Sep 19, 2012

Suunto Ambit: 1st week résumé

It´s a week now since I got the Suunto Ambit, which feels just to be the right time for a more elaborate résumé. Since then I used the Ambit for tracking my way to work and a weekend shopping trip, used the HR functions during indoor cycling sessions and did a full HR and GPS test during an outdoor run. Additionally, I defined several POIs, gave the navigation function a try, checked the Barometer regularly and wear it as a watch all day long.

1st week´s moves

This said, the Ambit is my new best tech-gadget friend, and the first training “tool” that fully delivers to my expectations.

Ease of use
Being kind of a tech-toy geek, setting-up and using the Ambit for me was quite self-explaining. The set up using worked flawlessly, for compass calibration I used the explanation from the user manual, all training and watch functions are intuitive to use.

GPS tracking
As mentioned, I had my first run with the Ambit some days ago, running in city environment, in and around Vienna´s “Altes AKH”. For those who do not know the location, it consists of several patios with a lot of trees, which make a nice running spot in the midst of the city, but is not ideal when it comes to using GPS devices. I tried to track the route before, using my iPhone with several apps as well as a Garmin Edge 500 (used off the bike), and compared to both, the Ambit did a great job. Not only did I have steady pace information on the watch, but also did the recorded track fit quite properly. The Ambit track showed 4.66km versus the same track created on showed 4.80km, which relates to a roughly 3% difference. Keeping the non-ideal environment in mind (e.g. the Edge 500 used while running did not track anywhere near that exactly and showed jumping paces all the time) the result does completely fit my needs. I am already more than curious to see how the Ambit will track in a city 10 times larger than Vienna, as I will have the opportunity to use it during a 3 month stay in Beijing.

Running track

Besides data storage and analysis functions, enables you to customize your Ambit (with regard to personal data, sport settings, custom screens per sport, routes etc.). I customized not only the standard sports selection (running, swimming, indoor cycling, cycling, orienteering and mountaineering) but also the recording settings of each sport (recording intervals, HR and PODs used, GPS usage) and the different screens for each sport. It seems you can set up an indefinite amount of screens to switch in between. For myself, I found to be able to live with a maximum of 3 screens per sport (be aware that additional functions like navigation automatically add an additional screen to your basic settings - perfect!). Each screen basically shows 3 data fields, being able to allocate more than one data field to the bottom row, switching through them by using the view button. Even though the Garmin Edge was also highly customizable, and my Garmin FR60 does a good job in customizing data fields shown, the Ambit is as comfortable to customize as can be.

Training data storage and analysis
Coming from Garmin connect and, I had no issues at all switching directly to Additionally, I started to test rubiTrack as offline training software on my MacBook. rubiTrack syncs directly with, making it easy to keep data backup offline, while adding different analysis options (but that´s another story to follow up on). While I am missing some functions on I was used to have in previous applications (e.g. actual vs. planned training comparison, more customizable Charts and Reports), it offers others that non of it´s predecessors had (e.g. direct route planning with POIs, more interactive track information like stopps and direction)

Latest move

Day to day use
During my first week with the Ambit, I already got several compliments while wearing it as a watch. While the Ambit is for sure not unimposing, it fits perfectly to free-time outfits as well as a business shirt – in my opinion, at least for the more casual office days.

Greetings, Steve

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