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Tuesday Garmin Tidbits: New Fenix2 Edition, new/free Vivokeeper safety bands

There are two minor and quick pieces of news from the Garmin camp. One of which hit today, and the other was from roughly the last week or so.

Garmin Fenix2 Multisport Special Edition:

fenix2_OF_3510.2fenix2_OF_3510.10

First up is Garmin has released today the ‘Special Edition’ of the Fenix2 multisport watch.  This new edition has precisely two changes to it:

1) It has an inverted screen (or rather, non-inverted): Which simply means that instead of being white text on a black background, the display is black text on a white background.

2) It features a red strap: Yes, red, you know, like a fire truck. An apple. Or even my backpack if it wasn’t a bit dirty right now.

That’s it.

Why release it then?  Well, there have been many people that didn’t like the white text on black background of the Fenix2, citing it’s harder to read (which, I’d agree with).  I didn’t mind it a ton, but given the choice I’d probably go with the white background versus black.  Unfortunately, there was a hardware limitation there – hence the reason for the second hardware version.

Note that again, all other functions and features are identical. Future firmware updates will continue to be addressed to both units at once.  So existing Fenix2 folks don’t have to worry about not being ‘Special’. And fear not, there will be future firmware updates for both units, some already in the pipe.

The special edition units are available effective almost immediately (Apple-style!), and should arrive in the next few days.

Garmin Vivokeeper safety bands/belts (free):

IMG_7287

Next is that Garmin is making available the Vivokeeper, which is a simple little rubber band designed to keep your Vivofit from falling off.  Some users have reported issues with the Vivofit falling off their wrist, so this aims to solve that.

While I’ve never had the Vivofit fall off mine, there’s been a bit of a cottage industry with companies making cheap rubber bands to protect the units (or consumers just going to a hardware store and getting a rubber o-ring).  Much of that industry originally sprang from the FitBit Force, which for me fell off more times in a day than I could count. Of course, each person differs there.

The tiny little rubber piece slides on much like any other rubber watch belt would, pretty straight forward:

IMG_7286

In theory all Vivofit users will get (or already got) an e-mail from Garmin offering one to them if they’d like (for free). New boxed versions of Vivofit will come with it in the box.  And the just released Vivosmart is already shipping with them in the box (a tiny bit different belt, but very similar).  You can simply contact Garmin support to get one.

So go forth and get your free belt – don’t want anyone’s pants on the ground.  Err…Vivo’s on the ground.

Thanks for reading!

With that, thanks for reading!  If you’re looking to burn a bit of time, here’s all my Interbike 2014 posts packed full of sports technology items.

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129 Comments

  1. Bryan

    If Garmin offers a trade-in program to swap my Fenix2 for the new one with the inverted display for a small premium (Say $50), I’d be all over that.

    • I asked, they unfortunately have no plans to do so.

    • staralliance

      Ray,
      Have you noticed any accuracy issues with compared to say, the 910xt? I ordered a Fenix at one point and did a side by side compare of the data (made sure to enable 1 sec recording) and noticed the Fenix track wasn’t as tight as the 910xt. Reading on forums here and there that FR620 and Fenix aren’t using SIRF chips anymore and this may be contributing to not as accurate tracks. I was hoping you could opine on GPS accuracy on some of these newer Garmin models.

      Warm Regards from Chicago – Dan

    • I haven’t personally seen any realistic differences between my tracks on the FR620/Fenix2/FR220 and any other watches I’ve used. I post almost everything of mine to Strava (actually, everything goes there automatically these days), so folks are free to poke around.

      While I have seen some wonky looking tracks from people on Fenix2 and other watches, one can also find similar tracks from any past watch.

    • Scott

      +1; that is one of my biggest disappointments with this watch

    • nick

      any idea where / if I could get the boston marathon special edition garmin band? the blue band ? I saw one go on ebay for 75 bucks and unfortunately it sold before I could beat that bid

    • No, I doubt you’ll see Garmin selling it out of season (perhaps again next year), since then it wouldn’t be very special anymore. Thus, eBay is probably best bet, or some of the running forums.

  2. mucher

    Same here – though looks like it would be possible to offer switched display – at the cost of having a black octagon around the frame.

    Does the SE have red backlight as well?

  3. Mike

    Hey Ray-
    Not to derail but ………..
    What’s the placeholder for under the Forunner section on Garmins site?
    And when’s it coming out…………

    • Robert black

      There’s a placeholder on Garmin’s UK site, under the multi sport section from £389. Forerunner 920xt I’d say is upon us

    • Jon

      There’s a placeholder in the US site listed for $449 as well. If you click manuals it says manual for 920XT, but there’s no pdf. So i would say it’s coming soon.

