The GPS enabled Suunto watch boasts multi-sport capabilities. Users can track all of their swim, bike, and run training. The Ambit3 is an excellent choice for triathletes
, but even those without eyes for triathlons found the watch to be an incredibly useful training tool.
The Suunto Ambit3 offers up the standard features you’d expect out of a sports watch. It comes as no surprise that the watch displays the time and date. For workouts, the watch shows speed, pace, and distance, too.
A single alarm can be used as an alarm clock. The watch can also be used as a stopwatch or countdown timer. An LED backlight lights the way when things get dark. For running, users can expect the following data field options: pace, real-time and average pace, and cadence (with footpod). Cyclists will get real-time and average speed, and the watch is also bike sensor compatible and can display power data. For a swim workout, the following information can be displayed: pace, distance, and SWOLF. The watch can be used for indoor or open water swim workouts.
The watch also has a built-in activity tracker, but it’s really limited. Unlike most other activity tracking enabled watches on the market, the Suunto3 tracks movement but bizarrely not steps. It’s a strange omission, but movement data is used by the watch to calculate and provide users with recovery time data.
The Suunto watch can be purchased with or without a heart rate strap. With the strap, users can collect heart rate
data during their workouts. The new Ambit is also capable of picking up heart rate on a swim, though live heart rate data is not viewable during swim workouts.
The watch also features an altimeter, barometer, and thermometer. In addition, the Suunto Sport includes navigational features in case you get lost on your run, bike, or swim. Route navigation and a compass with tilt compensation can help you find your way back home. In the Suunto app, users can create custom interval workouts to use with the watch.
The multi-sport enabled device allows users to change sports during a workout. This is an essential feature for triathletes.
One glaring omission is that of an auto-lap feature. Reviewers also complained that the watch didn’t provide a virtual
racer feature and they didn’t appreciate the lack of vibration alerts. Thankfully, users can get phone notifications with Ambit3. Thanks to the new Bluetooth Smart connectivity, users can get texts and call alerts right on their wrist.
Reviewers found the watch to be very accurate, though a few were skeptical about its GPS accuracy. Reviewers also mentioned that the Ambit3 was not super accurate when it came to swimming heart rate (with chest strap). Users found it to be hard to secure the strap for swimming workouts properly. Resulting data almost always seemed wonky or off somehow.
For indoor running, the watch gets cadence data from the wrist. Along with the accelerometer, the watch calculates a movement estimate according to your GPS data. Reviewers agreed that the accelerometer worked quite well. The thing is, for activity tracking, accuracy is tough to assess. Without a real step count number, how can users know if they’re getting reliable data? Once again, we have to mention the weakness of the Ambit3’s daily fitness
tracking. It seems like a half-hearted attempt at 24/7 monitoring.
The Ambit drops ANT+ compatibility and replaces it instead with Bluetooth Smart. Bluetooth is used to connect to the optional chest strap for heart rate. It’s also used to connect to the compatible phone application. Unlike its predecessor, the Ambit3 can automatically upload and sync data.
The watch works in conjunction with Suunto’s Movescount app. Users can utilize the app for workout planning and tracking, can create custom workouts and visualize heat maps to see where others are training. The app also includes training programs and can be used to upload and share workouts with friends and family. Users can also customize fields via the app. The Movescount app is also compatible with Strava and Training Peaks. In the app, users can take photos during a workout and have them automatically stamped with information such as distance and pace. The app and watch are compatible with iOS and Android devices. Like Garmin
, Suunto has a database similar to ConnectIQ, called SuuntoApps where users can download apps to download directly onto their sports watch.
Reviewers were surprised at how lightweight the Suunto watch felt. Many reviewers noted that they loved the soft, flexible band. The watch itself is easy to wear, but those that opted to get the chest strap found it uncomfortable and unreliable for underwater use because it tended to move out of place. Otherwise, the heart rate strap fits comfortably and features soft, gentle non-chafing material.
The Ambit is available in a variety of colors including bright blue, black, coral, and white. The simple, colorful styles go well with Suunto’s sporty looking GPS watch.
