Once you start taking your fitness seriously, you will eventually realize that a sports watch is an important accessory to own. However, if you do most of your exercise outdoors, there’s nothing like a GPS sports watch to help you keep track of your activity.

This watch is equipped with a little technology to help you train smarter and more efficiently. They also make it easier to track your performance at every training session, making it even easier to monitor your long-term progress.

At the heart of this system is a GPS sports watch that records the distance and speed of your runs while providing navigation assistance. But like other sports watches, it also measures your heartbeat, your steps, your height and some even play music!

There are many major brands that make GPS watches, but none are as well known as Suunto and Garmin. These two major brands specialise in the development of GPS technology, and they have done a fantastic job in creating GPS sports watches that are the first choice of many fitness enthusiasts.

In this review, we compare the brands Suunto and Garmin side by side to help you decide which device is best for you.

Ventilation

Suunto and Garmin both have different GPS sports watches in their assortment. In this study by Suunto vs. Garmin, we examine how the two brands relate in general:

  • Commercials.
  • GPS tracking capabilities.
  • Navigation.
  • Heart rate monitoring.
  • Battery.
  • Data management.
  • The music.

Let’s get started.

Suunto

Characteristics

Suunto is a Finnish company whose name is translated into English by the management. With a name like that, it’s no surprise that they’re determined to become one of the leaders in the GPS sports watch industry.

As mentioned earlier, GPS sports watches generally have the same functions, such as GPS tracking, heart rate monitoring and much more. However, the way in which they exhibit these characteristics varies considerably.

Let’s take a look at the remarkable differences between Suunto GPS sports watches.

Display

Like many other brands, Suunto GPS sports watches allow some personalization of the watch’s display. Unfortunately, Suunto does not make this process very easy.

Ideally, a GPS sports watch can be used to adjust the display on the go, directly from the watch. With your Suunto watch, however, you can only adapt via the mobile application Movescount.

That’s right! If you want to adjust the screen the way you want, you have to take out your smartphone and do it this way. Your phone syncs the changes with your watch and only then can you take advantage of the new settings.

While this doesn’t change the game, it does add an extra step that isn’t necessary on Garmin watches.

GPS tracking functions

There is little to say about the GPS tracking capabilities of your Suunto sports watch. Like Garmin, Suunto is primarily a GPS technology company. They’ve been in the GPS business for decades, so you could say that GPS is the only function they both do well.

Suunto GPS sports watches allow you to track your movements in real time and with great accuracy. In this way you can focus your attention on your condition and ensure that your journey is properly recorded at every step.

In addition, as we’ll see later, the excellent GPS tracking capabilities also mean that this Suunto watch will be very useful when you try to navigate a route.

Navigation

The fact that a sports watch has excellent GPS functions does not mean that it automatically offers fantastic navigation. Many other factors play a role, such as. B. Screen size and map size.

Luckily, Suunto does an excellent job of navigation on all its GPS sports watches. With all Suunto models, you can download GPS files that show you where you are and where to go on a clear and informative map.

Suunto watches are also known for their use of Ariane wire cards. This basically means that there is a lot more information about them on the maps, so that you can remain aware of your surroundings.

Mapping the crumb trail of a GPS sports watch also makes navigation easier. You can use it to compare what you see on the map with what you see in your surroundings.

In addition, Suunto is also known for the large size of the cards on its sports watches compared to other brands. In this way you have a much broader view of your situation and your destination.

This is where Suunto really excels in navigation. The watch also offers additional information tracking options, such as. B. Barometric (for air pressure) and altimeter (for altitude).

But how does a lawsuit like that help? Let’s say you race off the beaten track, over steep hills and other rough terrain. With this kind of information you can then get to know your surroundings better.

Heart rate monitoring

One of the most important functions of sports watches (with or without GPS) is heart rate monitoring. Some do it by the watch itself, by measuring the wrist.

For this purpose, this watch uses optical technology.

Others offer an extra heart belt that you wear on your chest when you run.

In the Suunto line, you can obtain both types of heart rate measurements. This means with an optical heart rate monitor or with a heart rate monitor such as the Suunto Ambit 3 Peak.

So if Suunto offers both kinds of heart rate readings, is one better than the other? Yes, the chest strap is much more effective in monitoring your heart rate. Why is that? You probably guessed it already: Chest straps monitor your wrist directly from your heart.

