Sport Passion   -  advice and training tips

Comparison Garmin Fenix 6 vs Forerunner 945 vs Suunto 9 Baro vs Polar Vantage V2 vs Amazfit Stratos 3: differences, which one to choose?

by Philippe Baudoin © Copyright (published 02/11/2020)
Fenix 6, Forerunner 945, Suunto 9 Baro, Vantage V2 and Amazfit Stratos 3 Watches Compared

5 ultra-complete GPS multisport and triathlon watches

These multi-sports and triathlon watches, top-of-the-range for 4 of them, offer exceptional functionality. We have compared them to help you choose the model that best suits your needs and budget. See our review at the end of the article.

Buy Garmin Fenix 6

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Lepape
749 €
699 €
i-Run
599 €
549 €
Alltricks
549.99 €
474.99 €
Amazon
599.99 €
429.99 €
Darty
599 €
536.86 €
Rakuten
599 €
390 €

 

Buy Garmin Forerunner 945

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Lepape
599 €
479 €
i-Run
599 €
549 €
Amazon
599 €
550 €

 

Buy Suunto 9

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Lepape
599 €
469 €
i-Run
599 €
329 €
Alltricks
599 €
469 €
Amazon
599 €
431 €
Rakuten
599 €
431 €

 

Buy Polar Vantage V2

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Lepape
499 €
474.05 € (*1)
i-Run
499 €
474.05 € (*2)

(*1) Discount of -5% on this product with coupon code 5A15 !
(*2) Discount of -5% on this product with coupon code COUREZ20 !

5 cardio-GPS multi-sports and triathlon watches compared

In this article we have compared 5 multi-sport and triathlon watches, also suitable for outdoor use (trail, hiking, adventure). Four of them are Premium or top-of-the-range watches. These models are the most complete on the market today. The Fenix 6 (released in 2019 and, for the Solar version, in 2020), the Garmin Forerunner 945 (2019), the Suunto 9 Baro (released in 2018 but with major updates in 2019 and 2020), the Polar Vantage V2 (2020) and the Amazfit Stratos 3 (2019). They are therefore relatively recent and should still be very successful in 2021.

Filled with sensors and rich in features, these watches are very complete and are aimed at sports use at all levels. They are particularly aimed at a demanding public looking for advanced functions: regular sportsmen and women, competitors and professionals. They are also suitable for amateurs and occasional sportsmen and women seeking to improve or to enjoy themselves.

How to choose the right model? It all depends on the objective, the sport practised, the habits but also the budget. Some people will look for precision and high reliability of measurements, others for great autonomy, others for a plethora of tools to help the sportsman, others for additional functions used during sport and on a daily basis (music, payment, cartography), others still for a chic watch that can be worn in town as well as for sport!

There are also watches that are less complete but better adapted and perhaps also cheaper than those in this comparison (see our comparisons of sports watches). We have chosen here to highlight real multi-sports watches (with change of activity without stopping the watch), designed for triathlon and outdoor.

Garmin Fenix 6

Garmin Fenix 6

An improved model of the famous Fenix 5 Plus, the Fenix 6 is a watch with outstanding functionalities available in 9 versions, including one with solar recharge. It is currently the most complete GPS cardio watch on the market but this luxury has a price! It offers record autonomy and intelligent battery management. In addition to numerous functions to help the sportsperson (performance analysis, physiological measurements, health monitoring, coaching, etc.), it comes with optional colour mapping (roads, cycle paths, trails, ski slopes) and an mp3 player. It has advanced connected functions (live tracking of other athletes, possibility of being tracked online, etc.), complete GPS navigation, a Garmin Pay contactless payment solution, blood oxygen level assessment. It carries more than 41,000 golf courses and data from 2,000 ski slopes worldwide. The Fenix 6 is available in 3 case sizes (for thin to wide wrists) and 3 versions (Standard, Pro and Solar). Very chic, the Fenix 6 can be worn for sport as well as at work or in the city.

Read our detailed review and opinion on the Fenix 6
Buy Fenix 6
 

Garmin Forerunner 945

Garmin Forerunner 945

The Forerunner 945 is a premium watch with the same features as the Fenix 6 Pro. For example, it includes maps (roads and bike paths) and an mp3 player in addition to sports and connected functions. It comes in only one case size (47 mm).

Its look is more sporty than that of the Fenix 6, less elegant and less suitable for 24-hour use. On the other hand, it is lighter and thinner and is therefore better suited for sports use. Its waterproofness makes it possible to swim with it, whereas the Fenix 6 can be used for shallow diving.

Read our detailed review and opinion on Forerunner 945
See our comparison Forerunner 945 versus Fenix 6
Buy Forerunner 945
 

Suunto 9 Baro

Suunto 9 watch

This top-of-the-range watch with sapphire crystal and integrated barometric altimeter (hence the "baro") emphasises autonomy and precision. Thanks to the FusedTrack&trade system, it offers up to 120 hours of autonomy and a high degree of precision in GPS measurements thanks to the use of accelerometer data to extrapolate the GPS track and thus save the battery. It also has an intelligent battery management system to extend the use of the watch according to the user's route and habits. There is a model without a barometer, the Suunto 9.

In 2019 and 2020, Suunto has added a number of new features to its watch, making it more attractive and closer to competing watches. Suunto calls it the "new Suunto 9".