The Suunto sports watch is water resistant (50M rating). Users reported that the screen was reasonably tough, but the strap felt lower in quality and was prone to snapping and breaking, which isn’t ideal for those who spend lots of time doing open water swims. Quite a few users mentioned that the strap did not secure very well and that it was easy to lose the watch. Despite this issue, reviewers were impressed with the Ambit’s build quality. The watch is also available in a Sapphire glass option that provides added durability. The Sapphire version, however, is more expensive.
The round Suunto Ambit‘s mineral crystal display measures 50mm wide. The watch can also be purchased with an extra durable Sapphire glass. Some reviewers did point out that despite the sturdy screen, the font used on the watch is a bit of a disappointment. The pixelated characters look old school and aren’t exactly classy.
Reviewers did like, though, that the screen was easily visible under water. The watch features a large display compared to other multi-sport models from other brands, but its generous size doesn’t feel bulky on the wrist. A single display page on the Ambit3 shows up to three pieces of data, which users appreciated.
One of the most significant drawbacks of the Suunto Ambit3 is its poor quality strap. The silicone material is nice and soft but easily unclasps. Users reported many close calls where they almost lost the watch to the bottom of the ocean
The 50 mm wide Suunto watch features a fairly large display and has an overall weight of about 80 grams. Reviewers noted that while the watch and its display was definitely big, it didn’t feel cumbersome when worn. Compared to the previous Ambit, the watch is just about the same size.
Ease of Use
Unlike some other multisport watches, the Ambit3 is easy to set up according to an athlete’s exact needs. The very customizable GPS watch is also quick to acquire satellites. Navigating the various menus and watch setup are also effortless thanks to an intuitive onboard software system. One complaint that users had about the watch was that its buttons jut out a little too much and are easy to push accidentally. It’s not a dealbreaker, though.
The rechargeable Suunto watch can be charged via USB cable and can go for up to 15 hours with 5 second accuracy GPS tracking. There’s also a 60 seconds tracking option that affords users with a nifty 100-hour battery lifespan. With GPS turned off? The watch can last up to 14 days on a single charge. Reviewers were impressed with the Suunto’s battery life and liked having the option to choose between 5 and 60-second tracking.
Here’s the thing, the Suunto Ambit3 is pricey. You can save yourself some money by not getting the heart rate strap, but even still it’s an expensive piece of fitness equipment
. There’s a reason for its high price tag. It’s incredibly feature-rich. Compared to other multi-sport watches, the Suunto Ambit3 offers a nice set of functions. The only little caveat? The watch is really easy to lose thanks to its crappy band, and it doesn’t have built-in heart rate monitoring like some other fitness watch models. It also lacks decent daily fitness tracking. Still, it's a GPS multisport option that’s worth considering.
The Suunto watch can be purchased with or without a heart rate strap. The HR strap is quite slim and can record your heart rate during swim workouts. A notable difference from the previous Ambit.
The device is also compatible with Suunto’s bike sensor and delivers information on cadence, speed
, and distance thanks to the watch’s new Bluetooth Smart connectivity. Users can also hook up a Foot Pod via Bluetooth for details on running pace and distance in indoor environments.
- Water resistant up to 50M
- Monitors heart rate (including during swim) *with heart rate strap
- Multi-sport function (swim, bike, run)
- iOS & Android compatible
- Phone notifications
- Bluetooth Smart
- Works with MovesCount app
- GPS tracking
- Built-in compass
- Built-in altimeter
- USB charging
- Rechargeable battery (14-day max battery life without GPS, between 8 hours and 100 hour GPS depending on data tracking interval selected)
While the Suunto Ambit3 Sport likely isn’t the best multi-sport watch available, it’s definitely a marked improvement over the Ambit2. The addition of Bluetooth Smart technology allows for better wireless uploads and syncing, which on its own offers an incredible degree of convenience. Multi-sport functionality makes the watch a good choice for triathletes, but each of the individual sports profiles works well on their own. The newly added swim heart rate feature is a nice bonus for those who swim as part of their workouts or triathlon
training and, except for the strap’s tendency to wiggle around underwater, the chest strap is very accurate. The watch has a great battery life and navigation is intuitive and straightforward. Triathletes will likely find the Suunto a useful training tool.