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First look at the Suunto Ambit3 multisport GPS watch


(My Ambit3 Full In-Depth Review is now published!  Swing on over to that post for all the full details and analysis!)

This morning Suunto has announced their latest endurance and multisport watch, the Suunto Ambit3.  The watch incrementally builds on previous generations of the Ambit in what has been a roughly 12-16 month release cycle for the company.  The Ambit3 when it’s available in September 2014 will add mobile phone integration such as workout uploading and smartphone notifications, while also including support for Bluetooth Smart sensors and heart rate while swimming.

I’ve been using a few beta units of the Ambit3 for a fair bit of time now and thus have a good understanding of many of the new areas.  But because the watch and the mobile app experience are still very much beta (almost two months until public availability), please do understand this isn’t a review.  It’s more of a ‘preview of new things’ coming.  As such, things could change.  They could get better, or, they could get worse – that’s the nature of beta.  Historically speaking however Suunto actually is one of the stronger companies when it comes to releasing relatively bug-free software.  Further, they have a nearly perfect record for releasing products and firmware updates on time per the dates they’ve set (unlike most all of their competitors).  Thus, I remain optimistic on their ability to execute here.

With that said, let’s dive into what’s new and notable.  In my final In-Depth Review (which would be in early September), I’ll cover all the regular stuff that’s not new.  But as a general rule of thumb everything from the Ambit2 is available in the Ambit3 (unless noted below).

The Hardware & New HR Strap


At first glance you may be wondering if I mistakenly took photos of an older Ambit and not the Ambit3.  But in reality the external hardware is actually virtually indistinguishable from past units.  It’s the internals that have been tweaked.  Most notably, the addition of a Bluetooth Smart chipset to replace the ANT+ chipset that was in there.  Further, they have roughly doubled the internal storage capacity.


It’s this Bluetooth Smart chipset that enables connectivity to the phone, as well as Bluetooth Smart sensors.  Though, that does come at the cost of lack of connectivity to ANT+ accessories.

Beyond that the unit is identical to past units.  For example, there is no new vibration motor (for vibrating alerts), nor shifts in storage capacity (Update: Suunto has corrected to say it’s roughly a doubling of capacity in the Ambit3) – both common complaints about both first and second generation Ambit units.

In addition to the Ambit3 watch, Suunto is also releasing a new heart rate strap, which is substantially smaller in the pod-department than their previous strap:


This new strap is different in a few ways.  First is that it’s Bluetooth Smart (rather than Suunto ANT like previous straps).  This means it can connect to Bluetooth Smart capable devices (including the Ambit3), such as phone apps or 3rd party devices.


Second, the strap has a totally new connection design between the pod and the strap.  Suunto hopes to make this a bit of an industry standard.  Though, at the moment it appears to be just them (everyone else is using a slightly different standard with wider connection points).


But the real secret to the strap is that it’s able to store data while you’re swimming.  I’ll dive into this capability later in the swimming section, but the unit is able to store heart rate data while swimming and then automatically re-sync that data in a few seconds when it comes back within range of the watch.

The New Features


Now that we’ve covered the hardware side, let’s talk on the software pieces.  As you’ll see – that’s where all the new goodness hangs out.  In order to keep things simple I’m going to provide a bulleted list here, and then I’ll walk through these features in more detailed sections below.

– Heart Rate While Swimming
– Bluetooth Smart Sensor Support (Power/Speed/Cadence/Heart Rate)
– Daily Activity Monitoring (aka activity tracker)
– Smartphone Workout Uploads
– Smart Phone Notifications (i.e. calls/texts/Facebook/etc…)
– Ability to use Ambit3 GPS as source for phone display (i.e. on bike handlebars)

As you can see, lots there – but especially lots on the mobile side.

The singular item that was removed however is ANT+ sensor support.  The unit does not include ANT+ support.  They decided that for the modes they were looking to utilize it would have required two chips being in the unit (a separate one for ANT+ and one for Bluetooth Smart) – which would have required additional architecture/battery considerations.  I’ll cover some of my sensor thoughts in the Bluetooth Smart section below though on this.

While there’s a ton of new features coming, it isn’t however a complete overhaul of the watch.  Areas like the display/screen, look and feel, and core functionality of the watch actually don’t shift dramatically from the Ambit2.  It’s in many ways easiest to think of it as an Ambit2 with Bluetooth Smart and a whole bunch of cool phone-connected features.  Well, except heart rate while swimming – that’s device-centric, new, and cool.

Swimming Heart Rate


The Ambit3 introduces the ability to track heart rate while swimming.  It does this in conjunction with the new Suunto heart rate strap that enables storage of your heart rate while underwater.  The strap then will burst transmit the stored data to the watch when it can get back in range.


See, neither ANT+ nor Bluetooth Smart can transmit more than a few centimeters (an inch or so) underwater.  The signal simply doesn’t work (unlike older analog signals used in some products).  So by Suunto moving to a store and forward method it can catch-up your heart rate data anytime you come back to the wall of a pool (such as below).


While swimming the data generally won’t be up to date, it’ll just show your last heart rate value on the watch.  I found that sometimes I’d get lucky and if I placed the unit slightly to the left on my chest it’d actually catch-up every few laps (not stopping) and I’d get an updated heart rate value.  But for the most part it only caught up at the end of the set when I stopped and put the two close together (either above or below water).

What’s cool is it then actually draws out your heart rate (if you have the graph view enabled) on the watch – just like an etch-a-sketch.  It takes about 1 second per 1-minute of heart rate data to draw.  Here’s a fun little video I shot last night of it.  Sorry it’s fuzzy, the pool lady was yelling at me to hurry up and get out of the pool at closing time.

This data is then available post-swim on Movescount, where it’ll show up just like heart rate on any other activity:


(Note: You’ll see a few cases of where the data dropped and it flat-lines, that’s where I didn’t realize the HR strap had flipped over due to water pressure as discussed in a moment.)

And all of that it time-sync’d to your actual swim lap metrics as well.  Thus making the Ambit3 the only watch on the market today that can do both swim lap/distance/stroke metrics and heart rate recording.  Down the road the Polar V800 will also do the same as well once they implement swim lap/distance/stroke tracking metrics.


Now, the only catch here remains the actual heart rate strap.  I’ve always had issues with keeping the heart rate strap on my chest while swimming.  In particular when I push off the wall, it often ends up down by my waist.  No matter how hard I tighten it.  I’ve tried putting it on my back, twisting the fabric, all the usual tricks.  In the case of the above swim I was fixing it every few laps and pushing off very gently (not realistic).

For women that’s not a problem because your swimsuit top tends to keep it in place, but for guys it can be tough. And no, I refuse to wear a top at the pool while swimming – there’s enough antics in my usual pool as it is without me adding to it.

Finally, note that the swim support will work just the same in openwater.  Except there you won’t get a HR ‘update’ mid-swim unless you stop to let it sync.  Still, it’ll easily record everything from your outdoor swim (including a map) for later access online.

Bluetooth Smart Sensor Support


The Ambit3 swaps out the ANT+ sensor of the Ambit1/Ambit2 for a Bluetooth chipset, enabling it to connect to Bluetooth Smart sensors that adhere to the Bluetooth Smart standardized device profiles for sensors.  This means that it can connect to the following Bluetooth Smart sensors/accessories:

– Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Straps
– Bluetooth Smart Cadence-Only Cycling Sensors
– Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence Only Cycling Sensors
– Bluetooth Smart Power Meters
– Bluetooth Smart Running Footpods

There are a number of companies that make devices in each of these categories, from Wahoo Fitness to Stages to PowerTap to Mio, Scosche and many more.  As part of my in-depth review I’ll include a compatibility chart for what I’ve tested myself as far as 3rd party sensors go.  To date I’ve done testing with the Wahoo cadence sensors and a variety of heart rate straps.  And my updated PowerTap cap with Bluetooth Smart just arrived in, so I’ll be trying that out soon too.

Below for example is a workout showing cadence (upper portion in white) using the Wahoo RPM2 with the Suunto Ambit3, all via Bluetooth Smart.  The workout was a brick, hence why I’ve just selected the first portion that was bike-specific.


Of course, those with ANT+ will be left out in the cold here.  The Ambit3 doesn’t contain ANT+ support for sensors, which means neither your existing ANT+ (3rd party) sensors nor even existing Suunto-ANT sensors will work.  Said differently: No previous Suunto sensors will work with the Ambit3.

Now in my discussions with Suunto I made it clear that this was a pretty big deal – especially for triathletes.  And in theory they have two paths to address this.  The first is to partner with someone like 4iiii’s and ensure that Viiiiva compatibility will solve the problem.  The Viiiiva can act as a bridge between ANT+ devices and Bluetooth Smart watches like this.  It sorta-works for certain combinations today with the Bluetooth Smart-only Polar V800.  But it’s not perfect and there are many holes.  That requires both companies to work together to address at least the most common scenarios.

The second option is that Suunto could do something similar themselves using the heart rate strap they will ship with the Ambit3, which contains the latest chipsets that are capable of running dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart (to be clear, the heart rate strap is capable, not the watch).  Thus they could build that capability into their own strap, which would instantly give them complete control over compatibility and also give them without question the most versatile triathlon watch combination on the market that appeals to the broadest possible audience.  I know what I would do if I was in their shoes…

Smartphone Integration


With the addition of Bluetooth Smart to the unit the Ambit3 gains connectivity straight to your phone.  In doing so they’ve opened up a number of different scenarios for phone integration with the Ambit3.  Some of these areas are ‘common’ to what we’ve seen in other watches (such as uploading workouts), yet others are entirely new takes on ideas, like using the GPS from the device and the phone as the data screen.  In order to cover all the concepts I’ve divided them up into a few sub-sections below.

Note: As of July 2014, Suunto will be making the iOS app available upon release for compatible Bluetooth 4.0 devices (iPhone 4S and higher).  For Android, they are targeting “2015”, but haven’t specified at this point if it’ll be January 2015 or December 2015.

Uploading Completed Workouts/Settings Configuration:


(Preemptive note: All these screenshots are BETA level, and unfinished.  Think of it like a strawman without the clothes.  They haven’t added the layer of ‘pretty’ yet.)

First up is the most common of tasks, which is the automatic uploading of completed workouts via Bluetooth Smart to your phone (and then onwards to Movescount online).  Like numerous other watches on the market the unit will transfer completed workouts via Bluetooth Smart from the watch to the phone.  The length of time it takes for this to complete varies a bit, but usually about 30-60 seconds depending on how many sensors you might have paired and the length of the ride.

20140709_183129000_iOS 20140709_183316000_iOS 20140709_183233000_iOS

A few moments later this information then shows up on Movescount, the online site from Suunto that acts as your training log.


And because Suunto recently added automatic synchronization to Strava, your workouts will near-immediately show up on Strava as well:


Next, you can configure sport profiles and settings from the app.  This allows you to decide which sports show up on the Ambit3, and the settings for those different sports.  Further, you can configure global watch settings like languages as well in here.

20140709_182925000_iOS 20140709_183002000_iOS 20140709_183010000_iOS

Even better is that you can also tweak display field settings directly from the app.  So I can configure and change data pages and what metrics are shown on any of the sport profiles:

20140709_183026000_iOS 20140709_183043000_iOS 20140709_183102000_iOS

Because the app isn’t quite finished yet it’s unclear how deep the settings will go in terms of sports configuration on the app itself (for example things like recording time).  However, what’s cool is that you can actually use the Movescount mobile version of the website to tweak any ‘non-included’ settings – and then that gets immediately pushed back to your Ambit3 as soon as you press sync again (all wirelessly via your phone).  I actually just did that tonight standing poolside at the swimming pool after I remembered I needed to change a setting.  Took all of a few seconds.

Smartphone Notifications


Next the Ambit3 will display smartphone notifications when within range of your phone.  These notifications can include text message notifications, incoming phone call notifications and anything else that uses the notification center.


For example, here’s a notification that an incoming message just arrived:


Now the notifications are just that – notifications – they aren’t actionable other than dismissing them.  Meaning you can’t answer the phone call or do anything from there.

The notifications can be set to ‘On’ or ‘Off’, and will simply chirp (if audio alerts are enabled) when a new notification comes in.


This is similar to how the Fenix2 works, with the only difference being that this doesn’t impact one’s ability to record sensor data.  Note that I don’t yet have a clear idea of the battery life impact here.  I’ll be doing some testing as they get closer to final release.  But it definitely appears far better than the Fenix/Fenix2 in terms of me having left notifications enabled on one unit that’s been sitting off to the side of my desk for days now with notifications enabled and it doesn’t seem upset in the battery department.

Using the phone as a display:


Next we have one of the most ‘unique’ features on the Ambit3, which is the ability to link it to a smart phone and have the phone act as the display.  This is actually the exact opposite of what most companies are doing with smart watches, where the watch displays what the phone wants.  And actually, Suunto is doing both.


So why is this useful?  Well, it allows you a much bigger screen than the Ambit3 is, which can be useful for something like cycling if you put your phone on your handlebars.  In this case your watch will act as the GPS receiver and the phone will be the display.


This is better because it reduces battery drain on the phone since GPS is off (albeit the screen is on, which burns even more).  Still, I think it’s an interesting twist and I suspect folks might have some cool scenarios here.


Finally, it should be noted that the app can also simply record activities without the Ambit3.  In doing so it’ll allow you to pair with sensors and you’ll get standard metrics like speed/distance/etc…  But, for most people there’s a million other apps that can do that – so the interest is primarily in connectivity to the Ambit3.

Photo Integration, Movies and Data Overlay

Last up in the phone integration feature is the ability to do data overlay photos with data from the watch or phone.  This is sorta like the action cam videos you see, but with data coming directly from the Ambit3 and then using your phone’s camera:

20140710_064837000_iOS 20140710_064919000_iOS 20140710_064946000_iOS

Afterwards the photo has some activity metrics overlaid onto it.

From there it will get associated to a given activity in Movescount, which means that it can then get pulled into a gallery based on your ride.  Now, these photos can then end up in automatically generated ‘movies’ that showcase your ride.  I saw a couple of early alpha-version clips created when I met with Suunto and it as a pretty good start to things.


It would show your route being played back in real-time on Google Earth and then show included photos along the way that you took – all geostamped to the correct location.

At present the beta app build I have isn’t quite building my movie, so I’m left with what might be possibly be the funniest/best error message I’ve ever seen.  Normally I don’t share too many error messages from beta stuff because that’s the nature of beta – but this  is awesome enough that I don’t think (hope) they mind:

20140709_183237000_iOS 20140709_183303000_iOS

In any case, drama aside, I’ll try and see if I can get a movie to share/post of what it looks like.

Daily Activity Tracker


Next up we’ve got an included daily activity tracker.  This is effectively taking a FitBit and stuffing it into the Ambit3.  But more than that though, it takes into account your total activity including exercise.  It’s actually very much like the Polar V800 in this respect.


Though, also like the Polar V800 at this point it (frustratingly) doesn’t display your exact steps or walked distance – but rather just displays a bit of a bar graph and chart.  We had some good discussions about it though, so I’m optimistic they’ll see the light in terms of being the perfect blend of activity tracker and sport tracker (and that said blend is best executed with steps listed).


(Above would show a graph identical to that of the recovery chart two photos above, with the day’s activity, it’s just that I took the photo in the morning.)

These displays are easily accessed by just tapping the ‘Next’ button on the right of the screen, and are one tap away from the regular time screen.  Ideally I’d be able to just press ‘view’ though and see my total steps for the day at all times along the bottom (just like the Garmin FR15 can).

As you can see though – without question the merging of daily activity tracker and full endurance sports watch is most definitely the future (or rather, the present).  I don’t expect we’ll see any more major sport/running devices being made that don’t include both sides of the equation.

Models, Versions & Availability:


The Ambit3 is much like the Ambit2 in that it comes in a few flavors and versions.  The two fundamental versions are:

Ambit3 Sport: Everything the Peak has except the barometric altimeter
Ambit3 Peak: Top of the line unit with a barometric altimeter

So basically, it’s just like Ambit2 and Ambit2 S.  There is no ‘R’ version at this point for the Ambit3 (that was the cheaper running edition).

Price-wise, things remain in the same ballpark as before with the exception that there’s a Sapphire edition offered which just swaps out the glass for a different sapphire mineral glass:

Ambit3 Sport: $400 (+$50 for HR strap)
Ambit3 Sport Sapphire: $500 (+$50 for HR strap)
Ambit3 Peak: $500 (+$50 for HR strap)
Ambit3 Peak Sapphire: $600 (+$50 for HR strap)

As with my thoughts on previous Ambit versions, no, I don’t think it’s worthwhile to buy the Sapphire edition – but that’s just me.  I’ve never heard of anyone actually hosing up the glass on their Ambit1 or Ambit2 because they didn’t have the Sapphire edition.  Just keepin’ it real.

Finally, Suunto is saying September 1st for availability of the editions above.

My Thoughts:


On the whole the Ambit3 is hardware-wise an incremental upgrade over past models, however, software-wise it’s just starting to crack the door open a bit.  Their work on the mobile phone app could end up being really impressive (it’s still a bit early to tell).  I’m loving the fact that I can quickly and easily change data fields from the phone, versus past units requiring me to be at my computer.  On the flip side, competitors’ units allow you to change that directly on the device.

The implementation of smart notifications and mobile uploads brings it inline with functionality found on Garmin’s Fenix2 multisport watch, and the reverse usage of having the phone use the unit to capture metrics is definitely a unique Suunto feature.  And lastly, the heart rate while still having swim metrics makes them the only one in that camp – at least for a short while.

It’ll be interesting to see how the activity monitoring piece plays out, both from Suunto and Polar.  I think they’re both half-way there with what people want (or at least, what 348 people seem to ask for in the comments every day on the Fenix2 review), but the inclusion of steps and related metrics is the end-goal there – both on the device but also on Movescount (online and app).

There are however some areas that I think Suunto overlooked in the Ambit3, that I suspect may hurt them medium and long term.  First is the lack of vibration alerts – which has been commonly requested.  Second is that the app as of today doesn’t have live tracking, nor is that in the immediate plans.  It remains to be seen whether areas like course/navigational transfer via phone will make the app cut.  Lastly, the on-unit capabilities in custom workout creation and virtual partner remain sorely behind both Garmin and Polar (among others) these days.  I had really hoped to see some improvement in those areas.

Given that the unit won’t be available until September, that’s probably a better time to see what the final competitive picture looks like for triathlon watches for the year ahead (since this season will basically be over by then).  I suspect by the end of the year Garmin will have announced/released their FR910XT successor, and Polar will have made progress against their planned firmware updates.  Thus my guidance largely remains the same as it was just 2-3 weeks ago in my 2014 Summer Recommendations: See how the landscape evolves over the next few months.

With that – thanks for reading and feel free to drop any questions below.

Found this first look useful? Or just wanna save 10%? Here’s how:

Hopefully you found this first look useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my thoughts are written from the standpoint of how I use the device. The posts generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased. You can read more about the benefits of this partnership here. You can order the Ambit3 or accessories through Clever Training using the link below. By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers. And, since this item is more than $75, you get free US shipping as well.  Note of course since it’s a pre-order, the timelines might change depending on when Suunto releases.

Ambit3 Sport (Heart rate bundle variant just select drop-down)
Ambit3 Sport Sapphire (Heart rate bundle variant just select drop-down)
Ambit3 Peak (Heart rate bundle variant just select drop-down)
Ambit3 Peak Sapphire (Heart rate bundle variant just select drop-down)

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.




  2. jan

    Its not and upgrade from ambit 2.
    Like you said, it will hurth them.

  3. wannes

    They dropped ANT-support in favour of becoming a smartwatch.

    • Not really. They dropped ANT+ in favor of support Bluetooth Smart sensors. If they wanted to be just a smartwatch they could have done that with a dual chipset. But they wanted to be a ‘master’ device (in BLE terms), which means they would have had to have gone with two chipsets.

