If you’re a technology and gadget nerd like me, you probably already realize that 2014 is shaping up to be the launching of the age of wearable technology. Samsung, Motorola, and other tech companies have already embraced the Android Wear platform, and the world waits with baited breath to see what Apple’s iWatch will bring to the table this fall. In response to this burgeoning demand for more connected devices, the traditional manufacturers of fitness watches have also started to up their game, with Garmin, Magellan, TomTom, and others bringing new options to consumers. A few days back, Suunto took the wraps off of their new products, the Ambit 3, giving us a glimpse of what it will deliver to outdoor athletes, including new levels of connectivity with smartphones and other devices.
Building on the highly successful Ambit series, the new Ambit 3 will bring all of the features of previous models, as well as a host of new capabilities. The watch will have integrated GPS of course, to help track speed, distance, altitude, and other data from our workouts and outdoor adventures. The easy-to-use interface of the Ambit OS makes it a breeze to use all of the features, and performance of the Ambit 1 and 2 are amongst the best in the business. The durable and comfortable watches are equally useful on a long run, bike ride, hike, or climb, and that level of versatility is one of the things that I really like with my Ambit, which I use on an almost daily basis.
The Ambit 3 will come in two models, the “Sport” and the “Peak.” The former of these products is designed specifically with athletes in mind, and will put an emphasis on running, cycling, and swimming functionality, as well as easy integration with the Suunto heart rate monitor. It will also track progress of workouts, including recovery time, and integrate with the iPhone or iPad for sharing and analyzing that data as well. The “Peak” version of the Ambit 3 is built for mountaineers and outdoor adventurers, and brings such functionality as navigation, a compass, altimeter, and barometer. The device is capable of up to 50 hours of battery life in GPS mode, which is very good for device of this type.
The biggest upgrade that Suunto is touting about their new watches are their ability to connect to a smartphone. The new Movescount app will send text messages and other notifications directly to the Ambit 3, so you can read updates while you’re working out, without ever having to stop. Beyond that though, the data that is collected while you run or ride, will be sent to your iPhone, where it can be quickly and easily be shared on social media. The Movescount app will also take that data, and create a movie of your workout or adventure, using 3D maps to chart progress and share your route. The app can also take photos with embedded data that includes GPS location, altitude, speed, and so on. Those photos can also be shared with the workout profile on Movescount.com, Suunto’s online Ambit community.
As a demonstration of some of these new capabilities, ultra-runner and mountaineer Kilian Jornet wore the Ambit 3 on his recent speed record on Denali. The watch recorded his speed and movements closely, and the Movescount app created a video of the adventure. That video can be found below. This should give you a bit of an idea of what the new devices are capable of.
The Ambit 3 is scheduled for release in September of this year. I hope to get a look at it at the upcoming Outdoor Retailer gear show, and I’m hoping to get my hands on a review unit as well. If so, I’ll share my impressions here. Pricing has not been announced, but I would expect it to be about the same as the Ambit 2 watch that it is replacing as Suunto’s flagship model.
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