Best Suunto GPS Watches

GPS watches are very special devices in that they provide you with excellent features and software capabilities, but are also a great accessory to wear. You have probably heard of marquee brands Garmin and TomTom, but do not forget about Suunto. As you will soon see, they have constructed some brilliant GPS watches and down below are their very best.

Traverse alpha
  • Traverse alpha
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Scratch-resistant crystal
  • Finland handmade
  • Price: See Here
Ambit3 peak HR
  • Ambit3 peak HR
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Water-resistant
  • HR monitor
  • Price: See Here
Ambit3 sport
  • Ambit3 sport
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Bluetooth
  • GPS altitude, pace...
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Suunto GPS Watches

 

 

Traverse alpha

Traverse alpha
The very best from Suunto is indeed their Traverse Alpha GPS watch. It seemingly does everything right and should be at the top of everyone’s list, no matter the manufacturer.
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GPS Functionality

The GPS and GLONASS technology will allow you to keep track of your exact positioning and map coordinates for later viewing. When you need to find your way back to where you started, the re-tracing capabilities come in handy.

Battery Life

It depends on the efficiency that you set the GPS on, whether best, good, or OK, but it can last up to 10, 15, and 100 hours in GPS mode, respectively.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Capabilities

Using Bluetooth connectivity, you can receive incoming calls and notifications from your synced smartphone.

Useful Features

Outside of its general GPS functionality, there are plenty of software features for you to utilize. This includes a sunrise alert, weather trend alert system, moon phase calendar, and the most adequate times to go hunting and fishing.

Seller Options

Hopefully, you are not too picky with colors and only stealth and foliage are available. However, they both should accommodate for most people.

Overall

The usefulness of the Traverse Alpha is completely through the roof and its rugged stainless steel bezel is a nice touch. All in all, it does not get much better from Suunto.
Pros
  • Features a premium scratch-resistant crystal glass exterior
  • It is handmade in Finland and tested against military standards
  • It supports GPS and GLONASS
Cons
  • In certain lighting, the display could be sharper
  • The included lock function does not prevent the watch from scrolling through different displays
 

Ambit3 peak HR running

Ambit3 peak HR running
The Ambit3 is probably the most popular GPS watch from Suunto and they have various types. Their best Ambit3, though, is their Peak GPS unit. Once you see all its functionalities and design, you will begin to understand why.
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GPS Functionality

Included in this watch are an altimeter, barometer, compass and GPS. What this allows is for you to enjoy stable and accurate altitude and weather information; in addition to having navigation capabilities at your fingertips.

Battery Life

Depending on how frequently you want the GPS to refresh will determine your battery life. For example, having a five-second GPS accuracy will last up to 30 hours. Bring this down to a minute and you could potentially get up to 200 hours out of it.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Capabilities

Coming equipped with Bluetooth technology, you can sync it to any compatible device that you wish. If you choose your smartphone, you could see upcoming calls and notifications directly on the watch.

Useful Features

With the Movescount app, you can take photos and show your current speed and distance metrics. Then, you could create a movie and share it with any of your social media networks.

Seller Options

Besides the options for black, sapphire and sapphire blue, you can also choose to buy the watch with or without a heart rate monitor.

Overall

The saying, “nobody remembers second place” could not be more inaccurate when talking about this GPS watch. It has a great selection of design choices and impeccable software to boot.
Pros
  • It is water resistant to up to 100 meters
  • You can monitor your heart rate while you are swimming
  • With Movescount, you can access several training programs on the watch
Cons
  • The rubber between the holes of the strap can easily be ripped
  • The storm alert feature can be inaccurate at times and miss upcoming storms
 

Ambit3 sport HR monitor

Ambit3 sport HR monitor
This is another variation of their Ambit3 GPS watch, but the Sport HR GPS unit is more suitable for fitness gurus. It sports many of the goods of the previous Ambit3, with only a few drawbacks to worry about.
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GPS Functionality

The GPS implemented in the Sport Ambit3 makes it perfect for fitness and sports enthusiasts. It delivers all the metrics you need including speed, heart rate, and distance. Runners can also track their performance and anyone can analyze their sleep recovery.

