Suunto 7 hands-on: A Wear OS watch with serious fitness skills

Suunto 7 with Wear OS
Suunto 7 with Wear OS (Image credit: Android Central / Russell Holly)

If you've never heard the name Suunto before, you are forgiven. Outside of a slowly growing niche of fitness folks, it's not exactly a household name. But this small company has been making excellent fitness trackers, by which I mean real actual fitness tracking and not that sad joke we call fitness tracking from Fitbit, for many years now. These weren't built to be stylish or small, but they were designed to work damn near anywhere and give you a ton of useful data in the process.

My biggest complaint about the platform, the reason I don't wear a Suunto watch every day? They're unfortunately not very good smartwatches. At least until today, when Suunto and Google announced a huge partnership for the new 7-series watch running Wear OS.

Source: Android Central / Russell Holly

At first glance, this looks like another sporty, sort of bulky Wear OS watch. The UI is very much what you'd expect of you've used a Wear OS watch in the last year, which means you can pay for things with Google Pay and the round display looks nice and all of your Google apps are front and center. If all you want is a big Wear OS watch available in many different colors, you could have a lot of fun with Suunto 7 and never touch the fitness features. And since this is the first Sport Watch running Wear OS to come in five spectacularly different but all visually appealing color options at launch, that's not a complicated assumption to make. These are attractive timepieces, even if that's all you want.

But the stuff underneath, the software and hardware Suunto has perfected over the years, is both present and elevated here. In its GPS mode, Suunto's super accurate mapping software is in full color and looks like an amazing upgrade from its predecessors. And when you're doing that tracking, whether it's on a bike or running or swimming or more, you get a lot more data from the Suunto apps than you do from Google Fit or its partner apps. Suunto supports more than 70 sport modes and has tools in place to share the relevant data with Strava, Endomondo, or whatever it is you use to track and share your progress socially.

Suunto 7 Wear OS

Source: Android Central / Russell Holly (Image credit: Source: Android Central / Russell Holly)

With so many fashion brands focusing on attaching style to the Wear OS experience and using the power of a name to increase the price, it's nice to see Suunto offering actual substance in its watch. Suunto watches are incredible fitness platforms, and at $499, the new 7-series lines up nicely with other higher-end Wear OS watches. The biggest question coming from this demo for me is, naturally, battery life. The Suunto watches I have used in the past have never struggled to last a full day or more even with some intense time on my bike, but many Wear OS watches have struggled to do the same in the fairly recent past. Combining the Suunto software with Wear OS is very exciting, but the potential cost of that marriage gives me pause. If you're eager to see for yourself, you can pre-order now over at Suunto's website.

Russell Holly

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter