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Suunto Ambit3 Multisport GPS Watch In-Depth Review


It’s been nearly three months since Suunto announced the Ambit3, though considerably less time since the unit started making its way into the wild with final hardware and firmware.  Since well before either of those dates I’ve been testing the unit and putting it through its paces.

The product adds a number of new features like Bluetooth Smart sensor support, heart rate recording while underwater, mobile phone integration for wireless workout uploads and more.  With everything finalized on the software side it’s time for me to release my final thoughts in my in-depth review.

To be clear, I’ve been using a Suunto provided Ambit3 to test with.  First a pre-production unit, and now a final unit with final software.  Like always, I’ll be shipping that back to them in Finland in the next little bit and going out and getting my own via regular retail channels.  That’s just the way I roll.

Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular athlete out there. I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background, and thus I try and be as complete as I can. But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out. Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed. So – with that intro, let’s get into things.

The Executive Summary:


Earlier this summer Suunto announced the Ambit3, some 14ish months after releasing the Ambit2, continuing a roughly 12-14 month release cycle for the Ambit series.  The Ambit3 brought with it two specific new major feature areas: The ability to sync with a mobile phone using Bluetooth Smart, and the ability to record heart rate underwater while swimming.  It also brought a few other minor features like daily activity tracking and the ability to use your phone as a display for the watch.

In addition to new features, it also made one lateral shift feature change: It swapped out ANT+ sensor support for Bluetooth Smart sensor support.  This meant that it no longer connects to ANT+ sensors for things like heart rate straps, running,cycling speed/cadence sensors, and power meters.

Beyond that, the feature set pretty much remained the same.  It still contained top-notch recording of swimming, cycling and running, as well as a strong feature set for hiking, navigation and the outdoors.  They also maintained the two different variations when it comes to versions, a higher end model and a slightly less expensive model lacking the barometric altimeter.

In my testing over the past nearly four months (since early June) of using the device, I’ve found that when it comes to delivering on the core of what previous generation Ambit units did – the Ambit3 continues to rock there.  I’ve seen no issues at all in those departments.

In looking at the addition of the underwater heart rate recording, the strap and transmission seems to work well spec-wise, though it does have inherent limitations that all companies trying to use a strap underwater have (which is that for men it’s tough to keep on the chest while pushing off the wall in a pool).  I’m not sure if that’s a product problem or a ‘me/men’ problem.  But it does unfortunately limit usefulness for me.

When I look at smartphone integration, again, I found no issues from a ‘does it work’ standpoint.  It’s very strong and seems to handle being apart from the phone and coming back in contact without issue (something that often challenges smart connected wearables that fail to remember their connections).  That said, the phone app while stable does seem to lack much of the configuration options I would have expected.  Further, the lack of Android support will no doubt be a significant disappointment for a number of people.

Next, while the unit added an activity tracker to the wrist, I’ve found its implementation ‘blah’ at best.  It lacks the ability to tell me steps, distance walked, or sleep.  And none of that information is sent/displayed on either the app or the website – a disappointment in the age where such information is quickly being ushered into channels like Apple Health Kit and others.  Now, on the flip side, I did like the recovery chart functionality and found that well implemented.

Finally, we look at sensor support.  In my opinion this is where the watch suffers dearly.  The support of 3rd party Bluetooth Smart sensors is painful to say the least.  This might not have been such a huge issue had Suunto had their own sensors such as cycling speed/cadence, power meters, and the like.  But given the lack of anything other than a heart rate strap their dependence on making these sensors work is critical for most triathletes.

Given all that, on one hand I think the Ambit3 is probably fine for folks in the outdoors hiking who don’t need fully functional sensor support.  But for many triathletes looking for an alternative, I’m afraid until these kinks are worked out it’s going to be hard to really recommend the unit.

Unboxing & Versions:


The Suunto Ambit3 comes in a number of colors/flavors, and two distinct model versions, the Peak and the Sport.

The Peak is the more expensive version that includes a barometric altimeter and longer battery life, whereas the Sport lacks the barometric altimeter and has a reduced battery life.  Beyond those two differences and a slight outer shell material change, the units are identical in software functionality and capabilities – thus, they’ll be reviewed as one here.  In the rare cases where they differ I note that in that section.

To start, we’ll unbox the Ambit3 Peak, inclusive of the heart rate strap.


The unit includes four basic things inside the box: The manuals, the watch itself, the heart rate strap, and the USB charging/syncing cable:


First up, the heart rate strap.  This Bluetooth Smart enabled strap is unique in that it also contains the ability to store and sync historical heart rate data after the fact, both to the Ambit3, but also in the future to the Movescount smart phone app.


The strap pod is slightly smaller than previous straps, and also has a different connector than in the past, which is not compatible with other 3rd party straps:




Next, you’ve got the USB charging cable.  This has not differed from the Ambit1 or Ambit2 charging cables.  It can be charged with any USB port you’ll find on the planet, as well as to synchronize data from the Ambit3 on either PC or Mac.


Finally, you’ve got the Ambit3 watch itself.  This looks nearly identical to the Ambit2 edition, with a few itty bitty cosmetic changes in that the edge of the watch is depressed 1mm instead of popped up 1mm.


Oh, and there’s a red mark at the top, whereas the Ambit2 uses a white mark.



Yup, that’s it.  But, since we’re on comparisons, let’s see how it sizes up to other units in its category (and past Ambit units).

Size & Weight Comparisons:


Next we’ll take a crack at the the sizing of the Ambit3.  As you can see it’s virtually of identical size to the Ambit2 (and even Ambit1), seen above next to each other (Ambit3 to the left, Ambit2 to the right).  They’re rather difficult to tell apart from any distance.

Below, we’ve got the recent Ambit lineup: Ambit3 Peak, Ambit2, Ambit2 S, Ambit2 R:


Here’s how it compares to the Garmin Fenix2, to which it should most often be compared to:


Next, looking at weight, I weighed it in at 87g:


This is in comparison to the Ambit2 (of the same edition) at 89g:


And the Fenix2 at 86g:


And finally, the Polar V800 at 81g:


Lastly, as noted there are a few different editions/colors of the Ambit3 available, they are as follows:

Peak versions: Black, Sapphire
Sport version: Black, Sapphire, Blue, White

The Sapphire version doesn’t refer to the color, but rather the glass used which is typically stronger.  Though, in reality I’ve never heard of anyone breaking/messing up a non-Sapphire Ambit unit’s glass/display.  So at a premium of $100 over the Sport for the Sapphire, you best be planning to beat the crap out of the glass.

Here’s a quick image of all the colors.  I lack the full Brady Bunch of colors at my disposal, so we’ll have to do with this imagery from Suunto for now:


With that, let’s get onto using it.


Let’s start with one of the easiest sports to track, running.  This will give me a chance to also walk through some of the unit’s basics that are common to all sports (like data fields, screens, pausing, etc…).

To begin, you’ll go to start an activity via the upper right Start/Stop button.  This will get you into the sport/activity menu, it’s here you’ll pick your sport of choice.


These sports are pre-populated from Movescount online. By default you’ll have all the common ones, but if you want to add other sports you can add up to 10 sports online and have different settings/customizations for each one.  You can have sports profiles beyond 10 saved online on Movescount but not enabled in the watch state, in case you need them.


Next, after selecting a sport it’ll start to find any sensors you have paired, so if you have a heart rate strap it’ll start there, along with things like a running footpod or cycling sensors.

Finally, it’ll trigger GPS searching to find satellites.  I find that it’s generally quite quick as long as I’ve started back in the same place as before (within 10 seconds or sometimes much less), but I find that when I travel to a new place it’s less quick than some of the other units on the market.


Once that’s all done, it’s time to start running.  To do so you’ll want to start the timer, which will record the session for later access, as well as show you stats mid-run:


While running you can change data pages by pressing the “Next” and “View” buttons.  Additionally you can pause the session by pressing the Start/Stop button.  You can then resume anytime you’d like.


Next, you can create laps at any time by pressing the lap button (short press).  These laps will demark an interval on the unit for data display pages, as well as afterwards on Movescount online.


The Ambit3 supports Bluetooth Smart footpods, and I’ve tested it with a handful of sensors (ok, a lot of sensors), as noted in the Bluetooth Smart sensors section.  That said, there actually isn’t a need to use a footpod in most situations.  That’s because the Ambit3 (as well as all models of the Ambit2 via a software update last spring) now will derive cadence data from the wrist.  This is true both inside and outside.  This cadence data is then displayed on the unit as well as afterwards on Movescount:


The variations you see here are primarily driven by stoplights/signs, and then at the end I was doing different intervals.

In my testing, the cadence data is quite accurate, with the obvious exception that there can be slight blips if you hold onto a treadmill (indoors), or take an extended drink of water from a water bottle (outdoors).  This is because it depends on predictable wrist movements, and holding your hand to your head (or a bar), isn’t one such movement.

Next, the unit also does wrist based pace detection.  It does this by using data from your past GPS runs outdoors, which it then applies indoors.

In my testing I found that it performed fairly well.  I’d give it a B+ rating actually, better than other units on the market.  It’s not perfect, and I find that it tends to find the middle ground well (the paces I usually run), but struggles a little bit at the high end or low end of my normal pace range.  Below is a treadmill run I was doing.  In this case I was doing them at 1:27” per 400m, or about 5:48/mile.  Below you can see that it was over-estimating them at 5:09/mile.

Yet, earlier in the workout in the first 10 minutes it was much closer to the actual speed at about 7:00/mile and slightly below it.


Once you’ve completed your run you can go ahead and save the run.  As part of this it’ll tell you how much recovery time you have ‘built up’ from the activity.  This is added to any existing recovery time outstanding (for example, from a 20-mile run yesterday compounded by other activities).  Now, this is the singular area you need to be aware of using an optical heart rate sensor like the Scosche or Mio products.  This is because those sensors don’t yet measure heart rate variability terribly well, which can cause inflated numbers like the below.  This is true be it Suunto, Garmin, or Polar – the optical technology just isn’t as refined for that specific metric:


After you’ve connected your watch via Bluetooth Smart to the Suunto Movescount app, your workouts will end up subsequently online to Suunto Movescount the website.  You can decide whether or not that information is private or public via privacy settings on the site.  Once there you’ll see your activities through your dashboard:


You can then click on a single activity to see data about it, start at the top with summary information:


Then you can scroll down to get a map of where you went, and then graphs with paces and other sensor data:


Further, you can dive into laps and splits, if you’ve configured those (either via auto lap, or manual splits).

Lastly, you can export out the data from Movescount to a variety of file formats which are universally used for sharing sports/fitness activity data:


And, you can also setup Strava direct sync, as I’ve discussed in more detail in this post.



Next we’ve got cycling.  The Ambit3 supports a cycling mode that allows you to configure settings like speed to show in MPH/KPH, as well as to connect to cycling sensors including power meters.


The cycling mode contains all the same base features and functionality as the running mode.  So stuff like pause/start/stop/etc all works the same.

When it comes to sensors, the unit supports four cycling-specific Bluetooth Smart sensors, which are:

– Bluetooth Smart Cycling Speed/Cadence combo sensor
– Bluetooth Smart Cycling Speed-only sensor
– Bluetooth Smart Cycling Cadence-only sensor
– Bluetooth Smart Cycling Power Meter

This can all be paired via the pairing menu in settings, such as below:


Once that’s done, you can go ahead and have the unit search for them when in a cycling-specific mode:


The Ambit3 supports three bike profiles of sorts, so you can save multiple sensors.  It’s not quite a clear bike profile like some cycling-specific units, but it gets the job done by storing multiple sensors.

For the speed and cadence sensors things are fairly straight forward.  The speed sensor allows you to gather speed data in places where GPS data might be lacking, such as indoors or in a tunnel (or mountain biking where the GPS data might be fragmented/troublesome).


Meanwhile, the cadence sensor will give you cycling cadence.  That’s how many RPM (revolutions per minute) your crank arm goes around.

And lastly, you’ve got power meter support.  Today, this is somewhat limited to a few Bluetooth Smart power meters, but I expect that to grow over the coming months and into next year, so I wouldn’t fret about it too much as there’s a good variety of options even today (PowerTap, Stages, Polar/Look pedals).


The only catch with the Ambit3 and power meters is it lacks some of the more advanced features found in many other cycling computers, including both Garmin and Polar, which includes things like TSS/NP/IF for power meter folks.  You can of course still get these metrics afterwards on platforms like Training Peaks, but they won’t be shown mid-ride on the Ambit3, for that you’re pretty much limited to base power averaged/instant power fields (though, I do very much appreciate the 30-second rolling power field):


Lastly, for indoor cycling you’ll want to use a mode which disables the GPS, which in turn will instead use the speed sensor (purchased separately) for speed and distance.

Swimming (Openwater & Pool):


The Ambit3 is the first triathlon watch to support both the recording of heart rate data while swimming merged with actual swim metrics (stroke/laps/distance/etc…).  Previous efforts from companies like Polar have captured heart rate, but not metrics.  And other watches from Garmin have captured swim metrics but not heart rate.  Suunto combined the two together with the Ambit3.

To get heart rate metrics on the Ambit3, you’ll need to wear Suunto’s new heart rate strap.  This specific heart rate strap is required because it actually stores and synchronizes the data during the swim.  See the strap uses Bluetooth Smart, which can’t transmit through water more than a few inches – so instead it will download the data when the watch is brought close to it, or above water.  That process takes only a few seconds and can be done during the paused state (or active timer).  Here’s a short video of it updating the data:

Now again, this specific function requires the Suunto strap.  It will not work with other 3rd party straps that have memory, such as the Wahoo TICKR X, because the offload piece is proprietary to Suunto. Nor will it work underwater with Polar’s H7, since that uses an analog frequency not found on the Ambit3.

The other limitation here is that the watch won’t show your heart rate live while swimming.  Due to inability to transmit through water, you’ll just get a null/empty value shown on the watch (see bottom value):


But fear not, afterwards it’ll show you stats online for the entire session – seamlessly merging them together.  Just be sure you let the watch sync before you save the session.  The easiest way to do this is just pause the watch, then get out of the pool.  I add the graph page to my swim workout pages, because there’s otherwise no way to tell that the sync has completed.

Now the challenge with the heart rate strap and swimming is just that – it’s a strap.  For me while swimming in a pool the strap will often slide down my chest when I push off the wall.  I find I have to push off at about 60-70% my normal strength in order to get it to stay put.  I found that I can get it to stay put best a bit lower and with tightening the strap a bit, like below:


At the same time, any lower than this level I tend to see a bit less accuracy with the strap.  So it’s sorta a crap-shoot.  For women, this isn’t an issue at all, because most of you are wearing some sort of top while swimming – which the strap sits below and covers from water pressure.  If you’re not wearing a top, I’d like to kindly be invited to your swim sessions.

Beyond heart rate, the Ambit3 tracks swim data for pool swims and outdoor swims.  While indoors, you’ll get stroke/lap/length data for your different session:


Note that regardless of whether you’re indoors or outdoors in a pool, you’ll still use the pool mode.  This mode uses internal accelerometers to detect each time you reach one end of the pool or the other.  Said differently: Even for such a gorgeous outdoor pool as this, don’t use the openwater swimming mode.


In addition, because it depends on accelerometers, it means that you’ll want to refrain from doing the YMCA song while at the end of the pool waiting for your next step.  Similarly, if you see any of those mythical topless women swimmers referred to above mid-lane – you’ll want to just keep on swimming past them.  That’s because if you stop mid-lane with these types of watches it’ll think that you’ve begun your next lap.  And nothing is worse than having messed up swim metrics.

All of this information is available in real-time on the watch, so you can create intervals as well, which are great for keeping track of which laps you’re on and the time and pace of each set – and then you can get your HR data as well added on top:


When I look at accuracy of the watch, it’s overall quite solid.  Every few swim sessions I’ll get an incorrect length counted, but that’s not at all unusual.  The more careful you are with your turns (either flip or open turn is fine), the better.

Next, we can head outside for openwater swims.  For these, the unit uses a combination of GPS and accelerometer.  It uses the GPS for determining where and how far your went, and then it uses the accelerometer for determining how many strokes you’re taking.  Again, for outdoor pools you’ll want to just use regular pool mode, and not the openwater swim mode.


Like while indoors, you can also get heart rate data matched to the activity for afterwards.  Just ensure that it finds the strap before the activity starts.  It’s best to do this above the water.


Next, you’ll go ahead and go for your swim.  The unit will track distance in real-time, as well as time and intervals if you’d like and display that on the unit.


Afterwards, you’ll get a map of where you went.  In my testing this is generally in the ballpark of where I went:


But at the same time, it’s not likely to be perfect.  None of the watches on the market are.  Don’t expect the same level of GPS accuracy that you’d get on land, while swimming openwater.  The challenge there is that GPS reception is lost every stroke and has to be regained every stroke.  This means that approximately every second this happens, and when re-gaining GPS signal there’s usually a reduced level of accuracy (i.e. +/-35yds).  So what companies do is take trending to try and figure out where you’re going.


In the case of Suunto, I’d actually say they’re probably in the realm of one of the better ones here.  In my testing of the Ambit3, it was always the closest to the actual distance measured (with a GPS on my head), and in some cases matched it precisely.

Finally, while openwater swimming it’s completely normal and accepted to wear the heart rate strap below your wetsuit or trisuit.  The unit will transmit the data through that without issue once above water.

Multisport Mode:


Next we’ve got the great combination of all the previous individual sport modes: Multisport mode.

This mode allows you to link up back to back individual sport modes to form a multisport activity, aka, a triathlon.  Or a duathlon, biathlon, or any other sort of thing involving thlon (note, not thon, that’s French for tuna).

What’s cool is you have two options with multisport mode.  The first is is an automated variant where you’ve preconfigured the sports and order of said sports.  This is perfect for a triathlon where it’s clearly going to be swim, bike, run and you want to include transitions.



Otherwise, you can do an adhoc multisport activity anytime you’d like by holding the ‘Back/Lap’ button, which will then prompt you for a sport of your choosing.



After the activity, you’ll get a multisport activity displayed on Suunto Movescount, which will show you the different sport segments as part of a full single activity:


Overall this works fairly well, but I did see one issue where the altitude coming out of the water wasn’t quite correct (it was calibrated about –3000ft (negative).  I haven’t done any other races since then, so I’m not quite sure it’s fixed or not.  Historically speaking others have reported similar activity in events.

Suunto Apps:

Back about two years ago this fall Suunto introduced the concept of Suunto Apps.  These apps allowed developers (or, people that wanted to act like developers) to create basic apps for the Ambit series.  Initially these apps just simply did calculations in real time and couldn’t store data.  Then Suunto expanded the scope to allow you to download multiple apps to the Ambit as well as allowing you to store data in the apps, which could then be further stored/displayed on Movescount.

These apps have a variety of functions, from useful to useless.  For example, there are apps that act as a virtual pacer, and others that allow you to create data fields for functions that Suunto left out.


The apps can be browsed via the Suunto App Zone, which has a filter of sorts.  As is the case on other app stores, I’d look a little bit towards those with many downloads, which Suunto has recently started making a little bit easier to find versus the swath of sorta crappy apps.


Once you’ve got an app you can add it to your collection and then you can go into your sport profiles and add it as a data page to a given sport profile.  Consider these as extra data pages in your data page rotation while flipping through pages on the unit.


The only challenge with the app implementation is that Suunto has somewhat substituted new features natively in the watch for just writing quick apps.  While I think it’s great that Suunto is fostering app development, I feel like some features need to be natively in the unit and accessible at any time (such as a proper interval platform, or a virtual pacer function).

