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First Ride: Garmin Varia Vision–Heads Up Display

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-With-Helmet

Today Garmin introduced their first heads up display, the Varia Vision.  The $399 heads up display takes data such as speed, power, and even approaching cars from the Varia Radar – and plops it up on a small screen at the upper edge of your existing sunglasses.  This is the first fitness HUD that Garmin has developed, joining what is quickly becoming a more and more crowded marketplace of heads up displays.

I’ve spent a bit of time with the unit (but certainly not enough to call this a ‘review’), so let’s go ahead and talk through things.

How it works:

The first thing to know about the Varia Vision is that it’s more accurately described as a ‘remote display’ than a standalone unit.  It is essentially a secondary monitor for your Garmin Edge.  Said differently: It doesn’t have GPS in it, nor does it have the ability to directly talk to all your existing sensors.

But before we get to those pieces, let’s talk about the physical form factor.  First up, it attaches to any sunglasses you already have using a quick release style mount.

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Pod-SideMount

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Pod-Detached

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Pod-Button

You simply rotate the pod up/down 90° to detach the pod from the glasses. The mount on your glasses is barely noticed depending on the style of your glasses.  But you can quickly remove it via the rubber bands.  No zip-ties required.

As for the pod itself, it has only a little bit of flexibility.  This isn’t like a flexible arm that you can move around wherever you’d like.  The main arm can bend very slightly a few millimeters in the forward/backward direction.  Compare these two photos (look at the crack in the table):

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Pod-Flex2

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Pod-Flex1

Additionally, the display portion of the pod can also rotate a few millimeters up/down to get a slightly better angle (again, compare these two from a pod rotation standpoint).   But the thing is, you don’t need any more than this.  Remember you control how and where you attach the mount, so you have more flexibility there too.

Garmin-Varia-Vision-Pod-Rotate1

Garmin-Varia-Vision-Pod-Rotate2

Meanwhile the pod has two methods of control.  First is the power button on the top:

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Pod-Button

Then along the side you can swipe forward/back, very similar to the Recon Jet.

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Swipe

The unit includes vibration alerts, for letting you know about various events, such as incoming text messages.  It does not however have audio alerts.

Note that you can place the Varia Vision on either your left or right side, it’ll automatically flip the image for the correct side.  Alternatively, if you flip over your handlebars and are upside-down on the ground looking at the sky, it’ll correctly re-orient the display for your new position (just in case you were wondering…).

As for charging, the unit claims 8 hours of battery life (I haven’t tested that yet).  And charges via this custom charging cable.

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Charging-Cable

Now that we’ve talked about the outsides, let’s go inside the display (since that’s the whole purpose).

The display:

Because the unit relies upon your Edge 520 or Edge 1000 to display data, we’ll first need to pair it up to the Edge.  To do that, we’ll go into my Edge 1000’s sensor menu, and select ‘Remote Display’:

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Edge-Pairing0

At this point, it should find the Varia Vision and you’ll be good to go.

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Edge-Pairing-3

You’ll see the nifty icon of the sunglasses for Varia Vision:

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Edge-Pairing2

With that, if we open that sensor, we’ll get a number of options.  It’s sorta like having an entirely separate unit to configure:

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Edge-Setup

Under the Display Settings, we can adjust the brightness of the unit, as well as auto-scroll and the background color.

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Edge-Setup2

Then we’ve got a separate set of Data Pages.  Just like on your other Garmin fitness device, these control what you see.  I love this.  That’s because I very much want different items on my heads up display than my main unit.  Essentially, I want more concise information on the HUD for a quick glance.

Garmin-Varia-Vision-Edge-Data-Pages

You can configure:

– 5 Custom Pages (up to 4 data fields per page)
– Strava Segments (On/Off)
– Navigation (On/Off)
– Virtual Partner (On/Off)

Here’s a random collection of photos of some (ok, most) data pages I put together:

Most of these data fields are what you’ve seen before.  But you’ll note a new chunk of data fields called ‘Graphical’, which are rather pretty layouts of mostly existing metrics:

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Edge-DataFields-11

With that, we’re ready to roll.  Note that the other menu options under ‘Remote Display’ were just ‘Sensor Details’ (just lists ANT+ ID and current firmware version), as well as the ability to remove the device or rename the device.

Now, I’ll point out that like all heads-up displays, it’s rather difficult to photograph.  I basically can stick my cell phone camera in there, like this:

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-InsideDisplay

But that just gets me photos like this:

Garmin-Varia-Vision-Display-Field

Which…aren’t that awesome.  Ultimately, the displays are designed for your eye to see, not a camera lens.  However, eventually I figured out some secret camera tricks to getting pretty pics from the unit.  Persistence and creativity paid off!

At the top of the screen, you’ll always see the battery status, temperature (from Edge), time of day.  Down lower you’ll see the various metrics I’ve configured.

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Display2

The fields update constantly as you’re riding, automatically from your Edge.

If you have enabled Auto Scroll, then the page will automatically scroll.  Otherwise, you can swipe forward/backwards to change them.

Further, within the ‘Display Mode’ settings, you can also specify whether the unit stays on, or only displays data when there’s a message (such as a navigational prompt).  The unit will automatically adjust the brightness just like your Edge does (but you can override that too).

First ride with it:

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Me-Looking-Goofy

So – how does it handle?  Well, out for a bit of a test ride I went.  I figured if there’s any use case that makes the most sense it’s city riding where you want to avoid looking down at your handlebars constantly.  So, out I went across the heart of Paris.

DCIM\100GOPRO\G0038037.

The first thing I noticed is that it doesn’t block your side peripheral vision.  This may sound like an obvious item, until you realize that other heads up display units do block your view on one side (substantially in some cases).

DCIM\100GOPRO\G0027838.

Next, while I could have swiped to change the data fields, I actually set it to Auto Scroll, which worked really well (fast mode).  So the data was simply scrolling by and always there.

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Display1

The other thing I found impressive was just how sharp the colors were.  Having seen the pretty video that Garmin put together, I figured the colors would be 1/4th of what they showed.  After all, that’s the way it usually works as they’ve historically promised beautiful HD colors, and it ends up looking like an image sent via fax machine.  But in this case, it’s legit – the colors were incredibly sharp and clear.

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Display2

Here’s a totally unedited video I shot of the display scrolling through fields:

I didn’t think to have anyone text me during my ride, though, did later on and it notified me of a text message via vibration, in the same general format the Edge 1000 does (tells you of an incoming message).

Overall, I’m reasonably impressed with how well it works (even if it’s a wee bit pricey).  On one hand it’s rather feature-limited compared to the Recon Jet.  On the other hand, the simplicity in it makes it a super-clean experience.

Use with Varia Radar:

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Radar

Now there is one case where you can use the Varia Vision without an Edge computer – and that’s with the Varia Radar.  You’ll remember that the Varia Radar alerts you to cars approaching from behind your bike, overtaking you.  The Varia Vision allows direct integration with Varia Radar – no Edge unit required.  You can also still use the Edge with Varia Radar too though.

To integrate the two, you’ll simply turn on the Varia Vision, and it’ll ask you to pair directly to it.  Pretty straightforward.

At this point, the unit will only talk to the Varia radar until the radar is disconnected.  It’s effectively a TV screen for your Varia Radar.  And quite frankly – it works really darn well.  You can see the dots representing cars below.  And then it goes clear when there’s no more cars.

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Radar-Display-1

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Radar-Display-2

Here’s another fun little video I shot showing the cars going by and being displayed on the screen:

I’d like to say there’s a ton more to talk about in this section, but it’s rather straightforward.  It’s just like having the Varia portion of the display you’d see on an Edge device, but on your glasses instead.  Albeit, this is a super-expensive way to display that data given the Edge 25 can do it for 1/3rd the price.  But, to each their own.

Size and weight comparisons:

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-HUD-Lineup

It’s probably no surprise that Garmin is getting into the heads up display market.  The category is still quite young, especially on the sport side of things.  Right now the only released competitors in sport are the Recon Jet and 4iiii units.  However, there are upcoming sport options like the Solos and Everysight.  And then of course we have the mostly non-sport focused Google Glass (albeit now off-market).

From a weight standpoint, the Varia Vision comes in at 29g (excluding the mount, which can’t be more than 1-2g).

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Weight-Pod

If you use these glasses as a baseline, then you’re looking at 60g all-in:

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Weight-Glasses

Compare that to the Recon Jet, which is 85g:

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Weight-Recon-Jet

But that’s not really a fair comparison.  The Recon Jet has a full GPS system in it, as well as an HD video/photo camera, storage, and a bunch of other capabilities.  It effectively replaces your Garmin Edge, while the Varia Vision just supplements it.

As for weight on Glass (which doesn’t include GPS), it’s at 55g:

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-Weight-Google-Glass

Ultimately, this market segment is just getting warmed up (even if that), so expect lots of competition here shortly.

Wrap-up:

Garmin-Vaira-Vision-WholeSet2

When I got the press materials ahead of hands-on time and my first ride, I was kinda thinking to myself “well then, this looks lame”, but in reality – I came away somewhat impressed with the implementation.  A few things stood out to me:

– The mount system is awesome: If nothing else, Garmin can usually be trusted to come out with brilliantly simple mounts that just work.  This would be one of them.  It’s super tiny, yet seems remarkably stable.  If the display pod fell off this mount, it’s likely because you’ve face planted into a shrubbery.

– The crispness and contrast of the display: Having tried every heads up display on and not yet on the market, I’m more than familiar with many having washed out colors.  This doesn’t.  It’s surprisingly sharp.

– Out of the way yet still visible: A key aspect that some other HUD’s struggle with.

Of course, it’s just one (sorta rainy) ride.  It’s entirely possible I could do a second ride and the thing causes me to run into a Metro bus.  But not everything sticks out to me as positive, notably two specific items:

– It’s expensive: As well as the technical execution on this product, it’s rather pricey at $399, as that’s in the ballpark of what most other fully capable GPS-inclusive HUD’s cost.

– It still requires a compatible Garmin Edge: So you’re already down $329 (or $199 for Varia Radar) I think $399 is asking a bit much.  If it were $199, I think the Varia Vision would be selling like hotcakes.  Further, why not have integration with the Fenix3/FR920XT/Epix – ideal for triathletes that want to keep focused ahead in aero position.

Now no doubt each person values different things differently.  So for some, it’ll be worth it to have a fully integrated Garmin solution – just like some people pay the extra $50 for the Garmin Index WiFi Weight Scale simply to be in a single ecosystem.  With the Varia Vision, you’re in a relatively seamless ecosystem of Garmin stuff that integrates well.

FYI: You can pre-order the Garmin Varia Vision from Clever Training using this link here.  In doing so you support the blog, and you can also save a bunch with the CT/DCR VIP program.  Or, you can also buy on Amazon.  Enjoy!

With that – thanks for reading!

Don’t forget to check out all of the DCR CES 2016 coverage, as well as a slew of updates that were only seen on Twitter.  It was a crazy busy week!

