This past weekend, I road tested the SUUNTO AMBIT2 S, specifically I tried the heart rate monitor, the GPS and also tried figuring out how all the displays actually work. So here goes:
First things first, the heartrate monitor works well. With the sports watch comes the USB charger which is used to hook up the device to a computer. You can download all the training details that are stored in it and vice versa. Furthermore, there’s even a website called movescount.com where you can download and upload information on your training runs. More on movescount on a separate blog post. After fitting the heartrate monitor, you will need to “pair” it with the SUUNTO AMBIT2 S. Once you’ve finished pairing it , the device will be able to read the heartrate monitor.
Second, I decided to go out for a walk to do the groceries. Based on previous GPS watches I’ve used [GARMIN], the supermarket is about a kilometer away from my apartment. So when I turned on the GPS outside the gate and walked my way towards LANDMARK Supermarket in TRINOMA area in North EDSA of Quezon City, it felt great that the GPS was almost the same distance covered from previous run walks that I’ve done around the neighborhood using other devices. After I’ve done finishing the groceries, I decided to walk going home. This time, I turned on the GPS in front of Mindanao Avenue fronting the main entrance of TRINOMA Mall It was a little sunny at the time I took the photo but when I was walking home it became cloudy again. Despite all the clouds that gathered around, it only took 1 minute and 33 seconds for the SUUNTO AMBIT2 S to connect to a satellite and for the device to track my distance accurately while walking.
Overall, here are my initial impressions of the SUUNTO AMBIT2 S:
One, it has better battery life than the standard GARMIN watch. I say this as a former user and YES, even as a current user of GARMIN sports watch. Even for a standard usage, a GARMIN watch only lasts about 10-15 hours and that’s just for telling time. I’ve heard reports of 18 hours but that’s something I’ve yet to verify among friends in the Philippine running community.
Two, it has a very EASY and EXTREMELY SIMPLIFIED user interface. At first, I was daunted with all the buttons when I first looked at the watch. I felt that it was too damn complicated. I was blown away by the simplicity of using the buttons. There are five buttons but there’s just three critical ones to remember — the NEXT button is the MAIN MENU button of the entire watch. The BACK button is the near equivalent to the RETURN button of most smartphones or what you can call the EXIT button. Finally, the START button is important because the EXERCISE functionality of the watch only comes out of its main menu when you press this button first before anything else. In short, think of this watch as a miniature computer and you will find the interface relatively easy to navigate. Overall, it is the BEST USER INTERFACE of any sports watch I’ve used to date and mind you… I’ve tried almost all the sports watch brands out there [the only brand left that I haven’t tried for a sports watch is POLAR].
Three, the screen is HUGE, beautiful and you can even CUSTOMIZE it to suit your needs. Although customization is limited based on pre-selected screen combinations by SUUNTO, I can say that it is well thought of because the selections are based on the activities of athletes and what they want to see at any given sporting activity.
Fourth, the GPS is ACCURATE. Even while I was walking underneath shaded trees or even canopies of walkways around the malls going to and from the house this weekend, it didn’t flinch at all or got misaligned in terms of its GPS signal. Of course, there’s a catch here because searching and maintaining that signal meant more juice consumed and so the battery life got compromised in these portions of my walk.
And the fifth and final aspect of my initial review is that the heartrate monitor works well. Many heartrate monitors are known to get skewed while near electrical plugs or electrical lines. Not so the SUUNTO AMBIT2 S. This is why most of the time, I really do not use the heartrate monitor of my GARMIN watches. It just stresses me out seeing my heartrate reaching its maximum of 190 to 220 beats per minute when in fact I am merely walking along the highway! The calibration and the sensitivity of the heartrate monitor of the SUUNTO AMBIT2 S is just right. I’ve yet to check if it can sync with most gym equipment that has built in heart rate monitors and radios.
The SUUNTO AMBIT2 is sold at TIME DEPOT outlets across major malls all over the Philippines and select sports shops. It retails at P25,000 pesos for the basic SUUNTO AMBIT2 S while the fully loaded edition is at P35,000 to P40,000 pesos. It is expensive for a sports watch. But for the hardcore athlete out there who wants to make the most of their time, make the most out of their training and also reaching their “Ambit”-ions… this is the perfect sports watch to complement your training.