I have been using a Garmin Forerunner 610 for the past year. I was curious how some of the other GPS watches compared. I was excited when I got the Suunto Ambit3 Sport to try out.
The first thing that I will have to say is that I love the blue color. Usually I like to have black gear and don’t go for the more flashy colors, but it looks good without being too crazy. The watch is a little bulky (thicker) compared to some of the newer watches out there, including my Forerunner 610. That is probably because it needs the extra space for its GPS components.
The first thing that you do is go through the setup page. It asks you some basic questions and then you are on your way. The data that you see on the watch is customizable, but you will have to connect the watch to your computer to do that, which is not the case for the Garmin watches. The Ambit3 is made to not only work for running, but bicycle riding and swimming too. I did test out the watch on my bike, but not in the pool. I will only review the running portion of the watch in this review though.
It comes with a Bluetooth heart rate strap, which pairs with the Ambit3, but you can also pair it with most of the newer smart phones as well. This is a feature that I really like. The heart rate strap is more comfortable in my opinion than the Garmin HR strap.
Another area where the Ambit3 excels is their charging cable. I have always had problems with my Garmin charging cable that came with my Forerunner 610 (maybe they made changes with the newer Forerunner 620). The Ambit3 cable is kind of like an alligator clip, but it keeps a good connection and charges quickly.
I ran with the watch for quite a while (most of the time with my Garmin on the other wrist) and there are some definite advantages in comparison to the Forerunner 610. The biggest advantage is that the Ambit3 is probably one of the most accurate GPS watches out there. For more serious runners, this is going to vital. It will give you better readings on your pace, distance, and other measurables. I also found that the battery life on the Ambit3 was superior to the Forerunner 610. I really like that the Ambit3 can suggest the amount of recovery time you will need after a workout as well.
The areas where I found the Garmin to be superior was the ease of use compared to the Ambit3. Garmin had a touch screen and customizable data pages that you could change mid run, or right before a race. The Ambit3 is all controlled by the buttons on the side of the watch. I personally like the touch screen.
There really isn’t a perfect watch for everyone. Both the Forerunner 610 and the Ambit3 are great watches, but are not for the runner who only runs once in a while, mainly because of the price. The Ambit3 costs about $400. The Forerunner is significantly less, but is an older model and does not offer swimming or a decent bicycle mode.
In my opinion, the Ambit3 is a great watch for someone who will be using it for multiple sports or are preparing for a triathlon. It will also be beneficial for the more serious runner who is looking for extremely accurate data from their workouts. I would recommend the Ambit3 as long as it would be a good fit for you.
Note: I received this product in exchange for a review. The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it. I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.