Sport Passion   -  advice and training tips

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus vs Suunto 9 Baro vs Polar Vantage V vs Amazfit Stratos: differences, which one to choose?

by Philippe Baudoin © Copyright (published 21/01/2019)
Fenix 5 Plus, Suunto 9, Vantage V and Stratos watches compared

4 very complete multisport and triathlon cardio-GPS watches.

New in 2018, these multisport, triathlon and, for 3 of them, top of the range watches, offer exceptional features. Difficult to say which one is the best because it depends above all on the objective sought. Find out our comparison and our opinion on these technological jewels.

Buy the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus

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Price (from)
 
Lepape
699 649 €
i-Run
699 €
Amazon
699 606 €
Go-Sport
699.99 €

 

Buy Suunto 9

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Price (from)
 
Lepape
599 529 €
i-Run
599 549 €
Amazon
479 €

 

Buy Polar Vantage V

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Lepape
499 419 €
i-Run
499 449 €
Amazon
499 390 €
Go-Sport
499.9 €

 

Buy Amazfit Stratos

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Price (from)
 
Amazon
180 €
Gearbest
275 €

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

The best multisport and triathlon cardio-GPS watches 2018-2019 compared

If you are wondering which are the best multisport and triathlon cardio-GPS watches in 2018/2019, we think these 4 models are part of it. In this article, we have put face to face the 4 sports watches that seem to us to be the most complete currently on the market. Three of them are considered as Premium or top of the range. Released in 2018, they are therefore relatively recent and should still be very successful in 2019.

Packed with sensors and rich in features, they represent the top of GPS watches to date. They are aimed at both professional and amateur athletes seeking to improve or enjoy themselves.

However, it is difficult for us to say which is the best, since it depends mainly on the objective, the sport practiced and the expectations of the user, not to mention the budget targeted. Some will seek the accuracy and reliability of measurements, others a high degree of autonomy, others a plethora of tools to help athletes, others ancillary functions used during and on a daily basis (music, payment, mapping), others a chic watch that can be worn both in town and for sport! There are also watches that are less complete but better adapted and perhaps also cheaper than those in this comparison. We have chosen here to highlight real multisport watches (with change of activity without stopping the watch), designed for triathlon and outdoor.

It should be noted that some of the watches in this comparison exist in several versions (with or without sapphire crystal, with different case sizes, in "luxury" model with titanium strap, etc.). We have opted here for a unique model of each watch. Find more details in our fitness equipment and cardio-GPS watches tests and reviews.

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus

An improved model of the famous Fenix 5, the Fenix 5 Plus is a watch with exceptional features. She is currently the queen of GPS cardio watches but this luxury comes at a price! In addition to many athlete support features (performance analysis, physiological measurements, tests, coaching, etc.), it offers color mapping, advanced connected features (live tracking of other athletes, ability to be tracked online, etc.), sophisticated GPS navigation and attractive features such as an mp3 music player, Garmin Pay contactless payment. It has more than 40,000 golf courses on board. The Fenix 5 Plus is available in 3 versions (5S, 5 and 5X) which differ in their housing size and autonomy. The 5X Plus version also has an oximeter on the wrist (measurement of blood oxygenation level). The watch is available with or without sapphire crystal (scratch-resistant). More about: detailed review and our opinion on the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus

Suunto 9 watch

Suunto 9 Baro

This high-end watch with sapphire crystal and integrated barometric altimeter (hence the "baro") emphasizes autonomy and precision. Thanks to the FusedTrack" system, it offers up to 120 hours of autonomy and a high accuracy of 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. More about: detailed review and our opinion on Suunto 9 Baro

Polar Vantage V

Polar Vantage V

Replacing the famous Polar V800, the Vantage V brings interesting innovations: power measurement at the wrist without an external sensor, a revolutionary new cardio optic that works underwater. It offers advanced functions for monitoring the athlete. This watch should not be confused with the Vantage M, which is less sophisticated, more running oriented and much cheaper. More about: detailed review and our opinion on the Polar Vantage V

