Author Topic: Suunto M3 Global compass review  (Read 18081 times)

Pete McK

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Suunto M3 Global compass review
« on: September 27, 2012, 09:37:19 AM »
We have been using this compass for a year now and it has relinquished our Silva Expedition to the store cupboard. This is our assessment:

LIKES
1. It has a long, transparent plastic base-plate for pointing the compass at objects in the field and for joining points on the map and it has a prominent index mark indicating the direction of travel. (The three little rubber feet help you use the edge of the compass to find and draw your bearing on the paper map.)

2. The big rotating compass needle housing, with ridges to allow easy use when wearing gloves and is marked in two degree increments. The housing has a transparent base which is marked with true north-south meridian lines which, together with the long compass edge, form a protractor for use on the map. With one exception, the base plate compass is a protractor when it lies on the map - the needle is disregarded. The one exception is when the housing is rotated in to true north and the compass is placed on the edge of the map to orient the map in the outdoors, to north and south using the magnetic needle.

3. An adjustable "north indicator arrow", which is set independent of the true north-south indicator lines. Your compass can be adjusted for the Grid Magnetic Angle in your area. You make your adjustment by turning a micro meter screw on the bezel, accurately setting you current declination to one degree using a separate scale marked on the reverse side of the bezel. This virtually eliminates the need to remember mnemonics and perform calculations in the field.
 
4. The compass needle is designed for global use – which means we can now go to New Zealand ;)
 
5. The base plate edges are marked with a cm ruler, 1:20,000 and 1:15,000 km scales plus on the main body of the compass there are the more usual 1:50,000 and 1:50,000 scales.

7. It has a magnifying spot, which even for non-glasses wearers is very useful.
 
8. The base plate is ergonomically rounded at the back end that is held in the hand (to discourage attempts to hold the compass backwards) and an adequate hole provided for a lanyard.

DISLIKES
1. The short lanyard
2. The lack of clinometer
3. The direction of travels arrows are not luminous

FLAWS
1. The printing on the underside of the baseplate, which includes the essential ruler, 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 scales etc., is wearing off!
2. It has developed a bubble in the compass housing, which if like in our Silva compasses, grew in size and rendered them almost useless to use in cold conditions.


« Last Edit: September 27, 2012, 11:51:07 AM by Pete McK »

Phil

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Re: Suunto M3 Global compass review
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2012, 09:51:08 AM »

Nice review Pete, I thought the M3 Global had a clinometer - are there different versions of it?

Pete McK

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Re: Suunto M3 Global compass review
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2012, 11:47:15 AM »
Thanks Phil :)


That’s interesting about the clinometer, we bought both of these compasses at ‘Hitch n Hike’ in the Peak District, and neither of them have the black clinometer needle, yet the images on their website do ???

I have taken a photo of the compass and added it to my original posting, you can also clearly see the printing that is rubbing off.

Callum

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Re: Suunto M3 Global compass review
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2012, 01:43:09 PM »
Great review Mate :)

Have the bubbles that have appeared occurred on both your and Emma’s Suunto compasses Pete, and was it during your last Alpine ski trip?

My Silva Expedition also develops these bubbles when cold, but they have not as yet interfered with its functionality as far as I am aware. I don’t seem to remember this being a problem with my previous Silva compass, circa 1970’s, or has it always been the case and my Rose Specs for all things better in the past are clouding my judgement

My suspicion is, that like most global firms, they will have moved their manufacturing to countries with much cheaper operating costs, and whilst countries like China can manufacture high quality items, they can also manufacture complete rubbish items.

Pete McK

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Re: Suunto M3 Global compass review
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2012, 04:30:39 PM »
 Thanks Cal :)

Yes skiing Glacier d'Argentiere, Chamonix in France. In my compass it was a few small bubbles that then combined to make one I guess around 5mm in diameter and it definitely affected the compass needle. Emma’s story was similar though the final bubble not so large.

If you’re about I can drop it off this weekend. Have PM’d you with a plan ;)

Lyle Brotherton

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Re: Suunto M3 Global compass review
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2012, 09:04:33 AM »
Excellent review Pete. I concur with Callum, in that the bubbles created in the capsule of my Suunto, whilst annoying, did not affect its performance. However that is not to say that if they grew in size they still could not. I learned a few months back that Silva now do manufacture in China and as Callum observed, quality can be variable, but maybe it is not the actual fabricators, but instead the firm’s accountants, who squeeze cost out of the materials to increase profit, just like they do  in all other businesses?

When I was working with the Bohag 10 Team, the Mountain Rescue Team responsible for the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau in Switzerland, I remember that they were working with a Swiss manufacturer in developing a compass that did not develop bubbles. I have pinged their team leader to ask how these trials got on and what the results were, and will post back when I get the results.
“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance” - Plato

mikee

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Re: Suunto M3 Global compass review
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2012, 02:47:55 PM »
I just received my Suunto M3 Global compass and It had a clinometer!

It works much better (well seems way more sensitive) than my old military style compass which would stick and also had a bubble

Callum

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Re: Suunto M3 Global compass review
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2012, 11:54:22 AM »
Like you Mikee, my ex-service Silva accompanied me everywhere, until I gave up mentally converting mils to degrees with the kids I was instructing in the outdoors, and bought the Silva Expedition. Not only was it's construction noticeably poorer, especially in the movement of the bezel, but, like your Silva, it developed small bubbles, that eventually became one big bubble. Bought the Suunto M3 a year ago and from day one it was apparent that the quality was 100% better than the Silva, and this winter in the Alps, I will discover if it too is going to bubble. (Pete McK took his M3, along with his Silva, last year to the Alps and the Suunto won thru).

captain paranoia

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Re: Suunto M3 Global compass review
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2012, 03:12:52 PM »
I notice that the red scale markings seem a little worn on the above example.  Is this typical?

<edit> I see you mention this issue...

Pete McK

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Re: Suunto M3 Global compass review
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2012, 04:08:44 PM »
CP, We bought two Suunto M3 compasses, only on mine did the red printing, near the edge, wear. I emailed Suunto and asked if this was a common problem and how I could go about replacing it. They asked for my address and sent me a new one, but did not answer my first point. Emma’s still has all its printing as new, and my replacement, now three months old, is still intact – could have been a rogue batch. Will keep the forum posted.

Callum

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Re: Suunto M3 Global compass review
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2012, 09:41:11 AM »
No problems with the printing on the underside of my, well used, M3 so far :)

Angle of Repose

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Re: Suunto M3 Global compass review
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2014, 12:14:27 AM »
I just received my Suunto M3 Global compass and It had a clinometer!

It works much better (well seems way more sensitive) than my old military style compass which would stick and also had a bubble

Same here, one of the reasons I bought it was for the needle and clinometer function. All around, a nice compass.

Pete McK- Any solutions to prevent the bottom markings from rubbing off? Apply a little clear packing tape perhaps?
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