    • David

      Based on the ordering options, it looks like it will come in two colors. And the HRM bundle will cost an extra $50.

      Ray, even if you can neither confirm nor deny your familiarity with said device, you can surely let us know when Garmin is going to announce it.

    • Robert Black

      $449 is £276 at todays exchange rate, yet its £389 here. I should get on the next plane and fill a case with these bad boys, sell them and blag myself a free holiday out of it all. I digress,I hope it’s something that can be used as a day to day watch too. Won’t be long before Ray can tell all

    • Patrick Myers

      “Ray, even if you can neither confirm nor deny your familiarity with said device, you can surely let us know when Garmin is going to announce it.”

      Sorry, but that’s crazy talk. Ray gets sneak peaks at things precisely because he’s likely signed NDAs on top of NDAs and keeps his mouth shut. He wouldn’t – and shouldn’t – jeopardize his relationships with manufactures just to let slip when something will be announced.

      We’re all pretty good Internet sleuths, see, e.g., finding the Fenix 2 SE a little while ago. Let Ray do his thing. We’ll find out when we find out.

    • David

      Sorry, I guess sarcasm quite often gets lost on the Internet. I know he would not violate his NDA. As you said that would pretty much kill his ability to get us “first looks”. But he must have some leeway with what he can talk about.
      He posted that the 910 replacement would not be out in time for the 2014 training season.
      He said wait until Christmas (season, I think) to make a triathlon watch purchase.
      I’m actually just happy that I have been able to wait this long, with my 910XT. I’ll be able to hang on for another couple of months if necessary.

    • Patrick Myers

      We do need a sarcasm font (e.g., backwards italics). Looks like you won’t have to wait long though. The currently broken link on the Garmin website (with some sleuthing) leads to:

      link to support.garmin.com

    • Patrick Myers

      Annnnd that’s what I get for not appreciating what was already said in the thread. Mea culpa.

    • Matt B

      Looking at the manual pages for the watch, it appears it’s coming in White/Red and Black/Blue. No images yet though.

    • Stuart Duckworth

      $449 will be before any local sales tax whereas £389 will include VAT – there is still a differential but not as big.

    • Ok all, as usual lets try and keep comments focused on the post at hand.

    • David Lusty

      More likely white/pink like the 15 which also comes in blue/black surely?

    • Scott Buchanan

      Add 20% VAT and a bit for what Mr Jobs refered to as the higher cost of doing business in Europe and its ballpark same.

    • Gabe

      i dont think Ray can comment on that.

      yes the cat is out of the bag.

      the 920xt comes in two colors – black and blue and red and white. color screen.

      I wonder if it will be multi sport – ie skiing, hiking, etc.

      probably not though if they want the fenix 2 to stick around .

      anyways now im reconsidering returning my fenix 2 lol

    • David Lusty

      Well, there were pictures up and full spec sheet a couple of days ago. Still are in the Google Cache, but it seems that Garmin have more PR people than they do coders since the threads were removed from their site, the posts removed from several blogs, and the shop page with pics and specs removed.
      The new watch (if real) looks great. Not as great as the v800 looks, mind you, but it will probably be more feature complete at launch and won’t require a complete new set of sensors. Not that I wouldn’t buy a v800 tomorrow if there was actually one in a shop near me…Ray has taught us all that it’s OK to run with 5 watches on 🙂

  4. Chad

    I looked for a place to get a vivokeeper but there was nothing there. I submitted a repair request and hopefully they respond to that. My wife’s vivofit falls off a lot.

  5. Eddie

    What color is the background light, still red or blue? Thanks

  6. Eduardo

    I hope then receiving an Garmin’s email about Vivokeeper 🙂

  7. Stacey

    Any chance the new firmware for the Fenix2 will include intervals? I like the design but I would like to have intervals like some of the other watches. Seems like it would be easy to add…
    Thanks!

  8. Bob Goodman

    Lol. You missed the Forerunner 920 XT……………..:-)

  9. A

    My Suunto Ambit 1 has this SE feature inverted screen few years ago :).

  10. Antonio

    So it has a new hardware???

  11. Tom

    I HATE the inverted text on my fenix2,but it’s not like I m staring at the display when I run. It’s mildly frustrating that I can’t ‘trade’ it in for a reasonable premium.

  12. Michael

    So irritating to find out about this less than a week after buying my Fenix 2. Such is progress.

