• Amazon.com
  • Clever Training
  • Clever Training Europre

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 September 13th, 2018 @ 1:33 amNew 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
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerYesYesYesSorta, predictive but not cached.
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreatGood
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 Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) 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
Can change yards to metersYesYesYesYes
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
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoYesNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoYesNo
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+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNoNo
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+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)NoNo
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
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsYesYesNoYes
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
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)LinkLink
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.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

 Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture



  1. Marios

    Thank you Ray!

    • Mary

      First of all thanks for this great review – I recently bought the Ambit3 Peak and I’m really happy with it. Actually I have one problem and thought maybe there is somebody here who can help me. I deleted one of my moves in my movescount app and thought that it is possible to upload it again from the watch. I can see the move and its details on the watch, but when I sync it with the app this move is not there. Is there a way to upload the move again or is there any program with which I can choose the file I want to be uploaded? (like Polar Websync.)

    • Nuno Pinto

      Maybe if you try to right click on the icon on the task bar (the M Icon), there is an option “SEND LOGS”…try it, I am not sure.

    • Suzanne


      Firstly, Many thanks for the great review. My question pertains to altitude functions and differences between the Ambit 3S and the Peak version. I do regular hiking and I am interested in altitude. Thus the easiness of use and general flexibility of altitude functions are of interest. Also if I understand, the battery life may be shortened on the Sport version if I use the altitude functions as altitude information is generated from the GPS. Could you explain clearly the difference between the two watches when it comes to having easy, regular access to altitude. Many thanks! Suzanne

      P.S. I do note that there are barely any “girls” placing comments :-0

    • Goran

      girls mostly use their watches, boys usually play with them, looking for things they can brag/moan about.

      Joking aside, with Sport you need to have GPS on 1sec to get altitude data, so max 8hrs of battery. Altitude is pretty accurate, for a GPS, but if you go mountaineering, you could get inaccurate data.

    • Steffen

      Suunto ReSync HowTo

      Starting in this directory: C:\Users\MY_ACCOUNT\AppData\Roaming\Suunto

      1. Renamed Moveslink2 to Moveslink2-old
      2. Created Moveslink2 folder (now empty)
      3. Copied settings.xml (from Moveslink2-old) back to Moveslink2 in order to maintain my settings/authorization to movescount.com
      4. Disabled my Internet Connection (I use a laptop so I shutoff wireless)
      5. Started Moveslink while Ambit2 is connected
      — At this point the sync will fail but all previous moves are now downloaded from my Ambit2 and placed in Moveslink2 folder
      6. Quit moveslink2 (Right click the “M” in the bottom right tray and click Quit)
      7. Rename my file (log-EA83095112001300-2013-09-21T11_51_30-10.xml to log-EA83095112001300-2013-09-21T11_51_29-10.xml)
      8. Edited log-EA83095112001300-2013-09-21T11_51_29-10.xml and modified the tag to reduce by one second 2013-09-21T11:51:29
      9. Edited storage.xml and renamed these tags to reflect 1 less second:
      10. Start internet
      11. Start moveslink2 (with Ambit2 attached)

      Should work now!

    • bill

      I can’t seem to get my Ambit 3 Peak to record my mile splits. Do I need to push lap after each mile or can I have do that automatically like my Garmin did? Thanks for any help you can give.


    • John Wilson

      Hi Ray thanks for the great as always in depth review. Bought a new Ambit 3 Peak Sapphire on the basis of it. Unfortunately with my Ambit 2 after about a year of faithful service it simply stopped connecting to my Mac. Several calls to the service centre couldn’t rectify it so back for repair under warranty and the unit was replaced but due to the approx seven weeks I was without the watch I bought an Ambit 3.
      Again faultless service for the first four months but now once again has refused to connect to my Mac it seems that when there is a software update the watch loses its ability to connect even when the software is updated.
      Not wanting to be without a watch for another seven or so weeks I was wondering has anyone else had this issue.
      I would like to say that the watch takes a lot of rugged punishment but honestly it has to cope with little more than the occasional run.

      Many thanks


    • Jim C


      I really don’t think it is a hardware problem. I ran into the same issues with my Ambit 2R seemed every time the MovesLink software or MovesCount website got updated I would run into the same issue. I found a fix (no help from Suunto I am afraid) which involved deleting all the Ambit related files from my computer and installing the software, but got fed up with the issue and the constant problems with MovesLink being down so returned the watch to the retailer I purchased it from.

      Disappointing to hear that the issue continues to exist. i really like the Ambit, but Suunto needs to get their software act together!

  2. Gunnar

    Thanks Ray, Great review as usual. Bummer about Android not being supported sometime in 2015. My usual question (sorry if you mentioned it….I didn’t see the answer) I presume like the previous Ambit units, it doesn’t enumerate as a hard drive when attached to a android phone or tablet?

    • Correct, it still requires the use of the Suunto Movescount Agent software to access the data (PC/Mac). There’s some folks working on more of an opensource project (OpenAmbit), but I’m not 100% up to date on where that stands at this point.

    • Heather

      Hey Ray and All, forgive the 101 but my husband’s a beginner hiker who loves this type of thing. Any advice on a high end GPS watch for hiking for his (really quickly approaching!) birthday? Thanks!

  3. James

    Thanks for a great review. Lack of running efficiency data (vertical oscillation, ground contact time etc) as in Garmin Forerunner 620 is disappointing. Is it only Garmin GPS watches who have this functionality (is it patented)?

    • Nobody else in a watch, Wahoo has pretty much identical metrics though in their Wahoo TICKR Run and TICKR X, but neither are compatible with Garmin or any other watches (from a running efficiency perspective).

    • Gunnar

      Cool. Had a look at the OpenAmbit site. Made my poor head spin with all the discussion on open source code. Too bad Suunto can’t (or won’t) open up their platform for USB connectivity.

    • Gunnar

      Sorry. Above comment intentioned for discussion above.

    • David Lusty

      I have the Fenix 2 with the running dynamics and can honestly say the most useful bit is dropping the footpod. I was attracted to the idea of it but after 3 months the data seems pointless. There are no explanations as to what makes things better or how to improve them, and having changed a few things on purpose there seems very little correlation between these metrics and performance/efficiency unless you’re going really wrong and bouncing down the road. If you’re doing that you probably already know because your eyeballs will be bouncing with you so you don’t need a watch to tell you to smooth off.
      Don’t get me wrong, the Garmins are great devices and I like that they are pushing more metrics where they can. More data will eventually lead to better understanding once someone like Google start doing big data analytics on global data sets. Until that point though, for us at home it’s not much use as far as I can tell.

    • I’d generally agree. I’m not exactly sure what value specifically running dynamics brings to the picture after the first few days. Interesting, sure, but not driving change in training or racing for me.

  4. Thank you ray for this review.

  5. Steve

    Thanks for the review. I’ve had mine for a couple of weeks and it has been working great. I will be running a toughmudder next month and have debated about wearing my Ambit 3 and heart-rate monitor on race day. Do you think it is wise to leave it at home since the conditions will be very dirty / muddy or do you think the watch can take that kind of beating?


  6. JB

    Thank you for the review, Ambit3 is just not enough. My search will skip over this one.

  7. Semi Ennafaa

    I would like to know if interval workouts configuration has been update (simplified). I had to use external webpages to generate workouts and save them as special apps. Thats bit annoying compared to Garmin :(

  8. Sean

    have you tested it with the tomtom s/c sensor? Didn’t see it in table.

  9. Eli

    How will multi sport mode help me benchmark Athlon cpus? :-P

    But more seriously does the activity monitor part have any impact on the recovery monitoring or does recovery just look at specific recorded activities that also include use of ahr strap?

    If hrv data is so important to the watch it the watch pairs to a ble strap that doesn’t say it supports r-r data well it tell the user? That data is optional for ble sensors, while required for ant+ (required for ant and saying it supports it for ble doesn’t mean it gives the correct numbers, like the optical sensors so wouldn’t be a perfect notification)

    • As of present, it appears that if it’s paired to a strap that doesn’t support HRV/RR data it actually just won’t work at all. It’ll pair, but then not start the activity as seen above.

      I was with the Scosche guys last week and we tested this theory. They had two version of the strap, the one I was using from prior to August 1st that didn’t have HRV/RR enabled on the BLE protocol. An then a second strap post-August 1st where they enabled it (just for the heck of it). In that case, the second strap paired just fine just like the first. But only the second newer strap with HRV/RR would actually be found when you went to start an activity.

    • Michael

      Good day Ray, and thanks for thr review I was waiting for it.

      I just acquired and start using the Scosche, and am anxious about your compatibility table together with above comment.

      Is there a way for me to verify current FW Version of my Scosche? And ultimately to proceed with an update of it if not the one supported by the Ambit?

      If not then Ambit3 is not going to be my next gear…

    • The Viiiiva supports HRV/RR data both using BLE and ANT+. I tested it and it works great with HRV Apps like ithlete and sweetwaterhrv (officialy supported by the Apps link to sweetwaterhrv.com). It works also with firstbeat athlete. The MioLink to the contrary is not supported for HRV analysis by sweetwater. So I guess there must be another reason why the Viiiiva does not work with Ambit3. Probably the bridge function that the Suunto cannot handle :-(
      Great review, it helps me to save money since I do not find any reason for updating my Ambit2 :-)

    • Yes, it requires a unit after August 1st, 2014 (made, not shipped, shipped could be later). If you’re having problems simply reach out to Scosche and they’ll take care of you they’ve said. Unfortunately current units don’t have over the air firmware updates (coming sometime this fall).

      I’ll get the details on how to validate which firmware version is post-Aug, as you can use some simple tools to do so.

    • jason marcus

      Michael I just got the same scosche. It took awhile to charge but then syncs right before your run or ride actually quicker then the Ambit3 finds GPS. Its great, cheap, and very unobtrusive up your arm 5 inches or so. I love it and it reports once data put into movescount as a graph. So scosche is perfect with our bluetooth

  10. Shame about the lack of vibration alerts. That’s a deal killer for me. Perhaps the Ambit audio alerts are louder than Garmin’s, but I know that I only hear my Garmin’s alerts half the time, but I always feel the vibration.

    • Mikey T

      Agreed. Especially when they are on a lot of lower end watches.

    • Striff

      Agree, I have an Ambit 2, and the biggest thing I miss is Vibration alerts. Too many times I miss my autolap count.

      I think Ray has summed it up, I believe they released this too early.

      I see a lot more from other manufactures coming out with colour screens as well.

  11. Steve

    Thanks for the honest review!!!

  12. morey000

    Great work, once again. My $0.02:

    It’s probably worth mentioning that although the Ambit2/3 doesn’t have built-in cycling power metrics (TSS, IF, Np etc), there are apps for this. So, you can get that info real time if you want it.

    Also- while the Suunto HR strap won’t give you real-time HR during your swim, one of the optical HR monitors will (mio/scosche). It’s pretty cool to be able to see your HR when coming off the wall. And, at least in my case- the Mio stays snug on my wrist without coming off during a swim. I get that you review the product as sold, but still, it has a unique capability (for now) to work with the optical HR straps during a swim.

  13. morey000

    Do you know that the Ambits calculate recovery time using HRV? Or- is it just based on Heart Rate as a function of how you have your maxHR and LT zones set in movescount? I haven’t been able to perceive a difference in recovery time between using a standard chest strap vs optical monitor.

    • It appears to at a minimum require heart rate. For example, activities without any heart rate date don’t impact the recovery calculation numbers. And, since the watch appears to enforce a HRV/RR check for any paired HR strap, it’s indirectly requiring HRV/RR for recovery data. I’d suspect it’s also probably using said data too.

    • Matěj Novotný

      Do you know what values have to be set correctly to estimate recovery time correctly? Do you know more detail about how it is calculated?

      I have found some HRV methods for preventing overtraining. Some of them needs week or more without training to learn your basic HRV. Polar has OwnOptimizer (Orthostatic Test) what also needs some time to study you to work correctly.
      I am using polarpersonaltrainer.com. It also shows recovery status but I thing that it doesn’t work correctly. It is possible that I have set my max HR incorrectly, I have never measured it in laboratory.

  14. Alexei

    is the auto-lap, the same as counting the laps while swimming? it has the option only at .50, 1.0. 1.5 etc, my swimming pool is at 50 mts, how can i do it? and where are the swim alerts?

  15. miguel zuza arano

    I think it´s very interestinig the activity tracker. seems more sport related

    I guess few triathletes would find interesting knowing the steps they made, but if they played a soccer match or something may be taken in account for the recovery time.

    HR swimming enabled seems interesting with an optical wrist sensor. Did you tried that?

    great reviw as always

    • miguel zuza arano

      have just read that non hr activities aren´t taken in account for recovery time so my thoughts for the activity tracker are incorrect

    • I’ve done some optical testing with the Ambit2 in the pool, as as noted by Morey in another comment, it does work. I don’t see why the Ambit3 wouldn’t work either.

  16. Veny

    As usual, great, in-depth review. Many thanks!
    I took the leap from Fitbit to Vivofit to Ambit2 – love my Ambit2. Can’t see much (yet) in the Ambit3 that would make me want to upgrade… will be great to know if/when Suunto will implement full activity tracking options. They really have under-estimated how much people want those sorts of features. At the moment I’m sort of switching back & forth from the Vivofit, which I wear all the time, to the Ambit2, which I use for specialised activities.
    Cheers from Australia.

  17. Hi Ray,
    Great review.
    I’m looking for a triathlon watch since a while. I have just simple question about new Sunnto. Is there any easy way to connect it somehow with Endomondo? I know that you can’t do it directly through the ap. Does the Ambit 3 export fit or tcx files?

  18. Anh

    Thank you Ray for a great review, have yo had a chance to test Ambit 3 with Mio LInk when swimming ? Thanks.

  19. Tommy

    While I realize the sale prices don’t last forever, with Clever Training having the Ambit 2S at $219.99, the 2R at $225 (with discount) and the 2 at $319.99, is there enough feature differentiation (particularly if BT uploading is not a required feature) to purchase the 3 over the deeply discounted 2S or 2R? If it is between the 2S and the 2R as a trail ultrarunner who is primarily interested in GPS accuracy and battery length is one a better choice over the other (seems like for an extra $100 all you get from the 2 is a barometric altimeter which is marginally more accurate than GPS and longer battery life at the cost of GPS accuracy)?

    • I personally don’t think so. I think the Ambit2 S at $219 is the best deal in the sports watch technology world right now.

      I’ll continue to recommend the Ambit2 S as the budget/midrange GPS watch for the considerable future.

    • scott lynch

      Does the VIP program give an additional discount on the Ambit 2? I’m guessing not, but looking to confirm.

    • No, not the Ambit2 since it’s considered on ‘deep-sale’, but it still supports the site here!

    • Tommy

      Thanks for the follow-up Ray. One more question if I may. Is there any reason to consider the 2R with the 2S priced as it is ($5 less even after the Clever Training discount on the 2R). Looking at the comparison charts it seems like the same feature set and hardware, but with swimming eliminated and cycling reduced on the 2R. I do not see an improvements in the 2R over the 2S.

    • No reason at all to buy the 2R these days. The 2S contains everything the 2R has in it, and far more. Kinda silly the way the pricing is.

  20. Jamie

    Solid review, Ray!
    I have had my 3 since day of release and really like it, but I am a casual runner & biker(can’t swim a lick, so swim stuff isn’t on my radar). It does everything I ask of my watches and does it quite well. I did get a Polar H7 HR strap, post facto, and it pairs and works quite well(which your review says as much). Looks like if I eventually care about cycling metrics other than distance and speed, I need the Wahoo Blue(so thanks for the chart!)
    I think for me, the activity tracker is the best and yet most disappointing part. I tend to run or cycle in the mornings, so on days I do these things, because they happen so early in the day, my level for the day is based on this early activity. So on LR days or bikes, it reads “intense” all day long, even if that is all I do all day long. Which sortof bums me out. I would like it to be more up & down in relation to my day so I can see trends or areas where I am inactive that I could be moving more. Steps and distance or total stats for each day would also be nice, vs just an “average” chart that gets displayed for the current 7 day period. I guess I think it could be more reflective of actual stuff, given the technology. It could be better than it is, I guess.
    Overall, my watch is less buggy than my previous Garmins and does more in most areas but lacks in some key ones(like intervals) and assumes consumer driven apps will make this up. Depending on your consumers to make up for what you lack is bad business, you want them to improve stuff, not make up for areas you should cover anyways.
    Agree on the BT & Ant+ things. Ahead of their time, which right now is a bummer, but will end up working out fine. They just limit themselves currently. Betamax, anybody;)

  21. Brent

    Thanks Ray,

    Another great review as always. I have a Ambit 3 currently and have been using sense the begining of september. The lack of Ant compatibility doesn’t bother me that much since I use it mostly for swimming and running and use the Smart Belt strap. I have found swimming with this hr strap to be more reliable than the tickr x so far. Also the GPS for swimming with the amit 3 I found to be the best as well. I swam 2.4 the other day with both an ambit 3 and a fenix 2 and the fenix 2 came in at almost 3 miles, while the ambit three came in at 2.44.

    I do think the one thing that they need to improve is the activity tracking. Being able to upload the activity tracking data similar to what you showed earlier this week in your Polar review would be awesome. Obviously they would need to start tracking sleep and give us steps/distinace as well. To me that is really the one piece that is missing from making this watch outstanding.

  22. Nigel Pond

    Ray, “wearables” – no apostrophe.

  23. Brook

    Hi Ray,

    I haven’t watched you Ant+ video yet, and I you make it clear that Bluetooth currently doesn’t have the support for triathlon sensors yet. But is there a reason that Ant+ it is better than Bluetooth and won’t eventually be replaced?

    • Alex

      From my knowledge the key difference is pairing. ANT+ sensors are designed to always broadcast so you can always pair to them from any number of displays, whereas Bluetooth sensors only allow 1 device to be paired to them at a time, so you can’t connect say a watch and a bike computer at the same time.

      Sensors built on BT 4.1 are supposed to allow more than 1 display to connect, but every connection will burn more battery life, whereas ANT+ sensors don’t care how many displays connect.

      The BLE support on Android is not great, it disconnects a lot, and if you connect more than a couple it can get worse fast. ANT+ on the S5 has been ok tho.

  24. S

    Thanks for the review Ray.

    My problem is still with the Rhythm+ and I have contacted both Suunto and Scosche about it. Both were unhelpful and suggested that 1) I don’t know how to work my Ambit 3 and didn’t allow the HR to be found in the running mode or 2) Told me to ask the other party. I suggested to them the HRV/RR issue and both ignored that point. It’s seriously frustrating that I’ve used the HRM successfully on my forerunner 610 a few times, only to come to a newer watch and a problem no one wants to solve.

    • If you contacted Scosche before about Thursday US West Coast tim, they probably hadn’t realized the root of the problem. To some degree, I’d argue it’s Suunto’s fault, but I think Scosche is more aware of how to work around it.

    • S

      I would think that it’s Suunto’s fault too.

      Is this something that can be solved with a firmware update?

    • On Suunto’s side, absolutely. They just need to remove the HRV/RR check.

    • S

      Just to update, Scosche has offered to send over an updated replacement (all the way to Singapore). I offered to send back my version and they said it wasn’t necessary. Suunto, on the other hand, changed Support personnels to reply to my email with the same exact cut-and-paste drivel even though I have already mentioned that I don’t run with another Bluetooth gadget, and could pair but not get HR in running mode.

      “We have managed to pair a Scosche Rhythm+ with the Ambit3 and it seems to work fine.

      Remember that the HR connection in Bluetooth world is fixed between two units (at the moment). For example if you have paired the HR belt with Suunto Mobile App and you start exercise there. Then you cannot anymore establish HR connection between Ambit3 and the same HR belt.

      Safest way is to make sure that there is now other Bluetooth connections near when you start the exercise and the watch is searching for the pods.”

  25. David Chang

    HI Ray,

    Thanks for a great review. I understand your concern about the lack of device support for Bluetooth Smart, but based on the chart, aren’t all the basic devices that people want covered by at least one fully function accessory? I would think most people would want a HRM and Speed/Cadence sensor, and both have Bluetooth Smart accessories that work fine. And some people might want power meters or footpods, and both those have at least one option that works fine. Are there any other accessories that people might want to pair with this watch that isn’t covered by at least one device? Or is your concern mainly the lack of options and variety, and not the complete absence of options.