Unfortunately, many people find the wrist uncomfortable because it is worn around the chest. This is why most people prefer the simplicity of measuring the heart rate on the wrist, as it is already integrated into the Suunto watch.

Although the chest belt allows a more accurate measurement of the heart rate, the wrist method is also accurate. It is therefore preferable to choose only one or the other based on your personal preferences. Both will still give you the information you need.

This is where it gets interesting: You can set a target heart rate zone and the watch will tell you. It even asks you to speed up or slow down to make sure you stay within the range you set.

Unfortunately, you have to look at your watch to determine exactly which intensity zone you are in. This is a disadvantage because it distracts you from the road ahead and the exercise you are doing.

This feature would be much better if it contains notifications of the type that do not require the user to look directly at the watch. However, it provides valuable information to ensure that you practice within your target heart rate. This will also help you not to put too much pressure on yourself during your training.

Battery life

People often make the mistake of thinking that the battery in a GPS sports watch will last the longest. Actually, it’s a little more complicated than that.

The Suunto GPS watch is much better in terms of battery life because it has three different battery modes and it is slightly smarter at managing the remaining battery life.

See, this watch does more than tell you how much battery power you have left. If the battery is a little low, Suunto recommends switching to another operating mode. The Watch even tells you how best to manage the remaining battery life.

This is certainly more useful than a clock that just tells you that the battery is dead!

Data management

Data management is one of the most important (and most easily overlooked) elements of a GPS sports watch. This is especially true for smartphone applications to which your watch connects, so that you can download all the data it collects.

For Suunto, the company is moving from using Movescount to its own Suunto application. The new application is already in use and the functionality will be improved in the near future.

But what you can expect from a Suunto GPS sports watch is that your steps, distance covered, calories burned, and more will synchronize effortlessly with your phone application.

In addition, you can use the Suunto applications to plan your route, whether you’re walking, running or cycling. So your Suunto watch can guide you in the right direction for your next workout.

It doesn’t take long to synchronize your watch with the mobile application, so you always have important data at your fingertips. With all this data, you can evaluate your performance at any time and keep track of any improvements.

Music

Even if you leave your smartphone at home, you can listen directly to music from different Suunto models. For example, you can store thousands of songs in your Suunto 7 to listen to with your Bluetooth headphones.

You can use this feature by, for example, downloading any music application of the watch that allows offline use. B. Spotify. Then you just pair him with your Bluetooth headsets and you’re ready to go.

PROS

  • 3 modes of battery operation.
  • Barometer and altimeter functions.
  • Large map view.
  • Use of breadcrumb cards.

SUMMARY

  • Customizable display only via the application.
  • It can be confusing to switch from the Movescount application to Suunto.

Garmin

Characteristics

Now let’s look at Garmin, an all-American GPS company founded in the late 1980s. Like Suunto, Garmin has always specialized in GPS technology. Impressingly, the U.S. Army was Garmin’s first customer. It’s a pretty clear indicator of Garmin’s lead in this area.

So far, Garmin has applied its know-how in aviation and even shipping. Nowadays they also produce GPS sports watches and other so-called portable technologies.

With Suunto, Garmin leads the GPS sports watch industry. Now that we’ve looked at Suunto’s characteristics, let’s see how Garmin compares.

Display

Like Suunto, you can expect a high-quality, informative display from Garmin. They give you real-time information that includes your speed, distance, time, and of course your heart rate and calories burned.

But Garmin has an advantage here. Unlike Suunto watches, some Garmin models allow you to adjust the data display directly from within the watch itself. Such a model is the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus.

This means you don’t have to turn off your smartphone and manipulate the mobile application to change the display of your watch. Instead, you can do it on your wrist in seconds during a workout.

In general, both brands do a good job with their displays. But imagine you need a faster way to personalize your display and express your personality. In that case, Garmin is the brand for you.

GPS tracking functions

This is probably the part where not much can be said about Garmin watches. Like Suunto, Garmin does a good job with its GPS tracking functions.

When you wear a Garmin watch, you get real-time information about your position, speed and other motion-related data.

In case you forgot, Garmin and Suunto started using GPS technology decades ago.

Since entering the field of portable watch technology, both companies have done an excellent job of providing this feature in advanced sports watches.