    • Gunnar

      I have to say I don’t see a problem being a Bluetooth only device.

      I now use a Scosche dual ANT/BTLE HR sensor, a Wahoo RPM dual cadence sensor and I use a Wahoo key with my iphone or sometimes my Viiiiva HRM to bridge my Powertap power meter to my phone, or to my 310xt or edge 705.

      This watch might make me consider getting the BTLE Powercap for power meter. I like the boxes Suunto has ticked with this watch (phone integration and HR swim data).

    • Werner

      is it posibile to bridge from a Garmin ANT+ Sensor to the Ambit 3 with the viiiia Belt without using a i-phone?

    • Matt Rand

      I purchased an Ambit 2 about 3 weeks ago. While I like the watch and the potential functional ability I have NOT been able to get the moveslink software to load and function on my computer. I am better than most with a computer, and not being able to connect the watch to to moves count account essentially takes 90 percent of the function away from the watch. I have contacted Suunto on the phone 3 times and they were NO help. Thye told me to try a new computer. I also tried to get support via email, wich was also no help. If anyone out there knows how to fix this I am all ears! I like the watch and if I could get it to connect than I will keep it.

      My worry is that with the new watch comming with a whole new way to connect to movescount there will be no support for the watches without Bluetooth.

      I had a Garmin 405 and had no problems with making the connection. Should I send this Ambitt2 back?

      Please help! Matt

    • Suunto has historically supported all devices well after they are stopped being made, same as Garmin and Polar. I don’t think there’s any real concerns there of that.

      As for them telling you to get a new computer…well…that’s a whole different issue. An issue which is more relevant probably on the Ambit2/2S post.

    • Adam

      Hi Matt,
      many users had (I think, as You dont describe the problem with details) similar issue.
      Moveslink2 simply “stopped working”, is this Your case?

      This has sthg to do with admin rights. The solution for me (and many others) is not the most convinient but it does work. You need to uninstall Your current Moveslink2 and run setup again, but this time, right-click on setup and choose “Run as Administrator” and follow the process as previously.
      The Moveslink2 after installation is complete, will open automatically and will work!
      The problem is that if You will shut down Your PC and start again, Moveslink2 will fail again :-/ You need to repeat installation as Administrator every time after restarting Your PC – this is a bummer. I just keep my PC always on and set it to sleep mode instead of turning off.
      You will find more info on related review.

      cheers, Adam

    • RRR

      I used to have problem with installing Moveslink and Moveslink2. In every case I had do go to device manager (after installation) and choose “update driver” pointing to folder,where moveslink.exe or moveslink2.exe is located.

    • VBlueV

      I initially had the same problem of not being able to install Moveslink.
      And like Homer Simpson, was beating my noggin against the wall over-and-over. “Doh!”
      I then remembered a solution for another stubborn program that would not install from “Internet Explorer” which gave an error message.
      I instead used “Chrome” and Moveslink finally installed successfully.
      (I suspect “Firefox” might work too.)

    • Marios

      It’s Monday, I can’t wait for the final review!!!

  4. Darko

    I wonder if they plan to release some of the features to the old line of Ambits. Activity tracking for instance. Both Ambit2S/R and Ambit2 are more than capable of this. Other than that it seems like a good incremental update. Vibration motor is still missing. I probably won’t upgrade from my Ambit2 R so I’m only hoping we receive some of the features.

  5. Bernard Maughan

    Ray, what’s the back light like? One of the gripes I had with my previous Suunto was a really bad back-light. It was ok (just) when static, but it was terrible when running in the dark. If Garmin Forerunner 910XT’s back light on full power is a 10, this was about a 2 (and I’m being generous). Sorry if you’ve covered this in a previous review

    • It’s the same as previous Ambit’s, but I find that it’s quite strong – no problems there for me (not sure if you’re talking a previous Ambit or another Suunto device).

    • Morey000

      Ambit2 backlight is quite solid. For running in the dark I turn it down to ~20% as 100% is far too bright. you may need to re-set your contrast and/or whether you’re black on white or white on black to get it to your liking.

  6. Ray Miller

    Hey Ray,

    Just thinking, how would this compare to having a 2R, but linking it to a viiiiva strap? That way, the strap could talk ANT+ to the watch and BLE to the phone?

    • It’s a bit different because the Viiiiva is ANT+ sensors to BLE sensors, not BLE to ANT+. Thus the Viiiiva can’t talk between a watch and the phone because it doesn’t understand that language. Rather, it just re-broadcasts sensors from ANT+ to BLE.

  7. Manos

    Can’t understand the politics behind vibration alerts and storage! People say they want it and Suunto say NO. Only Apple can do something like that and survive. No one else!!!!!

    • stefan

      I think the vibration omission is due to space and internal design. I think they have to completely redesign the internals (this is costly) or use a smaller battery. I think that for most people they rather have a big battery than vibration.

      The storage thing is a bit strange although it is quite possible that the storage is integrated on the board and they have a lot of stock left from the Ambit2. It could also be the case that they would like to have one platform to support and thus keep it as similar as possible. I would not be surprised if the Ambit2 is here to stay or maybe it will be re-branded as the Ambit Ant or something similar. Since so many people invested money in ANT+ gear

    • JoggwithoutAmbit

      Regarding “No vibration alerts”: Guess they are already planning Ambit4 (starting next year) 😉

    • Matt W

      I agree. Vibration alerts are actually one of my deal breaker features. It’s a shame too as I have been quite disappointed with Garmin’s latest efforts and am looking to change loyalties, but being a little hard of hearing (especially to the tonal beeps that these watches emit) means that I’m not buying a product without vibration alerts.

  8. Z74

    Has the release date been switched from July 14th to September or it has always been set there? D’oh… I don’t remember right now…

  9. Dom

    The storage is a bit of a show-stopper for me. One thing I do need from a watch is for it to handle a full week’s walking, in reasonable detail, with no chance of getting the data off the watch. Given the kind of trips I go on, phone connectivity might be enough to take care of this.
    Strange that they have done so many difficult things (I can imagine some triathletes switching to Suunto just for the pool HR), but not this simple one.

    • Z-74

      Tris are already out of the picture and not needing HR. We use the pulse at the neck and multiply.
      Suunto already employs the Memory Belt which, though discontinued, is a lot more comfortable than this new HR strap + watch combo because you don’t need to have the watch on you basically (it’s in the T1 bag) and you’ll still have all the swimming HR data.

    • You could certainly leave the watch in the bag here if you wanted to as long as you initial the pairing on the activity first.

    • Henrik

      A “bit” off topic but Polar V800 handles this (“..with no chance of getting the data off the watch..”). As long as you have a phone (at current iPhone/ipad. Android planned Q4) you can sync “locally” to phone. No need for phone to have connectivity. It´ll sync to central server when it becomes available.

  10. Niclas F

    Question for Ray

    Are you able to add activity profiles on the watch? Like for say, add “roller ski” as an activity and it will upload that as “roller ski” on movescount?

    With added instantaneous activity upload not having all sport profiles on watch is a pain in the ass for me as a multi sporter. I have to manually go to the website and change activity, then go to Strava and change aswell. Removes the fun of automatic upload. Important for me!

    • You can create activity profiles on the web/phone and then it sync’s to the device. So with the phone app you can change/create the profiles there and then sync them immediately.

  11. Frank Thuss

    Would a Polar H7 HRM work with this strap, apart from being able to store HRM data?

  12. bruvio

    I’ve just bought a garmin 910xt… I should have waited…

    • Harvey

      Nah – your 910XT is a very capable device that will bring you many miles of happiness.

  13. Bart

    What about support for Android (app, notifications, etc)?

  14. Ricardo

    Hi Ray! Thanks for the post.

    Some questions:
    Still having sirf GPS or they change to mediatek?
    Same weight than ambit2?
    Some improvement in battery life?

  15. I’d like to see the face of suunto users with lot of ant+ sensors.

    • Dimitri

      I have a 1100 $CAD ANT+ indoor cycle trainer (Powerbeam PRO). My face is abolutely not red with anger, but also, my money is staying in my wallet, I’m simply not upgrading to Ambit3 because of that !

  16. Spun

    Haha Ray, you were soooooooo silent when you were asked about the Ambit3. I would’ve bet both of my arms for that you had one already testing.

    Nice job as always.

    • Olu

      +1. He is really good at keeping things under wraps.

      So Ray, how’s testing with the 920xt going? lol!

    • Luke

      Hopefully the 920X comes with memory in the HRM (long enough to last a 2.4 mile ironman swim).
      Just saying.

  17. Idk

    Not really sure how I feel about this. Bluetooth phone capability is a game changer but all that aside I’m not really sure if it’s worth upgrading from my Ambit2. I’ve been waiting for the Ambit3 since the Fenix 2. I figured Suunto would go over the top because of that watch. Seems like they only did the minimum. I want to try out the Fenix 2 but there seems to be a host of problems with it. I guess there’s no winning this year.

  18. Hugo

    Hey Ray,

    Does the watch now offers a proper workout builder (similar to Garmin’s)? I mean, if you want to build a interval workout, with warmup, intervals and so on, will the Ambit3 be able to do it? Without using apps.


    • No, same as Ambit2 there.

    • Hugo

      Thanks, that’s a bummer.
      Keep it on going.

    • + 1
      “Lastly, the on-unit capabilities in custom workout creation and virtual partner remain sorely behind both Garmin and Polar (among others) these days. I had really hoped to see some improvement in those areas.”

      I fully agree. That’s the only reason why i keep using Garmin stuff today (’cause both the 620 and the Fenix 2 have some annoying bugs)

    • John

      Hi Ray,

      Is this something Suunto could address and change by the time the device hits the market, as it’s simply a software/app issue?

    • Yes, they could, but I don’t expect to see that happen in the next 45 or so days.

  19. Calum

    Can you sync moves to your phone & change settings without an internet connection? That would at least alleviate the storage problems with multi-day hikes.

    • Henrik

      A “bit” off topic but Polar V800 handles this (“..with no chance of getting the data off the watch..”). As long as you have a phone (at current iPhone/ipad. Android planned Q4) you can sync “locally” to phone. No need for phone to have connectivity. It´ll sync to central server when it becomes available.
      Changes can be made using app on iPhone/ipad.

  20. Owen Delaney

    Hi Ray. Any info on whether the app will be available for android as well as iphone at the point of release? Obviously only for compatible phones, mines a nexus 5 so should be good to go providing they release for both platforms.

  21. Frontsiderocknroll

    Recently, I got to compare the Garmin Fenix and the Ambit 2 side by side. Surprised by the difference in screen contrast, in favor of the Fenix.

    I assume the screen contrast is the same on Ambit3 as Ambit2? What are your thoughts on screen contrast for the Ambit watches compared to the Garmin Fenix?

    • Yes, the screen contrast is the same on the Ambit3 as the Ambit2.

      Note however that most people find the screen between the Fenix2 and Fenix(1) quite different, due to the fact that the Fenix2 only offers an inverted mode and not a regular mode.

  22. keleth

    Is the zoom in nav mode still 200m max?


  23. Steve Smith

    Hi Ray,

    As always, great preview non-review!

    Just wondering whether you think its worth the upgrade from the Ambit2 given its now discounted price tag? Do you think any of these software updates will be available on the Ambit 2?



  24. Tom

    Watch data visible on phone > ideal for the bike section of a triathlon if you ask me!

    • Nate T

      Definitely interesting. Would also be nice if I could pair it with my Wahoo RFLKT+ for easier display on my bike.

    • Andrew Wessman

      I’ve had the same thought- would love to be able to use the RFLKT as a second screen for a BTLE watch while cycling. I had the same thought regarding the Polar V800 and asked the Polar guy on the slowtwitch forum about that, but never heard a response. I’d be curious to know if it’s at least possible to enable second screen support of some kind.

      The Ambit 3 certainly seems to bolster Polar’s argument that BTLE, not ANT+ is where the market is heading. I’d guess by the end of the year both the Ambit 3 and V800 are going to be great offerings.

    • Tom

      i don’t own a RFLKT, but I was f.e. thinking of a cheaper smartphone (with a Quadlock or so) as a sort of ‘permanent’ second screen for my bike.
      I’d be great that there would some sort of automatic recognition, so that when you transit from T1 to Bike, your data would automatically appear on the smartphone…

    • goughy

      With regards to using a phone to display bike data during a tri…. Isn’t the use of a phone (for whatever reason) banned during a triathlon?

  25. Frontsiderocknroll

    Owning a Garmin Fenix, here are my thoughts on the Bluetooth possibilities.

    1. Downloading workouts and tracks from phone to watch is cool.
    2. Uploading workouts from watch to phone is cool.
    3. Notifications from phone displayed on the watch is cool (the first 2 hours)
    4. Battery drainage when leaving BT on is drastic. 24 hours from hero to zero in watch mode.

    Even if Suunto has managed to achieve better battery life, it remains to see by how much. If the price of going wireless is cabling up the watch 7 das a week, who’s buying that concept?

    Also, who really need to get incoming spam/ mail / facebook / sms notifications on a tiny screen, when you have to pick up the phone to respond to it anyhow? LIke said, cool for the first two hours.

    For me, the most important BT feature would be to activate/ deactivate BT with one touch of a button. Eventually one-touch activate, then deactivate automatically after 2 minutes inactivity. This only to download/ upload workouts etc. Garmin Forerunner 220 handles this brilliantly, and shows that at least someone has understood the term ‘wireless’.

    • It’ll automatically do the upload via BT, which can be enabled separably from notifications. So basically it can do the same as the FR220 there.

    • So when I finish a hun/ride, i just press “Upload” on the watch, and it starts to upload instantly? I recall that on my Edge 510, i had to pull my phone out of my pocket, and accept the bluetooth connection before it could upload.

      I just want to press “Upload” on the device and when i get my breath again, it’s on Strava 🙂

    • Actually, you don’t even have to press upload. Assuming you have it configured to sync automatically, it’ll just do it automatically after you save an activity. Donezo, on Strava a few minutes later.

    • Sounds great – thanks 🙂

  26. Spun

    Hi again Ray.

    What’s the ETA of the In-Depth Review?


  27. Jim

    Wow I am disappointed. Love the ambit2 but the fenix 2 has better functionally. I was so holding out for an updated ambit with vibration alerts. What’s the point of having smartphone integration for notifications when an informative vibration alert won’t even occur? Daily activity tracking is the flavour of the month and would be handy but is not that much of an issue. Custom workouts. Again would be handy. Even buying Bluetooth sensors I could live with.

    No vibration is a deal breaker for me. Actually quite bummed about it. Guess I will stick with the fenix 2 after all despite it’s issues. Shite.

    • Gary P

      My sentiments exactly. Such a shame about no vibration but i guess they didn’t want a hardware change?

    • John

      Ray, anyway they could change their minds and add vibration alerts for the final product?

    • Very unlikely given that’d require a hardware change and at this point they’ve tweaked very little in the hardware in the last 3 years (Ambit1 > Ambit2 > Ambit3). And with delivery of new products set for 45ish days from now, it’s far too late in the HW cycle to change things.

  28. Hassan-Dubai

    Thank you Ray. I still can’t find any info about it on Suunto websites!
    +1: I think Bluetooth smart is the way to go although some ANT devices owners won’t be happy but they had to do the move sometime.
    +1: Adding HRM while swimming is a great plus for swimmers
    -1: Too bad Ambits still don’t have vibration alerts

    Any idea about the weight of the Ambit3 Sport?

  29. Andreas

    Does the bluetooth smart chipset and the activity monitoring reduce battery life or can you still get 16h in run mode with GPS set at best precision?

    Will there (probably) be an Android version of the smartphone app at release date?

  30. Thomas Eklund

    No ant+ support and no vibration equals no Ambit3 for Thomas.

  31. a_circelli

    In the bluetooth world, is it possible to connect 1 sensor (i.e. Hr) to 2 devices? (i.e. Wrist computer and bike computer?)

    • Not today, though down the road once devices start using and implementing BT4.1 it is possible (no devices are doing it today on the sensor side that I’m aware of).

    • SteveT

      Will the current BT 4.0 chips be upgradeable to v4.1 via firmware updates? And if yes do you think the major vendors will push those capabilities to this current generation of devices or will they be delayed until the next major redesign/upgrade?

      As always Ray-thanks!

    • It’s possible for many chipsets, but most of the companies I’ve talked to aren’t looking at doing that and instead looking at it as a next-gen product thing. I don’t know what Suunto’s plans are there.

    • SteveT

      Thanks Ray for the insight.

      Local REI guys wanted to know where I got my info so, hopefully, there will be a few more “eyeballs” coming your way.


    • goughy

      So does this mean if you have, say and armbit 3 and a bike computer, the hrm strap won’t send data to both of them at the same time??

    • cdmackay

      Yes, I believe that’s right: BT is not broadcast like ANT+.

      That’s a real pain for me: I like to have various gadgets picking up my ANT+ sources: Edge, Ambit 2, Android app on phone, partly for redundancy, partly because some are better than others at different things.

      e.g. one might give me a better display on the bike, another might be good at a particular post-processing task, and a third might be better for archival.

    • Correct, virtually all Bluetooth devices/sensors on the market today will only allow a sensor to connect to a single device at once.

      Down the road BT 4.1 capable sensors will be more like ANT+ in allowing multiple devices. Meanwhile, Polar has attempted to bridge this gap with their “re-broadcasting”. Except, it doesn’t actually work (specifically with 3rd party devices, and only a portion of the time with actual Polar devices).

    • Olu

      Oh, this I didn’t know. So why the push to BT if it’s not as energy efficient as ANT+ and limited to only one device? Would the same limitations (one device only) exist with 4iiii’s Viiiiva ANT+ to Bluetooth Smart Bridge & Heart Rate Monitor or a similar device?

    • It’s just as energy efficient as ANT+.

      The reason companies are pushing Bluetooth Smart is because of phone compatibility. While ANT+ is on many Android phones, it’s not on the single phone companies care about: The iPhone.

      For Viiiiva compatibility, it would come down to Suunto and 4iiii’s working together. I’d see it more likely that Suunto would do something solo.

    • Niclas

      There are many reasons to push Bluetooth over closed technologies. Some of them are
      – Open, anybody can download specifications
      – Secure, authentication, encryption, privacy
      – Robustness, long CRC, AFH
      – Reliability, links are two way and that opens new possibilities
      – Coexistence with other wireless technologies is taken care off
      – Collocation and management when you put e.g. 20 radios very close in a cell phone
      – Royalty free
      – Price of components, there are billions of devices produced every year
      – Democratic organisation, 23 5000 members
      – High penetration in consumer devices
      – The road map for Bluetooth is very interesting and there are many exciting things coming for sports.


  32. SMH

    Thanks Ray for this review.
    Are there any rumours to include activity tracking into Ambit2 by firmware update? I think technically it is possible …
    I’m thinking to move from Garmin to Movestick becasue I broke strap om my old FR50 and now I’m using GarminFit on my Sony smartphone for tracking. But what relly disturbs me is number of bugs introduced by Garmin into GarminConnect. Seems they don’t know about quality assurance procedures for making software. Now I don’t have any cadence chart anymore, and as far as I see on their forum this is not only my personal trouble.

  33. EmHa

    No Vibration is very bad.

    But HR at swimming is great. I’ve a mio link. Works the mio together with ambit3 so i could use it for swimming with HR?

    • Hmm, I’m not sure offhand, I’ll have to test it in the pool to see if it does a check for the Suunto strap or not when in swim mode. But, because it’s beta I’m going to hold off there in case something changes between now and September (wouldn’t want you making a purchasing decision and have it be the opposite in the end).

    • Can

      And are they likely to release firware update to enable heart rate monitoring fo 2s ? I have a mio link and 2s

    • There’s pros and cons to doing that. The pros are obvious (it would help some people), but the cons are tricky. For those un-informed on the details (approx 98% of the population), it introduces a case where people believe that a regular HR strap will pair and function underwater – when it fact it won’t.