    • Patrick Myers

      A week? Return it and get the SE. Most of us have had ours for months – well past any return period. Not complaining, I’m just saying you have all the flexibility in the world right now.

  13. Gary Henderson

    Such a shame you cant invert the existing one. Saying that, i quite like the original fenix 2, its actually quite a nice day to day watch. Also, as its harder to see, you dont look at it every 10 secs like the 220.

  14. Patrick Myers

    Ray, there were some murmurings when the Fenix SE first appeared on the Czech Facebook page that the SE would only be available for a limited time. Has Garmin echoed that or is it here to stay, as far as you know?

  15. jay

    My Fenix 2 isn’t black with white letters, it’s black with red letters. It’s hard as crap to read while running.

    I got a Forerunner 15 (small!) and it’s so much easier to read. Of course it’s 2 data fields instead of 4 (which was my choice, of course…).

  16. Kevin

    Hmmmm… considering my Fenix2 was stolen from my truck last week, may have to consider the “Special Edition”

  17. Mark

    Interesting that Garmin have added placeholders to their websites. Looks like 4 models, 2 at $449 and 2 at $499 so I’m guessing 2 colour options and either with or without HRM. UK prices are certainly interesting compared to US!

  18. Mark

    Haha, just noticed when you click on the placeholder product with no name and then go back to the main multisport page, if you look in the recently viewed products it says ‘Garmin Forerunner 920XT’.

  19. Hi Ray, Do you know if this SE will be available in Europe?

  20. Konstantinos

    Any news about concurrent use of Bluetooth and Ant+? Is this a hardware of software (update) issue?

  21. Steve

    Perhaps I’ve got an old code but the clever training discount code doesn’t work. Old code or is the fenix 2 se not eligible? Thanks.

  22. KingArt

    White text on Black Background looks COOL but its HARD to read IMO. Why cannot they make it invertible just like my old Suunto Ambit 2? (Which got stolen) 🙁

    The Vivofit clasp is more secure than the now defunct Fitbit Force but it still isn’t very secure especially if something rubs across your wrist during an activity or so (IT IS A FRIGGING ACTIVITY BAND! IT SHOULD STAY ON!) I always have to pay EXTRA attention to not letting it fall off unexpectedly which is mentally distracting. I am glad that they have acknowledged the problem.

  23. Daniel

    Ray,

    As you said:
    “Unfortunately, there was a hardware limitation there – hence the reason for the second hardware version.”

    If there is a hardware limitation on the “old”/”standard” Fenix 2 and that hardware limitation is fixed in the SE, does that also mean that there will be the same new hardware-update for the standard Fenix 2 ?

    If that’s the case, it would be interesting to know how to distinguish between “Fenix 2-Hardware Version A” versus “Fenix 2-Hardware Version B”.

    Cheers,

    Daniel

    • Dom

      The limitation is that some parts of the display (mainly the octagon around the main screen) aren’t switchable and will always be white or always black while the watch is on, depending which version (fenix or fenix 2 se versus tactix, fenix2) you have. LCD displays basically polarise light passing through them depending on the orientation of the LC molecules, and then use a polarising filter to cut out light from one orientation completely, giving the black part of the display. It’s likely the only hardware difference is that the polarising filter is installed in a different orientation for different iterations of the watch, and the actual electronics of the display are identical. It’s not that a limitation has been removed.

  24. Fabio

    Hi Ray, what is your current recommendation for triathlon or open water swimming. Should we go for the Fenix 2 or stick to the 910XT?

    • In general my recommendation remains the same as June, where I noted that this is a poor time to buy a new triathlon watch. I’d be looking to see what the next Suunto Ambit3 firmware update brings, how the V800 firmware updates shake out, and if any other new products hit the market by the end of the year.

  25. Matt B

    Ray,

    Any word on whether they will sell just the red band separately?

    (Also, sorry for the previous 920XT derailment!)

    Regards,
    Matt

    • They almost always do, usually just in case one breaks it. I’ll find out.

      That’s actually the cool part in that all of the bands across the Fenix2/Fenix/D2/Tactix/FR220/FR620 are all compatible with each other. Hopefully that trend continues.

    • Actually, sorry, correction – should be Fenix2/Fenix/D2/Tactix as one set, and then FR220/FR620/S4/S6 as another set. Sorry, early morning brain fart!

    • skyryen

      Hi Ray

      Any word on when would Amazon or Clever Training might sell just the red band separately yet pls? Do holler when it comes ya…hopefully before Christmas.

      Thanks a million for the help!
      Roy

    • It doesn’t appear that Garmin has created a red band SKU yet (using the Fenix2 Special Edition bands). Once they do, Clever will definitely list it. Thanks for the support!