Further, while I think Suunto Apps are great, they are at the same time a bit limited.  For example, they can’t connect to the internet, nor can they have multiple layers on them.  Garmin just last week announced Garmin Connect IQ, which are apps with far greater flexibility and functionality – closing in on what is found on other smart watches and even some basic phone app functionality.  Now, obviously these new apps significantly surpass Suunto, but at the same time, keep in mind they aren’t out yet.  And as of today (September 29th), there aren’t any watches available to use them.  So like most things, the future always looks brighter – but sometimes the present is more functional if the future isn’t here yet.

Data Fields and Data Pages:

The Ambit3 supports the same basic page and data field structure as the Ambit2.  For this, you can create numerous data pages, each containing a variety of data fields.  The exact number of data fields varies from 1 to 3, depending on which exact data page types you use.  For example, data pages that take up an entire page to give you bigger numbers means only one field:


Whereas pages with more fields will give you smaller numbers but more metrics.  And then there are graph pages, which allows you to graph things like heart rate and barometric altimeter data.

Each of these data fields gets pulled from a given category:


You can have a total of 8 data pages per sport profile, and up to 10 active sport profiles on your device enabled at any one point and time.  You can create your own sport modes, both as a single mode as well as a multisport mode:


It’s also here that you can configure non-data page settings like recording rate and sensor types to search for, allowing to further tweak and customize each sport profile.


The flexibility of configuring these modes is a major advantage over some of the competitors.  While Polar would be the next closest, Garmin is a bit further behind in terms of being able to configure these online (you can’t at all).  On the flip side however, with Suunto/Polar, you can’t configure the data fields on the watch or phone apps itself.  Perhaps some day all three vendors will offer both methods.


Next up is the unit’s navigation and routing capabilities.  The Ambit3, like previous generation Ambit’s, is able to store waypoints and routes, which you can then save and follow.  To start, you’ll likely use the Suunto Route Planner, available on Suunto’s Movescount website.


As you create the route you can create waypoints as well for a variety of categories:


Next, you’ll want to send this route to your watch the next time you synchronize the unit.  To do that check the ‘Use this route in watch’ box, which will show you how many POI’s, Routes and Waypoints you have remaining to save.


Once that’s all done and sync’d, you’ll then dive into your watch to start navigation.  You can trigger navigation at any time from any activity, which is handy.  To do so, just hold down the ‘Next’ button for a few moments.  Alternatively you can start navigation from the main menu.


From there you can choose how to navigate, for example by navigating to a POI (point of interest), or along a route.


Once you’ve selected one (I’ll go with route, since it’s the most complex and really covers both POI’s and waypoints), then it’ll show you directions and distance to the next waypoint:


Note that you won’t get a map on the screen, rather, just pointy directions as to where to go via a little arrow at the edge of the unit.  Like a kid riding training wheels on the bike, you’ll want to keep the little digital arrow between the digital lines:


As you arrive at a waypoint, you’ll get notified:


Note that at this time you can’t create routes from the phone app itself, which is a bit of a limitation (and something that the Fenix series allows).  Hopefully Suunto will open up such capabilities soon.

Next, we’ll look briefly at elevation tracking with the Ambit3, given this is the hiking section.  For that I did some testing in the Alps on a handful of hikes.  I was primarily looking at how well the unit matched up to signage on the mountain.  I figured it was fairly likely at a well known place like Alpe d’Huez that these signs were probably correct.  Here’s how things faired:


Above, you see the sign for 2,593m, which equals 8,507ft.  Below, you’ve got the Ambit2 at 8,471ft, a difference of about 36 feet.  I’m not clear if the reference point is measured as of the top of the pole or the bottom, logic dictates bottom…but, ya never know.  In any event, this is one half of one percent away accuracy-wise.  Or, .5%.


In this case, I let everything be completely automatic.  Meaning that I let it automatically determine my base altitude using GPS and then it blends that with barometric altimeter data from there.  I figured that’s most like how many real-world folks would use it (unless you had altitude information at a trailhead).  Looking at the altitude track, I didn’t see any issues there at all with how it looked, as it perfectly matched our route:


Now, deep in that canyon of sorts I did see one point where GPS lock had some minor issues.  But, at the same time I also saw a similar error in nearly the same spot from the Garmin Fenix2.  Ultimately, it just had really horrible GPS signal in that portion and minor errors are a bit of a fact of life with GPS today.


Still, the watch otherwise worked and tracked perfectly on a suite of weekend hikes in the Alps.  Further, beyond the minor variations seen in the mountains, my day to day GPS tracks in the city while running were all within 1-2% of other units, which is normal for GPS accuracy (usually it was 1% at most).


Of course, from a hiking/trekking standpoint nobody has ever argued that the Ambit series doesn’t do a solid job there, it generally is seen as one of the more dependable units on the market consistently.

Finally, do note that there are two specific settings of use in the hiking realm, which are around the recording and GPS update rate.  These rates impact how often the unit grabs GPS data and updates it.  It also reduces the update rate significantly, so be aware that if you turn on 60s mode, you’ll really want to do so only when you plan to go beyond the base limits of the 1-second battery update mode (for example, a 24-hour walk).

Daily Activity Tracker:


The Suunto Ambit3 includes a variant of a daily activity tracker.  I say a ‘variant’ because at this stage (and perhaps it’ll change) it’s more of a reduced activity tracker.  The unit tracks movement throughout the day, but doesn’t actually track steps per se, nor does it track things like sleep.  Instead it’s looking at things more holistically, so it looks at total amount of movement each day, as seen below and then also gives some general text guidance at the bottom of how active it thinks you are.


This data is then taken into account when looking at recovery time.  Think of recovery time as a little sand-filled hourglass that slowly decreases overtime.  Yet if you go out and do a run or other activity, it’ll climb back up again.  Within your training program you can then decide what type of workouts to do based on how much recovery you might need.  Below, is what it looked like before I went for a swim:


And then after the swim:


As you can see, it increased the recovery time needed.  Because it was a relatively short swim of only about 2,200yds, it only requires 6 hours of recovery time.

Now back in July in the first look post I offered some thoughts on this, where I noted that I thought the step counter was largely useless.  And to that end, I still believe that.  I can’t actually figure out how many steps nor how far (distance) I’ve walked.  Nor does it track my sleep.  All three of the ‘basics’ that are covered by even $50 activity monitors.

When I look at other products like the Polar V800, they initially started out without providing exact steps/distance on the device itself, but then Polar noted in a recent meeting with me that they underestimated how much people wanted that information – and thus have gone and added it in via firmware update coming in the next few days.  Of course, in Polar’s case they’ve always provided it both online and via the phone app.

Adding injury to insult in the case of the Ambit3, none of this information is available online via Movescount nor in the connected app.  I can only hope Suunto will follow the rest of the industry here and add this information in that consumers clearly want, especially since I actually rather like their recovery graph seen above – I think it’s one of the more clear implementations of training versus recovery.

Smartphone Integration – Workout Sync:


The Ambit3 gains smartphone integration on a number of fronts.  We’ll start with the workout sync capabilities, along with that of modifying settings from the phone.  You’ll set these up after downloading the Movescount app from the app store.  At present, it’s only supported for iOS, with Android set for early 2015.

(Update Feb 1st, 2015: Suunto says that Android support will arrive in April 2015: “Please be informed that Suunto Movescount App for Android will be released this April. Since many customers have been asking for broader Android support than just Lollipop (Android 5.0). We are glad to announce support for Android Jelly Bean (4.3) and KitKat (4.4).”)

(Update May 5th, 2015: Suunto has now rolled out their Android App.  Note that you’ll need to update the firmware on your Ambit3 first to ensure compatibility.  Full details can be found on their dedicated Android beta site here.)

The app is what enables you to go ahead and sync to the watch, as you can’t just wander into the Bluetooth Control panel and set it up there without the app to finalize pieces.  So once you’ve installed it, go ahead and crack open the Movescount app and get the watch all paired up, and signed into your account.  It only takes a moment.

Once that’s done you’ll see the details from your Movescount app populate.  Next, let’s dive into the Ambit3 by pressing the little gear/settings icon and then selecting Ambit3, which brings you here:


This will begin to connect to the watch and start to download activities.  Like most Bluetooth Smart file transfers (be it Garmin, Polar, or Suunto), the process isn’t terribly fast.  But eventually the file will get across.

Once that does so it’ll immediately show up in your activity history on the device as well as online on Movescount.  Additionally, if you’ve configured sync to services like Strava using Movescount, it’ll show up in Strava a short bit later too:


Next, you can do some customization of the sport modes.  Specifically, you can change the watch views from the app:

IMG_1044 IMG_1042 IMG_1043

This is handy because you can’t do it on the watch itself, just via the phone or your desktop computer.

Once you make a change here it’s copied back to the watch the next time you sync the watch (which should happen near immediately after exiting this menu).

Now, the catch is you can’t change any other sport mode settings.  Meaning, you can remove/disable sport modes from the device, and you can rename them…and that’s it.

IMG_1045 IMG_1041

And you can edit some generic watch settings like backlight, formatting and the like:

IMG_1047 IMG_1046

You can’t however edit sport mode things like recording rates or such.  However, there is a workaround there.  Instead, you can use the Movescount Mobile website to make these changes (outside the app), and then if you open the app again and sync the watch, it’ll actually pull those changes from the website straight to the watch.

This is handy when you realize you’ve forgotten a setting and are nowhere near your computer.  Of course, at the same time, I’m optimistic Suunto will continue to expand the app to include further configuration settings, thus requiring less reliance on the browser to change functions.

Lastly, I do want to briefly mention a feature I can’t quite seem to get working correctly – which is the ability to use the GPS on the Ambit3 in place of the phone’s GPS, and then have the phone serve as the primary display.  In my case, no matter how hard I try the phone app just continues to show me in Finland, ironically at the Suunto headquarters by the looks of things.  I suspect it’s a new bug, as it’s not an issue I saw earlier this summer.

Smartphone Integration – Notifications:


Next up we’ve got another smartphone feature, notifications.  This allows you to get notifications on your wrist from the notification center.  Again, like the previous feature this is only available on iOS devices, at least until early 2015 when it’ll come to Android.

In the case of iOS, the feature partly depends on your notification center settings while at the same time depending on the app, and finally partly depending on your watch.  First, you’ll need to configure apps in your notifications center to display alerts.  Obviously choose carefully here since anything you enable for a notification will chirp on your watch.  For example, I don’t have e-mail notifications enabled, but do have text messages and Twitter Direct Messages.

IMG_1038 IMG_1039 IMG_1040

Next, you’ll need to enable notifications on your Ambit3.  This is done via Options > Connectivity > Notifications = On.

Finally, you’ll need to have the Suunto Movescount app running on your phone, with Bluetooth enabled as well.  Again, the app must be running somewhere in the background for notifications to work, and Bluetooth must also be enabled (that part is pretty normal).

This is slightly different than other apps that channel the notifications piece through the iOS notifications center without the need for the app to be running.  I’m not sure it’s that big of a deal, but more of an awareness thing.

Assuming that’s all setup, then notifications will appear on your device in real-time as soon as they show up on your phone:


Oddly enough, I actually found this really useful recently while driving and using the iOS Google Maps app, as the directions appeared on my wrist and were quicker to glance at than the Google Maps’ screen.

Of course, for many others you’ll just want to use this in a day to day mode.  Note that the notifications can queue up, and you can iterate through them – but there isn’t any sort of response function.  For example you can’t respond to a text message.  Still, I found it quite useful in my day to day life to be able to glance at incoming texts without having to take my phone out of my pocket.

Bluetooth Smart Sensor Support:


The Ambit3 has adopted Bluetooth Smart as its wireless sensor protocol, replacing ANT+ found on the Ambit1 and Ambit2.  Thus, the Ambit3 supports the following types of sensors:

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

At this point, there are product makers of all of those types of devices, only one of which includes Suunto (the heart rate strap), so the remainder will require purchase of 3rd party sensors (which I’ll get to in a moment).  The following sensor types are NOT supported:

– ANT+ sensors (of any type)
– Bluetooth legacy sensors (of any type)
– Nike sensors (of any type)
– Polar WIND sensors (of any type)
– Previous generation Suunto sensors (of any type)

All of these earlier written supported Bluetooth Smart sensor types can then be displayed during the activity itself.  You’ll need to remember to configure your data pages to show the type of data from the sensor your using.  For example, if using a power meter remember to configure power meter sensors online using the website and then sync’ing it to the watch:


Once that’s done you can see the data on the data pages on the watch.  Similarly, afterwards you’ll get sensor data displayed on your charts within Movescount (either on the phone or website):


Now, there’s a lot of 3rd party Bluetooth Smart sensors on the market today, mostly in the heart rate category – but also in the cycling speed/cadence sensor world as well as the running stride sensor world.  I’ve been doing a lot of testing over the past few months with different sensors, but in order to ensure I was up to date I went back this past weekend through a large swath of sensors and did some testing on them with the Ambit3.  Here’s the results:


As you can see, things are pretty rough.  In some cases it may be the sensor’s fault, and in others it may be Suunto’s fault.  I believe most of the heart rate ones are actually Suunto’s fault, because they appear to be enforcing the use of RR/HRV on the heart rate strap – which isn’t required to be transmitted per the Bluetooth Smart specifications.  Whereas I think some of the zero-value speed ones on cadence sensors are a combination of fault.  In those cases those companies are transmitting zero-value speeds which overrides GPS speed.  While companies like Garmin and soon Polar will simply ignore this and use the correct speed value, Suunto isn’t doing that here.

Of course, I expect the results of the chart to change and update over time.  For example, Wahoo will be pushing out a firmware update any day now that disables the zero-value speed on the Wahoo RPM, so that might fix that.  And Suunto says they’re working on an update as well from their side.  I’ll continue to try and update the above chart for a bit, but would be happy for readers to provide sensor compatibility notes in the comments, which I’ll update above.  That’s because it’s simply not feasible for me to validate all those sensors every time Suunto releases a new firmware update.

At this point, I think Suunto would have been better off going with a dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart strategy.  That would have put them in the premier position when it comes to protocol support, since nobody else supports both in a triathlon watch today.  Further, because the unit is so heavily triathlon focused and because so much of the existing triathlon sensor world is on ANT+ today (especially cycling), I think they may have jumped ship just a bit too soon.

It’s one thing to jump ship when the ship your landing on is better, but at this point Suunto’s support of 3rd party sensors leaves much to be desired.

Product Comparisons:

I’ve added the Ambit3 to the Product Comparison Tool, which means you can mix and match it against any other watch’s/unit’s that I’ve ever reviewed for feature comparisons.

For the sake of simplicity, I’ve just selected the Suunto Ambit3, Ambit2, Polar V800, Garmin Fenix2.  However, you can easily make your own chart with any device you want here at this link.

Function/FeatureSuunto Ambit3 PeakSuunto Ambit2Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated April 29th, 2021 @ 5:01 am New Window
Product Announcement DateJuly 10th, 2014APR 29, 2013Feb 20, 2014Jan 6th, 2014
Actual Availability/Shipping DateSept 2014May 2013March 2014May 2014
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYes
Data TransferUSB & Bluetooth SmartUSBUSB/Bluetooth SmartUSB, BLUETOOTH SMART
WaterproofingYes - 100mYes - 100mYes - 50mYes - 30m
Battery Life (GPS)Up to 200 Hours50 hours50 HoursUp to 50 hours
Recording IntervalVariableVariable1S to Variable1s
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceYesYesNoNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)MinimalNoNoYes
MusicSuunto Ambit3 PeakSuunto Ambit2Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800
Can control phone musicNoNo
Has music storage and playbackNoNo
Streaming ServicesNo
PaymentsSuunto Ambit3 PeakSuunto Ambit2Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNo
ConnectivitySuunto Ambit3 PeakSuunto Ambit2Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingYesNoYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)YesNoYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNoYesNo
Group trackingNoNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNo
CyclingSuunto Ambit3 PeakSuunto Ambit2Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableYesYesYesYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesYesYesYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFNoNoYesNP
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceNoYes
Crash detectionNoNo
RunningSuunto Ambit3 PeakSuunto Ambit2Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800
Designed for runningYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYes (internal accelerometer)YesYes
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoYesNo
Running PowerWith extra sensor
VO2Max EstimationYesYesYesYes
Race PredictorNoNoYesYes, via Race Pace
Recovery AdvisorYesYesYesYes
Run/Walk ModeNoNoYes (Added June 13th, 2014)Yes, via timers
SwimmingSuunto Ambit3 PeakSuunto Ambit2Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800
Designed for swimmingYesYesYesYes
Openwater swimming modeYesYesYesYes
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingYesYesYesYes
Record HR underwaterYesNoNoWith Certain Polar Straps
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYesYesYes
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYesYesYes
Indoor Drill ModeYesYesYesNo
Indoor auto-pause featureNoNoNoYes
Change pool sizeYesYesYesYes
Indoor Min/Max Pool Lengths15m/y to 1,200m/y15m/y to 1,200m/y18m/20y to 150y/m20M/Y to 250 m/y
Ability to customize data fieldsYesYesYesYes
Captures per length data - indoorsYesYesYesYes
Indoor AlertsNoNoYesN/A
TriathlonSuunto Ambit3 PeakSuunto Ambit2Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800
Designed for triathlonYesYesYesYes
Multisport modeYesYesYesYes
WorkoutsSuunto Ambit3 PeakSuunto Ambit2Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoNoYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureBarelyBarelyYesYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoNoYes (Added June 13th, 2014)Yes
FunctionsSuunto Ambit3 PeakSuunto Ambit2Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800
Auto Start/StopYesYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureNoNoYesYes
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoNoNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoNoNoNo
NavigateSuunto Ambit3 PeakSuunto Ambit2Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesYesYesYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYesYesYesYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNo
Back to startYesYes (added Aug 30, 2013)YesYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitYesNoYesYes
SensorsSuunto Ambit3 PeakSuunto Ambit2Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800
Altimeter TypeBarometricBarometric, GPS (FusedAlti)BarometricBarometric
Compass TypeMagneticMagneticMagneticMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNoNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableNoYesYesNo
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoYesYesNo
ANT+ Footpod CapableNoYesYesNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoYesYesNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNo (can control VIRB though)no (but can control GoPro)
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)NoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableYesNoNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableYesNoNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableYesNoNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableYesNoNoYes
Temp Recording (internal sensor)YesYesYesYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoYesNo
SoftwareSuunto Ambit3 PeakSuunto Ambit2Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800
PC ApplicationMoveslink AgentMoveslink AgentGarmin ExpressPolar Flowsync - Windows/Mac
Web ApplicationSuunto MovescountMovescountGarmin ConnectPolar Flow
Phone AppiOS/AndroidSuunto MovescountiOS/AndroidiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoYes (online)NoNo
PurchaseSuunto Ambit3 PeakSuunto Ambit2Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800
DCRainmakerSuunto Ambit3 PeakSuunto Ambit2Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

The tables are updated dynamically and thus if/when things change that’s represented automatically in this section.  And again, remember you can create your own charts easily here with any product you’d like.



Overall, this is a ‘complicated’ one.  On one hand Suunto’s incremental upgrades of the Ambit3 over the Ambit2 are largely well executed without impacting previous functionality.  So in many ways the greatness of the Ambit2 is still there, just with a small layer of the new stuff on top – such as heart rate while swimming.  Or the doubling of the internal storage.

Yet on the other hand they also seem to fall short of what others are doing and/or expected to do.  For example, the activity tracker lacks actual activity tracker stats.  And then there’s pieces that many Suunto users had really hoped would be implemented, such as vibration alerts, that didn’t make the cut and would require a hardware change – which certainly won’t happen in this edition.

Of course, for the triathlete the Bluetooth Smart sensor implementation may be the most challenging to swallow.  It’s not actually the shift from ANT+ that’s the bottleneck here, but rather, the implementation of so many 3rd party Bluetooth Smart sensors in the market that simply don’t work properly on the Ambit3.