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258 Comments

  1. Radar

    IMO, this is not what is usually meant by “Heads Up Display”. Historically, in the military and now in some cars, HUDs project a transparent display that does not obscure your view. Google Glass would fall into this category. If it obscures your view, similar what putting a GPS on the dash of your car would do, it’s not a HUD.

    Reply
    • Anand

      Totally agree, the recon jet was obtrusive enough to take away from the overall experience. Skully has managed to create a transparent display for motorcycle helmets. I’ll wait to get a similar product on the bike.

      Reply
    • Scott E

      Agreed, a HUD by definition would overlay the image on the real world scenery.

      That aside, my concern would be with parallax.

      Ray, when riding did you experience any delay in eye focus between gazing into the distance, interpretation of the display information, and back to the distance.

      Correction for parallax would float the image where both the distance and nearness of the image appear at the same point in space. Since the image is doesn’t directly overlay the outside world, some people may experience a slight disorientation going through the two different focal points.

      Reply
    • What I’ve found with riding with a bunch of HUD products (using the term broadly here), is that all of them take a small adjustment period to getting used to changing focus. I’d say most are about 30-45 minutes before it happens so naturally and quickly you don’t notice it.

      The difference comes down to how clear that image is, and how ‘big’ that image appears. All of which is often driven by how flexible the positioning system is. So if it’s trickier to get that positioned perfectly, I find that sometimes you get slight alignment issues so that your eye (or even head) has to re-correct. Whereas of a mount is super-flexible and you can really dial-down the location, then I find it easier to use and quicker to adapt to.

      Reply
    • VeloManR

      The optics of the display unit place the image at infinity, so your eye does not need to adapt its focus between the road ahead and the projected image from the Varia Vision.

      Reply
  2. eric

    Would this work with navigation?

    Reply
    • mad_triathlete

      +1 Ray, how is the navigation part of the edge units implemented in the display? You mentioned the well-known in-traffic-oh-god-I-have-look-down-for-directions situation

      Reply
  3. Alex

    I believe one USP, compared to Recon and others, is the fact it can be mounted on prescription glasses.

    Re. the Fenix3, do you know if that’s in their roadmap? As well as displaying other non-cycling data (ski, run, etc.). That would justify the high price a bit better IMO

    Reply
  4. Dom

    Can this display directions if you’re following a course with turn-by-turn indicators? If not, I’d say Garmin are missing a trick there.

    Reply
    • Darren Dunn

      Yep it does that just seem the official Garmin video

      Reply
    • Dom

      Awesome. Now I want one and I don’t even own an Edge.

      Reply
    • Jonni

      @Dom : The article says it displays navigation. And if you have a peek at Garmins promo video on their website it shows how the navigation displays.

      Reply
  5. Darren Dunn

    being one of the few UK people to try a recon jet, and return it because of the right side only feature obscuring my view and the slightly ridiculous look, this really does look much better 2 reasons I have expensive oakleys that I like and the option to mount to my left eye, Im not interested in taking pictures etc so this tick the boxes for me, thanks for the quick and thorough walk through.
    In your opinion could it be mounted to the right eye for UK roads without obscuring the view (its my best eye LOL!)

    Reply
    • The way it mounts, it’s basically above the eye-line, so it doesn’t obscure vision on either side, works well.

      Reply
    • Tyler

      Is it above the eyeline, or below?

      Appears to be above while standing, but below while riding in a tucked biking position.

      Reply
    • Above. Though, you could situate it below with some mount creativity.

      Reply
  6. Peter

    Hi and thank you for an interesting post.

    I assume there is no way of showing a map via Varia Vison?
    And if so, have you heard anything about an future upgrade to include the availability to show maps?

    Best regards,

    //Peter

    Reply
  7. Dave

    What about use with plain old prescription (non sun) glasses?

    Reply
  8. Totally agree on price and device integration: if that will be $199 and will work with a 920XT I would line up to buy it.

    Reply
  9. Mayowa

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for your reviews as usual. The glasses seems tilted towards the right in the pictures… is it always like this? Does it feel like this?

    Reply
    • For pictures on a table/flat surface, they are, simply because that side is slightly heavier and the pair of sunglasses I was using were super-light, and so they just tilted that way by nature of weight distribution.

      Insofar as on my head, probably just a case of my helmet being tilted. 😉

      I definitely didn’t feel anything, crazy light.

      Reply
  10. Joe E

    Wonder how well this will work for those of us needing reading glasses. All my sunglasses have bifocal reading lenses, but this seems to attach in a way to provide the view at the top of the glasses.

    Reply
    • Ken

      Hi – I too wear Bi-focals and have found that you don’t need to look through your reading lens of the bi-focal to read the screen. I wear +2.00 reading glasses and have no problem with the reading the Varia through the clear glass part of my Bi-focal sun glasses.

      Reply
  11. Could you just clarify what you say about the radar display please.

    You say that until the radar was disconnected it only talks to the radar.

    Are you saying that information from the edge – power, speed et cetera can’t be displayed while it is connected with the Varia radar?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Varia Vision can connect to either device (Edge or Varia Radar), but only one device at a time. However, you can simply configure the Varia Radar to talk to your Edge, and then the Varia Vision will display the Radar data too.

      Reply
    • Okay Ta. It wasn’t clear to me.

      Do you happen to know if the radar warnings will simply cut across the standard information display as it does with the edge, or do you have to wait for it to take its turn to scroll across the screen?

      Maybe you haven’t tested it yet at that level of detail.

      Reply
    • It just overlays on top, pretty much like it does on the Edge 520/1000 today. I didn’t think to take video of that.

      Reply
    • Actually I just watch the official video and I can see that you do get radar reports on the information screen exactly the same way as it is displayed on the edge.

      Reply
  12. Johan

    How annoying is it when it dark outside?

    Reply
    • You can invert the colors, as well as dim the display. I didn’t ride outside at night with it though, during the time I had it.

      Reply
  13. EB

    From an entirely pointless aspect, if something vibrates when connected to your glasses, which press on the bones by your ear does it also not create a sound?

    I can’t quite see why you would want both sound and vibration, when they are effectively the same thing.

    And to add to my spirit of pointlessness, I would like to suggest a Head-Down-Display. Having to raise your head negatively impacts your CdA. Tensing neck muscles wastes oxygen. Glasses make 3D vision simple (just send a different image to each eye). Two cameras in the top of your bike helme, each connected to a screen on each glass. A gap at the top of the glasses to see our if you want, eg. for tight turns.

    Not only is this a brilliant idea, but it would make the exit/entrance to transition zone so much more fun.

    Reply
    • chukko

      Although they are of the same nature, the difference in frequency makes sound convey much more info – same as in phones – vibration vs. plethora of ringtones (or even speech). If it had audio, it could read you your SMS. Do that with a vibration.

      Reply
  14. Bill

    And still they persist with the completely useless bicycle graphics on the virtual partner screen, taking up half the space. I will never understand this.

    Reply
    • Don

      Agreed. I would much rather be able to see power and/or HR in addition to the virtual partner or Live Segment (Strava data) instead of the rider graphic on Virtual Partner, or the map graphic on Live Segments.

      Reply
    • Jdog

      I can’t believe anyone at Garmin uses the live segments because the display is so awful. Why can’t we customise that screen!?

      Reply
  15. Urka

    Garmin should incorporate rear camera, projector with helmet. I see it like this: battery is placed in helmet, camera mounted on its back, and projector on its front.

    Reply
    • Ken

      $399 for Vision + $199 for Radar (or some camera variant) vs. $10 for a clip-on-your-glasses mirror. Not a bad idea, but they need to bring the price waaaayy down for that.

      Reply
    • Darren

      Except invariably clip on glasses are horrendously poor at doing what they are supposed to.

      Reply
    • Bob

      $10 helmet clip-on mirror works fine

      Reply
    • Nigel Pond

      Yeah but that’s just so analogue…

      Reply
  16. staralliance

    Ray, have you seen the Raptor from Everysight yet? So far this is the only true ‘HUD’ implementation (they make HUD components for fighter jets as their main business. If you have, any thoughts on it?

    Reply
    • Yes, I’ve ridden with it and it’s impressive.

      However, they wanted me to publish a post, and thus I disagreed. So while there’s an entire post written and done (with lots of great imagery), it’s not going to be published as I’m not going to hide significant aspects of the product to appease any company or their marketing strategy.

      Reply
    • Dan

      And THIS is why I come here for reviews!! Thanks for this!!!

      Reply
    • Ethan

      I noticed there were restrictions with the Under Armor Healthbox post as well. What’s the difference between UA’s and Everysight’s?

      Reply
    • At the end of the day, UA basically said I couldn’t talk about current beta battery life, and couldn’t call it a ‘Review’ or ‘In-depth’ (if you boil it all down).

      Everysight wouldn’t permit me to use any of my photos (well, only wanted to allow three of them, shot at about 30 yards away), and didn’t really want me discussing much of the product at all in terms of specifications.

      To me, this blog is about being visual, and descriptive. Lacking the type of information I wanted to provide, it’s just free marketing. Ironically, it was/is a piece that’s incredibly positive towards their technology. Shrug.

      Reply
    • staralliance

      Thanks Ray.

      Reply
    • Thank you for being honest and not allowing those kind of shenanigans on your site.

      Reply
  17. Gonzalo

    It is just for cycling, no Running or else (Fenix 3)?

    Reply
  18. Jeff Kohn

    The vision should be able to pair to any garmin watch so you don’t need an edge. This could obviate the need for a quick release in a race. Should be 199 for the glasses. 299 bundled with varia radar. Since 90% of my riding is commuting, I would jump on the bundle – perfect commuter solution, especially if the watch integration comes into place.

    Thanks for all the great info Ray!

    Reply
    • Steve

      +1!

      Just recently got a TT bike and I feel like I need the Varia to improve safety and loss of visibility on the new bike. I have the 920xt already; I shouldn’t need an Edge, too, if I can get a few extra data screens in my face along with traffic alerts.

      But, then Garmin wouldn’t get another Edge sale, so… screw the customer!

      Reply
  19. Shadowmate

    Good stuff Ray.
    Is this a possibility for the 810 with a firmware update? I also want to use radar with 810 is this in the pipeline as if not the heads up may not make it either?

    Reply
  20. Andrew M

    As a triathlete this would only make sense for me for 920xt integration. I don’t own an edge as my 920 with quick release does everything I NEED (yes better maps and varia radar are nice but not necessary for me). At the moment triathletes have two imperfect solutions for race day needs: (1) they bend all out of shape to check their watch on the bike; or (2) they bulk out their 920 with the QR and do the QR dance in T1 and T2 (I have inadvertently messed data recording with clumsy cold hands on that QR) and fight with the extra bulk to clear the wetsuit. Garmin had the perfect chance for option 3 – Varia Vision strapped to sunnies/clear lenses (I have interchangeable lenses similar to Ray) which syncs up as you pull off your wetsuit and bob’s your uncle – all my race info, where I need without any faff…

    Also – whilst you’re unlikely to sell a lot of these to pure runners, surely there’s an argument that this doesn’t hurt runners and, whilst not as gadget geeky as most cyclists surely there is some sales potential there?

