There’s no denying that Suunto is the leader when it comes to GPS watches made with trail and ultra runners in mind. Yeah there are other players in the market with great products, such as Garmin, but Suunto design watches with the hardcore outdoor athlete in mind. The build quality is unsurpassed, the functionality with route planning, compass and long battery life makes them user friendly, and the online integration with the Movescount App provides a timepiece that’s far more than a running watch. Suunto make what I like to call “Training Aids”. No, not sexually transmitted diseases, what I’m talking about are things that make life as a runner easier…and more fun.
Look, I’m a nerd and love my gadgets, so to me the latest watch that does all sorts of cool techy crap is pretty exciting, so when I was given the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical to test drive I was pumped. To be honest I actually wanted to find a flaw in it because I hate the idea that they’re just releasing a watch with bugger all differences to the other options they have in the marketplace, purely because they know gadget junkies like me will buy one. But despite my efforts I only had one issue with this thing: I couldn’t get the screen to display my ‘Average Pace’ during a run. It probably does this, but I don’t read instruction manuals, as I believe that in this day and age devices like this need to be user-friendly and intuitive in design.
So what makes this different from the Ambit 3 Sport or other Suunto’s out there? Well, as the name suggests this is a watch made for those that like to run in the mountains. Folks that are keen to rack up vertical gain as a gauge of their weekly training, as opposed to looking at volume or pace as the only key measures. What I really loved is that once you’ve planned a route via Movescount you can then you can follow the altitude profile of your route directly from the watch, with real-time ascent gain and remaining ascent. Also, with a few presses of the buttons you can see daily ascent totals over 7 days, 30 days and a full year, plus you can check your all-time totals. These little touches are fun motivational tools!
Another of the awesome features of this watch is the vibration alerts, that mean if you have headphones on or are in a noisy area, the vibration lets you know when laps tick over or you press buttons. I found this a big help to get my attention on windy days as each kilometer passed so I could monitor my pace. The other noticeable difference of the Vertical is the streamlined design. It’s more comfortable and seems lighter than previous Ambit3 models, with a much better fit on my pathetically skinny wrist.
RRP: $629 AUD (679 AUD with the Suunto Smart Sensor)