- Jun 27, 2014 at 3:59 am #1318398
As per the title, what do you guys think is the best watch with a thermometer and altimeter? I read some good things about the Suunto Core but I've read a few reports the altimeter wasn't accurate and the thermometer was giving the body temperature rather than the temperature outside. Are there actually accurate devices like this on the market?
Maybe it will be better to carry a separate thermometer.Jun 27, 2014 at 5:17 am #2115085
Any wrist watch will need to be removed from the wrist to collect an ambient temperature.
I have been using the Core for almost the last 2 years and overall am happy with it. The altimeter is as accurate as I would expect.
I will say that at around freezing the backlight acts funny though. Not what I would expect from a $300 watch. Other than this though I have no complaints.
Some nice additions would be that it was solar powered and reset by an atomic clock.Jun 27, 2014 at 5:28 am #2115088Franco DarioliBPL Member
@francoLocale: Gauche, CU.
I'm happy with my Casio Pathfinder too.
I have used the built in light at around 20f but as Chad pointed out you need to remove it from your wrist to get the right temp.
This summer I managed to get the display to completely bleed (went all black) at 55c (131f) , two other thermometers confirmed that temperature.
It recovered within minutes of taking it away from direct sun.
The altimeter on several occasion was pretty close to that of other watches and my Kestrel.Jun 27, 2014 at 6:17 am #2115096
Hey Chad, what do you mean by the altimeter was "as accurate as you would expect"? I've never had something like this before.Jun 27, 2014 at 6:35 am #2115099
I mean I dont expect precise measurements from something as simple as a watch. However, unless the weather is all over the place, the readings are pretty consistent, and IME mostly reliable.
I generally only carry map profiles when on the AT, or other well used trails. I plot my whereabouts by my speed, terrain, and by comparing the reading on my watch with the elevation profile. This works well enough for me.Jun 27, 2014 at 7:10 am #2115104
Thanks for the info Chad.Jun 27, 2014 at 7:27 am #2115106Bob BankheadBPL Member
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
Unlike GPS-based altimeters, those watches use a barometric altimeter, so the reading changes as the weather does.
You need to check, and if needed, re-set it periodically as you reach points of known elevation. I also write down the reading when I stop for the day, and re-set the reading to that value before leaving camp the next morning. That adjusts for any difference in barometric pressure that occurred during the night.
I have worn an Avocet Alpine for 20+ years, and the reading is almost always +/- 100 feet of published altitudes; usually +/- 20 feet. It has always worked well – unless the battery gets cold or weak. Then the altimeter gives "funny" readings; sometimes negative values or simply refuses to be re-set beyond a few hundred feet. Everything else works fine. I've learned the hard way to send it to the service center every two years for a new battery, and to keep it in my sleeping bag or on my wrist at night.Jun 27, 2014 at 7:51 am #2115110Scott MusackMember
I prefer the Casio pathfinder as it is solar powered and has proven, anecdotaly, to be more rugged than the Suunto. My adventure buddy has the Suunto and it failed the water proof test during a kayaking trip. He had it repaired, but it still doesn't function reliably. The barometer is really flaky and it chews through batteries pretty fast.
My casio is very waterproof. I wear it kayaking, whitewater rafting and of course backpacking in crummy weather. The altimeter is typically +-20' even though I rarely re-calibrate it. As mentioned elsewhere, if the weather is wonky, I'll re-calibrate.
I attach the watch to the chest strap of my pack so I can get reliable temperature readings. Any watch on your wrist is going to be about 10-15 deg high.
