Suunto Core Altimeter Watch Sahara Yellow, One Size
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655 of 668 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2009
Have had this watch a little over a week, and decided to write an review for it.

Just a brief comparison between two top-notch ABC watches: - the Core, and the Casio Pathfinder PAW-1500 Titanium, which I purchase a little over three weeks ago as well. I would say, the cosmetic design, the wealth of functions, the ABC accuracy, and the graphical display of the Core, is better than the Pathfinder. However, the built material, the readability, and the push button feel, is not as good as the Pathfinder.

The display is in reverse format, meaning the background is in black, and the alpha-numeric letters are in silver-white. Adjusting the contrast in the Suunto hidden menu does help, but of course, still not as clear as the normal black letter on white background. No fault of Suunto, but just the way the design is. The buttons are responsive and easy to press. To navigate through the menus, the "Mode" button and the "View" button have to be pushed in different combination to get what you want. It might seem confusing at first, but once you understand the logical layout, it's fairly easy to remember. Give yourself a couple of days to get used to it.

Compliments: Extremely accurate ABC. I compare their readings with the actual ABC instruments. The accuracy is incredible and beats the Casio Pathfinder in the dust! The storm alarms reacts to the air pressure change accurately as well. The electronic compass is awesome. Once you set the course, the bearing indicator would display an arrow and directional words (left and right), to guide you to the correct course, which is a great feature. User installable batteries which is great to save a lot of money down the road.

Complaints: The directional rotation ring is difficult to turn. If you have finger nails, you'll need to use them, if you bite your finger nails, good luck. The alarm is a bit soft and hard to hear sometimes. The same problem as the Pathfinder. I wish they can make it louder. The wrist strap looks and feels cheap. The illuminator is a bit dim too.

Tips: This watch has earned a lot of bad reps due to poor quality control in its manufacturer plant in China. It's been tons of complaints and reported problem. After doing some research, it appears that Suunto has finally fixed the hardware and software bugs. When you order the watch, make sure the serial number stars from "918xxxxxx" onward. Mine is "924" and so far so good. You should email the seller, to make sure they send you the updated version as noted above, then your new watch won't spend most of its life going back and forth in the delivery trucks.

Follow up review (please read and rate):

It's been nearly a month I have been wearing this watch, thought I should provide more feedback to help those who are interested in this watch.

I have worn this watch to a two-weeks trip to Eastern Europe. I used all ABC functions intensively, especially the altimeter log and compass functions. To begin with, all readings are extremely accurate as it has always been. The only inaccuracy is its barometer when worn on the wrist, which is understandable due to the body temperature influence. The watch functioned flawlessly during the extreme weather, ranging from 1 degree in Celcius (outdoor), all the way up to warmer than 40 degrees Celcius (I wore it to the hotspring pool for hours). I have also used the daily alarm twice a day, illumination for 3 times a night in average, and the battery is still kicking like a champ. Many reported the battery died out after a month or so even with light use, it appears that Suunto has fixed this major flaw. Yet, it's been just a month of intensive use so I can't say for sure. Even if I have to replace the battery every 6 months, I think it's still worth is as the battery costs less than a couple of dollars to replace. So, my conclusion is: The Core has reclaimed its reputation in my book. I have no doubt that it will continue to perform well. Just make sure that you buy the one with the latest firmware (serial number after:92xxxxxx SW: 1.1.0 HW: 3A. Please rate and comment if you find this helpful
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144 of 147 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2014
I have had my Suunto core for apx three years and worn it exclusively (also while I was in Iraq) so I feel like this review is more worth reading then someone who's had it a week. I'll start with the positive aspects. The watch head is very durable and all the features work as advertised. Now for the negative; the material the band is made of is very fragile it seems to dry rot and crack. I've had to replace the band every year so far which doesn't seem very bad but they cost 50$ a pop. The battery life is aweful and I don't even use the altitude, barometer, depth, and compass regularly. I change the battery at least 3 times a year. The customer service is awful the first time the band broke Suunto wouldn't replace it even though it was under warranty. I would not recommend it.
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123 of 130 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2011
I was on a course a few weeks ago, and some of the instructors were wearing Cores. They loved it, but said that using the compass a lot drained battery. Also that you need to regularly calibrate height and compass. (To be fair, that's what the manual says too, and it's a simple operation.)

