Suunto Ambit 2 S – Review by Kadie-Lea

Basic Explanation:

Ambit 2 is the older version, using the same body as the 3, but without some modern tweaks (3 has Bluetooth connectivity – a good addition for transferring your workout files.)


1. There are some differences in the glass face i.e. the Ambit 2 has a concave face, while the Ambit 3R has a ‘flat watch face’.
suunto pics

2. The bezels can also be different ‘Sapphire’ , i.e. some in polished alloy and others in black like the watch.

The strap of the watch is very comfortable and soft on your wrist, without being too bulky or heavy. As a female, I have found it difficult to find an athletic watch that suits my needs that isn’t too big, because I have such a petite wrist (see image above). The watches that have all the features that meet my needs, are typically too bulky and heavy, which makes running with them uncomfortable and frustrating. The Suunto has a big face, making it easy to read and switch through screens while running. This watch is big enough for the men, but works well for the ladies, making it really appealing to both genders.


Big, but not to bulky. They don’t stick out too much and work well with my little fingers. Easy to press when your freezing as well – unlike some of the other models I have used in the past with ‘depressed buttons, like on the 910xt from Garmin.


SUUNTO AMBIT2 and 3- GPS for explorers and athletes.
SUUNTO AMBIT2 S and 3 Sport’- The GPS for athletes and triathletes.
SUUNTO AMBIT2R (R=Runners)- The GPS for runners.

Review: SUNTO AMBIT2 S (white) Euro 350* currently on sale

Suunto is a deviation of the Finnish word “Sunnta”, meaning “heading” or “direction”; a fitting name for a company that makes great, user-friendly GPS watches.

My wrist: As you can see my wrist is only 16cm in circumference, which would be on the ‘tiny’ scale for wrist size, but I don’t have any problems with the size of the watch.

Suunto has answered our active wishes and created products geared towards the every day runner, the ultra-runner and hiker, as well as the triathlete, at a bit of a lower price than it’s competitors.

Price comparison: Garmin Forerunner 220 Euro 280/ Forerunner 620 Euro 400+, polar v800 Euro 500.


The Suunto Ambit 2 (as well as the 3) both have indoor and outdoor open water swimming functions, as well as a multisport mode. All units can be purchased with or without the heart rate monitor strap.

The swimming function was the most challenging part of the watch for me to set up, as I was not familiar with swimming specific watches, nor’ do I consider myself tech savvy. If you have used a swimming watch, this will not be an issue for you. In order to set up the swimming function, you need to train the watch. When you get into the pool, you select the swimming function, start the timer and start swimming. At the end of your interval, select the LAP button, then at the start of each interval you select the LAP button. The watch then saves your information and is set up to future swims.

The heart rate strap works in water!

The Ambit supports both heart rate data and swim metrics. The pool mode uses internal accelerometers to detect when you reach each end of the pool. As soon as you stop, the watch thinks you have started your next lap. If you stop in the middle of a lap for any reason, or take too much time at the end of a lap, your data will not be completely accurate, so just be mindful of this. The first time I set the watch up in the pool, my data was off and showing I swam a few laps in record time, but once I worked out the kinks and realized you can’t take too much time, I actually found the recordings to be bang on to the distance I actually swim.

Heart rate

Suunto has proprietary heart rate straps, even through they say it’s a ANT+ signal I believe it is unique to their brand. Ambit3 uses Bluetooth to communicate with the Suunto smart censor heart rate strap.

I have never had crosstalk (picking up other people HR signal), and I use the heart rate strap up to three times a week.

I can replace the battery myself, and I can use my BASIC ANT+ HR strap with other devices, apparently.

Now why is the new Suunto HR strap necessary? The strap stores and synchronizes the HR data during your swim. The swim information is stored within the watch.

Something I wish the watch did, is show my heart rate live while I am swimming, but unfortunately it is not able to transmit through water.

Once you connect your device to your computer, all of the appropriate information and data that you need is available, including HR and SWOLF.

Friends of mine have expressed frustration with wearing the HR strap during a swim session, specifically during a pool swim. The issue is that the strap tends to fall or slip down, when pushing off from the wall. I have not been faced with this issue as of yet, which I suspect is due to the fact that I do not have a strong push off from the wall and I wear a full bathing suit, which covers the strap and holds it in place. I have to say that I prefer to swim with just the watch and not the HR strap.


The Suunto Ambit 2R or new 3R is a great GPS watch to track your progress for distance running, and general sports use. This watch is aimed to offer a lower price point without all the features and apps you will not need.

If you need a tri watch or adventure racing/hiking watch, then the Ambit 2S or new 3S is the watch for you.

Important Note: I did not fully get to explore the multisport function; I have only used the activities individually. Realistically, if you are racing an Ironman, there will always be race clocks around the course giving you feedback on the ‘total time’, and I would mostly see this tri function as a training tool, not for race day.


One of the greatest features of the Suunto Ambit is the battery life; it has upwards of 50 hours within 60-second GPS recording points. I tried and tested for nearly 50 hours with the 60 second GPS recording option. During casual every day use, the watch lasted one month without charging it. If you are serious about tracking every inch, you can shorten the GPS recording time. This is a fantastic feature for those looking to do longer runs, or longer training sessions. I am able to get a few weeks of training on one full charge, and much longer when I wear it just as a day-to-day watch, which I do, simply because I love the style of it!

Setup – GPS ‘super simple’

Another feature that really stands out about this watch is the ability to locate GPS quickly.

When you first take your watch out of the box and turn it on, it prompts you on how to set it up, which is really simple. Sometimes the set up can be intimating and quite complicated, especially if it is your first athletic watch. This watch will instruct you on how to set up the GPS and find the satellite- note that you need to do this outside and it can take 60-190 seconds. After I set up my watch and stepped back outside for my first run, my watch was able to locate the satellite within 3-5 seconds. I have used the watch in remote locations in the mountains in Canada, as well as different areas around Dublin, and I am always able to find a satellite quickly.

Handy hint- GPS connection

Connecting your watch to the computer updates the satellite information (sky mapping), so if your watch is taking more than a minute to locate the GPS, it is likely because you have not connected it to the computer in a few weeks.

Sky Mapping is a system that pre-loads the satellite positions in the sky. So your watch knows immediately where the satellites are, cutting down the GPS connection to within seconds (3-5 seconds).


The Suunto is a superb quality watch that makes your pocket book really happy. For the quality, flexibility and customization, this watch is a perfect addition to your training regime.

Three Favorite Functions:

Backtrack function- breadcrumb trail map returning to the home point. This is handy for those hikers or trail runners.
Ability to locate GPS quickly.
Battery life.

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