Read our detailed review and opinion on the Suunto 9
Buy Suunto 9 Baro
 

Polar Vantage V2

Polar Vantage V2, a rugged high-end watch offering all the Polar expertise in a single model

The Polar Vantage V2 combines all the Polar experience in one model. It is an ultra-light watch designed for triathlon and its activities but also for outdoor activities. It takes all the functions of the Vantage V (replacing the Polar V800 designed for triathlon) and the Grit X (running, triathlon and outdoor) and adds new functions. It is an excellent watch for demanding sportsmen and women or those seeking performance.

Apart from the underwater cardio optic, an innovation now found in the competition, it offers interesting innovations that cannot be found anywhere else: Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro functions for training, measurement of running power at the wrist (without external sensor), functions to reliably evaluate running and cycling performance, leg recovery test, personalised training plans for running.

Its features include full sports functions, advanced GPS navigation with step-by-step guidance, slope analyser, refuelling assistant and more.

Read our detailed review and opinion on the Polar Vantage V2
Buy Polar Vantage V2
 

Amazfit Stratos 3

Amazfit Stratos watch

Comparable to the above high-end watches in terms of functionality but with a number of limitations that may be prohibitive depending on the purpose, this Chinese watch offers unbeatable value for money. It is the cheapest GPS-connected sports watch on the market for the functions offered! It replaces the Amazfit Stratos 2 (or Amazfit Stratos). This new model brings some new features and better reliability but still has many drawbacks (read our review at the end of the article).

Read our detailed review and our opinion on the old model, the Amazfit Stratos 2
Buy Amazfit Stratos 3
 

 

Go directly to our opinion

 

Comparative prices and physical characteristics

FeaturesFenix 6Forerunner 945Suunto 9 BaroVantage V2Amazfit Stratos 3
 Fenix 6Forerunner 945Suunto 9montre Polar Vantage V2montre Amazfit Stratos 3
Price (from)599 / 1049 €(1)599 €599 €499 €190 €
Weight58 to 93 g (2)50 g81 g52 g60 g
Autonomy (GPS mode)25 to 60 h (1)36 h25 h40 h35 h
Case diameter42 to 51 mm47 mm50 mm47 mm48.6 mm
Thickness13.8 to 14.9 mm13.7 mm16.8 mm13 mm13.4 mm
Screen size1.2" (30 mm) to 1.4\" (35 mm)1.2" (30 mm)1.4" (35 mm)1.2" (30 mm)1.34" (34 mm)
Definition (px)240 x 240 to 280 x 280 240 x 240320 x 300240 x 240320 x 320
Touch screen  
Colour screen
GlassSapphire or Corning GorillaCorning GorillaSapphireCorning GorillaCorning Gorilla
BezelSteel or titanium SteelStainless steelCeramics
Military Standard Compliance
  
 
Waterproofing10 ATM5 ATM10 ATM10 ATM 5 ATM
Interchangeable bracelet
Comparison Garmin Fenix 6 vs. Forerunner 945 vs. Suunto 9 Baro vs. Polar Vantage V2 vs. Amazfit Stratos 3: Key Features
(1): depending on version (standard / Pro, Solar), type of glass (Corning Gorilla or sapphire) and strap
(2): depending on version / case size: 6S, 6, 6X

The price: the Stratos is an exception!

Apart from the Stratos, which is an exception but which we have chosen in this comparison for the richness of its functions, the Garmin, Suunto and Polar watches cost around or above the psychological bar of 500 euros. At this price, it is better to make the right choice before buying! The Fenix 6, with its many options, can see its price rise very quickly, especially for the Pro model with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal (100 euros more than the model with ordinary glass) or the Solar model, with solar recharge. The model with a titanium bezel costs more than 1000 €. The Stratos, on the other hand, is offered at less than 200 euros, an unbeatable price for functions comparable to the most expensive watches on the market today. It is a very good compromise for sportsmen with a limited budget, but beware of its reliability and features that may leave something to be desired.

Design, structure and robustness

In terms of design, each of the watches has its own charm with a stainless steel, ceramic or titanium bezel and a sporty look more or less suited to the city. The type of strap (interchangeable or not, with or without tools) and the choice of materials available (silicone, leather, titanium, steel, etc.) are criteria to be taken into account according to the intended use (sport exclusively or sport + city). The Garmin Fenix 6 and Polar models are certainly robust (military standard MIL-STD-810G). Finally, the sapphire glass (scratch-resistant) is a plus for the protection of your watch in risky sports. However, it adds a little weight (about 10 g) and above all increases the price (count at least 100 € moreover) unless it is offered by default as on the Suunto 9 Baro.

  • Fenix 6: we particularly appreciate its 3 housing sizes (42, 47 and 51 mm) to fit all wrists, especially thin ones! At last a top-of-the-range cardio watch that is discreet (see also our comparison of the best women's cardio watches). The strap is interchangeable without tools and its width depends on the size of the watch case (thin straps for thin wrists, etc.). In addition, the brand offers chic straps in leather, steel, titanium and braided nylon in addition to the silicon strap designed for sports. The scratch-resistant sapphire crystal is available as an option on the Pro version. The standard and Pro Solar versions also feature an ultra-resistant Corning Gorilla 3 crystal. It effectively protects the screen from scratches, an interesting feature for sports where rubbing is frequent (climbing, exploration, etc.). Also note that Fenix 6 is available in 3 versions. The standard version, which is more economical, is available in only 2 case sizes (6S and 6) without mp3 player, cartography or Wi-Fi. The Pro version offers the same functions, 3 case sizes but with the addition of an mp3 player, mapping, Wi-Fi and, as an option, sapphire crystal. The Solar versions feature a Corning Gorilla glass (Power Glass™) and a solar recharge to extend battery life.
  • Forerunner 945:available in only one intermediate size (47 mm), the watch has an ultra-resistant Corning Gorilla 3 glass, its plastic case and silicone strap give it a sportier look than the Fenix 6.
  • Suunto 9 Baro: Suunto offers a robust model with a single case size (51 mm), the same size as the largest Fenix 6 model (51 mm) but with several strap sizes to suit all body shapes. The watch glass is made of sapphire, the hardest material available after diamonds! The strap is interchangeable without tools but only exists in silicone version.
  • Vantage V2: the watch comes in an attractive aluminium case with a Corning Gorilla glass with anti-tracking treatment and straps that can be replaced without tools. It is robust (military standard MIL-STD-810G).
  • Stratos 3: a nice look also for this watch with a strap that is interchangeable without tools. Contrary to the old model proposed with silicone or leather straps and a sapphire glass, this one is only proposed with a silicone strap and a Corning Gorilla glass with anti-track coating.

