder download the maps also in the application for poder do it even without coverage.

The navigation possibilities are the same as in other Suunto models. We can easily create routes in the application through the integrated editor or import them from other services or synchronize them from connected services such as Wikiloc, Strava, Komoot, etc.

Once you have the route saved in the application, you only have to activate the "Use on watch" button to have it available.

Suunto Vertical - Route Navigation

We can load a route, and during the same activity change to a different route. Navigation to a certain point, display location coordinates, change the map style, consult saved POIs... And the navigation has turn warning and off-route warning, both in the map view and through notifications that appear on screen.

When we select a route, it will show us distance, meters we have to climb, highest point on the route...

Suunto Vertical - Route details

The route visualization on the screen is very intuitive. In the pod watch we select the screen with the map and it will show with an arrow our position, a blue line with the route to follow (with arrows indicating the correct direction) and a red line with the route we have followed up to the moment.

Suunto Vertical - Route navigation

We can choose the zoom: 25m, 50m, 100m, 200m and 500m. Perhaps this maximum of 500m may be a little tight in some occasions, the truth is that I would appreciate poder zoom out even more, especially to check where the roads can be directed or to move on the map more quickly.

One touch on the top button and it zooms in, press and hold the same button and it zooms out. Once you get used to the control method it is really handy.

You can also move around the map by simply sliding your finger on the screen (or with the buttons if the situation requires it -fat gloves-), in case you want to explore a different path than the one you have traced in the route. In the image below I have taken another path than the one I had initially designed. 

Suunto Vertical - Route navigation

The paths are marked by that dashed line you see to the left of my position. Because remember that the path I have taken is the one marked in red and the original route is the one marked in blue. Ah! the red arrow at the top is marking the north.

And if you want to identify a path, you only have to move a couple of degrees to the left or right, the map rotation is virtually instantaneous, much better than any other watch with maps. This is due to the smooth functioning of the compass.

One thing that can be missed is that on the map page there is no data of any kind. It's not possible to have a field with pace, time, distance, etc. Just the map, and if you want to see the rest of the data you will have to switch between the clock screens.

In the next screen we have a page with the elevation of the route, what we have climbed and what we still have to climb. Here we would appreciate a function like ClimbPro of Garmin, which would detail in more detail each of the climbs that we have instead of doing everything in global.

Suunto Vertical - Elevation on the route

We have both turn and off-route warnings, so 1TP7We can navigate with confidence without constantly looking at the watch screen.

And at any time podemos access the navigation menu, where you can change the type of map, display points of interest you have created, select a different route, see your location ...

Suunto has done a great job with the maps and their navigation (which was already really good before incorporating the maps). Compared to the competition we don't have some of the things that Garmin offers beyond the routable maps, such as street names or some additional detail on the maps (Suunto says it may be coming in the future).

Suunto Vertical - Route navigation

Obviously Garmin has the advantage of having been manufacturing vehicle navigators for many years, so all that work has already been done. It is not possible to compete with them.

COROS offers a similar experience, although the navigation possibilities are inferior and do not have the fantastic compass of Suunto, instantaneous when we are viewing the map.

The base is good and if Suunto is able to add some additional functionality it can become one of the best options in the market.

As I said at the beginning, Suunto has not created anything new, but everything included has been done in the Suunto style, and this is what its users value most.

Autonomy and solar charging

Another of the most worked aspects of the Suunto Vertical is its autonomy, which is very high in any of the settings selected and practically the market leader in all of them.

Announcing 60 hours for the multiband+all satellites mode is certainly a fantastic figure, only on a par with another watch designed for maximum autonomy but which is much more expensive (the Garmin Enduro 2).

With that figure it is practically not worth recommending any other mode except for exceptional occasions, in which you can switch to the mode of all GNSS systems in a single band in which we would go to 90 hours of autonomy. And from there going through other power saving modes, to infinity... literally.

Suunto has adopted the use of the latest Sony GNSS chipset, with a fabulous performance. It is incredible that we are already talking about these figures in activity recording when not many years ago it was normal to be in 8 or 10 hours of activity with exclusive use of GPS. If you stop for a second to think about it, it is impressive.

