3 days ago, I got my new toy. Now I like to write down my first experience with this gem.
I bought a Suunto Ambit3 Peak in black without HR. There was no stock of the Ambit3 with HR and I can buy a HR strap later. The watch was 2550RMB and arrived a day after I purchased online from a dealer here in Suzhou.
The reason to get such an expensive new toy is that my Garmin Forerunner 620, which is also a very, very good watch, is not suitable for ultra-trails. The time I bought my Garmin, I was only running city runs, like half- and full marathons and therefore the Garmin is a great watch. Last year when I was running the 63km at the Patagonia Marathon in South Chile the Garmin reached the limit. I reached the finish line in around seven hrs and the Garmin had just 5% battery life left.
5 weeks ago, at the HK100, which was my first real ultra-trail, the Garmin ran out of battery. Sure, I carried power banks with me, also for the iPhone, but as soon as the Garmin connect to a charger the actual running workout will stop, automatic save and the watch will go into a charge mode. Slightly disappointed I decided on this run in the hills of Hong Kong, that I have to buy better gear what will fit my new passion of ultra-running.
And here is the new Suunto Ambit3 Peak
Compare with the super lightweight Garmin, the Suunto is a brick. The weight is double and after more than a year running with 44gr. on the arm it was a little strange to carry the 86gr. from the Suunto. However, if I carry on a 100-mile run a backpack full of water, trekking poles, gels, iPhone and 20000mAh power banks to charge all this funny freaky terminator wearables, the extra weight for an 86gr. super cool gadget should not be my biggest problem. 🙂
I directly tested if I can charge the watch with a power bank during a running workout. I can confirm that this works very well. The charging clip on the USB cable looks very strong and should not fall off while charging during a run over rocks and rough terrain.
The Movescount User Interface on the Suunto website is very easy to handle. I really like it. However, be aware, that the website and the mobile app is the only way to setup the displays on the watch. It´s not possible to add a parameter directly on the watch. That means if you are out for a run, without your iPhone, and you decide to add your burned calories or any other parameter at the watch display, you cannot do this. With the Suunto Movescount app on the smart phone it is very easy to re-adjust the displays and then synchronizing the Ambit3 via Bluetooth.
I already was out for some test runs to check and see the differences in the settings for the GPS accuracy and the recording interval. The battery life is not my concern, therefore I carry battery packs, but there is no information available how long the internal memory last. Therefore, I need to do more tests if the watch is able to do a +40 hrs workout with a recording interval of 1s.
There is a big difference in accuracy between this two runs below. 10% of the distance is missing in the low-accuracy setting. Therefore, this setting might be OK for long, slow trekking tours. Now the watch is lying on my balcony and is doing a virtual workout with medium-accuracy GPS settings and a 1s recording interval for more tests.
(The workouts on the maps below were done in a city center surrounded by up-to 200m skyscrapers. The ~250m NW racecourse offset on the map is typical in China, because of some disputes between Google and the Chinese government. 🙂 )
I also found already some negative points. Not directly for the Ambit3 watch, but for the Movescount environment.
- It is not possible to add a move from a gpx, tcx, kml file (not a route, just a move/workout) without other external tools. Typical user unfriendly isolated solution from Suunto.
- Very nice gadget is the Movescount Movie feature. You can create a movie from the workout with the Movescount app on the phone. The result is very nice and must look amazing on a long run with a lot of ascents and descents. If you share the movie in Movescount it will be uploaded to YouTube. Before the upload you have to agree that you own all rights on the content, but after the upload it is not possible to delete this movie from YouTube again. Even make the movie invisible is not possible.
I will write more about this watch and my experience with it after my first 100-miler next weekend in the beautiful Hong Kong New Territories.
For a very deep review of the Ambit3 watch I can recommend the review from DC Rainmaker at ambit3-multisport-review