      This in turn increases support calls and causes frustrated customers. Ultimately, this is the primary reason why companies like Garmin and Suunto don’t enable it while swimming.

    • Can

      If new suunto belt will be selling separately , then they must be enabling it for ambit 2s as there will people willing to use it with the current watch.

      The thing is will it receive simultaneously from mio link which is not saving data but streaming instead..

      The watch firmware will probably might exclusively made for the brands hr strap.

    • Except the new HR strap only transmits Bluetooth Smart, not ANT+. Thus, it won’t work with the Ambit2. I’m sure it’ll simply list on packaging it’s not compatible with older units – completely normal.

    • Can Cakmak

      This is shame then..

      They are replacing ANT+ with Bluetooth and calling it a new generation watch when there is nothing radically new.

      For me the killer feature was heart rate monitoring in the pool and current product line is technical wise capable of doing it. But, as ambit 2s is being old with the so called new ambit 3 they will not be updating the firmware and not giving new features.

      Bluetooth replacment is good step forward but common it is not enough to ditch the current watches..

      who cares the facebook alerts, calling alerts as you will already have to take out your mobile from your packet to answer. Lets leave it bluetooth headphones, no need to see it on the watch.

      Still no optical sensor for heart rate monitoring, chest straps are not comfortable and probably in the pool it will be very less conveient than a optical monitoring wrist watch like mio link..

  34. ziri

    I’m interested in the smartphone capabilities but I’m an Android user. What are Suunto’s plans regarding Android support? If Android is supported, are they planning to make use of Android’s Notification API or is that iPhone only for now?

    I don’t really care that much about incoming email and messages but I’d love to be able to skip and pause songs from the watch rather than having to take the phone out of my pocket in order to manage it (I’m an inline skater and dealing with the phone with wrist protections is a pain in the ass). I know a Bluetooth headset can do that but I still haven’t found one which is comfortable, sweat proof and with good enough sound quality (all BT headsets I’ve tried have weird sound delays and pitch shifts which annoy me to no end), so I always end up using wired earbuds.

    Anyway, I already own an Ambit 2 but the 3 doesn’t seem to be worth an upgrade for now (I’ve had the Ambit 2 for 6 months as of today). I’m also looking forward to Google Wear; so far no GW device can match the Ambit’s ABC capabilities but I wouldn’t be surprised if a new device tries to do so in a year or 2.

    • Alan

      +1 on Android support. Would love to know where they stand on this. Android has close to 80% mobile OS market share. Time to get with the times, Suunto.

      link to gsgtelco.com

    • I’m getting clarification on the Android piece, hang tight.

      That said, don’t use 80% mobile OS market share, it’s a non-relevant number. Companies instead look at adoption within their target market space. So using that 80% is inclusive of cheap phones sold in China where the consumer is never going to buy an Ambit3 (or any other device).

      Fwiw, Android market share to DCR sits at 28% for the past 30 days. In general, since this is the target audience, it’s probably pretty indicate of the actual mobile share for this market segment (actually, it might be a tiny bit high because I tend to get slightly more technical users here who sometimes prefer Android).

    • Alan

      Fair point, well made.

      Out of curiosity, what’s the iOS share for DCR over the same period?

    • iOS is 69.23%
      Windows Phone at 2.1%
      Blackberry at .3%

      And the rest (.1%) is random things like Symbian and ‘unset’.

    • Nathan Simpson

      Woohoo. I am part of the .3

    • Jay M

      Curious how you come up with these numbers. I am an Android user, but rarely ever read the site with my devices. I’m usually on the PC.
      I often find the site a bit (very small bit) annoying on the phone/tablet.

      Also, it seems like a lot of these products favor iOS. I would think the moment is hard to overcome. There’s a lot of iOS, so we’ll focus on iOS, creating more momentum, …

      Would love to see some real numbers about top line Android (GS4/5, M8,…) vs top line Apple (not the C). But it seems like neither side wants to really reveal anything at this point in the game.

    • The numbers are from Google Analytics – which is pretty much the industry standard for measuring site analytic data.

      For model numbers, some companies specify models, but Apple does not. So for Apple devices I get a breakdown of iPad vs iPhone, but not iPhone 5S. For most Android devices I get a breakdown of exact Android model (unless they’ve omitted it).

      Fwiw, if you come to the site on a mobile device you should get the mobile theme, which should make these fairly easy.

    • Phil B

      I don’t get the option for the mobile theme for DCR when I visit on my S3 and I find it a pain to navigate as well.

    • Ted

      Interestingly on my iPhone 5 I always get the desktop mode of your site. When I go to the site via Twitter post like this morning to read this post I get the mobile view.

    • Very odd. If you go to the page normally (not from Twitter) and scroll to the bottom do you see an option to switch to mobile mode? If so, does that ‘stick’ the next time you return?

    • Ted

      Yeah it does stick. And if I go in private mode I got mobile view. I cleared my cache and up in return got mobile view. I must have switched to desktop in the past and Safari just remembered that setting going forward until cache clear. So looks like it’s working as you intended 🙂

    • Daniel Reynolds

      Seriously, +1 for Android support.I’ll be blown away if they can’t figure out how to make an APK (Application) for this on Android. High end Android Phones costs almost as much as Iphones. 650.00+ for Android phones.

      Again on the font…Very kewl font. I’ve loving it.

      P.S. Please tell me the countdown timer is still at 99 hours?

    • Skoinas

      For all those who wonder why companies develop first for iOS before Android, one should read this: link to techcrunch.com

      As a developer myself, this sums up perfectly the frustrations in developing for Android. It’s simply a mess. It has nothing to do with how much the respective devices cost.

    • Daniel Reynolds

      A recent study also suggest more developers prefer Android over ios. Source link: link to androidcentral.com “.. pulling together data from more than 10,000 mobile developers (including some of you) across 137 countries.” “The strength of iOS isn’t surprising, even if its global marketshare of 16% pales next to the explosive growth of Android at 79%”

    • Availability of apps I want is the number one reason i’ll always be iOS. Everywhere in this market I look I see people (rightly perhaps) complaining that there’s no Android compatibility yet. Or at all. I’m aware of the various reasons, but what use is killer hardware (better than Apple at times) without the ability to use the apps and accessories you want to use? I wonder, what is the reason Android users don’t switch?

    • Eli

      Your numbers for Android use isn’t really high:
      link to deviceatlas.com

      I’m not sure you can use browser use to equal target market share. Using a smart phone for browsing the web is very different from using it to track an activity. The browser use is merging tablet and phone use which is a problem because tablets much easier to browse the web with from the bigger screen while also much less likely to be used to track athletic activity as they are kind of big to easily carry.

  35. Spood

    No Ant+ support is a showstopper and I believe it will hurt them, particularly as the current Suunto Ambit2 S/r etc does support Ant+

  36. Krispy

    Hey Ray,

    Would you say there is a chance that some of the not-hardware related new features (such as the daily activity tracking) will make it onto the Ambit 2 or should we regard it as EOL?

  37. Adam

    as Ray noted it correctly: the two most wanted features of vibrating alerts and memory storage increase are not addressed in Ambit3! HUGE mistake! Also, backwards incompatibility (no ANT/ANT+) is a strange move from Suunto, as this is the same series of product (incremental) and this should simply not happen. Another question that remains to be answered is battery life (both in GPS and no-GPS modes) with BT chipset? Normally in new model You would expect it to improve, but here I am worried we might be proven otherwise :-/

    Anyway, I just bought (2months) Ambit2 and am not expecting to buy any new device within 3y or so. I can easily wait for 4th or even 5th generation 😛

    • morey000

      As far as memory goes, their new app will take care of that, as you’ll be able to upload all your moves into your phone. I’m pretty sure my phone can hold a lifetime (literally) of moves and routes.

  38. Rob Montgomery

    Noooooooo. I was hoping for vibration alerts and it would have been perfect. Darn. Aside from bluetooth connectivity there isn’t much of a change. They could have at least gotten rid of the ugly nub on the side of it.

    • Olu

      Rob, they definitely dropped the ball on vibration alerts. I’ll be sticking with my 910xt for the foreseeable future.

    • Artur

      Dear Rob,

      Could you please give me a hint why this vibration is so important. Isn’t just “beep” sound alert is enough? Really I do not understand, or I have overlooked something. Thanks for clarification.

    • Adam

      “comfortable” is better word here I guess.
      Vibration alert is simply more comfortable and also reliable, speciallty in race conditions.
      Imagine having a mobile with only one ring tone and no vibration alert, and travelling in crowded bus with everyone having pretty much similar mobile. Now at one point half of mobiles go off. How do You know it;s Yours or not?
      With vibration alert and device on Your wrist, You always know it;s Yours.
      Plus, You can listen to music any loud You want.

      So, it;s just more comfortable then just beep.

    • For folks who run in the city (like myself), vibration alerts are fairly critical because it’s often difficult to hear the beeps.

    • Olu

      I would add practicality. Imagine biking in 20-30mph with traffic. In those situations, I can barely hear the 910xt alerts (which are louder then both the Fenix 2 and Ambit2s alerts).

      Another time is running/riding in a group. Most people don’t want to hear your alerts.

    • Adam R

      Given that the Ambit3 will be a bluetooth master, couldn’t Suunto (or someone) produce a coin sized vibration device that you could wear on your other wrist. Even better, they could have a bluetooth earpiece (perhaps just one) that would pump alerts directly into your ear.

      I am disappointed by the lack of Ant+, but if Suunto were to build an Ant+ translator into the heart rate strap, there is no reason they could not also componentize other features that people want. How about a visual alert to clip onto glasses? I am sure there are many other options.

  39. Millicent

    Hi Ray, could you please post a photo showing the connections of the HR sensor to the HR stap? The current “Comfort belt” works very well, but the connection (push buttons) Polar used on the “Soft strap” do not work all that well when you use the strap a lot in my experience. I would really like to see Suunto’s solution.

  40. Gary P


    Am i right in thinking that if you bought the HR version then you could get Run Cadence from the watch so would not need to invest in a replacement footpod for my ANT+ unit. And the watch would use GPS for pace and distance.
    Or has the problem of the footpod overriding the GPS been overcome?

    Would just then need Bluettoth cadence sensor for the bike to replace the GSC10.

  41. Update/FYI: I’ve received a correction from Suunto that the storage capacity has roughly doubled in the Ambit3 over the Ambit2. I’ve updated the post above, but just wanted folks to be aware here.


    • Adam

      now, if You’ll write that it has double battery life 😛 and I will start to regret not waiting heheh.

      Good to know they did listen to users at some matters.

  42. Gary P

    Is the Ambit 3 Sport Saphire really pink? Looks like a famle version?
    Or is it the same as the Peak version?

  43. Rafael Olea

    Hi Ray, thanx for the post. Nice job as always!

  44. José Luis Caballero

    Hi Ray, now it have NORMALIZED POWER??


  45. Peter

    I think it’s disappointing that they still use a heart rate strap while the technology is there to no longer do that.

    Personally I’m waiting for a watch that monitors the heart rate via the watch (as eg tomtom does) + has the ability to run tracks/courses (import gpx) + has the necessary basic stuff (speed display, interval training).

    Wondering which company will be the first to integrate all those features in 1 watch…

    • Semi Ennafaa

      Optical sensors seems to be less reliable than HR belts so I guess until someone find solution which would be as reliable as HR belt than we will see major shiffting to all in one watches. Also I think size is key factor..

    • Firstbeat, the company behind RR intervals-based calories count and training effect in SUUNTO and Garmin, is endorsing the Pulseon optical sensor. So I guess progresses are being made with accuracy of optical sensors. However I prefer a solution a la Scosche where I can wear the sensor on my upper arm. I do not like the integration in the watch that limits the use (for example edge and ambit simultaneous use). Let’s dream of an equivalent mini Viiiva with the bridge!

    • Kalle

      Small correction: Suunto used to use Firstbeat algorithms (with t6), but not anymore.

  46. Semi Ennafaa

    Hmm no vibration alerts thats not good :(( I wonder if it would be possible to make vibrating HR belt since BT communication works both ways I guess?

  47. Tom

    Is there an ‘auto multisport’ function on the Ambit3, like with the 910?

  48. Jay M

    Couple questions about HR straps.
    How interchangeable are they? Can I use any strap with my fob as long as it’s the same connection?

  49. gingerneil

    Ray – any comments on instantaneous pace and GPS accuracy? I have a FR220, and the instant pace is slow to update due to the smoothing, and GPS seems to have been a backward step from my 410. These arent show stoppers for the FR220 for me, but I could be tempted to switch over. I dont use Garmin Connect but put everything into SportTracks.
    What fields are available ?
    (if these things are just as the Ambit2 then I’ll head over to that rewiew…).

  50. Ramon

    Add vibration alert will be great.

  51. Wow! I was in such a hard spot picking between the original Fenix and the original Ambit, but I went Ambit and then Ambit 2, and I’m continually amazed by what Suunto is putting out.
    I do wish Suunto’s online service was as pretty as Garmin’s, but Suunto is definitely a strong company with quality products. No different here with the Ambit 3. I have to say I am totally thrilled by these new features you’re shining light on. My only disappointment is the lack of ANT+. I’m sure you’ve been talking to Suunto, but I would really have to think twice before buying an Ambit 3 – I have so many workout sensors that are ANT+ that I would have to replace… And as much as I love my iPhone 5S, I’m not certain that I want it to be that much more part of my workouts… I actually just use an old iPod Shuffle for my workout music because it’s so inexpensive and I wouldn’t die if it broke vs. my 5S.
    I did just recently by the Scotsche Optical HR (wow! best buy in fitness gear ever!!), so perhaps the move to bluetooth will come more quickly for me, but I am disappointed nonetheless that the Ambit 3 will not have ANT+.

    Hopefully Suunto will create an Ambit 3+ or something that includes ANT+ later down the line, or reintroduce it in 2015 with the Ambit 4.

    As always, thank you so much, Ray, for your terrific work!

    • I think this is a good point which the manufacturer’s don’t always address. The cost of moving from ANT+/Garmin to Suunto is WAY more than the price of the watch alone

  52. Gom

    Hi Ray. Nice Review !
    How about Size and Thickness ? is it exactly on par with Ambit 2 ?

  53. “I’m loving the fact that I can quickly and easily change data fields from the phone, versus past units requiring me to be at my computer. On the flip side, competitors’ units allow you to change that directly on the device.”
    – Just for clarification, you cannot change data fields on the watch itself???

    • Seems silly for that not to be a feature on a $400 smartwatch. Is it a software capacity issue or just lack of programming resources?

    • Adam R

      Sharing, I assume it is a design decision. The data field arrangement on an Ambit series watch is vastly more complicated/feature rich than on a Garmin. On an Ambit2 you can have 10 data screen, each with three main lines. The bottom line can have 5 separate items that can be stepped through without changing the top two lines. And that is available for EVERY different sport setting you have (I think 10 max, but I have never tried). So, potentially, hundreds of settings.

      It is not practical to set all of those on the watch itself. (Although, it would be handy to change a few things from time to time).

      Doing it on the web is much easier, albeit frustrating for the few times you are stuck without the data you want to see on one particular day.

  54. j chris s

    Garmin united ANT+ & Bluetooth in the FR620. Suunto dropped it – kinda sad if you already use ANT+ sensors…

    • It’s a bit different in the FR620, because it doesn’t connect to Bluetooth Smart sensors and your phone, just the phone (thus different Bluetooth mode).

  55. Ben Woodard

    Hi Ray,

    What about some of the “for explorers” features how are they for the Ambit3. In particular I would like: sunrise/sunset at current location, storm alarm, the ability to scroll back through the hourly temperatures and pressures not just have some unlabeled axis for things like, “how cold was it last night”.

    The ability to set routes and upload waypoints in the field from a smartphone WITHOUT INTERNET CONNECTION. Think backpacking away from cell phone coverage. The ability of the app to store and review many uploaded tracks until the phone gets into cell phone range.

    • From a feature-set standpoint it’s really identical to the Ambit2.

      I’ll be checking/validating things like offline connectivity down the road, but since the app is in beta it’s too soon to say.

  56. Brian

    I was initially super bummed when my Fenix swam to the bottom of Lake Powell. This makes it easier to swallow since now that opens things up to buy this one. Seriously nice looking device.

  57. Asaf

    A possible solution for those craving for vibration: buy the TomTom runner for $139 and run with both.
    You also get the possibility to create interval workouts. You even look more sophisticated:)

  58. Jose I

    The price seems a bit on the high end, considering it does not have built-in wrist HR. Especially for the sapphire and peak versions. Everything has Sapphire or Gorilla Glass these days.

    I don’t think these prices points are sustainable against the competition from rapidly evolving Android Wear and the imminent iOS wearable. There’s nothing in this Ambit 3 that can’t be easily duplicated in software on a more open, flexible platform.

    • I don’t disagree on the price piece. I do however think that many people underestimate how hard it is to make a fitness platform that actually works for endurance athletes. It’s one thing to re-create a basic running/cycling app that tracks movement, but to create a full featured app that runs on a smartwatch (or even just on the phone) is actually more difficult than most people realize. Which is likely why to date there have been few (none) good ones.

      That said, most of that platform has been highly segmented and fragmented. If Apple comes along with an iWatch and it offers a solid (waterproofed) platform, I suspect app development will take off. But even then I think it’ll take years to rival the functionality of a high-end Garmin or Suunto multisport device.

    • Millicent

      Agreed, that *is* difficult. I tried programming a steps counter for the Texas Instruments EZ430 Chronos Sports Watch. “How hard can it be to recognize footsteps from 3 axis accellerometer data?”, I thought.

      It turned out to be *very* hard and a lot of work. I didn’t even get close to a working steps counter. Many, many hours of work go into these things.

    • Jose I

      @ Millicent
      Yes, I agree, writing a step counter from scratch is hard. But unnecessary, as the work (math) has been done many times. And in the newest products, like the M7 motion co processor in iOS, i believe getting the step count is an API call.

      I also agree that the iOS and Android fitness apps for lack the integration and polish of dedicated hardware solutions like Suunto and Garmin, especially for endurance athletes.

      I think part of it is unlike the dedicated solution, there has been no desire among developers for one app to do it all. Each app has a market niche it is pursuing.

      There are great siloed features across several sports apps, but they don’t talk to one another or flow smoothly into each other the way they do on a good multisport watch.

      Even on the dedicated Suunto and Garmin platforms, there is separate code for running, cycling swimming, hiking, navigation and multisport events. It just happens to be very well unified through a common interface and design aesthetic.

      If Google Wear or the “iWatch” take off, we may see better integrated products, because much of ground work for integration will exist in the OS.

    • MK

      When I look at my crystal ball, I see the future where Apple takes over pretty huge part of current fittness / health app market. It doesn’t matter if results produced by Apple are correct or not (compared to Garmin, Polar, Suunto etc.). What matters is that if Apple produce hw & sw that looks sexy, is easy to use, gives data that looks correct enough and some good looking features, the masses are going to buy it. With the masses, the majority of it-sites support the phenomenon by giving great review scores without checking if the measured data is correct. Then business analytics add more heat to the soap, and eventually everyone will want iWatch even though it might not provide everything people want (features, data correctness). I bet that even many that now complain that Polar “keeps their fittness data as hostage”, are perfectly happy when Apple does exactly the same.

    • Olu

      As an Apple fan, I would love to think they could make a better training/racing device then Garmin, Suunto, or Polar, but I doubt it. I wouldn’t touch an iWatch for my training unless the data was accurate. I suspect that the multi-sport athlete demographic might buy the iWatch, but still use another device for racing/training if the data is not accurate.

    • Daniel Reynolds

      Let’s not forget about all the Athletes that don’t want a high resolution, multi-rainbow color watch that only gets 8 hours of battery life. lol.

  59. Chris

    Gah, the dilemma was bad enough before. “To buy or not to buy” an Ambit 2 was the question. Now the dilemma is worse, for me the Ambit 2 was missing an activity tracker for day to day. So thats solved, win in my book, great addition. But I go away on a hiking holiday (that I wanted the watch for) on the 1st of September, the alleged release date. So to wait and risk it being released and arriving on the correct day! Or to wait for the Ambit 2 prices to drop sufficiently to justify the difference in features. P.S Also an Android user who is interested in support for this device.

