Wish you had a smartwatch that could survive practically anything? Suunto’s latest might just do that, and Google is onboard.
Smartwatches aren’t exactly a new thing, but durable smartwatches built for more than running may not be as readily found. However a brand that has built its name off sports gear made to take on the tough outdoors is doing just that at CES this year, and even employing some familiar smart technology, so you don’t have to be stuck into some random smartwatch system at the same time.
Suunto, a Finnish brand known for its precision instruments including some pretty strong compass and diving gear, is giving the smartwatch thing another go this year, as the company pushes a new style for its smartwatch: one that runs on Google’s Wear OS.
Originally one of the main competitors for smartwatch operating systems, Google’s Wear OS has rather been missing in action for a couple of years now. Originally released as Android Wear, it was never killed and has still been out, but not much has been released for the platform in terms of new hardware. However it’s one of the smartwatch platforms that works on both Android and iOS, making it compatible whether you have a Galaxy, a Pixel, or an iPhone.
Suunto’s embrace of Wear OS, however, tells you that Google’s smartwatch play is alive and well, and likely off the back of Fitbit’s acquisition by Google, a fairly solid choice for watch manufacturers.
This year, Suunto’s take on the category is the Suunto 7, a smartwatch built for the outdoors that will come with Google Pay support, as well as over 70 sport modes to help track your fitness while you’re out and about.
Battery life is a big part of the package, too, with Suunto expecting up to 12 hours battery life with the GPS switched on in continuous tracking mode, or closer to 48 hours in daily use, suggesting the Suunto 7 is a two day smartwatch.
The hardware relies on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100, a chip made for wearables by the maker of a chip used in quite a few phones, and there’s a circular OLED screen to use, protected by Corning’s scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass, too.
Outside of the hardware, Suunto is talking about durability, because that’s one of the things Suunto is known for. The hardware itself is made from stainless steel and will be resistant to water as deep as 50 metres, and while we’re yet to see an IP rating, the Suunto 7 is reportedly shock-proof and dirt-proof, too.
“Today, whether sport is your passion or your lunch-hour escape, we live in a blended life that demands a technology partner who does not sacrifice functionality in sport or everyday use,” said Heikki Norta, Chief Digital Officer for Amer Sports, the company that owns Suunto.
“Suunto set out to overcome the challenge of designing a smart watch with robust sports watch features, and vice versa, in order to help users get the most out of both their sports and their busy lives,” he said.
The good news for Australians is that while this is a CES 2020 announcement, it’s one that does have local pricing and availability details, with the Suunto 7 heading to Australian shores on January 31 for $799, available from a few places, including the Suunto website and JB HiFi.
Leigh Stark was flown to CES 2020 in Las Vegas, USA as a guest of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).