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Suunto X6M

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Suunto X6M Black Collection review. For the purpose…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Price Paid: $400

Suunto X6M Black Collection review.

For the purpose of this review I will be using the Suunto Core as a reference since most are familiar with it. Let me say, I love my "All Black Core" and I am not trying to belittle it. It is what it is.

The Suunto X6M Black Collection has the superior build quality of the Observer with the features of the Core. It uses a dot matrix display that is THE clearest I have ever seen. The font is more rounded than the block type of the Core. It also has sub screens or "shortcuts" on the bottom of each display that can be used to display other information much like the Core. The "shortcut" display is larger than on the Core.

Water Resistant to 100M
There is absolutely NO ghosting on the display. The display also uses a reverse positive or negative display on the same screen. (Very cool!) Hands down, it is the best negative display I have seen.

The X6M has a user interface that uses a hierarchically format. It is very friendly and like the Core, quick to get around on. Fit and finish is excellent. The button push is firm, solid and smooth. Button push is the best I have ever encountered with a ABC watch (any brand). The X6M oozes quality so much more than the Core. Its more than the sum of its parts. Maybe because it was "Made in Finland"? I don’t know, but it has that solid build quality that feels very expensive. It feels like it was carver out of one piece of stainless steel.


"The Black Collection" This is a special all black collection of ABC watches Suunto came out with in late 2007. It was designed to be a upscale tactical look. The Collection includes The Observer Sr, Observer ST, and X6M. The Observer has a matt black finish on the case. The X6M has a polished black finish on the case. Very tactical bling looking. The X6M has the look of a fine blued pistol. I absolutely love the look and the wrist presence is awesome!! IMO... it is the best looking ABC I have ever see. The pics dont do this watch justice. It marries fine jewelry and tactical tech perfectly.

I have had the chance to test most all the ABC features of the X6M.

The X6M is broken down into modes. TIME, COMPASS, WEATHER, HIKING, CHRONO.

The Altimeter is extremely accurate. It has a altimeter alarm as well as ascent/descent alarm that can be set to any speed or altitude. It displays about everything a climber/hiker could ever ask for.

I live on a mountain and am surrounded with hills. I took the X6M on a test drive for 3 hours. My elevation starts with 1027ft and goes up to 1100ft and down to 500ft.

I started a log and chrono graph (more on that later.)
After 3 hours of constant elevation changes, the X6M returned home with the reading of 1027!! Thats right, after 3 hours of elevation change the X6M came back to the EXACT elevation it left with.

I now have a new accuracy champ. The Core was my champ but is now the runner up at 1002ft. I have found that when the Core changes modes in "auto" from alti to baro, it takes the sensors to read a elevation change of 20ft to make the change. This adds up over time and explains why the Core was off a little bit.

The Altimeter sensor is also different than the Core by the way it changes. The X6M is more like the Highgear Altis than Core. Lets say I am on my ground floor and I will walk up 3 flights of stairs in my house. The elevation change is 1st floor 1007ft – 3rd floor 1027ft. If I calibrate all 3 watches to 1007ft and walk slowly up to the 3rd floor. As soon as I reach the top step the X6M will read 1027ft and stay there. The Altis will read 1027ft and bounce up and down a few feet before locking in on 1027ft. The Core readings move very slowly. At the top step the Core reads 1021ft then moves to 1024ft. After 2 minutes the Core will lock on to 1027ft.

The X6M has 2 different altimeter logs that can run the same time.

In "HIKING" mode you can start a log to keep track of you rise/fall elevation time, speed, etc...
The second log is the "CHRONO" mode . A altimeter graph with similar timing features. This is real cool looking and is like a mini altitude movie of your journey.

All of these logs can be downloaded to your computer with the Suunto software and data snake that clips to the X6M. The software shows a more detailed graph with altimeter and barometer, time, speed, etc. It is also possible to change setting on the X6M from your computer!

This is very cool. I thought this computer link was kinda strange until I tried it. It is awesome and simple to use. This is where the X6M sets itself apart from the other ABC watches. The possibilities and info are endless. At this point the X6m is in its own league. More like a smaller X10 without the GPS.

