Tag Archives: Garmin

Hands-on: Garmin’s New Descent MK1 Diving Watch

Sometimes, I do sports that are actually not swim-bike-run.  Be it skiing, or…ok, I guess that’s it.  Actually, I scuba dive, which I suppose is still technically swimming.  Or swimming done rather poorly. So poorly that you’re never-endingly sinking to … Read More Here

Garmin Edge 1030 In-Depth Review

** Update: The Edge 1030 has been superseded by the Edge 1030 Plus. Check out the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus In-Depth Review here for the latest info** After over three years, Garmin has updated its flagship GPS navigation computer with … Read More Here

Garmin quietly drops the price of Edge 520 to match Wahoo BOLT

The Battle Royale between Garmin and Wahoo on bike computers continues to heat up with each side sending up stronger and stronger serves…all to the benefit of us consumers. After a number of weeks of Wahoo throwing down (first with … Read More Here

Investor Call Tech Tidbits: Garmin Q2 2017

When I’m sufficiently bored, I listen to investor calls for companies in the segment.  Or, I read through investor reports – such as Amer Sports (parent company of Suunto), last weekend.  In actuality, these calls are often filled with interesting … Read More Here

Best Action Cam 2017: GoPro Hero5 Black vs Garmin VIRB Ultra 30

In virtually every post or video I make where I use an action cam, I’m asked which camera I’m using and why.  And even more commonly since this past fall I’m asked whether to go with the GoPro Hero5 Black … Read More Here

ISPO 2017 Roundup: Kuai Fit, Coros, Garmin, Salming RunLAB, Digitsole, LG, Casio, Kettler, Bonx Grip, Wiralcam

Sunday was a whirlwind day for me.  As I noted previously, the annual pilgrimage to the largest sporting show on earth occurs in early February (this year anyway).  And in my case, I make it a one-day trip.  I leave … Read More Here

Hands-on: Garmin’s New Fenix 5 Multisport GPS Series–with mapping!

!!!Heads up – Check out the newest Fenix 6! My full Fenix 6 In-Depth Review is now available!  Click on to read it all!!! Right on cue, Garmin has released their next edition of the Fenix series – the Fenix … Read More Here

Garmin releases Strava Live Segments for Running, Muscle Oxygen on devices, Photo Watch Faces

Phew, all sorts of Garmin news over the last few days on numerous fronts, and this post seems the easiest way to bundle up three totally different things into one tidy little package.  Let’s get on with the show! Strava … Read More Here

Garmin Forerunner 630 In-Depth Review

It’s been almost two months since Garmin announced the FR630, alongside the new Garmin FR230 & FR235.  They started shipping the FR630 about 5 weeks ago, and I’ve been using it on and off since, in conjunction with the other … Read More Here

Garmin releases new Edge Explore 1000 Edition: Tells your friends when you crash into a ditch

Minor Confession: A small part of me simply wanted to title this post: “Garmin Releases Yet Another Product This Summer, Because It Can”.  But alas, I hear that’s not terribly great for search engine optimization (SEO) and since I get … Read More Here

Hands on with Garmin’s new Varia bike radar and smart light system

Today Garmin has introduced their Varia lineup of what they call ‘smart cycling devices’.  This marketing terminology basically translates to connected bike lights and a bike radar system.  These two products connect to Garmin Edge cycling computers for additional functionality. … Read More Here

Hands-on with Garmin’s new Edge 20 & Edge 25 GPS units

Today Garmin has rolled out two new bike GPS computers, the Edge 20 and Edge 25.  These products add to what has seemed to be a near monthly (or more) cadence of new products from the company within the fitness … Read More Here

Garmin quietly introduces automatic sleep detection to existing activity trackers

Over the last few days Garmin has enabled automatic sleep tracking on all of their sleep capable activity tracker devices.  They did so not as part of any firmware update that you have to install, but rather on their backend … Read More Here

Garmin acquires Backtracker bike radar system (and company iKubu)

This morning Garmin has announced the acquisition of iKubu.  Of course, nobody knows the name iKubu, but many of you likely remember them by their product name – Backtracker. I took a look at this product back in July during … Read More Here

Garmin announces ability to develop apps on wearables, with Connect IQ

Today, at the ANT+ Symposium in Kananaskis, Canada, Garmin has announced a sweeping change to how 3rd parties can interface with Garmin wearable devices a new platform called Connect IQ.  This will ultimately allow 3rd party developers to write applications … Read More Here