  60. Todd T

    Since it uses the phone as a display will it allow me to use my Wahoo RFLKT on my bike, and also swim and run with my phone in my jersey pocket during a tri?
    Trying to figure out options to use all BLE, Stages power, keeping phone safely stashed away yet have control and functionality at my wrist.
    Thanks for all you do for us!

    • No, it can’t project onto the RLKFT+. Displaying on the RFLKT+ would require Suunto to leverage the Wahoo Fitness API’s to do so. No doubt they could do that with Wahoo, but I don’t expect to see them do so.

    • Justin Fabian

      Are there any products (from any manufacturer) in the pipeline that will leverage the wahoo api to project their data on the RFLKT+?

    • I’m not aware of any. There are certainly apps doing that (on the RFLKT+, the Magellan Echo, and also the Casio STB watch) however.

  61. It’s almost irrelevant how good the Suunto Ambit3 is …. and I do like their products, but… No ANT+, no deal !!!
    When will they realize they can open up a new market segment if only they’d support ANT+????
    Maybe things will change if BTLE becomes ubiquitous, but for the moment… what am I supposed to do? Change my 4 ANT+ HR straps, my 4 powertap wheels, and all my assorted ANT+ sensors, only so I can use a Suunto??? No !!!! I will remain a garmin user until a Suunto supports ANT+ Simple as that.

    No ANT+ is a deal breaker !!!!!!!!!!!

    • Brad

      The Ambit is Ant+ so both the Ambit1 and Ambit2 support Ant+. Suunto does support Ant+

      The Ambit3 is a departure as neither Ant nor Ant+ is supported.

    • Tim RPM

      How odd. Ambit 2 supports ANT+. Get one of them!

  62. cj

    I am not a cyclist, so please excuse this ignorant question, but with the ability to use the phone as a display on your bike, does this potentially mean that there is no need to purchase bicycle specific gear; like the Edge series for example? Particularly with respects to those new to cycling or triathlons?
    I mean, I doubt that this set up could replace the Edge, but it would allow for a more economical set up and savings for new comers or those who have budget constraints.

    • Harvey

      Correct. There’s a lot of debate about the utility of doing this due to battery drain, the usefulness of a phone-as-map-source if your app requires data but you ride too far from the towers, the potential for sensor compatibility issues, the phone not being as optimized to the task as a bike computer, the potential to lose your phone to inclement weather or a crash, et cetera. None of these are deal-stoppers as plenty of folks use their phones in this way anyhow, so you’re absolutely right – it can be replace the “need” for a dedicated cycle computer. Ultimately, the cost/benefit analysis will be determined by your own specific circumstances.

    • David

      The other downside to using your phone as a display device is that it is illegal in USAT events to have a smartphone with you.

    • goughy

      Same for events in Australia too. No phones allowed, no excuses. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s near world wide. There may be the odd event that allows it, but not enough to make using your phone on the bike as a viable option.

    • Do remember however that most cycling events and running events (non-tri) don’t have such restrictions. Further, training doesn’t have such restrictions either.

  63. Anton

    I’m dissapointed and happy at the same time. Dissapointed because of the lack of workout support. I use it pretty much everyday on my Garmin and it’s something I cannot live without. It’s also disappointing that they didn’t manage to remove the GPS chin which, for me, renders the activity tracking useless as I don’t consider the ambit to be a daily wearer. The lack of vibrate notifications is also bad.

    I’m happy though that my Garmin Fenix 1 is still standing strong in today’s competition despite being several years old. I see no reason to buy something else right now.

  64. rabbit

    Still waiting for a garmin fenix 3 with color display, using ant+ ant bt at the same time, more memory, map and routing capability, stable fw and better gps accuracy (garmin, please no mtk gps chip).

    Ok, I want it for hiking/biking/mountaineering- not for sports

    we will see, what the august will show us….

    • Tiktara

      For me, just with a decent GPS (rather sirf than mtk) and a stable-since-first-release firmware, they got me for their first Fenix3 unit. The rest of the stuff (apart from HR while swimming) is, imho, worthless payload.

  65. Tim Grose

    > Thus making the Ambit3 the only watch on the market today that can do both swim lap/distance/stroke metrics and heart rate recording

    I have been trying a Mio Link placed next to a FR620 in the pool and am getting some sort of HR trace. I haven’t got a FR910 right now but maybe it can do same? If so might contradict your statement (well if you consider the HR “strap” from a 3rd party as “OK”).

    • Yup, all the Garmin’s can (usually) get reception with a Mio Link directly next to the watch. I’ve done that on many of them. The challenge though is that with the FR910XT and Fenix2 (like the Suunto Ambit2), once you’re in swimming mode it disables the ability to connect to a heart rate sensor. Thus, it’s a case of picking which one you want: Swim lap/stroke/distance metrics or HR metrics while swimming (just time/HR).

    • morey000

      Will the Ambit 3 work with my bluetooth Mio Link while in swim mode? Or is the “HR in swim mode” interface somehow unique to the Suunto HR device?

      Or even better… I’m hoping for a firmware update to the Ambit 2 that just allows this.

  66. J.Griffin

    Like others, you lost me at no vibration alerts. Big time deal breaker for me!! Not to mention NO ANT support, and thus having re-purchase sensors. Looking like my F2 will have to carry me for a few years, until the next leap in fitness wearable hits.

  67. Tobias

    Will the HR-strap have enough storage capability to hold 90 min of HR-data from an ow-swim (for example a IM-swim)?

    • Tobias Östlund

      Found the answer myself on offical Suunto Ambit3 page. There is space for 2 hours of HR data!

  68. santi machimbarrena

    Regarding field customization: Does the Ambit3 allows to customize the Home screen fields?
    I find really frustrating in the Ambit 2 that although I can customize any sport screen, the Home (date/Hour/lower field) is not able to be changed, specially the lower field

  69. Millicent

    Does the Ambit3 have an option to calibrate a foot pod using a numerical value? The T6c had that option and I used it a lot (different shoes, different values).

    I run a lot in dense woods and in the rain and GPS signal coverage is not always adequate, but a properly calibrated foot pod is perfect (well, it is for me), so I really miss this numerical calibration function it in the Ambit 1. (Calibrating for a particular pair of shoes now has to be done by altering the distance of a previous run in the log book, but that is a bit of a complicated calculation, I prefer to simply enter a known correction value).

    • JoggwithoutAmbit

      you should know: Suunto in former years did another job than today. Means: When they changed the model t6 into t6c … they gave an upgrade offer … never since last year (no upgrading offer for all the Ambit1 buyers, and now – although most of the customers want vibration alerts – nothing). Of course they doubled the memory amount … but in comparison to other brands not that big point … And therefore I do not believe in numerical calibration functions you want but Suunto …
      Joachim, a former big fan of Suunto and still owner of Ambit1 (want to sell it for 222 Euros … no chance), GPS-Pod and some t6 models.

    • Kalle

      Joachim, do you happen to know by any chance if Garmin offered a discount for Fenix1 owners when they introduced Fenix2?

    • No, they didn’t. Every once in a (long) while Garmin will offer a $25-$50 rebate if you send in your older watch and buy a new one, and usually that’s in concert with sending in the older watch to a charity – Girls On The Run.

  70. Tisztul_A_Visztula

    Why to be happy with HR data if one can see them only with a time lag? It will not help the training, just the record keeping.

    And why not market players just simply add a channel of 5 kHz to their watches and their straps to capture HR data in realtime while swimming? Some Polar straps transmit on 5kHz and some both on 5kHz and 2.4gHz. So both Garmin and Suunto could set up a watch with 5kHz&2.4gHz, either the latter is BT or ANT+. So why not? Huh?

    • Olu

      Of course it will help with training. Even in retrospect, confirming your aerobic, tempo, threshold paces will be VERY helpful to a triathlete.

      Would live HR data help somewhat? I’d say yes, but that would require notifications while swimming. That’d be pretty hard without vibration alerts…just sayin’.

    • Tisztul_A_Visztula

      I meant to check HR at the turns giving up fast flip ones.
      It’d need just half a second or so to have a glance on display, while doing a lazy turn.
      I guess now retrospective means that at the turns you need more than one second to arrange that watch get HR data from the belt/strap. So it is more than a lazy turn. It means real interruptions.
      Am I wrong, did I miss something?

    • Olu

      Yes, if that’s how you plan to use it then using their HR strap and burst recording wouldn’t work. In fact he more I think about it, I’d probably use it in a similar fashion (but not during turns). It would be nice to check the HR in-between intervals which is anywhere from a few seconds to 30 seconds during my sets.

      Two options:

      1) Make a request to Suunto that they display the current (or most recent) HR 1st and record the historical HR data in the background.

      2) Use an optical wrist sensor.

  71. Ham Mohd

    Hello Ray,

    Does this new heart rate strap from ambit3 compatible with ambit2 ?. I would like to see the heart rate monitor for swimming available for the ambit2 too.

    • Ilya Zakreuski

      No. New Suunto strap is Bluetooth only, while Ambit2 is ANT+ only and does not support Bluetooth.

    • No, it’s a Bluetooth Smart strap, whereas the Ambit1/2 requires an ANT+ strap.

      (Edit, oops, my comment I forgot to press publish and by time I did someone else already answered…thanks!)

  72. Pete

    I’ve been a long time Garmin user, but I’ve had a lot of issues with my 910xt with crashing and freezing. This is almost enough to make me jump ship. I just really wish they had vibrations. For now I’ll wait to see what Garmin comes out with later this year to replace the 910xt. My previous Garmin watches were much better than the 910xt, so I’m hoping the issues are a fluke.

    • Harvey

      I would guess it is – nobody in my circle of triathletes with the 910xt are experiencing anything similar, including me. And believe me, they’re a vocal bunch so I’d know.

      Safe to assume you’ve already tried factory resetting and similar trouble-shooting measures?

  73. Rob Montgomery

    When will this be available on Clever Training for preorder?

    • They’re working through that with Suunto. Suunto has/had asked all retailers globally to not list units yet for pre-order. Once that changes though, CT will definitely be available. They have placed their pre-order though so they’ll be units at release once they’re allowed to list them.

    • Pedrotaxi

      Hi, do you know if there will be the posibility that peoplw can follow my live tracking via the app or Movescount?
      Thanks, good preview

    • No, it’s not in the cards today. Down the road Suunto could certainly add it via an app update and device firmware update. But not today and/or for launch.

  74. Grant

    Hi Ray

    Great overview. Just quick question with regards to the phone camera function. How did you manage to take footage on the bike if the phone is mounted to the stem with the phone’s cameras either pointed down to the road/stem or sky/selfie. Seems fairly impractical and useless function on a bike.

    • In this case I used the Wahoo case which allows a quick quarter-turn to detach and take a photo.

      That said, I see it actually as two different things. First is the ability to have it act as a bike computer. And second, but potentially separately if you want (and how I would use it), is the ability to capture photos as you normally might on your ride and then have them integrated into Movescount. I suspect that the second scenario will be the most popular/common (since it’s what most people already do today).

  75. Will the new HRM work with the ambit 2? Would love to get heart rate data on my ambit.

  76. Millicent

    So do I understand correctly that there currently is no Android support for the Ambit3? It would be convenient to be able to change settings on the watch via an Android app. (..or on the watch itself).

    Moveslink running on Linux, and support for locally processing training logs without having to upload them to Movescount are other wishes for a small crowd that won’t matter enough to move a company to act. OpenAmbit for Linux is a promising development though.

    BTW for the website statistics, I only read this site from a PC, never from my (Android) phone.

    • roli

      There will be a new app for android in december

    • The Android app is scheduled for “Next year” (direct from Suunto team responsible for it). I’ve asked for clarification if that means “January 2015” or “December 2015”, or somewhere in between.

      As for website stats, I was only referring to mobile. Desktop is separate.

    • gingerneil

      This is awful news. Garmin made this same mistake when they released the FR220 – but at least they followed the release quite quickly with the Android app – sounds like Suunto will be months behind…. Puts me out of the game.

    • Millicent

      Thanks for the answer Ray. What a disappointment. I won’t count on it that Suunto will realize Android support in 2015, after the experience with the promised swim functions for the Ambit 1 that never came.

    • Antti

      Defintely, this is a major setback. Before reading this I had already decided to get the device but now I have to do some planning. After all, I have neither Windows nor iOS. Now I have to put all my hope on OpenAmbit.

    • Antti

      Thanks for pringing up OpenAmbit, Millicent.
      I didn’t know about the project, and have been looking for something like that.

    • Bart

      No Android support at release is huge dissapointment. Hope Suunto reads this blog.

    • Menno

      Yeah, sometime in 2015 is too long to wait for Android support. Was all set to get the Ambit3, but that changes things. Might have to go Fenix2 after all then.

  77. AngeloM

    Tanx for the in depht preview (as usual).
    So, there is no possibility at all for winphone users ?
    In this case, I’d better to look for a discounted ambit2 ? ( I only have an old heart rate monitor ant, but it would not be a problem to change)

    • Correct. If I’m keeping straight my conversations, there’s a limitation right now on WP8.1 around the Bluetooth modes that would be required to complete the streaming of data piece.

      On the bright side, given Nokia is headquartered just down the street from them, there are many WP users in the area – which might help long term.

  78. Are there any announcements of Suunto regarding support duration with firmware upgrades yet?

    I have a Ambit1 and was very annoyed that the support with firmware upgrades (without any technical reasons) was stopped 1 to 1.5 years after selling it.

    You can’t get a bigger memory, a faster processor, better battery or vibrating alerts by firmware updates. But you can get better workout support, bluetooth 4.1, better notifications, … by firmware updates.

    In the past I was always waiting for the new Suunto model to spend hundreds of Euros and was disappointed when no new model was announced. In the last two years every year a new model was announced and didn’t buy every one. From a product, which is much more expensive than competitors I expect software upgrades for 3+ years. The Ambit platform is now grown up and I expect continuity and not a “left behind” version every year.

    So please Suunto make an announcement as solid as the announcements of release dates about the guaranteed future of hardware (unused processor power and unused memory) and software support duration for the Ambit platform.

  79. Bluetooth/HR Swim – will the bursting of data after coming out of the water work with other Bluetooth receiving devices? or will it only EVER work with the ambit3? (PS Garmin own the technology via Dynastream I think, well they own Dynastream at anyrate)

  80. Josep


    Do you know if new SUuNTO HR STRAP contains accelerometer, cadence, ground contact time, and vertical oscillation like Garmin Fénix 2 have?


  81. Peter Gaboury

    Sleep metrics ? If yes, auto detection or manual ? Thanks

  82. robert black

    Mr Suunto if you happen to read this, please add vibration to a future unit. I chose a foreunner 610 rather than the Ambit 2r because of this omission. A couple of reasons exist for me. 1, I’m a bigger guy and don’t particularity want to draw attention to myself weaving through pedestrians in the daytime, 2 if i get up really early, say 4am there is no traffic or pedestrians to worry about so i pop in my headphones.

  83. A

    I love how you previewed Ambit 3 ahead of Suunto , they don’t even have any announcement on Facebook or on their website about Ambit 3. The marketing team at Suunto need to be axed :).

    In term of Ambit 3, a little disappointed in the lack of ANT+, but I can see that BT LTE is a future, and I don’t mind to buy replace my Garmin GSC-10 with a BT one, but I totally understand that other people are frustrated about missing ANT+.

  84. Martin

    Any idea if they’ve improved their handling of waypoints (“points of interest”)? Previous Ambits were limited to 100 waypoints, they didn’t include elevations, you couldn’t import them from gpx files – you had to create them manually in Movescount, they had to be in decimal degrees, etc. For those of us that use these devices for mountaineering and backcountry navigation these were annoying limitations.

  85. Bob

    Thanks as always for the informative preview.
    I am quite happy (mostly) with my Ambit 2 and still use Ambit 1 as well (main bonus for Ambit 2 is longer battery life and more options for GPS sampling rate). Nothing I see in the Ambit 3 (other than much more storage) inspires me to think about getting an Amb3. If I was still swimming a lot, HR recording during swim would be huge. BT is not a factor for me at all, although all you connected people might think otherwise. Ant+ gets the job done for me.
    So I am quite content not having to stress about whether to spend the money or not. Not!

  86. Nick

    Great review, as always. Sounds like a great watch, but very disappointed they have not included vibration alert, that will be a game changer for a lot of people.

  87. Stanislav

    Are there any improvements in navigation features of Ambit3? Battery life?
    Most importantly, how long would it survive with 1 sec GPS refresh and with 5 sec GPS refresh?
    Also, others asked about this, but I’d like to ask again because this might be a killer feature for outdoor explorers – would there be an ability to make changes to the route or add waypoints on the phone while being offline and upload them to the watch? That means the phone app for Ambit3 must support downloading maps in advance, otherwise it won’t be useful for the target audience of Ambit3 Peak.

  88. Skoinas

    Ray, thanks for the great review. Over all, I was very excited about this watch until the “no vibration alerts” (still) and no custom workout feature which are both too key for me.

    As for the drop of Ant+ sensors and the embracing of Bluetooth only, I think that is great move. I feel sorry for those with Ant+ accessories, but it’s becoming clear that those who have supported Ant+ are the losing side, like those who supported HDVD over BluRay.

  89. Gene

    Will the watch now be readable as a removable USB drive, instead of reliant on Moveslink?

  90. neil rosson

    I must say i’m disappointed with this release, I’ll wait for the review but it seems Suunto have gone for gimmiky features that probably aren’t going to be much use apart from the swimming heart rate & improved storage. No improvement to battery life, no vibration alerts, no proper interval workouts. They drop ANT+ so you could sync it with a smart phone I mean i always saw Suunto as an endurance adventurer watch & ok i get it its a cool feature to be able to display stuff on a phone but who is really going to cart a smart phone around? It’s only useful if you have a bike & even then your better off with a bike computer because a smart phone will not last long battery wise. I hoped they would have gone for a redesign of the watch with an option of softstrap as much more comfortable & practical to use in the mountains. All that moaning aside i do realise that releasing a watch every year you can’t produce a completely new watch but imo they could have added proper workouts that all athletes would get use out of i think really this is the only reason somebody would go for Garmin instead & surely this software improvement could have been added to the Ambit hardware.

    • John R.


    • Sorry, I don’t understand why everone is complaining about vibration alerts. For which purpose?
      Better workouts yes ok, but this is a software thing Suunto hopefully fixes also for Ambit 2

      The bluetooth is a gigant step forward and adds many new possibilities. Without it I wouldn’t even think about buying it. And more memory for supporting larger firmware and hopefully a longer time of possible updates is also a must.

    • John R.


      Are you serious? Outside of using it in noisy envrions, t’s called respect for others. When you’re at the gym, or in a race, or working out with others, do you know how annoying it is to constantly hear the beeps of several others? Why would you do that yourself to others?


      It’s not a software issue. It’s a hardwear issue as Ray has said and obviously we’ll have to look forward to the Ambit 4 if they address it.

    • Yes, I’m serious. At the gym or at the race I don’t get any messages. And if, the sound of the mobile is more annoying. It is a nice to have for me.

      Why is a hardware change needed for better workouts?

    • neil rosson

      Bernhard, maybe I’m missing something but what new possibilities does Bluetooth offer that are of actual use? to help you train or help in a race situation or how does it support you if you are in a remote place better than Ant+?
      Maybe better workouts is a software issue I don’t know, but really it should be there already, if they are able to add it, will it be well thought out & integrated or just some half arsed app add-on? Maybe its better to wait for release of the watch to know more. I really like Suunto but after using Garmins advanced workouts alongside sport tracks I would’t consider one of there watches unless they match or bettered it.

