Suunto Vertical – Sports watch with solar charging, maps and dual-band GNSS
In addition to the sports watches from Garmin and Polar, the products of the Finnish manufacturer Suunto are very popular among endurance athletes and outdoor adventurers. With the Suunto Vertical, a new sports watch is about to enter the market – apparently a new premium model.
At the end of April, documents were released by the US regulatory agency FCC that provided concrete clues to a new sports watch from Suunto. The first rumors had already circulated in March, as the release of the Suunto 9 Peak Pro from October 2022 is already a bit in the past, so it is certainly time for a new sports watch.
The new GPS sports watch will be released by Suunto under the name “Vertical”. At least in name, the new model will be similar to the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical. Apart from the name, the watches will have little in common, as the release of the Ambit3 Vertical was seven years ago.
Because the official announcement by the Suunto will take place on May 9, 2023, information about the new watch is currently scarce. A few details can be gleaned from the FCC documents and an online retailer published a photo online a few days ago, but little more information has been revealed.
I have done some searching and discovered a series of official product photos online that reveal more details. However, as the Suunto Vertical has not yet been officially announced, I will refrain from sharing the press renders here.
Suunto Vertical - Specs at a glance
- Display Size: 1.4″
- Resolution: 280 x 280 pixels
- Weight: 74 g (Solar)
Solar and non-solar models
Suunto is following in Garmin’s footsteps by equipping some of the models in the Suunto Vertical line with solar charging technology. This has been rumored in various sources and the product images seem to confirm it. Some models feature a small circular UI element on the watch face that provides information about the current intensity of sunlight. Additionally, there is a separate analysis that shows the intensity of sunlight over the past 3 hours. Both displays include a lightning bolt symbol, suggesting that this really refers to solar charging technology. It is not yet clear to what extent exposure to sunlight will extend the battery life of the watch.
In addition to the models with solar charging technology, it seems that the Suunto Vertical will also be available in versions without solar panels.
GNSS and dual-band
According to reports, the Suunto Vertical will be the first sports watch in Suunto’s portfolio to offer dual-band GNSS technology. This not only brings Suunto on par with its competitors but also offers a more reliable technology for precise location tracking even in challenging environments. Although a recent article on the5krunner.com does not name the product, it discusses a new sports watch with excellent performance in location tracking, which is likely to be the Suunto Vertical.
Maps and Wi-Fi
The product images suggest that the Suunto Vertical will come with built-in maps and navigation features. However, the maps appear to be less detailed compared to those on the Suunto 7, likely due to the fact that the Suunto 7 features an AMOLED display with a resolution of 454 x 454 pixels, while the Suunto Vertical is expected to continue using a transflective display with a much lower resolution.
The FCC test reports reveal that the Suunto Vertical will support Wi-Fi, which makes sense given the use of maps on the watch. The map data would need to be downloaded onto the watch, even if only for updating purposes, and Bluetooth LE would not be a feasible option due to the large amount of data involved.
Water resistent up to 100 meters
As visible on the back of the watch, the Suunto Vertical is water-resistant up to 100 meters, making it suitable for various water sports and even diving, although the 100-meter rating only indicates the pressure that a 100-meter column of water would exert on the watch. Additionally, the watch is classified as IPx8, which means that it is protected against prolonged immersion in water under pressure.
Material and colors
According to the information available, the Solar models of the Suunto Vertical all feature a titanium case, while the Non-Solar models are made of stainless steel.
Suunto seems to be planning to offer the Vertical in many different colors right from the market launch. Although the case of the solar model is always light grey-titanium-colored and that of the non-Solar model is anthracite-colored, the official product photos show straps in:
- Sand Grey
- Olive Green
The 22 mm wide strap can be exchanged using a quick release mechanism.
With solar charging the Suunto Vertical does reach new best marks for battery life. When using the most accurate dual-band GNSS mode you will get up to 60 hours of tracking. When sticking to GPS tracking only you’ll end up with 85 hours which is enough for most adventures.
In tour mode the battery will last up to 500 hours but you’ll have to live with some less precise location tracking.
When used in watch mode only (which should not occur when buying a watch such as the Suunto Vertical) the battery will last up to a year.
Availability and prices
Various teasers suggest that the Suunto Vertical will be released on May 9th, 2023. First online retailers have already listed or had the watch listed, so the prices of €799 for the solar-titan version and €599 for the stainless steel version without solar technology are considered confirmed.
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