The screen

The touch screen, colour and high definition is becoming more widespread. This can be explained by the multiplication of displayed data, the personalisation of watches with the display of backgrounds and the arrival of cartography. For the 5 selected watches, the size and resolution of the screens vary significantly. Suunto and Amazfit offer a large and high definition screen. Garmin and Polar have favoured a more discreet design better suited to small wrists (with the exception of the Fenix 6X which is the same size as the Suunto 9).

Suunto and Amazfit offer a large (35 mm diameter) colour touch screen with a resolution of 320 x 300 px, which over time should become widespread on high-end watches. Garmin is more flexible and offers a screen size and definition proportional to the size of the case: 30.4 to 35.56 mm to 1.4" and 240 x 240 px to 280 x 280 px. People with thin wrists will therefore understandably have to make do with a slightly less comfortable screen, especially for mapping. Polar, on the other hand, offers an intermediate screen of 30.4 mm (1.2") and 240 x 240 px (like the Fenix 6S and 6S Pro). Forerunner 945, despite its intermediate size, only offers a resolution of 240 x 240 px.

The only regret at Garmin: the absence of a touch screen for a watch offering cartography.

Weight and thickness

A light and fine watch is less noticeable on the wrist than a large and heavy watch. The Fenix 6 (6 and 6X) and Suunto 9 are among the "heavyweights" with 83 and 93 g for the Garmin 6/6X (82 g for the Solar model with titanium crown and case back) and 81 g for the Suunto 9 (72 g for the version without barometer).

The Vantage V2 (ultra-light!), the Stratos and the Fenix 6S all look light on the side (52g, 60g and 61g respectively). These models are better suited for sporty, performance-oriented use, while the Suunto 9 and Fenix 6 would be more for exploration, adventure and outdoor use.

Of the 5 watches, the Vantage V2 is the thinnest with a reasonable thickness of 13 mm compared to the 13.8 to 14.9 mm of the Fenix 6 and 16.8 mm of the Suunto 9!

Go directly to our opinion

Autonomy: preference to the Garmin Fenix 6X

Autonomy is nowadays an important criterion in the choice of a cardio-GPS watch. It is even an eliminatory criterion for enthusiasts of "ultra" type races with durations of use that can largely exceed 40 hours. For shorter outings, autonomy remains an essential criterion also to avoid frustration on the day of the outing because you forgot to recharge your watch the day before!

ModelFenix 6Forerunner 945Suunto 9 BaroVantage V2Amazfit Stratos 3
Watch mode with CF tracking9 to 21 d14 d14 d7 d7 d
GPS training mode25 to 60 h36 h25 h40 h35 h
GPS + Music mode6 to 15 h10 h   
Energy saving mode50 to 120 h60 h120 h100 h70 h
Shipping mode46 d    
Battery saving mode80 d    
Intelligent battery management
 
Rechargeable during the activity
 NC
Comparison Garmin Fenix 6 vs. Forerunner 945 vs. Suunto 9 Baro vs. Polar Vantage V2 vs. Amazfit Stratos 3: autonomy

Record autonomy for Fenix 6 and reliability of measurements in Ultra mode for Suunto 9

The number of sensors and functions embedded in cardio-GPS watches is steadily increasing, resulting in higher energy consumption. It is above all the GPS chip that is very greedy. To save battery power and extend autonomy, manufacturers sometimes offer an energy-saving function (ultra mode) which consists of spacing out GPS readings (this reduces the accuracy of the measurements) and/or disabling certain non-critical functions. Manufacturers of GPS chips, for their part, are working to reduce the power consumption of their chips. The watches compared here use a Sony chip.

ultra mode display
Suunto 9 uses the watch's sensors for an accurate GPS track even in power-saving mode

Garmin offers a range of 25 hours (model 6S) to 60 hours (model 6X) in GPS mode and 50 hours to 120 hours in Ultra mode. With the Solar model, it is possible to gain between 6 and 50% more autonomy, provided that the watch is exposed to full sunlight during activity (at least 3 hours with the watch connected). The American firm offers dedicated battery modes (Expedition and Battery Saving) to last several weeks or even months during very long journeys. It also offers, like Suunto, an intelligent battery management mode with a display of the sensors' consumption and the possibility of deactivating them individually. Customised profiles can also be defined to decide which sensors to activate for a given type of sport).

