Re: Suunto Core or wait for Ambit
It was not a surprise for me to see Suunto release a new GPS watch, in fact I think it is a bit delayed since it should have been released in October 2011. I have been in communication with Suunto giving suggestions for an improved X10. One of my suggestions was to combine a GPS with an accelerometer, so I am very happy to see that implemented in the Ambit. Another function I wanted was a permanent light function, meaning the light would stay on for as long as I would like. I do not know if this have been implemented in the Ambit but the text Light Lock on the bezel seems to suggest such a function, but I am not sure it means the Ambit have a permanent light function. Since the strap could act as an antenna I also suggested that part of the strap could be used as an antenna for better reception, since a larger antenna always means better reception. The special design of the strap on the Ambit seems to suggest that they actually did just that.
Other suggestions I made was to have the ability to change what part of the display to be used for different functions. Meaning having the ability to change in the main display area and the lower view area, so that for instance I could shift between having the stopwatch in the upper main display area and then the time would move to the lower sub field area, or the other way around having time in the main area and stopwatch in the lower area. Unfortunately I do not think they actually implemented this with the Ambit. The fact that functions such as stopwatches are being put in a small lower part of the display rather then being part of the main display is one of the main reasons why Suuntos are described as great ABC instruments primarily and time keepers second, while Casio ProTreks are being described as great time keepers primarily and ABC's second. If Suunto would implement the ability to shift what part of the display to be used for time keeping and other functions it would help greatly in making Suuntos more competitive against Casio in the time keeping department. What worries me is that I see no mention of any timer nor stopwatch function in Ambit, at least the X10 had a 20 hour stopwatch. I hope that this is not the case and that Ambit do have a stopwatch and perhaps also a timer just like the Core.
I also see no mention of any sunset/sunrise data function nor weather alarm function which was present in the X10. But I hope Ambit have those as well.
Another complaint about the X10 I made when communicating with Suunto was the fact that the watch was put in a PC charging mode and was not usable during charging (with the exception of the alarm function). So I suggested that the next version of the watch would remain functioning during charging. That would enable it to be run of a USB power charger while still wearing it, one could put such a portable power pack in the pocket or strapped to a belt or upper arm and then connect it with the snake to the watch. There is USB chargers available with up to 4000mAh of power. With that amount of power you could keep the watch in GPS mode with 1 sec intervals and it would still last about 72 hours, with the new Ambit that has a lower GPS power consumption then the X10 it would probably run for more then 120 hours. With 1 minute intervals we could get as much as 400+ hours from such a power pack. That would be enough to keep it going for 15 days straight with no interruption, and that would be enough power for even very extreme users.
One great addition in the Ambit is the two way communication trough USB, this could mean that the firmware can be updated without having to send it to Suunto and it means that new and improved functions can be added later. That is great news. But I am a bit disappointed if the ability to sync with Google Earth will be lost, I always liked to upload my tracks to my Google Earth and view them there, I only see Movescount mentioned, and Movescount (even tough I never used it my self) seems to be getting lots of complaints.
I am looking forward to see some more live shoots and read reviews of this new awesome GPS ABC(T)watch.