In this post
- Suunto Ambit3 versions
- Multisport or triathlon motorcycle
- Navigation and compass
- GPS satellite reception
- Battery life
- Suunto Applications
- Daily activity
- Use as a watch
- Suunto Movescount
- My opinion
- Did you like the test?
- Buy Suunto Ambit3
The first Suunto Ambit started out as a watch geared primarily towards mountaineers and ultra trail runners. The arrival of the Ambit2 meant adding more sports options and opening up the range of potential customers to those practicing other sports, including triathlon. The Ambit3 continues on the same path, adding smart watch functions thanks to its new Bluetooth connectivity (to the detriment of ANT+), synchronization via mobile phone, recording of keystrokes in underwater activities and, recently, the creation of advanced training.
On this occasion I must thank Suunto Spain for providing the watch for the analysis, once the test is completed, I'll send it back to youI always like to clarify this, so that you know that the tests that I carry out are totally independent and that I don't receive anything in exchange for a favourable opinion from the manufacturers. And in the same way, no manufacturer has ever pressured me about what is written in any of my tests. What you read is what I think, and I like to be totally transparent about that.
If this test helps you decide to buy Suunto Ambit3 Sport and you want to give me a hand so that I can keep on analyzing more watches, you can buy it at Amazon through this linkAlso check the price at FranceNot only will you get a very good price with the best service, but Amazon will pay a small commission that I will use to buy new devices and test them, and all this at no extra cost to you.
Suunto Ambit3 Sport Draw
Do you want to get a Suunto Ambit3 Sport like the one in this test? Well, Suunto is raffling one among the readers of the Ambit Multisport chain, where luckily for you, this page was selected to participate. Entering the draw is very easy, just post a comment at the end of this article indicating what you like best about the Ambit3 and this website, and your comment will enter the draw. Good luck!
Suunto has already provided the date for the draw. On June 30th we will know who the winner is.
There's already a winner! This was the winning comment from the entire Ambit Multisport network
Congratulations! And those of you who haven't been graced, better luck with the next one.
Suunto Ambit3 versions
Given the number of models in the Ambit family, I think it's necessary to clarify this. Sometimes it can be a bit confusing, and maybe you want a colour and it's exclusive to some model. That's how you know for sure.
You can buy Suunto Ambit3 in different models and colors. The range, initially composed of the Peak and Sport, has been completed with the RunThe Peak is the top-of-the-range model, with a barometric altimeter and extended range (and even a version with sapphire glass), designed for longer mountain breaks.
Next we have the Ambit3 Sport (the one that accompanies me for the test), which sees its sale price reduced when the barometer is removed and with a slightly reduced autonomy. As with the Peak, there is also the possibility of buying it with sapphire glass. Apart from a small difference in the quality of the materials (which in both cases is very good), at the software level it is exactly the same, with the same possibilities in terms of navigation (which is the strong point of the Ambit range) and the possibilities of multidisciplinary use: running, cycling, swimming and the multisports modes; for duathlon, triathlon, etc. competitions.
Finally we have the new Ambit3 Run, mainly designed for running and which has eliminated the swimming option and the external sensor support for cycling. You will also not have multisport options even though it retains cycling mode. If you participate in duathlons and you want it to compete, it will not work for you.
As to colours, the family has also recently been extended, with another one for the Ambit3 Sport range. The composition of models and colours is as follows:
Suunto Ambit3 Peak
Available in black and sapphire.
Suunto Ambit3 Sport
Available in sapphire, black, blue, white and coral.
Suunto Ambit3 Run
Available in black, white and lime.
Once you have a clearer idea of Suunto's current product range, let's move on to the Ambit3 Sport.
Suunto Ambit3 Sport comes in a sober black case with a picture of the watch on the front, and in this case it is the blue model.
On the side of the box you have the logo of the brand, and on the back the main features, among which it stands out that it is compatible with Strava (in terms of automatic data synchronization) and that it can reach an autonomy of up to 25 hours
We open the box to reveal the watch. The opening is a "jeweler's box".
This unit is the HR version and comes with the pulse sensor. If you buy the normal version, you will only receive the rest: the timing and charging cable and a small instruction manual.
The clamp is placed on the side of the watch. It has no quick coupling, so you have to check that it is correctly placed when you put it in place. But once it is in place, the anchorage is firm and you can move the watch, which will not let go of the clamp.
The materials of the watch are really good, and it gives an overall quality appearance, both in the coating of the watch case (rubber touch) and the silicone strap. The screen is large and with good resolution (128×128 pixels).
Please note that this watch is not suitable for all wrists, as it is 50x50mm in size. In addition, the GPS antenna is not located in the area of the screen, but underneath it, so that part of the watch is rigid and feels even bigger. But with a weight of 80g it is not uncomfortable to wear.
At the back you can find the loading pins. Although they are visible, you don't have to worry about them. Of course it is waterproof, up to a depth of 50m.
The pulse sensor is a new addition to the Ambit2 family. The new Suunto Smart Sensor not only changes in connectivity (from ANT+ to Bluetooth), but also in size - it's much smaller - and in performance. What sets this sensor apart from any other in the competition is its ability to record heart rate data and then synchronize it with the watch, so when you synchronize your swimming training sessions, you'll have them with HR data as well.
We've been looking at the clock a lot already. It's time to put it on your wrist and go out for training, to see what the latest from the Finnish house can do.
When running with the Ambit3, you have several possibilities to select sports from Movescount: running, mountain running, athletics, adventure running, treadmill, etc. This will allow you to have several modes of sports enabled, with different data screen configurations in each of them, and different GPS settings. Also, when synchronizing the activity you will see everything separately in Movescount, because it is not the same a trail training as an asphalt one, so being able to separate the activity can be very useful when analyzing the data.
