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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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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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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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on October 23, 2010
The Suunto Core Extreme is a positive display Core model from the "Extreme" line of Suunto Core. The most obvious difference between the Extreme line of Core's and the other standard Core models is the fixed lower profile bezel.

My first impression of the Extreme silver model is that the stock Suunto pics dont do the watch justice. Its a very cool looking Suunto. The silver on the bezel is more of a flat metallic aluminum look, not silver paint. The bezel has 4 recessed torx bolts that hold the bezel in place. The black holes are contrasted nicely on the silver bezel. I like the way the bezel is contrasted with a inner black tapered ring that flows into the crystal. This black ring has yellow labeling and top and bottom yellow hash marks. The shade of yellow is "Lance Armstrong Nike" yellow. Its a very nice color and really sets off the watch. The bezel hash marks are recessed down to let water easilly run off the top of the crystal. You can also use these recessed hash marks like rifle sites to line up your direction for setting your bearing lock on the compass. It works very well for this.(Suunto was thinking with this design.)

The Extreme Core bezel gives the watch the lowest wrist profile than any other Core model. It is very noticeable with a long sleeve jacket. I love the design.
The fixed bezel gives the Core a more solid-as-a-rock feel than my Core models with ratchet bezels. The positive display is crystal clear and can be read 10 feet across the room. It blends very well with the silver bezel. My factory contrast was set at 4 and did not need to be adjusted. Absolutely no display ghosting. The buttons are checkered the same as the All Black Core model.

My serial number is 017#####. This means it was made the 17 week (end of April) in the year 2010. The factory elastomer strap is the same as the All Black Core with black buckle. I put a light black elastomer strap on the Silver Extreme as pictured. For those that are new to Suunto, the "Light Black Elastomer" strap has slots cut out all the way to the head of the watch and allows maximum airflow. I recomend it for warm weather and maximum comfort.

The back light was a pleasant surprise to me because it is the brightest back light I have seen on a Core model. This could just be luck??

I put my Silver Extreme though its water torture test as well as all its accurate test. It passed with flying colors. In "Depth" profile the watch read 1 foot at exactly 12" of water submerging. I then soaked the watch in 33 degree ice water for 20 minutes while pressing buttons under water. Altitude and barometer test came up accurate with my other ABC watches. The "Auto" profile switched profiles after 25-30 feet altitude change in a 3 minute time. That is spot on.

The Extreme Silver Core model is a very attractive/sporty model that looks and feels very high quality. Its positive face is THE easiest to read in any light or angle. Its lower profile would look at home in the office or in the woods and would fit under long sleeve jackets/shirts better than other Core models. It is a great looking model that functions as well as it looks.
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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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on June 5, 2010
This watch does not provide new innovations from the current CORE line.. but it delivers what previous models have done so well with an updated exterior. The band is extremely comfortable and the silver face with blackout screws is very attractive. The positive display is much easier to read in the daylight as compared to models with the negative/military display (acknowledging these version to look very nice but only under the right light conditions) Make no mistake, this watch will cover up most of your wrist, but its not over-the-top big. This is the first CORE watch that I have owned, but am impressed with following:

1. Digital display of the 'second hand" through perimeter hash marks
2. Sunrise/Sunset calculations available at bottom of watch by inputing the city you live in
3. Approaching storm alarm through monitoring of falling barometric pressure
4. Stopwatch/Countdown timer easy to get to through main screen
5. Accurate compass once you correctly calibrate and enter magnetic deviation for your location

This watch won't record workout/trecking data like the X and T series, so if you are looking for that you should not consider this watch. However, if you are looking for an attractive version of the CORE with no frills A, B, C, D functionality, you should consider this watch.
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on March 20, 2010
About 2 months ago my G-Shock was stolen at the gym, and as disappointed as I was to lose it, it finally gave me an excuse to get a Suunto. The Core wasn't originally my first choice, but it has proven to be a good one. My job (Marine M1A1 mechanic) requires that my gear be tough, and after 2 months without leaving my wrist, it looks the same as the day I bought it. It is packed with features, many I probably won't ever use, but it is very easy to navigate through the various menus and features. Set up was a cinch as well, it probably took no more than 5 minutes to set up the whole watch the way I needed it. I would recommend this watch to anyone with an active outdoor lifestyle, in the military, or merely in need of a tough, feature-packed, and attractive watch.


I have had the watch for a year and a half now and it is still going strong. It has survived a deployment to Afghanistan with only very minor scratches on the bezel ring. I cannot express how impressed I am with this watch. It has survived large explosions from close range, extreme heat (both from the Middle East and from the turbine engines I work on, very fine dust, impacts, etc. This thing has never skipped a beat.
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on January 28, 2015
This watch has so much potential. But unless you are always in a highly lit area the display becomes unusable. Maybe if the numbers were digitally lit and not back lit, I would have been able to make it do. But for that reason only, I have returned this one and have purchased the non black face hoping for better results. Attached are pictures of inside outside and no light using the back light feature on high contrast setting. It is there you just have to zoom in to see it.

Update: I exchanged the Sahara Yellow with the Lava Red. Very pleased with this. I can actually function with the non all black format.
Pictures Show Inside Outside and Backlight Image. Side by Side comparison
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on November 12, 2010
I got the Core in Dec. 2009. About 8 months later pixels in the AM/PM area of the display as well as a horizontal line simply no longer functioned. I dropped it off at my local Tourneau dealer for service (I bought it off Amazon). The watch was still under warranty and Tourneau shipped if off for service (I felt customer service at Tourneau was top notch). I got the watch back today. They replaced the entire watch except for the band. Everything looked in order (display was looking good) until I tried out the illumination button. Alas, the pixels work, but now the illumination is not working correctly. It is very dim (I changed the batteries to see if that was the problem) and the illumination is not uniform. You can read it but with difficulty. As the watch before the service had a great illumination I know something is wrong. I'm going to have to take the watch back tomorrow and have them send it back. In essence I've received two watches and both have had serious problems.

This is an update. Today is 8-1-11. My watch's LED died again. As always my local Tourneau was very helpful even though I bought the watch from Amazon. I got a new watch a few days ago. So far it is working. To sum up, this is my 4th watch (initial purchase and three replacements). Hopefully this one will work for the long haul. All the watches they've provided use a lot of battery, batteries on this model need to be replaced every 4 months.
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on July 1, 2009
Got my Core to use mostly for hiking, sailing and daily use. Looks good (although had few friends make comment that now when I am wearing that watch they can see me 3 miles down the road - making fun of the size) The watch is surprisingly light and good looking. After that its not so hot. My watch lasted for about 7 months when my lower right button became stacked and pushed in. Watch became unusable and even thought in warranty I had to pay $50 dollars to have it replaced. (warranty fee - what???)

I am very disappointed with the quality of the watch. The functions are not as precise as I expected (altimeter, compass are really good only as a rough estimate). Hope you have a better luck. I am selling my new unit ASAP and looking at different makers.
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