UPDATE: Read my hands on review of the Garmin fenix.
The Garmin fenix (pronounced Phoenix) was announced by the company this morning. It appears to update the rather clunky Foretrex line with a slimmer form factor built on the Forerunner sportswatch platform. The fenix is a full-fledged navigator with the ability to store and navigate waypoints, tracks and routes; and get this – it is even setup for paperless geocaching! A barometric altimeter and tri-axial compass are also squeezed in. It seems to have just about everything except the ability to add maps.
The fenix carries a $399.99 MSRP and is slated to be released in the third quarter (one report is saying they are shooting for late August). You can bet that I’ll be trying to get one of these ASAP and report back to you about it.
In addition to the backcountry capability, the device also includes many fitness functions such as user profiles for running and cycling, auto pause, auto lap, alerts, and customizable data fields such as heart rate, distance, pace, calories, laps, etc.
Garmin mentions off-trail use quite a bit in talking about this device, and that indeed appears to be a prime use for this device – a situation where you need both hands free without a carabiner-clipped GPS swinging around on your pack. They also cite it as appropriate for mountaineers, hikers, cyclists, hunters and backpackers.
Quotes of note
- “Sporting a classic round watch design in a high-strength housing with a scratch-resisting display…”
- “fēnix is equipped with both ANT capabilities and Bluetooth to wirelessly share tracks, waypoints, routes and geocaches with other compatible Garmin devices”
- “For an extremely accurate temperature reading, fēnix can be paired with tempeTM, Garmin’s new external temperature sensor”
- “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”
- “The polyurethane wristband will be available in olive or orange and an optional leather wristband can be added”
Here’s the full news release.