    Also, if I was to get this watch, I would probably switch out all my accessories to be BT compatible, which comes with the added benefit that all of a sudden, all of my accessories would be compatible with my smartphone as well. Granted, I don’t necessarily have the budget to do that right now, but that would be pretty sweet.

  26. Scott E

    Another thorough, and almost exhausting review Ray!

    Keeping track off all that testing, and noting the photos and data from a wide cross section of your journeys from the other updates, I don’t know how you can stay on pace with so much in the pipeline.

    Great metaphor at the Summary section by having the unit “on the fence”. Seems like the direction is for refinement of the Ambit3 over forward evolution. Steps forward for swim and steps backwards cycling (compatibility with Ant+ sensors).

  27. Matthew Weigel

    Is there any chance the Ambit 3 paired with 4iiii’s Viiiiva would let you use your existing ANT+ devices?

    Now that there are a few HRMs out there with memory, do you think there might be an upcoming ANT+ or BLE standard for them?

  28. Forbin

    Great review! I’m a bit surprised that you chose to benchmark the Ambit3 against the Fenix instead of the 910XT which is also marketed as a tri-sport watch. I suspect that since the 910XT is long in the tooth (and an updated Garmin model is most likely imminent) you chose to just use the most recent Garmin multi-sport.

    One small note you might consider in future analysis….a significant portion of athletes who use these “tri-sport” watches are not tri/Ironman athletes, but ultra-runners who require the extended battery life. I have no idea what those numbers are, but ultra-running has been a growing sport for years, and hundo’s normally require 24+ hours of battery life. Unfortunately neither Garmin, Suunto, or TomTom have taken significant steps to push battery life to the 24+ hour range (with GPS fidelity). Obviously we share this problem to some extent with folks doing Ironman events, but lower data-sampling workarounds (e.g. GPS data every 60 seconds) really only help road cyclists–certainly not trail runners. I’m disappointed that all manufacturers continue to fail to improve this one spec…

    • Ultimately, I selected the Fenix2 since that’s actually the closest to the Ambit3. If you look at the semi-long history of Ambit vs Fenix, they were meant to compete with each other. The Fenix2 is marketed as a triathlon watch now, and actually has more triathlon features than the FR910XT.

      I’d agree it’s tough on battery. I think we might see some minor improvements there, but nothing beyond 24 hours.

    • Paul S

      Oh, they could probably do that today. Take the existing Fenix 2 or Ambit 3, make the case thicker and fill the extra room with extra battery until it’s thick enough to reliably run with GPS and ANT+/BLE on for at least 24 hours. But who want’s to go around with a tin can on their wrist?

    • Paul S

      And I don’t think you’ll find a single road cyclist that wants a 60 s GPS recording mode. That’s only typically 2 – 6 points per mile, which is completely useless. UltraTrac is for people moving much slower than that. I’ve used it for geotagging photographs when I’m walking, stopping a lot, and don’t care that much about precise location. Even for that, I’m more likely to set my Fenix to 10 s recording mode than use UltraTrac.

    • Brad Olwin

      Hi Forbin, I am an ultra runner and I am happy with the Suunto battery life and how the device works. For my races that are longer than 24h (all 100 milers I do) I use 60s GPS fix as I do not care if I have an accurate track. The HR and altitude samples every 10s so is accurate. I use a footpod to get accuracy for pace and distance as it does a good job, the footpod overrides the GPS data. The 60s GPS gives me a reasonable route.

      I do this because I do not want to have to worry about charging and having cables attached to the watch while I run races, I have enough to worry about without the watch recharge. This is my solution and it has worked well for several races.

    • Jon Zaid

      I just did a 100 miler and I got 88 miles as the final distance. Not too good. I think the 60s setting is useless. I ran a previous 100 miler but on a loop course with a lot of good exposure and I also ran with an iPhone/mophie and the distances came out the same. I guess the next 100 miler I’ll have to run with the iPhone again but I’m really disappointed with the Suunto performance. I don’t think they should advertise a 50 hour battery life when the result is useless.

    • As a hiker the 60 sec mode is invaluable. It’s unrealistic to expect it to be accurate when it plots your position every 60 sec. The faster you move the more sampling you need, so while 60 is not fit for your runs it’s idea for hikers :-)

    • mathieu

      Hi Brad
      i have tried this and for routes with sudden and regular change in gradiant i experienced large discrepancies. I think the footpod cant calibrate properly when your stride changes dramatically / too quick (for example when moving from a 10% to a 20% gradiant ). what is your expreience?

  29. Emanuel

    Hi Ray,

    Thank you for all the work you put into reviews and testing.

    If I was in the market for a GPS/HR with speed and cadence for cycling as well as for running would you still choose the Ambit 3?

  30. Paolo Fernandez

    in your product comparison, i notice that the ambit 3 has barometer for an altimeter, no fusedalti???

    • FusedAlti is the feature on top of the barometric altimeter, but the core of it is still the barometric altimeter.

    • Hi Paolo,

      Maybe a mistake. Ambit 3 has FusedAlti.


    • Again, FusedAlti is a feature, but not a hardware specification. It’s a Suunto feature that sits on top of the barometric altimeter and then uses GPS to validate and minimize transient errors. Like a backstop.

      But fundamentally, the core difference between the Sport and Peak version is the barometric altimeter (and battery changes). Said differently, ‘FusedAlti’ is a marketing term with some technical functionality, but the specific technical component people are comparing is whether or not it has a GPS based or barometric altimeter. Virtually all GPS fitness units on the market with barometric altimeters have some aspect of GPS calibration or validation.

    • cdmackay

      Perhaps the confusion arises since, in your (excellent) product comparison tool, you have (for Altimeter Type):

      Ambit 2 – Barometric, GPS (FusedAlti)

      Ambit 3 Peak – Barometric

  31. Ali

    Thanks Ray

    I’ve been using new Suunto Ambit3 for a week now, still playing around with the features. I’ve got mine without HRM, do you know how it calculates recovery time without HR data?

    I’ve clocked up 112hr recovery time already… will it continue to clock up and never go down (if I don’t take the ‘required recovery’?)

    • I don’t know. I wasn’t seeing non-HR strap workouts impact the little chart.

    • Striff

      I think the confusion was (and was for me) although marketing term, you mentioned it for the Ambit 2 but not Ambit 1 in your chart.

      For me it works well, as when I had the Ambit 1 I found it lost it’s altitude accuracy even on a 5 KM loop run.

      The “Fusedalti” option on the Ambit 2, the accuracy is outstanding, very seldom if doing a loop the finish and start altitudes are off.

      So it can’t be taken for granted that a unit that has barametric altimeters have some sort of GPS calibration, seems the Ambit 1 certainly didn’t, and if there’s no mention of this how does a consumer like me know.

  32. Ulrich

    Hi Ray!
    Thanks for the review. You mentioned there for the Scosche Rythm+ that it might depend on the firmware wether it works with new Ambit or not. Can you say which version would be required and if there is a way to upgrade the Scosche device?

    Thanks & br Ulrich

    • Yes, it requires a unit after August 1st, 2014 (made, not shipped, shipped could be later). If you’re having problems simply reach out to Scosche and they’ll take care of you they’ve said. Unfortunately current units don’t have over the air firmware updates (coming sometime this fall).

    • Ulrich

      Hi Ray!
      Thanks for your hint. I will contact Scosche for that matter :-)


  33. Louis

    Hi Ray,
    thanks for the review.
    What’s about with Stages Powermeter and the Ambit3?
    Work both together?


  34. actaswu

    I’m still puzzled about Suunto’s decision to drop ANT+ in favour of Bluetooth Smart.
    One simple question for their R&D department:

    How many triathletes prefer smartphone connectivity above power meter support, especially during a race, where a phone is not even allowed?

    I guess the marketing department ruled out that question, because without Bluetooth Smart their wasn’t much of a reason to bring out the Ambit 3. To get things working with the Ambit 3 you need to divert to ANT+ bridges. I won’t be taking the Ambit 3 route.
    I just wish they sorted out the existing ANT+ connectivity issues on the Ambit 2 instead, the poor signal strength drives me crazy sometimes.

  35. Huub Raemakers

    Thanks for the review!
    It seems that the wrist cadence is a bit of (-10%). Does anybody else noticed this?

  36. Matt

    Thanks for the great – as usual – review. I’d rather get a discounted Ambit2 for the simple reason of not having to replace all my sensors… Guess I’ll stick with my 910xt for the moment and wait for the next Suunto.

  37. vpoux

    Hi Ray,

    I have an Ambit3 Peak + a 4iiii Viiiiva sensor. I confirmed that for HR only it works fine.
    I think you should update your compatibility chart

    Otherwise Great review

  38. Ricardo

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the review!

    Do you know if suunto is thinking to increase data field up to 4 per screen? It will be great for pure runners to see Lap avg pace, activity avg pace, HR and distance. For trail runners (look like ambits are focussed in this area) 3 data fields are enough.

    • I don’t expect to see it in this generation, since I suspect it’d require a significant shift for them.

    • Kaspar

      Hi Ricardo,

      you can choose up to five data fields for the lower line on the display, which you can rotate through using the “View” button (as opposed to switching screens with the “Next” button).

      Thus, you choose two values you always want to see (for me, heart rate and current pace) for the top fields, and put the less interesting ones into the lower field (I have Chrono, distance, Time of day, total avg pace and Peak Training Effect there).

      I find this actually more useful than the four fields I had on the Garmin Fenix 2 (where the numbers got really small, too). I can usually stay on the same screen for the whole run, always see my pace and HR at a glance, and just switch the third line if needed.

      Hope this helps

  39. David

    Hi Ray,

    awesome review, thanks!


  40. Alex

    Great review! Honest as always.
    I have the Ambit3 sport almost one month now. Because I already have the Polar H7 I didn’t buy the Suunto strap.
    The H7 works, but I need the Ambit to search for it 2 or even 3 times. Is anyone else having this issue?
    Also I couldn’t pair the Wahoo sc sensor. Tried it 10 times before I gave up. Any ideas on that?

    • I’ve seen similar things from time to time on the HR front.

    • Jamie

      I have 2 H7 sensors and one takes repeated searches to find it and the other one is always found within 2-3 secs. I do not know why the issue with one and not the other. Obviously I tend to gravitate towards the one that is found quickly;)

    • Alex

      Thanks for the reply! So maybe a version issue with the H7. I hope Suunto can do something about it in the next update. The GPS lock is almost instant so it would be great to have the H7 connected just al fast. I will try the Wahoo SC again this week, as it seems I’m the only one with the issue.

  41. Panet

    Hi Ray, Your reviews are the best as always.

    I have Ambit3 for almost a month and I have two questions.
    1. Can you set autolap like garmin to autolap at the same place?
    2. Can you use lap function in pool swim? When I push back/lap button it just ask me if I want to end my activity.


    • 1) Not by position, but auto lap by distance.
      2) Yes, you can use manual lap in the pool. It’s what I show above in some of the photos that have the ‘INT’ next to them, for ‘Interval’, where I’ve manually created an interval for a given section of my workout.

  42. christoph

    as a current Fenix2 user (and Ambit 2 before, would not have switched if i would not have gotten it for free…) i’m really thinking about getting the Ambit 3 cause the Fenix2 is an unreliable, inaccurate and slow piece of junk that i don’t have any faith in when running the mountains. (you gotta love a crash or hang in fog in 10000ft ….)

    ray do you have any insider info regarding the fenix roadmap? will garmin integrate a more solid gps-set into their future devices (after the fenix and 620 fiasko it would be a surprise if they don’t…) and spend more time&money in building and quality checking their firmware!?


    • Marios


      I don’t believe Ray would ever give us insider info but I would love for him to give an expert opinion on the accuracy of the MediaTek-based F2/FR620/FR10 compared to the SirfStarIV-based Ambit2 or the SirfStarV-based Ambit3.

      This review suggests that F2/FR620/FR20 have horrible GPS accuracy:
      link to fellrnr.com

    • I don’t have anything to share on roadmaps that aren’t publically announced.

      As for the Fellrnr stats, swing by the FR620/F2 reviews for my thoughts in the comments sections (probably a dozen times). In short, I don’t agree with the methodology.

    • Marios

      Fair enough about the Fellrnr methodology but what about general GPS tracking issues that a lot of people report for both the 620 and the F2? Do you have a summarized opinion?

      My first GPS receiver was a trusty GPSMAP 60CSx with a helical antenna and a SirfStarIII chipset which worked amazingly well but wasn’t very portable. The SirfStarV chip along with the patch antenna of the Ambit3 makes me feel that accuracy should be amazing but I would love to see some hard data do prove that. Any suggestions?

    • Marios

      For someone like me who cares mostly about two things:
      a) Firmware stability
      b) GPS accuracy
      which one would you recommend the Fenix2 or the Ambit3?

      I basically only care about collecting the most consistent and best quality data possible as I do all my analysis post-run …

    • christoph

      i just can speak for the fenix2 and ambit2 (and i assume the ambit 3 won’t be worse…)

      if you need a reliable device (especially when you go to the mountains or unfamiliar ground) get the Suunto.

    • Kaspar

      Speaking as someone who just switched from Fenix 2 to Ambit 2 because I was annoyed about the GPS inaccuracies…
      … no competition, really. The Ambit “just works” for me.

      On a bad day, it may track 10-20m besides my true location, but it will recover quickly as soon as it gets better reception. My Fenix would often track a few 100m off, or give up completely (“Lost satellite reception”).

      And let’s not talk about the current pace on display… with the Fenix, I had to use the foot pod and override the watch’s distance/pace measurements completely to get usable pace numbers during a run. The Ambit’s “Fused Speed” is mostly reliable for me, and the distances match what I measure on the map.

      With your requirements, go for the Ambit (2 or 3).

  43. urs

    Thanks for the great review. I’m a owner of an Ambit 2S and I think they made some great steps forward but too many big steps back (ANT+ lost, no vibration alarm). If I have to buy a new watch, I will look carefully at the competitors .

    Will they add Apple Health Kit integration to their app? For Ambit 2S?

  44. BWinter

    In the past i think you wrote 2 times the heartrate data didn’t transfer to the watch after a swim.
    Was this a user error or was this a software bug which has been solved?
    When does the strap synch when doing a triatlon, after the swim part, during T1/bikepart or after you finished running?
    And is there a limit in recording a swim workout in the strap (time and/or heartbeats)? Can it log an -1 hour (triathlon) or 10Km (2hour) swim ?

    • Correct. It was a compatibility issue between one of the almost-final-but-not-yet-final straps that I had. It had reported it was up to date on the internal firmware, but in actuality there was a minor blocking bug there where they had to send a new strap to be compatible with the final Ambit3. No worries, with the new/final strap it all works seamlessly. One of the core reasons I waited to publish the final in-depth review to ensure it was worked out and I had a few swims with the data.

  45. Nuno Pinto

    The only problem with the AMBIT 3 PEAK is that I can’t find an online shop who has it in stock.
    Clever training already postponed the delivery from early October to late October…

  46. Zanza00

    Hi Ray,

    if you go on a hike do you prefer to bring the Ambit3 or the Fenix2?

    • For hiking (or rather, the type of typical day hiking that I do), I was perfectly fine with either one. If I was doing longer treks though (multi-day), I’d probably skew towards the Fenix2 because of a few reasons. First is the ability to make adhoc routes on the phone and transfer to the device. Second is that I could use a charging clip with a solar charge and it’ll stay put on the watch mid-day while hiking. With the Ambit1/2/3, it’s really finicky on the charging clip, so hiking around mid-charging would be a pita.

  47. Johnny

    Wow. That was an impressive review. I am still an Ambit1 user and more of a backcountry enthusiast than a triathlete. In you testing did you note if the Ambit3 would upload moves to your iPhone without a mobile or WiFi signal. On multi day adventures it is nice to upload and reviews on a large display. Can the Ambit3 rotate it’s display orientation 90° so it can mount directly on the headset.

  48. Ben

    Great review – thanks as always.

    Re. smart notifications, this trend seemed like a novelty mainly (battery life etc) but had never occurred to me to use bluetooth notifications on maps. Going to try it out on Fenix 2 while cycling; checked and I can get Andriod & Gmaps to send notifications, just not sure how practical it’ll be whilst on bike.

    Still, could be very useful when cycling somewhere new around town – thanks!

  49. Ben Pine

    Great review. I think I’ll stick with my 2S until you can control a Sony sports mp3 player using the watch. That would rock.

    • Marios

      Sony already has a solution for you. You can control their new NWZ-WS613BLK mp3 player using a “ring” that you wear on your index finger and control with your thumb. This is pretty amazing since it doesn’t interfere with your arm swing while running. Even if control using the watch was possible, you would still need to cross your arms mid-run to adjust lets say the volume.

      Here is a link to the Sony store but note that the product is coming out this October:
      link to store.sony.com


    • Ben Pine

      Hi Marios,
      thanks for the link.
      I had seen that but want to see how it gets reviewed. It could be pretty cool, but the ring is only spash proof and I’m a very sweaty runner, so I need to make sure it could survive the hostile environment. The new headphones are cool though!

  50. Toni

    I’ve had Ambit3 Sport since 1st September and love it.

    To my own surprise I actually like the activity tracking part, although it wasn’t why I bought the watch. It’s primary purpose seems to be the recovery related. I did on sunday a 2.5h trail run and it gave me 33h recovery time. In the evening I played with the kids outdoors, chasing them for half a hour or so (= effectually 30minutes of short run sprints). When looking at the activity and recovery time, it was still 33h even though there was already over 3h from the trail run. The recovery curve also showed a bump up. So even if you’re not recording and activity, without HR, the activity tracked detected that I was excercising and bumped up the recovery time. Ray I think you did not fully cover this aspect in your review.

    • gonzalo

      Hi Toni

      can you confirm this aspect? I am looking exactlly for what you said as I do a lot of walking with my dog and I am sure it impacts my recovery after some long runs
      it will be nice it has all your activity into acount for the recovery time

  51. Mack

    I just switched from an Ambit2 to a Ambit3 Peak for the swimming HR features, and the Ambit (original prior to.) This past weekend, I used it for a 2.4 Mile open water swim race, and it worked like a champ. It did take a few minutes (about 3 minutes) to down load the data at the end, for about an hour’s worth of recording. In two weeks, we will do a 3.5 mile swim race. The graphs for a constant swim (no wall resting) look just like a run or bike, unlike the old Suunto memory belt that was hit & miss with a no real correlation to the actual workout. A++ there.

    The one thing I do find terrific yet annoying is the app. The terrific is that if you want to goof off from work, you can leave the phone in the car. The watch picks up alerts, so you can see if your boss/wife called every passing lap as you run/ride by the car. However, I have had several issues with the app closing the Bluetooth connection or say that the watch was not paired (even though I was using it all day.) It can not be trusted solely, yet.

    Great watch and if you an open water swimmer, well worth the upgrade. Just wish it had the vibration alerts.

  52. Nate Thompson

    Great review; hopefully we’ll hear more “officially” about Garmin’s 910XT replacement in the near future as I’m definitely in the market for a multisport watch. While my main focus will be on triathlons, I do like the ability to record other outdoor activities (like snowboarding) with different sport profiles like the Sunnto offers. While it would be nice to see this in whatever Garmin ends up releasing, I doubt it will happen as it would conflict with the Fenix (which I am also considering, but less so due to the continued GPS issues I’ve read about).

    Is there a bluetooth sensor option that I can pair along with my Wahoo RPM v2 to get speed data yet?

  53. Raphael

    I still don’t understand why Suunto dropped ANT+ altogether instead of making a dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart product (like the Fenix2).
    I still love having the broader choice of accessories with my MotoActv….which implemented that almost 3 years ago…

  54. chris

    really i would have upgraded from 2s just to get the ability to upload from my phone like i can with my edge 510 without having to drag a computer along on trips, but there isn’t any android support and they’re dropping ant+, so i’ll be shelving that idea. when i got my 2s for running and hiking, it was on sale for $240 (no hrm), so it made sense for me to choose it over the fenix and i could use an ant+ hrm strap i already had.