Battery Life

As with the other Ambit3, the battery life depends on the way the GPS is used. For five-second accuracy, expect around 15 hours of battery life. With one-minute accuracy, this skyrockets to 100 hours.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Capabilities

Being Bluetooth smart, it is capable of connecting to various Bluetooth-enabled devices. This can allow you to sync your activities, but to also receive smartphone notifications and incoming calls.

Useful Features

With the Suunto Smart sensor, you can record your heart rate when you are swimming. In addition, through the power of the Movescount app, you can plan all your workouts and receive voice guidance during your exercise.

Seller Options

The option is available to buy this with or without a heart rate monitor. Plus, you can choose between a few different colors including blue, black, sapphire, and white.

Overall

This is a fantastic addition to any athlete’s wrist as it provides top-of-the-line metrics to analyze your workout. Some may say it could have been a little lighter, but you can’t argue with its functionality.
Pros
  • It can be purchased with a heart rate monitor
  • Using Bluetooth, you can connect to compatible devices
  • It measures GPS altitude, speed, distance, pace and other metrics
Cons
  • As top-heavy as it is, it can be a tad uncomfortable for long workouts
  • Syncing issues have been known to be a factor
 

Ambit2 GPS heart rate monitor

Ambit2 GPS heart rate monitor
Before their Ambit3 models, Suunto was manufacturing the Ambit2. While they made improvements over time, the Ambit2 GPS still remains a highly competent GPS watch.
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GPS Functionality

What is great about this particular watch is it adapts for explorers and athletes alike. It allows you navigation access for running and biking, but also several metrics for athletes. These include speed, distance, heart rate, and others.

Battery Life

Suunto documents this GPS watch with the capability of lasting up to 24 hours when using the GPS.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Capabilities

When needing to transfer data, you can do so with the included USB cable or with devices that support Suunto ANT or ANT+.

Useful Features

This watch (in conjunction with the Suunto app) gives you access to features such as sunrise and sunset times, incoming storm alerts, tidal information, and barometric pressure.

Seller Options

While you can’t choose if you want a heart rate monitor or not, as it includes one, you can choose between three different colors (black, silver and sapphire).

Overall

While it may seem silly to downgrade to a previous model, the Ambit2 GPS watch is more than worth it. The Ambit3 may be a tad better, but this still sports a beautiful design with practical software.
Pros
  • It is packed with a fiberglass reinforced casing for added protection
  • When using the GPS, Suunto claims it will last up to 14 hours
  • The interface is compatible with several different languages
Cons
  • To use the Movescount app, you must be connected to the internet

Traverse GPS

Traverse GPS
The original Traverse is as terrific and competent as any GPS watch that Suunto has ever made. But, one major drawback prevents it from being any higher. While this does not hinder it to the point of unusable, it may be something to be wary of.
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GPS Functionality

With the power of GPS and GLONASS technology, you can upload routes directly to the Traverse to explore new areas and terrains. In addition, distance and altitude statistics can be progressed and you can retrace your steps with the breadcrumb trail.

Battery Life

This is where people may be appalled, as the battery life has a practical life of around eight hours in GPS mode. Compared to other models, this is a minuscule amount.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Capabilities

Bluetooth connectivity allows you to stay up-to-date with everything that is happening with your smartphone (notifications, incoming calls, texts, etc.).

Useful Features

Through the power of the barometric trend, you will be alerted of storm alerts and weather changes near your current area. Plus, you can see sunrise and sunset times right on the interface.

Seller Options

Various color options are open for you to choose from including sapphire black, amber, white, black and graphite.

