Got my new Suunto Traverse yesterday and have spent a little while playing with it now.
My first impressions are very positive. It was always going to be about GPS pick up for me. The Ambit3 has a bar antenna whilst the Traverse has a loop antenna. Suunto introduced the bar antenna in the first Ambit to improve the GPS performance, as on the model previous to that (Suunto X10) the pick up was simply not good enough. The lack of bar makes the watch more MUCH comfortable to wear and I am pleased to report that the GPS performance of the Traverse is better than the Ambit 3 even though it has the more compact loop antenna.
Normally I take a video of the very first sat fix out of the box for the new models but I was thwated by the Traverse because whilst I was sitting at my deck inside the office setting it up I turned on the GPS inadvertently. The bloody thing got a fix inside the office in less than 30 seconds! Out of interest I then turned on the GPS on my Ambit 3 in the same spot and the fix was nearer a minute. So any reservations I had about GPS performance have gone.
The Suunto Traverse is designed for the mountain / outdoor user who wants a recording GPS and barometric altimeter. This person may want to know their heart rate but has no need of the advanced sports metrics and features.
If you are not that familiar with the current Suunto range then the Traverse is a great altimeter watch with the ability to also be a GPS and heart rate monitor. You can set the watch up with as many or as few screens as you want and can turn on or off just about all it’s features. The watch is pretty easy to use and is a very useful tool for navigating and reviewing your activities. If you are familiar with the 2 best selling models from Suunto, the Core and Ambit3, then you could describe the Traverse as both a Suunto Core with a GPS and HR or as an Ambit3 Peak without the sports software and a smaller battery. Although over simplifying the situation a little, I think it leads you to the correct watch for your needs.
I think the Traverse is more like the Ambit3 than the Core so here are a few comparisons.
1. The Ambit 3 Peak has the multisport software whilst the Traverse does not. You can make different sports modes in both watches but you cannot swap between modes mid recording with the Traverse as you can with the Peak. The Traverse does not have the swimming pool length counting functionality, which fits with the Traverse being an outdoor GPS watch rather than a fitness one.
2. The Ambit 3 Peak has a bigger battery than the Traverse. Suunto.com lists the battery life in time mode as 30 days for the Ambit 3 Peak and 14 Days for the Traverse so probably half the capacity
3. The Traverse Compass has declination adjustment whilst the Ambit3 does not. Again reinforcing the outdoor positioning of the Traverse.
4. The GPS and navigational software is very similar. The Traverse offers a real time breadcrumb which the Ambit3 does not. GPS durations on the Traverse seem to be half that of the Ambit3 at the various recording rates, reinforcing the fact that the battery on the Traverse seems about half of that on the Ambit3.
5. Altimeter and barometer functions are pretty much the same
6. No foot or bike pod support on the Traverse as there is on the Ambit3. The Ambit3 also has many real time averaging functions for HR, speed, pace etc that the Traverse does not. However the Traverse woks perfectly with the Smart Sensor HR belt if you just want to know your actual HR.
7. Vibration. The Traverse can vibrate as well as beep, so things like the alarm clock and storm alarm are more likely to be noticed. It’s not as strong as the vibration on a phone, maybe half the strength, but is certainly better than sound alone.
8. Torch Mode. Another phone like feature, turning the backlight on and leaving it on until you press another button. The watch produces enough glow to find the keyhole on a door or just about light the way for your feet if you bend down a bit and walk slowly. Sort of a bit rubbish but may help you out and no penalty for having the feature.
Hope that has helped but if you have any questions then please give us a call on 01943 870550