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Backpacker Magazine – November 2009

Gear Review: Suunto X10 Watch

Map your route and much more with this high-tech wrist watch.

by: Testers Ted Alvarez, Anthony Cerretani, Shannon Davis, Jonathan Dorn, George Heinrichs, Dennis Lewon, Kris Wagner

1109 Suunto X10 ( Machine)
1109 Suunto X10 ( Machine)

Gear Field Test: Watches

Meet the stealth bomber of GPS units. The X10 packs basic satellite navigation capabilities and a digital altimeter without the extra weight or wonk-factor of a handheld. The onboard computer lets you collect up to 500 waypoints and 25 detailed tracklogs, then output data such as altitude, barometric pressure, compass direction, and temperature right on the screen. At the trailhead, go to the activity screen and press "start." The X10 will automatically collect a tracklog of your route. You can mark campsites, creek crossings, and trail junctions with "memory points." Feel lost? Use the "trackback" feature to work your way back to your starting point, or simply check your coordinates to plot your location on a paper map (there is no on-screen map).

Expert navigators praised the finer details. "I love that you can adjust compass declination, map datum, and coordinate system (like lat/long or UTM) to match the topo map you're using," says our map editor after testing it on hikes and rides in the Colorado Rockies. At home, download your routes to Google Earth to create 3D flyovers. Caveats: Satellite acquisition is slower than traditonal GPS units (about five minutes), and the complex menu trees take a few hours to master. And it's pricy. $550; 2.7 oz.;

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