Overall

If you look past the below-average battery life, there is not much to dislike with the original Traverse GPS watch. For the time, it lasts, it will provide you with tremendous GPS capabilities and features to keep you safe from mother nature.
Pros
  • Has a water-resistance rating of up to 100 meters
  • You will be informed of incoming storms and weather changes
  • Provides daily, weekly, monthly and yearly tracking of calories and steps
Cons
  • For some, the watch band may be too small
  • The battery life leaves a lot to be desired

Ambit3 vertical HR running

Ambit3 vertical HR running
Nope, the variations of the Ambit3 are not quite over yet and while the Vertical GPS unit is not quite up to par with the other versions it remains an extremely high-quality watch.
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GPS Functionality

Once again, this GPS watch is ideal for athletes. It provides you with the most advanced running, biking and swimming features and metrics. For example, speed, distance and pace. Of course, the GPS technology also allows for route navigation and the ability to retrace your steps.

Battery Life

As is the theme with the Ambit3 watches, if you use it with faster GPS accuracy the battery life will lower. In specific, 15 hours with five-second accuracy and 100 hours with one-minute accuracy.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Capabilities

No matter the reasoning for connecting this watch, whether you want to sync your activities or view notifications from your smartphone, you can as it does have Bluetooth functionality.

Useful Features

Straight from the Suunto Movescount app, you can create custom and unique routes using both topographic maps and altitude information. With the real-time hill incline feature, you can also track and progress your climbing capabilities.

Seller Options

Just like its counterparts, you can choose to have a heart rate monitor come with it. Plus, you can choose between black, blue, lime, and white color options.

Overall

Honestly, all the Ambit3 models are more similar than they are alike. The Vertical Ambit3 is just another example of a fantastic GPS watch with superb functionality.
Pros
  • Good battery life even when using the GPS at high efficiencies
  • Has built-in barometric pressure to track your ascent
  • Can view the altitude profile of your route
Cons
  • Syncing issues have also been an issue with this watch
  • Can be wildly inaccurate when measuring swimming metrics

Spartan ultra HR

Spartan ultra HR
The Spartan Ultra HR GPS watch has all the potential in the world to be the very best and while it does not quite do everything to perfection, its technology and software are highly-advanced.
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GPS Functionality

It has both GPS and GLONASS technology ensuring the most accurate route navigation possible and always keeping you on course. In addition, the digital compass will guide you even when you are on an uncharted terrain.

Battery Life

Having as prominent of GPS technology that this watch has would seem to insinuate a shorter battery life. However, it is rated to last up to 26 hours in training mode and 15 days in “time of day” mode.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Capabilities

All the power and convenience of Bluetooth is present here, meaning you can connect any Bluetooth-enabled device you wish to transform it into a smart watch. Though, it has been known to struggle with this.

Useful Features

Already pre-installed on this watch is 80 sports modes that you can navigate and test out. Mess around and try them out as they should accommodate for nearly every activity that you can think of.

Seller Options

Various color options are available including all black titanium, gold, stealth titanium, white and black. In addition, the choice is yours for an included heart rate monitor.

Overall

It is a shame that the Ultra HR GPS watch could not have been higher on this list, but drawbacks have to be taken into consideration. However, do not get it twisted, this is worth an investment.
Pros
  • Uses a state-of-the-art color touch screen to deliver a high-quality interface
  • Rated for 26 hours of battery life when in training mode
  • Comes pre-installed with 80 programs
Cons
  • At times, it can have serious Bluetooth connectivity issues to the point of preventing you from syncing
  • The wrist band is not of the highest quality

Ambit2 luxury GPS

Ambit2 luxury GPS
You may not see anything here that will blow your socks off, but the Ambit2 S GPS watch is nothing but quality. At the end of the day, can you ask for much more?
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GPS Functionality

Besides having a built-in GPS that will display metrics such as cadence, speed, pace, and distance, it has a built-in accelerometer that allows it to be used indoors. Plus, you can enjoy full route navigation.

Battery Life

While it does not have the highest battery life rating, with up to 12 hours, it is certainly not the worst.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Capabilities

If need be, you can use third-party versions with this watch as long as they are compatible with ANT+. Besides this, you can transfer data through a computer with an included USB cable.