The Suunto is pretty sexy styling wise though, I'll give it that.Jun 27, 2014 at 7:54 am #2115112Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
I have a Highgear from 2006 and is us usually +- 50 feet. As for the thermometer is is accurate as long as it is off the wrist.Jun 27, 2014 at 10:09 am #2115164Mitchell EbbottSpectator
You might check out the Casio SGW300HB for just $43. It doesn't have a compass, just the altimeter/barometer and thermometer, but for $100 less than a Pathfinder I'd gladly carry an old-school magnetic compass.Jun 27, 2014 at 10:40 am #2115169
Scott, if your friend has had that many issues with the Core, it sounds like he needs to send it back in. I have done lots of swimming, both in fresh water and saltwater, while wearing mine and have had no issues whatsoever. I have even changed the battery, and the gasket is still holding up perfectly.
In my experience, the battery lasts right at a year, so its not the best, but I am happy with it considering all that the watch does. The nice thing is I can change the battery out myself, with no special tools, and the batteries are inexpensive and easy to find.Jun 27, 2014 at 11:17 am #2115178Matt AllenBPL Member
Another vote for the Suunto Core here. Mine has been through a lot, and still works fantastically. If you want something a little nicer looking, check out the Suunto X6M. If you time it right, you can get it on ebay for around $100.Jun 27, 2014 at 1:04 pm #2115225Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I have the original Suunto and it EATS batteries.
I'm getting the Casio Pathfinder B/CI know it will be higher quality and waterproof. (I sea kayak too and need that feature.)Jun 27, 2014 at 5:01 pm #2115290Todd TBPL Member
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
"I also write down the reading when I stop for the day, and re-set the reading to that value before leaving camp the next morning. That adjusts for any difference in barometric pressure that occurred during the night."
One thing I like best about the Core is its "auto" mode, where it tries to figure out whether pressure changes are due to elevation changes or weather changes. It keys on the rate of change and how long it's been since there was "no change" beyond a threshold. It does an amazingly good job in my experience. It recognizes when I'm stationary and assigns the slow pressure changes to the barometer. I rarely need to recalibrate in the morning.Jun 27, 2014 at 5:30 pm #2115292Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
When I bought my Suunto Vector in 2006 I looked at the Casio Pathfinder. I went with the Suunto because the display and the font is very large and readable, a real plus for me in two different use cases: when I cannot find my glasses and when I am trying to read the watch with my very dark prescription glacier glasses.
Yes the altimeter needs to be calibrated every day or so.
Yes the battery runs low when you the compass a lot.
Yes to measure the ambient temperature you have to remove it from your wrist or strap the outside of several layers of insulation. Otherwise you are just measuring the temperature a few micro millimeters from your body.
But in 8 plus years, I have only put two batteries in the Suunto.
Dropped it numerous times. Waded through streams and rivers. It keeps on ticking.
I suggest you go to one or two local shops and check out the watches you are interested in and see if you can find a bearing, tell time, set the alarm without reading a 50 page manual. I had owned a Casio and wanted to like the Pathfinder but for the reasons stated in the first sentence, did not choose Casio.
The only thing i can fault the Suunto on is the alarm is very faint.Jun 27, 2014 at 6:55 pm #2115312M GBPL Member
Avocet: Had one for a few years in the mid 90's. Great user interface and functionality. Never tested the accuracy intensively. Seemed to be good. Battery change required sending away and was costly. Sold it.
In 1999 I bought a first generation Suunto altimeter without a digital compass. Not sure the name of the model, but equivalent to today's Spartan. It has been on everyone one of my outdoor adventure since then. It's robust to say the least. It does require a battery change every couple of years. But that's why Radio Shack is still in business. Accuracy is good if one makes a habit of calibrating at known elevations. It does a good job of tracking atmospheric pressure changes. It has several alarms and everything a digital watch typically has. I can only imagine newer models have gotten more accurate but I'm happy this one has lasted so long. When I replace it I hope it will be for a watch that can also provide a horizontal position in a coordinate system of my choice and has a long lasting battery. In the meantime my Suunto is beat up but still working so…Jun 27, 2014 at 7:14 pm #2115318Mobile CalculatorSpectator
…Jun 27, 2014 at 7:19 pm #2115322terry a thompsonBPL Member
so you got a lemon! that makes all Suunto's bad?Jun 27, 2014 at 7:58 pm #2115338Roger CaffinModerator
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> the Casio SGW300HB for just $43. It doesn't have a compass, just the
> altimeter/barometer and thermometer,
Grotesque case, but NO compass? Wonderful! Yeah, I'm serious.
