Battery life is a well-known issue of WearOS devices, but just a few tweaks and a habit made my Suunto 7 run beautifully, and for all the time needed, for me.
First Basics: Watchface & Display
In daily use, I use a watchface from Suunto. Those are made to be power-saving.
Don’t Gesture Me
Next up, and most importantly, I turned off “tilt-to-wake” the function that makes the watch display light up when turning the wrist.
Power-save tilt would already use less battery than a constantly or gesture-activated (normal) display, but I don’t even use that.
(A quick check with it showed me gesticulate so much (?) that it still used 1.5 times more battery than having the display as I set it.)
I only use tap to wake, requiring a tap on the display or a button press to activate the screen.
That way, the watch does not activate its display only because I am gesticulating.
A WearOS Device, Not a Watch
It becomes necessary to interact with the watch more to use it; it’s not enough to just raise it to one’s eyes to activate the display.
(Or actually, it still works to just raise the watch when a notification was just received. Only at other times does it take a tap to see the watchface.)
This is a re-learning, but it saves a lot of battery – and interacting with a WearOS device differently from a watch is a good habit to learn, in my opinion.
Settings for Sleep (Tracking)
For sleep, the way to conserve battery and preserve one’s sanity is to take the bedtime reminder as a reminder to turn on airplane mode, do not disturb, and theater mode.
- Flight mode means that the Suunto 7 will turn off its wireless modules (and not try to update apps or the like)
- Do Not Disturb silences notifications (which could only come from the watch itself, having wireless connections turned off; alarms still break through this setting, as they need to).
- Theater mode keeps the display off unless a button is pushed to activate it.
I’m saying that this preserves sanity as well as battery because the Suunto 7’s display is extra-bright, especially in the dark of night.
You don’t want it to be able to activate just from movement or an accidental tap, light up your room, and wake you up.
(Strictly speaking, it is not necessary to activate Do Not Disturb when activating theater/cinema mode – but I like to hit the whole series of buttons.)
… in Sleep Tracking
With these settings, a night wearing the Suunto 7 and having it track sleep typically costs me around 10% battery.
…and For the Full Day(s)
During the day, the drawdown – not using the Suunto 7 too much, but getting quite enough notifications and interacting with a number of them – has been 40% on average.
So, a non-training day has been ending at 60% battery left, starting from a full (re)charge in the morning.
Training days with 1:30 to 2 hours of training ended with 50% to 44% battery still left at night (again from 100% in the morning).
Between a morning recharge and (sometimes) recharging after sports, during the time I have a shower – as is my habit for charging it – the Suunto 7 always has enough battery.
Even leaving it without a recharge after sports, the (new) Suunto 7 still had 40% battery the next morning.
(A 1.5-year-old model, having been down at 40% at night, did end up at only 8% battery the next morning – but that was still enough to get all the night’s sleep tracked).
There is a post of its own detailing the battery use statistics, here.
Use and Uses
Admittedly, I do not use much more than notifications – if enough interaction with them. I do not stream music from my Suunto 7 or do anything similarly hard on the watch (battery).
Still, I enjoy it – and for my uses, it lasts.
Technology use is definitely a matter not only of the pieces of technology and of how im-/perfect they are.
It is also a matter of our techniques of utilizing them in the best ways for us, within the capabilities of the technology and with habits that do us good.
I have thought about this more, considering the Suunto 7 as a tool for microexploration and the habits that GPS watches teach us.
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