Suunto Traverse vs Traverse Alpha | Sports Watch Comparison

Last Updated on by SharifulAlam

Suunto, a Finnish company, which has been around for more than 80 years, is one of the top innovators of premium sports watches, and dive computers. Therefore, it is no surprise that this company is responsible for producing two of the most popular sports watches currently on the market: the Suunto Traverse and the Traverse Alpha.

So what makes these two sports watch so nice? What are the differences between them? And what makes them better suited for different demographics of outdoor enthusiasts? This article will discuss just that.

Let’s start by looking at each watch individually.

The Suunto Traverseis advertised at the distributor website as a hiking and trekking watch. The watch measures 1.97 x 1.97 x 0.65″, and weighs 2.82 ounces. It is constructed of stainless steel and a mineral crystal face, sporting a silicone strap. The watch comes in 5 standard color/design styles or can be customized at an additional price. It retails from the manufacturer at $335.20 (Check out the latest rates here!), and can also be found on Amazon from $239- $349 depending on the materials used.

The Traverse has the following features:

  • GPS and GLONASS for route and POI navigation: The watch allows you to set three different GPS intervals which influence the battery life. You can increase the battery life by setting a longer GPS interval but this will, of course, result in less accurate tracking. Waypoints can be inserted directly on the watch or through the Movescount app on a computer. Routes can only be planned in the Movescount app and then synchronized with the watch.
  • Real-time breadcrumb view of the recorded track to help you easily retrace your steps if needed. This feature shows you the direction to the starting point while the trackback features generate you a visual route back to the starting point.
  • Tracking for speed, distance, and altitude
  • Route planning in Suunto Movescount with topographic maps
  • Route preview and route altitude profile on the watch

  • Heat maps on Suunto Movescount and Suunto Movescount App to discover new routes
  • 330 ft water resistance
  • Altitude (FusedAlti™): The watch automatically switches between the altimeter and barometer mode – when it detects an altitude change it switches to the altimeter and when the watch is still it switches to the barometer. The barometer mode shows sea level pressure and a sea level pressure recording graph (for the past 26 hours).
  • The altimeter can show barometric altitude, GPS altitude or altitude – combined GPS and barometric altitude. Additionally, it can log altitude changes based on barometric altitude and then show an altitude graph.
  • Weather trend and storm alarm: The watch shows a weather trend indicator – the most recent changes in the pressure which help you to predict the weather. In case of a sudden pressure drop, the watch will also warn you with an alarm (the storm alarm feature).
  • Sunrise-sunset times
  • Compass: The digital compass shows the direction in degrees or mils and it also allows you to lock the bearing for easier navigation. The north indicator is shown all the time when the watch is in the compass mode.
  • Backlight in flashlight mode
  • GPS time update
  • Vibration alarm
  • Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly activity tracking of steps and calories
  • Mobile notifications: The watch can be connected to an Android or iOS Smartphone (Suunto App is required) and therefore you can receive the notifications from your Smartphone directly to your watch.
  • Compatible with Suunto Movescount App (iOS and Android)L The Suunto Traverse is equipped with a Bluetooth adapter. This is a great feature because it allows you to connect a variety of devices to it. The watch and app also connect to many online sports tracking communities such as Strava, TrainingPeaks, and MapMyFitness.
  • Additionally, a Bluetooth heart rate belt can be connected to the watch.

Customer reviews are high on both the distributor website as well as Amazon. Stating that battery life is excellent, and that set up is quick and easy. In terms of construction, the surface conceals scratches and marks nicely, the face is waterproof, and the flashlight and red backlight settings are nice. Customers also state that the phone and text notifications are useful. The only negative comments from customers are reports that there is some trouble with connectivity thru Bluetooth, and that firmware updates can impact the waters functionality.

Also, there are some concerns that the time zone changes are not automatic, but this seems like a factor that will impact a few people.

Traverse Alpha

The Traverse Alpha is advertised at the distributor website as an outdoor watch with added features for hunting and fishing. The watch measures 1.97 x 1.97 x 0.59″, and weighs 2.65 ounces. It is constructed of stainless steel and a Sapphire crystal face, sporting a textile material strap, which is water resistant. The watch comes in 5 standard color/design styles or can be customized at an additional price. It retails from the manufacturer at $399.20, and can also be found on Amazon from $308- $334 (Check out the latest rates here!) depending on the materials used.

