A look at Suunto’s new Ambit2 R GPS


Please note: My Full Suunto2 R In-Depth Review is now available at this link. Enjoy!

This morning Suunto officially announced their latest GPS unit – the Suunto Ambit2 R.  This unit is targeted specifically at runners, and is essentially a paired down Suunto Ambit 2S – their new watch that was released about 9 months ago.

It does however, have a few unique features that haven’t yet been seen on the Ambit 2 or Ambit 2S – all of which will be made available on those units as well via a free firmware update.

I spent a bit of time with the unit during my trip to Suunto a few weeks ago, though I was not able to use it during any runs.  That’ll happen soon though, as a unit will be waiting for me when I get back home on Thursday.  So from there I’ll aim for a full in-depth review when the unit hits final firmware in March.  Again, this is not a review – it’s simply a look at what’s new/different.

With that, let’s dive into things a little bit.

An overview of key differences:


From a form factor standpoint, the Ambit2 R is exactly the same unit as the Ambit2 S.  Physically it weighs the same and shares the same outer shell and internal guts.  And just like the 2S, the white variant has a silicone strap that’s a bit more comfortable.  The white variant of both models is aimed at women.

As noted, the unit has been re-focused to the runner crowd, and thus the triathlon/multisport features have been removed.  In line with the de-scoping, some of the advanced navigation features have been removed as well.  In general, you can assume that most features that are in the Ambit2 S that are focused on running, are still there in the Ambit2 R.  I’ve gone ahead and called out the differences below.  For hiking/navigation features, the core difference is that navigation/compass is only available in exercise mode.  And finally, for cycling and swimming features – those have all been removed.

For example, within the pairing of devices you can still pair both ANT+ heart rate straps as well as ANT+ footpods (and Suunto-ANT variants of those too), but you won’t be able to pair cycling sensors (speed/cadence/power):


However, interestingly, you don’t necessarily need to use a footpod any longer if you just want cadence while running.  That information comes from the unit internally now – in line with what many other companies have introduced in recent months.  The watch uses the internal accelerometer to determine running cadence.  It does not at this time use the internal accelerometer to determine pace indoors though (such as on a treadmill).  But, given my findings across a number of other companies watches that attempt to determine pace indoors, they all kinda suck at it.  So no loss there in my opinion.

When it comes to navigation, the unit retained a portion of the navigational features found on the higher end Ambit 2 & 2S.  For example, you can still track back to your original starting location.  And in addition you can follow a track route that’s been downloaded to the unit from Movescount.  The unit retains the magnetic compass.


They key difference is that you can’t specify a lat/long coordinate (waypoint) like you would have been able to on the Ambit 2/2S.  On the 2R those waypoints need to be defined ahead of time – such as at the start of your run or online with Movescount.  Personally, I think that’s fair as most folks in this market won’t be randomly navigating to points off in the distance.  Also note that the 2R will only have navigation while in exercise mode, whereas with the 2/2S one could do it in non-exercise mode.

The navigation features are notable in light of their removal (or rather, non-addition) from Garmin’s newest high-end running watch (the FR620).  Thus making the 2R a pretty compelling offering for those who want that level of functionality at a significantly reduced price point ($250 vs $400).

When it comes to sport profiles – which are ways you can still create and customize display and sport settings for quick access on the Ambit2 R.  Just like before, you’ll create those profiles online using Movescount as always.  The key difference is that for a sport like cycling you won’t be able to setup/pair cycling-related sensors (but you can still pair a HR strap).


When it comes to wearing the unit as a day to day watch – that’s still in-scope.  It’ll hang out in watch mode for weeks (GPS disabled) and there’s no problems there from a size standpoint, as it’s quite normal.


Finally, it’s definitely worthwhile pointing out that battery-wise, with GPS enabled, the unit has three options:

8 Hours: GPS recorded at 1-second intervals
12 Hours: GPS recorded at 5-second intervals
25 Hours: GPS recorded at 60-second intervals

In general, for day to day running you’ll want to be in the 8-hour mode.  But if you’re doing a longer event, you’ll want to switch to the mid-range mode.  In general, I don’t recommend the 25-hour mode because the spacing between GPS points is so long that the data doesn’t tend to be terribly useful unless you’re walking.

New & Notable Features:


The Ambit2 R also brings with it a few new features.  These features will be pulled over into the other Ambit 2 & 2S units later in the spring (not quite at the same time as the 2R, just a tiny bit later).

First up is the ability to synchronize planned/scheduled workouts (Suunto calls these ‘planned moves’).  This means that you can create a workout online first (as you always could), schedule it (as you always could), but now you can actually send it to the watch to execute it (new for the Ambit).


This then includes the ability to offer pace or intensity guidance during the run – such as telling you to go faster or slow down.  Or, telling you to exert less effort (heart rate based).


Suunto was the first mainstream company to introduce the concept of apps to the sport watch.  This allowed anyone to create generally simple apps that ran on the watch and provided an extension of functionality.  This ranged from apps that predicted power on trainers to apps that determined how many cupcakes you could eat.

Since the release there’s been thousands of apps developed.  Which, has made them somewhat difficult to sort through and find.  In order to resolve that Suunto will be tweaking the App Zone design a bit to make apps more ‘findable’.  Effectively offering a Suunto ‘Recommended Apps’ section as the default landing zone – just like other app stores do.

Further, they’ll be releasing over 10 Suunto-made apps at the time of the Ambit2 R’s release, some of these are previewed below.  Again, these apps will be made available to existing Suunto Ambit 2/2S users as well.


For example, the Virtual Coach app will guide you through a workout using the new intensity guidance functionality.


And an orthostatic test app they’re releasing will allow you gauge your recovery state using heart rate variability.


All the Suunto apps (like other apps) will be ‘open-source’ in that they will be encouraging folks to re-use the apps and build upon them in their own custom apps.

In addition to these apps, Suunto will be expanding the app API pieces as well in the upcoming release.  More details on that as they get closer.

