adventuring with the Suunto Traverse. Review (and Manual)

With the Traverse, Suunto is going into a very interesting direction:

Suunto Traverse in UseSure, it may show something of the design that an Ambit4 / successor to the Ambit line may end up having, as rumors go.

But, where such rumors have people waiting for a new top-of-the-line model to blow away former Ambits and maybe, for good measure, the current crop of smartwatches, the Traverse is decidedly not that.

[Update: In the meantime, summer/fall 2016, Suunto released the Spartan line. It, too, went in a different direction, which you can read about here.]

Rather, Suunto has gone the route of simplification.

With the Traverse, they are clearly not looking to the dedicated outdoors and sports people who want a high-tech tool for their training analysis and exploration.

Instead, the focus is on average folks who want to enjoy the outdoors more, with a good-looking outdoorsy watch that will add just that touch of security and self-tracking motivation that may have been keeping them from venturing out a little more.

As much as I like to go for ultramarathon distances and advocate sleeping high (in a mountain bivouac), sometimes – oftentimes! – the most important thing for fitness is to just move more, and the most important thing for learning and growth and the life that gets more at home in this world is to explore and ‘adventure’ more, in the everyday.

A gear item that can help with that? A good thing, in my opinion.

In comes the Traverse, which is meant to be just that: easy to use, always with you, and unobtrusively helping with a touch more exploration and (micro)adventure.

The main thing to notice, and to start with, is the different user interface and button logic: Displays and menus are very similar to how they have been on the Ambits, but noticeably different in certain respects, as well.

Time Mode Displays

The basic time display now shows an abbreviation for the day of week plus the date in the top line, the time in the big middle row, and various other data in the bottom row, switched by pushing the (lower left) “view” button:
Seconds; number of steps; battery charge; time of sunrise/sunset; altitude; weather trend.

Other screens in time mode are – as on the Ambits, as always – switched to by pushing the (center right) “next” button.

On the second screen, there is the barometer/altimeter (with the “views” of temperature, sunrise/sunset, reference altitude/pressure, and a graphical display with 24-hour barometric trend or 12-hour altitude change).

The third screen shows the compass (and one can lock in a bearing by pushing the “back/lap” button.

‘Customizing’ Time Mode Displays

As on the recent Ambits, displays can be activated or deactivated in the activity menu (push the “start” button and go to “displays”); aside from compass and alti/baro, that also includes a countdown and a stopwatch display. All four of these displays can be turned on or off.

A Note on the Step Counter

So far, the step counter is only really good  for a personal daily review. Yes, it does count steps, but once midnight is here, the counter resets to zero, and the data is gone.

Traverse Step CounterMovescount does not (yet?) receive and store this data, neither does the Traverse itself, so you would have to review your day and write that down yourself if you wanted a memory of it. A good habit, perhaps, but not what one would expect from an activity tracker.

Admittedly, all wearables are seen as having problems actually motivating the change they purport to help with, but still, Suunto could do more on that front – and they are aware of that.

Ewa Pulkkinen, product manager for the Traverse, told me that Suunto is well-aware that a record of the daily steps will be a much-demanded feature and they are looking into that. (Which isn’t a promise, but good to hear.)

An additional issue is that the step counter uses the accelerometer built into the watch, but when in navigation mode/view, the compass needs to use the same accelerometer. Thus, when in navigation or compass view, steps cannot be counted.

(So, on the day of a 24-24.5 km run, the Traverse told me I took 16564 steps. I.e., since I was almost always on the navigation display, the step counter knew little, or perhaps quite something but far from everything, of that run.)

It’s one of those things I’m very much torn about.

I understand that people could care about it and thus wish this could be exact. At the same time, it would take something that isn’t wrist-worn but on the hip to avoid counting gesticulation as steps – and that’s just the beginning of it.

Even being like that, the number of steps may be an indication of an active lifestyle, yes, but it isn’t the most sensible of measures or motivations. Unless you have a desk job and move just about nothing during the day, in which case a) you probably know that even so, if you are honest with yourself, and b) any step counter will show a strikingly low number.

I used to have a FitBit and found it interesting as an additional data point, but it was never too useful – and I lost it somewhere, so can’t compare how the recordings would have compared.

At the moment, with the step count not being stored on Movescount, it would actually (in my opinion) make more sense to count only those steps being taken outside of a move recording, as just a reminder of how much one has been moving in everyday life. That would actually make sense, alongside the training/moves logbook, even when/once/if step counts are being stored to Movescount…

One last thing you might want to know:

The step counter updates every 60 seconds, not in real time. So, if you walk (or swing your arms) and think it’s broken because it doesn’t constantly increase its step count… that’s not actually it.

Traverse Button ShortcutsTraverse Button Shortcuts

Where it becomes noticeable, again, that the Traverse is a different beast (than an Ambit) is in some of the button logic, i.e. in which button does what…

One-Button POI

Long press the (lower left) “view” button, and you active the one-button “Save location” feature.

So, GPS gets activated (if it isn’t already), your location determined, and you get asked to save that location as a POI (point of interest).

No more fumbling around in the navigation menu to just quickly set your home or hotel as a POI – but if you want to change the display between positive and negative, you will have to go deep into the menu for that now ;)

Flashlight

Long press the (lower right) “light” button, and you turn on the “flashlight” feature of the Traverse, which gives a screen that is blank except for a flashlight symbol  and set to highest brightness.

People had been joking that the backlight of the Ambit displays is bright enough that, if you forget to turn it down to around 20% of maximum brightness, you could use it as a flashlight; here you go…

Normal backlight, at your desired (i.e., previously set up) brightness level is activated by a short press of the same “light” button, and it can be customized for normal or night modes or to be toggled on/off.

Button Lock

Since it has changed which button does what, the button lock has moved, too: Long pressing the (upper left) “back/lap” button now locks the buttons (again, either completely or just for “actions” such as turning off a recording).

Alti-Baro & Navigation Shortcuts

Not entirely shortcuts, but pushing the (upper right) “start” button while on the alti/baro display immediately leads into the alti-baro menu, and pushing the same button while on the compass display leads into the navigation menu.

Button Shortcuts for/in Recording Mode

While we’re at it: There’s also a shortcut, holding the (upper right) start button, to start a recording (or the activity / sports mode selection if more than one mode is active) immediately.

In a sports mode / recording or time display (everything but navigation, compass, or alti/baro, in other words), i.e. when recording a track, holding the “start” button is also a shortcut to stop and save the recording immediately.

And finally, most of the standard buton shortcuts also work in recording mode…

How to Invert the Display

Just because it’s quite fitting here, and now more hidden… One can invert the display between positive and negative, but with all the new button shortcuts / button logic, this option is now somewhat hidden in the menu:

IMG_20151011_131629

Getting Active: Record & Sports Modes

What the Ambits call “Exercise” has, on the Traverse, become simply a “Record” entry in the menu.

The way the Traverse is initially delivered, that’s exactly what it does, too: Activate it, the GPS gets started, and once that signal is found, the recording of the track you’re on has automatically started. (As you can also see in the video just above.)

Running in the background, so to speak, is a sports mode just like on the Ambits, just a single initial one for “hiking.” You could leave it at that if all you do (and want your Traverse for) is walking around, but you can also customize a Suunto Traverse with (up to 5) sports modes.

Simplification is the name of the game here, too, so aside from the R-R based training analytics (e.g. PTE and EPOC), such things as cadence or multisports modes or the analytics of swimming modes are not available on the Traverse.

Still, you can go into “Gear” -> “Customization” and to “Sports Modes” on Movescount to set up (up to) five different modes to sync with and use on the Traverse, with different GPS usage, using or not using a HR belt (if you pair a Bluetooth Smart / BTLE HR belt with your Traverse), and the different data fields and display types offered (which is still a pretty wide selection).
(Also, to be exact, you can actually set up just about as many modes as you’d like to, but you can only activate up to five to be used in the Traverse.)