I have prepared this table so that you can see the autonomy of both models of Suunto Vertical and also how it compares to other models on the market.

Suunto Vertical - Autonomy comparison

On the other hand we have the solar charging that is available exclusively in the titanium version. With a charging panel (HUGE), which occupies almost the entire inner bezel of the screen. According to data provided by Suunto, this charging panel can provide up to 30% of additional autonomy.

It is no longer a small help as was the case with the first models of Garmin that used this technology, now it is something noticeable and that can be valued in a real way. It is not about adding 3 or 4 additional hours of activity recording, we are talking about 60 hours with multiband use that would allow us to spend up to 90 hours (which may be more or may be less, it all depends on how much sun you can take advantage of).

Obviously the fact of getting so many additional hours is also due to the fact that it starts from a really good autonomy, which allows us to stay longer in the sunlight between charges. But since the charging surface is so large, the utilization is much higher.

Specifically twice as large as the surface area of the latest Garmin (which has already grown with respect to the first models). The loading panel of the Suunto is 3cm while that of the Garmin is about 1.5cm.

It is true that in the case of Garmin, below the display we also have another much larger charging panel... but it is not able to use the same amount of solar energy.

In fact the watch would even be able not only to maintain the battery, but to recharge it by simply leaving it exposed to the sun, something that I have put into practice. Obviously the charge is not as if we had the watch connected to the charger, but it does serve to confirm that it is capable of storing more energy than it consumes (without performing an activity).

Solar charging only works when the battery is below 94%, to avoid constant charging at peak battery levels, which is not good for battery life.

The overall battery performance is impressive, especially considering that I have only used multiband in any of my activities with satellite use. In all the time I've been using the watch I've only needed to charge it on two occasions. And one of those I had to do an emergency charge, so I was also able to take advantage of fast charging and get 25% of range in a few minutes.

Things that are still missing in the Suunto Vertical

So far I've talked about all the good things about Suunto Vertical, but it's time to also take a look at the things that still don't work as they should, that need to be improved or that are not yet present.

Because when you make a purchase of this type it is obvious that you must be properly informed of both the good and the improvable. And that's what I'm here for. I don't want to get long-winded, so I'll try to be brief.

Phone Notifications

There is ample room for improvement. In the first version there is some kind of bug that does not show all of them. The phone rings, the clock does not show anything or warns, but if we access the notifications widget it is there. It happened to me with the beta versions and it still happens in the final version.. Fixed in the first software update.

Within the notifications it should be noted that we continue without "emojis" of any kind. The clock only shows squares instead. In 2023 this is a pretty bad thing.

I think Suunto is working on it, hopefully it will be resolved in the short term because, despite not being specifically sport, it gives a bad image of what a platform is.


You already know what is there, the same thing that has been dragging since the Spartan hit the market. There is hardly any sensor management, it only allows one of each type and if you want to use another one you have to delete the previous one and pair the new one. Every time. And when you look for it that there are not two together because you won't know which one is which. A disaster. 

Updates erase data

When you use the watch for the first time you will have to spend some time configuring everything, including the heart rate and power zones. Well I bring you bad news, that information is not saved in the cloud and when you receive a firmware update, all those zones will be erased and you will have to configure them again. And you can't do it quickly on the phone, it's in the watch menu.

Start training does not deactivate sleep mode

It is possible to set the sleep mode so that you are not disturbed by phone notifications, with the watch vibrating or ringing. Something that is appreciated.

The problem is that the mode prevents ANY kind of vibration or warning... including training ones. I tell you my particular case. I have the sleep mode set to 9:00, just in case I want to sleep a little more than I should. But I usually go out to train around 6:30 or 7:00.

If I don't MANUALLY disable the rest mode I won't get any kind of warnings. Neither of laps or if I'm doing interval training. Even though the watch has detected the end of sleep and displays that information on screen, and knows I'm awake. So you have to do interval workouts without any kind of warning of when the next leg is coming up. 

Once you have started the training you cannot access the menu to deactivate the rest mode either, you would have to end the training, deactivate the rest and start it again. 

