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on February 21, 2005
I've owned the Suunto Vector for more than three years after purchasing it when I first became interested in adventure racing. While many top racers wear it, I would highly recommend it for the serious hiker, climber or backcountry skier for it's solid construction, design and versatility.

While I also wear this as my everyday watch, it's extra large size should be taken into consideration if that's something you have in mind.

There are a couple other brands available in this market segment, but the relatively low price and exceptional feature set are what continues to set this tool apart from the crowd.

Here's what you should know:
* Expect to replace the battery at least once a year. This is due to a number of reasons, one of which is the powerful backlight on the face that when activated can nearly illuminate the inside of a small tent at night. If you believe the manufacturer's warnings and want to play it safe, you may want to have this procedure performed by a professional (watch, not outdoor) shop. Suunto sells a battery pack that comes with a replacement seal and screw-in back, and this is definitely something to consider every other replacement opportunity, but you can get by with a lower-cost Duracell type 2430 3V lithium if you're on a budget.
* The altimeter is one of the strongest features, allowing you to quickly pinpoint your location on a topo map. However, plan to reset it regularly, especially after a plane ride or frequent and significant changes in altitude, or weather. This is rather easy as along as you have a confirmed location metric, but you have to remember to do it regularly to ensure the greatest accuracy. The 24-hour memory provides a total measurement of your ups and downs (ascents and descents) over that time period, a really cool record for runners, mountain bikers and skiers.
* The compass is one of the strongest in this class of devices, which to be sure isn't the greatest to begin with ... but even the serious orienteerer would be impressed. The ability to adjust for local declination is really nice.
* The barometer is good, but not great. However, if you want to be aware of potential weather changes, this will provide you with some peace of mind. Better to be safe than sorry (or worse) in this regard.
* The thermometer isn't accurate at all unless you take the watch off for 15-20 minutes or so to eliminate the warming effect of your skin/body temperature.
* Some of the controls and settings are not easy to comprehend or remember. I've never been able to figure out how to use the stopwatch, timer and lap features. If you're a swimmer or triathlete and this is important to you, look to the Timex Ironman standby.
* Waterproofing is rock solid. No worries.
* The soft-rubber watchband is comfortable to wear, but will deteriorate over time, even more rapidly in chlorine. Suunto offers a much lighter nylon/velcro alternative that I personally prefer.

Overall, I really like the Vector. But for a number of reasons already mentioned, would not feel comfortable giving it a perfect 5.0 score. But consider my 4.0 more like a 4.7 ... you can't go wrong here.
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VINE VOICEon April 2, 2006
This may be the 'outdoorsy' ubergeek watch. It's big, it's ugly, but has functions to make the fattest Swiss Army Knife sit in the corner sobbing in jealousy. Overall, I like it but there are a couple of things that sound better than they are.

The timepiece: Outstanding. It has HH:MM:SS DD:MMM, of course, with a year setting to avoid leap year issues. This should go without saying in a modern digital watch. Stopwatch with lap function (not that I ever use the lap function, but I'm sure someone is interested). Countdown timer that can run up to a 24 hour countdown (very easy to set). Three daily alarms. Special kudos for the alarms, this is one of the loudest watch alarms I've heard, and I've missed too many watch alarms to not appreciate this.

The Altimeter: largely eye candy, but kind of neat. Over four days, my bedroom went from 100m above sea level to 25 m below sea level (by the maps, about 40m ASL). Not surprising because it is driven by the barometer, and I never recalibrated it, but a graphic demonstration of the importance of calibrating it when you want/need it.

The Barometer: Yup, it's a barometer. The part I like is the little display that shows the rising/falling trend, especially as this is always active (even in normal 'time' mode).

The Thermometer: Take the watch off to get an accurate reading as the sensor is too close to the wrist.

The compass: Easily the best 'special' feature. Accurate, precise (enough for orienteering, not for surveying), easy to use. It can be programmed for a declination, but knowing me, I'd forget to reset it, so I do declination the hard way. The sighting notches are small but servicable. The spirit level bubble is unique among digital watch compasses to Suunto, and greatly enhances accuracy and confidence in the compass. An outstanding wrist compass.

The package: Big. Really, really big. But the controls are very easy to use and seem fairly resistant to accidental button pressing (a problem for me with other watches). The battery has a shortish (12-18 month) life, but has a hatch, so you don't need to take it to a jeweller to get it replaced without ruining the water resistance. The display has large characters and high contrast to the back ground, and the display light is just right, readible, even, and glare free, but not an emergency flashlight. Personally, I'm going to swap the resin band for a velcro strap, but the stock strap isn't bad, just not great.

