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Discussion: Garmin 735XT vs Suunto Ambit 3 Peak

in: Orienteering; General

Sep 15, 2018 6:31 PM # 
I'm done with the 310XT. The band mount point on the watch body breaks every couple years with normal wear. Less if you snag the watch on something (a door frame). Current 310 broke a few weeks ago and the HR strap died last week. Searching through AP threads, it sounds like other garmin models have had the same problem with the band mount point.

Garmin will give me 20% off any new watch if I send the broken one back. I'm considering the 735XT. After the discount, it'll be abou $330us (with HR strap). And now, after the recent ebay scam thread, I'm also looking at the Suunto Ambit 3 Peak which is on sale for $399us (with a hr strap).

I like, and am used to the features on the Garmin, so I'm leaning that way.

Any feedback on durability for either unit?
Sep 15, 2018 6:57 PM # 
I've had the Suunto Ambit 3 Peak for almost 3 years now and it hasn't broken in any way, yet atleast. I've done some crazy things with this watch and it still bears with me. I also like the Suunto software and the connectivity.
Sep 16, 2018 8:42 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I already had both a 410 and a 620, but upgraded to the 735 this summer, and I am very happy with it.
Sep 19, 2018 2:31 AM # 
The 235 is basically the same watch but just for running. The 735 seems to add triathlon features which, if orienteering is your thing exclusively, may not be worth the money.
Sep 19, 2018 8:20 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@Super: I actually bought both a 235 and a 735, giving the 235 to my son as a birthday present. The keys for both were the multi-constellation gps/glonass chipset and the ability to do fixed 1 Hz position logging.
Sep 19, 2018 12:52 PM # 
I really dislike not being able to download tracks from Ambit without going through their website/app. Mounting Garmin as an USB drive would be one reason I would switch back to Garmin maybe in a year or two.

Otherwise, Suunto is wonderful.
Sep 19, 2018 1:08 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
Igor, I think I remember Kevin having a work around for it. Something something hidden folder shortcut. I'll ping him.
Sep 19, 2018 6:20 PM # 
Ah right, still you need movescount installed.
Sep 19, 2018 10:35 PM # 
I've had Suunto Ambit3 Run (yes, it is there cheapest model) for ~ 3 years. The watch strap has broken twice, the first time within warranty (which is 1 year), and second time out of warranty (by 1.5 years). Both times Suunto replaced the watch strap for free (even though they warranty was up the second time).

I should mention by "broke" - the buckle pulled off of the pin and I lost the pin before realizing it. The first time the watch got caught on a backpack shoulder strap while removing the backpack, the second time I was in a (self inflicted) bike accident. Both times I asked for just a replacement pin, but they sent a whole strap.

My wife has had the same watch for 2 years, and had no problems with her strap.
As for downloading the files from suunto, Yes you need moveslink installed, and once you plug in it automatically uploads to From there you can download the file and then upload it here. Alternatively you can sync the watch with your phone via bluetooth, ,which will also put the files on

Alternatively, you can find the folder where the .SML files are stored, its just a little tricky. On a windows they are found here:


and on a Mac they are found here:

...Library/Application Support/Suunto/Moveslink2

In both cases the first folder listed is "hidden" under normal circumstances, so you need to unhide it. You'll get a warning about tampering with files in here, but as long as you don't delete anything you're fine. I just made a shortcut on my desktop to the last folder listed.

If you sync through bluetooth, the next time you plug your watch in the (already synced) .sml files WILL NOT be added to the folder, only new files will be.

The 1 downside to this system is if you are without a computer (such as traveling) you cannot get files from your watch to your AP [To my knowledge] (at least if you are an iphone user . I cant speak to android phones but I believe they use a different file storage system). You can sync via bluetooth, but you can't download the .sml from the website and upload it here, whereas with the garmin connect AP sync feature you can accomplish that on a phone.

Hope that helps with your decision. I love my suunto, after fighting with a few different garmins over the years (yes they were all old models compared to what's out there now)
Sep 21, 2018 6:49 PM # 
Thanks for all the input, very helpful. Sounds both are ok choices.
Sep 22, 2018 12:54 PM # 
Great info, KFish. Normally, I import the SML files, which is easy once you find them, as you said.

Ken told me a way to get my Ambit data into AP when I’m traveling without a computer. I export the GPX from Movescount into Dropbox, then I import it into AP from there.
Sep 22, 2018 6:03 PM # 
How do you export GPX from the app though? I do not see that option.
Sep 24, 2018 4:37 PM # 
Select the "move" you want, then click on Tools. You can then export a file in a variety of file formats.
Sep 24, 2018 7:41 PM # 
on my phone, tapping "tools" on movescount site (in the browser) just gives me "delete". In the app, there is no export either. That's android though maybe iphone version is different.
Sep 24, 2018 8:59 PM # 
What do you get under tools if you put your browser in "Desktop site" mode first?
Sep 24, 2018 10:05 PM # 
Ah, that worked! Thank you.
Sep 24, 2018 10:58 PM # 
Yes, sorry - I should have mentioned that I have to use Movescount in a browser on my iPad to get the Export function. Thanks, Fossil!
Jul 22, 2019 12:40 AM # 
Update: I bought the Ambit 3 Peak with HR band a couple months ago. Generally happy with the watch. It's really nice that I don't have to wait 2 or 3 minutes for the GPS to lock on! But the HR band has been malfunctioning since day 1. I'm getting HR spikes at random times throughout a run or bike ride. Sounds like Suunto will replace it.
Jul 22, 2019 5:59 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I'm still happy with all my Garmin watches, but I would still like a version with a better antenna and where I could tweak the tracking accuracy vs power usage to get better accuracy under (wet) canopy: The multi-gnss chipsets are definitely capable of this, but the vendors (garmein & co) tend to maximize logging time. :-(

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