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Suunto 7 versus Garmin Fenix 6 Pro: the differences, which one to choose?

by Philippe Baudoin © Copyright (published 11/02/2020)
Suunto 7 and Garmin Fenix 6 compared

Suunto 7: alternative to Garmin Fenix 6 Pro?

The Suunto 7 is a smart connected watch designed to combine everyday life and sport. It runs on Wear OS, Google's watch operating system, offers an AMOLED screen, music, mapping and a payment solution. What is it worth compared to the Fenix 6 Pro? Can it replace it for less? Discover our comparison and our opinion.

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2 sports watches with intelligent functions

The Suunto 7 and the Fenix 6 Pro (with mp3 player and payment solution) are two very different high-end watches that we chose to compare because they both offer both advanced sports features and very popular tools that are rarely offered together: music, payment and cartography.

Suunto 7: combining everyday life and sport with downloadable apps

Display of the thermal charts

Released in January 2020, the Suunto 7 is the first Suunto watch to run under Wear OS, Google's watch operating system. Unlike today's connected watches, this one offers advanced sports functions. It is therefore ideal for people looking for a watch for mixed use (sport and city). The advantage of Wear OS is to offer the best of the smart features of the moment thanks to downloadable apps.

It has a high definition AMOLED colour touch screen and all the sensors useful for sport including a barometric altimeter. It includes topographical maps, a payment solution and allows you to listen to music without a Smartphone. Wear OS gives access to the Google assistant (the watch has a microphone on it to interrogate it), to health monitoring (Google Fit), to access to information (Internet). In terms of sports functions, this watch is similar to the Suunto 5 but with the added mapping. On the other hand, it has a much lower range, does not offer adaptive custom training and has limited GPS navigation.

Read our detailed review and opinion on the Suunto 7
Buy Suunto 7
 

Garmin Fenix 6: the most complete sports watch on the market in 2020

Garmin Fenix 6

Improved model of the famous Fenix 5 Plus, the Fenix 6 Pro is a watch with extraordinary functionalities declined in 9 versions including one with solar recharge. It is currently the most complete GPS cardio watch on the market. But this luxury comes at a price!... It offers record-breaking battery life and intelligent battery management. In addition to numerous functions to help the athlete (performance analysis, physiological measurements, health monitoring, coaching, etc.), it includes, as an option, colour mapping (roads, cycle tracks, paths, ski slopes) and an mp3 player. It has advanced connected functions (live tracking of other athletes, possibility to be tracked online, etc.), complete GPS navigation, Garmin Pay contactless payment solution, blood oxygen level assessment. It offers more than 41,000 golf courses. The Fenix 6 is available in 3 housing sizes (for thin to wide wrists) and 3 versions (Standard, Pro and Solar).

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

The main differences between Suunto 7 and Fenix 6 Pro

In the comparative table below, we highlight the differences between the main characteristics of the 2 watches. While Suunto 7 is less expensive, its AMOLED screen displays rich and vibrant colours and app downloads offer unlimited possibilities, it offers however less advanced sports features, limited GPS navigation, significantly shorter battery life and a slightly larger size for smaller wrists. Its advantage is that it offers a remarkable screen and the possibility to download numerous apps, which makes it more durable than classic sports watches.

 Suunto 7Fenix 6 Pro
 Suunto 7Fenix 6
Price479 €699 / 1049 €(1)
Weight70 g61 to 93 g (2)
Case Size50 mm42 to 51 mm (2)
Thickness15.3 mm13.8 to 14.9 mm (2)
Screen size1,4" (35 mm)1,2" (30 mm) to 1,4" (35 mm) (2)
Definition454 x 454 px240 x 240 px to 280 x 280 px (2)
Touch screen
 
Colour screen
Sports profiles70+22
Autonomy (GPS mode)12 h25 to 60 hours
GPSGPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS, BeiduGPS, GLONASS, Galileo
True multi-sports 
Wrist cardio
Training programming 
Interval training 
Evaluates recovery
24/7 activity monitoringVia Google Fit
Waterproofing50 m100 m
GPS NavigationGPS track
Barometric altimeter
Mp3 playerMusic via app
Payment function
Colour mapping
Path generator 
Assistance in case of a fall 
Comparison Suunto 7 versus Fenix 6: main differences

(1): depending on version (Pro, Pro Solar) and options (glass, Wi-Fi)
(2): depending on version / case size: 6S, 6, 6X

Go directly to our opinion

Comparative prices and physical characteristics

The price: a difference that is justified

The basic Fenix 6 (without music and cartography but with payment) starts at 599 €. For music and cards, an additional 100 € is required, i.e. 699 €. The Suunto 7 has the advantage of offering these features and a much better display for much less money (479 €). The Fenix 6, on the other hand, is still much more complete in terms of sporting features, which justifies its higher price.