    Reply
    • Carlton

      Well said; the watch quick releases are mediocre solutions. The HUD is a much better approach (assuming it fits under an aero helmet.)

      Needs 920xt/Fenix 3 integration…

      Reply
    • Patrick Myers

      There’s the third *imperfect option: keep your 920xt on your wrist and also get an Edge 500/520 for your bike. It’s what I do. No quick release fiddling and the computer sits right between your aero bars.

      * It’s actually a perfect, it just costs some extra $ and creates a double entry when you import into Garmin Express. Not a big deal.

      Reply
    • Andrew M

      *and doesn’t give you “race time” on your bike (and obviously the 520 weights more than this so think of all the extra weight up those hills, jokes) – I know this is being picky – it just seems that if I have to spend the extra this would, if done properly, give more benefit than an edge

      Reply
  21. I second Joe E’s comment/question — for us older dogs that have a harder time seeing up close without cheaters (or taking our glasses/contacts off), I can’t imagine this working all that well for us. :^\

    Reply
    • Have you seen these – link to amazon.com

      Brilliant stick on lenses which you fix to the insides of your riding glasses, dicing glasses, sun glasses or what have you.
      Maybe they would help. Even cheaper if you get then=m on eBay

      Reply
    • diving glasses

      Reply
    • Dom

      Hm, when you look at Ray’s images showing the screen, you can see that it’s in as sharp focus as the distant objects in the photos, while the frame of the display is massively out of focus. It looks as though there are lenses in there to make the image appear at a distance (much like the lenses on some car dashboards which let you read them without refocusing from distance vision), so it might not be too bad. I think we need to persuade Ray to test them on his dad :)

      Reply
    • Patrick Myers

      I was at CES and for me the screen was definitely NOT in focus while I was looking at cycling-distance and cycling-distance was not in focus when I was looking at the screen. I had the same issue with Google glass and the fact that the screen is so far right – pulling my eyes from what’s in front of me and now focusing close – makes this a pretty dangerous device for me personally.

      It’s possible this would work for people that can read it out of the corner of their eye but after using it, it’s a hard pass for me. Way safer for me to glance down at my Edge that sits between my aero bars.

      Again, YMMV.

      Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Patrick after trying it!

      Just one thought on usage. In general, I find with most HUD-type products it takes a bit of time to get used to how to use it and your eyes to adjust (as well as to adjust the unit to the best possible spot). On average I’d be looking at about 30 or so minutes of a ride. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Just depends on the product.

      Reply
    • VeloManR

      This is correct. The unit’s optics place the screen image at infinity, so presbyopia (look it up!), which all of us old folk have, is not a problem.

      Reply
  22. Brandan

    Wow, I can’t believe it isn’t being introduced for Fenix3 and 920xt. Like you stated, seems like that would be a large market for them.

    Reply
  23. Mike B

    Ray –
    Any idea about Di2 / D-Fly integration?
    Also, what about live Strava segment tracking?

    Reply
  24. Remco Verdoold

    Then I will be the first to ask :)
    Will there be in future plans for video streaming from a virb camera as the smartphone app can do?
    Then you can even see behind rather than a radar.

    Reply
    • Paul S.

      Video takes serious bandwidth. Smartphones connect to cameras using WiFi, not something lower bandwidth like ANT+ or Bluetooth. So the cost would have to go up, and there’d be additional setup to do.

      Reply
  25. Juan

    Hi there! Thank you so much for yet another awesome and useful review! Do they have a release date for this baby? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Juan

      Dumb question. I apologize. Just checked their website. 😀

      Reply
  26. Max

    Ray,
    When riding your eyes are focused far down the road. Do you need to change your eye focus in order to see the display clearly?

    Reply
    • Max

      To clarify my question – are the display optics focused at infinity so that you can simultaneously see the display and the distant road without changing eye focus?

      Reply
    • Patrick Myers

      I was at CES and tested this out. For me it was not projected to infinity. I had to focus close while looking at the screen, which caused me to lose focus far away. I also had to focus right instead of focus front.

      Caveat: that may just be me and my eyes. I was never good at keeping both eyes open when looking through a one-eye microscope, so YMMV.

      Reply
  27. Phil Wilson

    Spot on Ray: $200 and integrate with Fenix3/920XT and triathletes will be snapping this up. I’ve been wanting to be able to see my heart rate whilst running (without looking at my watch and tripping over on the trails) for years. So close.

    Reply
  28. Cool gadget.
    Do you know if it also works with optical correction glasses?
    Best
    Claude

    Reply
  29. Steven Knapp

    +1 on the support for F3/920XT. Perfect for Tri’s.

    I’m not even that offended by the price, but more by the need to buy a new Edge to go with it.

    Reply
  30. Ian S

    Plus 1 on the virb integration, being able to switch to a rear view if something is coming up has an appeal.

    Reply
  31. Endre

    It seems like a horrible idea to obstruct one’s vision by putting an object in front of the eye. It should be really transparent. I would not allow such solutions in traffic. Could be good for training in closed areas or indoor trainers, perhaps…

    Reply
    • Nigel Pond

      Read the piece and the comments from Ray above. It apparently does not obstruct one’s view.

      Reply
    • Patrick Myers

      I tested it, and it doesn’t obstruct at all. In fact, my main issue with it is that I had to look to the side to see it (which means I wasn’t looking in front of me). Same problem though – you can’t pay attention to what’s in front of you.

      Reply
  32. Mike S.

    I would love something like this for running. Being 40+ I find it a bit hard to read my watch while running. It would be nice to see info out of the corner of your eye.

    Reply
  33. Nigel Pond

    Presumably the Edge 1000 will need a firmware update for this. I don’t see a “remote display” option anywhere in sensor options and I have the latest firmware I think (v5.2).

    Reply
    • Correct, you’ll need a firmware update (my unit was/is running a beta firmware to see it).

      Reply
    • Do I gather correctly that to use the Varia Vision you need an edge 1000 or an edge 520 – and this means that those devices are transmitting signals to the Vision rather than the Vision receiving the signals directly from the sensors?

      If that’s right, then how does this affect battery life with the 1000 and the 520?

      Already, my 1000 using an HRM, an Inpower and a Varia frequently comes up with a low battery warning after 4 1/2 hours.

      If it now has also to transmit data to the Varia Vision, this have to have a significant effect on battery drain.

      … or maybe I’ve got it all wrong?

      Reply
    • The Varia Radar impacts Edge performance primarily because of the display aspects, not because of ANT+ (those little dots).

      So I’d suspect there’s very little impact on battery life to the Edge 1000 for the ANT transmission to Varia Vision. Essentially it’s just giving it a super-low-bandwidth stream of 1-4 data fields at a time. No different than a HR strap with Running Dynamics for example (which we know has virtually no impact on battery).

      Reply
  34. Can ConnectIQ Data Fields be shown on this display when the Edge gets ConnectIQ or is it only for native data fields? I haven’t noticed the option to simulate the Varia Vision in the CIQ SDK yet.

    Reply
    • Good question. The Edge 1000 beta version I used didn’t have any CIQ fields on it, so I’m actually not sure if it would have shown up. I’ll ask the CIQ guys tomorrow when I see them in person.

      Reply
  35. Peter

    Fair to assume integration with forerunner for triathletes will come with the next generation (FR930xt?)? That way they can get us to upgrade from our 920xt AND buy these. Seems like standard procedure for Garmin.

    Reply
    • I wouldn’t think so to be honest. In talking with Garmin about it today, they’re exploring which platforms they can add it to. Like Varia lights/radar, I suspect we’ll see it rolled out to various other units.

      Reply
  36. Gabe

    wow this is awesome for triathletes. Nice write up Ray!

    Definitely hope they offer integration with the fenix/920/garmin edge 810s/etc.

    What do you think triathletes? Ray did you find riding in aero the headsup display more comfortable? Also how much does tint effect the view? I also have the Oakley Radarlock Paths.

    Tired of how difficult the visibility is with a hydration system/computer mount.

    Reply
    • On the tint side, I only tried it with that particular pair, so not quite sure there to be honest.

      I wouldn’t expect an Edge 810 update, but would honestly be surprised if we don’t see a FR920XT/Fenix3/Epix update, given the target market really makes sense there.

      Reply
    • Volker

      You expect it for the epix? Really? There have been no fw updates for the epix for over 2 month (none of the existing bugs (and there are lots of them!) has been fixed since then) – the epix seems to be a “lame duck” for garmin and the (few remaining) users get the feeling, that garmin has sorted out and ended the epix experiment.

      You have other (positive) informations for the remaining epix users?

      Reply
    • We talked a bit about that lack of updates this morning. It’s something they’re looking to address going into the next few months (whether or not they do…).

      Reply
    • Volker

      “…in the next few months” sounds frustrating. Until then it will no longer give epix users (but maybe this is their plan?)

      Reply
    • That would be something which would be appreciated by everyone.

      Bravo.

      Reply
    • …And I’m talking about the Garmin product range generally.

      Reply
    • Volker

      Hey Luke (from Garmin fw team),

      if you are reading this:

      I am really disappointed by the treatment of epix users! (:

      Reply
    • I’m planning a longer discussion with them about it on Thursday. Just simply some brief comments this morning.

      Reply
    • gabe

      just think of the applications that can be used during a run!

      so cool.

      Reply
    • Fran

      OK so in that case I will not ask about the Edge 510… Anyway, if they update the 920xt for this, my 510 will become instantly redundant.

      Reply
    • Volker

      Hi Ray,

      any news about your “garmin epix fw talk”???

      regards

      Volker

      Reply
    • No, we missed crossing paths a bit on Thursday before they left :(. I’m going to try and arrange a chat next week via phone call.

      Reply
    • Volker

      Any news about that?????

      Reply
    • Just added in the details in the Epix post comments section:

      link to dcrainmaker.com

      Reply
    • Christoffer

      I trust you did update the Epix “Discussion” but there appears to be a limit on the comments shown to 500 and I can’t find a way to get to the next 500, so I can’t see the new info. Any help with that? (Tried on Win10/Chrome and iOS 8.1.1/Safari)

      Reply
    • Weird, the link should take you directly to that comment (on my W10/Chrome it does anyway).

      No worries, here’s what I wrote:

      /////

      Yes. Sorry, was waiting for the follow-up question to be answered, but in the meantime…

      The question was around Epix getting an update to equal the recent Fenix3 updates with new features like LT testing, Gen2 running dynamics, golf, SUP, etc…

      “Due to resources and royalty expenses of the new features in FR920/F3, we are not planning on updating Epix [with the above new features]. Additionally, our Garmin Connect user data shows that there are more people wanting to use F3/FR920 for golf, SUP, rowing and advanced running dynamics than the Epix.

      That said, we are continuing to support Epix and release periodic updated and bug fixes to existing functionality. Epix customers still have a significant benefit over Fenix and FR920 users when it comes to cartography support. The mapping capabilities of Epix is something that Fenix and FR920 will never be able to support because of hardware limitations, and is a huge differentiator for Epix.”

