At CES-2015, Garmin stole the show with three back-to-back announcements of new product releases namely, Vivoactive, Vivofit 2 and Fenix 3. Fenix 3 is the latest addition to Garmin’s Fenix product lineup and is touted as a multisport GPS training watch with advanced navigation.
Well, combining some features of fitness bands and smartwatch is not new and Pebble has been doing it quite successfully but with Fenix 3, the United States Company seems to be focused on upping the wear-ability and glamour quotient of its smartwatch. Like Pebble, Garmin has also called the mainstream Android wear quits and is having quite a heady start with its app ecosystem.
Unlike its previous siblings, Fenix 3 can be sported with a suit and blazer but boy; it remains a sport watch at its heart! The smartwatch utilizes Garmin’s Connect IQ platform that is the core of Garmin’s recently launched products. Connect IQ lets the developers to create widgets and apps to customize watch face and user-experience.
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Touted as the world’s first adventure sport training Garmin GPS/ GLONASS watch, Fenix 3 can receive calls, texts and social media notifications like Vivoactive. On the fitness front, it can count the number of steps taken, calories burnt and sleeping time. GLONASS is a Russian satellite navigation system that like GPS is used to measure your speed and distance covered during fitness activities like cycling, swimming and running. Along with this, the cycling and running modules include features like back to start, personal records, auto-pause and auto-lap. Fenix 3 can automatically connect to your home connection and sync the data. It can estimate maximal Oxygen consumption when it is paired up with heart rate sensor over ANT+ and thus, can predict your fitness levels and on the basis of it, the Fenix 3 can tell you how long you will take to complete the race. It can also do a recovery check of your muscles after intense workouts and calculate it for you to prevent any workout injury. The training features of the watch can be used to optimize your fitness schedule to improve form. It also sends you hourly alert to remind that you have been inactive and should move around a bit.
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The basic functions of the watch are as usual including notification alerts, timer, stopwatch and alarms.
While its largely based on its predecessor Fenix 2, the new Garmin Fenix 3 has some striking new features that include newfound WiFi connectivity, water-resistance up to 100 meters (a 50 meter increase from the earlier version), EXO antenna, Virtual Racer, personal records, VO2 Max (maximum Oxygen intake), multiple bike sensors, auto-climb feature to be used during hiking or trailing, snowboard mode and not to mention, the multi-sports pool mode that can be used within a multi-sports event and allows you to choose a pool.
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Equipped with omni-directional EXO GPS antenna housed in the bezel, the Garmin Fenix 3 is capable to record and track indoor as well as outdoor activity. So, whether you are doing advanced fitness tracking or trail running, it can never go wrong. The Garmin Fenix 3 is a fully-developed navigational unit. Along with EXO, it packs in barometer, 3-axis electronic compass and auto-calibrating altimeter that lets you navigate along the beaten track. You can plan trips, mark places and record trails.
On the watch mode, the battery can juice up the device up to six weeks but with a GPS signal, you may need to power it up on a daily basis. In the UltraTrac mode, it can survive for 50 hours without charging.
Waterproof up to 100 meters, you can swim with it too. Garmin Fenix 3 is available in three models and offers inactivity alerts and vibration for notifications. The LED backlight, color transflective sunlight-readable screen and stainless steel bezel make it a beautiful piece.
The three styles available are gray model with black strap, crystal lens silver model with red strap and a high-end sapphire crystal model equipped with scratch-resistant sapphire lens and stainless steel bracelet. The straps can be interchanged easily and Garmin offers you a variety of options to pick from. All the three models are protected by the housing made of glass fiber which is capable to survive through even the roughest of crashes and shocks. Apart from straps, users also get plenty of choices of analog and digital watch faces as well.
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Garmin Fenix 3 survives both on form and functionality. The robotic and jarred look of Fenix 2 is replaced with subdued rugged look that suits a wide range of occasions, from cycling events to the presentation at office. According to the U.S. Company, Fenix 3 is engineered and designed to track multisport activities while offering seamless transition into daily life. The Connect IQ store offers a comprehensive array of customization to the users. As of now, the company is promoting a few Connect IQ apps such as Tempo calendar app that lets you see the upcoming events and schedule and shoot a mail from your wrist if you cannot make it on time. AccuWeather tells you about air quality and allergens in the air. iSKI tells you if it is the right time to ski or not. LifeLine Response is a personal safety app that provides an all-round safety to you Garmin devices too. The muscle Oxygen sensor Moxy is also in talks to create an app for Garmin Connect IQ to help you know the level of Oxygen for critical muscles during workouts. Similarly, Octane Fitness is developing an app to let you track the indoor and outdoor workout stats seamlessly. LiveTrack lets you collaborate with your friends via a mobile app connecting to Fenix 3 via BluetoothLE and share the data.
Release and Price of Garmin Fenix 3
The Garmin Fenix 3 training watch is expected to be available by spring (Q1) this year. The price range of all three models is different. When bundled with heart rate sensors, the silver and gray models’ price points can go up to $500 or $550. The premium Sapphire Fenix 3 is expected to be available for $600.
Will this rugged multi-sports smartwatch, Garmin Fenix 3 with advanced navigation be able to secure a niche of its own? Let us wait and watch.