Suunto Ambit 3 Sport review
Review on Suunto Ambit3 Sport
The Suunto Ambit 3 Sport is designed to track several sports including cycling, running and even swimming. In addition, it can be paired with a heart rate sensor that records data during workouts on both land and water. Suunto – one of the leading names in dive computer design is famed for their high quality products and the Ambit3 Sport is no different.
This latest addition to their lineup boasts a robust build, is GPS enables and is waterproof to immense depths. If you’re new to the Suunto brand of fitness watches, then the Ambit 3 is a multisport, adventure wrist based watch, and if you already own one of the other Suunto fitness watches, the Ambit3 is an upgrade to the much successful Ambit2.
Highlights of the Suunto Ambit3
- Smartphone connectivity
- Tracks heart rate while swimming
- GPS activity tracking
- Access to more features via Suunto apps
- Increased memory compared to its predecessor
- Waterproof design
Suunto Ambit3 Design
The one thing you can’t help but notice is the size of the Ambit3 on your wrist, weighing in at 80 grams and measuring 15,5mm across the board. Appointed with a monochrome dot matrix display, the Ambit3 delivers a plethora of data without diminishing too much battery life. Speaking of battery power, the Ambit3 is good for 14 days of genera use when fully charged or 15 hours when 5 second GPS interval use.
The display tone can also be switched from white on black to black on white depending on the conditions, which proves to be quite handy.
The face of the Ambit3 is appointed with 5 polished stainless steel buttons namely next, start/stop, view and back/lap, light/lock. Moving to the back of the Ambit3, it features four small recessed metal dots that are designed to accommodate the proprietary USB charging cable.
This type of connection also means that you won’t be able to charge watch with a standard USB cable so you will have to carry the included ones for long endeavors. The screen of the Ambit3 measures 29 mm in diameter and is a circular 128×128 affair. Unlike some fitness watches in its segment, the display of the Ambit3 is highly intuitive and is bright enough to be read in bright sunlight.
Features at a Glance
Apart from the Sport version reviewed here, the Ambit3 can also be ordered in two other versions namely the Ambit3 Run, which lacks support for swimming, heart rate and cycling and the Ambit3 Peak – the top of the line model doubles water resistance and battery life and brings in an air pressure sensor for better altimeter, barometer ad temperature.
The Ambit3 Sport slots in nicely between the other two versions, and offers 24.7 activity tracking, heart rate and other sensor support, and multi-sport GPS. You receive an overall rating i.e. moderate or vigorous, a chart displaying your activity levels and calorie count. What the Ambit3 won’t do is track your sleep, which in some ways isn’t such a bad thing considering you have one less noisy device to sleep with every night.
Getting started with the Ambit3 is just a matter of hitting the Start button and choosing your exercise from the list. The type of exercise you choose will determine the accuracy of the GPS sampling rate, how laps are set up and whether the GPS and heart rate are enabled at all. The Ambit3 allows you to create and store a maximum of 10 sports at any given time and also the ability to configure the data displayed during an activity.
Running with the Ambit3
To start with the easiest sport for tracking purposes that is, you first begin by pressing the right Start/Stop button and scroll through the various choices and pick an activity. The sports list here are populated by Movescount online, and by default you’ll see the common ones, but as mentioned before you can add new ones for a maximum of 10 sports in total at any given time.
After selecting your desired sport, the Ambit3 will go off and try to locate any paired sensors such as a heart rate strap, cycling sensors or running footpod. Next, the watch will trigger the GPS searching to locate GPS satellites and once that’s done, you can begin your run. To begin with, you will have to start the timer, which will record your session for later access as well as display stats mid-run.
You can change the data pages mid-run by pressing the Next and View buttons and you can even pause the session by pressing the Star/Stop button and resume just as easily. In addition, you can create laps at any time by gently pressing the lap button, which will mark intervals on the watch in order to achieve your goals. With a recent update, the Ambit3 now delivers cadence now on your wrist and in all honesty, it’s quite accurate.
Apart from cadence data, the Ambit3 also offers pace based detection, and does this by using data from your previous runs outdoors and then applying them indoors. You can go ahead and save your run once you’ve finished, and this data will be added to any other outstanding recovery time. You can then connect the Ambit3 via Bluetooth Smart with the Suunto Movescount app to upload your data online. Once uploaded, you will get a clear view of your activities on your dashboard.
You can then view data pertinent to a single activity by simply clicking on it and you can begin at the top with the summary information. But that’s not all, the Suunto Movescount app even displays a map of where you went and graphs with paces and other important sensor data. If you’ve configured laps and splits, you can check them out as well and even export data out of Movescount to a variety of file formats that are most common when sharing fitness related data.
Ambit3 Cycling Mode
The cycling mode of the Ambit3 is similar to running for the most part, so stuff such as pause, start and stop work the same. In terms of sensors, the Ambit3 supports four specific ones namely Speed/Cadence combo sensor, Power Meter, Cadence-only sensor and Speed-only sensor. These can all be paired by hovering to the settings menu. The watch allows you to save multiple sensors thanks to its support for three bike profiles namely speed, cadence and meter support.
Swimming with the Ambit3
This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons that sets the Ambit3 apart from its competition. It is the first triathlon watch to record heart rate data while underwater combined with actual swim metrics. There are however other fitness watches that capture heart rate data while swimming, but none at the time of writing this review capture metrics or capture heart rate and not metrics.
The catch however is that in order to get swim metrics, you will have to wear the new Suunto heart rate strap owing to the fact that it is designed to store and synchronize the data during a swim. The strap works through Bluetooth Smart so it can’t transmit data through water so as an alternative it downloads the data when the watch is within close proximity of it or above water.
Pros of the Ambit3
- Ability to track heart rate and metrics while swimming
- Multi-sport and navigation features
Cons of the Ambit3
- a little pricey, but again first fitness watch to record metrics and heart rate while swimming
If you’re looking for a fitness watch that delivers all the goodies under one roof, the Ambit 3 is worth a second look. It even tracks your rate and records heart rate metrics during your swimming sessions, making it an all rounder especially for the avid swimmer. You may also consider the launched in January 2016 Suunto Ambit3 Vertical (link to Amazon.com).
[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B00M0NJAZ6, B01AGK1CUK, B00TSVSKEA, B00LVN3QAG”]