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|Analog or Digital|
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Reviewed by 1 customer
Displaying review 1
Comments about Suunto Elementum Terra Multifunction Expedition Watch - Stainless Steel:
I recently "discovered" this Elementum line by Suunto and was immediately attracted to it so I began trying to decide which one to buy. I eventually decided to get the Terra with negative face and stainless band.Meantime, I started doing more research and found the following features missing from the Terra line compared to the Suunto Core I also own:* No Altimeter lock* No pressure graph* No seconds display* No day of the week display* No 2nd time zone* No countdown timer* No dive mode* No sunrise/sunset times* No storm warning* No Adjustable declination of the compassSo, I started to read more reviews and found statements like "well, this is a gentleman's watch and therefore is quite simple in its function...", or "Perhaps one needs a stylish (ABC) watch for dress wear and a functional (ABC) watch for camping, hiking, etc." So, let's see, Suunto took an excellent feature packed design (like the Core line), dumbed it down, and tripled and/or quadrupled the price...hmmm.So then I thought I'd do a more detailed comparison between the Suunto Core, the Suunto Elementum Terra, and the Casio 5000 series. I'd post the table here, but it won't directly translate to this format. However, I've posted it in a review on another popular site that I can't mention but should be fairly easy to find.As to missing features on the Elementum compared to the Core, my comments are these:The first one, altimeter lock isn't necessary because the watch automatically switches between measuring altitude (when rapid air pressure changes are detected) and measuring barometric pressure (when slow changes in air pressure are detected). This is okay with me because I usually leave my Core set on "auto". I think Suunto is about the only company producing ABC watches that got it right with their auto-switching between measuring altitude and measuring barometric pressure - as stated in their literature, you can't measure both at the same time. Suunto's implementation is elegant and I love it in my Core watch.No pressure graph-personally I'm okay with this being gone as a tradeoff for styling; there's still the 3-part arrow that gives an indication of pressure trends.No seconds display and no day of the week display-The watch does show the month, date, time, altitude and barometric pressure simultaneously. However, I spend most of my time in civilization as opposed to climbing mountains, so I'd like the option to toggle the barometric pressure marker to show seconds and the altitude reading to show the day of the week. This would require no styling sacrifice.No second time zone & no countdown timer-again, these could be menu items and not sacrifice styling.No dive mode-I used this on an older watch and frankly don't miss it but others might.No sunrise/sunset times and No storm warning-I don't miss these; I figure, look at the sky - if it's getting lighter, it's sunrise. If it's getting darker, it's sunset. There's also a "storm warning" feature that, again, many people apparently like, but if you look at the sky and see big black clouds... I realize this sounds a bit flippant, but in the mountains when you're on the east side of a large face, "sunset" can come over an hour early - and fast.But here's the Biggy- NO ADJUSTABLE DECLINATION OF THE COMPASS!! All maps and map references are to "true north", i.e., where the geographic North Pole is. However magnetic north and geographic north are not the same - the magnetic "North Pole" is NOT located where the geographic North Pole is located. And to complicate matters, the magnetic fields from the magnetic North Pole are curved. Unless you are traveling up (or down) the Mississippi River, a magnetic compass will not read true north in the US. And in fact, it can be off by up to 20 degrees in either direction depending on whether you are east or west of the Mississippi - this difference is called magnetic declination. That's why most compass manufacturers, and most compass-watch manufacturers, build in a means to adjust for this as Casio did in their 5000 series and Suunto did in their previous ABC watches. But not this one.To confound matters, electronic compasses are notoriously inaccurate when not held perfectly level. However, Suunto apparently spent a lot of time and money designing their "3D Compass"; 3D meaning it will be accurate when held at any angle from horizontal up to 45 degrees - really neat piece of engineering and a neat feature. But now you gotta ask yourself, if they went through all that trouble to ensure accuracy when the watch is not held completely level, WHY is there no declination adjustment??? In my case, the magnetic declination is 15 degrees East meaning the watch will accurately point to magnetic north when held at any angle up to 45 degrees, but be off from true north by 15 degrees!Many people have commented on the non-readability of Suunto's negative face (black background with light numbers/letters) watches, and the criticism has been justified to a degree. However, I must say the Elementum negative display is easier to read than the Core. Part of this is because the Core had smaller numbers and a yellowish/gold background vs. larger numbers and a more "off white" background on the Elementum. On the down side, the two rings of numbers around the periphery showing atmospheric pressure and the three horizontal lines on the face are made of a very reflective chrome looking material instead of what looks like white in the product photographs. This reflectiveness actually detracts from the readability of the numbers themselves and is quite annoying especially at moderate light levels where it stands out more than the numbers on the display.On a plus side, the watch does record ascent & descent readings and stores them in up to 8 logs, but only cumulative readings and not interval readings like the Core line.As to ease of use, the Elementum line is a breeze to use. Adjustments such as adjusting reference altitude, adjusting the alarm time, etc. are very easily made using the unique upper jog dial. A really neat feature that I think you have to actually use a few times to appreciate.Regarding the band, the stainless steel band comes with a $300 penalty - [$] for the Terra with stainless band vs. $900 for the Terra with rubber band (but you can buy the stainless band for $250 as a "replacement part" - go figure...?). The stainless band can be adjusted by removing links - the links in the Elementum band are about 3/16", so you can adjust the band in 3/16" increments - there is no "fine adjustment" like most other metal watch bands (where the whole watch costs $300 or less). This results in two sizes for me: too loose and too tight.And one final comment. Many reviewers complain about the manual being very brief; one even went so far as to say "it's inaccurate - well maybe not inaccurate, but incomplete...". Actually, the "manual" is accurate, but a more complete version is available on Suunto's web site - why they didn't just print it is beyond me - due to the reduced feature set, it's not that much bigger than the one that ships with the watch.Having said all that, I recently purchased the Casio 5000-1 blue face and love it. But, I also really like the styling of the Elementum series which is why I bought it.So now my decision is do I want to keep a stylish ABC watch (for [$]) that has a considerably reduced feature set?
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