Suunto, on the other hand, offers a revolutionary solution (FusedTrack&trade function): an energy-saving mode that does not affect the accuracy of the measurements too much. By combining data from the GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope and compass, Suunto "guesses" the missing measurements from the GPS to finally obtain an accurate track. This allows you to go from 25 hours of autonomy to 40 or 120 hours! Suunto 9 also offers intelligent battery management based on previous outputs and user choices. It is thus possible to request an "extension" of autonomy to make an unexpected diversion without running out of juice! In addition to these innovations, Suunto uses a more energy-efficient Sony GPS chip.

Polar offers 40 hours of autonomy on its Vantage V2 in 1-second GPS mode and up to 100 hours in power-saving mode. The watch has an intelligent battery management function.

The Stratos also looks good with 35 hours announced (GPS recording every second), 45 hours (GPS 5-second mode) and 70 hours in eco mode (GPS 60-second mode). The watch can be recharged in 2.5 hours.

Charging without stopping the watch

Another positive point for 4 of the watches in our comparison: the Fenix 6, the Forerunner 945, the Suunto 9 and the Stratos can be recharged during the activity, without stopping the watch. However, it will be necessary to remove it from the wrist during a pause because all 4 are recharged via a connector located under the watch (magnetic base for the Stratos). The Polar Vantage V2, on the other hand, must be stopped to be recharged.

Go directly to our opinion

Sensors

Top-of-the-range watches are full of sensors that provide numerous measurements on the environment and the physiology of the sportsman. Some sensors may be superfluous depending on the sport practised. The 5 watches being compared are multi-sport and specially designed to be versatile. The on-board sensors are designed in particular for triathlon and its activities, outdoor (trail, adventure, hiking, trekking, exploration) and of course many other indoor and outdoor activities.

ModelFenix 6 & Forerunner 945Suunto 9 BaroVantage V2Amazfit Stratos 3
GPS systemsGPS, GLONASS, GalileoGPS, GLONASS, QZSS, GalileoGPS, GLONASS, QZSS, GalileoGPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou
Barometer
Barometric altimeter
Manual altimeter calibration
 
Altitude combining GPS and barometer 
  
Wrist cardio
Underwater wrist cardio system
 
 
Running powerWith external sensorWith external sensorWith or without external sensor 
Bike powerWith external sensorWith external sensorWith external sensor 
Bike cadence sensor compatible
Compass
Pulse oximeter
   
Thermometer
  
External sensor compatibilityANT+, BluetoothBluetoothBluetoothBluetooth
Comparison Garmin Fenix 6 vs. Forerunner 945 vs. Suunto 9 Baro vs. Polar Vantage V2 vs. Amazfit Stratos 3: Sensors

The barometer: thunderstorm alerts at Suunto, Garmin and Polar

All 5 models are equipped with a barometer. It allows you to measure the atmospheric pressure, deduce the altitude, measure the difference in height and detect changes in the weather. Suunto, Garmin and Polar offer thunderstorm warnings in case of sudden changes in pressure, a plus for hikers. The weather can also be accessed via a smartphone.

The altimeter: barometric for the 5 models, mixed at Suunto

Essential for altitude and height measurements in particular, it can be barometric (altitude deduced from atmospheric pressure measured by an internal barometer) or operate on the basis of GPS measurements. For good accuracy, it should ideally be barometric. This is the case for the 5 models compared.

As pressure changes over time, it is preferable that the altimeter can be calibrated manually. This is not the case with the Stratos and that is a pity. Suunto, on the other hand, goes one step further by combining GPS and barometric altimeter data for more accurate and reliable altitude and elevation readings (FusedAlti&trade algorithm; ).

GPS: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo: it is above all the quality of the software that is important.

A few years ago, GPS watches operated with a single satellite network (e.g. the American GPS system in Europe). Today, other systems are available such as the Russian (GLONASS), Japanese (QZSS or Michibiki), European (Galileo) or Chinese (Beidu) satellite systems. Depending on the manufacturer, one can generally choose one network or a mix of 2 networks (usually GPS and another, GPS+GLONASS for example). The latter option consumes more battery power.

As each manufacturer uses the same Sony GPS chip, one would expect the measurements to be similar on all 5 watches. In reality, the quality of the antenna will play on the sensitivity of the watch (forest, city, etc.). Reliability will also depend a lot on the data processing software.

Optical cardio: a step ahead for Polar caught up by Garmin

Polar has always been the leader in the measurement of heart rate and its variability. It was the Finnish company that developed the first cardio sensor (finger measurement and then chest belt measurement).

optical monitor
Innovation Polar, the optical heart rate monitor works in difficult conditions: water, fractionated, cycling...

On the Polar Vantage V2 (as on the Vantage V), Polar uses an innovative sensor with 9 LEDs, 4 electrodes and 4 sensors to improve the quality of the measurements, especially in difficult conditions (aquatic environment, split sessions, heavy perspiration, thick skin, etc.). In particular, the cardio monitor ensures that the sensors are in good contact with the skin. Thanks to this system, heart rate measurement is more reliable and is made possible where other optical cardio monitors fail, for example for swimming. In its latest watch models, such as the Fenix 6, Garmin offers a 3th generation sensor that also works underwater. Suunto allows the sensor to be activated underwater, but the measurements are not always up to scratch. However, regardless of the technology, wrist measurements are less reliable than those obtained from a chest belt, especially underwater.

Power: one step ahead at Polar!

