Fossil FX2008 and Suunto n6HR PDA Watches
Date Posted:04/07/2005 15:40.56
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
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
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.
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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