Design, structure and robustness

Suunto 7

Display under Wear OS

Suunto offers a robust watch in a one-size (50 mm) reinforced polyamide case with a stainless steel bezel and scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla glass (the glass often used for smartphone windows). People with small wrists will therefore have to make do with a watch that is a little bulky, a regrettable point for a product intended to be worn on a daily basis.

It is available in 3 colours: Black and Black Lime (black case and black and yellow strap), White Burgundy (white case and black and white strap) and Black (black case and black strap). The bracelets are 24 mm wide and are interchangeable without tools. The watch comes with a silicone strap but Suunto also offers fabric and leather straps to be purchased separately.

The Suunto weighs 70 g, which is correct for an outdoor watch but a bit heavy for a connected watch. It is waterproof up to 50 meters (5 ATM) and the push buttons can be used underwater without any problem.

Fenix 6 Pro

We particularly appreciate this model for its 3 case sizes (42, 47 and 51 mm) to fit all wrists, especially thin wrists! At last here is a top-of-the-range cardio watch that knows how to be discreet (see also our comparison of the best women's cardio watches). The strap is interchangeable without tools and its width varies according to the size of the watch case (thin straps for thin wrists, etc.).

The brand offers chic bracelets in leather, steel, titanium and braided nylon in addition to the silicone bracelet designed for sport. The scratch-resistant sapphire crystal is offered as an option on the Pro version. Otherwise, he's in Corning Gorilla 3.

 Suunto 7Fenix 6 Pro
 Suunto 7Fenix 6
Price479 €699 / 1049 €
Weight70 g61 to 93 g (2)
Case Size50 mm42 to 51 mm
Thickness15.3 mm13.8 to 14.9 mm
Screen size1.4" (35 mm)1.2" (30 mm) to 1.4" (35 mm)
Definition454 x 454240 x 240 px to 280 x 280 px
Touch screen
 
Colour screen
GlassCorning GorillaSapphire or Corning Gorilla
BazelStainless SteelSteel or titanium
Interchangeable bracelet
Suunto 7 vs. Fenix 6: comparison of key features

The screen

Suunto 7 and AMOLED screen

Suunto stands out here from Garmin for its connected watch by offering a high definition touch screen (454 x 454 px !) and AMOLED technology (read our explanations here and the advantages of an AMOLED). It offers a brighter display, shimmering colors and a significantly richer color palette than the 64 colors of conventional MIP transflective displays. This type of screen is particularly suitable for displaying high-quality animated watch faces. On the other hand, it consumes much more.

Garmin, on the other hand, offers a non-touch color screen (less convenient for map navigation) and a much smaller resolution.

Go directly to our opinion

Autonomy: weak on the Suunto 7!

High autonomy for the Fenix 6. Limitations of the Suunto 7.

Suunto 7's big black spot is its range, which is limited to 12 hours in GPS mode or 5 hours in outdoor use (8 hours if you train while listening to music). With a connected watch, it only lasts 2 days, hardly more than the Apple Watch, or 6 pm if you do a bit of sport with it. This low autonomy is linked to the AMOLED screen which consumes a lot of power. To limit battery usage, Suunto offers a screen that turns off after 10 seconds of inactivity. A "watch" mode (disabling all functions except the clock and battery status display) will last 40 days.

Also regrettable on this model is the lack of intelligent battery management, as on the Suunto 5 and Suunto 9, which allows you to adjust the battery mode (and therefore the accuracy of the measurements) while driving. FusedTrack (extrapolation of the GPS track in the absence of a GPS signal) is not offered either. This intelligent algorithm made it possible to switch to a power-saving mode by decreasing the frequency of GPS measurements without affecting the quality of the track too much.

Due to its limited range, the Suunto 7 cannot be used for long distances (long hikes, ultra-trail, etc.).

For its part, Garmin offers a watch with a very long autonomy (up to 120 hours in Ultra mode on the 6X Pro model), including a solar model that allows you to gain up to 10% more autonomy. It is not for nothing that Garmin unveiled its watch at the UTMB 2019 (Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc).

 Suunto 7Fenix 6 Pro
Watch mode40 days9 to 21 days
Connected watch mode2 days 
GPS mode12 h25 to 60 hours
Outdoor use5 h 
UltraTrac Mode 50 to 120 h
Rechargeable during activity
Suunto 7 vs. Fenix 6: autonomy compared

Charging without stopping the watch

The 2 watches of our comparison can be recharged during the activity, without stopping the current registration. However, the watch must be removed from the wrist for a pause as recharging is carried out via a connector located under the watch.