Amazfit Stratos watch

Amazfit Stratos

Comparable to the above high-end watches in terms of functionality but with a number of limitations that can be crippling depending on the objective, this Chinese watch offers an unbeatable price-quality ratio. It is the cheapest GPS connected sports watch on the market for the functions offered! More about: detailed review and our opinion on Amazfit Stratos

Price and physical characteristics compared

Main features includeFenix 5 PlusSuunto 9 BaroVantage VAmazfit Stratos
Prices699 / 799 € (1)599 €499 €180 €
Autonomy (GPS mode)18 h25 h40 h35 h
Outlet size47 x 47 mm50 x 50 mm46 x 46 mm48 x 48 mm
Thickness15.8 mm16.8 mm13 mm15 mm
Screen size1.2\" (30 mm)1.4\" (35 mm)1.2\" (30 mm)1.4\" (35 mm)
Resolution240 x 240 px320 x 300 px240 x 240 px320 x 300 px
Touch screen display 
Color display
Weight76 g / 86 g (1)81 g66 g60 g
Interchangeable bracelet
 
Fenix 5 Plus vs Suunto 9 vs Vantage V vs Amazfit Stratos : comparison of the main characteristics

The price: from simple to quadruple!

Price is often a decisive criterion when choosing a cardio watch. With the exception of the Stratos, which is the exception but which we have retained in this comparison for the richness of its functions, the 3 watches Garmin, Suunto and Polar were sold around or above the psychological bar of 500 euros. At this price, you must be sure to choose the model that best meets your expectations! The Fenix 5 Plus stands out with a high price, that of a computer, especially for the model with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal (100 to 150 € more than the model with ordinary glass). 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 athletes with a limited budget.

Design, structure and robustness

In terms of design, each watch has its own charm with a stainless steel case and a look suitable for both city and sport. The type of bracelet (interchangeable or not, with or without tools) and the choice of available materials (silicone, leather, titanium, steel, etc.) are criteria to be taken into account when choosing your cardio-GPS. Finally, the sapphire crystal (scratch-resistant) is a plus for the protection of your watch in high-risk sports. However, it adds a little weight (about 10 g) and above all it increases the price (count at least 100 € more).

  • Fenix 5 Plus : we particularly appreciate this model for its 3 case sizes (42, 47 and 51 mm) for an adaptation to all wrists, especially thin wrists! At last a top-of-the-range cardio watch that knows how to be discreet. The bracelet is interchangeable without tools. In addition, the brand offers stylish bracelets in leather, steel and titanium in addition to the silicone bracelet designed for sports. The scratch-resistant sapphire crystal is available as an option except on the 5X Plus model. It protects the screen very effectively from scratches, an interesting point for sports where friction is frequent.
  • Suunto 9 Baro : Suunto offers a robust model with a single case size (51 mm), the size of the largest model of the Fenix 5 Plus (51 mm) but several sizes of bracelets to adapt to all morphologies. The watch crystal is made of sapphire, the hardest material available after diamond! The bracelet is interchangeable without tools but only available in silicone version.
  • Vantage V : Unlike the Vantage M, the Vantage V bracelet is not interchangeable. The watch is presented in a pretty round stainless steel case, unlike the previous models of the brand. The glass is made of Gorilla corning, an ultra-resistant glass.
  • Stratos: a nice look also for this watch whose strap is interchangeable without tools. The Stratos+ version features a leather strap and a replacement silicone strap as well as a sapphire crystal.

The screen

More and more watches offer a touch screen, color and high resolution. This is explained by the multiplication of the data displayed, the personalization of watches with the display of wallpapers and the arrival of cartography. For the 4 watches selected, the size and resolution of the screens vary significantly. Suunto and Amazfit offer a wide screen. Garmin and Polar have favoured a more discreet design better suited to small wrists.

Suunto and Amazfit offer a colour, touch screen and large (35 mm diameter) display with a resolution of 320 x 300 px, which, over time, should become more widespread on high-end watches. For their part, Garmin and Polar remained on an intermediate screen of 30.4 mm (1.2") and 240 x 240 px, which is already a good resolution but a little limited for the Garmin and its mapping. We also regret the lack of a touch screen for this type of functionality!

