It’s been just over a year since the first Suunto Ambit came out (which for clarity I’ll use the term Ambit1 during this review), and during that time Suunto has made impressive progress on the original unit through a series of pre-announced and predictable (and even on time!) firmware updates. Today, Suunto has officially announced their latest addition to the lineup, the Ambit2 and Ambit2 S. With the new Ambit, Suunto is squarely taking aim at not only the ultra-running and hiking market that the Ambit1 targeted, but now – the triathlete. It introduces both indoor and openwater swimming functionality, as well as multisport mode. With a slew of other features, make no mistake that this is aimed directly at the Garmin FR910XT.
But, how well does it work? And can it knock the FR910XT off the top spot? Well, I’ve spent a lot of miles with the watch recently, and am here to give you all the details: Good, bad, and ugly.
Because I want to be transparent about my reviews – Suunto sent me two final retail units to try out (Ambit2 and Ambit2 S). Once I’m complete here, I’ll send this back to Finland and then go out and buy my own (to be able to support y’all in the comments section down the road). Simple as that. Sorta like hiking in wilderness trails – leave only footprints. If you find my review useful, you can use any of the Amazon or Clever Training links from this page to help support future reviews.
Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular triathlete out there. I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background (my day job), 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.
Because I’m covering two slightly different variations of the Ambit in this post, I’ll be doing two unboxing’s below, somewhat in concert.
Here are the two models. The Ambit2 is on the left, and the 2S is on the right. Apparently there was a mix-up and they sent me the original Ambit1 box for the Ambit2 S. Nonetheless, here they are:
On the back however, you’ll see in the SKU that it does list the 2S on the right side for the lime one. Perhaps they were trying to recycle old boxes. Shrug.
Taking a detour for just the full Ambit2 model, here’s its inner box removed from the outer shell:
Inside, you’ll find the watch looking up at you:
Below the watch is a compartment with all of the accessories included. This will vary slightly depending on whether or not you picked up the variant with the heart rate strap. Otherwise, you’ll still find the USB charging cable, and the manual.
Here’s a closer look at the Ambit2 (Sapphire):
And the back:
Switching back to the Ambit2 S, here’s its inner/outer box:
Inside you’ll find the 2S just like Ambit2:
Inside the box of the 2S you’ll find the USB charging cable, the manual, and depending on which variant you’ve bought – the heart rate strap.
And the backside of the 2S. You’ll see it’s essentially identical on the back to that of the Ambit1, and the Ambit2.
Looking at the common accessories, you’ve first got the USB charging clip. This four-pin charging clip simply bites onto the unit itself, and can be powered via any old USB wall outlet you have lying around – or a computer.
Then depending on which bundle you bought you’ll also have the HR strap. This includes the strap piece, and the little pod that snaps in between it:
Here’s how it snaps into place on both sides (in this photo, it’s half-snapped on the left-side):
Note that the Suunto strap included is NOT ANT+. Meaning the strap included is not compatible with any ANT+ devices you may have, instead, only working with other Suunto devices over a proprietary variant of ANT. That said however, if you do have an ANT+ strap (say you’re converting from being a Garmin/Timex/etc…. user), then that will work with the Ambit lineup (all Ambits). Good deal, huh?
Finally, you’ve got the manual. Unlike most companies in the sports technology world however, Suunto’s manual is actually really detailed and very solid. And in nine languages.
Now that everything is unpacked, let’s go ahead and look at how it compares in size to other units.
As you can see above, the watch face sizes are actually really similar across the most competitive units in this space: The Ambit’s and Fenix. Virtually indistinguishable. On the far sides we have other triathlon-focused watches with integrated GPS. At the far left is the Timex Global Trainer, then the Garmin FR310XT, then the Garmin FR910XT, then the Garmin Fenix. Continuing towards the right we have in silver the Suunto Ambit2 Sapphire, then the Ambit2 S Lime, then the original Ambit followed by the Magellan Switch Up. Both the Garmin FR910XT and the Magellan Switch up in these photos are utilizing the quick release kits.
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