Colour screens and full mapping abilities makes Garmin's Epix and Fenix 3 seriously desirable for outdoors types
Wearables and smartwatches might be big news at this year’s CES show, but it’s refreshing to see Garmin sticking to what it knows best and refining its excellent range of GPS watches with a slew of new models for 2015. The highlight was most certainly the colour screen Epix, which puts GPS mapping on the wrists of hikers and hill walkers, but there was truly something for everyone at the Garmin booth this year.
The Epix includes Garmin’s worldwide relief maps on its 1.4in colour touchscreen, with the option to download additional maps from any third party map resource. With 8GB on onboard memory, there should be more than enough room for all the maps you could need for a year of hiking and off-road adventuring. It has everything you would expect from a top-end GPS watch, including altimeter, barometer and digital compass, as well as compatibility with Garmin’s Connect IQ app store for customising with extra faces and widgets. The watch is completely waterproof, and also includes every one of Garmin’s fitness-focused features, meaning users don’t need to invest in two watches to track their different activities.
It should cost around £420 when it goes on sale in February.
Having used its predecessor, we were excited to see the Fenix 3 in the flesh; it drops the inbuilt maps found in the Epix in favour of a more streamlined design, high resolution colour screen and smartwatch features. The plastic bezel has been swapped out for a much more attractive stainless steel version, and there’s even a premium model with a sapphire glass display and stainless steel strap too.
Even with the new display, it should last 20 hours in GPS mode or 50 in UltraTrac mode. In basic smart watch mode, it should last a whopping 6 weeks between charges. It can display calls, text and email alerts from a paired smartphone, but of course has every exercise and activity tracking mode we’ve come to expect from the Fenix range, meaning runners, swimmers, cyclists, skiers and hikers are all covered.
It launches later this month with prices starting from £369.99, or £399.99 for a bundle including a heart rate monitor. Expect to pay up to £480 for the sapphire glass and stainless steel version though.