Finally, there’s a few other smaller but ‘nice touch’ features in the 2R:

– Automatic foot pod calibration from GPS while running.  Now you don’t have to manually calibrate it – it’ll simply do it anytime you’re out running from GPS.

– Watch history/summary will now display lap information

– Within log summary, you’ll get the fastest kilometer and mile that you’ve completed (think PR’s)

– New compass calibration procedure designed to simplify things a bit

With that, that covers all the new stuff.


Product Comparison Charts:

I’ve added the Ambit2 R to the Product Comparison Tool, which means you can mix and match it against any other watch/unit that I’ve ever reviewed for feature comparisons.  Note that there are some features that are on the Ambit2 R at launch that will be added to the Ambit 2/2S down the road.  So in general, if it says ‘Yes’ within the Ambit2 R table, but no in the Ambit 2/2S, it’ll be there eventually in the 2/2S.  But I didn’t want to set them as ‘yes’ now, because then folks buying the device between now and April/May might think the unit has that functionality.

For now, I just added the Ambit 2/2S/2R into the tables.  However, you can easily make your own change with any device you want here at this link.

Function/FeatureSuunto Ambit2Suunto Ambit2 SSuunto Ambit2 R
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 15th, 2015 @ 11:37 am New Window
Product Announcement DateAPR 29, 2013APR 29, 2013JAN 28, 2014
Actual Availability/Shipping DateMay 2013May 2013MAR 2014
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYes
Data TransferUSBUSBUSB
WaterproofingYes - 100mYes - 50mYes - 50m
Battery Life (GPS)50 hours25 hours25 hours
Recording IntervalVariableVariableVariable
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceYesYesYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoNoNo
ConnectivitySuunto Ambit2Suunto Ambit2 SSuunto Ambit2 R
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingNoNoNo
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoNoNo
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNoNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNo
CyclingSuunto Ambit2Suunto Ambit2 SSuunto Ambit2 R
Designed for cyclingYesYesNo (but can show speed)
Power Meter CapableYesYesN/A
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesYesN/A
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFNoNoN/A
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesNo
RunningSuunto Ambit2Suunto Ambit2 SSuunto Ambit2 R
Designed for runningYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)Yes (internal accelerometer)Yes (internal accelerometer)Yes (internal accelerometer)
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNo
VO2Max EstimationYesYesYes
Race PredictorNoNoNo
Recovery AdvisorYesYesYes
Run/Walk ModeNoNoNo
SwimmingSuunto Ambit2Suunto Ambit2 SSuunto Ambit2 R
Designed for swimmingYesYesNo
Openwater swimming modeYesYesN/A
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingYesYesN/A
Record HR underwaterNoNoN/A
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYesN/A
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYesN/A
Indoor Drill ModeYesYesN/A
Indoor auto-pause featureNoNoN/A
Change pool sizeYesYesN/A
Indoor Min/Max Pool Lengths15m/y to 1,200m/y15m/y to 1,200m/yN/A
Ability to customize data fieldsYesYesN/A
Captures per length data - indoorsYesYesN/A
Indoor AlertsNoNoN/A
TriathlonSuunto Ambit2Suunto Ambit2 SSuunto Ambit2 R
Designed for triathlonYesYesNo
Multisport modeYesYesN/A
WorkoutsSuunto Ambit2Suunto Ambit2 SSuunto Ambit2 R
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoNoSorta (via Suunto Apps)
On-unit interval FeatureBarelyBarelyBarely
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoNoYes
FunctionsSuunto Ambit2Suunto Ambit2 SSuunto Ambit2 R
Auto Start/StopYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureNoNoSorta (specify intensity)
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoNoNo
NavigateSuunto Ambit2Suunto Ambit2 SSuunto Ambit2 R
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesYesYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYesYesYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNo
Back to startYes (added Aug 30, 2013)Yes (added Aug 30, 2013)Yes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoNo
SensorsSuunto Ambit2Suunto Ambit2 SSuunto Ambit2 R
Altimeter TypeBarometric, GPS (FusedAlti)GPSGPS
Compass TypeMagneticMagneticMagnetic
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesNo
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableYesYesNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)YesNoNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNo
SoftwareSuunto Ambit2Suunto Ambit2 SSuunto Ambit2 R
PC ApplicationMoveslink AgentMoveslink AgentMoveslink Agent
Web ApplicationMovescountMovescountMovescount
Phone AppSuunto MovescountMovescountMovescount (does not connect from watch to phone)
Ability to Export SettingsYes (online)Yes (online)Yes (online)
PurchaseSuunto Ambit2Suunto Ambit2 SSuunto Ambit2 R
DCRainmakerSuunto Ambit2Suunto Ambit2 SSuunto Ambit2 R
Review LinkLinkLinkLink

Again, remember you can easily make your own change with any device you want here at this link.

My Initial Thoughts:


In general I like what Suunto has done here with the mid-range running-specific unit.  It offers more customization and flexibility than other competitive units.  For example, the ability to create multiple sport profiles with different settings isn’t really found on competitive units in that price range.  The same goes for the navigation functionality – which also isn’t found on other units in that price range (or even many at a higher price range), Suunto has a distinct advantage there.

On the flip side, the lack of Bluetooth connectivity to the phone will be seen as a significant drawback for some.  Whether it’s uploading completed workouts via your phone (such as on the Garmin FR220, Adidas Smart Run GPS, and upcoming as previously announced on the TomTom units), or live tracking capabilities.  The Ambit2 R simply doesn’t have a Bluetooth chipset within it, and thus won’t be capable of having such functionality.

Thus, the price point may be a tiny bit high given there tends to be more mainstream interest in smartphone integration than navigation.  Still, for those looking for some of those navigation features but don’t need the full set of swimming and cycling components found in Suunto’s higher end Ambit 2/2S units, then the 2R represents a great deal, coming in at a heck of  a lot less than either the Ambit 2/2S or the Garmin Fenix/Tactix.

The addition of the new training calendar and scheduled workout type functionality pushing to the unit will really help to close the gap to other units as well – and I’m really looking forward to diving into that more with my test unit.  Keep in mind that functionality will be added to existing Ambit 2/2S units later this spring.

