Garmin unveils trio of new smartwatches at CES
Garmin has three brand-new wearables on show at CES this year, all with a strong outdoors and fitness focus. They each have a slightly different target audience, offer different levels of functionality, and all support the company’s Connect IQ app platform.
The Fenix 3
First up is the Fenix 3 – a versatile, high-end fitness tracker with built-in GPS. It’s designed to collect info from a range of sports and activities, from swimming to snowboarding.
Aside from step counting, sleep monitoring, distance and calorie tracking, the device is designed to be paired with a heart-rate monitor – evaluating user fitness, calculating recovery time, VO2 max, and more. It features built in GPS, electronic compass, barometer and altimeter for outdoor navigation, as well as support for Russia’s GLONASS satellite navigation system for more accurate navigation.
The Fenix 3 is water-resistant up to 100 meters (328 ft), and offers 20 hours battery life in GPS mode or six weeks in watch mode. It features a 1.2-inch LED backlit color display (the Fenix 2’s screen was monochromatic) that’s designed to be easily visible in direct sunlight.
In addition to the fitness tracking and GPS functionality, the new Fenix offers basic watch functions such as alarms, vibrations alerts, a stopwatch and timer. There's access to the company’s Connect IQ store, allowing users to customize their device with third-party apps, widgets and watch faces, and it can also be used as a remote for the company’s VIRB Elite actioncam.
The device will be available in silver, grey and sapphire finishes, and will ship in Q1 2015 starting at US$500.
Garmin’s second new wearable is a hardy GPS-mapping watch with a 1.4-inch color touchscreen. It’s a more focused device than the Fenix 3, and comes pre-loaded with a worldwide shaded relief baseman right out of the box. It packs 8 GB internal storage for additional maps, and there are altimeter, compass and barometer sensors on board. There’s also an omni-directional EXO steel antenna with both GPS and GLONASS support, providing fast and accurate positioning.
As with the Fenix, the Epix can be augmented with ANT+ devices like heart-rate straps to increase its fitness tracking abilities, and it’s water resistant up to 50 m (164 ft). Once again, users will get access to the Connect IQ store, allowing them to add third-party software to the device.
The Epix will ship in Q1 2015 for $550.
The Vívoactive offers more of a conventional smartwatch experience, and will likely have the widest mainstream appeal. It runs Garmin Connect IQ apps, supports notifications from a connected smartphone, and packs built-in GPS, meaning it’ll still track stats when you leave your phone at home.
There’s a built-in accelerometer, as well as pre-installed running, swimming and cycling apps that track distance, pace, calories and more. The device is also a good fit for golfers, who can download maps of more than 38,000 courses worldwide.
The device runs for 10 hours with the GPS turned on, and is water-resistant up to 50 m (164 ft). It’ll be available in black or white for $250 in Q1 2015.