Garmin announces Vector S: $899 power meter, also announces Cycling Dynamics

Today, at the start of the outdoor portion of Eurobike, Garmin has made two cycling specific announcements.  The first is unveiling the Vector S power meter, while the second is announcing upcoming ‘Cycling Dynamics’ metrics that will be applicable to … Read More Here

Full details on Garmin’s new FR15 combined GPS watch + activity monitor

Please note that I’ve now published my full in-depth review of the FR15.  You should head over to that post to get all caught up. Today Garmin has announced their newest product, the Garmin FR15.  The FR15 is the latest … Read More Here

Garmin Fenix2 Multisport Watch In-Depth Review

It is closing on nearly two years since Garmin initially announced the first generation Fenix in June 2012.  Since then the watch has transformed from what was originally seen as a hiking focused unit, to more of an ultra-runner’s unit, to finally settling in on a full-fledged multisport watch as seen now in the recently announced Fenix2.

I’ve spent the last six or so weeks with the unit, putting it through daily activities across a wide variety of sports.  Last week, the Fenix2 started hitting retail outlets as the firmware moved into the production state.  In the past week alone however, even further unannounced additional features have been added.  Nonetheless, it’s time for my full in-depth review.

To be clear, Garmin sent me over a Fenix2 to start testing with until retail availability.  Like always, I’ll be shipping that back to them in Olathe, KS, in the next few days and going out and getting my own via regular retail channels.  That’s just the way I roll.

Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular athlete out there. I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background, and thus I try and be as complete as I can. But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out. Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed. So – with that intro, let’s get into things
Unboxing:

The Fenix2 comes boxed in two variations: One with just the watch, and one with a heart rate strap.  Specifically, the HRM-RUN.  I’ll dive more into the HRM-RUN later on, but it’s an important distinction compared to previous ANT+ enabled straps, as far as enabling advanced functionality on the Fenix2.

Inside the box splits into three pieces, two of which contain the goods.  The third just sits there and looks pretty.

If you dump out the contents of those two boxes to the left, you’ll see the below.  Note that the non-bundle version does not contain the heart rate strap (the two left pieces).

I’ll go ahead and walk through each of the components in the box.

First up, the power adapters.  Note that some readers have asked what the difference is between the US and European editions are.  It’s simple: It’s just the power adapter for the USB power block.  That’s it.  You can still use your Fenix2 with any USB port in the world, and you can still use the power adapter with a 99 cent adapter in any outlet in the world.  So don’t fret too much there.

Next we’ve got the HRM-RUN heart rate strap.  This ANT+ capable strap transmits your heart rate strap to the Fenix2 (as well as any ANT+ device in range that’s been paired with it).  In that way, the HRM-RUN is just like any other ANT+ strap.  However, it also has a secondary private channel that carries with it additional information only accessible to Garmin devices, that constitute the Running Dynamics pieces.  So while you can use the Fenix2 with any ANT+ strap, you won’t get some of the Running Dynamics pieces without it.  Also, it’s $40 cheaper to buy the bundle than the two separately (usually, it’s a wash price-wise).

Next, Garmin decided to toss in a fabric strap.  This can be used with the screws and pieces seen below to replace the plastic strap.  This is useful because it goes quite a bit larger, enabling you to place it over ski coats and the like.

You’ll use these two little incredibly sharp screwdrivers to remove the pins.  It’s a two hand job.  Ok, I guess that came out wrong.

Finally, we get to the watch itself.  If you’re a past Fenix/Tactix user, you’ll notice a few changes up front.  First, the buttons have been changed around.  This (in my opinion) makes the flow much cleaner, and much easier to navigate.  It also mirrors the Garmin Forerunner line.  Second, you’ll notice the display is ‘inverted’, which means its white text on black background.  This is non-changeable.

On the back, you’ll find the charging pins.  The unit connects to a USB charger I’ll show you in a second.  The reason the Fenix2 (and most other well waterproofed watches) use contacts like these to charge versus using a standard micro-USB or mini-USB port is for waterproofing purposes.

Here’s the USB charging cable.  The cable can be used both to charge the unit, as well as to transfer workouts/tracks/routes/waypoints/maps/etc… Garmin provides apps for PC and Mac, but the device enumerates as a standard USB mass storage device, so that functionality will work fine on other operating systems like Linux.

The clip snaps onto the back, thus it would be able to pass the ‘ceiling fan’ test, which tests whether or not the charging clip is strongly enough attached to the Fenix2 to tie one end to a ceiling fan and turn it on.  Aside from being fun, the more practical implication of this is that you can charge it on the go, without worrying about a finicky connection.