Those wristwatch compasses are very unreliable: North wanders all around (+/- 20 degrees) when you tilt the watch. Yes, I sat down with a couple and tested them very carefully some years ago. The defect is inherent in the 2D design found in all watch compasses. More marketing spin. And, the compass part is seriously hungry on battery.
So when someone makes a watch without the extra crap, my plaudits to them.
CheersJun 27, 2014 at 7:58 pm #2115339
Roger, I know you said you didn't want a debate, so this isn't a debate… but I gotta say that my Suunto Core is not temperature biased as you said your's was. Mine consistently reads the same temperature as some outdoor thermometers that I have compared it with, as well as the thermostat inside my house (even at this very moment).
Yes, I own the watch, but please don't think that I am defending it (as a fanboy) for no other reason than that. For my needs, it has been reliable, and I feel confident that I will get a number of years yet out of it. I have only changed the battery in mine once, and that was right at the 1 year mark. I am curious to see when I have to change it again since who knows how long it was boxed before I got it… Also, as I mentioned, I do wish that it was solar charged, and ran off of the atomic clocks (not that keeping time has been an issue), so it is not "perfect" (and I am pretty sure no other anything is either).
If mine were to break right now, I honestly don't know if I would go with another one, or try one of the Pathfinders, which was the alternate choice when I got the Core. A big deciding factor for me when I got it was that I found the Core at a pretty decent discount.Jun 27, 2014 at 10:00 pm #2115371
Wow, lots to read here. Thanks a lot for the information everyone.Jun 27, 2014 at 11:49 pm #2115380Mark FowlerBPL Member
In recognition of the issues with digital compasses the Suunto Vector has a bubble level on the dial so that you can get the watch horizontal for reasonably accurate results. Few, if any, other watches do so.
As to altimeters that work using barometric pressure – the user needs to calibrate it once or twice a day when you are at a known altitude – if you don't then any error is user error and not attributable to the device.
I think that any device that is strapped to the wrist is the wrong device for measuring temperature. I carry a separate thermometer – Garmin Tempe for 24 hour min-max and can read it from both my Etrex 30 or my phone. I can even set up the Etrex to act as a temperature data logger.Jun 28, 2014 at 1:02 am #2115383hwc 1954Member
The new Garmin fenix 2 has a 3D magnetic compass. It's stable no matter how you tilt or rotate the watch. There's a calibration process that involves rotating the watch 360 degrees in all three planes.
The watch can display magnetic north, or true north based on the most recent GPS location, or north with a user-input declination adjustment.Jun 28, 2014 at 1:34 am #2115387Roger CaffinModerator
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
OK, it has a 3D magnetic field sensor. An improvement.
I note the following minor defects however:
Price: around $500. Blimey!
"water rated to 5 ATM (50 meters)" does not mean 'waterproof'. These are KNOWN weasel words the watch industry agrees to use and not call each other out on. Yes, 'waterproof' does have a clear legal meaning. 'Showerproof' is about all you could legally claim inho.
"a battery life of up to 50 hours in GPS mode (depending on settings) and up to 5 weeks in watch mode." Oh WOW. So you get to carry a few spare batteries with you at all times, and practice changing them in the field.
Yours, cynicallyJun 28, 2014 at 8:52 am #2115422Woubeir (from Europe)BPL Member
So it adjusts automatically the measured pressure at a fixed altitude ? Well, maybe that is not as good. My altimeter is also being used as a weather evolution instrument and a change in pressure at a fixed elevation, might show how the weather will evolve.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.