The Suunto 9 Peak Pro is a powerful little watch for mountain sports. | Max Ritter photo.
Sports watches aren’t all made the same. Just like any other electronic device, manufacturing these things isn’t exactly great for mother earth - but Finland’s Suunto is trying to combat that by creating the new Suunto 9 Peak Pro with 100% renewable energy and have its carbon footprint calculated and then fully compensated with Verified Carbon Units through Tree-Nation. According to the brand, during its entire lifespan, the watch creates only 16.5lb CO2e. That’s the equivalent of driving a fossil fuel car for 27 miles. The watch is designed to last, with rugged durability thanks to high-quality materials tested to a variety of military-grade standards. It’s clearly aimed at those of us with big peaks, long-term training goals, and athletic performance data tracking in mind. But what good is all that if the watch doesn’t work well? That’s why we put the new Suunto 9 Peak Pro to the test on trail runs, ski tours, and ice climbs these past few months.
The Suunto 9 Peak Pro is a relatively small watch, with a 1.2-inch wide touchscreen and 0.4-inch thick body. There are three multifunction buttons on the side that are slightly recessed to prevent your wrist from accidentally pressing them and changing settings. The user interface is classic Suunto – very simple, with different customizable screens to group data. Connect the watch to your smartphone via bluetooth and open up the Suunto App to quickly customize settings, sports modes, and other functions.
The back of the watch is home to a heart rate and blood O2 saturation monitor, and there’s a barometric pressure sensor inside to use for weather alerts and altitude measurements. From a connectivity standpoint, the watch integrates with all five major satellite navigation systems (GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS, BEIDOU) and connects via Bluetooth to your phone for activity syncing, software updates, and music control. Its waterproof down to -100 meters.
Battery life on the integrated lithium-ion battery is very impressive - it can hold a charge for 30 days with basic functions, 21 days with tracking and notifications turned on, and 40, 70, or 300 hours in the various GPS modes. It can fully recharge in an hour and a 10 minute charge gives you 10 hours of training time. The downside is that the watch can only be charged using the proprietary Suunto charger.
Using the Watch:
I’ll be honest: I don’t like the feeling of stuff on my wrist, and don’t typically like to wear watches or other wristbands during activities, but the Suunto 9 Peak Pro pretty much disappeared on my wrist. In other words, the sleek low-profile device is very comfortable to wear, and the understated style looks both casual and formal enough to wear even when you’re not pushing yourself in the mountains.
From a functionality standpoint, the watch packs a punch in both its simplicity and the amount of data it can give you about your activity. In the end, we use these things to measure our performance and get important navigation and environmental data to keep ourselves safe in the mountains. Choosing a sport mode from the list of 95 possible ones is easy (the Suunto App lets you decide which ones to actually store on the watch to make it easy to select). My most used ones were backcountry skiing and trail running - both of which I further customized in the app to bring the data I really cared about (elevation, time, vertical feet gained) to the most visible parts of the small screen.
Unlike many other watches, the Suunto does not require a few minutes to set itself up when you start activity tracking - select a mode, click start, and within a few seconds it will have set itself up to track your day. On the skintrack, it gives me elevation, position, distance and heart rate data, as well as navigation aids like maps, breadcrumb mode (vital in whiteout navigation), and the ability to control music playing from my phone.
Personally, I turned off the phone notification settings - I’m usually in the mountains to escape Instagram, text messages and emails. But if that’s your thing, the watch can also alert you whenever your phone has a notification in store for you.
The Bottom Line:
When it comes down to it, the watch I’m the most psyched about is the one I’m actually going to wear - and the Suunto 9 Peak Pro is that watch. It’s small, sleek, and stylish and it packs a punch in the performance data tracking and navigation departments, giving me all the information I want (and nothing more). What’s even better? The fact that Suunto cares about the world we play in and decided to make this new device as climate-neutral as possible.