I adore my Garmin Forerunner wristwatch. Scratch that, I LOVE my Garmin Forerunner. It is a running watch that uses GPS to track my pace and distance, and it is like having a faithful but harsh coach on my wrist for every run. I have tried using my Forerunner for hikes, but it isn’t quite as good. I need directions as much as I need distance and pace — believe me, we have had quite a few “short hikes” turn into long ones when we missed a turn-or three. That’s why I was super excited to hear that Garmin has a new hiking oriented wristwatch called the “fenix” coming out soon!
What is the fenix, you ask? From Garmin’s press release:
Garmin(R) fenix™ Outdoor Watch Lets Adventurers Go Even Further Off-Trail
OLATHE, Kan./July 10, 2012/Business Wire — Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced fenix, its first GPS wrist watch for outdoorsmen, such as mountaineers, hikers, cyclists, hunters and backpackers. fenix provides comprehensive navigation and tracking functionalities as well as trip information to guide adventurers during their challenging activities off the beaten track. Its built-in sensors provide information on heading, elevation and weather changes. Utilizing Garmin’s leading GPS technology, fenix can guide adventurers off the trail and back to the safety of a vehicle, trailhead or campsite. Sporting a classic round watch design in a high-strength housing with a scratch-resisting display, it is built to endure the toughest outdoor conditions and also makes a stylish day-to-day timepiece.
“fenix packs Garmin’s leading and trusted outdoor technology into a robust, wrist-worn GPS watch that outdoorsmen can rely on,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “Being able to go hands free while still having access to Garmin’s precise and accurate information on weather, elevation and position provides adventurers the confidence and peace of mind to take their outdoor activities even further off-trail.”
Plan, Navigate and Track
fenix includes a comprehensive navigational toolset that allows users to plan trips and create routes, record waypoints, such as campsites or points of interest, and record GPS bread crumb trails on the move (tracklogs). Adventurers can navigate to coordinates, along a track or route, towards waypoints, geocaches or along any other selected bearing. A navigation arrow provides clear directional guidance and the TracBack(R) function can guide one back along a previously recorded tracklog. This provides adventurers peace of mind knowing they’re never “lost” and can easily find their way back in case of an emergency or bad weather conditions. Also included is a worldwide basemap displaying cities nearby. Using the BaseCampTM desktop application, fenix users will be able to easily plan trips and share their adventures with friends and family. fenix is equipped with both ANT capabilities and Bluetooth(R) to wirelessly share tracks, waypoints, routes and geocaches with other compatible Garmin devices. A Basecamp mobile app allows users to transfer waypoints and tracklogs to view them on a more detailed map and larger screen of select smartphones.
Altimeter, Barometer and Compass
fenix is equipped with ABC sensors (altimeter, barometer and compass) to provide explorers relevant real-time information. The built-in altimeter provides elevation data to accurately monitor ascent and descent, the barometer can be used to predict weather changes by showing short-term trends in air pressure and a 3-axis electronic compass keeps the user’s bearing whether he’s moving or not. Utilizing its GPS receiver, fenix can auto-calibrate its ABC sensors and also auto sets the time based on location. For an extremely accurate temperature reading, fenix can be paired with tempeTM, Garmin’s new external temperature sensor.
Similar to Garmin’s running watches, fenix provides real-time performance data, such as distance, pace time and calories, helping outdoorsmen keep track of their progress during and after their adventures. This is especially useful to keep track of fitness activities off the beaten track, such as adventure or trail running. fenix is also compatible with Garmin’s premium heart rate monitor for heart rate info and with a speed/cadence sensor for distance, speed and cadence while on a bike. The displayed data fields are fully customizable right from the watch.
Built to Endure the Roughest Conditions
fenix is built to endure the toughest outdoor conditions, combining a high-strength housing to survive shocks with a mineral glass lens to resist scratching. It boasts a large LCD display with LED backlight and a robust polyurethane wristbands. Garmin’s outdoor watch is waterproof to 50 meters and has a battery life of up to 50 hours in GPS mode (depends on settings) and up to 6 weeks in watch mode. Basic watch functions include alarms, tones, vibration alerts, timer, stopwatch and world clock with the ability to display several times zones at once.
Garmin fenix is expected to be available in fall 2012 and will have a suggested retail price of $399.99. tempe is an optional accessory and has a suggested retail price of $29.99.The polyurethane wristband will be available in olive or orange and an optional leather wristband can be added.
fenix is the latest solution from Garmin’s growing outdoor segment, which focuses on developing technologies and innovations to enhance users’ outdoor experiences. Whether it’s Golfing, Hiking, Hunting or Geocaching, Garmin outdoor devices are becoming essential tools for outdoor enthusiast of all levels. For more information about Garmin’s other outdoor products and services, go to http://www.garmin.com/us/products/onthetrail/, www.garmin.blogs.com and http://twitter.com/garmin.
Basically, it’s a trail version of the Forerunner, and it sounds amazing. $399.99 is pricey, but it combines a half-dozen gadgets into one compact design, and it looks nice enough to wear it out to dinner after the hike. Garmin makes amazing devices, and this will hopefully continue in that tradition!
Check out a video of the fenix, and let us know what you think in the comments!