Normally I wear an IWC, which is lovely, but not really something you want to be throwing yourself around in- I was considering saving up for an Omega, but logically it didn't make much sense. I've had my Core for a week and so far it's really excellent. It doesn't take too long to work out the operation either.

Apart from the Suunto diving watches, the Core appears to be the one which can put up with serious "wet" use, (i.e. snorkelling) and you couldn't find a better watch for Expeds and adventure training. The storm alarm works- actually works; it's not a gimmick!

Despite the size (much bigger than my IWC Spitfire), you don't notice you're wearing it, even though it seems extremely rugged.

The compass is good, but I would not use it to replace a normal protractor compass. If I had a quibble, it's that the North indicator is very small- if you were really following a bearing by fixing it within the bezel, it might be a little tricky in anything other than excellent light. However the digital alternative it offers is brilliant. (Lock bearing, and it tells you if you've gone off track.)

A downside? The negative display can be murky in half light. If you buy this watch, Google the method for adjusting the contrast. You may need to!

Overall, if you want something really professional, I couldn't recommend a better choice- really glad I bought mine.
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133 of 144 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2008
The watch works great for me. I would advise not to read to much into the other reviewers who have said bad things about the watch. Heads up guys when the weather changes and you return to a ref point; say home after coming down from the mountain the watch may show a different alt. if the pressure and temps have changed a lot. , thats the way it works as pressure changes so to will your base alt setting. unless you have the GPS version :) I suggest people read the book before talking and sounding silly. The Core is a great add on to my collection. I have the GPS version as well. This watch is a bit slimmer and not so G.I. joe looking. Good for on the trail or down town.

UPDATE: The watch has started acting up only after 8 months of daily light use. The mode buttons work some days and not others. The TL and BL
mode buttons all of a sudden stop working. I'm guessing the alignment with the pins you push and the contact pad inside the watch get miss matched. Really? For 200 + dollar watch and I cant get the simple stop watch to work. If I flick it with my finger it realigns back up and them I'm able to use the buttons. Just yesterday I got on the tread mill to start my Cross Fit work out and started to sprint; I hit the start button again and again and again, &*(^% guess Ill use the free clock on the wall. Suunto has to do better than this before I buy another watch from them. Can't belive I'm looking at G-Shocks now!! Oh and the cover on my GPS watch has come off as well. Not looking good Suunto!! ONE STAR NOW
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165 of 183 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2010
I've had many Casio ABC watches, so I'm biased. For this review, I had Casio PAW-1300t and Suunto Core (green version - latest batch) which are used interchangeable or together for a period of about 2 months.

1. The looks - the watch is big, but very conservatively designed. No weird plastic extrusions, just a simple watch with a big screen. It looks nice and professional. Casio looks a little more gimmicky, but Casio is still a solid looking watch (not like the older ABC casio watches that looked like spaceships)

2. The screen - it's nice to have a big matrix screen. Although, it may seem like a square pixel matrix, some of the pixels are actually taller than others - It's confusing for the graphs (if one tall-rectangular pixel is added is it greater difference than a reqular square pixel). Considering that there are 3 patches of matrix screens, I wish Suunto would try to do more with them (more combined data screens). There are 2 rows of tall rectangular pixels. Casio has a very small matrix screen for the graphs, but the rest of the screen is regular 7 segment digital display. It doesn't look as spiffy, but it does the job.

3. UI (user interface) - the menu system is organized like a tree. So you go inside menus to get to more menus, and then you have to back out to get back. It's a blessing and a nightmare - items are somewhat organized, but it's a hassle to get to some simple setting that's burried 3 menus deep.

