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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

I posted my first impressions here:

and then a potential bug that I found here:

Now that I have had the core for over 10 days, I am ready to post a detailed review. I apologize in advance for the fact that I don't own a digital camera. This will be a text only review. This review is of a black/yellow model.

Strap/Clasp (4.5/5):
The strap is particularly gummy for a rubber strap (in comparison to my other rubber straps from Omega and GP). It flexes very easily. Even though it is gummy it does not pick up lint or dust as some other OEM straps are app'd to do. The strap uses a screw-bar attachment as opposed to springbars. The buckle is very nice, attached to the strap with screws as well. It is polished, which I don't appreciate. The inside is not polished by a kind of cast finish, and I would have liked if they had left the entire buckle that way. I am deducting a point for the polish of the buckle. The buckle prong and holes are much wider than average, which lends stability to the buckle and may also prevent cracking of the rubber from long term use, which is nice. The strap keeper has a little tab that fits inside the extra strap holes; An excellent feature in that the keeper stays in place. The keeper tab is probably another advantage of the extra wide strap holes.

Case/Bezel/Buttons (8/10):
The case is almost entirely plastic as are the buttons. The bezel is aluminum and the battery hatch is stainless steel. The crystal is mineral glass and slightly domed. The slight dome cuts down on reflections (as opposed to a flat crystal). The bezel protrudes upward a bit higher than the crystal for some protection. The bezel is bidirectional. The bezel doesn't turn very positively. The expected 'clicks' are not precise and bit muted. In addition, the bezel has quite a bit of play. If I twist my wrist rapidly I can hear it moving back and forth. A deducted a point for the bezel action/play. The buttons feel nice (smooth buttons on the black/yellow model) but they are not very responsive. Thank god for the button tone because even if you press a button very positively it may or may not activate. I deducted a second point for the button vagueness. The battery hatch is very nice, and fits into the case wonderfully. The case threads are metal of some sort. The battery hatch looks very precise and well laid out. The inside components look to be of relatively high quality (electrical contacts, etc).

Comfort (10/10):
The watch is very, very comfortable and is almost unnoticeable when worn. It weighs almost nothing. The integrated lugs/strap conform to the wrist perfectly. Because the case/face is so large, it does not move around on the wrist, even when worn somewhat loosely. There are plenty of strap holes for fine adjustment. The most comfortable watch I own, hands down. The strap is even long enough so that it may be worn over a jacket if needed. Nice touches abound. The two main things I do with this watch are exercise and sleep. Both of those activities require a very comfortable watch. I have had some wrist chaffing issues while running with other watches, but not with the Core!

Appearance (9.6/10):
I love the way the watch looks. I like that the keeper stays in position all the time. I like the color combo of black with yellow/gold. I haven't gotten tired of it yet! The negative dot matrix display and the massive face combine to make it appear that you have a real instrument strapped to your wrist. I am deducting a bit less than half a point for the shiny buckle, but that is really double booking as I have already subtracted a point from a previous category. All that said, the black/yellow is not exactly appropriate for every activity. It might look chic with a suit but only if you are younger than 25! I know it is fashionable nowadays to use straps which don't taper towards the ends, but In the case of the Core I think the watch would have looked better on the wrist if there were more of a taper.

Display/Backlight (5/5):
I'm giving the display its own category because of all the topics on the forums when the watch was released. This is my first negative display watch and honestly when I received it I was underwhelmed. It wasn't a deal-breaker but I was wishing I had a bought the regular display version. HOWEVER, all that changed when we learned of the contrast adjustment (thanks to user MagnumIP). That procedure can be found here: Originally my contrast came from the factory on level 2. I adjusted it to level 3 and it is now perfect; A 150% improvement. I would change nothing. Some people have stated that backlight is too dim, but I think it is just right. Plenty bright to see the display of the watch itself without giving off much ambient light.

Ease of Use (9/10):
Overall the watch is very easy to use. I read through the manual a single time and I got the hang of everything pretty quickly. The menu system is great, and the way that the buttons gain a little LCD blip next to them when they are active for a particular mode is really nice. I still don't like the action of the buttons themselves, but I have already deducted points in a previous category. The menu system works great, but I am deducting a single point because sometimes it takes several button presses to accomplish a fairly simple task, like activating the alarm. I don't fault Suunto. You can either make the watch easy to use or efficient to use. I think I would have chosen easy for myself anyway!

Functions (38.5/40):
I broke this section down by mode to make it easier to write and refer to if necessary.
Time Mode (13.5/15):
I'm not going to spend a lot of time here, because time mode should be a fairly easy thing! I am taking away my largest deduction for the simple fact that you cannot switch between the larger top display and the smaller bottom display. When you are looking at the 2nd timezone, countdown timer and the chronograph, they are always below and much smaller than the time of day. It would seem like a no-brainer to make a 'swap' function to make the time of day small and chronograph large, but they chose not to do so. This is my largest complaint about the watch. They could have also allowed you see the alarm set time without going into the menu, but this is not such a big deal.
Alti/Baro Mode (14/15):
The Core is my first ABC watch, but I found the Alti-Baro mode very easy to use and accurate. I am taking 2 deductions here. One half-point for not showing a real-time graph of altitude (similar to barometer mode), and a second half-point because of the speed at which the altitude updates. Not really a big deal and I know you can set the logging interval to 1 second, but in reality it takes the altitude meter more time to settle out. It is a very very very small nitpick, but I run stadiums as a workout and I can go up to the top and come back down (approx 60 feet vertical) and sometimes the altitude won't register the full 60 feet. Keep in mind I go up and down in less than a minute though! The logging function is nice, especially the summary. For example, it will say that over the course of running a full stadium I ascended 800-1000 feet in 6-7 minutes! This is a composite time but it is cool to see. The same with the descent rate. The graph in the logging mode is nice, but it doesn't use the larger display. The graph is shown in the top display and is quite small compared to the barometer graph.
The barometer is the biggest surprise for me. I didn't think I would use it that much but wow was I wrong. I am a motorcyclist and the barometer real-time trend and storm alarm will be very useful. I intend on taking the Core with me anytime I ride! In general the Core has made me a fairly accurate weather forecaster. Definitely unexpected and welcome.
Compass Mode (10/10):
I don't have anything negative to say about compass mode, only that it seems very easy to use and matches my truck's GPS bearing (after entering the correct declination). It is lightning quick as well. I haven't used if to it's full capacity (track bearings, etc) but it seems to work pretty well in my estimation.

Suunto Customer Service (5/5):
I know this is not watch model specific but I have used the Suunto helpdesk twice so far. This first time when the watch lost its beeps and the second to find out how to adjust the display contrast. Both times I received a courteous and professional response very promptly. Very impressive especially in comparison to other more expensive brands!

Value (5/5):
I don't know of another watch that does so much so easily and so comfortably yet costs so little. I will probably purchase more than 1!

OVERALL: 94.6/100
I love this watch and all my complaints and deductions are very minor. I'm sure this won't be my last Core. I almost bought the aluminum model last weekend! The Core is my first ABC and my first Suunto. I have positively no regrets. If you read my 'potential bug' thread, you may be wondering why I am not complaining about the watch losing its beeps. I haven't deducted any points yet because I'm not sure what the cause is; I cannot say definitively that it is not user error. If I get new information I may update the review. For now, I am very satisfied with the watch.

Thanks for reading!

493 Posts
Very comprehensive and an interesting read.
I'm looking forward to some follow ups once users have had their Cores for an extended period.
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