Suunto Traverse Alpha: The Best Healthy Living Companion

Feb 10, 2022
Suunto Traverse Alpha: The Best Healthy Living Companion

When planning for a healthy and active lifestyle, you will likely want to get a top-notch sports watch that will help you achieve your fitness goals. In that sense, a sports smartwatch that is filled with useful features would be your best choice. Watch brands like Garmin, Coros, and Suunto are some of the most well-known names that have been dominating the market for sports watches. Despite popular misconceptions about smartwatches, these robust timepieces are made to withstand just about everything, from extreme weather conditions to other external challenges. 


The Suunto Traverse Alpha is a prime example of a sports smartwatch that would make for the perfect outdoor companion. Sturdy and packed full of recreational functions that will make your next adventure a breeze, the Suunto Traverse Alpha is the ultimate survivalist watch. Today, we will be taking an in-depth look at the Suunto Traverse Alpha, to guide you into making the right decision on whether this timepiece is for you. So, stick around to the end to get a thorough grasp of this sports watch.

First Impressions

front view of Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage Ref. SS022292000 watch
Image courtesy of Suunto Official

With so many smartwatches available in the market today, it is easy to dismiss this watch as just another Suunto entry, offering the same old thing as the rest of the brand’s watches. However, that is certainly not the case with the Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage Ref. SS022292000. Its looks are the first tip-off in this regard, as it forgoes the sleek, futuristic look that most smartwatches opt for. Instead, the Suunto Traverse Alpha showcases a masculine aesthetic with a stealthy colour scheme that allows it to pass for a rugged military watch. This timepiece might look old-school compared to other smartwatches, but it is a part of its charm.


Aside from its build, the Traverse Alpha is also more functional and versatile than the average smartwatch. It is specially made to accommodate other outdoor activities such as fishing and hunting, making any adventurer’s life easier. If you want a great tactical watch that can traverse any sort of extreme terrain, the Suunto Traverse Alpha is your best bet.


Case and Caseback

The Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage Ref. SS022292000 is a prime example of a durable watch that can thrive in extreme environments. Whether it is underwater or in the harsh deserts, the Traverse Alpha will undoubtedly have your back. This is guaranteed by its sturdy 50mm composite case, which is highly resistant to all sorts of scratches and impacts. 


Fitted on top of the composite case is a dark grey stainless steel bezel. This bezel is fixed, with a textured pattern resembling snakeskin and four screws drilled into it. It is also very thickly built, providing greater protection to the watch.


Between the 50mm case and bezel, this watch might seem like it is a bit too much for those who have smaller wrists. However, thanks to its composite material and overall thickness of just 15mm, the Suunto Traverse Alpha is actually much lighter than it looks, weighing in at 75g. At the top and bottom of the watch, you also have short, well-bevelled lugs that do not protrude out too much, making your watch-wearing experience more comfortable.

blueprint of Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage Ref. SS022292000 watch
Image courtesy of Suunto Offiicial

On both sides of the Suunto Traverse Alpha’s case, there are five pushers. If you do not want to use the watch’s touchscreen feature, you can simply use these buttons to navigate and control the Traverse Alpha. The pushers are clearly labelled, with indicators on the edges of the bezel, right on top of the pushers themselves.  This makes them quite easy to use, so you can master the Suunto Traverse Alpha in no time. However, one downside is that the labels of the pusher are all not visible from the top. Instead, you have to tilt the watch by almost 90° in order to read the labels, which can be inconvenient during your outdoor hikes and travels.


When you flip the Suunto Traverse Alpha around, you can find a heart rate sensor and charging port on its caseback. This is actually fairly standard for most smartwatches since the caseback is the only part of a watch that has direct contact with the skin. The Traverse Alpha’s caseback has been carefully waterproofed, so you do not have to worry about sweat or moisture damaging the sensors or seeping into the case to mess up the watch’s inner mechanisms.


