Suunto Core Review 2024: All black or Brushed Steel


What do we do when we decide to get a new watch? We surf the endless waves of the internet and try to get an idea so we know what we’re getting. (at least, I do)

Last year, my friend and I decided to get a digital watch that doesn’t fall under the category of a smartwatch and after a lot of thought and research, we decided to buy the SUUNTO Core outdoor watch. Before actually buying the watch, we read at least 10 SUUNTO Core reviews.

However, I always felt I had missed something in those reviews. Although they were helpful and full of informative content, they lacked a hint of personal touch. Which brings us to this review of the SUUNTO Core digital watch. 

Just FYI, have you ever wondered about the watch worn by Denzel Washington in The Equalizer? It was none other than the Suunto Core!

In our review, we will discuss two versions of the watch: The All Black and the Brushed Steel version. Moreover, I will try to cover this ABC masterpiece's amazing features and shortcomings. We will also include a 2024 update which will include how the watch has fared in the last 4 years! 

The reason we decided to include the Brushed Steel version as well is that we felt that it was a bit underrated. There are lots of reviews out there of the SUUNTO Core all black. However, the same cannot be said about Brushed steel. There are hardly any Suunto Core Brushed Steel reviews. Since I’ve personally used it myself, I can vouch that it’s just as amazing with a sleeker look at the least!

Function or feature-wise, both of the models are of the SUUNTO Core series. So, generally, they have identical features (some changes in the materials and build quality) and are both great ABC timepieces.

Let’s talk about the features these watches offer, making them worth spending your hard-earned money on.

Suunto Core Review

Our Suunto Core Review 

The Basics

The SUUNTO core features a 49.5mm watch case with an LCD matrix display. The display works perfectly fine in a well-lit environment and the large-time fonts are an advantage as well. However, as the display is white on black inverted LCD it gets almost invisible in direct sunlight (especially if you’re wearing sunglasses).

In low light, the electro-luminescent backlight helps you out though. Another feature that I found quite convenient is that when the backlight is on, it remains lit as long as you are pressing the buttons to navigate around the watch and stuff.

The battery has a lifespan of approx. 12 months, but for me, it’s been over 13 months and the watch has been working perfectly. In addition, there’s a low battery indicator that can help you to change it in time.

Personal opinion: the battery life is good, but not great. I’d love it if it could survive up to 24 months instead of 12.

All of the watches in the series are water-resistant up to 30m. Moreover, you can change the language from English to German/French/Spanish. And the watch comes with a digital thermometer as well.

There are three modes in the watch: Time, Alt & Barometer, and Compass. We’ll talk about all of these briefly. However, the most amazing is the storm alarm(!) feature of the watch that is capable of giving you warnings of incoming storms. Pretty awesome, right? Let’s dive into the details and you can learn all about it!

Sunto Core All black review


It’s pretty obvious what the time mode does. In addition, if you press the ‘view’ button that is on the lower left side, it will change the displayed information on the lower half portion. And this applies to all other modes as well. In the time mode, you can switch between date (day of the week, month, date), sunrise/sunset, dual time, and stopwatch.

Which reminds me, I probably should mention that the SUUNTO Core comes with pre-programmed sunrise/sunset times and weather trends of around 400 locations! This feature could really come in handy during hunting season!

My favorite two ‘view’ modes during Time are either the date (looks pretty neat and useful as well) or the dual time function which is very convenient when traveling.

Altimeter & Barometer

Since it’s an ABC watch, Altimeter and Barometer are two of the most important functions. But the question that comes to mind is, “How accurate are they?”

The core comes with two options regarding altitude, air pressure, and the depth meter. Moreover, you have the ‘automatic’ mode, which will switch between altimeter and barometer mode depending on your activities. You can set the time interval after which the device will track your altitude (between 1-30 seconds).

However, there’s a slight complication with the altimeter/barometer as it takes your altitude elevation into account. If you move around 5 meters within 3 minutes (in altitude), the device will change to altimeter mode, and if the elevation is fairly constant then it will switch to barometer again.

For instance, I faced a similar issue when I had to climb up 6 flights of stairs within 2 minutes to reach my office on time.

Therefore, I think setting it manually to show altitude or air pressure is a good choice. Another useful feature of the Core is that it will log the collected data and show you a graphical trend of the last 24 hours.