With that – I’ll next loop back when I get my full in-depth review published sometime in March upon product release.  I’ll be adding in the Suunto Ambit2 R here shortly into the product comparison database/tool as well – hopefully within a day or so.  Allowing you to get a bit more crisp picture of the functionality between the three Suunto Ambit 2 units (2/2S/2R).

Thanks for reading!


  1. why the white one is aimed for women? The black one sucks big time. I just cannot understand why these companies continue to produce gadgets that look so ugly. We need colors: Ferrari red, cobolt blue, pearl white, lime etc. Who buys a black cell phone in 2014? Runners cannot be so different from other people.

    • Marc

      I fully agree! I don’t like the black one either. I would have no problem wearing the white version….
      But indeed some nice colors would be very fine :)

    • Joe

      I personally like being able to wear my GPS watch to work and then workout with it after. I need something classy enough to be considered dressy, but functional enough for working out. I used to get all crazy colored watches, now I only want them in black.

    • GPS watch is not classy because it has a digital display. One just needs a Swiss analog watch. However, both the Finnish Prime Minister and the Secretary of Foreign Trade of Finland are using Suunto Ambit 2 to work but it looks ridiculous. Having a huge GPS watch in your wrist when you are wearing a suit is not ok. It is not a big deal to put the GPS watch to your gym bag in the morning and change the watch in the locker room even when you plan to run on a treadmill or on an indoor track. Therefore the GPS watch does not have to look like a Ford Model T ;)

    • Marc

      Exactly, nothing beats a nice analog watch :) I wear a analog watch daily.
      I would only wear this one during sports and then I like a nice color, instead of dull black :)

    • Hugo

      I sort of agree with you regarding the watch and with which kind of clothes you’re using.
      If you’re using a suit, it’s very difficult for this kind of watches to look nice. But, on the other hand, I also saw people with suits and wearing fitness bands!!!
      This kind of watches (Ambit2 for example), despite the size, I think they look nice with more casual clothes. I don’t see a problem with that. And wearing a Garmin 620, for example, if you’re using more sporty clothes.

    • Alex

      The Ambit 2S does come in different colors, but this watch is designed for adventurous activities and fashion is the last thing on my mind when I’m on mile 84 on a hundred mile trail race or rock climbing 4000 Meters up.

    • MarcM

      I have to disagree. Digital display is not anymore a problem. We are not talking ’80 Casios. An Ambit watch is a glaze grabber. Also it sends a powerful message ( as powerful as a Rolex, but in a different direction)
      Of course its very cultural. It may be different in America or Asia, but in Europe in big corporate companies, wearing an Ambit says who you are and you get a lot of respect.

      Any watch you wear talks about you.

  2. Mathijs

    Interested to know how accurate the cadence function will be on (outdoor) runs. I’m now using Runkeeper and iPhone 5s to determine this, which works pretty good for me. Can you eloborate on that?

    • It’ll be something I test. That said, on other units I’ve found that the internal cadence generally works very well. It can be impacted by things such as drinking from a water bottle or wiping sweat – but otherwise it’s solid.

  3. Hugo

    I was looking at the Garmin 620 and Suunto Ambit2 for the longest time and finally, 30 min ago, decided to buy the Garming. This because Suunto was lacking a lot of running options (time interval and so on).
    And now this.

    One thing I didn’t understand, does this watch has any of the running options of the Garmin 620?

  4. Greg

    Will the wrist cadence be accommodated in the 2S via the update or is this a feature specific to the 2R hardware?

  5. Alexandre Monteiro

    Still no vibration alert? this is a kill feature to those like me that usually listen to music or run at places with loud noises and cant be alerted via audible alert.

  6. Anton Møller Christensen

    No barometric hight? Then it is a no go for trail running – I’ll keep my Ambit 1 then!

  7. Matthias

    I really like my Ambit 2S but the lack of export functionality within Movescount (perhaps I should say lack of export functionality as .fit file format) is a major drawback for me.
    From what I read above this has not changed / will not change in the future.
    So if you are using TrainingPeaks or some other 3rd party software be aware of this major limitation.

  8. Ted

    Hi Ray,

    Interesting stuff here! As an Ambit 2 owner I’m very interested in the new firmware. Can you clarify the following:

    Ambit 2 will be able to get the cadence info from the watch now with the new firmware? It sounds like it will.

    You can now use the foot pod for cadence only and GPS for distance while running outdoors?

    Thanks for the preview! I chose Suunto in part because of their app model and the potential it offers. It’s nice to see that maturing and really good to hear they are working on improving their app “store” in Movescount.

  9. Mark V. McDonnell

    Only a runner would consider such a unit wearable on a daily basis, from a cosmetic standpoint. ;) A watch should *easily* fit underneath a barrel-cuffed dress shirt.

  10. Michael Heimes

    I can’t disagree with Baltsu more. I’m not clown. I don’t need to express myself with goofy, crazy bight colors. If anything, I feel like an idiot it flashy running gear when I’m in public after or before a run. Who buys black cell phones? Adults.

    As for the watch, I’m excited about everything but the lack of Bluetooth. I don’t even own a computer since mine died. I only use an ipad. Plus, if you’re traveling and want to upload runs, who wants to need a computer?

    As for comments about lack of barometer, from what I can tell from reviews here and elsewhere, it’s doesn’t add much accuracy. These watches and phones are all far from accurate elevation tracking.

    • Adam R

      My Ambit 2s is very accurate for altitude with its fusedAlti system. More accurate than my Garmin edge 510 overall, though somewhat lacking in fine gradation.

  11. Jeff

    I’m curious how different the tech is inside the watch vs. the 2/2S. I.e. could some hacker out there create a way for a 2S firmware update to be applied to the 2R and give you mostly the same functionality?

  12. Niclas Schönning

    As a former Polar user I think that Suunto needs to improve the intervall timer. And I really hope they did this now.

  13. Kevin

    The orthostatuc test doesn’t use heart rate variability, you can do the same thing with any heart rate monitor; no R-R intervals necessary.

