Recently I had the opportunity to try out three watches, the new Timex Expedition WS4, Highgear Axis and the Suunto Core. All three have time, altimeter, barometer, compass, chronograph, timer and alarm.
The first watch that I used was the Timex WS4. This watch comes in 6 colors (black/orange, yellow/black, orange/black, white/black, blue/grey and black). It is a big watch that makes it easy to read and because of this it was easier to set up. It size is also a problem because it kept getting in the way and was just a little bulky. The instruction manual was complete and easy to follow but like all Timex watch manuals they are out to break the record for the worlds smallest instructions. I think I need glasses after straining my eyes trying to read it. One simple function that I liked about the Timex that the other watches did not have was that you could set it up so when you pushed any button it would light up the display. When activated it would be active for 7-8 hours. All three have a compass and it is calibrated the same way for all three. You hold the watch horizontal and rotate it slowly twice and then add your magnetic declination. The watchband was also easy to take on and off. This stood out because the other two watches are not very smooth, especially the Highgear.
The second watch that I tested was the Highgear Axis. This watch is the smallest of the three and a lot more fashionable. It is close to the same size as most watches that don’t have all of these features. The down side of this watch is that it was a little tougher to set up. The reason for this is because the face is so small and some of the fonts are hard to read. It also has a dark background and lighter toned fonts. This makes for a more fashionable watch but it is harder to read then the traditional digital watch screen. The Axis is the hardest to put on and take off. The band is difficult to slide through the clip and becomes a little irritating because you have to fight it a little.
The Suunto Core was the last watch that I tried. This watch is still a large watch but not as bulky as the Timex and a little more fashionable for everyday use. It has all the same basic functions as the other two. It does have a rotating bezel for use with the compass; it is the only one of the three that does this. It is easy to read with its larger face and traditional digital screen. You have to navigate through a few menus to get to the elevation-reset screen. This is a screen that you need to calibrate frequently on all three watches. Since the watches use barometric pressure to figure the altitude and barometric pressure constantly changes with the weather patterns, the watch needs to be calibrated frequently.
Out of the three watches that I tested I liked the Timex the best, it was easier to navigate, easy to put on and off and easy to read. I even like the look but it is just too large to use on a daily basis. If you are looking for a watch that has all of these functions but would like a watch that you could use every day the Highgear might be the one. The Suunto watch is the happy medium out of the three I tried, it’s easy to read and a little smaller then the Timex.