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    Fossil FX2008 and Suunto n6HR PDA Watches
    Author: Talon
    Date Posted:04/07/2005 15:40.56
    SLRating:Suunto SLRating: 7.5/10
    SLRating:Fossil SLRating: 8/10
    Bottom Line: Wristop,Computer and Advanced-tech watches still have a long way to go before general consumers and watch aficionados will consider them for normal use. But until then, both Fossil and Suunto have made commendable efforts in keeping the idea behind a wearable computer-esque tool alive.

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    Functionality - n6HR

    "Physically and socially active people will find Suunto n6HR smart sports watch can really make a difference to their lives. Training will become more fun and effective, while navigating through everyday life will be easier and more efficient." -Suunto

    On the topic of functionality, both watches posses major elements of importance. However, because many of these functions do not overlap (such as the heart-rate function in the n6HR and the PDA-specific functions in the FX2008), this section will be split into three subsections, two of which discuss the functionality of each watch independently of each other. The exception is the third section, which will be a comparison of watch faces. That said, lets move on to what the n6HR brings to the table in terms of watch operation.

    Actually, in terms of functionality, the n6HR is completely identical (running a comparison on the Suunto web site reveals this) to its N3i precursor except for the operation and functions related to the heart rate monitor. Since we already published a review with a functionality section on the N3i, we will focus on the new inclusion of heart rate monitoring, tracking, and organizing features.

    The heart rate monitor is similar to conventional strap and watch combinations that measure and record your heart rate. Besides several interval times, the n6HR can also be programmed to beep outside your ideal training zone. This means that if you slow down too much during a run (like slow to a walk or stop to take a piss) and your heart rate drops below your training zone, the watch will beep obnoxiously until you get your blood pumping again. But get too worked up and your heart rate will go over your zone (i.e. potential heart attack zone), causing the same obnoxious beep to emanate from your faithful n6HR.

    But that is not all, because Suunto even took the time to develop a training manager, "an advanced training tool that helps you plan and analyse your training." According to them, "training sessions, notes and calendar events can be automatically updated from your PC to your smart sports watch. You can keep a training logbook with up to 20 logs, providing you with the information you need to analyse and fine-tune your training." Wow, that sounds really convenient!

    Actually, it isn't.

    The training software splash screen looks cool

     

    The Suunto training manager is cool up until the splash screen disappears. Then its is all downhill. Never mind that it took me half an hour to establish a link between the n6HR and my computer, lets just pretend that was my fault. Alright so now I have downloaded the results of my morning run, all three laps of it. Wait, I ran through my neighbourhood, to the local store, back through another neighbourhood, and then to my house. How does that constitute to three laps? I have no idea, but apparently I ran three laps. Maybe Suunto should figure out a way to calculate miles or something, but you know, inventing laps works too.

    The only nice part about the training program is you get to see your heart rate displayed as a line graph. It is very good to know that at 10.4 minutes into the run my heart rate dropped drastically (I stopped to take a bathroom break at the store), and that shortly afterward it went back up. Also of note is that my heart rate peaked as I was returning home at approximately 20.2 minutes into the run. All interesting stuff, but now its time to explore the program a little further.

    Another central feature to the Suunto training manager is the ability for athletes to connect with the online community and "get the best out of their sport," as the training manager puts it. This service, it touts, is "mainly based on exploiting the logs measured with a Suunto sports instrument and analyzed with a sport specific Suunto PC software. Together these free elements provide the user with a revolutionary benefit" (bold text added). In the hope of attaining this revolutionary benefit, I was willing to overlook the grammatical errors in that sentence. After registering on the Suunto website, I logged on. Here is what I came up with:

    Wow, this definitely looks like it will enable me to get the best out of my sport. I can view the log of someone who has biked the Reichenbergerarg44ikff,k!-!11!l33tdd$%. Knowing that information is somehow going to help me plan my run next week. I had expected that I would be able to upload my logs to a community of professionals (with a $400 price tag, Suunto could have at least hired a few pros to analyze something) who would comment on my training regime. What I got was a log of Bike tour Hochsteinkreuz. Revolutionary.

    Okay, now that we have established that the training manager sucks, what really is the incentive to buy this watch? What is to keep people from just buying an N3i for $300, and then something like a Timex T59761 (which has five target zones, that's two more than what the n6HR has) which costs $65 on Amazon? There are several reasons not to go the way I have just suggested and save money. First being the n6HR's built-in dynamic updating weather reports. Checking the weather on the computer or television is defiantly not cool anymore, which is where the n6HR comes in; real time weather-checking walking out the door. But that's not it; you can even check your weather while running. You can glance down periodically to see the little watch icons change the current forecast from cloudy to raining. It is always good to verify a shower with technology even when it has soaked you to the bone.

    Other benefits of having a combined SPOT watch and heart rate monitor include the ability to check your stocks while swimming, read word-of-the-days while doing jumping jacks (this takes some coordination to master), or check up on last night's basketball game while actually playing basketball: "Wait time out guys, hold that ball there Jummy. BEEP BEEP. Shiiit, I cannot believe Purdue lost again."

    If you want to be able to do all of these cool things, buy an n6HR. If you want to save $35, don't.



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    Article Navigation

    1. Introduction
    2. Specifications
    3. First Impressions
    4. Design
    5. Functionality - n6HR
    6. Functionality - FX2008
    7. Functionality - Watch Faces
    8. Conclusion


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