Suunto Ambit3 Vertical

The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical is the newest watch in the Ambit series. There are 3 other watches in the series and it places just between the Suunto Ambit3 Peak and the Suunto Ambit3 Sport. One of the best improvements is face of the watch with the low-profile GPS. Other new features are the display of real-time altitude profile, route tracking, and vibration alerts. The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical does much of what the other watches in the series do but it has newer hardware and some more features that make it a prime watch for athletes that are all about the vertical- hence the name.

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Pros & Cons
  • Tracks elevation gain and displays it in real-time
  • Multisport features
  • Durable and comfortable
  • Movescount app with Suunto Movies
  • Water resistant (up to 100m)
  • Cons
    • Price
    • Complex menus
    • Battery life
    • Key Features
      The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical is a multisport watch. You can choose from 10 different activities on the menu ranging from running, cycling, swimming and triathlon, to hiking, surfing, and stand-up paddle boarding. If your activity is not listed, you can adjust settings on the Movescount app or website and even create your own activity if it isn’t an option. It has open water swimming capabilities. You can record track workouts, timed intervals, or sustained tempo runs. The activity summary is displayed with lap details. Though it does not record daily steps, the watch displays daily activity.
      Basic Features
      The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical records pace, distance, and time for running, swimming, and biking. It displays your average pace or speed in real time. When paired with the heart-rate sensor it also records heart rate-even for swimming! It also records stroke count, stroke efficiency (SWOLF) and laps for swimming. Other features are average stride length and a recovery estimator. You can view lap comparisons by kilometers, or miles. The Suunto Ambit3 doesn't leave any metrics out when it comes to basics.
      Advanced Features
      The advanced features of the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical seem unlimited because of the possibilities with the different software available for Suunto devices. You can do anything from record number of waves caught when surfing to download the route data for the marathon you are doing next weekend. The ability to download route maps is very useful for knowing what hills and mountains lie ahead and not getting lost. One feature that Sunnto added to this particular watch is vibration motor alarms and notifications. However, the vibration is actually quite weak. And you can only set one alarm at a time with no option to repeat. The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical has autopause, autolaps and an interval timer. It displays temperature and more with separate apps. You can customize up to 10 sports modes with 8 displays each. You can view detailed statistics and graphs such as the altitude graph which is based on the barometer and altimeter. You can view total ascent, descent and vertical speed on the watch. In addition to showing heart-rate in real time (with a heart-rate strap) it also shows calories burned.
      As opposed to what most people might think, the lower profile GPS does not compromise its accuracy. When the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical first came out there were some issues but Suunto addressed them with updates. The watch has proven to be extremely accurate compared to other GPS watches. Not only is the GPS accurate but so is elevation, heart rate, and pretty much all other metrics. The watch has 6 sensors that work together to provide the most accurate measurements. It has GPS, GLONASS compass, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, and an accelerometer. You can adjust settings of how frequent the GPS records making the distance more accurate but shortening the battery life.
      The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical uses Bluetooth to connect with other devices like your heart rate strap or phone. It is compatible with iPhones and Androids. It syncs to Movescount either with the USB charging cable or wirelessly with Bluetooth. However, this autosync feature has proven to be consistently inconsistent. The watch is supposed to sync after a workout is saved but it only does so a small percentage of the time. You can trigger autosync with Bluetooth but even that is unreliable. It is slow and drains battery when it does work. The failproof method is to just use the cable to sync it to your computer though that means you won’t always have your most recent activities to be viewed on the app on your phone. When your watch is connected to your phone, it can display phone notifications like calls or texts. It also connects to other accessories like cadence monitors or foot PODs.
      The app for Suunto devices is the Movescount app. It is necessary to download this app to use the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical. Arguably the coolest feature of the app is the ability to make Suunto movies about your activity. The app compiles your data from a run you did, for example, and overlays the statistics on a 3D movie of your route. It is so much fun to make the movies and share them on social media with your friends. The Movescount app shows GPS, heart rate, weather, altitude and much more. It even has if/then logic and can calculate your predicted marathon time. Another cool feature is that you can download training plans and upload them to your watch so that you stick to your workout. The app allows you so much freedom with how you use your watch. You can create your own metrics or even your own app with the app developer tool. That is probably unnecessary though as there are already tons of other Suunto apps on the Movescount website that you can search through depending on activity type and compatible devices. The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical is also compatible with 3rd party apps like Strava, MapMyFitness, and TrainingPeaks
