I've owned my elementum (rubber/negative) now for a couple of months and I am already MUCH more please with this than I have been with my previous Cores. I unfortunately was one of poor fools that bought the original batch of Core and because of the battery issues that so many of them had, I went through 4 of them before I finally got one that didn't have problems.
The elementum is not as feature rich as the Core is but this shouldn't be a deterrent. The things that you are sacrificing are minor features such as sunrise/sunset, depth meter, etc. On the other hand you are gaining some things that are major improvements. The upper dial is so easy to use and changing settings is much less frustrating. I love having immediate access to both the barometric reading as well as the altitude on the home screen of the display vs. having to scroll to get through it. Once you've been able to figure out the Log feature it becomes extremely efficient.
Overall, the user friendliness of this watch is very accommodating. I spent less than 15 minutes just playing with the buttons and sequences and was able to work out most of the features. The biggest gripe that I did have was the manual. Very little to go off of and finding other resources was just an annoyance.
The other review is displeased with the brightness of the negative face. A couple of different Cores that I tried we significantly dimmer and much harder to read. In comparison the elementum is much easier to read than the Core, however be aware, any watch with a negative style face will require more off an effort to read.
My favorite thing about the elementum watch is the look. First of all, it looks much better in person than the pictures give it credit for. Across the board, it will work in literally any situation that you're in. Whether you need a good church, board meeting watch, or if you want something that will bridge the gap between rugged and professional. Outdoors this watch has worked great. I've had it up in Uintahs multiple times and have yet to be let down.
My overall impression, FANTASTIC. It's is so much more settling to finally have a Suunto that is made in Finland vs. the Core that was "designed in Finland" but ultimately made in China.
Bravo SUUNTO. I was happy with the style of the Core but let down with its performance. For me this was redemption.