The Suunto Vector heart rate monitor is a device that falls into the higher range for quite serious athletes. If you are into cross country, hiking or mountaineering sports then this HRM and watch will have some great functionality for you, and is well worth paying over $250. Of all the watches available, this is probably one of the most feature rich ones you could buy.
For the average runner this HRM probably has more features than are necessary, especially considering that the most relevant functions are the compass, barometer and altimeter. These are of course only really relevant if you are into hiking or mountaineering sports where you may need to find your orientation and altitude, as well as changes in weather conditions.
The altimeter is particularly clever in that it uses altitude measures in conjunction with your current heart rate to calculate exactly what the physiological impact is. You can also set alarms for certain altitudes to warn you of certain limits or to give you an indication as to progress. Having this info will give you a great advantage in competitive events as you can plan out your pace for each individual event based on your personal strengths and weaknesses.
Because the watch collects such detailed info about your altitude over time Suunto like to refer to it as the “original mountain watch”. In addition to altitude the watch also has a built in digital compass and barometer. This allows you to identify impending changes in the weather conditions and navigate your way around tough terrain. There really isn’t much else the watch could do other than show you a detailed map with a friendly voice guiding your every move.
Available in multiple colors this model is suitable for men and women. But you should keep in mind that it is a very large watch that may not be as suitable for women or athletes with very slender wrists. It does however, have the advantage that all data is clearly readable even when training in tough terrain. The overall design is excellent, an extremely cool looking watch; and if you don’t mind large watch faces then you can wear this watch for everyday use as well.
Suunto generally are the more expensive choice, but they also generally come with very high end functionality and pretty cool looking designs. The Suunto Vector is probably one of the most James Bond like devices you can get, but if you do serious hiking then this functionality will not go unused. You can really make some serious training plans and analysis with this device, as it tracks such a large amount of data. All the data can be uploaded into online training programs which will allow you to get a visual representation of your training performance.
Very large feature range
Temperature sensor is in contact with skin
Rather large watch to accommodate all display options
Also take a look at this very handy comparison table that we have put together in order to make it easier to see the differences between all the different HRMs.