Steel All Black Weekend Bug Report
Since the first Vertical, a titanium one, fell somewhat short of my expectations set by the previous Suunto releases and solar didn’t quite deliver any appreciative battery gains in my area, I figured I might as well try stainless steel, the extra 12g of weight notwithstanding. Hey, $200 is $200 and I personally dig that all black design much better. This turned out to be a bigger downgrade than I bargained for. I don’t know if this is a particular watch problem, a batch problem, or indicative of something more. I do know people reporting issues appear to be more likely to have stainless steel than titanium edition based on photos and my personal experience not seeing most of what follows before.
I tried to sort the issues in the order of perceived dependency between them:
1. Initial sync upon setup fails to set time
So, I turned on the new watch, set my profile up, and added it to the Suunto app. The sync has run successfully and without any issues. Multiple times. It even synchronized Suunto+ apps. Here’s the time I see. It won’t change for the next 30-40 minutes at least. The blank spot on the upper right is where sunset/sunrise time would be. But we’ll get there. The watch has been hard-reset 3 times, and the issues happened 3 times consistently.
2. Assisted GPS “in progress” seemingly forever
If one were to check the watch About status, they would see a curious thing. Assisted GPS sync would not go through either, not just time. After a forced sync or two it would change to “in progress” and will get stuck there, just like time, for the next 30-40 minutes. The issue is reproducible following every hard reset and it happens after any soft reset too. The aGPS data would then finally sort itself out between 30-40 minutes and an hour.
3. No sunrise/sunset time loaded
Apparently, not only time and aGPS data but a location isn’t passed either, with sunset/sunrise complication missing and a widget coming up nice and blank:
4. You got not time for Weather
I’m not sure if this is a data rendering issue or a data sync, but a new Weather widget displayed problems too, with rain at 22:00 washing away forecast for the next several hours:
5. Compass calibration is constantly lost
Almost every time I open a map, start navigation, or switch to a compass widget I’m greeted by a screen asking me to play a demented Harry Potter, wave my hand in circles, and shout “Compasso repairum”… I understand compass calibration may be needed initially and every now and then, but almost every single time?
6. Exceedingly long GPS fix times
One of the first signs that something was off were exceedingly long times to acquire a GPS fix, either in Maps or when starting the activity even in the middle of an open field on a sunny day with Best GPS performance selected. Now that I know a stuck aGPS upon sync was to blame, I can see why I was waiting… but it doesn’t improve the experience. aGPS issues had happened before in S9B and S9P, perhaps a message to the user when this happens? Like the message GPS hasn’t been acquired if you start activity right away?
7. Watch stuck on map download animation
During several of my many attempts to download and use maps, I had the watch to stuck and freeze in “downloading maps” animation. The Suunto app would report the maps are successfully downloaded (and to extent, they were), but the watch would continue to spin the in progress even when removed from the charger. It would continue to do so when left alone for a while, wouldn’t respond to any button presses, and would require a soft reset:
No charger, no problem!
8. Grey Screen of (Map) Death
So, I have downloaded my state if NJ, and the map appears to render this time. Happy, I go back to download neighboring New York, a 1GB chubby chunk. The NJ that used to be there is turned into a big grey area. Not black with white grid, but just grey.
9. 101 Dolmatian Map
In another attempt to download New York, I was getting a map of Manhattan that would render certain areas fine and others will remain dark grey spots devoid of any details. Below you can see George Washington Bridge and Washington Heights area of New York City: the bridge ramps and park are fine but more inland area is gone.
10. Map loads only outline and some contour lines
But more typical than any other map issue was the partial loading of map layers. You get a grey outline and some contour lines. And that’s it. This is pretty much how my maps are rendered 90% of the time after numerous download attempts and hard resets:
Welcome to New Jersey! To be continued in a neighboring post…
@NickK wow. Of these issues, only the compass calibration is known for what I know (pun not intended). Sunset/sunrise depends on GPS position, not passed by the watch, so I think for that you need to acquire GPS, but yeah your watch does not seem to work properly.
