Gadgets 473

Published on July 22nd, 2009 | by Greg


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.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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