      Note, my follow-up question was around getting a more specific timeframe for the next Epix update that would include bug fixes (and whatever else ends up being in there). They were working to get a more specific date as of yesterday. Will post back once I have one.

      Reply
  37. Adam

    What ANT Profile does it implement or is it private?

    Reply
  38. Real HUD will be from company Everysight. And if the reality will be same as in video, it will be gamechanger. link to youtube.com

    Reply
  39. tomcp

    For us older guys with presbyopia (far sighted), anything up close is really hard to read. How big is the “virtual” font on the display. And does/will Garmin offer a lens to adjust the view?

    Reply
    • VeloManR

      I’m 57, have been myopic since about age 10 so have both myopia and presbyopia. With my glasses on, the display is perfectly sharp. Without them (not an option for much besides sleeping…) the display is illegible. As far as I can tell, it is optically at infinity.

      Reply
  40. Casey

    I am hoping for future support for 510

    Reply
  41. Andrew E

    Most importantly, it doesn’t obscure that O on the side of your sunglasses.

    Reply
  42. GlenBikes

    For the navigation prompts, does this only work with Edge navigation? I assume so. But would be great if there was a way to use with Google or similar navigation from your cell phone.

    Reply
    • Mike

      If they made this work with the Fenix 3/920XT then you could use the Connect IQ application for Navigon (Navigon companion) to do turn-by-turn without having to make the investment in the pricier Edge devices. If Connect IQ comes to the 520 then that might work there as well.

      Reply
  43. Victor

    Can you configure the Varia to change displays via the Shimano DA9000 Di2 buttons on the hoods like you can with the Garmin 1000? That way you could make this a completely hands free operation without having to resort to auto-scrollling or removing your hands from the bike to swipe the Varia.

    Reply
  44. José

    How did you manage those action shots of the display?

    Reply
  45. Luca Massetti

    Hi Ray,
    Does it works in connection with garmin fenix3 or it works only with the edge series?
    If not, do you think it would in the next future?
    Thanks,
    Luca

    Reply
  46. Happy Runner

    You mentioned vibration alerts. Do they work with the Varia taillight? Vibrate upon car detection?

    Also, is there a projected release quarter?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  47. Doug J

    Ray,
    Few already asked and I may have missed the answer.
    For older riders or corrective lens, does it have a diopter range of adjustment?

    I wear single focal contacts when I ride, although normal glasses bi-focal. Stem mount Edge is in focus, but question if something on glasses would be focused without a dioptics adjustment. The Recon Jet had dioptics but just not a good fit for me.

    If no dioptics adjustment, do you vary the mount to perform dioptics adjustment.

    Going over cracks or bumps, do you find the weight pulling glasses down a lot more than normal nose slide creep.

    Reply
  48. Duser Cyclist

    As mentioned by others this is not a heads up display. More like an obtrusive display that is distracting. What is really needed is something with a display like google glass but can also provide a mini screen block showing the traffic (as video) as it comes up on you and record it in case something bad happens. This varia thing is interesting but it looks like the rider is getting run over by the cars. Not exactly a warm and fuzzy. It’s nice to know the cars are present but I get the same effect from my 9 dollar mirror. I think this needs more to it to be really attractive, like integration with the 360fly.

    Reply
    • I was talking to one HUD maker today about the video element, and they had some interesting perspective. They noted that they did a test with cyclists and streaming video, versus using a mirror.

      They said they every cyclist before the test thought they’d want the video, but once they tried it out, they found (to their surprise) that 100% of the cyclists found the video distracting. 100%. All preferred the mirror for looking at actual cars.

      Note, it was not tested as to how something like Varia imagery would compare.

      Reply
    • VeloManR

      I get the distinction between true HUD and this HMD (head-mounted display).

      However, given the nature of human binocular vision, it is quite easy (I assume it’s not just some special ability I have), when each eye is presenting incompatible imagery, to choose which to attend to and hence seamlessly switch between which you actually “see” and which you ignore.

      Similarly, even when you’re attending to the Varia Vision display, you are only a few degrees off of forward and should something appear / occur in front of you, you’d be aware of it and be able to quickly switch your attention back to the “outside world” and take appropriate action.

      Reply
  49. Terry

    I’m interested in this, but wonder if the edge remote or varia remote would be able to switch data screens on the vision device. This would then avoid the need to take hands off the handlebar (I realize it can automatically scroll).

    Reply
  50. ttdantt

    Does this work on Polarized lenses which cut off light from certain angles?

    Reply
  51. Andy Mac

    WHat if I wear a prescription for reading but don’t wear hat when riding the bike. If I set my garmin to say 4 fields I can pretty much read that. DOes the varia allow me to change the focus to accomodate my eye’s shortcomings in the same way that a pair of binoculars does or is it fixed and thus un readable to those need ing a prescripton for reading. If the lens is only a few cms form the eye then it would be a pretty hard read anyways or does it ‘throw’ the image into the distance?

    Reply
  52. Matt Lindsay

    Why not something like this: link to solos-wearables.com
    They appear to connect to existing sensors, cost $499 (includes the glasses) and integrates a number of other features through your smartphone.

    Reply
    • VeloManR

      Ya’ gotta’ love the generic road bike and wheels with a left-side drive train!

      Reply
  53. High Five

    I am genuinely impressed with the display capabilities of this device based on this first look. I actually love the fact that it’s just a secondary display, I only want time, distance and HR to be measured and stored in one device and that shouldn’t be the HUD on my glasses!

    But…

    There is a few things wrong with the Garmin offering for triathletes from what I see. I would be prepared to go all in on Garmin if they were better positioned with their products and they do seem to have just about all the necessary hardware technology developed now.

    I want HR and GPS data to track my effort in relation to the course. I’d rather not have the HR-band on my chest for a few reasons, I prefer one around my wrist or better yet, integrated in a “watch”. I also can’t safely look at my watch while biking so I need another display, preferably a HUD like the Garmin Varia Vision but could settle for a bike computer.

    For HR I would much prefer that the multisport watch would have built in optical HR. I’m very happy with my Mio Link optical HR except that it’s a separate device that brings some drawbacks. So if Garmin would incorporate a Mio-like quality optical HR sensor in the next version of “930XT” I would see that as the other half of the solution.

    If Garmin still wants me to buy a bike computer (as well) they could have one with a good (GPS-) mapping option and ability to stream HR and GPS related (sensor)data from the watch. I don’t want both the watch and the bike computer to separately collect and store time, HR and GPS-data, only the watch. Cell phone notifications like text and caller ID would be useful as well, but that could just as well be provided through the GVV.

    I also think the GVV would benefit from having a separate wireless controller that could be mounted on the handlebar so I don’t have to let go of the handlebar to press/swipe buttons on the GVV on my head.

    My dream combination of items for the next generation of Garmin triathlete products would be:
    1. 930XT with built in optical HR and ability to stream out (processed sensor-)data to other Garmin displays like GVV and new/existing bike computers.
    2. GVV with an optional remote for controlling it so I don’t have to lift my hands of the handlebar.
    3. Possibly combined with a Garmin Bike computer for mapping and displaying of incoming calls and text so I don’t have to take out the phone more than necessary during the ride. I would propably not use the bike computer for race-day.

    Action-points for Garmin:
    1. Develop 910/920XT firmware so GVV can be used as secondary display just like in Ray’s description above.
    2. Develop 930XT with optical HR and support for GVV. Optionally scrap the quick release kits!
    3. Update firmware for existing bike computer(s) to support acting as secondary display for 910/920/930XT. Or develop a new bike computer specialised for this task and mapping.
    4. Brag about having the best triathlon solution in the world :-)

    Sure 399 is rather pricey for GVV but with the right integration it could be worth it. Currently it isn’t for me, but could be if I was just a biker and didn’t do longer rides than 8 hours (battery-limit on GVV).

    Reply
    • Gabe

      you are aware the the HRM is now built into the fenix 3?

      expect a 920xt HRM out soon.

      Reply
    • High Five

      Thanks for the quick reply Gabe.

      I wasn’t really aware as I didn’t think of Fenix 3 as a triathlon watch, plus it was just announced (and released). It’s a really interesting alternative to the plastic looking 920XT for stylish everyday use. I’ll have to read up if the Fenix 3 is useful enough for triathlon use. (Or you can spill the beans here 😉 )

      Fenix 3 HRM and 920XT HRM sounds great, if there is GVV support. Otherwise GVV is still only for cycling the way I see it. And that would be a shame.

      Please bring the request for a remote controller to Garmin if possible. Something along the lines of the VIRB Remote Control.

      Reply
    • gabe

      I have owned the 920xt and currently the fenix 3.

      legibility i prefer the 920xt hands down. bigger text , etc.

      As far as an every day watch it’s the fenix 3. it looks good and it comes with different straps that would look good in any occasion.

      Regarding triathlon useage. I’ve used the fenix 3 in many tri’s last year – several 1/2s, olympics, and a full ironman.

      Why did i return the 920xt you may ask? because it’s very ugly to wear as a daily.

      Keep in mind about the HR built in the fenix 3 is the same as the forerunner 235. It’s not proven at all in intense workouts. There is HR lag, drops, etc. So if accuracy is a big thing for you then keep that in mind. If youre an casual user then it should be sufficient.

      about the virb remote – the watches will control the virb cameras. I’ve used it last week :)

      good luck.

      Reply
    • Patrick Myers

      My solution? Keep the 920xt as my fitness watch and use the vivosmart HR as my every day tracker. Way less ugly than the 920xt (which my boss called me out on one day – “wow. get a new watch? That’s… bright.”)

      Reply
    • Gabe

      eh reviews are bad for the Vivosmart HR – what are your thoughts?

      Reply
    • Patrick Myers

      It’s all about expectations. I only really care about accuracy when working out, so I use my 920xt and a Scosche when training. The scosche so far seems as accurate enough and is WAY more comfortable than a chest strap.

      I got the Vivosmart to *roughly* track steps, sleep, and general activity so I haven’t tested it for accuracy as an HRM. I’ve probably read the same stuff you have, so I’m not expecting great results and haven’t tried it as a replacement for the Scosche. Maybe in a couple software iterations it’ll get there, but I’m not inclined to deal with the frustration in the meantime.

      Reply
    • Su-Chong Lim

      @High Five: curious if you also are a runner. If you are, how do you find the HR tracking while running with your Mio Link? I found my Mio products ok for biking but once I ran with any significant intensity, some interaction between increasing cadence (arm swing) and heart-rate produced nonsense HR values that were very difficult to bring back to reality (had to run with no left arm swing at all for a while, very difficult). Bottom line, I don’t find Mio a reliable HR indicator while running.

      Reply
  54. David Stihler

    Question about the actual display screen. Can you see through the screen. In other words, Is the screen transparent so that you can see the display characters and through to whatever is in front of the display? I use the varia radar with a garmin 520 and am sold on the concept. This unit will solve some of the missing pieces for me like not having to look down at the 520 or rely on hearing a beep which I can’t always hear. Thanks for a great review, as always.

    Reply
    • Patrick Myers

      No, it is a solid screen (I was at CES).