  55. Patrick


    Thank you for another great unbiased review!

    I had been waiting on this review after killing my day-to-day watch and Garmin 410 at nearly the same time. Being heavily invested in ant+ goodies, but really wanting BT connectivity, I’m still a little mixed up. It definitely seems okay as a day-to-day watch, but I do miss the section devoted to that along with pictures of the product with a dress shirt.

    In the A3 preview, you had said “The second option is that Suunto could do something similar themselves using the heart rate strap they will ship with the Ambit3, which contains the latest chipsets that are capable of running dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart (to be clear, the heart rate strap is capable, not the watch). Thus they could build that capability into their own strap, which would instantly give them complete control over compatibility and also give them without question the most versatile triathlon watch combination on the market that appeals to the broadest possible audience. I know what I would do if I was in their shoes…”

    Do you think there is any hope for Suunto to do this??

  56. Thomas Plocher

    Hi Ray,

    Very valuable review.
    I am very curious about Suunto’s strategy providing software updates for the Ambit3. I would think that it would be possible, even via the iPhone. This would give us the functionally which is lacking today in the future, i.e. daily activity tracking, resolving connection issues with current BT devices, or support for new devices released in the future, etc.

    • Suunto has often provided updates via USB to the Ambit series. In fact, they probably have the most deep reputation for adding significant features post-release.

      I don’t know if we’ll see that via phone. One of the challenges there is that firmware updates via Bluetooth Smart can often take a really long time for the size of firmware for these types. It’s typically worse than firmware updates over ANT+ (which also suck), simply due to bandwidth limitations. Thus, I’d probably expect that for the units they’ll stick to USB.

      (Note: Firmware updates for sensors like the HR strap and such are usually much smaller in footprint, and thus quicker/more logical via BLE).

  57. Cormac

    Quick question re the 3d movie making functionality, is that just available via the app or on the movescount website?

    Can it work with moves from other devices or just the Ambit3?

  58. Mikko

    Thank you Ray for the really good review!

    Few questions popped to my mind when reading the article and the comments. Could you please bring some light to these things?
    1. How do the heart rate zones work which are shown in one of the movescount images?
    2. Do I need to wear HR belt so that the recovery time decreases, or will the time care of this by itself?

  59. Neil

    My previous running watch was a 910XT, my current is a Fenix II – which is a huge disappointment as the accuracy of the GPS trace of the FII is significantly worse than that of the older watch.

    How does the Ambit stack up in terms of GPS Accuracy vs the (dreadful) Fenix II?

    • Marios

      You see Ray, everyone keeps saying that the accuracy of F2 is horrible. Is this true or not?

    • No, I don’t see that in the multiple units I have. And, ultimately if you look at many comments of happy users in numerous places you’ll find it’s clearly not everyone.

      Again, one must remember that only people who have problems post them to company forums. After all, that’s the entire point of company forums. Just like how for the most part only sick people go to hospitals.

    • Neil

      In that case, as my accuracy is definitely inferior to both my old 910XT and, annoyingly, my iPhone would that suggest my Fenix II is faulty and should be fixable?

    • As a general rule with electronics (or anything), if you’re seeing issues with something, contact support to try and get it fixed/swapped out.

    • Scott Buchanan

      Been looking for a multi-sport watch that I can travel with for a while and the Fenix 2 isn’t it. The Ambit 3 looks really interesting especially the swim HR feature.

      The only (possible) issue I have is that I’ve been using Garmin Connect since the days of Motion based circ. 2008 and have such built up a very large repository of activities. I know that the vast majority of people want to export FROM Garmin Connect but as I use Garmin Connect as my reference platform is it possible to import activity data to GC from MovesCount? if so are there likely to be any translation difficulties leading to data/field loss ( ie GC won’t/can’t?? export Run Dynamics)

      I note you did a post on this sort of thing a while back but along with Google haven’t been able to find an answer.

    • Neil

      Ok, I contacted Wiggle this morning to exchange it – I just thought that the Fenix was crap, not that I had a faulty unit, due mainly to the amount of complaints I’d seen on this subject.

    • Alan

      I only see horrible accuracy at start up (which is normal as it hones in on your location) – after that I’ve been very happy with how fast it gets a fix and how well it holds it.

  60. Jim Sharples

    Ray, you stated in the preview you were going to comment on the battery life when notifications were on. Could you comment on the watch battery life impact please?

  61. Hi Ray,

    Just to confirm that I have neen using Viiiiva HRM with Ambit3 for a week and working perfectly.

    Maybe yours has a problem…

    • Good to know. I tried two different Viiiva’s, both saying they’re on the latest firmware releases. I’ll check with 4iiii’s and see what exactly the latest firmware should be from them, and see if perhaps the app/strap is stuck.

    • Or maybe I have an older firmware which works… athough I remember using Viiiiva’s app recently and has not asked for an upgrade.

    • David

      Speaking of which (and slightly off topic for this post), how do you check the firmware version of the Viiiiva? I cannot find it anywhere in the iPhone App. And the last time I got an update, the only way it showed up was by un-pairing it and then re-pairing it. That triggered an update (several versions, I believe).

    • After downloading the iPhone app and pairing to it, it’s listed at the bottom in the corner on the main screen.

  62. SOUQUIERES Philippe

    Very good review as always, thank you DCR !!
    Just one more thing :-)
    I have a problem with movesense data when I pause the workout, heart rate data are not at the right place on movescount graph.
    See here link to movescount.com
    Heart rate & cadence together
    Bug for me or anyone have the same problem ??

    • Patrick

      Hi Philippe,

      Indeed, your HR and speed (for example) data are not synchronized on movescount.

      I also have the same problem. And when I look at the average HR, it appears to be OK on the watch but completely inconsistent on movescount.

      It seems that movescount is not able to read correctly the new .sml files of the watch.
      If you look at those files, you will see no “direct” HR data, but only HRV data. So, I guess that movescount obtain HR data from HRV data (which is quite trivial, HRV data is the period, HR data is the frequency) but does not synchronize it correctly with the time if you “paused your workout”.

      I will call the customer of my country within 2 days. Maybe you can do the same and let us know!


    • Same issue here…

    • Patrick

      Philippe (and the others)

      I phoned to the customer support. They are aware of the problem. They promised a quick update (before mid october). To quote a famous french politician “Promises only bind those who believe” (sorry if my translation is somewhat incorrect)


    • SOUQUIERES Philippe

      Good new !! Thank you

    • seb s

      I have exactly the same problem and I’ve opened a bug ticket on suunto’s support.

    • seb s

      The Suunto Customer Support answers to my request :

      Thank you for contacting Suunto Customer Support.
      We apologize for the delay in answering you.
      Please be informed that this is a bug in the software. Also, please note that this will be fixed in the next software update which should be published by the end of the month.
      We hope this helps and we apologize for any inconvenience.

  63. fredrik saebo

    Impressive review! Thanks

  64. Last Moments

    Hi Ray, excellent work, tks. Look, want to ask you… My heart just stopped beating, likewise my breathing… The watch was showing that, but now I can’t see any longer… Am I dying? Farewell………….

  65. Roberto

    Thanks for this review Ray,
    Just a quick question: have you tried to sync the Ambit 3 with a powercal band?

  66. Jeremy Marie

    Hi Ray,
    thanks for the review.
    One question about the built-in triathlon sport mode.
    You show a “transition” sport on one picture: I’ve never had this on my Ambit2, unless I create a new sport called “transition”, and then a multisport mode with swim-transition-ride-transition-run. Actually that’s what I’ve done in order to hae proper transition times displayed after (worked great for my first tri this week-end, hurray!)

    Is it what you’ve done here, or do the watch have the “transition” mode built in Triathlon sport mode?

    • In this case, this was the built-in modes in the watch. It’s actually interesting, I noticed that as well, but since I had created a similar mode for my other watches, I wasn’t quite sure if that was the norm or not these days.

    • Jeremy Marie

      Strange enough, even after reseting my Ambit2 after the last big FW update, the triathlon mode, described as “now including transition”, did not display any “transition” activity after each set…
      Well, doesn’t matter…but strange :)
      I hope that one day thei integration with strava will create 3 (or 5 with T) different activities with the right sport type instead of one global activity…

    • Kaspar

      Well, the new “Transition” sport mode was present on the Ambit 2 I bought a few weeks ago. It’s trivial to set it up yourself, however. Add a sport mode that connects to HR monitor only (no GPS). On the single display page, add the following three fields: Chrono, Current activity duration, Heart rate.
      That’s it, just insert it into your Triathlon multisport activity where appropriate :-)
      Suunto may have read Ray’s Ambit 2 review, where he outlined this idea, and decided to run with it…

  67. David

    Seems like Garmin FR 920XT is getting the best of both worlds (ANT+ and Bluetooth) :

    link to youtube.com

    But currently, no word about IQ connect and underwater HR…

    • Scott Buchanan

      Apologies if I’m speaking out of turn here but this 920xt “launch” is becoming a bit farcical. Garmin head office seems to deny the existence of it and has I’m told had information related to it taken down from the internet. Others no doubt under nondisclosure clauses are (rightfully) not talking about it yet Garmin Latvia is chucking out YouTube promotional video’s on it along with (non-working) web links to it.

      I have no interest in the watch but will say to Garmin that in my view this is looking distinctly unprofessional.

      Apologies if this is in the wrong place or not on topic.

    • Scott Buchanan

      Garmin WAS listening!!!

      11 minutes after my post they made it official…
      link to garmin.blogs.com

    • …or because they have limited global PR coordination/control. Official NDA/embargo release time was 3 minutes ago at 7:00AM Eastern (for reference, Garmin Embargo’s always end at 7AM EST)

  68. Scott Buchanan

    O.K, thanks must have been Garmin’s most wanted release ever!

    Where is the most appropriate place to discuss this?

  69. Jakke

    I’m a trail runner and a trekker, and I’m debating between the ambit2 and the ambit3. Something I’m wondering is how long do you think it will be before the ambit2 stops receiving updates (firmware) and falls by the wayside?

    • It’s hard to say. I wouldn’t expect the Ambit2 to get any new major features, but perhaps just some minor tweaks.

      At the same time, support usually goes on for years in case you have any problems. Really the same as other companies like Garmin and Polar.

  70. Huub Raemakers

    I feel that the A3 is not getting as much the credits as it could have. I’m using the watch now for several weeks (mostly cycling, running). And many of the features ‘missing’ are fully available using the apps:
    – Ghost runner (for any possible pace)
    – HR% and BPM on one page
    – TSS (based on heart rate: cycling and running)
    – Suffer Score (like Strava)
    – Friel HR zones (unique and different HR-zones for cycling, swimming and running, based on AT)
    – Real Time Hill Incline (running)
    – Cooper test
    – race predictor
    – even some running dynamics

    Also the Navigation has two ways of showing where to go: a) with a sort of graphic trail and b) via arrow/compass. Especially the graphic trail is very useful.

    And, the pool length is much more flexible than the competition.

    And I’m sure much more is possible.

    Lacking is the daily activity tracking (steps), live tracking and vibration. The first two should be possible to implement for Suunto.

    And be honest: the looks of the A3 are much better than the Garmin 920XT or the Polar V800 :)

    Just my 2 cents

    • Drew Martin

      I agree with this post. I owned the V800 for 3 months and am so glad I made the switch to the Ambit. The V800 was extremely uncomfortable compared to this watch. The activity monitor was nicer on the V800 but I would rather have the comfort. I have found the Ambit grabs GPS signal much better. The phone notifications are handy and the swimming functionality has worked very well for me. And after seeing the 920XT I couldn’t see me wearing that all day (though I wouldn’t mind trying!). The Ambit just fits better for me as an everyday watch. And the simple integration with Firstbeat,Strava is awesome.

    • Jamie

      Agreed. I think there is room for improvements via updates and apps but overall, the Ambit3 is a solid device.
      I love my blue sport and was hesitant to open the review for the 920xt, worried I would second guess myself with the Ambit3. I didn’t. While some of the features I would like to see imported into the Ambit3 line(namely, more activity tracking stats and more app in depth pages), the looks of the 920xt just don’t do it for me. I could not wear that thing 24/7. And I have a tendancy to hose up plastic watch faces(my 610 ended up with a ton of scratches and a few chips out of the sides since the casing was exactly even with the plastic face). So recessed glass face of the Ambit3 works for me as well.

      Other than the activity tracker being somewhat awesome(my first!) but disappointing(not in depth metrics) and they could easily change that with updates. You can’t change the aesthetics of the 920xt. I guess I could just not look at it;)

    • Antonio

      Is Ambit3 Sport affordable to calculate ascent/descent?

  71. Alex

    Amazing review, thanks! One point which i’m struggling to get an answer from (checked with suunto and they gave me confusing responses) is whether the built in accelorometer in the Ambit3 means I no longer need a footpod for treadmill running? The manual says it will override the gps if one is running inside (unless a footpod is detected), but I cannot find any feedback on whether i can rely solely on the inbuilt system (and potentially manually recalibrate myself to improve accuracy). If it is not accurate enough, what footpods are recommended? The only bluetooth smart footpods seem to be the polar smart stride sensor, or the Adidas Bluetooth Smart miCoach (Mini), which Adidas seem to be phasing out (having trouble finding it in adidas stores).

    • Jamie

      I happened to do an indoor walking event yesterday at my son’s school and didn’t think prior to make a special sport activity just for that specific day so I used my regular “walking” one that searches for GPS, thinking if I just dismissed the GPS search, it would just stop searching and use the internal accelerometer. Nope, it actually still gave me a GPS track when I uploaded it later to MC. So I thought initially the .65 mile event was figured via internal accelerometer but it wasn’t. So all I DO know is that to test it on a treadmill, make sure there is absolutely ZERO way you can get GPS signal because apparently just dismissing it to “later” doesn’t negate the search to using the accelerometer for distance. Which sucks.

      Ray, do you know WHY when you try to dismiss searches for pods/GPS/HR monitor that the watch won’t stop searching and thus, screws up the metrics?!?! I am surprised this doesn’t override/cancel the search?!?!

    • Can you clarify on ‘screws up metrics’? I dismiss stuff all the time and don’t see any major impact, but perhaps I’m missing it.

    • Jamie

      Like when you don’t want the HR monitor, so you dismiss it to “later” and therefore the watch doesn’t revert back to using distance & speed for cal calcs but just gives you a big fat zero for that value instead(and this doesn’t include it in the daily tracker cal count either) or like yesterday when I dismissed the GPS search to “later”, apparently it still found it in places as we walked through the school so it gave me a screwy track on a map and I have no idea if my .65 mile walk was based off GPS readings, accelerometer readings, or a combo. I guess being a layperson, I would think that when you don’t want your device to search for something, that it would be outright cancelled as you probably don’t have it on(HRM)or don’t want it to search(GPS on treadmill).

      That is what I mean by screws up the metrics. Sure, I could go and make 10 activities with this or that enabled or disabled and do that(which I have for running & biking with HRM vs without as I don’t always want to wear it) but I should I think dismissing something should just turn the search off and default back to reading things like it isn’t there/wasn’t enabled to begin with.

    • Ahh, very interesting. I often dismiss (in part because of all the 3rd party sensor issues noted above). I hadn’t made the correlation between dismissing and lack of recovery. I did notice lack of recovery without the HR, but didn’t see that it was dependent on the dismissal. I’d agree, that’s stupid.

      Interesting, I’ll bring it up.

    • Jamie

      Thanks Ray! I appreciate that!

    • Stanislav

      You need a separate activity type (e.g. indoor running) with GPS turned off. Then it will use built-in accelerometer for the pace and distance. A foot pod could also be used for better accuracy but it isn’t required. It works this way even on the original Ambit.

    • Marios

      I am still confused about what the footpod brings to the table (Adidas or Polar). My understanding is that we have the following potential options:
      Speed: wrist, footpod, GPS
      Cadence: wrist, footpod

      Case 1: GPS ON, footpod ON
      Can we select where speed and cadence comes from individually?

      Case 2: GPS ON, footpod OFF
      That’s an easy one. Speed from GPS, cadence from wrist

      Case 3: GPS OFF, footpod ON
      Can we select where speed and cadence comes from individually?

      Case 4: GPS off, footpod OFF
      That’s also an easy one. Speed and cadence from wrist

    • Bernd

      Does anybody know anwers for these questions by chance?

  72. Marios

    Quick questions:
    1) Can you have more than one Apps on the same screen
    2) Can you have an App on any row (top, middle, bottom)
    3) Can you mix and match an app and other, “default” datafields?
    Thanks in advance!

  73. Serban

    Re activity tracker, I think Suunto should show the amount of activity based on each hour ( I see the watch shows 24 ‘verticals’) and not cumulate whatever I am doing on top of the previous. It would have a problem to readjust the graphic based on the maximum activity but maybe it is workable.

    Now for example if I run in the morning, shows me that I am vigourous for the rest of the day, even if I will sleep the rest of it…

    Just an idea…

    • Jamie

      Agreed. I run in the mornings also and I could sleep the rest of the day and it would remain “intense”. Not really a realistic “activity tracker” for the whole day, IMO. I should like to see a more accurate up & down graph as the hours go on.

  74. erik

    thanks for the review Ray,

    I was hoping for vibrating alerts, did you test how loud the audible alerts are?
    This is so close to what I was looking for, combining hrm, gps and a smart watch (only really want notifications for work while I am out riding). so close to what I need…..

  75. Madhura

    Hi there, thanks for the excellent reviews, it has helped me make a decision time and again. I have a question and a suggestion/comment –
    Q. How do I upload historical data from the Smart sensor strap after my swim? I have a Nexus 5 (Android) and I have been able to obtain real time heart rate by pairing with Mapmyfitness when on land. Essentially, I want to be able to look at my swim stats the same way I could with the previous memory belt at the movescount website. Is there a way to do this with my phone or my PC? I don’t want to get an Ambit3.
    Suggestion: I can see how the chest strap can slide down when you push off – Would attaching straps that go over you shoulders help? Like the top part of a safety harness, but adapted for this function…

    • At present, the app doesn’t support uploading saved data straight from the strap to the app – it has to go through the Ambit3. Down the road (somewhat soon I believe), it’ll support doing so from the app. But your additional pickle is that you have Android, which there isn’t an app for. Suunto is saying early 2015 though, and I think they’re hearing the feedback.

      As for the strap, I know people that use suspenders with one. But honestly, I kinda refuse to look any more ridiculous in my pool than I already do…

  76. Adam

    Hi Ray, appreciate the review, confirms a lot of my thoughts after using for a month now.

    One thing I have noticed (which I hope Suunto will recognise in future software updates) is that the syncing with the phone app is limited to simply sending workouts and changing the basic settings when there is no internet connection (e.g. via mobile data or wifi). Therefore you can’t edit sport settings or sync with previously created routes etc.

    I find this negates a lot of the point in having the app and connecting via bluetooth. I don’t know why Suunto couldn’t allow the phone app to manage all the sport modes and possibly even routes in isolation on the phone app (so with or without internet connection) and then sync up with the online website once internet connection is re-established.

    I only realised this when I arrived at the start of a trail run where I had no physical map of the route, but had previously created the route online and selected ‘use on watch’ but hadn’t checked to see if the watch had synced and picked up the route. When I went to select the route it wasn’t on the watch and I was in an area with no phone reception so couldn’t pull the route from the website.

    Just one to be aware of and make sure this has been set up and the watch has synced via the mobile app with the online servers before you leave an area of phone reception or internet connectivity.

  77. Huub Raemakers

    The Ambit3 just died…
    The display went completly blank, no numbers are shown anymore. Beeps work, light works, but nothing on the screen. Also the settings from the iPhone work (black screen, white screen / beeps on or off).
    But: no numbers nothing: totally blank.

    Worst of all: moveslink2 does not recognize the watch, when I connect the usb cable.

    So, I’m stuck…

    Anyone an idea??

    (at the moment I keep the back light of the A3 on, so the battery will run out in a couple of hours (I hope). Maybe the watch will then start up again?)


    • Huub Raemakers

      From Suunto support:

      Thank you for contacting Suunto Customer Support.

      I would recommend holding down on all five buttons for ten seconds; this should reset the device.

      Should you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to get back to us.


      And it works!!


