I’ve only had one of the new Suunto CORE watches for a few days now and I can’t believe how many people have asked me about it. When I first saw these watches at Summer Outdoor Retailer in August, I thought they were mainly just fluffed up old models…focusing on fashion…but after playing with it for a few days, I’m realizing that they are much more.
First off, the CORE watches seem to feel and fit smaller. I have small skier arms, so you notice these types of things. Sometimes I think size is one of the things that keeps people from buying altimeter watches, and it looks like Suunto does to.. The low profile band has a lot to do with it and the strap holder locks it in place, which is nice, cuz I remember some of the older model’s had a tendency to migrate. One thing I notice in the shop is that people have a misconception that these types of watches are hard to use. Those people could not be further from the truth. All the Suunto models have a logical system of buttons that correspond to select or next, up, down, and backtrack…so don’t be intimidated by the technology. The CORE also has small indicators directing you to which buttons are available in each screen, and to some extent…what their function is. But if you know how to work one Suunto…chances are you know how to work them all (except for some of the T-series models…excluding the T6).
Like most of the Suunto watches I’ve owned and seen, no matter what mode you are in, there is a plethora of functions that can be displayed on the bottom line of each mode. The Core has 3 modes…time, altitude/barometer and compass. In the Time Mode of the CORE, the options are chronograph, countdown timer, day/date, seconds, dual time, and one of my favorite new features…sunrise and sunset. To determine these times for where you live, the CORE starts by asking you the country you live in, and then proceeds to time zone…and goes even further by giving you a list of cities to choose from. The closest listed to Jackson was Idaho Falls…so that is what I when with.
Lots of stuff to talk about in the altimeter/barometer modes. The bottom line can give you temperature, log time, baro/alti (depending on what profile you are in), time, log time and new ‘start from zero’ feature. In essence, it is a real-time recording of altitude gain from your starting point…without having to dig into the logbook. I find this to be a cool bonus. When I go backcountry skiing, I like to track and sometimes set goals for about of vertical I get in a day…much like Greg Hill. BTW, Greg should be getting ready for another epic year up in BC and who know what goals he has set for himself this season. Follow along on his blog, The Ramblings of Greg Hill.
Back to the CORE. The barometer also has some nice features, like a 24 hour graph and a new storm alarm, which sets off an alarm when the barometer drops more than 4 hPa/0.12 inHg, in a 3 hour time frame. The Core keeps going with two more altimeter/barometer profiles…automatic and depth meter. The depth meter is self explanatory, and not much for my needs I guess, but the automatic profile could be of use and automatically switches between altitude and barometer when your are moving or standing still.` The bezel is a nice addition to the compass mode.
I know all of this can sound confusing to those that aren’t that familiar with altimeter watches, but with the Core line, Suunto tries to simplify everything…as well as offer some cool features that are really useful and NOT just fluff. Check ‘em out at Suunto.com.
there are sell-outs romeo, and then there is you. pretty sad.
This may be a bit of a surprise to you Ebob…but there is such a thing called give and take…and sponsorship…and advertising…and gear reviews. Suunto has been great to work with and I want to return the favor accordingly.
Plus, I find people ARE actually interested in hearing about gear…maybe just not you. Please try and keep your criticisms to yourself in the future.
Great detailed and informative review Steve. And just in time for Christmas – How can I leave this around for my wife to see??
You could buy her one too!
Suunto makes some nice womens specific models now…called the LUMI. Check it out HERE!
ignore that dude up above, steve. what he seems not to understand is that *some* people actually love a company’s product, which is what leads to their sponsorship. if you then continue to talk about the product after getting sponsored, does that make you a sell-out? no way!
seems to me like you disclose your sponsors openly; therefore, it’s pretty easy for the reader to consider that when reading your words.
i’m a huge GPS guy — have been for 7-8 years. i like the suunto (especially for the accessibility of the info on your wrist instead of in your pack)…but i’m also one of the small-wrist crowd.
I have come close to getting the Suunto X6HR, but I am holding out for the watch that will include:
All in a small package. Any word on something like this in the near future?
Thanks Eric! I have the X9i…but just getting familiar with it. I also have small skier-arms..but you get used to the bigger watches quickly.
The X6HR has everything but the GPS. I have one…and LOVE it…might be selling it since I have some newer models that replace it. I’d be a little hesitant to get too stuck on a wrist top GPS. I think they have limited functionality.
on the gps subject…
i’ve been using some version of the garmin eTrex Vista device for the last 7-8 years. it’ sfairly compact & light (definitely not wrist-top!), but it has come in handy.
i use it mainly to record stats/times, check elevation (it has a barometric altimeter)…and on a few occasions it’s been useful in finding a route or the way back to the car during a storm. you can mark waypoints as you go then d’load them to a topo map — or work in reverse by marking points on a map and uploading them to the device.
the convenience of a gps device on your wrist is offset by the size that device would need to be to be useful.
…but that suunto sure looks like it packs all the main features in in that wrist-top format, without going too overboard on size.
Would the alarm on the core actually wake you up? The pathetic alarm on my X6 is my only complaint with it…
I think it would wake you up…if it wasn’t buried in the bottom of your sleeping bag. Has a snooze function too!
[…] The Observer is much smaller in profile than the popular CORE model. […]
hi i have a question…
i just got the suunto core…
1. how the log function works…
2. the temperature seems to be very inaccurate…
3. for the barometer..i dont know how to obtain the sea level pressure. ( i checked the weather site for my country…dont really know how to read the graph
5. lastly i do understand that the watch estimates my altitude based on air pressure…but for the setting part do i have to set both the sea level air pressure and the altitude?
so i got to go to altitude and set 0 and then go to sealevel part and set say 1026 for pressure?
sad i got a watch and dono how to use it
pls help out..i searched youtube and they dont have a video on how these functions are used..and the manual is not that helpful because i dont know the technical stuff behind it all
6.i just found out what true north vs magnetic north is..but i dont understand how i can find true north…
im going skiing soon so hopefully i would know how to use the log function so i can make use of the watch!
In altimeter mode, push bottom left button until you see 0:00:00. Start and stop logbook with the top left button….reset by holding top right button. to view logbooks…push and hold middle right button until you see the menu. Select Memory…then logbook…then the logbook you want to view.
You must remove the watch from you arm for 10-15 minutes to get the accurate temperature.
I get the barometer from our local airport’s weather page. Also, the altimeter/barometer function either tracks altimeter…OR barometer…depending on what profile you choose. When in altimeter mode…set the accurate altitude and ignore the barometer settings. Visa-versa when in barometer mode.
Most maps will give a declination reading…allowing you to to get true north. You can also input this number into the CORE settings…so it can figure it out for you.
Hope this helps!