Garmin refreshes its fenix line-up, boosting battery capabilities
By Edwin Yapp September 5, 2019
- Three new models for the serious multi-sport enthusiasts
- Targeting a very niche, high-end market; market size still small
GARMIN Ltd has launched what it claims to be its most advanced multi-sport smartwatch/, which the company believes will help sports enthusiasts to manage their workout schedules as well as rest and sleep times.
According to Ivan Lai, product manager of Garmin Southeast Asia, its latest iteration of its fenix 6 is the perfect smartwatch for those Malaysians who love the outdoors and has been designed specifically to benefit many sports enthusiasts.
“The fenix 6 collection has features such as great battery life, an advanced power manager and even a solar charging function that should appeal to those who love the outdoors,” he said at the launch.
The fenix 6 collection comprises the fenix 6 Pro; the fenix 6 Sapphire and the fenix 6X Pro Solar. The fenix 6 Pro and Sapphire measures 1.4-inch in diameter, up from 1.3-inch from the previous fenix 5 Plus model. Both are constructed for a trimmer, more comfortable fit on the wrist.
The fenix 6 Sapphire edition is equipped with the added feature of a scratch-resistant sapphire lens. The top-of-the-line fenix 6X Pro Solar meanwhile features a rugged sophisticated 1.4-inch sunlight-readable display, which is 36% bigger than the previous fenix 5X model.
The big selling point of this watch is that it supports a transparent solar charging lens, which the company says is used to charge the internal battery, thereby extending battery life. The company claims that the solar charge extends the normal three-day operating time of the fenix 6X by a whopping 21 days.
To further aid with extending battery life, Garmin has introduced a new customisable Power Manager, which it says will allow the user to see and control how various settings and sensors impact battery life.
Users can adjust their battery saving modes and disable certain features to extend battery life on the fly. What’s more, all three smartwatches support topographic maps for outdoor adventurers, including ski maps for over 2,000 ski resorts around the world.
The devices also support Southeast Asia’s maps, along with hiking trails and 41,000 golf courses.
Features-wise, all three smartwatches are packed with easy-to-access features including built-in activity profiles to track training status with adjustments for heat and altitude.
All models include enhanced wrist-based heart rate for all-day stress tracking, underwater wrist-based heart rate for swimming and ‘Pulse Ox’ blood oxygen saturation to support sleep monitoring and altitude acclimation.
Also included is an innovative Body Battery energy monitoring feature, which the company claims lets users see their body’s energy levels at any given moment, helping users with scheduling workouts, rest times and sleep.
Using a combination of data gathered from stress, heart rate variability, sleep and activity, a higher Body Battery indicates the time is optimal to be active whereas a lower number suggests rest is in order.
However, Garmin Pay, an integrated NFC-based payment system will not be offered in Malaysia as yet, according to Garmin’s Lai. As of the launch, there are no indications as to when this might happen.
Available from Aug 30, 2019, the fēnix 6 series has a suggested retail price that ranges from US$711 to US$1,351 (RM2,999 to RM5,699) and is for sale at all authorised Garmin retailers. For more on detailed pricing, visit Garmin’s website.
Analyst weighs in
According to Satyajit Sinha, Counterpoint Research’s analyst for IoT and security, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand are the leading countries in the smartwatch game. The leading brands in these markets are Apple, Samsung, Imoo, Huawei and Amazfit.
According to Counterpoint Research smartwatch tracker, Garmin is a niche player with only 1.5% of the market as of the first quarter of 2019.
“The smartwatch market is growing on three key factors,” he told Digital News Asia in an email interview. “These include unique design smartwatch makers; cellular connectivity adoption; and affordable pricing models the likes of Huawei and Amazfit.”
When asked what were Garmin’s strengths, Satyajit noted that Garmin’s major markets are in Europe and the United States.
“Garmin focuses on the high-end price band and and it is refreshing its models at regular intervals with key features such as built-in maps, Garmin Pay mobile payments, music storage; these are some of the features that are attracting consumer interest.
“Moreover, the inclusion of Pulse Oxygen sensor technology for blood oxygen saturation awareness is one of the unique features in the market to compete with Apple and Fitbit. “However, the price model and non-cellular strategy are the two key challenges for Garmin,” he said.
Satyajit also noted that the improved battery features on the fenix 6 is a good move for Garmin because battery life is a constant concern with smartwatches.
“The fenix 6 products, with longer battery life especially embedded with a solar power charger is an industry-unique solution and will certainly solve the battery issue to a certain extent,” he said.