We put the new Suunto Ambit2 S GPS watch through its paces.

Suunto

suunto.com

The Ambit2 S has already won a Red Dot design award, keeping Suunto’s style-and-substance philosophy alive. As well as looking great, it’s comfy, not overly bulky and the five chromed buttons are easy to find and press without looking.

The watch has to be set up using Suunto’s movescount.com website, which has a clean, easy-to-navigate user interface. Uploading is fast and once each ‘move’ (training session) is added, you can view basic data such as pace, speed and elevation graphs, as well as a pace bar chart and lap comparison. Scrolling through the graphs moves a cursor around your route on the excellent map, which is coloured according to gradient.

You can also add additional data manually, such as how you felt during the session. There are loads of other features to play with too, including the creation of training plans, a community section with groups and events, and a route planner.

The wide watch face can be set to white-on-black or black-on-white, with information spaced over three lines.  These lines are customisable via Movescount (but not directly on the device) and the bottom one can flit between five different outputs with a tap of the ‘view’ button. You can programme up to eight of these screens in total for each sport, so that’s 56 possible readouts. There’s also a triathlon mode for minimum race-day fuss.

While the central line is nice and big, the smaller top and bottom ones are harder to read when you’re trying to catch a quick look. The unit can also take an age to find a GPS signal – an irritating wait, compounded by the way the Ambit2 displays its progress as a percentage, which often drops inexplicably back to single figures. Also annoying is the way that when you’re swimming, the watch defaults to an image of a swimmer with a small elapsed time readout, the full dataset not becoming available until you stop. This makes it impossible to glimpse your pace or distance in-between lengths.

Pace is rounded to the nearest five seconds, which actually helps to avoid the jumpiness of more accurate readouts, and we found that data was accurately and recorded flawlessly. The comfy heart-rate strap also provided consistent readings.

The Ambit2 S is a great training tool with a sophisticated look, but visibility of data on the round screen and a few teething problems mean it isn’t challenging for the GPS-watch top spot just yet.

Overview

  • Overall: 3 out of 5

Pros: Comfy fit - not bulky at all

Cons: Difficult to see data on the round screen

  • Price: £275 (£325 w/ heart-rate strap)
  • Contact: suunto.com
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