Suunto Ambit3 Run

While running in your town or city is always a satisfying experience, sometimes this routine can get a little stale. So breaking out to the country to run the trails and take in the great outdoors is a great way to push your running abilities to the max. But when out on the trail and in nature, it’s easy to get lost, especially after a few miles away off the beaten path. However, Suunto’s Ambit3 Run is an activity tracker that seems optimized for trail running. Although a dynamic multi-sports watch in its own right, trail runners in particular will appreciate its solid GPS and the ability to use the recorded data to backtrack during a run.

Besides its great feature as an off-road running watch, the Ambit3 Run is a minimalist tracker, preferring comfort and straightforward use over the “bells and whistles” of many other wearables on the market. However, this stripped-down approach and its minimalistic monochrome interface shouldn’t suggest that it’s limited in any capacity: recording a run, the Ambit3 Run records pace, distance, ascent and descent distance, estimated cadence, altitude, time of day, and even heart rate (if used with its heart rate strap). Besides this, apps downloaded through Movescount can be used in conjunction with the Ambit3 Run, along with pairing via Bluetooth to both Android and iPhones. While the readout on the Ambit3 is simple in itself, when your stats and metrics are paired with any number of apps, a wide range of options, visualizations, and stats become available.  

Runners are also able to download running routes from the Movescount app, which both city and (especially) country runners will appreciate, and the Ambit3 will also notify you if you are off-route. Solidly designed, waterproof, and easy to configure, the Suunto Ambit3 Run is a serious running watch for serious runners.   

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Where to Buy
Backcountry Link
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Where to Buy
Backcountry Link
See Deal
Pros & Cons
  • Minimalist, straightforward design that’s easy-to-use

