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Gear Review

5 5

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There is really so much to the Ambit that it's difficult to summarize in a single review. What I will say though, is that it combines some of the best elements of the entire Suunto line, presenting itself as one of the most advanced and robust training tools on the market. It's missing a few rudimentary features found on the Core (like a dedicated chronograph or storm alarm), but it more than makes up for their absence in other areas which I'll touch on below. Rather than gloss over every feature of the watch though, I'll just call out some of my favorite features that are most relevant to me personally, and leave the rest for you to discover and appreciate on your own.

* Real-time speed readouts (Suunto's new FusedSpeed technology): this is one of the more breakthrough features of the watch, which integrates an accelerometer into the GPS tracking for impressively accurate and responsive speed readings. Even with abrupt course alterations or at slow walking speeds, the watch performs above expectations. This feature alone negated my need for an on-board cycling computer.
* Highly accurate and reliable GPS: the Ambit GPS is guided by SiRFstarIV technology - the same used in many smartphones. It has excellent location-awareness and is able to self-assist without constantly needing to reacquire a location fix - all this, at a fraction of the power consumption of many GPS units. You can run the Ambit GPS in one of the watch's "training" modes up to 50 hours (as opposed to 30 days in normal 'watch' mode) off a single full charge. Higher-drain activities like trail running or cycling will still get you 15 hours.
* Real-time 12-hour altitude/barometric trend readout: as photographed, this readout is one of my favorite features in the watch. All of your elevation activity travels across the high-resolution display as you move through the day, which is super helpful for monitoring your progress across an entire day's worth of hiking, climbing, or cycling. It's also handy for presentation in impromptu bragging sessions. You can also choose to display the time (dual zone capable), or current temperature beneath.
* Movescount: the online interface is simple, intuitive, and provides a dizzying wealth of training and mapping data that is neatly organized so you never feel overwhelmed when poring over your results. The Peak Training Effect and Recovery Time measurements are especially helpful. Suunto calls the Ambit the "GPS for explorers," which it certainly is, but this bevy of invaluable training data makes it more than just a fancy compass (even though it does have a very fancy 3D compass).
* The 3D compass: I'm not using this watch for orienteering, but that doesn't make the compass any less cool. Unlike a conventional analog compass which requires you to hold it flat, the Ambit compensates for wrist tilt, giving you an accurate reading from any angle.
* The display: like the Core, the Ambit allows you to change from a negative to positive display at just the touch of a button, which is really nice for maximizing readability in flat light, under direct sunlight, or if you're wearing polarized sunglasses.

* note that this version of the Ambit does NOT come with the HR belt (like the Foot POD, ANT+ Cadence Sensor, and other accessories, it is sold separately)
* the black and silver come with different bands - the black is arguably more ventilated, but both are very comfortable and highly wear resistant
* a lot has been said on the size of the watch, but it's really not overly large by modern timepiece standards - especially compared to the Suunto Core. The only issue I've heard is of the thickness, but if you're concerned about this watch's wearability with a dress shirt, you might want to look at something else
* made in Finland, just like the superlative Suunto Elementum line

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