As with most smartwatches, the dial of the Suunto Traverse Alpha is almost entirely touchscreen. However, it differs from other smartwatches in that it is not programmed with an LED display that shows off colourful indicators. Instead, the Suunto Traverse Alpha has a matrix display, with grey and black pixels. This fits in perfectly with its stealthy dark grey and forest green colour scheme, while also giving it a more retro vibe that is sure to entice many enthusiasts. Suunto also ensures that this darker display does not affect the legibility of the watch by equipping it with a red backlight and making sure it is compatible with night vision goggles.


The dial itself is made of sapphire crystal, which is the hardest type of watch crystal available and is very resistant to scratches. On the rim of the dial, you can find a minute track against a black backdrop, with thin, understated indicators that go very well with the overall vibe of the watch.

Battery Life

Smartwatches do not require a watch movement, since they run purely on rechargeable energy and batteries. As mentioned before, a charging port is located on the back of the Suunto Traverse Alpha, which you can use to charge the watch. The power level indicator can be found on the dial’s LCD display, much like how a phone works. Even better, the Suunto Traverse Alpha can last for over two whole weeks when fully charged.


For a watch that is filled to the brim with exceptional features for the outdoors, a battery that can run for 14 days is a huge achievement. This timepiece also has GPS and Bluetooth connectivity functions. With the GPS turned on, the Traverse Alpha can last for around 100 hours.


One issue with the Suunto Traverse Alpha is that since the charging port is located on the caseback, you cannot wear and charge this watch at the same time. This can be a little inconvenient at times. However, considering the extensive battery life of the Traverse Alpha, this is not a huge obstacle. Just make sure you have a backup power bank at your disposal so you can recharge the Traverse Alpha anytime, anywhere.

Additional Features

Despite that, this watch quickly became recognised by both hunters and anglers due to its versatility in purpose and usage. In particular, the Traverse Alpha comes with programs specially dedicated to fishing, especially at night. Many fishermen who fish for sport tend to go out at night since there are many species of nocturnal fish to be caught. The Suunto Traverse Alpha makes life easy for these fishermen, as its Moonrise and Moonset keeps track of the optimal fishing times for their wearers. The Storm Alarm and Weather Trend Indicator functions are also handy, as they help fishermen, hikers, and the like avoid harsh weather conditions during their adventurers. 

Watch Strap

The Suunto Traverse Alpha is paired with a comfortable dark green textile strap. This strap gives the watch a more casual, everyday feel, so it can accompany you on your daily routines instead of just being an outdoor-exclusive watch.


One downside to this strap, however, is that textile bands are not always the best when it comes to water sports, since they are not waterproof. Getting your watch strap wet during fishing or swimming can therefore be a very uncomfortable experience. As such, you should be careful to keep water away from the strap of your Suunto Traverse Alpha.


The Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage Ref. SS022292000 retails at just $499 USD. For such an advanced smartwatch, this price tag is an absolute steal. Equipped with the optimal durability, reliability, and versatility, this watch will undoubtedly be a great travelling companion. 

Great Alternatives to the Suunto Traverse Alpha 

The Suunto Traverse Alpha is a great sports smartwatch, but its distinctive looks mean that it might not be for everyone’s tastes. If you want something that is just as discreet, but a bit more stylish, here are three alternatives that you should definitely look into. Some might differ in terms of price, but all the watches on this list provide impressive features that make them great surrogates for the Suunto Traverse Alpha.

1. Suunto 9 G1 Baro Black Ref. SS050087000

front view of Suunto 9 G1 Baro Black Ref. SS050087000 watch

The Suunto 9 G1 Baro Black Ref. SS050087000 is a viable alternative to the Suunto Traverse Alpha if you are looking for something with a flashier style. As an expert in ultra-durable sports watches, Suunto managed to create two different sports smartwatches with very different looks yet similar functionalities with the Suunto 9 and Suunto Traverse Alpha. With its colourful LED dial display, this Suunto 9 piece has a brighter, more vibrant design for those who are not fans of the Traverse Alpha’s more muted aesthetic. 