    • When I’m on holiday I don’t have a computer with me to upload data. I can charge with 230V but I don’t have a computer with installed movescount.
      It is also technically possible to do live upload while race or training.
      I use my Ambit not only for training, also for daily use. And then the competetor is Android Wear. I don’t need to speak, navigate or order pizza with my watch but getting messages on the watch is really nice.
      And with bluetooth there is the possibility to use the HR and other utilities with other Apps on the mobile.
      Watching the workout on google maps during the workout is also nice.

    • Semi Ennafaa

      Well we are getting on crossroad.. in the past most sport testers were mainly focused on performance tool for athletes. Now with so many new functions many companies sacriface this approach to please main techie crowd. I dont have any problems with new functions but only if all main purpose functions working on 100%. Ive had all brands of watches and setting intervals on Suunto is really dissapointing. I mean intervals is main excercise to improve performance.Thats first thing they should do. No vibration is big deal if you run when listening to music and I really like that on Garmin Fenix. I hope that Suunto will offer us finished product not like Garmin and Polar and fix intervals (i guess vibrations is hw issue and Suunto wont be able to fix it with this generation of Ambit)

  91. JoggwithoutAmbit

    Let’s see how Suunto’s Ambit3 apps looks on the iphone in comparison to Apple’s own apps next year … not to forget: “Ambit3 watch” itself to “iWatch”. The market is “rolling”…

    • morey000

      Sorry Ray, this isn’t really about the Ambit 3. But if you’re (Jogg…) expecting the Apple iWatch be a well sorted out multi-sport GPS watch, that counts laps, does OWS, has built in GPS, can pick up your power meter, and has a supporting web site that uploads workouts, downloads FIT and gpx files, and shares with Strava… good luck waiting. I suspect that market is far too small for Apple. Sure, through apps, you’ll be able to use it as a running/cycling watch…but only if you have your iphone with you for GPS… as well as an activity monitor. Apple is innovative and has a limitless development budget- but they live atop the same battery, processor and screen technology that the rest of the world has to deal with.

  92. What does all of this mean for Battery Life… Ambit2 has terrible batt life???

    • I don’t understand. The Ambit2 has arguably the best battery life of any GPS watch out there. The Fenix2 equals it, but the Fenix2 is unable to record ANT+ data in UltraTrac mode, whereas the Ambit2 is. Thus, I’d say that the Ambit2 does indeed have the best out there.

    • Tobias Östlund

      Specifications on Suuntos website claims three modes of GPS recording rate for Ambit3, 1/5/60 sec. With a battery life of 16/24/50 respectively, thats great I think!

  93. Bart

    Have just bought an ambit2, should I take it back wait 4 weeks and buy an ambit3 ??

    Thank you.

    • Gene

      It would appear from this review that unless you want the new Bluetooth capability and the ability to save HR data in the strap during swimming, that you’ll be plenty happy with the Ambit2.

    • Depends on the price you paid.

  94. Jamie

    Will you post fresh product buying page links the day of/preorder, Ray, so we can help support your site/reviews? Ambit3 seems perfect for me. Thanks!

    • Yup, as soon as Suunto permits pre-order sales for vendors, I’ll add links and post a comment (so those with comment notifications will get a heads up). Clever Training has placed pre-orders already, so it’s more of a formality into when Suunto will permit listings.

      Thanks for the support!

    • Jamie

      Thanks Ray! Looking for it! Can’t wait to get it on my wrist & get some miles in!

  95. Lionel

    “Now, the only catch here remains the actual heart rate strap. I’ve always had issues with keeping the heart rate strap on my chest while swimming. In particular when I push off the wall, it often ends up down by my waist. No matter how hard I tighten it. I’ve tried putting it on my back, twisting the fabric, all the usual tricks. In the case of the above swim I was fixing it every few laps and pushing off very gently (not realistic).”

    You can sew extra straps over your shoulders with press buttons to lock and unlock them…

  96. Elpadre

    Thanks for this nice pre-review
    Question : any chance that suunto release a small Bluetooth dongle to clip to ambit2 to be able to sync moves wirelessly ?
    I suggest lobbying suunto for this so that we could sync to movescount without PC, using new smartphone app. Would also avoid having customer angry to have recently buy an ambit2 just few weeks before a real improve of what I consider as a main weakness of this marvelous watch.
    All ambit2 users should post this request on suunto web site !
    Cheers to all of you

    • No, I don’t see that as realistic. Like any other piece of technology item, things do eventually move forward hardware-wise.

    • Elpadre

      I was just thinking of something like “Movestick Mini” used for Quest or M5 watches, but on the opposite. Technologicaly possible : Instead of the USB cable that you clip on the watch, this dongle would clip on the watch, powered by the watch. Sort of ‘plug-ing’ additional hardware feature.
      Who knows ?
      thank you for your answer anyway.


    • Technically speaking they could actually do that with their new HR strap. Though, realistically it would cut into their sales of the Ambit3, so I don’t see that happening.

  97. Daniel

    Will the Mio Link work with the ambit3 in the pool?

    • George

      Is there any chance Suunto would integrate the heart rate monitor to the watch it self, something like the SmartRun?

    • Not immediately, I think long term likely. But the majors (Polar/Suunto/Garmin) are all probably waiting for things to mature a tiny bit more there.

    • It’s something I’ll test upon release, but I don’t want to give an answer now (either way) in beta until they finalize things.

  98. Roger

    Lasts devices seems to be abandoning ANT+, it’s ANT+ diyng?

  99. Glajda

    How does switching to Bluetooth affect battery life? I hear ANT+ is a bit more efficient. What does it mean in real life?

    How is bluetooth reception compared to ANT+? If you put your body between the watch and the belt, with ANT+ you lose reception. With the new Suunto belt this wouldn’t be an issue as it has a buffer anyway, but I’m just interested if it’s any different with bluetooth.

    • The difference between Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ sensors is negligible and the same in most situations. The reception is generally pretty similar as well. The signal reception in far more dependent on how a given company designed their antenna and how much power they supply. Both technologies can easily work the length of a football field in the right situations (Adidas has actually done just that on both sides), and can easily fail as little as a foot or two with the wrong antenna design (see Mio Link).

  100. Piotr Sko

    Is there any news on Suunto implementing Fenix 2 like Running Dynamics functions (ground contact time, vertical oscilation)?
    I understand these would require a HR strap (or simply additional strap) with accelereter or special foot pod? Or am I wrong and this is just a matter of software to run on the current accelerometer build in the watch?

    • I’ve heard of no plans there. Doing so accurately would require placement either in a specialized footpod, or in a heart rate strap.

  101. RV

    to ray about activity tracker
    hi ray, I quite don’t get it, does the ambit 3 count your kcal of your daily movements (everything you do except exercising)?

    this youtube at minute 7 seems to say no..

    link to youtube.com

    but the screen on the ambit3 seems to say yes (watch time 14h29 on friday 11/7)
    have a look, tell me what you think


    • That particular feature is still in a bit of flux as far as what metric exactly will be shown. It’s changed a bit already in the last month, and I suspect we’ll see the end-state change a bit further over the next 45 days.

      As noted in my post above, as of this exact moment distance/steps aren’t enumerated as such, though the impact of that movement is accounted for. Again, the reason why the answer is muddy is they’re simply working through that still.

  102. Daniel Reynolds

    AWESOME! I just googled and this and found your article. Thank you! I’m so glad you’re doing the review…again.lol

  103. Kaan

    Thank you for the review!

    I assume Ambit 3 is compatible with Wahoo Tickr Run. Albeit,
    do you happen to know by any chance if “Running smoothness” data such as stride rate, vertical oscillation, ground contact time, and running cadence could be received/recorded and displayed by Ambit 3?

    • Yes, it’s compatible from a HR standpoint. I haven’t tested to see if it’s compatible from a stride sensor standpoint (as the TICKR RUN broadcasts itself as a BLE stride sensor). This would enable cadence (though, keep in mind the Ambit3 natively gets cadence from the wrist – no strap required).

      It is not however compatible with the Running Smoothness data. That would require both Wahoo and Suunto work together and Suunto to implement Wahoo’s API’s. I doubt that’ll happen as that would mean folks would be buying Wahoo straps instead of Suunto straps.

  104. Michael

    Maybe this was answered before, but I didn’t find it: What is the capacity of the HR belt’s storage? Will it cover a 2 hour swim?

  105. Andreas Schulz

    Uh, how I hate myself for just having bought the Ambit2. Seems to be a nice upgrade in regards to connectivity and compatibility. I would have loved to have the function of pairing to an iOS-device and therewith beeing able to save tracks/moves on the go. As I plan to go to Asia for 3 weeks and don’t want to take my laptop with me.
    Well… as said, nice upgrade.

  106. Adam

    All new devices go into direction of social media and sharing. I guess it is somehow verified by all vendors and is the trend today. Unfortunately I am on the other end and instead of all this “connectivity” features, videos, photos, sharing, uploading, notifying stuff etc, I would prefer easy to use, robust, reliable, super-long-battery-life, huge-memory device which… I will never get I am affraid :-/

    Masses are the decisive voice, not the athletes!
    Just interesting thing to mention: I went for a trail run with one of the top runners in Greece past weekend (killer effort for me, easy run for him :-P) and as a pro athlete he was wearing simple Polar HR monitor and nothing else! He didnt even care for distance, elevation gain and other GPS data (not to mention other brand new statistics). Time and HR record was all he was looking for – an effort of desired difficulty over specific time period. He asked me at the end how much elevation we did and the distance but very rounded numbers were enough for him and he could guess them from his fatigue and time anyway.

    As someone mentioned before in comments: if Apple will release it’s own iWatch or whatever it’ll be called, it will be no1 device on the market! Even if it will be total crap in terms of accuracy and reliability. It will just be trandy and that’s it! I just hope this will not kill the correct trend that this industry should be heading…

    my 2 cents…

    • Adam

      I agree, more or less. I don’t use HRM, but all I need are accurate time and distance (and different permutations of pace derived from those), and a huge battery. Reliable elevation data would be great, because then I could disconnect from online logs alltogether if I wanted as I wouldn’t need the post-run elevation processing. But without a barometric altimeter, that’s pretty much impossible, and devices with the altimeter are out of my price range. I fear a world where all of the devices with a decent battery (10h or more) also come with a bunch of networking nonsense which I don’t care about but which I’ll have to pay for.

    • SergeyVDNKH

      910xt is the watch you’re describing, very reliable now and becomes affordable.

  107. Hello Ray!

    I just want to say that, in my opinion, trail-runners are the forgotten target market. I find very disappointing if Ambit 3 does not improve in zoom navigation (200m is not acceptable), waypoints and manage of tracks. Suunto offers high quality products which are also quite reliable since first versions of firmware (can not say the same of direct competitor) but they always “close me the door” of purchasing them because improvements on mobile phone connectivity and other (also in my opinion and with all respect) “banal” stuff doesn’t plug the big hole. Ambit was born as an outdoor GPS training watch (ideal for trail running they exhibit) but now, it goes on the direction of “snobbery”. They had three opportunities for arranging this crucial features (Ambit1, 2 and now 3 but…). It make me think that it is a product for trail runners (and other sports, of course) developed by people who are not trail runners.

    Thank you and congratulations for you great reviews 🙂

  108. Paul


    What are you giving up not having the barometric altimeter (Sport model) from a practical standpoint? Is it just the alpinist that benefits from the extra reading or would a trail runner find the feature useful and be worth the added cost?



    • Just slightly more accurate elevation/altitude information. I find the 2S quite good though, and I don’t think for the vast majority of people it’ll really matter.

    • Gene

      If you do not have the barometer, do you not also lose the weather prediction and storm alert functionalities?

  109. Christian

    Hmm, so it would be difficult for me to use an ambit 3 instead of my ambit 2 and ambit 2s because i using power2max power meters in my two bikes and i have no info if power2max switches to bt le in the near future 🙁

  110. Alex Burton

    All looks great, I have old t6, but after an upgrade – I’m surprised no watch that I know of has swim stroke/count plus gps etc yet or is that Ambit 4?

    • All the Garmin swimming watches count strokes per length/lap. And the Ambit 2/3 will give you strokes/minute as well, which if you simply drag your mouse over the line in the graph will reflect a given length.

  111. Zé Pedro

    The incompatibility with ANT+ is a deal breaker. The main reason I got the original Ambit instead of the Fenix was the ability to keep using the ANT sensors from my T6. The capability of downloading the exercises from the watch while on multiday bike races is great, but buying a low end PC is so much cheaper than replacing all my ANT+ sensors.

    Also, after the way Suunto treated the owners of the original Ambit with the firmware updates, I’ll believe there will be an app for Android when I see it.

    As a last note, my GS4 does both BTLE and ANT+ 🙂

    Thanks for the great preview.

    Zé Pedro

    • not12bhere

      As an Ambit 1 owner, I still have not gotten over how poorly Suunto treated their leading edge customers with Ambit1. I only bring this up becauase I would not count on an a functional android app anytime before Suunto has to bring out Ambit 4. They continue to deliver a product with insufficient memory and processing power at a premium price which then Suunto abandons within 12 months. Burn me once…

  112. Pedrotaxi

    Hi, do you know if there will be the posibility that people can follow my live tracking via the app or Movescount?
    Thanks, good preview

  113. cdmackay

    Is BT really that much of an advance over ANT+, for sensors?

    I had got the impression that BT doesn’t add anything, sensor-wise, it just takes away the ability to have a single sensor supplying multiple clients like we do with ANT+.

    The big use of BT is presumably for smartphone connectivity. I don’t mean smartphone sensor data use – as has been noted, many current phones have NAT+ too – but the ability for proper control and comms between phone and watch (whether you think that is useful or not).

    In an ideal world, we would have a watch that had both ANT+, for sensors, and BT for comms/control.

    It seems more of a cost/space/convenience tradeoff, with cost/space winning over the ANT+’s convenience for multiple clients.

    That’s what it is, but I am confused to see people saying that *replacing* ANT+ with BT is a good thing. Why is it?

    I get that adding BT for comms/control adds lots, but I don’t see what BT sensors add over ANT+, especially to the extent of dropping the latter when it can do something that BT sensors can’t.

    What am I missing?

    • Daniel Reynolds

      It seems to me that BT is what’s more popular and more devices run on BT than ANT. It seems like a good comparison would be HD DVD vs Bluray. Bluray won in the end.

      Source: link to thisisant.com

    • Olu

      Your analogy is flawed. HD-DVD and Blue Ray came to market around the same time and the HD-DVD collapsed quickly. ANT+ has been the standard for HRM sport-watches/computers and has been around for years. There are also many more ANT+ devices (especially high end) available then BT.

      This battle will not end so quickly and even if BT became the standard today, there are way too many devices that use ANT+ so it will be around for quite sometime.

    • Are there ANT+ devices outside of the fitness arena? (commercial devices, not “in theory”).

      What is the license fee difference between ANT+ and BT?

    • Primarily in the health arena, medical and also some in the elderly care areas (actually kinda a neat solution there by one company). I’ve seen a variety of presentations on devices in these areas at the ANT+ Symposium, but many are also listed in various ANT+ press releases on their site.

    • wildsau

      485 ANT+ devices are listed.
      look at link to thisisant.com

      my thoughts:
      From a runner, swimmer or fitness perspective, switching to BT seem to be less problems/costs.
      From a cyclist perspective i can´t understand Suunto´s decision at the moment.

    • Linking to smartphones easily without need for an adaptor is a huge benefit.

      Actually think this analogy is sound.

    • Eli

      The analogy may sort of work but not in the way you are all thinking. You do know that people who were buying dedicated movie playback machines were buying more HD-DVD players then Bluray players. Bluray still had the largest market share because Sony put a Bluray drive in the heavily subsidized PS3 so the PS3 market size overwhelmed the market.

      Ant and BLE are sort of in the same position as Ant is the market leader from the perspective of people looking at sensors and head units while BLE has the advantage of basically coming built in to all modern phones even if people aren’t buying the phone because of the BLE functionality.

      Ant does have an advantage over HD-DVD in that its not that hard to have devices support both Ant and BLE and is already established in the market. (HD-DVD didn’t have full support from the studios to get movies published in their format)

  114. Jeff Sanders

    If data can be transferred to your phone without being connected to Movescount inline for a couple of weeks I will be updating my Ambit to Ambit3. I like the swimming HR even if it’s delayed. Will be interesting to see what the final released product actually offers. Thanks for another great review

  115. Arno Vaa

    Ray, do you know the precision of the GPS unit? WAAS/EGNOS?

  116. Pedrotaxi


    do you know if there will be possibility that people(my wife) can follow my live tracking via app or Movescount?

    Thanks, good preview

  117. Pedrotaxi

    I´ve sent the same post twice. It´s already answered.

  118. I’ll answer my own question about the belt with Suunto info from there recent UK press release of today: “While swimming, your heart rate data is stored in the sensor, and when out of water, the data is transferred wirelessly to your Ambit3 Peak watch or Suunto Ambit3 Sport HR version, and the belt can also be purchased separately and used with the Suunto Movescount App or other Bluetooth® Smart compatible devices.” so just maybe that means that we can all buy one of these straps and then blast the data up to some app at the end of our swim set (with or without buying the Ambit)…potentially cool:-)

  119. Jess

    Hi! Do you think it´s worth waiting for? Im about to buy a new watch and have been looking into the suunto ambit2 s. So.. buy one now or wait? I´ve been using a garmin 310xt but now it seems to have giving up. Cant for ex connect to my heart rate strap:(

  120. Tom

    Thanks for another great preview!
    1. I agree with the many others that lack of vibration alert is a biggie. Not a dealbreaker for me, but it is so nice to have when swimming (I have my tomtom multisport set to buzz me every 4 lengths so I know it’s counting correctly). Also, i would think that if the watch alerts on, most people will want a vibration alert rather than beep every time you get a text/email/etc.
    2. I hope Suunto fixes the HRM strap swimming slide down problem. That’s obviously a must. Maybe add shoulder straps to hold from sliding down or will that look too much like a bra? maybe just shoulder straps that attach for swimming? food for thought… 😉

    • On #2, it’s going to be tough. It’s not so much an issue with Suunto’s strap, as the same happens to me with all HR straps I’ve tried. And no, suspenders is not an option. Ultimately, the correct option is optical HR at the wrist. Eventually we’ll get there…

  121. Brad Olwin

    The Suunto website states the Ambit3 Peak is compatible with the mini footpod, the GPS Trackpod and Ant+ speed and distance pod in the specs. I assume from your extensive (pre) review that this is a mistake. Kind of amazing that Suunto would make this mistake. I wanted to post a screenshot but could not figure out how to do it.

  122. Denis

    Link: link to suunto.com



    GPS track recording
    Integrated GPS speed and distance
    Suunto Foot POD Mini speed and distance
    Suunto GPS Track POD speed and distance
    ANT+ speed and distance POD
    Distance based autolaps
    Log recording rate 1, 10 s

  123. Jimlefkas

    I wonder if new Suunto strap is compatible to TomTom Cardio or other BLE devices.

    • It’ll transmit as a regular Bluetooth Smart HR sensor to Bluetooth Smart capable devices, but it won’t give the extra swim / backdated information to those devices.

  124. Tom

    Hi there awesome review, I have an ambit which has been great. But the last year I have got very frustrated with the altitude always being out and having to manually correct it. So if you are trying to train by meters climbed drives you mad.

    Is this issue solved with ambit 3 ?

    Thanks for your time cheers tom

  125. Pedrotaxi

    Hi, the last Transvulcania I worn my Ambit2 with GPS configured to log every 1 second, so the battery should have lasted 16 hours.
    But when I had ran about 14 and a half hours the clock turned off because lack of battery, how is that possible?
    When I realized that I had not enough battery to get to finish line, I tried to change the GPS log to every 5 seconds but couldn´t find that option on the clock. Can it be done, or can only be done from Movescount?
    Is that possible in the new Ambit3
    In that case I´ll suggest Suunto that next firmware must include this option.


    • No, only from Movescount. You might want to do what I do, which is to pre-create a sports profile ahead of time for the longer activities with a reduced recording rate.