    • Jamie

      I get that was hard to hold all 5 buttons that long, what a contortion artist you had to be! Good to know on the master reset, did you loose any info like logs or your body settings?
      I haven’t had issues with mine thus far but good to have that info! Thanks for posting!

    • Huub Raemakers

      Not sure, I also did a forced firmware update, to reset the watch. And then I lost history logs and customized sport modes (as I expected).


  78. Thiyag

    My brand new ambit 3 peak cannot output any tones, I contacted support and they want me to send it in for servicing. There was atleast one other user on the mysuunto Q&A with the same problem, the only difference was in his/her case, the tones stopped working after he updated the firmware.

  79. Serban

    I have experienced an issue, this morning I did two workouts, then I synced the A3, first gave me a sync error, but second time it worked, however, only the first workout synced, no matter how many attempts I tried. Than, just to test it, did a 3rd workout, which synced well, still the 2nd is missing.

    Anyone got similar issue? Any work around?

    • Serban, are you happy with Ambit 3? I want to get it this days, but I still read Ray’s reviews. XT910 and Ambit 3 have the same price with HR. Also, another option is Fenix 2.

  80. Josh Roberts

    Does the accelerometer record cadence for one foot or both. For example, if I am getting an average cadence of 93, should that be doubled?

    • If you see a 90ish number, that’s one leg, versus a 180ish number is two legs.

      It used to be that everyone just recorded one leg, and life was simple. Then Garmin switched it over last summer ahead of the FR620 to record both legs, thus, flipping the universe upsidedown. Other companies have followed, but there’s no perfect way to do it. Really, unless you have one leg, then it’ll always be double one leg, since you take one foot and then the next immediately. :)

  81. Matt

    Great review! One error: in the table for “swimming”, the INDOOR MIN/MAX POOL LENGTHS 5M/Y Minimum should be 15m/y, not 5. Just confirmed on my ambit 3 peak HR, and have latest firmware.

    A fairly major point for indoor pool swimmers in shorter hotel or NYC pools.

  82. Matt

    Helpful tip for those of us getting a lot of notifications: as notifications show on the screen for a few brief seconds before disappearing, you then have to click through menus to get back to and view them if you missed the initial “chirp” when it was displayed.

    I set the “view” button as a shortcut into the “notifications” display, to quickly find, scroll through, and read anytime and as-desired. To do this, start at the main time display, push “start/stop” to get into the sports menu, go into the “MobileApp” menu, highlight the “Notifications” menu item (note: only shown when you have a notification), and hold the “view” button to define that menu item as shortcut.

    Then, provided there are notifications, long-pressing “view” in the time display will lead you straight to the notifications. If there are none, the watch displays “Shortcut inaccessible.”

  83. Rainer

    Hi everyone,

    These days I’m thinking about getting a GPS watch and i can’t make a decision for myself between the Ambit3 and the Fenix2, so i really hope that this community can help me out ;)

    One question (I couldn’t find an answer so far in the world wide web) is, if i can create routes outdoor by just having the Ambit3 and e.g. an Android Smartphone? Are there so far any possibilities to do so??

    …and of course one general question: Which one of the two would you recommend to me (GPS accuracy, Running functinality, Usage for hiking in alpine enviroment)?

    Thank you very much!

    • Rainer. Most hikers struggle with this choice and I certainly did. If the Fenix2 was reliable then I would have chosen that purely because it fitted my wrist better, problem is it’s not. I hear nothing but issues with freezing, connectivity and gps accuracy problems from other long distance hikers and that has kept me away. Anyway, I’m a professional hiker (hiking 8 months most years, see http://www.tramplite.com) and have used an Ambit2 for over 6000km in the last 12 months and now have an Ambit3. The Ambit’s have never let me down throughout this extended testing period, not once. That alone is the reason I would recommend you choose an Ambit. Battery life is good and I recharge it from a little lithium battery pack every 3-5 days, wether you get 3 or 5 days depends on how hard it has to work to acquire a gps signal (under dense trees is much harder for example and will use more power).

      You cannot create routes on your smartphone and upload them to the watch at this point (I think this would be possible with software updates on the Ambit 3 and its APP but not yet and maybe never). I create my routes before hand on my PC and sync them over, works fine but if you change your route then your stuffed. To be honest I rarely use the Ambit for navigation with the exception being open trackless terrain where I use it to take me from point to point (works great like that). Normally my smartphone, with its detailed maps and unlimited track points, is used for most navigation. One thing to note about navigation on the Ambit is that no matter what GPS interval you select (I normally use 60 sec to save power) it will override your setting and be on continuously when in Nav mode, so uses a lot more power (fine for shorter hikes but when your 2 weeks away from a power supply you have to be careful). I would like to see a power saving Nav mode with an update frequency of say 10 sec.

      Also note that there is no Android App at this time (due next year).

    • Rainer

      Thank you very much Tramplite!! You are a great help for me and thanks for the time you spend answering my post!

      I have to say to read about your experiences really makes me think again about getting a gps watch in its whole. Somehow I found the idea great to compare a small watch with the functionality of a “little” gps device. I would prefer the possibility to set waypoints on the Ambit3 – then I would buy it without thinking again…but so far it seems to me that its benifit lies in receiving a gps signal and not really much more. For this possibility the price is simply too much and I would prefer to get a gps device instead of a watch.

      By the way, your blog is very interesting ;)

  84. Thomas F

    Thanks for the review Ray, In the movescount you can manually register a move. When you sync ambit3 withe movescount do the activity /recovery adviser update with info from movescount? There are some movements you can´t use the watch e.g contact sports Karate etc and still want the activity tracker / recovery time…

  85. Neal Bailey

    Will the strap broadcast simultaneously BLE and ANT+ so that the Ambit3 can record via BLE and my Garmin 500 via Ant+ ?
    I know my stages power broadcasts simultaneously but not sure if the HR Strap supplied with the Ambit3 does…
    Your clarification would be greatly appreciated

  86. Kenny strain


    Thanks for the great reviews.. I was thinking of getting the Garmin 910xt for doing triathlons and wanted something that would cover all of the training that is needed for those.

    I was wondering which of the Ambit 3 or 910xt you would recommend or indeed if there is something else out there that you so would recommend.



  87. CJ

    Hey ya’ll,
    I purchased this watch but find it really uncomfortable. I seem to be in-between the two notches on the strap. Anyone know if there are other straps available? I love the watch but it is so uncomfortable that I may have to return it.

    • Mas

      I also found the strap uncomfortable but when I tried the sapphire, the strap was as smooth as silk….
      I was told that you can switch straps without problems and that it will be possible to buy the sapphire strap separately.

    • Kaspar

      You can buy replacement straps and mount any Ambit strap to any Ambit model. Just takes a Torx T6 key.
      I recommend the Ambit 2S strap, as it’s more flexible than others.

    • Maddy

      The best strap IMHO is Suunto AMBIT3 PEAK SAPPHIRE SILICONE STRAP. I was between two notches too (I have very small wrist, 14cm), now with very comfortable and pliable silicone strap my Ambit finally feels snug and fine. Was waiting for black silicone strap for 2 years, eh.

    • Nick

      Will the 2s strap fit the 2? They seem to be different sizes and Suunto customer support told me they wouldn’t.

  88. Flo Loferer

    Hi Ray,

    is it possible to deactivate gps during a training?

    Kr Flo

  89. JFtexan

    DCR – Thanks for the great review. Your first review helped me find this watch and I think I was one of the first to get one in my area.

    You nailed it. Here’s my perspective:

    Pros: Battery Life is surprising longer than expected – tested with several activities. An amazing amount of configuration options on the phone and web, Syncing with the phone a huge option, Suunto scripts – I use things like the tabata script.

    Cons: It’s depth is bulky on the wrist. My app and watch actually do drop connectivity even with the app in the background. Most of my testing has been on the iphone 6 with iOS 8.0.2 so maybe there’s some forgiveness there. The activity tracker is a big disappointment – at least show the data on the web. The watches beeps are faint. The watch app should allow you to customize the beep option for notifications. Its either ON or OFF.

    On the strange side, I played some indoor soccer with the HR strap on but the watch was about 40′ away (in a bag) and it somehow tracked movement around the field. Perhaps it ranged it off the bluetooth distance from the phone, but otherwise I’m baffled at how it mapped – esp indoors. I’ll be testing this again soon.

    Finally, like many other fitness apps, it doesn’t yet integrate with the Apple HealthKit unless I’m missing something. Has anyone seen anything posted regarding this integration?



    • Brad

      If you want HealthKit integration with Apple Health I found a workaround and it works but requires another app. RunGap on the app store will sync with MovesCount and download all Moves. It will then export to Apple’s Health app. It works for me, just wanted to play around with it. If you have a lot of moves in Movescount (I had 1800) RunGap can take a long time to initially download. After that it is pretty quick.

  90. Anh

    Hello Ray, do you if the Armour39 will work with S3 while swimming. The Armour39 has internal memory and i think it may resync with the S3 after the workout completed?


    • Neal

      Hi Anh, Ray,

      To add to this I spotted on another post of yours a comment which would indicate the tickr X works with the Ambit 3 but i saw somewhere else you confirmed this doesn’t work.

      Comment by Brent from – link to dcrainmaker.com

      So I did an Open Water Swim with the Tickr X and my Suunto Ambit 3 this evening. Very impressed finally got a good quality heart rate track for swimming. I also noticed that the Ambit 3 Open Water Swim mode seems to be a little bit better than the garmin fenix 2. Just hope it makes me learn to swim faster now :)
      link to sporttracks.mobi – link to sporttracks.mobi

    • Just to clarify – did you merge the two tracks together, or did the unit ‘sync’ at the end of the swim automatically?

    • Neal

      Hi Ray, Sorry this is not my activity, it was by another subscriber (brent) from your article here link to dcrainmaker.com
      we should ask him, but maybe its a merge like you mention, I didn’t know this was possible, it might explain the dual devices listed in the link to his activity that he posted.

  91. Neal

    Wahoo just released a dual BLE/ANT+ Speed and Cadence Unit
    See this link link to us2.campaign-archive1.com
    Will be good for those with the Garmin 500 and Ambit 3

  92. Pilipali

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t whole point of having BlueTooth (BT) connection that you can transfer your data to some device (phone) when your computer is not around.
    So if I go on a long trekking, I can transfer my data, (when Ambits internal storage is full), via BT, but at the same time I can only recharge my device via USB. (And the battery is empty more or less when internal storage is full I guess).
    So in any case I need a computer to recharge the battery, so I might as well transfer the data at the same time and I don’t need BT connection.

    • Jamie

      You can recharge the watch using a regular old 3 prong plug in adaptor/USB. Much faster than computer charging it and I hate computers anyways! So for me, BT was the selling point. Upload to my iPad whenever I am in range and once wifi is established in your location, the move is uploaded the rest of the way to MC website. Easy peasy. No computer required.

    • Jamie

      And I have over 40 hours of activities currently on my device, 1 sec recording for all of them, nothing has been overwritten yet since day 1 of purchase. Not sure how long your “long trek” is but I doubt you’ll run out of storage before you can upload to a phone/iPad or computer.

    • Yes, and many people take small solar charges with them these days on long hikes. Easily can charge the Ambit3 from the sun. Some have small batteries in them, so you can attach it to your pack during the day to fill up the external battery, and then at night charge your devices.

  93. Pilipali

    Jamie, Ray, thank you very much for a reply, you both helped a lot.
    My main concern was, will Ambit3 have some big advantage over Ambit2 if I go on a long hike. Plan is around 3 weeks in Nepalese mountains, mostly without electricity.
    I have an opportunity to buy Ambit2 on a sale or Ambit3 regular price, and if I can transfer data without my computer, which I am definitely not going to carry into the mountains, BT would be selling point, if not why bother with BT.

    • The Ambit3 roughly doubles the storage of the Ambit2.

    • Marios

      Ray you might want to clarify that although the storage capacity has been doubled (for track log data), the app memory remains the same as the Ambit2. In my experience, app memory often becomes the limiting factor in building more complicated apps involving “tail” (in Suunto lingo) averages.

  94. Alex Bretean

    Hello Ray. Does the Ambit3 has a low power mode when using activity tracker and notifications always ON from the phone resulting in a longer battery life like the 920xt or has the same principle as Fenix 2 with one day battery?

  95. sf

    Does anyone have the dimensions (diameter) of the screen of the Ambit3? I’ve just ordered one and would like to put a screen protector on it. Thanks–I can’t find the info on the Suunto site.

  96. Bernard Burrows

    Which is better for hiking, the ambit 3 or Fenix 2? Which one would you take in the back country if you could only have one?

    • From a hiking standpoint, they’re fairly similar. There’s a few more ‘gadget’ type items on the Fenix2 natively, but, most of those can easily be found on the Suunto App store.

      The Suunto does record ANT+ data in the long tracking mode, whereas the Fenix2 doesn’t. So if you care about recording HR, might be a consideration.

      The Fenix2 is easier to charge mid-activity because of the charging clip (from solar), and, it can download offline from the phone (but, that may not matter to you).

      Some people find the Ambit3 more stable on longer activities than the Fenix series, but I don’t think that’s so much the case as simply there’s more people with Fenix2’s out there that if/when an issue occurs you hear about it since there’s also not a place to report Ambit issues like on the Garmin forums.

    • Martin

      I’ve owned the original Ambit and the Fenix 2. For extended backcountry use I’d take the Ambit over the Fenix 2 any day. Apart from stability issues a big problem with the Fenix 2 is that real-world battery life when recording a track is only 10-12 hours, unless you put it into UltraTrac GPS mode, which is hopelessly inaccurate when it comes to recording distances (they can easily be off by 50%). UltraTrac mode also disables HRM and all other ANT readings.

      With the Ambit you’ll have to change the GPS sampling interval to 5 or 60 secs if you want decent battery life, but at least you’ll still get reasonably accurate distance measurements.

      One downside with the Ambit is that it’s very limited in its ability to import GPS waypoints (“points of interest”). You have to create them manually in Movescount (you can’t import them from GPX files), coordinates have to be in decimal degrees, not DMS or UTM; and you can’t specify altitude data, which is pretty ironic for a device called a “Peak”.

    • Seiji

      I am also one of those that tried 3 Fenix watches, switched to Suunto and never looked back. My Fenix all would freeze up, self reboot, leak, break or fall apart. Never had such problems with any Ambit1, Ambit 2, or Ambit 3. However, I am having problems with Ambit 3 staying connected to an iPhone 4s.

  97. sf

    I’m trying to figure out the footpod issue.
    My assumptions are written out…please correct me on what I’ve got wrong.

    If using footpod, speed/pace will come from footpod, not GPS. There is way to use footpod for cadence only. Also there is no way to use speed/pace from footpod only as a “backup” in case GPS signal is lost (tunnel, poor reception, etc).

    Indoors (treadmill):
    Footpod would give more accurate pace/speed (and therefore distance) and cadence than the accelerometer in the watch itself. (Especially while looking at the watch or while drinking from water bottle or while pushing treadmill buttons while running). While there is no NEED for footpod, as watch will give cadence and pace/speed, what accuracy differences would there be?

    Thanks–can’t seem to find this info anywhere and don’t want to waste money on a footpod, but also don’t want to be out 20% on speed/distance on indoor (treadmill) runs.

    Thoughts anyone?

  98. waffles

    Does displaying notifications also work during an activity/move or only during ‘regular’ watch mode. (It seems to be working only for the latter for me.)

    • waffles

      I think I need to be a bit more specific: during an activity/move I do get the initial information about a new notification. However, once it disappears after a few seconds, I do not get a reminder icon at the bottom, like when using the watch in ‘regular’ watch mode.
      I thought I might be able to configure a display to show notifications, but have not been able to find anything suitable yet.

    • Drew

      You can setup a shortcut (holding the view button) to the notifications. Then a long press will go to them during an activity.From the main time display, push “start/stop” to get into the sports menu, go into the “MobileApp” menu, highlight the “Notifications” menu item (which is only shown when you do have at least one notification!), and hold the “view” button to define that menu item as shortcut.

    • giorgios

      I believe that shortcuts can only be used in TIME mode, so it’s not possible to use them to view notifications during an activity. Does anyone know of a way to view notifications that have disappeared during an activity?

  99. Mack

    One lesson learned……if you are doing a super long swim, the heart rate belt for the new Suunto Ambit3 will not record/down load after some time after 1 hour and before 2 hours 44 minutes.

    I did an Ironman distance swim in 1 hour 6 minutes and it recorded/downloaded the heart rate with no problem.

    This past weekend I did a 3.5 mile swim in over 2 hours (very strong head currents) and it did not record properly. It showed up a very sporatic mild walk type of effort with a true heart rate at the very end (crossing the timing mat.)

    There is a limit to the amount of time in the water you can use the new belt before it purges the data.

  100. Niklas

    Thank you for a great review! Quick question, what multisport GPS watch would you recommend for a runner today? polar v800 or suunto ambit3s?

  101. Jaco

    Hi Ray

    Great review as always. I bought the Ambit3 using your code.

    1) FYI, I have managed to hook up a Topeak Panobike speed & cadence sensor to my Ambit3
    2) Is there a trick cycling a pre-set route? I get it to work whilst running, but not whilst cycling. While Cycling I tell it to navigate to a defined waypoint on a route, but it does not display any navigation info. Am I missing something?
    3) The app seems to not display swim workout graph-info yet. It syncs but you need to use the site to view your swim info pace graphs.
    4) You cannot delete moves from the app. Seems like an odd oversight to me.

    Jaco (South Africa)

    • kourier

      hi Jaco, how did you manage to connect Topeak’s sensor? Mine pairs fine, but shows neither cadence nor speed on the display.

  102. JEG

    Awesome review, thanks Ray! Instrumental in getting to know my device.

    I have had problems with the swim lap counter in pool swim. It always counts one lap only. I have been swimming in a 25 yd pool and triple checked the settings. Has anyone else had this problem or can anyone see what I might be doing wrong?


    • Jaco

      Hi JEG
      Did you “teach” it your swim stroke type beforehand? I found this to resolve that issue for me. Once you go into a swim exercise, you hold the NEXT button to enter options, and you’ll see that you can teach it your various stroke types there.
      Admittedly, it does sometimes get confused between my Freestyle and Breaststroke. Perhaps due to my poor stroke? Not sure…

    • JEG


      Thanks for the advice. I will try that.

      What’s interesting is that the watch shows only one lap but when I go look at the data on movescount, I can see the different laps individually. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Surely they designed the WATCH so that it would tell you on the face of it how many laps it had counted, if it was working correctly. Here it seems it’s getting the data but not counting… Not clear to me what is happening.


    • Jaco

      Hi JEG
      I had similar questions on this topic initially and it took me a while to figure out the Suunto terminology, having used Polar previously. But if I understand your question correctly, then perhaps this may help: when you refer to laps, it sounds like you mean pool lengths eg 10xlengths in a 25m pool = 250m. This is not what the Laps feature in Suunto refers to. For them a lap is the period between when you introduce lap markers by pressing the top left Back/Lap button during a workout. So if you did a swim without pressing the lap button, it is all viewed as 1 lap with a number of lengths therein. However, the watch should’ve counted the number of lengths contained in that lap, so you should still see the correct distance reading. This is also why you could see the lengths in Movescount. Just different terminology… I initially set up my swim screens to show lap-related info such as lap time, lap pace and lap distance. I did this because I wanted to see this for pieces of my workout eg each 100m set. If I was doing 5x100m at a certain pace, I would then manually create a lap by pressing the Back/Lap at the start and end of each 100m set. However, I’ve since learnt that the Suunto Interval feature takes care of this quite well automatically. The watch groups a continuous period of swimming together as an interval, realises when you are resting at the side and then automatically starts a new interval when you push off again. The Interval-based info such as interval time, interval pace and interval distance are then only for the current/most recent Interval. Works quite well for me.
      Coming back to your question: I didn’t see a length counter in the built-in swim metrics, but found a pool-length counter app which does that. But to be honest the distance metric on the interval screens actually works more conveniently for me.
      Hope this helps!

  103. Stefano

    Thank you for this great review. The tomtom Bluetooth heart rate sensor is compatible With suunto ambit 3?

