Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Suunto Ambit (HR) - First impressions

I just bought the Suunto Ambit (HR) the other day, and thought I would share it with you guys.
I've had the watch for about 2 weeks now, so I haven't had a chance to test it out a lot, so I will write a more in-depth review later, after testing it out some more.

So far though, I have a few impressions I would like to share with you guys, but first, a few details about the watch..

The Suunto Ambit is Suunto's answer to a watch for the athletic outdoor explorer. It's really a watch meant for ultra-runners and the likes, but it can also be a watch for regular sports enthusiasts like myself.

The Suunto Ambit is a wristwatch with GPS, as well as:

  • 3D compass
  • Barometric altitude
  • Barometer
  • Temperature
  • Waypoint and route navigation with GPS
  • Point of Interest creation and storing in both watch and at movescount.com,
  • Location in multiple coordinate systems.


I bought the Black HR version, which means there was an ANT Heart Rate belt included in the package and already linked to the watch.

Contents of the package
Some of the advanced training functions listed on the product page are:

  • Highly responsive pace and speed (Fusedspeed™) with accelerometer integrated GPS
  • Accurate vertical speed with barometric altimeter
  • Advanced heart rate monitoring with Peak Training Effect and Recovery Time
  • Online sports diary with planning and analysis tools in Movescount.com
  • Compatible with Suunto Foot-, Bike-, Road bike-, and Cadence PODs
So, the watch is both a GPS device as well as a Heart Rate monitor, making it a perfect match for outdoor athletes and enthusiasts.

Suunto has managed to give such a powerful tool a enhanced battery lifetime, making it able to operate approx.
  • 50 hours in Outdoor mode, with a longer GPS tracking interval of 60 seconds, which is suitable for hiking, where you're moving at a slower pace (compared to running or cycling).
  • 15 hours in Training mode, with shorter GPS tracking intervals of 10 seconds, making it suitable for e.g. running.
  • 30 days in Watch mode, which include ABC functions (Alti-/Barometer, Compass)
It's water resistant for 100m / 328ft, though Suunto recommend you don't use it for diving nor push any of the buttons while submerged.

A watch like this doesn't come cheap though. Here in Denmark I found it at 3200 DKK online, in the USA it's $550, and in the UK it's £400 at Suunto's Online Store.

So, what are some of my first impressions of the watch?
Well, first of all, I find it really easy to use and navigate through the various modes and options. It might be because I'm slightly familiar with the system, having had a Suunto HR monitor before this one.

That being said, the temperature sensor is placed, so that to get a proper reading, you need to take off the watch and place it on the ground (or something similar), so the sensor doesn't take your own temperature into account. It is quite close while still wearing it though. On the first run I used the watch, the average temperature was 10.3°c, though it was really around 4-5°c.

You also need to recalibrate the barometric pressure or altitude before tracking your workout, if you're interested in a correct reading, because it sometimes changes altitude, if you're stationary for longer periods of time.

I really like how you can analyse your workout on the Movescount.com website, where you're able to compare two different data, like speed and altitude, or how long you worked out in various HR zones.

So, those were just a couple of first impressions I've had so far with the watch.
I'll post more, as I use it more, and later I'll post a more in-depth review of the watch, as I mentioned in the beginning of the post.

I would love to hear if you have any experiences with the watch, or if there is anything specific you'd like me to test out with it.

On a last note, The Suunto Ambit was chosen as the winner of Greatest Gear Awards 2012 at GearJunkie.com.