Dave Roberts reviews the Suunto Traverse GPS watch, which is an outdoor GPS watch that’s suitable for any sport you choose to throw at it.

The Suunto Traverse GPS watch is a sturdy watch, as even if it was due for return after the review, we didn’t take any prisoners in use! We used it hill walking, scrambling, running and fell running over the couple of months we were able to keep it. The screen is tough Gorilla Glass and didn’t have a scratch on it despite out best attempts. Neither is it too large, for a GPS watch and is reasonably low profile. We also found that the silicone watch strap was comfortable.

The Suunto Traverse GPS watch has so many features that we found it has a bit of a learning curve in order to get used to it. While you start off with the usual distance, time, ascent and so on, you  have the option of some secondary displays that allow you to keep track of air pressure, location and a very simple map for following routes.

You can fully customise the main screen to display whatever metric you choose, with a simple button press to skip to the next screens to display different information. For instance, you could set yourself up specific screens for each activity, with the main metrics available for that particular activity. One of these includes a pedometer setting, which is a bonus if you like to count that sort of thing. These custom screens are easily set up in the Movescount app or website, but more on that later.

You can change the co-ordinate system, and having a display in British National Grid is a real plus.

In use, as a long time Garmin user, the buttons were all in the wrong place and this took time to get used to. In fact, we’d say that six weeks with this watch just wasn’t enough time to get to use it properly as it’s a flexible and powerful device that needs time to get used to.

Garmin users will need to take time to get used to the button placements.

You can record routes with the Sunnto Treverse, with a choice of three settings – Best, Good and OK which claimed a battery life of 10, 15 and 100 hours. You also get 14 days in standby mode. We really didn’t think the results from the 100 hour plot were acceptable for our purpose, but maybe sufficient if you’ve placed battery life above all else. The 10 hour – best setting was the one we settled on during testing and it provided us with a route recording that we were happy with.

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You charge the Sunnto Traverse with a clip that connects to a USB charger, but you can transfer to the mobile Movescount app via Bluetooth. We found that this was convenient, but that we ended up with a flat watch as we weren’t forced to plug it in!

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You can also follow routes with the watch, either those already recorded if you wanted to retrace your steps, or a route you’ve already loaded into the watch.

Movescount App and Website:

The Suunto Traverse GPS watch is just one part of the package, with the mobile app and website an essential part of the package. There’s also a PC app, but we didn’t have much luck with that and preferred to upload our routes via the app on Bluetooth as the easiest option.

We used the app on Android 5.1.1 on a Sony Xperia 3, and it worked fine. There are some reports on-line that it has issues with later versions of Android, and that iPhone connectivity gets priority, but that’s not something we had an issue with.

The Suunto Traverse has limited smartwatch capability, meaning it can receive alerts from your smartphone.

The Movescount App or the Movescount website can be used to synchronise your routes as well as changing the settings, which was easier on the website in our opinion as the screen is simply larger. While the synchronisation was exceptionally convenient when it worked, we had numerous times when we just couldn’t get the app to synchronise properly. This was the main frustration we had with the Traverse.

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Movescount app allowed us to download our route files for local use. What we didn’t like was that there wasn’t a way to download direct from watch. Maybe we’re in a minority, but we like access to our GPS data rather than depending on proprietary formats.  However, you get a selection of export options including .gpx, .fit and .kml.

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Once uploaded, you get to see your route and metric in all it’s glory – both on the app and the website. You can share it over social media quite easily as well, including the addition of photos that you’ve taken during the activity. There’s also the Suunto Movie that provides a cool flypast of the route, but we only got this to work once and even then couldn’t actually share it.

Here’s an example of a shared activity – http://www.movescount.com/moves/move93500280 and you can see all our review routes on this link – http://www.movescount.com/members/member1154305-Mudandroutes

There’s also a route planner on Movescount, which might be sufficient for planning along roads but not useful for footpaths. You can still upload your routes that have been planned on proper OS mapping tools which will then be available for use on your phone. There are also training programmes and more apps that you can download to further add functionality to your watch.

Overall, the Suunto Traverse GPS watch provided us with decent battery life, more features than we knew what to do with and reliable service of the time we reviewed it. Neither were we worried about knocks and scrapes, as it was sturdy enough to cope with whatever we threw at it. It did have some issues in synchronising, which was really frustrating. We’ve left our least favourite thing until the end – the price, but if you can afford this then it’s worth the money (on the proviso that the watch will still be supported by the app and website in five or six years – which is another reason against proprietary file formats).

What the Manufacturer Says:

  • GPS and GLONASS for route and POI navigation
  • Real time breadcrumb view of the recorded track
  • Tracking for speed, distance and altitude
  • Route planning in Suunto’s Movescount.com with topographic maps
  • Route preview and route altitude profile on the watch
  • 100 m/330 ft water resistant
  • Altitude (FusedAlti™)
  • Weather trend and storm alarm
  • Sunrise-sunset times
  • Compass
  • Backlight in flashlight mode
  • GPS time update
  • Vibration alarm
  • Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly activity tracking of steps and calories
  • Mobile notifications
  • Compatible with Suunto Movescount App (iOS and Android)
  • More technical information available – http://www.suunto.com/en-GB/Products/sports-watches/Suunto-Traverse/Suunto-Traverse-Amber/

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