An easy to use GPS watch designed for walkers

Last autumn I reviewed the complex Suunto Ambit 3 GPS watch. I liked it but it does do much more than most walkers need with fitness and training options that are more suitable for triathletes, trail runners and cycle racers. Just as my review appeared Suunto launched a less expensive GPS watch, the Traverse, designed for walkers. I’ve been using this for several months now and I’ve found it easier to use than the Ambit and with few features I wouldn’t use regularly. It has the same chunky design as the Ambit but weighs a little less at 79 grams.
The Traverse has three main modes – compass, altimeter/barometer, and, of course, watch. Single button presses are needed to scroll through these. To start the GPS requires five button presses – you’re not going to switch it on accidentally! There are five buttons in total and the interface is user friendly. It didn’t take me long to learn how to use it without the manual.
The GPS can be used simply to give your location as a grid reference but can also track your route. When used for the latter the watch records a breadcrumb track so you can retrace your steps if necessary.
The altimeter/barometer mode can be set so that it automatically changes to show the altimeter when you’re moving and the barometer when you’re stationary. I find this very useful as it’s so easy to forget to change it in camp.
The Traverse can be linked to a computer or smartphone and with Sunnto’s Movescount app you can plan walks and upload information.
Battery life is pretty good – 10-100 hours with GPS on depending on the GPS accuracy level set (1 second, 5 seconds, or 60 seconds) and two weeks with GPS off.
The Traverse costs £325. It’s comfortable to wear and easy to use. If you want a GPS watch it’s excellent.