A guest article from Brad Walker.
Suunto Ambit: The All-Encompassing Wristop Computer
Most in the outdoor community are familiar with the Suunto name. The Finland-based company has been breeding compasses for nearly 80 years. Their resume includes a lineage that dates back to World War II, so it's safe to say that these guys have it right. They now build compasses, dive instruments and sport watches that essentially set the bar for the competition.
I have owned a few Suunto watches over the years. I'm currently wearing the Suunto Core All Black. I've had great luck with my watches over the years, having only one problem which Suunto promptly addressed. As a whole they've fared quite well. But hey, enough about me. Let's get into it.
I would venture to call the Ambit a "hybrid", of sorts. Suunto basically combined the stealthy military look of the Core series, the fitness-oriented M5 and the GPS capable X-10 to create an all-in-one powerhouse to meet the needs ever Tier of military operator and sports enthusiasts alike. With that being said, I'm going to break the watch down into three compartmentalized areas:
1. Exterior Characteristics
2. Fitness and Health Functions
3. GPS and Navigational Capability
The Ambit was given extremely smooth and clean lines borrowed from its Core cousin. It's available in Black or Silver. Both share the same internal workings with slight differences in the makeup of the Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) wristband. The black version sporting small holes for venting away heat and sweat lending to the notion that this would be a more viable option for the more active personality. Each is set in a water-resistant aluminum and polyamide case sealed from the elements allowing the user to remain engaged in activities without fear of damage. Suunto also added an internal and rechargeable battery which recharges via a simple yet unusual clip that clamps to the outside of the watch. The opposite end tethers a USB plug for downloading data and other information. I [for one] like the idea of a rechargeable battery. As usual, the Ambit's face comes in a large, easy to read digital layout comprised of any vital information that you may need that is just one or two button pushes away. The overall thickness measured upwards from the wrist is a bit bulky, but with the features packed in there, I can live with the added mass.
- Additional exterior information:
- Face Size: 58mm
- Face Thickness: 18mm
- Weight 78g (2.75 oz)
- Water Resistant to 100m (328 ft)
Fitness and Health Functions -
Suunto really did a fine job by integrating the functionality of their M Series and Quest heart rate monitoring watches. This certainly adds the benefit of linking their Hear Rate Belt with the watch. The user will be able to track vital information such as heart rate, calories burned, distance and duration time. Additionally, by linking your watch to your computer, the user will be able to track the workout progress and customize fitness regimens via GPS using Suunto's Fusedspeedtm. Suunto did a superb job by seamlessly blending their best fitness operations into the Ambit.
- Additional features include:
- Peak Training and Recovery Time
- Manual and Autolaps
- Heart rate graph in real time
- Heart rate limits in Movescount.com
- Heart rate zones in Movescount.com
- Heart Rate Belt not included on all models
GPS and Navigational Capability -
This is where the Ambit really shines. Suunto took the best navigational components from the X-10 and the Core Series, locked them in the honeymoon suite and the Ambit is what came out.
The Ambit allows the user to create personal routes based on waypoints inputted into Movescount.com. Points of Interest can be created, added and loaded to the watch that enable the user to traverse any terrain simply by following the Ambit's on-screen guidance. One of the coolest features of the watch is the Find Back feature. If you're lost or just want to go straight back to camp, simply select the Find Back features, and the Ambit will navigate you back to your point of origin. Along with having multiple GPS fixes and added capabilities, Suunto extracted outdoor functions from the Core Series such as the barometric altimeter, barometer and temperature gauge. A new unique 3D compass was added this time around similar to the Core's with subtle differences and cleanliness that makes the compass easier to see and navigate. With the vast array of features packed into the Ambit, it is truly a hybrid behemoth that leaves little to be desired.
The Ambit can be purchased from a number of dealers, all listed on the Suunto website. You can check them out on the web at www.ubergroup.net and link through to the Suunto site, or just go direct at www.suunto.com.