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Gear Review: Suunto Ambit 2S Multisport GPS Watch

So, it has almost been a year already and somehow, I was able to use most of the features of the Suunto Ambit 2S GPS watch, and what I could say is that I am totally impressed about the features, the design, and as well as the watch's functionality. A truly multi-sports watch, reviewing this gear for just a short period gives injustice to the many features that this watch can offer an Athlete, be it with the popular swim-bike-run events, the snow sports, water sports, racquet sports, or even to ball lover enthusiasts and adventurers.

Just a few days ago (02 May 2014), the watch's firmware gets updated into version 2.0.7, and with this update, some of my previously observed drawbacks and must-have features were addressed such as the "power-off" option that will greatly save your battery specially for off-seasons (if you do follow an off-season) and a more useful lap information browsing on the exercise log.

Give it some time to rest!
Another previous firmware update to version 1.5.14 on the last quarter of 2013 have also addressed a lot of improvement about the watch's features such as the GPS recording rate which greatly affects the GPS accuracy and battery life. This new update now has another GPS recording interval of 5-seconds which allows the battery to last up to 12-hours with better accuracy than the previous firmware (ver. 1.0.15) which can only be set in either 1-second or 60-seconds interval.

Firmware update via the Moveslink 2 applet
The Ambit 2S measures almost everything that a mountaineer needs except for the barometer and temperature. Altitude measurement is also pretty much accurate and it can also measure your vertical speed, total ascents and descents, average and peak heart rate, calories burned, average and maximum pace, and with the latest firmware update, your fastest pace is now displayed after your workout as well as a lap-by-lap chrono information, average pace, and average heart-rate.

One more thing that amazes me is the Ambit 2S' capability in measuring your SWOLF (swimming golf) or swimming efficiency. Although I haven't tested it yet thoroughly in outdoor swimming, it was a great information tool for me on my indoor swim trainings. Not just the SWOLF but it can also track your swimming style and number of strokes on a given pool length.

Measure every move you make!
As for outdoor swimming (in the open field/ocean), it's still a work in progress as the distance measurement seemed to be not moving even after the recent firmware update.

From, there's also the AppZone where you can choose from many ready or custom-made apps that can be uploaded/integrated on your device to aid you with your goals and/or trainings such as the interval trainer. If you're a geek and want to tweak or create your own apps for your own use or for public consumption, you may do so from the App Designer. Here you can create apps from the very simple to the most complicated one that you can think and that your device can handle, of course! I have previously created a simple "Night mode" app just for me to test and get a feel of the App Designer. I've integrated that app to my runs so that the watch's backlight will automatically turn-on in the evening when I'm running.

Do more aside from tracking your moves
In summary, here's my take on the Suunto Ambit 2S. These are just the current features, and some of the items posted as room for improvements might soon become outdated as the firmware gets updated every now and then:

Great Features
  1. Weighs just 73-grams, only 15.41-mm thick, and 49.89-mm wide (excluding the buttons).
  2. When GPS signal is already locked, GPS signal is re-locked in less than 5-secs after turning the GPS on and off
  3. GPS automatically switches-off when an exercise is stopped
  4. Average GPS search-time is 30-seconds to 1.5 minutes on initial GPS locking.
  5. Exercise is automatically saved when exercise is stopped.
  6. Watch settings are loaded in
  7. Battery lasts from 8-hours (when GPS fix/recording-rate is 1-sec) up to 50-hours (when GPS fix/recording rate is 60-sec).
  8. Up to eight (8) customizable screen displays per exercise.
  9. Can simultaneously navigate a planned route while recording your exercise/move (running, biking, etc.).
  10. Availability of firmware releases which gives regular updates and improvements to your device.
  11. Availability and speedy feedback of online Suunto support for any issues (my own ticket was replied back and addressed in less than 24-hrs).
  12. You can add/edit/delete or create your own sports mode via
  13. Route map in is color-coded by the current pace or heart rate when the HRM strap is used.
Navigating the waters of Masbate to Pio Duran via a Ro-Ro ship
Create your own sports mode and use it in your Suunto Ambit watch
Rooms for Improvement
  1. With the availability of customizable screen displays, comes the limitation of available lines per screen which is only up to three (3) lines. This was supplemented though with up to three (3) scrollable data on the 3rd line.
  2. The latest map update on the website made the zooming-in of the route very limited to only a farther distance.
  3. Personal data, date, and time is reset back when the watch's battery is drained or manually turned-off via the service menu.
  4. Distance markers on the route map is no longer displayed after the route is saved via Route Planner in
  5. No graphical presentation of the route elevation from the Route Planner in
  6. No battery limit/margin while the GPS is running which causes the battery to totally drain (addressed in the v2.0.9 firmware update, GPS/move auto-saves and stop at 2% battery level).
  7. GPS recording rate can only be switched to either off, every intervals of 1-second (best GPS accuracy for 8-hrs battery life) or 60-seconds (25-hrs battery life). I hope there's an option for lower time intervals like between 3- to 30-seconds for better battery saving while maintaining the GPS recording accuracy (addressed in the v1.5.14 firmware update, additional GPS recording rate of 3-seconds which gives good accuracy and 12-hrs battery life.)
  8. Some features (like the autolap, height, age, gender) can only be configured in the Customization section of (addressed in the v2.0.7 firmware update, personal settings may already be configured from the watch.)
  9. The built and quality of the strap gives injustice to the great features of this watch because in just sixteen (16) months, my Ambit 2S' strap has already gave up (see photo below). The other downside is the replacement (not original) strap costs too much at Php 3,500++, so until now I'm still saving up for this perhaps, much lower quality strap.

Essential and Cool Features
  1. Navigation - one of my favorite tool in tracking an unknown territory or route that greatly helps in finding my way from Point A to Point B as plotted at the route planner of without getting lost.
  2. POI (Points of Interest) - sometimes when you're out running and so focused, you might miss some great landmarks or pit-stops along the way. POI can remind you when you're already approaching one as you have defined while planning your route.
  3. Routes - planned routes may be uploaded to your watch and use it in your next exercise/move -- another one of the best feature.
Choose a recording interval and GPS accuracy to meet your battery need
Other Features
  1. Compass
  2. Stopwatch and Countdown timers
  3. Workout logbook
  4. Recovery time (now also available per workout/move)
  5. Hundreds of available apps from that can aid you in your goals and trainings.
Graphite Heart rate monitor and strap
Use the Ambit 2S for your indoor workouts...
and also in all your outdoor adventures! (photo by Orland Beltran)
You may find my latest workouts as recorded from my Suunto Ambit 2S below:

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*Update: Suunto just recently launched the new addition to the Ambit, the Suunto Ambit 2R - the GPS for Runners. Read the Press Release to know more about this new addition to the Ambit family.

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