To start the activity, you must press the upper right button, which indicates "Start/stop", and with the screen showing "Exercise", press the central button, marked "Next".
On the next screen you can navigate between all the sports modes that you have activated in Movescount. You can create a multitude of sports, but only 10 can be displayed on the clock and the others will be deactivated (and each with its particular configuration), in case you want to alternate them later.
The first thing the Suunto Ambit3 will do is search for the heart rate sensor. If you don't have it with you or you haven't attached it properly, it will give you the option to retry or search for it later.
The satellite search will then start, which tells you the status of the search
with a percentage valueAs you will see in the video below, Suunto has changed this percentage to a bar that is filled in as reception improves.
As for the satellite search, if you do it in the same place where you recently finished the last activity, it is a matter of a few seconds. If it is a long time since your last activity, or it is in a different place, then it will take a little more time. But nothing better than checking it yourself on video.
Once you have a satellite signal and have connected the accessories you want to use for this session (pulse sensor, pedometer, and soon power meter), it's time to start running. And from the first stride you'll be able to appreciate one of the main features of Ambit3, which is FusedSpeed. Don't worry if you don't know what it is, I'll explain it to you now.
There have always been two ways of showing you the pace at which you are running. Years ago, you used a footpod placed in your shoe, basically a pedometer. You would set a step measurement and from that you would get your pace and distances covered. But of course, if you changed the length of the step, the figures were not correct (technique exercises, slopes, tiredness, etc).
To alleviate this, the technology gave way to the use of GPS. Now it didn't matter how many steps you took and the length of those steps, because thanks to GPS the only thing the clock needs to know is how far you have traveled in a given time (today 1 second, if that is configured in the clock, in the past in ranges of up to 5 seconds). But GPS is not perfect, since it is not a continuous tracking technology but a positioning one, and it also offers a maximum accuracy of about 3 meters. That's why when we see a rhythm graph, it is showing peaks continuously.
What Suunto does is combine the two, and that's what it calls FusedSpeed. To get a good idea of how it works, you can look at this graph. The dotted yellow line is your actual speed. The thin line that peaks is the raw speed taken from the GPS. The watches must filter out and display the average speed taken for a few seconds, to stabilize the data displayed on screen. That would be the thickest yellow line. Finally, the red line is the speed displayed with the Suunto Ambit3, which is based on GPS data and is corrected for your running cadence, taken from the watch's internal accelerometer.
Running in a straight line at a stable pace you will not appreciate the effect of this option (which can be disabled for the activity from Movescount). But the moment you make changes of pace you will see that the update of the pace is very fast to adapt to your real speed, as you can see in the graph. The filtered GPS speed will decrease little by little, but in the case of Ambit3 you will have the data much earlier. And if you are doing very short series, for example of 200m, it can make a very noticeable difference. But nothing like a video where you can see how, indeed, the variation of the pace is almost instantaneous.
When you finish running and save the activity, the Ambit3 will inform you of the estimated recovery time to get back in full running condition. But keep in mind that this depends entirely on your heart rate, so if you have gone running without the sensor, you will not get that data.
As far as specific training is concerned, Suunto has always been quite behind the competition, until now it was only possible to activate an interval timer, which, when it comes down to it, is practically useless.
Since the release of the Apps, Suunto had left out these functions, and all interval trainings were based on "apps" installed on the clock. Luckily, they have fixed this, and with the 1.5 update it is now possible to create advanced trainings. At the moment, this can only be done with the phone application, which is not very comfortable, but it will surely end up in Movescount.
Creating advanced trainings
With the new update it is finally possible to create advanced trainings in Ambit3, but for the time being these trainings can only be created in the iOS application, while waiting for Suunto
Launch the Android-compatible version Advance with the Beta version of the Android application or allow them to be created directly from Movescount. When you do, the procedure will be the same.
The trainings have taken a long time to arrive but they are quite complete and easy to configure (what not to do, good luck with those 3×2000 to 3:30 series). When you enter the application, in the section of your Ambit you must enter "Workouts".
By default there is a sample workout called "My Workout". To add a new one, just click on Edit and then on the button with the "+" you can see in this image.
From here you must add steps to your training.
You can add both simple steps (warm up, rest and cool down) and intervals (with a work and recovery part), which can be repeated as many times as you like.
There are different ways to complete each phase of training to move on to the next, for example the first warm-up. These are as follows:
- Lap, by pressing the clock button
- Reaching a certain heart rate
- Going below a certain heart rate
And just as you have a multitude of goals for each part of the training, there are also different objectives for each phase
- No objective, e.g. just jogging
- Speed in km/h (or m/h)
- Power (for the moment only for cycling, until the arrival of Stryd)
- Heart rate
You can combine the goals with the objectives as you wish, and you can also name each phase, because the clock will indicate it on screen as a reminder of what you have to do next.
Once you've set up your workout, it's time to synchronize it with the clock, and then the hardest part: performing that masochistic workout you've prepared for. The first thing you'll do is start the activity you've prepared for, in this case running, but you can do it in another sport. You hold down the "Next" button to access the sport mode options, and here you'll find the workouts.
You will see the workouts you have created and synchronized. Select the one you want and press "Next" to start.
From here, the Ambit3 will guide you through each of the steps and, if you have put a text to each of them, it will show you what phase it is before you start it.
On the next screen you are warned that you are in part 1 of 6 of your workout.
Strangely, the bar appears to fill up by itself, but it doesn't correlate with this part of the training I'm doing, since in this case the warm-up is one kilometer long, without any kind of goal or time. I have the impression that this is a failure that Suunto will have to solve sooner rather than later.
