A (Suunto) Quest in the Cloud [Review]

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39 Responses

  1. mih says:

    Great review! Thanks.

  2. Bernardo M. Bieler says:

    Very good and extensive review. I am looking to upgrade from a T4c into the Quest. I had my doubts, but your article cleared them all. Thanks…

  3. RobertB says:

    I am a tri-guy so trying to get a hands-on opinion on it’s swim capabilities. Another reviewer indicated he has done some pool swimming. Garmin talks about most of their watches only be water-resistent. The same with this watch. But, I need to be able to open-water swim train and in the pool. Not so much for distance, but for the HR and time, instead of switching watches in transition from swim to bike. Thank you for your comprehensive review.

    • Gerald says:

      Water resistance shouldn’t be a problem as it’s rated to 30 m, but the ANT protocol doesn’t transmit through the water (that’s why Suunto made their SmartBelt). If the switching is also meant to be between different PODs (speed-distance sensors), I’d think that a t6 version would probably be a better choice; for only HR and time, Quest + SmartBelt should do the trick nicely. I’m not a tri-guy, though ;)

  4. Ross says:

    Hi does this work with Firstbeat Athlete? Is there a coach function that I can follow that adapts to my fitness with the Quest? Also does this work with the Nike+ pod? Thanks

    • Gerald says:

      No on all counts. That’s why I’m saying that there’s guidance with the recovery time, but otherwise the Quest is for people who make their own training plans…
      I wouldn’t be surprised if a Coach function were in the works for the online platform, but wouldn’t know about that.

  5. art says:

    Can you see use the watch at night becuase I tend to run at night.

    • Gerald says:

      Well, it still has the flickering backlight when using it with HR belt or PODs, but it is rather better readable than a t6… And my verdict remains that night runs either don’t much need a watch, or do need a headlamp, anyways ;)

  6. ardelft says:

    What parameters are used for the calculation of recovery time

    • Gerald says:

      Intensity (as per heart rate) and duration, I’d assume. Would have to ask if you want to know exactly – Shall I?
      Also, Movescount calculates the TE from the recorded data (R-R values)…

      • ardelft says:

        Yes, if you will. Because my moderate weekly program (doing so for about 5 years now) exceeds the rest time.
        What do you mean by R-R values

        • Gerald says:

          Don’t have quite as good a reply as I’d like to have, yet, but R-R values are a measure of heart rate variability, which can be recorded and analyzed to give a measure of how hard a training session was in terms of its effect on the circulatory system (read, heart). This is what you get through the training effect, TE.
          What I’d be interested in knowing, for your case, is what TE those runs are getting, and what settings, especially for maxHR and activity level, you’ve set. In my prior experience training with a t6c, those two typically were the most important settings to get right.
          The other thing to ask is how sure you are that those training sessions are of only moderate intensity…

  7. Runnerdude says:

    What’s the battery life like? Does the display turn off when you aren’t running like other running watches or does it at least show the time?

    • Gerald says:

      Battery life depends a lot on use, especially with PODs. I don’t know official numbers, but I’ve gone out at least twice a week, always with HR and FootPOD, since I got my Quest in October/November 2011, and have yet to change the battery.

      Where the display outside of training modes is concerned, it functions as a normal watch, always showing time, plus date or seconds or dual time. The display on the rim can also be set to show remaining time to recovery when in time mode.

      Hope that explains it understandably ;)

  8. Xavier says:

    Thank you for this deep review.
    By the way, I have a remaining question. Regarding the timers, is it possible to plan an interval training such as:
    1) (((20 sec (running) + 20 sec (cool down)) x 8 session) + 4 min cool down) x 5 session
    2) (20 sec (running) + 20 sec (cool down)) x 8 session

    Hope you understand my point :-)


    • Gerald says:

      I understand what you mean, and it’s a weak point of the Quest… It took me a little while to even find where you can adjust (a) display so that you see the timer rather than just hear it beep ;)
      And no, you can only set one or two timers, e.g. timer 1 for 2 minutes, timer 2 for 3 minutes, and have one or both of them be active (in the case of both timers, the one after the other). Timer(s) start(s) with the start of that training/mode, and cycle(s) through until you stop the session. No warm-up timer, no setting how many intervals/runs the timer should run for… obviously, not made for interval training (quite unlike the t6c/d).

  9. Torben says:

    If Suunto only would allow to show lap time / stop watch in line 1 (the big one), that would make me change over from my T4D immediately.

    For me, heart rate in percentage on the outer rim and lap time in big and easy to read letters would be ideal, I am still waiting for a Suunto watch to allow this.

    Thanks for the great review!

  10. iain says:

    Thanks for taking the time to write such an excellent review. I’m in the market for a new HRM and am deliberating between the t6d and Quest. If only the Quest had the Temp and Altitude capabilities of the t6d! One of my requirements is to move to a product which will allow me to train with heart rate zones. The t6d specs list HR Zones as a feature. I was about to buy the t6d, but decided to read through the manual first. There were instructions for setting HR Limits but NOT HR Zones. I then called Suunto support and they said the specs page for the t6d was *incorrect* and that the t6d does NOT support HR Zones but that TE was reported in real-time instead. I personally struggle to see how a realtime TE (cumulative) metric is going to be useful *during* the workout.