In many ways, I do wonder a little bit if Suunto jumped the gun on a release here with the Ambit3.  Meaning that while releasing the Ambit3 this summer on roughly their annual schedule, I’m not sure it was really necessary.  They had a very solid product in the marketplace already, and it seems like it may have been wiser to wait and to see how the competition worked itself out over the fall to then leapfrog it early next spring.  I feel like at this point the hardware might not really really be suitable for leapfrogging competitors, no matter how many software improvements are there.  But then again, perhaps I’ll be wrong.

Found this review useful? Or just wanna save a bundle of cash? Here’s how:

Hopefully you found this review 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 review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews 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 an exclusive 10% discount across the board on all products (except clearance items). You can pickup the Suunto Ambit3 variants below. Then receive 10% off of everything in your cart by adding code DCR10BTF at checkout. By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get a sweet discount. And, since this item is more than $75, you get free US shipping as well.

Suunto Ambit3 Sport (select dropdown for HR strap/colors)
Suunto Ambit3 Peak (select dropdown for HR strap/colors)

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the Suunto Ambit3 and accessories (though, no discount). Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells). If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.

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.

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  1. Dustin Carey

    Hi Ray, will the Velocomputer sensors work with Ambit 3?

    • I haven’t tested it yet, and won’t have the opportunity to do so until shortly after Christmas when I return.

    • I downloaded three runs to Movescount, like I’ve always done, however, putting it back on noted blank screen. Tried all Suunto support recommendations; i.e. Firmware forced update to holding all watch buttons to try reset. Still blank screen; just mailed it back to Suunto repair in Utah. Could problems with Movesvount caused this? This watch issue does bother me; but the running more important than the technology? Thanks.

    • Dustin Carey

      Have you had anytime to check this out? I couldn’t find contact info for Velocomputer to ask them.

  2. Joaquin Menárguez

    hi ryan
    Could you tell me which of both (Garmin fenix 2 and suunto Ambit3 peak) has better materials?
    With last update 3.70 for fenix 2 has improve its working…
    Which of both is more resistant and which of both has better gps (i know fenix 2 hasnt gloneass)…?

  3. Roberto

    Hi Ray,

    this place you’ve built is an incredible source :)

    I’m considering to buy an ambit3, but was wandering if there’s any way I’ll be able to listen to the alarms in my earpods through my Iphone – or through bluetooth earpods.

    Has been said a thousand times but yes: the lack of vibrations is really a pitty.

    Thanks a lot,


  4. Luke O'Shea

    Hey DC,

    Just wanted to know – is there anyway to when using the interval or autolap function for the ambit 3 to display the last lap split time etc – so if you are running a half marathon and want to make sure your lap times are on target it comes up every km?



  5. Vitaly

    [In swimming] Do you have to pause every time you finish an interval (resting near wall)? Is it made the same way as on Garmin Swim?
    And drill mode, do you have to pre-select drill mode the same way as on Garmin Swim? Does it count laps in drill mode or you have enter total length after, and you got only average values per lap? (Separate values could be useful when you’re doing a set of different drills).

    How precise is Ambit in compare to Garmin Swim (turns and stroke detection)?

    And overal is Ambit3 more convenient in compare to Garmin Swim (e.g. ease of UI for selecting modes during swimming)? I plan to use it only for swimming.

    • Jeremy

      Don’t know the Garmin, but the Suunto has autopause and autoresume in the pool. That’s why I bought it over the Garmin watches. As for drill, you have to start drills and put in distance afterwards, but it also detects some drills that seem like strokes and calculates that distance and into your average speed, which is dumb. A drill should be a drill. So I’ve stopped using that feature.

    • Vitaly

      Thank you for the reply.
      How about stroke detection and turn detection? I’ve read bad responses on Ambit2.
      Nevertheless you have to teach it your style it often detects wrong style. As well as it misses turns or adds extra ones.

      Garmin doesn’t have feature to learn strokes and it’s quite bad with butterfly according to the reviews. But turns are fine. And there’s auto pause.

      Also the price $150 for Garmin vs $400 for Ambit3

    • Jeremy

      I don’t think there’s autopause for the Garmin. I asked about that and Ray said there isn’t on any of the Garmins. Again, that’s why I bought the Suunto.

      As for learning strokes, if you teach it just one, as I did, then it only detects one. I only do freestyle. As for accuracy, lately I’ve been getting an extra length added, and I think it’s because I’ve been using the arm with the watch to cover my hr strap when I push off the wall, something you have to do (which is annoying). Maybe that’s not it, but it’s annoying and didn’t seem to do that before the hr strap started coming with me to the pool. When I switched the watch to the other arm, the problem went away.

      I don’t like how Movescount shows laps and intervals and rest periods. It’s practically useless, especially when you do intervals instead of one long endurance workout. You might think it’s overall accurate but seriously, trying to analyze each interval is a pain with the way they show it (rest periods with distance, very slow times at the end of a lap, that kind of thing). But that said, I like it overall. I don’t know if there’s anything better at this point.

  6. Sunil

    Hi Ray

    I bought a Wahoo Bluetooth Speed and Cadence sensor and paired it with my Ambit3. However, I bought the sensor for the Cadence and not the speed and therefore have not attached a magnet to my wheel. When I did my ride this morning, it completely messed up my speed and distance readings. Is there any way to make sure that the watch can pick up the cadence readings but measure distance and speed via the watch GPS. Any help is much appreciated.

  7. Nuno

    Hi there Folks,
    Just tested Wahoo Fitness Sensor for speed cadence SC II Bluetooth 4.0, Matte Black, 4096, with the Ambit 3, and also with Samsung galaxy Mega, all worked great. The only negative detail is the candence sensor must be really close to activate. I am just going to use it for indoor training, but for exterior use I would advise to use zip ties instead of the rubber band to secure the sensor to the frame.

  8. Nuno Pinto

    For sure, some of all are already aware of the problem with the SUUNTO MOVESCOUT OUTAGE:
    link to suunto.com

    Once again…why the hell do they force us JUST TO USE THE WEBSITE to configure/use the watches…
    I have to confess. I regret to have “upgraded” to the AMBIT.

    • Indeed, I agree – they really need to allow offline/direct USB access to the Ambit series, as well as allowing some method for people to configure watches offline. Given this is becoming a pattern with prolonged, it’s pretty much unacceptable.

    • Nuno Pinto

      Thanks for the reply Ray, and by the way, Merry Christmas from Belgium/Portugal.

    • Marios

      I agree that this is totally unacceptable! It’s so sad that there is NO company among the big ones (Garmin, Suunto, Polar etc) that has nailed the needs of today’s runner, cyclist, swimmer. What we need is an “Apple” (but clearly not the iWatch) of sports companies to release a product that does a few things and does them really well with the connectivity, services, support, accuracy and reliability we have grown to expect.

    • LB

      I just returned my Ambit3 Sport due to Moveslink2 problems. I also found the watch uncomfortable and didn’t like the way it displayed lap pace.

  9. David

    Hi Ray,
    Since Suunto movescount website is down and not working for days now, do you know another way to get data off the Ambit3 so it can be used with other software?

    Great reviews!

  10. Vitaly

    Do you think Apple Watch will change the industry?
    In a software developer and swimmer so I’m looking forward to see if/when Apple releases waterproof watch and allows native (standalone) apps on it.

    • Paul S

      You’ll be waiting a long time, then. The one about to be released isn’t waterproof, doesn’t have a GPS, won’t have ANT+ (not much use for swimmers anyway but it is for the rest of us) and is tethered to an iPhone. From what I’ve read about the recently released SDK, apps on the watch will be very limited. A wearable waterproof iPhone it isn’t. A replacement for an Ambit or a Fenix it isn’t. I’ll get to see one because my daughter wants one, but the only thing I’ll be interested in in Ray’s future review of it is how well the optical HR works, just out of curiousity.

    • Alberto Oses

      And what about the Fitbit Surge (smartwatch)?

      It will include optical HR and will be designed for sports (water resistant, but, from what I know, no ANT+ support)

    • I think you’ll see that there’s a pretty big gap between the Fitbit Surge and something like the Ambit3.

    • Vitaly

      I don’t considered it as a replacement of Ambit. Also I am not talking about other activities then indoor swimming. For indoor swimming Apple watch are good if they are waterproof and allows native applications.

      Of course I’ve checked current watch kit and yes, watch apps are split between watch (UI: storyboards and graphics) and iPhone (all business logic). But Apple mentioned they allow standalone apps for watch next year.

      As for waterproof I’m not sure. Maybe sport version gets it, maybe we have to wait till watch 2 gen or 3. Who knows.

  11. Huub Raemakers

    My ambit3 is for sale. I had it with Movescount (down again for al loooooong period) and the fact that the only way to adjust the watch is via Movescount…

    Also the small datafields are hard to read when you are running.

    So, I bought a Garmin 920XT: far better screen (higher resolution and two big datafields possible per screen) and you can change all you want on the watch itself.

    Merry Christmas

  12. Soren Engelbredt

    I also went from suunto to garmin fr920xt. And what a change. Suunto is a Great watch but they still have a long Way to Go. Movescount have to much down time and their watches need improvements on quality and user surface. Most positive thing about suunto is the design.

    • Jeremy

      Is the garmin watch and system actually better? Apart from the Movescount downtime? My impression (without ever owning a Garmin) is that the Garmins are the ones with bugs and quality control issues.

    • Hi Jeremy,

      I understand your position regarding the bugs and quality reports on Garmin that you can read here. This may perhaps represent 2% of garmin owners.
      Always think that all the people with 100% functioning products never say anything, as ray mentioned several times.

      For me, i bought an Ambit3 in early september 2014. I used it everyday. The buttons are not responding well, the moveslink software works randomly, and the Movescount site was closed for 5 days. Only facts, no anger from my side.

      I use Training Peaks :
      1°) Ambit3 -> Movescount -> Strava. Then every hour, Taipiirik to Training Peaks. The laps are lost in the process.
      If i try to handle the .sml files directly with Neotrack, the HR information is lost in the process.

      2°) I have used for the last days my FR15 during the outage :
      FR 15 -> USB to Garmin Connect -> Training Peaks : 3 mins average time with all details.

      Regarding bugs, Garmin has issued several updates and bugfixes for the FR15, while Suunto only had one undocumented update for the Ambit3, Just looks at the “Week in review” post that Ray makes, and in the “updates this week” section, Suunto is never mentioned.

      I am looking now for a second hand 310xt or 910xt : several of my friends owns them without any problem. I will keep my ambit3 as everyday watch, since the 920Xt designers thinks they work for Fisher Price :)

      I have objectives for 2015, and Suunto could not be part of my future since now, i have lost confidence . I don’t need apologies, i need a reliable product.

    • Nuno

      Totally agree with your view, that is why I am giving POLAR a chance.

    • Jeremy

      Those are good points. I’m pretty underwhelmed with the app, it’s pretty much useless for anything except syncing, and I don’t like the inconsistencies with the data between the watch, app and website. I get different numbers for each over the same workout. And you’re right, they don’t seem to put out updates like I thought they would. But I don’t know if I’m willing to lose the auto-pausing in pool swims by switching to Garmin.

  13. Danz

    Hi Ray. Awesome review. I just bought the ambit3 peak and went on a few trail runs. I found the GPS ‘track-back’ to be somewhat inaccurate. I was thinking perhaps this was due to the GPS rate. Is this something that I can adjust from the watch itself or from the movescount only? Cheers

    • David

      Hi Danz. I have the Ambit3 Peak also. You can change the sample rate. If I remember right. You can’t set it directly on the watch. You have to set it using the iphone app (or computer program?). On iphone app hit the gear button >Ambit3 > sport modes > etc…
      ***(Big note of caution, the movescount website has to be working to access the sport modes). What a bad system they have created, to need a website to configure your watch.

      A lot of unhappy Christmas gifts today when people can’t fully configure their watches and use them fully since Suunto can’t get their website movescount up and running.

  14. Nuno Pinto

    How many days have spent with MOVESCOUT website down ??? Definitely not a brand to trust !!! Going to try to sell my watch….Can´t trust on this company to release an android app or release any new features in the future. Back to my trusted POLAR RS800CX

  15. asier

    Hi Ray, really nice review, thanks!!!
    I currently training with my old suunto t6d+footpod. I’ve calibrate it several times but when I race 1/2 marathons or marathons distance is always wrong on the t6d. So I decided to change to a GPS watch. I also practice cycling (road and MTB). So I’m interested on ambit3, Fenix2 and 620. I like the 620 because it is thin but the low battery life worries me so thats why I’m also looking to ambit3 and fenix2. Fenix2 seems to have some specs more than the ambit3. But or some summary from you, I read that you prefre the ambit3 if sale price is like the Fenix2. Is it true? why you prefer the ambit3? I also like ambit3 but fenix2 seems to be more complete. On the comments I’ve many people changing from ambit to fenix…
    For me the most important are wifi&bluetooth connectibity, running info (pace, heart rate, time, etc), running cadence, and bike funtion (speed, distance, altitude,… I don’t use powermeter, …yet).
    620 has also everything but poor battery life and not beautiful colours, are like non useful watch for everyday.
    Which of 3 watches do you think I should take?
    Thanks and best regards

    • Hello
      It’s December 26th, 10 AM, and the Suunto Movescount site has been down for the last 5 days. I worked in companies where a 5 days shutdown of service would have seen all the IT department lined up against a wall with a cigarette and a glass of rum in front of a firing squad. Meaning that at the moment, my 500€ state-of-the-art Ambit3 is almost useless.I would never recommend Suunto to anybody.

  16. Nuno Pinto

    Guys, is anyone having problems with the synchronization ???
    Synchronizing settings failed

    Is this my problem or an issue on Their servers ????

    [17:25:03] [ERROR] Arrest: server complained: “The type initializer for ‘Suunto.BLL.Authority.Application’ threw an exception.”
    [17:25:03] [INFO] [] Arrest::MCConn::handleException, return code 500 (Internal server error)
    [17:25:03] [ERROR] SyncService: syncSettings failed: error code 3

    • stefan

      I have a similar problem, cannot synchronize, cannot change/edit sport modes. Not using Suuntos iPhone-App nor using Moveslink2 on an iMac. Suunto’s best support-guess till now: reinstall moveslink – did not work of course. As I have a new Ambit 3 since xmas it really su*** that I cannot configure and use the watch the way I need it…

      [20:52:53] [ERROR] Arrest: server complained: “Object reference not set to an instance of an object.”
      [20:52:53] [INFO] [] handleException, return code 500 (Internal server error)
      [20:52:53] [ERROR] SyncService: syncWaypoints failed: error code 3

  17. Brian

    Hope this post doesn’t get me booted from this site or theClymb.com. ;-)

    Ambit 3 w/ HRM with coupon code (score30) is 30% off at the clymb.com for today only (26 Dec ’14). Cost $322.98 (includes $7.98) shipping).


  18. bert

    Hi, I’m considering getting an Ambit 3 with Cateye Strada Smart with the Cateye bluetooth speed cadence sensor.

    Does anyone have any experience with this set up to share?


    • I haven’t tested the Cateye BT Smart sensors with the Ambit3. However, that aside, assuming they did work do note though that you can’t use both the Ambit3 and the Cateye at the same time with those sensors (since BT sensors today can’t be dual connected).

    • bert

      I didn’t know that it can’t be dual connected. Thanks for that critical piece of info! Anyway, considering the Movescount outage I might choose 920 to replace my fenix 2 instead.

    • bert

      Would it be possible to use a BT & ANT+ sensor (eg. Wahoo Blue SC) and have simultaneous Bluetooth and ANT+ connections? I’m thinking of Bluetooth between the sensor and Ambit 3, and ANT+ between the sensor and a head unit like Edge 500.

      I would like to have a head unit to display the speed & cadence information when cycling, while the data recording is done by the watch.

      If this is possible, what would be a recommended head unit for this purpose?

    • You can concurrently use the ANT+ and a single BLE sensor connection without a problem. So using an Ambit3 concurrently with an Edge 500 is no issue.

    • John

      is it possible to use the Wahoo Blue SC (for speed/cadence) and the Scosche Rhythm+ (for HR) with the Ambit3 at the same time for a bike ride?
      I’m confused, as some say it is but others not….or I just haven’t understood correctly!

  19. Melvin

    Outstanding review. Love your site. The Suunto Movescount issues seem to have caused lots of problems for users. To be clear, is the Ambit3 completely unusable without access to Movescount to set up the watch initially, or are certain features just not available (e.g., sport mode customization or activity sync) during initial (and possibly subsequent) use?

    • Assuming you’ve set up the watch first, the Ambit3 can be used on an activity. Additionally, you can actually download the activities to your computer, where you can use some 3rd party products to grab the files (even if Movescount is offline, as it was all last week).

      What you can’t do is modify data field configuration, sport configuration, add new sports, change sensor types defined, etc…

  20. Mahesh

    Great review and I finally made the plunge and got an Ambit3. The review helped me understand the features and what i will end up using.

    Looks like Movescount is finally back up!

  21. Xavi

    Hi Ray,
    A few questions:
    1.- Is the ambit 3 the most accurate in open water swimming when worn on wrist? Is there a significant difference with garmin 920 and/or fenix 2?

    2.- Is it possible to load gpx tracks (e.g. from wikiloc) to the ambit 3?

    3.- Is tehere anyway for uploading sunto activities to garmin connect, or garmin activities to movescount?

    Many thanks for this site,

    • 1) In general I find that the Ambit series does produce the most accurate GPS track in openwater. Not every time, but, the majority of it. And like others, it too can have a bad day.

      2) I don’t believe so (oops, see below answers)

      3) You can export from Suunto the .FIT or .TCX files, and then you should be able to upload to Garmin Connect (though I haven’t done so recently, so it may or may not work).

    • Kaspar

      Hi Xavi,

      yes, you can import any GPX file into the Movescount web site. Go to “Plan & Create > Route Planner” and click on “Import Route”. It will simplify big routes as needed so they fit onto the watch.
      This will not take over waypoints you may have defined on the file, however. These, you have to redefine manually on the imported route. Just click onto the route where you want one.

      After importing, check the flag to use the new route on your watch, and it will be uploaded on the next synchronisation.


    • Nuno Pinto

      As already mentioned you can import a GPX track to movescout and latter sync it with the watch.
      That was the main reason for me to buy this instead of POLAR, as at the time (AFAIK), you could not do ii on the POLAR web tool.
      However and unfortunately, any waypoint in the GPX file is lost. You will have to recreate it again manually on MOVESCOUT. Also I had some issues where some waypoints are not show when doing my trail-runs…
      The area where I run, the trails are very close one to the other, and sometimes I cross the trail, my idea was to insert some waypoints so that they will give me a visual indication in terms of trail-direction….I tested but some of the waypoints are just not showing…don´t know why.

    • Xavi

      Many thanks for your answwers! In the same line do you think that the 1000 points per route is enough accurate to follow long tracks? Let’s say a 80km bikr ride?

    • Nuno

      I have used the Ambit for 20km trail ride navigation. It works ok, I have not found the max number of points a limitation. For my moun4 bike rides I use a “regular” GPS…for road I don’t mind using the AMBIT but it’s a little limited.

    • Brad

      Hi Nuno, there is an app for the Ambit that will tell you when you are off course. Here is a good place to ask and browse for apps.
      link to forums.watchuseek.com

    • Brad

      Hi Xavi, I use the Ambit for 100 mile+ trail races and it works great. It might be a bit more difficult on a Mtn bike. If you set a waypoint for a turn or intersection the watch will warn you about 250m ahead of the waypoint that you are approaching. That might help you be aware of turns, etc. as was said earlier, the waypoints are not retained in import of gpx. Please say to Suunto support you need this. If enough of us make noise they may better implement the gpx import.

    • Nuno Pinto

      Thanks Brad, will check it

  22. M. Smith

    I downloaded three runs to Movescount, like I’ve always done, however, putting it back on noted blank screen. Tried all Suunto support recommendations; i.e. Firmware forced update to holding all watch buttons to try reset. Still blank screen; just mailed it back to Suunto repair in Utah. Could problems with Movesvount caused this? This watch issue does bother me; but the running more important than the technology?