      For me, it doesn’t solve the looking down problem, it just replaces it with a looking right problem. I prefer the looking down option because the focus shift from the road to the aero bars to the road isn’t as drastic as with the Vision – from the road to REALLY close up (and to the right) back to the road.

      Reply
  55. Doug J

    Ray,
    Any input on how it adjusts for dioptic range?
    Does it have a little adj within hardware or do you adj via mount on glasses?

    Reply
  56. Larry

    Would be interesting to see how well this works with progressive Rx sunglasses. I use some Adidas sport frames which are designed to have Rx lenses replace the original ones (no funky add-on inserts), but they are 8-base curve which means they have quite a bit of wrap. I’ve found high quality progressives can work with my Rx and this curvature, but the outer edges still aren’t as clear as the center. Would have to try it out to see if it works.

    Reply
  57. alibi

    all this hmd’s, obviously, a palliative solutions.

    sadly it’s too soon to contact lens embedded screens,
    so it need to be glasses with screen which utilises almost all field of vision, and have eye tracking.
    so all information can be conviently distributed and always shown, or only when needed (with rear radar, when car is near, it would looks like red flash in the left\right side of vision and if you look there and slightly tilt head it shows rearview from camera :)

    working as screen to bike unit or smartphone is good, but i think
    standalone ability to speak with ant+\ble sensor’s is mandatory.
    as well as working as headset, with nosepad microphone and bone conducting headphones.
    augmented reality features is very welcomed :)

    everysight’s looks almost that needed, but comments about their behavior is alarming.

    i suggest that Ray proposed the microsoft to make a proper solution from their hololens [instead of all this impractical stuff that they shows in videos..] :)

    Reply
  58. raqball

    Ray, can you compare the screen size and readability of Vision to Google Glass? I had Google Glass and Google says it was like viewing 25-inch TV from eight feet away. I found that to be about right.

    I am interested in Vision as I liked Google Glass well enough (aside from it’s limitations and issues) so my main concern is screen size and readability. Since you have both Google Glass and Varia Vision can you give me a comparison of the screen sizes and general readability of the 2?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • It’s honestly been a while since I’ve worn Glass (about a year), so hard to think off-hand there. I’ll do some more comparisons down the road though.

      Reply
  59. Steve

    Ray: Can you rotate the Vision screen 180°? Also, how does it feel on your glasses while running? I’m thinking the extra weight will cause extra bounce while running (which would be negligible while riding).

    I use an aero helmet with a fixed visor (no sunglasses for riding). I would want to attach this to the inside of my helmet. Based on the current attachment method, the screen would have to rotate 180° for this to work.

    For triathletes, since this doesn’t work with 920xt (etc), wearing the Vision while running is useless. Triathletes are going to have to deal with this non-functional attachment with extra weight on their glasses bouncing around while running, or will need a second pair of glasses just for the running & switch out at T2. If I keep it attached to the inside of my helmet would keep me from having 2 pairs of glasses at least.

    Reply
    • You can’t invert it, it’ll automatically flip over (though, perhaps there’s an option I didn’t see that doesn’t auto-rotate).

      I didn’t try running, since honestly it only works with Edge today which isn’t so much running focused.

      Reply
    • Marios

      Hey Ray! Now that the 735XT is out, could you add a section commenting on how the Varia Vision works during running? Does it make the glasses bounce or tip to one side?

      Reply
  60. Gregory Uchman

    Ray,

    Can you think of any hardware limitations that would prevent this from working the 920XT or Fenix 3? I’d pre-order it now if I knew it was possible/probable.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hardware limitations, no, definitely not.

      The question is just whether they will. I think they’d have good reason to. A $400 accessory is nothing to sneeze about for them (and I’m guessing their profit margins are extremely good on this item too). Thus, I’d be very surprised if we didn’t see it available by the start of the tri season (compatibility).

      Reply
  61. Thanks Ray for a nice preview.

    It is germane for me since we have been using and marketing our View-Speed Cyclops head down solution for several years.

    link to shop.view-speed.com.jpg

    I will be pre ordering via Clever Training.

    Cheers,

    Neal

    +1 mph Faster

    Reply
  62. Steve

    Does this work with the 810 now? Varia Radar does now, with the last updates, so will this as well?
    thanks for an amazing site!

    Reply
    • It now works with the 810??????

      When did this happen because there doesn’t seem to be any mention on the Garmin forums

      Reply
    • Gabe

      wow that’s great news. Now i dont have to upgrade :)

      hah Marc slow down. He’s asking if it works with the 810.

      Reply
    • He seems to be saying that Varia radar is now working with the 810. Have I misunderstood him?

      Reply
    • It’s schedule to work with it (the radar), but that beta release hasn’t been made public yet.

      Reply
    • Nigel Pond

      Ray, how do we regular Joes get on Garmin’s beta program? Thanks.

      Reply
    • They’ve been doing a good job in releasing to beta many device firmware updates about 2-4 weeks ahead of general release. It just hasn’t happened yet for that specific FW.

      (And to be clear, I don’t have the Edge 810 Varia Radar firmware beta either).

      Reply
    • Steve

      I am sorry if I caused any confusion. I do not have the Varia Radar / 810 combo to test, (only a 810 at this point) but I did see that the radar / 810 combo was to work with a firmware update of the 810 on a Garmin site (US I believe, but maybe Canada). So my question was if they are supporting the Varia Radar on the 810, does that mean will they also be supporting the Varia Vision on the 810 as well.

      Reply
    • I don’t believe there is a plan to support Varia Vision, but I’ll double-check.

      Reply
    • Mark Middleton

      I hope they do as SURELY it will open up to more customers like me. If the Radar is compatible surely that was the harder bit?

      Reply
  63. raqball

    Hi Ray,

    Any update on an official release date?

    Reply
  64. Alan B.

    Garmin did a good job with this first effort. The packaging could use a little bit of refinement, but seems very functional. The mount is great in that you are able to use it on your existing sunglasses. The Varia radar integration is great too. Would be nice to have a camera function built in to allow you to take shots on your ride. Maybe the next evolution. And I agree on the price being a bit high, but isn’t that always the case for new tech?

    Reply
    • Chuck

      Hi Alan,
      So do you have one of these already?

      Reply
    • Alan B.

      Hi Chuck,

      No, I am just commenting on what I have read and seen online. I’m an industrial designer, so have sensitivity to the design/usability execution. The Garmin unit seems functional, but needs refinement. Probably best to wait until the next gen of this unit so the bugs are worked out. I think HUD’s have a lot of potential in cycling, so I’m sure we will see a lot more in this category soon…

      Reply
  65. Rafy Jamgotchian

    Hi,I’ve been using the Recon Jet and just sold it when I saw the Garmin Vision at the Vegas show.
    I pre-ordered the Recon and waited almost 2 years and was looking forward for the glasses but after using the Recon gasses last summer,I was very disappointed of the battery life that lasted barely 2hrs and the software always had problems even shutting off in the middle of my ride.
    The Garmin Varia looks like a much better unit,definitely with 8hrs battery life.
    Also the graphics were not as sharp as The Garmin from what I can see on your video.
    Great detailed review.

    Reply
    • Chuck

      This is great to hear Rafy,
      I was getting impatient waiting and was also thinking about the Jet, but I just wait it out. I ordered the Varia five weeks ago.

      Reply
  66. Steve

    HI again.

    This seems very similar to the “Nautix” display they have started to advertise, although slightly cheaper in Canada at least. I suspect the are identical except for software, but it may be that they had to add an additional radio for the nautical solution.

    Two passions of mine are sailing and cycling so to be able to use a heads up display for both situations would be wonderful and help to justify the (high) cost.

    Could you use your connections to probe if it would be possible to use these interchangeably or flash them to be used in both situations? IE: if there are any plans to allow these displays to work with both edge (cycling gps) and boating gps hardware.

    A dream answer would be that they will out of the box pair with either the Edge or the GPSMAP marine Gps.

    Finally, if there is a difference in hardware, would one of the displays be better to buy to allow both uses someday?

    thanks!

    Reply
    • Yeah, they announced it Tuesday I believe. Garmin almost always re-uses a physical hardware product in different groups (marine, golf, fitness, aviation, etc…). This is another example of that.

      It’s rare that you see a piece of hardware though in one group, be fully capable with software features in another. Meaning, you don’t tend to get a bunch of marine features on the fitness variant. Sometimes there’s some minor cross-over (we see that with the Fenix3), but I’m guessing we won’t see major features moved/copied. I’ll ask at MWC next week though.

      Reply
  67. Doug J

    Ray, any updates on the Everysight Raptor progress? Last I read, was due in 1-2 Q 2016. Any plans to review in near future?

    Reply
  68. Looks like there is a compatibility to the new Vivoactive HR, hopefully coming to the Fenix as well.

    Reply
  69. Shiva

    Since my eyesight is not the best anymore ( due to the unavoidable fact of aging), does this affect the readability of the display ? Do I need to wear my reading glass 😉 ?

    Many Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hello Shiva,

      Even in old age eyesight correction is available in many forms without glasses including lasik and lens implants, and others.

      You might consider an eye exam to provide you with options.

      I use Dr. Boxer-Wachler link to boxerwachler.com but there are many good doctors out there.

      As you may know both with modern implanted lens, lasik, and other corrections near and far vision can be ‘built in’ to each eye now rather than the older technology of mono vision.

      Good luck

      Reply
    • Al B

      I have the same problem and would suspect that you will have a problem with the Varia or any of the heads-up sunglasses displays without reading glasses which would not work well in this situation, e. g. behind cycling sunglasses. I wear contacts and even if I had bifocal lenses (which I don’t), I don’t think they would work because of the wrong viewing angle to read the Varia display through the bifocal.

      Reply
  70. Doug J

    Older age eyesight is more associated with the aging muscles of eye affecting flexibility to adjust to near sight. A dioptics adjustment provides a method to adjust the near sighted focus. Haven’t seen any info on if there is a dioptics adjustment on Varia or if dioptic adjustment is sliding the mount.

    Has anyone read or used the Varia and applied any dioptic adjustment built into the Varia. If so, is there ample adjustment similar to DSLR cameras?

    Reply
    • Doug J

      Regarding Near sighted differences for older less flexible vision and if there was an dioptics adjustment. I requested a reply from Garmin and the following received:

      Thank you for contacting Garmin International.
      In regards to the Varia Vision. This device is able to be moved forwards and backwards on your glasses frame, thus being adjustable for various degrees of vision. Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

      Reply
    • Shiva

      Thank you for the info and getting back to me.

      I just came back from the second Triathlon Convention in Langen, Germany and spoke to the Garmin folks. Also I tried the Vision on site. Here is the answer: Yes, by adjusting the distance to the glasses I was very well being able to read the display, so NO PROBLEM if your eyesight needs correction but you do not want to sawer your reading glasses. I have + 2,0. The system works super, fabulous display and the radar is amazing! Where and when can I order 😉 ?!!

      Reply
  71. Chuck

    I got and loaded the Edge 1000 version 6.0 software last night, this now has the support for the Varia Vision. I would think that it should start shipping soon!

