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Suunto X9i GPS watch with National Geographic TOPO!

Finnish sports precision equipment giant Suunto has unveiled a novel product which is a boon for sports and wildlife enthusiasts. Backcountry navigation will never be the same again. Until now, getting a GPS to work intelligently on your wrist has been pretty hard. However, it appears Suunto might have just figured things out. The X9i has a 3D compass and can track your location down to 3 feet. No on-screen map though.

It’s no bigger than a silver dollar. The wrist worn Suunto X9i is smaller, lighter and more convenient to carry and use than a conventional GPS device. Compatible with National Geographic TOPO! Software as well, and other digital mapping services worldwide, the Suunto X9i plugs into your home PC allowing backcountry enthusiasts to plan, download and analyze trips.

Available in black or tan, the Suunto X9i includes an altimeter, barometer, 3D compass, chronograph and comprehensive GPS unit accurate to three feet. After downloading waypoints and routes from TOPO! software, the Suunto X9i displays direction and remaining distance to waypoints, current speed, distance traveled and estimated time of arrival. It creates a new category of GPS units for on-the-go explorers by combining the world’s smallest GPS wristwatch computer with the industry’s leading topographic software.

The wristwatch also records waypoints and routes for uploading to TOPO! software, allowing users to log and analyze completed trips as well as store and organize an unlimited number of waypoints. Keeping hassle to a minimum, a USB cable serves double-duty as both data link and battery charger. It retails for $499.

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