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A Deep Dive Into The Suunto Ambit 2 Sapphire
Update > In October 2016 Suunto released their new Suunto Spartan Ultra GPS outdoor adventure / multisport watch. If you want the latest and greatest offering from Suunto, then please check the review of the Spartan Ultra here.
Suunto have introduced loads of new features like improved rest and recovery analysis, recovery time view on watch post training, 80 plus pre-installed sports modes and personal bests ….
Suunto Ambit 2 Sapphire – tested and reviewed by Tristan Haskins for HeartRateMonitor.co.uk. Please note. Before reading this review you should be aware that this model has been surpassed by the new Suunto Ambit3 Peak.
Very similar functionality with the addition of Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity for wireless data transfer between watch and smartphone (iOs and Android running Movescount App). The new Ambit3 Peak also features; swim stroke recognition, smartphone notifications on the watch and a wider choice of colours.
Who Is It For?
This is easy, these new GPS multisport watches are for ANYONE. Seriously, if you run, swim, cycle, sail, windsurf, horse ride, mountain climb, ski, snowboard … you get it.. whatever you do outside, you can measure with the new Suunto Ambit2 and 2S.
They have a PROPER multisport mode, just like the Garmin Forerunner 910XT, this means you can switch sport, and thus displays, with just ONE button press. It’s up to you whether or not you include transitions.
You choose what you multisport disciplines are going to be, it doesn’t HAVE to be swim -> bike -> run… it can be SAIL -> Horse Ride -> Bike -> Shoot. Anything, just preconfigure it online before hand, and send it over to the Ambit2 or 2S
Swim-Metrics – count laps while swimming
Again, just like the Forerunner 910XT, the new Suunto’s feature swim-metrics. You can check your swim speed, strokes per minute, distance swam, average swim speed etc. It has 2 swim modes, INDOOR POOL and OPENWATER mode.
Key selling points
OK, I will keep this brief, otherwise you might have well visited our friend at DCRainmaker (brilliant site and reviews, but seriously detailed).
The Suunto Ambit2 and 2S support ANT+. Not only does this mean they will pair with a Garmin, Timex or a.n.other generic heart rate belt, or speed sensor, cadence sensor or stride sensor… but it also means they can support POWER METERS ! We’ve already mentioned proper Multisport switching and logging.
We’ve also mentioned Swim-Metrics. The Ambit2 and 2S support 100 waypoints, you can plan a route online, or route from waypoint to waypoint. If you get LOST you now have a “Get Home” function (not on Ambit2 s) Both models have a Digital Compass.
Both models have Autolap feature defined by SPORT in Movescount (I’d like to be able to turn this on/off from the watch, but not figured that out yet..) Both have 2 x Repeat Intervals – either time or distance based, or both. This means you can do 1 x 1 Mile with 5 min recovery x 6 for example.
What else? Altitude. Both models feature Altitude feedback. However, in the 2S it is GPS derived only, and only gives Altitude (realtime).
The Ambit2 has a Barometric Altimeter that can be FUSED with the GPS derived altitude to give a smoother and more accurate altitude. Suunto have given the bigger brother watch ascent / descent / vertical speed, but not in the Ambit2 S, that’s just altitude… you probably get those figures POST movescount upload.. but we’ve not tested that yet.
I think this is a minor flaw in the 2S, as cyclists in particular like to know, LIVE, ascent, descent, data.
Suunto Ambit2 versus Ambit2 S (sport / athlete)
The key differences are as follows:
- Altimeter / Barometer
- The Suunto Ambit 2 features a barometric altimeter via an internal pressure sensor. The 2S features a GPS derived altitude calculation
- The Ambit2 will give total ascent and descent data in the watch, the 2S does not
- The Ambit2 features Vertical Speed, the 2S does not
- The Ambit2 features FUSED ALTI, meaning a combination of GPS alti and barometrically derived altitude, the 2S uses just GPS derived.
- The Ambit2 provides Weather Data including Barometric Trand Graphs and Sea Level Pressure, the 2S does not.
- GPS feature – Find Back – the Ambit2 includes a find back feature which will point you back to the start of a track (shortest route). The 2S does not include find back
- Temperature : The Ambit 2 has an internal temperature sensor , the 2S does not
- Battery Life: With the GPS turned ON, the 2S has a battery life of 25 hours. The 2 has upwards of 50 hours (at 60 sec recording)
Within less than 1 hour of having this new Suunto on my wrist, I had written an online APP, two in fact, for windsurfing. If you have a grasp of logical programming you can create your own APP.
