Smartwatches

Garmin upgrades its outdoor smartwatches with solar power, larger screens

The fēnix 6 watches bring some useful improvements, and bigger screens
The fēnix 6 watches bring some useful improvements, and bigger screens
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The fēnix 6 watches bring some useful improvements, and bigger screens
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The fēnix 6 watches bring some useful improvements, and bigger screens
The Garmin fēnix 6 smartwatches give you a choice of how to conserve battery life
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The Garmin fēnix 6 smartwatches give you a choice of how to conserve battery life
Together with a rugged exterior, the Garmin fēnix 6 series offers a host of features useful for outdoor adventurers
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Together with a rugged exterior, the Garmin fēnix 6 series offers a host of features useful for outdoor adventurers
PacePro is a new feature arriving with the Garmin fēnix 6, giving you more detail on lap times
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PacePro is a new feature arriving with the Garmin fēnix 6, giving you more detail on lap times

The fēnix series from Garmin has long been regarded as one of the best when it comes to rugged, outdoor smartwatches built for serious explorers and athletes, and Garmin just launched the fēnix 6 range with a few notable improvements over what's gone before.

The top-end Garmin fēnix 6X Pro Solar, for instance, can add an extra three days' battery life between charges, as long as it catches enough sunlight on your travels. That's on top of a maximum 21 days of battery life in total in the standard smartwatch mode.

With GPS and all the other bells and whistles active, you're looking at something more like 15 hours, Garmin says – so it should still last you the day. Solar charging would eke out an extra hour in this case, according to the manufacturer.

The 6X Pro (with or without solar charging) is also the largest of the new smartwatches, with a 1.4-inch screen, a third larger than the fēnix 5. You can also opt for the 1.2-inch fēnix 6S and the 1.3-inch fēnix 6 and you've got plenty of models to pick from – that's before you get to the casing and strap choices, which give you 19 different options in total.

PacePro is a new feature arriving with the Garmin fēnix 6, giving you more detail on lap times
PacePro is a new feature arriving with the Garmin fēnix 6, giving you more detail on lap times

Other new features this time around include a PacePro feature for helping runners improve split times and consistency. Garmin also says it's made various improvements to sleep tracking and heart rate monitoring, which should mean more accurate readings and more meaningful insights into the data.

On the software side, users get a new Power Manager dashboard, which lets you see exactly how much extra battery life you can get by turning certain sensors and features on or off. It should come in handy when you're out in the mountains trying to get a few more hours of battery out of your watch.

Everything the fēnix watches have always done well is still here of course, including mapping and GPS, tracking for a whole host of activities, support for navigating ski routes and golf courses, smartphone notifications on your wrist, on-board music storage (Spotify and Amazon Music are among the services supported), NFC payments through Garmin Pay and more.

The fēnix 6 series consolidates the watches' position near the top of the high-end, outdoor smartwatch ladder, but as with previous models they don't come cheap: pricing starts at US$599.99 for the basic 6 and 6S configurations, and goes all the way up to $1,149.99 for the premium 6X Pro Solar with every trimming available (including sapphire glass and a titanium bracelet). The video below has more.

Garmin: Introducing the fēnix 6 series

Source: Garmin fēnix 6

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