  104. I just discovered that if I set my activity for Crosstrainer, I get no cadence from the watch. I had to set it as Treadmill to get the cadence and distance. Why Suunto does not allow the cadence from Crosstrainer? By moving the hands keeping them on the handle bars, I got a very decent cadence having the watch set as Treadmill.

    Now after import I have to set the activity back to Crosstrainer…

  105. Marius

    Just one question. Is it possible to have an alarm going off when i am running with too slow cadence. For instance an alarm goes off when I am running below 180 steps pr minute?

  106. Hi, great review as usually. So far, I can’t find any information about most important feature.

    Log capacity (memory size)

    Compatibility with solar rechargers.

    Suunto claims, it is a watch for adventurers. I have a vision of a complete solution.

    GPS watch + solar panel/battery pack.

    I see little changes of most important core functions compared to Ambit.

    In one minute mode – I am able to store about 200hours of data. I see they finally added more recording/gps fix options.

    Every solar panel or battery pack I had, all screwed up battery and charging up of watch – Suunto said, it is optimised for computer’s USB spec. You get weird reading of battery capacity. 20% for long tie and then sudden drop and death of watch. What adventurer carries computer in nature?

    Ambit suppose to last 20h as max log size in 1s mode. Reality is about 14 hours. In winter, about 7-10hours. I wonder what is real life battery life of Ambit 3.

    It is great watch for concrete monkeys – is it really for adventurers? I don’t know many adventurers who travel just 50 hours ;-)

    Perhaps Ambit 5 brings something new for real adventurers.

  107. Jon marshall

    Does the Ambit 3 have the ability to record laps by position ? I’m sure I used to have an old garmin that did this…
    I often compete in multi lap MTB endurance races and need the option to record multiple laps without having to remember to press the button, 10,20 or 30 times etc
    Quite often I don’t know the exact lap distance prior to the event either so I cant enter it manually via movescount.

  108. Jay

    Scanned through the comments but didnt see my question, will it give you MGRS? I own a Fenix2 and am dissapointed in the freezing buttons and slow loading time for any feature. Thanks

    • Yes, here are the formats that Suunto supports across the Ambit series:

      WGS84 Hd.d° (default)
      WGS84 Hd°m.m’
      WGS84 Hd°m’s.s
      British (BNG)
      Finnish (ETRS-TM35FIN)
      Finnish (KKJ)
      Irish (IG)
      Swedish (RT90)
      Swiss (CH1903)
      UTM – NAD27 Alaska
      UTM – NAD27 Conus
      UTM – NAD83
      New Zealand (NZTM2000)

  109. Juuso Haarala

    Would you recommend ambit 3 for cross-country skier? I have been using ambit 1 for 3 years now and it has been working pretty well.

    Some questions: Is the battery life working as well as in ambit 1 even though the ambit 3 is using bluetooth?
    Is the gps and altitude more accurate in the new ambit 3? When Ambit 1 doesn’t contain FusedAlti.
    Can there appear some problems with the bluetooth connectivity?

  110. Ludovico

    Hi Ray!
    I’ve got a ambit peak and recently I bought WTEK HS-2BT (smart bluetooth) wrist cardio sensor.
    With my great disappointment I discovered that the sensor doesn’t work with the ambit. Have you tried?
    But….Ambit is compatible with all Bluetooth smart sensors or only with some?

    Many Thanks

  111. Dan

    Can anyone give a non-tech guy some advice please. I purchased the Ambit3 a few days ago and having a little trouble with the HR sensor. I have wet it, put it on correctly and get a HR reading on my Iphone app but for some reason it won’t get a reading on the watch itself. So battery is new and works on the phone but not on the watch. Any ideas, what I am doing wrong? Many thanks for you answer.

    • Hi Dan,
      As already mentioned, the belt cannot be simultaneously paired with the iPhone and the ambit3. You have to unpair the belt from the iPhone, pair the belt with the ambit3 and then pair the ambit3 with the iPhone.
      The limit is that Bluetooth can accept only one connection at a time.

    • Flo Loferer

      I had the same issue. My ambit3 suddenly didn’t connect with the heart rate strap.

      For me a “reboot” helped. Just push all 5 buttons simultaneously for I think 10 seconds.

      Afterwards you have to sync with movescount.com to have all the data again. But be aware that all your activity data (recovery status, daily and weekly calories) is lost.

      Hope this helps.

      Kr flo

  112. waffles


    Have you tried pairing the HRM with the watch again?

    • Dan

      It’s really weird, I am trying to pair the HRM with the watch but it just says check HR belt. My HR is showing on my iphone, so it is working. Must be me but not sure what to do next.. Thanks in advance.

    • Jhim van't Wout


      Make sure its not paired with the Iphone app anymore, that should help..

  113. Bo O

    Ambit3 firmware update coming out 10/22/14 to address connectivity issues.

  114. Patrik


    Just to be sure, the Ambit3 will store the HR-data from tickr x as if it were a Suunto HR-strap? The only thing that does not work is the automatic transfer to the watch when the connectivity gets lost and then reconnects?


  115. Simon Richardson


    I’m using my Ambit3 with a Scosche Rhythm+ HR strap. Really happy with the watch but I’m getting really low calorie reading usage from it. So after 2 hours on the mountain bike at an average HR of 139bpm, I get a calorie reading of 560Kcal, which seems low to me at 280Kcals / hour. Suunto seem to think this is ok, however it’s a lot lower than my old T6 used to show.

    I’ve checked my settings and I can see anything that looks wrong. Weight 187lbs, Year 1970, Max HR 185.

    Anybody else getting similar or any ideas?

    • Mark

      Low calorie readings seems to be a problem on most watches. I have experienced the same with Garmin 310 and 910, TomTom Cardio, and now Ambit 2S. I recently had a 2 1/2 hour bike ride that produced 512 calories on the Ambit. However, I used my Wahoo Ticker X HR strap, so I could connect to the Wahoo Fitness app via Bluetooth, while the Ambit used Ant +. Wahoo Fitness had a much more accurate total of 1142 calories burned. Additionally, the Ticker X will store a workout without a Bluetooth connection. So, I have eliminated the calorie burn from displaying on my Ambit 2S, and use the Wahoo Fitness data instead.

    • Simon Richardson

      I have just got an update from Suunto on the low calorie usage, they seem to think it is a problem with working with the Scosche…………. has anyone else seen similar?

      Regarding your situation, our Software development team have examined the provided data and it seems the calories calculation issue is occurring only with the latest Scosche software versions. In previous versions calorie calculation was working with Suunto Ambit models and most probably the algorithm has been 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.

      We are investigating this issue further, however it seems that in order to get it working, we might need to change our software and it requires a software update in the future.

    • John

      I have the same, a low calorie count from my Rhythm+, but also a lower Peak Training Effect rating.
      To check it I’ve done three similar 10km runs: two runs I did on the same route – once with the Rhythm+ and once with the new Ambit3 HR strap. For the other run (different route but similar conditions) I used the Rhythm+.
      The two runs I did with the Rhythm+ gave similar results: 371/372kcal and PTE 3.4/3.6. The run I did with the new Suunto HR strap: 923 kcal and PTE 4.7.
      So not only the calorie count was way off but also the PTE rating.

      I hope that this can be fixed with a software update, as it is slightly disconcerting that the Rhythm+ is so far off.

    • Simon Richardson

      Hi John

      That is interesting, did the Rhythm+ and Suunto belts show similar average HR in Movescount?

      As my average HR and HR readings from the Rhythm+ seem about right to me, if they show similar averages, then it must be something Suunto are doing in the interpretation of the output.


    • John

      My average heart rate (154/156/156), my average pace (5″38, 5″30, 5″30), distance run (10.13/10.06/10.16) was similar for all three runs.
      A slight difference in calorie count due to pace or distance would be normal, but the difference is nearly three times greater….not slight in the slightest!
      In addition, my recovery time was different (both Rhythm+ = 8hrs, Ambit3 HR strap = 27hrs), I presume that this is due to the algorithms used to calculate this include calories and/or PTE…but that’s just a guess.

    • Matt

      Any update on the low calorie calculation when using the Rhythm+ with the Ambit3?

      I have been having a similar issue. On my runs, the calorie calculation with the Rhythm+ is between 1/4 and 1/3 the value that is generated when using the Suunto HRM, despite carrying out treadmill workouts at the same pace and incline. Neither HRM is experiencing drops in data transmission, and the average heart rate is within 3 beats per minute on these workouts.

      I have also been pursuing the issue with the Suunto support team via email and have been passed between different staff members. None have achknowledged that other users are having the same issue. A solution would be greatly appreciated.

    • Simon

      I have taken up the issue with Scosche, they have at least been helpful and sent me a Rhythm+ with 2.4 firmware but I still have the same issue. So I’ve now tried 2.3 and 2.4 firmware with the Rhythm+ but still have the same problem.

      Suunto have not been helpful at all except for telling me that it is do do with the accuracy of the Interbeat interval that the Rhythm+ is sending on bluetooth.

      Can anyone tell us which version of Rhythm+ firmware is working with the Ambit3 properly?

    • John


      Can you explain what the Interbeat interval is?

      PS the Rhythm+ is still way off…..how can I check which firmware version is installed on mine?
      It is completely frustrating that, after my Ambit3 depicted 10 hours recovery, I still feel that I need another 15 hours rest. My Ambit3 is telling me to rest for 10 hours but my legs are screaming for a lot more.

    • Simon


      I’m not sure what the Interbeat interval is – it was Suuntos reasoning for the calorie consumption algorithm being inaccurate.

      You can get the firmware of the Rhythm+ by downloading their ios app and connecting to your phone/iPad download Scosche Fitness Utility App

      As it seems to be an issue with firmware 2.3 and 2.4 I would have expected a lot more people to be having the same problem?

    • Adam R

      Simon and John
      I expect a lot of people (all of them?) are having the same problem. I suspect for most people, like me, it is just not a big deal. I don’t rely absolutely on my watch to tell me when to exercise, nor does the calorie calculation matter much (every other site recalculates the calories, so I get “accurate” info from Strava and TrainingPeaks and others). Sure, it would be nice for it to be accurate, but the benefits of dual ant+ and bt, and ability to use while swimming are much more important.

    • waffles

      I have also noticed a very/too low calorie count when using the Rhythm+.

      I downloaded the “Scosche Fitness Utility App” for iOS for my iPhone 5+. Note: it looks rather technical for an iOS app. Nevertheless, I cannot seem get my phone to interact with the HRM. I have ‘manually” paired the HRM through the iPhone’s BT settings menu, but still not joy. What am I missing here?

    • Matt

      After several transfers within the Suunto Customer Support system, I received an answer:

      We apologize for the delay in answering you.

      Please be informed that we have escalated your case and we have found out the following:

      Ambit3 calculates the energy consumption from the IBI (Interbeat Interval) data coming from the heart rate belt.

      We have found that it is difficult for the optical wrist heart rate belts to measure the heart rate so well that they could send good enough IBI data for energy calculation.

      This seems to be the case also with the Scosche. It sends quite good beats per minute values but the IBI data is poor from which the Ambit3 tries to calculate the energy consumption. And the calorie values are much less than in reality. We have been investigating this and there will be some improvements to this area in Ambit3’s next software release which is coming this spring.

      We hope this helps.

      Suunto Customer Support Representative

  116. Scott

    As always, fantastic review. My local shop wasn’t getting the bundle with HR sensor for a while so I’m now on the lookout to get one. I’ve seen some varying reviews on using the standard TICKR with the ambit3. If I mainly want to use it for running, I have an ANT+ strap for the bike; would you recommend spending the extra for the Suunto Smart Sensor or the standard TICKR would suitable? Thanks

  117. Ludovico

    Hi! News about the firmware update?? Will be released today??

    New mini bug occured:
    Yesterday i have run for 13 K, at the end of the run, i was curious to see the recovery time proposed by the AMBIT…
    And in the activity tracker, the counting of calories burned it was unchanged.
    It has happened to others?


  118. waffles

    “New software version available 1.0.37” for my Suunto Ambit Peak

    Release notes still only cover the initial release (1.0.16).

    Installing now….

  119. r4d4r

    What I have found on internet:
    – Improved connection stability between the mobile application and watch
    – Fixed issues with incorrect stroke peaks in pool swimming
    – Improved compatibility with Stages power sensor
    – Fixed HR graph issues when there are pauses in log
    – Improved HR filtering to avoid HR peaks

  120. JEG

    My A3 won’t record HR when swimming. Has anyone else had problems? I describe my experience below.

    I know about the need to wait for the bluetooth to download from the strap to the watch after I get out of the water. But it never records anything.

    Typical swim goes like this. I choose “exercise” and pool swim because I’m in an outdoor pool, 25 yards. The watch tells me its connected to the strap by showing a heart before I start. I start the exercise on the watch. I swim. The timer works and the speeds are recorded too. I get out of the pool. At times, I put the watch on pause and wait for the download. Other times I stop the exercise and wait for the download. Sometimes I wait 10 minutes. It doesn’t matter the results are the same. The watch always says something like HR 63, max 67. I know when I swim that my minimum HR is probably around 135 and I swim 40+ laps minimum so it probably goes from 120-160 bpm. The reading is clearly wrong; it’s as if it sampled my HR before I started swimming and not while swimming. On movescount afterwards HR data doesn’t even show up (not even the nominal 63 shown on the watch) even though I can see all other information about my 40 laps. Seems like no data is being collected or transferred.

    I’ve done this a dozen times trying everything I know how to try. I’d appreciate any advice from anyone. Thanks!

    • Drew Martin

      That is odd. Maybe try re-pairing the strap. Or reset the watch by holding all the buttons. Press and hold all the 5 buttons approx. 12 seconds.

    • JEG

      Thanks for the suggestions, Drew. I will try re-pairing the strap. I already tried the five button reset, without success.

      One other oddity is that the watch, including all HR functions, works fine when I run or ride my bike. It’s only swimming that get singled out.

    • Couldn't resist

      Ray had posted (somewhere) that he had similar issues with an early version of the firmware. (But I don’t recall if it was early production or early pre-production firmware. And I don’t remember if it was the watch or the strap.) But make sure both are running the latest firmware.

  121. Alex

    Loaded the new firmware to the ambit 3 sport … well at first all seemed well, my Polar H7 connected right a way. But the I get — in the display followed by the HR on and off, after about ten minutes only –. Starting and stopping the recording repeats the process.
    Any way to go back to the old firmware? At this point the watch is useless.

    • Jhim van't Wout

      Did you find a solution yet? i’m having the same problem..


    • Alex

      Nope. Got a reply from Suunto to reset and force the firmware. Seems like a standard reply. It doesnt help so it still doesnt work.
      Very disapointed.

    • Chris

      I’m having the same issue. I did my fist pool swim with the HR strap on today and it told me my heart rate range was from low to mid 60’s (not possible) I updated to the latest softward via moveslink before i even wore the watch. The HR data is accurate when I run or cycle. Anyone have any answers? Thanks

    • Those sound like different issues actually.

      Chris – Your issue sounds like a connectivity problem (between you and the strap). Try moving the strap lower or higher on your chest, as well as tightening a bit.

    • Jhim van't Wout

      Thanks for the reply, tried the reset and force firmware aswell without succes. i guess we have to wait for another firmware update.. god knows how long :(

    • Chris

      Thanks Ray. tightening the strap solved the problem in the pool.

  122. Simon

    Hi there, I just got my new Suunto Ambit3 sport today and I am very excited. One of the things I have been testing today is notifications. This is one of the features that I was looking forward to use as I find it very handy to get call and/or text notifications during workout. However, while doing sports I don’t want to be disturbed by things like facebook, email, news etc. I was looking for the, to me obvious, function in the movescount app to define which notifications I would like to receive on my watch. However, I couldn’t find it. This is quite a disappointment. For me it’s absolutely logic that I don’t want to have just the same notifications as I have set up on my phone. I want to specifically select the notifications I need during sport. I hope that will be implemented in the future because otherwise I will have to turn off this function. Or did I miss something? Any of you have the same experience/problem?

  123. Mattan Biran

    Coupon not working.
    Tried to purchase Suunto ambit 2s. Coupon not valid. Any idea why?
    Any chance to get a working coupon?
    Without the coupon you can get better deal at Amazon.
    Thank you very much and keep on running and publish fantastic review.

    • The Ambit2 S is on deep-sale, at $219US, so the coupon unfortunately doesn’t apply there. In looking at Amazon though, all of the other ones that are a few dollars cheaper (like $214US) then add another $6 or so in shipping, whereas Clever Training will be free.

      Thanks for the support – it’s ultimately what allows this blog to continue!

  124. Thomas

    Great review again!
    I’ve got the Ambit 3 Peak Sapphire here in comparison to my V800. Pretty unsure which one to keep because each of them hast got its pros and cons.
    Big con of the Ambit is the missing vibration alert, which would be very nice to have espacially for the notifications sent from the iPhone (which is completely missing in V800, big con there).
    The ambit looking much smarter in my oppinion and feeling much more valuably.

    The apps on the Ambit are nice to have, but does anybody know, if there is a possibility to use them outside of starting a move? I’d like to have i.e. the step counter app in my “home-screen” (don’t know what it is called outside of a move) to view and track my steps all day long. Is there any chance to get this?
    Another question concerns the notifications from iPhone. Any chance to view them without clicking through the whole menu until reaching the “notifications”-point?

  125. Patricio

    Hi everybody. First for all thank you so much to Ray for all this work, it is absolutely amazing all the information that we can find. Comments are quite helpful as well. I have only one question, simple as you cannot imagine, but it is driving me crazy.

    A little of background. I am mostly a cyclist (Polar CS500), but I am starting with triathlon and with my girlfriend (she is a marathoner aiming for ultra) we decided to start hiking more seriously, so she just gave me as a birthday present an Ambit3. This is my first training watch, so I have to say that I am completely amazed.

    Now to the point. In the general display, where you see what time it is, you can change clicking on “view” to percentage-days-seconds-dual time and an arrow. And here we are. What is this arrow? Sometimes is looking up, sometimes looking down and sometimes it is just straight. It is related to PTE, recovery time? I don’t know. I have been reading and looking for its meaning but no idea. I know that this is probably the most easy question ever, but as I said, a week ago while I was running I had two fingers to check my HR and now I have a space rocket in my hand. it would be amazing if any one can help me here.
    Cheers to all.

  126. Kirk

    Great review, as usual. A question about the display on the Ambit3 Peak. All the promotional information and the photo on the box in your review show a reverse display (white letters on a black background), yet your test model (including the one unboxed) show a normal display (black letters on a white background). Which is it? And is it reversible? This is not mentioned on either Suunto’s website or the downloadable instructions. I have difficulty actually seeing a reverse display. Sorry if you covered it elsewhere, but I missed it. Thanks.

  127. panos

    Has anybody checked if the update fixed all the problems with Stages powermeter
    and is now fully compatible ?

  128. Nigel

    UK user here, downloaded the update to movescount IOS app this morning and you can now configure your sports mode watch screens via the app.

    Tried it out and it works well, sync seems to be a bit faster too

  129. Christian

    Am I a bad teacher other than a noob swimmer?
    Today I tracked my first swim training (500 meter, yikes!). So, first things first, I taught my Ambit 3 how to recognize my backstroke and crawl styles. Maybe I am the worst teacher in the world, but every crawl split was recognized as backstroke. Has anybody experienced something like that?

  130. Rasmus

    Hi, Can the Recovery Time be trusted? After a MTB ride today the Ambit3 gave me 55 hours of Recovery, I’m curious as to how precise it is and if it should be strictly followed or if a 10K Run after eg. 24 hours would be okay?

    • There’s an aspect that does ‘learn’ a little bit, so that can take some time. On the flip side, I do occasionally see rather high numbers as well.

      Also, in general the recovery time is generally deemed as “until next hard workout”, rather than any workout at all.

  131. Chris

    Bought an Ambit3 peak through the clever training link and code. I’m a data junkie and thought the barometer feature would be cool especially when hiking or skiing. A bit pricey but your excellent review helped me decide. I wanted an all around watch that was more stylish than some of the more playful looking units out there and through all the great reviews and info on your site I picked this one. Mobile app seems to be where it is lacking but I’m interested to see the notification integration (basically looks like a built in Pebble). Thanks again!

  132. Michi

    Hi Ray, thanks for the review.