Every mode can have up to four different (customized) displays, and one Suunto (Ambit) app can also be used (if it receives the data it needs from the Traverse, I assume).

I can just imagine the people who are coming from the Ambits describe everything as a limitation of the Traverse, and it is tempting to just see/interpret the Traverse as a dumbed-down Ambit in a different case, indeed.
It wouldn’t do it justice, though, it’s just that it is meant for a different kind of user.

Anyways, if you set up more than one sports mode / activity on your Traverse, then selecting “Record” (in the Start menu or via the shortcut) adds another step where you choose what type of activity you want to do, picking the mode you have set up and transferring it to Movescount, later, as this type. One can also start navigation (in different ways), and that will also ask for the type of activity and start a record(ing)…

Displays when Recording a Move

Perhaps the biggest update of the Traverse comes with the displays shown when in recording mode.

The displays set up for the mode in question are there, of course.

However, not only the compass display can be (and is normally) shown, but also the alti/baro and, above all, the time display (with all its “views” in the bottom row) is there.

In short: All the displays (normally) active in time mode – I’m saying it like that as alti/baro and compass are active out of the box, countdown and stopwatch can be activated or turned off by the user in time mode, but are not available while ‘recording’ – are also shown in recording/sports mode.

So, turning on the ‘recording’ basically just adds the displays for the sports mode (as customized) in front of these time mode displays.

(In the video, I used the “running” sports mode I set up on Movescount; of course, what exactly you see on how many of the sports mode displays depends on how you’ve set them up and what mode you’re using, except when it comes to the above-mentioned displays that are always shown.)

Sports mode – in the Traverse diction: a record(ing) – also shows the navigation breadcrumb display that is the hallmark of the Traverse, and of course navigation (to a POI or along a route previously created via the Movescount website) can also be activated.

Traverse Route and Breadcrumb Track

Navigation

As long (or should I say, as soon?) as a recording is being done (or navigation is activated), a GPS track is recorded – and not just recorded now, but also shown as real-time breadcrumb track directly on the watch.

If you are using a route to navigate, both the route and the breadcrumb track are shown, unless they are directly above each other anyways, of course; POI navigation and the breadcrumb track can also be combined.

The Traverse can store up to  250 POI, 100 waypoints, 50 routes, and 10000 route points in all.

Should be enough to lead quite a few ways ;)

Trackback

Traverse Breadcrumb TrackGiven the always-on breadcrumb track, there is no trackback. After all, if you need to head back, just simply follow in your (digital) footsteps.

I should mention, though, that the (navigation) logbook on the Traverse can also be used for route navigation/trackback, (re-)activating a track recently moved along and recorded (and still stored in the Traverse’s memory).

This is useful a) for checking out a trail, recording it, and then using that recorded track to navigate there (which is more of a thing for an ultramarathon and using an Ambit) and/or b) when heading up a trail, staying overnight and wanting to turn off the recording or even do other tracks up there, to still be able to track back along that route later.

Find Back

The start location is still recorded as the starting point, however, so if it looks as if tracking back along the breadcrumb track is not the best option, one can also activate “find back” to get the (additional) navigation view that shows the direct (as-the-crow-flies) direction and distance to the starting point.

Routes

Routes can be created in Movescount, which now supports Google Maps, a Chinese map provider (Gaode Ditu, necessary for China) and – introduced with the Traverse – Mapbox, which uses the maps from the Openstreetmap project.

The latter is important to note because these maps are often more detailed, especially when it comes to small trails and the like, and because they include altitude data. This makes it now possible to see an altitude profile of the route while planning it, rather than being stuck with only the 2D view on the map.

Activate for the route to be used in the Traverse, and there it is, as known from the Ambit line, in a full overview or a zoomed-in view (automatically adjusting to different scales depending on distance from the track or on whether the track is just going straight or taking a turn).

Route navigation has, at the moment at least, been simplified rather too much, though (at least, in the view from the Ambit):
You can set up waypoints along your route when you are planning it, but they are not being used in the Traverse. Neither the route shows them, nor is there a screen with the direct heading and distance to the next waypoint.

(This is something that the Ambit line does.

It has been useful at times when it was unclear what path to take or when going off path, and some people used it to alert them when they approach a waypoint or intersection, some even by setting it up so that it will not show them a name but the instructions for which way to turn next.

But, it also caused some confusion and headaches because the waypoint view shows the heading as the crow flies, and because missed waypoints require manually “skipping” over them.

Here, there was also some input I got from Ewa Pulkkinen, which is that Suunto is looking into ways to make the navigation work better and yet be simpler in future. Just look at the POI navigation for some ideas, I’d say…)

 

POI

Same as the starting point, POIs can also be navigated to.

First of all, these can either be stored directly on the watch via the “save location” shortcut (see above), one can “define” a “location” somewhere else (with known coordinates) directly on the Traverse, or they can be set up on the Movescount website.

And, the Traverse can hold up to 250 POIs.

POI Navigation

One of the interesting things about the Traverse is its ability to help navigate to a POI.

What makes it so interesting is the data being shown, which includes not just the general direction of and distance to the POI in question, but also (switching displays by pushing the “view” button) the distance to the POI and the estimated time to arrive there, as well as the altitude difference between current and POI altitude.

Navigation Setup in Movescount

Most of the navigation options are best, if not only, to be set up on Suunto’s Movescount website: POI (if not a location stored or defined directly on the Traverse), and especially routes.

Especially noteworthy:

  • the map selector (maps selectable mainly in the route planner, not for all map displays; last selection is used for maps where there is no selector) includes Mapbox, i.e. Open Streetmap maps
  • This way, below the route creation/display map box, there is now also a preview of the altitude graph for the created/selected route
  • POI data now includes their altitude
  • (To note: “follow roads walking” now seems active by default)

GPS reception comparison

Funny thing that. I’m pretty sure that I know a few people who will look at the difference between the Ambit3 Peak and the Traverse I found in taking both out on ~20 km runs and be shocked.
It looks like the Traverse was off, away from the roads, quite a bit; it also recorded quite a bit less of a distance one of the two times (24 km versus the 24.5 km recorded by the Ambit).

And, this doesn’t even show that there were instances where the Traverse updated the position display only after I’d already gone around a bend in the road, lagging behind the Ambit.

That lag is something that I do hope can and will get corrected, if it was due to a problem and not just a glitch that only happened then and there. Either way, it did not disturb too much, and especially not when moving at a slower pace, which is what the Traverse is predominantly meant for.

That difference in distance, on the other hand, is a mere 2% if you actually calculate it.
Those bits off the road are maybe 2 meters, and they were not noticeable while out there.

So, it doesn’t look that good, but isn’t that bad, either.

(Tracks are from Ambit3 Peak (yellow; worn on left wrist) and Traverse (orange, worn on right wrist). Data from that run in the first table below: Long Run 1)

That tour was also in rather more difficult conditions, under quite a bit of forest canopy (which actually shows; the two tracks are typically closer together whenever the trail I took was an agricultural road through open fields).

On an earlier tour, just in the open, there was just about zero difference between the tracks (and distances, etc.) recorded by Ambit3 and Traverse.

In addition, silly as that sounds, it turned out that it makes quite a difference that I wore the Ambit3 Peak on my left wrist and the Traverse on the right!

Case in point, this second long run where I wore both Ambit3 Peak (track in yellow) and Traverse (track in orange) on my left wrist, just a little – but some – distance apart:

(The blue line is the route I had set up in Movescount’s Route Planner using Mapbox – OpenStreetMap. Comparison data is in the table below: Long Run 2)

As one can see, there, the tracks usually overlap. There are some differences, some of them somewhat noticeable, but as they occur with both tracks (notice the way the Ambit3 went off course towards the very end…), under open or more-closed view to the sky, at different points, they are likely to be abnormalities rather than true errors.