Overall, not a watch for the office or a suit but very good as a watch, compass and barometer, and about what you could expect as a thermometer and altimeter. Well designed, thought-out, and manufactured, but really big.
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on August 28, 2003
I had a Suunto for 10 months. The face scratched VERY easily which was disappointing. However the worst thing is after swimming in a pool that I could stand up in the watch FILLED with water and died. On returning to Suunto they refused to fix it under warrantee because swimming is not covered ! They say the forces created by swimming are to much for this watch and it was never designed for this purpose, despite the sales literature saying it is water proof to 100m. I WOULD NEVER BUY ANOTHER SUUNTO PRODUCT. Whatsmore the shop I bought it from say they have lots returned for the same reason and non of them were fixed under warranty either. It is also very difficult to use and you cannot hear the alarm at all.
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on May 5, 2011
23 years of Army service and 4 Suunto watches. Cheap G-Shock watches have lasted much much longer! I have had to replace 5 bands all in the period of 4 -5 months. I have had 3 of the 4 Suunto's shut down in less the 30 feet of water. (Suunto claims they are water resistant to 80 meters on thier advertising however when you return them after they stop working in less then 10 meters they claim the warranty does not cover swimming. Hmmmmmmm swimmers and divers usually look at the water resitance of a watch to mean they are water resitant while swimming. Unless I am messed up and doing it most people wear the watch on thier wrist or do they just drop it down in the water and go back to check to see how deep it is or how much time they have spent in the water. Anyway, enough ranting on a cheaply made but exspensive watch that the company does not care enough about it's customers to replace or fix it under warranty. Thanks Suunto........G-shock has won my service back.
Suunto Core Wrist-Top Computer Watch with Altimeter, Barometer, Compass, and Depth Measurement
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on September 14, 2005
... and buy a GPS instead. I agree with previous reviewer (Dave57), I WOULD NEVER BUY A SUUNTO AGAIN. Worst than Dave, I simply got caught in heavy rain during a hike and my Vector was full of water, couldn't even tell the time. I send it to Suunto Finland for repair and they say that it leaked from the housing and "kindly" offered a repair for 140 Euros.
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on July 31, 2007
I got a vector 3 years ago and was very pleased with it most of the time. The altimiter is not very useful because it is based off barometric pressure so your reading will vary wildly and you need to keep resetting it. The big flaw with this watch is that in 3 years the face has broken twice. The first time the bezel broke off. Luckly it was still under warranty and they replaced it. Now the faceplate has cracked and is letting moisture in. I don't use the watch for any crazy sports, it's just my everyday watch so the fact that it is broken astounds me. Sunnto have a minimum $85 repair charge, which could go up, so at this stage I'm bowing out with two watch failures in 3 years.
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on August 23, 2013
I have owned a Suunto Vector watch for 12 years. I would not recommend it at all. The failures in the watch are as follows:

1. The bubble to level the compass quickly vanished
2. The backlight soon failed after that
3. The numerals on the exterior wore off without much wear
4. The design of the shell means that a new battery back and seal is required each time a battery is replaced (this is bad design, where soft plastic is used in a role requiring mechanical strength)
5. The compass was not reliable, even when calibrated and corrected for location
6 Last Straw - The watch has leaked water, (probably through the casing) and may never work again.

This was not a cheap watch when purchased. Why is it so hard for designers and manufacturers to design good products? I know the watch is a few years old, but the latest versions available look much the same as my version.

Hopefully Suunto pay attention to this feedback.

Stuart Mackie
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on January 20, 2013
The watch generally works okay for backpacking and higher altitude hiking (my uses) until it fails. One quirk: The ones I have had always understate the altitude by 100-200 feet after climbing more than a few thousand feet. The error compounds above 10,000 feet even if you adjust the master settings. That I am on watch number five over a 12 years period is the problem: these watches fail sooner rather than later. The plactic that holds the crystal in place will crack and leak under normal use. The watch will get permanently stuck in a setting. The electronics will just go nuts until they fail entirely. Since I have found no better watch brand than Suunto I rely on my Garmin GPS more and more these days. When the one I have dies (and the case is cracking!),that is it.
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on September 27, 2012
I bought this watch with the HR monitor addition. I'm in the Army and I thought this watch would be a great asset to have with me on the Medevac. I couldn't be more wrong than if I went into war with empty mags. The heart rate sensor worked only once and that was indoors with no sweat involved. The day I got it was the last day it ever worked. The compass, now that's an issue that that is unacceptable. It constantly quit regestering after walking only 10 feet. I was trying to be patient and give the piece of junk a minute to get it's bearing. It did, I think, I didn't have a second compass to verify at the moment in my yard. I walked a few feet in a strait line and once again it went blank. I'm too pissed off at this point to even consider trying any of the other functions. I now have a 400 dollar stopwatch that might be able to tell me if I'm running up hill or down, who knows.

That lens protector that they offer, and yes I bought it to "protect my so-called do-it-all watch", is the dumbest crap I have ever seen. It's a 1/4" thick piece of clear silicone that sets on top of the display. It's hard to see the data being displayed on a good day when it is dry and clean. Everything can get under it and cause more damage to the crystal and makes it impossible to read anything on the watch.

I have to say I'm sorry that I bought into the hype and listened to my fellow soldiers who are also starting to have the same issues with their Sunto's as well. Finland, you should be ashamed to have your name on this klind of performance.
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on August 26, 2008
The Vector is a good watch for anyone with a sweet tooth for cool gadgets. It is a comfortable and capable watch, but for the price I would have to say I expected a little more. I have had my watch for about 3 weeks and have 2 negative thigs to say about it thus far. The first day I had the watch I somehow scratched the face IN THE that happened I have no idea, so I have been VERY careful to not let the watch touch anything, but I am afraid that as soon as I get used to it and start wearing it like I should it is going to take a beating and who knows how it will come out. Second, the altimeter is very shifty. I have to reset it about every third time I look at it. I have read the instruction book and have been doing everything as it states, but cannot get it to function properly. Being in the military (NAVY) I spend most of my time at sea level, so I check it every time I am significantly higher than sea level, and it is almost always wrong, WAY WRONG.
The compass is nice and pretty accurate, thermometer is a little unreasonable (must take watch off for 15 minutes to get an accurate reading), and barometer is fairly accurate, but overall I had to go with a rating of 3.
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