  23. I downloaded three runs to Movescount, like I’ve always done, however, putting it back on noted blank screen. Tried all Suunto support recommendations; i.e. Firmware forced update to holding all watch buttons to try reset. Still blank screen; just mailed it back to Suunto repair in Utah. Could problems with Movesvount caused this? This watch issue does bother me; but the running more important than the technology? Thanks.

  24. Ranjith

    Hi Ray, Does this watch or the 920xt have an option to log just heart rate at random times and adjust recovery time? I could use the R-R data at a particular time (out of bed) to track my training progress. Trying to log this as a blank activity is kind of silly.

  25. Nuno Pinto

    Generic question about SUUNTO.

    I have found some nice documentation on SUUNTO (hidden) website: link to ns.suunto.com
    Unfirotunatelly there is no way I know on how to browse the website, it must be done using google search engine. Doing that I randomly found the following PDF:
    link to ns.suunto.com
    link to ns.suunto.com

    Does anyone know anything about this librabry ???

  26. Rob

    Does the Ambit 3 have the ability to create a ski mode for a capability similar to that of the Fenix 2?

  27. Simon Barnard

    Hi – When I run the recover time seems to state 17 or 18 hours for a 5k run, I take the heartstrap off within a few minutes of ending a run, is this the reason and if so to get a correct recovery rate what should I do, keep the heartrate strap on and keep the session running on the watch before ending and saving that run?
    Any help appreciated. Have read the manual and surfed around for an answer but cannot find anything.

  28. Chris

    Ray, what has historically been the product release cadence with the Ambit model? Is it a bad time to buy an Ambit 3? Have you heard any rumor about an Ambit 4 being released early 2015? I would really hate to plop down 600 bucks and then have an old version in 60 days. I appreciate your thoughts, Thanks.

    • Matt

      In the Executive Summary Ray mentions “Earlier this summer Suunto announced the Ambit3, some 14ish months after releasing the Ambit2, continuing a roughly 12-14 month release cycle for the Ambit series.”

      Based on this you should have roughly 6-8 months before the next one is announced – then presumably there might be a slight delay until release.

    • Hawker

      we just hit the 12 month mark.

      if there is no mention from Ray before mid September, perhaps we can expect some serious changes.

      They would have to be serious for me to change my Ambit3.

    • Matej

      I think there will be new Ambit announcement in September/October, and then release around new year. Or maybe i am wrong and this guy is right link to zhangschmidt.com

  29. Xavi

    Hi Ray and ambit 3 users,

    Two questions:
    1)Have you seen an issue regarding the srokes/min graphs while swimming? They seem to be very spiky for everybody in movescount. Is there any way for applying some smoothing?
    2) Is it possible to displey strokes/length in movescount for pool swimming?

  30. Surprise update to Moveslink 2 this morning :
    Version 1.3.1
    – New login/register flow
    – Bug fixes

  31. Lena

    Hi! wondering if you can comment on whether Suunto upgraded the Custom/Interval workouts on the Ambit3? Also, is that teeeeny tiny beep used during interval training any louder on the Ambit3? I’m a Galloway runner, so after years with the Garmin 310XT and using my run/walk intervals on every run, I really struggled with Ambit2’s inaudible beep. And it might be a deal breaker for me (thankfully, I got the watch at REI and can take it back). Considering going over to Fenix3 (and really hoping for no crashes), unless Suunto made significant improvements in the area.. can you comment at all?

  32. GoldRush

    Who else is using their Ambit3 with a power meter (specifically a PowerTap)? I’m looking for your experience with using the units together.

    I’ve been a Polar V800 user since its release but the power meter functionality leaves much to be desired. That being the exception I really do like the V800.

    I bought an Ambit3 Sport on a whim a few weeks ago but haven’t really messed with it much. In one of my initial tests with the BTLE cap on my PowerTap it registered power but it was very low and wouldn’t show the cadence at all. After that I jut put the watch on the shelf and its sat ever since.

    I was attempting to hard reset the watch and discovered that there is a Power Pod Compatability Mode (hold down the top two buttons for 10 seconds). I switched that on and did another test and low and behold now it appears to accurately measure power and display cadence. Is anyone else using the watch in this mode? Or better yet does anyone know specifically what Compatability Mode is doing?

  33. Bryan

    I use my watch mostly for mountain biking and backpacking. Do you recommend the sport or the peak ambit3?

  34. Janse

    I’ve used Garmin Forerunner 405CX for the last 4½ years. It’s become unstable; getting blank screen, GPS is incorrect etc, and I’m looking for a new watch. I haven’t been satisfied with the support and service from Garmin, and I also think the wrist strap is less durable (have changed it twice). To you who have experiences with Garmin as well as Suunto / Polar, what would you recommend me to buy if I want a watch for running and trekking?

  35. Surprise update for the AMBIT 3 : Version 1.0.46
    Undocumented as always…
    Suunto, if this the way you have understood the “lessons learnt” during your Christmas outage…..

  36. Jeremy

    I’m thinking of returning my Ambit 3, unfortunately, and waiting for the Garmin Vivoactive to come out. There are just so many problems that the actual usefulness of the watch I could get from cheaper watches.

    I’ve tried to use this “multisport” watch for running, swimming, yoga, tennis, circuit training, stair machine, etc. And for each one apart from running and swimming, the calorie counts are way off from one workout to the next. Or paces are way off. I write to them telling them about the issues and they get back to me invariably with “Yeah, calorie count is off with yoga/tennis/etc because the HRM connection breaks…we’re thinking of redoing the algorithm or fixing it another way” or “Yes, we know about that problem. We will work on it” or “No, the super-slow pace where you’re not actually running/swimming but should be a rest period is accurate because that’s what the watch records.” I’m paraphrasing that last one. But the point is, there are lots of issues and customer service doesn’t seem to care about fixing them anytime soon. The app is useless, as well. It’s really not the multisport watch I was hoping for…it’s a trekking watch with triathlon functions built in.

    Which is fine, I need to work on my running/biking/swimming, too. But you’re paying twice as much as a vivoactive and not really getting anything more. And it being really bulky and plastic means you end up hitting it against things and scratching the plastic.

    The one thing I’m really going to miss is the autopause in the pool. Garmin, can you please add that to your devices so I can do intervals without pressing the button all the time??

  37. Jarek

    Do you know what they changed? After upgrading I lost data from Activity Tracker, second time is different, also I had to calibrate compass again. Those changes I found, however I couldn’t find any news…

  38. Update for Movescount Iphone App today. Version 2.0.4 :
    _You can now take as many photos as you like during a Move, then select the ones you want to share on Movescount.com
    _You can now attach your Suunto Movies to your Movescount.com moves for others to see
    _Bug fixes for Suunto Movie rendering and sharing
    _UI improvements

    Still no news from Suunto…..

  39. josh

    I have a lot of issues with losing connectivity to my iphone 5. I have to open the movescount app just about everyday to get it to reconnect. Anyone else have the same issues?

    • Brian

      Multiple times per day. Mine rarely stays connected for more than an hour. (Though I’m a pretty heavy phone user, so naturally iOS memory management is kicking in). I’ve pretty much quit using the watch for notification purposes – if I need that I switch back to my pebble.

    • ToniT

      The movescount app must be running in the background for the connection to remain open.

  40. Paolo

    hi i was wondering if the activity tracker would track an activity without the use of a heartrate?

    • Nuno Pinto

      What I read is that the activity tracker is used just for recovery calculation. I have never found any detail information on how it works. There is the hope that a future update will give step counts or more daily info…

  41. Michael Elstrøm

    Does anyone know if Suunto is going to make a activity monitor. something like the vivofit etc.?

  42. Nuno Pinto

    Update for Ambit 3

    Suunto Ambit3 Peak 1.0.46
    – Support for showing mobile notifications on the watch in any language that the phone supports (requires Movescount App update)
    – The default GPS accuracy in Trekking mode (in Peak) is now set to BEST for optimal tracking
    – Some minor bug fixes

  43. Hi Ray,
    I read in your article that all is good connecting some Speed/Cadence BT sensors. I try to connect my Ambit 3 to a TomTom speed/Cadence sensor. It’s connected but only read the speed not the cadence. Did you notice that or is it a TomTom sensor issue ?

  44. Sunil

    Hi Ray

    I bought 2 sensors (Wahoo Cadence and Wahoo Speed & Cadence — the latter to use on my trainer) and synced the former to Bikepod1 and the latter to Bikepod2 on the Ambit3. I realized that that when I’m in exercise mode, it automatically connects to Bikepod1 without asking me which one I want to connect to. Am I doing something wrong here or has Suunto messed up?

  45. asier

    Hi Ray,
    I’m close to buy my next GPS watch and have a doubt. Do you think that Garmin or Suunto will add optical heart rate sensor on their next models? Something like Tomtom or Adidas have done on their devices. Or is there any other reason not to add this technology?


  46. Serban

    Hi Ray,

    Suunto has recently updated the Ambit3 firmware (v1.0.46) and I wonder if there are any improvements re the sync with Wahoo Tickr Run or X?


  47. Justin

    Hey guys, I’m thinking of getting the Ambit 3 this summer. Any updates on Android support? Thanks in advance for the info :)

  48. Nouffa

    Dear Ray,

    There are choices in the clever training web for cadence sensor with Bluetooth smart, which one is better to work with Ambit3? Any other suggestion?

    Polar Cycling Cadence Sensor Bluetooth Compatible with Apple and Android

    Powertap Bluetooth Smart Dual Speed/Cadence Sensor

    • Nuno Pinto


      I am using Wahho speed/cadence sensor bluetooth/ANT. It works ok with AMBIT3 for my indoor sessions.
      It also works great with Android phones ( I have a Samsung mega with support for BLE)

      I have a small problem. but I believe is a bug in the AMBIT firmware, the auto pause does not work with the speed sensor…The technical support team replied that it needs to have a GPS signal to detect pause…strange and does not make sense.

    • Nouffa

      Thanks Nuno,

      I went to Wahoo’s website, and interested in RPM Cadence Sensor because only need the cadence measurement. Hopefully it works

  49. Serban


    I discovered that A3 does not use internal accelerometer for cadence on a Crosstrainer (watch set on Crosstrainer) which I don’t understand as, in the same time, you get cadence on a Treadmill which is very similar.

    I enquired Suunto support but their first level of CC is quite basic, and after they gave me the a pre-written reply, that the watch can record accurate cadence only in combination with a GPS, for which I replied that we are talking about Treadmills… they came back with another non usable reply…

    So maybe you can ask them :-)

    Currently I am using it as set as Treadmill which kind of work, but very dissapointingly, after the latest update (1.0.46) the reported distance got almost halved, like the shorted my stride (as I have the same cadence as before and same distance reported on a Treadmill machine). I wonder why we cannot change the stride lenght on Treadmills or Elliptical machines… That would be a nice feature to consider Suunto!


  50. Art OConnor

    My terrible luck with Suunto products continues. After sitting on the fence and saving my pennies for months I finally pulled the trigger and got the Ambit 3. As per usual with Suunto (for me) it did not work. Would not pair with HR strap or power meter. Movescount would not recognize when watch was attached. 2 hours on the phone and was finally offered 2 choices. Send it back to be repaired, 2-4 week turn around. Send it back for a refund. I am getting the refund.

  51. Michal

    Hi There,
    What will be the best speed/cadence meter for Ambit3? Which one are You using?
    Is there any Suunto for meter?

  52. Hello Ray,

    Have you perhaps got a beta-version of the Android-Software and could you please tell us what features we can expect in March?


  53. Yoann

    Got mine today.
    Connected in 5 mins to my movecounts account, HR belt recognize in 20 sec.
    Can’t wait to test it.

    P.S. It’s big

  54. jimbo

    Anyone know what the situation is with the discounted Ambit3’s on ebay? What is the reason they all say “with mobile connection SS….”? Thanks!

  55. qwint

    As per Suunto support: “Please be informed that Suunto Movescount App for Android will be released this April. Since many customers have been asking for broader Android support than just Lollipop (Android 5.0). We are glad to announce support for Android Jelly Bean (4.3) and KitKat (4.4). “

  56. Qwint

    As per Suunto support:Please be informed that Suunto Movescount App for Android will be released this April. Since many customers have been asking for broader Android support than just Lollipop (Android 5.0). We are glad to announce support for Android Jelly Bean (4.3) and KitKat (4.4).

  57. Hesham

    Thanks for the comprehensive review – as usual.
    I tried using the code you provided to buy from clevertraining.com but I’m getting this message:
    “Coupon code “DCR10JKW” is not valid. If you feel you have reached this message in error please call us at 800-577-8538.”

  58. Adam R

    I had a problem with my Ambit 2 and sent it in for warranty. Suunto sent me back an Ambit 3 Peak with HR bundle. I assume they sent the bundle because of the change from Ant+ to BT Smart would have left me without a HR (except that I had just bought a Rhythm+). Good stuff.

    Apart from enjoying the phone sync, I had not noticed much difference in use of the watch from Ambit 2. However, today I noticed that cadence measurement from the wrist was VASTLY better than Ambit 2. On the Ambit 2, I would get cadence drops (visible on the computer after the run) every time I checked the watch for pace etc. Today the cadence record was perfect. No drops. Well done.

  59. Adam R

    Hi Ray, I am finding it very hard to locate a bluetooth footpod in Australia. No one seems to carry the small ones (only the giant polar one). Amazon won’t ship the adidas one to au, and clever training doesn’t have them.

    Next option is to bridge my ant+ footpod to BT, but I certainly don’t need yet another heart rate strap (already have garmin, powercal, suunto BT and scosche). Is there anything like that on the horizon? I recall you talking about a 4iii little pod at ces last year, but sign since.

    • I think we’ll see a few more 3rd party footpods (there’s the Pyle one, but I don’t know how compatible it is these days).

      4iiii’s has been delayed, I wouldn’t expect anything there until summer unfortunately.

  60. Robert Black

    Hi Ray, and everyone else. Are the alerts louder than on the forerunner 610? I’ve turned off vibration to see if I can live without it and only catch 3 out of 5 alerts. Mainly due to ambient noise. Traffic ect

  61. Hugh D

    Hi Ray,

    great review, everyone is talking WAY over my head. I am interested in one thing. Does it tell water temperature? Is it easy to get or skewed due to the internal mechanism (rather than out side like Garmin).

    • Yup, it does include temperature while swimming as measured during the swim. I don’t know about the accuracy of it, however it did at least seem in the ballpark.

  62. Are you planning on writing an update on the compatibility of BLE sensors with the Suunto Ambit 3? Apparently this is the only site which have such a compatibility table, and this one is not a bit outdated

    Thank you

    • It’s something I’ve started to look at this week a little bit. It’s a bit hard though to keep doing it, as it takes a lot of time and effort (for something that I feel Suunto should themselves publish).

      That said – I’m much more interested in crowd-sourcing some of that data from folks and their sensors on what works and doesn’t work (so feel free to drop that here). When doing so, more detail is better (i.e. firmware versions).

    • Serban

      I can be o help with Viiiiva HR.

    • Tkx for the super-fast response.
      I definitely agree with you… Suunto should do it themselves :)

      So far I only used the Smart HR for Suunto, but it’s giving very weird results (jumping up and down, staying flat for long time). Probably it broke down, and they are changing it for free, but I was wondering if other HR monitors might be more reliable :)

    • Simon

      My Ambit3 works with the Scosche Rhythm+ but I get a low calorie count with firmware 2.3 and 2.4. Suunto acknowledge the problem and claim it is because Scosche have changed on how the unit is sending IBI (interbeat interval) data. It seems that the IBI data Scosche is sending is generated from the heart rate values and it is not accurate enough for our calorie consumption calculations system.

  63. Marios

    Apparently the Suunto Ambit 3 R is now available:
    link to forums.watchuseek.com
    link to opticsplanet.com

    • Yeah, it’s kinda nuts. I just fundamentally don’t get what they’re thinking. The price is so far out of line with the rest of the market, for the capabilities.

    • Marios

      I am with you Ray. I have no idea what Suunto is thinking. Their emphasis is on design and construction quality but $299?!? Polar seems to have woken up but Suunto?

    • In my mind, the only place this watch *might* have made sense was sub-$200. It carries with it some of the navigation, which some might find useful. But it lacks broad sensor support, so that puts it in the sub-$200 category these days.

      With the M400 a more capable device (minus navigation), but at $179, it’s just so much of a better deal. The activity tracking is worlds ahead of what Suunto has done in terms of the tangible things that the vast majority of the market (especially at this price point), wants. Fundamentals like steps and walked distance, etc… just aren’t there. Instead it’s the MET stuff that nobody actually cares about.

      Finally, it lacks vibration alerts and any smartwatch capabilities. The M400 is getting that shortly (smartwatch), just like pretty much any other $100 device on the market today. Given we now have a $300 device without it or the other fundamentals… I’m not sure what to think.

      Just my two cents…

    • Marios

      I agree with you from point of view of “features”.

      But, as GPS watches become more and more of a commodity, design and “desirability” gain more importance. I for one, would prefer to have a stable, accurate, light and beautiful running watch that uploads straight to Strava than any of the half-baked, bug-ridden mega sport watches that cannot upload to Connect/Flow/Movescount because hardware companies don’t get the cloud. When was the last time that Strava was down? Exactly!

      Suunto also announced the Essential Collection:
      link to suunto.com

      Which is nothing more than a beautifully made ABC watch. As we know, the Barometer and Compass functionality is commoditized so why would people buy this? Because it’s beautiful and makes a statement. It’s fashion!

      I am playing devil’s advocate here …

  64. Robert Black

    Hi all will the smart strap fit a 46″/1170mm chest?

    • arne

      My chest is 103cm and the strap is comfortable in the longest position when I wet it out. I think that for you the strap is too short.

    • Rob

      Thank you, saves me buying the whole bundle, looks like a watch and separate polar h7. I use a polar strap with my current garmin pod so i know that will fit.

  65. Hossein

    I’ve almost read all questions and answers, but still I did not get one very crucial detail. How much memory does this watch exactly have? Is it possible to use it during a lengthy trip in unknown territories without any access to internet or laptops?

    thank you for your concerns

  66. Josefine

    Thanks for a really great review :D I bought the watch two days ago, and I´m really pleased, I like to do multisport,
    but I´m not very serious so the watch is very good for my use! I would like the 24/7 activity function, and sleep control, that´s the only thing I miss :(

  67. Duncan

    Hi Ray.

    I have recently bought an Ambit 3 sport and was wondering how you upload GPX files of pre
    -determined routes? Any help would be much appreciated.

  68. chals

    Ho Ray, maybe you can answer this?

    Ambit3 has fusedalti and fusedspeed. Does Fenix3 has something similiar? If not, will Ambit3 be more accurate on altitude? And pace too of gps signals are blocked in a tunnel or something?

    I think I remember something about a Suunto patent concerning fusedalti and/or fusedspeed too?

  69. billy

    do you still get a deal on clever training? I just tried the DCR10JKW code and it did not work. I was going to order the fenix 3. any other codes for that? thanks

  70. billy

    Thanks, guys. A huge thank you for all the work on this blog! You are tremendous asset to the athletic community, and it is appreciated greatly. Happy to support your effort! Happy Valentine’s day as well.

  71. Adam R

    I have taken my Ambit3 swimming in a pool twice now.

    I can confirm that the HR strap works well, and updates quickly once above water. I made the ‘mistake’ of stopping the activity immediately at the end of my last lap, without waiting for the HR to transfer, and got a message something like ‘transferring HR data’ (can’t remember the exact words). In any event, it kept transferring after I pressed stop.

    I have also used my Scosche Rhythm+ on the wrist next to the watch. That also worked, although I had a few sections of a second or two where it HR dropped out. No big deal. The problem, I think, was that the strap stretches in the water and it became a bit loose.