Weight and thickness

Weight and thickness are important criteria depending on the sport. A light and fie watch is less noticeable on the wrist than a voluminous and heavy watch. The Fenix 5 Plus and Suunto 9 are among the "heavy goods vehicles" with 76 g for the Garmin (86 g with a sapphire crystal and up to 96 g for the Fenix 5X Plus!) and 81 g for the Suunto 9 (72 g for the version without barometer). Note that the sapphire crystal adds 10 g to the weight of the watch.

The Vantage and Stratos all look light on the side (66 g and 60 g respectively). The 60 g of the Stratos is a surprise given the sensors it carries and its more than honourable range. These models are better suited for performance-oriented sports use, while the Suunto 9 and Fenix 5 Plus are more suitable for exploration, adventure and outdoor use.

Note that of the 4 watches, the Vantage V is the thinnest with a reasonable thickness of 13 mm compared to the 15.8 mm of the Fenix 5 and 17 mm of the Suunto 9, and has fewer components than other watches.

Autonomy: Suunto 9 makes the difference!

Autonomy is nowadays an important criterion in the choice of a cardio-GPS watch. It is even an elimination criterion for fans of "ultra" type races with operating times that can well exceed 40 hours. For shorter outings, autonomy remains an essential criterion as well: what a frustration to run out of battery power during an outing because you forgot to charge your watch the day before!

ModelFenix 5 PlusSuunto 9 BaroVantage VAmazfit Stratos
Watch mode12 d14 d30 d5 d
GPS mode18 h25 h40 h35 h
UltraTrac Mode42 h120 h46 x 46 mm48 x 48 mm
Rechargeable during workouts
 
Fenix 5 Plus vs Suunto 9 vs Vantage V vs Amazfit Stratos : autonomy compared

Record autonomy and reliability of Ultra mode measurements for Suunto

The number of sensors and functions embedded in cardio-GPS watches is steadily increasing, resulting in increased energy consumption. It is mainly the GPS chip that is very greedy. To conserve battery power and extend battery life, manufacturers sometimes offer a power saving feature (ultra mode) that consists of spacing GPS readings. This reduces the accuracy of the measurements. GPS chip manufacturers, on the other hand, are working to reduce the consumption of their chip, sometimes to the detriment of measurement accuracy.... That said, Broadcom announced in 2017 the release of a much more accurate chip (around 20-30 cm instead of 2 to 10 m currently) for a consumption that is twice as low. It is starting to equip our Smartphones and may soon be able to integrate cardio watches!

Suunto 9 uses the watch's sensors for accurate GPS tracking even in power saving mode

Suunto, on the other hand, offers a revolutionary solution (FusedTrack™ function): an energy-saving mode that does not overly alter the accuracy of measurements. By combining GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope and compass data, Suunto "guesses" the missing GPS measurements 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 detour without running out of juice! In addition to these innovations, Suunto uses a more energy-efficient Sony GPS chip.

Polar surprises us with an announced 40-hour battery life in 1-second GPS mode. This good result is mainly due to the use of the Sony chip that uses less energy than the SiRF chip embedded in the old Polar V800 model. It is regrettable, however, that the watch does not offer any energy-saving mode as was possible on the V800 or other older models. Polar seems to think that 40 hours of autonomy is enough!

The Stratos also looks good with 35 hours announced and a full recharge in 2 hours.

Far behind, the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus has only 18 hours of battery life (42 hours in ultraTrac mode). To get more without losing accuracy, you have to choose the Fenix 5X Plus (32 hours of autonomy in 1-second GPS mode or 70 hours in ultraTrac mode).

Recharging without stopping the watch

Another positive point for 3 of the watches in our comparison: the Fenix 5 Plus, Suunto 9 and Stratos can be recharged during the activity, without stopping the watch. However, it will have to be removed from the wrist during a break because all 3 are recharged via a connector located under the watch. The Polar, on the other hand, must be stopped to be recharged.

