[Last update: 02/02/2012. Suunto Ambit & Suunto Core comparison]
Talking about a product announcement is not something I usually do, but you may have noticed that I have quite an interest in sports technology that connects body and location… So, let me mention a few things currently known about Suunto’s new GPS watch, which actually looks quite like a watch, the Ambit.
I had long used a Suunto X9(i) GPS watch, on runs as during travels, loved it to pieces (almost literally) and didn’t care much for the looks of Garmin and similar GPS devices for the wrist, so, I’m happy to see Suunto finally (past the X10) get back into the fray – and do so in style, as usual.
[Update 02-02-2012: It's good to have friends, and so I managed to get a picture of Suunto Ambit and Suunto Core on-wrist, side-by-side:
The watch cases are the same diameter, only the antenna stub of the Ambit extends further (but that is angled along the wrist). Thickness is still a bit of a question…
Update 02/03/2012: And here’s a view comparing the thickness of Suunto Ambit and Core:
After some sudden hints (in Norwegian and on Facebook brand pages), we just got a bit of a description and better images, before an onslaught will happen with the officially official launch at the Outdoor Retailer 2012:
The all new Suunto Ambit is a full featured “all-in-one” GPS watch launching March 1, 2012. It’s features include:_Full-featured GPS with Waypoint navigation
_ Unique 3D compass
_ Accurate barometric altitude
_ Highly responsive pace and speed (FusedSpeedTM) with accelerometer integrated GPS
_ Accurate vertical speed with barometric altimeter
_ Advanced heart rate monitoring with Peak Training Effect and Recovery Time
_ Online sports diary with planning & analysis tools in Movescount.com
(Description from this WatchUSeek forum post)
As this French blog post about this “Garmin Killer” (their words, if I understand the French correctly) with more pictures and a longer description points out, the features imply quite the good-bye to PODs (“peripheral observation devices,” extra units e.g. for the shoes or bike to measure speed and distance) for Ambit users.
[Update 01-20-2012: The official press release for the Ambit has gone live, and it sounds like the PODs can, if one wants to, still be used with it. Not as necessary with it, but it could be interesting...]
["Update" 02-02-2012: Just a thought, but this makes the FusedSpeed potentially able to use not only the accelerometer built into the Ambit, but also a FootPOD, to provide a more accurate pace.]
According to the same, the barometer/altimeter functions like it does on the Core, with the possibility of setting it so it automatically recognizes whether one is on the move or not, and switches between barometer and altimeter mode accordingly.
More interestingly, the GPS should provide a quick hotfix up to 3 days after last use, and the Ambit should be able to run for 15 hours in constant (“detailed”) GPS tracking, 50 hours with GPS fixes every minute, and more than a week if only some waypoints are marked (like the X9′s manual mode, so basically under a scenario with little, but not no, GPS usage?). Charging and data transfer via USB.
For the people who don’t like Movescount, I’d hope that there will be a possibility for transferring data (track download, waypoint upload) in a different way. Then again, there may be more friends of Movescount afterwards: It sounds like the Ambit will go the way of the Quest and get watch displays that are customizable within Movescount… oh, and the watch face can be switched between positive and negative display ;)
Price estimate there: 420 Euro (probably 600 USD).
So, finally, the long-awaited Suunto sports instrument adding GPS to the training lineup has arrived, and promises to be quite the tool for mountain trail running, ultramarathons, and the like.
Now, if I can get someone at Suunto to send me an Ambit, I’ll put it through its paces as I did with the Quest… and add location data not just to geotagged photos, but to all pursuits that are at home in this world ;)
I probably won’t be able to answer them (yet), but if you have any questions I should try to get answers to, you are welcome to post them in the comments!