The Suunto Ambit 2 is my favorite watch hands down and in the last 37 years I’ve been a runner and athete I’ve had many watches. The Ambit2 R is a running-focused watch which comes as a derivative of the Ambit2 line that was introduced earlier last year. What makes it a good watch are its features, a sleek-simple look, reasonable price and overall it stacks up very well against comparable models from other companies. If you are a very active person and get outdoors a lot to cycle, swim or run then this is the watch for you. Being able to track your times and distances is going to let you track your progress. This means you can aspire to be a badass because you have a plan. Don’t screw this up-stay focused and use this thing to get where you need to get going.
Here are some of the features:
- App Zone – Use apps like Interval Coach, Ghost Runner, Running Efficiency, and Marathon Estimate.
- Cadence –During certain time intervals it tracks how many steps you are taking.
- Customized Workout – You can develop your own workout, input it, and go.
- Full-featured GPS –The watch connects rapidly to satellite in less than 5 seconds; includes Navigation and Routes.
- MovesCount Interface – Great feature for runners. Just download the apps, load your workouts, and share.
- Real Time VO2 Max – Provides you with a VO2 measurement mid-run to see how hard you are working.
- Track back / Find back – If you get lost, these features direct you back to the starting point of your run.
I don’t even know where to start. If you want a killer looking watch with super solid features that can be worn just as easily on your daily commute as it can on the trails then this watch is for you. There are a long list of uses for this watch for runners, swimmers and cyclists. In a world where there are a lot of options to choose from, trying to find a good watch is difficult, in fact where do you start? For a watch right under the price of $250.00 this is the one. Add $50 more for a heart rate monitor band.
It has a sleek look and I like the orbicular face in comparison to some of the boxier looking watches that manufacturers like Garmin offers. The watch looks stylish without being overly tactical looking or too flimsy. With its clean lines, this watch looks good, and can be used as an excellent training aid.
When I first tried in on I thought it looked overly large but the larger face lends itself well to spotting your time on the trails even at nightime. On smaller wrists it may feel large and where the strap meets the body it might feel sharp at the wrist bone. Try the watch on at the store and make your decision.
The Garmin Fenix is one other option but topping out at $550.00 it may be too pricey for most. It can be found for cheaper on the net. The diameter of the watch is around 50mm and the band thickness is 16 mm. There is a silicone band which feels soft to the touch. The two watch straps prevent the excess band material from floating around.
There is a slight weight difference but not much between the Fenix and the Ambit.
Garmin Fenix 82.9g (2.9oz)
Suunto Ambit 2 89g (3.1oz)
The Suunto Ambit 2R isn’t cheap, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fantastic value for money. It is worth the price tag and new models can be found on the net for around $175.00. Shop around.
The Ambit 2 also had a good battery life. Battery life ranges from 8-24 hours depending on the user-selected accuracy. The manufacture claims 16-50 hours is possible, (this broad range is dependent on the GPS accuracy) with the GPS system running.
The screen is easy to read in dull light or backlight. Bright sunlight doesn’t prevent it from being read either. You can flip the format of the screen from clear text on a black background to black text on a clear background. There is a dedicated backlight push-piece at 4 o’clock for those who prefer to do their running at nights. The watch face, features a glassfiber casing comprised of reinforced polyamide that protects the mineral crystal lens display. Good stuff for clumsy guys like me who trip on trail and bash rocks.
Let’s discuss some of the features of the Ambit 2R. It tells the time accurately (with GPS synchronization), has the date, day of the week, stopwatch and an alarm clock. For those who want to track their activities this watch allows you feedback from all the data you enter after you hit complete your training and hit those targets. Running, for example, is easy to track the minute by minute time of every mile you run regardless of the terrain. You can do this because the watch provides GPS co-ordinates on demand. It uses its own accelerometer to estimate your running cadence (and thus efficiency of your training).
Mountaineers, trekkers and any athlete will appreciate the Ambit2’s GPS capabilities. The GPS will link up in under 5 seconds even when in the mountains. Just follow your waypoints back to where you started if you get lost and it will get you home. The built-in GPS and accelerometer provide accurate speed, cadence, speed and distance, while full route navigation offers you the freedom to check out the world. The HR version comes with a Heart Rate Monitor which goes around your chest to provide data to the unit via wireless means.
The running apps, heart rate monitor and the training plans will also make it easy to improve and keep track of every aspect of your performance. The simplicity and usefulness makes the Ambit2 R the perfect starter sportswatch for those eager to keep track of their running performance. Sign up for a Movescount.com if you want. Movescount.com provides things like specialized apps, training programs and the ability to share fitness progress with other members of the Movescount community. First time users will have to sign up for a free account and install the official Moveslink application to download the apps and routes.
The Ambit2 can also be worn as a day-to-day watch by turning the GPS off, giving it approximately 15 days of battery life. It’s also waterproof for up to 50m, making it perfect for other activities like swimming and snorkeling.
Swimming allows you to count the stroke rate, rest time and the lengths of time you’ve swam. The Ambit 2 is water resistant to 100M and will take the surface impact of swimming without damaging the unit.
The watch is easy to use. The manual isn’t really needed because everything is very straightforward. Look at the watch face and you’ll see five clearly marked buttons around the face. Pressing on the main navigation will give you prompts on where to go next. The Ambit 2 menu is simple to navigate. Each Ambit2 R pack includes a quick guide manual, limited warranty, and a special USB cable for charging and synching with your computer. There’s also the option of adding on the Suunto ANT Heart Rate Belt.
Pros and Cons
- If you pre-set a route on the GPS it gives you a big arrow on the screen to keep you on track.
- It has a handlebar mount and it stays in place because of the rubber.
- When compared to Google Maps, Map my Run and the Polar GPS tracker the GPS distance was a bit off. This can be improved in the future.
- Easy to read screen when running.
- You can keep the light on.
- You can invert the screen text to make it easier to see when running at twilight.
- You can’t switch from running to bike or swim and need to stop the current session and begin a new session.
Great watch. I love this thing. Overall, I think this is an excellent product. Well made, light-weight, durable, and comfortable. How can you go wrong? You can’t.
Total Score 22.5/25
Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased the SUUNTO Ambit. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
- Suunto Ambit2 R GPS Running watch specification
- Price: $249 (plus $50 for a Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) band)
- Power reserve: 12 hours (with GPS activated)
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, FusedSpeed, running cadence, track-back and full navigation (downloadable routes), GPS
- Available apps: Interval coach, Ghost runner, Running efficiency, High intensity intervals, Marathon time
- Case material: Rubberized
- Bezel material: Matches case
- Crown material: N/A
- Case shape: Round
- Bezel shape: Round
- Case size: 50.00 mm
- Case height: 15.50 mm
- Weight: 70 g
- Lug width: No data
- Dial: LCD, monochrome
- Water resistance: 50 meters
- Strap: Silicone band