Sensors

High-end watches are equipped with sensors that provide numerous measurements on the environment and the physiology of the athlete. Some sensors may be superfluous depending on the sport. The 4 watches compared are multi-sport and specially designed to be versatile. The onboard sensors are designed for triathlon and its activities, outdoor (adventure, hiking, trekking, exploration) and of course many other indoor and outdoor activities

ModelFenix 5 PlusSuunto 9 BaroVantage VAmazfit Stratos
Barometer
Barometric altimeter
Manual calibration of the altimeter
 
Altitude combining GPS and barometer 
  
GPS systemsGPS, GLONASS, GalileoGPSGPS, GLONASSGPS, GLONASS
Cardio on the wrist
Power consumptionWith external sensorWith external sensor
With external sensor
Compass
 
Pulse oximeterFenix 5X Plus   
Thermometer
  
Weather functions
  
Compatibility of external sensorsANT, BluetoothBluetoothBluetooth 
Fenix 5 Plus vs Suunto 9 vs Vantage V vs Amazfit Stratos : sensors compared

The barometer: storm alerts on the Suunto and Garmin

All 4 models are equipped with a barometer. It is used to measure atmospheric pressure, deduce altitude, measure altitude difference and detect changes in weather. Garmin and Suunto offer storm alerts triggered in the event of a sudden change in pressure, a plus for hikers.

The altimeter: barometric for the 4 models, mixed at Suunto

Essential for altitude and vertical drop measurements in particular, it can be barometric (altitude deduced from atmospheric pressure measured by an internal barometer) or operate from GPS measurements. For good accuracy, it should ideally be barometric. This is the case for the 4 models compared.

As the pressure changes over time, it is preferable that the altimeter can be calibrated manually. This is not the case with the Vantage and it is a pity. Suunto, on the other hand, goes further by combining GPS and barometric altimeter data for more accurate and reliable altitude and vertical drop measurements (FusedAlti™ algorithm).

GPS: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo: inequalities with no real impact

A few years ago, GPS watches operated on a single satellite network, the American system (GPS). Today, other systems are accessible such as Russian (GLONASS), Japanese (QZSS or Michibiki) or European (Galileo) satellite systems. Having more satellites improves acquisition time but not necessarily accuracy. Manufacturers offer chips compatible with several satellite systems, but watch manufacturers do not always exploit these possibilities. There are several reasons for this. The use of several systems adds to the watch's power consumption. On the other hand, the position reading is carried out with a single satellite network and not a mix of several networks, which means that the accuracy may be lower than with a single system (for example if GLONASS is picked up first by the watch where the GPS would have given better accuracy).

If Suunto Spartan (predecessor of Suunto 9) offered GPS and GLONASS (see our Suunto 9 versus Spartan comparative), Suunto 9 is only compatible with GPS. Suunto made this choice to save battery power without losing accuracy (GLONASS is more useful in the city, which is not the place for standard use of this watch). Garmin, on the other hand, operates the GPS, GLONASS and Galileo systems.

These differences between the 4 watches are not significant. If necessary, manufacturers can always activate compatibility with GLONASS or Galileo via a firmware update. The accuracy of the measurements is more closely linked to the GPS chip and the software developed by each watch manufacturer to use its data. It should be noted that the Sony chip, used in the Vantage and Suunto, consumes less energy than the chip offered by SiRF Technology, but is less accurate.

Cardio optics: one step ahead for Polar

Polar has always been the leader in measuring heart rate and heart rate variability. The Finnish company developed the first cardio sensor (measured by finger and then by chest belt).

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

On the Polar Vantage, Polar uses an innovative sensor with 9 LEDs, 4 electrodes and 4 sensors to improve the quality of measurements, especially in difficult conditions (aquatic environment, fractionation sessions, heavy perspiration, thick skin, etc.). The cardio monitor ensures in particular that the sensors are in good contact with the skin.

Thanks to this revolutionary system, heart rate measurement is more reliable and is made possible where other optical cardios fail, for example when swimming. However, if you cannot do without your HRM-Tri or HRM-Swim belt to swim, you will have to find another watch because Polar has removed this possibility on the Vantage V!

According to user feedback, this new optical heart rate monitor is not yet fully developed. Be aware that an optical pulse measuring system will never be as accurate as a chest belt.

Power: a step ahead at Polar!

