In short: The Suunto 9 Peak extends the Suunto 9 range with a smaller model. It is updated, but it does not replace the Suunto 9 Baro.
The Suunto 9 Peak is 2021’s new top-of-line watch from the Finnish brand – and it’s all the more interesting a release because it is not the major news people seem to be expecting all the time now.
Suunto has always focused on watches that are reliable companions to an active life, but not the main show.
They compete on style and reliability, not on their feature lists. The Suunto 9 Peak fits into this approach very well.
The Suunto 9 Peak is all new – and all the same.
One common complaint about the top-of-line Suunto models has long been that they are big.
This tends to be appreciated by the brand’s fans, but it also meant that they did not fit all too many people quite so well. Or simply under a shirt sleeve…
Smaller, Lighter, Same Functions +
The Suunto 9 Peak changes that, without giving up on any of the Suunto 9 Baro’s features. In fact, it advances a little in features.
Thus, the main selling point for the Suunto 9 Peak is not that it is the latest and greatest from Suunto.
If you have a Suunto 9 Baro and are happy with it, you do not need to upgrade to the Peak. If you like the big size, it is hardly even an upgrade for you.
The Suunto 9 Peak does, however, offer the same features, even the same battery life, as well as some new and very comfortable upgrades, in a package that is updated, smaller, and lighter.
The Sony GPS chip in it is apparently a new one.
The oHR sensor is also changed to a LifeQ one (as the Suunto 7 has it). This oHR sensor also measures spO2, blood oxygen saturation.
This measure is still a bit of a curiosity. It has been popular for potentially detecting sleep apnoe, and it is interesting for checking acclimation at altitude for athletes. spO2 also became popular with COVID-19. It remains to be seen what Suunto will end up doing with it.
(Right now, one only gains an additional screen that will measure and show spO2 when activated by the user.)
Size and Weight – and Display Size
The main difference, as mentioned before, is the reduction in size and weight.
The Suunto 9 Peak is 31% lighter and 37% thinner than the Suunto 9 Baro.
In practice, it looks – indeed, it is – about as big as the Suunto 9 Baro’s display alone, without its bezel.
The Suunto 9 Peak, in turn, has a reduced display size. It can be quite a shock.
Display Size and Quality
First, there is the surprise of just how much smaller this new watch is and looks.
Then, especially when first seeing the positive (white background) display, comes the realization of just how small the used space is.
The display is crisper and usually better to read than the Suunto 9 Baro’s larger display, though.
It also helps that the Suunto 9 Peak has added an ambient light sensor and automatic backlighting (which also comes to the Suunto 9 Baro, 9, 5, and 3, if I am not mistaken; those just don’t have the ambient light sensor, of course).
This large unused area around the bezel looks old-fashioned.
It would be nice to have more display area, but the space is, of course, being used for the GPS antenna and other internals.
The design of the Suunto 9 Peak continues the minimalist trend that Suunto has been on recently.
Two models also continue the trend of Suunto using titanium bezels; two are in stainless steel:
All Black and Moss Gray are in steel; Granite Blue and Birch White are in titanium.
The cases are, otherwise, in fiber-reinforced polyamide (with bits of hardware that look to be in metal), the display is covered in sapphire crystal glass, the straps are silicone.
The (smaller, 22mm) straps again use quick-release pins.
They no longer have two loops but use a pin to keep the excess length of the strap from flapping around.
It is not uncomfortable, as I thought it could well be, it is unlikely to break, but the pin can detach from the strap and get lost.
All in all, the design is quite peculiar.
It is minimalist and reduced. At the same time, it feels a bit brutalist (like that particular style of architecture) in the way that the case is screwed together and, especially, as the buttons stick out.
The buttons are nicely clicky, though… if not too loud.
And the Performance?
We will have a look at examples and comparisons of the Suunto 9 Peak with other devices, as usual.
Also as usual, though, these are always just snapshots and not really statistical analyses. Thus, they are not the be-all, end-all of reviews, as so much writing presents itself.
From what I have seen, the Suunto 9 Peak appears to be at least as good as the Suunto 9 Baro, or more likely better, with regard to oHR – and it might be as good as the Ambit 3 Peak, even, when it comes to GPS track accuracy!
When it comes to features, the simple reason I do not talk about them as much (here) is that they are the same as those of the Suunto 9 Baro.
And what the Suunto 9 Baro didn’t yet have (except for spO2 and backlight with ambient light sensor control, of course, since those are hardware-related), it will get.
The Most Noteworthy Aspect
The most noteworthy thing about the Suunto 9 Peak may be just that: Suunto is not making the Suunto 9 Baro obsolete through the introduction of the Suunto 9 Peak.
The Suunto 9 Baro was released in late 2018; it is now nearly three years old – and it is still being updated to all the latest software. That has not always been Suunto’s – or other sports watch companies’ – approach.
Many people actually complained that new watch models were necessary for Suunto to remain relevant, even as there were also complaints about other companies constantly releasing new models rather than upgrading older one.
The approach now taken, to provide the same operation in different packages, with (light) differentiation for different customer segments, seems a good one.
The Suunto 9 Peak is not cheap, but it is a cool watch and an interesting approach, shrinking the watch size while keeping and improving on features.