Suunto 5 Peak review: a lightweight sports watch that navigates to the essentials

  • 46

Launched in early 2019, the Suunto 5 positioned itself as Suunto’s most affordable GPS sports watch. In 2022, the manufacturer replaced it with a lighter 5 Peak with a more modern design, drawing inspiration in particular from its 9 Peak released the previous spring.

The Suunto 5 Peak takes up most of the features of its predecessor and is still mainly intended for athletes practicing outdoor activities (running, walking, trail running, cycling, etc.). It retains a relatively attractive price of €299 and is distinguished by manufacturing in Finland.

Suunto offers its 5 Peak in different colors. The case can be dark gray or light grey, the bezel silver or a darker grey, while the straps range from light gray to dark gray passing through ocher yellow (a color reserved for specialist shops) and multicolour incorporating remnants of other Suunto wristbands. It is in this latest version that we received the watch.

The different colors of the Suunto 5 Peak.  © Suunto

The different colors of the Suunto 5 Peak. © Suunto

While the Suunto 5 was rather imposing with 46 mm in diameter and 14.6 mm thick, and all the more so with a case that extended over the wrist to integrate the GPS chip, the Suunto 5 Peak displays measurements much more reasonable. Its diameter is reduced to 43 mm, which makes it easier to wear for small wrists, while its thickness is reduced to 12.9 mm.

The Suunto 5 Peak watch on a 17cm circumference wrist.

The Suunto 5 Peak watch on a 17cm circumference wrist.

It lightens considerably in passing and falls below 40 g, when the Suunto 5 peaked at 66 g. It is thus quickly forgotten once its silicone strap is attached to the wrist via a steel buckle, and held in place by a clip placed at its end.

The 22 mm strap is watchmaking standard and therefore easily replaceable.

The 22 mm strap is watchmaking standard and therefore easily replaceable.

However, note a little discomfort when the watch is tight due to the central sensor island located on the bottom. Rectangular, it protrudes a good millimeter and tends to leave a mark on the wrist.

On the underside, an island housing the sensors.

On the underside, an island housing the sensors.

The manufacturing quality is neat, the steel bezel glued to the polymer case bringing the elegance that the Suunto 5 could lack. i.e. 1.06 inches). The black border that goes around it is still imposing. If the definition of 218 x 218 px remains correct for such a screen size, the contrast seems quite low.

A still small screen compared to the size of the watch.

A still small screen compared to the size of the watch.

However, we appreciate that the screen remains permanently on, the backlight only activating when we point the watch towards our face or at the press of a button. This backlight is unfortunately a little weak and its intensity cannot vary due to the lack of a light sensor. It’s also not adjustable, which can be annoying in some conditions, especially at night. Note also on this subject that a bug in our test model caused the activation of the backlight in the middle of the night, despite the activation of the Do not disturb mode supposed to prevent this phenomenon.

Without backlight, then with.

Without backlight, then with.

Let’s admit a little disappointment with the waterproofness. The Suunto 5 Peak is certainly IPX8 certified, but only resists up to 30 m depth (3 ATM), against 50 m for the previous model. Suunto assured us that its watch was just as capable of handling swim sessions, but it’s unfortunate that certification didn’t follow, as a 3 ATM watch isn’t (in principle) really recommended for swimming. Water sports that can subject this model to greater pressure are therefore strongly discouraged.

As a pure sports watch, the Suunto 5 Peak is controlled exclusively with its five buttons. Point of touch here, it is necessary to assimilate the principle of operation of the interface which turns out to be quite simple in the end. On the left edge, the upper button is used to alternate between the various pictograms possibly displayed at the top of the screen, while the lower button is used to return to the previous screen. On the right edge, there is a validation button surrounded by two other navigation. Small arrows displayed on the screen help us identify which button to use.

The three buttons on the right side of the Suunto 5 Peak.

The three buttons on the right side of the Suunto 5 Peak.

From the main dial displaying the date and time, as well as various additional information depending on the model of dial chosen, a first press on the validation button gives access to control of the music (played from the smartphone), a second triggering the display a screen summarizing upcoming activities and indicating the number of notifications received. A long press on this same button opens the shortcuts screen: Do not disturb mode, alarm management, dial selection, settings, etc.

Still from the main dial, you can access the different modes of the Suunto 5 Peak by pressing the upper right button. You can then start an activity, launch navigation, consult the activity log, start a stopwatch and finally access the general settings.

The lower right button gives access to physical data: heart rate, level of activity and available resources, number of steps, training program and, finally, fitness level and sleep monitoring.

We therefore find the essential in a rather classic and efficient interface. Too bad that some slowdowns are felt when opening the music control widget or when accessing heart rate readings, in particular.

Suunto 5 Peak works together with the Suunto app (iOS, Android) and automatically syncs to it. This offers a clear interface with a breakdown by tabs. The home screen summarizes our activities over the past few days, our performance, and our progress. It also recalls the objectives set with the training program.