With the exception of the Amazfit Stratos, the watches compared can measure the power developed when running or cycling (pedalling force). To do this, a power sensor must be coupled to the watch (Stryd sensor, Foodpod, Vector, HRM-Run or HRM-Tri belt, etc. depending on the activity). At Polar, the Vantage V2 measures the power developed while running directly on the wrist, without the need for an external sensor. It is the only brand that offers it to date. Estimation is carried out using the watch's sensors: accelerometer, GPS, altimeter. The power is estimated from the evaluation of kinetic and potential energy (more details in our article on the Polar Vantage V). Although the measurements are approximate, they are as much as those obtained with an external sensor (at least as far as running is concerned). Polar is therefore one step ahead of the competition here.

Other sensors

ABC sensors (altimeter, barometer, compass) are indispensable for hiking and exploration. These sensors are present on all 5 watches.

graph oximeter
The oximeter measures the blood oxygen level and helps to prevent accidents at high altitudes

Garmin sets itself apart from the competition with its pulse oximeter. This sensor is integrated into the optical heart rate monitor. It measures the blood oxygenation level, a parameter to be monitored for sports at high altitude (e.g. mountaineering) and for divers, but also to evaluate the sportsman's acclimatisation to altitude, correct VO2max and more. The watch is able to detect a lack of oxygenation and warns the athlete if there is a risk of an accident. The measurement is also used for sleep analysis.

In addition to the ABC sensors, the Fenix 6 and Suunto 9 carry a thermometer. They also offer weather functions such as trend, thunderstorm alerts, sunrise and sunset times.

External sensors: very limited on the Stratos

Today, 2 standards are used to connect a GPS watch to an external sensor: ANT+ (a low-power wireless protocol developed by a Garmin subsidiary) and Bluetooth. ANT+ is used less and less. Among the models compared, only the Fenix 6 and Forerunner 945 support this protocol, making them compatible with virtually all current sensors. If you have ANT+ sensors, they will not work with Suunto 9, Vantage V2 or Stratos. For the Stratos, this is even more limited: it is not compatible with any external sensors except Bluetooth chest belts.

Go directly to our opinion

Features compared

Sailing: the ultimate in navigation with the Fenix 6 and Forerunner 945

GPS navigation (route planning and monitoring, step-by-step guidance, return to the start, navigation to waypoints, etc.) is an essential function for hiking, exploring, trekking but also for organising a bike or trail trip on unknown paths.

On the Fenix 6 and Forerunner 945, the analysis of the altitude profile allows the riders and cyclists to better manage their effort on a mountainous course

At this level, the Garmin models stand out from the crowd with a complete navigation tool, colour cartography of the country or continent of purchase (city maps, roads, cycle tracks, paths, hiking maps with contour lines depending on the options, ski slopes in more than 2000 resorts around the world), the possibility to let the watch propose a route in a loop, on roads or cycle paths, starting from a given distance, or to propose a route recorded by other users in the Garmin community (Trendline function), the possibility to obtain the route profile (ClimbPro function). It also allows you to find a hotel, a refuge, a hostel around you. A new voice guidance function allows you to navigate without looking at your watch. These watches are really excellent for that.

In addition to these functions, Garmin has generalised the LiveTrack function on its watches, which allows them to be tracked on the Internet. The Fenix 6 and the Forerunner 945 also offer the GroupTrack function to follow other sportsmen and women wearing Garmin watches with this function.

Suunto 9 also offers advanced navigation functions such as route tracking, waypoint navigation, waypoint recording, thumbnail track, return to start, estimated time of arrival, altimeter profiles, climb speed, etc. ).

The Polar Vantage V2 offers full navigation. This is a far cry from the first Vantage V which offered no navigation (some functions were later integrated by a software update). You can plan your route from the Komoot paid application or from the heat maps (the most popular routes used by the Polar community) and load it into the watch, be guided step by step (Turn by Turn guidance), return to the starting point by the shortest route (straight line).

The Stratos offers minimalist navigation. First of all, the route (gpx file) has to be loaded manually into a directory on the watch. You can then follow the route and be alerted if you leave the track.

FeaturesFenix 6Forerunner 945Suunto 9 BaroVantage V2Amazfit Stratos 3
Route import
Manual
GPS navigation (route tracking)
Real-time GPS track
Turn-by-turn navigation
 
 
Back to the starting point (trace)
 
Round trip generatorPro version    
CartographyPro version
   
Bicycle pathsPro version
   
Ski slopesPro version
   
Golf CoursesPro version
   
Vertical drop
Vertical speed
Slope analyzer
 
 
Evaluates altitude acclimatization
   
Compass
Barometric altimeter
Barometer calibration (manual/auto)
 
Thermometer
  
Weather Functions
Storm Alerts
 
Comparison Garmin Fenix 6 vs. Forerunner 945 vs. Suunto 9 Baro vs. Polar Vantage V2 vs. Amazfit Stratos 3: GPS Navigation and Outdoor Features

Sports profiles and sports functions

These top-of-the-range watches all offer a wide range of sporting profiles, up to 130 for the Vantage V2! The number of profiles does not necessarily indicate that the watch is more complete. At Polar (130 profiles), Suunto (80 profiles) and on the Stratos (80 profiles), each profile looks the same with generic data (distance, GPS track, calories expended, etc.). Sometimes it's only the name of the sport that changes!

Polar Ignite

At Garmin, each profile is studied to provide relevant data for each sport: race dynamics for running, number of strokes and cadence for rowing, number of descents for skiing, etc. The Garmin Fenix 6 and Forerunner 945, with around fifteen profiles and many more that can be downloaded via Garmin Connect, are ultimately more complete than the Polar or Suunto watches. It should also be noted that they are well suited to golf with more than 41,000 courses on board and functions specific to this sport as well as to skiing (access to data for 2,000 ski slopes worldwide).

