I’m DC RAINMAKER…
I swim, bike and run. Then, I come here and write about my adventures. It’s as simple as that. Most of the time. If you’re new around these parts, here’s the long version of my story.
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Smart Trainers Buyers Guide: Looking at a smart trainer this winter? I cover all the units to buy (and avoid) for the 2019-2020 indoor training season. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
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I have built an extensive list of my most frequently asked questions. Below are the most popular.
- Why haven’t you yet released a review for XYZ product you mentioned months ago?
- Will you test our product before release?
- Are you willing to review or test beta products?
- Which trainer should I buy?
- Which GPS watch should I buy?
- I’m headed to Paris – what do you recommend for training or sightseeing?
- I’m headed to Washington DC – what do you recommend for training?
- I’m from out of the country and will be visiting the US, what’s the best triathlon shop in city XYZ?
- What kind of camera do you use?
- What are your least favorite countries/places?
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Here’s my most recent gadget recommendations guide (Winter 2019-2020 edition) and trainers here (Winter 2019-2020 edition) – covering almost every category of sports gadgets out there. Looking for the equipment I use day to day? I also just put together my complete ‘Gear I Use’ equipment list, from swim to bike to run and everything in between (plus a few extra things). And to compliment that, here’s The Girl’s (my wife’s) list. Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by!
The most common question I receive outside of the “what’s the best GPS watch for me” variant, are photography-esq based. So in efforts to combat the amount of emails I need to sort through on a daily basis, I’ve complied this “My Photography Gear” post for your curious minds! It’s a nice break from the day to day sports-tech talk, and I hope you get something out of it!
Many readers stumble into my website in search of information on the latest and greatest sports tech products. But at the end of the day, you might just be wondering “What does Ray use when not testing new products?”. So here is the most up to date list of products I like and fit the bill for me and my training needs best! DC Rainmaker 2019 swim, bike, run, and general gear list. But wait, are you a female and feel like these things might not apply to you? If that’s the case (but certainly not saying my choices aren’t good for women), and you just want to see a different gear junkies “picks”, check out The Girl’s 2018 Gear Guide too.
Tag Archives: Suunto
There’s only two words to describe the just announced Suunto 7 GPS watch: Hail Mary. How this story ends will take a few years to flesh out, but just as most Hail Mary attempts, it only ends in one of … Read More Here
Here’s a couple of updates that have trickled across my desk over the last two days that I figure are worth chatting a moment about. Some of them also have some catches as well, so while you might have seen … Read More Here
The Suunto 5 takes the best endurance features of the Suunto 9, but adds in new functionality not seen on the higher end watch. Here’s all the details you need to know. Read More Here
While this was a busy week when it came to new product reviews, there was a small undercurrent of notable sports tech news this past week that my brain couldn’t quite squirt onto the page. But…now that time has come. … Read More Here
Two days ago Suunto announced plans to retire their online training platform, Movescount, sometime around Summer 2020 (~18 months from now). Instead, users will use the newer Suunto online platform (previously called Sports Tracker – no relation to SportTracks). That’s … Read More Here
The easy title for this post would simply be “Suunto adds TrainingPeaks support”, but that’d be both confusing and only half-correct. First, Suunto as a company has actually long sync’d to TrainingPeaks from their Movescount platform. That’s the platform that … Read More Here
Over the last few days Suunto has announced another new device this year (beyond the Suunto 3 Fitness from CES), this time adding a further model to the Spartan series. This new model is in many ways exactly like the … Read More Here
Today, on the eve of CES opening its doors, Suunto cracked the lid on their latest watch, the Suunto 3 Fitness. These small and incredibly lightweight watches are somewhat aimed to compete with the likes of Polar’s M430 watches, as well … Read More Here
Certain countries are known to have residents with exceedingly long names – in some cases 5-6 words/parts long. Finland however, is not typically one of those countries. But it appears that Suunto is aiming to grab that title in any … Read More Here
I think Suunto finally got their groove back. After what I’d argue as 1-2 years of being a bit lost, today they’ve nailed it with a product that hits the target audience perfectly and does so at an awesome price. … Read More Here
This past week at CES, Suunto introduced not one but two different products. Of course, it’s the Spartan Wrist HR watch that got most of the attention, complete with distracting green lights. But it was the almost not even mentioned … Read More Here
Yesterday Suunto announced further details of their Spartan series, including the addition of the Spartan Sport, which is basically the cheaper sibling of the Spartan Ultra. The Sport is at 499EUR, vs the Ultra at 649EUR. Neither include the kitchen … Read More Here
Today Suunto’s refreshing both its website as well as its flagship multisport GPS watch series. With the website, they’re making it a bit easier to find and plan new routes, while with the watch they’re giving it a color touchscreen. … Read More Here
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 … Read More Here
(My Ambit3 Full In-Depth Review is now published! Swing on over to that post for all the full details and analysis!) This morning Suunto has announced their latest endurance and multisport watch, the Suunto Ambit3. The watch incrementally builds on … Read More Here
This week Suunto became arguably the first major GPS watch maker to integrate directly with Strava. Not the first ever, but the first of the biggies (Polar, Suunto, Garmin, and to a degree, Timex). The implementation of automatic transfers to … Read More Here
Last Friday as I finished up my frozen adventures in Finland, I had a couple of hours after my work meetings wrapped up before my flight back home. So rather than spend that time hanging out in the Helsinki airport … Read More Here
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.