  14. Asaf Elbaz

    It’s a smart move-
    selling the same product for less and reaching out for price sensitive customers. Still, it always seems strange to me when companies “cripple” their products by eliminating features. I would at least change the appearance, make it lighter/smaller/flatter etc….
    Technologically, I guess Suunto save the good stuff for April, right after they will launch 2R… Ambit 3 will surely have better connectivity features, vibration and hopefully- something that the competitores don’t have to distinguish themselves.

  15. morey000

    Thank you for announcing the upgrade to my Ambit2S. I want *all* of those new features!

  16. Great short take, as always. I purchased a 2S about 2 months ago, largely due to the very in-depth and insightful review here.

    I always thought that a correctable drawback was the foot pod implementation, with the cadence AND distance measured by the pod. I too am hopeful that this is rectified in the upcoming release, as I may break down and buy a foot pod at that point.

    I use my 2S for all sorts of sports, including swimming, cycling and alpine skiing, and really love the versatility. The 2R would make perfect sense for those that just need a running watch, depending on the price point.

  17. Dan

    Just to be clear is the new accelerometer based cadence detection going to be exported to 2/2s thus negating need for a foot pod? And is distance data now derived from gps? Because the previous firmware bypassing gps in favour of foot pod was very odd. With the enhanced training functionality this is making my garmin 910xt v Ambit 2 decision even harder!!!!

    • Yes, I’ve confirmed that the cadence via watch will be ported to the Ambit 2/2S.

    • Dan

      Sorry I did look back and notice you’d already replied to to a similar query! Sorry to time waste. Age old question with a new slant though it seems 910xt or Ambit 2 with future software? Really not much in it apart from wireless transmission and vibrolerts seems to me. D

    • morey000

      Yes. Accelerometer (as in, the one internal to the watch) based cadence will be available in the ensuing software upgrade.

    • Adam R

      Hi Ray,
      It is implied that the cadence and distance functions of the footpod are separated, but is it confirmed that you can CHOOSE whether to use the footpod or GPS for distance? That seems likely if you can calibrate the footpod from GPS, but not certain. It would still be easier if they just let you put in a footpod calibration factor like for bike pods.

  18. Hugo

    Will this watch (or the other Ambit2 watches) will have proper interval training?

  19. Jim

    You mention price points of $250 vs $400 in the write-up. Does that mean that the AMBIT2 R will ship at $250?

    • Correct, the Ambit2 R is priced at $250US without a HR strap, and $299 with a HR strap. The $400 price I was referring to were the higher end Ambit’s.

  20. frank d

    Was excited to see a new model released at suunto this morning and quickly ventured over hear to read your opinions.

    Great site & blog. I’ve been quietly reading up for the past couple weeks, trying to find out more about what’s good & bad in the market. Trying to look for something better than the regular activity meter. Fitbit Force turns out to be a disaster between the lack of waterproofing, inaccurate data, stupid strap that comes apart and wrist rash people get after 3-4weeks.

    So I’m considering something better and more versatile.

    Is it ever a maze with pros, cons and gotchas between:

    Partial day battery
    Single day logs
    Every day charging with active use, weekly charging, one year battery
    Rugged or prone to loss (stupid straps)
    Heart Rate compatible or not
    Waterproof, not waterproof
    wrist watch functionality or not
    Computer syncing only / app available
    Compatible with 3rd party apps or not … or via hoops (export import)
    Bluetooth or not
    Ant+ or not
    Proprietary – No data portability

    And then there’s cost. The cost of some devices seems extremely high given the very limited functionality they offer.

    Maybe in another year or two, with increased competition, some manufacturers will start offering a broader mix of products that tick several must have boxes. Like waterproofing.
    Straps that don’t come apart.
    Not being stuck in the 90s and requiring a PC with an internet connection.
    Wireless charging.

    Maybe you could do a poll among your readers where they could list their top 3 or top 5 must have features? Which they have not seen yet with their current device.

  21. KenZ

    Ray, you note:
    8 Hours: GPS recorded at 1-second intervals
    12 Hours: GPS recorded at 5-second intervals
    25 Hours: GPS recorded at 60-second intervals

    Can you confirm that the coming update to the Ambit 2/s will NOT place this restriction on those watches? The reason I’m about to spring for an Ambit 2 is the ability to get 50 hour runtime (with slow GPS updates). If they restrict that to 25 hours, the deal is definitely off!

    • No, it doesn’t apply to the full Ambit 2. That already had similar interval options, just with more juice. You’ll note that the Ambit 2R/2S GPS interval recording rates are pretty much the same…because the units are the same. ;)

  22. ekutter

    Too bad they weren’t able to cut the size a bit. I would have bought the Ambit 2/s in a heart beat if it came down anywhere near the weight/size of the Garmin 620. Feature wise, Suunto seems to align more with my interests and I suspect most longer distance trail runners. I could care less about BT and WIFI. But I want basic navigation and BP altimeter.

    So is this really just a new version of software or have they made any physical changes? Is there still a barometric pressure sensor in there, just disabled?

  23. Fred

    Im happy to hear the new features will be enabled for the existing 2 and 2S owners! I’m excited and delighted !

  24. Those interested in interval training on Ambit 2/2S check this:

    link to users.dsic.upv.es

    and go to the new Interval apps

    • Hugo

      I wasn’t able to test (I don’t own a Suunto) but it looks very nice. With some extra twicks you can make it even more flexible.
      Keep the good work.

    • Roberto

      Hugo, yes, right now there is a new flexible interval training. It is not published because i am still testing it, i hope that along this week it will appear in the web.

    • Peter

      Brilliant! I was wondering why Suunto wouldn’t be doing exactly this.

      Thank you!

    • Roberto

      Peter, jejeje i agree 100%

      I know this brand since long time ago and always they have done very strange things regarding to software, watches functionalities, etc… i do not know why, but i am pretty sure that if they would take care of this they will increase their sells… but who knows why they do what they do…

    • Simon

      There are more and more sites (www.mytrainingplan.eu or seckle.ch) where you can design interval training apps for the ambit however size of the apps remains a limit compared to garmin’s training complexity.

