The new Suunto Ambit Peak has only just arrived on the shelves at the store and already proving to be popular. With quite a few changes over it’s predecessor, it is more of a Smart Watch than just another GPS or Heart Rate Monitor. These I described in a recent article for the Accelerate Magazine, The Ambit3 – A New ‘Smart Watch’?
So how about in use, real time? I was lucky enough to get my hands on the shiniest of the new Ambit’s, the Peak Sapphire. Oh yes, it’s shiny all right, and you would think it would feel heavy. It’s not, yet it feels heavy enough to suggest good quality. The face is crystal so should resist bumps and scratches whilst the bevel is machined to a nice shine. One big knock already and no scratches, thankfully. The whole unit is even smart enough for everyday use.
I have the heart rate version, and at around £500 it is the most expensive HRM I have played with for any length of time. It is well balanced on the wrist and with the new strap the fitting is a step above previous Ambit’s, fitting smaller wrists better than before. The strap has a soft flexible feel, so all good on the fit front. So fit and looks are right up there in my opinion.
Set up is no different to any other previous Ambit, all done through Suunto Movescount. It’s intuitive and does not involve any fiddly button pressing and losing your way. It would also appear that the new range are USB 3 compatible as the download and upload to and from the unit is proper speedy, a definite difference compared to my older Ambit. The other advantage on the connectivity front is that it will pair with your Apple device (later varieties only though) and sync via Bluetooth and new App. All this works seamlessly, although you will need to charge the unit in the usual way. I found the APP Ok, nothing to get too excited about, although making your own ‘Flyby’ movie out of your route was pretty nifty.
The buttons have a smooth, clean, engineered feel to them and are nice and smooth in use. The configuration of the buttons and all the commands are the same as in previous modals, which made the new unit and a ‘collect and go’ item. Scrolling through the screen options was just as easy.
OK, here’s the big thing. The GPS satellite pick up. It is amazingly quick. I have spent the last week timing each of the GPS Search times and the slowest has been 40 seconds when I was indoors. At times, stood outside, ready to run it has almost felt instantaneous. Quite a surprising difference over any other brand or previous Ambit.
The other big difference to other heart rate monitors is the size of the belt sensor that sits on your chest. It is amazingly small, especially as it includes a Bluetooth 4LE sensor. Yes this too can connect directly with your Apple device. Ideal for swimming as it will store the data for later downloading and analysis. The strap is that little bit more comfortable, but the size of the unit itself was a surprise. How small?
Overall, it is not just about the size. The whole unit just feels and performs that much better. It is slicker, quicker and smoother. Yes, the Sapphire has a plush feel and is very shiny, but then the whole of the Ambit 3 selection is a step up the ladder. As to speed of picking up those satellites, speedy or what!
For me the key to Suunto, is Movescount. The ease of setting up your new Ambit is about as straightforward as anyone can make it. Plus the analytics and measurables are virtually intuitive and so straightforward to follow and use through comparison.
Suunto, simply, the way forward for good quality, speed and straightforward to use heart rate and speed-distance tracking that is fully customisable to boot.
This coming Wednesday evening sees Suunto on hand with myself, Marcus and Bondy all talking heart rate and how you can use the analytics to help improve your training and racing. After all heart rate is my speciality. Could be well worth coming along to. Further Details here >>