Garmin 920XT Vs. Suunto Ambit3 Peak GPS Sports Watch Comparison

Garmin 920XT Versus Suunto Ambit3 Peak Sportwatches

Here is a comparison between the Garmin and Suunto sports watches for runners. I had a fairly difficult decision ahead of me when I chose to go with Suunto over Garmin for my running watch.

You’ll see below as we compare the top of the line Suunto vs. Garmin runners’ watches that they are very similar, but with some crucial differences. In the end, you can’t really go wrong – there are pros using both. But, if you watched the HardRock 100 mile race a couple of days ago – you would have seen far more Suunto watches on the wrists of the best ultra runners in the world!

In this comparison, we’ll look at the best of each manufacturer. In July 2015 we have these two sports watches: Suunto Ambit3 Peak Vs. Garmin Forerunner 920XT

Suunto Ambit3 Key Advantages

  1. Price: $424 with heart rate monitor strap.
  2. 89 grams in weight. Though weighing more, I’m willing to bet the materials used are better in the Suunto. I have one, and it’s rock solid.

Suunto Ambit3 Disadvantages

  1. A puny 128 x 128 resolution screen.
  2. Horrible display. Low contrast, a few levels of grey, and even with the cool purple backlight, it isn’t anything like awesome.
  3. Battery life is 24 hours in 1-second GPS ping mode; and 48 hours with 5-second GPS pings. Lasts just 30 days in watch mode.

Garmin Forerunner 920XT Key Advantages

  1. 205w x 148h – this is substantially bigger than the Ambit3 Peak.
  2. Battery Life – Maximum 40 hours in UltraTrac mode. Maximum 24 hours in training mode. Maximum 4 months in watch mode.
  3. Larger color screen, seems bright in some videos – but not sure how they compare side by side for readability in sunlight or under the tree canopy.
  4. Amount of data viewable on the watch without connecting to the computer is awesome. Heaps more data than the Suunto.

Garmin Forerunner Disadvantages

  1. Price: $471 with heart rate monitor strap.
  2. 61 grams in weight. I’m calling this a disadvantage because the difference between the two in weight is not enough to affect anyone’s arm motion or preference. Probably not as well made as the Suunto.
  3. Color display. I don’t think anyone should be doing a color display yet, considering colors for simple things like runners need don’t add anything to the experience. A simple very black, very white display is what is needed – something like the e-paper display would be perfect.

BOTTOM LINE!

The bottom line for me was, what are the pros wearing. Really, that’s how I decided. The design doesn’t matter that much to me. The colors too – negligible and not affecting my decision at all. I wanted to wear what the best of the best are wearing. Suunto watches is what they’re all wearing, from what I’ve seen consistently over the past two years.

The color of the display on the Garmin seems gimmicky, child-like. I guess it’s just my bias. I am really looking forward to what Suunto has in store for the Ambit4 Peak and Sport watches coming later this year with any luck. I really hope they don’t also go for a color screen! E-paper man, that would be the ultimate easy-to-read watch face.

Suunto Ambit3 Black or Lime or White Colors

The latest Suunto Watches are called “Spartan”. These are top of the line, more expensive, and offer a few more features, like the colored high-def display.

Suunto Spartan – Full Color Display

Let’s see what happens.

Cheers!

Vern

Garmin has some new watches out – like the Garmin Fenix 5 – you can see here:

Garmin Fenix 5 – new models

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