Frankly, what I notice more about the two tracks are the instances where the route followed the center of the road, and it is clearly visible that I ran on the pedestrian walkway off the road on the east side of it. Or the part, shortly after the point where I finally remembered to restart the recordings, where I went from the one side of the road to a tree on the other side…

Comparison Data

Long Run 1

(GPS track comparison in video 10a above)

Traverse Ambit3 Peak
time 2:33’48.4 hours 2:33’48.3
distance 24.00 km 24.50 km
avg speed 9.4 km/h (max 24.1) 9.6 km/h (max 21.2)
calories 1975 kcal 1977 kcal
ascent 375 m 395 m
descent 382 m 403 m
ascent time 1:09’45 1:14’47
descent time 1:00’50 1:05’27
flat time 0:23’13.4 0:13’34.3
highest point 307 m 311 m
lowest point 163 m 169 m
temperature 13.3C (11.7 – 25.8) 12.3C (10.4 – 24.5)
battery decline 32% 17%
(LINK) Traverse ‘Move’ Ambit3 Peak ‘Move’

Long Run 2

(GPS track comparison in video 10b above)

Traverse Ambit3 Peak
time 2:13’21.5 2:13’21.7
distance 18.39 km 18.40 km
avg speed 8.3 km/h (pace 7’15 min/km; max 15.5 km/h) 8.3 km/h (pace 7’14 min/km; max 13.0 km/h)
calories 1495 kcal 1507 kcal
ascent 58 m 48 m
descent 56 m 39 m
ascent time 0:23’21 0:27’37
descent time 0:23’56 0:17’20
flat time 1:26’04.5 1:28’24.7
highest point 192 m 192 m
lowest point 148 m 153 m
temperature 21.2C (17.5 – 25.5) 19.5C (16.6 – 25.5)
battery decline 29% 11%
(LINK) Traverse ‘Move’ Ambit3 Peak ‘Move’

Setting GPS Fix Rate

A new, little but useful, trick of the Traverse is that GPS fix can be adjusted on the watch, even while on the go.

So, you can set up a running mode to use 1 second (“best”) GPS fix, but if you find yourself only hiking and/or running low on battery, you can go into the options menu (long press “next”), go to “Navigation” -> “GPS Accuracy” and turn it down to “Good” (5 sec. fix) or “OK” (60 sec fix) or even, if you’ve made camp but didn’t want to stop the recording, to “Off”.

(Just don’t forget to turn it back up/on if you want your track recorded again ;) )

This works both while recording a move and while navigating; and in navigation or compass views, you can even access the navigation menu directly by pressing the “start” button.

(Just don’t forget, also, that an “OK” GPS fix would certainly cause some issues when using the Traverse for navigating, just like the lag I described above: you may get to (and past) intersections in the road where you need to make a turn while your watch still shows you a ways away from them. That was not the issue I had, though.)

Interactions with Movescount

A high-tech tool like the Traverse, coming from an Amer Sports company, of course interacts with their digital platform, Movescount.

So, recordings made on and saved to the Traverse get synced to Movescount (either via the Moveslink software on a PC or Mac, using a Suunto Datasnake USB cable that comes with the Traverse, same as with Ambits, or via the Movescount app).

Of course, the data is limited to that which the Traverse can and could record and/or can be used in analysis.

If you have a heart rate belt connected and active, for example, heart rate will be recorded and transferred, and Movescount’s summary of the respective move will even separate it out into times spent in your different heart rate zones (which is something the Traverse itself doesn’t do, except through an app).

(Note, again, that a navigation session counts as a recording. After all, if you navigate somewhere, you’ll probably want to know where you have been going, while on the move, and be able to check which way you went, afterwards.)

What I should mention about the Movescount app and the Traverse: For this combination, too, one can not only check out one’s ‘scoreboard’ of ‘moves’ on the go now, and transfer/sync new moves, but also create a “Suunto Movie” touring the track.

Movescount App and Notifications

The Movescount app continues to be a bit of a sore point.

Suunto has recently established its own Mobile Competence Center in order to have a separate entity focused on the development of their digital solutions/accompaniments to their devices, and development cycles have accelerated quite a bit – but they are still struggling to get everything up and running half as consistently as one would expect it, and they are not very good at communicating what they are working on.

The iOS app is still considerably more stable than the Android one. (To me, this continues to be one of the best advertisements and reasons for getting an iPod touch…)

Still, both iOS and Android Movescount apps can now also be paired with the Traverse and thus used to upload (sync) moves and settings and to change settings and sports modes.

At the time of my writing, shortly after the release of the Traverse, however, there are lots of complaints about notifications not working with the Android app.

Some problem seems to have arisen there, as tends to happen with Android devices, unfortunately, and Suunto are scrambling to find out what’s at fault.
(One of their main problems continues to be that, being Finnish as they are, they don’t like to talk publicly about such things even as it leaves customers wondering if anybody is listening, let alone doing, anything…)

So, if this daily use case is important for you, you should expect it to be fixed – and you should probably expect notifications to remain something of a problem, not just because of the way they work (or don’t), but also because they are a problem, anyways… But then, I’m on record as not being a big fan of notifications.

Then, forgive me if these problems don’t play too big a – or indeed, any – role in my final verdict.

Final Thoughts (For Now)

All in all, I personally like what I’ve seen from the Traverse so far.

Aside from the lag in navigation – and even that is noticeable for the most part only in direct comparison with an Ambit3, not when sensibly* using a Traverse by itself – basic operation seems solid and made well for the target users.

(*By “sensibly”, I mean with some idea of where one needs to go. Blindly trusting a GPS is never a good idea.)

That may be where the real problem is, at the moment: As the latest tool/toy from Suunto, the Traverse has been getting a lot of attention from dedicated customers of Suunto, many of them users of the Ambit2 or Ambit3.

If you are among those, I’d honestly recommend sticking with your Ambit if you are into outdoors adventures, ultramarathons, triathlons, training via a training program, and similar.

It was clear even from the Traverse’s beginnings, though, that it would be intended not for these people, but for those who may have been put off by the slew of functions on the Ambit line that they would all not need.

The performance of the bezel antenna is promising, the new-ish (no more antenna bulge) design is nice, POI navigation screens are enticing – all that (hopefully) promises good things for a successor to the Ambit line.

And for those not looking for the ultimate training and outdoors, everything-but-espresso, tool for ultramarathons and worldwide expeditions (which the Suunto fans hope the Ambit4 will be), but for a watch that wears well and delivers solid help in recording a little training, going on soft hikes, and doing some more exploration beyond that, whether out onto a trail or through a foreign city, the Traverse will deliver.

Weak Points:

  • no waypoints in navigation (but that may be changed)
  • slight lag in position update in navigation view
  • notifications
  • step count not transferred to / stored on Movescount (apparently being looked into)

Pluses:

  • pretty much everything it’s made for: simple navigation, easy recording of tracks/activities
  • POI navigation (with altitude and altitude difference)
  • standard watch straps
  • no more GPS antenna bulge

Of course, it remains to be seen how the Traverse holds up over longer time, but what’s been shown so far has been promising.

Update: There’s else a first update to the Traverse’s software; see new data/results here.

And, if you’d like to get a Traverse from REI and get me a commission in the process, follow this link:
Suunto Traverse on REI.com

142 thoughts on “adventuring with the Suunto Traverse. Review (and Manual)

  1. Hi,
    Nice depht review !!!
    i have a question for you. How is the logbook menu on traverse? can you see the distance, average heart rate and autolap on the watch like ambit3?
    Thanks,
    Julien,

    1. I’ll have to check what exactly it shows (had to force a firmware update recently, ahem). Looked to be quite similar…

    1. “Force firmware” means I had to re-install the firmware (not an update) because of some problems. (Watch didn’t want to sync.)