Each of the 4 watches is used to estimate the power developed during running. To do this, a power sensor must be coupled to the watch (Stryd sensor, Foodpod, HRM-Run or HRM-Tri belt, etc.). The only exception is the Vantage V. It is the first watch to integrate power measurement without an external sensor. The estimation is carried out using the watch's sensors: accelerometer, GPS, altimeter. Power is estimated from the evaluation of kinetic and potential energy (more details in our article on Polar Vantage V). Of course, the measurements are approximate, but as much as those obtained with an external sensor. Polar is therefore one step ahead of the competition here.

Other sensors

ABC sensors (altimeter, barometer, compass) are essential for hiking and exploration. These sensors are present on all 4 watches except the Vantage V which does not have a compass.

oximeter graph
The oximeter measures blood oxygen level and helps prevent accidents at high altitude

Garmin stands out from the competition for its pulse oximeter. This sensor, available only on the Fenix 5X Plus, is integrated into the optical heart rate monitor. It measures the blood oxygenation rate, a parameter to be monitored for high altitude sports (mountaineering for example) and for divers. The watch can detect a lack of oxygenation and warns the athlete if there is a risk of an accident.

In addition to the ABC sensors, the Fenix 5 Plus and Suunto 9 carry a thermometer. They also offer weather functions (trend, storm alerts, sunrise and sunset times).

The external sensors

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 less and less used. Among the 4 watches compared, only the Fenix 5 Plus supports it, making it compatible with almost all current sensors. If you have ANT+ sensors, they will not work with Suunto 9, Vantage V or Stratos. For the Stratos, it's even more limited: it's not compatible with any external sensors except Bluetooth chest belts.

Features compared

ModelFenix 5 PlusSuunto 9 BaroVantage VAmazfit Stratos
GPS navigation
+++
++
Coming soon
+
Number of sports228013014
Triathlon
Golf40,000 routes   
Integrated route generator
   
Programming of training sessions
Running only
Split
Coming soon
Training follow-up
Physiological measurements
 
- VO2max
 
- Stroke predictor
   
- Training effect
 
- Lactic threshold
   
- Recovery time
 
- Drive load
 
- Training status
 
Running dynamics (cadence, stride, vertical oscillation...)7220
Altitude profile
  
Virtual partner
   
Strava Live segments
 Coming soon
Connected functions
+++
++
Coming soon
++
Activity monitoring
+++
++
+
++
MP3 player
  
Contactless payment
  China only
Cartography
   
Pulse oximeterFenix 5X Plus   
Fenix 5 Plus vs Suunto 9 vs Vantage V vs Amazfit Stratos : functionalities compared

Navigation: Fenix 5 Plus with no hesitation

GPS navigation (route tracking, route planning, return to departure, navigation to waypoints, etc.) is an essential function for hiking, exploring, trekking but also for organizing a bike trip or running on unknown trails.

coloured glide slope curve
The analysis of the altimeter profile allows runners and cyclists to better manage their effort on a mountainous course

At this level, the Fenix 5 Plus stands out from the crowd with a complete navigation tool, colour mapping of the country or continent of purchase (city maps, roads, cycle paths, paths, hiking maps with contour lines depending on the options), the possibility of letting the watch propose a loop itinerary, on roads or bicycle paths, from a given distance or to propose a route recorded by other users of the Garmin community (Trenline function), the possibility of obtaining the route profile (ClimPro function), the recalculation of the route when departing from a planned route. It also allows you to find a hotel, a refuge, an inn around you. She's really good at that.

In addition to these functions, Garmin has extended the LiveTrack function to its watches, which allows them to be tracked on the Internet. The Fenix 5 Plus also offers the GroupTrack function to follow other athletes wearing a Garmin watch with this function.

Suunto 9 also offers advanced navigation features (route tracking, waypoint navigation, waypoint recordings, thumbnail trail, return to departure, estimated time of arrival, elevation profiles, rate of climb, etc.) ).

The Stratos allows you to follow a route and be guided and even alerted in case of leaving the track.

The Polar Vantage V suffers from a total lack of navigation features (no route guide, no return to the starting point, no GPS track, no navigation to waypoints). But Polar announces that these functions will be integrated in 2019 by an update of the firmware.