Navigation

Like all Garmin devices, this watch helps you find your way with great accuracy and real-time data. However, there’s one thing Garmin sports watches do better than anyone else: color-coded topographical maps, especially on the Fenix GPS sports watches.

But there’s a catch. Some people may find the way Garmin displays these full-color cards too small for their taste. Of course this is a very personal preference, so it is best to see for yourself if you are comfortable with the size.

Heart rate monitoring

As said, heart rate monitoring is a fairly simple and uncomplicated function. It is therefore a bit difficult to compare the watches of Garmin and Suunto on this basis, because they both do so well.

However, Garmin watches like the Fenix 5 model do more than just constantly measure heart rate. In addition, some Garmin models also record some other data about your overall well-being, such as B. Your sleep duration and sleep patterns.

So some Garmin models, like the Phoenix 5 we keep calling, are about your overall well-being 24 hours a day, not just when you’re walking or cycling.

This type of data collection can be important for monitoring your general health.

But wait, there’s more! Another heart rate monitoring function that many people will overlook. Not everyone makes use of this function, but those who do will undoubtedly be very grateful. This is the reporting function of the Human Resources department.

Suunto also has a feature that alerts the user when he is in the target heart rate zone. However, the Garmin has one foot in the air because it gives a similar warning by vibration! This means you don’t have to look at your watch to know exactly when you arrived in your target HR zone.

The HR vibrating alarm allows users to focus on the road ahead instead of visually clinging to the watch on their wrist.

Battery life

That’s where it gets interesting. Some Garmin GPS sports watches have multiple battery modes, but here’s one you should know: UltraTrac battery saver mode.

In this mode, the GPS function of the watch is not permanently activated. Instead, it is turned off from time to time to conserve battery power. When GPS mode is disabled, the watch uses its accelerometer to measure the distance and speed of your movements.

Data management

Data management with the Garmin watch is much easier. All watches depend on a single application: Garmin’s Connect. This unique application allows you to plan your workouts and create routes before you set off.

Best of all, the application also has some kind of social functionality. The application allows you to challenge other people who have the same application. This allows you to communicate with your friends, e.g. measure B. on the track or track times.

For those who want to be motivated from outside to do better physically, this social characteristic will be very useful. If your rapporteur also has a Garmin watch, it’s much easier to support each other, especially since you can easily track each other’s progress.

Music

With the Garmin watch, you can listen to music on the go without the need for a smartphone, just like with the Garmin Forerunner watch models. Spotify is a popular application that you can use on your Garmin watch. However, there are many others that also offer compatibility with the watch.

As with Suunto, you need a Bluetooth headset or headphones to use this function. Synchronize it directly with the watch and you can continue listening to your favorite playlists without interruption.

PROS

  • An application for all watches.
  • Topographical maps in color.
  • Guarding the common good.
  • Adjusting the data display via the clock.

SUMMARY

  • The topographic map view is too small for some people.
  • Enormous amount of data collected.

Winner

Suunto and Garmin lead the way in GPS sports watches. It is therefore difficult to declare one winner above the other. But if we have to choose one, let’s say the winner is Garmin.

Last sentence

If you’re looking for the best GPS watch, Garmin is your first choice. First of all, many Garmin watch models have a better range than Suunto models. This is useful if you practice for a long time or if you have forgotten to recharge your watch since the last time.

What’s more, Garmin Connect (the application you use to check your watch) is also superior to Suunto. Garmin Connect is much better when it comes to pre-education. This is very important for many users who want to go to the area for training after careful planning.

The Garmin watch has another advantage: Vibrating alarms. Not only in terms of time, but also in terms of heart rate monitoring. This is ideal for people who have a target heart rate zone that they want to adhere to. When you reach your goal, the watch will vibrate and quietly tell you that you have reached your goal.

Perhaps most importantly, a Garmin GPS watch gives you far more performance data than any other competitor in the market. For some, all this data can be overwhelming, but it’s better to have too much than too little!

This way you can at least choose the information you want to see to know if you are running well, if you are cycling or what kind of sport you practice. Having all this data gives you an advantage when customizing your workouts, but you need to do better next time.

Overall, Garmin is clearly ahead of the game. However, if for some reason you can’t get your hands on a Garmin watch, Suunto is the best solution.

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