  2. Excellent review! Thank you for the effort you out into this. I’m undecided on the colour of the bezel due to scratch marks. Do you know if the darker bezel on the amber is a coating on top of the Base stainless steel colour? If it is, it will sway me towards the black version. Thanks.

    1. It looks to me like it’s a full block in a different(ly colored) material, but that’s a feeling, not really knowledge.

      Alright, since so many people are concerned: I took a knife to the side of the (Amber version’s) bezel. It does leave a mark that looks a little lighter than the rest. Same thing happens with scratches on the stainless steel bezel of a sapphire Ambit2, though, so I’d assume that scratches will be similarly visible on both bezels (and they both seem pretty resistant to them – though that again depends on use, like so many things…)

  3. I have just purchased the Suunto Traverse and seem to be having 2 issues with it. My first issue is I cant seem to figure out how to clear the “LOGBOOK” entries from the watch. My send issue is that the notifications are not receiving (YES my phone and the watch is paired and notifications turned ON). Please help. THANK YOU. DENNY/DENVER COLORADO USA.

    1. Good news and bad: It’s not you ;)

      Re. the logbook: You are not supposed to clear it. It is (if it’s the same as on the Ambit line, which I’m pretty sure it is) using a cyclical memory. That means, old logs get overwritten automatically when new ones reach the limit of the storage space.

      The slight disadvantage of that: If you hadn’t uploaded the oldest log(s), they would disappear – but the Traverse will give you a warning when the logbook is at… I think it’s 50% full, and you haven’t synced those logs.

      Advantages: You can never lose a new log/recording because the storage space is full (that happened with the t6 quite a bit); and older logs still on the watch are available to view and to navigate with.
      (That’s the point behind the navigation logbook: You can go up a mountain trail on day 1, stop recording when at a mountain hut you’ll be staying at. Do hikes up there and find the way back to the mountain hut easily (because you started your recordings there, thus have the breadcrumb track to find the way there also in a fog. Day 3, turn on the navigation log/track from day 1 to be guided back down the mountain.)

      (If you absolutely must delete logs: Do a “force firmware update”, which can be found right-clicking on the Moveslink symbol in the notifications tray… assuming you’re on Windows. That does it.)

      Re. notifications: Let me guess… you use an Android phone? That app is still, constantly, under development. And still Suunto’s biggest headache.

      An update which will handle (most?) notifications correctly should be coming shortly – and there will probably still be some models of Android phones it will not work with quite as it should. (And it’s not just Suunto’s fault; there just are so many android phones with so many implementations of e.g. BTLE alone, it’s a constant struggle…)

  4. nice review man!
    i just have a question about charging .. can you please tell me how you charge him? can i do it over laptop? and can i use an adapter charger from a cell phone? i’m worried about Volts and Ampers so that’s why i ask .. tnx

    1. Like the Ambit watches, the Traverse charges via Suunto’s Datasnake (if they still call it that) USB cable, which is also how you can sync the watch with the movescount website, set up sports modes and settings, etc.

      So, to your point: As long as you have any kind of (standard) USB port or charger, that will work to charge the Traverse

  5. tnx for reply ..
    i know the tehnical part like pc’s usb ports and adapter charger from cell phone, but my question is about Volts and Ampers coz my phone’s adapter is 2A, and suunto’s watch should be charged within 0.1-1A for example .. thats why im worried coz i dont wanna harm my watch

    1. Ah, I see. Honestly, I’ve never even seen a 2A USB charger… Will see if I can find out more, but this is a question where I’m tempted to suggest asking Suunto’s customer support ;-)

  6. Hi,
    I have bought a suunto traverse, my firmware version is V1.0.4.
    I have a problem, i can only put one app per sport mode. the datasheet say 3 apps per sport mode.
    Anybody have the same issue? thanks,

    julien,

  7. Having issues with accuracy of the thermometer. Suunto dealer says reset of alti will resolve after each plane ride, but still doesn’t work. Anyone with same problem or advise will be much appreciated. Not sure if defect or?

    1. You’re the second person this week to ask about the thermometer… Just checked it and haven’t seen anything out of the ordinary. You have to leave it off your wrist in a place you want to know the temperature for, sure, but I’d guess that’s not what you meant ;)

      1. That wouldnt make sense wouldnt it having to take it off to take the temperature. Anyway, it was 0C and it reads 19C. or 29C when ambient is 15C.

        1. Oh my. Yes, you do have to take it off to get the correct ambient temperature rather than the temperature the watch has because of ambient + body temperature.

          It’s always been like that with Suunto’s temperature sensors, and it could hardly be done any different: How should a watch recognize if it’s on a wrist in the open or under a jacket or anywhere else?

  8. Hi,

    I was wondering if the “running performance” screen from Ambit 3 is availble in traverse adding running activity ?

    Has you observed it during your tests ?

    Thanks !

    1. No, it isn’t. That’s one of the features that require Firstbeat’s HRV-based analysis, which are available only on the Ambit(3) line. Same as recovery tests.

  9. Hi Gerald

    Now i know that this is your traverse review. But one of the things i like to hear your take and view on the fenix 3. One of the things i like to be able to do is to configure a watch completely offline. Is that possible on the traverse? And lastly can you have multiple alarms on it?

    Thanks for your blog and website, it really brings you into thoughts:)

    1. Well. One can configure a few (?) more things on the Traverse directly, GPS fix rate coming to mind above all, but things like the data fields to be shown in sports modes are still something that you can’t add on-the-fly.

      It comes down to design philosophy (as I’m quite sure I’ve said a few hundred times in different places): Garmin lets you adjust everything on the watch directly, as need or fancy strikes; Suunto is for those who prepare well first, then execute later (and suffer the consequences if the planning wasn’t that good ;) ).

      No alarms in the plural, just the one. And it is with tone, light, and now vibration, all together. (I’ve advocated for an option to be able to e.g. set up a vibration-only alarm; we’ll see if that comes.)

      You did see my (long-winded) thoughts about the Fenix3 (vs. Ambit3)?

      1. Thanks for the reply and the information on it. Indeed it still seems to be that way. I have made some request to have more possibility without having to use the app.

        Good analogy there, i like to have the flexibility on doing both.

        Great to hear that the vibration now have been added. + For the vibration only option. Have they released any firmware updates since release? I have a hard time finding any info on Suuntos website.

        And yeah i did watch your video:) Which was a good overview.

        1. There was a small firmware update. Which should have taken care of that navigation lag I observed… Have to finally get around to trying it out and adding an update. Suunto’s not bad at reacting, at least for the resources they have, but not good at proactively communicating…

  10. Hi! I just have few questions after your review ..

    1. Is it possible to have somehow only vibration or at least vibration+sound (I really don’t hear only sound) when i get new notification? And how to activate that?

    2. I get ”Unknown caller” instead a real name and ID as a notification on my watch when someone is calling me so how can i fix that? I have already reset my application ..

    3. Please can you tell me what Data should I enter to declinate my compass? Sea level? where can i find that data?

    Tnx for your help and great review btw :)

    1. Ad 1: Vibration is pretty much always there. I turned off the button beeps, and vibration is still there. (Only exception is the wake-up alarm, which has sound+light+vibration, and one cannot only have vibration there.)

      2: That’s a bug in the (Android, right?) app, for all I know. So, nothing but to wait for a fix from Suunto. (And then, it can also happen with certain combinations of device and Android version, so… no fun, but little a user can do.)