    I am trying to work out ways to analyse the data. I don’t understand swimming data on Movescount (beyond basics like time, distance and HR). SportTracks looks good, but I am not sure I can justify another pro membership on top of Strava and TrainingPeaks. I am having trouble getting decent swim data into other software or services. SportTracks imports directly from the SML file on my computer (so no mobile upload is possible if I want to use SportTracks for swimming). FIT and TCX export from Movescount is broken for pool swimming – all the useful information appears to be lost. Movescount will not auto-sync pool swims with Strava.

    I can’t tell if it is worth trying to get the data into TrainingPeaks. I don’t have any good file to try with, and all I a can see is total distance, total time, HR and TSS. Is anyone use TrainingPeaks for swim analysis willing to make something public for me to see?

    Does anyone use anything other than Movescount to analyse Ambit swimming activities?

    • Sam

      The only way I’ve found that the swim data works in TP is to import it into Golden Cheetah and then export it as a .tcx file. Finally import it into TP. Instead of messing with all that, I went back to using my v800 for swimming.

  72. Matt

    Can the Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless headphones be paired with the Ambit3 as a heart rate monitor?

    Are any special actions needed for pairing to occur?

  73. Robert Black

    Does anyone know if the adidas hrm 2 is compatible?

  74. Can it be connected to a computer via Bluetooth for syncing or only with the USB cable?

  75. Trop géniale cette montre, mon test(totalement indépendant) sur mon blog: link to verslesommet.wordpress.com

  76. Too great this watch, my review (completely independent) on my blog: link to verslesommet.wordpress.com

  77. Juan

    Could you use only the hr smart sensor with a treadmill without using the monitor. Could it be linked for example with a Life Fitness treadmill

  78. Blaiso

    Useful review – though you mark it down for things that I am not sure many users really care about – like vibration alerts and daily activity monitoring.

    Also why are you comparing it to the fenix? I got this to replace the 920xt which like my 310xt was so UNRELIABLE. It looks and feels really nice, but the software is awful (Garmin). I sent it back after two weeks. The Ambit3 beats it hands down – just for simply doing the job it is designed to do TRACK MY ROUTE and MEASURE MY STATS. Water tracking is perfect, the altimeter is as accurate as altimeters go and really complements the gps well (i.e. it knows you didn’t hurdle that highway). The temperature sensor lets me know how long I can stay in the lake (not a word on that – but SO useful for open water and telling the pool manager his temperature is too hot/cold). It plugs into my computer and just downloads stuff no problems – not buggy wireless connections and a wifi connection that needs cable to set it up and needs to be connected to the cable to charge anyway (Garmin). And it never turns off – so no danger of it not booting up just before a race (Garmin AGAIN!).

  79. James

    Hi Ray

    Love the reviews they’re awesome!

    I was just wondering which you’d recommend between this and the Garmin 310XT? Like is it worth the extra £50 ($75) above the 310XT’s price?

    Thanks :)

    • blaiso

      I would say get an Ambit3 over an 920xt let alone a 310xt. The 310 is no longer supported by Garmin for updates and is very buggy to download workouts and also loosing workouts.

    • It really depends on your budget, and what you can get for the device. The Ambit2S remains the best deal out there for triathlon units, as far as features to price ratio.

      The FR310XT is good, but usually isn’t too much cheaper than the Ambit2S. Despite being older, there are legions of happy folks.

      Finally, when it comes to comparing the Ambit3 vs the FR920XT, I’d be really hard pressed to find a reason a triathlete would choose the Ambit3 at this point over the 920XT (let alone the Fenix3), unless you were specifically really into underwater HR.

    • blaiso

      ….And want accurate altitude measurement tracking across a city (i.e. dont want to be telling your mates on Strava you did 1000m of accent when you just went near a lot of buildings) and want to know what the temperature of the water you are swimming in is (really useful for knowing how long to stay in the water for).

      The 920XT looks nice, packs in your bag nicely (as the strap goes flat) and has lots of gimmicky extras. But the two Garmin watches I have owned (310 and 920) have been unreliable. The Ambit 3 has more suitable features for a triathlete in my opinion and performs them very smoothly and reliably.

    • James

      Thank You very much!

    • James

      Seems like it could be a hard choice. ;)

  80. panos

    hello! does anyone knows if mio velo works with the watch and converts ant+ signal from powermeter to the watch so you can see the power data?

  81. Hi,

    If you used third party heartrate monitor, will the maps and the heart rate zones will be shown in the movescount apps?

    I’m thinking to change to Suunto ecosystem, since they have dive computer on their line also.

  82. Caroline Boisvert

    Hi! I personally have a I-gotU foot pod (I think it’s the same as Jarv) and even if it syncs well with my Ambit 3S, it doesn’t record the speed and distance….still 0 km and 0 km/h when downloading it to Movescount. Better results without foot pod :-(

  83. Dubrock

    I have a question regarding the pairing of heart rate belts and the ambit series. I have an Ambit, and recently bought an Ambit2 sapphire. Can I pair one HR-belt with each of the Ambit’s (one at a time), or will that give complications when I use the other watch next time? I tried to use the Ambit2 last night, but it didnt seem to pair that easily, so used the Ambit instead.

  84. Nuno Pinto

    New updates for AMBIT 3 are almost ready:

    link to suunto.com

    There seems that a lot of good stuff is coming, including better interval planning.
    No words on offline support for configuring and analyzes of your workout.

  85. Paolo Fernandez

    Hi! Any of you guys lost the alarm tone but has tones on other things?? I need help.. cant seem to find a repair.. DId force firmware and reset.. Still no alarm tone.. only a single beep..

  86. Paolo Fernandez

    Hi! Any of you guys lost the alarm tone but has tones on other things?? I need help.. cant seem to find a repair.. DId force firmware and reset.. Still no alarm tone.. only a single beep..

    • Justinas

      I lost my sound beeps at all. Did FW upgrade, reset, without any luck. Set all buttons on, but still no sound. I guess it dissapeared after trying to upgrade firmware. Have you found any sulution for that?

    • ar43r

      Be careful to buy ambit3 on ebay. some of the watch cannot produce any sound:
      – No buttons sound
      – No lap notification
      – No alarm sound
      – nothing

      if you bought such a delight on ebay or craigslist without a receipt, like me, you screwed.
      there are number of people who complained about it.

      Suunto support said, I could send the watch to repair, but only if I had a receipt :( If I could not find a solution for this issue, the ambit3 would be my last suunto product…



  87. Jarek

    Hi! Is 1,5 version firmware already available? I still don’t have this update even if I forced firmware update.

  88. Frederic


    I use my Ambit 2 for ALL my activities and I was wondering how you wash it . It gets pretty dirty with the sweats and the elements. I also have one button that gets stuck halfway sometimes, I suspect it’s due to the dirtyness of my watch

    • Nothing more than simple salt and water. For stuck buttons, usually just soaking it in a bowl of warm soapy water for about 10-15mins and then pressing the button a bunch of times will clear it out.

  89. daniel

    hi there!

    great review!

    im a kiteboarder and have seen a video where a guy jumps, checks his watch and sees how high the jump was? Does this watch measure accurately height of jump on a kite?
    dont forget that when jumping with a kite one can’t simply use same algorithm as in jumping w/o a sail (the sail/kite has lift, so the easy calculation using gravitational acceleration on Earth – 9.8ms does not apply here).

    the video im talking about:
    link to youtu.be

    thanks for an advice!

    • That’s pretty cool. In this case, he’s using a 3rd party app from the Suunto App Zone (since the Ambit3 doesn’t have that functionality natively). I don’t know the accuracy of it though.

  90. Jamie

    Perhaps this has been asked/addressed prior in the comments section & answered but I have since lost track of where I last read in the long comments section…..oy!

    2 issues with my ambit 3 that I hope you all can help me with(Ray??).

    1. My recovery times listed are rediculously long. Like I would never run or bike more than once a week if I listened to it! I am a very fit 41yo female but I can’t imagine that my 7 mile run this morning(which I do 3-5 times a week, along with 2 x 10 milers) would require 115 hours of recovery!!! I just can’t ever make a dent in the recovery page! It isn’t like I am doing hill repeats(gain/loose 115ft in elevation) or am running fast(9:30-10:30mm paces). Did I set something up wrong in my user profile? I am 120lbs & 5’3″.
    I run & bike(did 50 miles in both sports this week, so 100 total). That is pretty normal for me. I just don’t see why my recovery doesn’t learn from my activities? Am I an idiot?

    2. Can I get rid or disable the second time zone? I can’t find where you can or if you can but seems silly to have to have it listed if I don’t want it.

    Thanks everybody!

    • Michi

      Your recovery times are added. If you do a workout every day and you are not fully recovered from the last workout, the recovery times will be added. In the logbook, for a single move, you can check what this single move contributed to your overall recovery time.

  91. Brian

    anyone else having sync/connectivity issues with iOS 8.2? My watch won’t stay connected anymore than a few seconds, let alone finish a sync cycle.

    • Leonard Sandin

      Yes when updating iOS to 8.2 something with the bluetooth was changed which made e.g. Ambit 3 not being able to connect to the Iphone. Suunto says it has been fixed with the latest fw 1.5.25 but does not work for me. Funny enough notifications work fine, thus incoming calls or text messages are shown in the watch, but synching does not work but gets stuck in the middle of the synch and does not finalise

    • Leonard Sandin

      Now Suunto says my watch is broken – this is a replacement watch for one that died during firmware update and this 2nd watch I got from Suunto only 4 days ago. Cant say I am happy with the quality of the Ambit 3 Sport so far – two malfunctioning watches in 3 weeks.

  92. david pizey

    would this MEDISANA Bluetooth® Heart Rate Belt be compatible with the ambit3 sport?

  93. Ivan Arias


    I´m looking for an ambit3 sport as my main training device.
    Actually I know that if I pair a speed and cadence sensor the speed data from GPS will not be register. I want to know if despite this, the path in the maps will be saved to upload on movescount or Strava.


  94. Ana

    Hey Ray thanks for all the info,

    Do you have a picture of the watch in the girls wrist? I like this watch but I have small hands and wrists. Most of the sport watches look huge in me.

    • daniel

      color display or addition of wifi or more sensors…etc is always a trade-off with battery life

      until we have new technology for batteries well always have this problem.

      i really wouldnt want to charge my sportswatch everytime you go out to train.

  95. Kyle

    When do you see Suunto announcing / releasing the Ambit 4?
    Is it too late for them to add things like say a color display or wifi now that they seen Garmin do it back in January?
    What do you think we can expect features wise with the ambit4?

    • I’m not sure on them timeline-wise. I’ve gotta believe that with the FR920XT having come out only about 30 days after the Ambit3 started shipping, it’s hurt tremendously.

      It’s only officially been out now for about 7 or so months. Even at Suunto’s fastest, it was just over a year between releases. I can’t imagine they’ll do anything sooner than late summer or fall. I think it’d be a mistake to rush another product out, since we saw that didn’t work terribly well for the Ambit3. They need to re-group a bit, and then push forward with something that can realistically compete with the Fenix3 (match, and exceed).

    • Kyle

      Thanks Ray. Always appreciate the insight.

  96. ToniT

    The new Ambit3 software update is available, that enables the new workout creator support.

    The new version for Ambit3 Sport is 1.5.25 according to Movescount. No release notes available yet…

    • Serban

      Maybe this is supposed to be normal… after I created a workout and added to a sport mode, that sport mode cannot be edited in movescount.com anymore. Or am I the only to experience this?

  97. I am in a desperate cry for help…

    Last year in October 2014 while in Oxford I did a run and when I connected the A3 with my iphone, the workout did not appeared on my Movescount web site, although I could see it on my watch. Strangely, the workout was on my iPhone Movescount App but in grey colour and could not select it. I though I will surely get a solution from Suntoo, afterall my workout was on my watch. But after I got home and could link my watch through the cable, to my surprise, my workout still remained on my watch. I changed many emails and for the next about 2 weeks they asked me to send them diagnostics, my complete Mac Moveslink2 folder, etc. To no avail!

    Since then, many FW updates came and go, and I thought this issue has been resolved. But guess what, yesterday it came back (on the latest FW 1.5.25). See for yourself here link to meste.ro

    I have sent a cry for help again to Suntoo, I hope this time they have the answer. If not I have to investigate another watch, probably Fenix3, after more reviews come in. I find that this bug destroys the whole idea of BT connectivity if it cannot be 100% trusted. Yesterday my workout was a simple or a training run but back in Oxford was a short competition!

    Anyone else has had this issue?

  98. Paul

    Anyone else notice something change in the cadence detection in the Ambit 3 compared to the 2 or have I got a unit with a faulty accelerometer? Sometimes my new A3 Sport will show the ~95rpm I’m actually running but it keeps spiking down to 40-80rpm – almost as if it’s missing every second “step”. This occurs when I’m holding my arm normally (ie, it’s not just a problem when I look at the watch) and the strap is on nice and snug. On my first run it didn’t get any reading for the first 7 minutes. Problem doesn’t occur on my Ambit 2.

    • Steve

      I know it’s a long time since you post but I notice that my cadence drops out whenever I get up to high frequencies – typically anything over 200 and it drops out to a very low number or zero.
      I asked Suunto about this and they said it was a jamming accelerometer and asked me to send the watch back for service.
      I did so, and they sent me a new one in return – well it wasn’t new, it was actually a refurb and came complete with a scratched bezel, which I am not impressed about! – anyway, the new one does exactly the same thing.
      Ray, next time you test an Ambit, can you try doing some 1 or 200 metre sprints and see what the cadence sensor does please?

  99. Meir

    I’m new Suunto Ambit3 Sport user. Before I used Polar. My main activity is swimming and I was very disappointed that the Ambit3 can’t show pulse in the water during the swim and Polar which is cheaper can.
    My second activity is indoor cycling what we call Spinning. Can anyone tell me what I need to add to the clock so I can receive additional parameters like cadence, speed etc. and not only pulse and calories?
    Finally, how is it that a company with a product that’s supposed to talk to the mobile phone and is not optimized for Android only to Apple. They promised to publish at the beginning of April. Hope that would happen.

  100. hawker

    Hello Ray

    I am testing a new cadence POD(it is not a Bike, belt, power or foot POD), in the pairing POD list on the watch i cant seem to load, add or find the cadence pod.

    I tried to pair using a BIKE POD, and it worked.

    How do I add a cadence POD in the Pair list on the watch? movescount allows me to add a cadence pod to a exercise type but does not update the list on the watch?


    • hawker

      Hi Ray

      I have done a software upgrade on the watch 1.5.25, No change.

      I read the Ambit 2 user guide and it clearly states there that there is a separate cadence pairing option.
      I read the Ambit 3 user guide and it clearly states there is not cadence pairing option.

      Please chat to Suunto as you have a direct line (red telephone) ask them to make a small change in their next software upgrade.


  101. chris

    Has anyone found a good way to mount the Ambit 3 to a tri bike? I would like to use only Ambit 3 during race and not Edge unit during bike. Heart rate strap for Ambit won’t transmit to edge.


    • Michi

      On my wrist worked well! ;)
      There is a suunto Bike mount, but it depends on your handle bar if it’ll fit.

  102. Peter

    Hi All. I am Suunto Ambit 3 peak happy user, but there is ‘BUT’. I really miss lack of vibration and the available beep sound is too short and too quiet. Does anyone know which app to inslat to al least extend the beeping time???

    • Robert black

      There is a app called instabeep. Where you can lock in a range say 140-150bpm. But its too limited for me. I like to lock zone 1 for warmup and cool down and 2-5 for tempo or repeats. Instabeep would be beeping for 5 minutes at either end of the workout for me. I’ve moved from garmin to polar and don’t miss vibration as much as I thought I would. However when/if garmin release the next top line forerunner with activity tracking I’ll probably go back as I do miss the ability to change settings in the field.

  103. Petra

    Got a new Ambit3 Run last week and already having issues with BT connection to phone. After the first run it worked well and the data got transferred via BT to movescount on my phone. But since then BT seems not to be working anymore. I did reset the watch a couple of times and re-installed the Ambit Firmware. Also re-installed Movescount on my phone. I talked to Suunto Support but all they said so far was to re-install the SW.
    Has anyone had a similar problem?

  104. chris

    what bluetooth smart cadence sensor do people like?

    • I use the Wahoo one, the old model, Cadence and Speed sensor, and works very well.

    • Rick

      I see the Peak and Sport models have dropped considerably this year. For trail running and navigation features, do you think the peak is worth the extra money? I already have an ABC watch, and it measures fairly accurately but still needs to be calibrated occasionally. This from a 30 buck watch. I see the peak utilizes GPS and the barometer to gauge altitude. Does this work well?

  105. Joshua

    Ray, Amazon is showing the sport with HRM and other versions at pretty steep discounts, about $100usd. Thoughts? Ambit 4 around the corner? Worth looking at at such a discount?

    • Which price are you seeing? I’m seeing about $300USD w/o HR strap, with one listing at about $329 for 1-2 units with the HR strap by a 3rd party seller. It looks like just a single liquidator has a handful of units they’re trying to get rid of – but nothing outside of that.

    • Joshua

      Yeah looks like just the one reseller. Must be tough to sell these now with all the new recent advances from other co’s.

    • Joshua

      Ray, in checking Amazon again today there is a retailer at $315 for the sport with HR. Very curious now as to what the ambit 4 will bring. I see very few negative reviews about the 3 out there, but if bringing back ant+ and potentially having a new form factor (rumor I read) are in the least bit true, could be great. At this lower price what are your thoughts on the device?

    • I wouldn’t expect ANT+ to come back. And, I really don’t expect any new variant soon. The Ambit3 only came out in September (availability). That’s basically just 7 months ago. Even at its fastest Suunto was 1-year.

  106. James T

    Fantastic review and my go-to source for information on the Ambit3 (which I bought after reading your review – and I am very happy with my purchase!).
    I just installed the PowerTap cadence sensor and went for my first ride with it. Very oddly, after a 19km ride, the watch thought I had only covered about 7km. No particular harm done on this occasion, because it’s a regular ride and I could edit the distance in Movescount, but it does look likely to be interference caused by the new sensor. (I say that because I have had the watch for 6 weeks now without anything like this happening – though it can be a bit hit and miss in the pool somethimes.)
    Have you had any experience of interference between a sensor and the watch (or HRM?) causing this sort of anomaly – and do you have any thoughts on how to address it?

  107. K X

    Ray, you mentioned that you get directions notification on your watch when you use Google Maps iOS App. How did you do that? I don’t seem receive any notification for directions. Any setting needs to be done?

    As always, a great review. Thanks.

    • I just have Google Maps setup to allow notifications to iOS (full notifications). From there the watch picks up everything automatically.

    • K X

      That’s strange. Maybe I am just too dumb…. I don’t seem seeing an option for Google Maps App in iOS. Settings-Notifications-?? There is no Google Maps? I see Maps (That’s Apple Maps), Google, Gmail, Chrome…but no Google Maps? Am I reading it right? I have the latest iOS 8.2 though…. Or should I check a different place?

    • Josh

      Google apps is an app that you would need to download from the app store.

  108. Sander

    Great review…thank you very much!

    I’m a triathlete from the Netherlands. Here the Suunto Ambit 2s HR goes for €289 and the Suunto Ambit 3 Sport HR for €309. This will be my first GPS sports watch. No upgrade.

    Considering that the difference in price is only €20. Is it advisable to go for the Suunto Ambit 3 Sport HR?

    Thanks again!

  109. Natalie

    Is anyone having problems with Smart Sensor pairing with iPhone & Ambit3? It has been happening since Easter Monday! :(
    I’m wondering if it’s software update rather than hardware issue.
    I logged a email with Suunto they responded with unusually high number of queries & may take longer than 72 hrs to respond. I’m wondering if more people are experiencing this.

