Suunto Ambit 2S

suunto-ambit-and-jonathan-wyatt-1Nowadays, GPS enabled running watches seem to be as necessary as a pair of joggers when it comes to training. Gone are the days where people simply ran for time or had a set route they’d follow and be content with knowing roughly the distance. For some reason, everything has to be measured. Heart rate, distance, altitude…the list goes on. And while it can seem like information overload at times, I have to admit, I love gadgets! They make it all the more fun and allow nerds like me to have numbers to play with after the running for the day is complete. On the downside it can lead to over analysis and reliance on your watch to know you’ve had a good run. But then again, being aware of the facts and figures allows you to better manage your workload and assess progress.

The majority of road runners get around in Garmins or more basic GPS watches that offer distance, pace and time functions. But if you’re into ultras, mountain running or multi-sport events, then the Suunto Ambit 2S is for you. It’s versatile in its functions, has a long battery life, it’s accurate and stylish…albeit a little big for the average skinny distance runners wrist. From a multi-sport perspective, it has the ability to support the different power meters (ANT+) frequently found on bikes, as well as being suitable for swimming (Indoors and out) or the varying disciplines you come across in adventure racing. But for this review I am focusing on running applications.

Suunto-Ambit 2 S HR Graphite-3To begin with, the Ambit 2S comes in 3 colours: Red, Lime and Graphite. It tips the scales at 73 grams and with a large face, is on the bulky side. The plus of this is that it’s super easy to read the info on the screen. In terms of fit, the soft rubber band is comfortable and will suit just about any adults arm. The simplicity of the design and ease of use are what first standout. It looks cool and is made to last. The watch is easy to operate, even when you’re fingers are freezing cold or you’re running in the rain. Plus the functionality is intuitive, making it a very user friendly experience. There’s no navigating through complex menus to get the info or function you want.

The battery life gives you 8 hours on 1 second GPS and heart rate recording and you’ll get over 25 hours on 1 minute intervals for the GPS. In simple watch mode I managed 14 days of use. The battery life information is displayed as % on the screen so you’ll know if you need to top it up prior to heading out for a run. Finding satellites is incredibly quick. There’s no standing around waiting while everyone else is itching to start. Within two seconds it’s good to go! Once running the data for pace, distance, route and elevation is all very accurate and can be easily accessed by simply pressing the view button. The only negative is that the pace increments are in 5 seconds. This is fine for the majority of us but when it comes to fast intervals and people that are sticklers for every second, it can be a little annoying.

Jonathan Wyatt in Fuschl am See, AustriaThe greatest strength in the Ambit 2S is how it seamlessly synchronises with the Movescount software to store all your data. Every couple of days you can plug your watch into your computer and download everything to your Movescount profile. Here you can view all your training on a calendar and assess everything. From looking at the amount of climbing you’ve done and the pace of your training, to reviewing the maps of your courses and your training zones throughout each run. Then there’s the opportunity to plan the coming days and share your info with others. It’s quite a powerful and fun tool to have at your disposal and worthy of a complete review in itself. In summary, the Suunto Ambit 2S is a superior and more durable watch than the traditional runner’s GPS. The extended battery life makes it perfect for long runs and ‘shorter’ ultras, plus the stylish design means you can wear it as your day to day watch too. What’s more, you can stand out from the Garmin crowd!

RRP: $449