      3: A map should tell you; and it pretty much matters only when navigating with a map. Look who’s got a write-up on that: UNDERSTANDING DECLINATION CORRECTION

  11. Hi,

    First of all many thanks for this great review, it was fantastic.

    I have just a couple of questions:

    1. Is there any estimation when Ambit 4 will be in the market?

    2. If I am a person who loves trekking for long time and also running ultra marathons or combining trekking with running for the whole day (e.g. like 18 hours), which will be the best option? Ambit 3 or Traverse? I like the idea to orientate myself when I am in the middle of the mountain with the map and the compass from Traverse, but also I like the idea of having as much as battery as possible for this long distance and times there…

    Many thanks in advance!
    Borja

    1. Sounds like you already gave it some thought – and I’d say the same thing: the breadcrumb track on the Traverse is nice, but so is the battery life of the Ambit3 Peak. To me, the A3Peak still wins, but that’s more because of the training functions. Between the breadcrumb track and the possibility to change GPS fix rates (and thus battery life) on the go, however, I might well take the Traverse on the next ultra….

      Impossible to say when there’ll be a successor to the Ambit (3). I do expect something new next year, but that’s just because it would be about time for something seriously new ;-)

  12. Hi Gerald,

    Many thanks for fast response.

    This means, that I cannot use the Ambit3 Peak for navigation, except if I already load some waypoints. Am I right?

    And Ambit3 Peak, has longer battery, are more into sports because contains more metrics than Traverse if I understood correctly.

    1. About the A3Peak and battery / sports, I’d say you’re right.

      About navigation, though, you’re at least saying it badly… For both Ambit and Traverse, it would be better to create and upload a route for navigation (and at the moment, I’m not sure the Ambit doesn’t do it better, as it uses waypoints and the Traverse does not – but, this is also what I’m used to…). You would not see the breadcrumb track in real time on the Ambit, but if you needed such a track for backtracking, you could turn it on (via the track back function) on the Ambit…

      1. Thanks a lot, it was a fantastic review and really helpful comments from your side. It’s quite clear to me that Suunto Ambit 3 Peak is a better option if I really care about sport metrics and really long distance trekking/running.

        Having a map orientation with the Traverse in a new route, would be a nice to have. But being serious about sports, today almost everybody carry a mobile phone in case of emergencies, and this one can be turned off until really needed.

        Having traverse showing the map for orientation during the whole ultramarathon, most probably is not even feasible, because battery comsumption will be faster.

        I am going today to the shop to buy the Ambit,

        Also I had a look to other brands like “Garmin”, which has the “Epix” model with topographic maps, which is cool. But looking at the reviews in different websites like amazon, etc. looks like everybody is extremely happy with Suunto, while in Garmin is a big buggy. Garmin 920XT still the most professional one from Garmin side.

        Other models like Polar, could be quite nice, but with good GPS signal is about 13h, but not enough for 24h marathons with good GPS signal quality.

        I found a nice comparisson here, just to share with you: http://fellrnr.com/wiki/Best_Running_Watch

  13. Hello! nice review man!

    i’m buying the Suunto watch but I can not decide between Ambit3 peak – Nepal edition and Traverse:)I mainly need watch for hiking/mountaineering and bikeing. which watch would you recommended ?:) thanks!

    1. Thank you :)

      Yeah, they aren’t making it easy, are they?

      It comes down to look/fit, for one, and whether you feel a need to have the training functions the Ambit gives or the no-hassle way the Traverse shows displays (in sports modes), I’d say.

  14. can you please just tell me how to erase altitude and pressure data manually entered? becouse i have read that it should be entered only one of those values (or altitude od sea level pressure) ..
    and now im getting incorrect datas :/ but is there a way to erase that without resetting completely my watch? tnx

    1. There’s not really any way of erasing that; just set it correctly (or as correctly as possible) the next time you can. I’d recommend only ever setting the reference altitude; you probably know (or will want to know) at what altitude you’re living…

  15. ok i will, but what about sea level pressure? i have entered that also :/

    and why i set my altitude, go in town on a coffee and come home and i get 119m and i do the sam procedure next time i get 130m .. always different measure :/

    1. Either reference altitude OR sea level pressure can be used to set altitude. The exact air pressure where you are may be different from current sea level pressure, however – after all, you may be in a different weather system if you are far enough away from the sea. (Not exactly how that works, but I think it gets the point across.)
      So, it’s better to set the reference altitude, if you need to correct the altitude being displayed.

      Changes come about because the altitude is measured via air pressure (and GPS). So, if the weather changes while you are out and this change in air pressure is interpreted as a change in altitude, a wrong value may result. Next time, the weather/air pressure does not change and it’s all (correctly) interpreted as a change in altitude. This cannot be totally exact, so a difference of 10 m (okay, 11m – your 119m vs. 130m) is basically no difference.

      I think I’ll add a video on temperature and altitude to my video series ;)

  16. Very good review, answers many questions I had, thank you!

    One more question though: The deactivation of the step counter while navigating really bothers me. Just for clarification: Is step count just paused while the navigation/compass view is displayed or is it even paused when a navigation is active but not displayed? Is step counting also deactivated when navigating a POI?

    1. I’d have to re-check to really make sure, but from what I saw/remember/was told, the step counter should be inactive only whenever the accelerometer needs to be (actively) used for the compass, i.e. when either compass or a GPS navigation screen is active. Active = being displayed. When you are on another screen, steps are counted again. (Just remember that they aren’t updated in real time but rather in 1 minute increments. Frankly, that’s what’s confused me about the in-/activation of the step counter… ;) ).

      You are leading me right back to my wondering if it doesn’t even make more sense to *not* have a step counter active during training/exercise so that one gets a record of training from one device, a record of daily activity (steps) from another. Kinda makes me miss my FitBit…

  17. Nice review!

    I have my Traverse backlight set to night mode, but when i start recording an activity (walk) backlight works like in normal mode (light only when light button is pressed).

    Do you know fix for this problem?

    1. Don’t see the issue; I see any button press activate the light when the watch (backlight mode) is set to night mode… Have you updated to the latest firmware? (That’s pretty much the only thing I could think of right now ;) )

  18. Thanks for the advice!

    Mine does not work that way, I guess i have to contact Suunto…

    Have you noticed improvement in GPS/GLONASS accuracy after update?

    Mine looks abaut the same as before.

  19. thanks for detailed and objective review, great read and helpful! short question: do you know if the traverse is able to pair/connect to a footpod? after reading the review and nature of this watch I guess not just got curious as you mentioned pairing with HR belt is possible, is there anything else listed or available in the pairing menu? br Tobias.

  20. Dear Gerald, thank you for your indepth review!

    I have a few quesions on traverse: – can you charge it with external power bank via USB? – how long does it usually take to fully charge the watch? – how useful are these watch when cross country skiing (I know there is an app for this kind of sport) = plan is to use it to track the routes and then trace the way back, also analyse the speed, distance, calories, elevation and navigate along the same routes. – how good is the temperature sensor when on wrist and actively moving? – in sub-zero temperatures (-10, -20 C) and GPS+Glonass updating frequently how long can the battery last? Thank you. Alex

    1. Power bank: Yes of course. Not sure about the time to a full charge; it does take a while but/and I have never timed it. If I needed longer runtime, I’d still reach for the Ambit3 Peak, not the Traverse (though that may be a mistake given the Traverse’s ability to change GPS fix rate on the go…).

      Cross-country skiing (and what you want to track) sounds like a pretty good use for a Traverse.

      The temperature sensor (can’t believe how often this needs telling) is excellent *when the watch is NOT on the wrist*. On the wrist, it gets influenced by body heat, of course…

      Did a 6+ hour ‘move‘ yesterday, GPS+Glonass + HR recording active, and it almost drained the battery. That was on a warm day when it should get up to 10 hours. So, I wouldn’t expect too much in the cold – but I also wouldn’t really judge from just this one long-term experience, maybe something I’m not thinking of was happening.