The Traverse Alpha has the following features:

  • Hiking, Fishing and Hunting modes
  • Running mode (shows running pace, Suunto FusedSpeed, an Average pace in real time, Lap comparisons by kilometer/mile) and Cycling modes (shows cycling speed and average speed in real time)
  • As stated on Suunto’s website, FusedSpeedTM is a combination of GPS and wrist acceleration sensor readings for measuring running speeds more accurately. GPS signal is filtered based on wrist acceleration, giving more accurate readings at steady running speeds and a quicker response to changes in speed. This will be the most beneficial when you are running on uneven terrain or during interval training.

  • Sunrise-sunset times and alerts
  • Fishing and hunting specific POI types: Traverse Alpha also includes unique POI types that record important locations such as animal prints, signs of bedding, trail cameras, and tree stand or fishing locations to allow for easy navigation back to relevant areas.
  • Moon phases and moon rise/set times
  • Automatic Shot detection: This feature uses an algorithm that takes into account motion patterns of both the wrist and the gun recoil movement, measured by the accelerometer in the watch. It tends to be more accurate when the watch is on the trigger hand, and the watch strap is tight on the wrist to eliminate disturbance. It is suggested for use on hunting rifles and shotguns.
  • Red backlight, Night Vision Goggle compatible
  • GPS and GLONASS for route and POI navigation: Same as in the Traverse
  • Real-time breadcrumb view of the recorded track: Same as in the Traverse

  • Tracking for speed, distance, and altitude
  • Discover new routes with heat maps on Suunto Movescount and Suunto Movescount App
  • Route planning in Suunto Movescount with topographic maps
  • Route preview and route altitude profile on the watch
  • 100 m/330 ft water resistance
  • Altitude (FusedAlti™)
  • Weather trend and storm alarm: The Alpha measures barometric pressure, and an alarm will flash when the pressure drops 4hPa or more during a 3-hour time frame. This quick drop of pressure is indicative of a storm approach.
  • Compass
  • Backlight in flashlight mode
  • Vibration alarm
  • GPS time update
  • Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly activity tracking of steps and calories
  • Mobile notifications
  • Compatible with Suunto Movescount App (iOS and Android)

As with the Suunto Traverse, that reviews are very positive on both the retailers’ website and on Amazon. Customers state that the watch is very durable and functional. As with the Suunto Traverse, the main complaint is with connectivity thru Bluetooth.

How Do They Compare?

Now let’s look at the differences between the two. On the surface a lot of the differences to deal with their cosmetics and size.

Traverse                                    Traverse Alpha

     Mineral Crystal Display                  Sapphire Crystal Display

      Silicone Band                                      Textile Band

      2.82 oz weight                                     2.65 oz weight

      Brightness Mode                            Color and brightness Mode

However, the real primary difference between the two watches, are the added features that the Alpha has.

These include:

  • Moon phases and moon rise/set times
  • A red backlight that is compatible with Night Vision Goggles
  • Sunrise-sunset times and alerts
  • Fishing and hunting specific POI types
  • Automatic Shot detection
  • Sea Leel Pressure Graphs

So, Which One Is for You?

As seen by the features of these watches which watch you choose really depends on what you plan on using it for. If you are going to be hiking and orienteering, then the Suunto Traverse seems like a good choice. It also performs decently as an activity tracker providing details about steps and calories burnt. The Traverse comes with a GPS and GLONASS satellite navigation feature with POI navigation. It also provides a breadcrumb view enabling you to backtrack if necessary to find your way back. It tracks altitude, speed, and distance, and the heat maps feature allows you to explore new routes.

It supports smartphone connectivity and works with the Suunto Movescount App. Making it a great overall choice for hiking in new and favorite locations.

If you are planning on also fishing or hunting then the Traverse Alpha seems like a better choice. The Suunto Traverse Alpha watch combines a quality build with a full set of outdoor-based features. The Alpha can map out GPS routes to your precise location, and it also bundled up with fishing and hunting specific features including automatic shot detection, sunrise/sunset alerts, a moon phase calendar, weather trend alerts, and a red backlight. Making it the hands-down choice of the well-rounded outdoor enthusiast.

I hope that this guide will help steer you in the right direction. Either way, the Suunto outdoor watches are a great product. These would make a terrific addition to any outdoor enthusiasts gear.

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