Suunto continues to produce some of the best outdoor watches for avid hikers and campers. Their latest model, the Core, is highly accurate, easy to use, and designed specifically with the hiker in mind. While this smart, sporty watch is packed with useful features the hiker will love, it lacks GPS functionality, which for some can be a deal breaker.
Overview and Features
Unlike the Fenix 5X outdoor watch, the Core isn’t equipped with a GPS, but it does feature a barometer and altimeter function that’s linked together. This feature measures elevation in three-foot intervals. It also calculates pressure trends, providing hikers with a more accurate reading.
The altitude log may not seem like a big deal, but it can also be a very useful feature. The watch will log the hiker’s total descent and ascent for up to one week. Skiers will also love the log feature. For the skier, the altitude log will keep track of the laps taken. For hikers, the log will focus more on true vertical height gained for trails or climbs that go up and down. The watch can store up to one hundred logs.
One downside is the fact that you have to go through a total of four different menu pages in order to adjust the altitude, whereas competing models, such as the Pathfinder, only require you to go through two.
The core also has a built-in compass complete with adjustable declination. The user can set it up to help follow and record compass bearings. While the compass is fine for the casual hiker in need of a general point of reference, pro hikers recommend bringing along another compass for more serious off-trail traveling.
The Core is also equipped with a thermometer which has a range of five degrees up to one hundred and forty degrees. In order to get an accurate reading, the watch must be removed from the wrist for fifteen minutes in order for the hiker’s body heat to completely dissipate from the watch.
Ease of Use and Interface
The Core features a newly designed menu that’s very different than what you’ll find on past Suunto outdoor watches, so hikers used to old Suunto models will need to relearn how to use the Core. Many users can agree that the menu on this model is much more intuitive and easier to understand. Additionally, menu items are labeled clearly, with three pieces of info displayed at the same time. There’s also the addition of the navigation button, which is what is used to browse through function options and the menu.
Because the watch doesn’t use GPS or Bluetooth connectivity, it comes as no surprise that it features a longer than average battery life of one year.
The one real weakness this watch has is its display. In bright light or in low light conditions the screen can be very difficult to read. Aside from readability, we loved how the menu icons were laid out, the easy to read numbers and the large screen size.
However, we wish the Core featured both the negative and black on white options for the display like some competing models do.
Is it Accurate?
This model displays elevation in three-foot intervals, while most outdoor watches tend to display elevation in eight or ten-foot intervals. The barometer and altimeter function are one of the best on the market. This model can basically calculate the hiker’s long-term trends, providing them with more accurate readings.
Other Great Features
The Core is water resistant up to one hundred feet, which is enough for snorkeling, but not enough for scuba diving. Additionally, many users reported that the watch is only able to accurately report the depth up to thirty feet.
Another neat feature is the sunrise and sunset times. While it certainly isn’t a must-have feature, it can come in handy. To use, the hiker just needs to choose their location.
- Available in fifteen color options
- Reasonably priced
- Easy to set up and adjust
- Highly accurate barometer and altimeter feature
- Altitude log
- Excellent user interface
- Lots of great extra features
- Weather trend graph
- The menu can be difficult to navigate
- The display screen is difficult to read in low and bright lighting conditions.
- Does not have GPS or Bluetooth connectivity