Friday, 22 June 2012

Thoughts on updated Suunto Ambit software

I mentioned in a previous post about how the Ambit was good, but there were a couple of things that let it down somewhat. A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to download the new version of the software for my Ambit, which promised a whole raft of new and exciting features.

Brilliant! I thought. This is going to make the watch just that bit more excellent, above and beyond its current performance. With any luck the guys behind all the techno-stuff will have listened to people like me who have been trying the watch and emailing them back with suggestions about what works, what doesn't and what really really needs to be on the watch.

The download was easy enough. Attach the watch to the computer like normal, click a box to say Yes I do want to continue with the download, wait for a few minutes and hey presto, new watch.

I must mention here a couple of glitches at this point. I have a load of custom screens for training. Hill reps, fell running, walking, turbo, cycling and the like, and as soon as I had downloaded the new bits and bobs, the watch reverted to default, which was annoying. What was even more annoying was that I couldn't find a way to get it back to all my custom settings. There they were on the computer, and yet, not on the watch. I tried re-attaching it, I tried synching it, I swore at it, but eventually decided that it was better to go out and train and record what I was doing without being able to see all the information that I needed during the session.
Sometimes running by feel is a good thing, but it was annoying.

About a week later, after a number of synchs and uploads the watch finally remembered what it was meant to be doing and went back to normal, but I had to train for a while on a generic "running" setting which grated.

The other problem is ongoing and I'll come to that in a mo.

New Features
The new features on the watch are mainly accessed from the menu.
Most importantly, there is now a Logbook function, where you can look back at other sessions you have done. It gives you the pertinent details of the session. Distance, Time, Ascent, Descent, Average Speed, Peak HR, Average HR, Kcal, Training effect and Recovery time, but does not allow a track back facility if you then want to navigate the run once more directly from the watch.

Recovery Time now has its own little section in the menu. Each Logged run tells you what recovery time you incurred from the run in total, and the Recovery Time section from the main menu tells you how much time you have yet to recovery since the most recent bout of exercise.
(mine kept telling me I had to wait 120h, so I upped my training "level" on the website, since I did that it seems to be giving me more intelligent times).

Now this is the bit I barely use, and the bit which I have played around with and haven't managed to work out entirely.
On the up side, the routes you have done ARE NOW exportable in .kml and .gpx files. (woohoo!), so you can see them on all kinds of mapping software. Brilliant. This is basically as far as I ever really intend to use it as a GPS (apart from distance etc).
However, apparently the system enables you to upload a previously created route on the computer, (in the form of a .kml file), or create a route on the navigation page of the site with up to 100 waypoints, which you can then upload to the watch.

Well, I've imported a .kml file, and I've created a waypointed route on the Movescount site, clicked all the right buttons and tick boxes. (ok, there is 1 tick box). Hey presto.
The watch says there are no route to read, and nothing I can do seems to make it believe there is one that it should be synching to.

On the up side, there is now a way of uploading Points Of Interest from the computer. So you can stick a point in on the movescount page and upload it to the watch. Nice. I used the feature to rename a load of my points on the watch. It loaded the new names to the watch, and now I can't read them very easily. There appears to be an Umlout in place of the first 4 letters, which is a bit of an important glitch.
Hopefully this will be fixed in the next debug.

There were also a whole load of other background things that were updated, and there is a new way of looking at exactly where you are on the planet. This is still not GB grid ref, so if you are looking for that, it still isn't on the watch.
There is still no Countdown timer, and no simple stopwatch which you can access from the main face like you can on a Core, and you still can't use it with a Foot Pod.

I'm sure there were a few more upgrades, but these are the ones that I was most excited about, and the ones which I use most often. The watch has now decided that it is my watch again and has reverted back to my custom screens, but with one last annoyance.
I have since updated my custom screens on Movescount, and that has not synched to the watch yet.... even with forced synching, it still doesn't do it, so there appears to be a bit of an issue with synching still.

Other than that, it still seems to be going pretty well. 

1 comment:

  1. The synching issue is not resolved. I have a number of customised screens on the movescount website that aren't appearing on the watch.

    A minor issue, but when you're training and you want to see certain stats at certain points, and the watch lets you down. Thats a bad thing.
    I have emailed Suunto, and hopefully there will be a fix.
    This is probably the most annoying glitch so far.