Suunto Core: A Review of the Best Companion for an Active Sportsman

Many athletes could not stress enough about the convenience of having a reliable, high-tech sports watch. Apart from telling you the time, sports watches are designed with numerous helpful applications to aid you during your activities and workout routines. On top of that, they are designed to be strong and stylish, so that you can bring them to all sorts of occasions, whether it is the wild outdoors or a casual party.

Today, there are loads of sports watches being offered in the market, with many showcasing a wide variety of functions and sports modes. However, if you are looking for a simple and affordable timepiece that is not jampacked with too many overwhelming features, there aren’t many that can do the job as well as the Suunto Core. Join us as we familiarize ourselves with this practical and well-known Suunto sports wristwatch.

Suunto Core All Black

Since its release in 2007, the Suunto Core has been one of the brand’s most iconic timepieces. Officially, it is categorized as an ABC watch; this means that it features altimeter, barometer, and compass functions. As such, the Suunto Core is a brilliant digital timepiece to bring with you when you are exploring the outdoors.

Presently, the brand offers the Suunto Core in a variety of sleek designs — around 30, to be exact. However, the main focus of our article today will be on the classic Suunto Core in all black. We will be taking a detailed look at all the different qualities and characteristics of the Suunto Core, from its composite case and elastomer strap to its multiple handy outdoor functions.

front view of Suunto Core All Black 3124 watch
Image By: Suunto

Black Composite Case and Caseback

With a case diameter of 49.1mm and a thickness of 14.5mm, the Suunto Core is a pretty sizable watch, weighing it around the size of most Suunto 7 smartwatches. With its large composition, the Suunto Core is ideal for wearers who have larger wrist sizes. Of course, that should not stop anyone who is fond of wearing oversized watches, either.

When strapped to the wrist, the Suunto timepiece stands out prominently, thanks to its size and its eye-catching all-black build. Despite its substantial size, the Suunto Core weighs only 64g. For the sake of comparison, 64g is equivalent to nearly two slices of bread, which is not very heavy at all. As such, wearers will not find it too cumbersome to tote the Suunto Core around on their wrists all day.

The case of the Suunto Core is made entirely out of a black carbon composite. This material is what gives the Suunto Core its lightweight profile, while also providing it with exceptional durability and resistance to scratches and impacts. In addition, the Suunto Core also has a depth rating of 30m. This is somewhat lackluster for a sports timepiece, but it is enough to protect the Suunto Core from raindrops and light water splashes.

Located on the left and right sides of the cases are pushers that give wearers easy access to the Suunto Core’s different functions. The pushers are designed with jagged textures, so wearers can easily feel for and locate them, without even looking at the watch.

On the underside of the watch, you can find a stainless steel caseback that protects the CR2032 battery of the Suunto Core. When used regularly, this battery can last for up to an incredible 12 months. Fitted on top of the front case is a black aluminum compass bezel. This bezel is marked with navigational directions and degrees, printed in white to provide wearers with optimal readability and contrast against the black background. Though this bezel is designed for practical purposes, it also serves to enhance the Suunto Core’s masculine and robust look.

Mineral Glass

Suunto uses a flat layer of mineral glass to protect the digital dial of the Suunto Core. Considering its very budget-friendly price range, it is within expectations that the Suunto Core would use a mineral crystal rather than a hardier sapphire crystal.

When measured using the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, mineral crystals typically have a hardness rating of “5” or “6.” Although it is not as scratch-resistant as sapphire, mineral crystal is still able to fend off scratches better than acrylic glass. In addition, mineral glass is also less susceptible to impacts or shattering than sapphire. If you notice your Suunto Core’s mineral crystal has accumulated a noticeable amount of scratch marks, it is easy enough to have the crystal buffed to clear out its surface.

Digital Suunto Dial

The watch face of the Suunto Core shows off a simple negative display with a black background and lighter gray text. As an ABC watch, the Suunto Core gathers data with built-in triple sensors that detect and analyze the local environment. Its highly-legible dial is split into two sections to present different data at once, so you can get all the information you need with just a quick glance at the Suunto Core. Printed on the lower half of the dial are labels that indicate which mode the Suunto Core is currently in so that even new users will not get confused. By pressing and holding the center pusher on the right side of the Suunto Core, its dial will redirect you back to the main menu.

When using this timepiece in the dark, the Suunto Core has an electro-luminescent backlight that brightly illuminates its digital dial. As an all-around outdoors watch, the Suunto Core is also equipped with numerous features that are very convenient to have when out in the wilderness. Apart from the traditional timekeeping functions, this watch also has an altimeter, a barometer, a digital compass, a temperature reader, a storm alarm, and more.