Useful Features

Because it is water resistant for up to 50 meters, you can use it in the water if you choose. Also, included heart rate monitoring and training plans provide a way for you to monitor your fitness performance every step of the way.

Seller Options

There is actually only one product color available here and it is lime and black.

Overall

The truth is, this is a great GPS watch. However, there are too many that Suunto has produced that are superior. It remains, though, a worthwhile choice.
Pros
  • Includes a two-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • You can personalize the watch with over 1000 free sports apps
  • See heart rate limits in real-time
Cons
  • The heart rate monitor has been known to malfunction, to the point where it will skip large portions of exercises inexplicably

Ambit GPS

There would never have been the Ambit3 without this model, the Ambit. Now, this does not automatically make it sufficient. Instead, its functionality does.
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GPS Functionality

This sports a full-featured GPS with barometric altitude, a 3D compass, and waypoint navigation. But, it also provides enhanced training functions and data such as weather conditions and heart rate.

Battery Life

You can prolong the battery life depending on the way that you utilize the GPS. For instance, if you are going for a hike you could have the GPS set on a longer interval system and get up to 50 hours. For a shorter interval system, expect this to drop to 15 hours.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Capabilities

Unfortunately, this does not have Bluetooth capabilities. As this is the first of its kind, it is not that surprising. Though, you can transfer data via USB.

Useful Features

Fantastically enough, you can create free apps based on criteria that you desire. For example, you could create an application that will determine how many calories you need to burn to counter the food intake you have had for the day.

Seller Options

Do not be too picky here as you can only choose between two different colors. These being black and silver.

Overall

Nowadays, this may feel a little outdated. The lack of Bluetooth functionality does not help, but just because it is an older molder does not mean it is not sufficient for its purpose.
Pros
  • You can create free apps based on criteria that you want
  • Through Movescount.com, you can upgrade certain functionalities
  • It has a water resistance rating of up to 100 meters
Cons
  • When in heavy tree cover, it can take a while for the GPS to lock onto a satellite
  • The buttons on the interface do not always respond and should be more sensitive

Suunto quest

While not a wide-known or popular watch from Suunto, at least in regards to some of the models they have manufactured, their Quest GPS Pack is more than capable of holding its own in the GPS watch market.
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GPS Functionality

This is an athlete’s dream as the GPS technology and POD will store your distance, speed and tracks. Plus, when using FusedSpeed, it will provide incredibly responsive real-time distance and speed readings.

Battery Life

Again, this is solely dependent on how efficient you want the GPS to function. At its peak, updating every second, you may get up to 15 hours of battery life. Drop that down to a one minute update and then you could see up to 60 hours of battery life.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Capabilities

It is capable of syncing between devices that have ANT compatibility. No matter, though, you can always transfer data with the Movestick Mini.

Useful Features

For additional measurements, it is compatible with Suunto PODs. Built-in is a heart rate monitor that will provide you with real-time information for excellent performance-oriented training. In addition, you can personalize this watch with specific training plans.

Seller Options

You have two options at your disposal; you can either get a yellow or black version of the Quest GPS.

Overall

While it is definitely not without its flaws, which will soon be addressed, there is no reason why you should be ashamed if you invest in this model. Even though it is not as fancy and hi-tech as some of the other Suunto GPS watches, it is highly functional.
Pros
  • The user interface is compatible in several different languages
  • Has a water resistance rating of 30 meters
  • Can see duration and intensity in real-time
Cons
  • The heart rate monitor is not built to last
  • When syncing to your computer, it will show you the details in km/h and not miles

Criteria Used For The Evaluation

GPS Capabilities and Functionality

At the heart of every single GPS device, no matter if it is a watch, handheld, or mounting system, is the GPS technology. This is what allows you to enjoy the convenience of it and without it, these watches would be nothing more than standard, smart watches (for some of them). Plus, the GPS is probably the entire reason why you want to invest in one in the first place. If there is one commonality between all the watches on this list it is that they all are highly capable in the GPS department.

