Suunto Wing earphone test: a successful first flight

Red suits him so well. Instead of the more sober black, it is the version of the Suunto Wing headset with the two scarlet pucks that we tested. It’s more original.

By releasing its very first bone conduction headset, the famous Suunto manufacturer of diving, running and outdoor activity watches is venturing into territory dominated for years by Shokz.

The characteristics of the Suunto Wing in 3 points

  • A very good first headset for Suunto on its first try.
  • At €200, the Suunto Wing is in the same price range and with similar autonomy as its direct competitor, the OpenRun Pro Mini from Shokz.
  • The LED lights should charm and attract runners who train at night.

But given the growing number of people wearing these headsets in training or competition, there is clearly room for new manufacturers like Crosscall, Philips, or even Attitud. Suunto, perhaps because it knows or better observes the needs of runners, the urban world and trail runners, immediately marked its difference with its Wing helmet.

We tested it over dozens of kilometers, mainly running on foot.

The Suunto Wing bone conduction headset and its accessories. Photo Moctar KANE/ZDnet France

The ergonomics of the Suunto Wing headset

In addition to the possibility of remaining alert to the sound environment (audio transmission is done by vibrating paddles on the temple area, leaving the ears open), bone conduction headphones have a big advantage over wireless headphones: very good support, thanks to its earhook design.

This is indeed the case with this Suunto Wing. Almost the entire headset, including the headband, is covered in a rubberized plastic that feels good to the touch. Without tightening too much, the helmet is more comfortable.

The playback commands via the multifunction button on the left work well. The two volume keys on the right work well in general, but they would have been more effective if they had had more relief, like on the Shokz OpenRun Pro Mini headset.

Hands-free controls… with your head

Original, know that this Suunto Wing will perhaps turn your head more than the competitors.

It is in fact possible to use “hands-free” commands. To activate this mode, you must simultaneously press the left multifunction button and the volume “-” button for three seconds, a not very intuitive procedure that we were only able to find by consulting the user manual.

Once in this “hands-free” mode, you will have to shake your head twice quickly to move on to the next song or refuse an incoming call and nod to accept it.

Night races welcome

You are never sufficiently well protected visually when running at night, especially in the city. In addition to clothing with reflective parts, it is prudent to wear a light source that warns others and illuminates yourself.

The Suunto Wing includes three LED indicators on each side of the headband! To turn them on, you must press and hold the “-” button. These indicators can then be permanent. Or flash in two ways. By cycle of three brief illuminations. Or in a cycle of three brief illuminations, followed by three longer ones and three brief ones (SOS).

In the event of a nighttime fall and loss of consciousness during a trail (it happens), this can be useful.

An IP67 headset

This Suunto Wing headset won’t be afraid of getting wet. It is IP67. Theoretically, this means that it is resistant to dust but also to immersion of at least one meter under water for half an hour.

We didn’t submerge it underwater all that time, but unintentionally the Suunto Wing had a brief stay in canal water and emerged unscathed. And, don’t repeat, Suunto Wing was also tested under a good, generous shower. And it still works just as well.

The Suunto Wing bone conduction headset with its LED lights on. Photo Moctar KANE/ZDnet France

A proprietary charging socket

There is an accessory supplied with this Suunto Wing headset which should appeal to long-distance runners, possibly hikers and especially (ultra) trail runners: a triangular-shaped battery with truncated ends onto which the headset clips to recharge.

This is an interesting difference from the competition. But in fact, this is an advantage only compared to bone conduction headphones having a proprietary charging socket and requiring (logically) a specific cable.

This is the case for Shokz helmets for example. But the Crosscall X-Vibes includes a USB-C socket. It’s an advantage.

3h40 of autonomy

Because it is preferable to have an ordinary autonomous battery with a USB-C socket that can recharge various devices (helmets, headlamps, smartphone) compatible with this standard than the Suunto battery which will ultimately only be able to revive an accessory.

Suunto announces a battery life of 10 hours for the Wing per charge. In our usual autonomy test with the volume pushed to maximum, we obtained an average duration of 3h40.

It is of the same order as the Shokz OpenRun Pro. In total, with its typical battery, the autonomy is 11 hours 38 minutes. So count more if the volume is at a lower level.

Good sound but not great

When the LED lights are on permanently, the autonomy drops to 2h39 minutes per charge, or one hour less. Overall, it’s satisfactory. But again, why didn’t Suunto go for USB-C?

The Suunto Wing bone conduction headset attached to its special battery. Photo Moctar KANE/ZDnet France

A word on audio quality. Despite the color displayed, the Suunto Wing does not revolutionize sound in terms of reproduction. As is the case with other bone conduction headphones, Shokz included, the bass is underrepresented.

But overall, for this type of headset, the Suunto Wing is at the top of the basket. However, it is a (small) tone lower in the high frequencies, compared to the Shokz OpenRun mini.

In conclusion about the Suunto Wing

With its Wing, Suunto is flying high in its first attempt in the world of bone conduction headphones.

At €200, the Suunto Wing is in the same price range and with similar autonomy as its direct competitor, the OpenRun Pro Mini from Shokz.

If there is a small advantage for the Shokz in terms of music, the headlight flash, this wink of the LED lights, should charm and attract runners who train at night.

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