Sports profiles and sports functions

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

At Garmin, each profile is studied to provide relevant data for each sport: running race dynamics, number of rowing strokes and cadence, number of skiing runs, etc. The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus, with its dozen profiles, is ultimately more complete than Polar or Suunto. It should also be noted that it is well adapted to the practice of golf with more than 40,000 courses on board and specific functions for this sport.

In addition to the profiles, the Fenix 5 Plus and Stratos provide training functions: training programming (only for running for the Stratos) with consideration of previous outings, split, running against an opponent or against yourself for the Garmin, audio coaching, alert programming, goal setting, etc. These watches are very complete. These functions, combined with physiological measurements, provide powerful tools for demanding athletes.

Polar also offers training programming (but not yet fractionated), taking into account physiological measures to advise the athlete (see below). It is a pity that the ZoneLock function, which made it possible to define objectives for heart rate, speed or power, is no longer available.

At Suunto, sports functions are much more limited. The focus is on autonomy, reliability and outdoor functions.

Physiological measurements and running dynamics

Increasingly present on sports watches, physiological measurements help athletes manage their training and optimize their performance, even predicting race times (a function offered by the Fenix 5). From 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, his physiological age, his stress level, the training level, the effect of training on the body (training effect, status and training load, etc.). At Garmin, we can even predict a race time based on the distance to be covered, the level of training and the athlete's physical condition.

Firstbeat offers an algorithm to use this data. Garmin uses it on his latest watches and Amazfit in his Stratos. The 2 watches therefore offer similar functions (a little more complete at Garmin).

Polar also offers advanced monitoring and support functions for athletes such as VO2 max (OwnIndex) and especially the new Training Load Pro™ and Recovery Pro™ functions. These advanced functions allow you to manage your training and recovery. They take into account previous outings, cardiovascular load and muscle load, a first.

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

Connected functions

Each of the watches offers more or less advanced functions. The minimum of current connected watches is to offer smart notifications (email, call and SMS notification). The Vantage does not yet offer it. The Fenix 5 still stands out with the ability to reject incoming calls from a smartphone or send predefined SMS messages. It offers LiveTrack and GroupTrack functions, the possibility to listen to music locally or in streaming with Spotify or Deezer, the possibility to pay for small purchases (Garmin Pay function), the control of compatible devices (3D camera VIRB, etc.). It can also be connected via Wifi (like the Stratos).

Activity monitoring

The watch measures your daily activity and even your sleep if you wear it 24 hours a day. It informs you of your activity (number of steps, distance covered, calories burned, etc.) and encourages you to move. Garmin offers complete functions, including stress level assessment, number of floors climbed. The Polar Vantage V is the least provided of the 4 watches.

Ancillary functions

These functions can make the difference in choosing a cardio watch, even if some may seem a little gadgety and add price to the watch.

  • Color mapping: Only Fenix 5 offers this function. The cards are embedded in the watch's gigantic memory.
  • A music player: On the Amazfit Stratos and Fenix 5 Plus, it allows you to listen to your favorite music without a smartphone thanks to Bluetooth headphones
  • A payment system: Only the Fenix 5 Plus and the Amazfit Stratos (in China only) offer this function. It allows you to pay for small purchases without using your smartphone or a credit card. Payment is made using an embedded NFC chip.
  • A pulse oximeter: available only on the Fenix 5X Plus, it measures blood oxygen levels and helps prevent accidents at high altitudes (see above).

Our opinion on these 4 multisport cardio-GPS watches: which one is the best?

It is difficult for us to say which of these 4 watches is the best multisport cardio-GPS watch since it depends on the budget targeted (from a single to a quadruple depending on the model), the type of main sport practiced (our selection is nevertheless based on the triathlon activity) and the objective sought (performance, reliability, number of data, specific functions sought, comfort, etc.).