… Picking up where we left off…
11. Map loads, then disappears when region is crossed
Here’s an interesting behavior. My NJ map is finally displaying, I downloaded a neighboring NY map, which doesn’t appear to load. Again. Same “outline and contour only” type of a deal. As I swipe from NJ over Hudson to Manhattan and then onto Queens, the NY map starts pulling in. Great! I then get back to NJ and it’s now gone. And will remain gone until a soft reset. It appears that I can literally have only one region loaded properly at a time:
12. Map loads fragments of details (lines broken, etc)
… and sometimes you get slightly more than contours but not quite a map. Lots of broken misaligned lines. Soft-resetting is a Russian roulette. It might fix the problem, but more likely would just turn everything grey:
13. Drop outs in heart rate, power data
You will not see it in the Suunto apps or other platforms that smooth/repair the data like Training Peaks or Intervals.icu, but both Vertical editions showed a surprising proclivity for breaks in data, be it heart rate or power. Some of the gaps were as long as 10-15 sec and would happen with both OHR and heart rate straps. I don’t remember seeing anything like this on S9B or S9P though I did see similar gaps in S9PP after it had been used for several weeks.
14. ActiveLook S+ app is gimped
It doesn’t appear that ActiveLook S+ app is quite ready for prime time when it comes to Vertical. It will connect fine and perform its task (see below for a fiery conclusion), but the display is notably gimped. Battery level is missing and there are placeholder text labels. Which kind of foreshadows the best part…
15. Suunto bricked my Engo 2 glasses. Allegedly.
So, I get out of my car to begin the run. I disregard the issues with a strange work-in-progress display for ActiveLook S+ app (above) just like I’m disregarding all the issues already reported and some that I haven’t written about. I start my run and for a time, everything is great. I’m in heaven. I have my native running power from Stryd, my S+ workout guide is executing reasonably well, and all the numbers I care about are pumped into Engo 2 glasses display on my mug.
Despite scorching sun of the open field, heat and humidity, I’m cool and happy. Total techno utopia! Alas, that happiness is very short lived, because about 25-30 minutes in, after several data cutouts prominently displayed in the glasses, the image there freezes. Then it starts partially refreshing, with new lines and pixels overlaying over numbers already on screen. Then it all goes dark. ActiveLook glasses are out, and so is my Suunto watch, which crashes bad time.
When I get back to the car the glasses are still out. I try to turn them off, and what appears as the usual shutdown sequence plays. And then the glasses die for good. They will no longer respond to buttons and charging LEDs won’t come up. Funny enough, this is the second pair of Engo 2 glasses. The previous one died after a couple of runs with Suunto 9 Peak Pro.
In conclusion… I have more things to talk about, sadly. Issues with lap button not advancing structured S+ guide workout properly, strangeness of Burner app quantum jumps in carbs, and other nit-picks like a weird 24/7 HR behavior which remains turned off unless you are the in Heart Rate widget, in which case it isn’t, yet it doesn’t record any spot checks done there neither in the watch, nor in the app…
O, and wee still have two New York states in the USA, nearly a month after the watch release!
I’m sure faulty hardware can be replaced and most these issues will be sorted out eventually. Suunto has a process. Let the process play out. Some day.
Sunset/sunrise depends on GPS position, not passed by the watch, so I think for that you need to acquire GPS
Never in my life I had to explicitly acquire GPS fix to get sunset/sunrise before, I’m fairly certain of it. Perhaps I had better luck with aGPS sync and that delivered the location.
@NickK Garmin used to do this too (acquire gps before sunrise and sunset info in some of their watch face), but never anymore in last few version of their sdk. Now they sync with watch and no longer need gps for sunrise or sunset
@isazi For the compass calibration, could it be caused by Suunto using magnetic charger? Magnet for sure will screw up the compass. I do notice the same with my s9p. After every charging, I need to calibrate compass
@Kk2n-Kk In my case it will be required regardless of a charger. I thought about it, but I think there’s more to it than just magnets. And supposedly, Suunto specifically made chargers in S9PP and SV with much weaker magnets to avoid messing up with the compass.
@NickK I read about that too (about weaker magnet). But I agree…the compass calibration can be annoying pita . My friends by now have this joke that I would always “dance” nearly everytime before I start running due to this compass calibration requirements (s9p) lol
@isazi I also have steel version. is compass issue linked to steel version mainly or it is also for solar? because for me even after calibration north is not north. and calibrating compass while watch is on bike handlebar is quite challenging…
@dombo titanium or steel, it’s the same.