The Suunto 9 G1 Baro Black Ref. SS050087000 comes with a 50mm fibre-reinforced polyamide case, paired with a black stainless steel bezel and a comfortable black silicone strap. The fibre-reinforced polyamide case is extremely robust and able to withstand all sorts of scratches and impacts, making this watch a great outdoor companion. It also incorporates various useful features, including at least 80 workout sports modes that cater to swimming, cycling, running, multisports, and more. This watch also has a depth rating of 100m, which is more than enough for an outdoor smartwatch. 


You can get the Suunto 9 G1 Baro Black Ref. SS050087000 for $919 USD, making it a bit pricier than the Traverse Alpha. 

2. Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar Ref. 010-02157-24

front view of Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar Ref. 010-02157-24 watch

Another impressive alternative to the Suunto Traverse Alpha is the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar Ref. 010-02157-24. This Garmin watch offers a more sophisticated set of features that will come in handy for any kind of outdoor adventure. 


This watch has a 51mm fibre-reinforced titanium case, with a matching titanium rear case and bracelet. With its 51mm case, this piece is slightly larger than the Suunto Traverse Alpha, but it is just as light and easy to carry, especially with its lightweight titanium profile. It also has a DLC-coated stainless steel bezel, providing extra protection to the watch face. To top it all off, this Garmin Fenix 6X Pro watch has a 100-metre water resistance capacity, which is more than adequate for a sports smartwatch.


Like the aforementioned Suunto 9 watch, this timepiece has an LED dial display that blends surprisingly well with its monotone exterior. This dial has large indicators to ensure optimal legibility at all times, making the LED screen on this watch appear more zoomed-in compared to the other watches on this list. The watch is also easy to navigate, especially with its GPS map feature that shows the exact locations that are optimal for all your outdoor hikes and sporting activities. As with most smartwatches in the market, this timepiece offers phone connectivity to allow for seamless control over its functions, including the GPS.


The price for the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar Ref. 010-02157-24 starts at $999 USD. 

3. Suunto 5 G1 ZH Graphite Steel Ref. SS050453000

front view of Suunto 5 G1 ZH Graphite Steel Ref. SS050453000 watch

The Suunto 5 G1 ZH Graphite Steel Ref. SS050453000 might be a bit of a downgrade compared to the other watches on this list but is still quite relevant today. In fact, this watch is perfect for those who want a more casually healthy lifestyle, although it might not be the best choice for those who enjoy more extreme activities like hiking or river sports. 


The Suunto 5 G1 ZH Graphite Steel Ref. SS050453000 has a 46mm fibre-reinforced polycarbonate case paired with a stainless steel bezel and a black silicone strap. The dial display is similar to that of the Suunto 9, although it does look a bit simpler and less advanced. It also comes equipped with a litany of useful functions, including intelligent battery modes, fitness level tracking, stress and recovery tracking, 24/7 activity tracking, and over 80 sports modes. This watch is only water-resistant up to depths of 50m, so it is not quite as waterproof as the other watches mentioned above.


You can get your hands on this Suunto 5 watch for just $329 USD, making this the most affordable option here. 

Final Thoughts

Built for extreme sportsmen like hunters and anglers, the Suunto Traverse Alpha is the ultimate survivor’s watch. Robust, with a military-inspired build and colour scheme, the understated looks of the Traverse Alpha are sure to complement your outdoor gear when you are out hunting. It is true that some might be put off by the Traverse Alpha’s aesthetics, which look a little less futuristic than you might expect from a smartwatch. Rest assured, however, that this is an incredibly versatile and reliable smartwatch that will get you through virtually any harsh terrain.


All images courtesy of The Watch Company, unless stated otherwise.Featured image courtesy of Suunto Official.


If adventuring is your one true hobby, be sure to check out our article on the 11 Best Ski Watches Perfect for Alpine Adventures!

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