The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus is undoubtedly the most complete watch on the market today, in terms of sensors, functionalities, physiological measurements, GPS navigation and interface usability. It is ultra-comprehensive, rich in terms of athlete follow-up and assistance to optimize performance. GPS navigation, route planning directly on the watch, searching for a site of interest in the surroundings (refuge, restaurant, etc.), colour mapping are simply amazing. It offers attractive additional features: an on-board MP3 player to listen to music without having to carry a Smartphone (ideal for light running!), a contactless payment function to be able to buy, empty pockets, a drink or a snack along the way! It is the ideal companion for outdoor outings, hiking, trekking. It is also the most complete watch for triathlon and an ideal companion for training. In addition, it adapts to all wrist sizes, a definite asset for people with thin wrists and those who are looking for a watch that is discreet enough to be worn on a daily basis. Garmin also offers stylish bracelets for city and work and an easy attachment system (no tools required). It's hard to do better than that! The other side of the coin is its high price, a little low autonomy for the ultra and medium accuracy for cardio optics and GPS. Read our detailed review and full opinion on the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus. For use exclusively dedicated to triathlon, we recommend the Garmin Forerunner 935, a very complete triathlon watch, lighter than the Fenix 5 Plus and cheaper (but also less chic).

The Suunto 9, with much less developed functions, is nevertheless a watch highly sought-after for its record range (120 h) and the accuracy of the GPS track despite its energy-saving mode. The innovative FusedTrack? system offers the reliability of GPS tracking (even when the signal is sometimes missing) while providing the impressive range that ultra racing fans are looking for. Intelligent battery management is also a great innovation. It allows to change the mode at any time to extend the autonomy without altering the accuracy of the trace too much. No more compromises between battery life and data accuracy! Finally, the FusedAlti™ and FusedSpeed™ functions are an advantage over the competition. The Suunto 9 is also pretty and robust. It is more suitable for outdoor, hiking, trail and of course all long (ultra) races, multi-day outings, trekking. It's a pity that the functions offered are not more developed. Read our detailed review and full opinion on Suunto 9.

The Polar Vantage V will be of interest to athletes looking for a powerful training assistant. The new Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro functions and the sensorless measurement of power developed during running are perfect for demanding athletes, whether they are pros or training like pros. It is very good for the athlete who wants to optimize his performance. Its innovative optical sensor allows use in difficult conditions (swimming, fractionated, cycling, etc.) but needs to be improved. It is well suited for triathlon practice. It offers excellent autonomy. This watch, released a little too early, still lacks a little maturity. GPS accuracy is lower than the previous version (Polar V800), some useful features have disappeared, it does not offer any GPS navigation, smart notifications, watchfaces, or power saving mode. Let's hope Polar quickly makes some corrections to improve this aspect. Read our detailed review and full opinion on the Polar Vantage V.

Finally, the Amazfit Stratos is attractive for its unbeatable price and its many on-board functions including physiological measurements and running dynamics offered by the Fenix 5 Plus. It also offers an embedded MP3 player and a payment function that is currently only available in China. It suffers from some anomalies and limitations that the price can justify. It is a good compromise for people with limited budgets. Read our detailed review and full opinion on Amazfit Stratos.

ModelStrong pointsAreas for improvement
Fenix 5 PlusVery complete
Many functions to support the athlete
Physiological measures
Running dynamics
Advanced GPS navigation
Colour mapping
Integrated route generator
MP3 player
Payment system
No touch screen
GPS precision to improve
Autonomy a little short
Suunto 9 BaroRecord battery life
Intelligent battery management
Quality of measurements (fusedAlti, FusedTrack, FusedSpeed)
Advanced GPS navigation
Practical gauges (light ring)
Few new functions
No physiological measurements
Vantage VWrist power measurement
Optical sensor
Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro functions
Elegance
No manual altimeter adjustment
No power saving mode
No Smart notifications
No GPS navigation
Amazfit StratosValue for money
Physiological measures
MP3 player
Reliable measures
Some annoying system bugs
Payement system not available in Europe
No interface for PC or Mac
Not compatible with external sensors
Strong points and points to improve for each model

Buy the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Lepape
699 649 €
i-Run
699 €
Amazon
699 606 €
Go-Sport
699.99 €

 

Buy Suunto 9

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Lepape
599 529 €
i-Run
599 549 €
Amazon
479 €

 

Buy Polar Vantage V

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Lepape
499 419 €
i-Run
499 449 €
Amazon
499 390 €
Go-Sport
499.9 €

 

Buy Amazfit Stratos

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Amazon
180 €
Gearbest
275 €

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