Go directly to our opinion

Sensors

Both watches are well equipped: cardio on the wrist (the Garmin's one works underwater), GPS, ABC sensors (barometric altimeter, barometer, compass). Suunto benefits from Wear OS and downloadable apps to offer certain functions without having to develop them internally: compass, weather access, storm alerts.

In addition, Garmin offers a thermometer and pulse oximeter for measuring blood oxygen levels and assessing altitude acclimatization. This sensor will be of particular interest to mountaineers, divers but also to competitors who train at an altitude very different from the one where the competition will take place (the watch corrects the VO2max).

The big difference between the Suunto 7 and the Fenix 6 is mainly in the external sensors. Suunto 7 is not compatible with any external sensor, not even a cardio belt. On the Garmin, it will be possible to connect a power sensor, a footpod, speed and cadence sensors for the bike and more.

 Suunto 7Fenix 6 Pro
Barometer
Barometric altimeter
Manual altimeter calibration 
Altitude combining GPS and barometer
 
GPS systemsGPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS, BeiduGPS, GLONASS, Galileo
Wrist cardio
Underwater wrist cardio system 
Power With external sensor
CompassVia app
Pulse oximeter 
Thermometer 
Weather functionsVia app
Storm AlertsVia app
External sensor compatibilityNoANT+, Bluetooth
Suunto 7 vs. Fenix 6: Sensors compared

Go directly to our opinion

Features compared

Cartography and navigation: an advantage to the Fenix 6

GPS navigation (route tracking, route planning, return to the start, navigation to waypoints, etc.) is an essential function for hiking, exploring, trekking but also for organizing a cycling or running trip on unknown trails. With cartography, it's the ultimate.

While Suunto 7 offers full-colour maps including heat maps (the route most used by the community), these are limited in size (50 km x 50 km at the most). The watch will download a new map itself depending on the position, provided you have a connection (Smartphone or Wi-Fi nearby). The touch screen allows you to move the map easily or zoom in and out. The big disadvantage of Suunto 7 is GPS navigation: Suunto records the track but gives no indication of how to follow a programmed route or retrace your steps. You will have to do your best to follow the trace displayed on the screen and zoom in if necessary.

The Fenix 6 offers a more complete navigation tool. It includes full colour cartography of the country or continent of purchase (city maps, roads, cycle tracks, paths, hiking maps with contour lines according to options, ski slopes in more than 2000 resorts worldwide), heat maps, as well as powerful functions to help the sportsman: generator of looped routes, on roads or cycle tracks, starting from a given distance, generator of popular routes (Trendline function based on heat maps), future route profile (ClimbPro function). It also allows you to find a hotel, a refuge, a hostel around you and be guided turn by turn to get there. A voice guidance function allows you to navigate without looking at your watch.

display maps and ski tracks
The cartography of the Fenix 6 includes the ski tracks of more than 2000 resorts in the world

In addition to these functions, Garmin has generalized on its watches the LiveTrack function that allows them to be tracked on the Internet. The Fenix 6 also offers the GroupTrack function to track other athletes wearing a Garmin watch with this feature.

 Suunto 7Fenix 6 Pro
GPS Navigation
+
+++
Integrated path generator 
On-board heat cards
Cartography
Altitude profile 
Suunto 7 vs. Fenix 6: GPS mapping and navigation

Sports profiles and functions

While Suunto offers many profiles, Garmin's more limited profiles are studied to provide relevant data for each sport: race dynamics for running, number of strokes and cadence for rowing, number of runs for skiing, etc. Other profiles can be downloaded via Garmin Connect. Also note that the Fenix 6 is very complete for golf with advanced features and more than 41,000 courses on board.

Except for swimming, where the Suunto is very complete, Garmin offers richer features. The possibility of connecting external sensors also makes the measurements more comprehensive. The watch is also a true multi-sport watch and can be used for triathlon. On Suunto, it is not possible to chain activities without stopping the registration and restarting a new exercise.

Garmin offers many functions to help the athlete: programming of training sessions taking into account previous outings, split sessions, running against an opponent or against oneself, estimating running time, assistance in the mountains for cycling and in the hills for running, audio coaching, programming of alerts, setting of objectives, etc. These functions, combined with physiological measurements, offer powerful tools for demanding athletes.

