There is no shortage of gadgets and gizmo’s on the market for the outdoor enthusiast, and picking the best ‘one’ for all situations may be impossible. Suunto has addressed this problem with their line of rugged, feature-packed, compact wrist computers. Garmin GPS’s and other handheld devices have onboard software that mimics many of the features of these watches, but it is either difficult to use, expensive to lose, or not as portable as one of Suunto’s wrist based offerings. With a long track record of success and reliability, a Suunto device is both stylish and durable enough to handle most anything that someone can throw at it.
The basics of a Suunto wrist based computer are that it contains a very large, legible screen. Their entry level line, the Vector, even has a leveling bubble on the face of the watch to help center the compass! The screen is the command center of the watch, allowing you to see the time, date, barometric changes, temperature, heading (compass), altitude, Storm alarm (if featured), heart rate (if featured), and sunrise and set times (Sunnto Core) and other functions clearly, cleanly, and big. The subtle iniglo colored backlight allows you to see these various functions at night without ruining your night vision. Most models come cased in plastic, with a user serviceable battery hatch on the back, though there are some models and variations that feature metal cases and bracelets for added durability (and weight). All models have basic time keeping, temperature, altitude, barometer, and compass functions. Certain models require more regular calibration than others (the Vector over the Core or G6 comes to mind) due to variations in their feature set or their level of finish, but the basic package is present in all models and is pretty solid. Time keeping is accurate, and the compass reckoning is good enough for any weekender and most amateur outdoor hobbyists. Even the price isn’t a deal breaker, with the Vector being available in most markets for around 150.00.
Overall this line of outdoor inspired watches is durable enough to be used and it also packs enough features that even the techno-geek in your trail run group will be happy. With a large variation of feature sets, case materials, strap/bracelet types, and colors to choose from, a Suunto won’t get boring, and will get you home at the same time.