Whether you are looking for a watch to display fitness metrics such as speed, cadence, heart rate, distance, and pace or for simple route navigation these watches will cater for your needs. If you are apprehensive about the GPS, then a good reference is to prioritize watches with both GPS and GLONASS technology; as this ensures a faster and more efficient satellite signaling. But, just keep a sharp eye out for anyone who complains about the response time of picking up signals from the satellites in the sky.

How Long the Battery Will Last with One Charge

With a standard wrist watch, battery life is not a concern. However, when you start talking about watches that implement GPS technology it becomes paramount. GPS has been known to consume a lot of juice when used on a device, whether, on your smartphone, handheld or watch. On a long journey, you may not want to constantly charge your watch over and over again. Thus, analyzing the battery life capacity on a single charge.

As you noticed, most of the GPS watches on this list have a determining factor in battery life. Depending on how accurate you have the GPS, you can either increase or decrease the battery life. For example, if you set the GPS to update every five seconds as opposed to every minute, you will suck down the battery faster. In certain circumstances, say hiking or biking, it may not be necessary to have the GPS update as frequently as five seconds. So, you could milk the battery for as long as possible by having the GPS update less frequently. No matter, though, some watches will have poor battery life period. As such, keep it at the forefront of your mind.

If It Has the Ability to Connect Via Bluetooth

Bluetooth has become as dominant a technology as any in this modern world. It has reached the point where devices that can’t wirelessly sync data with other devices are arbitrary. While, in all technicality, Bluetooth has nothing to do with the operation and functionality of a GPS. Instead, it is mostly used as an additional asset to add to the overall convenience of a watch. If you are familiar with smart watches, GPS watches with Bluetooth are essentially the exact same thing.

For instance, Bluetooth technology could allow you to sync your GPS watch with your smartphone to see incoming notifications and alerts from your phone directly on the watch. Any device that has Bluetooth-enabled can be synced, so you can get pretty creative. Of course, there are a few models on this list that have something called ANT or ANT+ compatibility. For those unfamiliar with the term, it is also a wireless technology that allows compatible devices to monitor and talk to one another. Essentially, it works much like Bluetooth does.

Other Useful Features Past the Basic GPS Functionality

GPS watches typically will offer you more software features and functionality past the basic GPS installed. This is going to vary from brand to brand and some features can become every day one’s for you, while some you will never use more than once. Some examples would be the ability to see sunrise and sunset times, which could lead a helping hand if you want to witness a romantic sunset, receiving updates on any weather changes and upcoming storms so you can proceed to shelter, or being water resistant for a certain number of meters to ensure it can be used in the water.

Sometimes, you will even see watches that are pre-installed with various modes for training purposes. Or, in other cases, some that allow you to create applications based on criteria that you desire. However, one staple with Suunto watches is the Suunto Movescount app. This application can give you the power and means to plan your upcoming workouts and even receive voice guidance during your exercises. Although they are small in nature, when you begin to operate a Suunto GPS watch you will start to understand that these babies are (depending on the model) loaded with features.

The Variations the Seller Provides

Whether you want to publicly admit it or not, this may be the criterion that is the most important to you. After all, even the toughest of men will not want to wear a pink and purple watch with hearts on it, right? Thankfully, Suunto generally does not go to that extreme with their color options. Speaking for the brands on this list, most will accommodate for both sexes with colors such as white, black, graphite, amber, blue, and sapphire black or blue. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it can’t be guaranteed that everyone likes the options provided. Might as well wear a watch that you think is fashionable, right?

Past the colors, you may also run into the option to have it equipped with a heart rate monitor. This one is pretty simple as if you think you will find the need to utilize the heart rate monitor, such as for health purposes, invest in the one that comes with it. If not, pass on it.

FAQs

Q:   Do You Need a GPS Watch to Run?

