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Great Watch

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit:True to size

This is my second review of this watch. I recently broke this one after 8 yrs of abuse. The band and pin broke. Another commenter had stated the plastic is soft, which is true. However I highly recommend this watch. I've had three different altimeter watches and this one has performed the best. Avoid the Highgear Alti-XTss Altimeter Watch - that watch sucks.

Paid for itself on the first trip.

    I got this thing when it was on sale and it has exceeded my expectations. Just like almost every altimeter it requires frequent calibration, but if you do that this watch is very accurate. I calibrated mine on the first day of three day trip and it was dead on with the U.S. Geological Survey marker when we reached the top of the mountain on the last day. I was Impressed. You do have to take the watch of your wrist if you want a proper temperature reading, but that is standard with these watches. The trip logs were a great feature too as it kept accurate total elevation gains and losses for each day. The only slightly annoying thing is that the buttons are easily pressed. They kept getting pushed every time I put my backback on. This never caused any real problems though. This is a great watch!

    Useful

      It does require frequent calibration, but if you don't understand why, look it up. There is a feature that "locks" the altitude, according to the manual, if the local barometric pressure remains still for 30 minutes, useful for overnight. i usually found it didn't usually require calibration the next morning, unless there was a severe local barometric change overnight. hiking over the summer, you could see the graphical representation of your trip's altitude vs. time. there is a function to time your rate of descent while skiing which is fun to use. the thermometer always reads about 28-30 degrees when on the wrist and is affected by sunlight as well.

      Pretty Good for the Price

        I used this watch around town in L.A. and had trouble getting the barometer to reflect the correct weather, but then took it to Nepal for an Everest Base Camp trek and once I pegged the altimeter to a known altitude, it seemed to give pretty accurate readings without re-pegging the altitude for about 12 days. Now back at home I've been using it for running, and it works great.

        Don't take off the band

          Cool watch, but one side of the band came off with only a little accidental pressure. The pins go into relatively soft plastic. They are so deep that when I tried to reattach the band to the case, I couldn't (even with the right watch tool). I tried for two hours, and then I threw it against the wall and screamed. Then, I epoxied the band to the case. Then, it fell off the first time I hit a jump. I lost the watch, but I landed the jump with style.

          Pretty Good so far

            I've had this watch for a couple of months now. I like the ease of use - it's not hard to figure out how to run it. I've been using the altimeter a lot and it is very accurate. It does need to be updated regularly but that is expected.

            I haven't had a chance to use the ski chrono yet but I have been using the data logger when hiking and I like it. Nice to be able to see the real alt as well as the ascent.

            I have hit the buttons a few times by accident but I haven't activated anything or changed anything because all the resets have to be done by holding a button for a couple of seconds.

            The backlighting is cool too. Not just a backlight but more of an inversion of lighting - good stuff.

            Can't beat the price with a stick either.

            Alterra Watch for Skiing

              I wrote this in response to Zubertime's question below. I repost this at Andrew's request:
              I have the Alterra model, which also has the digital compass feature. I bought the watch last year to take up to Mammoth with me for the season. I am retired and wanted to keep track of the amount of vertical feet I could ski in a season. The watch is NOT intuitively designed, but I traveled with the 2" square instruction booklet in my ski jacket pocket, and was ultimately able to get comfortable with the darned thing. You can preprogram 3 fixed altitudes in the watch, so for my situation, I did not need to know the local altimeter settings. I preselected into the Alterra the fixed altitudes of Mammoth Main Lodge, Canyon Lodge, and Eagle Lodge, depending on where I was going to start out for the day. At my ski locker at Main Lodge, when I would pull out my helmet to begin the skiing day, I would see the little instruction booklet left inside the helmet, and this would be my reminder to myself to start the altimeter watch. Then I would put the booklet in my jacket pocket, and when finishing the day, and back at the locker, I would remove my helmet, replace the booklet back in the helmet for the overnight, and stop the altimeter readout. It was nice because I could then read how much vertical feet I had skiied on that "log" (15 total "log days" available), see how many "laps" or trips up the chair I had made (150' up and down = 1 lap), and see how many hours and minutes I had been skiing that day. The thing I did not like was that at the end of 15 recorded logs (Log 15), the 16th trip would just overwrite Log 15 as a new Log 15. So for me to know my total vertical for the season, I needed to record my total "Accumulated" vertical, and then zero out all the logs, and start over. When a guy can get upwards of a million vertical feet in a season, this routine of constantly resetting every 15 days and not ever losing your total is kind of an inconvenient drag, especially with today's technology. The numbers on the altimeter page are large and easy to read in the weather. For another kind of neat feature (discovered after some figuring!), it is possible to have your Current Altitude always being displayed so u can track yourself thruout the day, or have the running Accumulated Altitude displayed so u can see if u have met your vertical goal for the day while u are on the mountain, and not wait til u finish or have to push a bunch of buttons to see it. There is a watch page where the current time is also co-displayed with your Accumulated Altitude, so no gloves need to be removed and additional buttons pushed to see how much longer u have before lunch or the chair closes.

