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Suunto X9 GPS Watch First Looks (Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2004)

A complete navigation solution in a wrist sized package.


by the Product Review Staff | 2004-01-30 03:00:00-07

Suunto X9 GPS Watch First Looks (Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2004)

Suunto X9 Features


  • Navigation on routes: distance, direction, and time to next waypoint
  • Shows estimated time of arrival (ETA)
  • Calculates data for your current status such as present heading, remaining ascent, and time to finish, ascent to next waypoint and your drift from the planned route
  • Tracks back to the start of the recorded track
  • Waypoints with alarm radius


  • Displays speed, distance, and time from start
  • Records up to 25 tracks in the log book
  • Log recording controlled with simple Play, Stop, and Pause symbols
  • Offers log summary data with a press of a button: Max and avg speed, total ascent and descent, highest and lowest altitude and number of runs


  • Triaxial electronic compass
  • Works also in tilted position
  • Bearing tracking
  • Automatic and manual declination setting


  • Altitude and vertical speed
  • 6-hour barometric trend graph
  • 7-day weather memory (pressure and temperature)
  • Altitude and weather alarm
  • Weather tracking (even while climbing)


  • Time, dual time, and calendar
  • GPS time synchronization
  • Stopwatch with 29 split times
  • 3 daily alarms
  • Settings for units and GPS coordinate format

Special Functions in All Modes

  • Mark home/find home - takes you back home wherever you are
  • Marking of memory points - store a location and name it from your custom name list

Click here for a comprehensive field performance review (July 2004) of the Suunto X9 GPS Watch


GPS for the lightweight backpacker may have finally arrived.

Suunto released its wrist mounted global positioning system today.

At 2.7 oz (76g), the Suunto X9 may be be the lightest and most portable GPS unit on the market. Despite the size, the Suunto X9 is a full featured, 12 parallel channel GPS with an integrated loop antenna and plenty of waypoint storage and management features for useful backcountry applications.

In addition to the global positioning system functions, the Suunto X9 has the compass, altimeter, temperature, barometer, and time/stopwatch functions of the Suunto X6, which has already achieved status as the standard of excellence in backcountry navigation watches.

The Suunto X9 offers 232 KB of memory, enough to store 500 waypoints and 8000 track points.

The Suunto X9 interfaces with a PC for uploading and downloading routes and waypoints with PC-based GPS/Mapping software. The Suunto X9 is powered by rechargeable Li-ion batteries and has a battery life between recharges of 4.5 hrs to 2 months (depending on the extent of GPS use)(with 500 manual GPS fixes it lasts about 2 weeks).

The Suunto X9 can store 25 GPS tracks into its logbook. The watch offers route navigation functions with distance, direction and time to the next waypoint. The Suunto X9 displays speed, distance, and time from start. Log recording stores max speed, average speed, total ascent and decent, lowest and highest altitude and number of runs. In short, the Suunto X6 provides all of the basic capabilities of a very useful GPS unit with few functional compromises.

Another nice feature of the Suunto X9 is its triaxial compass, which offers tilt compensation that alleviates the need to level the unit for accurate readings.

The Suunto X9 does not feel unwieldy like the Garmin Frontier, a much larger wrist-mountain GPS unit. Where the Garmin Frontier is impractical wear under apparel (including jacket or shirt sleeves), the Suunto X9 is small, reasonably thin, and very comfortable on the wrist, and wouldn't attract unusual attention if you wore it in public.

We are impressed with the Suunto X9, and will be providing a more detailed performance review of the watch this spring.

Suunto X9 GPS Wristop Computer at Backpacking Light

Specifications of the Suunto X9


  • Weight: 76 g / 2.7 oz
  • Water resistance: 100 m / 330 ft
  • Mineral crystal glass watch face
  • Rechargeable Li-ion battery, lifetime 4.5 hr (1 sec GPS fix rate) / 12 h (1 min. GPS fix rate) / 2 wks (manual GPS fix, > 500 locations) / 2 months (in time and alti-baro modes)
  • Battery recharging performed with 100-240 VAC charger or a 9V battery
  • Cigarette lighter charger (12V, optional)
  • PC interface with RS232 serial connection (separate adapter needed for USB)


  • 12 channels, integrated loop antenna
  • Supports WGS84, UTM, 220 local map datums, and 10 national metric grids
  • 232 KB memory for 50 routes (max 50 waypoints per route, total 500 waypoints), and 25 tracks (8000 track points)


  • Display range 300-1100 hPa / 8.90 - 32.40 inHg, temperature compensated


  • Display range -500 to 9000 m / -1500 to 29500 ft


  • Display range -20 deg C to +60 deg C / -5 deg F to +140 deg F


  • Tri-axial, tilt-compensated

MSRP: $725


"Suunto X9 GPS Watch First Looks (Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2004)," by the Product Review Staff. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2004-01-30 03:00:00-07.