The 5 watches provide functions for training and monitoring the sportsman.

Garmin offers the possibility of programming drives (including split) with consideration of previous exits. You can run against an opponent or against yourself. The watch estimates the running time. It offers an assistant in the mountains for cycling and in the hills for running (ClimbPro and PacePro), audio coaching, programming of alerts, setting of objectives, etc.

Polar offers very comprehensive functions. The watch evaluates recovery at night, quantifies the impact of training on the heart and muscles, offers personalised training to prepare for a race or daily training to stay in shape, taking into account the training history and recovery at night. It can predict a running time (5 or 10 km, half marathon, marathon) based on past performance.

At Suunto, sports functions are more limited, with the focus on autonomy, reliability and outdoor functions, but the brand is constantly adding new functions to its watches via software updates (SuuntoPlus solution. Read our description in our detailed review of the Suunto 9). Programming of training sessions, including split training, is possible via the Movescount application.

The Stratos knows how to predict the race time based on previous records. It offers a sports coach (Smart Coach) who defines objectives (running only) to be reached according to the performance of previous outings.

Physiological measurements and running dynamics

Increasingly present on sports watches, physiological measurements help the sportsman to manage his training and optimise his performance. Based on the measurement of heart rate and its variability and other parameters (power, cadence, etc.), the watch can estimate the athlete's physical condition, his VO2max, physiological age, recovery, training level, the effect of training on the body (training effect, status and training load, etc.). Garmin and Amazfit (Suunto for some watches) use algorithms from the company Firstbeat to obtain these data.

Polar uses its own algorithms to provide these measurements, such as VO2 max (OwnIndex), and offers advanced features such as Training Load Pro™ and Recovery Pro™. These allow you to manage your training and recovery. They take into account previous runs, cardiovascular load and muscular load. Polar also offers reliable running and cycling performance tests (to be carried out in the field) as well as a leg recovery test.

In addition to physiological measurements, Garmin offers running dynamics, advanced features for runners: running power, stride length, cadence, ground contact time, vertical oscillation, ground contact time balance, vertical ratio and more.

FeaturesFenix 6Forerunner 945Suunto 9 BaroVantage V2Amazfit Stratos 3
GPS Navigation
++++
++++
+++
+++
++
Nb of sports22+22+80+130+80
Triathlon
Golf41,000 routes41,000 routes   
Integrated path generatorPro Version
   
Training programming
Interval training
 
Fractional
Training follow-up
Physiological measurements
- VO2max
- Race Time Predictor
 
 
- Training effect
  
- Lactic threshold
   
- Recovery time
 
- Drive load
 
- Training status
 
 
- Stress level
 
- Endurance level 
   
Racing dynamics (e.g. cadence, stride length...)772  
Mountain Bike Dynamics
    
Power (with sensor)
 
Wrist stroke power   
 
Running performance test   
 
Cycling performance test   
 
Leg Recovery Test   
 
Altitude acclimatization
   
Altitude profile
 
Virtual partner
   
Strava Live segments
 
 
Connected functions
+++
+++
+
+
+
Activity monitoring
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
MP3 PlayerPro Version
  
Contactless payment
  China
CartographyPro Version
   
Pulse oximeter
   
Comparison of Garmin Fenix 6 vs Forerunner 945 vs Suunto 9 Baro vs Polar Vantage V2 vs Amazfit Stratos 3: Sports Function and Physiological Measurements

Cconnected functions

There are few of them on these sporty models except at Garmin. Each model offers Smartphone notifications (emails, calls and SMS). At Garmin, you can refuse incoming calls from a smartphone or send predefined SMS messages.

Polar does not offer an onboard mp3 player but the watch allows you to control the music from your smartphone.

Garmin offers a plethora of features, an mp3 player and access to streaming music platforms (Deezer, Spotify, Amazon Music), the ability to pay for purchases with your watch, control of compatible devices (VIRB 3D camera, etc.), Live Track and Group Live Track functions, fall detection and assistance in the event of a fall. The Pro models can also connect via Wifi (like the Stratos) for data and music downloads and firmware updates.

The Stratos 3 offers a payment solution (for use in China only) and an mp3 player (but no streaming). However, the music files must be transferred manually to the music directory. The watch can store up to 2 GB of songs (about 400 to 500 songs).

FunctionFenix 6Forerunner 945Suunto 9 BaroVantage V2Amazfit Stratos 3
Be tracked on the Internet
   
Communicating with the group's athletes
   
Fall detection
   
Assistance in case of a fall (SOS call)
   
Telephone Notifications
Weather function
 
Smartphone music control
 
On-board mp3 playerVersion Pro
  
Payment solution
  
Comparison Garmin Fenix 6 vs Forerunner 945 vs Suunto 9 Baro vs Polar Vantage V2 vs Amazfit Stratos 3: The Connected Features

Monitoring of activity

The watch measures your daily activity and even your sleep if you wear it 24 hours a day. It informs you about your activity (number of steps, distance travelled, calories burned, etc.) and encourages you to move. Garmin offers complete functions, including stress level assessment, number of steps climbed.

FunctionFenix 6Forerunner 945Suunto 9 BaroVantage V2Amazfit Stratos 3
Distance
Number of steps
Calories
Ascended floors
   
Detailed sleep analysis
Stress
 
Intensive Minutes
   
Relaxation exercises
 
 
Comparison Garmin Fenix 6 vs Forerunner 945 vs Suunto 9 Baro vs Polar Vantage V2 vs Amazfit Stratos 3: Tracking Activity

Ancillary functions

These functions can make the difference when choosing a cardio watch, although some may seem a bit gimmicky and add price to the watch.

