hero snowwrote a review of Suunto Elementum Terra Altimeter Watch on March 8, 2011
My wife just gave me this (rather expensive) very generous gift of a Suunto Elementum Terra Altimiter watch with the "Steel / Negative Face". I'm a fan of Suunto, and have been wearing a different model now for something like 3 years. She bought the Terra for me because of my past enjoyment of the other Suunto watch, and because I once told her about the new Elementum Suunto watches.
With all that said, it was very clear from the moment I powered up this watch that the display was unusually dim. I spent the first 15min with it attempting to see if there was some brightness adjustment (there is not), and then I spent the next 30min trying to determine if the batteries were low (they're fine). Through talking to bc.com folks and further reviewing marketing materials, it just seems like this is it. Do you see the picture above from bc.com of the "Steel / Negative Face Front"? Do you see anything on the face? No? Nor can I. If you change the angle of the face and get it under the correct lighting, you can eventually see the face digits. And, of course, there is a back light. The back-light button is shared by other functions and is time dependent though, so if you don't press and hold the button just right it won't light and will change the watch into another mode.
Because I like Suunto and I don't want to be so negative, I will say that their "Elementum" line has a nice appearance, that I'm sure the electronics are similar in accuracy and functionality compared to their other models, and that they are probably somewhat rare (they have priced them to be "exclusive", I'm guessing). The band is seemingly sturdy. I did not spend enough time operating it to get to know how user-friendly it was. Digital watches have a tendency to be somewhat non-intuitive. At first glance, this did not seem exceptionally intuitive either, but time would maybe tell differently.
In summary, this watch is way to expensive to only be so-so. If I got it for $200-$400, I might think it's OK, but would still not wear it much because of it's dim digits. I suppose there is a reason you never see these watches in stores; if you were to see it in person before taking it home, you wouldn't buy it.