  25. Heikki


    1) Can I wear Garmin 110 and Suunto 2R at the same time, with one HR -strap, and get data from HR-strap to both watches.

    2) Is it possible to get all Garmin Activities ( fit files ) and import the to MovesCount

    3) Data from MovesCount to Garmin site

    4) The best sport site which supports both brands / activies.

  26. Andrew Johnstone

    Following your review on a number of devices I have ended up with a setup including Suunto Ambit 2s, Iphone with full Wahoo HR and Blue SC speed and cadence and a Wahoo RFLKT, I now have the Garmin Speed and Cadnece sensor too and wondered if you hade ever dual mounted the speed and cadence sensors and if so how?
    Love the blog and read it religiously.


    • It’s a little trickier to do with units like the Blue SC and GSC10 that have ‘arms’, because if you mount one upsidedown, it won’t be oriented the right way in most cases. I first though try doing that (one rightside up, one upside down, on stacked in the same ‘space). Then I’ll try putting a secondary set of magnets and put them next to each other.

      Ultimately, I just can’t wait until we see some dual ANT+/BLE sensors there. I suspect within a few months from what I hear.

  27. FrankRi79

    I have a Suunto Ambint 2S and a Garmin Edge 205. I use them for my activities.

    When I have an activity recorded with Ambit (run, backcountry ski, ecc.) I use Sport Track to import the xml saved on local drive from the watch to generate the TCX file. From TCX file I can import the activity into Garmin Connect and Strava.

    When I use the Garmin Edge 205 ( cycling) after upload the activity on Garmin Connect I can export the activity in TCX format file. From TCX file I can import the activity recorded with Edge into Movescount.

    Is not a simple procedure but work for my intent

    • Ted

      Maybe you already know this but if you can just export your move from Movescount as GPX and then upload that to Strava and Garmin, you could skip the Sport Track XML import that way, would save a bit of time unless the TCX format is giving your additional info you don’t get with GPX?

  28. Brad

    Rubitrack for the Mac and iOS have both been updated and will import Movescount directly from the data stored on the web, including batch download of all of your data on Movescount. rubiTrack for Mac will directly export .fit files for Garmin import. You can export a variety of file types. It is another step but you also have all data stored locally.

  29. i’ve read auto calibration for the footpod.

    I hop it will be the same for cadence / speed bike pod (for 2S / 2 / 1)

  30. FrankRi79

    For TED

    I know the possibility to export GPX from Movescount but in this way I loose the hartrate date when I upoload GPX File to Connect Garmin.

    Another features that I find useful to step through Sport Track and tcx conversion is the creation of splits in according to the “Splits” Tab definied into Sport Track. When I upload the Activity (run) into Garmin Connect or Strava the splits of activities is showed.

    This is usefull when you do an Interval training, in this case into Sport Track you can edit the Spilts created by Ambit in according to your desire

    • morey000

      yeah- I had the same problem. Exporting gpx from movescount and then importing it into garmin- you lose the HR. Must be something in the file setup. However, if you import into Strava- you don’t lose the HR. Then, export gpx from strava and into garmin, and the HR is there. I expect there are better tools for doing this, but since I upload to Strava anyway, this works with my morning procedure.

  31. Hi All-

    Just a heads up that I’ve added the Ambit2 R into the product comparison tool/tables, and also added the embedded chart into this post so you can quickly mix and match.

    Also, I’ve added the Clever Training links for the unit as well. The usual DCR 10% discount off your cart and free shipping applies here as well.


  32. Francesco

    Could be a silly question but.. does it work even like a normal stopwatch?I mean for track and field , without turning on gps and so on, only a stopwatch with cents precision for 200m, 300m, 400m

    • The 2R contains both a Stopwatch and Countdown timer option, located within the ‘Timers’ menu.

    • i do interval trainning on a track, using the ambit.
      yes, the gps is activated and recording distance but it’s easy to set a dedicated sport mode for tracks.

      see “piste” item here : link to mangeurdecailloux.com (sorry for french language;) )

      1st screen for basics data (time, distance, HT)
      2nd screen with lap duration and “previous lap duration” (display the duration of the last xxx meters :
      link to movescount.com

    • Francesco

      Cool, i gonna buy one of this, a must have for those who want to wear a clock with HR 24/7.
      Waterproof 50m, with stopwatch and countdown, with compass and definitely a good looking piece of equipment.

  33. CADOMC

    Hi all,

    I’m not sure about which one to buy….

    FR220, FR610 or Ambit2R

    Can you help me?

    Thank you

    • I’d ask yourself whether features like Live Tracking and Bluetooth/phone uploading are important. If not, scratch off the FR220. Then, I’d look at whether or not you need more 3rd party file/upload support. If so, the Ambit 2R is out. If not, then you’ll want to compare the features between the FR610 and 2R more closely. Both are in the product comparison tool.

    • CADOMC

      Thanks for the help Ray, I bought the FR220 at CT Shop.

  34. Hello

    Just moved from Garmin FR210 to Ambit2 S.

    One simple question: is it possible to get the activity MOVING time (in the watch or in Movescount)? Looked for apps but I’ve not been lucky so far.


    PS: Nice place you have here. I’ve added it to my favorites.

  35. Johan


    I have made my decision: I will leave my Garmin 210 in the dust and buy a Suunto Ambit 2 S. (Since I’m endlessly tired of my Garmin’s slow pick up of satellites and short battery time during training. Apart from that I not much to complain about. But this conclusion stands: 210 is an utterly dull watch.)

  36. Francesco

    I forgot, also relatively inexpensive

  37. Raimonds

    Hi DC,
    do You know, if the new firmware update (in spring) will also in some way be for the Original Ambit (Ambit 1)? I mean at least the cadence functionality directly from the watch, because I am quite sure, that there is the same accelerometer in ambit 1, 2, 2S and 2R.

    • No, it is not planned for it.

    • Raimonds

      I understand their reasoning (make us upgrade to the new product), but still it is a shame, that they couldn’t do it. I somehow understand, that the memory of Ambit 1 is a problem, but still..

