After wearing the Suunto 3 Fitness for two weeks, I’ve tested it out in a variety of situations; everything from bike commuting to sprinting to weight lifting. As long as I carried my phone with me, I could count on the watch to monitor my every move — including my sleep. It’s an easy-to-wear watch that can go everywhere from the track to the shower to the pool.
The Good: The Suunto 3 Fitness is a lightweight and comfortable fitness tracker that’s user-friendly for runners and gym-goers alike. The sheer number of pre-loaded activities and the option for adaptive training plans will help any individual reach their goal. It also pairs with an all-new Suunto app to make usage seamless.
Who They’re For: Everyday athletes who love to swim, fish, hike, bike, roller skate, and canoe will love the variety the 3 Fitness offers. The option to choose from over 65 unique activities (including open water swim and CrossFit) makes it easy to keep track of exactly what activities you’ve done each week. The built-in training plan aspect adjusts to your activity, helping even beginner athletes know when to tone it down. If you always carry your phone with you, this is an easy tracker to adapt to your routine.
Watch Out For: Compared to other Suunto models, like the Spartan Trainer Wrist HR, the 3 Fitness doesn’t have a built-in GPS unit or a touchscreen. You have to use the five buttons located around the watch face to navigate through settings, log a workout and see your training plan for the day.
When charging, I found the battery to be a bit finicky. I had to clip and un-clip the charger a few times to get the watch to recognize it. Take that with a grain of salt though, since I was testing one of the first available models.
Alternatives: In terms of other watches without GPS and at similar price points, the Fitbit Versa ($200), Garmin vivomove ($200) and the Apple Watch Series 1 ($249) all don’t have GPS, but work well when hooked up to your phone — and then track you using the GPS on that.
The Review: In the two weeks I wore the 3 Fitness, I logged 22 workouts and traveled 73 miles — the majority of which I was running. The circular watch face looks more like an actual watch compared to the Apple Watch 3 I normally wear, which encouraged me to wear it more, rather than just for activities. One of my favorite things about this new watch is how easy it is to log a workout, no matter what class I attended.
I ran, biked, attended an indoor cycling class, did regular yoga and hot yoga and hit the gym — and still didn’t even touch a third of the pre-loaded activities. The 3 Fitness really shines in its ability to track a variety of sports — something Suunto is great at executing, but normally in a much heavier and thicker watch. Since the 3 Fitness doesn’t include GPS, I had to carry my phone with me at all times (and open up the app just to get a GPS signal), but I always carry it anyways, so it wasn’t a bother.
The adaptive training plan is one of the coolest features, especially since it changes after every workout. With just five clicks, I can see my weekly plan, which currently includes three training days, how hard I have to push myself (moderate, very hard, hard) and how many minutes I need to train. Using wrist-based heart rate, the watch calculates your VO2 max to create a unique plan to help you improve your fitness. As someone who isn’t very good at taking rest days, I found this extremely helpful. This watch will tell you to take days off, which for optimal fitness, is important.
To further encourage users to relax, the watch tracks sleep and stress and will tell you how many hours you need to recover from each workout. Sleep is rated on a scale of poor to moderate, plus you can see your beats per minute average each night, which for a heart rate training geek, is pretty cool. All of this aggregates in the app but is also easy to see on the watch face.
The Verdict: I’m a big fan of watches that track a bit of everything (including swimming!), and I like that the 3 Fitness encourages me to take a day off. With other watches it can feel like a bit of a rat race, trying to one-up myself every day, every week, every month. The 3 Fitness reminds me to take a deep breath and relax, which is important, too. We can all use a little bit more recovery these days.
What Others Are Saying:
• “Ultimately though, it’s still a Suunto Spartan series watch from a feature standpoint (sans-GPS). So all the common features you’d expect like activity tracking (steps/sleep), as well as interaction with mobile phones, and of course historical sports stats are all there. And Suunto says there’s quite a bit more phone-based integration coming down the pipe that they’ll detail in the future.” — DC Rainmaker, DC Rainmaker
• “The ‘Big Deal’ with adaptive training plans is that they theoretically optimize your training intensities, durations and rest days dynamically. So if you OVER-achieve one day then the next day’s session adapts. Adaptive training plans will become more commonplace over the next few years and can be based on ‘time-in-zone’, Intensity minutes or more complex measures like HRV.” — The 5K Runner, the5Krunner.com
Battery Life: Up to 40 hours without GPS, rechargable
Weight: 36 grams
Bezel Material: Stainless steel
Strap Material: Silicone
Water proof: Up to 30 meters