    Reply
    • raqball

      The most recent email I got from Clever Training about my pre-order was they were delayed and are now expected the 2nd week of March..

      Reply
    • That aligns with the shipping expectations I heard last week at MWC, of attempting to send out from Garmin the first units the first week of March.

      Reply
    • raqball

      Delayed again.. Here is an email I got from Clever training today.

      “Thank you for your pre-order for the Garmin Varia Vision. Based on information available from the manufacturer the original anticipated receipt date has been pushed back slightly and is expected to be received the week of March 21st”

      Reply
    • Chuck

      Clever Training originally said Feb, but every other web page said mid March. I should have guessed that it would be late. Pre-ordering sucks, I’m to use to having the product ship 1 or 2 hours after I order it.

      Reply
    • raqball

      I don’t mind one delay but this is # 2 so far.. Having flashbacks of the Recon Jet…. I was on that pre-order list for over a year before I’d had enough and cancelled it.. LOL

      If it gets delayed again, I’ll prob just cancel and call it a day.. Not interested in doing the whole recon jet thing again..

      Reply
  72. Chuck

    Now looking like the end of March, the latest update from Clever Training:

    Thank you for your recent pre-order for the Garmin Varia Vision. Based on information available from the manufacturer we are still on track to receive units near the end of March. Unfortunately at this time we do not have confirmation regarding quantity available on the first shipment and cannot guarantee how many orders will be fulfilled with the first shipment. We will continue to keep you up to date regarding any new information that we receive from Garmin.

    Reply
  73. raqball

    Yeah, think I am just going to cancel it.. I am not interested in doing the whole recon jet thing all over again….

    If it’s not shipped by the 25th I’ll cancel and call it a day..

    Reply
  74. Mark Middleton

    810 info?

    Reply
  75. Just as a heads up to folks that have pre-ordered Varia Vision from Clever Training. I heard yesterday that the first batch arrived, accounting for approximately 75% of pre-orders. It sounds like they’re expecting the remainder to arrive sometime next week.

    Those that were in that 75% likely would have received shipping confirmations yesterday afternoon/evening. But you can always check your order status online, in case the SPAM folder caught something.

    Thanks for the support!

    Reply
    • Gabe

      Full review coming soon?

      I’m hearing now that Garmin will infact make some compatibility with the garmin 810 – truth or rumour?

      Think of the sales if they opened it up to the fenix/forerunner watches as well.

      Reply
    • Chuck

      The latest update from CT:

      Thank you for your pre-order for the Garmin Varia Vision. We will be receiving our first shipment from Garmin the end of this week. This shipment will contain enough units to fulfill all orders that were placed on or before January 7th. Our second shipment is scheduled to arrive the very end of March and will contain enough units to fulfill all remaining orders.

      Once each shipment arrives we will work quickly to fulfill orders as fast as possible and provide tracking for each order, once processed. We appreciate your patience and look forward to fulfilling your order.

      If you have any specific questions regarding your pre-order please feel free to email our customer support team directly at sales@clevertraining.com. Please do not respond to this message since this mailbox is not monitored and your response will not be received.

      Reply
  76. Chuck

    Ok, I got mine today! First impression it work real good. I got use to view easily, but I did feel a bit heavy on my right ear. First off, the segment screen only tells you how far to the segment, and what your time at the end of the segment was. You need to have auto scroll off, and have the virtual partner screen up just before your Strava segment. Was easy to configure and re-configure the data screens. Worked great with Edge 1000, with the Rader connected to the Edge, that way it over-lays like the 1000 does.

    Reply
    • Gabe

      chuck – thanks for the mini review.

      so it’s uncomfortable to wear?

      are you finding it useful or intrusive?

      Reply
    • Chuck

      Hi Gabe,

      I just using my same sunglasses that i use for my car. At one point i was thinking that the helmet was pressing down on the display adding to the addition pressure on the right ear.

      When i stand up on the petals, i normally can not see the Edge 1000, but you easily can see the Varia Vision.

      We know that basically it’s the first public release, so there will be improvements. I really like it so far, but only did a 12 mile ride so far. Going to play with it more tonight.

      Reply
  77. Ewen Lewis

    Do you expect a TT Mounts to appear on the market?. I think this would be a excellent product but for racing I would be using a TT Helmet which wouldn’t seem to fit the current mount model.

    Reply
  78. Nigel P.

    I just got mine a couple of days ago. All working fine with my Edge 1000, but I cannot get Garmin Express running on my Windows PC to recognise it. GE has no problem with my myriad other Garmin devices. Anyone else had this problem? Thanks.

    Reply
  79. Marcelino

    Is there a way to adjust focus in case I use prescribed lenses for reading, but my sunglasses have no prescription?

    Reply
    • JT

      Anyone else received theirs yet? I ordered on through REI last week and just curious if anyone other than the CleverTraining folks are receiving their unit. I just got my Rear Radar and I am really looking forward to pairing it with the Vision.

      Reply
    • Dubs

      REI received their shipments on Wednesday, April 13, and I received mine, which was preordered, delivered to San Francisco, on Monday, April 18.

      Amazon and B&H Photo Video had them in stock a few days before REI. Hopefully, you’ll get yours by the time you read this!

      Reply
  80. Martin

    Garmin previously showed the vivoactive HR as compatible with the varia vision on the web sites product description. I see now it is gone and only the 2 top end edge computers and the radar are compatible. Any idea why this changed or if they will in fact work together? Seems odd that they wouldn’t allow the display to accept the ANT data feed from their other products.

    Reply
  81. Just got an April 11th arrival date for my Vision from Amazon-US

    Reply
  82. Ron Green

    Ray,

    I just received my Varia Vision and have a few questions. I set it up and the display is a little to the side so I have to move my eyes to the side to see it. Is that normal or should it be more center.
    Also is there a preference for safety on one side or the other

    Thanks

    Reply
  83. Mike

    Some impressions after my first ride with Varia Vision (using a 520 and Varia radar, and navigating with a TCX course):

    Usability
    – Vision is heavier than my glasses and the weight was very noticeable when I was setting it up. It wasn’t so bad when I was riding, but my glasses were tilted down on that side for the entire ride. I might look at adding a counterweight
    – It was hard to get the arm in a place where the entire display was in sharp focus. Generally one edge or the other would be a little blurry. But I could still make out all four numbers with a 2×2 data field layout
    – I definitely had to shift my focus to the Vision to read the numbers, though the time with eyes off of the road was half or less what it would have been with a glance down at the head unit. I might try setting up a screen with a single big number (3s power) to see whether I can monitor it without shifting my focus

    Data fields – the ones I cared the most about were
    – 3s power, lap power, lap time – no issues with these
    – Distance to next (turn) – okay here. Ideally I’d want the “Course pt dist” version with an arrow showing the turn direction, but Vision only offered the distance to next field
    – Navigation screen – pretty useless. This screen had three rows with compass directions and numbers; I think they were the next few breadcrumbs on the TCX course. I don’t expect a map like I can get on the 520 screen, but I don’t know why they even included this. Maybe it works differently with the 1000
    – Navigation alerts – I don’t think I got any alerts of upcoming turns (though they did appear on the 520)
    – Elevation screen – also not very useful. I like the screen on the 520 that shows where you are AND what is coming up (so you know how close you are to the top of a hill or start of a climb), but the Vision version only shows where you have been
    – Radar alerts – for some reason these were not showing up on Vision, though they did on the 520

    Both Varia Vision and the 520 were running the latest firmware (2.30 and 5.20).

    Reply
    • Gabe

      Thanks for sharing your review.

      Sounds like this device needs more refinement.

      Are you keeping it?

      Reply
    • Mike

      I’m keeping it for now to give it a few more rides, hoping Garmin fixes the data field issues. I’ll reevaluate in a month or so. It has promise if Garmin can fix things like the navigation and elevation data. But still a question of whether the safety benefit is worth $360.

      One thing I didn’t mention is the mount; it works much better if the arms of your sunglasses have flat sides. Unfortunately my Rudy Rydons have sharply angles sides, so the mount is a little tricky to position. I saw on the Garmin forums that someone designed an adapter for these glasses to be 3D printed ( link to thingiverse.com); I might try it out.

      Reply
    • Nigel P.

      If you do make one, please make 2, I’ll gladly buy one from you. Thanks.

      Reply
    • Mike

      Yesterday’s Edge 520 update added some new options for Varia Vision (it also reset all of my Vision settings…grrr). I now see “Course Pt Dist” as a data field. I’ll try to test it out this weekend to see whether any other issues have been fixed.

      Reply
    • Steve

      The last two 520 updates reset my HR zones, too… I hate Garmin. I really wish there was more competition.

      Reply
    • Mike

      Wednesday’s software updates improved some of the issues I found earlier:
      – Distance to next (turn) – “Course pt dist” is now an option and works as it should
      – Navigation screen – shows what I think are the next 3 breadcrumbs on the TCX course, now with arrows where the direction changes. It would be more helpful if instead it showed the upcoming course alerts (turns). Strangely I thought I did see a different screen a few times that shows the turns instead, but it didn’t show up very often
      – Navigation alerts – now working
      – Radar alerts – now working

      There are still two areas I’d like to see improved:
      – Elevation screen – to show upcoming elevation changes on the course, like the version the Edge shows
      – Navigation screen – to show upcoming turns, or even better, a map

      Reply
    • Mike

      Following up after five weeks using Vision. It has grown on me and I’m using it for every ride now outside races. I use it mostly to track 3s power during my intervals. There is a few seconds’ lag from what the Edge 520 shows but it isn’t too bad. Secondarily I watch lap power, lap time, and next turn on the course I’m following. Also Varia Radar alerts. That’s it. I’ve disabled the other screens (navigation, elevation) as they weren’t helpful for me.

      I’m still fiddling with the positioning. I have to readjust between rides, and often during the first hour of a ride, to keep it where I can see the screen. I haven’t gotten around yet to making the 3D printed adapter for my Rudy sunglasses, which I think would help with this. Initially I was keeping the Vision display near the very top of my glasses. Now I have it a little lower, where I don’t have to shift my vision as much to see the screen. The peripheral vision blocking is still pretty minimal. Comfort-wise the weight is still noticeable, but I forget about it once I’m on my ride.

      Battery life has been fine on rides up to 5 hours (as opposed to the radar which died once at the 4:40 mark).

      Overall I feel Vision does have a safety benefit. I can monitor power much more often without looking down, and I only end up looking at the Edge every 5 minutes or so when I want to see something that isn’t on the Vision display.

      Reply
  84. David Stihler

    I have the same Rudy Project glasses and would sure like to have the part which will allow attachment by the Garmin – so make that three

    Reply
  85. Mark A.

    Any updates on this? Specifically, has Garmin added 920xt integration?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • I have my Varia now and I like it …… but have not done a ride with it yet. Until or unless a software fix is available for the Fenix 3 ….. I will have to buy an Edge 520 or 1000.

      We manufacture and market the head down View-Speed Cyclops Glasses (www.view-speed.com) and the Varia works great (walking around) with them as they have a very flat side to mount against and contour close to the eyes.

