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Verdict

The Suunto Sonic is a more agreeable set of Suunto bone conduction headphones that loses some of the Suunto Wing’s smarts, but offers good open-ear sound at a cheaper price.

Pros

  • Slim and comfortable design
  • Good physical button layout
  • Sound performance feels more balanced than the Wing

Cons

  • Suunto ditches LED lights feature
  • Battery performance at louder volumes
  • Misses out on Suunto Wing’s portable charger

Key Features

  • Suunto appCustomise the sound or enable dual connection mode
  • Fast chargingThree hours boost from 10-minute charge
  • IP ratingIP55 rating to protect against dust and water

Introduction

The Suunto Sonic is the sports watch brand’s second pair of open-ear headphones built for the outdoors.

After launching the Suunto Wing in 2023, the Sonic emerges with a slimmed down design and price, with some of the Wing’s features clipped as Suunto promises a bassier sound and less sound leakage. 

That price drop from the Wing makes the Sonic one of the more affordable Suunto headphones, but it also means it’s up against some pretty stiff open-ear competition.

Availability

The Suunto Sonic were announced in January 2024 with a launch price of £129 / $149, which makes them cheaper than the Suunto Wing (£169 / $199). That more attractive price puts it up against other sport open-ear headphones like the Shokz OpenRun (£129.95 / $129.95), though it’s more expensive in the US. 

There’s an absolute flood of bone conduction headphones right now, and many are less expensive than the Sonic. The likes of the Haylou Purfree BC01, which sits below £100 / $100 and offer a solid performance for exercise use. There are a host of open-ear, air conduction headphones like the Soundpeats RunFree, which is less than £50 / $50 and offers great sound for the price.

Design

  • Familiar neckband design
  • IP55 water resistant rating
  • Suunto leaves out LED lights and portable charger

Like Suunto’s Wing headphones, the Sonic sticks to the bone conduction headphone look with a neckband frame made from a mix of titanium alloy and silicone, the latter intended to make the headphone comfortable to wear for long periods. 

It comes in black or a more fun yellow colour and has lost a little weight at the arms where Suunto has opted to leave out the LED lights it included on its first pair of headphones.

Suunto Sonic worn by reviewers
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

That drops the Sonic down to 31g, so it’s only slightly lighter than the Wing (33g) and isn’t as light as the similarly priced Shokz OpenRun (27g) or the cheaper Haylou PureFree BC01 (28g). I’ve used them for two-hour plus runs, 45-minute long gym and indoor workouts and worn them while working at a desk and they’ve been comfortable to wear and haven’t caused any sort of discomfort.

There are physical buttons, which definitely feels Shokz-inspired in terms of the layout with a volume rocker below the right arm and a larger multifunction button on the outside of the left arm. The multifunction button allows you to play and pause audio, skip tracks and answer and reject calls. 

Suunto Sonic onboard controls
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Dual microphones make the cut here too, letting you take calls where it uses a noise cancelling algorithm to battle windy conditions up to 15 km/h. Both sets of buttons are nicely positioned to use on the move and the multifunction is a good size, especially when using the multiple tap commands to skip through tracks.

In terms of durability, the Sonic has been downgraded to an IP55 rating, which means it has some protection against water and dust, though unlike the Wing isn’t a pair you can wash under a tap. It’s about handling light rain and sweat and I’ve used them during a couple of downpours and they came through those treacherous conditions without issue.

Another thing Suunto has ditched is the useful portable charger it included with the Wing. Of all of the things that didn’t make it to the Sonic, this feels like the one most missed as you’re having to rely on a proprietary charging cable to power it up. Suunto also includes a bag to store your headphones in when and there’s some added earplugs to offer some improved sound isolation, which will of course eat into its open-ear credentials.

Suunto Sonic with carry pouch
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Features

  • Bluetooth multipoint support
  • 10 hours battery
  • Designed for clear calls in windy conditions

There’s Bluetooth 5.2 to connect to your phone and other devices. I’ve paired them successfully with an iPhone, Android phone, a connected indoor rower and a Garmin watch so they’ve been fine on the connectivity front. 

There is a dual connection mode you can enable in the companion app to let you pair to two Bluetooth devices at the same time.