      1. Thank you!

        Do you know if Bluetooth is manually or automatically switched off when not connected to any PODs or belt sensors…or phone? Although it is BLE technology it still drains some battery when searching for a gadget to connect to…

      2. Gerald, hi. Do you know if inverted/negative display drains the battery more? i imagine it does. what do you think?

        Thx

        1. You can find some discussions on that on Watchuseek’s Suunto forum. Conclusion is that no, it doesn’t. Or if it does, then by an amount that nobody can really measure. (The display is one of the biggest drains of battery, anyways – but knowing that doesn’t help since one wants to see something when using the watch ;) )

      3. hm can you please explain me diffetence between altitude reference and altitude?

        and i still haven’t managed to erase my baro pressure becouse i have entered manually my altitude and pressure and now i still dont get correct readings (my home is one day 119m and day after 125m wtf)

        1. A difference of 5-6 m is normal and is to be expected. The watch measures air pressure and interprets it as either air pressure (and changes as weather changes) or as altitude (with changes in the pressure it measures meaning a change in altitude).

          So, since the watch cannot always know if it was moving or if the weather was changing, it will get wrong. (Make sure you set the alti-baro “profile” well, though; it helps a lot with that.)

          Reference altitude means that you know that the watch is showing the wrong altitude and you tell it the right one.

          I think another new video is in order ;-)

      4. hey, im a new user, according to my other device ( Garmin, map 64 ) glonass does drain the battery, n while ur running u dont need the high accurate GPS.
        guss it can help saving some battery

        1. Suunto says the same (that activating GLONASS as well can lead to faster draining of battery), but that effect seems small. I’m with you, though: It’s worth trying

  21. Hello Gerald,

    Thank you for your review.
    I just bought my first Suunto. The Graphite Traverse. I would like to have the Slate.
    But it’s only for sale on the suunto website and they don’t delivery to Brazil. :(
    I’m hoping they’ll be selling slate straps soon!

    I have three questions if you can help me.

    1- I miss some options (from my former garmin) as to see on the recording screens the Lap Information such as Time on Lap, Cadence on lap…
    Is there any way to see it on suunto?

    2- Countdown Timer.
    Is it possibile to set the seconds? I only saw hour and minutes. And I miss it also.

    3- I didn’t understand how to use the Apps like the Interval Run. I installed it, but it just show the name of the app on the screen. :S
    Where can I find information on this issue?

    Um grande abraço do Brasil!

    1. Looks like other straps also work well (Watchuseek’s Suunto forum had a discussion of the best pins and different non-Suunto straps ;) ). Just to mention that…

      1: Yes, if you buy an Ambit. The Traverse is not one of Suunto’s training watches, so it does not do laps. (Well, to be exact: You can set it up to record autolaps e.g. every 1 km, but it does not give lap information.)

      2: Just hours and minutes, no seconds, on Suunto’s countdown timers.

      3: That’s probably related to your first question. If the watch does not give lap data, then the Interval Run app cannot (if it works the way I assume it does) work on the Traverse. Honestly, I have not tried out any apps other than one for HR zones, which does work as it should (requiring a HR belt, of course).

      1. Hi Gerald,
        Tks for the reply!

        It’s clear now that I was expecting some running features that are not on the Traverse. :(

        I couldn’t find the the discussion on Watchuseek’s Suunto forum. Do you have the link?

        Um abraço

  22. Hey Gerald

    Im curious to know if you have upgraded your Traverse to the new 1.5 firmwire?
    Which in addition to offer the GLONASS support would also add a overview with the activity tracking.

    Do you by any chance have the possibility to upload a picture of how it looks?

    1. Yup. Working on an update video. Navigation has also been changed a little already, to include waypoint notices. And you reminded me why I wanted to wear the Traverse these days (not to have empty step counts)…
      Going online late this week, probably.

  23. can you please explain me difference between altitude reference and altitude?

    and one other thing .. i still dont know how to erase my baro pressure (i have entered it manually together with my altitude) .. and now i get crazy readings – one day my home is 119m, and day after 125m .. wtf :/

  24. Hi Gerald,
    I’m facing some gps issues on my traverse.
    It’s now working properly.
    I’m running these days on a pace of 05m50/km but it is showing 04min/km.
    I know because I’m running with my wife and she’s using a garmin. And of course I know i’m not at 04m/km ;-)
    I tried to reset the gps several times, but nothing works.
    Do you have any ideia?

    Um abraçs

    1. Could be a GPS issue (but then, you should also see other problems such as a shorter-than-actual distance) or could be a bug with the pace… You could check if turning on/off the use of GPS+GLONASS changes anything, but that’s all a bit techno-voodoo-ish (with apologies to actual practitioners of vodoun)…

      All I can say is that my data post-run looks correct, but I haven’t looked at my pace during runs ;)

      1. I did turn on/off the use of GPS+GLONASS.
        It’s not only the pace, the distance is wrong as well.
        If fact the pace is wrong because the distance is wrong.

        The problem start after the update.

        abs

  25. Man, fantastic review! I just cant thank you enough for your serious in depth review here. You really showed me exactly what to expect with this watch and I think that it is going to work great for my needs.

    Cheers!

    1. Thank you for your kind words :)

      Don’t miss that there’s an update on the review, given the software update for the Traverse – and if you do find any questions, feel free to ask. (I just hope they won’t be more of those “Wait, does it really not do *this*?! :-p )

  26. Hi Gerald,

    I love your review and help me to choose Traverse. I have one question. On the manual at page 36-37 (English version) its says that after a session is stored to the logbook and then visit the logbook it will give your current recovery time and then you can go to your logs.

    Even if I use the smart hr belt I was never able to see such information.

    Is it applicable or the manual has a mistake?

    1. That should be a mistake (information copied from the Ambit manuals?), since the Traverse doesn’t calculate recovery time (if I’m not completely mistaken)

      1. Today I got the following email from Suunto Support!!!

        “Suunto Traverse does have Recovery Time function.

        All data that the logbook will show are dynamic. However, by default it will show sport mode name, time, date, duration, laps.

        Recovery Time will be shown if you`re exercise is that intense and will be calculated on the personal setting that you set it up with (e.g. estimated BPM).”

        If you manage to verify it will be super!!

        1. Just an update.

          Suunto support review two of my runs with PTE above 4.5 and they said that Traverse normally should give recovery time since they insist that the watch support this feature.

          I waiting their news, and hope a fix in the next firmware update.

          1. Today I got the final verdict from Suunto Support. “error on the user manual” as initially Gerald say. Case Closed and hoping to reconsider to add recovery time in the near future.

  27. hi gerald ..
    i got my watch scratched by accident .. the scratched part is bezel ring where are 4 little screws so is there any help? any polish paste or something like that if you know maybe?

    and is that ring replacable? is it even advisable to change it?
    what is the procedure? should i go to my local dealer where i bought the watch or i will have to contact support and send my my watch to finland (i would want that) ..

    tnx so much in advance for any advice

    1. Some people have used polish pastes; it’s also possible to get the bezel (+glass) replaced by Suunto. Can be organized through the dealer or directly, that depends on where you are and how things are organized there, so you’ll have to ask your dealer or Suunto’s customer service

  28. ups i missspelled it .. i wouldn’t want to send my watch and i would like to use some kind of paste to polish that so if you got any ideaq which one? what would you do if you were me?
    And can you recommend me any of protectors (not just glass but the bezel too) ?
    tnx so much for reply

  29. hey zhang, just one short question .. is it possible to replace bezel ring on traverse by it self? will it affect on warranty? here in my local dealer’s shop offer me that they will order bezel ring and replace it so i dont know what to do :/

    1. If they are also a repair center (or something along those lines), they may be able to get the bezel (and glass… I’m pretty sure those two pieces are still made as one piece) and replace it, with the warranty not being affected. If it were “illegal” (voiding warranty), they probably couldn’t get replacement parts. But, make sure they know what they are doing; if the glass / bezel doesn’t get installed properly, the watch is not waterproof.