3a. One big gripe with user interface: is that the barometer and altimeter are the same mode Suunto (which actually makes sense, given that both values are derived from the same pressure sensor). However, there's NO quick way to switch from one to the other. If you watch is in barometer mode, all you're going to get is barometer, if you want to change it to altimeter (or vice versa), you have to go into deep into the settings menus, find it, and change it. There's an automatic mode, but it's a gimmick, it tries to guess which mode it should be in (I prefer a more direct approach - I want to see what I want to see, not want it "thinks" I should see)

4. Clock Precision - the clock precision is outright terrible! It's a good 3-5 seconds a day. I've had cheap quartz watches that lose 5 seconds in a month. I'm no precision freak, but having my watch be off by a minute at the end of a month is unacceptable (if you're used to mechanical watches, this is not a problem :)

5. Instrument precision - pretty good. Many claim Suunto is better than Casio as far as accuracy/precision goes; I've had them side by side for a 2 months, and I don't see a difference. Barometer and altimeter are usually within the smallest measureable unit of each other (read: insignificant difference), and very close readings to the local weather station. Compasses show in the same direction. The compass on Suunto has failed me once; on a hike, it started twitching +/- 60deg (120-or-so degrees of total variance), I have not had that happen with the casio. Maybe I stepped into a magnetic anamoly - either way, I didn't like it. In general the Suunto's compass seemed twitchier than the Casio's (more needle jumping). Temperature is a useless sensor, my guess is that they only bother putting that sensor in, because the sensor is so cheap. However it works well in the water, but in air, it simply shows the temperature of the watch (which is greatly effected by your body temperature). You can take it off, and leave it for 10 minutes (if you've read this far, I'm sure you know the drill).

6. Features - Suunto doesn't dissapoint. The added benefit of Depth meter is very nice, even though it measure only to 10m (snorkeling only). The range of the pressure sensor is amazing (depth meter/altimeter/barometer are all run from the same pressure sensor). The data logging is very good; a little complicated, but very complete. The logs have the time and the measurement recorded at the desired frequency (casio, for example, only records the totals: ascend, descend, max, min; whereas suunto is a true logging device, and records actual altimeter data, every period). The sunrise/sunset display is very usefull (Casio doesn't have that). The storm alarm feature is a gimmick, it goes off in a seemingly random fashion - I don't know what algorithm they use to figure a coming storm, but it's obviously WRONG - as I had my watch go off on sunny days with no rains approaching.

At the end I chose Casio PAW1300T. As an everyday watch, it's just better built and better equipped, and it is smaller (much thinner). It's much more accurate (even without atomic connectivity), and on top of that, it gets automatically updated (to the second) every night. It's solar powered, so it doesn't need to be opened every 6 months (great concern for water-proofness in Suuntos). The modes are less cluttered(you still need a manual to learn the watch), and it looks more durable. Barometer and Altimeter have their own dedicated buttons (unlike the combined alti-baro mode on Suunto). I can't say Suunto is a bad watch, but it just didn't work for me. Casio is just as good at showing barometric trends (to predict weather). Suunto data logging is better than Casio's, but that's not saying much. If I need to log a hike to review it later, a GPS does a much better job (absolute 3d position on earth), so a simple altitude log produced by Suunto is too simplistic anyway. And as far as pacing yourself during a hike, the casio's log works just as well, without the added complications. It all came down to usability - what seems like a couple of button presses on Casio turns into a menu-down-down-enter-on-back-back-back kind of search on Suunto.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2014
Bought this watch about two years ago. Here's how it's holding up.

The watch is NO WHERE near as pretty as it was when I first bought it. Most of the black paint wears off, especially around the bezel (the outer edge of the circle that has the compass bearings). It's silver with a few black scrub marks now. I haven't done anything especially brutal with it, nothing really, just worn it day in day out as you would do. I'd would have expected it to hold up a LOT better than it has. The storm watch alarm works well, it does predict bad weather pretty good, but honestly it's totally not worth $300+. If I could go back in time, I'd tell myself to NOT buy this watch. As of right now the watch keeps resetting as though the battery was removed and replaced, so I look down to find out the time and it's just flashing "12:00" as though it needs to be set. I reset the time a few hours pass and again it's flashing "12:00" and waiting to be reset.

The battery compartment is supposed to be user friendly and easy to access. It is, the first few times you change out the battery. After that the edges of the slot that turns the cover wear down and become rounded so it's ever more difficult to open it up.

