Saw a press release a while back about the new Suunto Ambit watch.
At that point I tried not to get too excited about it.
I have previously written a bit about GPS watches, mainly looking at Suunto and Garmin, and how if I want to get all the information on a run that I want to record, I have to take 2 watches, which is a bit silly really. However, I have faithfully stuck with my Garmin 305 for a number of years, and although it's been repaired or replaced twice, I am rather fond of the old battler.
To be honest though, it wasn't long ago that I was bemoaning the fact to a number of acquaintances, (well, ok, it was Lynne) that there was no decent device which recorded Heart Rate, Height gain/loss in m/per min and GPS data. -Oh, and incidentally had a battery life of greater than 12 hours while it was doing those things, and, and the same time, could provide a barometric graph of the previous 24 hours. A combination of my Garmin 305 and Suunto Core, if you will.
If someone could come up with a device that could do all that, and if possible, make it small enough to attach to your wrist. Well. That manufacturer would have a game changing device on their hands.
Garmin appear to have gone very much towards the Triathalon market with the new 910XT with swimming stroke counts and all kinds of wonderful things to help calculate training advantages. They also claim battery life of "up to 20 hours".
This is not helpful.
Do they mean with GPS on or off? Ok, so triathalons don't tend to go on for 20 hours, but some races do. Is the watch going to run out of charge with an hour still to go? Garmin, give us ACTUAL numbers please. This one costs on the sharp end of £400. £390, actually.
And Suunto came along and flashed about something called the Ambit.
Heart rate monitoring, GPS tracker (and navigation- though thats by the by), barometric altitude, compass, 15hours on training mode (short GPS tracking) and 50 hours on mountain mode (long GPS tracking), and 30 days battery life on normal watch mode, and it looks to be about the size of a normal watch, not some grotesquely large GPS reciever that Garmins seem to be. Its a watch that performs as a functional instrument, rather than a GPS masquerading as a watch. It isn't going to be released until April, and when it does, again, the guide price appears to say from £350. Which probably means that in reality, if you want one with a HR belt, again, it'll be the thick end of £400.
Bar the teeth grinding price (though I understand that this is a very special bit of kit), that is a pretty damn good list for a watch, and it seems almost perfect.
The one function that I absolutely love on my Core is the 24hour barometric history graph. The watch has a barometer. It also has enough pixels to show a graph- you can see that from the publicity shots where it shows altitude gain/loss. From the bumpf, it seems to say that it has a trend graph, so thats pointing in the right direction. I really really hope that it does. It would make it, at least for me, a complete and perfect instrument for training and running in the hills and mountains.
Game changer? I think so.
Now all I need to do is save up for it to see if it actually does what it promises.