Suunto knows a thing or two about sports watches, and that's apparent in the Suunto Ambit 3 Run - which is also sometimes known as the Ambit3 Run - even Suunto's own site uses both.
The brand has a long heritage in dive computer design and build leading it to place a premium on durability when compared with more 'lifestyle' brands such as Fitbit, Basis and TomTom. This means it tends to favour chunky 'outdoor' watches, but it also means you get a wrist guard that feels like it's capable of fighting off bears.
The Suunto Ambit 3 Run is the latest in a long line of Suunto Ambits, all waterproof to immense depths, GPS-enabled and solidly built. Suunto has begun to differentiate the various sporting uses by taking a standard Ambit 3 and removing the unnecessary bits – in this case multisport functionality, along with swimming and cycling sensors. This may sound like a bad thing, but the slimmed-down version is much easier to navigate, and just as configurable as before.
Screen and battery life
The screen is a tried and tested monochrome dot-matrix affair, which delivers plenty of data without slurping too much battery, and there's a very effective backlight for darker conditions. You can also flip the screen tone from black-on-white to white-on-black, depending on the conditions, which is a handy trick. The upshot is that battery life is decent – about a week in normal use. Without GPS use it'll last much longer.
Design, build quality and strap comfort
The Suunto Ambit 3 Run is the latest in a long line of Suunto Ambits, and at first glance not much has changed over the last few years. It's available with or without a separate, chest-strap heart-rate monitor – we tested the latter version.
The body of the watch is almost unchanged (apart from the introduction of a new day-glo Lime colour option; the 3 Run is also available in white and black), with a chunky bezel, a broad and generously long strap, and an extended area of the watch that contains all the antennas, GPS and so on. Charging is via a bulldog-type clip with a row of pins that locate into the bottom of the watch case, and the same cable deals with syncing/updating software.
As mentioned above, with its dive computer heritage Suunto hasn't skimped on the build quality, and although the 3 Run isn't overly heavy it's not something you'd wear casually in the office either. It's big, and makes you feel like taking on an ultra to justify the look. The strap is big enough to buckle around the narrow end of a standard pint glass; the polished stainless buckle is a lovely bit of detailing, and adds a feeling of real quality.
The five polished stainless buttons continue that theme; this isn't a fragile, touchscreen-powered piece of tech by any means. This does mean sacrificing most of the smartwatch-type malarkey, but them's the breaks.