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Testing the almighty Suunto 5 smartwatch

Suunto renewed its multisport GPS range with smartwatchs Suunto 5 and 9. We were fortunate to test Suunto 5 during few weeks.

Suunto, is the other great finn sportswatch maker with Polar. It all started in the 30’s with the invention of the super accurate liquid compass. The breakthrough came in the 80’s when the company became leader of the diving tools market. In 1998, they created the first ever smartwatch with « ABC » (altimeter, barometer and compass) functions , then the training expert watch Suunto T6, in 2004.

Robustness, quality, … but a minimalist screen

The Suunto 5 is a mid-range multisport GPS watch, just over 300 €. It is similar to the mini Suunto 9 in many ways. First of all visually, with a beautiful metal band, which brings a lot of character, and a thick silicone strap. At first sight, it is a robust watch, whose details are significantly improved over previous ranges. The sensation of quality is confirmed by the use of a mineral crystal glass. The use of the thick metal case is felt at its height (46 mm) and its weight (66g), higher than its competitors. Despite its size, the screen has a display of 28mm. The mineral glass brings a high-end finish but also reflections that disturb the visibility of the data. The transflective color display requires the use of backlighting as soon as the outside brightness dims.

The Suunto 5 is not digital, it is possible to access the various functions via 5 buttons: 3 on the right of the screen and 2 on the left. For users like me who are not used to Suunto, it will only take a few minutes to become familiar with the logic of navigation in the various menus. 

At first, we can only regret the quality of the display. Nevertheless, the Suunto 5 is also very robust, well finished, extremely comfortable and easy to use.

Des fonctionnalités sportives étendues

It is a real multisport GPS watch, with all the ingredients that go with it. First, it supports nearly 80 sports … even a heptathlete will find his account! Personally, I have tried the 3 most common modes: running, swimming and road cycling. On top of it, the watch can connect sensors via Bluetooth, such as a heart rate monitor belt, speed, power, pace, …

Connected to a Smartphone it will only display notifications.

In terms of features, the Suunto 5 is very complete. Users have a choice of navigation options: GPS, GPS / Galileo, GPS / Glonass. The mobile application allows to create itinaries and send them on the watch, which is very convenient, especially during running / trail runs. The model does not include a compass, which means that the orientation is only performed by the navigation signal. Despite this, its accuracy is very good, better than competitive models with a compass.

Heartbeats are measured by a cardio-optical sensor provided by Valencell. It is well known that the measurements made by the wrist via these sensors are quite random in the first minutes of the effort, the time of calibration. The Suunto 5 is no exception and it has happened to have significant differences in the measurement, a few seconds intervals. For an effective and flawless measurement, it is essential to wear a heart rate monitor.

Suunto 5 provides data about speed, altitude, cadence, calories, chrono, distance, laps, power, temperature, recovery, daily activity….

Suunto 5 running data

Coaching mode

The customisable coaching mode designs a training program in the beginning of the week and adjusts to your level and goals (Maintain, progress or boost).  it will display the day, duration, heart zone and recuperation. Don’t panic if you miss a training session  ! The program will automatically update to reach your objectives.


Recharge with USB like the other SUUNTO. There are 2 GPS modes. First one, normal, lasts 20h ; the second, economic, will go through 40h….great autonomy….


Despite the lack of contrast, Suunto 5 has a perfect quality/price balance (329€). First it is a real multisport GPS watch, made of quality materials. It has great autonomy, numerous sport profiles and provides offre la possibilité de l’associer à des capteurs. What else ?