Garmin pins hopes on new wave of wearables at CES 2015

Garmin has been producing wearable GPS devices for a few years now and it has a large existing range of smartwatches and fitness trackers for sporty outdoors types. At CES 2015, Garmin unveiled a new wave of wearables, offering hands-free navigation for outdoors enthusiasts and accurate tracking for fitness fanatics.

First up is the Garmin Epix, a rugged smartwatch capable of working as a standalone hands-free navigator. It boasts GPS and GLONASS support for accurate positioning, and there’s altimeter, barometer, and compass functionality built-in. Think of it as a standard handheld GPS device for your wrist, so there’s full support for track recording and navigation. You shouldn’t ever get lost with one of these.

The Epix has a square 1.4-inch color touchscreen, 8GB of storage, and it’s waterproof. It comes with maps preloaded and a 1-year subscription to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery.

It is a smartwatch as well. You can customize it and choose apps and widgets through Garmin’s Connect IQ platform. It can also be paired with your Android smartphone or iPhone for notifications and use with fitness tracking apps. It’s set to launch sometime in the first quarter of 2015, but it’s going to cost you at least $550.

Garmin Vivoactive
Garmin Vivoactive

Next is the Garmin Fenix 3, which is the latest release in Garmin’s “Smart Multisport GPS Watch” range. It’s designed to track everything from basic hiking to alpine skiing. We reviewed the Garmin Fenix 2 a while back and it impressed. The new version improves on its predecessor in subtle ways. It has the same accurate EXO antenna as the Epix and it also runs the Connect IQ platform, but it looks more like a traditional rugged watch with a round face.

Garmin offers the Fenix 3 in three styles: Silver, Gray, and Sapphire. It starts at $500, but you’ll have to shell out another $100 if you want that domed sapphire lens.

Backing away from the premium end of the market, Garmin is also offering the Vivoactive and the Vivofit 2.

The Vivoactive is a scaled down smartwatch that’s lightweight and retains GPS, but doesn’t offer the accuracy, extras, or build quality of the Epix or Fenix 3. You can still customize it and add apps with Connect IQ, and it’s capable of displaying notifications from your smartphone. It starts at a much more manageable $250.

Garmin Vivofit 2
Garmin Vivofit 2

The Vivofit 2 is an activity tracker. It’s designed to be worn 24/7 and it displays basics like calories burned, distance covered, and the time of day. It can also remind you to get up when you’ve been inactive too long. It pairs with your smartphone to upload data and you can set daily goals for activity. It starts at $130 and Garmin offers a wide choice of accessory bands to change up the look, including an all new range inspired by Jonathan Adler.

Garmin is making a strong play for the outdoors market with these smartwatches. As hands-free navigators with accurate GPS they look unbeatable, but the limitations of Garmin’s Connect IQ platform could curb their wider appeal.

We’ll bring you more details when we get a hands-on look.

Product Review

Apple brought ECG tracking to consumers. Withings is making it affordable

The Apple Watch Series 4 starts at $400, and the highlight function is the electrocardiogram, which has the potential to save lives. Withings’ new Move ECG has the same capability but at a fraction of the cost.
Deals

REI slashes prices on Suunto, Garmin, and Fitbit Versa smartwatches

Though fitness trackers and smartwatches can get pretty pricey, REI is offering some sweet discounts on top brands. Right now, you can get a new smartwatch from Fitbit, Suunto, and Garmin for up to 35 percent off its normal price.
Wearables

Omron HeartGuide brings blood pressure monitoring to your wrist

High blood pressure leads to heart attacks, strokes, and many other health problems, so it's important to keep an eye on. Omron's HeartGuide is a fitness tracking watch that can also monitor your blood pressure from your wrist.
Deals

Walmart slashes prices on the Fitbit Versa smartwatch and Charge 3

We are officially halfway through January, and for a lot of us, that means the struggle to stick to our New Year's resolutions is in full force. Walmart is offering some great discounts on Fitbits to help you stay on track.
Deals

Start your fitness journey with the best Fitbit deals available now

If you're ready to kick-start your fitness regimen (or just take your current one to the next level), we've created a quick rundown of the best, most current Fitbit deals to help you decide which one is best for you.
Wearables

Lack of regulation means wearables aren’t held accountable for health claims

As fitness trackers become more like health monitors, some physicians are concerned they can lead to over-diagnosis of non-existent problems. It’s already happening with wearable baby monitors.
Wearables

How to switch TicHealth to Google Fit on the Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro

The Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro are both much-loved and feature-packed watches, and they offer excellent fitness tracking. Recently, Mobvoi has switched out Google Fit for TicHealth, but you can switch them back. Here's how.
Android

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…
Wearables

Check out the four cool Swatch watches you can use for mobile payments

Swatch has announced its Swatchpay technology is now available in Switzerland, enabling mobile payments from your Swatch watch. It works in a similar way to Apple Pay and Google Pay. Here's everything about it.
Business

Google is buying mysterious smartwatch tech from The Fossil Group for $40 million

Google is about to step up its smartwatch game. The company has agreed to buy an unnamed smartwatch technology from The Fossil Group for a hefty $40 million. Considering the acquisition, it's clear Google is serious about smartwatches.
Home Theater

Here are some common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Wearables

Alphabet’s health watch monitors your heart health, is approved by the FDA

A health monitoring watch being developed by Alphabet, Google's parent company, has received clearance from the FDA as a medical device. This means that the device has been found to be safe and can legally be sold in the U.S.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!