Suunto are filling the gap that mobile phone manufacturers are leaving open.

For a period of time I would buy new mobile phones every six months. This was to test new hardware, new operating systems and new versions. Recently mobile phone development has hit a development wall. http://www.engadget.com/2013/05/31/white-nexus-4-available/ of a phone is excellent, if that’s the reason you chose one phone or another. That’s not how I select my phones. Battery life is. For the last two years I have looked at mobile phones and battery life and it has not improved. I like to use my phones as GPS during via ferrata trips, walks and other outdoor activities. Within an hour you are usually down to half a battery or less and by the time you arrive home the phone is dead, unless you get an external battery to recharge the device. The fashion to develop phones that are thinner and thinner with bigger screens is only making things worse. I’d love to see manufacturers once again double phone size and triple battery capacity. I’d like something thick that I could use for a day in the mountains.

Suunto have provided an alternative:

This is a device that you wear as an ordinary watch on your wrist. It has an integrated GPS, pressure sensor and a rechargeable battery. In day to day use the battery loses around 1% of battery charge per day when in normal mode and around 3% per hour of exercise. It takes just a few seconds to get the watch in to activity tracking mode, to pause, tracking, or to stop tracking all together. The data it collects is synced with a computer very easily. If you spend a little extra money you can buy accessories for cycling, for heart rate monitoring, for cadence and more.

Satellite acquisition is fast. Every time you sync the watch and charge it Geo-stationary satellite information is downloaded and synchronised with the watch. This speeds up the time it takes to have an accurate location. It takes around 4 seconds when near the location of synching and less than 30 seconds when 1-200 kilometers away. It’s fast.

The beauty of such devices is that they encourage physical activity. Online you can share your tracks with friends and you can tailor apps to the types of sports you do or goals you set. There are apps for 10k runs, marathons and many more similar activities. Part of the purpose of this watch is to be a fitness trainer and app developers have made a variety of apps for interval training, distance etc.

This watch has replaced my need for a mobile phone app to track the activities I do when outdoors. I can preserve battery life on the mobile phone until I am back on the home cellphone network or using the phone for in car navigation.

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