It looks like Suunto has shifted their focus slightly with the new n3i. The n3i is a modest redesign of the n3, and my feeling is that they have shifted their target market slightly toward the business user. The two primary differences between the n3 and the n3i are the size and color of the watch. Both are noticeably more conservative in the newer model. The n3i is 3mm thinner than its predecessor which allows it to more easily slip beneath a starched cuff. It is also silver and gray with stainless steel buttons, giving it a lower-key, more mature look. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of the changes:
- 3mm thinner. Shaving some height off this substantial timepiece makes it slightly more compatible with office attire. (Note that the face of the n3i is still the same circumference as that of the n3.)
- Silver and gray as opposed to the old (and more conspicuous) gold and black.
- Interchangeable leather strap. Substantially more elegant than the n3’s black plastic band.
- Stainless steel buttons replace the old plastic ones.
- Improved audibility. The n3i is louder than the n3. That may seem inconsistent with its shift toward the more conservative, however the faintness of the n3’s alarm was a frequent complaint.
- Addition of a logbook function within the time channel. The logbook allows you to easily review splits and lap times recorded with the stopwatch.
It’s good to see Suunto still investing in MSN Direct technology, and to see the technology evolving in a positive direction. I only hope Suunto is still planning on launching the rumored n6 this year (MSN Direct technology combined with an altimeter, barometer, heart rate monitor, and possibly a thermometer — more as the story unfolds). We will just have to wait and see what’s on the horizon.