For years, Suunto has been renowned for their dive computer technology. Their diving computers have been used and trusted by divers worldwide. In the 1990’s, Suunto began their push into other markets with the introduction of the Suunto Vector. From there, Suunto has expanded their outdoor wrist-top computer line by leaps and bounds.Top alpinists and mountaineers worldwide have trusted Suunto watches to track the weather, altitude and key training data. Until recently, Suunto quality hadn’t been available in the under $200 price range. Enter the new Suunto X3hr with altimeter, barometer, thermometer, heart rate and training logs–all for $169 MSRP.
Suunto X3hr Details
The new Suunto X3hr watch offers an entry-level outdoor training watch for those interested in tracking their heart rate and altitude as it relates to training. This new watch is small and lightweight compared to many other watches in this category. Built as a training watch for endurance sports such as hiking, mountain biking and running, the X3hr is also great for backcountry skiing.
With the ability to store up to 10 workout sessions, the X3hr gives you an overview of each workout with duration, laps, heart rate (max, min and average), total ascent/descent and max/min altitude.
The X3 was built for light weight and wearability. The watch band is built with thin, comfortable rubber and the watch itself is lightweight, yet durable. As one of the only Suunto models to be built outside of Finland, the X3hr offers a lot of features for a small price.
Suunto X3hr Performance
Being very familiar with all things Suunto, the X3hr is built with ease of use in mind. The large buttons are easy to push with or without gloves and the menus are straightforward. If you are familiar with recent Suunto models like the t6 or X6, the menu system on the X3hr isn’t too much different. The major difference is that there are only four buttons instead of five–it’s missing the execute button and instead uses short and long presses of the “set” button to execute options.
Wearability of the watch is great. The rubber strap is thin and lightweight–a welcomed feature in the world of overbuilt, rugged outdoor watches. As with all Suunto watches, the battery is easily replaced by the user in both the watch and heart rate belt. This is a great feature as many heart rate belts don’t allow you to change the battery.
The three line display of the Suunto X3hr allows you to view just the right data during each of the three modes: time, training and memory. Time mode shows the time and date, then you can select whether or not you want to display the day of week, heart rate or temperature and barometric pressure. Training mode shows the heart rate in the middle and the elapsed time on top. From there, you can view the current lap (up to 10), altitude and heart rate min/max (in numbers or on a scale). And, in the memory mode, you can view the data on the last 10 workouts or laps. This data includes min/max heart rate, average heart rate, duration, altitude ascent/descent and min/max altitude.
As far as measurements go, the X3hr provides a great set of measurement tools to analyze your outdoor workouts. With or without the heart rate strap, the watch still provides great workout or trip data on duration and altitude. For the money, the X3hr does offer a lot of features, but not everything about the X3hr is rosy–there are some issues I’ve noticed with the watch. Every complaint I have with the X3hr has to do with the heart rate monitor’s reception. The only time I could get a consistent reading is if I was running outdoors and nobody else had a heart rate monitor. When my wife and I went out for a run, she had the Suunto and I was wearing a Polar AXN300. We had to stay well apart, otherwise she would always pick up the signal from the Polar unit I was wearing.
I also had some trouble keeping the heart rate connected while working out at the gym. Apparently, the watch’s receiver has trouble around electronics because I had to hold the watch just right on the stationary bike, or else it dropped the signal. Another weird issue is that on occasion, the watch will think it’s receiving a heart rate signal while I’m driving my car. I guess my car is trying to send the watch its current heart rate or something. Hmmm… maybe my car is trying to tell me something?
Random heart rate monitoring issues aside, the X3hr does offer a lot of great features at a very low price point. I particularly liked the overall wearability of the watch and don’t even notice it’s on my wrist. Try that with most altimeter watches these days.
The Bottom Line: Suunto X3hr Watch
This budget-minded outdoor watch from Suunto has a great feature-set for the price. I was impressed with the wearability of the watch and many of the features. The automatic 10 session/lap memory is very useful for later analysis. I did have some reception issues with the heart rate sensor, but I think I’ve got them figured out. I’d recommend this watch to anyone looking for a great entry-level altimeter watch with heart rate monitor.
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