Well here is my review of the newly released Suunto Ambit2 S.
I have had the watch only for a couple of days so this is a quick first impression review. My previous running watch is a Garmin 310xt so this will be my comparison watch.
I will not go in detail on what the watch is capable of since this is a specialty watch and you should know the basics of what you are researching. Still you can find the detailed specs list here.
-My first impression of the Ambit is of how light the watch is. It feels very light on the hand and well built. The Ambit2 S is also much thinner that I thought, very similar to the Suunto Core plus the extra bit for the GPS receiver which does not get in the way at all.
-The screen is easy to read and clear. It displays a maximum of 3 different (lines) fields of data vs the 4 of the Garmin but to be honest I rarely used the 4 screens on the Garmin. 3 is enough in most cases. You can also get graph displays of elevation and heart rate.
-The buttons are easy to push and feel solid. The beeping sound could have been louder since the watch lacks vibration alerts compared to the Garmin which I found really helpful when running in noisy environments.
-The user interface is really straight forward and easy to navigate through the menus and options. I did not even need to read the manual, but I also have a Suunto Core which has very similar but simpler software and UI.
-Setting up the watch is really a breeze through the Movescount web interface. Just click the options that best suit you and the settings will be transferred to the watch on the next sync.
-Syncing is done via a cable and not wirelessly as it is done on the Garmin. I have had syncing trouble with the wireless transmitter/software on the Garmin so the USB solution is bullet-proof. In any case you still need a USB cable for the Garmin to charge the battery and a USB dongle for the Ant+ transmitter to sync. Too much Garmin!
-The GPS is amazingly fast to get a signal. Even the very first time it took only a couple of seconds, compared to the Garmin that sometimes it can even take a few minutes. Accuracy also is spot on.
-Battery life is 8h for the S model which is more that enough for my needs. My longest run has been 6h and I don’t believe I will go passed that in the near future. It’s 8h for 1sec recording and 15h for 60sec intervals. Battery life though was my only concern and drawback compared to the Garmin and the full featured Ambit2. It would be nice to be able to set the recording interval according to the sport you were doing when on multisport mode in order to get a bit more life out of the battery. I hope this will be added later on with a software update.
-Movescount.com which is used to analyse and record your moves (thats how Sunnto calls any activity) is well designed and modern looking but does not feature anything more that any other similar website. If you want analysis just use Rubitrack!
-Through movescount you can also easily upload training plans, routes and POIs. This something I used with the Garmin with mixed results. Will have to see Suuntos approach…
-Apps! everybody is into apps these days. You can load a variety of apps on the watch which calculate different things. For example the estimated marathon time, beers burned, blood alcohol levels and anything you can think of and design. There are a gazillion apps on movescount but most of them are clones of each other. I have only pick 2 or 3 that I currently use.
-The watch can be easily worn as an everyday watch and when running reading the display is really easy and comfortable. The watch sits nicely on the wrist and does what it should. Battery will drop about 4-5% per day in watch mode and about 10% per hour of running. So my guess is that depending on your “moves” the watch will have to be recharged at least once a week. Topping up the battery is a 3-4 hour process from almost empty.
-The Ambit is Ant+ compatible so I used my Garmin heart rate belt which is a bonus…
-I have had trouble with Suunto straps, and especially the little thingy that secures the end of the strap on the watch. They keep breaking Suunto! The Ambit has two to start with and hopefully they will last.
Have not done any cycling yet or swimming but I plan to use it with both activities.
All in all the Ambit2 S is a modern feature rich athletes watch that does not have to be bulky and ugly. It looks good and can be worn as an everyday watch. I’m sure Suunto will keep upgrading the software which is its main competitive advantage and keeps the watch up to date.
On the plus side:
– compact size
– excellent GPS signal.
– features and software which can be upgraded.
– swim tracking and custom sports to not just running and cycling.
– really looking forward to follow some training plans which can be uploaded
– can make your own apps (not sure how easy it is or not)
On the negative side:
– a major setback for me is the lack of an interval training feature. Hopefully it will be added later with a software update.
– battery life which might only be a phycological thing…
– lack of vibration alert.
– most of the apps are junk
– sites like run-keeper and dailymile do not have an automatic sync/import like they do for garmin
Looking forward to setting up the watch for swimming. Sunnto claims that the Ambit will recognise my swimming style and record it accordingly….I don’t even know what my style is?!
* After using the apps for a bit I have decided to delete them since the info they offered was either useless at the time or not sure if they were accurate.
Also some need the heart rate strap to be worn which I do not use very often.
The only good app is one that estimates your marathon time. The simple apps will extend your pace for the remaining distance and estimate your final time. Which again is not good enough for me. There is one that will take into consideration fatigue after 30k and slow crowded first kilometres amongst other.
** The Ambit is all good so the garmin is up for sale.
Its over a month now and the first scratches have appeared or the red aluminum ring. Hair thin but it’s a first sign of wear and tear.