Totally not happy with this watch. Bad purchase. The photo of the watch on Amazon looks all nice, but after two years of use it looks like crap. See the 'customer images' part on the amazon.com page for photos of how my watch looks now. I didn't beat it up! It's just day -to-day wear.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2010
It's not posted on this forum but many of the issues with this watch have been corrected since 2008 debacle. There was period back in 2007-2008 that this watch production had some quality controle issues. If you buy this watch, try and ensure you receive a watch that has a serial number starting with a 9 (this means that it was built in 2009). There has been very few issues with the 2009 versions. Suunto even recalled many of the defective watches.

Also, for these watches to work in peak form, you must calibrate them often, and know how to use them. This watch lets you select altitude or baro mode. If you know you are not changing in altitude and want accurate weather forecast set it to baro mode and calibrate the altitude. If changing altitude is important to you, then set it to altitude mode and again, set the altitude to an accurate value. The storm alarm on this watch is very cool, and has worked for me in the past. I was climbing in ID and it was a clear day outside and my storm alarm went off - i thought that there could be no way this watch was predicting a storm so i kept climbing. About 45min - hr later we had a big downpour. Very cool.

Many complain that the temp is off. But again the watch is close to the body and will naturally be high despite suunto's attempt to compensate for close body contact. If you are at a camp sight and are really concerned about weather forecast, take the watch off, attach it to your pack or wear it outside you jacket. In order to calculate the altitude the temperature is a factor in the equation. when i camp or hike, i usually attach the watch to my pack. When i'm in the city in Chicago, i set the altitude (as it does NOT change in the midwest so not important) and then switch to baro mode. I have been happy with it's accuracy.

After playing with the watch for a while, you will learn how it reacts and be able to adjust to it.

The "readability" : i bought my girlfriend a t1 with the inverse face colors (black background) and there is no doubt that it can be hard to read. My comment here is that if you want to ensure readability then go for a white background. Thats what i have and i still think it looks awesome.

The quality of the build: Some say it feels cheep, but i think that they mischaracterize it. The watch is light weigh which can give it a "cheap" feel but i think the point was to build a lightweight watch. It's a bigger watch but fits very well, and comfortably on my wrist.

If you get a lemon, return it suunto or the vendor for replacement and hope you get one with a serial number starting with 9.

I would recommend this watch aslong as you know how to use it.

as a last note, some say they would not go out into the backcountry relying on this watch's compas alone. my response is that you should always carry a stand alone compas if you will be really relying on it. They are light and cheep. You could fall and break your watch... run out of batteries... just bring a stand alone as backup and to just double check.

THANK - hope this helps.
Please Rate!

** Update
[...]
find your altitude for calibration and also a sunrise/set charts to test watch accuracy.
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86 of 99 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2010
I bought the Suunto Core all-black for my husband in February of 2010. He had wanted one for quite some time, but with all the negatives reviews about the watch malfunctions I was a little hesitant to get it for him. So far, so good though. It's working just as it should. My husband loves it. We have been on several trips and the altimeter is working great as is the ascend/descend feature. When we backpack, it's nice to have the thermostat on it and the north/south indicator. He uses the alarm clock everyday, and it works just fine. He has had no trouble with any of the features, and he uses a lot of them. He is mechanically inclined, though, and read the manual before setting everything so I'm not surprised it's working well for him. I know that some of the watches have had some problems in the past, but several of the reviews I read I think I would chalk up to user error. This is not a watch for someone who doesn't like to read the user guide. Once he got everything set, it's been great. The all-black watch face can be difficult to see in the sun as some reviews have noted, but what would you expect? My phone that isn't all-black is difficult to see in the sun. So if you're concerned about being able to see your watch in direct sun, don't buy this watch. But if you don't mind walking a few steps to find shade, then you shouldn't have a problem. All in all- great buy. My husband, the tech-geek/mountain man loves it. Oh, and the battery has been working just fine- haven't had to replace it yet. I know that was a problem noted in some reviews.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2010
The Suunto Core is great watch for anyone living in an area that doesn't observe daylight savings time. For someone with a penchant for outdoor activities, I recommend another brand.

