2018 Suunto Traverse & Traverse Alpha Multi Sports GPS Watch

Suunto has released the Traverse series of smart watches with many accessibility options, extra modes, and features. These are very competitively priced at around $350 – $500.

In this review you'll find out if the Traverse, or the Traverse Alpha is for you.

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Click on the answer to your most pressing question below, or keep scrolling to read the entire review.

What's the difference between the Suunto Traverse and the Traverse Alpha?

The main difference between the two models are that the Traverse Alpha has functions specific to trekking, hunting and fishing activities. Other differences between the two models are listed below.

        Suunto Traverse

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    Mineral Crystal Display
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    Silicone Band
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    2.82 oz (or 80 grams)
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    Backlight - Brightness  / Mode

        Suunto Traverse Alpha

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    Sapphire Crystal Display
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    Textile Band
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    2.65 oz (or 75 grams)
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    Backlight - Color / Brightness  / Mode

Suunto Traverse Functions at a Glance

The Suunto Traverse or Suunto Traverse Alpha is ideal when exploring or trekking. Anytime you go over the track less traveled, plan your route and stay on course with the Suunto Traverse GPS / Glonass navigation. 

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    Compatible with iPhone and Android smartphone
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    Bluetooth Connectivity
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    GPS / Glonass Navigation
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    Water resistant to 100 meters - (ISO 6425)
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    Altimeter, Barometer, Compass and Bearing Lock
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    Sunrise/Sunset - Moon Rise & Set - (Tides available via Suunto app)
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    Customizable Sports Modes 
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    Speed and Distance Tracker
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    Temperature, Storm Alarm, Weather Trend
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    Stop watch, Countdown Timer, Backlight 
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    Step and Calorie Counter
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    Heart Rate Monitor - (optional extra - HR Belt or Wrist Monitor)

The GPS watch you can wear everyday

The Suunto Traverse is a modern watch designed for the outdoors, with versatile functions that makes it a great watch to everyday. 

It has accurate GPS timekeeping with automatic Daylight Savings adjustments. This watch tracks your daily activity with steps and calories, and easily turns into a heart rate monitor with the optional wrist or chest belt.

Boasting Bluetooth connectivity, the Traverse lets you to stay up to date with incoming calls, texts and push notifications from your smartphone to your watch. 

Suunto Traverse watches are water resistant to 330 feet (100 meters). It has a lightweight composite case and stainless steel bezel.

Suunto Traverse Alpha GPS watch

Bluetooth & Pairing to your Smart phone - Suunto Apps

Phone call notifications, text and push notifications can be sent to the watch. Notifications can be set to be a tone or vibration, with an icon is displayed. The vibration alerts are noticeable and will keep noise disturbance to minimum.

After downloading the Movescount software or App for either for iOS and Android and pairing with your smart phone, you can start customizing your watch settings. 

Suunto Traverse GPS Watch White

Accurate Satellite Navigation

Great navigation is the key to keeping safe and having enjoyable treks and hikes. The Suunto Traverse has an integrated GPS/GLONASS navigation system, that will accurately pinpoint your location in all terrains.

The Traverse will help you to navigate a planned route and let you follow your progress in distance and altitude. It also helps you orientate yourself quickly when in unknown territory. 

The Traverse has Point of Interest (POI) navigation and has a built-in digital compass. The Automatic Breadcrumb Trail lets you save points of interest along the way. This is very useful if you need to re-trace your steps.

When set to a GPS point, Suunto Traverse automatically saves the starting point of your recording. With Find back, the Traverse can direct you back to your starting point (or to the location where the GPS fix was established).

What is GPS, Glonass and POI navigation?

The GPS navigation system was developed by the USA and has a network of 31 satellites covering the planet. This system is widely used in commercial devices like mobile phones, navigators, etc. 

GLONASS is the satellite navigation system developed by Russia (which was the Soviet Union at the time). This network is made up of around 24 satellites covering the earth.

It's becoming common for navigation devices to use both Glonass and GPS systems. When used on its own, GLONASS doesn’t have as strong a coverage as GPS, but when both are used together it greatly increases accuracy and coverage. This combined approach to navigation is slightly more useful in northern latitudes as GLONASS was originally developed for Russia.

POI (Point of Interest) categories are commonly used for locating local restaurants or speed cameras, etc. but in this instance, POI navigation contains waypoints in navigation including longitude and latitude. 

Suunto Traverse Alpha Stealth
Suunto Traverse Amber

Syncing, Time display, and Daylight Savings Time

The time displayed can be updated through mobile phone, computer or through GPS. The Suunto Traverse is time is set by GPS by default. If paired with the Suunto Movescount App, the time and time zone will automatically sync with your mobile phone.

When you connect your watch to the computer using the USB cable, Moveslink updates your watch time and date according to the computer clock. This is a default setting and can be turned off in settings.

Any software updates available will be done automatically when the watch is connected to your computer using the USB cable. When you update the software, all logs are automatically moved to Movescount and deleted from the watch.

Download and Customize using Movescount

Multi Sport Displays

The Sports Modes feature is used to customize how information is displayed and recorded for each Sport. 

