If you’re into hiking or climbing, a good quality altimeter smartwatch is going to be the best companion. Commonly referred to as an ABC watch (altimeter, barometer and compass), these devices provide the best data for adventures. They’re made to handle intense elements. ABC watches are durable devices with scratch-resistant and large screens with big side buttons. Suunto and Casio are the market leaders for altimeter watches however Garmin came through with some tough competition for high-end buyers. If you like the addition of topographical maps – see this review.
Here are our top suggestions for great altimeter/ABC watches.
1. Garmin Fenix 7X
The Garmin Fenix 7X is pricey, but the pricetag comes with a lot of great smartwatch features. Firstly, it’s the best multisport altimeter smartwatch you can buy. This unit has full ABC functions, plus a heart rate monitor, GPS and GLONASS satellite capabilities. The 7X also includes on screen topographical mapping which works great for navigation. The contour lines give detailed data for activities like hiking and mountaineering. It is a robust, trustworthy watch that you can depend on. It also performs and looks arguably better than the watch before it: the slightly bulkier Fenix 6X.
As an added bonus, the Fenix 7X is a solar-only edition. You can grab the Fenix 7X Solar, or the Fenix 7X Solar-Sapphire. Adding Sapphire glass to your Garmin smartwatch increases the price by about $100USD. So with Sapphire glass, and a solar-charge, this might be the last altimeter smartwatch you purchase for a long time.
Advantages: Topographical maps are incredible
altimeter smartwatch capabilities are reliable
incredibly durable (Power Glass or Sapphire Glass, and a stainless steel backing)
Disadvantages: Expensive and not as accessible of a watch
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2. Casio Pro Trek PRW-6000Y-1A
The Pro Trek range from Casio has always delivered a rugged and long-lasting device. However, the common downside has been a lack of any style. Typically, being made out of clunky plastics. The PRW-6000Y-1A finally deals with this, with what is easily the best-looking watch made by Casio.
Firstly, they’ve stepped away from the classic plastic and gone for a white face on a black display. Furthermore, the band is sleek and has carbon fibre inserts. It has full ABC functions as well as a thermometer, stopwatch and what’s noted as accurate time. The best bit is the solar charging so you never have to charge it or replace the battery.
It’s reasonably light compared to other ABC watches; 2.57oz. It’s also slimmer, being 2.2 x 2 x 0.5 inches. This is potentially due to the lack of GPS function.
It’s pretty pricey, which is a shame as you can get roughly the same functionality for a fifth of the price of other Casios on Amazon.
Advantages: Finally, a good-looking Casio.
Disadvantages: Expensive considering the lack of GPS
3. Suunto Core
This is a simpler option but acts as an everyday multisport watch. Coming in at $148, the Core has a pleasantly surprising number of features and comes in a variety of colours. It’s fairly lightweight at 2.4oz
It can tell you both sunrise and set times in 400+ locations as well as the change of pressure of reduction of daylight and a 7 day altitude log for those who like to hike.
Being toward the budget end, there are a couple of drawbacks noted by users. The band doesn’t like particularly heavy use and may need replacing, which comes at a cost of $50. The dark background with white text on the display is hard to read in bright sunlight. Arguably, this can be changed. Sadly, it doesn’t offer GPS tracking either.
Advantages: Great everyday performance and solid technology
Disadvantages: The band fails under heavy use and requires replacement
4. Suunto 9 Baro/Peak
On the higher end of the budget scale, the Suunto 9 Baro and the Suunto 9 Peak are their flagship ABC watches. The Baro was released in mid-2018 as a development of the Spartan Ultra, this version comes with pin-point GPS and a touch screen display that helps the user guide their way through an easy-to-navigate menu that offers bread crumbing. It doesn’t compare to the likes of the Fenix 6X in terms of the topographical maps, however, the multisport tracking, heart rate monitor and overall user-friendly nature have proven popular with many people. The Suunto 9 Peak was released in June 2021. It less bulky and more stylish than the Baro.
The best thing about these devices is the battery life (which is lithium-ion). You’re able to select how often the GPS function monitors your location, which can have a huge impact on how quickly it drains the battery. You can opt for once every second, every 60 or 120. You can change your setting during activity. The Baro 9 will compensate for less GPS tracking by relying on other features like the compass, gyro and accelerometer. This offers an accurate picture of location, pace and distance. You’ll get an awesome 120 hours battery life from this as well as accurate information.