After purchasing my core in June 2008, I've gone through the warranty replacement process 3 times. Having handled 3 Cores in a 2 year period, my experience with the flaws of the watch, and Suunto's customer service have been substantial.
-The middle function button on each watch failed after a few months of use. This is the button that allows you to switch from watch, to altimeter to compass and back. Without it, this is just a $300 watch. Oh, and this same button is what allows you to change the time should you change time zones or experience day light savings time.
-The compass is completely unreliable. The watch comes with instructions on setting declination and orienting the compass, but I found that even when done properly, the compass was often off by anywhere from 90 to 200 degrees. It was so unreliable, I resorted to carrying my old boy scout compass as backup just to be safe. Unacceptable from a device where this is billed as a core feature (no pun intended)
-Getting a replacement watch took 3+ months. TWICE!! Whatever problems Suunto is experiencing with the make of these watches isn't limited to quality control.
-The one feature of this watch that works consistently well is the Storm Alert feature. On each of the watches I've owned, this function has worked perfectly, consistently, regardless of the other flaws with the watch.

My experience with this watch is as follows:
- June 2008 - Purchased
- August 2008 - Compass stopped working properly.
- September 2008 - Function button stops responding.
- January 2009 - The replacement watch requested in September finally arrives.
- March 2009 - Function button stops working on watch #2.
- June 2009 - Second replacement watch arrives
- December 2009 - Function button stops working on watch #3
- March 2010 - Third replacement watch arrives
- April 2010 - Function button stops working on watch #4
- May 2010 - requested a different replacement watch

BOTTOM LINE - Avoid this watch.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2008
I was skeptical about getting the Suunto Core (Light Green) since there were some initial bad reviews noting poor battery life, broken buttons, bad lcd, etc. I'm happy to say that the watch I ordered has easily exceeded my expectations. My previous Suunto watch was the Vector, which served me well for 5 years. After water got into the watch I had to move on to the Casio Pathfinder. While the Pathfinder was a decent ABC watch, it simply never felt like a Suunto. The Core is an improvement over the Vector in almost every way. The size of the watch face is nearly identical, but the body is significantly thinner and lightweight. The black numbers on the white lcd background is the way to go. Be careful with Suunto's with the negative face as these can be notoriously hard to see especially in bright sunlight. The information presented on the face is easy to read with excellent contrast. Set up takes some time and reading the manual is a necessity. But once you get the hang of it, the buttons make a lot of sense. One thing I do miss is having the altimeter and barometer as separate functions. Here they're lumped together and you need to access the menu to choose. There's an auto-choose function, but I've found it to be hit or miss. I'm loving the sunrise/sunset function that gives you the exact times based on where you live. The storm warning alarm is also a Godsend, something I rely on when I'm out on my kayak far from camp. The compass has an awesome function that allows you to set a bearing. When you veer off this bearing an arrow points to where you need to turn. Very nice when the sun starts to set and you lose visibility of your terrain and have no landmarks to rely on. The backlight could be brighter, but it never posed a major problem for me. The strap is very comfortable and secure, worlds better than the lug-style band that comes with other Cores.

Beware the premium price you would pay for other Core models. Besides cosmetic differences with the bezel, band and color, they are all functionally the same watch. While many people believe since the Light Green is the cheapest it must be the base model. Truth is there is no difference aside from appearance between the Cores. If you like the orange color and want to spend $150+ more, go right ahead. But that extra cash could be used to buy a hiking pack, trail shoes, sunglasses, etc. Spend your money wisely.

One last thing ... Something that Suunto doesn't state in the manual is that you can change the contrast of your Core's lcd display. Here are the instructions I found on the Suunto online forums:

*NOTE* In order to change the contrast on your Core you will need to put it in sleep mode and this will erase all logs! 1. Press and hold the upper left, lower left, upper right and lower right buttons until 'SUUNTO' appears on the display. 2. When the display is blank press the upper left button once - 'SUUNTO' will appear on the screen 3. While 'SUUNTO' is still displayed press and hold the upper left button 4. Highlight the 'contrast' option then press the middle right button. 5. Change the contrast using the upper right and lower right buttons 6. Press the lower left then upper left buttons to exit.
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