When using its altimeter and barometer modes, the Suunto displays the air pressure and altitude level of the wearer’s current position. It also shows a graph that keeps track of the different altitude levels the watch has gone through. Before using the altimeter and barometer functions, it is crucial to set a reference level for the air pressure and altitude so that the watch will be less susceptible to gathering the wrong data.

The temperature data is also presented on the lower half screen. Some wearers recommend keeping the timepiece on a pack strap while trekking for more accurate temperature readings. When in compass mode, the Suunto Core’s digital compass displays the directional degrees on its main screen while indicating the cardinal direction the watch is facing on the lower screen. Wearers can calibrate the compass to ensure its navigation is precise. 

Going back to the main menu, wearers can access the time and date functions to set alarms, a countdown timer, the time, dual time, and the date. The watch also has a sunrise and sunset alarm, which can be customized by inputting your general location as well as the region and city you are nearest to.

One of the Suunto Core’s most unique features is its exclusive and handy storm alarm feature. With this, you will be able to keep track of whether a storm is approaching your area, making it an indispensable application for wearers camping, trekking, and mountaineering. Lastly, the Suunto Core also features a stopwatch, which can be useful for various purposes. For wearers who want to keep track of all the data gathered above, you can access it through the Suunto Core’s extensive logbook. The Suunto timepiece supports four different languages, namely English, Spanish, French, and Danish.

Black Elastomer Strap

The Suunto Core is usually paired with an exclusive black elastomer strap, completing its rugged all-black look. With its unusual dimensions and elongated adjustment holes, the design of this watch bracelet is quite unique, and it fits comfortably on the wrist.

However, some users have complained about this elastomer strap breaking after a few years. While the strap quality is not the best, Suunto does provide wearers with a selection of replacement straps. Each band is made from either elastomer, rubber, or silicone and comes in a variety of different colors and styles. Having so many options for your watch strap allows you to choose one that matches your specific design tastes and preferences. Each new strap can cost between $50 USD to $61 USD.

Price of the Suunto Core

You can purchase a brand-new Suunto Core at a very accessible price of $220 USD. If you plan to buy a pre-owned version from the second-hand market, it can cost you between $125 USD to $145 USD, depending on the seller and the condition the watch is in.

Other Popular Versions of the Suunto Core

As stated previously, the Suunto Core comes in multiple variants. Let us take a look at some of the brand’s other takes on its coveted outdoor ABC watch.

1. Suunto Core in Brushed Steel

front view of Suunto Core in Brushed Steel watch
Image By: Suunto

This model of the Suunto Core showcases a 49.1mm stainless steel case topped with a stainless steel bezel. The case and bezel are both masterfully brushed, giving the watch’s exterior a gleaming, luxurious luster. In addition to that, this edition of the Suunto Core replaces its protective mineral crystal with sapphire glass. As most watch enthusiasts know, sapphire tends to be the favored material for watch crystals due to its luxury and unparalleled scratch resistance. As such, aside from looking sleeker and more professional, this Suunto Core design is also more durable.

Due to the upgrades on its case and watch glass, this version of the Suunto Core fetches a higher price of approximately $530 USD.

2. Suunto Core Dusk Gray

front view of Suunto Core Dusk Grey watch
Image By: Suunto

Not a fan of the Suunto Core in all black? How about something a tad bit lighter? The Suunto Core Dusk Gray shows off the same capabilities as the standard black Suunto Core but comes in a 49.1mm muted gray composite case instead. Complemented by a gray aluminum bezel and a matching silicone strap, its all-gray design is quite appealing and gives the watch a very unified appearance.

This version of the Suunto Core also costs around $220 USD.

3. Suunto Core Lime Crush

front view of Suunto Core Lime watch
Image By: Suunto

Another attractive edition of the Suunto Core, this particular variant showcases a 49.1mm composite black case with a blackened steel top ring. Suunto pairs the Core Lime Crush with a supple lime silicone watch strap, which gives the timepiece a more perky aesthetic. Because of the thick steel bezel, the watch weighs slightly more than the original black Suunto Core, but it is still quite easy to carry around.

You can get your hands on this playful Suunto Core piece for an estimated price of $220 USD.

Alternatives to the Suunto Core

Now, if you are a tech-savvy sports enthusiast who loves having a multitude of sports modes, GPS navigation, and fitness tracking, then the Suunto Core might not be the best option for you. Not to worry, however, for there are other sports watch manufacturers out there who might just have what you’ve been searching for. Take a look at some of these state-of-the-art timepieces that work as great, high-tech alternatives to the Suunto Core.

