Suunto 3 Fitness review

A solid smart fitness watch that’s built for beginners

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Suunto 3 Fitness app

  • Pairing and syncing often fail
  • Nicely designed, detail-packed app

There’s a new partner app to go with Suunto’s new watch and we had high hopes that this would kill off some of the bugs that have long been a frustration with the old app, Movescount. Sadly, that’s not quite the case. One big bugbear remains and that’s pairing and syncing.

Pairing the watch with the app was a nightmare. It took us at least a dozen attempts to pair the watch, and after quite a lot of meddling in the watch and phone Bluetooth settings. Even when we had successfully paired, the app didn’t always sync first time. These are the kind of glitches that really let Suunto down.

That said, the new Suunto app itself is nicely designed and offers some great features and good additional information that you don’t get on the watch.

There’s a Strava-style feed that features your latest workouts and those of your connected friends. You can add photos, like workouts and then dig deeper into the stats.

You get duration, distance, average pace, average heart rate, max heart rate, calories, recovery time, Peak Training Effect (which indicates the impact of a training session on your maximum aerobic performance), cadence and EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), along with heart rate charts and your heart rate zone breakdown.

The diary view lets you tab between Exercises, Activity, Calories and Sleep with graphs that give you a quick overview of how you’re doing day to day and over a week, month or year.

However, a huge omission here is that there’s no way to sync your sessions to Strava.

Battery life

  • Battery lasts up to around 5 days with general activity tracking
  • Training mode without GPS cuts it to roughly 40 hours
  • Using connected GPS gives you around 30 hours

According to the official stats the Suunto 3 Fitness battery should last for up to 30 hours while using connected GPS, up to 40 hours in training mode without GPS and up to 5 days with 24/7 tracking and mobile notifications.

In our tests we found the numbers held up pretty solidly. During a week where we trained just once but tracked daily activity and sleep, we managed to squeeze out just shy of 5 days before needing to charge.

For a week where we put in three workouts of up to an hour, plus the usual daily usage and activity tracking, we managed to get 4 days. However, in both cases we’d switched off most of the smartwatch notifications, so with this on you can expect to take a hit.


The Suunto 3 Fitness has a lot of clever tools for anyone just starting out on their fitness journey, with its heart rate monitor and training plans taking it well beyond a simple activity tracker.

But the lack of GPS and inability to tailor the training plans to specific goals hold it back, especially for those who are already serious about their fitness.

Its slightly uncomfortable fit doesn't help either, but then it is fairly cheap, so depending on your needs it could be a good choice.

Who's this for?

The Suunto 3 Fitness is a for anyone looking to improve their general fitness and well-being, more than likely starting from a beginner level. If you’re interested in heart rate training but need a bit of guidance how best to apply it, then this is a perfect tool for that.

In the early stages of getting fit it’s also important to find the balance between working hard enough and not pushing too hard, and this watch can definitely help newcomers with this.

Much more than a fitness tracker and much less than a top-of-the-range running watch, this will suit anyone ready to invest a bit more in a coached assault on overall fitness.

Should you buy it?

If working out without your phone is important to you, don’t buy this watch. If you want a watch that feels premium on the wrist, don’t buy this watch.

However, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to bring some data-driven guided coaching smarts to your training then this is a strong option.

First reviewed: May 2018