The Compass on the X6M is a thing of beauty. The rolling rose display is so much easier to follow. The bearing lock uses a dotted line on the compass rose display instead of arrows on the Core. Calibrating the compass is even impressive. It uses a digital level display and progress graph to keep the watch level while calibrating. Why was this feature left off the Core?? All Suuntos should have this. (This is the compass used in the movie AVP.)

The WEATHER mode. Shows the barometer trend with a graph of the last 6 hours with temperature readings. It also keeps a record of the weather for 2 days in its memory with a graph and weather recordings. A weather log can also be activated for a log of a specific event. The X6M has a "storm alarm" or "weather alarm" just like the Core. If the air pressure drops more than 4 hPa/0,11 or 8 inHg in 3 hours a alarm will sound that a storm may be coming.

The Master Sea Level barometric pressure can also be calibrated for the internal sensor of the X6M so you can lock it in with another baro reference. You do not have to stick with the factory default baro calibration like the Core.

The Back light is soooo much brighter and stronger than the Core. Not Casio bright but a lot more than the Core. It looks about like the Highgear Altis. It also does’nt flicker in "Compass mode" like the Core. I really like that. The light duration is 5 seconds and remains on for 5 seconds past the last push of any button. There is a "normal" mode, "night" mode, and "off" mode. The Night mode activates the light with any button push. "Normal" mode is one button specific.

The ALARM has 3 independent alarms that can be set for 24hr use or can be assigned a particular month day and time. This is great if you want to set a alarm 2 weeks from now for a appointment.

The light goes off when the alarm is sounding. The alarm volume is loud. At least louder than the Core. It uses a single tone and can be heard across the room. The back light is also activated.

There is also a "REMINDER" chime that can be set to go off ever 5 seconds or up to 59 minutes 59seconds. I use this feature as a countdown timer. I love this feature more than a traditional count down timer. Last night I was grilling some steaks. I set the "Reminder" to go off every 6 minutes when I had to flip the steaks over on the grill.

With a CDT I would have to reset the CDT every flip.
The alarm can be set to be a ½ hour or 1 hour chime as well. The Reminder alarm works indefinitely until you turn it off.

The CHRONO has a lot of precise timing options and features. It is designed for the cross sport competitor. It combines a altimeter log/graph with every timing.

Log recordings can be set for every 10 seconds or every 60 seconds.

Personal observation:
The X6M feels more like a professional model ABC compared to a more consumer like Core. The X6M does cost more but it feels like it and its reliability make it worth the extra money IMO.

I am sure there are some features I am forgetting, but to sum up, the X6M Black Collection...It is a rock solid construction with superior build and fit n finish.

It combines the build quality and reliability of the Observer with the display and user interface of the Core with a few exclusive features only found on the X6 models. No excuses for this ABC, It acts like a top-of-the-line ABC because it is. If your looking for the Bentley of ABC watches, you found it.


Technical Data

General
• Operating temperature -15 ̊C to +50 ̊C/+5̊F to +120̊F.
• Storage temperature -30 ̊C to +60 ̊C/-22̊F to +140̊F.
• Weight 54 g
• Water-resistant 100 m/330 ft (according to ISO 2281)
• Mineral crystal glass
• User-replaceable battery CR2032
• PC interface with serial connector
• Extension strap (accessory)

Altimeter
• Display range –500 m to 9000 m / -1600 ft to 29500 ft
• Resolution 1 m / 3 ft

Barometer
• Display range 300 to 11 00 hPa / 8.90 to 32.40 inHg
• Resolution 1 hPa / 0.05 inHg

Thermometer
• Display range -20̊C to 60̊C / -5̊F to 140̊F
• Resolution 1̊C / 1̊F

Compass
• Resolution 1

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Suunto X6M

Discontinued

The X6M has been discontinued.

previously retailed for:
$311.99 - $499.00

The Suunto X6M is not available from the stores we monitor. It was last seen November 18, 2010 at Mountain Gear.

If you're looking for a new altimeter, check out the best reviewed current models.

Specs

Weight 83 g