When you’re producing gold standard products you have two choices – either take your foot off the gas and let the competition catch up, or you can keep the pedal to the floor and continue setting the bar higher. It seems as though Garmin prefers to drive in the fast lane; showing up at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with not one but four new consumer wearables.
The vívofit 2 is an update to Garmin’s existing vívofit activity tracker. With the 2 you are getting 1+ year of battery life, backlight, and water resistance up to 50 meters. The 2 also adds a move bar and audible alert that lets you know when you’ve been idle for one hour or more. Like the original, the vívofit can be paired with a heart rate monitor for HR tracking during workouts. Vívofit 2 will be available in black, white, navy, and pink. It will begin shipping in Q1 and will have a suggested retail price of $129.99 and $169.99 (black or white heart rate monitor bundle). Three-pack colored accessory bands will be available in different color schemes, including “neutral” (black, slate, and white), “downtown” (burgundy, slate, and navy), “active” (red, blue, and green), “serenity” (mint, cloud, and lilac), and “energy” (canary, pink, and violet) for a suggested retail price of $24.99.
Oh fenix 2, we feel as though we’ve barely gotten to know you. Less than a year ago, we were talking about the introduction of Garmin’s newest multisport watch and already we see an upgrade. Where the fēnix 2 took everything the 910xt had and added navigation functions (plus some general enhancements), the fēnix 3 is doing the same for the 920xt. You get the full color display (with an LED backlight), activity tracking, full multisport modes, and the ability to pair with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. One of our favorite features has also been retained – smart notifications. This allows users to pair their smartphone with the watch to receive call, text, and email alerts. It’s an awesome feature if you keep your phone hidden away on workouts.
The fēnix 3 boasts 20 hours of battery life in GPS mode, 50 hours in UltraTrac mode and six weeks in watch mode. Like the fēnix 2 and 920xt it can be used as a daily watch and includes such basic watch functions as alarms, tones, vibration alerts, timer and stopwatch. The fēnix 3 is now rated at 100 meters versus 50 meters of its predecessor.
Like the fēnix 2, fēnix 3 comes equipped with a full navigational toolset. The EXO antenna paired with the 3-axis electronic compass, barometer and auto-calibrating altimeter allows fēnix 3 to easily navigate on and off the beaten track. With fēnix 3, users can plan trips and navigate courses, mark locations, such as campsites or points of interest, and record GPS breadcrumb trails on the move. The TracBack feature can automatically reverse the activity to navigate back to the starting point
The fēnix 3 is now available in three variations: Silver with a red band and crystal lens, Gray with a black band, and the Premium Sapphire with a stainless steel band and domed sapphire lens. Fēnix 3 will be available to purchase in Q1 2015. Fēnix 3 Gray and Silver will have a suggested retail price of $499.99 and $549.99 for the HRM-Run bundle. The Premium fēnix 3 Sapphire will have a suggested retail price of $599.99.
The fēnix 3 and 920xt both contain smart notifications, but Garmin has never done a true smartwatch – until now. Enter the vívoactive. Combining a light weight and ultra-thin GPS smartwatch with built-in sport and activity tracking apps, the vívoactive is Garmin’s take on the wearable smartwatch segment. The vívoactive is meant to be your daily watch, activity tracker and workout computer all in a single package.
Like most Garmin products, the vívoactive can pair with heart rate monitors, cadence sensors, and other ANT+ devices (including Garmin’s Virb action camera). Like the 920xt, you get swim, bike, and run apps. The running app displays pace, time, and distance using GPS. Vívoactive’s built-in accelerometer tracks speed and distance when GPS is unavailable, such as when running indoors. The cycling app provides the standard time, distance and speed. While swimming (the vívoactive is rated to a depth 50m) computes the number of lengths, total, and interval distances, paces by length, by interval, and for the full session. It also provides calories burned.
Another app included with the vívoactive is the golf app where golfers can download course maps from more than 38,000 courses worldwide. These maps also stay up-to-date automatically. Using GPS, vívoactive can measure layup and dogleg distances, as well as distances to the front, middle and back of the green, to improve usability over the entire hole. During a round, golfers can also keep individual stroke play scorecards and measure shot distance on favorite and new courses.
Users will be able to download new apps with Garmin’s Connect IQ platform. Third-party developers will be able to create new apps that make use of the vívoactive platform.
The vívoactive features up to three weeks of battery life in watch/activity tracking mode or up to 10 hours using GPS. Smart notifications are standard as well as the ability to play, pause, or skip a song on a user’s smartphone’s music player, and send an audible alert to help users locate their smartphone.
Vívoactive will be available in black or white. It will begin shipping in Q1 and will have a suggested retail price of $249.99 and $299.99 (heart rate monitor bundle).
Last but certainly not least is the new Garmin epix. The epix combines the multisport abilities of the 920xt (or fēnix 3) with the mapping abilities of Garmin’s handheld GPS lines. Featuring a 1.4” high-resolution color touchscreen, epix comes preloaded with a worldwide shaded relief basemap, a free 1-year subscription to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery, plus 8 GB of built-in memory for additional maps. Think of this as the fully loaded model – just about every option you want is available (although you do surprisingly lose Wi-Fi sync).
Equipped with auto-calibrating sensors, epix provides relevant real-time information right from the user’s wrist. The altimeter provides elevation data to accurately monitor ascent and descent, while the barometer can be used to predict weather changes by showing short-term changes in air pressure. The 3-axis electronic compass allows users to keep their bearings, no matter if they’re in a deep canyon or heavy forest.
Epix will be available for purchase in Q1 of 2015. Epix will have a suggested retail price of$549.99, and epix TOPO US 100K will have a suggested retail price of $599.99.
Wow. We are still wading through the press releases to get a full grasp of all the new products. As you can expect, the fēnix 3 is piquing our interest the most, specifically because we see it as the more formal version of the 920xt – a watch we have made our daily timepiece. The vívoactive certainly seems to offer a range of new abilities, and we are excited to see what the third party developers do with it. We are going to have to wait patiently for now until we get a chance to get some hands-on time with the new lineup. But if you cannot wait, we definitely recommend heading over to DC Rainmaker to check out his hands-on experience from CES of the fēnix 3, vívoactive and epix.