Using Suunto's Movescount software you can create custom sport modes, edit or delete sport modes, or simply hide them so that they are not shown in your RECORD menu.

Each custom sport mode can contain up to four displays. Personalize the information that is displayed from a comprehensive list of options. Up to five sports modes can be created in Movescount, and transferred to the watch.

Plan Routes on Outdoor Topographic Maps

The altitude graph in Movescount lets you define the best ascent and descent paths when planning the routes. Upload the route to your watch, and you’re ready to explore new terrains.

Suunto Movescount offers set of tools to manage daily activities. Use Movescount to view your recorded activities in detail and customize the watch to best meet your needs. 

You'll find the latest version of Suunto's Movescount App and release notes from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Suunto Traverse Alpha Camoflauge GPS Watch

Altitude, Storm Alarm & Barometric Pressure

The Suunto Traverse has a Storm Alarm which is off by default. The Traverse measures Barometric pressure and if there is a significant drop in barometric pressure, this generally means a storm is approaching. An alarm will sound and a symbol will flash as this when the pressure drops 4 hPa (0.12 inHg) or more during a 3 hour time frame. 

Sunrise and sunset times will keep you informed of the available daylight hours. When darkness sets in, the backlight in flashlight mode will help you find your essentials or check a map. 

Altitude, vertical speed and total ascent are measured with FusedAlti that combines barometric pressure information with satellite altitude. This minimizes the effect of temporary and offset errors in final altitude readings.

Suunto Traverse Alpha Concrete
Suunto Traverse Alpha Woodlands

Suunto Traverse

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    Mineral Crystal Display
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    Silicone Band
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    2.82 oz (or 80 grams)
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    Backlight - Brightness  / Mode

Suunto Traverse Alpha

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    Sapphire Crystal Display
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    Textile Band
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    2.65 oz (or 75 grams)
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    Backlight - Color / Brightness  / Mode

Suunto Traverse ALPHA Additional Functions

In addition to the functions listed above, the Suunto Traverse Alpha has some specialized features for trekking, hunting and fishing. These include:

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    Moon Phase Calendar and Moon Rise / Moon Set Alert
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    Red backlight that's compatible with night vision goggles
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    Sunrise / sunset alert
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    Hunting and Fishing specific POI's
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    Automatic shot detection
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    Sea Level Pressure Graph
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    Storm Alert
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    Tested to Military standards (Mil Std 810G)
Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage GPS Watch

Traverse Alpha - Automatic Shot Detection Feature

The automatic shot detection feature keeps track of the GPS co-ordinates of your location and where and when you shoot. Suunto developed this technology specifically for hunting with rifles and shotguns. It's not intended for handguns and other firearms. 

The shot detection algorithm takes into account the motion patterns from both wrist and gun recoil movement. When the Traverse Alpha is secured tightly on the wrist, the motion is measured by the accelerometer in the watch. This helps eliminate disturbances from other sources of movement.

Although the automatic shot detection works well with the watch on either wrist, some users find the shot detection rate is more accurate when the watch is worn on the trigger hand.

How long does the Battery last? How long does it take to recharge?

The length of a single battery charge depends on the how the watch is used and in what conditions. The battery should be good for up to 100 hours with the GPS on, or around 14 days with the GPS off. 

To save battery life, there's options to lengthen recording intervals to every 5 seconds (giving 15 hrs of battery life) or every minute (giving 100 hrs of battery life). These options are at the cost of track accuracy which is most noticeable at speed.

When the charge hits 10%, the battery icon will blink for 30 seconds Once it's at 2% charge, the battery icon blinks continuously.

When battery level drops very low during a recording, the watch will stop and save the recording. Time will still be shown, but buttons are deactivated.

The battery can be charged by attaching it to your computer with the USB cable that's included, or charged with a USB-compatible wall charger. As a guide, it takes between 2 to 3 hours to fully charge an empty battery.

Explore the Suunto Traverse and Traverse Alpha Range


Click on any image below to see an enlarged photo image.

Suunto Traverse GPS Range

Suunto Traverse Amber

Suunto Traverse Amber

Suunto Traverse White GPS Watch

Suunto Traverse White

Suunto Traverse Alpha Stealth

Suunto Traverse Stealth

Suunto Traverse Black

Suunto Traverse Black

Suunto Traverse Alpha GPS Range

Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage GPS Watch

Traverse Alpha Foliage

Suunto Traverse Alpha Stealth

Traverse Alpha Stealth

Suunto Traverse Alpha Woodlands

*Traverse Alpha Woodland

Suunto Traverse Alpha Concrete

*Traverse Alpha Concrete

The Conclusion?

The Suunto Traverse and Traverse Alpha is a great everyday watch packed full of features that you'll want to take with your on your next adventure. 

This is a rugged watch made for true outdoors adventurers.

This watch is water resistant to 100 meters, has bluetooth connectivity, GPS navigation and time keeping, and has the capability to include heart rate monitoring.

Add to that its multi-sports functions, and you simply can't go wrong at this price. 

Suunto Traverse Alpha Stealth GPS Watch

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    Sharon Swanson

    2 Comments

    1. Harry Rosen February 23, 2018
    2. Louis Goh July 25, 2018

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