Maps, Data, Waypoint Routes on your wrist with GPS Watch

Here’s what I didn’t like: The price tag is $500. Add $50 to that for the heart-rate monitor. Ouch! For its price as well as its features, there are better options for multisport athletes who want software tailored for capturing triathlon data including quick and meaningful transitions from swim to bike to run mode.

Some users may miss the ability to program workouts such as intervals into the watch, which makes getting quality speed work easy, especially when not on the track. Other users may wish for a vibrating alert when pace and heart rate goals are not being met.

With that said this watch does not purport to be a multisport specific tool. It purports to be “The GPS watch for explorers,” and it is superb for that (exploring). Pretty much everything the watch attempts to do is well executed. I’ll be surprised if the Ambit does not bite off a portion of the high-end GPS market share for good.

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Suunto Ambit

Why the high price? One reason is the Ambit’s unique upgradeability. Firmware updates every few months give a continuous stream of new features once you make the initial investment.

There was just an update in September, and the company added the new on-screen route navigation features, online routes to download, GPS time keeping, a constant backlight feature, and five new languages (Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Finnish and Swedish) for the menu.

“It’s like a new watch every three months,” a company spokesperson remarked. In a few weeks, Suunto will release another upgrade with new training features such as an interval timer and compatibility for the Suunto Foot POD and ANT+ devices. It should be fun to see new features stream onto the menu as we test the watch over this winter and beyond.

—Tom Puzak, a former attorney, is a contributing writer and a racer on Team GearJunkie/WEDALI, the National Champion team in adventure racing for 2012.

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