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.
My TL;DR Bottom Line up Front: If you plan on using your GPS watch for trekking, fishing, or hunting, go with the expanded feature set of the Suunto Traverse Alpha here. For all other generalists outdoor uses, stick to the more affordable priced Suunto Traverse here.
The main difference between these two models is that the Traverse Alpha has specific features for fishing, hunting, and trekking and a color backlight display. The Traverse model is a more basic generalist GPS watch.
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:
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.
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 prices here) depending on the materials used.
The Traverse Alpha has the following features:
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.
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.
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.
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 is the better 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.
Bottom Line: 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.