The next screen will give you a summary of what's coming to you. Part two of the total 6, distance of 1 kilometer and your suffering pace (well, I've been kind to myself and set a target pace of 4:30. Suffering I'll leave for another day without a camera).
Again we have a graph, this time representing our rhythm. The objective is to draw it inside the box. If the graph goes up you are going too fast. If it goes down you are going too slow. But there is no visual or sound warning. At the top you have your current rhythm (because that is the objective, if it were another one the data would change) and below it the remaining distance of interval (again, because that is what has been marked. If it were time, the distance would not appear).
After suffering, it automatically goes to the next phase, which I have marked as a one-minute recovery. Here, the time bar will appear, which this time is the right one.
And so you will continue for your training, until you finish it and the cooling down phase arrives.
These are the screens that appear by default first, but if you miss your configured screens don't worry, pressing the "Next" button you can access them. The ones we have been seeing are screens that are added to the sport mode to guide you in your training.
When recording the data for later synchronization with Movescount, it also fails to mark the laps automatically. That is, although the laps appear on screen, if you do not press the "lap" button you will not separate the parts of the exercise. This is an important failure, because when analyzing the data, if you have not remembered to mark each part of the training manually, you will have all the phases mixed up. Ideally, at each change of the phase of the training the clock marks a lap automatically and that is reflected in the file. This is how it appears right now, activating the laps marked manually, the pauses we have made (with the button) and the autolaps. Quite chaotic.
You can see that the training sessions are still a bit "green". Details such as the initial bar that has nothing to do with the objective of the warm-up or that sometimes the "Next" button to change screen does not respond, show this. As well as having to mark the laps manually. But it is a huge step that the Finns have taken to finally put the Ambit3 on an equal footing with the rest of the competition. The training sessions are there, they just need to be polished up.
With the Ambit3 you can also run on a treadmill and have the clock provide you with rhythm and distance data. This is done, just like with FusedSpeed, thanks to the internal accelerometer. But if the rhythm is impeccable outdoors, when it comes to running on the treadmill I can't say the same.
The test was very simple. I started from a standing position and increased my pace slightly until I reached, according to the treadmill, a pace of 5:00 min/km. You know that treadmills don't stand out because of their exact calibration, but in this case I had a Garmin Fenix 3 on my other wrist to compare data. The workout I wanted to do that day was 6 km at a sustained pace of 5:00. This is what Suunto Ambit3 recorded.
According to the clock, instead of 6, I've run 5.16 kilometers, and at an average rate of 6:00 min/km. Looking at the graph, at no time was it close to the real rate, but it remained stable throughout the test (the cut is due to the fact that I stopped for a minute, not a clock failure). These are the laps marked automatically.
But since there was "witness" to certify the data, it allows me to verify three things:
- The Life Fitness treadmill I use measures perfectly
- The Fenix 3 measures indoor travel perfectly
- The Suunto Ambit3 is not very accurate in its estimation.
The Fenix 3 has nailed the distance indicated by the tape, and the stable rhythm has also brought it to perfection, as evidenced by the automatically marked laps, with very little variation in the actual rhythm.
Something that Suunto has to improve.
Everything we have covered in the Ambit3 for racing will be the same when you ride your bike. The main difference is that instead of showing the pace (in minutes per kilometer) it will show you the speed (in km/h or m/h). If you have a handlebar holder, you can put the watch there and use it as a mileage counter. Unfortunately for triathletes, the Ambit3 Sport does not have a quick release kit, so the procedure for T1 and T2 is a little longer if you want to put the watch on the handlebar.
An important aspect when using Suunto as a mileage counter is how fast the displayed speed is updated, as there is no data from the clock accelerometer and therefore FusedSpeed here, so I leave you with a video where you can check it out for yourself.
What is the difference between cycling mode and running mode? The support of external sensors. The problem if you come from an Ambit2 is that your accessories will have ANT+ connectivity, but in the Ambit3 Suunto has switched to Bluetooth Smart connectivity, so if those sensors do not have dual connectivity you will have to put them in a box, or change watch brands. The sensors supported are speed and/or cadence (there are speed only, cadence only sensors, but the most common nowadays are speed and cadence sensors) and power meters. You will do all this from the "Pair" menu, where you will be able to search for accessories.
Another highlight of the Ambit3 Sport is when swimming, as it allows you to obtain heart rate data. Watches with a digital connection to their sensors (ANT+ and Bluetooth) do not receive the pulse information, as this type of signal is not able to penetrate the water beyond 5cm. Polar has managed to solve this problem in the V800 by adding connection via the 5kHz band (analog), in addition to Bluetooth connectivity.
But how did Suunto do this for Ambit3, if it only has a Bluetooth connection? Well, it's done with a twist, thanks to the new pulse sensor. The Suunto Smart Sensor records the frequency data while you're swimming, and when you bring the watch close to the sensor or out of the water, it will synchronize it. You can do this synchronization when you finish swimming or while you're taking a break, as it's done in a few seconds.
Therefore, if you are interested in having heart rate data for your swimming training, it is important that you buy the watch together with the Suunto pulse sensor. It has a limitation, which is that you will not have live heart rate information, by transmitting the data to the watch in delayed mode. Although if you have a Mio LinkIf you are a member of the team, you will have constant, real-time pulses as you can wear it next to your watch, close enough so that it never loses signal.