Warnings on interval changes

A minor issue, but with an easy solution. When changing from one interval to another, a countdown and prior warning would be appreciated. Now it only warns you that you have to change the interval and nothing else.

Lap button does not change interval

While doing interval training, when the lap button is pressed instead of jumping to the next interval it marks a lap.

When the battery is low, the vibration is disabled... even for the alarm clock.

Another silly bug but that can be terrible. When you have the watch with low battery (yes, very occasionally it happens) it automatically activates a saving mode to hold a little longer until you get to a charger. And among other things, it disables the vibration. 

I would have no objection to this... except that disables it also for the alarm clock. Now imagine that you have to get up at 5 am to catch a flight and you set the clock to do so, the alarm clock works but it turns out that it is not vibrating. What a bummer you might get, right?

Sometimes the map is "black".

Youth problem in the use of maps, simply aesthetic. There are times when moving or zooming the map remains black, either for a few moments or until we move the map again or zoom in it.. Quite improved although if forced it still happens. It's not such a noticeable "bug" anymore and doesn't happen as often, but if you look for it you find it.

No warning when trying to choose a third SuuntoPlus

If you want to select several SuuntoPlus and you don't realize that you already have two selected (or a Suunto Guide), there is no warning to warn you. It is simply not activated when you select it.

No pulse variability monitoring

And it's something that the rest of its competition already has. Suunto has already dropped it in its surveys, so it is foreseeable that it will arrive in the not too distant future.

Better access to the flashlight

Although it does not have dedicated LEDs, the flashlight may come in handy at some point. But there is no direct access and you have to search for the option in the menu. In addition, it turns itself off after 30 seconds.. A good idea that needs to be more practical.

Multisport profiles

We have been dragging this for many years, and still no solution. The triathlon profile cannot be configured, nor can podemos create a new one. There is no duathlon profile beyond a Suunto Guide (not at all desirable). Not to mention aquathlon or similar. 

Suunto App does not correctly report positive meters

This is not specific to Suunto Vertical but to the application (so it affects all clocks). When creating or importing a route, the route designer does not correctly report the total accumulated positive meters. In fact it is not something exclusive to Suunto and it happens also in other brands or applications (COROS also suffers from it, Garmin has also done strange things to me...). 

All this is not a criticism towards Suunto, it is simply to let you know these details and also serve to put pressure on the brand in certain aspects. I consider that sensor management and correct notifications and with emoticons is the most objectionable in 2023, and it is something that should be fixed yesterday.

I know that in the coming weeks the first update will arrive to surely address some of these youthful errors, it will be time to cross things off the list.

Suunto is facing a unique opportunity, they have in this watch a diamond that pod we can consider that it is still a little rough. If they can polish it a little in these aspects along with other improvements that they are launching, they have a real winning product.

GNSS Performance of the Suunto Vertical

As I always like to clarify, as in the optical sensor tests that you will see below, the GPS comparisons are made in the same way: with the watches accompanying me in my usual workouts. Wearing both the Suunto Vertical and other models, and checking where the problems appear.

I do not have any defined path to establish a score for the simple reason that there are other external factors that we should never forget. Things like clouds, leaves on the trees or simply the position of the satellite can alter the GPS results from one day to the next.

This is why I prefer to make this type of comparison instead of having a predefined route and assess it from this one.

On this occasion I wanted to be quite basic with the tests, in the sense of "pitting" it against two very specific models.

The Suunto 9 Peak Pro not only because it is the previous model to this Vertical but also because the GNSS chipset is the same but with a different antenna (among other things the 9 Peak Pro does not have a multiband antenna). The other one chosen has been the Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar, until now the reference in terms of quality of the tracks (along with all its cousins and brothers 255, 265, 965, Fenix 7, Epix, etc). 

What I wanted to show was the improvement over the "previous generation" (although the chipset is the same, what changes is the antenna) and also compared to the most reliable on the market at the moment. 

Well, I ended up pissed off. Because I have tried actively and passively, I have looked for somewhat complicated situations where poder catch it (always within reasonable use), places that I know that can present problems due to signal reflections... Simply, it has been almost impossible to "trick" it. 