              My favourite gear

                - specs -
                Thermometer: +14 to +122F. I used it at +5F, it still worked fine. To get an accurate temperature reading I usually fix it to my pack, or the front of my jacket.
                Baro: 300 - 1100 mBar (8.86 - 32.48 inHg). I calibrate it once a month using info from weather.gov
                Altimeter: -2300 to +30,045 feet (-700 to 9150 meters).
                Water resistance 5ATM
                Awesome.

                Awesome

                  I use devices like this quite often. I have put my Highgear Aerial Altimeter Watch through hell. Watch has good functionality and durability. I have had my watch for almost four years and just recently came across my first issue. My Alarm is no longer sounding, but I contacted High Gear via email and they gave me an RA number and told me to send it back....so no problems there. The altimeter does need daily calibration for it to be at its' highest accuracy, but there isn't an altimeter watch that doesn't need daily calibration. The watch allows you to record three different locations i.e. your front door step, your bedroom, work...whatever you want and when you pass those places you push three buttons and you're calibrated!!!!

                  My only complaint is that when I fly in Helicopters it becomes quite inaccurate, which requires another calibration when i get out of the helicopter, but A) all helicopters have altimeters so I just have to ask the pilot and B) how often do YOU fly in a helicopter? I work as a wild land firefighter on Helitack, so it's an issue only about three or four times a week.

                  While hiking and climbing though, it's bomber!!! Good watch

                  Doesn't Stand up

                    I'm hardly one who is hard on my gear and this watch didn't last a year without breaking. The band broke and I Gorilla glued it, it broke again and I glued it again. Now the sides around the buttons are peeling off. Also requires a lot of calibration and buttons are inadvertently pressed too easily.

                    LAME for skiing

                      This watch is totally not intuitive if you want to track your vertical speed. In fact, it is totally not intuitive period. I had to look in the manual every time I tried to use this for anything with the altimeter. LAME.

                      good watch.

                        I was looking for a basic altimeter to take hiking and skiing. Found this one on sale and thought I'd try it out. Good stuff for the money. I dig the 'Ski' mode which tracks your accumulated vertical feet. It seems accurate enough for my use (7000' - 13,000'). Like other altimeters, you have to calibrate it often, but it's an easy thing to do. Only problem: the watch case came detached after about a year of not-too-hard use, but they have a 2-year warranty, and they happily replaced it with a new(er) watch that seems to have a beefier case. Oh...and the thermometer is pretty much useless unless you take it off your wrist and let it sit around for a little while (but hey...it is on your wrist...what would you expect?) Good watch.

                        Pros: Altimeter seems pretty accurate, large face is easy to read, ski chrono is pretty cool, excellent company service, buttons easy to reach.

                        Cons: Buttons a bit TOO easy to reach (often get bumped), poor case design (that may have been re-designed?), thermometer - as in other watches - is pretty much just a gadget.

                        Too much watch for one man.

                          This watch is easy to use as well as durable. I bought this watch for my dad for Christmas, but at first all he wanted was a regular old watch with no trinkets. Now every time we go out hunting, camping, or just out side he's telling me the altitude or the temp. inside his jacket. I think he will figure out the rest of the watch all in good time.

                          Very strong and accurate watch

                            Despite the looks not being what I would prefer, I love the function of this watch. I never use a digital compass anyway, so I do not miss it on this. The altimeter is super accurate, and using the rate of ascent is a handy tool to figure out how long you will be hiking for. Never had any problems with it and the watch is a bit smaller then say the Suunto Vector, so for smaller wrists this is a nice option to have.

                            Do you have a replacement band for this...

                            Do you have a replacement band for this watch - HIG0026? I have tried to find it on Highgear's web site but cannot. Can you help since I purchased it from you?

                            I reset my watch and need to know how I...

                            I reset my watch and need to know how I can get it back up a running properly

                            does this watch track total daily vertical...

                            does this watch track total daily vertical for skiing or hiking?