  • Colour mapping: only the Fenix 6 Pro and Forerunner 945 offer this function. Maps of Europe (for purchase in Europe) are embedded in the watch's gigantic memory and include the cycle paths (Garmin Cycle maps) and ski slopes of more than 2000 resorts worldwide.
  • A music player: present on the Amazfit Stratos and Fenix 6 Pro, it allows you to listen to your favourite music without a Smartphone thanks to Bluetooth headphones.
  • A payment system: only the Fenix 6 and the Amazfit Stratos (in China only) offer this function. It allows you to pay for your purchases without using your smartphone or a bank card.
  • A pulse oximeter (or saturometer): available only at Garmin, it measures blood oxygen levels and helps to prevent accidents at high altitude (see above), to provide a more thorough analysis of sleep and to assess acclimatization at altitude.

Our opinion on these 5 cardio-GPS multi-sports watches: which one to buy?

Among these 5 watches, which one to choose? It all depends on the budget, the sport practised and the objective sought (performance, reliability, number of data, specific functions sought, comfort, etc.). We summarise the advantages and disadvantages of each model in a table below.

Garmin, Suunto and Polar are solid values. Amazfit is new on the market and it is the price/performance ratio that appeals. Garmin is a bit like the Swiss Army knife of watches with many functions to be used for everything, many of which may not be useful for the activity in question. Suunto, on the other hand, offers a sober watch with essential functions, more suited to people who do not want to be burdened with superfluous functions that unnecessarily inflate the price of the watch. Polar, from this Vantage V2 model, offers a very competitive watch with powerful and very attractive key functions. The Amazfit offer is more limited and the reliability still leaves something to be desired.

Garmin Fenix 6 and Garmin Forerunner 945: the most comprehensive

Fenix 6 ski-runs

These 2 models are undoubtedly the most complete on the market today, in terms of sensors, functionalities, physiological measurements, GPS navigation and user-friendly interface. The autonomy of the 6X model is also excellent and is suitable for ultra-trail races. Elegant, with its steel bezel and various straps, the Fenix 6 can be worn in town and at work as well as during sport. The lighter Forerunner 945 is perfect for sports use only.

These are the 2 watches we recommend, together with the Polar Vantage V2, for professional use, for competitors or for demanding sportsmen and women looking for advanced tools and statistics.

The standard version of the Fenix 6 (no cartoon, no mp3 player) will be sufficient for most sports and for competition. The Pro version, with cartography, will interest hikers and adventurers but also sportsmen and women who like to run or ride to music. The Solar version will be of interest to ultra-trailers looking for the greatest autonomy. However, it is still expensive and the gain in autonomy is not, in our opinion, worth the extra cost.

Together with the Forerunner 945, it is also the most complete watch for triathlon and a perfect tool for training. It fits all wrist sizes, making it ideal for people with thin wrists and those who want a watch that's discreet enough to be worn every day. Garmin also offers stylish straps for city and work and an easy attachment system (no tools required). It's hard to do better! The only drawback is its high price. Read our detailed review and our full review of the Garmin Fenix 6.

For exclusively sports use, we recommend the Forerunner 945, which is lighter than the Fenix 6 and less expensive depending on the model (also less chic). Please note that unlike the Fenix 6, it is not suitable for diving. Read our detailed review and our full review of the Garmin Forerunner 945.

Suunto 9 Baro: no superfluous functions and reliable data

The Suunto 9, although it has much less developed functions, is nevertheless a highly sought-after watch for its record-breaking 120-hour battery life and the accuracy of its GPS track despite its power-saving mode. The innovative FusedTrack&trade system offers the reliability of the GPS track (even when the signal sometimes fails) while providing the impressive range that ultra-racing fans are looking for. The absence of superfluous functions is also appreciated for a watch that is above all a sports watch. Intelligent battery management is also a great innovation. It allows you to change modes at any time to extend the range without affecting the precision of the track. No more compromises between battery life and data accuracy! Finally, the FusedAlti™ and FusedSpeed™ functions are a plus compared to the competition. The Suunto 9 is also attractive and robust. It is ideal for outdoor, hiking, trail running and of course all long (ultra) runs, multi-day trips and trekking. It is a pity that the functions offered are not more developed but SuuntoPlus and the new features added regularly fill this gap (discover them in our detailed review and our complete opinion on Suunto 9 and the new features).

Polar Vantage V2: new and powerful sports features

Polar Vantage V2

This watch will be of interest to athletes looking for a powerful training assistant. The Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro functions, the performance tests, the training guide and the sensor-free measurement of running power are perfect for demanding sportsmen and women, whether they are pros or training like pros. It is very good for the sportsman who wants to optimise his performance. Its innovative optical sensor allows use in difficult conditions (swimming, split, cycling, etc.). The watch offers excellent autonomy. The previous version (Vantage V) lacked maturity, this one is complete and attractive by its functions. Read our detailed review and our complete opinion on the Polar Vantage V2.

