Thursday, 10 July 2014

Purchasing a Suunto Ambit 2 and being as cost-neutral as possible?

To buy an Sunnto Ambit 2 or not to buy an Sunnto Ambit 2; that is the question...

Well in actual fact it's been a question I've been pondering for quite a while. In fact for as long as I've had issues uploading courses to my Garmin 305.

As my runs have become longer, and more especially since I started running ultras, I have more of a need to either create a course in Garmin Connect and then transfer to my watch, or simply upload a course created by someone else using a GPX file. However since buying the watch second-hand I've never been able to really (or I should say reliably) upload courses: it's a case of hit and miss, with far more misses than are acceptable.

The problem I'm getting is error messages either indicating an issue with communicating with the device (watch) or that the server(?) is unavailable. In actual fact my watch is connected perfectly fine since I can upload training plans whilst also downloading activities to Garmin Connect. I've re-installed the various drivers and software, used several browsers and 3 laptops and still have the problem. Even Garmin Support are unable to offer any useful advice.

On the odd times I have managed to upload a course it's been excellent. I navigated my first ultra (a 34 mile trail race) using the "Course" setting on my watch and it never gave me a wrong turn. I was lucky to get that run onto the watch because 95% of the time they fail to upload. If you take this issue, coupled with the truly horrendous Garmin Connect refresh, then the signs are there for me to move away from Garmin. Suunto seems the natural place to go...

I've had my eyes on the Ambit2 and 2S for a while, with the former providing greater battery life and enhanced navigational features. With the Ambit 3 due in September there are now a number of companies who are reducing the costs of these devices. Once such company is on the online chain Wiggle (

Wiggle are currently offering the Ambit 2 with HR Monitor for a sale price of £289. Ordinarily I would snatch this up, sell my Garmin 305 for say £50, and be happy. However funds are a little tight at the moment - okay, very tight at the moment. I do have £100 in cash to put towards the watch but cannot pay for the remaining balance.

Wiggle however seem to have a solution. They are offering a finance deal which seems tempting (10 July 2014):

Cash Price (inc. delivery & VAT)
Deposit (10%)
Amount of loan
Interest/TotalCharge for credit
Total amount payable
Balance payable
24 monthly repayments of

That make the watch a little more affordable - £12.61 per month for 24 months. The tight-arsed northerner in me however is still reluctant to pay an additional £12.61 over 2 years. So what can I do that will minimise how much I pay out - that is, so it is cost-neutral.

At the moment I'm signed up to the Google Play Music Unlimited Service. I got a good deal with them when they first launched the service and I only pay £7.99 / month. I've had this service now for almost a year now, and it is something that I will dip in and out of whilst writing documents at work (I never listen to it at home). I use my laptop to access it. I get to listen to new albums and been introduced to some new artists; so on the whole I'm relatively happy. That said there are weeks when I don't use the service, so my money is just being wasted.

I also sign up to Europlayer on the iPad for £2.99 / month. This is great when Eurosport are covering a sporting event I like (primarily tennis); however I have access to Eurosport on my home TV my use of the Europlayer is really limited. Much like iPlayer on my iPad - I very rarely use it!

If I take these two services then I am spending £10.98 / month. This almost covers the £12.61 / month for the watch.

As I mentioned above, I have £100 to spend on a luxury item. This was a 40th birthday present from my parents, and so I'd like to spend it on something useful to me. It looks like the 10% deposit (£28.95) required by Wiggle for the watch will be taken out of the £100, leaving me with £71.05. The difference between £10.98 and £12.61 is £1.63. If we multiply that by 24 months that gives a total of £39.12. That means I can afford the difference from the £71.05 I have remaining out of my birthday money. If I can the sell my Garmin 305 for a small amount, then this all helps.

What this means is if I cancel the Google and Eurosport service and use £68.07 of the birthday money to pay for the watch, then I can afford the watch and not have to pay anything above what I am currently paying. In essence the watch is cost-neutral with the only real loss being my access to new music which I occasionally listen to.

Now I know I can afford the watch, do I go ahead and buy it?

This leads me onto a whole new issue surrounding my wife. Justifying a new watch will not go down well; irrespective of the fact that I can get it cost-neutral. She's not a runner; has no interest in my running or achievements; and will no doubt see it as a waste of money. Money that could be spent elsewhere. I know the argument she'll make: cancel those services and save the money. That's non-runner logic for you...

So do I man-up and do it or chicken out? One half of me wants to man-up and do it; whereas the other half of me says it's not worth the hassle I'll get if I do it. The only solution to all this is to get a job that pays more....that way her argument becomes less relevant.

I think that's what I'll do....

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