  • Highly accurate measurements of activities

  • Excellent GPS with useful backtracking function for trail runners

  • Works with powerful Movescount app

  • Separate heart monitor strap records heart rate accurately

    • Slightly higher price than many comparable activity trackers
    • Not particularly fashionable
    • Key Features
      Besides running, the Ambit3 Run can also be used to record swimming and cycling performance. Its excellent GPS system is highly accurate, while a separate heart rate monitor strap will record and measure heart rate.
      Basic Features
      On a run, the Ambit3 Run measures and records distance, pace, ascent and descent distance, altitude, estimated cadence from wrist movement, and--if the runner uses the Ambit3 Run’s heart rate strap--heart rate. In addition, the back lap button will create laps manually, and the average pace of the lap is also recorded.
      Advanced Features
      Perhaps the best advanced feature of the Ambit3 Run is its GPS capabilities. Its navigation feature will guide the runner down a downloaded route from the Movescount app and will notify them when they are off-course. But its best feature, particularly for trail runners, is the ability to backtrack their route using the GPS data recorded during the run. Points of interest (POI) are also automatically recorded every mile so that when the backtrack feature is used, an alert will sound when the runner reaches these landmarks. The Ambit3 Run’s ability to work in conjunction with a number of apps by syncing it with your smartphone also opens the Ambit3 Run’s abilities.
      The Suunto Ambit3 Run is a remarkably accurate activity tracker. It’s GPS has a 5-second accuracy, while the distance is measured within .01 miles off from actual mile markers every 5 miles. Its heart rate strap measures within 2 bpm of actual heart rate. However, its vertical gain measurements tend to be quite a bit off. But when measuring pace, distance, cadence, and other basic running metrics, the Ambit3 Run offers a great amount of accuracy.
      The Ambit3 Run connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, through which it uploads data to the Movescount app. Through this site, a number of apps are available, which can be used in conjunction with the Ambit3 Run. However, these are simplified “scripts” that run on the watch to record data; the script then uploads the data to the Movescount app, which provide a more thorough readout of the data. In addition, the GPS acquires a signal very quickly and provides the runner with a high amount of accuracy. It can also be connected to the computer directly via USB cable for data transfer.
      Through the Movescount app, the Ambit3 Run works in conjunction with a number of running and exercise apps, including Strava, Preva, and Training Peaks. However, it only runs a simplified script on the watch itself with a simplified readout for the user. But when the data is then synced and uploaded to the runner’s smartphone, a much wider range of options and metrics are available. While some users may find this an extra step too many, it’s important to note that the Ambit3 Run will provide runners with real-time readouts through these apps--they just won’t provide on the watch itself the more complex readouts these apps will provide.
      While a somewhat chunky wearable, the Ambit3 Run is still a very comfortable activity tracker to wear. Although not a watch you would wear for casual purposes, it is also a highly durable activity tracker meant to take some hits and still keep working. With a thick wrist guard that keeps the Ambit3 Run protected, it’s also not particularly heavy as much as big. Its adjustable strap will accommodate any sized wrist and sits on your wrist naturally and stays comfortable even on a long run.
      The Ambit3 Run is a minimalist activity tracker that eschews the flashier elements of many sports watches like the Apple Watch, instead preferring function over form. And this design choice is for the better: its monochrome display is easy-to-read and easy to navigate, as five chunky analog buttons are used to switch through the menu. As for the rest of the watch is equally straightforward: with a chunky bezel and a broad strap, it lets everyone know that this is an activity watch with a serious purpose. While it won’t win many points for fashion, the Ambit3 Run would rather be a sturdy piece of equipment rather than being a fragile piece of touchscreen technology. Coming in black, white, and lime green, this activity tracker lets people know that it is here for serious business, not to make a fashion statement.
      One thing the Ambit3 Run has for it is its incredible durability: its thick plastic bezel, durable strap, sturdy mineral crystal glass for its face, and waterproof, the Ambit3 Run is an activity tracker that will stand up to major jostles and jolts and still keep functioning.
      The face of the Ambit3 Run is another one of its great highlights: although monochrome, it’s also relatively huge for a wearable. At 50mm, the Ambit3 Run’s display is easy to read even when on a run, and the simple display provides all of the necessary information with no fuss, which speaks to the benefit of its minimalist design.
      With a generous band size, the band of the Ambit3 Run is made of thick and durable plastic. It will fit almost any sized wrist no matter how small or thick and will remain steadily in place even on a long run. As with the other components of the Ambit3 Run, runners will appreciate just how sturdy its band is.
      The Suunto Ambit3 Run comes in only one size, and that size is rather large. Coming in at 5 x 4 x 4 inches and weighing in at 4.6 ounces/130 grams, the Ambit3 Run is definitely a sizable watch. Although many reviewers have noted that its weight isn’t a detriment and feels relatively lightweight on the wrist, its dimensions are noticeable and significantly larger than many other activity trackers.
      Ease of Use
      Something the Suunto Ambit3 Run strives for is being a straightforward activity tracker. Towards this, its simplistic menu on its monochrome screen provides the runner with easy-to-read stats while on a run. In addition, the user navigates through the menus with five analog buttons on its size, making the Ambit3 Run an exceedingly accessible sports watch to both use and navigate. Besides this, it allows the reader to configure their own preferences directly in the watch. By avoiding the multiple detailed features of a smartwatch, the Ambit3 Run is an exceedingly easy-to-use activity tracker. And although the watch only provides the user with somewhat minimal readouts, when the data is synced with the Movescount app, more detailed stats can be viewed.
      Power Sources
      Using the most convenient and versatile possible source for any activity tracker, the Ambit3 Run charges via USB cable. Coming with an adapter for standard outlets, the USB cable that comes with this sports watch can be charged via computer or any other USB outlet.
      The Ambit3 Run is a no-nonsense activity tracker that provides the runner with highly accurate measurements and with an equally accurate GPS. While its monochrome readout and analog menu may disappoint some, when synced with the Movescount app, its full potential is revealed. With this in mind, its price is somewhat higher than many similar watches, but for those looking for accuracy in their activity tracker over its ability to function as a smartwatch, this is one of the best on the market.
      There is a variety of colored replacement straps and replacement USB chargers available for the Ambit3 Run. A bike mount, foot pod, and comfort belt are also available.
      Key Features
      - Highly accurate sensors that records a variety of metrics
      - Excellent GPS that’s accurate within .01 mile every 5 miles
      - Simple, easy-to-use menu with a large monochrome display
      - Incredibly durable, waterproof, and with heavy-duty construction
      - Movescount app opens up multiple functionalities
      Bottom Line
      While there are many GPS-enabled activity trackers on the market, the Suunto Ambit3 Run edges out the competition by being both highly accurate and for its useful backtrack function, which trail runners and those who like to explore the great outdoors will find not just useful but potentially life-saving. Besides this, however, the Ambit3 Run is also a highly accurate activity tracker and comparable to some of the most high-end wearables on the market. Seamlessly providing necessary information without the distractions and complications many hybrid smart watch/activity trackers, instead stats are displayed on its easily readable display.
      Minimalist in both its design and usability, the Ambit3 Run is a serious running watch that’s comparable to Garmin and Polar models. While it has a monochrome display, this shouldn’t undercut its power as an activity tracker. Although a somewhat pricey activity tracker, its accuracy and easy-to-use nature makes it a worthwhile investment for serious runners. When synced with the Movescount app, its capabilities are truly revealed, as this opens up multiple options as the stats being recorded by the Ambit3 Run are translated across a variety of programs.
      While chunky and heavier than a lot of activity trackers, it’s waterproof, durable, and performs like few other activity trackers can. Although it’s a large sports watch that doesn’t have the most subtle design, its performance far outweighs its lack of fashionability. It’s a no-nonsense running watch, and that’s something the serious runner will appreciate more than anything. For a top-notch, easy-to-use wearable that provides highly accurate measurements, the Suunto Ambit3 Run is out to beat the competition--and on many counts succeeds.
      Where to Buy
      Backcountry Link
      See Deal
      By Mike Gray
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 29. 2021

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