    • Hupflinger

      I own the Fenix2 and pretty much like the red band from the Special Edition.
      Yesterday I received my order of the original red band from Garmin which is available as an option for the Fenix3 (while compatibility with Fenix/Fenix2 is not mentioned in the description or on the package).

      The Fenix3 band fits 100%, just the pattern on the inside is different and you have to use your old screw set and the old torx screwdriver for mounting as screws of the Fenix 3 are smaller.

  26. Mike

    Maybe the 920XT chatter will slow now that they yanked the placeholder on their site. 🙁

  27. Gabe

    I imagine if the fenix2 came out with the “special edition” 1st then with the “regular version” we’d be hearing the same complaints.

    Just be happy such a product exists and that you can afford a $400 watch to use during your activities.

    1st world problems.

  28. Montana Steve

    Anyone seen a pic of the Fenix2 SE with the backlight on? I had the Fenix2 but quickly sold it when I found the screen basically unreadable at night.

  29. Curt myers

    I got my Fenix2 already for 100 less a week ago. the screen is a little hard to read, but much less expensive.

  30. Wil

    Hi
    I am trialing a Garmin Forerunner 210. I noticed that I was off by approx. 1/4 of a mile vs. Map My Run on my iphone. Wondering if this is something specific with this model.
    Thank you. The reviews are great.
    -W

  31. MAGNUS

    I really like the look of the the fēnix2 SE, red band with white screen. Definately makes for a vibrant looking sports watch.

  32. Ryan R

    Ugh, I really prefer the white on black. Any word on what this may mean for the Fenix3’s screen design?

  33. Puffolino

    Virtual Partner Support?!

    link to buy.garmin.com

    • It’s always had Virtual Partner support.

    • Puffolino

      Sorry, mixed partner and racer (maybe my 310xt calls both things virtual partner) – in the table, only the Felix SE has the virtual racer

    • Yeah, as it stands today at 10:02PM Paris time, neither Virtual Racer or Tides are in either the Fenix2 or Fenix2 SE.

      I’ve had a number of emails and calls about it as recent as 20 minutes ago with Garmin. Lots of confusion being worked though, final answer from them owed to me on if that is a mistake or something else coming up shortly.

    • Crispin E

      TRAILTECH (Garmin moderator) on the Garmin forums already commented that the inclusion of Virtual Racer and Tide details on the specs for the SE is a mistake.

  34. D-Town

    Nice real nice — People ask Garmin for an inverted / un-inverted screen and they give then what they want with a fancy red wrist band. People ask Garmin to add an equipment tracker to Garmin Connect for YEARS and they ignore them…

    Does the red wrist band heat up if you’re running slower than your virtual partner.

  35. Chris Barth

    Too late for my wife with the vivofit. She lost hers within the first month.

  36. Wendy

    I’m in the market for a tri watch, wondering which one would be better: fenix 2 SE or the foreseen 920XT if it has the running features of the FR620. Should I wait for the latter? I mostly do xterra kind of tri. Thanks.

  37. Fredric

    Ordered my vivokeeper,thanks!

    Had my VF come loose sometimes while wearing long sleeved shorts.

  38. Mark Liversedge

    Night blind folks (link to en.wikipedia.org) really do struggle to read light text on a dark background.

    I only found out when a GC user explained why the default color scheme was terrible for them.

  39. Seb Gorrec

    I had the Fenix 2 for a week and gave it back as I could not properly read the screen in the water. So this is a good news.
    I am looking for a watch to replace my Garmin swim watch that is not working anymore (it resets few times per day now without me doing anything…). What would be today the best watch out there for swimming (pool and outdoor)? Fenix 2, Suunto ambit 3,…?
    Thanks

    • Joe Seiley

      IMHO for pool swimming the Fenix 2 beats the Ambit 2 for sure (I had both of them). Can’t speak for the Ambit 3 as I’ve not tried it. I suspect the Fenix 2 is as good as it is in the pool due to Garmin’s experience with the Garmin Swim. I never could get any decent accurate results with the Ambit 2 swimming. So unless the Ambit 3 made significant progress for swimming, personally I would buy another Garmin Swim or if you want multi-sport, the Fenix 2 a go.

  40. This weekend i’ve got “rumors” about the new Garmin Fenix 3.
    The new watch is coming Q1-Q2 2015 – and will be “total” new.

    As the watch above ( article ) is just a mix of Garmin F1 display and Garmin F2 + new strap i’ll think.

    So – for the rumor – i was told to wait with buying this second release of Garmin F2, instead wait until Q1-2015.

