Good Points and Bad Points – Suunto Ambit2 R GPS Running Watch

Suunto Ambit2 R

So I’ve had some more hands-on time with the Suunto Ambit2 R, as I’ve had it for about a week now. I’ve run with it on trails, at the park, and up a concrete stairway on the side of a mountain. Overall, I must say I’m happy with it. I definitely needed to upgrade from my featureless Timex Ironman from a decade past.

Here are some good and bad points about the Suunto Ambit2 R.

Good Points

  1. GPS satellites are found near instantly, even in my house.
  2. GPS works well on the flats and through the dense canopy of the rainforest trail. I think the GPS is very accurate in most situations.
  3. Beeps warning me I’m below or above my specified heart rate threshold, kilometer beeps, and all beeps, are loud enough to hear clearly.
  4. The big display on the middle row is very easy to read in all situations.
  5. The watch charges quickly – less than two hours to full charge from zero %.
  6. The buttons are designed well, a forceful push, and I haven’t made a mistake by not pushing them fully more than 2-3 times.
  7. Movescount.com (MC) is useful. I really enjoy the charts and being able to customize my displays for different exercise activities.
  8. No scuffs yet, despite hitting walls, doors, and trees with it.
  9. The heart rate monitor (HRM) strap is soft and doesn’t slip down – ever.

Bad Points

  1. Altitude readings are pure junk if climbing a steep mountain. I’m in Thailand, maybe the map data is junk to start with?
  2. In the rain the display is all but useless for all other than the middle row of data.
  3. The bottom and top rows of data are about useless in all situations. Too small to see while bouncing around running. Would be better to see all 3 rows the same size.
  4. Movescount has no stairclimbing activity, and yet they have cheerleading. Come on.
  5. No sleep activity in movescount either. I like to sleep with the HRM on and see what my pulse did at night. Interesting!
  6. Recording my sleep last night with GPS on showed me moving in elevation up to 40 meters difference. I don’t know where in the hell I went last night, but I don’t remember a thing.
  7. No easy way to remove sections off the map. You know, in case you leave the GPS on at the end of your run and it catches the entire trip home on the motorbike at 90 KPH. Strava has.
  8. Not sure there is anyway to remove the GPS from kicking on any time I do an activity. Sometimes want just the HRM. I know I can do it in movescount for the activity, maybe have to setup a new activity to do that. That sucks because sometimes I would like to save the battery and kill the GPS. Can’t do it without connecting to MC.
  9. The default setting of kilometer laps to “on” is annoying as hell. Took me a bit to figure out what was going on. Default should be “off.”
  10. It’s pretty damn big (thick, wide) for how little it does. I hope they slim it down – like cut it in half before next iteration.

Comprehensive Review of Suunto Ambit2 R here.

If you’re a runner and you need a GPS watch with heart rate monitor, you’ll probably be happy with the Suunto Ambit2 R watch. It seems durable and is a great tool to help take your training to the next level. Particularly cool is movescount.com because it’s free and has some nice functionality. My next watch will also likely be a Suunto, though I’ll probably go all out and get whatever the newest model is at the time.

Don’t look now, but the Suunto Ambit4 is coming in 2015 – here’s what we’re hoping for!

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