User Review: Suunto Core
Price Paid: $300
I first want to say that the All Black Core is the newest watch in the Suunto Core line up. It has the updated software 1.0.3. The watch came out Oct of 2008. There was some issues with the earlier production Suunto Cores software.
My first impressions are great. This watch was advertised as a Military Core but from my understanding dealers are calling ALL BLACK CORES military? Who knows?
The negative display is super crisp and sharp. I bumped up the contrast from the factory setting of 6 to 7 or 8. Just cause I could. It was fine from the factory but why leave well enough alone. I have other ABC Highgear watches (Altiforce with negative display and Altis SS with positive display). I am going to compare the ALL BLACK CORE to the other two. I think this is the most accurate way to see what the Core can do.
I first looked the Core over for any manufacturing defects. The bezel turns smooth and isn't lose nor is it tight. I would say the Bezel was perfect. All of the markers aligned up perfectly with the 12 o'clock face. The bezel clicks around with the sound of one of my fly fishing reels and turns both ways. Very nice!
The strap has a black buckle. Suunto calls this the all ALL BLACK CORE and I am happy to see it has a black buckle. My impressions of the watch are very cool looking and stealth. It's a looker.
The buttons are firm to push and I like the no-slip checkering engraved in them. The Negative display is sharp, perhaps sharper than the Altiforce?
The Altiforce has more of a blue cast to the display.
Either way both are excellent and I prefer the negative display in the woods. Negative displays also light up better and appear sharper with less light pollution.
Speaking of light. The Core's light is great, not too bright and not too dark. I also like that the light has its own button and extends its 5 second time if any other buttons are pushed after you activate the light. This is especially good when using the compass or navigating the watch at night in the woods. It just makes sense to have the light work this way. I also like the fact that the light blinks when the alarm goes off. A Lot of times in noisy situations (like in a club) you cant hear the alarm but can see the light flash. Brilliant!
The alarm is loud and has a quality multi chime sound to it. I am disappointed there isn't a hourly chime.
I tested the barometer with both Altiforce and Altis and all three are dead balls on with the reported barometric pressure. This was nice surprise to find that 3 wrist computers are calibrated that accurately.
The weather trend indicator was correct by showing the downward direction of both parts of the arrow. It was clear last night and started to rain early this morning.
I also tested the altimeter with the other 2 watches and my GPS and it too was dead balls on!!!
I especially like the way the Altimeter and Barometer switch to the appropriate profile in the AUTO mode. I tested to see how much movement would switch the barometer profile to the altimeter profile. I let the watch sit and go into the barometer profile. When it did, it made a nice multi chime sound. I then took the Core down one flight of stairs in my house. It didn't switch. So I started to go down my basement stairs and half way down I heard the chime indicating the profile switched back to altimeter. I tested it again and it switched the same spot. Very accurate altimeter!!
I then calibrated the compass and tested it with the other two watches. All watches were calibrated the same time. I calibrate my ABC watches by going out side on my deck railing and use a medium Gatorade bottle with the wide mouth. I sit the watch on top of the bottle with the cap on and spin the entire bottle when making the 3 rotations. It keeps the watch perfectly level and is easy to turn slowly.
Once again all three watches were dead balls on!
At this point I am more than a little impressed.
I tested the bearing tracking feature. It worked great and I am excited to try this on Saturday when I go into the woods. I can see this feature is priceless to hunters that are tracking downed game. I can speak from experience that it is very easy to lose your direction while following downed game at night in the woods. This feature can point the way back to the car.
Overall I found the watch easy to navigate. Much like my Hi-def receiver with on screen display. You do have to push a few more buttons to get around on the watch but I can see why Suunto uses this format. Its pretty strait forward. My last test so far was to drop the watch in a glass of water for 15 min to make sure it is water tight. It passed. I do this with all my new watches. I want to find out now and not in the field if it goes down.
Software version is 1.0.3. Serial # starts with 841....etc
The watch is very comfortable to wear and is thinner than my 2 Highgear watches.
I am very impressed so far. I will keep adding to this review as I find more features to talk about.
Tonight I took the Core out in the woods bowhunting. I had a nice surprise to find the 2 markers on the top of the bezel glows very well. (see pic). I also tried the compass bearing lock. It performed flawlessly. I locked it on where the main trail starts. I then walked back into the woods to my treestand. It was dark when I got down out of my tree and the bearing lock pointed me right back to where I aimed it at. I also started a Altitude Log. I checked it out and love the real-time motion graph of my journey. (Very Cool!)