Suunto Core review

Posted: December 26, 2012 in Reviews
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Suunto Core watch is truly a clean and refined piece of equipment. Classy enough to be worn to church and a business meeting, but rugged enough to take to the range and roll in the mud with it.

I have always said that any company wants to test something, and I mean REALLY test something, should let me use whatever it is for a few days. I tend to put things through the ringer pretty well. My Suunto Core All Black Military (that I received as a birthday gift from my wife) has held up to everything I have thrown at it.

When I first received it my initial thought was this isn’t going to work. Anything that is packaged in this nice of box is not going to be in working order by next week! I proceeded to open the box and get my new gadget out to inspect it. At first I was a little intimidated on its size but after I put it on I realized that even with my chicken wrists the size was just fine. With the watch weighing 64 grams it feels heavy enough to know it can take some abuse but also light enough not to notice that it’s even there. The band is nice and wide and very strong. It also sports a vice like clasp that has yet to come loose on me under any circumstance. Another thing you notice right away is the huge face with its super clear mineral crystal glass with it’s Electro-luminescent display (aka the numbers are easy to read!)

The amount of features that the Core has made me realize why it’s classified as a wrist-top computer. Suunto designed this watch with the outdoorsman in mind. It is often classified as an “ABC” watch by some trekkers for its ability to read and display altitude (A), barometric pressure (B), and compass (C), but ABC’s only the beginning of features! Other features include an alarm clock, stop watch, date display, multiple time zones, sunrise/sunset times for your region, thermometer, depth meter, and a storm warning feature.

Set up was easy. The Core sports five buttons located at the two, three, four, eight, and ten o’clock positions. With the instructions included in the packaging, the watch is set up with in minutes. Calibrating the compass does take an extra step. This is also simple and is done by holding the watch level in both hands and rotating it clockwise a few times.

One feature I found to be really handy is the altimeter and the barometer. Setting it to automatic will keep track of elevation changes as you are moving but as soon as you stop for a few minutes it will click back over to the barometer. The storm warning system is also useful. When the computer senses the barometric pressure dropping rapidly it will alert you to the possibility of a storm rolling in. The first time I had this alarm go off it surprised me and it wasn’t lying! Heavy rains and lots of winds showed up not too long after. One thing it does is ask from you pretty frequently is to input a reference points. The more references you set the more accurate it becomes.

There are a few faults I have found in the watch that do need to be pointed out. First, the temperature reading is a little off. I have found while you are wearing it the reading seems to be about ten degrees warmer than the temperature actually is. If the watch is not on your arm it is fairly accurate. I’m sure this has to do with your body temperature throwing it off. You don’t need to be a math wizard to look at it and be able to subtract 10 off the reading so this issue is not a deal breaker for me of any kind. The second issue I found was that the contrast was a little light for my liking. I searched online and found a video showing a super secret menu that will allow you to adjust this. Again it’s another easy fix just as the video shows. The last little thing I have found is when in compass mode the watch obviously needs to be level and away from anything metal. This should be common knowledge for anyone who has ever tried to use any compass before.

When I was researching watches I was at a road block between the Suunto and another brand. The deciding factor was the ability for the user to be able to change the battery without having to send it back to the factory. This feature does make you lose a little bit of water submersion capabilities, but according to Suunto’s website (which I included at the bottom) the core military is able to reach depths of 10 meters, and withstand 3 bars of pressure. I can’t say that I have tried to test the limits of this yet but I’m not afraid to get it wet.

Its been nearly 8 months now that I have had my Suunto and it has followed me every day since I got it, from vacationing on the beach to the woods hunting, it has yet to show any sign of wear. I will firmly recommend this watch to any of my friends, family, and especially my readers.

I’ll leave you with some photos showing the Suunto and my woman wrist.

suuno and pmag

crappy cell pic

suunto on the beach

-16 ft altitude! Low tide at the beach

Until next time,


Update (August 13, 2013): Click here for update

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