The company's new golf watches (yeah, golf is sort of an outdoors sport) are remarkable even to a nongolfer like myself. The G6 and G6 Pro incorporate three accelerometers (one for each axis—X, Y and Z) that allow a chip to monitor a golfer's swing. It measures tempo (how long the club takes from the start of the swing until with the ball), rhythm (how much of that period is downswing, length (the max. angle of the hands at the top of the swing) and speed at impact. There are lots of great details on how pro golfers stack up against amateurs on each of those four measurements. But the interesting thing to me is how a not-huge watch nearly replaces a whole biomechanics lab that would have cost tens of thousands of dollars. Like so many other innovations, it's all about two factors: 1—miniaturization and 2—tech empowerment of the average (uhmm, well-heeled) person. Tiger Woods always had this information; now you can, too--if you've got $400-plus to cough up.
It's also interesting that Suunto has cancelled its marine GPS watch, which it introduced two or three years ago. Sales were weak, and perhaps that was predictable: If you're sailing and need GPS, you already have a far more functional unit onboard; the wristtop gadget doesn't add much. The company's other GPS watches continue, but it demonstrates that just because you can add more features, doesn't mean you should--a lesson that others in the electronics industry might want to learn.
The $400 you could spend on the Suunto G6, by the way, will buy you virtually the whole line of cool new watches from High Gear, a gadget company that focuses on keeping technology affordable. The company's Via Wrist ($50) has its own motion sensors inside, allowing it to replace a shoe- or belt-mounted pedometer/speedometer. And the company's three PulseWear watches (the Solo, $100; Duo, $125; and Max, $85) are easy-to-use training watches that monitor heartrate, while performing other functions, as well. Key feature: Fingertip sensors on the Duo and Max—instead of using a chest strap for continuous monitoring, you can simply depress a pair of buttons on the watch to get your heartrate. A good feature for those of us who are a lot more casual in our approach to working out.—Jerry Beilinson
HIGH GEAR VIA WRIST
HIGH GEAR PULSEWEAR