Suunto Core

Review by planetFear
Tuesday 26th May 2009

The Core from Suunto (model shown: Alu / Brown)

Finland's well known manufacturer of sports instruments, Suunto, have recently launched the replacement for their legendary and popular Vector altimeter watch. The Core is a more stylish device than its predecessor, departing from its bulky design for an altogether sleeker and more contemporary image. In terms of functions, the Core has taken the blueprint for the portable Altimeter/Barometer/Compass device a stage further with the introduction of a storm alarm, a clever feature that sets off an alarm when the pressure decreases above a certain rate over a three hour period. This feature alone makes the Core worth every bit of its £200 price tag, if you're going on a serious expedition where even small changes in the weather may have a huge impact on decision making. Below is a brief summary of all the Core's features:


Accurate to 30,000 feet, it displays your current elevation,
shows how much you’ve climbed or descended, and records your entire session for later analysis. It displays elevation gained and lost between a given point and your current position. It also includes a clever 'start-from-zero' function that eliminates the need for entering a reference altitude. With the push of a button, the altimeter will begin tracking your ascent and descent.


The Core barometer measures and records air pressure to help you predict changing conditions.

Auto Alti/Baro

An altimeter measures air pressure to determine altitude, while a barometer measures air pressure to determine barometric pressure. If you leave your watch in altimeter mode while hanging out at camp, an incoming low-pressure front will read as a gain in altitude. Thus, it’s important to choose the right mode for your activity: altimeter for climbing, and barometer for hanging out at camp. The Core makes it easy to manually choose the proper mode for your activity. The Suunto Core features an automatic Alti/Baro mode that senses movement or lack thereof, switching between altimeter and barometer accordingly. When you’re climbing, it records changes in elevation. And when you stop to rest, it records changes in barometric pressure. A drop in air pressure while you’re sleeping under the stars will be recorded for what it really is: a change in barometric pressure, not altitude.

Weather Trend Indicator

This neat feature shows the barometric history for the last three and six hours, helping you predict the weather with amazing accuracy. What’s more, it’s not a regional forecast posted earlier in the day, but rather, the most current information about the weather directly overhead.

Storm Alarm

Activated by a rapid drop in air pressure over a three-hour period, the Storm Alarm sounds and flashes, letting you know that something unpleasant is fast approaching.


With the digital compass on the Core you can set and follow a bearing with a traditional rotating bezel, or simply point the top of the watch toward your intended destination and lock it in.


Another trick features allows you to set your continent, region and
city, and the watch then indicates how much daylight remains.

Depth Meter

For surfing or shallow diving, the Suunto Core shifts from air to water pressure, providing accurate depth readings to 10 meters / 30 feet.

Chronograph / Countdown Timer / Dual Time

The Core in Light / Black

In use, planetFear have found setting and changing the functions on the Core to be refreshingly straightforward, given its array of complex features. Once you have familiarised yourself with the menu and mode selection, shifting from altimeter to barometer, viewing recorded data, and switching the storm alarm on and off are accomplished within seconds. Suunto have installed a commendably intuitive operating system and user interface, which makes the Core a pleasure to use. We have also found it more comfortable to wear than the majority of sports-instrument watches, being lighter than most and employing a soft leather strap rather than a tacky plastic one. In summary, the Core is a brilliant device which has redefined what an outdoor watch can do, and consolidates Suunto's position as a market-leader in the sports instrument sector.  

The Core in Alu / Black


The Suunto Core is available direct from planetFear at the special price of £195.73. Click here to find out more.


Click here to buy the Core in Black / Yellow for the special price of £176.16


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