GPS Sport Watch: Suunto X10 – Outdoor Wristop Computer

Basic Features
Weight 76 g
Heart Rate
PC Software
User Replaceable Straps
Water Resistance 100m/330ft
Altitude Alarm
Vertical Speed
Temperature Compensation
Altimeter/Bbarometer Lock
Altimeter/Barometer Lock
Max Number of Split
Times In Memory
GPS Resolution 1m / 3ft
Routes 50
Tracks 25
Waypoints 500
PC Software
PC Software Suunto Trek Manager
Suunto Track Exporter

The Sunnto X10 was released in 2008 as an upgrade to the X9i and X9Mi (Military) watches. These watches are noted to support GPS navigation in a one-piece watch, (GPS aerial mounted in the wrist watch). One-pieces tend to be rare as most sports watch manufacturers elect to mount their GPS aerial in a device that is separate to the wristwatch. Usually a small add-on device that straps onto your upper arm or clips into your shorts.

Garmin Forerunner and GlobalSat watches are the only other notable offerings in the GPS sport watch market. Even Suunto’s own fitness line the Training series watches features an external pod for tracking speed and distance.

Unlike the Forerunner and GlobalSat watches, the X10 is targeted at adventurers not runners, so it’s navigation features are well supported, yet it is also certainly capable of tracking speed and pace too.

Considering this, what the X10 lacks is a map view mode. A top-down map view mode is present in the GlobalSat GH-625 and Forerunner 205 and 305 (and their successor the waterproof 310XT). The X10 is a genuine Sunnto altimeter and barometer watch with more accurate and precise height readings than from GPS readings alone.

The advantage the X10 has over it’s predecessors is an alleged 33% longer battery life than previous versions. Reported battery life ranges from 5-7 hours with heavy use of GPS, backlight, compass and other functions.

With reduced use of power hungry functionality this can obviously be extended to a much larger number. One way of doing this is to change the GPS fix interval from 1 second to 1 minute or longer. You can even elect to activate the GPS manually, whereby only marking important waypoints.

The watch is 100 meters water resistant. It is not designed for heavy use in the water, but will withstand water if you accidentally get the watch wet. The back-light, while not as nice as the Timex Indiglo night light, does an adequate job of illuminating the watch face in low light conditions.

The watch comes bundled with PC software, the Suunto Track Exporter. The software will not blow you away, but does what it is supposed to do and that is to import data from your watch and analyze or edit your waypoints and routes. Routes can also be explored in Google Earth, but can’t be exported from Google Earth to the Suunto software.

Other features of the watch include Barometric altitude, a graphical representation of barometric pressure at sea level can be viewed over the last 6 hours in 15 minute intervals as well as the pressure reading at your current location. The X10 features several types of alarms including time, weather and altitude alarms.

The watch also features a compass that works even without the need to activate the GPS, with bearing lock that helps you follow a fixed bearing.

The navigation mode of the watch allows you to create routes and waypoints either directly from the watch or on your PC. Once a destination has been entered in the watch’s memory, the watch will guide you to your next waypoint and will display how far away you are, the direction and ETA. If you wish to return to your starting location, this watch can do that too.

The activity mode of the watch is a basic exercise mode for performance measurement. It shows you your basic speed, distance covered, time and altitude.

This watch is a superb option for anyone considering a lengthy hike in the wilderness, but given the premium quality of this wrist-watch computer, expect to pay top dollar for this piece of equipment, currently around the $500 USD mark.

Leave a Reply