Furthermore, you can measure your diving depth up to 10m as well. However, I can't say anything about the accuracy since I can’t swim properly (I know I know… Don’t judge please).

Sunto Core Brushed Steel review

Storm Alarm feature

Last but not least, my favorite Storm Alarm! The feature that makes the Suunto Core one of the most unique watches out there. I wanted to write about this function more briefly, but it falls under the same section. So, I will try to put it as simply as I can.

The watch uses its barometer to track the air pressure constantly. Before a storm, there’s a significant drop in the air pressure. And when that happens the watch tracks the drop in the air pressure and gives you an alarm of approaching storms. I mean you can see the changes in the weather right in front of your eyes, but having this alarm helps out a lot when you’re deep inside a forest and the sky isn’t exactly visible.

Needless to say, this feature alone makes it one of the best digital watches out there!


The compass is a pretty straightforward digital compass that is sure to come in handy. Most adventurers or hikers are pretty good with directions and they usually have an alternative source with them. On the other hand, for people like me with a really "good" sense of direction, the compass helps a lot.

The Core developers also incorporated a feature that lets you set your route or destination, and can display arrows accordingly to keep you on track! Therefore, if you go left instead of going right, the watch will display an arrow advising you to right. And the longer you keep off your desired path, the bigger will be the size of the arrow.

It should be worth mentioning that, the compass is the feature that uses up the most battery life. So, to preserve its power, the backlight keeps flashing.

Suunto Core Review: Comparison between All black and Brushed Steel

Since we’ve covered the functions that are common in both watches, we’ll talk about the features that make them different from each other. Here are the main differences between the Suunto Core All Black and Suunto Core Brushed steel edition. FYI, the Suunto Core not only made into our list of the best digital watches but also in to the best watches for hunting list as well!

Suunto Core All Black
Sunto Core Brushed Steel

Suunto Core All Black

  • Aluminum Bezel with composite case material
  • Mineralized Crystal glass
  • Weighs 64g
  • Comes with an Elastomer Strap

Suunto Core Brushed Steel

  • Steel Bezel with Stainless Steel Case
  • Sapphire Crystal Glass
  • Weighs 120g 
  • Comes with a Silicone Strap


The brushed steel has a much more stylish look and sturdier feel

Both are scratch-resistant, but just look at that Sapphire glass!

The All Black Edition weighs almost half of the brushed steel, making it comfortable to wear.

Both of the straps are changeable.

Suunto Core Review: Pros & Cons


  • Stylish design and comfortable to wear
  • Easy-to-use functions
  • Unique features such as Storm Alarm, Button Lock, Automatic switch between Altimeter/Barometer, etc.
  • Accurate ABC functions
  • Reinforced watch face


  • The display is hard to read in certain light conditions
  • Relatively short battery life span

2024 Update: How is our Suunto Core Doing?

After 4 years of taking the Suunto Core to almost every kind of environmental stress possible, these are the observations that we experienced.

Condition: The watch looks like it's been through hell. And understandbly so. The bezel doesn't rotate anymore. The battery lifespan has been reduced from around 12 months to 6 months now. But hey, we've used it pretty roughly and we couldn't ask for anything else.

Functions: To our surprise, most of the functions still work really well. The ones that are not are the compass and temperature. The compass seems to have lost all sense of direction where as the temperature keeps getting confused with the actual temp and the body temp.

Straps: The straps are easily changable and therfore are working fine. We have used 4 kinds of different straps throughout the years and nylon straps seem to work the best.

So, would we recommend this watch after 4 years? Absolutely! It's still one of the best ABC watches out there. And let's face it, a watch worn by THE DENZEL WASHINGTON himself? A big yes!

Final Words

Now that you know all that you need about the SUUNTO Core, let’s talk about if it’s worth spending your money on. As a digital watch with ABC functionality, it lives up to it’s standards. The accuracy of the altimeter and barometer is on point.

Most importantly, It won’t take a month of your salary to purchase it. And the two models that we’ve mentioned here can be two of the best choices, especially the brushed steel version. It has a sturdier design and will fit right with your outfit whilst keeping the necessary requirements in check. If you’re looking for a more affordable option, the All Black will suffice. 

To sum it up, this digital watch will be an excellent choice for your watch collection.