Suunto Ambit3 Sport Review
The Suunto Ambit3 Sport is such a great watch, I fell in love with this thing within minutes of putting it on. Just exploring all the potential of it’s settings without even seeing them in action was exciting; my inner nerd could hardly contain her excitement. Once I got it out for a couple of runs and rides I was even more impressed. Mostly by the fact at how quickly it picked up a GPS signal, and having that realtime experience with my personal data.
So What’s In The Box?
Not much! Inside I found the Suunto Ambit3 Sport in Sapphire, a USB cable, a quick reference guide, and the warranty leaflet. The watch needs to be charged before use so I immediately connected it to a USB compatible wall plug and looked over the quick reference guide while I waited impatiently.
Suunto Ambit3 Sport Fitness Tracking
The Sunnto Ambit3 Sport has run, cycle and swim functions. There’s also a rollup exercise option for multi-sport/triathlon. It’s February so I never took this watch in the water but it has a water resistant rating of 50 meters/164 feet. The watch did see it’s fair share of H2O when I took it running on a precipitous day. I’ve killed so many devices in the rain including a few phones that I found it to be a huge relief that the Ambit3 was just as happy to be out there as I was.
After you get out there on the trails you can view your workout profile Suunto Ambit3 Sport’s Logbook. The Logbook is a feature of the watch and organized by recorded workout date. The Logbook doesn’t separate your runs from your rides but the information shown in the log summary is dynamic, so it changes depending factors such as sport mode and whether or not you used a heart rate belt or GPS. By default, all logs include sport mode name, time, date, duration and laps.
I found that my workouts were stored in the Logbook until they were synced with Movescount and once exercises were synced they would only stay on the watch for a calendar week.
Suunto Ambit3 Sport and Movescount
If you’ve ever used any sort activity tracker you’re familiar with the type of service that Suunto offers through their Movescount platform. Movescount is Suunto’s native activity tracking service. If you’ve never heard of it that’s likely due to you not owning a Suunto product. The Ambit3 was my first Suunto, so I was already a dedicated user of another activity tracking service which Suunto data files are (thankfully) compatible with.
Since all I really wanted from Movescount was to get my workout data into my preferred activity tracking profile, I set up a Movescount account and immediately attached it to my Strava. Ultimately it does transfer my data but it also created an additional step to that process of getting my workout online.
Before I go on I should note that the Suunto Ambit3 Sport is bluetooth enabled and can be paired with the iPhone or iPad which has the Movescount app installed on it. This lovely feature means the watch automatically syncs with Movescount when in range and that information can then be pushed to whatever compatible activity software you’d like it to go to—no hardwiring the watch to a computer needed. Unfortunately for me you currently cannot pair this watch with an Android device. Which for me, the Android user, meant I had to download the Moveslink software to my computer, attach the Sunnto Ambit3 Sport to my mac and create a Movescount account. Once the watch syncs with Movescount the workout is pushed to Strava provided you’ve created a link between the two. Overall it takes a little bit of extra effort but the fact that I no longer have to bring my phone on runs and rides anymore softens the blow.
For fun I ran Strava on my phone and the Suunto Ambit3 Sport concurrently just to compare data sets (I wasn’t kidding about my inner nerd). I found in general that the two devices were nearly identical in all aspects including mapping, pace and vertical gain so you won’t suddenly have a drastic increase or decrease in your pace. In short, you can leave everything at home when you workout with the Suunto Ambit3 Sport.
Suunto Ambit3 Sport Features
There are so many features packed into the device that it took several hours and Suunto Ambit video tutorials to ensure I was capitalizing on all the watch had to offer. In the end my favorite features were the altitude, speed, pace and distance since I generally trail run in the foothills of Colorado.
I loved being able to see how fast I was moving without digging a phone out of a pocket and would push myself harder just to see my realtime stats. Altitude is another fun data point for me since I live above 5,280 ft and never really think about how high I actually am. I’m always just recapping my vert at the end of at workout.
Since I didn’t get to use every feature of the watch including the swim, bluetooth or compass, here’s a complete list of features on the Suunto Ambit3 Sport:
- Route navigation
- Up to 25 h battery life with GPS
- GPS altitude
- Heart rate in swimming
- Activity based recovery time
- Speed, pace and distance
- Bike power support (Bluetooth Smart)
- Multiple sports in one log
- Training programs
Suunto Ambit3 Sport Fit
I’m a little lady so the way the Suunto Ambit3 Sport fits me is probably a little atypical. The face of the Sunnto Ambit3 Sport at 1.97 in x 1.97 in is actually bigger than the diameter of my wrist. The up side of this is that it’s super stylish and chunky which is a common trend for women these days; you’ll get compliments on it regardless if you’re at work or on the trail. The down side is that even through the watch only weighs 3.03oz it definitely feels like it has some weight to it. In fact, if I leave any room in the strap the watch’s weight allows it to move around too much and will interferes with my wrist’s range of motion. That said, the silicone strap is soft and pretty comfortable when securely fastened to my wrist so when it’s synched down it’s a non-issue.
Final Thoughts on the Suunto Ambit3 Sport
Overall, I loved the actual hardware of this watch and the software on it. I think where the Sunnto Ambit3 Sport falls a little short (and it’s not alone) is in it’s native app, Movescount, and the fact that they took this thing to market without an Android app available. Although the Movescount dashboards are informative it’s just not my activity tracker of choice and having it be a required intermediary between my workouts and that activity tracking software is a bit annoying. Dedicated athletes with training schedules are generally pretty Type A and therefore less likely to add another platform to their quiver of social profiles. When the Android app comes out for this watch I’d happily install it on my phone, let the bluetooth do it’s thing and never use it; just to get my workout data in the right place without too much extra effort.
At an MSRP of $500, the Suutno Ambit3 Sport is an indulgence for any gearhead and a dream come true for the serious athlete with an iPhone/iPad. The Sapphire color is aimed towards women, but there are other color options including White, Blue and Black.