Nike Lance 4
The Lance 4 has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best compass watches for 2020.
Historic Range: $62.38-$258.95
Reviewers Paid: $180.00-$250.00
I've owned this watch for a year and it hasn't let me down yet. It's been with me adventure racing and the compass works great.
I fly in helicopters for the Navy and the altimeter is relatively accurate, but not perfect. Usually differs by about 1 or 2 hundred feet, but after a quick calibration it's ready to go again.
It's tough and I have definitely put it through its paces. It's easy to use and gets a lot of attention. It replaced my Suunto Observer, mainly because it was cheaper, but performed the same functions.
Price Paid: $180
Pro's: Looks cool, good functions
Con's: Altimeter is seriously lacking. Compass is seriously lacking.
However, it's stylish and if Lance wears it, it's good enough for me.
Price Paid: $250
Very good watch. The only thing that doesn't work is the altitude-meter. Within a day after calibration, the height isn't correct. Sometimes even within 1 or 2 hours.
Price Paid: $180
Sturdy watch, and nice functions, but it has two serious problems.
1. The altimeter sucks. I know all about barometric pressure and had a Suunto Vector which worked pretty well, but this Nike sucks. It will often be 100-200 feet off within minutes. I expect the designers outsmarted themselves somehow. I can't trust it enough to use topo maps or adventure racing.
2. It goes through batteries pretty quick and isn't user replaceable.
Ultimately, I am getting another watch.
Price Paid: $199
I've had this watch for 1.5 years and have found it to be quite reliable.
Pros: altimeter works well, easy to use (much more intuitive than Suunto Vector that I saw), useful configuration options, replaceable battery, very comfortable wrist band, looks good
Cons: brushed titanium face scuffs easily - will not always look new; the graphical representation of altitude change over time doesn't make sense to me.
Overall I really like this watch. I've used it numerous times for measuring cumulative elevation gain over local routes that we mountain bike on. It's definitely important to make sure that you use an appropriate time interval in this mode or you will get outrageous numbers, but if you set the watch to take readings every minute, it seems to be pretty accurate.
As with all barometric altimeters, the Lance 4 watch does drift as weather fronts come through. The only side-by-side comparison I ever tried was against a Suunto Vector: overnight the Suunto didn't drift at all while my watch drifted by 100 feet. Not a big deal to me, but it is a reminder that to use the altimeter accurately you need to calibrate to known elevations on a regular basis.
This watch does seem to be built tough. I've taken a few hard crashes biking with this watch on. Once I hit the watch face directly on a rock. The face cracked slightly, but everything still works.
Price Paid: $220
Pros: Overall the watch is very sturdy and can take a hit. I've used it for running, dirtbike riding, weight training. The watch has taken some serious licks, been through mud, snow, and water yet still continues to keep tickin'. The compass needs to recalibrated every once in a while but is reasonably accurate.
Cons: The altimeter has never properly functioned even after repeated calibrations at sea level. The same goes for the temperature reading (and the barometer for that matter), not even close. This is a total disappointment and basically makes this watch just that, a plain ol' watch.
Verdict: I'm going to attempt to contact Nike for a replacement watch since this may just be a lemon. Can't see spending so much on a watch to have a majority of its features useless right out of the box.
Price Paid: Gift