Suunto Ambit3 Vertical Blue HR ReviewAugust 30, 2016
- Optional heart rate monitor
- Most comfortable in test
- Vertical profiling shows progress
- Vibration alerts
- Syncing issues with Movescount app
- Average battery life
The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical Blue HR is designed for runners, backpackers, climbers, mountaineers, alpinists, and back-country skiers. It’s feature set is geared towards those who travel hilly and mountainous environments and want to track vertical progress as well as heart rate data. Our testers found this watch to be the most comfortable to wear for long adventures, and aside from some concern over battery life and mobile connection this watch was a stand out favorite.
The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical Blue HR is housed in a polyamide case with a steel fixed bezel, mineral crystal lens, and silicone wrist strap. The polyamide case made this watch the lightest in our test, weighing in at only 74 grams. After three months of heavy testing including two Presidential Traverses and thousands of feet of rock climbing our test unit shows virtually no wear.
Ease of Use/Intuitiveness
After a brief setup and acquiring the companion Movescount app & software the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical Blue HR was ready to go. Creating and importing routes from the Movescount software was intuitive. One tester felt it was quite easy to navigate the various menus and information without feeling overwhelmed.
With GPS and GLONASS technology in the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical Blue HR our testers found that a satellite location fix could be obtained in most conditions in less than a minute, and with 50% skyview often in less than 15 seconds. In dense foliage location fixes occurred noticeable faster than some of the other models in our test. Location data was very accurate, to within 15-20 feet. Built-in shortcuts for saving your current location as a POI (Point of Interest) was a favorite feature.
The included silicone wristband was comfortable for all and would adjust small enough for our smallest testers (though one female tester claimed the watch housing was just too big for small wrists).
The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical Blue HR has all the typical features you would expect in a GPS enabled multi-sport watch along with features specifically designed with vertical sports in mind. Using combined barometric and GPS altitude this model will display an “Altitude Profile” for your entire route allowing you to track progress. Vibration alerts help notify you of key intersections, changes in course, and arriving at waypoints. With the addition of the heart rate monitor chest strap this watch scored very high in our test.
After the initial setup of connecting the watch via Bluetooth to a smart phone and downloading the Movescount software/app you can start plotting routes and easily customize your “in watch” settings. Route planning on the Movescount website was quite intuitive. Manufacture specifications claim 14 days of battery life in time mode, and 10 hours in the most accurate GPS mode (1 second recording). There are battery saving options that can lengthen the interval recording to every 5 seconds (15hr battery life) or every minute (100hr battery life) at the cost of track accuracy, especially at speed. Our testers preferred the more accurate GPS tracks and wished they could squeak out a few more hours of use between recharging, however they did find the 10 hour specification to be quite accurate under various conditions.
David is a self proclaimed snow & navigation geek and teaches all aspects of climbing and avalanche safety for Eastern Mountain Sports Schools in North Conway, NH. He tests GPS's for the Gear Institute.