    • max

      I haven’t been able to record HR data using the Movescount iOS app and my smart sensor since the March 24th iOS update. I have tried with multiple different sensors and different iPhones. The sensor works in other apps (strava, motionxgps). I have contacted Suunto support a couple times and sent them logs from the app.

      I’m sure their developers have been crazy busy with the upcoming release of the android app, but its quite disappointing that their iOS app no longer functions with their hear rate monitor :(

  110. Cecilia

    Hi DC Rainmaker,
    First of all, I love your in depth reviews. You are doing a great job!!!
    I have a question regarding the Suunto Ambit 3. I love my watch, though I miss a meassure of the cadance when biking. It is clear that Suunto haven’t put one themselves (yet?) at the market. When searching the web, I can’t find any clear recommendation in which direction to ge, except for that I need a Bluetooth connection. Which footpad could you recommend to the Suunto Ambit 3? Have you already made a review over this topic?
    Thank you very much for your reply, Cecilia
    (I mainly run marathons, and middle distance triathlons)

  111. chukko

    Ray – could you maybe confirm the location of the opening for the barometric sensor?
    I have Suunto Core now and they made a terrible decision to locate it on the bottom – thus each timemy hand is sweating – barometric pressure jumps +-50m every couple of seconds and as a result – it claims daily attitude gain of 3000+ m for trips with 500-600m of actual gain.

  112. Craig

    Can you pair this with Wahoo Blue HR monitor and does it work? Has anyone tried this recently?

  113. Jason Jordan

    Hi, great article. Thanks!

    I’m experiencing a problem with my HR monitor when swimming in salt water, as in, there is no HR. I’m guessing the salt is shorting out the sensor.

    Is this a known issue, or is anyone else experiencing this?


  114. Nuno Pinto

    Were we not supposed to be playing with the Android App by now ???
    As far as I remember the release date was April…

  115. Nuno Pinto

    Sh!t…..Twiter twit is for the end of April !!!! that’s Bad….

  116. Quoting a message from a testing suunto group:

    TL;DR: “Android app is now planned to be released on April 29th for the public”

    Longer version:

    “Hello, as you might have noticed from recent Suunto posts, the Android app release is getting closer. There have been a few external blocks that prevented us from starting field tests before, including Google adding some BT protocol elements to the Android platform. The last piece that we just received was a firmware update to the Ambit3 BT chip, developed by the chip provider, which was also required to sync Ambit3 with an Android phone.
    Now the field tests are going on and some of you who volunteered to test it have received instructions how to proceed. Our test team picked only a small group of external testers for the first round and were too busy to notify those who were not asked to join the first test. Apologies for that, it could have been communicated better. There may still be more testers needed for the next round, so it’s possible that you still receive an invitation.
    Anyway, the Android app is now planned to be released on April 29th for the public. Due to earlier delays, the first version will not have all features that currently are included in the iPhone app but the most important things, syncing data and settings + viewing moves are there. That means that testing & development will continue right away after the first release. Feedback will be welcome even if you wouldn’t be participating the actual field test program.”

    • Nuno

      well, at least they seem to be honest with the feedback, but releasing an app that is feature short in relation with IOS is sad….one of the main features, the interval planner is left out. Once again, other manufacturers are doing it, so why is SUUNTO having so much trouble with it ???

    • On the same site they said that since they are going to rework on the planner (also in iOS, many complained about the usability) they decided to leave it out from the Android version for the moment.

    • Nuno-

      Which other companies allow you to create intervals/workouts on the phone app? Neither Polar or Garmin do.

    • Nuno Pinto

      Correct, but since you can’t plan interval/workouts on the website, like the other companies, I would assume that the android app would come with that feature.
      Concerning the complains about the usability, unfortunately, it cames just from IOS users, I doubt that it’s worst than having to create a new application every time you want to change your intervals.
      I really don’t get how is that a feature that was always highly requested ( interval planner) left out from a huge percentage of Suunto Costumers (users without apple gadget).

    • Oh, don’t get me wrong: The interval experience on the Ambit series definitely lags. I’m just saying that you can’t quite create intervals on other companies apps (only on their sites).

  117. Matthias

    Hey Ray and guys,

    Just wondering: Has suunto added dedicated step counting to the activity tracker meanwhile?

    • Step counting is not going to be added in the short term… it’s a patent issue

    • Huh? I’m throwing down the solid BS flag on that one.

      Every other company in the world has added step counting, but Suunto hasn’t because of a legal issue? Hard to believe – especially since I sat in meetings where they tried to convince me that nobody cares about step count.

    • Sean

      Would be great if they could add a function request/suggest section to their website:
      Somewhere where users could suggest a function for their device and other users could add their support for suggestions that they agree with.

      An easy way of finding out what your customers want as opposed to just guessing?!

  118. Meir

    The trumpet and drums are ready for the big moment.

  119. rob

    Hi Ray now that you can create more comprehensive workouts on movescount, does the heart rate alert sound instantly if you deviate from that planned or is the two minute delay still in place?

  120. Michi

    Is there anybody who has managed to pair more than one spd/cadence pod to the Ambit 3? Suunto confirmed a bug that this is not possible. They promised to fix it. Now, half a year and some firmware updates later, this isn’t fixed and they claim it to be a compatibility issue. Which isn’t true I think. Or in other words: the comatibility problem is the watch itself.

    To make it clear: Pair one pod as Pod1, another one as Pod2 and if you want a third one as Pod3. The watch will only find Pod1 when starting a move. I own three bikes with different tire circumfance and this is annoying me like *#*!#+~!

  121. For those of us that have had a problem with notifications preventing the watch syncing to an iphone. It appears that Apple has fixed whatever they broke in a previous iOS version and all is now working again with iOS 8.3. Notifications can be turned on and sync works fine :)

  122. Josh

    When you receive a notification of text or call or email on your watch, how are you made aware of it while running if there is no vibration alert? Seems an audible alert could easily be missed?

  123. ToniT

    Interesting, the movescount iphone app notified that there is update available to my bt smart hr sensor when i was checking the battery level from phone. Well I updated it, new version 1.1.0 ?

    Anyone have an idea what was the update about? Due to android support or something else?

  124. alainquimarche

    Posted on the FaceBook Movescount – Powered by Suunto 1 hour ago :

    April is soon coming to an end and we know many of you await news on the Suunto Movescount for Android. To launch the first version of the Android App we need to update the whole ecosystem (including software of Ambit3 watches and the latest iPhone version of the app) and we’re currently waiting for the App store approval to move forward with this process. The Android App will be released in Open Beta and we are hoping to get it out tomorrow – thanks for your patience!

    Joke of the week : An Android Open Beta depending on the approval of Apple Store :)

    • The reason for having to wait for the Apple Store approval is because they needed to update the firmware of the BLE chip in the watch, changing the role of the BLE “device” from Central to Peripheral. So they also had to update the iOS app otherwise you would have not be able to connect to the iOS device anymore.
      And they have to wait for the iOS app the be approved before publishing the whole stack.
      Hope that this makes sense.

      PS: I’m in the Android “closed” beta testing group

    • Jarek

      Well, it is not good excuse – this is not first time when they postpone releasing app for Android. I bought Ambit 3 in January and – as I remember – at that time they said that Android app will be released in few weeks, now it almost 5 months passed and still no news about final version.
      I don’t want to complain but Android app was one of the reason I decided to buy Ambit3 for and now I’m a little bit disappointed.

    • That’s not true, they never said that. You can actually see my quote from them on Feb 1st within the post above (just search for ‘Android’), which specified April. And, as long as they release tomorrow, then they hit that timeline (since…you know…it’s still April).

    • Numo

      I don’t get it…do I understand that all this waiting is due to apple costumers ??? Why is that a majority of the consumers (android) had been stuck waiting for a minor part ???
      Also all those excuses are nonsense when the other big players (garmin and polar) have already released android app with relatively success. At the end of the day, I don’t get how a company cannot produce one app when there are thousands of apps, some with Bluetooth smart support, and in this case suunto owns the hardware part.

    • A couple of thoughts:

      1) I don’t think anyone is saying it’s been waiting forever due to Apple customers. It’s just the order they released it in. Obviously, I think everyone would agree they could of added that support into an earlier iOS app update (thus working both ways) to speed up Android support later.

      2) The majority of consumers of the Ambit3 aren’t on Android. If they were, Suunto would have done it first. The simple reality is that for this market segment, the breakout is roughly 30% Android, 67% iOS, and ~3% Windows Phone. Hence why companies focus on iOS first. Trying to use generalized global mobile OS stats that include adoption in 3rd world countries on cheap Android phones just isn’t valid.

    • Michi

      But it still sucks. As a T6, Ambit1, ambit2 and Ambit3 owner the are managing to really **** me off. By now, I am not sure if ther customer support or ther android support sucks harder…

  125. Dulle

    Any news, if they are going to update daily activity tracking in Polar or Garmin way?

  126. Jarek

    Ray, with all due respect – I don’t think there is good excuse for Suunto in this situation. Even if Android has only (?!) 30% market share for this market segment, they should definitely release Android app much, much earlier! It is still 30% of users!
    How long Ambit3 is on the market? Tomorrow will be released Open Beta version only – I assume that there will be many bugs. When will be available final version with full functionality?! It seems that we get Ambit4 earlier…
    Not only big players like Garmin and Polar don’t have problem with Android, you can buy some small brands (for smart watches or fit bands) which has app for Android.
    I’m really disappointed how they treat Android users. I’m not going to buy Iphone to use Suunto, I rather sell Suunto and buy Garmin. IOS is not for everyone.

    • I’m not saying it’s good that they waited nearly a year – not at all. Rather, I’m just pointing out that the iOS market for this segment is double that of Android.

    • Meir

      Agree with you 100%

    • Meir

      Agree with #Jarek

    • Numo

      I was not aware of those figures… I believe that those are SUUNTO figures, also I believe that it’s much easier to develop for only 3 or 4 hardware platforms than for the dozen of android device …

    • Numo

      Should I be awake until 24:00 to get the app ??????

    • ToniT

      Suunto beta is most likely better than the final from some of the competitors…

    • Numo-

      Those are my figures, for mobile readers to the site. They match pretty nearly perfectly to what I hear from other companies. You see very slight variations by region, but usually only a few percent. Last 30 days here: link to twitter.com

      As for being able to develop iOS apps easier than Android apps – absolutely. Any company in the space will echo that. The challenge is more focused on the Bluetooth Smart stack, which is unfortunately heavily varied between devices on Android.

  127. Jarek

    Yes, and it seems that soon IOS market for Suunto will be close to 100%, if they still are going to ignore Android users;) Rhetorical question: how many customers they could have more if Android app would be released in the same time as app for IOS? Or: how many customers more has Garmin thanks Android app? Maybe they replied for this questions by themselves and this is the reason why there is still no support for Android.
    Maybe I overreacted, this is business and they know better what is profitable for them or not. Cheers :)

  128. Nigel

    I was on IOS when I got my Ambit 3 (on release day), but decided to move over to Android early this year. Whilst I haven’t really missed the app that much I am very disappointed with how long it has taken Suunto to release this software.

    When I look to upgrade my watch, towards the back end of this year, I’ll be moving over to a Garmin 920 – the main reason being they seem to have a much better handle on the Android side of things. It’s a shame really ’cause the Ambit 3 is a good piece of kit, and I’m sure the 4 will be better, but I can’t invest another £300 in a company which doesn’t seem to have my interests at heart.

    So one customer lost Suunto – I wonder how many more will follow?

  129. Mihai Raducan

    They just announced that due to not receiving Apple AppStore approval (something to do with updating the platform as a whole) they need to postpone releasing Android app till Monday.

    Very, very disappointed.

    • Well, Monday is not that far…

    • Michi

      At least they know, what we expect from them. I am having troubles with the suunto support folks, for more than 3 weeks now I try to explain that the firmware is broken (you can pair three bike pods but the watch will only find the bike pod paired as bike pod1) but they simply don’t get it. Even more disappointing: Six Month ago I filed this bug and they confirmed the issue beeing a bug and promised to fix it in an upcoming firmware version, but they didn’t.

      Having three bikes with different tire size this really sucks. With the Ambit 2 it worked…

    • Mihai Raducan

      I didn’t know about this problem. How do you deal with it? Everytime you need to pair Pod2 you unpair Pod1 so Pod2 becomes Pod1?

    • Michi

      Everytime I change the bike I pair the current Pod as Pod1. I also have a fixed bike computer on every bike, so after the first run with the newly paired Pod I have to calibrate the Pod by adjusting the distance with the value from the bike computer as shown in the manual. The really, really, really, really […], really annoying thing is that calibrating the Pod afterwards does not work every time. Sometimes the watch just doesn’t offer you to calibrate. Why, I haven’t found out, yet.

      So I am really disappointed the app isnt there, otherewise I could calibrate the Pods realy quick with the phone.

      With the Ambit 2 I had three Ant Pods, a calibration value for every pod and when starting a move the watch connected to the pod an had the correct calibration value. The Ambit3 is specified the same way, but the firmware is broken in the way I described.

  130. Meir

    My waiting and expecting fellows, Android users, here in Europe the Sun is about to sink in the ocean, April and all the promises of Suunto sinking along with the her. New month tomorrow and possibly new promises and expectations for the slowing application.
    Don’t give up, be strong

  131. Nuno Pinto

    What a joke…I give up…I need the app because I am going to travel and do not want to carry a laptop….
    I am selling it…Sh!t

  132. Richard

    Hi DC,

    Brilliant review a great read. Quick 2 Q’s if I may:

    Can this watch keep recording while being charged? I can imagine hooking up a portable battery and clipping on the charger perhaps while on a v.long ride (e.g. from a tribag to handlebar).

    Instead/as well, can the watch pause recording, and then resume? E.g. for lunching on a tour ride, or even overnight. I saw in your fenix review you mentioned this was possible.

    I’m trying to decide between fenix and ambit, and am attracted to the smart strap for swimming HR, but the two questions above bother me, and draw me toward the fenix…


    • Arne

      Yes, charging does not stop the recording. And yes, you can pause and restore the exercise. There is also third trick that you can use – you can set up different sports modes with different GPS settings and switch between them during the move. E.g. you can switch off GPS during night, but still keep recording the HR.

    • Richard

      Thanks Arne for the response that’s really helpful. My mind is made up – Ambit it is!

      Is the swimming HR strap as cool as it sounds? I tend not to push off hard from the pool wall anyway because I’m training for open water so want to do lots of strokes – so hopefully the strap will stay in place…


    • Michi

      If you tie the belt with a lot of tension I think you won’t have have problems in open water, but the belt will probably wear out after a relativeley short period of time. The Comfort Belt did, with the smart sensor I reduced the tension so the belt just barely doesn’t come off when running or biking. Swimming with a wetsuit will work perfectly.

      I always swim with a tri-top when wearing the belt, indoors and outdoors, this works best for me and you don’t have to overtension the belt.

    • Richard

      Thanks for the advice Michi!

  133. Nuno Pinto

    according to the last statement from Suunto on thursday, they delayed the release of the android app to monday (4th of May)…so today I am waiting for something good….
    does anyone have any news ?

  134. arne

    At least the iOS app update that was excuse for the delay came on Saturday and it seems to work. I expect firmware update for watch coming next. They already updated the HR belt firmware.

    • Nuno Pinto

      Arne, that is nice to know…I am curious how is the HR belt update…As I have never done it, I assume that you need the app on the phone. Does the updated for the HR belt brings any improvements/enhacements ?

    • arne

      Yes, if you pair the belt with phone it will notify that there is an update available. I asked Suunto about what “enhancements” there are:

      link to suunto.com

      (open the Support tab on the bottom). I think that Beatrice really does not know what the enhancements are :) But because she mentions connectivity I think it is related to Android support.

    • Nuno Pinto

      So that means, that I need the “not yet” release android app for firmware updates on the HR sensor. Can we also check the battery level ???

    • Meir

      When and how was the HR belt firmware update?
      It should not include all users?

    • arne

      It was couple of weeks ago. It was anounced in Movescount Facebook page. Some information is also here:

      link to suunto.com

      I suppose that all users would like to update their belts. Right now it requires iPhone. I suppose Android app will also support it. There are certainly some users that are left uncovered. I do not know what is Suunto’s suggestion to them: go to the shop and ask for update? Or use the phone of the friend?

    • Michi

      Suunto’s suggestion: shut up and give us your money.

  135. arne

    Yes, I suppose Android app can also do the update. And yes, you can see the battery level in app.

  136. Ralph


    SUUNTO AMBIT 3 Sport or POLAR V800 ? Which one would you choose at the end of the day ?
    It’s been a year since both products are on market .
    Thnx in advance.

  137. Andorid app available later today:
    link to twitter.com

    Amer sport (“mother” of suunto) bought Sport Tracker:
    link to suunto.com

    I guess this means a likely merge between Movescount and Sport-Tracker…

  138. Nuno Pinto

    Let’s hold our breath…..and hope that the app works as it was stated to be beta…

    • Mihai Raducan

      Let’s hope there is an Android app to worry about… They are lying since Friday that the app is around the corner.

  139. alainquimarche

    Update for Ambit3 available on Movescount :
    Suunto Ambit3 Peak 1.5.44
    Important note!! This firmware will require iPhone Movescount App users to update to latest version of the Movescount App AND pair the watch with the Mobile App again in order to sync with the watch again!!
    – Added Bluetooth communication support for Android Movescount App
    – Connection with iPhone changed and iPhone Movescount App must be updated
    – Fixed problem where GPS tracking stopped when ending navigation
    – Fixed problem with arrows for HR limits guidance
    – Fixed problem related to cycling power calibration
    – Some minor fixes and general performance improvement

    There is even a web page for the android beta : http://movescountandroidbeta.com.

    Tested it on a stock MotoG with Android 5.0.2 : impossible to establish connection.
    But some people had success with other phones/brands.
    Re tested on my wife iphone : stills works flawlessly.
    Wait and see……

    • Mihai Raducan

      Very limited functionality with Galaxy S5 (4.4.3) and Nexus 7 (4.4.4 – sideloaded). App crashes often, sync fails 9 out of 10 times and I cand see details on any of my moves. When I select one nothing happens.

      This is an early alpha not a beta!

    • Meir

      I haven’t been able to pair the watch to my htc M8. I think they only release the app to Shutup the complainants.

    • Numo

      You are right, the app was not ready, not even for a beta release. …but some users are happy. I Think that POLAR made the same, they released a beta app first. The difference is that suunto is very slow with updates. Let’s see how much time for a final release.

    • Goran

      I have to say it works almost perfectly on Sony Z2, but on the other hand, i was in closed beta test, so they fixed my feedback. Thats what all android users should do, try the app, and report on issues, so eventually they will solve it.

      If you are waiting for the final release for your phone, and all other users of the same phone are like you, there is a very high chance that the app won’t work correctly on your phone.

  140. Jon

    considering the fact that the GPS altimeter has its flaws, wonder if any chance to compare the peak vs sport model in altitude tracking with combined baro/GPS vs GPS only? how much of the variance would this be?

  141. alainquimarche

    Updated android device list : link to movescountandroidbeta.com

    • That’s actually a pretty solid list of devices. Note that at the end it does say if you are seeing issues with a given device, to leave a comment on it so they can investigate. Though, it also doesn’t seem to have the comment piece enabled yet…

    • Michi

      How am I supposed to pair phone and watch, whenn the passcode is shown on the phone but there is no possibility to enter it on the watch?

    • Velibor

      For me it was vice versa. The Ambit displayed pairing code and I had to enter it on the phone.

    • Michi

      Well I found out that the phone just displayed the serial number of the watch, but the watch didn’t display a passkey and the phone didn’t display an input filed for the key. For me, it is a huge disappointment, that one of the key features that made me buy the Ambit 3 is still not working and bugs that I filed half a year ago aren’t fixed as well. Considering the duration of the product life cycle that’s ages.

