Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage ReviewAugust 30, 2016
- Most durable in test
- Tactical features
- Hunting/Fishing navigational aids
- Syncing issues with Movescount app
- Average battery life
The Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage is primarily designed for hunters and anglers with a unique feature set specific to that group. While all the models we tested showed a high level of durability testers felt that this watch truly was the most indestructible watch in the test. One tester who works in Search & Rescue especially liked the ability to use a red backlight to preserve night vision.
The Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage is housed in a composite case with a fixed knurled steel bezel, sapphire crystal lens, and water-resistant nylon wrist strap. The combination of the fixed knurled steel bezel and sapphire crystal lens made this watch the most durable watch in our test. After three months of heavy testing including two Presidential Range Traverses and thousands of feet of rock climbing our test unit shows virtually no wear.
Ease of Use/Intuitiveness
After a brief setup and acquiring the companion Movescount app & software the Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage was ready to go. Creating and importing routes from the Movescount software was intuitive.
With GPS and GLONASS technology in the Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage our testers found that a satellite location fix could be obtained in most conditions in less than a minute, and with 50% skyview often in less than 15 seconds. In dense foliage location fixes occurred noticeably faster than some of the other models in our test. Location data was very accurate, to within 15-20 feet. Built-in shortcuts for saving your current location as a POI (Point of Interest) was a favorite feature.
The nylon wristband included on the Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage wasn’t as comfortable as the silicone bands used on the other watches in our test but the lighter overall weight of the watch was a boon.
Along with all the features a GPS enabled multi-sport watch typically comes with like an accurate GPS/GLONASS receiver, altimeter, barometer, and electronic compass the Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage has some additional features designed specifically with hunters and anglers in mind such as shot detection, hobby specific POI’s, flashlight mode, sunrise/sunset vibration alarms, and a night vision preserving backlight.
After the initial setup of connecting the watch via Bluetooth to a smart phone and downloading the Movescount software/app you can start plotting routes and easily customize your “in watch” settings. Route planning on the Movescount website was quite intuitive. Manufacturer specifications claim 14 days of battery life in time mode, and 10 hours in the most accurate GPS mode (1 second recording). There are battery saving options that can lengthen the interval recording to every 5 seconds (15hr battery life) or every minute (100hr battery life) at the cost of track accuracy (most noticeable at speed). Our testers preferred the more accurate GPS tracks and wished they could squeak out a few more hours of use between recharging, however they did find the 10 hour specification to be quite accurate under various conditions.
David is a self proclaimed snow & navigation geek and teaches all aspects of climbing and avalanche safety for Eastern Mountain Sports Schools in North Conway, NH. He tests GPS's for the Gear Institute.