Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Suunto Ambit- thoughts on a new watch

Ambit box
Ok, so its a new watch, new tech, and has lots of interesting and exciting features, but there are also a couple of things that it DOESN'T do yet.
I've used the Ambit for a couple of runs now, downloaded it and played around a little, and here are my current thoughts as to Good things and Things I'm surprised it doesn't do. 

I have already passed these comments onto Suunto, and of course they have been "passed on to the relevant team for further processing", which probably means they have been passed onto the waste-paper-bin-shaped file on the desktop.
We shall see.

Good things
Aside from the obvious- its a GPS watch in the shape and size of a "normal" watch (well... a suunto sized watch) with a barometer in it that does everything a Suunto Core does, what else is good about this watch?

When I bought it I wasn't sure if it was going to be able to pair with an old HR monitor that came with a Suunto T4c.
It does. Yay.

It also has a 24 hour barometric trend view. Just like the Core. yay.

It locks onto satellites very quickly indeed. Much faster than any of the Garmins I own, and seems to have just as accurate tracking as them. (and MORE accurate than some other garmins I have known and used).

The amount of data you can view while running is phenomenal- though to be honest, I don't tend to look at the data when Im running. I just run.

Comparison of size Suunto Core, Suunto Ambit, Garmin 305
I like the lock feature when I'm running- flipping heck, if I had a quid for every time I've been for a run and pressed the stop button as I've got something out of my bag, I'd probably have about £20.

It will apparently synch up to our suunto bike pod as well, which is good. The reason I say apparently is because I haven't had a chance to check it out yet. The pod is in a drawer somewhere and is in dire need of a new battery.

Things I am surprised it doesn't do
Despite being able to change what you can see on your watch when you run, the information the watch gives you once you press stop and save is not changable. This is annoying- all that excellent information that I was just able to look at- now I can't see it until I get home and upload it to my computer. If I can edit the screens for when I am running, why can't I have some control over the information I see once I'm finished?!

Comparison of widths- Garmin 305, Suunto Ambit, Suunto Core
When you finish and save what you have just done, only the most recently recorded data is available to see on the watch. You can't go back to look at another track you have done in the past. It seems only possible to do that once you have uploaded onto a computer.
This is slightly concerning, if I go for a weeks running holiday, I'm not sure how much of my weeks running will be saved... will it all be saved for download when I get back, or will some of it be deleted to save more recent runs? Does that mean I have to take a computer with me on every holiday where I intend on using the Ambit?!

It doesn't do multisport- so those of you into tri's and adventure races- you can only record one activity at a time- and then at the end, you won't be able to view it all as one race- you will only see the last section that you recorded, be it the run section or mountainbike- or whatever until you upload to a computer... which seems odd to me.

In Movescout there are a multitude of things to look at, but one of the reasons I bought the ambit was because it gives good ascent data... what is missing from the summaries? The ability to look at ascent speeds in specific sections of your run/walk/cycle. Yes, you can see it on a graph, but I'd prefer it if it was data mined and actually written down, like they have with general ascent, decent, avg speed, top speed, avg HR etc. I'm sure it would be easy to do, if you had access to the actual backroom data.

I'm also surprised there is no functionalilty to change file types to gpx or kml files. I have since found a somewhat round about way of doing it, and have been assured that this is indeed in the pipeline for the Suunto site (though being in the planning phase and actually getting it done are 2 very different things). The way in which I did it was to use Neotrack to convert the Ambit track to GPX and then GPS visualiser to go from GPX to .kml. From what I can see on Google earth, it seems to have worked, mostly.

Doesn't matter what you buy, the cat will still make a nest in the wrapping.
Despite this list of things the Ambit doesn't do (yet) I am still very very very happy with it indeed.

1 comment:

  1. There has since been a new software update for the Ambit, and here are my thoughts on what has and hasn't changed.