Published on July 22nd, 2009 | by Greg0
Two Watches, Two Neat Technologies: Suunto
So many folks out there are wearing plain old watches, or none at all. It’s a pity, since there are so many neat timepieces available- and you don’t even need to spend the big bucks on a fancy hand-made model. We mention this, having recently traveled to Switzerland in order to truly test out some of our gear, and having looked at Patek Phillipe and all of the rest. Our conclusion: it’s far cooler to wear a Suunto today or Phosphor watch tomorrow, and you won’t need to insure it or worry too much about actually wearing it.
Suunto makes not only a variety of different diving, sports, and recreational watches, but accessories as well. We’ve been trying out the t4c Black Volcano, in stylish red and black, along with the optional Foot POD. Basically, the watch offers pretty much everything your average biker or runner would want or need- things like heart rate monitoring and even heart rate alarms for when you’re pushing a bit hard, along with a real-time calories-burned approximator, dual times, stopwatch functions with splits and laps, and a reasonably loud and flexible set of alarms. The included comfort belt is interesting, and works fairly well- an easy-to-use addition that you’ll need to use for accurate heart-rate monitoring. It slips across the chest, and communicates wirelessly with your watch, and is both comfortable and light weight. Another added bonus, heavily touted, is the Coach program- the logbook tracks your athletic endeavors over up to six months, but the Coach suggests workout plans. We found them, along with the connected Training Effect measurements, to be only marginally useful, suggesting activities that were perhaps not what we had in mind, though giving a fairly good indication of workout difficulty and providing an incentive to exercise regularly. The screen scratched a little too easily, but we loved the band and nicely-sized display.
The Suunto Foot POD is a cute way for you to toss your separate pedometer and track your workout on your watch. Easy to use- simply clip the holder to your shoelaces- the device monitors your footsteps, even if stride length varies. In practice, we were able to fool it, but were generally surprised at the accuracy- in real world tests versus a normal pedometer, it was closer to the real number of steps by a reasonable percentage. The battery is long-lasting, with no problems during our testing, and is easily replaceable. We liked the colors- ours was red and you can also get yellow- and the very sturdy build of the device. Compatible not just with the t4c, you can also use it with the t3c and t6c. There are also other pods available that can communicate with your watch- a GPS pod offers a bit more versatility, say for roller-blading, while there are some neat accessories for bikers like the Road Bike and Cadence PODs. At around $200 for the watch and $90 or so for the Foot POD, you should be sure that you like the style and fit of the system before making the investment- but for any runner, jogger, or active type who wants information on their fitness, Suunto offers a pretty great array of options.