Review: Suunto Vertical Titanium Solar

The new Suunto® Vertical is a large screen adventure watch for outdoor expeditions with apparently the most resilient battery out there.

Feature type Review

Read time 4 mins

Published May 17, 2024

Francesco Guerra
Francesco Guerra Adventure-driven outdoor photographer, born and raised in a Southern Italy city, Francesco discovered the mountains and the outdoor life only in his 20s, making his thirst for the outdoors and adventures unquenchable.

OUR VERDICT

A superbly thought-through and constructed adventure watch with outstanding battery life.

Weight 74g
Features Battery life, Design, 49mm case, Sturdy construction, HRV and Sleep Tracking

Pros

  • Battery life
  • 49mm case
  • Durability
  • GPS accuracy

Cons

  • Expensive

WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR

I’m often off-grid so I need a watch that will help me when I need to find real direction when I actually do need to get back on-grid. I also train a lot – calisthenics, trail-running, climbing – so even though it is not essential, having the ability to track my workouts and check whether I’m improving or not, is a nice thing to have.


An adventure watch that has it all, but still keeping it minimal and simple.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Getting straight to the point: I’m not really a fan of techy stuff when it comes to the outdoors. I already spend so much time on my computer, phone and camera, so when I’m outdoors I want to get rid of all technology. That’s why when I got the Suunto Vertical Solar, I was a bit skeptical.

Out of the box, the first thing that caught my eye was the minimal design, together with its wide 49mm case. The thickness of the watch boded well for a better battery performance and the directional buttons on the right side are solid and pleasingly precise when pressed.

The overall construction of the Suunto Vertical Solar is outstanding; the screen is made of Sapphire Crystal, the bezel is made with Grade 5 Titanium and the case with glass fibre reinforced with polyamide.

I have to admit that I was impressed, and started nerding out around the watch straight away.

THE TEST

I’ve been wearing the Suunto Vertical Titanium Solar since November 2023. I had the opportunity to test it in a wide variety of outdoor environments, doing different sports, and even keeping it on my wrist in my day-to-day… taking it off just to clean it.

As mentioned, the build of the Suunto Vertical is made for adventure so during these months I took it with me hiking in the mountains, trail-running in places with thick vegetation, climbing indoors and out. Of course it took some bumps from time to time, even on the screen. But even now, the watch doesn’t have a single scratch and still looks box fresh.

Another feature I must mention is the screen’s readability. Even in direct, strong sunlight, the screen is very clear thanks to its brightness and screen contrast.

But the feature that really stands out for me is the GPS accuracy. I used it off-route, and it worked with astonishing precision, so I never felt lost. The mapping is also great, with all the landmarks and contour lines if needed for better navigation. You can also download the maps onto the watch to use them offline. That may come in handy when there’s no phone signal, or if you don’t want to drain your cellphone battery or turn the bluetooth off (as I like to do).

The battery lasts for a ridiculously long time, even when it is constantly used in performance mode. It is advertised to last up to 85h of exercise tracking on performance mode – which is the the most accurate GPS setting and with full screen brightness – and it really keeps its word. Most of the time, I used the watch in endurance mode, which just lowers the brightness of the screen, and all-in-all, even when training 8-9 hours per week, I only had to recharge the watch every 2 or 3 weeks. At times I genuinely forgot this watch even needed to be recharged.

Now for the solar charging feature: it’s nice to have, even if not strictly necessary. To test this, I kept the watch off of my wrist for few hours in direct sunlight, and the Suunto Vertical gained 1% battery life more. The feature can definitely come in handy to prolong the already extra-long battery life, even if I wouldn’t count on it to extend it.

The widgets are minimal but sufficient. There are some health features, such as HRV (heart rate variability), blood oxygen levels and sleep tracking.

The heart rate monitoring works quite well, but did go a bit wonky when running or working out. If you want accurate HR measurements, to be honest you should consider buying a heart rate belt.

What stood out to me was the HRV and sleep tracking features. Whenever I wear it during the night, it gives me exact measurements on how I slept, indicating the hours of sleep, those of deep sleep and the quality of sleep. Whenever I was feeling I had poor sleep quality, it matched with the watch, and whenever I felt energised from the sleep, the watch told me the same. Doing some research, the sleep tracking has something to do with heart rate variability (HRV), which, to be good, must fall in a certain range. The Suunto Vertical Titanium Solar will tell you if your HRV is too low or too high, advising you to pay attention to your training and resting.

Other features include the altimeter, that in my opinion is a bit laggy and the weather forecast for the day – that works after synchronisation with the Suunto app.

 

WHO IS THIS ITEM FOR?

If you like minimal when it comes to software, and you’re interested in build quality, GPS accuracy and long battery life, then the Suunto Vertical Titanium Solar is definitely for you.

WHAT STANDS OUT?

Battery Life

The battery life on this watch is, as I mentioned above, crazy long. It’s easy to forget that the Suunto Vertical even needs to be recharged.

Build Quality

I took the watch trail running, passing through some thick vegetation – thorns included. It came away scratch free. I also took the watch climbing –  indoors and outdoors. In both cases, it took some heavy bumps. It came out without a single scratch. Do I need to continue on this one?

Case Size 

When I was looking at other adventure watches, I was a bit disappointed with the size of the screens. With the Suunto Vertical, I feel I have the best screen-size I could ask for: big enough to be easily readable, and small enough to perfectly fit on my wrist.

HRV and Sleep Measurement

I have to admit that I got a bit nerdy when it came to testing these features. I started to track my HRV and Sleep everyday, to check if the measurement were near to reality or not. Sometimes I would even drink a few more beers to check how alcohol would impact these two parameters – just for scientific purposes, obviously.. Every time I was impressed by how accurate they were.

VALUE FOR MONEY

The Suunto Vertical Titanium Solar is not cheap. It’s among the most expensive watches with this set of features, being frank. But even if at first I was skeptical about how expensive it was, I think it’s fair to say that the value of this product justifies its price, 100%.

BASE BOTTOM LINE

The Suunto Vertical Titanium Solar has it all: build quality, GPS accuracy, enough biometric features to give you a clear understanding of how your body works and how to improve what you’re doing.

It comes at a price, of course, but such quality packed into such a small gadget couldn’t possibly cost less than it does.

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