In brief then, an independent review of the AMBIT3.
If instead you are looking for a review of the triathlon functionality of the AMBIT3 Sport then look <here> for quite a bit more info and detail on triathlon-related aspects. Otherwise read on…
There were a few similar Ambit3 models released at the same time (Sep 2014) but the Ambit3 Sport should come in a bit shy of £300 (£210 April 2015) complete with the new, slightly reduced in size, Suunto SMART Belt / Sensor / HR Chest strap which is reviewed in boringly minute detail <here>.
The other models are all pretty similar. As a triathlete you might err towards the Ambit3 Peak (top-of-the-range: £300 on Amazon March 2015) watch or Suunto Ambit3 Sport HR (triathlon FUNCTIONALITY review of the AMBIT3 Sport HERE).
Edit: June 2015: V2.0 Firmware updates have significantly improved the watch which now incorporates market-leading recovery/readiness and other functionality.
What is it then?
If you are new to Suunto then I would describe it as a multisport, adventure, wrist-based watch that provides connectivity through Bluetooth. It can also be an ACTIVITY/Steps TRACKER and can, of course, link to clever stuff on your smart phone.
If you already have a Suunto then it’s an upgrade to the Ambit2 – evolution not revolution.
When used ONLY with the new and very special Suunto Bluetooth SMART Sensor / HR Strap, it can also record HR underwater. (The special strap stores HR data while you swim and then uploads it to the watch when it can later; cool!). In fact the strap is planned to upload directly to ios/android (planned April 2015…or so I was told but this has not materialized).
If you already know Suunto then you may well already have ANT+ kit and you might be surprised to see a lack of ANT+ sensor support in the Ambit3. Any ANT+ only sensors you have from the Ambit2 will no longer work with the Ambit3 :-(. However you could invest in the 4iiii Viiiiva V100 Heart Rate Monitor which ‘converts’ the ANT+ signal to Bluetooth SMART FROM ANT+ sensors (shown in the image above).
Officially the Ambit3 ONLY SUPPORTS BLUETOOTH SMART.
As with many new releases, there will be more features as firmware is updated, the unit to me looks like an incremental features upgrade to the Ambit2. These feature stood out to me as being of interest:
- Usage: Still it doesn’t have vibration alerts, oh dear, but does have audible alerts. (Garmin & Polar have these)
- Usage: HR strap is R-R and records data per second (or 10s). Can also show real-time EPOC and VO2 data. (Pre-920XT, Suunto wins here) Training Effect and recovery times being shown after your exercise (as can Fenix2 and V800 and the 910XT – the latter to a degree).
- Usage: Battery life is claimed as about 4 weeks in ‘time’/’watch’ mode or 16-50 hours in ‘GPS’ mode (Up there with Polar but ahead of the 910XT, probably lags the 920XT).
- Usage: Cadence, running efficiency (app) and average stride length (app) can also be shown.
- Usage: Increased memory over the Ambit2
- Underwater: The watch is good to 50m (that’s all you need). The strap will move when you push off from the pool-side unless you have it covered with a one-piece suit i.e. you are a woman and/or you are in a wetsuit. I have tried this with the strap being super-tight, no joy, they still often slip.
- Connectivity: No Android App until Mar 2015. The iPhone app can manage setting ‘remotely’ from the watch and will be further updated in 2015.
Gerald gives more video review info:
- Connectivity: Does not include Live Tracking [ 🙁 sad face for many of you who will want the Fenix2 or 920XT for that]
- Connectivity: Data will still be transferred to an improved Movescount. You can use your smartphone as a display (3Peak 3Sport) indeed your iphone can display moves that have not yet been sync’d to Movescount.
- Some of the stuff you already know about like over 200 customisable 3rd party apps (eg pool lengths counter), recovery stats, ability to turn your Move into a movie, get notifications on your watch..basically lots of nice stuff but these are mostly either a bit gimmicky, if you are a serious athlete, OR they should be on the watch anyway (for a triathlete).
Suunto tends to deliver more stable products than new products from other manufacturers. If you like the Suunto Ambit2 you will want one of these. If you are new to triathlon you might want one of these, as you might also if you are a bit of an off-roady adventure type person. If, like me, you want HR in open water then you might consider this. If you’ve just invested several hundred pounds in ANT+ sensors you won’t buy one of these without buying an additional piece of kit like the 4iiii Viiiiva V100 to ‘convert’ the signal – wouldn’t that ‘extra step’ for the data be an unnecessary risk to add to the list of things that can go wrong or run out of battery?
To dive into the detailed specification for specific features that YOU might need look at the resources below, or perhaps click (here) to look in more detail at the triathlon functionality of the Ambit 3 SPORT model.
Price Comparison and Price Resources
Here are price trends and comparisons, which I personally think are interesting.
For many other suppliers’ watches you will see continual falls over time. The AMBIT3 seems to maintain a £20 price range (April 2015)
These comparison prices are for most of the main competing products.
|Watches Comparison July 7th 2015||Amazon||UK||Amazon2||USA|
|Adidas MiCoach Smart Run||£209.99||Link||$188.00||Link|
|BRYTON 60H / S430||£174.90||Link||$199.00||Link|
|Fitbit Charge HR||£105.00||Link||$149.95||Link|
|Garmin Edge 1000||£390.84||Link||$599.99||Link|
|Garmin Edge 520||TBC||TBC|
|Garmin Edge 510||£249.36||Link||$304.95||Link|
|Garmin Edge 810||£223.33||Link||$394.95||Link|
|Garmin Edge 25||£139.99||Link||$169.99||Link|
|Garmin Edge 20||£109.99||Link||$129.99||Link|
|Garmin Fenix3 (Sapphire)||£385.00||Link||$589.95||Link|
|Garmin Forerunner 220||£158.09||Link||$236.99||Link|
|Garmin Forerunner 620||£248.24||Link||$388.28||Link|
|Garmin Forerunner 630||TBC|
|Garmin 910 XT||£232.49||Link||$318.11||Link|
|Garmin 920 XT||£302.65||Link||$483.00||Link|
|Mio Alpha 2||£117.71||Link||$199.00||Link|
|Suunto Ambit 3 PEAK||£277.51||Link||$381.10||Link|
|Suunto Ambit 3 Sport||£194.95||Link||$319.95||Link|
|Suunto Ambit 2R||£151.64||Link||$167.16||Link|
|TomTom MultiSport Cardio||£179.99||Link||$246.99||Link|
|TomTom Runner Cardio||£161.99||Link||$199.99||Link|
MEDIA + OTHER RESOURCES
Gerald’s Youtube Review of the Suunto Ambit3
Here is the underwater HR syncing after a pool session (dc rainmaker). Note this is syncing to the watch and then to the app. Syncing directly to the app is coming in 2015, apparently.
Here is the pretty HD teaser from Suunto. Looks great but does not tell you very much really.
More info from Gerald on syncing on the move