Having used the Suunto 9 Baro for the last month and a half, it has been my companion for skiing, general training, winter climbing and winter walking. And what a fun toy to play with.
Features and benefits:
- Intelligent battery modes
- GPS navigation
- Over 80 sport modes
- Estimated wrist heart monitor
- 100m water resistant
- Weather functions
- Built-in digital compass
- Acivity tracking
- Sleep tracking
- And probably other features not yet explored
- For wrist sizes from 13cm to 22cm
- Weighs 81g
The watch has so many features, that writing this review, its hard to figure out where to start. More than likely I have tested the ones I would normally use, but will not do it any justice regarding any of the other options available. Lets just start with the design and the way it looks.
The Suunto 9 Baro is a sleek and stylish looking watch, available in 5 standard colours. Or if you prefer, on the Suunto website, you can customise your watch, from the case, bezel, strap and buttons, to the buckle, charging cable and heart rate sensor. So there is the potential for a complete unique design that no-one else has. The silicone stretchy wrist straps, create a comfortable and soft feel. With the option to change the straps, for a different colour, or replace them once worn out. The large face makes reading the information presented very easy.
The way you operate the watch is through its touch screen, or the three large buttons, on its side. Easily operated whilst wearing even the big winter gloves. Easy to work as a righty (watch on the left arm, using the right and to operate), not sure this would be the same for a lefty. The sapphire crystal glass used on the screen, makes it scratch resistant. As the Suunto 9 Baro is designed for the adventures and activities industry, this is an important feature to add to its longevity.
The Suunto 9 Baro is also water resistant up to a 100m deep. I have no way of testing this out, and have no curiosity to ever find this out either. I played around with it in snow, sleet, rain, cold and warm conditions, and it all worked fine. As long as the watch can deal with these conditions, I’m happy, as a mountaineer.
The suunto 9 Baro will track your heart rate and calculate your calorie consumption. (I assume the calorie consumption, is an estimation, based on movement, and heart rate). Again, for the intricate or the curious this is a great option. It analyses, from an outing, how intense the exercise is/was.
The Suunto 9 Baro has an amazing battery life. One function that stands out as fantastic, is when tracking, the user gets the option whether to track in Performance, Endurance, or Ultra mode. Meaning, collecting more or less information at regular intervals, or less so.
For accuracy purposes, I used Performance mode on all of the activities. The battery life of the Suunto 9 Baro is far superior than any of its current competitors on the market, especially on tracking mode (up to 120h). And when out in the hills for multiple days, this is of great benefit. Not having to carry extra batteries or a charger just in case.
If you forget to either charge the watch or put it in the wrong tracking mode, when it gets to 10%, it gives you the option to put it into a setting that makes the battery last longer. Also, if you regularly workout/exercise on specific days, the Suunto 9 Baro will remind you to charge it beforehand. Its like having a small PA inside, organising that part of your life.
Some of the other general functions the Suunto 9 Baro has, are it displays when the sun comes up, tells you when it goes down. It has a step counter, a calorie counter, and a sleep tracker. Which are all great functions for the right person, and can see how this can contribute to some. I can see this as a very encouraging tracker for anyone that likes to compete with themselves. Or see how they can improve their lifestyle, or maintain it.
The Suunto 9 Baro has a digital compass. As a mountaineer, I may be a bit old school, but somehow feel reluctant to use a compass that uses batteries. I have always used a normal compass, and it has never let me down, and will always continue to use this. Once the compass was set up on the Suunto 9 Baro, it was fairly accurate to within 1 degree. But personally, feel it is not as functional as a normal compass. On the Suunto website it states that the digital compass accuracy is to within 5 degrees. In my mind that is 5 degrees too much, but did not find a 5 degree inaccuracy when tested.
The Suunto 9 Baro, has a barometer built in. I really like this function, as it can confirm the weather forecast is correct, or change is due. There is an option to turn on the storm alarm, notifying you when the air pressure drops by 4hPa within a 3-hour period, taking into account any changes due to height gain, alerting the wearing of bad weather coming in.
One of the functions I used the most for referencing onto a map, was the altitude meter. Which I have found to be very accurate, and made the accuracy of navigation so much easier. Again, this can be used in combination with using coordinates, confirming that you are accurate in locating yourself on a map. I compared these with a Garmin, they were almost spot on (within one meter of one another, please see picture below).
I took the Suunto 9 Baro skiing. I will not expand on my ability or lack of skiing ability, but found it a great little toy to record speed with. Although this can become deadly, trying to compete with yourself.