However, when you finish the activity, you must remember to synchronize the clock with the pulse sensor before finishing the activity if you want to have access to the information in Movescount. Instead of reaching the end of the street (or the shore if you are swimming in open water) and finishing the activity, pause it and bring the clock closer to the sensor or exit the pool to synchronize. Once you have done this, you can stop the activity and synchronizing the clock will give you the exercise data along with the heart rate. At this distance, as you can see, it is enough for the Ambit3 to receive the signal from the sensor.
When you train in a pool, you can set the length of the pool. In this mode, instead of relying on GPS data (especially if it's an indoor pool...), all measurements will be made through the clock's internal accelerometer. The data offered is somewhat limited: length, strokes, and number of laps. But thanks to Suunto Apps, we can always add an application (which I'll talk about later) that shows you, for example, SWOLF values.
The watch detects, through the movement, when you have reached the end of the street and you make the turn to continue swimming. At that moment it will count one turn, and it will have been counting the strokes that you have needed to cover it. You know, these measurements depend on the accelerometer, so if in the middle of a turn you stop to scratch because your foot itches, I guarantee that the measurement will not be correct.
All this will then be synchronized with Movescount, where you will have access to the details of the activity or "Move", as Suunto calls it.
You will have charts of the activity to check your progress as you go through your training.
And just like when you run, you'll also have data for every length marked automatically.
All this is if you are swimming in a pool where you can specify the length of each length, if you are in the wave pool of the aquapark I would recommend the open water mode. When you swim in something other than a pool with a specific measurement, and as long as it is in the open air, then you will use the outdoor swimming mode. This time yes, with the GPS activated. But you will also use the accelerometer as it will continue to count the strokes. The distance will be taken from the satellite data, and not from the accelerometer, as you will not make any lap (no, you cannot make it count how many times you have crossed the strait).
But if when you are running, the GPS operation is constant, you should know that when you are swimming it is not. But not because of a failure in the Ambit3, but for the same reason as with the heart rate sensor, and that is that the digital signals do not penetrate the water. In each stroke, the watch will have satellite information when your arm is out of the water, and will lose the signal again when you return underwater. So the watch is losing and recovering signal continuously, which causes the accuracy of location is not very accurate and the distances are not as accurate as when you are running. But that's how the technology works, and at the moment there is little solution on the market for consumer GPS (actually, the military neither).
And let me remind you that, just like when you swim in a pool, you can use the Suunto pulse sensor, and once you've finished your workout, you can synchronize the data from the sensor to your watch and have your complete workout with your heart rate data.
Multisport or triathlon motorcycle
Suunto Ambit3, in all its versions (including Ambit3 Run), are not single-sport watches. They all offer a variety of sport mode settings. But what differentiates Ambit3 Peak and Ambit3 Sport from Ambit3 Run is the ability to have a multi-sport mode, which obviously includes triathlon.
Many of you always ask the same question. What does multisport mode bring to me? Well, if you are mainly a runner and you practice other sports as a complement to your training, but you don't compete in them together, not much. But for the many of you who practice triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon or any other competition ending in "on" where there are two or more sports involved, it is something of the utmost importance.
This mode will allow you to have a single file with the information of the competition and, above all, to move from one sport to another quickly, without having to stop an activity and start the new one. For example, in the most typical triathlon, when starting the sport mode the first sport that will appear will be open water swimming.
Once you are at the start line, simply press the "Start" button to begin the activity and take to the water. The screens you have selected for that sport will appear.
When you have finished swimming, to change sport you simply have to press and hold the "Back lap" button to make the mode change.
With regard to Ambit2, the transition time between each sport has been added, so that you can effectively count the time from when you get out of the water to when you are on the bike and start pedalling.
When you finish the transition, you repeat the hold down process and start the cycling part again.
And, as you can see, now what will be shown on screen is the data you have selected for cycling.
The process continues in the same way until the competition is over. You will go to a new transition, and by pressing the button again, the race will start. And when you have finished running, instead of pressing the pause button as you usually do, you must repeat the process of pressing the same button to finish and save the activity.
All multisport activities would be treated in the same way, and you would simply have to set them up through Movescount. It doesn't have to be a competition, it can be that you do combined running and swimming training and want to have it in the same activity, instead of two separate ones. Simply set up that multisport mode and you can select it in Ambit3.
The procedure would be the same as in triathlon. You start the activity and to switch from one to the other, you leave the "Back lap" button pressed.
The Suunto Ambit3 has a magnetic compass. Unlike the digital compass you can find on other watches, you don't have to be moving around to get your current direction and north. Simply rotating around yourself will update it on screen. You can also create a direction of interest by pressing the "lap" button inside the compass display while pointing the red indicator at your final destination.
This can be quite useful. Imagine that you are at the top of a hill and your final destination is a village, but when you come down you go into a dense forest or a very dense fog. By marking your final destination in advance you will know the direction you should follow at all times.
If there is something we can always highlight about Suunto Ambit is precisely its adventurous side, and as such its possibilities of navigation, positioning and creation of POIs (Points of Interest).
Navigation can be started at any time from the clock menu, or from an activity. To do this from the menu, simply select the "Navigation" option.
If you are in an activity (e.g. running) and you reach a point where you want to start the navigation, you can enter the sport mode options by pressing and holding the "Next" button.
You can also activate the compass, if you just want to guide yourself.
From here your navigation will start, but since you have not created a route, it will be a straight line navigation, bird style. So if you find a gully during your navigation, you have two options: cross it or go around it. I leave the choice to you.
The first thing you should have done is, of course, to have previously created that point. We have three options, create the point of the current location to come back later; or enter the coordinates manually, to start a journey looking for that point. Finally, you can also create a POI through Movescount.
Once you have created your POI and you want to navigate to it, all you have to do is select it from the menu. In this case it's easy, as there is only one. But all you have to do is search for it and select it with "Next".