    Maybe you or any other person here can answer my questions:

    i bought three BLE Bike Sensor for my Ambit 3, they look a lot like the Wahoo ones: link to amazon.de , nevertheless I don’t now if they are the same.

    First, I paired one, everything worked like a charm (cadence + speed). Then I paired the other two, the watch told me, pairing worked but when I startet an excercise, the watch couldn’t find the sensor. It only found the first paired one.

    Paiting one single Sensor to all three “slots” got every single sensor working. I also got all three Sensors working for a short while, but overnight it wasn’t working anymore. Paring the Sensor again didn’t solve the issue.
    Only pairing the Sensor on all three slots worked. But I don’t want to pair one sensor three times before switching the bike every time… Do you know of similar isues? Did you every pair three different bike sensors of the same type to the Ambit 3? Do you know of a sensor brand (tested), where three bike sensor paired work flawlessly?

    • Any chance that one of the other sensors was still active (usually 5 minutes or so), during the pairing?

      I haven’t tried other sensors beyond what I listed in the Bluetooth Smart compatibility section: link to dcrainmaker.com

      But even there, I didn’t try multiple bike profiles with different sensors.

    • Michi

      Hi and thanks for your reply,

      Yes, it is possible that the watch caught signals from the other sensor, but I doubt it, because when I finally managed to get all three working, a short test ride on each bike showed plausible values from the Sensor (e.g. slowly decreasing speed when lifting the bike and turning the wheels to ensure that speed is from sensor and not GPS). Today in the evening I’ll give it another try and I’ll ensure there will be no concurrent sensor signals when pairing.

    • Just as a minor tip, when trying to minimize interference with other sensors, stick the other two in the microwave (just don’t turn it on!). That will 100% block the signals from reaching the watch. :)

    • Jorge

      He,he, he Faraday’s the best!! ;-)

    • Michi

      No luck. Only one sensor seems to work. When the others are paired, only the one bound as “Pod 1” works. Reproducable with my wife’s Ambit 3 Peak. The sensors are probably the same type as Wahoo Blue SC, if someone could confirm this issue, that would be nice to know for me.

    • Michi

      I bought another sensor (other brand, other case, other Bluetooth device name) link to amazon.de

      Still, same behaviour: pairing OK, but the watch only recognizes the last sensor that was paired when starting training. Conclusio: this seems to be a bug in the firmeware of the Ambit 3. I filed a trouble ticket already four days ago, we’ll see what the support has to say about this issue.

    • Michi

      I’ve now received an answer to my trouble ticket. They could reproduce the issue and are planning to fix it in a future firmware release.

  133. Nuno Pinto

    Hi there fellows.

    I have used the Ambit 3 for a couple of runs and rides. Good watch, with some great features but lacking others.
    I am coming from POLAR RS800CX and so I miss some nice features available on the POLAR.
    Can you help on this questions:
    -Is there a way to have the HR percentage and also the HR real value ? Right now, through the movescout, if you select HR percentage, then it is a global parameter.
    -With POLAR RS800CX I could do a test on the watch to calculate my rest HR and predicted MAX HR, however in Suunto you must input those by hand…no fancy way for the watch to calculate that for you…maybe an app, but I have found that most of them are not very trustworthy.
    -Is there any kind of Running Index feature or orthostatic test with Suunto ?

    Thanks in advance.

  134. Alex

    Received a reply from Suunto:
    Please be informed that we have noticed an issue with older firmware in Polar H7 belt causing the belt connection to be unstable. This seems to be fixed in newer H7 belt firmware. The Movescount App (or LightBlue App) can be used to verify the software version in the the belt. We do not know the exact firmware history of the belt, but we have tested with two versions and seen that firmware 1.1.0 does NOT work correctly and firmware 2.1.0 works fine and according to Bluetooth Smart standard. Currently there are no plans to fix this on Ambit3 side because it would require manufacturer specific implementation workaround. A newer firmware version in belt is required to fix the issue.
    Well indeed its a 1.1.0 firmware on my belt. No way to see this before buying the belt. And with the old firmware it worked, only finding the belt took two or three tries.

    Very disappointed: anyone want to buy a almost new Ambit3? Of a H7 belt ;)

    Will put both on sale, sick of this.

  135. bobek

    Hello, another newbie hier after couple of years in “pasive” mode and use T6c (thanks EPOC live). Many questions after couple weeks with A3. First about functionality of 3rd party BT pods. Is there already some which would be fully functional for internal training purposes ? Speed and cadence would be my goal for upcoming season on rollers.

  136. Michi

    *pairing only one at a time works like a charm*

  137. Ludovico

    Movescount @Movescount
    Hello friends,we’re happy to announce that an Android Lollipop version of the Suunto Movescount App will be released in March 2015.

    • Nuno Pinto

      That is really bad, first is that March is incredibly late, 6 months after the release of the watch, how can itvtake so much time to adapt an app from IOS to Android. Second, lollipop ???? What about Android Kit Kat, it support Bluetooth smart…..stupid to force users to buy new phones. I hope POLAR releases android app first, then I will do the switch.

    • Michi

      At least there is a release date. And luckily my Moto G will get Lollipop before that date.
      By the way, does anyone know, if you can sync the watch with Moveslink and Bluetooth? My laptop has BT 4.0, so the hardware should be compatible. I don’t want to ruin the battery with too many cycles. Or are there other possibilities to prevent the watch from beeing charged when syncing moves? Does Openambit support bluetooth?

    • No, you can’t sync via Moveslink over BT. Most companies won’t typically touch desktop/laptop native Bluetooth sync implementations with a 10-foot pole because there’s so much variation there. Companies like Fitbit included a USB adapter for a while actually to streamline it a bit.

  138. gary martin

    Hi Ray
    Is it possible to change the temperature from degrees F to degrees C.
    Also, I didn’t get a HR belt with my ambit3. On every run to date my recovery time has shown “0” hours recovery. Is this because of the lack of HR or is there a setting i need to ‘activate’. The manual states my recovery should be trackable via my running pace but nothing happens.

    Otherwise great watch & great review as always….

    • Michi

      You find the settings for °C or °F in movescount Gear-> Unit Settings. Without HR belt you wont get recovery times.

    • Jamie

      Make sure in the Movescount browser version, under that specific sport, you uncheck the HR sensor box and save it. You will then get calorie burn numbers and recovery time numbers based off distance & speed. If your ambit says it is searching for the HR monitor, even if you dismiss it, it continues to search but gives you zero values for both cals and recovery. So you’ll want to uncheck those whenever you set up a new sport mode in your watch.

  139. mih

    Hi Ray,

    Could you recommend any BT food pod for A3? I have tried using cadence from the wrist but it does not work for me, the error was even up to 20 per cent, so not good for treadmill speed runs.

  140. Carla

    Great review, loads of info!
    Looking to buy an iPad instead of PC which would leave me without a USB port. Can I charge the Ambit 3 via the USB port on my iphone/iPad plug?

  141. Andrew

    Thanks for the review Ray. It was really helpful. I decided to go ahead and purchase the watch. For the most part I have enjoyed it. But I am encountering a problem. I own a Polar H7 heart rate monitor which I used with my Polar Loop. I thought the two would pair fine. When I first used the watch the Ambit recognized my strap. When I started my run using GPS my heart rate data would be interrmitten. After about five minutes of running the watch stopped receiving my HR. I though it might be that my battery in my H7 was dead. After replacing the battery I continue to have the same issue. Is there any technical way to get around my current issue or should I go ahead and purchase a Suunto HR strap? Thanks in advance!

    • Chris

      Andrew I think it has to do with the firmware version of your H7 being incompatible with the Ambit3. It you read up in previous posts there is a guy having similar problems

  142. Kurt

    Ray, your in-depth technical review is much appreciated. I have been using the Ambit3 for just over a month, and overall I have been pleased with the hardware. However, today while performing a “mandatory” firmware update, the updater failed midway, and now the watch is bricked! Unresponsive, and cannot even reset with 5 button push. CS instructed me to send to repair center…. now without a device for at least 2 weeks!

    Seams to me they make nice hardware, but are seriously lacking on the software side. I personally wanted to return this watch, but of course I am just outside the 30 day refund window.

    Other users need to watch out when performing firmware update! Be prepared for potential fatal error and bricked device.

  143. Hi:

    I missed the part seen in other reviews (like the Polar V800, for example) How does it works as a watch? Does it have stopwatch? Timer? Alarm(s)? Second time zone?

    I am very interested in the alarms because I know own two watches: one Casio which doesn’t wake me up and one Suunto that it does the work, but I read a comparison of the Ambit2 and they said that, compared to the Fenix, for example, the alarm sound was low. So: How does it works as a watch?

  144. moreno74it

    stopwatch = yes
    timer = yes
    alarm = yes (just one)
    Second time zone = yes
    Right, alarm is a bit low..

  145. Mark A.

    Great review. However, I have a question that maybe you will be able to answer.

    I have tried wearing the Ambit 3 Sapphire (Peak), but I feel like because of the larger depth of the watch, it never felt snug on my wrist.

    Do you have any experience wearing the Sport version? Do you know if it would sit more snugly on a small wrist than the Peak?

    The depth on the Peak (sapphire) is 17mm / 0.67″, while the depth on the Sport is 15.5mm / 0.61″.

    • Mark A.

      To be more descriptive, by ‘depth’ I mean the bottom portion of the watch that sits on the top of the wrist. When I look at the diagram of the Ambit 3 Peak (sapphire) here, link to suunto.com it looks to have a small curvature on the bottom. While the Ambit 3 Sport appears more flat. link to suunto.com

      I know you have worn the Ambit 2 Sport, that has the same dimensions as the Ambit 3 Sport. Do you find any difference in fit when comparing the Ambit 3 Peak to Sport model?

      Thanks so much,

  146. Jeremy

    I’ve had the Ambit3 Sport for a few weeks now and have some feedback, if anyone’s interested. First off, I’m not a triathlete. At least not yet. I run and swim and want to improve with both. I bought the Ambit because of the great detailed review here and all the comments in support of it. I think the watch is great. Great display, really useful functions, it calculates everything I need. The app and Movescount site, though, I think are absurdly unfinished and beta quality. Here are some of the main issues I’ve discovered, unfornately:

    – The app shows a line at zero for my swim pace each time. I hope they fix this.
    – The swim pace in the big circle on the Movescount site is different than the average pace on the watch for the same move.
    – The swim data on Movescount comes out messed up even though it seems fine on the watch. For instance, a couple of moments with an extremely low pace make the graphs useless because there’s a huge vertical line. Also, lengths are off.
    – The swim data on Movescount displays lines for rest with numbers sometimes for distance and pace. Seriously?
    – There are so many different activities to record, however, ones like “crosstrainer” which is inside and stationary actually don’t record any metrics apart from heart rate/calories. So what’s the point?
    – On the watch you have weekly activity tracking, a bar chart with a calorie average on the bottom. However, the bar chart is active calories whereas the number at the bottom is total calories, active and inactive, and thus doesn’t refer to the bar chart. I had to email them because I didn’t understand why we’d be comparing total calories each day when most are inactive.
    – You can have each activity on the watch use different formats (metric vs imperial), but you can’t do that on the website. You have to choose one. I try to look at meters for swimming and miles for running, so that is annoying for me.

    I’m sure there are other nitpicky ones I’ve found but these are the ones that really get in the way of me analyzing my performance. Hope this is useful to someone out there (and that Suunto fixes these!)


    • Mark

      How do you find the fit of the Sport? I have tried on the Peak and found that the bottom of the watch (the portion that rests on the wrist) digs into my wrist. I know the sport has a smaller battery and is lacking the barometer, and has a flatter bottom.

      Does the Sport sit snugly against your wrist comfortably? Have you found the watch too heavy?

    • Jeremy

      The fit is probably one of the main reasons I finally decided on this watch. I tried this and the fenix and a few others on and this one is definitely the most comfortable. The back of the watch feels totally fine, it’s not too heavy. The only problem I have is that it’s still too big and bulky. (That said, it’s less bulky and thick than other ones. I think the slight reduction from the Peak makes a difference.) But it’s not uncomfortable in any way. Where the buckle is is a little sensitive for me, but that’s probably me and it’s not a problem at all. It’s very comfortable. Once they get the ridiculous depth of these watches down to normal size I’ll probably wear it all the time.

    • Mark

      Awesome, thanks for the reply.

  147. JEG

    I’m wondering if anyone can help me with a navigation issue, using the A3 with the movescount iPhone app. Sometimes I cycle using the navigation function following routes that I’ve created in Movescount and downloaded onto the A3. The A3 nav works fine, but I’d like to use my iPhone display via the Movescount app, expecting a bigger map and better views that are easier to follow than the miniature pointers on the A3. FWIW, I tether my iPhone onto the handlebars of my bike so this is indeed a workable solution… at least in theory.

    I thought this would be easy: start navigation on the watch, open the movescount app and choose Ambit 3 as the move, and then follow the same type of triangular pointers on the iPhone map as I’m used to seeing on the face of the watch. No luck. I see a generic map on the app, but there are no directional pointers or waypoints that will tell me what the route is. It seems to just show me where I am. There is some weird red line that I can’t figure out, but it clearly has nothing to do with my route, as it goes off into netherland. If this is the intended operation of the app in this context, it seems useless and I’ll just have to follow the route on my watch.

    I’d appreciate help from anyone who has a better way to do this, or who can fix my procedure.

  148. Jeremy

    Oh, there is one thing I forgot to mention. I just did my swim workout, once with the heart rate belt and once without, and the calorie calculations were 50% off. For the same exact workout. 100 calories difference. They definitely need to improve the accuracy of that.

  149. Dusan

    Hello, I have problem via Movescount web application. The Ambit3 sync everything, only sport modes are problem. If delete or change something in any mode and save and then sync via Moveslink2 there’s no changes. Interestingly, on watch I can see M SYNC but no changes, I repeat only in sport modes.

    • Velibor

      I have the same problem and don’t know how to solve it. I disabled some sports modes and created one new, but the changes do not seem to sync to Ambit. Any ideas?

      BTW I had lots of problems with repeated “Data download failed” error in Moveslink2, but managed to solve it by following this link to bit.ly.

  150. david pizey

    i was training in the gym this morning doing some weights and while checking my heart rate the watch was giving back some peculiar readings, my heart rate was going from 100bpm to 150bpm the readings where all over the place?

    • Mark

      Sporadic readings seem to be fairly common unfortunately with heart rate monitors. But in weight lifting going from 100 to 150 quickly isn’t something I would consider peculiar.

      But if your readings are messed up, you may want to try using some electrode gel, or re-wetting the sensor pads.

      For a product this expensive though, I would expect that the HR readings to be consistent and accurate.

    • Indeed. Try some of the steps here, though you can short-cut it and just go with the gel: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Mark A.

      Hey, I have a quick question for you. Did you ever find the slightly protruding case-back of the Ambit 3 Peak model uncomfortable on the back of your wrist, in comparison to say the sport model of the Ambit 2 which has a flatter case-back?

  151. My personnal review Suunto Ambit 3 peak (in french):
    link to verslesommet.wordpress.com
    @+++ runners !

    • Nuno Pinto

      I have a AMBIT 3 PEAK and use it as my main/daily watch. I find it comfortable, even though my previous watch was much slimmer (POLAR).

  152. Eric Ledoux

    Do you have any comments as far as the upcoming Apple Watch. I have an old Suunto watch that I use for running only (HR only). I would like to upgrade to a GPS watch (to track the distance) so I was reading your analysis hoping to shed light on the Ambit2 vs Ambit3 versus the Apple Watch … Thanks in advance for any comments. Eric

    • The Apple Watch may be very interesting, but, the trick is it’s not here today. It sounds like the earliest will be after Feb 17th, 2015. One of the key things I’ll be interested in seeing is accuracy of the optical sensor. The second will be usability of the screen in the rain.

      Right now Apple is saying that it’s not really waterproof (not showerproof), which means that even if it might be light-rain proof, that won’t be enough. Sweat is incredibly persistent and will get into just about anything. Sweat dries into salt on devices. Then during the next sweat/rain, it pulls the water into the device as it absorbs it. It’s actually even worse than just simple rain.

      From an app perspective I have no doubt that the Apple Watch will kick everything out there. But, it’s the practical hardware aspects that might be tough in the 1st generation for the endurance athlete (not to mention the supposed 1day battery life, sans-GPS numbers).

    • Nuno Pinto

      I would say that Apple watch is not the kind of hardware for the majority of people that visit this website. For sure it will be a fantastic all around gadget, but not for the weekend warrior

    • Paul S

      For one thing, the Apple Watch doesn’t have built in GPS, but uses the iPhone’s For runners that like to leave their phone behind, that’s not going to work.

    • Eric Ledoux

      Not the most practical thing to run 21k with an iphone ! This might sound as a stupid question but how can the Apple Watch track or indicate any distance ran if not paired constantly with an iPhone. In other words, if I am not carrying my iphone during my run, I will not have any access to distance data (only time and heartbeats !). Wouldn’t it be the same with the Ambit3 ? Merci

    • Paul S

      Well, it could do what so called “activity” trackers do and count “steps” and multiply by stride length (a number either pulled out of a hat or calibrated somehow). But that’s not going to be as accurate as a GPS. Ambit 3 has a built in GPS.

  153. Mary

    Posting again because I posted it as a reply, sorry.

    First of all thanks for this great review – I recently bought the Ambit3 Peak and I’m really happy with it. Actually I have one problem and thought maybe there is somebody here who can help me.
    I deleted one of my moves in my movescount app and thought that it is possible to upload it again from the watch. I can see the move and its details on the watch, but when I sync it with the app this move is not there. Is there a way to upload the move again or is there any program with which I can choose the file I want to be uploaded? (like Polar Websync.)
    Actually I also tried to create a new account, but this also isn’t working. Is this move really lost? I can’t believe this because I have it on my watch.

    • Nuno Pinto

      If you right click on the movescout icon on the taskbar (the red square with the white M) there is an option to send log, have you tried ? I am not sure if it will work…

    • Mary

      Not yet but I will try it as soon as I’m at home. I thought maybe there are some more ideas here.
      The app is synchronising with the watch, but not that one missing/deleted move.
      When I tried to create a new account, there was no move synchronised.

  154. JEG

    What’s the latest word on upgrading the firmware? I decided not to do it when it came out because a number of folks on this string were getting frozen when they tried, so I got scared. Is there a consensus now that this is safe to do? Thanks!

    • Kurt

      After the latest firmware bricked my watch, it was sent for service. They just shipped it back, due to,arrive tomorrow. Not sure whether they upgraded the firmware for me (I hope!), or if they will explain what happened. If I learn anything more I’ll be sure to post…

    • Jeremy

      Worked fine for me.

  155. matityahu

    Do you have any ida how the sunrise/sunset times are calculated in the app? tried looking online but could not find.

  156. Andy jamieson

    Hi great reviews thanks.
    I have an Ambit 3s and love the watch but and its a BIG BUT.
    The movescount app is shockingly bad, I don’t even know where to start. I could have saved a load of money an bought an Ambit 2!
    A nice to have feature is the movie feature but I’ve only got it to work properly once, photos are sometimes not there, then they are mixed up then they all appear at the end then disappear again! Upload to Facebook has been successful once. Now it just doesn’t work and Suunto have been useless in sorting it out for me, even ignoring e mails eventually fobbing me off telling I’ll have to wait till they update the app and couldn’t give me a date!
    Today I swam for the first time with the watch, on uploading to the app there was only time and distance data and nothing else. On looking at the web movescount the data was useless with laps all over the place making no sense at all! A 20 m pool with laps from 22 m to over 100 m!
    I thought hey let’s see if it synced to Strava but nope, ah well expected too much I suppose! Other moves have synced to strava thankfully as its a far superior and enjoyable experience in analysing data.
    The web site is clunky and looks unfinished, I actually hate using it, Moves are headed only by date, I’d like to be able to name a move so it’s easier to find when looking back. Graphs are so spiky the data is useless, it hurts my eyes!
    I’m sory to rant on but I feel sorely let down by the soft wear side of suunto especially after coming over from Garmin. I love the watch and its UI is fantastic I just hate everything movescount and for that I just feel very very dissapointed and sad that a great product is let down by crap website and app.