      [We will sell the glasses only without the prism for $40 if anyone is interested.] They are slightly tinted, about 1/3 thicker in the lens than Oakleys, hydrophobic coated, UV resistant, and very light.

      I received this answer to my Fenix 3 question:

      “Thank you for contacting Garmin International. I’d be glad to assist.

      Currently, the fenix 3 does not support the Varia Vision. Currently, the Varia Vision is compatible with the Edge 520, Edge 1000, and the Varia Rearview Radar. A software update may bring support for the fenix 3. However, we cannot guarantee that this will be the case.

      Please reply back if you have any further questions or need further assistance. You may also call 1-800-800-1020 Monday-Thursday 8:00AM-6:00PM CST Friday 8:00AM-5:00PM CST where an agent can assist you over the phone.

      With Best Regards,

      Jay”

      Reply
  86. Martin

    I just spoke with garmin CS and they said the new vivoactive HR will be compatible with the vision. I saw an icon in the vivoactive HR manual for the vision and assumed it would be eventually. CS double checked with tech support and they confirmed the watch will ship with the software to connect and provide data. He said it would be the first device outside of the Edge computer family to work. He said it is not on the compatibility list for the web site because it is not shipping yet.

    Reply
  87. Martin

    Went for my first ride this morning with the vision and my radar light. My first impressions:
    I like it! More than I thought I would.

    Here are the things that I like:

    – this makes the radar light useful; when the radar is connected to a bike computer on your handlebars then there is no vibration when it detects a car and apparently even with the Edge 1000, the sound is not loud enough to hear so you have to keep glancing down at your handlebars to see if a car is coming; being on your glasses you just feel it regardless of where you are looking
    – the screen is very clear; I wear reading glasses, but had no problem with my “non-prescription” sunglasses
    – the mount design is excellent; you can pretty much put it anywhere on your sunglass lens—top, bottom, middle, whatever you prefer; there are 3 adjustments that allow pretty much whatever fit you want; 1. you can swivel the mount—it doesn’t lock in (of course if you go to 90 degrees then you will unlatch it from the mount, but that would be either on top of your head or on your chin!) 2. the arm between the main part of the unit and the screen module bends a bit and finally the screen unit itself rotates enough to get the ideal fit
    – the unit vibrates when it first detects a car behind you which is your cue to glance at the screen; this may be the most valuable part of the safety feature. If you are on a busy road then you know there are constant cars and it probably isn’t necessary, but if you go stretches where there are none then this lets you know a bunch may be coming; like if a light turned green and now you have multiple cars behind you
    – you have to switch focus when you glance, but I found it less intrusive than glancing down at my phone on a handlebar mount or glancing in my helmet mirror (which also usually requires moving my head somewhat to see the road and then it often has too much shaking from the road to be able to see clearly); note that others have commented that the shift in focus was a problem and it may be for some, but I found it very comfortable even though it seemed a bit disorienting when I played with it in the house—you really need to ride with it before judging this
    – if you change from a road to a bike path, you can just push it up a bit and it will be completely out of your field of vision and you can just pull it back down again if needed

    Here are my concerns:

    – mine disconnected randomly from the radar several times when I was on the bike; neither the radar nor the vision moved; it re-connected within 10-20 sec, but still it shouldn’t do this—note the initial connection is very quick when you power on both units
    – the vibration alert needs to be a bit more “vigorous”; it is faint enough to be missed routinely; I found that I noticed it more when I was just cruising along, but not so much when I was pushing or “busy”; hopefully they can increase this with a software update—I realize they may have done this for battery life, but I don’t think that should be a concern. I assume most people will charge it after each ride and my battery gauge barely moved off full after about 2 hours of riding
    – it is not going to fit well if your sunglass arms are small and round; my Smith’s are flat and 1/4” wide and it fits great—very solid feel and the mount is very discreet

    I am looking forward to getting my vivoactive HR so I can also have some key data on the screen in addition to the radar. It is not cheap by any means, but it will be a very nice safety addition to the ultra cautious and/or the gadget freaks among us.

    Reply
    • Mike

      I find with non-flat glasses I can still get Vision in a good position, and it won’t move around too much during the ride, but I have to readjust the position each time. I found a position today that worked pretty well for me, a little below the top of my sunglasses. I had to shift focus to go back and forth but I didn’t have to move my head and it was much faster and safer than looking down at the computer.

      On the radar alerts is there a volume adjustment? Mine is pretty loud (Edge 520), and the sound is almost always my first cue that a car is coming.

      I haven’t had any disconnection issues yet, across 7 hours of rides.

      Reply
    • Art

      I have Oakley M2s that have “wings” and the Varia Vision didn’t sit in a very useful spot but my wife was kind enough to fashion some small high density foam wedges that work perfectly. Not a hard fix and could really be used for any glasses that don’t sit flush.

      Reply
  88. Doug J

    Martin, great write up and thanks for sharing… Many useful points.
    Been on the fence for both radar & Varia vision, neat technology & very cool to utilize and the safety is a big plus.

    Ray, as Normal… Super write up and full scope coverage!!

    Not meant to minimize, but does any one use mirrors? I use small bar end mirrors on my drops, easy to glance down and see rear view. How much more helpful or in what manor does the radar improve compared to 2 sm mirrors? Up until the Vision with it’s vibrate alert, I questioned if checking the Edge 1000 for radar was any better than mirrors. I like the vibrate alert… Normally the only time a vehicle sneaks up on me is when I’m focused on a personal challenge or side tracked in deep thought. The vibrate would be helpful in these situations to get my attention.

    The other nice feature… Great tool to have watts, cadence while looking up. I find it difficult to look down at Edge when off saddle climbing or standing sprint workouts, but would like to see wattage to help in training and motivating.

    The extra gear attached to bike & glasses is my question… Cool Toy or added extended benefit and useful tools. A lot of gear on bike, have a mobios mini video under saddle (road safety) between rear bottles, strap on serfas lights on seat stays, Virb XE on ft, forward lights, Vector or P1 pedals, Di2… Getting a lot of batteries to track and charge.

    Enjoy the tools and the associated data, sort of a gear tech junky so I question the overal value… are these tools you see using each ride? I’m justifying the need to have these tools, but I question the long term use or daily value.

    But, they really are cool techie toys… Ah, Tools!!

    Reply
    • Mike

      I think the radar has an advantage over mirrors in a few areas:
      – Don’t have to constantly look down to check for cars. A few times I’ve hit potholes during a brief look down
      – Audible (and with Vision, vibrating) alert that a car is approaching, in case you have zoned out
      – Detection range is probably further than you can see back easily with mirrors
      – Finding multiple cars that may be hard to see with mirrors

      For me the radar is now in the indispensable category; I will use it for all of my rides other than races. Vision is still TBD as the software could use some improvement. It does make my rides safer as I am looking down less often, but $400 (less discounts) is a steep price.

      Reply
  89. doug j

    Mike, good points and I agree… Although my mirror check is about as distracting as an Edge check and focus on screen.

    The vibrate and tone alerts are strong positives.
    The audio alert seems to be high or low. I’d prefer high but most with Edge1000 (Garmin Forum) indicate low volume. You indicate high on E520.

    Question, I do a lot of night riding. Haven’t read any posts on how vision hud works at night. Is it a distracting light or low enough not to be a problem?

    Weight, any use long enough to feel it gets heavier or more distracting on longer rides… 50-75 miles? I recall 1 earlier post that indicated it was heavier than assumed, that may have been with light weight glasses.

    Reply
    • Doug J

      Great to hear so many are enjoying the Varia Vision, it’s a good indicator more tools and updated models will be released in future for HUB systems.

      For myself, after using both Varia Vision & Radar for several weeks, I found the varia vision not a useful tool. It pulled attention off the road and felt like it required more attention to adjust vision to screen compared to quick glance to forward mounted Edge. I’ve tried both Recon Jet & Varia Vision, differences but similarities in vision adaption with neither meeting expectations. I’m anxious for a true HUD that casts the image onto the road, a product not released yet (maybe vapor hardware) by Everysight called the Raptor provides such a HUD.

      On the other product, the Varia Radar is exceptional! The audio beep and attention alerting graphic is very functional to provide a early warning of approaching vehicle. I thought this would not be very useful prior to using and now find it almost comforting. I still check my bar-end mirror but depend more on the radar.

      Reply
    • There’s no difference in the Everysight product either – it still requires adjustment of focal point of your eyes (as does Recon and Garmin). Yes, I’ve tried it.

      While the projection onto the glass is nice, I didn’t find it a hugely different experience.

      Reply
  90. Darren Dunn

    Hi Ray/all
    Ive got my Varia Vision it is really great, but I cent seem to get it to display deg Celcius always shows Deg F even though my 520 displays in deg C can anybody help?
    Cheers Darren

    Reply
    • Hmm, that sounds like a bug.

      Typical bug resolution would be to change the setting twice. So on your Garmin Edge change it to *F, then save the setting. Then change it back to *C.

      Failing that, i’d log a ticket to Garmin support and post on the Garmin forums. I suspect that’ll get it fixed for the next firmware version. Or, just become American and it’s all solved. 😉

      Reply
    • I have the same temperature issue since firmware version 2.4.
      However, as soon as I have temperature as part of an active training page, the temperature on the upper side flips from F to C.
      In case you deactivate it, it switches to F again :-(.

      But I have more issues since using 2.4.
      1) The heart rate on the varia vision jumps up and down, although on the Edge it is fine.
      2) Cycling without a power meter it still shows strange wattage inbetween, sometimes up to 3500 Watt. But most of the time it is on zero. The Edge however is always on zero.
      3) Same applies to heart rate. Without a belt, it still shows randomly hf every now and then.

      2) and 3) still happen if absolutely no other sensors are around in the house or while cycling alone on the road.

      Reply
  91. Scottie D

    Hi Ray

    I just saw this morning about the new EXD ANT+ profile that seems it will allow the use of Varia Vision with other devices in the near future. Any thoughts?

    This is where I saw it: link to correrunamaraton.com

    Reply
  92. Stuart Cox

    I have had the varia vision for a week now and had a heap of problems from not connecting to Garmin 1000e [left it for an hour and came back and it some how connected], not displaying speeds greater than 55km/hr, not connecting or communicating with rear varia radar tail light… have upgraded all software and persisted with device and hit walls. I need to wait for software upgrade maybe?

    Reply
  93. Markus

    Hello Ray:

    You have written in one of your comments that Varia Vision can connect to either device (Edge or Varia Radar), but only one device at a time.

    Unfortunately I connected Vision and Radar with the Edge 1000. Now navigation is not working. Do you have any idea how to reconnect / reinstall Edge, Vision and Radar as Garmin Support is not answering my request?

    Thank you for your help.

    Regards,
    Markus

    Reply
    • Stuart Cox

      I had connection problems too, the only solution is to do a factory reset of Edge 1000 and it seemed to work. It was a pain because I lost all my edge 1000 settings.

      Reply
  94. Hello Ray,

    What does the DC in DC Rainmaker stand for?

    Any further word about adding Fenix3 connection capability to Varia?

