I wasn't wearing a watch for a while. This seemed like a pretty big lost opportunity. I checked out the prime real estate on my right wrist (I'm a lefty) and decided I needed the best watch ever.
What I wanted was something reasonably good looking that packed the most function in it as possible. My friend Todd had a Casio Pathfinder which packed a lot of features. I ordered one of those and kept looking.
Then I spotted the Suunto X9i watch. It has a GPS, Stopwatch, Altimeter, Barometer, Thermometer, Compass, three alarms, dual time, and will even calculate the sunrise and sunset based on your location. WOW!
Best of all, it's actually a pretty decent looking watch. I ordered one of those too.
Then I found out that Suunto also made the X9Mi, which was the military version. The only practical difference is that the X9mi had an inverted screen (white on black) and a red backlight for better night vision. I bought one of these as well.
All three watches came, I tried them all, and returned two of them. It should come as no surprise that the winner was the X9mi, although I will say that the X9i was MUCH easier to read.
Before ordering these watches I read a bunch of reviews. Most were negative. After using the watch and rereading reviews, I can tell you one thing : most people are morons. They weren't using the watch properly, so ignore all of their reviews. On my recommendation Todd bought an X9mi as well and agrees that those reviews aren't written by smart people.
The GPS is awesome. I use it for two things mainly. When I run it keeps track of my total distance, pace, and a few other stats. I can plug the watch into the good old computer and see my actual route! I also use it when I travel to find my apartment or hotel. I just set it as soon as I get here, and then I'm never lost.
It has tons of other useful features. I used the altimeter when I went skydiving and it was accurate the whole way. It calculates the sunrise and sunset time, which we used when going to a beach in Panama. I use the compass when I'm stuck in a dense urban jungle and can't figure out which way is which.
The ONE problem with this thing is that the bezel isn't glued on very well and mine started to come off after six months. Suunto will ship you a new one with instructions to repair it though, so it's not all bad.
Battery life is good. With heavy use I get 3-4 weeks per charge which only takes a few hours.
Bottom line? If you have a wrist, you should get one of these. If you don't, you should get a hook.
I've been using the LunaTik watch kit that turns an iPod Nano into a watch. The Lynk model is pretty stylish
and the newer iPod nano's even let you choose from several different watch faces. It doesn't have some of the other bells and whistles you mentioned but I don't find myself in the jungle needing a compass or GPS all that often. It does support the Nike+ pedometer for workouts if that's your thing. Probably the biggest thing it lacks is an alarm, because it has no speaker. I find my smart phone fills in for most of the other situations that I find a need for: GPS, Compass, Sunrise/Sunset.
Just my 2 cents.
To say that we packed light is an understatement. We packed super light. Someone recently told me a saying that stuck in my mind.
"No one ever wishes they packed heavier."
So true. With fewer baggage comes more freedom, and that's exactly what we're after. Still, when Todd suggested that we take only a small backpack each, I thought he was crazy.
In March of this year I decided to leave my hometown of Boise Idaho for Portland Oregon. There were many ups and downs and ultimately I only managed to stay for three months. However! I made a new best friend and traveling partner, Brady, on top of the life changing experiences I had then.
I stayed in Boise for two months with Brady. Aside from the wide open sky and positively daunting heat, we survived. Now I'm back in Portland, ready to have all new adventures and to not be so intimidated by my first time away from home!
I packed my oldsmobile, loaded up my dog, and helped Brady get his car ready and took off! When we merged onto the freeway a woman in an over-sized truck came barreling up the on ramp headed in the wrong direction. What a scary way to start the drive! The only other interesting thing about the drive through Idaho would have been the new 80mph speed limit. Nobody was driving that fast, I believe that everyone on the road was being a chicken.
I cruise controlled my way to Pendleton Oregon and after a desperate run to the bathroom, I found Brady. As we parted ways in our separate cars I made a promise to myself not to lose him this time. This plan worked surprising well and we made it all the way to our current place of residence without too much trouble. I even drove in my first rush hour traffic! Some of the forest area along Mount Hood was on fire on the trip. A helicopter was lowering into the river right next to my car for more water. I've never seen anything like it.