Suunto Elementum Terra Review
The Suunto Elementum Terra is the Rolls Royce of the Suunto outdoor line. Depending on your interest, three versions of the watch are available. The Terra model is Latin for Earth. The Aqua version is for water sports, and the Ventus for sailing.
I picked mine up brand new for about €650. Expensive you say? Sure. It’s a premium watch, from a premium company, and manufactured in Finland. So what exactly do you get for your money? The same computing power as a P.C of the same price? Not exactly. But the wrist size version of an outdoor weather-station, and the looks to boot. What Suunto has done with the Elementum series, is to produce a watch with function, and looks to match. The Terra is just as at home in a board-room meeting, as it is belaying on an ice-climb. After testing over 12 months, here are my opinions.
A quality build is immediately obvious when trying on the watch for the first time. Mine looks as good after a year of abuse, as it did when it came forth from the box. My only gripe is the thickness of the watch. Sure, they’ve crammed a miniature computer inside this thing, with an impressive battery as well. But from the thickness of the watch, if you have tight fitting sleeves on your insulation layer, to keep out the cold, then you’ll be keeping your Suunto tucked safely away too. With a pair of thick gloves on, pulling your watch out from the inside of a sleeve is not always straightforward. The buttons are sturdy, and the rolling selection use of the top button feels rock solid and durable.
When buying, there are two options for display. Inverted colour display, or normal. I heavily recommend going with the normal display. The Invert display is the worst possible idea for a watch. It is difficult to read, and just plain annoying. Be sure of which display you will get if ordering online.
I also have no issues with the given 100m water rating. If you find yourself that deep underwater, you’ve got bigger problems than your Suunto.
Interface / Ease of Use
Use as a normal watch, the main display has a large display of Time/Hour in the middle, and current altitude above. At the top of the screen, an arrow indicates an atmospheric pressure trend. Two parts to the arrow equals a 6 hour (3 for each half) trend of atmospheric rise or fall. Different angles of the arrow show how severe a change there has been. Useful if waking up after a night in the mountains and checking the trend of what has happened overnight. The lower section of the screen can be changed between date/timer function. Note: There is no way to see the ‘seconds’ of the main time display, only the minute is visible. It would be nice if there was a third option for displaying seconds in this lower section.
By scrolling down on the upper dial, the memory/log function of the watch is accessed. A history of previously recorded tracks can be viewed, up to a maximum of 10 logs. The logs show the date it took place, the time you started recording, maximum altitude reached, total vertical ascent meters, total vertical descent meters, and time taken.
Battery Life on the Suunto Elementum Terra
My battery lasted 18 months before dying. I changed it myself after it died. I first thought that there was a problem with the watch as it suddenly died, but the backlight was still on for a few days before it was off completely. I emailed Suunto to get the battery changed by them (otherwise the warranty is not valid.. how stupid..) but they wanted to me to send it to Finland. To change a battery. I did it myself no worries.
A good watch if you want one to do it all. It does not offer an extra functionality than the cheaper watches in Suunto’s line, but this is a wear all the time watch where as if you have the cheaper ones you would ideally be wearing a normal watch to work. Looks arent cheap! Recommended if you have the money.