The two I wrote are available online Max Windsurf Speed APP in Knots and this one to Alarm when you have sailed ONE MILE. Whether or not you sail, hopefully you can see just how easy Suunto have made it to write an APP for their new GPS watch.
There are APPS for everything from Oxygen levels at X,000 metres to, How Long will it take to finish a Marathon at this speed, to Have I burnt off enough to warrant drinking 3 pints of beer… seriously.
APPS are great, because, just like your mobile phone, what works for someone, is useless for you. So instead of filling the memory with functions you won’t use, just download the one’s you will use from the APP site.
Full Features of Suunto Ambit2 and 2S
- Full-featured GPS (SiRFIV v2.2)
- Adjustable GPS fix rate (1 s, 60 s)
- Location in multiple coordinate systems
- Waypoint and route navigation
- Find back (not on Ambit2 S)
- Track logging, viewing and sharing*
- Point of Interest (POI) creation
- Route planning*
- Barometric altitude (not on 2S)
- GPS corrected barometric altitude (FusedAlti™) (not on 2S)
- Total ascent/descent (not on 2S)
- Vertical speed (not on 2S)
- Altitude graph (not on 2S)
- Resolution 1m
- 1s and 10s recording intervals
- Barometric pressure and graph (not on 2S)
- Temperature (not on 2S)
- Sunriset/sunset (Suunto App)
- Storm alarm (Suunto App)
- Tide information (Suunto App)
- GPS-based speed, pace and distance
- Real-time, average and max. heart rate
- Heart rate limits
- Heart rate graph in real time
- Peak Training Effect & Recovery Time
- Manual & autolaps
- Countdown timer
- Interval timer
- GPS track analysis*
- Heart rate zones*
- EPOC & V02 max values*
- Swapping of sport while logging and exercise
- Preconfigured multisport modes
- Sports comparison*
- Post-analysis of multisport exercise by sport*
- Interactive map and charts by sport/section of an exercise*
- Responsive running pace/speed (FusedSpeed™)
- Running cadence with optional Foot POD
- Lap comparisons by each kilometer/mile*
- Ghost Runner (Suunto App)
- Marathon End-time Estimator (Suunto App)
- Multiple Bike POD support (Suunto ANT/ANT+™)
- Bike Power (W), average and maximum
- Bike Power 3 s, 10 s, 30 s
- Bike lap and lap maximum power
- Power distribution & graphs*
- Peak Power Curve for peak power outputs*
Bike Power requires use of optional ANT+™ bike power sensor.
- Swimming time by pool length, lap, total
- Swimming pace & distance
- Swimming stroke rate, count & type
- Automatic intervals
- Dynamic lap table with strokes, pace and durations*
- 1000+ free Suunto Apps for outdoors & training
- Up to 50 Apps pre-configurable in watch
- Logging of all App values for post-analysis
- Suunto Apps creation with:
- Chrono, GPS, HR, weather and altitude data
- Running, cycling, swimming data
- Rich math functions, if/then logic, sound, backlight, etc.
GENERAL WATCH FEATURES
- Time, date, alarm, dual time
- Multiple UI languages (EN, DE, ES, FI, FR, IT, NL, PT, SV)
- GPS timekeeping
- Positive / negative display switch
- User-adjustable backlight
- Versatile button lock
- Low battery indicator
- Metric and imperial units
- Power save modes
- Adjustable recording of HR and baro/alti (1 s, 10 s)
- Data transfer and charging with USB cable
- Watch settings & customization*
- Advanced post-analysis of exercise*
- Training logbook with story and image support*
- New functionalities with software upgrades*
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Next Model UP
The Ambit3 Peak is now the top of the range.
Very similar functionality with the addition of Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity for wireless data transfer between watch and smartphone (iOs and Android running Movescount App).
It also features; swim stroke recognition, smartphone notifications on the watch and a wider choice of colours.
Next Model DOWN
The next model down from this one is the Ambit2 S with the loss of the digital compass, barometric pressure sensor but improved MULTISPORT support for those who partake in triathlon or other multi discipline sports.
Should you still buy one now?
The Ambit2 Sapphire was a very successful GPS outdoor / adventure watch of the highest quality. Alternative GPS sports watches with Altimeter, Barometer and Compass, plus multi-sport support and swimming metrics include the Garmin Fenix3 and Suunto Spartan Ultra.
Garmin Fenix3 Garmin’s GPS outdoor adventure / multi-sports watch for top level training
Suunto Spartan Ultra the latest version of Suunto’s top of the range GPS multisport watches