The key word to analyze in this question is “need”. Truthfully, you do not need a GPS watch to run. In other words, you can successfully achieve your desired results without having a GPS watch strapped to your wrist. But, it really comes down to this. If you are an avid runner that is seeking to improve their results, you may find the metrics that these watches provide to be helpful for you. But, if you are simply running as a form of exercise and could care less about your pace, distance, and speed, then a GPS watch can actually be more of a hindrance than an asset.

Devoted runners may want to know how much distance they traveled for the day or what their heart rate is while running. All you need to do is ask yourself if these types of metrics would be of use to you. If not, you are probably wasting your time when running.

Q:   Do GPS Watches Work in the Woods or on Trails?

When a GPS device is trying to triangulate a signal through thick tree cover, it can become compromised to the point of zero reception. Reception from a GPS device can be sensitive, as it needs to find the signals from the satellites in the sky. Even when you are running with a watch the signal is worse as you are essentially blocking access to the sky. Top this with insane tree or canopy cover and you may be in for a rough time. However, it can still work depending on the sensitivity of the installed GPS.

As far as trails go, this could be a little tricky unless the trail is not too curvy. When traveling on a curved path, the fitness metrics can be inaccurate as the GPS will often cut corners and not analyze your full path.

Q:   Can You Use GPS Watches Anywhere?

Some may believe that a GPS will only work in relation to the software that is installed on it. In other words, if it does not have geolocations and waypoints for a certain country it will not work there. Guess what, GPS watches will work anywhere in the world. Remember that a GPS needs access to the sky to receive satellite signals. Thus, it does not matter if you are in the United States or Cuba, it can triangulate your position. But, in other countries, they may take a bit longer to receive a signal as they need to do so from scratch.

When using a GPS watch for fitness purposes, your location in the world will not negatively affect the performance (outside of acquiring the initial signal). Same goes for navigation as only your waypoints will be recorded and these, plus the satellites, will allow the watch to provide you with route navigation.

Q:   What is the Suunto Movestick?

Throughout your search of Suunto GPS watches, you may run into this handy piece of hardware. On this list, you saw mention of it, but what exactly is the Suunto Movestick? To keep it simple, think of it as a standard USB device. It is so minuscule in size that you can keep it plugged into your computer’s USB port at all times, assuming you have multiple ports to keep the access open for other USB devices. When plugged in, it will wirelessly transfer data from a compatible device (for example the Suunto Quest) to Movescount.com.

Movescount.com, as was addressed with the Movescount app, is a great resource for adding extra features and additional training programs for your watch. This little device simplifies the process for you!

Q:   Does Suunto Warranty Their GPS Watches?

On the official website of Suunto, they have a detailed page that addresses their warranty stipulations. For sports watches, dive computers, and precision instruments, during the warranty period, they will remedy any material or workmanship defects free of charge. They state that they will either refund you, replace the product for you or repair it for you. However, they are very specific about certain exceptions.

They mention that they will not, under their own free will, provide a warranty for normal wear and tear (scratches, abrasions, etc.), any damage that is caused by mishandling, defects from a result of using the product outside of its designed use, or defects caused by third-party software. Suunto also makes it clear that they do not warrant that a product will be free of any errors. To sum this, up, if your device (that falls under the product criteria) comes with a material defect then it should be backed up by warranty. Otherwise, you may be out of luck.

Q:   What is the Suunto Peak Training Effect?

This is a neat and handy feature that you may be exposed to while using your Suunto GPS watch. If so, it is recommended that you utilize it as it can positively affect your workout routines. However, how so? What the Peak Training Effect indicates is the impact that a particular training session has on your maximum aerobic performance, as stated on their website. It works best with medium or high-intensity training and is a measurement that is in direct relation with your fitness level. So, if you are someone who is constantly working out and in shape, you may have to push yourself farther to reach a higher Peak Training Effect.

Final Thoughts

When you are searching for a GPS watch, do not slight Suunto. Some of their watches are just as great as the versions you would see from Garmin or TomTom, if not better. Through it, all, though, remember not to over-stress about the investment process as you are sure to find a terrific watch for you.