    So, the t6d doesn’t support HR Zones, but does real-time TE instead. Say I want to accomplish a dynamic but overall lower intensity TE2 or 3 workout. How would I use the t6d to achieve this goal? Trial and error? I can picture myself looking down at the TE indicator half-way through the workout and thinking “grrr .. it says TE4 .. I’ve exceeded my desired intensity!”. What am I missing? Is the t6d primarily designed to provide after the fact analysis instead of guidance?

    Thanks again, iain

    • Gerald says:

      Well, I still/again use my t6c/d, and the way I use the real-time TE is, indeed, to know whether the analysis says that I’m doing too much already or that I should go on. So, the short answer: yes, it’s pretty much as you thought.

      It is really a matter of what kind of guidance you want:

      With both Quest and t6, you need to have an idea of what you want to be doing yourself, as opposed to a M5 or t4 with a “Coach” feature that will tell you how much you should be doing.

      The t6 makes it easier, in my opinion, to ignore it during the run and listen more to yourself. That is good if you really know what you are doing and don’t want a sports instrument interfering (i.e., giving guidance). You can still set lower and higher HR limits, but it’s really geared towards someone who doesn’t care much about anything but the actual HR at a certain time, and maybe the real-time peak EPOC / training effect. (TE is not quite cumulative – it is based on a peak value, which can also occur earlier during a run if you taper off afterwards…). The main advantage really is the later analysis, and/or the ability to use it with the Firstbeat Athlete software for analysis and coaching on your own PC. Interval guidance is nicer on the t6, too, because you can set a warm-up timer as well as a certain number of repetitions.

      With the Quest, yes, you get guidance, and especially when it comes to heart rate zones and exercise duration or distance, thanks to the indicators for HR zones and %completion of a planned training session. There is also the calculation of recovery time that it offers, which is rather better an indicator of the cumulative effect of the training than the TE.

      Why I went back to the t6c/d is because I like good things that have already served me well for a long time, and because I just want to run. My HR, and thus TE, tends to be rather high anyways, and it gets the calculations to be a bit problematic… Plus, I’m looking to get an Ambit (that’s a different story emerging in newer posts, though).
      For your case, I’d definitely recommend the Quest, on the basis of the HR zone guidance alone – and there’s more it offers, after all…

      Glad if I could help, G

  11. iain says:

    Do you have any idea when Suunto is going to release an updated version of the aging t6d? The Ambit looks great, but it doesn’t seem like a t6d replacement.


    • Gerald says:

      I do not know, and things can take a while even once there are rumors, but I’d be very surprised if such a top-of-the-line training instrument hadn’t moved to the top of the list…

  12. Rob says:

    Hi Thanks for a great review, can the quest be configured for 2 separate profiles, My wife and I train at different times so was wondering if we can just share the watch and record and download our individual data?


    • Gerald says:

      Interesting question… It should be possible to download training logs from one Quest into two different Movescount accounts, using two different user profiles on a PC (or two PCs). However, you would get data that is not correct for one or the other user on the watch since the personal data the watch needs to “know” – sex, age, weight, HR zones – are all set up to be for one user only.
      In short: there’d probably be some way, but it’s not how things are set up and would thus be an enormous hassle. At best.

  13. AlexeyDnepr says:

    Please tell me that it is better to take: Suunto Quest or Suunto M5?
    There are at Quest software features not found in the M5?
    Apologies for the Google-translator. Sincerely, Alex from Ukraine.

  14. AlexeyDnepr says:

    Quest have some useful functions for training, not found in the M5? Because the M5 interesting features more than Quest (Fitness test, Daily exercise instructions with ideal duration and intensity, Automatically adapting exercise program for the next seven days, Recovery time recommendation after exercise, Motivational feedback messages).
    Apologies for the Google-translator. Sincerely, Alex from Ukraine.

    • Gerald says:

      Добрый день, Alexey… wish I could remember more of my Russian (which was never much).

      It’s been a while since I used/tested the Quest, and it wasn’t long I used the M5 for comparison. That said, I think you point it out pretty well. What the Quest has, and the M5 doesn’t, is mainly the display of cadence (and the “tap” to mark a lap).
      The way I’d say it, the Quest is for you if you don’t want to feel like you have a nagging wife on your wrist, telling you exactly what to do, but only a reminder of what you yourself planned.
      If you feel lost with all the different recommendations for the perfect training, on the other hand, then the Quest is not as good as the M5 with its automatic training suggestions.

  15. AlexeyDnepr says:

    Thank you! I took the Quest and is very pleased with them!
    Apologies for the Google-translator. Sincerely, Alex from Ukraine.

  16. Jakob says:

    Dear Gerald,

    First of all, huge plus for great review ! Pretty impressed !

    I stay undecided between M5 and Quest…

    May you write please more about these workout instruction and feedback messages of M5? Are they worth of something or simply some kind of marketing trick and it’s better to buy Suunto Quest?

    Thanks for any hints !

    • Gerald says:

      The recommendations of the M5 are based on guidelines of an official body (can’t remember which – American College of Sports Medicine? [A short google search later: yes, those), so should be good – as long as the settings are right (doing the recommended fitness test and all that) and as long as you like them.
      I didn’t have the M5 for long, was at first impressed by its usefulness, and then pretty soon disenchanted with it – but I also have problems with the Quest’s HR limits beeping at me too quickly, so it may be different for you.
      To my mind, if you are just starting out, the M5 is probably the better tool; if you have your own experiences, don’t want to be pushed around by a sports instrument, or establish your training plans with a trainer or such, the Quest is the better way to go.

  17. Oleg says:

    Your deep review helps me a lot in the selection. Thank you.