    • The main reason is that (according to them), the first generation Ambit units simply didn’t have enough memory space for new features. We talked about it a fair bit actually while I was there, in that by time the unit came to production, the chips they had selected a year earlier were simply too small for the long term potential of the product. It sounds like that definitely won’t be an issue in the 2/2S/2R (as evidenced that the 2/2S are getting all the features of the 2R).

      Obviously, I have no way to verify the validity of their statement around the memory size.

    • Raimonds

      Thanks – for the in-depth answer. I kind of knew it, but it is still somehow doesn’t make me feel better. I will have to wait for ambit 3.

  38. Gil

    There is SO MUCH to like about the Ambit 2 group. Unfortunately, fit (for me) isn’t one of them. I bought a 2S, and had a problem where it would slip around my wrist just enough to make trying to read the display too annoying. My only choices were “tourniquet-tight” or return it… i chose the later. I HOPE they’ll release a model that fits better and is somewhat lighter… I’d buy it in a New York second.

  39. JJelambi

    If I buy today an Ambit 2, on April with the new software update I will have to same features (like the cadence) of the 2R ?

  40. Canadian_runner

    Does the 620 running dynamics HRM work with the ambit 2?

  41. Dave

    Hi Rainmaker. Any idea when in March the Ambit2 R will be available for purchase?

    • Hi Dave, it’s currently slotted for ‘early March’, but an exact day isn’t nailed down. Fwiw, you can pre-order it now. Above at the end of the comparison table there’s a link to Clever Training, which qualifies for the 10% DCR discount (and free shipping) – and of course supports the site. Cheers!

  42. Canadian_runner

    Thank Dave. I am a junior gadget geek, and run with 2 of the 3 inventory watches during training, Fenix, 620 and Ambit 2. For races, will use the 620.. I sent Suunto Ambit, and they sent the request to R&D for future consideration.

  43. Nolan

    I was wondering about the white band and if it gets dirty or not? I am thinking about the black 2R and my wife wants the white 2R but she is a little worried about it getting dirty as she would like to wear as a daily watch too. Do you have any experience with White Suunto band watches?

    • They introduced the white version of the Ambit 2s back around September. I haven’t heard any complaints about it and dirt from anyone yet. Given it’s the same material used in the 2R, I think you’re probably good.

  44. Darius

    Hi DC, Do you know anything about Ambit 3 launch? What will be diference to Ambit 2? When could we expect the launch? Thanks

  45. on the comparison chart you say Ambit2 ‘Indoor Drill Mode’ = No.
    According to the Manual this is possible.
    <a href="link to ns.suunto.com;
    Page 102. I cannot speak from experience because I’ve not used this feature yet.

  46. andrea

    I’m thinking of buying a Suunto Ambit2 R instead of a Garmin FR220, as originally planned.

    The fact that you write “Automatic foot pod calibration from GPS while running. Now you don’t have to manually calibrate it – it’ll simply do it anytime you’re out running from GPS.”, makes me believe that footpod won’t override GPS when running outside, or am I mistaken? Do you happen to know, however, if the footpod will take over if GPS data drops out (e.g. tunnels)?


  47. Francois

    For those doing Interval Training with the Ambit, I modified the generator on http://www.mytrainingplan.eu to take simple commands like 3*(200m|5+800m) to generate an App that guides you through 3repeats of 200m in zone 5 with 800m recovery.

  48. Tim

    I do a bit of running 1 or 2 a week and a lot of cycling 3 or 4 times a week and was looking for a new watch as current phone/ Suunto T3 combination doesn’t give me the HRM data I think I need, initial thoughts were the Ambit 2S or one of the Garmin models as I need the watch at work for when I cycle in and in cyclo-cross races I change bikes so a bike computer is no good. What seems to be missing from all ranges is a cycling/running watch as I don’t need the swimming parts of the 2S but would like to be able to pair a cycling speed/cadence sensor if possible something it appears the 2R won’t do. It seems to me Suunto have missed a trick here in de-scoping too much. My decision now is the $100 saving worth the lack of cycle specific as appose to speed only.

  49. Alexandre

    Well i see new news from garmin today :) .

    They will release the Fenix 2 in March witch have nice cool features only reserved for the FR 620, like the V02 Max.

    Rainmaker: will you do an indeep review for that garmin?


  50. Alexandre

    Well it was a very nice read.

    I was going for the Ambit2 ,now im going for this one at least for now.
    Im going to buy sometime in April, hope to see a Ambit 3 till then.

    Thanks Rainmaker :)


  51. Chris O'Shannassy

    The Ambit2 R does apparently support the “recovery advisor” according to the suunto website. You just need to make sure you’re pulling the specs from one of the R’s that is bundled with a HR monitor. (It sounded like an odd feature to remove.)

    • Adam

      i expect that the recovery advisor just needs to be used with a HR monitor which is capable of R-R interval measurement. I am very confident they would not change the internal software of the watch depending on whether they are bundled with our with a HR strap.

    • Chris O'Shannassy

      My comment probably wasn’t that clear – I was just meaning to point out that the comparison table lists the R as not having a recovery advisor, when in reality it does. Not that I actually mentioned that in the original comment. :)

    • Thanks Chris – corrected it. Cheers!

  52. Bjorn Verduijn

    Real shame they have based this on the Ambit 2S rather than the Ambit 2, as this watch would be exactly what I need if it wasn’t for the battery life.

    Does anyone know if there are plans to increase the batter life for the Ambit 2 R?

  53. Omar Shaikh

    Great review Ray!
    i was disappointed with my Ambit 2 NOT being automatically updated with the latest 2R features(eg, stride counter)
    Do you think that they will update anytime in the near future?

  54. Rob0

    Dear Suunto, you can’t take yourself very serious if you >> STILL << release a "RUNNING" watch without vibration alert functions.
    When will you guys realize that vibration functions is a MUST for runners, as 90% of the runners WEAR HEADPHONES WITH MUSIC thus CAN NOT hear the damn beep alerts!
    Stubborn or stupidity… or both.

