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Showdown: Two adventure-grade smartwatches, Suunto Vertical and Garmin Fenix ​​7 Pro

對決:兩款探險級智能手錶,Suunto Vertical和Garmin Fenix 7 Pro - Cam2

Logan So |

A side-by-side review of the latest Garmin Fenix ​​watches - the $800 7 Pro and the $840 Suunto Vertical.

Recently, the category “adventure watches” has become very popular. When we talk about adventure smartwatches, we’re referring to an outdoor-focused model that typically costs over $500 and features high-end multi-band GPS, numerous navigation features, often offline maps, a rugged design, and the ability to be used around the clock or Battery life is measured in months, not days. Oh, and there are often orange watch straps.

Currently, almost every smartwatch brand has an adventure-grade watch, but not Polar: Coros offers something in this category with the Vertix 1 and 2, Apple has the Ultra Watch (to some extent), Garmin There is the Enduro series and the Fenix ​​series (the Fenix ​​series is also one of the earliest adventure watches), and now Suunto has also launched a Vertical watch.

We conducted hands-on reviews of the Suunto Vertical and Garmin Fenix ​​7 Pro. (Photo: Chris Foster)

Next, we'll take a closer look at the latest in the Garmin Fenix ​​line of watches—the $800 7 Pro and the $840 Suunto Vertical.

But first, why review these adventure watches? The reason is simple: triathletes need most of the "adventure" features these watches offer. Over-reinforcement is necessary on race day, high-end sensors meet our need for accuracy (especially in open water swimming which is rarely accurate), and most importantly, long battery life is essential for our frequent training and ongoing physiological Data monitoring is critical. A lot of power is needed to support the processing of all this data, including heart rate variability (HRV), physiological readiness, sleep tracking, recovery tracking, accurate wrist heart rate, and more. A smartwatch battery that lasts 30-45 days can actually quickly turn into around 15-20 days.

It's understandable that these adventure-grade smartwatches are initially marketed towards people who might spend two weeks backpacking outdoors without access to an outlet or cell phone signal, but long-distance triathletes might actually be the real potential customers. How many people actually set foot in the Appalachian Mountains each year? In comparison, how many people compete in triathlons every year?

Suunto Vertical vs. Garmin Fenix ​​7 Pro: Facts and Similarities

When I first learned that Garmin would be launching a “new” Fenix ​​line this summer, I was super excited because the new 7 Pro line of watches would match one of my favorite smartwatches, the Suunto Vertical. very similar. Both cost between $600 and $800, have similar screen sizes, both have solar charging for enhanced battery life, support offline mapping, and both have accurate multi-band GPS capabilities. In comparison, the Apple Watch Ultra has much shorter battery life (a day or two), no built-in maps, and no high-end training features (but if you have an iPhone, it has better life features); Coros The Vertix 2 actually has a slightly larger battery capacity, built-in maps, multi-band GPS, and a slightly more useful touchscreen.

From left to right: Garmin Fenix ​​7 Pro, Suunto Vertical, Coros Vertix 2, Apple Watch Ultra. (Photo: Chris Foster)

Both the Fenix ​​7 Pro and the Vertical are excellent smartwatches for all the features a triathlete needs: the aforementioned large battery, various sport modes for triathlons ( Open water/pool swimming, advanced cycling, built-in running power, triathlon, etc.). For multi-sport athletes, these two watches leave almost nothing out.

The following is an overview of the relevant specifications of the two watches:



Nominal battery life

Actual battery life



Suunto Vertical

$840 (Beta Titanium Solar)

60 days smart watch/60 hours GPS

20-25 days smart watch + training


49mm case, 35mm screen, 280dpi

Garmin Fenix ​​7 Pro

$800 (Beta 47mm Solar)

About 20 days smart watch/40 hours GPS

10-15 days smart watch + training


47mm case, 33mm screen, 260dpi

Suunto Vertical review: a closer look

(Photo: Chris Foster)

When Vertical was first released, I was very excited. I've always been a big fan of Suunto, and their unique design approach to smartwatches seems to be more focused on looks and everyday use than the more practical Garmin. The only thing I found lacking in the previous Suunto series was the lack of a model with a month of battery life, offline mapping, and multi-band GPS. Suunto watches are generally beautiful and suitable for the office as well as the gym, and their integration with smartphones (especially for Android phone users) has always been a major draw.