So if you want to save this part you can skip to the next section knowing that the satellite reception is near perfect. But if you want to know any other interesting details... stay tuned.

To get good satellite reception a number of things are needed:

  • A reliable, high-performance and efficient GNSS chipset
  • Antenna with good reception
  • Sufficient autonomy so that the chipset, even if efficient, can operate freely

The Suunto Vertical offers all three. It has battery life to bore, so there is no fear of leaving the watch with multi-band satellite reception, which is how it comes configured by default: 5 simultaneous satellite systems, up to 32 connected satellites and dual band.

The entire bezel of the watch forms the GNSS antenna of the watch, so it is practically a 360° antenna. It doesn't matter what the orientation of the watch is, whether you wear your wrist higher or lower. It will always be receiving satellite signal.

I'll stop theorizing and let's go with "the evidence of the crime". Because having such good tracks should be considered illegal.

I start with this training.

Suunto Vertical - GNSS Comparison

I am warning you that this is going to be the general trend. Both Suunto Vertical and Garmin FR955 are perfectly aligned, while the only one that will have slight errors will be the Suunto 9 Peak Pro. But they are not major errors, simply that it is displaced a few meters with respect to the real track, as in the image below.

Suunto Vertical - GNSS Comparison

Another back-and-forth point where both the Vertical and 955 perform flawlessly, while the 9 Peak Pro has a slight slip.

Suunto Vertical - GNSS Comparison

And repeating on this other point, same behavior. I remember that both the Vertical and the 9 Peak Pro have the same chipset and what differentiates them is the antenna. It is in these comparisons where you can realize how important it is to have a good antenna.

Suunto Vertical - GNSS Comparison

We now move on to a day "a little" longer, in the Ironman Marbella 70.3 (complicated day with blisters throughout the race on foot ...). Five hours and a bit and many kilometers covered.

Suunto Vertical - GNSS Comparison

I start with the open water swimming. Here I only have for comparison the part up to the second buoy, where the Suunto Vertical was paused. In swimming there are constant bumps, and wearing the Vertical on the right wrist the buttons are a bit more exposed to those impacts. It was when I got to T1 that I realized the watch was paused, at which point I continued and switched to transition and then cycling.

Suunto Vertical - GNSS Comparison

That fragment I do have to compare? Without complaint, following exactly the same line also marked by the Forerunner 955 and reviewing the track obtained, I was not so bad at orienteering in open water. You can give me a prize.

I add another open water swimming track. This time without following buoy lines so you won't see such straight lines, but in this case I use a third watch as a reference under the cap, always out of the water, so it never loses signal.

It is not the best way either because the one I have in my head uses the running profile and its algorithm is not prepared for such low paces, but it serves to guarantee that where it says I have passed it is true that I have done it.

So for this occasion, in addition to the Suunto Vertical, I'm wearing a Garmin Forerunner 965 (configured as all satellites plus multiband like Vertical) and a Garmin Swim 2 as a reference on the cap.

Suunto Vertical - GNSS Comparison

You can see that the result is really good in the case of both Suunto and Garmin. Both coincide in the track fully and, if there is any error, it is more on the part of Swim 2 due to the fact of complicating the algorithm's existence.

Suunto Vertical - GNSS Comparison

It is in this marked part of the purple track where we have more errors on the part of Swim 2. I have also pointed out with the arrow a point where the Suunto has gone slightly to the right.

They are not perfect tracks, but you know about the difficulty in open water and both the Suunto Vertical and the Garmin Forerunner 965 perform perfectly.

In fact, in measured distance the Suunto Vertical has recorded 1,938m while the Garmin Forerunner 965 has been 1,914m. The out-of-water reference measured 2,010m, but those errors I noted above add quite a few extra meters.

On the bike, as usual, little to note. Open roads with full visibility of the sky and higher speeds than when running result in tracks that perfectly match where we have passed.

Suunto Vertical - GNSS Comparison

The case is that in the race the situation is also repeated. In this portion you can see both the bike track (top) and the race track (bottom). Neither of the two has errors in any of the two watches.