Advantages: Unrivaled battery life (in certain settings).
Disadvantages: Navigation isn’t as great as alternatives
5. Garmin Instinct 2 Standard Solar
6. NORTH EDGE Apache
The North Edge Apache watch is a perfect low-budget option for anyone that wants a built-in Altimeter. This option is hardwearing, costs approximately $59, and has a range of useful features.
The Altimeter function on the Apache model gives users an altitude trend chart and a climb rate. The watch also features a barometer and compass too. Many swear by this budget option, stating that it has great features for a lower price.
You can also find a thermometer, weather forecast, and stopwatch on the North Edge Apache watch. If you like to meet fitness goals, you can use the step counter, calorie, and distance record features too. Perfect for anyone who likes outdoor workouts, as it’s also waterproof up to 50M.
This watch also has time functions, a countdown timer, and an alarm clock to make sure you’re always on time. Users can take advantage of world time functions and daylight saving times when traveling too.
Advantages: Great ABC features for a lower price.
Disadvantages: Doesn’t include maps or navigation features, however, this may not be a drawback for some.
7. Casio G-SHOCK Rangeman GW-9400
The G-Shock Rangeman from Casio is a high-performance watch with a built-in altimeter, compass, and barometer. If you want a durable watch that’s renowned for being tough, this is the watch for you.
The ABC functions on this watch are excellent. The built-in altimeter measures barometric pressure and converts it into altitude. The watch can measure between -2,300 to 32,800ft (-700 to 10,000m). If you like hiking and want accurate data, this feature is essential. The Rangeman also features a barometer that measures the air pressure to provide real-time weather patterns. The built-in compass uses a direction sensor to find magnetic north. The compass has an easy-to-read display for use on the go.
Other features of the G-Shock Rangeman watch include mud resistance, low-temperature resistance, and water resistance up to 200M. This watch was built for outdoor activity, whether you’re working out or at work this watch is reliable. You can also find sunrise/sunset data, tough solar power, and accurate time data too.
This ABC watch is particularly popular with rescue crews, rangers, and avid hikers. If you need reliable data and a durable watch, check this option out.
Advantages: Made from sturdy materials, yet feels lightweight. Incredibly durable and easy to use.
Disadvantages: Some suggest the watch face is dim in the dark.
8. Polar Grit X
If you like sports watches, but want more features than a simple pedometer, try the Polar Grit X. This multisports watch is designed for outdoor activity and includes a compass and altimeter for smarter training.
The ABC features of this watch are used when you’re recording your activity to give you better fitness metrics. If you wish to use ABC functions separately from sports modes, you may need to consider an alternative watch – but if you want these features for your fitness plans this is perfect!
With a mix of durable materials and a lightweight 64-gram design, this watch is ideal for any active workouts. The watch has passed a range of MIL-STD-810G tests and can be used in humidity and extreme temperatures. For a long-lasting option, the Polar Grit X is a perfect choice.
The Polar Grit X has great outdoor visibility and a transflective touch display. Some suggest the display isn’t great in low light, however, it’s notably better than the Polar Vantage watches though.
Advantages: Great for improving fitness progress with the help of ABC functions. It’s also a very lightweight watch that can withstand a lot of wear.
Disadvantages: The Polar Grit X ABC features can only be used on sports modes.
9. Garmin 945 LTE
The Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE is an essential smartwatch for anyone who wants additional LTE connectivity alongside premium fitness features. Users need a subscription plan and connectivity to an LTE network to use these features though.
Garmin is known for its top range smartwatches and its health trackers and the Garmin 945 is a great example of these. With track recovery time, heart rate monitors, and an altimeter, this smartwatch is optimized for outdoor sports and activities.
You can also use additional smartwatch features like Garmin Pay, built-in maps, music streaming, and more. Whether you’re out for a run or chilling at home, this watch has a range of features to complement your day-to-day life.
- The watch comes with LTE connectivity.
- Users can use the LiveTrack feature.
- Has an altimeter and other data metrics.
- Users need an LTE plan before purchasing the watch.
10. Coros Vertix
If you’re after a smartwatch that will complement your outdoor exercise, the Coros Vertix is an option worth exploring. This smartwatch is designed for adventure with45 days of battery life, an altimeter, a compass, and more advanced features.