      Finding a comfortable multisport watch is quite difficult. Most are heavy and clunky due to all the technology built into them. But the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical is actually comfortable to wear to the point that you don’t have to take it off when you are not exercising. (You wouldn't want to wear it to bed though but there is no reason to since it doesn't do sleep tracking.) It weighs 74g. The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical is more comfortable compared to the Suunto Ambit3 Peak because Suunto removed the extra external GPS sensor nub below the watch face making it fit more comfortably around the wrist.
      The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical is a good-looking watch. It has a sleek face and band that look like quality. It is up to your judgement if you think lime green is stylish but luckily you have 3 other colors to choose from if you’re not into being flashy. On a small wrist it might look slightly big. The watch itself is a little thicker than the other Ambit3 watches but it is hardly noticeable. It is much better than having the large GPS nub beneath the face like on previous models.
      When it comes to durability the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical takes the cake. It is designed for very adventurous people and can withstand almost anything. Water resistant up to 100m it is essentially waterproof so you don't have to every worry about water damage. The materials used to make the watch are high quality (as they should be for the price) and are unlikely to get damaged over time. There is a screen protector available for sale separately but it is not necessary and is more useful for reducing glare.
      The face of the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical is a perfect circle with dimensions: 50mm x 50mm x 15mm thick (or about 2” x 2” x 0.5”). It is made out of mineral crystal glass with a steel bevel surrounding it. The LED backlight is triggered by one of the buttons. Yes, it is not a touchscreen which can be annoying if you hate fiddling with buttons, but good if you can't stand unresponsive touchscreens. There are 3 buttons on the right of the face and 2 on the left. You can configure the screen on the Movescount app or website. The display is a simple monochrome display that you can invert if you wish. It is a matrix display with 128 x128 resolution. Nothing fancy at all but it gets the job done. The main screen shows time and date and can be configured to show either seconds, battery life, or notifications.
      The silicon band of the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical feels quite expensive on the wrist and it is very durable and comfortable. It is easy to put it on your wrist and remove. It has plenty of slots for adjusting size and keeping your wrist aerated. The thickness is just perfect for any wrist size - less than an inch wide. You can purchase the watch in 4 different band colors: black, white, blue, or lime green.
      Sizes Available
      The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical only comes in one size. But it has plenty of notches to adjust to any size wrist.
      Ease of Use
      One of the very few downsides of this incredible piece of technology is that it is not very easy to use. The menus are not intuitive and it takes a while to get used to navigating all the features. There are so many features that it is understandable that it is complicated to use, but Suunto could streamline the process. The 5 buttons complicate matters and a simple touchscreen might be a better solution. However, once you tinker with everything and reread the manual a few times, it is not impossible to use. On the upside, the monochrome screen is very clear and easy to read in all conditions.
      Power Source
      The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical is powered by a lithium ion battery. The watch comes with a USB charging clip. There is no need to remove any straps, it just clicks onto the watch face and plugs into an outlet or computer to charge. The battery life is 10h, 15h, 100h depending on if you are recording GPS every 1s, 5s, or 1 min. Without GPS it can last up to 2 weeks. The battery life is not terrible, but if you use the watch for long distance events like ultras or triathlons, and you want accurate GPS statistics, 10 hours is just not long enough. If you remember to charge your device or carry an extra power pack, it might not be a big deal to you. But compared to the Suunto Ambit3 Peak, the battery life is a weak point.
      The price of the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical is probably the lowest selling point. It is an expensive watch. But not for nothing. You are paying not just for a quality product with the latest technology but also for a system to support it. Compared to other multisport GPS watches in the same price range, it offers more versatility in terms of customization and connectivity.
      The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical can actually be purchased with the Suunto Smart Heart Rate Sensor included at an increased price. Or you can purchase the strap separately as it comes in fun colors. You can also separately purchase different colored silicone straps. Other accessories include a bike sensor to measure speed, distance, and cadence with Bluetooth. It is also compatible with a Foot POD that can be used to record running cadence.
      Key Features
      • Elevation tracking
      • Real-time altitude and heart rate (with strap)
      • Connects to the Movescount App
      • Multisport features
      • Customizable features
      • 6 different sensors
      Bottom Line
      The Suunto Ambit3 Peak is a great looking watch that you will not regret buying. It is only a matter of whether you need all of the functions that it offers and are willing to learn how to use them to your maximum advantage. If you are an ultra runner or trail runner on the fence about buying the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical, consider the fact that "Vertical" is in the name. If you do a lot of climbing, this watch is probably a no-brainer. The Suunto Ambit3 Peak might be a better option if you are looking for a more well-rounded piece of equipment. It might feel and look more clunky but the battery will last longer. Other than that, there are no major differences and the price difference is only $30.
      Where to Buy
      Backcountry Link
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      Holabird Sports Link
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      By Ella Eser
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Aug. 01. 2021

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