The Suunto Ambit 3 was today announced as the 3rd generation of the Ambit GPS multisport watch series. The announcement of this highly anticipated edition to the Ambit family has come earlier than expected but it’s welcomed by all Suunto faithfuls from around the globe!
Expected release date in Australia will be the 1st of September 2014. The “Ambit” short for “Ambition” is Suunto’s flagship outdoor adventure, swimming, cycling, running, and multisport watch.
Suunto have continued the Ambit family along the lines of the Ambit2, without a cut down pure running “R” version.
The Ambit 3S (Sport) comes in 4 versions, Black, Blue, White and a build with a toughened sapphire crystal lens. The “S” version has all the features of the top of the range Suunto Ambit 3 Peak versions including multisport mode, but excluding the Altimeter/Barometer. The Ambit 3S family also has a lower profile and reduced weight due to half the battery size of the Peak version.
The top of the range Ambit3 family which includes the altimeter/barometer for super accurate elevation recording has now been labelled the Ambit3 Peak. Dropped by Suunto is the Silver build from the Ambit/Ambit2, the Ambit3 Peak will be now available in the popular Black and Sapphire releases only.
To be one of the first owners of the Ambit 3 in Australia, click HERE.
So what’s new about the Ambit 3?
First up is Bluetooth Smart support. Gone is Ant / Ant+ compatibility. Ant+ compatibility was a nice feature of the Ambit/Ambit2 which allowed use of other vendor’s sensors but it is sadly no longer an option. However with Bluetooth smart, apart from a new sensor line up, smart phone integration is a highly anticipated improvement.
Big news is that there will be an update to the Movescount App, initially with an iPhone/iPad release with an Android version to follow. Apart from activity upload / download via a smart phone, the ability to configure the Ambit3 / 3S screen layouts, variables, and settings, without having to plug the Ambit 3 into a computer via USB is a real bonus.
Phone notifications such as SMS and alerts can now be displayed on the Ambit3, handy say when hiking or trail running with a phone tucked away in your backpack.
Additionally the GPS on the Ambit can be shared to a smart phone via Bluetooth Smart. This for example allows the accuracy and data metrics collected by the Ambit to be viewed on a larger display. Great say for cycling. Suunto have also added integration to other phone components such as the camera to allow data overlay on stills and video, information such as speed, elevation and HR.
Suunto have also announced a new version Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate strap and transmitter for the Ambit3 range. Slightly more streamlined than previous versions, with a newly designed transmitter clip. What is truly unique about the transmitter is that it will actually record heart rate when out of range of the Suunto Ambit 3, then re-sync within. Until now it was only the 5Khz Suunto M1 and Polar products that would allow recording / transmission of heart rate data under water, unlike the higher frequency Ant, Ant+ and Bluetooth interfaces. Suunto has overcome this obstacle quite cleverly with the HR transmitter being able to record the actual HR data from the strap and then update the watch when available via Bluetooth, say at the end of a lap or session in the pool or during a transition in a triathlon. This will now allow full analysis of swim data including distance, timing, laps, stroke and heart rate.
New to the Ambit family is inclusion of activity tracking, which seems to be the flavour of the month at the moment. The Ambit3 / Ambit 3S will track daily movement, even with GPS off, and provide daily and weekly summaries on both the watch itself and via Movescount, Suunto’s online and phone App. This is also useful to provide more accurate recovery time prediction between activities.
Internal memory storage has doubled according to Suunto, which has been a bugbear in the past for those into multiday activities, battery specs at this stage appear still to be in line with the Ambit 2 family, ie: 16 hrs at a maximum sample rate of 1 second, 25hrs at 5 seconds, and the rarely used 50 hrs at 1 minute sampling, sadly no improvement here.
Like what you see? To be one of the first owners of the Ambit 3 in Australia, click HERE.
In summarising, although the Ambit 3 is not a total revamp of the Ambit2, it does contain some very nice additions in the form of the phone integration and ability to record heart rate whilst swimming.
Most functions of the Ambit2 family are retained; the biggest loss however is the dropping of ANT and ANT+ sensor support, which many users favoured to make an easy transition to the Suunto platform. However with the inclusion of Bluetooth Smart the doors will open to a whole range of new sensors emerging on the market.
Stay tuned for a full product review as soon as Highly Tuned Athletes gets their hands on the new Ambit3 range. Don’t forget we are taking pre-orders HERE to secure yourself a unit when the first batch arrives.