The Suunto app interface.

The Suunto app interface.

The second tab presents a calendar of all the activities carried out to easily find our last runs or bike rides, for example.

The third tab goes into more detail with a log summarizing the number of hours of training carried out, with an analysis by sport and an overview of the progress made – or conversely a drop in performance if you train less for a certain period. You can also observe the number of steps, the calories burned, the duration and quality of sleep or even our fitness level for the last 10 days.

Information obtained after an orienteering race.

Information obtained after an orienteering race.

These data are not there only for statistics, because the watch takes them into account to adapt the training program that we have chosen among the three of various intensities.

This application also has a very well designed mapping tool. Routes can be created in a few seconds by simply indicating the crossing points on the map, an algorithm taking care of calculating the route between each point according to the type of road you wish to take and the activity selected. The Suunto 5 Peak does not directly integrate mapping, but can provide turn-by-turn guidance from points calculated in the app.+

A heat map shows the busiest roads and paths (from brown/orange to bright yellow).

A heat map shows the busiest roads and paths (from brown/orange to bright yellow).

Very fun, a 3D visualization of the course taken can be shared with relatives via social networks or a simple web link.

Visualization of a race with heart rate, pace and elevation curves.

Visualization of a race with heart rate, pace and elevation curves.

The last tab of the application is used to access our user information and settings, as well as to connect third-party services (Strava, RunKeeper, Komoot…).

If it is not as richly endowed as the 9 Peak in terms of sensors, the Suunto 5 Peak embeds the essentials, namely an optical cardio sensor, a gyroscope and an accelerometer, as well as GPS (GPS, Glonass, Galileo , QZSS, Beidou). On the other hand, it is necessary to do without a compass, to be satisfied with an altimeter by GPS and not barometric, while the pulse oximeter (SpO2) is absent subscribers. This lack is manifested by less precise sleep monitoring, Suunto not bothering to provide the chronology of our nights, just the total duration of sleep, including that of deep sleep. In the case of a sports watch, we will hold it less rigorously, but such measurements increasingly contribute to improving the estimates of the level of fitness in the watches which carry them out.

Sleep tracking as displayed on the Suunto 5 Peak watch.

Sleep tracking as displayed on the Suunto 5 Peak watch.

The Suunto 5 Peak nevertheless remains able to estimate whether our recovery has been sufficient to engage in the next activity planned in its training program, being able to adapt the latter if this was not the case.

In terms of GPS capture, the 5 Peak demonstrates good precision and quickly recovers the signal when an interruption occurs. On the other hand, we observed some errors in the calculation of the elevation gain, which we rather put on the account of a non-definitive software, since the elevation curves displayed after the incriminated activities seem for their part quite precise.

On the heart rate side, this Suunto is very precise. The average deviation from the readings provided by our reference Polar H10 chest strap does not exceed 1% for a run at a steady pace and remains below 2% for a split run. There are some inaccuracies on the curve below, smoother than that obtained with the belt, but the frequency drops are well detected.

At the top, the heart rate recorded by the Suunto 5 Peak, at the bottom the same heart rate recorded by the Polar H10 chest strap.

At the top, the heart rate recorded by the Suunto 5 Peak, at the bottom the same heart rate recorded by the Polar H10 chest strap.

It is possible to start interval training with the Suunto 5 Peak. It is then necessary to create a personalized sport mode so that the dial of the watch displays the corresponding information during the race.

Setting intervals for a split run.

Setting intervals for a split run.

More compact than the Suunto 5, the 5 Peak loses two days of autonomy on paper, Suunto claiming up to 10 days of operation in watch mode. A duration that varies greatly depending on the sports activities that are recorded, because those that use GPS consume a lot of energy. Suunto thus evokes 20 hours in Performance mode, 40 hours in Endurance mode and up to 100 hours in Tour mode.

In practice, we rather noted a week of use in calm periods with little sports training, but for day and night use (sleep monitoring) with display of notifications. Autonomy drops quite quickly if you multiply activities with GPS, daily use then requiring you to recharge the watch more than once a week. Nothing very restrictive, however, for the uses planned for this model.

The charging connector pinches the watch.

The charging connector pinches the watch.

Charging is done with a proprietary cable whose connector forms a clamp that limits the risk of disconnection. Allow 55 min for a full charge.

Launched in early 2019, the Suunto 5 positioned itself as Suunto’s most affordable GPS sports watch. In 2022, the manufacturer replaced it with a lighter 5 Peak with a more modern design, drawing inspiration in particular from its 9 Peak released the previous spring. The Suunto 5 Peak takes up most of the features of…

Launched in early 2019, the Suunto 5 positioned itself as Suunto’s most affordable GPS sports watch. In 2022, the manufacturer replaced it with a lighter 5 Peak with a more modern design, drawing inspiration in particular from its 9 Peak released the previous spring. The Suunto 5 Peak takes up most of the features of…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.