It presents you with three options: view the data of the point, delete it or the one we are interested in: navigate.
At this point we start to navigate and the Ambit3 tells you, just like the compass, the direction you must follow to reach your destination. But now you can, with the distance remaining to the target point.
Please note that this is not a route, so if there are obstacles in the way that you need to overcome, that will be at your own expense. The remaining distance is in a straight line, so if you have to travel 4 kilometres to overcome a wall, it will not appear in the distance calculation, of course.
Movescount offers you several options to load routes in your Ambit3. First of all, the easiest way is to search for a route that someone has previously created. To do this, in Movescount you must go to the "Routes" option in "Plan and create", and go to an area of the map to see all the routes that other users have created. In this case, I am looking for routes to travel in Marbella.
Passing the mouse over each icon will give you distance information of the route along with the name given to it by its creator. Once you have found a route that interests you, you can click on it to access all the details. And simply checking the box "Use this route in my Suunto Ambit3 Sport" will synchronize it to your watch the next time you connect it.
The second option to upload a path is to import it, so you can create the path in another tool, download it from Wikiloc, have it passed on to you by a friend, etc. To upload it to the watch the procedure is very similar, but this time you have to click on the "Import path" button and select the file. You just have to enter the details and check the same box as before.
Finally, Movescount also gives you the possibility to create your own route, through the "Route Planner". Again, the first task will be to enter all the details.
The way to do this is to put POIs on the map, and the application will link these points. As far as possible, the most convenient way is to activate the option to follow roads, because with two POIs you can cover a great distance. If part of the route passes through an area that is not considered a road, then you will have to increase the number of points.
And once you have completed the path, you can click on the "Close" button to join the last point with the start by the shortest path, and with the "Simplify" option you will eliminate the unnecessary intermediate points that will help reduce the size of the file. A very important step, since the memory of Ambit3 supports up to 250 points. Once this is done, save and synchronize to the clock.
When you already have the route synchronized in your Ambit3, you simply enter the navigation option, just as you do for POI navigation. But this time, you will enter routes instead of POIs.
And here you select the route you have synchronized.
In the next screen, Ambit3 shows you a list of points within the route. If you have not named them, they are represented by letters, although you could specify which point is each one to know better where you are going. For example, exit, crossing, lake, river, etc. The advantage is that you do not have to start the route from the beginning, you can do it from an intermediate point.
Select point A and press the "Next" key to display a map of your route. By default, it is displayed on a map with a scale of 500m. Your position is represented by the arrow, which in this view rotates with respect to the map.
The zoom options are not very wide. By pressing the "View" button you switch to the 200m scale view, where this time it is your position that remains fixed and the map is what rotates when you do. This will help you to get your bearings and choose which way to go.
The navigation is very similar to what you have seen from POI, as it tells you the distance and direction to your next point.
It is a fairly simple navigation that does not provide many possibilities or a highly detailed map. It is still a navigation of "breadcrumbs", a succession of POIs that are represented on a map. But it is more than enough, and not by adding more options will have a better navigation system. On the contrary, too many options for zoom, maps, etc.. in the end can be confusing and make you spend 5 minutes trying to decipher the path by which you should continue.
As a good navigation clock, we also have a back to home function. Once you are hopelessly lost and have been looking for a way back for 30 minutes, you can ask Ambit3 to show you the way. When you are in the activity, you must leave the "Next" button pressed to enter the advanced options menu. Then, in Navigation, activate the back to home option. From this moment on, you will see the navigation screen with two points: point A is the point from which you started the activity and point B is where you "asked for help". The connection between both points will be made by the path you have followed (so if you have gone around to find yourself previously, they will also appear).
GPS satellite reception
This is the first thing you should know: GPS's are wrong, they measure wrong and they don't always trace the route where they should. Sorry to be so blunt, but it's the truth. Many of you depend on the use of the GPS clock almost as a precision measuring instrument, and nothing is further from the truth.
For starters, GPS comes by Global Possitioning System. I mean, global positioning system. And if you look, at no point do I talk about tracking, just PositioningThe clock will trace your route from the points it has marked, usually every second (if that is how you have set it). The route (and pace) is calculated because you are now at X coordinate, one second later at Y and another second later at Z, and so on. Depending on the distance travelled between each point, that will be your pace.
Well, once you've got this clear, there's the most important thing to know. How accurate is a GPS? Well, as far as technology goes. civil Today, with good satellite reception, we are talking about 3 meters, in optimal conditions. And from here, it is the software of each manufacturer that determines by a series of patterns what your route has been. The clock filters the raw data to provide the final information, both at the level of rates and speeds (as in the so of FusedSpeed seen before) as the traces on the maps.
If the accuracy with good signal reception is 3 meters... what happens when the accuracy goes down through buildings, trees or simply turns in our trajectory? Well, that point can have a perfect accuracy of 20 meters around. So when you see maps that have no logic, rhythms that suffer sudden jumps or distances that differ from the official running distance, you know what it is due to. And having better reception than other competitors is not just a matter of using one chip or another (whether it is Mediatek, Sirf, U-blox or whatever), but a combination of factors. Software, antenna design, processor speed, etc.
Once you know how the GPS works, I have to tell you that in all the time I have been testing the Ambit3 Sport I have found that it behaves on a par with other devices I have been using simultaneously. The distances measured have been in similar figures between both devices, always less than 1% difference. But thanks to FusedSpeed the rhythms shown have always been the most stable, especially in turns or more complicated areas for GPS coverage.
The lines marked, especially in a straight line, have always been quite correct.
This is not to say that there have not been times when I have failed to represent the data on the map.
