It’s always fascinating to see how product planning, customer desires, and market reactions come together.
The Suunto 7 WearOS smartwatch has been a particularly interesting example…
Reviewers who come from the technology side, especially about smartwatches and wearables, have generally been happy. There are issues, of course, but that’s on-par for any WearOS smartwatch.
Reviewers who come from the sports side have typically had bigger issues; they come with the expectations of sports watch users and little experience of WearOS.
Everybody wants to give an opinion, read the ultimate review that explains everything and leaves no doubt – but that’s not how this works.
The Problem: Perspective
The Suunto 7’s biggest problem, at heart, is not that it is not a good smartwatch – or a bad sports watch.
The big problem is that too many people approach the watch from their own preconceived notions, influenced by their experience with Suunto or other sports watches, rather than look at it as what it is.
1, It’s a Suunto…
First and foremost, the Suunto 7 is a Suunto.
For better and worse, therefore, it is quite a bit of watch with an elegant Nordic design. It is a watch that is meant to be worn and shown, to display one’s style and tech-forwardness.
It is not small, because it is for people who wear a watch as a tool and a statement.
This rubs many people the wrong way, and Suunto isn’t always as good at this (selling themselves as top brand) as they seem to want to be. Still, (these) watches are not only about their functionality.
2, … but It’s not a Suunto, It’s a WearOS Smartwatch
Secondly, the Suunto 7 is a WearOS smartwatch – with Suunto sports expertise, as the brand likes to put it.
I would even say that it just offers an entrance into Suunto sports tracking. Meaning, it is better for those who want a smartwatch and want to do some fitness and sports activities, than for those coming from other Suunto sports watches.
The criticism that really makes this apparent: While some people complain that the watch is too expensive when you could get a WearOS watch for 50 bucks, others complain that they couldn’t use it with a Stryd running power sensor – which is 200+ dollars!
But, if the Suunto 9 can do it, so must the Suunto 7, they clamor. The Suunto 7 is not like another Suunto outdoors sports smartwatch, though. That is also why I think that comparing the Suunto 7 to the fenix 6X makes no sense.
The Suunto 7 isn’t made for those who would use a Stryd, need the exact heart rate tracking provided by a HR belt.
It is made for those who will mainly use the smartwatch functions in their daily life, then head for the gym or hit the road running.
The basics of WearOS smartwatch use do not need describing by me, I’d hope. They are standard on the Suunto 7 as on other WearOS devices.
It is worth pointing out, though, that they mean that there is Google Assistant available from one’s wrist. There are all the various apps for WearOS that one can use.
There is media controls from the wrist, notification smart replies, maps – and with those, loads of potential for exploring. More as “in travel” than as “in outdoors adventures and ultramarathons,” however.
Of course, there’s a battery life that’s WearOS smartwatch-typical, too: The watch can last for more than a day, but it is typically best recharged every night – just like your other smart (phone) device.
3, A Tool for a Certain Job
Thirdly, in the combination, the Suunto 7 is a nice tool – for what it is and what it can offer to the right person.
Suunto, not without reason, has not talked about exploration and adventure in the marketing for the Suunto 7.
If you want training guidance, phased workouts, the use of external sensors, and a battery life for 100-milers, then this is definitely not the watch for you.
The Suunto 7 is “Sports and life, combined,” though, as Suunto has been marketing it.
If you have a busy, connected everyday life, maybe even with quite a bit of travel, and then do sports in new places, it works excellently.