      Honestly, I take scratches as signs of good use :-P

  30. Hi Gerald:)
    First of all I would like tell you big thanks for all your reviews you done about Suunto. I am really close to buy one of them(Travers or Ambit3 Peak Nepal edition)

    I wouldn’t lose all multisport functionality and battery performance of Ambit3 instead of Travers however I have no opportunity to try Ambit3 Peak(with “external” GPS) on wrist:/ I have tried Travers – and it was so comfortable and fit perfect – its big but acceptable:) and there is two question:)
    1) Does “gps nose” in Ambit3 is really big and could be uncomfortable on thin wrist?
    2) If I go with Ambit – where Can I buy orange strap for it? – I’ve seen that in one of yours video:P

    Many Thanks
    Rafal

    1. Hard to tell about the fit. Some people have complained that the “nose” is uncomfortable for them. I don’t think it happens often, but it does…

      The Traverse with the orange band is simply one of the models that suunto makes. So, the simplest approach is to find that model. But you could also check if the Suunto website / webshop (or the dealer of your choice) offers the orange band separately. Or you could just check what size pins and band the Traverse uses (24 mm, if I remember right) and get any replacement that fits and that you want…

    2. Oh, sorry. The *Ambit* with the orange strap. That is available only as a customized version of the watch, directly from suunto (customizer/webshop)

    3. (1) there are very little complains in Suunto related forums about the antenna nose or the pre-formed strap fitting even for small wrist sizes but if you are concerned better you try it out, anyway if you want to use the internal accelerometers (e.g. for cadence on outdoor runs or running speed&distance on a treadmill) it’s better you aim for a tight fit of the watch on the wrist
      (2) the Ambit3 peak Nepal comes only with a black strap, the orange Traverse strap did not fit to an normal Ambit3 due the different dimension and design (antenna cut out on the Ambit3)

  31. A really detailed review, I think I am convinced on purchasing this watch. One question I have though is…
    I enjoy mountain biking as well as hiking, will this watch be good for navigating while I’m riding on the trails, eg by uploading a pre determined route I have downloaded?

    Many thanks
    Paul

    1. GPS reception/recording tends to be even better on bike because the arm doesn’t move and the watch points to the sky all the time; I find the routes on the watch easy enough to follow. Must say, though, that I haven’t tried it out biking and sure hope it updates GPS position quickly enough now for that. (And you certainly shouldn’t use lower than “best” GPS fix settings if navigating ;) )

  32. Thanks for great review. I have been using Traverse for a while but still finding some confusing things I cannot find any answer. When I record hiking, the alti graph shows – seems like only last 30 mins. Is that correct? Is there any way how to show alti graph for whole recording (it shows after I turn recording off but do not know how to show during recording). Also what is the vertical scale on the graph? Is it changed dynamicaly? And one more question – what is the scale on the route/track screen related to? When it shows “100 m” that means the width of the display equals to 100 m or 1 cm? So much information missing in the manual

    1. Oops, sorry, I hadn’t approved your comment yet, had I? Wanted to answer at once and thus forgot…

      Yes, the alti graph only shows the last 30 (or so) minutes. You can’t see the complete one while on the go, only afterwards (on the watch and on Movescount, by now).

      Frankly, I’m not sure about the scale there myself, without checking ;-)

      You can see the altitude profile for a whole route, though, if you set a hike up like that. (This is new in firmware 2.0.) Not the same thing, but perhaps even more useful.

      The scale on the map displays is like the legend on a map. The line shown alongside the xxx m (or km) equals the distance it says.

      1. Sorry, when I opened your web in the morning I could not find my last night’s post and thought I did not send it. Sorry, I did not notice that new posts must be approved first.

        As for the altitude graph vertical scale I think it does not have any fixed scale but changes relatively according the highest and lowest point. But not sure about that. That’s why I asked. The thing that the horizontal scale is just 30 mins. is bit strange but well… lets hope it will change with some future firmware updates…

        I have got one more question. Do you have any experience how long you can record your activity (with 1s gps fix and 1s gps recording interval) till the logbook memory fills up (end deletes old records)? I am going to take my Suunto on 2 weeks long Everest BC trek where no internet connection is. And since it is not possible to sync/save recordings to phone/Movescount without the interent I am bit afraid that the memory will fill up soon and I will not be able to keep all the records till we finish (about 14-16 days of trekking, each day 6-8 hours on the way). The thing that I cannot save recordings while “offline” is a huge drawback of the device…

  33. Hi Gerald,
    My strongest interest is with the compass feature , I am a telecommunications rigger and install antennae and the like on steel structures often around large water bodies or power lines, do you know if the given azimuths are effected by such interferences, also, do you know if the bearings given are true or magnetic north, I’m new to this sort of technology and thank you for your assistance.
    AZ in Oz

    1. Not entirely sure about the things you’re asking. You can set declination, which would take care of the difference between true and magnetic north; a magnetic field such as from a power line would affect the compass, but I don’t think there’s any way to avoid that. Does that answer your questions or did I misunderstand something?

  34. Hello Gerald, I want to ask in the first video where you show shortcuts submenu pressure is shown and alarm storm, but to me missing. When you enter the general menu / alarms / to me it indicates that it is turned on, but does nothing when the pressure falls or rises also do not know under what pressures she has indicated.

    1. Should be. On the “Gear” page on Movescount, open “Sports modes”, “edit” the one where you want the beeping, open “advanced settings” and turn on “autolap” at 1 km.

      You get a beep at every km and/because an autolap is marked, then.

  35. Hi,

    Great review.
    Do you know if the Garmin Fenix 3 and the Suunto Traverse have the same display sizes ?
    (I found fenix was 1.2 inch = 30.4mm but non info on traverse)

    I’m not talking about resolution, only display glass diameter

    Thanks

    1. Check the specifications page on Suunto, there are usually diagrams with the exact dimensions there. (I can’t quite link there right now; I’m in China until mid-August and internet access is spotty ;) )

  36. Hi I have been using the traverse away from phone and wifi connections. I have a phone with the app on and was assuming I could sync my moves with the phone. I couldn’t sync them without wifei and because I was out in the mountains for 2 weeks I lost much of My data. This seems a real weakness as the logs delete themselves and you cant save them using Bluetooth?

    1. That’s one of the issues still unresolved about the watch-app interaction (known from the Ambits): Somehow, the app is supposed to sync ‘moves’ even while offline – but how exactly it does that (or if it even does that, in any kind of satisfying way), has remained unclear since forever (and it might have changed with different versions of the app)…

  37. Realy many thanks for great review.
    i have 2 problems:

    1. contrast on my suunto traverse is loosing. I did factory reset for fixing it. Ok, It became normal, but after 1 hour, there is no more contrast and i can not see nothing.
    Did you hear something about it from the other users?

    2. Other problem is with the navigation. I mean, during the registration traverse i thing lose the gps, and later, when i see my log, sometimes i find my speed at 450 km/h :)

    Thank you in advance
    Volkan Unan

      1. Honestly and frankly, it sounds to me like you should send your watch to customer service. If contrast really changes like that, the lcd display can’t be working right…

  38. I find the strap of the Traverse to be a bit short when worn over a jacket. Is the Ambit Vertical strap longer so an exchange would be beneficial?

      1. I just got the Traverse textile band and it is about 4,5 cm longer at the last hole than the silicone band. That is long enough to fit over most jackets and gives much better cold weather usability.

