Garmin has shifted their focus from automotive GPS navigation systems to wearable technologies in the recent years. If you care more about your fitness than just the number of steps you take each day you might find their Forerunner 630 quite useful. Though we should mention that it starts at $400.
The battery claims it can track your workout for 16 hours and last 4 weeks as a watch alone. It tracks both GPS and GLONASS satellites and provides some pretty sweet features for runners alone. It can estimate your VO2 max, give you tips on your recovery, predict your race outcomes based on your speed and has an accelerometer to calculate distance indoors when you’re stuck on a treadmill.
Garmin came out with a new GPS watch called Garmin Fenix. It’s expected to hit the market this coming August and cost somewhere around $400. Some of the highlights of Garmin Fenix, in addition to the GPS receiver of course, is the compass, altimeter, barometer, and the optional external ANT connected temperature sensor. Some other features include the ability to plan trips and create routes, record waypoints, and record GPS bread crumb trails. You can also navigate to coordinates if you wish. You also get a 3-axis electronic compass to get your heading even when you’re stationary.
Fenix, which is water proof to 50 meters can last 50 hours in GPS mode and up to 6 weeks in plain watch mode.
See Garmin’s mini site here.
Bia is a GPS enabled sports watch made by women for women. They’re on Kickstarter now looking for some funding. So far they have about 25% of their requested $400K.
The Bia GPS sports watch is multisport device with ANT+ connection option which claims that it is like no other. Here are the features:
- Safety alert for peace of mind on solo workouts
- Quick-connect GPS; no more time wasted “finding satellites”
- Data to your online training log; no more time wasted “sync’ing”
- iPod-like ease of use; just one button and a touchscreen
- Water resistance to 100M; full GPS tracking when you swim
Bia is ergonomically designed for the left wrist but it flip so you can also wear it on your right wrist.
If you think this product will be a hit you should go to Kickstarter and back them up.
Nike just unveiled their new site nikeplus.com and at the same time -with TomTom- announced a new models for the Nike+ SportWatch series.
The new thing Nike came up with is Nikefuel which is pretty much your mileage turned into a universal units that also apply to other sports. This way you can have a swimmer compete with a runner somehow.
They have new colors out for the Nike+ Sportwatch which now include black/anthracite, anthracite/blue glow and volt green. The starting price for the entry level one is $150. This does not come with a shoe sensor but it supports it if you decide to buy it after the fact. If you want to get both the shoe sensor and the watch then you’re going to have to pay $169.
Years ago we reviewed the Suunto X10. Earlier this year Suunto announced a new GPS watch called Suunto Ambit. We will be getting a Suunto Ambit to do a in-depth review but before that let’s do a side by side specs comparison. See this image below:
As you can see from this image there are some major differences between X10 and Ambit. Ambit does a much better job at keeping track of altitude changes. Ambit has automatic alti/baro switch and real-time vertical cumulative value and can report on your total ascent descent. As far as direction – Ambit wins again since it has the 3D digital compass.
In the heart rate tracking department Suunto Ambit boast ANT support where as Suunto X10 doesn’t. You can also use heart rate belts with Ambit. Both of these GPS watches are water resistant to 100 meters and weigh about the same weight.
In reporting weather Ambit and X10 do about the same. However Ambit has a barometer resolution of 1hPa/0.03 inHg.
Garmin just introduced Approach S3 Touchscreen GPS Golf Watch. It’s a rugged device but yet sleek and if you’re really into stats and gadgets and love to keep track of your game Garmin Approach S3 is for you.
- glove-friendly sunlight-readable touchcreen
- can be used as a regular wrist watch
- preloaded with 27,000 worldwide courses
- displays the distance to the pin, front and back of the green
- 8 hours play time, 4 weeks use a regular watch
- available in April 2012 for $350 available in golf white with red trim and black with gray trim
Seiko just announced the Seiko Astron a GPS-enabled wristwatch that supports up to 39 time zones in the world. The watch will be available this year in September.
Now the Seiko Astron does not really keep track of your location and send your location to a web service. It just uses the GPS to figure your time zone. It will come out in the US too for a price of approximately $1900.
When the Seiko Astron looks up your longitude and altitude by listening to the satellites in space it puts you in one of a million imaginary blocks. And since each of these blocks belong to a time zone it can automatically adjust itself.
In addition to GPS capabilities Seiko Astron also uses solar cells to charge its battery so in theory you never have to replace them. Astron uses a special GPS receiver which consumes about 80% less battery with its specially designed antenna.
We talked about Magellan’s first attempt at fitness products with GPS function when Switch series first came out. The two products are very similar except a very few add-on which you can see in this photo. Magellan Switch is going to cost $250 and Magellan Switch Up is going to cost $300. You’ll have to add another $50 to these prices if you want the heart rate monitor.
As of this writing we still don’t have a release date on these GPS watches.
Seiko Epson just announced they have developed world’s lightest GPS watch designed for runners. It is capable of providing runners with performance data in real time including distance, pace, and speed. This new slim designed GPS watch also boasts a long battery life which can last up to 12 hours on a fresh charge with GPS tracking on.
Some more facts about the Epson GPS watch:
- weighs no more than 50 grams
- 13 millimeters in thickness
- water resistant up to 5 bars, or 50 meters of water
Suunto just recently announced the launch of the AMBIT, a GPS watch for Explorers. Why Ambit? Their press release says *AMBIT: As in Ambition. Synonyms: edge, reach, scope or range. OK, whatever, moving on. What you get with this GPS watch is a GPS navigation system, barometer, altimeter, 3D compass, and more. It has a 50 hour battery life – but that’s kind of hard to believe. It probably depends on how often you use the GPS features. Other features of Suunto AMBIT include advanced heart rate monitoring, and some basics such as speed, pace, etc. It is water resistant up to 100 meters too!!! It will be available next month in March!