The Ambit3 Run is a solid, chunky watch and the heaviest on test. Its size doesn’t suit being worn as an everyday watch, but its reassuring ruggedness means that you would wear it with confidence, even when scrambling on tough mountain routes. It relies on a chest strap to record heart rate, and the GPS recording interval can be set to either 1, 5 or 60 seconds, giving 10, 15 or 100 hours of battery life, making it a good choice for even the longest ultra race. It also boasts a wrist-based accelerometer, which records running cadence and estimates stride length. Analysis of training data is done via Suunto’s own feature-packed online training diary, Movescount, which can be used on a computer or the Movescount smartphone app. From here the user configures a wide choice of data fields to display on the watch, and it is possible to upload pre-set workouts or your own customised ones to the Ambit3. On completion of your workout, the data can be instantly sent to your smartphone via Bluetooth and it is also easy to send the data to Strava. The watch excels with its navigation features, making it ideal for use in remote areas such as when mountain running; it has a digital compass, GPS altimeter and displays six-figure grid references. You can also upload GPX routes (shown as a line, not a map) and add points of interest (e.g. race checkpoints) to the route. In addition, it has a trackback feature allowing you to retrace your route, but always take a map and compass as backup.
We liked Rugged enough to cope with the knocks and scrapes of mountain running. Battery life can be extended by altering GPS recording interval.
Not so hot Navigation features may be surplus to some runners’ requirements and the unit is bulky.
Get-faster session Do a race route progression run. Load a GPX route of an upcoming race and follow the trace. Gradually increase the pace to finish at race pace.
A good choice for mountain runners who want the benefit of navigation features. Size means it isn't really an everyday watch.