    • Adam

      I really dont want to pound on You, since You have every right to be disappointed and angry, but going for a run so close to 16hrs listed as “upto” by vendor was pretty risky from Your side. All vendors will list their product’s battery life as “upto X hrs, depending on conditions”. This usually means about -15%, specially in mountain area where GPS signal can be weak or even drop.
      If You know You will run close to the battery limit, You should have start the race with proper setting from the beginning. As much as it sucks that You cant change it on the watch (fully agree with You here), I dont think it would change anything so late in time. Even if You would change this settign as 14th hrs, You would get much more – just too late.

      New Ambit3 will just allow You to change these settings through app on mobile (still not on the watch). And again, I am with You that it sucks! I hope some fw update will change that for all generations of Ambits.

    • Brad Olwin

      Did you use any lap counters (mile or km?) or did you have any beep reminders set for water or food? These will reduce the battery. The only way to get close to the stated battery life is recording with no lap saving and no reminders. I have been able to get 15+ hrs out of my Ambit.

    • Just as a minor note, this is more of the Suunto Ambit3 post. Since the issue sounds like it’s on the Ambit2, it may be more appropriate to consider a different post.

  126. Andy

    I’m loving the fact that I can quickly and easily change data fields from the phone, versus past units requiring me to be at my computer. On the flip side, competitors’ units allow you to change that directly on the device.

    Which devices are you thinking of above?

    Kind regards

  127. Arno Vaa


    Can data like GPS QuickFix or firmware updates be sent wirelessly from phone to unit? Apps?

  128. Arno Vaa


    Can data like GPS QuickFix or firmware updates be sent wirelessly from phone to unit? Apps?

  129. Greg

    The three big issues for me are:
    * Battery life of the watch.
    * Memory capacity
    * Vibration alert

    Until these are addressed I will have to stay with my t6d.

    They should go back to RS232 lithium batteries for the watch and get the GPS out of the watch and into a small pod with a rechargeable battery that you can clip to your shoulder/back/helmet for better reception.

    I want a watch that will outlast long endurance events and that can be worn all day everyday without constantly having to be recharged.

    • But there aren’t any GPS pods on the market today that are compatible with sport watches that last anymore than any of the watches anyway. Further, the market has more or less told companies that they don’t want to carry two devices.

    • Greg

      I can accept that, even if the pod stops at least the watch will continue functioning recording heart rate etc.
      The watch could also then switch to the foot pod.

    • Greg

      GPS pods used to be huge but they could now be made smaller than the watch and be clipped to shirt, helmet, bike, pack, etc and be rechargeable.
      Worth the little extra hassle if the watch itself will last for many months.

    • Greg

      Another bonus, it would make the watch itself thinner and thus more suitable for wearing all day.

    • Skoinas

      I think you are quite alone in your desire to both 1) carry an extra gadget with you every time and 2) have a watch you wear 24/7 for months straight.

    • Greg

      Sigh, maybe so.

      I wouldn’t use the GPS every time though. When I did I could even carry two for endurance events or get a replacement GPS halfway.

      I don’t want to carry two devices but better that than having the watch die before the end.

      Also I could take just one watch to work to use all day and when I go for a run over my lunch break.

    • Skoinas

      Greg, why is it so important to you to have a watch that can last months without recharging? What’s wrong with charging it for a few hours every week or so?

    • morey000

      or, for the size of a gps pod, you could carry a small USB battery charger. You can easily charge the Ambit 2/3 while running and recording. (it works. i did it for my last ultra)

      hey- I understand your desire, and it’s not without logic, but your request is in the minority.

    • Greg

      That’s just it, it won’t last a week if you’re actively using it. The GPS is too heavy on the battery.

      It would be great to have everything in the one device if battery technology was better (maybe someday) and if would be just as accurate.

      I don’t use my old GPS pods any more because they were too bulky and too heavy on AAA batteries. Smaller rechargeable GOS pods would make them more viable.

      I did find that those GPS pods when carried in the hand or worn on the wrist or attached to a belt were not as accurate on trails as they were when worn higher up or attached to a backpack. This is likely also an issue for in watch GPS worn on the wrist.

    • Greg

      Money000, so you held the Charger in your hand weeks charging the watch? That’s doable, I like to carry something in my hands to keep them from swelling, unless there’s scrambling involved. Usually I carry a water bottle.

      You don’t have issues with the cable connection? I have an Anker USB charger which would work. Still my T6D lasts a long time on one battery and I’m loath to give that up.
      Unfortunately while that watch’s battery always lasts the distance the memory often doesn’t.

      The new Ambits solve one problem but, for me at least,
      create a new one.

    • Greg

      ^^^ while charging

    • Daniel Reynolds

      Ya, my battery last a long time. I can go hiking for a couple days and end up having about 75% left when I return. I probably don’t have the watch on trekking for more than 3 hours. Even when I was deployed in Afghanistan, we still had access to power sources so finding a outlet isn’t and never has been a problem. I have zero concerns with battery life.

      Vibration: Eh. I’ve never had a watch that would vibrate so it’s not a deal killer for me.

    • Daniel Reynolds

      Thinner….I don’t know think it’s overly big. I’ve had a high end Seiko watch and that thing was heavy. Ever tried on a Citizen watch? Those watches are heavier than a Seiko. About the only watch you can get that’s lighter might be something a female would wear or maybe a very confident male with his super duper slim Movado watch, lol.

    • morey000

      Specifically; I left the charger in a drop bag. When I got to the aid station, I placed the charger in the front pocket of my hydration pack, ran the wire down my sleeve under my jacket and clipped it onto the watch. removed it at the aid station with a fully charged watch again. I did not have issues with cable connection or comfort (YMMV). I did not hold the charger in my hand, as I like hands free- but there’s no reason why you couldn’t.

    • neil rosson

      I like the idea of an external GPS that would have a larger battery life that could be used when needed ie for an ultra marathon & then just switch back to internal GPS for normal use.

    • Joel engström

      How about the Polar RCX5. It has an external slim gps.

    • Greg

      Daniel: The weight doesn’t concern me, I just think a slightly thinner watch, like the t6 series were, would make it more versatile and look less out of place in some situations. It would also fit more comfortably under cuffed sleeves.

    • Daniel Reynolds

      Hmm. I can relate on the cuffed sleeves. Wearing a Suunto Ambit 2 with a CK dress shirt is like wearing a one arm handcuff. That thing is impossible to hide. Not that I know what handcuffs feel like or anything….

    • Michael

      RS232 is a serial data interface. What you mean are CR2032 batteries.

    • Nick

      Did you have any issues with lack of memory for the race? How long was it?

  130. Niko Åkerlund

    Thanks for great preview!

    How is the battery life with iOS notifications? I’ve heard its little bit of a problem with Fenix2..

    I want to change my Ambit2 and Pebble to Ambit3.

    • For battery related questions I’ll test those once they have final software. As things would be in pretty big flux right now and it wouldn’t be entirely fair to quote an answer and have it change (either way).

      That said, with notifications today it’s been lasting many days (better than the Fenix/Fenix2/etc…), so I wouldn’t expect it to be drastically shorter. But again, things could change either way.

    • Niko Åkerlund

      Thx for reply!

      Thats enough info for me. Pre-order is in!

      Lack of vibration is only minus for me and its not deal breaker.

  131. Daniel Cox

    Cheers Ray – another great review and another exciting gadget!

    My intial queries are:

    1) Not sure if others have covered this but, does Suunto plan to allow download of basic maps e.g. Fenix-style etch-a-sketch of local area?
    I know connection to a phone might circumvent this, but for me it seems like the biggest drawback to buying the Ambit 3. Otherwise it covers nearly all the headline functionality of the Fenix 2 and V800 with the exception of LiveTracking.

    2) What is the battery life in Bluetooth Smart sensors like when pairing with this or any other watch? I’ve been using a Polar H7 HRM strap with my iPhone and found the battery runs down extremely quickly i.e. less than a week or ~10 hours of activity. This seems ridiculously quick and expensive compared to other protocols e.g. W.I.N.D.

    3) With phone notifications, presumably they remain on the screen until dismissed so if you’re constantly looking at your watch you’re not going to miss something even without a vibration alert??

    4) Does the watch give location in Lat/Long only or can you get other grid references (like with Fenix) e.g. Ordnance Survey grid references – since I live in the UK?

    Cheers and keep up the good work!

    • Thanks, here ya go:

      1) No, no download of maps

      2) Typically a Bluetooth Sensor is about 1-2 years. For your H7, something is broken there (simply put), I’d ring up Polar and get it swapped out. It sounds like your H7 may be actually staying on 24×7 and not going into low-power mode.

      3) Correct, they do.

      4) Here’s a screenshot of all the position formats: link to dcrainmaker.com


    • juan

      hmmm.. Ray how do you get notification to remain on screen while in the middle of an activity?..
      for me they do remain onscreen (little counter icon) only in time mode

  132. Greg

    Neil: Yes that would be good.

    How long does the Ambit last with the HRM is use but the internal GPS off?

    • For battery related questions I’ll test those once they have final software. As things would be in pretty big flux right now and it wouldn’t be entirely fair to quote an answer and have it change (either way).

  133. Mark

    I paddle in the dark. Can the light be on constantly. Also auto screen auto scroll. As hands are busy. Thanks

  134. Peter

    Everything I’ve been waiting for in a watch (don’t care about vibration alerts, and quite understand that it’s a relatively large bit of mechanics which would need to be added – rather have a smaller watch/better battery life). However, the lack of Android support is a show-stopper for me.

    I think you should make that clear in your reviews – you always refer to “smartphone” and these days that means iPhone or Android support. I only though to check because your photos all showed iPhone.

    Thanks for the good work.

  135. Matiss from Latvia

    Looks like a great watch BUT… will skip because of lack of Android support 🙁 stay with Ambit(1) …so sad

  136. Millicent

    I did very seriously consider buying the Ambit 3 and a new foot pod, HR belt etc, just for the convenience of no longer having to use 3 devices (Ambit 1, Polar S610 for HR underwater, Garmin Swim), and to be able to change settings and upload Moves via the phone. It would also be great not to have to start Windows every time for syncing moves. (Windows is only on my PC Moveslink, Ubuntu is for everything else).

    But without the Android support the cost does not justify the small benefit of having to use only 1 sports watch.

    In case the Ambit 1 ever breaks down, maybe the Ambit 3 – but only after I can read that the new heartrate-to-belt-connection is reliable. It looks similar to Polar’s Wearlink connections, and I didn’t get many hours of use out of Wearlink straps in the past.

  137. Fred

    I’ll be strongly interested for syncing my “old” 2S to movescount directly on my ipad or iphone.
    Actually, when i’m not at home, i need to bring small netbook PC to connect ambit 2S with the USB cable.
    Does anybody, know if the new Suunto Movescount App release will allow connection without the cable for Ambit 2S owner (I may buy a kit if needed)?

    • No, the Ambit2 doesn’t contain Bluetooth Smart and thus the phone can’t connect to it via Bluetooth which is what it uses for the Ambit3.

      Of course, technically Suunto could make some sort of kit and/or use their new HR strap to bridge that. But that’s a lot of software dev to do that, and all of which would ultimately undercut people buying a $500 device in lieu of a $70 device. Thus, most companies don’t tend to do things like that unfortunately. 🙁

  138. Matt

    Any idea if they will bring back custom pool size/length shorter than 15 meters or 15 yards? That is the current minimum on latest SW version 2.0.6 for Ambit2. For those of us in New York City gym pools or similar short hotel pools, a 15m/yd minimum can be a deal killer.

  139. Dmitriy

    I like new Suunto very very much. I bought both ambit2s and fenix2 about two monthes ago and liked suunto much more than garmin except 2 things – it has not connection to phone or ipod like fenix and it didn’t see HR in water like my old rcx5. I also prefer ble sensors to ant+ and have ble powermeter from powertab. I definitely will buy ambit3, but I didn’t like only one thing in it. I love my red besel of ambit2s red and want ambit3 red. I hate they not produce red besel anymore. What do you think – is it possible to remove besel from ambit3 and put instead besel from ambit2? They are the same? Thank you!

  140. Gunnar

    Just got to thinking about lack of vibration alerts. Only time I might miss vib alerts would be during my pool laps where I like to have it set to vibrate every 10 min.

    As far as phone to watch notifications (email, calls etc.) most of the time I will feel my phone vibrate close to the same time my Pebble smart watch vibrates to indicate a notification. Withe the Ambit 3 I suppose you can just check the watch when you feel your phone vibrate.

  141. Federico

    Hi Ray,

    I didn’t understand if the viiiiva HR/strap does retransmit an ANT+ power meter signal to the watch or not.


  142. Nitesh

    Hi Ray

    Your review is always a great informative read

    Couple of quesitons

    1. Would you suggest the Suunto Ambit 3 over the Fenix 2 (unless you are testing a Fenix 3 🙂 )
    2. Which one has a better hardware/software
    3. Which one is more reliable and more value for money


    • 1) I think it’s a bit too soon to tell between the two. Though honestly, it’ll really come down to which features you value more. For example, do you value ANT+ sensors or Live Tracking? Go Fenix2. Or do you prefer Bluetooth Smart sensors and swimming HR tracking? Then go Ambit3.

      2) Hardware wise both are very similar of solid build. I haven’t heard of anything easily breaking either unit from a physical standpoint. Software-wise the Fenix2 team is very quickly iterating (both in new features and fixing bugs). For the Ambit3 software it’s yet to be released/finalized.

      3) Value-wise the Fenix2 is cheaper, and likely presents more ‘value’ for most people. But again, that depends on what you value.

  143. Hello again! I live in Brazil and do trail running and ultras. I will go in September to visit London and Paris. I would like to take the opportunity to do an upgrade on my watch. Today, I use a Garmin Forerunner 910XT, but would like to know from you which I should invest ,in Ambit3 Suunto or a PolarV800? Considering that I do not like very much the interface of the Garmin Fenix2. Thanks again.

    • I think it’s probably best to see how things play out. As noted in the post, I think the time period over the next few months is probably a poor time to buy a high-end unit, at least until all the competitors come out.

  144. Is there any information if bluetooth is 4.1 or at least updateable to 4.1?

  145. Did the beta app with which you played support manual entry of moves not recorded with the A3? What about weight tracking? (Personally, these are two areas—the only two, given my needs—in which I find MovesCount lacking.)

    If not, was there anything to suggest the final, non-straw man version might include either or both?

    • Yes, you can manually record activities using just the new app, and not requiring the Ambit3.

      At this point I don’t see weight tracking, but perhaps that’ll change down the road.

  146. Nangariel

    Will it be possible to use a FYiiii or a similar unit together with the Ambit 3 in order to get vibration alerts?

  147. Hi
    I haven’t found any mention of this, will the ambit 2 get an update that will include the new functionalities of the Ambit 3? I’m thinking about the daily activity tracker, and also the new font that seems easier to read then the one used in the Ambit 2…

    • Daniel Reynolds

      +1 on the new font. That should be any easy firmware addition to the Ambit 2. Please advise.

    • JoggwithoutAmbit

      Look what they are doing regarding Ambit1: No more updates anymore since one year … but I wish you luck.

    • Daniel Reynolds

      Companies cannot always devote manpower to older devices. Phone manufacturers such as Samsung and HTC stop sending updates to older devices to devote attention to their newer line. Faster chips and different software require new coding so I can completely understand why they’re not servicing the Ambit 1. My gosh, Ambit 1 was around when I was still rocking a Palm pilot…things have changed.

    • Brian

      You were still rocking a palm pilot in 2012? That is style!

    • Yeah there’s also the different hardware between Ambit 1 & 2 (memory capacity…), while Ambit 3 uses the same hardware as the Ambit 2, but with a different communication module : bluetooth vs ANT+.

      I think the modifications to the software not dealing with smartphone connectivity could be easily pushed to the Ambit 2 without too much effort. The font clearly has nothing to do with the bluetooth, and so has the daily activity tracker, that is only a full-time log of the data from the sensors of the watch

  148. josé

    I am very happy with my Ambit2 and I do not feel the urge to change it at all. However I wonder if using the new strap with the Ambit2, I will be able to see my heart rate while swimming. This is the new feature I am most interested in. Bluetooth and the rest of the new possibilities are fine, but in my case I would be perfectly happy if I could follow my heart rate while swimming with my Ambit2 and a new strap.

    Would it be possible? Thanks in advance for your answer.

  149. boyinthebarrel

    “First is the lack of vibration alerts – which has been commonly requested. Second is that the app as of today doesn’t have live tracking, nor is that in the immediate plans.”

    Great, the ONLY two things i was hoping they’d add. Fenix/Fenix2 for me then…

    • JoggwithoutAmbit

      or just waiting for Apples iWatch: I’m sure this will start a new era of really good apps with a very high-ended watch …

    • Brian

      Just keep in mind that you cannot do live tracking and monitor heart rate/use any other sensor at the same time with Fenix.

    • Boyinthebarrel

      Thanks Brian.

    • Gene

      Is this a consequence of moving to Bluetooth, which can only pair with one item at a time?

    • No, nothing there. On the Fenix, it’s simply a case of the chipset they selected.

      With Bluetooth sensors in general, only a single device (watch) can connect to a given sensor. But a watch can connect to multiple sensors and/or to a phone (depending on the mode/etc…). There’d be nothing stopping either Suunto or Polar from introducing Live Tracking along with sensor data. That said, I don’t expect either to do so this calendar year (neither has listed it as a possibility, thus why I say not this year).

  150. Jeff Godin

    Thanks for the update! Maybe I missed it, is the battery life any better? Any chance of it lasting through a 100 mile race?

    • morey000

      if it’s a bike race. 🙂 Ray hasn’t tested the prototype for battery life, as the firmware isn’t finalized. However, there’s no expected change in life- so, in all likelihood, it will be pretty similar to the Ambit 2, which is spec’ed at 16hrs with a 1s update and 24hrs with a 5s gps update. You’d be cutting it close- depending on the ultra.

      Rather than spending the last 20 miles worrying about your watch battery, I suggest leaving a USB charger in a drop bag, and plugging it in for a stretch. I did this very successfully (in the pouring rain I might add). the Ambit2 (and I assume 3) will record and navigate just fine with the charger plugged in. You can see the watch and run with it like this while you top off the battery. Really- it works.

  151. Gavin


    Just discovered your site – what a resource! You put some serious time into these reviews. Thank you.

    I’m new to the GPS multi sport watch world. I was settled on getting a Suunto Ambit 2. It sounds like the Ambit 3 peak will be the same pricing and is due out on Sept 1. Do you know if Ambit 2 prices will drop as a result? Do you think it’s worth waiting a few weeks for the new one?



    • As noted a bit below, the Ambit2 prices have fallen already (last week of June), down about 37% or so. I don’t expect to see any further near-term drops.

  152. Gavin

    Follow-up info to my previous post regarding choice between Ambit 2 and 3:

    My primary uses will be trail running, mountain biking and ski touring in the mountains.

  153. Navnit Ranjan

    Hi Gavin,

    Its already having great price point considering clever training offering 36% price cut, I think this is due to Suunto Ambit3 release announcement. Not sure if you can still add 10% off via dcrainmaker link.
    link to clevertraining.com

  154. Arno Vaa


    Does the Peak model use the altimeter to record elevation instead of using the GPS, or is it complimentary? If so, Will this have an impact on battery life?

  155. Nitesh

    Hi Ray

    I couldnt find this in any specs. Is the bezel for the peak version made of stainless steel?


  156. R0b

    ….. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand still no vibration alerts….

    Suunto seems not to care feedback about its products.
    Many years people asking for vibration alerts, which is an absolute must for instance for runners who use headphones and music, they don’t hear “beeps”.

    So, what’s new with the Ambit3?
    Well, Fakebook integration!
    Who doesn’t want to receive notifications like “Johnny likes your status on Fakebook” while doing sports?!
    That’s a feature that have been requested for ages! (NOT!).
    Great move here Suunto! (facepalm).