  157. Andy jamieson

    Hi great reviews thanks.
    I have an Ambit 3s and love the watch but
    its a BIG BUT.
    The movescount app is shockingly bad, I don’t even know where to start. I could have saved a load of money an bought an Ambit 2!
    A nice to have feature is the movie feature but I’ve only got it to work properly once, photos are sometimes not there, then they are mixed up then they all appear at the end then disappear again! Upload to Facebook has been successful once. Now it just doesn’t work and Suunto have been useless in sorting it out for me, even ignoring e mails eventually fobbing me off telling I’ll have to wait till they update the app and couldn’t give me a date!
    Today I swam for the first time with the watch, on uploading to the app there was only time and distance data and nothing else. On looking at the web movescount the data was useless with laps all over the place making no sense at all! A 20 m pool with laps from 22 m to over 100 m!
    I thought hey let’s see if it synced to Strava but nope, ah well expected too much I suppose! Other moves have synced to strava thankfully as its a far superior and enjoyable experience in analysing data.
    The web site is clunky and looks unfinished, I actually hate using it, Moves are headed only by date, I’d like to be able to name a move so it’s easier to find when looking back. Graphs are so spiky the data is useless, it hurts my eyes!
    I’m sory to rant on but I feel sorely let down by the soft wear side of suunto especially after coming over from Garmin. I love the watch and its UI is fantastic I just hate everything movescount and for that I just feel very very dissapointed and sad that a great product is let down by a terrible website and app.

    • Jeremy

      I TOTALLY agree. The app is shockingly bad. Totally useless except for uploading data to the website. For every swim, the pace graph just has a line at zero for me. The customer service gets back to you quickly, but I don’t even know if they’re fixing it or not. And as for the website, the graph data is completely useless when there are spikes. How can you notice the differences between 1:40 and 1:45 in the pool when you have a 44:00 on the graph because it recorded you slowing down before the autopause? All the good data looks like a straight line in comparison. Another stupid thing the watch did was record the pace of a drill and threw the entire workout average pace off. What’s the point of having drills then?

      I don’t know, is the garmin website any better? If so, then it sounds like Suunto has the better watches and the garmin maybe the better web analysis. I really like the Ambit 3 watch, though, and it’s good you didn’t get a 2 because if updates and improvements ever come, it’ll be more likely for the 3.

      As for the lap distance, have you taught the watch your stroke? I keep having laps that are shorter than the pool, which is annoying, but never one longer than the pool length.

    • Jeremy

      Is the garmin connect website any better than movescount in terms of how it records data…i.e. not showing spikes on graph, not showing pace and distance for “Rest” lines, etc.

      I would consider switching to the 920xt if garmin connect is much better. I just assumed movescount and garmin connect process data similarly and have the same problems…but is that not right?

    • daniel

      No, Garmin Connect has the same problems.
      Even when running, the spikes in the graph will ‘destroy’ the usability of the data in the graph.
      In the old Polar software, I was able to adjust both X and Y axis. Would be great if Garmin and Suunto would do the same.

  158. Bart

    Another question for the A3 users:
    How stable/intelligent is the BT transfer after swimming?

    I hike/run/MTB to stay in shape, but windsurfing is my life! And I really would like to register my sessions with a GPS/HRM watch.
    The A3 finally seems to be able to do this. But what happens if in the middle of the BT transfer the connection gets broken, because I get washed again in the waves. Will it be intelligent enough to retry at a later stage? And if so, how many tries will it retry?
    I have used my old T6D for this (accepting the loss of data when in the water), but it gets totally confused if the HRM gets disconnected multiple times during the session.

    Btw, I find it weird that the whole surf/kite/windsurf community is overlooked by the watchmakers. This is a substantial market…. And how difficult would it be to make a A3 version which can supply tide data? Rebrand the watch as a surf watch, spend a little marketing money and you open up a complete virgin market.

    • Michi

      Hi Bart, I am a windsurfer as well and after a couple of swimming sessions I have absoluteley no doubt that the HR data will work perfectly also in considerable surf, as long as the belt won’t be washed off.

      The belt an watch seem to sync and retry until the job is done (or you abort by stopping the move).

      For your last lines: surf/kite/windsurf is nothing compared to biking, running, triathlon. And only a few surfers/kiters/windsurfers want to record anything. Bikers, runners and triathletes seem to have a need for HR watches.

    • Bart

      Hi Michi,
      Thxs for the reply. That was exactly the confirmation I was looking for!

      I know a lot of guys like me; they bike & run just to stay in shape for when the big days come. Not sure if all of them want to measure everything, but for sure some do.

      Snowboarders are targeted by Suunto because the Ambits can be used by them without any modifications. A slight addition like tide info would make it THE watch for the watermen, IMHO.

    • Michi

      I windsurfed carrying the Ambit and the Ambit2 in Italy and the Canary Islands, flatwater and surf. Tracking, HR data, speed, distance, everything worked flawlessly. With the Ambit and Ambit2 only short gaps with no HR data when swimming, that will be no more problem with the movesense belt.

      Tide Info is such a complicated feature that it probably would only make sense if you would sync data for certain spots from a tide-specific site. I haven’t taken a closer look on making apps, so I don’t know if one could realize this feature with an ambit app. You would probably need a spot database with tide predictions and getting the watch to sync the data for selected spots. But to be serious: for windsurfing one has to check forecast maps in advance and checking the tides in advance is a far more easy task than checking wind and weather forecasts. In my opinion, it would be a nice little gimmick, but lacking tide predictions is far from being a deal breaker.

      The Ambit with its 10bar (100m) water resistancy specification is in comparison to polar, garmin, etc. with their 50m specification the only watch that will fit the hardware needs of watermen.

    • Bart

      The Garmin Quatix & Tactix (spin offs from the Fenix line) both offer tide tables. My € 80,- G-Shock does as well (with a database of 200 spots and the ability to set the tide on those locations not in the database) Not very complicated at all and seeing the amount of dedicated surf watches from Nixon and Ripcurl, there’s defenitly interest from the surf crowd in tide info.
      As an app it would probably difficult to implement, but for Suunto to make it an extra feature, wouldn’t/shouldn’t be too complicated.

    • Michi

      Sorry Bart, the tide feature in the G-Shock is absolutely unusable. It is not even educated guessing. I would consider it a joke if something with this “accuracy” would be implemented in a device of the sophistication level of an Ambit.

  159. I have a question maybe somebody can help me.
    I have my A3 since September and I love it for every sport I tried. But as an every day watch… it has a battery saver that switch off the screen after 10 minutes. It did not happened in the first few days but then yes, and it stays off until I press any button. Of course if I track any sport it works non stop. But is it normal that on my hand it just goes off always? sometimes is very annoying when both of my hands are busy and can not check the time…
    Is there anything I can do against this?
    ps.: great review

    • Rike

      I just got my new Iphone yesterday and I tried how the connection works and if the screen is off I don’t get the notifications either…
      (i have the latest software version)

    • moreno74it

      No, it’s not a normal behavior.
      Ambit 2 and 3 goes blank screen when left absolutely static but when the internal accelerometer feel even a little movement it get out from screen saver automatically.
      No need to press any button here.
      (don’t know about notifications.. i’m waiting for march 2015

    • Rike

      thank you! It means I should send it back with warranty…

  160. Alex

    Hello. I have bought the Ambit3 after having the Fenix 2 and the difference is huge in build quality (I have the sapphire versio) and in GPS signal locking. I have a question

    How do you erase the notifications on the watch. I had some emails who came up on the watch and they still remain on the notifications list after erasing them. When I receive messages or calls I don’t have the same problem

  161. Marco

    Well I bought a Ambit 3 Peak Sapphire, and unfortunately I find it to be slightly uncomfortable. The reason I suspect is the low case-back (1.5mm lower than the Sport) which rests the weight of the watch on the wrist nerve, this causes strange sensations in the wrist, hand, and arm. This occurs even when I have the wrist strap loose.
    Overall the watch is beautiful, and looks extremely solid, and I would love to use it. But for the price, it’s not worth keeping if it’s going to be uncomfortable enough to not wear it all day.

    • andrejs

      I’ve had the same issue with the Ambit 2 and everyone I personally know who has had the Ambit 2 or 3 experiences the same discomfort. I feel that after 6 months of use it got better, but its still not nearly as comfortable of a strap as the Garmins. I hope they fix it.

    • Marco

      Hey andrejs, thanks for the reply. Do you have the same discomfort with the Peak model, or are you using the Sport?

    • Kaspar Pflugshaupt

      Hello Marco,
      You can exchange the strap for a more flexible version to improve the comfort. I have the 2S strap on my Ambit 2, and it’s a lot better for me. They’re all compatible.


    • Marco

      Hello, thank you for the reply. I have been wearing it more frequently, and it doesn’t bother me like it used to. But that is good news should I ever decide to change the strap in the future.


    • Nick

      Can you verify the 2s strap will fit the 2. Suunto is telling me it won’t and I have found information on their website that is contradictory.

  162. John Tyrone

    Hi Ray.

    Just a quick one. Is it possible to pair an Ambit3 to two iPhones? Say one iPhone shall be used for every day needs and the other iPhone shall be mounted on a bike and shall be used only during rides.

    Thank you in advance.

  163. Neal Bailey

    Does anyone know if its possible that while in a sports mode recording you activity you can switch to the general display mode to view time etc?

  164. Neal


    Could you clarify what you mean by this comment in your review
    “The Ambit3 supports three bike profiles of sorts, so you can save multiple sensors”

    What I would like to do is have my Stages Road Bike PM and my MTB Stages PM stored under separate sport modes namely “MTB” and “Road Cycling”, it would appear that I can only pair 1 bike at a time and simply need to repair each time I swap bikes?


  165. jonathan bernard

    I have a Garmin 620 and i want to change it because it takes 45 to 60 seconds to show me the real pace when i’m doing intervall training. Before that, i had a Polar RS800CX, and it was really quick for the Watch to show me the real pace. How is the Ambit performing for that?
    And also, is there a possibility to plan an intervall exercice with a pace alert, if you’re too fast or too slow?

    • Nuno Pinto

      I also had a POLAR RS800CX. The AMBIT3 is ok to show the real pace, the problem is the programming of intervals is very poor implemented when compared with the POLAR.
      In general you can do almost everything with the AMBIT that you did with POLAR, it’s just not straightforward.
      Check the movescout website, there is a built-in interval programming menu (limited), also you can create a app for your interval….there are a few very good 3rd party websites with friendly ways to create intervals for AMBIT3.

  166. Flo Loferer

    Hello Ray,

    I use the Suunto Ambit 3 now since 2 months. The main reason for this watch was the possibility to store heart rates, because i can not wear a watch during my football games. This works perfect with the Ambit. After the first half and after the match the data is transferred without problems.

    Still there are 3 points I dont like about the Ambit:
    1. the poor activity tracker functions (no steps, no sleep tracking, no display in movescount, no inactivity alert, no goals) – i miss almost everything what polar has now implemented.
    2. the poor interval timer possibilities. I know that there are many apps, which i already use. but it is very uncomfortable to adapt the app for different trainings.
    3. I miss a graph in movescount where the recovery time is displayed in the past.

    do you know, due to your excellent connections, if there are any plans to solve these things with an future update? the suunto support always give the same answers: “the suggestions are forwarded to the responsible departement”

    i am really thinking about switching to polar v800 if they have the possibilty to create preplanned tracks and to manually create trainings with recovery time (just like in polarpersonaltrainer).

    What do you think which updates will come first ??? ;-)

    Thanks for your help
    kr Flo

  167. Peta stacey Drayton

    Hi, I am wanting to buy an Ambit watch for a gift…I was completely happy with the Ambit 3S as a decision (after much reading of advice!), but now I am confused by the Ambit 3 sport. Its a lot more money…is it worth it, or generally would someone be happy with the 2? It seems a bit silly buying ‘old’ technology…but then is the cost worth it?I would say the receiver is not a mad sportsman, just a recreational user!
    Just your opinion would be great thankyou if you have time,

    • Goran

      It really depends on the person, does he like to fiddle with settings, will he use notifications and if he swims or goes to the gym. If that is all yes, then definitely A3. but if he will just use watch to record trainings, gps track and HR, and is happy to use the computer for all the settings and transfer, go for A2.

      Personally, hr at swimming and going to gym, and not needing to have a watch on your wrist is great. Notifications are great, as I always have my phone on silent. Just have to wait few more months for the android version.

  168. flanker

    Something I can’t make out from the review, the tables or the comments is whether the Ambit3 be recharged during an activity (from a USB power pack or solar charger) without (a) interrupting data recording and (b) still allowing the data fields to be visible?

    Can anyone advise?

  169. Asís

    I cannot understand what hold Suunto from releasing the android app. One of my main reasons for buying the Ambit 3 instead of the Ambit 2 (Currently I use a Garmin FR305) is its ability to be managed by a smartphone, but I am an android user. I will wait until they release the android app, but if in the meantime something else comes out, Suunto will lose the sale.
    If I were Suunto, I would release it before black Friday.

    • Nuno Pinto

      I am also waiting for the Android App…but meanwhile decided to buy Ambit 3, I hope I don’t regret it because I was also very positive on POLAR V800, still are…
      I believe that the issue with Android app is twofold, on one side you have a lot of different hardware platforms and different versions of android, on the other hand you have a lack of support for smart Bluetooth. That could be the reason for the release of the andoid app just for Lollipop (5.x).
      For IOS it;s so easy, one hardware platform, and compatibility starting from 4S.
      In case you want to have android support already then try the GARMIN, It even supports WiFi.

    • Asaf

      Something that must be obvious for a US consumer, but puzzles me: how can Suunto, or any other company can lose a sale if you bought and used a product? Can you return it regardless of usage? Who receives it once returned? I mean, assuming it’s working and all…

    • Generally speaking it goes back to the company. Here’s how Garmin deals with it: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Hawker

      Hi Ray

      Thanks for your awesome review once again, do you have a similar post for the Suunto HQ?

    • Sorta but not really, this is the closest: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Doesn’t cover returns though.

  170. Mark

    I own an AMBIT 3 Peak Sapphire, the watch is around 90g. I don’t have any experience swimming with any weights on my wrist, and haven’t brought it to the pool yet. Does anyone find it hard to swim with a GPS watch?

  171. Murilo

    Awesome review. It helped me out a lot.
    The lady at the store told me to jump on your website to get any help. You might be very good. LOL
    I sat up my Ambit3 Peak. I’m just having a problem connecting with my Iphone 4. On the phone I get a message saying my phone hasn’t bluetooth even though its on.
    Have you heard something about it?
    Thank you.

  172. Sean

    Hi Ray,

    Your reviews are great and given me a lot of information, but it has also made my decision making process a little harder. What would you do? Ambit 2 or Ambit 3 Sport? I have an Android phone, so no need yet for BT functionality however the future potential is there. I’m not an Ironman, so maybe I don’t need all the features. And being in South Africa, the price difference is massive and a deciding factor ($417 for Ambit 2 and $587 Ambit 3). Which would you suggest?


    • If you’re not going to use the Android component, then I’d really heavily look at the Ambit2 instead. Especially if you’re not into swimming either (with the HR tracking). And since the activity monitoring piece isn’t super-great compared to a $50 tracker, you could probably supplement that in that manner instead.

    • Sean

      Thanks Ray. I would like to get more seriously into triathlons and think the BT option is pretty cool. But if that is the only major difference between the two watches, I think the Ambit 2 will be fine.

    • Hawker

      Hi Sean

      Chat to Oliver at iWarehouse, He did me a fantastic deal.

      Rather keep up with technology is my advice.

      The Android app is imminent surely.

  173. Kenny strain

    I bought myself an Ambit 3 for Christmas. Sitting in a box for Santa to deliver….

    I’ve kept reading the comments on the thread and was wondering if there is anyone that actually likes using the watch or thinks it is a good piece of kit? All that seems to get posted are problems with the watch.

    Considering sending it back now.

    • Michi

      Hi Kenny,

      I’ve owned an Ambit, Ambit2 and now an Ambit3 Peak. As a triathlete, the Ambit3 is finally the watch I’ve waited for. I love it!

  174. Neal

    Kenny I can answer that for you

    I think it is a very good watch but here is a brief summary

    1 – Great Quality product, looks great and feels well built
    2- Battery is excellent, I mean I wear it all the time apart from sleeping, train 12-15 hours a week (mix of GPS and inside 50/50), leave notifications on all the time during the day and the battery after 7 days is still about 30% which is when I charge it – Brilliant
    3 – Notifications are very useful when cycling you can see who is calling you, i find it also great at work when i get skype calls and it sais who is calling so i can walk back to my desk to answer the call or not..
    4 – GPS pickup is also the best i have ever used, 10 secs, 5 secs 15secs max to get the satellites
    5 – The app is pretty good and is pretty solid connection wise but it still lacks a few features from movecount (I think they will get there in the next few months)

    6 – The activity monitor is ok but could be 1000 times better – maybe it will come, maybe not, I hope it will
    7 – Swim recording for drills indoors is a little odd, with a garmin it ignores all strokes and you add the lengths manually at the end of the drill, with the Ambit it sort of records some and not others so you have to kind of keep track, but generally it works and if i make a set of 200m intervals i get the time for the 200m which for me is the main point… Garmin dos it a bit better however
    8 – you get 3 fields per screen, it should be four or have an option for 4, no idea why they do not do this, for running and riding 4 is perfect and means you need just 1 screen while racing for all key fields. the garmin has 4.
    9 – Because its bluetooth you can only pair it to one device at a time, well i mean you can only pair there HRM to the watch and not say your watch and another bike head unit. I overcame this by buying the Wahoo Tickr which allows me to use the ambit and garmin 500 together along with my stages PM and Wahoo Speed Sensor. I like the Garmin Edge 500 for my bike leg in triathlons..

    Would I buy it again – Yes for sure 100%
    Its a top level watch which just needs to software refinements
    I had the Garmin 620 and had lots of issues with Accuracy and generally it felt like a watch made of plastic and this watch feels somehow special

    Feeling special makes you go faster :)

    Hope that helps

    • Michi

      Neal, there is absolutely no problem connecting the HR belt and bike PODs at the same time.

      And for indoor swimming – it works perfectly. I swam 7500m in a 25m pool so far and I’m only 50m off – because I stopped a short time in the middle of the pool two times. One the belt is a bit of a problem: when swimming fast, it will come off – I now wear a triathlon top, this works without any problems.

  175. Neal


    Just to clarify if what i wrote was unclear, you cannot connect the HRM with two separate devices, AKA the Ambit and a Garmin Edge 500 even though the HR belt contains an Ant+ and BT chipset.

    On the swimming the drills section is what I am referring to not general swimming
    General swimming is good but using it for drills is odd, it records some drills and normal swimming and some drills it does not record. It even says so in the manual so its a planned feature… strange I think

    • Dominick


      I can’t speak on the Suuno HR strap but with the Scosche I am getting HR data on both the Ambit and the Fenix 2 concurrently. Using both the ANT+ and the BT chipsets at the same time.

  176. Kenny strain

    Neal, michi, thanks for your thoughts on it. Seems its a good bit of kit then with a few niggles…

  177. Neal

    Yes of course you can use a different HRM, I do this and use the Wahoo Tickr as I mentioned.
    The issue is its just a shame they don’t enable the HRM ant+ chip as it contains both chips inside acording to Ray that is.

  178. Nuno Pinto

    Any ideas for when a new firmware will be available ? I am expecting some improvements on the daily tracker, steps, calories, past information, sync with movescout…

  179. Alex

    First of all – let me congratulate you for having THE best gps watch reviews i have seen around. I am myself a kind of techy person and highly appreciate the extensive description that i can find. I have been reading the website since 2011 – and finally after a lot of soul searching and argumentation have agreed on the product that will hopefully cover all my needs – needs that are not actually needs but more of nice to have. So would like to thank you for that.

    Secondly – going to clever training for the purchase – wanted to let you know that i could not make use of the 10% reduction coupon as there was no option where to input. Have sent an email to sales support as well so looking forward to see if this could be resolved.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!!!

    • Thanks Alex!