Amazfit Stratos 3: excellent value for money but still a long way to go

Amazfit Stratos 3

This inexpensive but very complete watch is attractively priced and offers many on-board features including physiological measurements and other functions offered by the Fenix 6, an on-board MP3 player and a payment function, which is currently only available in China. Compared to the other models in this comparison, the watch has many limitations (no compatibility with external sensors other than a cardio belt, no power measurement, limited or unreliable sports functions, navigation along a route requiring manual file transfer, etc.). ). It still suffers from penalizing anomalies and a lack of reliability, despite the improvements made to the previous version. Its screen offers slightly dull colours and a lack of contrast. It is a good compromise for people on a limited budget who are keen to buy a complete watch. However, this model is likely to disappoint if reliable measurements are expected. It seems that the reliability of the optical sensor and the altimeter varies from one model to another, making physiological measurements obsolete. Many users also report connectivity problems (smartphone, cardio belt), crashes and some rather limiting bugs.

FeaturesFenix 6Forerunner 945Suunto 9 BaroVantage V2Amazfit Stratos 3
 Fenix 6Forerunner 945Suunto 9montre Polar Vantage V2montre Amazfit Stratos 3
Price
$$$$($)
$$$$
$$$$
$$$
$
Elegance (size, finesse, design)
+++
+
++
++
++
Comfort (weight, size)According to model
+++
++
+++
+++
Autonomy sport mode+GPSAccording to model
+++
++
+++
+++
Ultratrac AutonomyAccording to model
+
+++
++
+
Unpublished sensorsOximeterOximeter Power at the wrist 
Comparison Garmin Fenix 6 vs Forerunner 945 vs Suunto 9 Baro vs Polar Vantage V2 vs Amazfit Stratos 3: How to choose?
ModelProsCons
Fenix 6Very complete, Rugged (military standard), Numerous athlete assistance functions, Physiological measurements, Running dynamics, Advanced GPS navigation, Colour mapping (Pro version), Integrated course generatorMP3 player (Pro version)Payment SystemNo touch screen, Perfect screen size and definition, High price
Forerunner 945Very complete, Lightweight, Numerous athlete assistance functions, Physiological measurements, Running dynamics, Advanced GPS navigation, Colour mapping, Integrated course generatorMP3 player, Payment systemNo touch screen, Not suitable for diving, Screen size and definition can be improved, High price
Suunto 9 BaroLong battery life, Intelligent battery management, Quality of measurements (fusedAlti, FusedTrack, FusedSpeed), Advanced GPS navigation, Practical gauges (illuminated crown), SuuntoPlus and related functionsFew new functions, Few physiological measurement set
Polar Vantage V2Wrist Power Measurement, Functions Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro, Performance Tests, Customized Training, Autonomy, EleganceNo manual altimeter setting, No mp3 player, No downloadable widgets and dials
Amazfit Stratos 3Awards Physiological measuresMP3 playerReliable measurements, Incompatible with power sensors, Erratic synchronization with Smartphone and cardio belt, Fade and low contrast color display, Payment system unusable in Europe, no interface for PC or Mac, Incompatibility with external sensors
Comparison of Garmin Fenix 6 vs Forerunner 945 vs Suunto 9 Baro vs Polar Vantage V2 vs Amazfit Stratos 3: pros and cons

Where to buy these models

These watches are available on the Internet. Discover these models at our partners and take advantage of our promo codes.

Buy Garmin Fenix 6

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Lepape
749 €
699 €
i-Run
599 €
549 €
Alltricks
549.99 €
474.99 €
Amazon
599.99 €
429.99 €
Darty
599 €
536.86 €
Rakuten
599 €
390 €

 

Buy Garmin Forerunner 945

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Lepape
599 €
479 €
i-Run
599 €
549 €
Amazon
599 €
550 €

 

Buy Suunto 9

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Lepape
599 €
469 €
i-Run
599 €
329 €
Alltricks
599 €
469 €
Amazon
599 €
431 €
Rakuten
599 €
431 €

 

Buy Polar Vantage V2

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Lepape
499 €
474.05 € (*1)
i-Run
499 €
474.05 € (*2)

(*1) Discount of -5% on this product with coupon code 5A15 !
(*2) Discount of -5% on this product with coupon code COUREZ20 !

Philippe Baudoin
Copyright © Sport Passion
Soyez averti de nos dernières publications et tests !
Suivez-nous sur :  
Ou recevez la newsletter hebdomadaire gratuite :

These articles may also interest you

Garmin Fenix 6: the ultimate sports watch

Garmin Fenix 6 watches
Garmin Fenix 6: the ultimate sports watch

Lire la suite

Garmin Forerunner 945: the triathlon watch with music and cartography

Watch with cartography
Garmin Forerunner 945: the triathlon watch with music and cartography

Lire la suite

Suunto 9 review: huge battery life and accuracy even without GPS !

Suunto 9 GPS watch
Suunto 9 review: huge battery life and accuracy even without GPS !

Lire la suite

Polar Vantage V2 : running et triathlon, toute l'expertise Polar en un seul modèle ultraléger

montre running et triathlon polar Vantage V2
Polar Vantage V2 : running et triathlon, toute l'expertise Polar en un seul modèle ultraléger

Lire la suite

Garmin Fenix 6 vs Suunto 9 Baro vs Coros Vertix compared: differences, which one to choose?

Comparison Garmin Fenix 6 versus Suunto 9 versus Coros Vertix
Garmin Fenix 6 vs Suunto 9 Baro vs Coros Vertix compared: differences, which one to choose?

Lire la suite

Meilleures montres GPS 2021 pour le triathlon

triatlète programmant sa montre triathlon
Meilleures montres GPS 2021 pour le triathlon

Lire la suite

Photo credit : Adobe Stock. This article contains commercial links.

pu