    • Mike

      I can echo the same “rumour” after talking to Garmin rep. yesterday . . . while on my way to pick new Fenix 2 SE. I totally dig the regular display, but having Fenix 1 and Swim as separate watch, they sort of hinted, that if I am not in a stress, I should wait for early 2015. Fenix 3 on its way – it sort of goes along the fact, that SE being available for the next 3 months only. Releasing SE version, Garmin silently admits that with Fenix 2 (v1) this was shot in the dark and inverted display turned lots of potential people away. I believe it was more to it then we read on forums. People did not liked the inverted display.

      So, if the new one is a bit thinner, combines what F2 SE does plus maybe add more on the watch capabilities, fitness tracking and I am sold.

      Also, Garmin does much more to the aesthetics then Suunto does with Ambits – hiding GPS into the watch and not adding on the bulk of the strap. This was deal breaker for me. Ambits are nice watch but that big chunk of heavy rubber is no no. You simply do not have straight view on the Suunto without twisting your wrist more or adjusting the watch as the heavier lower part does move the Ambit off the flat top of your palm. I loved my T6 for years, but as for GPS, Fenix is THE winner already.

  41. Joe Seiley

    Got my Fenix2 SE today, fired it up, upgraded to 4.0 and took it for a pool swim after work. First of all, the screen is MUCH easier to read (IMHO) than the regular Fenix2. Not a big fan of the red band, so simply replaced it with a spare black band I ordered when I purchased the SE. Love the easy yet very secure way the bands change out with the included screw driver. Lap swimming was identical with the non-SE watch, which for me means pretty darn good swim stats and stroke recognition. I still get an occasional ‘phantom’ breaststroke length in the odd interval set, but they’re pretty easy to recognize and compensate for, and it’s not often. The back light is still the same red, but I think it still works and looks great. Still really like the watch personally.

  42. Chris W

    Has Garmin said why they don’t have the quick disconnect for the Fenix2 like they do for the 910?

  43. PA

    Too bad, Garmin doesn’t allow trade-in at small premium. I love the red band. I got my regular Fenix2 less than a month ago 🙁

  44. Ian Blackburn

    Anyone know if you can get the SE in the UK?

  45. Gabe

    Hi Ray,

    Would the TickerX paired with a Garmin 620 capture all the running efficiency metrics for Garmin Connect? Basically would it function fully like one of the Garmin HR monitors?

  46. Ondra

    Anybody knows something more about Fenix3? Should I go for Fenix2 or wait?
    I really like Fenix2 but SE looks more practical and readable, but not so much cool. If F3 is not so thick and displey is color and not monochromatic, there is nothing to think about and I will buy F3. The only questions when it will be out and if it is worth to wait…

  47. Cody

    I emailed Garmin asking about a trade in, but they only offered $110 off any Garmin product with a fenix 2 trade in. Sooo I’ll be sticking with the inverted screen.

  48. kirk

    thanks, your a big help, Garmin has a crappy website and I tell them all the time….
    when you look up the new Garmin Bike Speed Sensor and Cadence Sensor says it only works for the fenix 2 special edition ill stop right there lol

  49. Stefan Bandas

    I noticed on the Clever Training site reads “Garmin just released a Special Edition fenix 2 multi-activity GPS training watch with a stylish red band and an easy-to-read positive mode display.” When I read mode display it leads me to believe you can change the display – does that mean you can switch it back and forth between inverted and positive – or am is my mind working like the divergent thinking cat that shits ‘outside the box’?

    • It’s working more like a curious cat. 😉

      Neither the Fenix2 or Fenix2 SE can ‘change’ the mode they have. Basically you’re buying whichever mode you prefer. For me, having both now, I prefer the SE as being clearer.

      Thanks for the support! (Oh, and don’t forget to use the VIP program on that one to save 10%: link to dcrainmaker.com

  50. Matt Coll

    Hey, i’ve read all of the comments , but still couldnt decide to buy fenix2 or se ,generally train at nights so i should choose Special edition but on the other way it will be my daily watch so black background look like more charismatic. So should i prefer fenix2 or se ,? ( im asking because you have the both version , you may help me to choose. ) Thanks in adv.

  51. Jesse P

    Does the Fenix 2 have the ability to be an activity tracker, similar to the Garmin 920XT? And if it does not, would the ability of the Fenix 2 to host garmin IQ eventually allow that? Or is it a hardware issue? Thanks! Love the site, I visit several times a day, super informative.

  52. Dr. D

    @ Jesse P – The answer is No. I believe it is a hardware limitation.