 Suunto 7Fenix 6 Pro
Sports profiles70+22
Triathlon 
Golf 41,000 routes
Training programming 
Interval training 
Training follow-up 
Virtual partner 
Running  
Running dynamics (e.g. cadence, stride length...) 7
Fractional drive assistance 
Race pace
Stroke power 
Tour comparison
Speed and cadence sensor support 
Running Time Predictor 
PacePro (assistance in the hills) 
Bike  
Speed
Average real time speed
Power Sensor Compatibility 
Bicycle path 
Altitude profile 
Strava Live segments
Swimming  
HR measurement and monitoring
Swimming rhythm in pool and distance
Open water swimming rhythm and distance
Swimming type detection
Swimming efficiency (SWOLF)
 
Swimming time per length (pool), laps, total
Cadence and number of movements
HR measurements underwater 
Outdoor  
Route registration
Slope profile 
Real-time trace
Navigating to a POI 
Evaluates altitude acclimatization 
ETA (estimated time of arrival) 
Heat maps
Heat maps on the watch
Path generator 
Vertical speed
GPS Altitude
Total ascent/descent
TemperatureVia app
Sunrise/sunset timesVia app
Storm warningVia app
Suunto 7 vs. Fenix 6: sports features

Physiological measurements

Physiological measurements help the athlete to manage his training and optimize his performance, even predicting a running time according to the distance to be covered, the level of training and the athlete's physical condition. The watch can estimate the VO2max, stress level, lactic threshold and more. At Garmin, these estimates are provided by Firstbeat's algorithms. At Suunto, this is delegated to Google via Wear OS.

 Suunto 7Fenix 6 Pro
Calories expended
VO2max 
Race Time Predictor 
Training effect 
Lactic threshold 
Recovery time
Drive load 
Training status 
Stress Level 
Suunto 7 vs. Fenix 6: Physiological measurements

Connected functions: 2 different worlds

Display under Wear OS

Suunto offers infinite possibilities thanks to the downloadable apps. Suunto 7 has a microphone and allows you to consult the Google Smart Wizard. You can ask the watch a question and get an answer, as long as it is connected to a smartphone and the network is available. The watch allows you to access services on the Internet or on your Smartphone (agenda, weather, calendar, reservations, consulting flight schedules, etc.). It does not have an mp3 player but a dedicated app allows you to listen to music. A payment function is available. You can also reply to SMS messages by dictating a message. All features offered by Garmin (except those using the oximeter) can potentially be offered on Suunto 7 as long as a dedicated app exists in the Google Play Store.

Garmin offers tracking and support functions: LiveTrack and GroupTrack to be tracked on the Internet or to know the position of other athletes in the group, a payment solution, control of compatible devices (VIRB 3D camera, etc.), a fall detection function and assistance in the event of an incident (SOS call with GPS coordinates). The Fenix 6 Pro features an mp3 player and allows you to listen to music from the watch or stream with Spotify, Deezer or Amazon Music. The watch displays smart notifications (emails, calls and SMS) and offers the possibility to reject incoming calls from a smartphone or to send predefined SMS messages.

 Suunto 7Fenix 6 Pro
MP3 PlayerVia app
Contactless payment
Google Assistant
 
Downloadable Apps
 
Live Track 
Group Track 
Fall detection 
SOS support/call 
Object control (camera, etc.) 
Suunto 7 vs. Fenix 6: the connected functions

Activity monitoring

Garmin provides traditional activity monitoring functions. At Suunto, this function is delegated to Google Fit.

 Suunto 7Fenix 6 Pro
Distance 
Number of steps
Calories
Climbing floors 
Detailed sleep analysis
Stress 
Intensive Minutes 
Suunto 7 vs. Fenix 6: activity monitoring

Our opinion on the Suunto 7 and the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro: which one is the best?

These 2 watches are excellent but target different uses and a different audience. One is a connected watch with advanced sports functions. The other is a purely sports watch with a few connected functions and a design that allows it to be worn on a daily basis.

Suunto 7: for everyday life and sport

Flight time display

The Suunto 7, with its smart features that make it similar to an Apple Watch (but much less elegant and much larger) will appeal to people who are primarily looking for a connected watch for everyday life and who, in addition, want to be able to use it for sports. It's hard to imagine training seriously with an Apple Watch.

While it benefits from all Suunto's experience in terms of sports functions, it has a number of limitations that can be prohibitive for many sportsmen and women. Its functions are less developed than those of other Suunto watches (Suunto 5, Suunto 9). Its autonomy is too low for some sports (ultra-trail, hiking more than 5-6 hrs). It does not allow the connection of external sensors, such as a cardio belt. The training possibilities are therefore limited. It could be a good outdoor watch thanks to the onboard maps and its heat maps. Unfortunately, navigation is limited (no route tracking). Physiological measurements remain limited. In short, of the three characteristics that make the brand strong (autonomy, reliability and advanced outdoor functions), two are not respected.

