Manufacturers of these watches come out with new enhancements to their products and new versions of the same device almost every year. And, they can all seem very similar.
These are the primary considerations that you need to take into account when evaluating watches with altimeters:
How much do you have to spend? At the lower end you can expect to pay about $120 for a watch with altimeter function. At the higher end, with watches like Suunto and HighGear, you can end up paying three times that much.
How long do they last? If you're spending a lot of time in the woods it makes sense to buy a watch that can take a licking. As an inverse of what you expect, the higher end watches tend to break the easiest. There are a lot of problems with the bands especially. What you get in terms of style can often translate into lower reliability out in the field.
Direction finding equipment - do you really need it? More is not always better. With these types of watches there can be so many features added the they become confusing. When you have that many sensors and that much going on inside of watches with altimeters they can absolutely be too complicated. If you don't have to have a compass - in other words, if you have a reliable one and a GPS you bring along hike - then don't go the trouble get one on your watch. That is the most complicated feature and possibly the most confusing.
Additional features? Depending on activity that you're engaged in, there are types of altimeter watches that will answer almost every question you could have in that particular activity. For example, you can get ones that will chart sure vertical rate of descent or ascent. You can also get altimeter watches with tidal charts that are very accurate. Here again, the more information that you require, the more likely the watch it is that you will have problems with some of the subcomponents. So, the simpler may be the better.
Precision? How perfect do you need the readings of your watch to be? A common complaint from owners of altimeter watches is the fact they have to constantly recalibrate. Having to set your altimeter the current better barometric pressure can be a pain. Having to find a reference point in resetting the altimeter to that spot can just be a lot of trouble. The more expensive watches will automatically recalibrate based on barometric pressure for you and that hassle is then eliminated.
Watches with altimeters can be a tremendous asset on any outdoor excursion. There are a variety of choices available for anyone in almost any circumstance. All you need to do is assess what you really need based on conditions things will be in the field.
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Article Added on Thursday, February 23, 2012
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