    Who doesn’t want to see missed calls from their phone on their new Ambit3?
    A true dealmaker, being able to see missed calls.

    Besides these features there is not much changed on the Ambit3!
    Still “only” 100 waypoints to save and all the other stuff as with Ambit1 and Ambit2.

    If you check the Suunto’s facebook page it’s litteraly flooded with bad reviews about product issues and specially it’s horrible customer support.

    All this is a wake-up call for me and since the new Suunto Ambit3 STILL doesn’t come with vibration alerts i decided to now looking at the Garmin Fenix V2, which is even $200 cheaper.

    • Spun

      Unfortunately, the Ambit2 (and surely Ambit3) enjoys a great GPS (both accuracy and locking speed) and general stability, and it simply works, despite its simplicity in terms of user experience and configurability, which on the other hand is really appreciated by many people out there.

      However I totally agree that the upgrade has been very disappointing feature-wise. I see too much bulk (imho) feature out there, and leaving out loudly claimed abilities like vibration or a decent training configurability.

      We’ll see it in the In-depth review. I’m sure they won’t disappoint.

    • Don’t buy the f2 if you plan to run in the woods. The GPS chip is terrible… 🙁 My 910XT was so much better.

    • morey000

      Would a vibrator be a nice feature? sure, but it’s hardly a make or break deal for me.The ability to have a great smart phone interface to upload moves and set up the watch is truly a terrific upgrade to the device.

      I checked the Suunto facebook page, as well as their support page- and I didn’t find what you claimed as a flood of complaints. Could barely find any. I’d say that the chief differentiator for the Ambit 2 is 1. Stability! (it just works!), and 2. Apps. The Fenix has a few things over the Ambit 2: 1. Bluetooth (which the A3 will have- and with some additional capabilities to send/display data to your phone!), 2. Vibe Alerts, 3. custom workouts.

      So- pick your poison. No watch has everything. Instead of ignoring the Vibe alert request; it was likely a cost/packaging/feature trade-off, and they chose to create a different product- one that doesn’t have a feature which you happen to want. Sounds like the Fenix is the model for you. Enjoy… but you might want to check out the flood of complaints and issues on it over on the Garmin forums.

    • R0b

      QUOTE: morey000

      “I checked the Suunto facebook page, as well as their support page- and I didn’t find what you claimed as a flood of complaints. Could barely find any.”

      Could barely find any???

      link to facebook.com

      TIP: Buy yourself new glasses first instead of an Ambit3.

    • Brad Olwin

      R0b, I find your comments very confrontational…so I will respond in like style…first some of us hate wearing headphones while we run, I prefer to hear what is around me…I only run trails so I do not have to eat car exhaust or listen to cars. I do not want vibration alerts, I would rather have the max battery potential in the smallest device.

      Suunto trackpoints and waypoints are different, did you know that or are you just complaining? Each route has a max of 1000 track points and a max of 100 way points. They are different and implemented differently than Garmin does…perhaps you should read a bit more and educate yourself….

      If you look at Garmin forums they are FLOODED with complaints and bad reviews. Frankly both companies make amazing devices that serve different subsets of what is a reasonably small market. I prefer Suunto but many of my friends have the fenix. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

      The iPhone integration is a big plus for me. I do not car about the alerts but do very much care about downloading from the watch offline….this is my most requested feature that I have emailed Suunto numerous times about….all in all Suunto has been VERY responsive to what the customers wanted… more than I thought possible. I can’t state an opinion about Garmin because I have not owned one long enough but from the speed on their updates it seems they care a great deal about customer satisfaction.

      After all…fellow humans put their entire work efforts into these devices. I certainly respect that and am glad of the choices that are available.

    • Daniel Reynolds

      I concur with the support of Suunto. I’ve emailed Suunto several times and they always respond to recommendations and support questions. Furthermore, I will always take a better battery life over vibration alerts.

    • neil rosson

      Its more of a 2.5 upgrade imo. Personally i’m not that bothered about vibration alerts but understand why people are disappointed, it was heavily requested. I guess they didn’t want to go as far as changing the hardware this time around.
      I’m not clear if memory is still an issue in terms of way-points & track points. It certainly was a bit of an issue for 100 mile runs from people i spoke to wit the previous watch. I’m baffled as to why they didn’t add proper workouts & intervals.
      I suspect the next ambit will cover these & more & maybe arrive in spring next year.

  157. R0b

    I’ll do a bit more research next week on the Garmin Fenix2 RabiMiki, thanks.

    Another legit reason for Suunto to add vibration alerts would be for deaf people.
    Deaf people who run, hike, swim, whatever can’t hear but they CAN feel… vibrations.

    @spun Suunto disappointed me (and lots of others for sure) by not adding vibration alerts to the Ambit2, Ambit2R and now the Ambit3.
    I won’t wait another 1,5-2 years for an Ambit4.

    // Offtopic
    Currently using Runtastic PRO on my phone which is a total joke because of all the ads (although they advertise the PRO as ads-free app on your phone, which is MISLEADING, false advertisement), begging to rate their app in Google Play every single time you finish a run and lately FORCED uploads of your tracks on Runtastic.com (you can’t decide by yourself anymore whether you want to upload your track or not, you have to).
    So i really looking for an awesome watch, would buy the Ambit2 Sapphire glass if it had vibration alerts.
    Forget about the social media crapload on it, seriously Suunto…

    • R0b


      “would buy the Ambit3 Sapphire glass if it had vibration alerts.”

    • belsha

      There are a lot of other running apps than Runtastic. I find that app horrible too, with all the advertisement and commercial bullying. GPS isn’t accurate either. Runkeeper is similar but has no ads and no bullying. iSmoothrun has the most complete features, comparable to a top of the line running watch, but costs 5$. Runmeter is said to be good to.

  158. Sebastian

    Will the daily activity tracker be brought to the Ambit2 as well?

  159. Arno Vaa


    Does the new app offer any new maps other than built-in Apple map?

    • Currently just the Apple maps. Though, it’s possible that could change, not sure.

    • Arno Vaa

      Thanks. Always surprised these so-called outdoor companies have nothing better to offer in the maps department, especially with great OSM maps available… I guess I’ll keep rubiTrack around!

  160. Juan

    Any one knows how much heavy is the Ambit 3?? Y listened will be 60 grames. Its true?

  161. Dag Olav

    For ultra running. Is Ambit3 better than Ambit 2, and Fenix2? Thinking of battery, but mostly on how much I can store (How long running route can I download?) 150K 200K ..?

    • morey000

      For the Ambit2- you can download routes with up to 1,000 track points and 100 way points. You can fit a 50mi trail run within 1000 track points pretty well, and retain a lot of the detail. For 100mi- you might lose some of the small trail turn details. However, the watch can hold up to 10,000 points and 1,000 waypoints- so you could break up a very long 200Km run into 50Km or 100Km routes. It’s easy to switch from route to route during a ‘move’. (i.e. you don’t need to stop recording your run in order to switch which route your want to navigate). Navigation is simply a breadcrumb trail. Best if you put in way points that tell you what to do, such as “Turn Right on 42” or “Cross Creek Here” and the watch will beep and display the waypoint name shortly (~50yards?) before you get there. It works very well. There is no map overlay on the Ambit2, like the Fenix. However- for trails that I’ve run… there’s no map detail around anyway.

  162. Jess

    So.. what I can read there is not gonna be a vibration on the Ambit3? Right?

  163. Dag Olav

    For ulta running, if I was a bit unclear; what`s the best one for navigating?

    • Martin

      I wouldn’t recommend the Fenix 2 if you want to record activities lasting more than about 10-12 hours.

      – You’ll have to use UltraTrac mode, since the battery probably won’t last long enough in normal recording mode. Unfortunately UltraTrac mode disables many other functions such as ANT sensors and GPS elevations. Distances are also grossly inaccurate in UltraTrac mode. Sometimes they’re off by over 50%.

      – In theory the Fenix allows you to switch in and out of navigation mode when recording another activity in the background, but in practice it’s buggy. If you try to do that with a long duration activity there’s a high risk that the unit will freeze and that you’ll lose your recording.

  164. LB

    Does anyone know for certain that the Ambit 3 Sport will have the SiRF iv GPS chipset?

  165. Hi Ray,

    Thank you for the post. I have been a fan for years now. First time posting.

    The Ambit 3 is something I am quite excited about. Do you know if any of the data that it generates will be directly available via an API? The auto sync with strava makes the GPS data available if you have strava API access, but I would like to access the data directly if possible. Also I assume stuff as the step counter and resting status will not sync to external services, and I would love to be able to automatically read those as well.


    • Suunto does have an API that they give access to some developers/entities to. It includes activity data, but I don’t know if it includes step/rest data.

  166. Mark

    Hi Ray,

    Great review. I know it might be too soon to tell as you’ve only used the beta app but, will it be possible to create/import a route on the ios app, place waypoints (as you normally would with the computer version) and then upload to the watch? I go hiking a lot and would be nice to download routes on the go rather than carrying laptop around.


  167. kevin

    OMG… just get the Suunto Ambit2 today…. ;-(

  168. I was a bit late in reading your beta review. But as always, you simply put together the best reviews out there.

    I’ve had the Ambit 2 since it was first released. I’ve been waiting for Suunto to release the Ambit 3, as my thoughts are/were that if it was a upgrade I would then sell the Ambit 2 and pay the difference for the 3 and so on. However as you mentioned, one of the features I wanted more than anything was vibrating notifications. They did of course add a Bluetooth uploading feature which was also a feature I wanted to see. However, whether it’s wireless or not really isn’t a make or break when making an upgrade from Ambit 2 to 3. I do love that they’re trying new things. And may give in.

    Also agree with your comments on whether to spend extra on the sapphire model. I don’t even have a scratch on mine. Really not necessary.

    If there was just one critique with the Ambit, it’s not just an issue with this model. Or just the Ambit. It’s Suunto as a whole. They make a great device and I’ve gone through multiple watches since 2000 from them. But a glaring issue that they have is “customer service”. If you’re in the US, I think they only have one place in the country to send your watch for repairs. If your watch is a lemon, they have tried to send me a refurb instead of replacing with new watch. Although I pushed, and they sent a new one. And you better hope it doesn’t have to go to Finland. I’ve heard of a few without their watch for over a month.Also their response in their own forums to questions or issues, is often responded to days or a week later. But in the end, they make a great device so I’ve done my best to overlook these issues.

    ** If I could add one more random comment. Suunto in the past has had issues with their bands cracking without the bending and wear and tear that would usually create this issue. So when I bought the Ambit 2, I also ordered an extra band (think it was about $60), so that there would be no delay in waiting for a band should they still have this issue. Well…it no longer seems to be an issue. An issue that I had specifically some Suuntos between around 2000 – 2007. The bands rubber wasn’t elastic enough back then I guess. And if your band breaks, your not likely to find a local replacement. It has to be ordered. And man what a pain it was to change the bands back then. I had a jeweler tackle it for over an hour, when normally I’d replace a band by myself.

    Looking forward to reading your review when the Ambit 3 is released in September and out of Beta. For those that have not owned an Ambit, Suunto has regularly added new software updates to either quash issues or add features. So even when it’s released in September, you can rest assure that Suunto is constantly working on ways to give you a great experience.

  169. juan

    Hi Ray.
    Once again, a lot useful info.
    I have one question, if I have the Ant+ dongle of wahoo, Would it be possible to connect the new Movescount APP with the Ambit 2s? Just for change the info of the display, upload moves…

    Thanks in advance.

  170. Dion

    Hi Ray,

    I dig your reviews, great work.

    Will the Ambit3 give you the ability to set different training HR Zones for the different tri sports, swim, bike, run. For instance my bike Z2 is 145-157bpm while my running Z2 is 160-170bpm.
    I have a Polar RCX5 but the training zones are only configurable for a single sport, which in my case is set for running, but this becomes a pain when looking at swim and bike data.

    Does the Ambit3 allow you to configure/customise in this way?


    • mart

      if ambit 3 is similar to gen 1 and 2 in this regard, it does not support HR zones altogether.

      you can “install an app” (to use suunto’s terminology) that displays the zones passively, but it is not taking them into account in any other way (notifications etc).

  171. Karl

    Just ordered a black Peak HR!

    2 questions, how does it work on the treadmill, is a footpod required? If so which would you suggest and will Suunto put one out themselves?

    Second do you think it will suffice for weight training? Intervals etc?

    Great reviews! Just found the site and I’m hooked!!


    • No, a footpod is not required on a treadmill these days.

      For weight training you can disable the GPS and get calorie info from the HR strap.

    • DavidJ

      Huh! If a foot-pod isn’t needed on a treadmill, why isn’t the 3 also useful as an activity tracker? It would seem that mileage info is available, but not individual steps. Am I understanding this correctly? Thanks so much for your phenomenal reviews and insights. Are you no longer writing for the “twitch” website? All I see is much older stuff…

    • It is, see the section titled “Daily Activity Tracker”: link to dcrainmaker.com

  172. Mark

    Hi Ray,

    Is it possible to setup new workout with warmup, intervals, cooldown, etc, within iPhone app without using website?


    • morey000

      The Suunto web site describes features of the Movescount iphone: “…You can change general settings offline (e.g. device language, tone settings, time format). Customizing sport modes requires an internet connection over Wi-Fi or cellular.

      It doesn’t indicate if you can add a *new* sport mode, or change the interval set function. But, if Ray says ‘no’- I believe him.

      that said- the Ambit doesn’t work like a 620 or 310xt. You have a list of pre-selected sport modes to choose from all waiting for you in the watch. Also- you can apply the interval function to any sport mode and it will always be there waiting for you. It doesn’t get ‘turned on’ unless you chose to. You start your move without the intervals, do your warmup, activate the intervals, then deactivate them and do your cooldown. Or, never use them. So, intervals can be part of any sport mode, and you can have a selection of sport modes each with their own pre-defined interval workouts. If you want to create a more complex set of intervals, like a ladder- you could create a multisport mode with 3 custom running modes and call them Run200s, Run400s, Run800s, each with their own intervals defined. Or, use one of the many apps out there. Someone has even created a custom workout app creator if you don’t code and want to do something specific. Granted- perhaps none of this access is ported to the smartphone app.

      I understand, that it would be nice to do it in real time, when you show up at the track and coach gives you a workout right there. Hmmmm.

  173. Jeremy Marie

    Thanks for the detailed preview of the watch.
    Do you know if the new Movescount app on iphone will display a planned route on the map, or just the map?
    A bit “à la” strava App? This may be more useful than the simple track on the watch.

    • Currently it’s displaying the post-activity map.

    • Jeremy Marie

      Ok, I think I got it on the “Use watch as a remote GPS receiver for phone”. It is only used to display metrics information (speed, adence, HR…etc), not to show where you are on a map (and possibly, where you are on the route you’re following, all displayed on the phone’s screen with a nice map overlay).
      Too bad, could’ve been a killer feature (and make a Garmin Edge much more useless, at least for some time, for me 🙂 )

    • No, there’s a map on the app that can be used.

    • Jeremy Marie

      And our position on the map is taken from watch GPS data, or does it require to start an activity on the App?
      Is it possible to see a predefined route on the map displayed on the App?

  174. Gunnar

    I presume the Alp d’Huez tri was your first tri with the Ambit 3? Any reports on bugs during the tri? Or were you pleased with the performance?

    • First tri, yes. There were some minor items, which I’ve sent off to Suunto. Though, I wasn’t using a Bluetooth Power Meter nor Bluetooth Speed/Cadence sensors. Just the HR strap with it.

  175. Adam

    Suunto makes nice devices, but I just can’t tolerate their firmware and the accompanying software. The difficulty of getting their software to work outside Windows/Apple aside, even in Windows there is no way to recognize the device as simple external storage, and manage the files that way. Rather, for someone who doesn’t want to use Movescount as their main training platform, you have 1 of 3 options:
    1. Use Moveslink to send the data to Movescount, then allow the data to sync automatically to Strava. In my experience, this led to distortion of the data, most likely due to the process of exporting the files. Total elevation gain was incalculable, even after a workout had sat on Strava for over a week. Distances were underestimated and paces were overestimated. Some splits read “00” for both pace and elevation. The data as it was presented during running seemed accurate, it’s a post-run processing issue.
    2. This problem can be semi-solved in my experience by exporting .gpx files from Movescount, than manually uploading them to Strava. This eliminated the most glaring discrepancies between the on-watch data and the post-run data, and allowed Strava to calculate total gain, but some problems (such as the “00” splits) persisted. Also, it’s a tedious three step process (upload to Movescount through Moveslink, export .gpx, upload to Strava), as opposed to a simple one-step one. Much of this may be Strava’s fault, but, again, if Sunnto’s firmware simply allowed the device to be accessed as external bulk storage by your OS, much of this could be eliminated, regardless of how sketchy the interface is on Strava’s side.
    3. Finally, you can allow Moveslink to work offline and deposit the files on your hard drive as .xml files. You then need to use a tool to translate them into .gpx so that you or Strava or anyone else that isn’t Movescount can use them.

    In theory, the syncing through bluetooth to the phone could solve these problems, but not necessarily as long as data is damaged/lost in the sync between Movescount and Strava. Moreover, I don’t want to spend $400 just to maybe be able to upload my data in a less tedious way, and personally, I like maintaining some simple manual control over the process. I can do that with Garmin because their firmware doesn’t prevent my OS from recognizing the watch as simple external storage that I can extract files from that are already in a usable format (at least for Strava, I can’t read .fit). I understand why Suunto adds all these bells and whistles to the syncing process, what I don’t understand is why they don’t leave open the option of uploading in a simple manual way. This not only makes it harder for those who don’t run Windows/Apple, but also can be tedious even if you’re running one of those OSs, as I’ve outline above. Like you, I also don’t love being dependent on Movescount to alter the settings on the watch, although I understand that accessing higher level settings with a tiny screen and four buttons could get pretty frustrating. Until Suunto simplifies their watch-to-computer interface and allows all settings to be accessed on-watch, I’ll have to stick with Garmin, no matter how high-quality the hardware itself is.

    • guest

      I have the same doubts as you do. I don’t like and don’t understand the “closed” approach forced in Ambit by Suunto. I really like the openness of Fenix 2. They added Endomondo integration recently, too. Feature-wise A3 is FAR inferior to Fenix 2… If only there weren’t so many complaints about quality of Fenix 2 (I’ve read a lot of independent compaints about its GPS reliability – in e.g forest run, lots of hangs and low reliability). It’s a shame – I really wanted to buy either Fenix 2 or Ambit 3, but I don’t want to pay so much for non reliable hardware or for closed, limited functionality of A3 without support for Android and vibration alarms. I’m really dissapointed, as I’m waiting for something good to come out for several months now… Bah.

    • Karl

      Can you explain how feature wise the A3 is so far behind the F2?
      Only thing major I see missing is vibration seems to be the other way around feature wise.

    • Brian

      The only other major feature (hunt and fish calendar don’t count) I can think of is live tracking… Which is so horribly limited on F2, I could never really use it for two main reasons: 1) I would never accept the tradeoff of having no senor (heart rate, etc) data available in order to make use of live tracking and 2) No Android support at the time I had mine. It has since come to Android, I believe, but my F2 went for a perma-swim in Lake Powell, so I never got to really try it out.

      I think there are some other stuff with training/workouts/intervals that are different. I haven’t got there yet with my Ambit 2 – but I did write my own app for my interval needs, so there is that…

      There is a lot of give and take, but I’d hardly say the A3 is ‘Far inferior’ to F2. I guess I’ll be better able to weigh in next month hopefully.

    • Your overall complaint which I’ll summarize – fit device makers should be aware of the larger ecosystem of software solutions and provide seamless integration when releasing new products – I can agree with 100%. No question. That the product steering teams at these companies don’t grok that at a fundamental level is troubling.

