Garmin Fenix 6 Vs Suunto 7: In-depth Comparison

Garmin Fenix 6 Vs Suunto 7

Which watch should I get, the Garmin Fenix 6 or the Suunto 7? That’s quite the question, isn’t it? 

You can’t go far wrong with a watch that does everything – smartphone notifications, GPS capability, making payments, AND fitness tracking. But there are ways in which each outperforms the other…

Main Features

At first, these two watches seem very much the same, watches that basically do everything – they even allow you to pay for goods.

But we’re going to pry into them to examine how they differ, because how else are you going to decide which to get?

Garmin Fenix 6

Garmin fenix 6 Sapphire, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, Features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace Guidance and Pulse Ox Sensors, Carbon Gray DLC with Black Band

Ok, let’s start with the Garmin Fenix 6. It’s a great all-rounder – more so than the Suunto 7. And while it comes from THE top brand in GPS gadgets, it’s benefits certainly don’t stop there…

The Fenix 6 has a large screen, coming in at 1.2 inches and has a wide range of sensors including barometric pressure, altitude, temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction.

This makes it an excellent watch for those who like to go hiking or orienteering, and you get to use old-school navigational tools.

On top of this, the Fenix 6 has a full suite of apps available for download from Garmin Connect. These include running/cycling apps, sports apps, and more. 

Sale
Garmin fenix 6 Sapphire, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, Features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace Guidance and Pulse Ox Sensors, Carbon Gray DLC with Black Band
  • Fit for performance with rugged, sophisticated design that features an always-on 1.3” (18% larger than previous fēnix models) sunlight-readable display with bezels in stainless steel, titanium or diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating
  • Enhanced estimated wrist heart rate and Pulse Ox to support advanced sleep monitoring and altitude acclimation at high elevations (this is not a medical device and is not intended for use in the diagnosis or monitoring of any medical condition)
  • Advanced training features include PacePro for grade-adjusted pace guidance throughout your activity plus environmentally adjusted VO2 max and training status estimates
  • Navigate the outdoors with preloaded TOPO maps, ski maps for over 2,000 worldwide ski resorts, multiple global navigation satellite system (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) support and built-in sensors for 3-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter
  • Support for Garmin Pay contactless payments (not all countries and payment networks are eligible), music storage with premium streaming service (may require subscription with third-party music provider) support, smart notifications and more

Suunto 7

SUUNTO 7 GPS Sports Smart Watch, Black

The Suunto 7 is a bit smaller than the Fenix 6, but still packs quite a punch. The display is 0.7 inches across, and it has a similar range of sensors as the Fenix 6. These include barometric pressure, temperature, humidity, and wind speed and direction…

However, unlike the Fenix 6, the Suunto 7 doesn’t have any navigation apps available on its own. Instead, it uses Google Maps.

This means you’ll need your phone nearby when using the Suunto 7, but if you’re not too bothered about having your phone within reach then it could be a good option.

And while the Suunto 7 doesn’t present the user with a suite of activity apps per se, it does offer a whopping 70 different sport modes. 

Sale
SUUNTO 7 GPS Sports Smart Watch, Black
  • Suunto 7: This versatile smart watch combines Suunto's sports expertise with smartwatch technology; Track exercise accurately with access to more than 70 sports modes, GPS, and wrist heart rate sensor
  • Make Life Easier: Compatible with Android and iOS phones, the Suunto 7 is powered by Wear OS by Google so you can see incoming calls and messages, make payments with your watch and download music to your watch to listen offline
  • Get Connected: Connect to your favorite sports apps and services from the Suunto app to get more from your watch; Share with your sports communities and access specific training analysis and guidance
  • Adventure Starts Here: Combining Scandinavian design with ultra durable materials, our watches track your sports, daily activity, and sleep to help you keep life, training and recovery in balance
  • Authentic Heritage: Founded in 1936, Suunto brings over 80 years of high quality heritage craftsmanship, relentless accuracy, and pioneering innovation to our watches, compasses, and dive products

Aesthetic

Both watches are available with different bands, including leather, stainless steel, and silicon rubber straps. However, both watches look very similar, with the same rounded edges and square corners.

But what’s really fun about both watches is how you can customize the watch faces to suit your mood or your attire. 

What’s more, both watches happen to be readable even in direct sunlight, which is quite a big plus if you’re going to take it on an expedition.

Build Quality

In terms of build quality, the Suunto is slightly heavier than the Fenix 6 (0.8 ounces vs 0.6), but they feel equally solid.

Both watches are highly water-resistant, meaning they can survive being submerged underwater, and can even be used for swimming, so being out in the rain certainly won’t do either of them any harm. 

Connectivity

Suunto 7

The Suunto has Bluetooth 4.1 LE technology built into it, allowing you to connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth. You simply pair the two devices together, and you can receive notifications from your phone right on your wrist.

But there’s also an added benefit beyond this – it means you can pair the watch with other Bluetooth devices, such as heart rate monitors that you can wear on your chest that gives a more accurate heart rate reading.

