Garmin, Strava and a possible switch to Suunto

In May I exchanged Garmin Fenix2 to the Fenix3.  The Fenix2 was a fine watch for about 8 months then began with some odd quirks.  Most of them are well documented on the internet, but for me the random re-starts while in an activity were the straw that broke the camel’s back. I walked into REI and their warranty allowed me to get a full re-fund and pick up something else.
For a moment I toyed with the idea of changing completely over to Suunto.  The REI employee’s words were ones I had heard many times over…Garmin watches come back Suunto watches don’t.  The Ambit series has been a mainstay in the ultra running community for years.  Although there are some complaints about the ease of use of the website or the lack of “vibration alerts” overall most people love their Suunto.  I originally went with Garmin forerunners precisely because of the vibration alerts and after a few years of data you just don’t want to change.
Strava is my virtual training log.  Rather that using GarminConnect, DailyMile, MapMyRun, etc I find Strava is easy and has several features that set it apart.  First of all it is competitive.  Strava allows any user to create a “segment” and virtually race any other person who may have ran that segment in the past or will do so in the future.  Thus, athletes know where they stack up against one another on their favorite routes and are continually challenged even when running solo which is a great motivator.  Strava also had a sale on the Suunto Ambit2 R…
I purchased the Ambit2 R because I am a primarily a runner.

I wanted the following:

-Cheaper than the Fenix3, in case it was lost or stolen
-Wearable as an everyday watch
-Simple, not attention drawing
-Syncs with Strava
-Reliable Company with track record of quality

The Ambit 2R is the “more affordable” version of the Ambit2/3 meant to give runners the access to features and function of Suunto and Movescount (their platform) but without the $400+ price tag.  The sale via Strava was $125 with free shipping from its normal price of $250.  I mean…that’s a no brainer.  For the same price range I was looking at a Garmin10 or Garmin15 that do not have any Navigation capabilities and look sort of smallish or a pedometer, nor do they have the Apps that you can add via MovesCount for other activities.
My thought was to purchase it for the trip and then sell it on Ebay for the same price I paid for it.  Still a deal for anyone since they are currently on sale some places for $150-$200. But, after using it in Buenos Aires I doubt I will be selling it anytime soon.
Note: The Suunto Ambit3 has bluetooth connectivity and wireless sync via the app and 2x the storage space in the device, but still no vibration alert, other than that same deal…even look the same.
The GPS watch does what it does and if you want a complete breakdown check out DC Rainmaker’s Blog.  His reviews are easily the best reviews on the Internet regarding Fitness/ GPS devices..the guy is thorough and honest.
The reason I may change over to the Ambit in the future is the Navigation capability particularly the Points of Interest far exceeded my expectations.  Many will argue that route creation on Garmin’s Basecamp or Garmin Connect allows one to “navigate”, but there was not way of setting a point and just having the watch point you in that direction mid activity like the Suunto.  The routes have to be planned and any changes or alterations have to be pre-thought.  Suunto allows the user to save the point on the website, transfer it to the watch and if you ever need it at the start or midway through and activity you can orient yourself towards that point.  Garmin can “track back”, and save location but it cannot help you unless you thought about it ahead of time.
Buenos Aires is flat, streets are not laid in a grid and the ocean as a reference point is null because it curves and sometimes is south and other times is north east.  I generally plan my route and approximate distances but sometimes I just like to go an an exploratory run.
In high school, the cross country team would go on an exploratory run.  Whoever was leading the pack determined the direction.  This was a good way of getting the slower people like me to want to be up front or else you would end up lost or usually running much longer because leader just wanted to lay down a punishing route.  So the habit of just going aimlessly has stuck with me.
Two weekends ago I got terribly turned around and could not figure out which way was home.  I was near the Retiro Train Depot and intended on making it to Puerto Madero.  But I turned too soon and ended up in an area that is part port or entry for cargo ships and part shanty town.  I committed to picking a direction and just taking it till I could get help.
Before I took off I remembered having saved POIs on the watch.  I clicked the navigation, selected the my apartment only to realize I was about to run the wrong way.  UltraRunners have the blessing and curse of not knowing when to stop.  I know that if I had taken off down the wrong way it would have been several miles before I admitted defeat and sought the help I needed.  The navigation feature saved me from myself and probably a scare or two.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s