The Core has been a staple in Suuntoís product range for a number of years and looking at the features, itís easy to see why.
- Altimeter with altitude log memory and altitude difference measurement
- Barometer with storm alarm and weather trend indicator
- Automatic Alti / Baro switch
- Compass with semi automatic calibration and a digital bearing
- Depth meter
- Multiple watch, date and alarm functions with dual time and countdown timer
- Sunrise/Sunset times for over 400 locations worldwide
- Digital thermometer
- Menu based user interface in English, German, French and Spanish
- Available in a range of styles
- Accessory straps
- User-replaceable battery
The Core that Iíve been sent is the Anniversary Edition in Lava Red (essentially the same as the Lava Red Core but with a black screen). The watch does look good and itís hardly left my wrist since arriving, giving me a good opportunity to test it. I am a little disappointed with the ruggedness, or lack of. I managed to chip the casing quite quickly and it now is quite scratched on both the casing and the screen Ė this however has no effect on viewing the screen.
The Core looks quite big however does not feel as heavy as some watches and is a joy to use. The screen is easy to read, even in bright sunlight, and the back light ensures that night time viewing is no issue. I have had one brief moment of condensation when descending in Scotland, this only lasted a few moments though and Iíve not seen it since.
The layout of the screen is essentially in 5 sections.The top row is mainly symbols telling you the weather trend, alarm status, button lock etc, the second row is for use in Compass, Barometer, Altimeter mode to show the time, there is then the large main display line. At the bottom of the screen is additional functionality such as date, alarm etc and around the outside of the watch is either menu options or the seconds ďhandĒ.
The features of the Core are fairly standard in outdoor watches Ė a clock, compass, barometer and altimeter form the foundation of the watch and other features tend to build on it. There are also the usual functions such as stopwatch, countdown and alarm plus a sunrise/sunset option which I use a great deal. One function I do like a lot is the ability to lock the buttons, this avoids inadvertently starting/stopping operations or changing modes whilst scrambling around.
The menu took me a little while to fully get my head around as Iím used to having each set of features/functions with the correct area ie all the compass settings with the compass. Instead of this, Suunto have placed one menu, accessible from any core screens, that holds all of the features. The menu is quite intuitive once you start using it although I did find it much easier after reading the manual and familiarising myself with the features to expect.
Altimeter contains the usual features of logging ascent/descent as well as showing current and maximum height and average ascent/descent speeds. The graphing feature means that only a quick glance is needed to see your progress. It is also easy to calibrate or set the starting height but you will need to go through the menu settings to do this.
I like barometers on watches, my previous watch had a nice graph and it made weather predicting that little bit easier whilst out and about. The core does have this but only shows two little arrows as an indication, whilst this realistically is all you need I find it reassuring to have a graph for the past several hours to see the fronts building or dropping. The storm warning feature is excellent as the watch will bleep if the pressure is changing rapidly. Another nice extra is the ability to automatically swap between altimeter and barometer depending on whether youíre moving.Inactivity will put the watch into barometer mode and it will switch back as soon as you start walking again.
Iíve always been a bit dubious of electronic compasses, there something immensely satisfying about having a mechanical compass pointing to north, this wonít change and usually when walking Iíve one glued into my hand or in a nearby pocket. I did find the core compass accurate though every time I compared the reading with the trusty mechanical one. You can set the watch to track a bearing either by site lock or by setting the bearing but this does rely on keeping the watch flat, similar to old fashioned compasses.
There are other features but these are the ones I use the most and they do work well.I like the fact that you can change the battery yourself, although Iíve not done this yet,it is due so Iíll update with how that went in the near future.
Overall - a solid, comfortable watch with all the features you would expect of an outdoor watch plus a few extras, build quality is reasonable but could be slightly more scratch resistant for the money.
Fit for Purpose Ė 4/5
Versatility Ė 4/5
Durability Ė 3/5
Value for money Ė 3.5/5
Overall Ė 3.5/5