Garmin Fenix 6

The Fenix 7 on the other hand only has Wi-Fi connectivity, (strange but true) so it cannot be used in quite the same way, and you’ll need to use your phone to sync any activity tracking data. 

Activity Tracking

What They Have In Common

When it comes to activity tracking, both watches offer pretty much the same features. They track steps, distance traveled, calories burned, and sleep patterns.

But better yet, both watches also feature heart rate monitoring which it does through a sensor on the back of the watch face, taking your pulse.

Not only does this negate the need for wearing a heart rate monitor on your chest, but it can also be used to better inform the number of calories burned as you exercise.

They are also both perfectly capable of tracking your progress in a very wide range of activities, including running, cycling, swimming, and more.

What’s more, they also offer compatibility with popular third party apps, such as Strava.

Where They Differ

But where these two watches differ is in the nature of their activity tracking apps. As we mentioned earlier, the Fenix 6 has a full suite of apps available for download from Garmin Connect.

And not only does this allow you to track your favorite activities, but you can also share your activities with the online community and challenge your friends to beat your personal best.

Sleep Tracking

Technically speaking both of these watches offer sleep tracking, but when it comes to tracking sleep patterns, the Garmin Fenix 6 trumps the Suunto 7…

Whereas the Suunto 7 can track your sleep, it does not do so automatically, and you would have to manually set it up.

What’s more the Suunto 7 tries to establish your sleep pattern using heart rate alone, whereas the Fenix 6 also features Pulse Ox to support more advanced sleep monitoring.

It’s also worth noting at this point that if you intend to use the night time to recharge the watch’s battery, then this will prevent you from using it to track your sleeping patterns. You can’t have it both ways, it’s one or the other.

GPS Capability

The Garmin Fenix 6 definitely has the edge over the Suunto 7 when it comes to GPS capability. And we’re not just saying that because Garmin is more well known and trusted when it comes to GPS capability…

The Garmin Fenix 6 also features two other global satellite navigation systems in addition to GPS, namely GLONASS and Galileo, for an even more accurate signal and identification of your true location.

What’s more, the Fenix 6 also comes pre-loaded with topographic maps. And that, together with its 3-axis compass and other navigational tools that we touched upon earlier, makes it the superior watch in this regard.

Battery Life

There are also significant differences between the two watches when it comes to battery life. However, with both watches you can set them to different modes which drain the battery at different rates.

So there’s always the opportunity to conserve the battery when you’re not using some of the more intensive functions on the battery.

Garmin Fenix 6

Here’s how long the battery life is in each mode:

  • up to 14 days in smartwatch mode
  • up to 10 hours in GPS and music mode
  • up to 28 days in expedition GPS activity mode, and
  • up to 48 days in battery saver Watch mode

Suunto 7

Here’s how long the battery life is in each mode:

  • Up to 8 days in smartwatch mode (with auto-off)
  • Up to 5 hours in GPS and music
  • Up to 30 days in expedition GPS activity
  • Up to 50 days in battery saver mode

So, we can safely conclude that the Fenix 6 is the best when it comes to battery life, most of the time.

Personal Experience

We tested these watches out for ourselves, and found that both of them worked as well as we had expected. The only thing we wished we had known beforehand was that their contactless payment capability only works with certain banks.

Summary Of Their Key Differences

Thumbs Up For The Garmin Fenix, Thumbs Down for the Suunto 7

  • The Garmin Fenix 6 has a better battery life overall, especially compared to the Suunto 7.
  • The Garmin Fenix 6 gives you the opportunity to become a member of a wider community, the Suunto does not.
  • The Garmin Fenix 6 offers better, more advanced sleep tracking compared to the Suunto 7.
  • The Garmin Fenix 6 offers better satellite navigation accuracy than the Suunto 7.

Thumbs Down For The Garmin Fenix, Thumbs Up for the Suunto 7

  • The Garmin Fenix 6 costs over a hundred dollars more than the Suunto 7.
  • The Garmin Fenix 6 does not feature Bluetooth 4.1 LE technology, whereas the Suunto does.

Value For Money

There is a significant price difference between these two watches…

When this article was written, the listing price for the Garmin Fenix 6 was circa $750. While in stark contrast, the price tag for the Suunto 7 came in at just under $400. That’s a price difference of a whopping $350, give or take.

But it’s worth noting at this point that some of the leading online retailers often feature deals on products such as these. (If you click on “Check Price” you can see if there happens to be a deal now.)

In our view, “cheaper” does not necessarily translate to better value for money. 

Wrap Up

So, if you’ve been paying attention (or equally if you have scrolled down to the key differences), you’ve probably arrived at the same conclusion we did…

The Garmin Fenix 6 is superior to the Suunto 7 in many ways, so if you have the budget for it, you should definitely go for the Fenix 6. 

If you don’t have a sufficient budget, however, you’d still have a great do-everything watch with the Suunto 7.

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