                            Hi Zubertime: I have the Alterra model, which also has the digital compass feature. I bought the watch last year to take up to Mammoth with me for the season. I am retired and wanted to keep track of the amount of vertical feet I could ski in a season. The watch is NOT intuitively designed, but I traveled with the 2" square instruction booklet in my ski jacket pocket, and was ultimately able to get comfortable with the darned thing. You can preprogram 3 fixed altitudes in the watch, so for my situation, I did not need to know the local altimeter settings. I preselected into the Alterra the fixed altitudes of Mammoth Main Lodge, Canyon Lodge, and Eagle Lodge, depending on where I was going to start out for the day. At my ski locker at Main Lodge, when I would pull out my helmet to begin the skiing day, I would see the little instruction booklet left inside the helmet, and this would be my reminder to myself to start the altimeter watch. Then I would put the booklet in my jacket pocket, and when finishing the day, and back at the locker, I would remove my helmet, replace the booklet back in the helmet for the overnight, and stop the altimeter readout. It was nice because I could then read how much vertical feet I had skiied on that "log" (15 total "log days" available), see how many "laps" or trips up the chair I had made (150' up and down = 1 lap), and see how many hours and minutes I had been skiing that day. The thing I did not like was that at the end of 15 recorded logs (Log 15), the 16th trip would just overwrite Log 15 as a new Log 15. So for me to know my total vertical for the season, I needed to record my total "Accumulated" vertical after Log 15, and then zero out all the logs, and start over. When a guy can get upwards of a million vertical feet in a season, this routine of constantly resetting every 15 days and not ever losing your total is kind of an inconvenient drag, especially with today's technology. Other than that, the Alterra is a valuable tool, and I think u will like it. The numerals are big, so the watch face can be easily read under less than ideal weather conditions.

                            Write your question here... What is the...

                            Write your question here... What is the size i.e. diameter measurement?

                            Unanswered Question

                            Ok, this may be getting really picky, but...

                            Ok, this may be getting really picky, but on every other website with this watch the color is listed as 'charcoal' and this one is 'black'. Is this the same watch?thanks!

                            If the band breaks is it replaceable with...

                            If the band breaks is it replaceable with a different watch band?

                            UPDATED (Sept 11, 2008) I just got a newer model Aerial from BC that appears to addess my two biggest problems with an earlier version. (1) the casing appears to be of a harder composite, and will HOPEFULLY avoid the strap pin rip-out I experienced with the earlier model; (2) altitude recalibration is now improved due to new "reference altitudes" that can be used to avoid much of the time-consuming scrolling to correct drift. I'm hopeful that with these two improvements, I'll have a better experience with the newer model. As to replacement straps, HG website sells black only straps.MY PRIOR COMMENTS WERE:Very doubtful. I've heard that even getting the ORIGINAL band off/on the watch casing is a super tough task. I've owned this watch, and the issue is not likely to be the BAND needing replacement (it's polyurethane and ultradurable. In the future I'll go out of my way to get watches that use PU bands, because they outperform the resin and rubber types--which materials crack requiring regular replacement--in strength and durability). The main problem with this watch is the eventual breakage of the soft/synthetic material that forms the sides of the watch CASING into which the bands (i.e., pins) connect. When that breakage happens (and it WILL happen--mine trashed in 2 years of normal use and I've read of other users' similar experiences) it's a $50 mail-in repair at Highgear to get the entire CASE replaced. That's assuming that it doesn't break at a time/place where you lose or drop the watch altogether! That's just what happened to a friend when he was kayaking, and his Aerial is at the bottom of a river.Another thing to keep in mind is that the original band is quite stiff. I found made that made it easier to put the watch on/off my wrist and was quite comfortable to wear, but on the downside, the straps will not fold down or compress if you wish to put it into your pocket, for example. Think "semisoft bracelet", not "straps." Other comments about this model: As with all altimeter watches, this one needs regular recalibration, setting to a known elevation. Doing so on this watch is much more fussy compared to others I've used. This is especially so when the recalibration requires you to scroll many feet/meters to get to the correct, current altitude, because it scrolls S-L-O-W-L-Y one-foot-at-a-time. If the watch's displayed altitude has drifted way off, this can mean an annoyingly long time (minute or more) keeping a tiny button depressed--especially nasty with gloves in the extreme cold, or when exposed in a dicey climbing stance. Imagine explaining to your climbing partner that he/she needs to wait for you while you scroll several hundred (or even thousand) feet: one----two---three---four---five---six. You get the idea. All in all Highgear was pretty good with customer service, and before the casing broke the watch was adequate, especially given the on-sale pricing I paid. Hope this helps.