    Cheers,

    Neal

    +1 mph Faster

    Reply
    • I was living in Washington DC at the time. When I went to sign-up for Blogspot way back when, rainmaker was already taken. So I just stuck a ‘dc’ on the front of it. :)

      As for Fenix3 to Varia, nothing new there. :(

      Reply
    • Mark Manner

      I had guessed that the “DC” was a reference to ‘direct current’, which the batteries put out that powers all [most] of devices you review. I like my version!

      Reply
  95. Jeff

    Garmin is great at launching new and innovative products but it seems they don’t ever think about how these new products will integrate with other devices especially their own. I would be all over this device if they would integrate it with the FR920. Just seems like an obvious integration step. The FR920 is not that old of a product and I still think has benefits over the recently released FR735. (Why get rid of the altimeter for example). It’s almost like Garmin is forcing you to upgrade all your devices if you want to use any of their add on devices. Between that thinking and their lack of support for Stryd I am considering looking at other products that will fill my training needs.

    Reply
    • Mike

      Assuming no hardware limitation, the lack of 920XT support seems like a move to avoid cannibalizing Edge sales that instead will take a big chunk of the market for Vision. The 735XT battery life (even shorter using Vision) and missing altimeter will keep some people away from the 735XT + Vision combo.

      Having recently gone from using a 310XT or 920XT on the bike to an Edge 520, there are some advantages to the dedicated bike computer. It’s much easier to read, and I can get 10 data fields on a screen so less switching pages and more time with eyes on the road. I can keep my Vision screens focused on what matters most (mostly 3s power). And I don’t have to use the bulky quick release kit for the watch that increases the chances of losing the watch in open water.

      I’m also frustrated about support for Stryd / power while running.

      Reply
  96. Wolf

    I wonder what’s coming first. The Edge 520 review or the Varia Vision review…

    Reply
    • Varia Vision likely.

      Note, with Garmin at near-weekly releases lately, there will be products I just can’t review. I’ll try and pick and choose.

      Reply
    • Doug J

      Ray, any update or have you received any test product from the Everysight Raptor yet? That one should be getting close to release, they’re past the projected release date. After using both Recon & Varia Vision, looking forward to trying a true HUD style.

      Reply
    • Nope, haven’t heard from them at all in a long while. Though, Solos just launched on Kickstarter today. They also don’t have anything to demo in person though for me (they seem incredibly hesitant). I did play with it at CES, but that was a long time ago and certainly nowhere near shipping status.

      Reply
    • Wolf

      I am really hesitant to pull the trigger on this without getting the in depth comments from you…

      Reply
    • Mike

      I’ve been using Vision for almost every ride for a couple of months. It keeps growing on me. Just having the big metrics (for me, 3s power, lap power, lap time, distance to turn) and Varia radar alerts up front feels safer. I do have to fiddle with the position each time, and the weight causes my sunglasses to sit unevenly. But riding in traffic and on rough roads, the advantages are worth it.

      Reply
  97. Lorne Dmitruk

    Has anyone tried these out while wearing an aero lid with a visor?

    Reply
    • Ferrix Hovi

      I am yet to figure out how to attach the HUD to the helmet directly but I did manage to ride with an Air Attack shield with Wiggle-sponsored dhb sunglass frames without optics and the HUD arm coming in front of the visor. Feels stupid but I can confirm that this particular combination works. The concoction does feel a bit unbalanced to the right since there is no counterweight from lenses.

      I am thinking of ripping the gooey part out of a VIRB adhesive base or actually buy some double-sided tape and then remove the rubber pads from the Varia quad turn base and stick it to the side of the helmet.

      Reply
  98. Eric

    When a car comes within radar range, will it automatically change your current display, or vibrate the Varia to tell you of an approaching vehicle? Or do you have to leave that screen up?

    Reply
    • Mike

      Similar to the Edge, the data fields will continue to be displayed but you’ll get dots on the right hand side showing the vehicles. The Edge will also beep. I don’t remember a vibration.

      Reply
  99. Overthehill

    Hi Ray. It would seem that for TT riders a heads-up display would be a bigger sell than for normal roadie riding. Does the form factor of the varia vision allow you to wear it on sunglasses with an aero TT helmet on – these are very snug fit (I’m thinking my s-works TT).

    Reply
    • VeloManR

      The diameter of the mounting adapter is just under 18 mm, so it extends 9 mm above and below the centerline of your glasses’ bow. The adaptor mounting plate extends to 6 mm beyond the outer edge of the glasses’ bow. The body of the Varia Vision extends about 16 mm beyond the top of the adapter mounting plate and it’s outer surface is about 23 mm out from the edge of the glasses’ bow. The body of the Varia Vision is 20 mm tall at the largest point–the power switch–which is raised above the rest of the top edge by a mm or so.

      I don’t do TT and don’t have an aero helmet, but perhaps these measurements can help you determine whether there’d be any fitting issues with the Varia Vision.

      Reply
    • Overthehill

      Thanks that will definitely help

      Reply
    • Ferrix

      As you may see from the picture I posted above, it is wearable with sunglasses under the visor which is a strange thing to do and the arm will be in front of the visor. Mounting it on the outside with some adhesive under the quarter turn base will reach the corner of my eye with the Air Attack Shield. So it is all about the width of your visor.

      Reply
  100. Thanks for the review, I got one this week and like yourself, I was surprised that it works pretty here. I had some comments I had that you didn’t bring up. I should mention that I have always been a “ride by instrument” guy, and I do most of my riding checking my power meter every few seconds, so this gadget seemed useful to me.

    1. This allows you to see your data while out of the saddle. This was pretty much the first time I’ve been able to do this. This is very useful to keep power in the right range for out the saddle efforts.

    2. This could be useful for mountain biking, I was able for the first time to check my power on single track. However, I’m not sure how useful that is, since those sections may not be long enough to require monitoring.

    3. Bizarrely, default top line of display, which is always there, has temperature in Fahrenheit despite the Edge being set for metric units.

    4. There is a lag between the Edge and the display, I estimate the display is about 2 seconds late.

    5. The data have fairly useless descriptions in their data field, since you should know what the data is. This is most annoying when it is worn on the right eye, because the data definition text is on the left and pushes the data farther out of the visual field.

    6. The display worked with Forerunner 735XT and I used it for skating. However, it was disconnecting all the time when I put my watch arm (left arm) behind my back with the watch pointing towards body. That was a bit annoying, I will check if it works with watch pointing out of body.

    Thanks for the review!

    -ilan

    P.S. How can you stand being a cyclist in Paris? I did it for 10 years and hate it. I was there 2 weeks ago and freaked out the Longchamp cyclists by doing laps on a Velib, you should have seen their faces when I passed them on the Velib at 40kph (speed verified by Forerunner)!

    Reply
    • VeloManR

      In my experience, the lag between a display change on the Edge 1000 and the corresponding change on the Varia Vision is about a half a second. I have heart rate on (a screen of) both of them and while at home, I put on my heart rate strap, got all electronics up, paired and running and watched the BPM on the Edge 1000 until it ticked up or down then immediately shifted my gaze to the Varia Vision. The delay was never anywhere near two seconds and was always well under one second.

      I have enough paired devices that the temperature display has disappeared from my Edge home screen (or the overlay you get when tapping a profile page display), so having the temperature in the Varia Vision is welcome to me.

      I’m not sure what you refer to when you say the field labels are on the left. For me (with every screen in 4-value layout) the labels are above the values and nothing is displaced further to the right. I cycled through the available layouts and in every case the labels were above the values, never to the right or left of them.

      One thing I’m curious about is the icon on the right of the narrow top segment (with the battery indicator, temperature and time of day). So far the only thing I can recall seeing there is a box surrounding the characters “ON +” … What does it mean? Clearly I know it’s on! And ‘+’? What does that signify

      Reply
    • OK, thanks for the reply. I’m not sure how you estimated seconds, I know I can’t do it accurately. However, when looking at power, it took a couple of reading changes before the display adjusted to the Edge.

      I have included pictures showing how the text pushes data way out of the visual field.

      I also forgot to mention that the Garmin manual isn’t so great. It says that the first thing you should do is to charge the the display fully, but doesn’t explain how you would know that.

      Another unexplained phenomenon. When the display connects, there is a check mark prompting you to “Acknowledge”, but there is no indication how to do that.

      -ilan

      Reply
    • VeloManR

      Yeah, as ever, the documentation is kinda’ thin…

      As I gather you’ve noticed, if you don’t “acknowledge” the pairing of the head unit it will time out and go to the data display. If you want to dismiss the acknowledgement screen immediately, tap the control surface on the Varia Vision pod. When you do this, you get to see the little check mark in the circle turn green briefly.

      The delay in updating the display may be greater for the Forerunner 735XT than for the Edge 1000.

      As for my sense of what a second is, it’s pretty good (when I was a kid I’d actually listen to WWV for extended periods of time… If you want to know how exciting that is, here’s a recording: link to youtube.com – interestingly enough, it sounds exactly the same now as it did in the 1970s…).

      In my experience (and I have a boatload of gadgets) all rechargeable devices suggest that you charge them up before first using them. Of course, since this device is essentially fully powered while charging, I’m not sure it makes much of a difference whether you operate with external power or wait for it to charge fully then set it up on battery power alone.

      Reply
  101. Let Me Tees You

    Reply
  102. Jesper Nygaard

    On sale until the 23rd. Page in danish, but google translate is your friend. It’s about 310€.
    link to cykelpartner.dk

    Radar on sale too.

    Reply
  103. Jesper Nygaard

    Hi. Just unpacked my mew toy and trying to decide which side to mount it. Do I go with my dominant eye (left) or put on the right side, to keep it away from the traffic side. But I guess, the chance on getting hit by a car from left is just as high.
    What are y’all thoughts??

    Reply
    • Randy Schulz

      I’m in a ride-on-the-right place (the U.S.)…

      I have a rear-view, mirror (mounted on my glasses) on the left (naturally), so right is the obvious and only choice for the Varia Vision.

      I’ve found that it is completely unobtrusive and you can “see through it,” in the sense that if you happen to look “out there” in the direction that makes your right eye look at the display (which is usually going to be sky anyway…), your brain just brings the “outside world” to the front. When you want to see the display, that’s what you see.

      However, I am right-eye dominant, so it does not match your circumstance. Unless you ride on the left, which it seems you do not.

      Reply
    • Jesper Nygaard

      Yes, Denmark is no old English colony, so we drive on the proper side of the road :-)

      But I have found it works best, if I have it on my left/dominant eye. If not, it’s mostly like the display is not even there, and I have to try a lot harder to get “focus” on it. Or tell the brain, that’s what it should process. On the left eye, it’s just there.

      Reply
  104. Jesper Nygaard

    Did anyone figure out, how to make it do metric units?? The temp in the top bar is in F, and the numbers on the speed graph, seems to be fixed to MPH….

    Reply
    • Varia is very cool!!

      Working on fitment with tight fitting ear flaps of aero helmets …

      Display visibility is excellent …

      Reply
  105. Kevin Justice

    Very thorough, as always! Love the vintage Cactus Cup jersey!

    Reply