Suunto Sonic control app
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Battery numbers quoted for the Sonic remain largely in line with the Wing. It’s up to 10 hours off a single charge and that’s based on listening at 60% of the volume. It takes less than an hour to fully recharge and you’ve got a quick charge mode that gives you 3 hours of battery for just a 10-minute charge. 

Based on my testing I found that an hour’s listening at around or above 60% volume was typically 10%, which adds up to Suunto’s promised numbers. Having that quick charge mode is a useful feature to have to make up for the fact that you do miss out on that portable charger that came with the Wing.

Suunto Sonic design close up
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

If you’re using them to make calls in windy conditions, I’d say they do a good job. Suunto has designed them to keep that call quality clear and strong in windy conditions, though not quite as strong as the up to 30 km/h winds the Wing are built to contend with. 

If you’re planning to make calls out on the trails and don’t want to grab your phone, the Sonic doesn’t falter in terms of clarity and power. It’s just not going to excel in all noisier environments compared to true wireless earphones.

Sound Quality

  • Uses bone conduction technology 
  • Two sound modes available in app
  • Still some vibrations at louder volumes

While we’re seeing an influx of open-ear, air conduction headphones, Suunto has opted to stick with bone conduction. It generally offers a stronger open-ear experience compared to air conduction, so for headphones that place a big emphasis on keeping you in tune with your surroundings, that makes sense.

Suunto doesn’t divulge many details about the bone conduction technology it’s using other than it’s using a new transducer to deliver sound, and is designed to enhance bass performance and reduce noise leakage. 

Having already tested the Suunto Wing and found the sound performance good but not quite up there with the best open-ear headphones, I was hoping for more from the Sonic.

Suunto Sonic held in the hand
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The app is where you’ll find the two sound modes at your disposal. There’s a Normal model to suit most listening scenarios or Outdoor mode, which boosts volume to battle noisier environments. 

In Normal mode, it sounds like a typical bone conduction headphone, and by that I mean it’s reasonably balanced, offers good but not exceptional clarity, but sounds a little subdued in places with bass more woolly than satisfyingly punchy.

This is likely the mode you’re going to want to use when you’re inside and listening to podcasts, audiobooks, handling calls and dealing with less bass-heavy audio. 

Listening to tracks like SBTRKT’s Wildfire and Underworld’s Born Slippy are good examples where sound mode doesn’t quite match the sound. Though tracks like The Avalanches’ Since I Left You and Tracy Chapman’s Talkin’ Bout a Revolution and those more relaxed tracks are better matches. 

It does have the slight bone conduction vibration rumble at top volumes, though the open-ear sound experience is pretty good on the whole.

Suunto Sonic close up
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The Outdoor mode amps up the volume and is the mode to use outside because the Normal mode lacks the power and overall volume to perform outside in most scenarios. As far as bolstering things in the bass department, I threw the Wing back on and there does feel like there’s maybe a gentle upping on that front and as a result offers a touch warmer sounding feel overall. 

I think if your preference is more up-tempo, bass-heavy sounds, you’ll appreciate the profile of the Sonic compared to the Wing, but the Wing certainly didn’t entirely falter with bassier tracks. While I don’t think Suunto has reduced the noise leakage, there does seem to be a small difference in the leakage against the Wing, I don’t think it’s enough to alter the experience of people hearing your sounds in quiet environments however.

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Should you buy it?

You want a secure and good-sounding pair of sporty open-ear headphones

The Suunto Sonic looks great, feels great to wear and offers solid open-ear sound for a more agreeable price than the Suunto Wing.

You want the best open-ear headphones available

While the Suunto Sonic offers good all-round sound, they aren’t as polished as some rival bone conduction headphones.

Final Thoughts

While the Suunto Wing felt pricey and didn’t match the performance of cheaper open-ear headphones, the Suunto Sonic does a much better job of it. It feels like Suunto has played with the sound profile and while it’s lost some of the Wing’s extras, it’s slightly pared back the design and lowered the price to make it a better option. 

It’s still not necessarily the best open-ear headphones when compared against the likes of the Shokz OpenRun and the Haylou PurFree BC01, but this is much better from Suunto.

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Tested with real world use

Tested over several days

Battery drain performed

FAQs

How long is the Suunto Sonic’s battery life?

You can get 10 hours battery from a single charge.

Full specs

UK RRP
USA RRP
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IP rating
Battery Hours
Fast Charging
Weight
ASIN
Release Date
Audio Resolution
Connectivity
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Headphone Type

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