The Suunto Ambit3 Peak is the second GPS watch I’ve owned. The first was a Garmin 310xt however the Suunto Ambit3 Peak is much, much better suited for GORUCK style training. Don’t get me wrong, the Garmin 310xt is an incredible GPS watch but due to the size you will have some difficulty slipping a ruck on and doing flutter kicks with it. The Ambit3 Peak does not suffer from those issues.
This watch was purchased on April 1st, 2015 and used it for eight months before this review was written. It has gone through sandbag workouts, the PATHFINDER 006 training program, numerous races, hikes, GORUCK events (in a Pelican case), and Muay Thai training.
Suunto Ambit3 Peak Review Updates
- Updated with new pricing (Value rating changed from 4 to 5) and additional information.
- Updated information on the Android application.
Suunto Ambit3 Peak Review
The Suunto Ambit3 Peak is made in Finland by the Finnish company Suunto. Because of its popularity in the endurance community I knew I had to give it a shot and I am glad that I did.
This watch handled absolutely everything I could throw at it. For my training I used it mainly as a speed/distance/route tracker but honestly it does so much more. The Suunto website provides the following features which I consider to be near-complete:
- 30h battery with 5 sec-GPS accuracy (1 min-accuracy: 200h)
- Route navigation and track back
- Altitude (FusedAlti)
- Weather information
- Heart rate in swimming
- Activity based recovery time
- Speed, pace and distance
- Bike power support (Bluetooth Smart)
- Multiple sports in one log
- Movescount training programs on the watch
In addition to this list there’s the stopwatch, timer, activity tracker, and custom apps. The feature set easily competes against the best GPS watches out there and comes out on-par or ahead. There’s nothing standout about the feature set… but there’s also nothing missing. The Ambit3 Peak has accomplished everything I have needed it to do for my extensive training which has made me very happy.
This thing has proven itself to be of incredibly high quality. After rucking hundreds of miles with it, taking it on dozens of hikes, swimming with it, and working out with the watch it still works and looks new. There have been no hiccups with the tracking features on it and it picks up the GPS signal generally within seconds. If you’ve used a GPS watch in the past you might recall standing around waiting for it to find the signal… not here. One of my favorite aspects of this watch is that it just plain works.
I’ve sweat so much into this watch and after proper cleaning you can’t tell. I’ve swam with this in lakes, banged it up on trees, gotten it sandy, dirty, muddy, and it just keeps going. It has proven itself to me as a quality piece and is not something I ever worry about. Honestly it has gotten to the point where if I bang it against something I check that out before looking at the watch.
The watch has a very nice and ascetically pleasing design. It doesn’t look out of place on the wrist of a runner, hiker, or businessman. The buttons are easy to use, the menus are easy to navigate, and everything just makes sense. The strap is comfortable and has never bothered me even after hours of hiking or rucking.
The watch is a little large so if you have a small wrist it might look out of place for an everyday watch. However, the size of the screen is great especially when you’re viewing three rows of information. If I were a smaller person I might not be as thrilled but given that I’m 6’2″ the size of the watch doesn’t bother me.
So simple to use. Everything makes sense and is in all of the right places. The button lock is incredibly handy so that you don’t end up stopping your workout accidentally and has yet to unlock on me.
The heart-rate monitor uses Bluetooth instead of the more traditional ANT+ for pairing. This is a great feature because I’ve found that I can wear the heart-rate monitor and leave the watch up to ~30 feet away while working out and it has no issues keeping the connection. This is very helpful if you’re doing something where you don’t want anything on your wrist… like boxing. I’m able to toss the heart rate strap on and leave the watch in my gym bag while boxing to get all the analytics I need.
This watch used to be expensive. At $319 (a common price you can find it at) this thing is a steal.
If you search around (Amazon) then there’s a good chance you can pick up this watch for a good deal under retail. The value for the watch definitely depends on the price so definitely check Amazon before purchasing off of the Suunto site.
Viewing all of your details on the watch is a pain. Scrolling from screen to screen on the logbook gets tiresome so thankfully there’s both a website and a phone app to view details on your activities.
The website is the absolute best place to view all of the data that the Suunto Ambit3 Peak records. There’s tons of information available (as seen below) and it’s always fun to look through.
The major stats I look at are heart rate, recovery time, and the heart rate levels. My goal is to always stay out of the “easy” level and try and keep my heart rate in the “moderate” to “very hard” with a touch of “maximal” thrown in for some extra fun.
The mobile app has only been tested on the Android platform and it’s definitely still a work-in-progress. It was released in late 2015 and has regular improvements but it still lacks many features available on the website. It really feels like more of an after-thought (which it was) than something Suunto is proud of. Don’t except a first-class app experience but from what we hear Suunto is still working to improve it. They’ve been rolling out version after version and listening to user feedback so that is a little promising.
The website is still a great experience and I hear the Apple app isn’t half bad either. With some time we can only hope the Android app catches up but until then the website is where I’ll be using the Suunto interface.
- Incredibly durable
- Looks great
- Feature rich
- Amazing battery life
- Android app is lacking
Used For: Training
Tested For: Eight Months
Conclusion: Awesome watch. Just be sure it does everything you need before buying as it is expensive.
Peter Erik Fuchs says
Helpful review – nice photos, glad you put a lot of use into before posting. I have had several Suunto’s and so far not really happy with any, but this seems to solve most issues: a) waterproofing in earlier models was non-existent, and I ruined both a Suunto and Polar with just an easy swim session b) scratchproofing in an earlier mineral glass model was sad as I got a fat scratch within a few weeks, and always an eyesore c) GPS lock-in took many minutes before d) battery power failed me on the bike-portion of the Nice Ironman – admittedly 7-8 hours into the day, with the entire run ahead. Price is always an issue, but resellers put helpful downward pressure on list prices. So for my current needs, trekking and IM training this looks just right. I have Bluetooth devices so that is a plus too. My wife has a new Garmin – her old one had hopeless maze of menus and a balky touch-sensitive bezel. She has done the Fuji Five Lakes 100km ultra several times, much tougher than me. Many thanks. Peter in Japan