With this in mind, Suunto Vertical finally covers all these missing features and more. The titanium solar version of the Vertical tested lasted up to 60 days of daily smartwatch use (we found it was actually closer to 20-30 days in triathlon use) and up to 60 hours of full GPS runtime (in reduced sampling mode up to 500 hours), excellent offline maps (with the necessary color touch screen), and multi-band GPS, greatly improving the experience of swimming in open water or running in narrow canyons and big city environments.

(Photo: Chris Foster)

In this review, we'll look at the Vertical in more detail, but it's also worth mentioning that this new Suunto watch looks great, almost as good-looking as the new Apple Watch Ultra (or maybe even prettier depending on your taste). It still retains the rugged, textured look, but is much more refined and stylish like the bulky and angular Garmin Enduro/Fenix ​​or the behemoth Coros Vertix 2 (both pictured above). Likewise, its size (49mm case) and weight (74g) seem to hide its battery and GPS capabilities. Compared to the similar 47mm Fenix ​​7 Pro, the Vertical has a slightly larger screen (35mm vs. 33mm) and higher pixel density (280dpi vs. 260dpi), allowing you to get a lot of information in a compact package.

However, it's not a perfect smartwatch. Surprisingly, it doesn't have offline music storage, although it has 32GB of built-in storage and can only control music via a smartphone. It's also fairly simple and intuitive to use, but lacks many customization options, such as the inability to edit existing activity configuration data fields, set shortcuts, or adjust the order of widgets and apps. While you can create custom activities and edit these data fields, you're limited to a four-page data display, in addition to the pre-built (non-editable) SuuntoPlus Sport app. The lack of customization also extends to everyday things like rearranging widgets, and it took us a long time to get the standard watch faces to show the data we wanted and turn off the beeps the watch makes by default.

We were also disappointed by the watch's "stuttery" touchscreen, which feels more like a product from 2015 than what's available today. While it never affected movement or lap/split/time response, it's certainly surprising on a watch in this price range.

(Photo: Chris Foster)

Finally, we weren't happy with the watch's magnetic charger, which struggled to stay stable when placed at odd angles. Sometimes it doesn't charge properly when we expect it to.

But where it really matters, the hardware excels: We found that the GPS performed brilliantly in a variety of challenging environments, creating accurate results compared to other excellent GPS models as well as the Fenix ​​7 Pro used simultaneously on the same route. new standards for degrees. Same goes for altitude/barometric pressure/ascent/descent accuracy. We were impressed and pleasantly surprised, especially considering Suunto doesn't have a particularly good reputation in this area.

Garmin Fenix ​​7 Pro review: A closer look

(Photo: Chris Foster)

While we would have been super excited to learn about a new adventure-grade watch coming this summer (Fenix ​​8, anyone?), a few key updates put the "Pro" version somewhat in line with our favorite big-battery watch, the Garmin Enduro 2 Similarities. Think of the Fenix ​​7 Pro as the enduro’s “baby,” but its price doesn’t crack the $1,100 range like its bigger brother. Key features of this watch include about 20 days of use in smartwatch mode (with solar charging) and 25-40 hours of GPS battery life, suitable for various triathlon modes (including outdoor swimming, swimming, advanced riding). and built-in running power, triathlon, and more), offline maps (and music), multi-band GPS, color touchscreen, and extensive physiological tracking (sleep, heart rate variability, recovery, workout prep, and more).

Compared with previous Fenix ​​7 series watches (except for the top-end 7X), this watch has several updates, including the addition of LED lights on all models, from the smaller 7S Pro to the large 51mm 7X Pro. have. The Pro Series watches also feature a very nice wrist-based heart rate monitoring hardware upgrade to improve accuracy and sensitivity, and add some software features like a new "Endurance Score", a new "Hill Score" and some minor mapping /Navigation added.

In terms of hardware, Fenix ​​7 Pro has not changed much - the touch screen is still 30mm, 33mm or 35mm, the appearance is basically the same as other models of Fenix ​​7 (only the button in the upper right corner has turned red), and all functions are pressed Expected to function normally. The software side is equally predictable, fast, and customizable (very customizable), with countless ways to measure, interpret, organize, and analyze large amounts of data. In fact, as with most high-end Garmin multisport watches (like the Fenix, Enduro or Forerunner 9xx series), even the most data-obsessed triathlete is unlikely to use even 40% of the features included in the watch .