But as I say, there is no such thing as a perfect GPS and it is common to see this type of error caused either by a lack of signal or by the bouncing of the same on buildings. What we have to value here is that the clock does not lose the signal, and in the case of the Ambit3 I have never lost it.
Suunto announces a range for the Ambit3 Sport of up to 100 hours with GPS activated. But of course, this has a "trick", because it is with data recording every 60 seconds. This can be useful for mountain activities that do not have a rapid development, such as climbing. But as you can choose the recording frequency, no problem. The range announced therefore depends on what accuracy of GPS we have in each of the sports, which may be 1s, 5s or 60s (this is different from the recording interval of 1s and 10s). And the battery life announced will be 10h, 15h and 100h respectively. With this autonomy there is enough battery to finish almost any competition, except ultra mountain racing or an ironman.
The advantage of Suunto's sports mode programming is that for example, for an Ironman you could select the recording frequency for swimming every 5 seconds, thus saving battery power.
As you usually have the selected recording frequency in one second, I will perform the test. Battery charged to 100%, I will start an activity and leave it until the battery runs out. This is the extract from the Move
It is also remarkable how the GPS works, because the usual thing I do in these tests is that the location is not always accurate and is not always the same. travel several kilometers As a note of caution, this test was performed before receiving the 1.5 update, which Suunto recommends will improve battery performance.
What happened after the update?
One more hour of battery life. Of course, we must also take into account that the conditions were better (sunny day) but it is a quite important improvement. The autonomy has increased in one hour with a simple software update.
Suunto launched the possibility of installing applications on their watches in November 2012. It's been quite a while since then and the system has reached maturity. In fact, the problem right now is the collapse of applications, as there are many that serve the same purpose and navigating through this sea of "apps" can get a little complicated. To give you an idea, at this time we can find in the App Zone more than 6,800 applications, of which a vast majority are not worth anything
To explain it in a quick way, what these apps allow is to take raw data and through different formulas obtain functions that the clock originally does not support. For example and for you to understand, Suunto does not have a "Virtual Partner" to which you can set a target pace against which you can run. But there are the apps, you would only have to access Movescount and find that application you are looking for. Or if you like to do your own programming, create it yourself helping you with the development manual.
Accessing the apps section is very easy. Go to Movescount and put the cursor on "Plan and create", to select "App zone". You will get to the main page where you can use the search engine to find the app you are looking for. You have many parameters to limit your search, both by category and activity.
These are all the categories for which you can find an application.
You have already found something that is of interest to you, for example this application that calculates the estimated time of completion of a marathon in real time. If you would like to use it, just click on "Save App" to import it into your library.
Here you can also test how it will be displayed on screen and indicate which formula is used to perform the calculation.
The complexity of these applications is very variable, from simple ones, like this end time estimator, to a pyramid for interval training where the code, as you can see, is much more complex.
Once you have the application in your library, you must add it as a screen data of the sport mode you choose, which in this case will be running.
And after synchronizing the clock, when you go to run you'll find your application as just another data field. You can move between the different fields you've selected until you reach the one for the particular application.
If you are into programming, you can create your own applications. development manual that Suunto provides, so that you know which "snapping code" language you need to use for the clock. Here are two options, to create an application from scratch.
Or select any application you have in your library and create a copy of it.
And then, by perfecting the algorithm to your liking.
In the Ambit3 we can find a kind of activity monitor, but it is very simple and quite far from what other brands offer in this section. The watch will record your daily activity through the internal accelerometer and will show you in a graph, indicating what the intensity of your day has been, it has no indication of calculation of distances, steps or hours of activity; but at least it gives an estimate of calories. It will not synchronize this data to Movescount or be used for other advanced information, and it does not have sleep analysis either.
The daily activity is represented by a graph, which will ascend if you move, and remain fixed if you practice the noble art of "sofasing".
This refers to all the activity you do, both training and resting, so if you do a workout it will also be reflected, as well as if you take a one-hour walk that you do not classify as training. You can see how any workout has an immediate impact on this graph.
Not only will you see the activity during the current day, you also have another screen where you can see the weekly activity, and below that an average of the calories consumed daily. This last data is good if you are on a diet, as it helps you calculate what your average daily intake should be.
And like other manufacturers, it also tracks the estimated time to recover from previous physical activity. Personally, this is what I find most useful of all the information regarding daily activity, since the graph will go up with our exercise (depending on the intensity) and will go down as time goes by. It also indicates the recovery time as well.
Use as a watch
Suunto has always thought that your training watch should not only be that, but also your watch for daily use. And as such, it gives the Ambit3 Sport a quality finish and an aesthetic that, although sporty, can be perfectly compatible with everyday life. And not only because of the shape itself, but also because of the wide variety of colors available. In addition, as I will detail in the connections section, it also allows you to receive notifications from your mobile phone and display them on the screen (currently compatible with iOS, in Android in the coming weeks).
But it is not a watch for everyone, mainly because of its size. And I am not only talking about diameter, which with 50mm is clearly not a watch for all wrists, but also thickness: 15.5mm.
What can happen is that you may constantly trip if you wear a shirt with the button on the sleeve.
Among the different options that the clock has, the first one is the alarm, which is simple, meaning that it does not allow to set repetitions or to sound only on weekdays.
You can set both the time and the date manually, but there is also a function to synchronize the time automatically with every satellite connection you make, which you can turn on or off. This is very nice, because I know many people who beyond keeping the time, like to keep THEIR time which does not necessarily have to be the same as the satellite time. You know, there are people who like to keep the clock forward.
