Gear Review: Suunto Ambit Watch

The sleekest, best GPS watch yet.

[go-anywhere watch]

Like a MacBook Air for stats-hungry hikers, Suunto’s newest GPS watch packs faster computing, better battery life, and greater customization into a package whose slimmer, lighter dimensions raise the bar for this category. Following trends in GPS, you get access to powerful navigation features, fitness stats, and social sharing via a website. Predefined modes set the Ambit apart. Testers loved the features of Mountaineering mode while bagging peaks (tracking altitude, distance, and speed with 60-second GPS interval to save power) and of Cycling mode with the heart rate monitor on rides (logging speed, distance, cadence, and heart rate). One editor wore the Ambit for a week and a half with daily use of one to three hours before needing a recharge, a best-in-test mark. Another best: The same editor tackled Mills Glacier on Longs Peak, and could operate the big buttons to mark waypoints with gloved hands, an impossible task with touchscreen units. Other perks: Dark-screen mode was easy on the eyes in snow-reflected light, and the burly casing withstood numerous scrapes and direct hits. Tester’s tip: Hit the Lock button after starting, so wrist flex doesn’t accidentally pause data collection. One wish: A handlebar mount for rides. $550; 2.8 oz.;

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