This watch is durable, so it’s a perfect match for anyone that likes to get out and about. With sapphire glass coating and a grade 5 titanium alloy bezel, this watch is hard to break. It also comes in three colorways, including Dark Rock, Fire Dragon, and Mountain Hunter. Perfect for anyone that wants a customized style.
The Coros Vertiz watch is also great for sports due to its large range of sports mode features. Sports included on this watch are running, swimming, cycling, water sports, cardio, strength training, and winter sports too.
- Extremely hard-wearing design.
- 45 days of regular battery life and 60 hours in full GPS mode.
- Includes a range of health and fitness trackers.
- At approx $499 this is an expensive option.
11. Coros Apex
Another great Coros option is the Coros Apex. This is a more affordable watch than the Coros Vertix and the pricing starts at approximately $299 for the 42mm device. There is also a 46mm option that retails for $349 too.
The Coros Apex was designed with mountain athletes in mind. The watch lets users use route navigation and has 30 days of battery life and 35 hours of battery life with GPS on. The device also features a range of sports modes, fitness trackers, heart rate monitors, sleep trackers, an altimeter, a compass, and more.
This modern watch is available in a range of colors, letting users choose a personalized style. The Coros Apex has a sleek, minimal design and traditional round smartwatch face. If you want an altimeter watch that isn’t too bulky, this is a watch to check out.
- Long battery life for outdoor sports.
- Includes an altimeter and compass.
- Features a range of sports modes to help you train.
- Missing standard smartwatch features.
12. Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar
Tissot is a leading watch brand and a known name, but does their T-Touch watch measure up? This iconic watch retails for approximately $1,150, but don’t let that price shock you – you get a lot for your money!
This Swiss-made watch has over 30 different features, comes in a 47mm size, and offers solar-powered modes. The watch itself is made from anti-reflective scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with a ceramic bezel. If you’re looking for an innovative option and modern design, try this Tissot timepiece.
Functions included on this watch are an alarm, a barometer, an altimeter, calories burned, an eco mode, a pedometer, time zones, incoming calls, and more. The Tissot T-Touch is a divers watch with a classic design, perfect for anyone who wants a watch for life.
- Has a range of different features, including an altimeter.
- Waterproof to 100m.
- Retails at a very high price.
13. G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400
The G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 is a solar-powered digital watch with a durable design. If you’re looking for an option that’s durable and not-so minimalistic, this could be the timepiece for you. This option comes in two colors, green and black, perfect for anyone with a more masculine style.
The features of this watch include an altimeter, a compass, a barometer, and a thermometer too. Users also have access to different alarms, a stopwatch, a countdown timer, and Mb6 atomic timekeeping too. This is a great watch for anyone on the go.
The watch is designed with a strong mineral crystal dial, making the watch hardwearing and long-lasting. The design also features stainless steel, multiple displays, textured pushes, and buckle closure. This model is made in the USA.
- Made in the USA.
- Comes in two colors and has a durable design.
- Waterproof to 200m.
- Could have more color options.
14. Casio Men’s Pathfinder
This Casio watch is a must for anyone that wants a high-performing gadget. With an approximate price of $250, this device sits in the mid-level price range and offers a long-lasting timepiece for all users.
The Casio Men’s Pathfinder includes a masculine design in black, perfect for anyone that’s looking for an outdoor watch. The watch face is digital and includes an EL backlight to ensure users can read it in any situation. The diameter of the watch is 51mm and it comes in a strong stainless steel case with a mineral dial window.
Alongside an altimeter, this watch also offers features like solar power, digital compass, thermometer, barometer, low temp resistance, stopwatch, world time, alarms, and more. Whether you want this watch because of its cool look or its modern features, it’s an investment worth making.
- Large range of features and digital display.
- Durable design with stainless steel and mineral glass.
- Waterproof to 100m.
- Only comes in one size.
ABC watches Conclusion
If you’re looking for an ABC watch and like to navigate, the watches in this list will definitely do the job. With some you can opt for the solar version which gives you the added battery life which could come in handy especially while using GPS. The list of ABC watches grows and new watches are now on the horizon. Be sure to check out the Fenix 7 which is due to be released this year and also similar ABC/Altimeter watches from other brands such as Suunto or even Casio.
Last Updated on April 2, 2022
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