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Suunto Ambit puts GPS navigation, performance tracking and heart rate monitor on your wrist


January 25, 2012

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The Ambit watch is Suunto's latest GPS-enabled watch, following up on the X10. The package is designed to provide outdoor athletes with a suite of tools - GPS, sports computer, heart rate monitor - to train and adventure successfully. The data gathered can then be shared at Suunto's online training community, where there are more tools and features.

Essentially an updated version of the Suunto X10, the Ambit provides a combination of navigation and performance-tracking features that Suunto says makes it the go-to watch for outdoor athletes, from casual hikers to hard-charging mountaineers.

You can use the GPS to track or route waypoints and navigate your way to and from your destination. The watch also includes a three-dimensional compass and barometric altimeter to help in your navigational efforts.

On the performance side, the Ambit uses an integrated accelerometer along with the GPS to track your performance via such measures as speed and distance. The accelerometer helps to improve accuracy over what you'd get from GPS alone. With help from the barometric altimeter, the watch also provides data on your vertical and climbing speed. The barometer can also give you insight into pending weather trends, allowing you to retreat when necessary or press ahead when practical.

When you equip the Ambit with the optional heart rate belt, it doubles as a heart rate monitor. Suunto's Peak Training Effect aims to keep you within your optimal training rate, while the Recovery Time function lets you know when you've fully recovered from one workout and are ready to move on to the next.

When you get back inside, you can upload your data to Suunto's Web community Movescount.com for analysis, discussion and planning. Users can also upgrade the Ambit with any software updates and new features through the site.

Like most any Suunto watch, the Ambit is large, but it didn't seem quite as oversized and bulky as the typical GPS watch, when we saw it for ourselves. It was relatively lightweight and low profile, at least insofar as GPS monitors go. The picture below shows the thickness of the watch.

The Ambit watch will hit the market in March. It will retail for US$550, or $600 with the heart rate belt, and will be available with both black and silver dials.

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

Suunto products look great and are light weight but I bought a CORE and scratched the face quite easily with only mildly brushing against something and after about a year the compass stopped working completely. This piece looks fabulous but can I trust it???

Michael Taylor

@Michael Taylor, I have dropped scratch and all my Core and don\'t see any damage. I use it for Skydiving and some times I\'ve hit it against the door on my way out very hard when going in groups. Also hit it against at rock when a wave took me to the bottom. Still nothing. Maybe you compass had a defect because lot\'s of guys here have Suuntos and none had issues. btw what did you scratched it against? Some rocks or coral can be very sharp.

I wonder how much the Ambit weights because they always look heavy but are super light. We\'ll see...


I bought a Vector several years ago, and it kept terrific time and was perfect, except that the bezel was supported by crappy little brass paperclip springs, and folded almost instantly. That was followed by a near total death of the little cover over the battery. I still have the watch and it still works. It\'s been sitting on the breakfast bar for 10 years and it\'s not something Suunto makes any effort to support.

My $25 Timex works just as well, and it\'s going on 10 years with the original bezel and all OEM except the band and the battery. Ralph L. Seifer, Long Beach, California.


I've had the black ambit for about 2 weeks and love it in all ways so far. I upgraded from the t6 and really like the GPS for helping to work on training speed since it gives accurate speed for laps. I tried a lot of different watches and one of the big pluses for the ambit is that it's so light that i don't notice it at all (the holes in the band help to stop it from getting sweaty underneath too). The profile looks thick when it's off but every comment I've had so far is that it is big but not bulky looking (I'm a girl with regular sized wrists but it doesn't look bad at all). My favorite part so far is that I completely smashed it against a concrete wall coming up the stairs in my building - when I looked down I thought it was wrecked but it turned out that it had taken a bunch of concrete off the wall not the other way around and it looked new again after I brushed it off. Movescount has helped me to increase the effectiveness of my training and it doesn't hurt that its a really cool "toy" with all the programmable features and looks.

Ashley Birtch
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