    • Mine also worked the other way around.

  142. Alessandro

    Does the ambit3 work with kickr?

  143. Struli

    I am using the FR 620 for 1,5 years with Schosche Rhythm+, but I started trail running and now I miss some features like elevation gain, navigation and battery for longer tours > 10 hours. Whats the best choice?
    Ambit 3 Peak or Fenix 3 (read a lot of lack of gps accuracy)

  144. Meir

    I would like to raise a new problem and get feedback from other users before I upload it to the manufacturer technical support.
    Since the last update I did to the watch software’s because of the new Android app, the watch don’t read data from heart belt (pulse and calories) in the swimming finals.
    I want to add that before entering the pool the watch paired to the belt and show the pulse.
    It’s works perfect during other sports.
    Has anyone run into a similar problem?

    • Michi

      I didn’t swim since the update, but this new “feature” sounds really great. If they really managed to break the second key feature that made me buy the watch… well after all, it wouldn’t surprise me.

    • Michi

      Confirmed: FW 1.5.44 does not work with Smart Sensor 1.0.6. I went swimming today, no HR data.

    • Michi

      Just back from swimming. Still no HR sync! I’ve updated the sensor to 1.1 last week.

      Thank you suunto, great job breaking the watch!

    • Cecilia Sandström

      keep posting any news….. it’s driving me mad….

    • Michi

      Did you file a big report at their support site? The more reports, the better.

    • Cecilia Sandström

      I haven’t yet, but you are right, I should

    • Michi

      I paired another sensor, then paired my sensor again, started a move and put the watch in a steel container, so there shouldn’t be a connection watchsensor. After four minutes I openend the container, the watch showed HR “–” and I stopped the move, syncing then worked. It was only a few minutes, we’ll see if re-pairing solved the issue next time I’ll be swimming for real.

    • Michi

      @cecilia, maybe you can try this before re-pairing and after re-pairing.

    • Michi

      I’ve got news. I went for a real swim about 50 minutes, still, no syncing with the new 1.1 firmware. Then my wife went swimming, 1 hour, still, no syncing. It is because the watch lost connection to the belt and it seems, after a certain amount of time, it doesn’t try to find it anymore. But there is a workaroung: press “back/lap” and hold it to change sport mode into another sports mode, where the HF is used (or perhaps, i didn’t try, into the same mode). Then the watch will find the HR belt and sync the data. I don’t know if this works with the older firmaware also, but at last there is a way to get the data.

    • Cecilia

      Oh, that would be great.
      Some time ago, I did first swim, no sync, and after ca 10 min went for a ride, and the watch did not sync the swim. But, maybe I waited too long between the activities.
      I will def. give it a try again!!!

    • Michi

      Just make sure you don’t stop and save the move, use the multisport functionality as described in the manual page 65, “switching sport maodes manually”. link to ns.suunto.com

    • Michi

      *argh* where is the edit button?

    • Cecilia

      YES, it works!
      Nice surprice for the reccording of my first seaswim this year :)
      Thanks Michi!

  145. Cecilia

    Yes! I just noticed the same yesterday. It looked that all was fine, the watch paired and the icon hearth was “beating”. When saving the exercise, the heart data would sync with the watch. When later looking at movescount, indeed, there was no heart data. Very irritating.
    I´m not sure if I can connect this to the last update (but it very well could be), nevertheless, I know the problem too well. The other functions of the watch, also during swimming, work well (though, I haven´t checked the calorie count).
    I´m glad you will report this problem.

  146. arne

    I just tested it. I started the exercise and went away from watch. Other person confirmed that watch displayed “–” instead of heartrate. Then came back and ended the exercise. Data was correctly synced to Movescount.

    Have you upgraded the sensor software? In addition to watch software update there was also update to sensor. I have 1.5.44 in watch and 1.1 in sensor.

    • Michi

      How to update the sensor FW without the App?

    • Mihai Raducan

      You can’t do it without the app. I asked a friend with an iPhone to let me borrow his phone to update the HR sensor.

    • Michi

      I know. I can’t fight the impression the guys who are in charge of the whole Ambit 3 project are completeley retarded morons. I don’t state they are, but that’s my impression.

    • arne

      I agree that the smartphone support looks like PoC. Some critical use-cases are implemented, but the picture is not complete. I use iPhone myself, but also on this platform there are gaps in the functionality.

      For me the most irritating thing is their communication with customers. They basically don’t give any useful feedback. On this account the new Android beta site is much better, because the some knowledgable Suunto people talk there and they react much faster. They should expand this practice to all channels.

    • Meir

      I took the test as you explained and it worked properly. This doesn’t happen with water.
      About updating the HR sensor, I work with Android phone that don’t paired with the application yet (Waiting for a Solution here too) and I have no intention to take any iPhone, install the app and update the transmitter. This is the manufacturer’s obligation to find a solution to the problem.

    • Michi

      So this issue seems to happen when the watch doesn’t “see” the sensor for more than 30 mins. Last time I went for a 50min swim and paused and synced data after 16min and another 16min (32min total) and at the end of the session. This worked flawlessly. This might not be a solution for every open water swimmer, but as long as the bug will be really fixed in the next FW update, this works for me.

  147. Michi

    What is really irritating:

    There are observations that the 1.5.44 FW does not work flawlessly with a Smart Sensor Version prior 1.1. The watch FW update is mandatory, but for a considerable amount of customers it breaks functionality without the possibility to fix it, because they just can’t update the Smart sensors FW. All those who are not even interested in the app and all the others that don’t have an IPhone.

    • Cecilia

      Do we have a solution to the problem, also for people without an iphone/smartphone?
      I really miss HR while swimming (yes, I know I’m not the only one…)

    • Michi

      No solution yet, Smart Sensor 1.1 and still no HR data for swimming excercises.

  148. Rick

    I see the Peak and Sport models have dropped considerably this year. For trail running and navigation features, do you think the peak is worth the extra money? I already have an ABC watch, and it measures fairly accurately but still needs to be calibrated occasionally. This from a 30 buck watch. I see the peak utilizes GPS and the barometer to gauge altitude. Does this work well?

    • Michi

      Since I own the Ambit3 I hardly ever recalibrated the height/baro reference value. I can’t remember it beeing off more than 30m/100ft.

    • chukko

      Isnt it possible you have some kind of automatic calibration turned on? Otherwise that sounds you never use it (or you live in an area where the weather never changes or you never climb in changing weather). Calibration is not due to low sensor precision but rather due to the fact that barometer cannot distinguish between weather change and altitude gain. So it is quite difficult to imagine how it can stay precise over longer period of time without calibration.

    • Michi

      It’s called fused altitude.

  149. hrishi

    When the watch is paired with Mio Link directly next to it while swimming, can the watch record HR data as well as the swimming metrics?

  150. Bormasina

    I’m new to these sport watches and i’m trying to figure out if i should get one of these or keep my Casio … Which of these GPS/Sport watches doesn’t require creation of online account? I other words, which of these watches doesn’t upload activity stuff in cloud? I know for sure Garmin with connect pushes everything to cloud … How about Suunto? Nobody mentions this in their “reviews” …

    • Meir

      Sorry to disappoint you but all the latest sports watches use a computer to display achievements. The achievements are displayed on a site designated for this purpose. Once the information in the computer, someone, somwhere, can see the results, and to collect them.
      If this bothers you, don’t purchase Suunto he is one of those.

    • You can use a Garmin GPS watch fully offline (non-internet based). You cannot use either Polar or Suunto one.

    • Bormasina

      Thanks Ray. Not sure if i fully understand what you mean by “offline”. For example, Fenix 3 (i’m interested in Fenix 3 too) has Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS and ANT+. If i disable WiFi + Bluetooth on the watch, would i be able to use the watch with all of the sports tracking features? If so, then (next piece of the puzzle that is important to me) would i be able to connect the watch to PC and use some Garmin software to display all activities without creating Garmin account? It appears to me that creation of Garmin account is a must, without it, this Garmin Connect PC software cannot be used (which shows activities?). I should have written this in Fenix 3 section.

    • Bormasina

      Thanks for you reply. I’m fine with connecting a watch to a PC as long as the software doesn’t push me to create online account and upload all my activities online. If the PC/Mac software has ability to work locally (i will be blocking all internet connections of the software via firewall) without constant nagging to get online, then i’ll be fine with it.

    • Bormasina

      Ooopss, this was meant to be a reply to Meir …

    • chukko

      Actually you might be ok even without any software. Once you connect Fenix3 to the cradle it connects as a mass storage device and everything is available a fit file in the filesystem.

      Not sure if there is any offline software to present the recorded data in a fashion similar to Garmin Connect.

    • Paul S

      There’s quite a bit, actually. There Garmin’s Garmin Training Center, which they have abandoned in favor of Connect but can still be found. Golden Cheetah is an Open Source project (so available on all platforms) that displays data from various devices. On OS X, there’s RubiTrack. You can certainly use a Garmin device without Garmin Express or Garmin Connect.

    • Bormasina

      Thanks Paul. Now i’m tempted to get Fenix 3. RubiTrack seems to support Fenix 3 but is pricey (ouch — $110). Cheetah doesn’t seem to support Fenix 3 but it can read .FIT files.

      Does anybody know if these .FIT files are recorded in some proprietary Garmin format (or perhaps encrypted)? I guess i can try myself with if i get Fenix 3.

      How easy is REI with returns? I’m asking if this third party software compatibility thingie with F3 doesn’t workout the way i hope it would …

    • Indeed, you never need to use any Garmin software with the Fenix3 if you don’t want to. You can use fully 3rd party software (Strava, Training Peaks, Sport Tracks, RubiTrack, etc…). Nor would you need to register it on Garmin Connect.

      The only piece of Garmin software you’d probably want to use at some point would be the WebUpdater, which is a super-lightweight app that simply downloads the latest firmware to your device. No registration or anything.

    • Nothing fancy about .FIT files – most of the industry uses them (except Polar), even Suunto does.

      Golden Cheetah reads .FIT files just fine from the Fenix3 (I did a bunch of processing them today in fact).

    • Bormasina

      Thanks Ray. It seems like F3 it is …

  151. Charlie

    thank’s for this review which made me buy this watch at “le vieux campeur” in Paris with a 30% discount because they where reordering the shop…
    Anyway I have 2 questions that I’m pretty sure you guys can answer easely :
    1/ When I set screens in the running mode I put 3 or 4 datas in the bottom line but when I run I can only see 1 ?
    2/ How to set the VO2 ?



  152. Meir

    The Suunto people are not serious. Tonight they issue another version of the Movescount Android app, Ver. 1.0.3 and I still can’t pair my phone to it. The changes they make are minors. They know that some people have watches that can not pair to the application and they are dealing in cosmetics.

    • Michi

      I am a software developer – not for android but when I see what they are producing there is only one conclusion: I really think that they have absolutely no android expertise and that’s the problem.

    • Meir

      I asked about this problem and I received from Suunto the following reply:
      “The only solution at the moment would be to wait for HTC to provide Android 5.1 release”
      My Android version is 5.0.1!!
      If this not funny, what does?

    • Michi

      That’s nothing. Remember, when they said in the beginning, Movescount App will only be available for Android 5? Now I have Android 5 and they tell me: you should have sticked with 4.4.4, Android 5.0.2 won’t work. Now that’s what I call a joke.

  153. Gai

    Thanks for the review. I purchased the Ambit 3 Sport needing a bigger face as I struggle to read without glasses. Is there anyway to make the contrast better. I notice that the Garmin 920 has a black on white where the Suunto is more like dark grey on light great. If not can you suggest the best watch I may be able to read in low light without having to use the back light. I am a runner only. Thanks so much

    • Michi

      Adjusting the contrast: rtfm. If you have problems with reading the display, you should check if your glasses/lenses if they are adequate. My wife has .12 and absoluteley no problems.

    • Edgar

      You invert the colors of your watch, and have white background with black numbers. I had problems seeing also but inverting the colors solve the problem. Hope this helps.


    • John

      Hi Gai,
      did you find a solution. I just got my new Ambit 3 Run the other day and I can tell you that I also have problems reading the display. In fact I do not like the back light at all and am very shocked at the quality of the display in general. I can only read the display if I hold the watch at a particular angle i.e. if I’m looking straight at the watch at 90 degrees to the face. If I tilt the watch so its at a slight angle, the glass reflects back at me, so I see trees, sky, buildings everything except the data. I know I can switch on the back light and adjust the contrast, but when I switch on the back light, it just looks as if the glass is fogged up. I am going to try it out a little more and hope I can figure out how to improve it, but at this rate, I think this aspect alone will cause me to send it back – if I cannot see my data clearly during a run, then what good is it to me at all.

  154. Eric

    I’m looking to buy a new gps watch and I’m a bit lost. I will mostly use it for long-distance cycling (8-12 h) but also for triathlon.
    Which one would you prefer of Ambit 2s, Ambit 3s or Garmin 910xt? (They are inside my budget)
    I’m from Sweden and the prices here are, for 2s and 910xt 239 USD and for 3s 305 USD.

    Which one is best value for the money?

    Thankful for your help! :)

  155. Charlie

    Hello I have two questions :
    Is it possible to set an intervall workout with the android beta version ? (like with the IOS one)
    Am I the only one to find the volume of the beeps very light ? Is it possible to pump it up ?


  156. FredB

    I am not sure to understand what “Recording Interval” means when I configure my watch on movescount.
    I understand the GPS interval which affects track accuracy, battery… but what does Suunto mean by Recording interval (1s or 10s) ?


    • Michi

      Simply the sampling rate of the recorded data. Speed, Temparature, Pressure, etc. values are stored either every second or every 10s. Simple as that. The Ambit3 has enough memory to store lots of recorded data, so recording every second shouldn’t get you into overflowing the memory. Maybe, if you are on a more-than-one-day tour.

  157. Edgar

    Just to give you heads up, I contacted Suunto because I am not getting heart recording when swimming. Apparently there is a problem with the software and you cannot record more than 30 minutes of swimming. They are working on the problem and they expect to get it fix by the update coming up by the end of the month. As a work around, they ask me to exercise only 30 minutes :). I lie their suggestions….


    • Michi

      Recording ist fine. The watch just doesn’t pick up the sensor after a longer time. There is a better workaround: After swimming, switch to another sports mode (press and hold back/lap while still in the workout), the HR is found again and data is synced.

      I think they just “optimized” power consumption, so a connected sesnor won’t be tried to connect anymore if it is out of range more than 30 mins. With changing sports mode, searching of sensor kicks in again.

    • Edgar

      Thank you Michi!

    • Meir

      I have the same problem and I rise it her a few weeks ago on post #845.
      I hope we can all agree it’s a stupid thing by Suunto to think we should swim only 30 minutes. What is their business about our battery energy efficiency. By the way everything worked fine until the latest update of the Ambit3 software.
      One of my regrets about purchasing the watch is that he cannot read pulse during swimming.

  158. Mirko

    I am a bit confused now. I just got the watch out of the box, and the heart rate storage if watch and HR monitor can’t communicate seems to work ( I didn’t update any firmware yet). I do not own an iphone, so should I just not update the firmware to have HR sync or is this problem fixed by now?

    • Michi

      Did you try to pair it again?

    • Mirko

      Not sure what you mean. I do not wan’t to pair the watch to a phone, and data transfer to pc works fine, also with old firmware on the watch.

    • Michi

      There is an existing bug in FW 1.5.44 that leads to problems with syncing HR data with the watch, when the smart sensor is out of range. It is still existing and will – hopefully – be fixed with the next FW.
      There is a workaround, posted here already by myself.

  159. Kurt

    Rocking review! My athletic needs are somewhat unique, so hoping you might be able to shed some light on questions I have.

    I want to record 3 consecutive 20 hour days, at the 1 second gps setting. I understand 20 hours is greater than the 15 hours stated battery life at 1 second intervals. Can I charge the Ambit3 (from an eternal battery stick) and simultaneously record data?

    Can I record up to 60+ hours of data without syncing? Or, what is the maximum storage capacity of recorded workouts?

    Thank You!!

  160. Gerardo Haelewyn

    Hi DC, I would like to share my experience with Suunto’s Ambit3 Sport…
    I bought a Suunto Ambit3 Sport in early April that it is not working properly. I use it for stand-up paddle, running and cycling.
    When I fall from my SUP board I lose the HR data for several minutes even when I have got out of the water and continue paddling. I also verified that the HR sensor didn’t register the HR data because it is shown as a flat line for long periods of time in the Movescount graphs. After two weeks I got a response from Suunto’s customer service (Ticket No: TT395477) saying that this is due to a bug and the coming software release at the end of June will solve it….I am not sure about this.
    Additionally, I am experiencing another problem with the Ambit3 when running or cycling. Sometimes it doesn’t connect with the smart sensor. Occasionally this is solved by pairing the sensor again or resetting the watch by pressing all 5 buttons but some other times nothing works. I have already checked the batteries on the sensor and bought another chest belt and smart sensor to try to solve this problem without good results. Suunto’s customer service says that this could be cause by the same bug.
    I wanted to return the watch because it is not working as it should and it is frustrating to spend so much time looking for ways to solve these issues. Unfortunately I cannot return it to because Amazon’s return policies cover one month since the date of purchase and Suunto wouldn’t accept the product, they offered me to send it to their service center in Finland. This doesn’t make sense, I live in Mexico.
    Bottom line, I have a product that doesn’t work as promised, Suunto doesn’t have a solution yet and I cannot return it. So my warranty was valid only for one month. Good-bye Suunto! I am not buying anymore products from you.

    • chukko

      Buying expensive gear on Amazon with such a strict return policy is rather risky.
      But if you cannot return it, you still might be able to sell it.
      I wouldnt worry about delivery to Finland. You raise a support ticket and Suunto will arrange delivery on their own – you just fill the form and UPS will come and pick up the package and deliver the new one.
      It might take more time than in Europe but you still have a chance they fix the problem.

  161. Becky

    I bought my Ambit3 Sport in October 2014. I use it at least once a day with the HR strap. For the first few months I had no problem with it at all but as the winter months came I started experiencing problems with HR recordings. Because of the cold weather I thought this might be due to lack of moisture between HR strap and skin, so I bought some electrode gel. This did not help. HR reading began to get more and more erratic (e.g. on an easy jog the HR would read 80bpm for a few seconds and then up to 220bpm for few seconds and back down to 80bpm and so on.) Sometimes I wouldn’t get a HR reading at all, it would just display ‘–‘ . I contacted Suunto and they sent me a replacement HR strap because on mine (after only 2 months of use and I rinse it carefully) the elastic was going at one end. With the new HR strap the problem seemed to be resolved, however after a few months time the problem has crept back in again and once again the HR strap is losing its elastic at one end. I have contacted Suunto but after 2 weeks I still have no response. I just wanted to find out if anyone else has been having the same problem??!! Surely I shouldn’t have to be replacing the HR strap every couple of months!

    • david pizey

      happened to me exactly as you, not good after spending £325 on a watch ;(

    • Meir

      Welcome to the disappointed club. I also recognized a similar problem that is part of the problems I have with my 4 month old Ambit3 sport. Waiting to see how the watch will function after the coming update.

    • Becky

      Any idea when update is due?

    • Numo

      Same problem here. also the elastic has gone….piece of crap…i will wait for the next firmware.

    • Meir

      See what Suunto said to me about that:

      Please be advised that we have analyzed your issue and it will be fixed with the upcoming update.

      Unfortunately we cannot provide an exact release date for this update.

      However we can confirm that it will be realeased at the end of June 2015.

      Thank you for understanding!

    • Becky

      Thanks Meir that information is much appreciated. At least you got a response, I’ve been waiting 2 weeks!

    • Becky

      Numo do you use your HR strap in the swimming pool? I wondered if the elastic was going in mine because of the chlorine in the pool, I do rinse it after each swim. I’ve never known a HR strap to wear out so quickly (2months) as this one and the only difference is, I use this one in the pool unlike my previous ones.