      However as someone who has implemented multiple device importers (Garmin, Suunto, Polar) in multiple languages, the rest of your post is a bit off.

      there is no way to recognize the device as simple external storage, and manage the files that way

      I feel like this is your main complaint from which everything follows. A likely explanation is that workouts are stored in some internal incomprehensible format which changes from firmware to firmware and is optimized for memory storage and speed of writing data. So technically I’m sure they could provide a USB mount to these files, but it would be useless. They probably also want the freedom to change that file format as they innovate, without providing backwards compatibility to people who might be hacking it.

      You might ask… why not use an existing standard such as Garmin FIT? For starters, the features of the Ambit far exceed what the current FIT format can handle. So this is impossible. If you look at the generated workout file from the Suunto you’ll see a tremendous amount of data not tracked in FIT. Further, since the Ambit2> has an app system, which allows app writers to store arbitrary data into the workout, this is probably a non-starter. FIT has predefined and well structured (allowed) messages. (Take a look at how swim stroke data is recorded – the fidelity is impossible with the FIT file format).

      Secondly – the file format is controlled by one of their competitors. Lots of important business considerations to make there.

      Could Suunto shoehorn their data into a FIT file? Probably. But in doing so they would sacrifice a lot of innovative features – lose their competitive proposition – and be forced to a least common denominator feature set. So Suunto had to weigh ease of interoperability with feature innovation. They decided innovation was more important.

      The bulk of your comment is really complaining about Strava’s (lack of) support of the native Suunto XML format. This is fully on Strava. All the data is there and Strava can get at it. There is no reason for them to mangle it. We import it perfectly into SportTracks (including swim stroke data, which nobody else does). Probably it’s no more than 3 days of developer work to integrate.

      Why don’t they? Apparently there isn’t a good business reason to. Remember at their inner core Strava is a social leaderboard system for cyclist. So providing 100% accurate imports from a variety of device makers isn’t a top priority as long as people keep hitting KOMs. It only has to be “good enough”. And since Strava also has a native app for recording they may view dedicated GPS devices as competitors. How will they serve adverts for their nutritional supplement subscription to you when you’ve got a Suunto/Garmin?

      Back to my original point. I agree with you 100%, but realize there are technical and business decisions why what consumers want isn’t such a slam-dunk. You may disagree with the priority Suunto made (favoring innovation over ease of interop), but.. they ran the numbers on their Excel spreadsheet and made the decision on which would be more profitable in the end.

      Incidentally… I (love+hate) Apple for doing the very same thing with software AND hardware.

    • Adam

      Thanks Aaron, that’s really helpful. I certainly understand why Suunto wouldn’t use .fit. And you’re right, the difficulty of interopperability is certainly Strava’s fault. As with everything else, I wish these companies would simply use a standardized open file format like .gpx, but I know that’s never going to happen. And as you point out, a certain file format may not accomodate all the data that a certain device wants to record. I guess if I could just have direct access to Suunto’s proprietary .xml files (at least that’s the format they come out in if you syn with Moveslink in the absence of an internet connection), which I could then translate into .gpx or whatever, that would be an improvement over using Moveslink to download the files. But I guess that’s a minor complaint in the end.

    • Perhaps this will interest you:

      link to openambit.org

      It seems to be a very early beta version, but at least actively developed for now.

    • Adam

      Thanks! I actually got it set up on my system a few weeks ago after much struggle, but it still doesn’t recognize the device. It’s possibly a problem with the firmware on the newer watches. To their credit, Suunto claimed they’d look into this when I raised the problem on their FB page. Of course, no sport tech company I know of writes software for Linux, it’s just particularly hard for me to workaround with Suuntos.

    • Adam

      Hi Aaron,

      since You mention all the uploading stuff and sporttracks among it (I understand You are ST engineer), I wanted to share with You some issues and ask for possible workaround.

      I use Ambit2 and sync my activities to Movescount via moveslink2. In order to upload them to ST, I tried two approaches:
      1. export .FIT file, which ended up in ST not recognizing activity at all from file.

      2. export .TCX file, which was recognized correctly by ST, but i.e. calorie count is 0.

      Now, if I will upload .xml file directly from moveslink folder, will it solve the issue?

      Also, as a former user of ST offline software version, I remember there was a nice plugin for altitude recalculation from GPS data. I dont think it’s available right now on ST mobi, correct? I am asking because the elevation data on ST is now worthless. Completely flat ~20k runs have elevation gains above 200m. And when I go uphills, my garmin or Ambit shows me lets say 800m, then ST will show me at least +25% more. Could You comment on this?

      Sorry for rather incorrect place for such questions.


    • I wouldn’t rely on Suunto properly exporting a FIT file. You should import the XML file the Moveslink app creates.

      Unfortunately (sigh) – this doesn’t include calorie info.

      This problem will go away when we release direct synch integration to Movescount.

  176. Adam

    Yeah…I don’t understand why you’d build a nice device, then write software that basically prevents me from directly accessing the data within my own watch. Garmin has their problems, but I’ve had good luck with the 220 battery lasting 10+h (my Ambit 2R died at 9h while in “12h” battery mode, a separate complaint) and I really enjoy not spending more time uploading my data than I do running.

    • Suunto an Garmin both have pros and cons in my eyes that put them virtually in the same standing.

      About claimed battery life vs. actual battery life can differ depending on multiple variables like cloud cover , trees , and so on. You really can’t expect “claimed battery life” on a manufacturers spec sheet.

  177. Kim

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks, for your great reviews, which have helped me in selecting sport watches.
    I notice on a Danish web-site, that the Ambit 3 includes the SiRF V chip. If so, it should be able to track, if software-wise enabled, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and future GNSS signals.
    Can you confirm whether it tracks more than just GPS? Have you observed an improvement in location accuracy comparing Ambit 2 to Ambit 3?


  178. Nuno Pinto

    Can we charge while using the watch on an exercise ?

  179. Nuno Pinto

    I have owned several POLAR watches and enjoy being able to have an application where I can do everything without internet. I am looking at replacing my RS800CX with a new gear with some navigations features included.
    My questions for Suunto owners is if we can upload/download, change settings, etc to the watch ( Ambit 2 and 3) without internet access…I live near the border of belgium and I do not want to carry a laptop and pay roaming to be able to get online and play with the watch.


    • Adam

      My brief experience with the Ambit 2R suggests that it is very difficult to do anything without connecting to Suunto’s website, Movescount. The Moveslink program that Suunto uses to extract information from the watch (extracting data manually is basically impossible) can be used in the absence of an internet connection, in which case rather than syncing your activity to Movescount (which can then sync with Strava automatically, or from which you can export your activities to your hard drive in different file formats), it will simply deposit the files on your hard drive in Suunto’s proprietary .xml format. You will then need to use a tool to turn the files into a format (like .gpx) that you and/or your online training platform can use. As for watch settings, while some basic settings can be done on the watch itself, most of the higher order stuff can be done only while the watch is connected to your computer, and I believe that you need to do it through the Movescount website, and cannot do it with the Moveslink program alone.

  180. Patrick

    Anyone could comment on the activity tracker embedded into the watch ? I understood there is one, and as my Ambit2 foot pod won’t be compatible (as it is an ANT+) I’m wondering if the activity tracker replace teh foot pod and will allow me to keep track of my indoor training !

  181. link to webshop.senseyourcore.com

    Here is a strap that does not get to your waist while swimming.

  182. Antti Teliö

    Is anyone aware of a possibility for a pre-order in Europe?

  183. Adam

    So, is Suunto just abandoning the part of the market that doesn’t want to pay the cost of a laptop for an exercise watch? Because it looks like the cheapest version of the Ambit 3 is $400, whereas they used to have the “R” series for $250.

    • Come on over to the UK, where the cheapest version is £325 – that’s around $545

      Some people just don’t know how lucky they are 🙂

    • Adam

      Well, it’s all relative. Whatever their cheapest model is, it’s going to be much pricier, with more “features” than you necessarily want everywhere, no?

    • Do remember that the Ambit2 R came about 10 months after the Ambit 2/2S did.

  184. jim

    Thanks for all your helpful information on these watches.

    Re: Ambit 3 – Does the Iphone actually run full Moveslink / Movescount software for the 3? I’m considering an Ambit (probably a 3) but, like many people, I don’t use a PC much these days and would want to link to a tablet (Google Nexus 10 in my case) for downloading and viewing ride / run data.

    As I understand it, wireless BTLE Android support of some sort is planned but does that mean one would still need a PC for full Movescount functionality or will a full version of Moveslink / Movescount be released to run on Android tablets?

    To me, tablet functionality is much more important than whether the connection is wired or wireless.

    Thanks for any advice.

    • Karl

      I know iphone and ipad run a full version of the movescount website. Runs really well actually! Particularly on the iphone as it’s optimised.

      So (once released) the Android App would do the syncing and 90% of phone settings, and the website on tablet/phone would do the rest.

      Should be no need for a computer.

    • Jim

      Thanks you Karl.

    • Yeah, I’ve done that a few times now actually with the Ambit3 where I’ve forgotten to change a setting not (yet) available in the app, but just use the site to change it on my phone and then sync the watch again with the app. Works out fine (albeit cumbersome). Especially ideal when you forget to make a setting change while standing at the pool…

  185. diver

    Dear Mr Rainmaker,

    I have never owned any Ambit so I have one question regarding new A3 and HR strap memory/buffer size… Do you think such scenario will be possible:

    1. I’m a diver having Suunto diving computer (Vyper Air) without HR support
    2. Just before putting my diving gear on, I’m starting activity on A3, HR starts recording
    3. I leave A3 in my car, put my gear on, put HR strap under the wetsuit
    4. After the dive (c.a. 1 hour – 1 hour 25′) I come back to the car and allow HR strap to synchronize with A3

    Additional questions:

    1. Can Ambit 3 deal with depths around 30m for longer time (diving=moving wrist)??? Theoretically they say 300m WR, but very often this is pure marketing. If yes, I could get it into the water (although I would like to avoid that – the less gear the better).

    2. Can this new HR Strap deal with depths around 30m???

    3. Is there an information on max time the HR strap can hold buffered before syncing?

    • Karl

      Pretty sure kayaking is already an option through MovesCount.

    • From a waterproofing standpoint I wouldn’t worry about Suunto stuff. When I visited their manufacturing facility it was interesting how much emphasis they place on waterproofing – especially since they make so much dive equipment. They do tons of waterproof validation testing, albeit not on every Ambit3, but on a sample of them from batches.

  186. Hawker

    Hi Ray

    We do Kayaking as a sport and wanted to know if we wait for the Ambit 3, is a good fit? can you program a new type of sport or one that is not common like running cycling swimming?

  187. Did the beta build of your Movescount iPhone app have support for swimming hearth rate? According to press release from Suunto, the app will support swimming hearth rate:

    “the Suunto Smart Sensor now also let you record heart rate from your swims. While swimming, your heart rate data is stored in the sensor, and when out of water, the data is transferred wirelessly to your Ambit3 watch or Suunto Movescount App.”

    This is pretty cool, as swimmers who don’t own an Ambit3 could buy the HR-strap as a cheap way to get hr data while swimming. As a follow up question, it would be interesting to see how this could work with Ambit2. I.e. use Ambit2 to record distance, strokes etc. and the belt to record HR, and later merge the two moves.

    It would be awesome if the app/Movescount.com supported this scenario, as it would suck a bit (screw up stats etc) to have two swim moves for every swim (one from Ambit2 and one from mobile app).

    • Karl

      I don’t think so as I’ve got a quest and when I run I can’t use the watch for heart rate and mobile app for route etc.

    • No, it would require some logic on the server side for merging.

    • Jonas Follesø

      They did have logic for mering moves on the server – to support people using the Suunto Memory Belt. But yeah, guess they didn’t add support for this scenario.

      Would still be interesting to see a review of the iPhone app, specially the use of HR for swimming and syncing it to the phone.

    • I’ll be including the app review within the Ambit3 review, including covering just strap to app functionality.

      As of last night, the strap to app sync function didn’t appear to be in the app quite yet – though they are iterating near daily with a significant number of tweaks/adds on other fronts.

    • JoggwithoutAmbit

      Let’s see, Ray. Maybe Suunto is more similar like Polar … they even changed to the same system (bluetooth smart) like Polar did before … but still without vibration alerts (=>Ambit4 next year?) 😉

    • MH

      (Jonas quoted:) “While swimming, your heart rate data is stored in the sensor, and when out of water, the data is transferred wirelessly to your Ambit3 watch or Suunto Movescount App.”

      Now that is certainly inspirational!

      But.. even if the app works without an Ambit 3 present; I can imagine that the phone needs to be paired first with an A3 for the app to work. And in all likelyhood it will not be possible to pair one A3 to more than one phone.

      If I were Suunto, I’d make it extremely hard to sniff out how HR belt and watch (or app) communicate. I’d sell the HR belt plus a special dongle for USB or phone as Memory Belt Version 3. For 250$ or thereabouts. (Memory Belt sounds very 1990s though.. but marketing will figure out a better name).

      But it would be interesting to find out what happens when someone uses the app with the HR belt without having an A3 paired with the phone first.

    • The only problem there is that “all the cool kids are doing it” when it comes to HR data storage in a belt that sync’s post activity. Or, will be doing it.

      Wahoo has it coming in the TICKR X in a few weeks.
      Mio has it coming via the wrist with their wrist-based Fuse unit.
      4iiii’s has talked about it with their pods (TBD on date)

      It’ll become a baseline for any of these HR devices within 12 months.

    • eli

      Is there a communication standard for this our is everyone doing their own thing?

    • Doing their own thing’s. I don’t believe there’s a standard similar to ANTfs there.

    • Eli

      I don’t think there is an existing standard, but I mean are the companies trying to be open about their communication protocol allowing a consensus on how it should work which would allow that protocol to become a standard. Or do the companies feel like they need to hide how their process works for a competitive advantage?

    • No, it’s all go it alone right now. Most of these companies aren’t talking to each other even on basic BLE sensor compatibility stuff unfortunately. It’s the one difference I’m seeing between companies doing ANT+ development vs BLE development. There was far more behind the scenes compatibility chatting on ANT+ sensors/accessories than on BLE. I suspect because the ANT+ folks pushed more for adherence to standards, whereas the BLE side is a little more flexible there (with more layers of certification/listings that lets some companies get away with things).

      On the flip side, BLE on the whole is creating device profiles in general in shorter cycles than ANT+. It’s just that companies aren’t actually adhering to those unfortunately.

  188. Karl P

    Looks like the Ambit3 is now available for order (back ordered) through REI.com. I’d like to support Ray through Clever Training, but I’m “chopping at the bits” to get this one and get comfortable with it before my next race end of Sept. Just in case anyone else is interested…

  189. Brian

    good catch! I’m hoping Clever Training gets theirs listed soon too.

    • Karl

      Has been available for pre-order at highlytunedathletes for a while.
      Does Clever Training ship to Australi? if so I’ll cancel and order from there.

    • Karl P

      According to REI.com it will be shipping on Aug 20th, but who knows. If CT gets theirs available soon I’m gonna cancel and get it there.

    • Hi All-

      Clever Training has just listed the Ambit3 variants for pre-order. I’ve put all the links at the bottom of the post, short-cut right here: link to dcrainmaker.com

      They expect to have them whenever REI does, since both companies are treated the same from Suunto. As usual, Clever tends to be more conservative in what they post online as far as expected dates and they usually try and overachieve.

      Finally, also as usual you can save 10% on your order using the DCR VIP code above, along with free US shipping. All of which supports the site.


    • Brian

      and my order is in!

    • Awesome, thanks for the support!

  190. Adam Poretti

    Hi Ray,
    Any updates to share, also, wondering if you have anything to say on the A3 peak?

    • Nuttin new, they continue to chug along on things.

      As for the Peak, it’s the unit I have. Ultimately it shares the same functionality as the previous full Ambit2 (versus the 2S), just with the new Bluetooth/Phone/underwater HR features (like the A3 Sport edition).

  191. Eli

    Maybe I missed it in the comments but I don’t understand the new connection design of the new strap. Why would other companies want to adapt it when they already have a standard they are using?

    Are they planning to submit their protocol for saving HR data until a connection is reestablished as a standard so others can use it or is it proprietary? Is it just the suunto memory belt converted into using BLE as the transmission protocol?

  192. Ed

    Does anybody know how precise is in actuality the FusedAlti in the Ambit 2? Could I use the GPS altimeter to calibrate the pressure altimeter? I am interested in using the Ambit 2 or 3 (Peak) for mountaineering. Thanks.

  193. Robin Salazar

    have you heard anything about Suuntos thoughts on vertical oscillation?
    Garmin use it but my suunto ambit 2 doesn’t, when getting a new watch this is a feature i would like to have.


    • I haven’t seen any discussions on it. But, by the same token I haven’t actually seen anyone say they truly look at it after the first week or so.

    • Robin Salazar

      Thank you for fast respons. I´m a bit surprised that there isn’t a bigger demand for it. I think it´s a great way to keep track of your efficiency when running.


  194. Flo Loferer

    Hi Ray,

    I’m interested in the new Suunto Ambit 3 Sports. I also play a lot of football (=soccer) and unfortunately it is not allowed to wear watches during official matches.

    As the new Suunto HR-belt can store HR-Data (for swimming) it would be interesting for me if this HR-strap can also store HR-Data during, for example, a football match, and send it to the watch in half-time break or at the end of the match.

    Tanks for your help.

    Florian Loferer

    • Yes, in theory it should. The app isn’t yet updated to include that functionality – so I can’t quite test it myself.

    • Eli

      Why would you want to use the Ambit like that? Wouldn’t the x-cell from adidas be a better fit for you? link to micoach.adidas.com

    • Flo Loferer

      Hi Eli,

      thanks for the link, but I’m not interested in maximum speed, power or distance.

      I just want to find a method to include a football match in the recovery status / activity tracker.

      I assume that the training load is calculated by distance and heart rate and thereof my above mentioned approach.

      But thanks for your help
      kr Flo

    • Eli

      So its not so much the HR data that interests you but Suunto’s web site that looks at the activity? (In that if you leave the watch on the sidelines then all that will be recorded is overall time of the activity and hr data so the watch doesn’t give you anything extra as it can’t tell how much/far you ran)

    • Flo Loferer

      No, i’m also interested in the HR data during the match but as you mentioned mainly in the recovery status.

      don’t you think the recovery time is calculated on overall training time and the HR?

      when i think about indoor sports like gymnastics or treadmill training there i only have time and hr and therfore a recovery time should be calculated or am I wrong. the V800 from polar is working like this.

  195. Guest

    Heh, I just got a good (albeit sour) laugh…

    In Poland the only retailer that offers Ambit 3 (zegarownia.pl) on pre-order wants almost 900 USD (2600 PLN) for Peak HR 😛 Ridiculous, even without taking into consideration differences in level of wealthiness between USA and PL…

    I wonder how to buy A3 in Poland in more affordable price…

    • Karl

      Maybe but it from a US\Europe store, and then have a forewarding company ship it over to you?

      There are quite a few servcies like this that people use to buy products available in the US\Europe only.

      Pretty sure it’s what DCR would use too?

    • Indeed, it’s what I’d do…

      Actually, in this case I’d probably just use Clever Training and evaluate their direct-shipping options.

    • Adam

      You forgot to add Saphire version for nice round $1.000 !!! Add iPhone to that (if not having one), since it’s pretty much mandatory right now and we are getting to $1.500, which is like 2-month salary for most in Poland.

  196. zero0db

    Hi Ray, Any updates on 920XT?

  197. guest

    Hi Guys,

    can you please tell me if such scenario is 100% possible and works flawlessly?:

    1. Record GPS-enabled move with Ambit
    2. Upload to Movescount
    3. Export this move to gpx, save it on your computer
    4. Import this GPX into Endomondo.com

    My current attempts (adding move by hand + providing track with track editor) result in lack of any other export possibilities for move than “xslx”. “Gpx” option is grayed out…

    Can you please verify

  198. Sepp

    Whats the size of the new HR belt storage? How long can you swim without being in range of the watch?