Suunto Vertical - GNSS Comparison

It is not a question of zoom level. I can zoom in quite a bit and you can see how in none of the three laps on the circuit (6 passes through each point, 12 track lines) the only thing you can see is that there are simply centimeters of separation from one pass to the next.

Suunto Vertical - GNSS Comparison

Even at turning points between buildings and some trees.

Suunto Vertical - GNSS Comparison

Let's go now to that training in which I try to cheat the clocks. For this I have used a couple of tunnels where I either stopped for a few seconds and continued on the same path, or changed direction. Suunto Vertical - GNSS Comparison

That is, when I am under the tunnel the clocks lose the satellite signal, what I am interested in seeing is how they behave, how long they take to recover the signal and how they do it.

In this first example I have done the last thing I told you, stopping in the middle of the tunnel and changing sides of the road while the clocks were without signal. I have marked with orange the real route, and now I will analyze the behaviors.

Suunto Vertical - GNSS Comparison

On this occasion the Garmin FR955 (in red) was the smartest of all, because despite having no satellite signal it used the other sensors to interpret where I was and what I was doing. Using compass, gyroscope and accelerometer, it identified that I had changed sides of the road and instantly recovered the signal as soon as I left the tunnel. 

The Suunto Vertical (in blue) did not identify that movement under the tunnel, but also recovered the signal immediately when exiting the tunnel and making the turn. With a few centimeters difference with respect to the Garmin, but also remarkably well.

It is the 9 Peak Pro (purple) which, despite also doing quite well, failed to identify the change of side on the road and only made the turn a few seconds later than the Vertical. 

In any case, a good result for all three watches.

Second test with tunnel, in this case stopping for 30 seconds and continuing along the same path I was going to take.

Suunto Vertical - GNSS Comparison

Again the Garmin (red track) has managed to do a little better. There is no movement on his track even though he lost the signal. But since the sensors indicated that there was no change of direction and no movement, pod was able to process it correctly.

The Vertical (in blue) moved two or three meters to the right after losing the signal, but regained it instantly upon exiting the tunnel.

It is the 9 Peak Pro (purple line) that got a bit more lost, and also took a bit longer to identify the correct spot after leaving the tunnel. But again without any craziness on the part of the three.

New point of loss of satellites, this time I made a stop under the metal roof of a gas station ... and both Suunto Vertical and Garmin FR955 have interpreted the stop and exit on the right side to perfection. Here the Suunto 9 Peak Pro did get lost and cut into the curve to a greater extent.

Suunto Vertical - GNSS Comparison

Another point of the training, which again I have marked with orange line where I have passed. Before reaching the traffic circle it was both the Garmin and the 9 Peak Pro that got a bit lost, while the Suunto Vertical traced the correct path as well as the crossing points.

Suunto Vertical - GNSS Comparison

I could go on like this all day, but I think you have a pretty good idea of the situation. Both the Suunto Vertical and the Garmin with dual-band chipset are the ones that offer the best satellite performance today. In favor of the Suunto is also the autonomy, far superior to that of the 955 in the test and also to that of the equivalent Fenix. 

Truly a fantastic job by Suunto.

Optical heart rate sensor

Once the satellite reception has been checked, it is time to take a look at the optical pulse sensor. Keep in mind that a wrist heart rate monitor does not work the same way on every body. We are all different, and if we add into the equation things like skin tone, tattoos, body hair... the difference from person to person can be quite large.

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.

I'll start with this 4×8′ tempo. In theory there was supposed to be a third graph of the Polar Verity Sense... but it was due for an update so I wasn't in the mood to record the workout. But hey, looking at the graph it's not too necessary either, there is absolute overlap between the Suunto Vertical and the Garmin HRM-Tri chest sensor.

Suunto Vertical - Optical sensor

Another training with long intervals, although in this case I make some abrupt stops. In the beginning you can see how there is a moment in which the chest sensor does not register as it should because the electrodes are dry. This is something very common in these sensors and something from which the optical pulse sensors do not suffer, however, they do have problems in sudden changes in intensity.

Suunto Vertical - Optical sensor

Being estimated data there is always a small delay between reality and estimation. It is noticeable for example when you stop running.