    • Nuno Pinto

      I never used the HR Strap while swimming. I can tell you that this strap is not as good as the one on my previous POLAR. After a month of having the AMBIT I noticed that the elastic started to get loose, especially in the zone where it attaches to thick part of the strap.
      Now this reading problem is getting me crazy…the bluetooth signal is Ok, because the AMBIT detects the sensor in a few seconds, but the reading only after 5 minutes…I think…

    • Michi

      My experience:

      – the whole belt has to bet wet, not only the electrodes
      – if this doesn’t help (it did most of the times), resetting helps (open, flip battery, put back in place)
      – if this doesn’t help, the sensor is most likely defective (my wife’s sensor was)

      My Ambit3 Belt is in way better condition than the other straps, because i use the slightest tension possible. But I use a compression triathlon top when swimming to prevent the belt from flipping over. If you tie the belt so strong, that it doesnt flip over while swimming, it will be worn out in no time.

  162. Cecilia Sandström

    Hi Becky,
    My heart rate recordings are similarly messed up as yours. Equally I have been blaming it on bad moisture, as I manly experience it on easy work outs. I have had my watch for almost 3 months and have yet not noticed any problems with the elastic.
    I would be very curious if suunto can answer why this recording problem occurs, and even more important, what we can do about it.
    Cheers, Cecilia

    • Becky

      Glad to hear its not just me having this problem. I’ve had the Ambit3 for 8 months and for at least half of that time the HR readings have been ridiculous. Agree with above that after paying over £300 for the watch this is not what you expect!

  163. Alex

    Has anyone had issues with reliability of HRM when using Ambit3 on a treadmill? I often get very erratic HRM readings (suddenly jumps from 130 to 200, stays there for a bit, then may drop down again, but very volatile), which does not seem to happen when running outside. I was wondering if there may be interference with electronics in treadmill (I know some HRM watches have similar issues depending on model of treadmill).

  164. Seba

    This is what I call an in depth review. Thanks a lot.

  165. Marcel

    What about GPS accuracy with the new firmware? As goos as V800? Can you post links?

    Thank’s a lot

  166. Matt B

    It appears the 2.0 update has been released!

    • Michi

      Yes, 2.0.4 is out. Gotta check if they fixed the HR sync issue and the three bike pod issue. Release notes state, they have been fixed.Finally! I’ve been waiting for the bike pod issue fix since last october!
      link to d1c229iib3zm7m.cloudfront.net

      When I can finally manage to get Android 5.1 running on my Moto G, they got me back, where they want me… a customer, who is not complaining ;)

    • Michi

      Hmmm the update wasn’t that smooth. I had to hard reset the watch two times. Well, I hope that’s all with the issues with the new firmware.

    • Michi

      The bike pod pairing issue is finally fixed, I can confirm that. Did anyone go for a longer swim so far?

    • Cecilia

      I will in a few hours, but I don’t “dare”to gamble. Until the bug is confirmed gone, I do it your way Michi: using multisport mood.

    • Michi

      Well, you don’t have to gamble: at the end of the swim you’ll see if it works anyway. If not, you can still change sports mode.

  167. MartinM

    Distance problems when running through tunnels – this is not fixed:(

  168. Aydin Mert

    I am sure this must have been discussed many times but since I am new to Suunto, I need to ask. Is there way to export your moves that you record with Ambit 3 to Nike+ environment?

    Thanks a lot!

  169. ToniT

    The new running performance feature in training mode, training review, recovery screen and movescount is nice in 2.0 SW.

  170. FrankB

    Its slowly getting better each time. I really almost switched to the Garmin F3. With these new features “running performance”, “recovery check”, and the android movescount app getting more and more mature, I think I made the right choice not to do so.

  171. edgaangelone

    FYI, I just tried my first 2 miles swimming, approximately an hour of swimming, and the HR sensor transmitted the whole information, no problems at all. Good for Suunto!


  172. Ryan

    Great review, I’m leaning towards this more now based on the HR strap slipping not being a huge problem. I tend to do roughly 1k yards of kicking drills, I assume it will still records those laps based on turns, but wanted to see if anyone has had an issue with that.

  173. Derek

    Hello all, I am considering a Ambit3 vs. Garmin Vivoactiv for an every day watch that will get use as regular timepiece, running watch, and occasional bike duty. Thoughts on which I should get? I use mostly Strava and Training Peaks, so I am not locked into Garmin Connect.

  174. Josh

    I’ve owned my Ambit 3 Sport for just under a month now, and being in the first trimester of training for my fall marathon I will say I’m delighted with its performance. I pair it with my Rhythm + for runs and both have been solid. I’m learning more about the functions of the watch and interpretations of Movescount data everyday. I’ve only had a couple of treadmill runs and on the first one the watch was literally spot on with my treadmill (variance 5-15 seconds and overall distance within 1%), but the second run the pace and distance were much farther apart. If anyone can recommend a decent footpod I’d appreciate it. Otherwise I’ll go back to treadmill runs without a watch and just trust what the treadmill display says. The watch is attractive, comfortable, and just works.

  175. Anyone knows what the numbers for running performance mean? I ran twice very different average pace and HR and got the same result: 47.

    Also what is the difference between the X% “Fully recovered” and X% “Recovered” in the quick test? I get one or another but do not know the difference.


  176. Stephen Thomas


    In the interest of crowd-sourcing compatibility data, it might be worth updating your sensor compatibility with respect to the Viiiiva (HRM only). I can confirm that the Ambit3 Peak (firmware 2.04) does pair and work (mostly) fine with the Viiiiva for heart rate data only. I have the original Viiiiva (ordered immediately after it was released) that’s been updated to the latest 4iiii firmware (A 2.3.1, B 1.3.2). Tried it on the trainer this morning and here’s the movescount activity.

    In this particular case, I also had the Viiiiva paired with my Quarq power meter, but the Suunto was not able to pair with a power POD, nor did it record any power data. It did, however, record the heart rate data just fine, and the analysis includes all the normal stuff that Suunto calculates from HRV (e.g. recovery time, VO2, etc.)

    The only minor problem is that the heart rate display on the watch during the activity is intermittent. More specifically, it turns on and off at a regular interval. Most likely, that’s because the Viiiiva cycles between heart rate data, power data, and cadence (in this case), and the Ambit was only displaying heart rate info on the heart rate part of the loop. The recorded data looks fine afterwards, however. Just a guess, but I suspect that if you un-paired the Viiiiva with all ANT+ sensors, even this problem would go away.

    Now, if only Suunto would add full support for the Viiiiva (well, power meter support at least), then things would truly be well and good.

  177. bill

    Can anyone tell me how I might be able to see my mile splits without having to hit lap after each mile. Thank you

  178. Stephen Thomas


    Another update on sensor compatibility. With the latest 2.0.4 firmware, the Ambit3 pairs and works fine the with Wahoo RPM 2 (the dual ANT/BT version). Sample ride at link to movescount.com

    • Meir

      I have the same Wahoo RPM transmitter but mine is not paired with the watch despite the latest update!!!
      I would like to add that after the last update the Ambit 3 sport reads the data from the pulse transmitter even after an hour of swimming but the resulting data are not reasonable. Pulse jumps into Improbable numbers in the last 30 minuts. I noticed this during spinig too.
      Something is rotten in the Kingdom of Finland (Hamlet)

  179. Briana

    I am inbetween purchasing Ambit3 Sport or the Polar V800. Does anyone recommend one over the other? I am mainly focused on the swim and run features.

  180. Stephen Thomas

    Possibly worth adding to the review:

    One swimming feature that is (I think) unique to the Ambit3 is the ability to train the watch to recognize your own personal swim strokes. Using the swim options menu, you can tell the watch which stroke you’re going to swim and it has you swim one length. It updates it’s stroke recognition algorithm based on that sample.

    I’ve had multiple swim watches (the original Finis, Garmin 910XT, Swim, and Fenix 3, Polar V800) and none of them could correctly identify my freestyle stroke consistently. It’s the only stroke I can swim without drowning, which undoubtedly says something about my swim technique. Still, in every case with these watches, about half of my laps would be identified as breast stroke or unknown. With the Ambit3, however, after training it on two lengths, it nailed my freestyle every single time. Since I only swim one stroke, this isn’t a huge deal, but it’s definitely a nice touch.

    • Meir

      Sorry, but I taught my watch three swimming styles and after I come home from practice I see he decided that I just swam freestyle despite having worked in three styles.
      One of the most important issues at the Ambit 3 that he is not reading heartbeat during the swim. To obtain this figure should take the body out of the water for more than 30-45 seconds (doesn’t make sense). This data is very impotent during intervals training.

  181. Matej


    I have Garmin 405 for 5 years now and it started to make troubles. And i decided to buy Suunto Ambit 3. But i see it is almost 1 year odl so i wonder if there is any informations or predictions if Ambit 4 is comming in near future nad most important what new watch will bring, any new inovations, senzors, anything that is worth waitng.

  182. Nuno Pinto

    Does anyones have this simptom ?
    My smart sensor/band is not working correctly. First few months it was ok, then after first battery died it only works intermittent and only after I start sweating lot.
    I replaced battery, but problem continues, intermittent reading, with heart beat numbers showing along with dashes “- -“.
    I can’t even perform any of the recovery test, due to the fact the reading is not consistent.
    Both watch and smart sensor have latest firmware.

    • arne

      I have exactly same problem. I have now second transmitter – first one had bad seal and water got inside. I got new transmitter, but I’m still using my original belt. Total time for belt is 160 hours now. I should probably try to ask for warranty replacement, because it is less than six months from purchase.

    • Nuno Pinto

      Thanks Arne,
      question: how did you get the new sensor ??? Warranty ??? How did you got in contact with Suunto ???
      Did you sent the sensor and the strap ??? Maybe the problem is the strap, I found that my hr reading works OK when I am really sweated. And the watch detects the sensor easily

    • arne

      I went to shop where I bought the watch. This shop is also representative or distributor of the Suunto in Estonia. I filled the warranty form in the shop and left the strap and sensor for examination. In the next working day they contacted me and said that they will replace the sensor but not the strap. The problem was obvious since the battery cover seal was broken, there was water inside the sensor and the PCB was corroded. I never opened the sensor before it died, so this was factory problem. The strap was working fine then. Now I have new problem – similar to yours. I agree that it sounds like strap problem. Lets see how they handle this.

    • arne

      It took them two weeks to handle the problem. Local shop said that they were not able to reproduce the problem all the time and sent the strap to Finland for diagnostics. Suunto tested it and found nothing wrong with it, but still replaced it. In addition I asked them to send me large belt if they are going to replace it and they did it. So not so fast as last time, but I think Suunto handled it very nicely.

  183. MikeMarkCA

    One piece of information I am having a hard time finding, is the GPS function able to display UTMs as opposed to Lan/Lon?

    Thank you

    • Stephen Thomas

      Yes. From the user manual available at link to ns.suunto.com

      You can select the format from the following grids:

latitude/longitude is the most commonly used grid and has three different formats:

      • WGS84 Hd.d°
o WGS84 Hd°m.m’ o WGS84 Hd°m’s.s
      • UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) gives a two-dimensional horizontal position presentation. 

      • MGRS (Military Grid Reference System) is an extension of UTM and consists of a grid zone designator, 100,000-meter square identifier and a numerical location.

Suunto Ambit3 Peak also supports the following local grids: 

      • British (BNG) 

      • Finnish (ETRS-TM35FIN) 

      • Finnish (KKJ) 

      • Irish (IG) 

      • Swedish (RT90) 

      • Swiss (CH1903) 

      • UTM NAD27 Alaska 

      • UTM NAD27 Conus 

      • UTM NAD83 

      • NZTM2000 (New Zealand) 

  184. MikeMarkCA

    Thank you.

  185. Thanks for the awesome review.

    Do you know if the Ambit Peak 3 will work with the new Powertap P1 pedals? Is it possible to see both left/right power levels on the Ambit?

    Appreciate it.


    • With the latest update from Suunto, yes, the Ambit3 does now work with the PowerTap P1.

      There is not however left/right data fields on Suunto devices at this time.

  186. Philowen

    Hello RAINMAKER, nice work!
    I am using a Garmin Fenix3. Turn on the light and use a light screen, the screen edge is jagged.
    Wanna know if it is the same situation with Ambit 3 or not.

  187. Erick Meier

    Dear Sir do you know how to pair properly the strap powercal BLE with suunto ambit 3 sport?
    I tried many options and when i have power reading there is no hr reading and viceversa
    Seems that one signal override the other
    Thanks for your assistance


  188. tif

    Thank you so much for all the reviews you share. They helped me make my decision to go with the Suunto Ambit3 Sapphire Sport which I love. As a woman with small wrists, this watch is the perfect size and weight! I am having some trouble with pairing a Wahoo RPM with it for indoor cycling. I have added “Cadence POD” to the indoor cycling profile but when I go to the “Pair” option, cadence isn’t there. It doesn’t pair on its own when I start the exercise. Any ideas?

    • erick meier

      hi Tif
      to pair the Wahoo Cadence sensor dont pair it as cadence pod
      do it as bike pod using one of the 3 available bike pod options and will work perfect

    • Meir

      Thank you, it’s work as you suggested after many frustrations trying to go straight. I even wrote to Suunto about and they as usual didn’t answer.

    • tif

      I had tried that a few times and it still isn’t recognizing it. I will keep trying. Thanks!

    • Erick Meier

      go into the Movescount and in the watch configuration dont set cadence sensor, just Bike Pod and then sync

  189. Neal

    i was wondering if anyone is having a problem with Power data when doing a Multi-sport Triathlon
    The last 2 Triathlon which are after the most recent update do not show any power
    also i noticed that during selecting the cycling mode on a training ride, it no longer auto calibrates like it used too. now it just says found power (which works unlike the multi-sport) but you have to do a manual calibration after which is fine for me but odd.
    thanks for your replies

  190. Paul Teini

    Do you have a timeline for the release of the Suunto Traverse (link to youtu.be)? I just came across this on a forum post from today. If YouTube translate was done correctly then it appears to be the successor to the Ambit family. It will have GPS, altimeter, and music functions. I did not see an optical heart rate monitor. Looks real nice though… thanks for your help!

  191. Goran

    Good catch.

    I heard information it will be announced in september, so expect october to start seling.

    But i suppose this won’t be a Ambit successor, but a different line.

  192. 2d

    Suunto Traverse appears to have a vibration motor installed too. Hopefully this means the eventual ambit successor will have this also.

  193. David Aldous

    I’m having an issue with my Ambit 3 peak and wondering if anyone else has seen this. I go to start a move and it goes through finding the HR strap and GPS if they apply and then it automatically starts. My friend that has an ambit 2 says his waits for him to manually start it. I’m not sure if that is just a difference between models of if that is odd. The real issue is that if the move is paused at any point I either have to try and restart it repeatedly or it won’t start again at all despite multiple attempts. My friend thought it might be in the auto pause mode but that isn’t the case with the moves I’ve been in. It is pretty annoying not to be able to pause moves without restarting them. The watch is running the most recent software from Suunto.
    Thanks, Dave

    • Arne

      My Ambit 3 does not behave this way. I think that something is wrong with the top right button that you use for starting and pausing the activity. You should probably send the watch back to Suunto.

    • Michi

      Stuck buttons have always been an issue since the Ambit1. I’ve got mine always working with pushing the button multiple times while immersed in water (which you shouldn’t do according to the manual).

  194. Gulfaam

    Is it possible for me to change the GPS preferences and switch it on and off directly in the watch, without using the phone app?

    • Stanislav

      The right way to do that is two create two separate sport modes – with and without GPS. The sport mode is what you select on the watch when you start recording the move. For example, I have 4 different sport modes for running that I use depending on what settings I want and what screens I want to be displayed: Running, Trail Running, Ultra, and Run Indoors.
      Sport modes can be added and configured on movescount web site or in movescount app.

    • Michi

      And not to forget: you can switch the modes without stopping or pausing recording data.

    • Gulfaam

      Thank you soo much! I really appreciate that :)

  195. Neal

    i was wondering if anyone is having a problem with Power data when doing a Multi-sport Triathlon
    The last 2 Triathlon which are after the most recent update do not show any power
    also i noticed that during selecting the cycling mode on a training ride, it no longer auto calibrates like it used too. now it just says found power (which works unlike the multi-sport) but you have to do a manual calibration after which is fine for me but odd.

    thanks for your replies

  196. Brent

    I have a question related to the Running Performance metric. I have been watching the metric and it really does not change substantially week over week. I read Suunto’s tutorial on it and it states that the performance level is directly related to your estimated VO2 Max. According to the chart, my performance level is in the Fair range (Male, 33 years old performance level 38) but my estimated VO2 Max has been 55 ml/kg/min or better. Based on various charts I’ve found online, this VO2 max level is in the above average range for my age range.

    Can anyone help make sense of the differences here?


    • tif

      Hi Brent.

      Typically, accurate VO2 would be tested in a lab while hooked up to a machine, so I would be hesitant to say that the results are 100% accurate. I know it is based on the firstbeat platform- their information may be found below. Typically, VO2 is determined based on the connection between oxygen intake and speed (or intensity). What first beat has done is determine a correlation between oxygen intake and hr, thus making a connection between hr and speed= VO2. According to Firstbeat, it is approximately 95% accurate but invariability comes into play when outside variables may change such as running surface, wind, etc. Personally, I feel like my estimation is on the higher end as well but I guess if you are using it as a comparison to yourself (day 1 versus day 40) as opposed to others who might be lab tested, it should be fine.

      link to firstbeat.com
      link to firstbeat.com

    • Nuno Pinto

      The runnimg metric for me does not work also, at least, as I was expecting, it is always 49…independently of training more or less.
      With my old POLAR it was more realistic,, as it would changed with training

  197. tif

    Hi Brent.

    Typically, accurate VO2 would be tested in a lab while hooked up to a machine, so I would be hesitant to say that the results are 100% accurate. I know it is based on the firstbeat platform- their information may be found below. Typically, VO2 is determined based on the connection between oxygen intake and speed (or intensity). What first beat has done is determine a correlation between oxygen intake and hr, thus making a connection between hr and speed= VO2. According to Firstbeat, it is approximately 95% accurate but invariability comes into play when outside variables may change such as running surface, wind, etc. Personally, I feel like my estimation is on the higher end as well but I guess if you are using it as a comparison to yourself (day 1 versus day 40) as opposed to others who might be lab tested, it should be fine.

    link to firstbeat.com
    link to firstbeat.com

  198. Neal

    I contacted Suunto as power data does not record in a multi-sport mode AKA a triathlon

    they replied with:

    “We are sorry for the delay in our answer as well as for the inconvenience you have experienced with your Ambit3 Peak.
    Please be informed the issue you mentioned was verified to be caused by a bug in the current version of the Ambit3 firmware. This will be fixed in the next firmware. Until this becomes available, Suunto sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.”

    I have asked for when the update will be fixed and I will update this post when i get a reply

  199. Pieter N

    Thanks for the great review!

    Would have liked to order on Clever Training for support to your site, unfortunately it stated that SUunto products are not shipped internationally.

    To bad, maybe next time!



  200. Two things I haven’t been able to figure out with this watch.
    #1 – How do you set it up to use your phone as a second screen for the watch? I’ve seen others do it but I can’t seem to figure out how. Is it only for Iphone users?
    #2 – I see on the app I can set up workouts but how do I actually use them? I don’t see any options on either the app or the watch on actually running a workout that I have created.

    • tif

      Hi Aaron.
      I am not sure about the second screen on the phone but as far as running a workout- after you select exercise and chose the exercise you are doing, prior to starting the exercise, hold the next button for the option screen. From there, you can chose “workouts.”

    • Thanks. For a common feature hidden in a menu like that you’d think they would put it in the manual.