This review is copied over from my original which was left on the HR version, they are the same watch. I do recommend if you get the Ambit 3 Peak to get the HR band eventually as the major difference or positive about this watch versus others is the training feature which pretty much requires the use of the HR band.
I owned the Vector and Core for years. When I saw this come out I balked at the USB Charging feature and the need for GPS functionality in a watch. A buddy had one for a few years said it was great, I wanted to see what all the hype was about.
The first thing I noticed about the watch is its ability to communicate with your phone. I teach skiing and need to have my phone on me in case parents call or text but, pulling it out in front of someone is rude and my hands get cold. The watch would now display the texts and incoming calls. You cannot respond but, at least you can easily see whats going on without pulling out your phone. When its connected like this the battery drained quick. I had to charge every night. The major competitor, Fenix 3 does this a bit different, email me if you have questions regarding the differences.
The mapping function is the best part. It does not come with built in maps but, I don't really need them or have ever used them with an actual GPS. For most routes/trips you only need to upload a few way points at home to make sure you are on track. A screen map is so tough to read, if you need or want a map for your trip get a paper one. I'd been trying to get a climbing route here in SLC that is very tough to find the start. There are multiple ridges and they all look the same. Uploaded the way point and when I was at the right ridge the watch confirmed, success! The picture that is uploaded here is how Moves Count the app will spit out your map. On this particular route the clouds rolled in heavy and we had no idea if we actually skied the right route. The classic summit tree looked correct but, we still didnt know. Was nice to get home and confirm as well as get objective data on the climb.
The battery was my biggest fear about this watch. If its going to be longer than a 12 hour day I generally turn off the GPS and use the watch like I used the Core. Altimeter readings and pacing based on vertical elevation gain. Under 12 hours I run the GPS so I can look at all the data when I get home, have not had an issue yet. If I ever go on an expedition, no doubt Solar panels will be there to charge other electronics, and it does not take long for a Flip 10 from Goal Zero to charge this on the road.
I did not really need the Peak Ambit 3. I wanted it because I wanted to experience the best. I have not ever really used the training features. This might change, its nice to know they are there but, if you don't intend to use the training features get the Suunto Traverse. Please email me if you would like to discuss some of the differences with models. There are a lot out there and its a big investment, I can help with some of the homework!