  39. Great Review Gerald

    You almost made my choice :). Few questions:

    1. Can I set beep in activity recording mode after 2, 5 or even 10 km, or is it only after 1km as you stated in of above posts?

    2. Whenever I use beeps as per above or phone notification, or approaching POI/waypoint, can it be set for vibrations instead of beep or both?

    3. Traverse is not Ambit but is there any function or application on Traverse that enable to plan a training – like worm up, training itself, cool down as you show on one of your videos for Ambit?

    4. Battery – did I understood correctly that setting a GPS to catch the longest fix will allow to store up to 100h of activity on a single charge?

    Kind regards

    1. Sorry about the delay, I’m off to a marathon and will want to check things exactly. Training plans on watch are a definite no (although, thinking about it, there are some things you could do with an Ambit app which should also work on the Traverse), autolap beep should be something you can set as you will,…

  40. Hi there,
    I was looking for a detailed a review before upgrading my old and bashed suunto ambit and I’ve finally found all the gory details in this fantastic review. Thanks a bunch!

      1. Hi Gerald,

        I’ve a question. I’ve planned a run in the mountains and I’ve set some POI along the route. Alas I later discovered that is not possible to navigate through these ones (the POI list was empty) and I’ve got only a notification while I was approaching them. So it seems that if I want the POI navigation too I have to load them apart. Correct? Are you aware of any change in this behaviour in the future (if any) fw upgrades?

        Thanks in advance,

        1. Hi Walker,

          yeah, no, Suunto decided to “simplify” the navigation on the Traverse after too many people complained about the waypoint navigation on the Ambit series. So, now, as you said, you’d have to save a route (with waypoints, to at least get alerts about approaching them) in order to navigate along that route, but also set POI if there could be a point to which you’d want to navigate without a/the route. (You can’t use POI navigation and route navigation at the same time, IIRC).

          It’s not a bug, it’s a feature, so I doubt that will ever change; it sets the Traverse line apart from the Ambits (except for the Ambit3 Vertical, which behaves like the Traverse).

  41. Hello gerald

    I was looking for a alpinism watch, only alpinism. I really miss a “comeback route”. But today (birthday) i got as a gift an ambit 3 peak…. Do you think it´s the best choice or should i change to traverse?

    Do you know if lag gps is solve? i´m worried about it, it´s the first reason for analpinism watch, at least for me

    thanks for yor work, the best!

    alex

    1. Hi Alex,

      congrats on the new watch – and if you don’t have to have vibration alerts, stick with the Ambit3 Peak; it is still the best of the Suunto watches.
      The lag on the Traverse GPS is fixed, or it was the last time I checked, but now the Ambit3 Peak also has the route altitude profile function.

      I assume by “comeback” you mean a trackback? Well, or actually a breadcrumb track, i.e., you can always see where you have been (what track you recorded) on the watch? That is one thing the Ambit3 does not do the way the Traverse offers it, true, but if you need to navigate back (track back) along your route, you can still do that with the Ambit, you just need to activate track back in the (navigation) options.

      There’s a video/blog entry on that, too ;)

  42. Hello Gerald, Is it possible to review my recorded moves on a satellite based image on movescount instead of the basic map feature.
    Thanks
    David

    1. Of course. Lower right of map view, choose to use Google Maps, then you get the usual Google Maps selector in the upper left where you can choose between Google’s map or satellite view.

  43. Hey,
    Wanted to say this was a great review. I upgraded from the garmin forerunner and transitioned from road marathons (+/- 4 hours) to ultra running and navigating (12+) hours and made it happen with an ambit 2. I use the ambit for whiteout navigating, ski touring, resort skiing, & multi day trips. Some pre-trip planning, real time navigating with a map, and punching in POI’s has honestly saved me a night out in the wilderness because I could navigate in whiteout or pitch black conditions.

    A really powerful device and I like its lack of phone connectivity, most of the time there’s only gps so I don’t want a manufacturer wasting time on email/text functionality.
    Anyways.
    I’m looking for a daily watch that actually fits under a dress shirt or suit jacket. Working stiff here doing the 8-5 and bicycle or run commute, would like a gps enabled watch in case my run home gets exploratory and I push some hills. Thinking about picking up a travers so I’m always ready to go and leave the ambit at home until the weekend hits.
    Couple of questions..
    you said it could change GPS refresh rates mid-activity, but can I change the activity? Normally I would long-press “back” and switch between a 10s “hiking/trail running” and a 60s “glacier travel, ski uptrack” activity I made. Basically switching between running and cycling activities. Can the traverse do this?
    Does the traverse have a “sleep” mode where the watch itself goes into low-power? I tend to take my ambit off while sleeping in a tent because it’s awake when it moves.

    Great read and appreciate the extra effort. I’ll have to keep googling because I’m scared the Suunto Spartan is trying to be more “Apple” than “Ambit” and I don’t want to be let down.

    Cheers,

    -Colin

    1. Colin,
      The Traverse is quite tall so you need large diameter shirt sleeves if it is going to fit under. Suit jacket I do not think is a problem. It has a sleep mode where it turns off the screen when left unused for a while, but I am not sure it actually saves a lot of power – especially if you have bluetooth turned off – since it continues to log barometric pressure and has the movement sensor on.
      It has not the possibility of changing activity during recording, nor can you do lap timing.
      I have a two watch setup: Apple Watch for work, Traverse for leisure.

    2. As Trygve also answered, it’s not small. Then again, so is no Suunto, though a slim (not-tall) bezel already makes quite a difference. Makes the Spartan fit quite well under shirt sleeves (or so I think, but then I’m used to such big devices).
      No multisports mode, so no changing of activity while in one.
      Sleep, yes, same.

      Frankly, I wouldn’t change from an Ambit, even an Ambit2, to a Traverse unless you really “need” to have vibration alerts and the route altitude profile.

      The Spartan still has a ways to go to fully compete with the Ambit3 Peak features or even just its initial promise, but it’s getting somewhere. And I’m happy it still doesn’t do music control or such. (Have to admit, I’d really like to work with Casio in showing all their new ProTrek Smart with GPS can do… or can’t. That is definitely more Apple Watch…)

  44. Thank you for the detailed review! I’m trying to decide between purchasing a Suunto Traverse or Suunto Ambit3 Peak. I’m looking for an outdoor watch that will also work well for running and biking. While I run almost ever day and bike maybe every other week, my my interest in these activities is more casual and I’m not interested in detailed metrics; I really just want to track distance and time. Instead, I’m more interested in these watches because of the outdoor navigation features (trackback and breadcrumb trails along with routes) as well as the BAC and weather notifications. These features are important to me because I often go hiking/camping/backpacking alone in areas without reliable cell service, and I want another tool to help me safely navigate. Given that, is the Suunto Traverse a better fit for me since I wouldn’t get much use out of the Ambit3 Peak performance metrics? what are the big differences between trackback and breadcrumb? Lastly, I have a small wrist — is the size difference between the peak and traverse that noticeable? Really would appreciate your thoughts. Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Andrea,
      You are certainly, definitely hitting some of the best points.

      The size between the two is actually very similar, ie both are big. The Traverse doesn’t have the “nose” of the Ambit line, though, and that makes a difference for some people – and unfortunately (for deciding) not for others. So, best to try out for yourself…

      The big difference between track back and breadcrumb trail is just that the breadcrumb is shown while you are on the move, all the time. Trackback would show the same track of where you’d been, but only once you activate it.

      Otherwise, in terms of functions, yes, the Ambit would offer more things you might not need, the Traverse might be a bit simpler (and have vibration alerts).

      If you could get a good deal on an Ambit 3 Peak, I’d rather recommend that, it still has the better battery and set of features – unless there’s anything about it (different fit, no vibration, no breadcrumb track, all the training features not needed) that would put you off it.

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