      For the discount code, it’s on the page after you add the product to your cart. Or, from the general shopping cart page. You’ll see the ‘Discount Code’ option towards the bottom. Once you add it and apply the discount, it’ll reflect the discount at the bottom of the page. Here’s a screenshot I just took: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Hope this helps!

    • Alex

      Thanks a lot mate!!

      Not sure but the view was a bit different, probable because i went directly to my cart after selection.

      To my surprise, as highlighted to support within an email as well, they were kind enough to apply the discount post-transaction – so that i can benefit from the reduction coupon. Great team and much appreciate.


  180. Hadi

    Hi Ray,

    Does ambit 3 record number of strokes per pool length ? it’s important for me but I can’t find it after swimming.

  181. Nuno Pinto

    Just finish my first trail-run using the AMBIT 3 to guide me on a track previously done on mountain bike.
    I am really surprised and happy with the accuracy and reliability of the watch. The only drawbacks are the lack of zooming, there is only 200mts or the full track option, also when you are on the 200mt view, an arrow should be visible so that you know where to follow when the track is crossing over the track.
    The movescout is also a little limited on the track design…It´s better to create the track on an alternative tool and then import it. The other limitation is that when you import a track to movescout, any waypoints are lost…

    • Pablo


      I found the same to be true. I am testing the fenix 2 as well as the ambit. So far the fenix is winning the battle! 2 more weeks left to test

  182. skip paul

    There’s one other difference, that I’ve found, between the Ambit Peak and the Sport which hasn’t been noted in this review.

    The Sport lists “Water resistance 50 m (according to ISO 6425)”, while the Peak lists ”
    Water resistance 100 m (according to ISO 6425)”.

    As Michi noted above, water resistance is pretty critical for windsurfers, especially those of us who wave sail. The Fenix2 lists 5 ATM or 50 meters.

    I’ve seen a few custom applications for the ambit 3 for both surfing and windsurfing which do things like track wave count or max speed.

    Rip Curl just came out with a new surfing specific GPS watch which supports features like: wavecount, distance surfed, time surfed, top speed, gps tracking, syncs to your smartphone and ships with tides at “1,360 locations” and is water resistant up to 100 m.
    link to ripcurl.com

    I’m curious to see DCR review this watch, but without having used any of these 3 watches, I think I’m going for the Ambit3 peak saphire for the following reasons:

    1: It’s the most water resistant.
    2: While you may not scratch your watch running or swimming in a Tri, getting tumbled around with your windsurfing gear in a wave is a different story.
    3: I also run so i need the features available in the Fenix/Ambit which aren’t available in the Rip Curl.
    4: It looks like custom apps can deliver most of the surfing/windsurfing specific features in the Rip Curl. Per Michi’s comment, without live internet connectivity to iWindsurf, swellinfo etc., the tide information doesn’t get me much.
    5: I’m concerned about reliability issues in the Fenix2, although perhaps that’s less of an issue now.

  183. pajic

    I bought Power Tap BLE SPD/CAD sensor in Europe 3 weeks ago for the
    purpose of its use with Suunto Ambit 3 during the indoor (not only)
    training on rollers.
    Unfortunately, I´m not able to pair the device with Ambit A3 (also not
    with iPhone but I guess it´s not relevant now).
    I feel I have tried everything – I changed the battery, I switched the
    battery as instructed on the picture inside for 3secs (or more) …
    Any idea where could be the problem ? I would be very happy if you
    would help me to fix it and enjoy my new setup :-)

    • Can you try pairing it first with an iPhone app? Try the free Wahoo Fitness iPhone app, it’s perfect for test pairing.

    • pajic

      Hi Ray, thanks for your idea. Unfortunately, it doesn´t work – I can´t find any sensor there (in ensor management section), even HR belt which works normally with A3. Would you have an idea what I´m doing wrong ? Thanks in advance !

  184. Velibor

    As quite large Ambit community is gathered here with lots of knowledge, I was wondering if anyone knows, why I can’t synchronize sports modes? I own Ambit3 Peak Sapphire. I made the necessary changes on Movescount webpage (unchecked unneeded sports modes and created one new), but after performing Moveslink2 synchronization, the changes are not visible on Ambit (I still have all the default Excersises to choose from).

    BTW I had lots of problems with repeated “Data download failed” error in Moveslink2, but managed to solve it by following this link to bit.ly.

    • Velibor

      Solved all my problems by uninstalling Moveslink, deleting Suunto folder, disconnecting Ambit and logging off domain user and log in as local user in Windows. Then installed ML2 and all was good. Go figure..

      I’m a happy Ambit 3 user now after all the fuss :-)

  185. LAP

    the swimming caching does not seem to work on the ios app. Is it only supported on the ambit3?

  186. Adam

    First off, superb review as always.

    I have read all your reviews of the best multi sport watches and I am still undecided on what I am going to purchase.

    It’s mountain biking, running off/on road and road biking (lesser) plus trekking that are my main uses.

    I was decided on the garmin 920xt and then researched the ambit 2/3 and fenix 2 (read a lot about GPS issues on this one)

    Personally don’t race so its purely personal training that i want it for and currently can not decide.

    Which would you recommend? Price is not the ultimate decider.

    Sorry for the difficult question.

    • Marios

      If I can chime in, I was on the same boat as you but I ultimately decided to get the Ambit3 Peak (Black). I have been a Garmin user for a while but I finally gave up on them as I don’t trust the brand anymore. I don’t believe that the 920xt will be bug free and if you want objective proof, check the release notes of the firmware updates on the Garmin units. For example, the Fenix2 up until very recently had problems keeping track of *time*, believe it or not (fixed on version 3.90:
      link to www8.garmin.com)

      Anyway, again this is just my personal opinion and good luck with your decision. I am very happy with the Ambit3.

  187. luka

    Great review Roy.

    Can u say to me how SA3 HR strap works in pool , is there any problems with sync after the swimming?
    How long is it takes to SA3 sync HR for HRstrap , for exemp. i swim 1km than i make pause 1 min ,and then swim again, so can he make synch in pause ?

    Cheers from Serbia .

  188. Hawker

    Hi Ray

    I finally got my Ambit3, I am very happy with it.

    There are a few comments I have so far, you might have addressed some of them, sorry for the duplication.

    On other GPS devices there is a man overboard shortcut/function used for all sorts of different scenarios; creating a track, marking a good fishing spot etc. I have tried to find it on the ambit 3. I guess the GPS is not always on so it might be from that stand point that it was not included, but it would be a great feature, like for example it could be as easy as holding the view and start stop buttons together until a signal is found and a MOB is saved.

    Sport modes like kayaking and coneing do not support a stroke function, this would be so easy. I know that apps have been created to feature this, but really there must be so many other sports not only swimming that would benefit from strokes, in fact I think it would be a game changer for the professional kayaking fraternity as they still count strokes over a given distance.

    lastly i had a quick swim and am going to devise a pad that fits onto the HRM to stop it from flipping over. Might look a bit funny but might work a treat, I will send details when done and tested.

    Thanks again for the great review. looking forward to many more.

    • moreno74it

      MOB : if i well understand your request, this is done (out from sportmode, on “every day watch mode”) by setting the homescreen shortcut to “navigation” – “position” – “current” . It worked for me.
      If you need it in to a sport-mode, unfortunately there is no way to write on poi’s memory (i always desired this kind of functionality :-( ) but there are a Suunto functions to show current coordinates, so you could create an app that “save” suunto.latitude and suunto.longitude in to variables when you press a lap and show them on screen (there is no real way to save them).

    • Hawker

      Thanks moreno74it

      its actually not that bad, quite quick.

    • Ramin


      Marco, I bought an v800 online and before receiving it is a my friends ambit3 sapphire and fell in love. I personally don’t like the look of v800 compared to sapphire ambit3, but I hear a lot of negative stuff about th software and such, any warning signs that should prevent me from exchanging my v800 to ambit3 sapphire

  189. Jasper

    Hi there,

    Really, your reviews are awesome, you take ‘in-depth review’ to a whole other level here!

    (my apologies for the long comment/question)

    I’m also one of the people doubting between the Fenix2 and the Ambit3. When I first start looking for new GPS sports-watch (I got a rather cheap one from Geonaut) in september, my eye fell on the Fenix2, good looking and it has the lot. So I started reading your review and eventually came to this review. After reading this one and the comments I started to doubt once again, now in favor of the Ambit3.

    Reading here and on Garmin forums, people complain a lot about the stability of the Fenix2, but like you said Ray, there are more Fenix2 users and with a forum of Garmin, it is more likely that people post bad things about the Fenix2… Still you keep those comments in mind.

    I would use the watch for Skiing (about 2 times a year), hiking ( also about 2 times a year), and running (just started), cycling (on a road bike, started in May) and perhaps swimming.

    I really don’t care about getting an ANT+ device or bluetooth smart (don’t have any sensors yet so).

    My cons for Fenix2:
    – has an including extra large strap for ski trips
    – can upload simple geographic maps to the watch
    – can setup your watch, through the watch itself :) (not through an app, or? I forgot :/ )
    – vibrate

    Cons for Ambit3:
    – apparently better battery life
    – keeps track of HR in long track mode (this gives the watch a more ‘whole’-feeling, not giving in on functionality by adjusting just the GPS settings..) [The Fenix2 lac’s this feature which is unfortunately]
    – HR swimming ( actually not important for me, but it’s a nice feature improvement)
    – can setup the watch entirely through a website (I think at the beginning to setup the watch, this is the easiest and quickest ways) and through an app

    However there are still some things unclear for me: like the GPS interval. The charts says variable for the Ambit3 and for the Fenix2 1S-variable, whats the difference exactly. Also can you set the interval on something like 45s, or 20?

    I had another few questions while reading, and pro’s and con’s about each watch, but forgot them :).

    I would like the advice of the people here, what to get?

    I almost was convinced for the Ambit3, but price ranges come in mind now..
    Here (Belgium) the Fenix2 HR costs €379 (471,91$) and the Ambit3 HR(peak, black, which I would take because it leans more towards the Fenix2) costs €499 (621.33$)… This is a big difference, which is taking over control of my decision..

    Any thoughts here?

    Thanks in advance!


    • Nuno

      Hi, I am also in Belgium, I was between tge Fenix 2, Amblt 3 and Polar V800 the Fenix, after a lot of thinking, I decided that the risk of getting something faulty was to big. There is just to much negative comments about it.
      I have been always a POLAR user, I think tha V800 and Ambit3 are great watches. I personally do not like the app on suunto. It’s not a replacement for a built in app. Also the move scout website lacks some features. Polar is also still working to improve the website. But I like the design of the V800 better. In the long run it depends on how much both companies will improve the software ln the watches. Ambit activity tracker sucks in comparations with v800, but navigation is a little better on ambit for now. To sumarize, check the V800 and the Ambit

    • Jasper

      Hi, thanks for the reply! I must say I don’t really like the look of the V800, but besides that (because in this price range you should definitely look at functions and so on) I like an daily activity tracker, because it gives the watch a more day to day use, but it’s not as that important for me.. So I wont be looking at that feature as a selling point.
      Still I appreciate your feedback, it gives me stuff to think about and another perspective!

      On the V800 review you also read about people going to that watch, instead of Fenix2, so really start to get the feeling that the Fenix2 isn’t the best pick… but the price difference is actually so damn big between Ambit3 Peak and Fenix2… Damn hard decision to make!

      thanks Nuno!

    • Marco

      Personally I own an Ambit 3 Peak Sapphire, and am very happy with it. It is a beautiful watch, and can be used for many occasions. It is also very solid. The Bluetooth Smart protocol is solid, and I have had no issues with it, swimming, running, biking.

      The only issue I had originally is that I wasn’t used to having a watch of this size on my wrist, but now its no issue at all, and doesn’t feel or appear big anymore.
      I really like the design. The strap is amazing etc. The caseback is a tiny bit deep, and originally it felt a little odd, but now it is no issue – the watch feels very snug now.

      Functionality, its perfect. And that’s the point of these watches, they are exercise watches.

      My recommendation is don’t stress over it. I’d recommend going with the Ambit, you go wrong (watch-wise). At the end of the day it is just a watch though, even with all the little features, and it is very expensive for a watch. But, it is a solid piece of technology, and seems like it is built to last.

      You probably can’t go wrong with either choosing the Ambit or Polar though.

      I haven’t played around with the Movescount app, I just sync to the website and configure from there. I haven’t had any issues with it in my limited use.

    • Marco2

      Just wanted to add something to my previous post. While the Ambit is a very nice looking watch, you are still buying a tool overall. While training, I don’t care about the look of my Ambit anymore, I only care about it’s reliability (which is never lets me down so far).
      If the Polar V800 is comparable in functionality, and robustness as the Ambit then that may be a good decision. But I know nothing about the V800.

      Personally (again), I don’t think you can go wrong with the Ambit 3 though. People complain a little about Movescount, but I have no issues, and it seems like a nice community of athletes as well (which is something else I like about Suunto).

      Good luck in your decision. If you have other questions about the watch, or want to see it, I can add you on Skype and show you it more.


    Hello Suunto user, I am planning to get a speed/cadence sensor,, of course, it must run BLE.
    Can someone help me with a device that has been tested. I am in Europe so I was able to find the following ones on sales: wahoo, and topeak and many others, but cant find information about compatibility (except the wahoo).


    • Neal

      I use the Wahoo one and it works perfectly, I would recommend it, you can also connect it simultaneously to a Ant+ head unit (which is what i do with my Garmin 500)

    • Goran

      Or you can go with Bontrager Combo sensor, I just mounted it yesterday, and it works perfectly on A3.

    • Nuno

      Neal, at amazon.de I can find the following 2 models:
      -Wahoo Fitness Sensor for speed cadence SC II Bluetooth 4.0, Matte Black, 4096
      -Wahoo Fitness Sensor Blue Sc Smart for speed and cadence, charcoal black, 4064

      Which one do you have ??

    • Nuno

      I can’t find the bontrager model where I live.
      As anyone tryed any other brand ???
      I like the Topeak PanoBike .

    • Neal


      Sorry I do not know the answer, I checked the unit and the box but it does not say. I did however purchase it from wahoo ‘s website. I suggest you do the same. Here is the link. link to eu.wahoofitness.com

    • Sunil

      Hi Neal

      I have a Wahoo speed/cadence sensor too. It pairs to my Ambit3 but doest collect Cadence data during the ride. I paired it Bikepod1.

      Any pointers will help.


  191. stefan

    could anyone confirm if the ambit 3 can record power from a wahoo kickr and display a graph on movescount (not just avg and max-values)

  192. Björn

    Hi! First of all, great review! Been looking at giving my partner a heart rate monitor as a Christmas present and I am up for this watch because she is a swimmer. However, she also does alot of strength and HIIT workouts. Does this watch cover them both? Thanks for your help!

    • Yes, from a calorie standpoint it’ll accurately measure calories during those workouts. I’d just create a new workout mode for just strength/indoor training and go from there.

  193. LB

    I just bought the Ambit3 Sport and am unable to install the Moveslink2 software on my Windows 7 SP1 PC. I keep getting the message ” an error has occurred trying to download …”

    My new watch is unusable until I can solve this problem. Can anyone help?

    • Nuno

      I would try to install on another computer connected on the same network.

    • Nuno

      I am also curious about your problem as I am also planning to get one of those sensor from wahoo. I noticed that on amazon there are 2 diferrent models:
      -Wahoo Fitness Sensor for speed cadence SC II Bluetooth 4.0, Matte Black, 4096
      -Wahoo Fitness Sensor Blue Sc Smart for speed and cadence, charcoal black, 4064

  194. Sunil Rongala

    Hi Ray

    Love your site. Thank you for all you do.

    Quick question. I have an Ambit 3 and I bought the Wahoo Fitness SC Cycling Speed & Cadence Sensor since you said it worked for you. I successfully paired the sensor with the watch (Bike Pod 1) but for some reason it doesn’t seem to send cadence data during the ride. What am I doing wrong? Any help would be much appreciated.



  195. Simon Barnard

    I’m a regular but not exceptional runner. I have just purchased the reviewed watch, sport version. One thing I cannot see or find, does the watch give an audible signal every time I complete a KM like my Garmin did, it used to ring. Really useful for me to keep track of how far I have run. Thanks.

    • Marios

      Hi Simon. By default it doesn’t. You need to go to Movescount.com and under Gear, select the sport mode you want to customize (I assume you use, “Running” or “Run a route”), click on “Show advanced settings” and enable “Use autolap” and enter 1.0Km as the autolap distance. Then sync your Ambit3 and that should do it.

  196. Simon Barnard

    Cheers Marios, I have added the option….I shall try it out in the morning, when I run where I live Wokingham UK, west of London by about 45 miles. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

  197. LB

    Further to my previous post, i.e. can’t install Movelink2 on Windows & PC. Suunto support told me to just wait as the problem is at their end.
    A search of the web yielded many suggestions none of which worked. Until I found this: Download the setup.exe file and save it. Go to the download folder and right click on the setup.exe file. Select “Run as Administrator.” It worked! I was able to attach my watch, sync it and modify the settings etc.
    Today I launched Movelink2 again and got the dreaded “Moveslink2 has stopped working” message from windows. I followed the above procedure again and it worked. Moments later I got a Windows message from the Visual C++ Runtime Library that the Moveslink2 app “had asked Runtime to terminate it in an unusual way. Please contact the application’s support team for more information.”
    This stuff is beyond my level of IT expertise. Does anyone have a solution?
    Good news I can use my watch (for now). I hope. Bad news Movelink2 is “buggy.”

    • moreno74it

      Try by creating a new windows user (memebers of administrators group) and eventually reinstalling there moveslink2 .
      I would also try to temporary stopping antivirus and similars (be sure that your system isn’t infected yet).
      Good luck.

    • Nuno Pinto

      Have you tried a different computer. As a former POLAR user, one of the things that scared me on SUUNTO is the almost complete dependence an internet connected computer.

    • LB

      I am the only user and I am the administrator. Disabling firewall and virus scanner didn’t work either. Thanks for replying.

    • LB

      What watch do you use now? Are you pleased with it?

    • Nuno

      LB,I have an AMBIT PEAK 3, before that I had a couple of POLAR. My opinion about this watch:Reliable, good performance, good pack of features. On the other hand, I am disapointed that SUUNTO is taking some much time to launch and android app, and above that, just for lollipop (5.0). suunto must still improve the activity tracker, intervals configuration, zoom while navigating is still not sufficient….
      I hope that the next firmware brings some improvements, if not I will consider POLAR V800.

    • LB

      Nuno: I’m just getting to know the Ambit3 Sport. There is lots to learn. The Suunto Mobile App is very useful. I used it for basic adjustments until I was able to get Moveslink2 to install and operate, sort of. I think you will enjoy your watch more when the Android app is available.
      I hope Suunto fixes the issues with Moveslink2 soon or I may have to get rid of this watch. I returned my Garmin 620 after it “crashed” on two consecutive workouts. I also had a Timex GPS watch which was defective and could not be charged.

    • LB

      Nuno: I am just getting used to my Ambit3 Sport. There is a lot to learn. I hope that Suunto will get the Android mobile app ready soon. I think it will make your watch much more enjoyable.
      The mobile app is really useful. I used it to get my watch working for me until I was able to install Moveslink2, sort of.
      I hope Suunto fixes the issues with Moveslink2 very soon or I will have to return this watch. I returned my Garmin 620 after it “crashed” on two consecutive workouts. I had a Timex GPS watch which arrived “dead” and could not be charged.

  198. Brodie Gardner

    Great review as always Ray.
    I know there’s already been mention of the Wahoo Tickr and Tickr X pairing with the Ambit3 already regarding HR which seems to work partially (or has this improved with updates??), but just wondering if the Ambit 3 will show the run metrics live from the Tickr. Cheers

  199. Huub Raemakers

    Does anybody think that in the future Suunto wil implement te possibility to have 2 big datafields in one screen?
    I think the upper en lower datafiels are hard to read when you are running. But maybe it is my age :)

    • Marios

      Huub, I completely agree with you and I would LOVE to have 2 big datafields! The small numbers are very hard to read while running, especially since the mineral glass face is so reflective.

  200. 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.

  201. 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)…?

  202. 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,


  203. 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?



  204. 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.

  205. 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.

  206. 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.

  207. 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.

  208. 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!

  209. 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.

  210. 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

  211. 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.