Suunto also thinks about the most travellers and allows to show "dual time", that is, two different hours. The main one, which is usually your time zone, and the secondary one, which is shown in a smaller size on the main screen. I have the Hong Kong time there, so I know when I won't get an answer to an email.
When showing the information on the main screen, the date and time are fixed, but if you press the "View" button you can toggle the information in the lower field, where you can see the day of the week, the second hand, the dual time, remaining battery and pending notifications.
And if you don't like having the screen so dark, you can choose to invert it: white background with black text. You can set it from the menu, or simply leave the "View" button pressed and it will change quickly.
But there's one thing you should keep in mind: When you use the lighting, pressing the button to illuminate the screen will reverse it. Don't worry if you haven't understood what you just read, because we're going to see it now.
In Suunto Ambit3, you can set the lighting independently for when you are active or when you use only the clock mode, and in the first case, you can set it from Movescount.
And to set the lighting for day-to-day use, from the clock menu, where you can also vary the intensity (brightness).
There are different configuration modes, which I detail below
- Normal: The light will turn on for a few seconds when the "Light/lock" button is pressed and when the alarm sounds.
- Off: Even pressing the light button will not turn on the screen.
- Night: The light will be on for a few seconds when any button is pressed and when the alarm sounds.
- Switch: When you press the "Light/lock" button, the light will turn on, and remain on until you press it again.
As you have seen before, when using the illumination, the screen is reversed, that is, if you have the screen in normal mode (white background, black text), when you press the "light" button, in addition to the screen being illuminated, the background will be black and the text white.
And the opposite effect will occur if you have the screen inverted (black background, white text). When you use the illumination, the background will change to white and the text to black.
Remember the trick of holding down the "View" button if you want to change the behavior of the screen quickly.
The most common way to synchronize the clock will be through the USB cable. To do this you will need to download the application MoveslinkIt's very simple and will serve as a bridge between your watch and Movescount and to update the satellite cache.
- Downloading Clock Data
- Synchronization of Movescount settings
- Synchronization of Activities or Moves
- Satellite cache update
But with the Ambit3 and thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity, it will also be possible to synchronize through the mobile phone, avoiding having to use the cable and the computer. Much more comfortable! This functionality is already present in both iOS and Android.
The phone application will not only help you synchronize your Moves, you can also set up sports modes and check your activities.
The information presented is somewhat more limited than in the case of the Movescount website, but sufficient to be the screen of a mobile phone. It will serve you for consultation, not for analysis.
But the best thing about the application is that it allows you to change the screen settings for a particular sport.
And you can also change the generic settings of the clock.
These sport change possibilities are very practical. It can happen that you leave home and halfway through you remember that you forgot to add some data screen that you want to use in the race that day. Since the clock does not allow you to make any direct changes, having the possibility to do it from the phone will be very helpful.
Another possibility offered by Bluetooth connectivity is to display the phone's notifications on the clock's screen. Note, however, that only the notification can be displayed, but unlike other more advanced smartwatches (Android Wear or Apple Watch) it does not allow you to interact with it. You will not be able to delete the notification or mail, nor of course answer the messages.
We can configure its operation, so if you are interested in having your phone synchronized with the clock to use Movescount from your mobile, but you do not want to receive the messages on the screen, you can disable it without any problem.
The notification will appear on the screen and, if you have the tones activated, it will emit a small beep to warn you. I remind you that the Ambit3 has no vibration, so you only have visual and audible notifications.
You don't have to configure anything on your phone, as the system feeds directly from the notifications it displays on the lock screen. Remember that you can set certain applications not to display notifications, in case you have something that might be compromised in certain work environments and you don't want anyone to see it. The advantage of this feature is that not only the last notification will be displayed, you can also access all the ones you haven't deleted from your phone.
Like the Movescount app, this functionality is currently only for iOS, but Suunto has also promised to incorporate it into Android phones throughout April.
Update 5 May
Suunto has already released the Movescount app for Android. It is currently in beta mode and does not support the same features as its iOS counterpart. The basic Moves sync and check functionality is now available, but you will still have to wait for the same options as in iOS: synchronizing phone notifications with Ambit3, creating training plans, or support for the Suunto Smart Sensor.
Movescount is the Suunto website where you will synchronize your training and competition data, or as Suunto calls it, your "Moves". You will also set up the different sport modes and then synchronize them to the clock. This way of setting up is much faster and more intuitive, but it is only possible to do it from the computer (or phone) and not from the clock.
This is the screen that you will find when you go to configure Ambit3. These are the modes that you have activated at that moment in the clock. You can have 10 individual sport modes, and 2 multisport modes. To each sport you can assign the name that you want to identify it easily, as well as assign what type of activity it is, both to set the icon and to classify your Move correctly when you perform the synchronization.
When you create a sport mode, or edit an existing one, you will have access to all the configuration data for it.
In each sport mode you can have up to 8 different data screens, and in each screen you can have between one and three data simultaneously, giving the bottom row the option to select up to 5 different elements that you can show automatically (activating automatic scrolling) or through the "View" button. The less data you have, the bigger it will be shown on the screen. And not only can you add predefined data, but also "apps" that will give you some other kind of information, such as a ghost runner at a certain pace.
Additionally we can also add some graphics for heart rate, altitude or any app you want to add.