    But you know…. "SuuntoListens" ( link to twitter.com ) doesn't "listen" anymore for a long time…. (latest tweet february 2013).

    • Asaf

      In a perfect world, Suunto would match Garmin and offer the same features, and then some… But I guess marketing considerations dictated this specific product launch. Still, I’m a great fan of the Finnish brand and believe the world has a place for an upgraded Ambit 3 which fight Garmin where they fail to excel. (Navigation, Product design, Quality, Apps)

  55. John

    Thanks for the lowdown Ray.

    Looking forward to this one!
    A running watch with useful navigation features!!

    Will Live Tracking be possible if you combine the 2R with the Viiiiva HRM strap?

  56. Ayis

    Thanks for the great work once again Ray!

    Just a question regarding the upcoming firmware that would make available new features for the Ambit2:

    Will the new firmware for the Ambit2 include the “few other smaller but ‘nice touch’ features of the 2R” you mention before? I’m particularly interested in the display of lap information in the watch history/summary.

    It’s kinda implied from your post that ALL new stuff of the 2R would be available for the other Ambit2 models, but I wanted to be sure about these “smaller” features you present. So, will we be free to see lap details in the watch immediately after training and before having to connect to Movescount? Such an elementary feature for a sports watch! :-)

  57. Michael

    Do you find that not havin a barometer as a substantial loss? I’ve read some of your reviews comparing watched and both Watches with barometers and ones that track elevation via GPS were inaccurate to some degree.

    • morey000

      I think that the short answer is ‘no’. you can track elevation gains just fine with the GPS based altitude. There are things that you cannot do without the barometric altimeter- such as ‘storm warning’ with changing pressure, if that’s important to you.

      That said- measuring elevation gain is a strange thing. I’ve taken the same gpx file from my Suunto and according to Movescount I climbed 2800 feet. Loaded it into Strava and it claimed 4500 feet, and then loaded the same file into Garmin connect and it was over 6000 feet of climbing (regardless of whether I had elevation correction turned on or off). Huge differences on the same data- based on how it’s processed. So- given that, I’d say that a barometric altimeter is irrelevant for measuring elevation gain.

      I presume this is due to just how much averaging is going on in the processing and how all the little ups and downs are calculated. ???

    • Michael Heimes

      First, sorry for the double post. I thought what I typed the first time disappeared into the abyss.

      I know elevation tracking it really inconsistent no matter what the technology. Hell, I’ve run side by side with a friend, both of us using iPhones running the same app and the reading where way off. Anything with significant climbs, I just consider it a guestimate unless it’s out and back. Out and back runs seem to be a little more accurate. I assume this partly because it seems to even it out by averaging the two readings.

      Anyway, I wanted a barometer to try to be as accurate as possible, but if it doesn’t make that big of a difference, screw it!

    • Generally agree with Morey, and ultimately, you’re kinda saying the same thing.

      I’ve seen some solid advances in GPS elevation, to the point of it being just as accurate – if not more accurate than some units with a barometric altimeter. Ultimately, it comes a lot down to the situation (for GPS) and what might impact it environmentally, whereas with barometric there’s less of an impact of mountains/terrain.

      On the flip side, barometric can be easier to get hosed up from the start. Finally, I tend to find that barometric altimeters often produce a more accurate ascent/descent track line, even if the initial starting point is incorrect. Whereas GPS altimeters can struggle in this area sometimes, due to environmental interference.

  58. Gregor


    I was just about to order Garmin 620 this week. Do you think it would be reasonable to wait for a review for Ambit2 R?

    Love your site.

    • I think it really just depends on what you’re ultimately after. Meaning, if you want BT connectivity to a phone, then the FR620 is better. But if you want some of the features aimed more towards non-runners, than the Ambit 2R is better.

    • Emanuel

      How reliable are the functions on suunto ambit 2/2R for predicting weather forecasts if I was trekking for days at a time

  59. Seth

    I do a lot of night runs. Can the backlight be set to remain on during my entire run?

    • Yes, you can set the mode to ‘Toggle’ within light settings, which means it stays on till you tell it otherwise.

    • morey000

      I’ll add to that. Turn the brightness down to 20% or even lower. Otherwise, the backlight is a bit blinding for night running. I’ve found that the backlight has minimal impact on battery life as well. Interestingly enough, the light has the effect of reversing the appearance of the display. So, if you have ‘white’ numbers on a black background. With the light on- you get black numbers on a white background (and vice versa).

      but yeah- no problem to have the light on always. There’s a dedicated external button for it too. (the button that’s at 4 o’clock on the watch is the “light/lock” button. press it to toggle the light on. hold it to lock the buttons.

  60. Budana

    Hey Ray, cant wait for your planned full review on this. Are you using the Ambit2 R now in preparation for this? Will we have to wait after this month for the review? Thanks!

    • I’ve been using it for the past 40 days or so. I’m aiming for the next 10 days for a review. Thus far, it’s working quite well.

    • Budana

      Ray.. Are you enabling FuseSpeed most of the time or just regular GPS? Just a sneak peak of what you think with this algorithm

    • Budana

      I just did 3 moves with the Ambit2 R. Just now I compared with Garmin’s 310XT. Here’s the facts: 1. Cadence reading (footpod vs wrist): very close max and averages 2. Heart rate (common strap): bang on! and……… the bad 3. GPS distance: Garmin 5.17km, Suunto 5.02 (which makes a big difference in pace for the same time): average pace Garmin: 5:32 min/km, Suunto:5:42 (sigh) – I dont know which one to rely more -.

    • Morey000

      just curious. did you have auto pause enabled for either of the watches. Not that 3% is that much of a difference. I wore my garmin and suunto together for about 5 runs. they always came up a little different, but there wasn’t a pattern that one always came up shorter than the other. it varies. so- keep testing. :)

    • Budana

      No, Morey000, both gps were set autopause to off. I will plan to use both. Btw, I used Garmin’s footpod linked to the 310xt but it did not record the trend (blank graph) in Garmin connect!

