I have had my Core (Black/Orange) for three weeks now and have decided to give my take on it. First, great forum. I discovered it during a Google search trying to find info on the new Core back in August, and have been hooked ever since. The information learned on not only the Core, but all Suunto products has been great and given me a great appreciation for Suunto. Thanks to all for that.
This is my first Suunto watch, so I can give an objective review without any bias towards other types. I looked at getting a Vector a year ago, but opted for the Casio Protrek PRG-80YT due to its solar power and higher WR, but I can confidently say that the Core is far more accurate and looks better too, so I have shelved my Casio for now. I am military and of course very active so I have already put this watch through a good workout. Anyway, on to the review.
The case and design are excellent in my book. The large face and glass crystal look good (love big watches) and I have not had any problems so far with it getting dirt or scratches on it. I know there have been complaints about the bezel, but mine has been tight with almost no play. I would have liked to have seen all Core cases made of aluminum rather than plastic, but it is very comfortable to wear and light on my wrist. I do not have a large wrist, but the watch size is not overpowering when worn, somewhat in part to its low profile. The band was removed immediately (did not like the orange) and replaced with a 24mm two piece black Zulu band (Thanks to all again for the info on lug size and Zulu straps) which I think looks great (If Suunto reps read these posts, how about a military version of the Core).
The function of the watch is easy enough once you read through the manual and learn how to use the menus. I love how you can scroll through the functions on the bottom view, while leaving the time on the large view. I use the stopwatch almost every day and it’s great to be able to see both time and chrono together. The alarm to me is great. The volume is louder than my Casio and I have used it to wake me up on multiple occasions with no problem. The snooze is an awesome feature also. The backlight works fine. I know it won’t provide enough light to see in a dark bathroom in the middle of the night like my G-Shocks, but it allows you to see the time and other functions no problem. The negative display is OK. I too have problems seeing the display in lower light conditions and have to use the light, but most of the time it is fine and looks great as well. The contrast on mine was set to 4 and I changed it to six after learning how to do it. This has helped visibility a good bit, but I do start to see the background lines in bright light. I enjoyed the discussion about the disappearing second markers. I know it is trivial, but I do wish the markers would stay. I keep my sub-mode on the date, so it is helpful to see the seconds tick around the dial. Again to Suunto reps: I would like to see better WR rating and how about solar power. I hate to be too critical, but solar power has been around in watches for decades, it seems like a company like Suunto could figure out how to get solar cells into their watches. As for durability, I wear it everyday during work and during my workouts. I have not put it through a rigorous field test, but I know plenty of fellow Soldiers who have Vectors, and there seems to be very few complaints, so I have to assume that the Core will have the same long-term durability.
The compass is very accurate. I have calibrated it and set the declination and it is dead-on. The 1 degree resolution is impressive as well. I have compared it to my Suunto handheld compass and it matches perfectly. I am very confident in the accuracy of the Core’s compass. The barometer is also very accurate. I like the way you can lock out the altimeter, which was always a problem for me with the Protrek. I am not much of a mountain person so the altimeter is not much use to me. I am obsessive about weather though, and I leave the baro on all the time. I check the Core’s readings and trends several times a day with the local airport weather station and the Core is more often than not dead-on. If not exact, only slightly off, but the trend (rising/falling/steady) always matches. Very impressive. I did have to turn off the storm alarm as it seems to be too sensitive to changes. Although the baro is quite accurate, I have never experienced bad weather when the alarm has gone off. I have only tried the altimeter when climbing stairs in my house to test the feature. When I set the reference altitude (got it off Google Earth) then climb the stairs in my house, it changes by 12 feet. I honestly didn’t think it would change at all over such a short distance, so that was impressive, although not a comprehensive test in the field.
Overall, an excellent product and has really turned me on to Suunto products. I am very satisfied with the watch (the price did seem high to me, but as a watch geek, it looked too good to pass up) and I am already considering adding to my Suunto inventory (X-Lander maybe). I would recommend the Core without question.
*Just got the chance to try out the depth gauge in the pool. Worked like a charm. I set the profile to depth meter, set it down on the bottom at the deep end (8 ft) and engaged the depth meter. It paused for about one second then registered 8 ft on the dial. Awesome...
*Photos below in last post