HIGHGEAR AXIO ALTIMETER WATCH
BY CHRIS BARCHET
March 09, 2010
Seattle, WA, USA
6' 2" (1.88 m)
175 lb (79.40 kg)
I began hiking in the mid 80's. I was only 14 when I completed my first 50-miler (80 km). Since then I have hiked on several continents including treks in New Zealand, Patagonia, Europe and Asia. My home range is the Cascades but I have explored most of the western US. I started with heavy packs but now I generally follow moderate to light guidelines for pack weight depending on trip goals. I usually log several hundred miles/kilometers per year including day hikes, backpacking trips, snowshoe trips and ski tours.
Manufacturer: Implusfootcare, LLC.
Web site: http://www.highgear.com/
Product: Axio Altimeter Watch
Model Number: 20102HG
Year manufactured: 2009
MSRP: $ 125.00 (US)
Weight listed: None, Actual weight: 2.1 oz (60 g)
Display diameter: 0.9 in (2.3 cm)
Housing Diameter: 1.8 in (4.6 cm)
Color reviewed: Black
Colors available (2010): Black
Technical Specs (from www.highgear.com):
ALTIMETER / BAROMETER
> Swiss Air Pressure / Temperature Sensor
> 1m / 1ft Local Altitude Resolution
> Working Range: - 2303 ft to 30045 ft (-702m to 9158m)
> 12 Hour Weather Forecast Icon
> Sea-Level & Absolute Barometer Display
> Mercury Inches and Millibar / Hectopascal Barometer Display
> Digital Thermometer
> User option for Fahrenheit or Celsius
> Working range from +14°F to +122°F (-10°C to +50°C)
> 100 Hour Chronograph
> 1/100 Second Resolution
> 10 Run Memory
> Starting Altitude Record
> Accumulated Altitude Record
> Maximum Altitude Record
> Total Exercise Time Record
> 12/24 Hour Time Display
> Dual Time Zone
> 2 Daily Alarms
> 1 Rest Alarm
> 1 Hydration Alarm
> 2 Altitude Alarms
> Glass Reinforced Nylon Case
> Mineral Glass Lens
> 50m Water Resistant
> EL Backlight
> User Replaceable Battery
The Axio is a basic altimeter watch. The primary functions of the watch are; altimeter/barometer, thermometer, chronograph (timer), data log, alarm, and time. These functions are available through 5 main screens:
> Time Screen - Displays Time of Day (either of 2 time zones, 12 or 24 hour setting) along with Date, Day or Elevation. The Weather Icon is also shown.
> Altimeter/Barometer Screen - Displays Elevation (with Temperature or Barometric Pressure) or Barometric Pressure (sea level and absolute). Also shows Time of Day.
> Chronometer Screen - Displays Timer, Time of Day and Elevation
> Data Screen - Cycles through data for up to 10 separate logs including start elevation, accumulated elevation and total time.
> Alarm Screen - Cycles through set up for 6 alarms; 2 time, 2 altitude, 1 hydration, 1 rest
Time Screen (Weather Icon, Time Zone Indicator, Time of Day, Alarm On Indicator & Date shown)
Altimeter Screen (Time of Day, Altitude & Temperature shown)
Chronometer Screen (Time of Day, Workout Time & Elevation shown)
Data Screen (Accumulated Elevation and Weather Icon shown)
Alarm Screen (Alarm 1 Set-up, Alarm On Indicator & Weather Icon shown)
The watch housing is made from a glossy black, glass-reinforced nylon. The watch band is black rubber. The face is mineral glass. There are five large chrome buttons on the perimeter of the housing.
I have used the watch approximately 15 times during some fall hiking but mostly winter ski touring in the Washington Cascades. The outside temperature range was 10 F (-12 C) to 55 F (13 C). Weather was variable including snow, rain and clear skies. The watch was worn on my wrist either exposed to air or under a jacket cuff.
I purchased the watch because I wanted an altimeter that was comfortable to wear and reliable. Simplicity was important and I did not want extra functions to clutter the operation. The watch meets those requirements but has some other shortcomings.
The watch is easy to take on and off. There is a molded rubber button that holds the end of the wrist strap very neatly. It is smaller than many other altimeter watches making it very comfortable to wear. The face has a very clean look which I like better than the technical look of many other altimeter watches.
The buttons are large and easy to use, even with gloves on. Cycling through the five display screens is simple and fast. The display numbers are large and easy to read.
The altitude reading seems relatively accurate but the initial altitude is difficult to set. The numbers cycle very slowly at first and then increase speed. The timing of the speed changes results in overshooting the desired elevation.
I have not been rigorous about checking the accuracy of the unit but on the checks that I have made the elevation is +/- 100 ft (33 m). I never rely on the watch as my only source of elevation data.
The biggest shortcoming of the watch is the ease with which it can get "bumped" out of chronometer mode. When the watch is in this mode and the timer is started elevation gain is recorded. The unit must remain in this mode to accrue elevation. The large buttons are easy to push, especially when worn near a jacket cuff, and on most trips the unit has accidentally "bumped" from chronometer to another mode. This means it is no longer recording elevation gain. The bottom line is I don't trust the accumulated altitude at the end of the day.
I haven't used the other features of the watch much but they seem reasonable. The alarm is easy to set and is loud enough to wake me. The backlight display is easy to read in the dark. The thermometer is accurate but obviously doesn't display the air temperature while worn on the wrist.
I have also had one problem with the durability of the watch. Condensation develops inside the display while wearing the watch under a jacket cuff. So far this hasn't affected the function of the unit and it dries in a few hours but I am concerned that the moisture will eventually damage the internal parts. I can't see any sign of exterior wear except very minor scuffs on the housing.
The Axio altimeter watch has clean appearance and a simple set of functions. It is easy to wear and accurately displays altitude, +/- 100 ft (33 m), while hiking or skiing. Unfortunately the chronometer function does not accrue elevation properly because it gets "bumped" out of the tracking mode. I have also had issues with condensation inside the unit.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Simple and uncluttered functions
Clean, small and simple appearance
Easy to read display
Good altimeter function
Chronometer doesn't track elevation accurately
Display develops condensation inside
Altimeter could be easier to set
Read more reviews of Highgear gear
Read more gear reviews by Chris Barchet