As promised, I wanted to spend a couple moments explaining why I chose the model of watch that I did. In my considerations I looked at the Garmin 920XT, the Garmin fenix3 and the Suunto Ambit 3. My wife has an Ambit 2, and really loves the watch. However, I ran into one issue that bugged me, and made me decide to stay away from Suunto for the time being.
One of the things I like about my Garmin watches is that all I had to do was plug them in and I could copy the FIT files off of the watch just as if they were regular files. Suunto is much harder to work with in this regard. The watch does not mount on your computer as a standard drive, and you can only access it through their dedicated MovesCount software. This means that using devices like my Chromebook aren’t an option with Suunto watches.
You might say that this isn’t a big deal because of all the smartphone integrations of these devices, but for me it’s more of a principal thing. I like to be able to get access to my data in the easiest way possible. That doesn’t mean I always will use that method to get my data, but I want to know it’s there. Even though all of my workouts from my Garmin watches are uploaded to multiple fitness sites, I still do a regular file copy of the FIT files to a secure location, just to make sure.
This lack of open standards means that Suunto was a hard sell for me. Additionally, my wife has had issues with MovesCount outages at inconvenient times. This combined with the fact that I really didn’t want to have yet ANOTHER site where I have my fitness data stored, and the Suunto option became less and less appealing.
That put my choice between the 920XT and the fenix 3. As many reviewers have noted, these two watches are very, very close to each other. The feature differences are minimal, with the fenix 3 being targeted more at the outdoors crowd, and the 920XT towards the triathlon crowd. The only real physical differences in the watch are the shape. The 920XT has the rectangular shape, and the fenix 3 is the traditional round watch form factor.
As I weighed the differences between the two watches I also weighed the price. The 920XT is $50 cheaper than the fenix 3, and so I had to ask myself if the couple of added features, and more traditional shape were worth the extra money. Since I don’t wear a watch on a daily basis, the shape wasn’t a big factor for me. I’m not looking for a fashion statement.
In regards to the features, the only thing that I would have possibly used on the fenix 3 was the ability to charge it while running. Yet, that would only really come in handy in something like a 100 mile race. Since I don’t have any of those on my radar for the immediate future, I decided that I could forgo this feature in the interest of saving a bit of money.
So I decided to go ahead with the 920XT. I feel like it’s the best choice for me right now, and I’m very satisfied with how I came to my decision.