  61. Joanna

    Hi Ray,

    I want to buy A2R but not sure about the hr strap. I have Garmin HR Premium strap. Will it work with A2R?
    Is there any reason to buy Suunto strap?

    • Yes, it works with the Ambit 2R (I’ve been using one with it).

      No reason to buy the Suunto strap that I can think of, assuming you’re happy with your existing strap.

  62. Celesta

    Does the movescount software give you accumulated ascent/descent information or just overall maximum/minimum elevations.

    Also Is there an autopause function on the Ambit 2R

    • morey000

      yes- Movescount gives you accumulated ascent/descent info (although when I export the gpx file from movescount and upload it into strava or garmin- the ascent numbers always differ in each of those tools… even with the same file :) ) Sometimes just a little… sometimes a LOT.

      Yes- the Ambit 2 has an autopause function, which you set an on/off default for each individual type of sport. i.e. it could be autopause for running, and no autopause for cycling. Plus- you can change it on the watch on the fly if you want to turn autopause on or off during a ‘move’. I point this out, because you cannot change everything from the watch. for instance- what variable gets displayed in each field and display screen has to be set from Movescount. That’s different than the way garmin does things. Then again- you have a lot more options on the Suunto for displays- so perhaps the additional ‘complexity’ makes it the right way to handle it all.

  63. Thierry J

    Hi Ray,

    Can you confirm that the 2R will work fine with the Viiiiva HRM strap ?

    Thanks for all information you give in this wonderful site.
    Great and impressive work!

  64. Asaf

    Suunto, wake up… Fenix 2 sets a new benchmark which I hope Ambit 3 will address: 4 data fields (saves the need to scroll tremendously..), new running metrics, 3th party connectivity, Bluetooth… Address these issues and you already have a winning horse since the hardware quality of the Ambit is superior to that of the the Fenix. Your brand is premium, why enter the 250 dollar watch segment when you can blow people’s mind with a 600 dollars products?

  65. Arlene

    Hi Ray,

    Does Suunto ship the 2R with their “Dual Comfort” HRM strap? The reason I’m asking is that I have a Landice treadmill and I found that the Suunto Dual Comfort HRM links with it. Other straps don’t. None of the Garmin straps I’ve tried will link with gym equipment (different type of signal I guess).

  66. Ira

    Any word on the 2R and it’s behavior with the footpod? I need to replace my Garmin 210 and the only thing holding me back from the 2R is the footpod behavior. I want to use the footpod indoors but have the GPS override outside. Is there a way to easily turn off the footpod when I’m running outside?

  67. Seth

    When can we expect an I depth review of the Ambit 2R? Anxious to hear your thoughts on it!

    • It was going up today, but got pushed slightly to Monday.

    • Seth

      Ok so since you’ve had the opportunity to experience both the 220 and the 2R which would you prefer for running if you had to choose? :-)

    • I’ll cover that in more detail on Monday. ;)

      In general, I’d look at the Ambit 2R if you plan to use functions such as navigating like waypoints/routes. Or, if you want a higher level of customization of data fields, or the ability to use apps.

  68. GodfreyE

    Hi Ray,

    I have an Ambit 2S (watch only) version and wanted for a long time to buy a heart rate sensor. I tried in Ebay but I was tricked by the seller and never received my suunto dual heart rate belt that I paid for. Any other recommended heart rate strap but will surely work with Ambit2S/

    Thanks in advance!

  69. Adam R

    Any of the million or so different ANT+ belts will work. I have used both Cycleops Powercal and Garmin belts.

  70. Santiago

    Hi Ray,

    My old heart rate strap of the Polar RS300 will work with suunto ambit 2r?

    Thanks in advance

  71. Justwondering...

    Hi Ray,

    I’m tossing up between the Garmin 620 and the Suunto Ambit2 S or R.

    I do a lot of running but also do quite a bit of hiking.

    I realise that all 3 have a GPS based altimeter, my question being: is altitude displayed during runs/hikes (or only after when data is downloaded to the computer)

    Thanks in advance for your response!

    • Morey000

      Yes- you can display GPS derived altitude in ‘real time’. And- I’d argue that it’s no less accurate than pressure based altitude, which can easily vary 300ft in a day due to weather. It’s just not as ‘noisy’.

      the 620 is a better running watch. due IMHO to the ability to load in custom workouts.

      the Ambit 2R is better for hiking, because you get navigation.

  72. John

    Does the 2R allow you to program customized interval workouts? That is, not just a number of reps of the same interval, but different steps (i.e. warmup, 1 x 1600, 2 x 500, etc.)? I’ve yet to find someone to match Garmin in this regard. Thanks.

    • Sorta but not really. You have to do it within an app and tweak it in the app to get it to show up. You can’t simply do it on the watch.

  73. Olivia White

    Hi there, was wondering if the Ambit2R worked well as just a heart rate monitor? I started out with a Polar ft4 for workouts and have been running a lot of miles lately so would like a watch that has both GPS and HR without GPS capabilities?
    Thank you in advance:)

  74. José Marrero

    Am I wrong or shouldn´t I expect Ray publishing today his in depth review of Suunto Ambit 2R? I believe I speak in the name of the crowd, so please Ray, do not make us feel so anxious…


    • Budana

      I’m especially curious of how the gps distance reading compares as I always (in 4 runs) have the Ambit reading less than the Garmin 305 or 310xt. Comparing to the Endomondo site map (route creator), the readings were somewhere in between these 2 brand gps watches.

  75. Santiago

    A feature that seems very useful and interesting, adopted by adidas smart watch, is the strap-free heart-rate sensor. I don’t see any other device following this technology. Is there in the near future any other device with this feature? What is your felling?

    • I think we’ll see others do it this year, but not the majors (Garmin/Suunto/Polar), at least not this year. There are some challenges for those three with metrics around heart rate variability and recovery via optical sensors that don’t work (as in, you can’t measure HRV today with optical).

  76. Hi All-

    Since the Ambit2 R Full In-Depth Review has been published, I’m going to go ahead and close this post to new comments to keep the discussion consistent. Feel free to comment over there instead: link to dcrainmaker.com