In terms of accuracy, we found the Fenix ​​7 Pro's multi-band GPS to be generally very accurate, and the built-in barometer's elevation/descent/ascent measurements were generally consistent with what we found on the Coros Vertix 2, which is to say elevation/descent/ascent. The measurements are one of the best. When compared to the Vertical or Vertix 2 during land-based activities like hiking or running, the 7 Pro performed almost identically to the control group. In terms of consistency, the Fenix ​​7 Pro is slightly better than the Vertical in accuracy, with a comparable accuracy difference to the Vertix 2. Even if there are some differences between the Vertical and the 7 Pro, they're minimal, less than 0.1 miles apart, so unless you're using a smartwatch for land surveying or utility, it's completely fine to use when taking on your next tempo run.

Fenix ​​7 Pro is equipped with smartphone-level LED lights on the front of the bezel. (Photo: Chris Foster)

While this is just a small detail (and one of two hardware upgrades), it's worth noting how helpful, innovative, and unique the built-in LED lights are. Unlike other smartwatches where the "light" is just a super-bright white screen mode that only dazzles the user, the Fenix ​​7 Pro (as well as the Enduro 2 and Fenix ​​7X) has a smartphone-grade LED light built into the front of the bezel. Can be used easily. This seemingly inconspicuous "trick" is actually a very useful tool, especially for those who exercise in the early morning or evening. Or, imagine setting up a transition zone before dawn with a hands-free LED light that casts a beam of light without the need for a headlamp. We've found countless ways to use this little feature, and nothing else on the market can match it.

The final hardware upgrade is an improved built-in heart rate monitor designed to improve resolution during more athletic activities. While we didn't see a huge difference in the heart rate training data, the repositioned sensor may provide more background support when tracking daily heart rate.

(Photo: Chris Foster)

There's nothing new with the Fenix ​​7 Pro in terms of size and form, but we're very (very) happy to learn that you can get the aforementioned LED lights (and other upgrades) on the more human-sized 42mm and 47mm versions of the watch. . Previously, if you wanted LED lights, you needed to strap a giant 51mm Enduro 2 or 7X to your tiny wrist.

In terms of battery, the 7 Pro we tested (the $800 47mm version) fell a little short of the Vertical's. While advertised as around 20 days of daily smartwatch use, we found that with daily three-sport use (and all the physiological tracking we like to use) the actual charge time was closer to 10-15 days. On the GPS side, the multi-band 25-hour time estimate works quite accurately with sunlight and good solar enhancement. Although it is not the maximum level of "expedition level", it is quite close.

Suunto Vertical vs. Garmin Fenix ​​7 Pro: Winner

This is a tough choice. (Yes, these comparisons are usually hard...) If we're judging by how much smartwatches have improved from the past to the present, the Vertical is the clear winner. The Fenix ​​7 Pro offers few upgrades over the 7 Series, and you definitely won’t buy it if you already own a 7 Series or Enduro 2. If I had to guess, Garmin is about to launch a truly new Fenix ​​8 (although it's probably still a year away) and they want to take this design/mould and add an LED on top of it; I'm personally looking forward to the Fenix ​​series Redesign.

On the other hand, in my opinion, the Vertical is significantly ahead of the previous Suunto series - especially for the ultramarathon/triathlon/adventure crowd. It has great battery life, significant improvements in functionality and accuracy, a great design, and more.

But here we have a showdown in which history plays only a secondary role in this discussion.

Having said that, it pains me that something as seemingly trivial as LED makes the Fenix ​​7 Pro my personal top choice. If you look at the feature list of both, they are almost identical, but Garmin offers offline music storage (and offline services like Spotify, which is actually very useful), LEDs, better customization capabilities (although not everyone will ), as well as more physiological tracking features (although to be honest, many of these features are just repackaging and interpreting the same data). I use the LED multiple times a day, I also use it during triathlons and I feel like something is wrong without it. The only downsides to the Fenix ​​7 Pro are its style (completely subjective of course), and roughly 60% less battery life compared to the Vertical. While it's enough to last a few weeks of training, it's not enough to make me forget about the charger (which happens with many models that last longer than 30 days).

Would I wear the Fenix ​​7 Pro to a job interview? Unless I'm applying for a wilderness guide position, no. But most other times, I'd probably choose it.

Original URL: Face Off: Two Expedition-Level Smartwatches, Suunto Vertical and Garmin Fenix ​​7 Pro | triathlete | Chris Foster | -7-pro/

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