If the last year or so has taught us anything, it's the importance of taking care of our health and getting out of the house to enjoy the simple things in life. If adventuring has become part of your lifestyle, a clever watch on your wrist will take your expeditions to the next level.
Finnish manufacturer Suunto released a premium upgrade of the brand's tried and tested sportswatch, the Suunto 9 Baro, earlier this year. Their new flagship, the Suunto 9 Baro Titanium is being marketed alongside the brand's partnership with Australian Ninja Warrior as an upgraded device to inspire everyday Aussies to unleash their inner weekend warrior.
So does it really have what it takes to help you reach the next milestone in your fitness journey? We tested it out for ourselves and were pleasantly surprised.
Designed for the most demanding outdoor sports and adventures, the Titanium upgrade includes an intelligent GPS system for optimal battery life, in-depth weather tracking features and more than 80 pre-built sport modes. Not to mention the new tough build comes with a titanium bezel making the watch the lightest in the Suunto 9 range.
Read on to see our comprehensive review of the Suunto 9 Baro Titanium.
Suunto 9 Baro Titanium review Australia: design and usability
A lot of the Baro Titanium's design and interface carry over from the original 9 model, so if you're an existing Suunto user you'll find it easy to navigate. And to be fair, even if you've never used one before, it won't take you long to get to grips with the interface.
We noticed the touchscreen can lag a bit and doesn't respond the best if it gets moisture or sweat on it, but you've also got the option of using the navigation buttons on the side if you're in a downpour.
If smartwatches are foreign to you, Suunto make theirs very easy to use and navigate through. On the Baro 9 Titanium, simply swiping up or pressing the top right button takes you to the main menu, while the same action down (bottom right button) takes you to your health widgets. Imagine it all laid out on one long chain, with the watch face in the middle and the different functions above and below. Just scroll up or down as you please, and swipe across at any time to go back.
For a GPS watch, it boasts a very sleek design and is stylish enough to wear in the gym or out on the town. You can choose from two classic colours in the Granite Blue or Charcoal Black.
And it's tough, too. Suunto has gone for a textile strap on the Baro Titanium, making it abrasion resistant and even more durable when exposed to sunlight or water for long periods of time. The quick-release pins on the straps also mean you can change them at your leisure – a nice touch, allowing you to purchase third-party straps for variety.
Despite a large 50mm face, new minimalistic geometry with a titanium bezel means you'll barely notice it on your wrist. It's actually the lightest watch in the Suunto 9 range, while also being the most durable.
Unfortunately, Suunto didn't add music capabilities or wrist payments to their update, so it's missing a convenience factor. But most of us will still carry our phone with us everywhere, so we don't really see it as an issue.
Suunto 9 Baro Titanium review Australia: performance and accuracy
Navigation is where the watch shines. It boasts turn by turn and point of interest navigation, meaning you'll be directed each step of the way to a target location saved either on the watch beforehand or via the Suunto app. A GPS signal is rarely difficult to secure, with buildings or trees not really affecting the connection.
You've also got other nav tools like the compass, an exact track of your location and a bearing navigator, perfect if you find yourself turned around in a foreign area. While the tools are simply set out and very easy to use, the mapping is quite basic, so don't expect much course detail.
Weather tracking features are handy, too. Sunrise and sunset times help you plan your expedition, and can even be integrated into the watch face with an illuminated strip around the top half of the face's edge showing you how much daylight you've got left. It also has a storm warning feature to alert you when wild weather is afoot.
We were impressed with the battery, meeting Suunto's claim of seven days in smartwatch mode. Training modes will certainly drain the juice, but you'll still get a maximum 170 hours of GPS battery life in Tour Mode.
You'll get a massive choice of 80 sport modes pre-installed on the 9 Baro Titanium, with everything from rugby and cricket to motorsports and even roller blading. And, of course, it's got your basic running, cycling and walking modes.
When it comes to health stat tracking, we did notice some discrepancies compared to rival products. Admittedly, the Suunto 9 Baro Titanium isn't the most fine-tuned watch when measuring sleep, steps or heart rate. But if these basics are your focus, there's probably more watch here than you really need.
Suunto 9 Baro Titanium review Australia: specs
- Measurements: 50 x 50 x 16.5 mm
- Weight: 66.9g
- Bezel material: Titanium Grade 5
- Glass material: Sapphire crystal
- Case material: Glass fibre reinforced polyamide
- Satellite systems: GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS, BEIDOU
- Strap material: Nylon textile
- Battery: 14 days in time mode. 7 days with 24/7 tracking and notifications. Training mode with GPS 25h/50h/120h/170h.
Suunto 9 Baro Titanium review Australia: price and availability
The Suunto 9 Baro Titanium has an RRP AU$799, with free shipping direct from Suunto's Australian website. At this price point, we must admit it's a little expensive for our liking. The premium smartwatch market is super competitive these days, and with the likes of Garmin's Fenix 6X Pro getting serious discounts in recent EOFY sales at around the AU$625 mark, it's hard to justify paying AU$175 more for the Baro Titanium.
But don't write Suunto off. Discounts are imminent, and with the smaller Suunto 9 Peak due to launch soon, we wouldn't be surprised if you snapped up a great deal on a 9 Baro Titanium in the coming months. Not to mention you'll stand out from the crowd, rather than just being another Garmin or Fitbit wearer.
Suunto 9 Baro Titanium review Australia: verdict
If you're someone who likes to venture off the beaten track, the Suunto 9 Baro Titanium is the watch for you – especially if you're looking for something a little more unusual than the market norm. You've got a massive range of sport modes to choose from, and the navigation tools are very easy to, well, navigate.
That said, if running is your primary reason for buying a smartwatch, Garmin is probably a better option. But if you like to mix up your activity and explore new surroundings, the Suunto 9 Baro Titanium is a great GPS watch.