These are all the data you can select on your screens, to which you must add the different options offered through apps.
|Average speed||Return distance||Average heart rate||Promotion|
|Rhythm||Peak Training Effect||Descent|
|Average pace||Calories||Vertical speed|
|Rhythm of return|
|Stopwatch||Power||Cadence||Current activity distance|
|Time of day||Average power||Current activity duration|
|Dual time||Maximum power||Average speed of current activity|
|Return number||Power 3s||Average rate of current activity|
|Return time||Power 10s|
|Battery charging||Power 30s|
|Empty||Power per turn|
|Maximum power per turn|
And for both indoor and outdoor swimming, these are the different options
|Swimming pool / outdoor|
|Distance||Swimming pace||Average swimming pace||Total strokes|
|Stroke frequency||Rest time||Average stroke frequency||Previous pool length style|
|Interval distance||Interval duration||Interval rhythm||Total number of stroke intervals|
|Interval stroke frequency||Return distance||Rhythm of return||Total strokes back|
|Return stroke frequency|
As you can see, you have many options that you can configure and leave each sport mode adjusted to your liking.
Viewing your Moves
Moves are what Suunto calls your activities, whether they are running, swimming pool or any other sport. In Movescount you will have access to all the Moves you have done (and synchronized), and that you can find when you access the web. When you want to enter an activity, you simply have to click on the Move that you are looking for and that you can find by the date.
You will then enter the details of the activity, and at the top you will have the complete summary of the training you have done.
Under the general summary, you have the map of the route you have followed. You will see that it has a color representation, which will help you visualize the areas where you have gone faster. In this case, the beginning of the route changes from green to yellow and then orange, as I warm up and increase speed.
Shift for the graphs. You can click on each of the options below the graph to activate or deactivate each of the variables to see them represented in the graphs. In addition, the bar and curve graphs will give you the representation of the time spent in each zone for the last variable selected in the graph (in this case, it is the altitude that is shown).
Underneath, the laps marked automatically by the autolap or that you have created manually through the button, with information about rhythms, cadence or ascent and descent.
As you can see, there is a lot of data to compare and analyze. And if you take it seriously, it will allow you to see patterns that you can correct to be faster.
In Suunto Ambit3 Sport I find things that I like very much, things that I can overlook and things that I don't understand that are not found in a watch of this range.
As a watch for practicing any kind of sport it is a fantastic option. The perceived quality in terms of materials is high, and despite not being a watch with steel or aluminum it does not give the impression of being cheap (as can happen, for example, with a Garmin 920xtThe screen is easy to read, allows many configurations and the configuration of being able to keep two data fields as the main one and the lower one being able to rotate it is really useful.
With respect to Suunto Ambit2 it has added more things, the most important being the ability to have keystroke data for swimming activities, but also Bluetooth connectivity, for better and for worse. Now the Ambit allows you to receive notifications from your phone (and soon will be compatible with Android as well) on your watch screen, and it doesn't drain your battery at all. We can also do synchronizations without the need to connect to your computer, which is very important when setting up any activity mode. The downside of changing connectivity is that if you are an Ambit2 user and have accessories that have ANT+, especially for cycling, you won't be able to use them with your new watch. In this case Suunto would practically force you to switch to another manufacturer that maintains this type of connectivity.
The Ambit3 also has an activity monitor, but it is quite limited, and Suunto has not indicated that they are going to make any improvements in this area. We can forgive him for this, since what you buy is a training watch and the activity monitor is secondary. The information it provides is quite scarce, but I don't think anyone will reject the purchase of the watch for this reason.
Something that Suunto had pending for quite some time is to match the training plan settings that we can find in other brands' clocks. Fortunately this is solved with the last update a few days ago, as it could not continue to depend on apps loaded into the clock by third party developers. It was a patch, but it could not be a solution. And now the Finns have already solved it, although I hope that the programming will not remain only in the mobile application, and will be brought to the website as well.
What I do not understand is that the Ambit3 does not have vibration warnings, especially because the sound warnings are not easy to hear, and if you're in noisy environments directly or you do not know. And the lack of vibration is a feature that weighs heavily, especially now that advanced training has arrived. It is something that has all the competition, but not Suunto. They have tried to solve it by adding the possibility that the mobile application will "sing" the steps of each training, but forces you to go out to train with your phone, and is something that not everyone likes. Hopefully the Ambit4 decide to implement the vibration.
All in all, the Ambit3 Sport is a great watch and if you don't mind the vibrating warnings, it's a very good choice to buy. Yes, you won't find the display of functions that can be found on a Fenix 3, but in its essential functions and in what you will use day to day, it is a watch that works very Good. Autonomy, rhythms, navigation, configuration... everything it does, it does well, and it doesn't get lost in functions that have little to do with what it is designed to do: practice sport.
Did you like the test?
I hope that this test has helped you in your decision to buy. To be honest, it takes many hours (more than you can imagine), and everything to bring you the highest quality items.
So, if you think the Suunto Ambit3 is the equipment you were looking for, you can buy it at Amazon Spain through this linkI recommend that you also look at Amazon FranceThis way it will cost you the same or cheaper than the official price, and I get a small commission that will help with the purchase of new devices for further testing.
If you are not going to buy the watch and want to show your gratitude, don't worry, there are more ways. If you liked this complete review of Suunto Ambit3 and you want to help me, leave your impressions in the comments. It will help me to know your opinion, in case I left something out or you think I should change something; and it will help you to participate in the draw! Ask your doubts if there is something that is not clear. In short, I am just an athlete like you who details the use of the watch from the point of view of a new user.
Show this post to your friends and share it on social networks, I'm sure if they are looking for a training watch they will thank you.
Buy Suunto Ambit3
You can buy the Suunto Ambit3 in several variants (Peak, Sport and Run) and colors. Below are links to some very good offers. You can buy the Suunto Ambit3 in several variants (Peak, Sport and Run) and colors. Below are links to some very good offers. The truth is that with these offers, the basic Run model is not worth the Sport at the moment.
If you are interested in the top of the range (Peak) with barometric altimeter and longer battery life, there are also fantastic prices.