With everything unboxed, let’s see how it stacks up against other units.
Size & Weight Comparisons:

As always, I’ve combined all the competitive units in the running and triathlon segment together for you to get a feel for how they compare size-wise.  Roughly speaking, the bigger ones are on the left side – and those are the ones we’re mostly comparing between.

Below, from left to right: Adidas Smart Run GPS, Suunto Ambit 2, Polar V800, Garmin Fenix2, Suunto Ambit 2R.

Next, I’ve flipped it over so you can see the depth of the units themselves.

If you look at the Fenix1 and Fenix2, you’ll see they are virtually identical.  After all, they are basically twins, just not identical twins.  On the visible side, the button layout changed.  On the internal guts side, the unit received a slight change in the accelerometer to enable the swimming tracking scenarios, that wouldn’t have been fully possible with the same level of accuracy with the accelerometer that’s contained in the Fenix1/Tactix units.

And remember, these watches are part of a longer line of siblings that share nearly identical physical hardware, but change in software – from the Quatix for marine use, to the D2 for pilots.

For those that haven’t followed along on the Fenix journey, the Fenix1 actually has received substantial updates over the last 4-5 months.  In fact, outside of multisport mode, power meter support (cycling), and swimming support – the Fenix1 gains almost all the features of the Fenix2.  Even things like mobile phone uploads and satellite pre-caching.  These features were introduced in beta recently, and will ultimately be brought to full production status on those units as well.  However, neither the Fenix1 nor the Tactix will get the Fenix2-only features like swimming, multisport or power meter support.  Expect to see Garmin cease manufacturing of those units by summer.

One minor little tidbit that I thought was interesting – the Fenix2 strap is slightly longer than the Fenix1 strap:

Next, while you’ll see the watch on my wrist throughout the review, I did briefly want to include what it looks like on a smaller female wrist – in this case, my wife.  She’s tiny, and her wrist size is 14cm (or 5.5 inches).

She found it heavy for her, but I pretty much said the same thing when I wore it initially. She hasn’t spent any time running with it though, nor getting used to it.

Finally, when it comes to weights, here’s a lineup of the devices you’re most likely to compare:

The key difference in weight between the Fenix1 and Fenix2 really comes from the change to the back plate on the unit.

And for fun, here’s two more units you’re likely to compare:

As you can see, weight-wise they’re all basically in the same camp.  Note that for the FR910XT, I had the quick-release kit on there, which likely adds a tiny bit of weight.

With comparisons done, let’s head onto actually using the product.

Read More Here

First Look at Garmin’s new Fenix2 Multisport & Triathlon Watch

Please note: My Final Fenix2 In-Depth Review is now available and published here. Today, Garmin announced their latest watch – the Fenix2.  This unit builds upon the first generation Fenix unit that was initially released in the summer of 2012.  … Read More Here

CES Roundup Part 2: Garmin, ANT+, 4iiii, BKOOL, Withings, O-Synce, Outside Interactive, LG, Pebble, Casio, Opryx, Glucovation

We left off yesterday with Part 1 of my CES Roundup, which covered new products and notables from the following companies: Sony, Geonaute, Contour, VOXX, Jaybird, Kreyos, Aftershokz, Reebok, Magellan, and Moxy. Today, we dive into the second half of … Read More Here

Garmin Forerunner 220 In-Depth Review

The Garmin FR220 is the company’s latest mid-range (price-wise) running watch, which succeeds the older FR210 unit.  The FR210 carved out the mid-range niche, ahead of a slew of competitors that have followed in its footsteps.  But can Garmin jump … Read More Here

Garmin Forerunner 620 In-Depth Review

The Garmin FR620 is Garmin’s newest and most advanced running GPS watch.  The unit packs in everything from WiFi to ANT+ to Bluetooth Smart, and adds a slew of new metrics and functionality.  But are these new metrics a fair … Read More Here

Hands on with the new Garmin Edge Touring GPS bike computer

Today (well, technically last night, just barely) Garmin announced the latest addition to their bike computer lineup – the Garmin Touring. I had a chance to spend time with the product team last April and give them a bunch of … Read More Here

Initial thoughts on Garmin VIRB sports camera with ANT+ connectivity

My Full In-Depth Review of the VIRB and VIRB Elite has been published! Check it out here! On Tuesday Garmin announced their entry into the sports action camera market – a market currently dominated by GoPro, with a slew of … Read More Here

Garmin adds new Fenix Skiing mode (in beta)

Following in the footsteps of continuing to add features to the Fenix watch (and likewise, what Suunto has done with the Ambit), Garmin quietly posted to their forums a beta version of the Fenix firmware which adds skiing to the … Read More Here