By Dan KidderManaging Editor
As I get into the nuts and bolts of this watch, I am astounded at how much functionality they have been able to pack into a small, wrist-sized package. From telling the time, sunrise, sunset, date, chronograph, alarm, countdown timer, and all of the other functions you expect from a quality timepiece, to advanced navigation capabilities. All of these work together to make the Suunto Traverse Alpha an amazing timepiece and navigation aid.
The Traverse Alpha also works in conjunction with both a desktop website, www.movescount.com
, and a mobile app to further increase its functionality.
By pre-planning routes on online Google maps, the user can sync the watch with these routes, including GPS/GLONASS waypoints and use it to navigate. A built-in backtrack feature lets you quickly mark your starting location, then use the breadcrumbs track to trace your way back to your starting point.
Feature sets are preprogramed for fishing, hiking, and hunting, but additional sporting activities from SCUBA to paddle boarding to skiing can be uploaded to the watch. Additionally, customized apps for the watch can be uploaded, and custom apps can even be created by the user.
In the hunting mode, a shot sensor records the location from which a shot is fired as a GPS waypoint, so the user can easily find their way back to that exact spot. Sunrise and sunset alarms can be set to warn you when legal hunting times are getting close.
The watch features a fairly bright flashlight mode by brightly backlighting the face, but also offers an eye-saving red light backlight mode, for use in the dark without ruining your night vision.
When synced with your iPhone or Android smart phone, it will show you the number of a caller, or how many notifications you have on your phone. It also automatically counts your steps each day, resetting at midnight, and then when synced, it will provide you a history of how may steps you have taken over time.
The watch looks great, with a very rugged scratch resistant sapphire crystal glass face, and high contrast monotone display. A stout knurled stainless steel bezel further protects the face. A water resistant nylon band with heavy-duty metal buckles ensures that the watch will stay put, even during the most strenuous activity. The Traverse Alpha is water resistant to 100 meters (330 feet) and has been tested according to military standards (MIL STD 819G). The watches have passed 19 tests, including vibration, shock, drop, freeze/thaw, rain, humidity, immersion, sand and dust.
The watch features a rechargeable internal battery that will last for about 14 days of normal use. Heavy navigation will reduce the battery life to hours, but the charging cable plugs into any USB charger so it can be recharged with a portable battery or solar panel, and it charges very rapidly. The charging cable is also the syncing cable for using the Movescount application on your computer.
The Traverse Alpha retails for $569 and would make a great Father’s Day gift for the active dad.