However at these shorter and more intense intervals there is no problem with the optical sensors (whereas the initial problem with the chest sensor recurs).

Suunto Vertical - Optical sensor

Finally here is the graph of the day of the Ironman 70.3 in Marbella, in which I have separated the swim, bike and run parts.

Suunto Vertical - Optical sensor

The swimming part I won't go into it because it's simply not worth it. No matter what sensor integrated in the watch we are talking about, the record is not at all reliable. Proof of this is this graph in which the Suunto measures very high while the Garmin measures very low. So little more to comment.

Good result in the cycling segment where both sensors match the reading. In cycling, as long as the intensity is high and constant, the sensors usually work moderately well. Especially if I am attached to a triathlon bike and there is hardly any vibration at the wrist. Although the Marbella race has a lot of elevation and you don't spend as much time on the bike. 

But on a mountain bike this would not be the result. There is much more vibration, more movement and the wrist is in a less natural position.

In the third segment the same as we have seen so far, correct reliability even when I slowed down at the refreshment posts (or tried to solve my problems with blisters thanks to the Nike Alphafly that on this occasion I was crushed).

Want to help the web? Buy Suunto Vertical

I hope that this in-depth review has helped you to decide if it is a valid device for you or not. All the work I do you can consult it without any cost, but if you want to support the page and by doing so the work I do, the best way to do that is to buy your new device through the links I provide .

And if you don't buy it today, remember to stop by when you do! Through these links you will not only get a competitive price and the best customer care, but also I will receive a small percentage at no additional cost to you. That's what allows me to keep offering you reviews like the one on this page.


Opinion Suunto Vertical

The Suunto Vertical is a diamond in the rough. They have achieved a very good base in which the basic (and non-upgradable) elements stand out not only with respect to what Suunto had so far, but also with what other competing models have to offer. 

There are still things that need a bit of TLC, as I detailed above, but I'm confident that now that Suunto has more resources it will be able to work on it. 

The Suunto Vertical is perhaps the most important product in the brand's history. It is the first 100% device of the new era after the takeover by Liesheng and the one that is destined not only to close the performance gap with the competition (especially COROS, possibly its biggest rival at present) but also to narrow it.

The Vertical gives Suunto users what they have been demanding for many years: navigation with maps. But it doesn't stop there. It does so thanks to intelligent map implementation (WiFi download by province is a superb solution), high-quality compass performance, market-leading satellite reception and a range that seems hard to believe.

Thanks to that base they can now focus the developers' efforts on polishing those bugs (especially the older ones: sensors, multisport, notifications) and adding new features. Both the hardware and the application are up to par with the market leaders, now they have to work on the rest of the aspects and functionality.

Obviously pod will not be able to catch up with Garmin in terms of features (we are talking about two very different company typologies and sizes...), especially in terms of smart features like wireless music/payments. But I do look forward to seeing how Suunto uses concepts that are already in the market and implements them with its "Suunto DNA".

And I think we say it too little, but manufactured with 100% renewable energy and offsetting its carbon footprint with a reforestation project of Tree-Nation. I think it is important to emphasize this in a brand that is committed to overseas activity.

And with that... thanks for reading!

Eduardo Mateos

I've been surrounded by electronic devices of all kinds for more than 25 years. Using them, testing them, taking them apart and dissecting them. Long distance triathlete: I swim, run and cycle for a long time. Maybe too much.

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  1. Another spectacular review 'made in' Eduardo Mateos, you don't leave out a single detail. Huge...

  2. Congratulations on this review Eduardo. Question:
    Forerunner 965 or Suunto Vertical? I had it clear with Garmin but this bug appeared and I'm having doubts.

    1. Thank you Marcos.

      They are different products. The 965 stands out for the AMOLED screen and, despite this, a sufficiently high autonomy. But the Suunto is reliability and brutal autonomy. And then the big differences in finishes, materials, etc..

  3. Hi Eduardo, do you know if the vertical can control a cycling roller? can you program cycling workouts from the app? thanks a lot and congratulations for this review and your great work on all of them!

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