Its interest remains the use in the city with sports functions much better than the classic Smartwatch (Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch, Garmin Venu) and a superb screen. Apart from its bulky and a little too sporty design, it will appeal to people who would like to wear an Apple Watch but only have an Android smartphone.

Read our detailed review and our full review of the Suunto 7.

Garmin Fenix 6: for experienced sportsmen, competitors and triathletes

Fenix 6 pistes ski

With the Garmin Forerunner 945, it is undoubtedly the most complete watch on the market today, in terms of sensors, functionalities, physiological measurements, GPS navigation and user-friendly interface. The range of the 6X model is also excellent and is suitable for ultra-trail races. Elegant, she is doing well in the city and at work in addition to sports.

With the Forerunner 945, a model more suited to competition and triathlon, this is the watch we recommend for professional use or for demanding sportsmen and women looking for advanced tools and statistics who, at the same time, are looking for a watch to wear every day.

This watch has the advantage of fitting all wrist sizes, including thin wrists. Garmin also offers many chic bracelets for the city and work. Hard to do better! The flip side of the coin is its high price.

Read our detailed review and our full review of the Garmin Fenix 6.

For exclusively sports use, we recommend the Garmin Forerunner 945, lighter than the Fenix 6 and cheaper depending on the model (but less chic too).

 WeaknessesStrong points
Suunto 7Limited sports featuresLow
Low battery life
Sporty and bulky look
A mixed model (daily life and sport)
Music
Payment
Cartography
GoogleAssistant
Downloadable apps under Wear OS
Fenix 6 ProGarmin-specific functions or Firstbeat algorithms. Limited number of widgets compared to Wear OS apps. Suitable for thin to wide wrists
Very comprehensive
Featured athletic support functions
Physiological measurements
Running dynamics
Advanced GPS navigation
Colour mapping
Integrated route generator
MP3 player
Payment system
Strengths and areas for improvement of each model

Verdict

Suunto takes a giant step forward by integrating Wear OS into a sports watch, offering a smart connected watch for sports. However, the model must become more mature to really seduce. The slightly too sporty and bulky look is not to attract the envious Apple Watch. The sports functions, which are too limited compared to Suunto 5 and Suunto 9, and the short range limit its use for sports. The Fenix 6 Pro, on the other hand, is expensive and doesn't offer the smart features of an Apple Watch, but offers ultra-complete sports features in addition to outstanding athletic support functions.

How to choose between Suunto 7 and Fenix 6

The 2 watches are in fact very different and each one is aimed at a different audience. It is above all the cartography which remains the common point between the 2 models. If you are looking for a watch with carto and don't want to pay the price of a Fenix 6, then the Suunto 7 is a good choice. As long as you don't rely on GPS navigation for guidance... If you're looking for a connected watch that also allows you to do a little sport, the Suunto 7 is a good compromise. Provided again that you don't look too much at the design side. Finally, for purely sporting use, the Fenix 6 remains the best choice.

FeaturesSuunto 7Fenix 6 Pro
 Suunto 7Fenix 6
Price
$$$
$$$$
Recommended sportsRunning, cycling, swimming, hikingTriathlon, running, trail, ultra, ski, mountaineering, trekking, hiking, outdoor, golf
Comfort (weight, size, elegance)
••
•••
Autonomy
•••
Useful functionsCartography, altimetry, music, payment, smart functionsMapping, altimetry, music, payment, advanced sports functions
Training and analysisPeak Training EffectRunning dynamics, physiological measurements
SensorsHR at wrist
GPS
Accelerometer
Compass
Barometric altimeter
GPS
HR at wrist
Accelerometer
Compass
Barometric altimeter
Pulse oximeter
Thermometer
External sensors Power, cadence, speed, cardio
Suitable for running
•••
•••
Adapted to the mountain
•••
••••
Suitable for swimming
•••
••••
Suitable for cycling
•••
••••
Suitable for outdoor use
•••
••••
Suitable for triathlon 
••••
Suunto 7 vs. Fenix 6 Pro: how to choose?

Where to buy these models

Suunto 7 and Garmin Fenix 6 are available on the internet. Discover these models at our partners and take advantage of our coupon codes.

Buy Suunto 7

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Lepape
479 €
429 €
i-Run
479 €
429 €
Amazon
479 €
429.99 €

 

Buy Fenix 6 Pro

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Lepape
649 €
i-Run
599 €
549 €
Alltricks
599.99 €
544.99 €
Amazon
660 €
Darty
599 €
549.99 €
Rakuten
599 €
390 €

Commercial links. Prices are not contractual. Please visit the merchant site.

Philippe Baudoin
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