1. Suunto 9 G1 Baro (SS050087000)

front view of Suunto 9 G1 Baro Ref. SS050087000 watch
Image By: Watch Shopping

If you want a more advanced timekeeper that possesses greater technological capabilities than the Suunto Core, then you might want to consider the Suunto 9 G1 Baro. Hailing from the brand’s Suunto 9 collection, the G1 Baro features a diverse set of innovations that is sure to astound any modern sports enthusiast. Coupled with a black silicone strap, the Suunto G1 Baro is housed in a 50mm glass-fiber-reinforced polyamide case. With its thickness of 16.8mm, the Suunto 9 G1 Baro is even larger and has more presence than the Suunto Core.

The G1 Baro is topped with a layer of sapphire glass and a black-tone stainless steel bezel, both of which serve to protect the dial from any scratches while also giving the watch a smarter look. Located at the back of the G1 Baro is a wrist-based heart monitor that logs in data every second. The case is water-resistant up to depths of 100m, so the watch can function efficiently even in harsh stormy weather or in the pool. 

The dial of the Suunto 9 features handy touchscreen capabilities, allowing wearers to access all its functions through the touch of a finger. Apart from having all the digital applications of the Suunto Core, the G1 Baro is also equipped with GPS tracking and navigation, fitness and health monitoring, and a wide selection of sports modes that cater to running, cycling, swimming, and more. As you wear this watch, it quietly gathers information about your calories burnt, sleep quality, daily resource levels, and stress and recovery statistics, making the G1 Baro both an excellent sports watch and the perfect health tracker.

The Suunto G1 Baro has a battery life that can last between 25 to 170 hours, depending on its usage and the modes it is in. This timepiece uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, so you will not have to worry about changing its batteries. Furthermore, it has four intelligent battery modes, which you can use to keep the watch up and running for longer. The Suunto 9 G1 Baro supports a total of 22 languages.

This intuitive and multifunctional sports watch is available on our website for $659 USD.

2. Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar (010-02158-17)

front view of Garmin Fenix 6S Solar Pro Ref.  010-02158-17 watch
Image By: Watch Shopping

Much like the Rolex vs. Omega subject, many sports watch aficionados love to compare Suunto models with Garmin timepieces, and rightfully so. Garmin has been manufacturing watches since late-1989 and has provided many athletes with top-of-the-line sports watches since then.

One especially popular model from Garmin is the Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar. This gorgeous Garmin smartwatch simply breathes elegance, ruggedness, and a sense of luxury. It comes in a 42mm gold-tone fiber-reinforced polymer case fitted with a matching gold stainless steel bezel, making it slimmer and easier to wear than the Suunto Core. It is also typically paired with a silicone band, but wearers can also opt for a suede, fabric, or metal strap.

The Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar has a depth rating of 100m, so you can bring it with you to numerous water-based outdoor adventures like swimming or water skiing. Like the Suunto 9 G1 Baro, the Fenix 6S Pro Solar also has a wrist-based heart rate monitor that tracks data every second. In addition to that, this timepiece is also capable of monitoring blood oxygen saturation levels and alerts the wearer if it detects an irregular heart rate. 

The Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar is loaded with several outdoor features to help you in all sorts of circumstances. It has a barometric altimeter, a compass, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a thermometer, and access to GPS, GLONASS, and GALILEO satellite navigation systems. This high-tech timepiece is built to ensure that you always know what is going on. But that is not all, either. The Fenix 6S Pro Solar is also Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and ANT+ compatible, allowing wearers to connect their watches to their smartphones.

For fitness enthusiasts who love exercising with a workout playlist, this watch has a memory capacity that can fit up to a whopping 2,000 songs. The Fenix 6S Pro incorporates multiple sports and fitness modes for running, cycling, swimming, golfing, the gym, and outdoor recreational activities. Powering the Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar is a solar-chargeable battery that energizes itself through the Power Glass lens on top of the front case. When on battery saver mode, this timepiece can run for up to 59 days.

You can purchase this Garmin timepiece for around $819 USD.

Final Thoughts

Without overwhelming its wearers with too many complex functions, the Suunto Core is easily one of the best value-for-money sports watches in the market. Weather functions, temperature indicators, and a digital compass — it pretty much has everything you need to survive the great outdoors, although it is a little lacking in terms of the sports modes it offers. Ultimately, the Suunto Core is affordable, reliable, robust, and very easy to use. It even comes in a variety of attractive colors and case designs that are sure to appeal to everyone’s preferences.

Featured Image By: Suunto

Need a reliable yet affordable dive watch to stick by your side? Have a look at the Orient Mako II and see if it’s the watch you’re looking for.

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