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Eyes wide open for Garmin in the cycling and outdoor sectors

Garmin Varia Vision - Photo credit 2015 Ronny Kiaulehn/Garmin

Garmin has announced two new products for the cycling and outdoor sectors. A key new offering is Varia Vision – an in-sight display accessory that Garmin notes will help enhance cyclists’ road awareness by putting information directly in their line of sight. In tandem with this new product, Garmin has updated the f?nix 3 multisport watch range with three new product options.

Varia Vision
The Varia Vision in-sight display from Garmin is the latest product to target the smart glasses space. Brands such as Recon Jet and Solos have entered this new category in recent months with dedicated smart sunglasses. Garmin’s approach is slightly different, as Varia Vision attaches to cyclists’ existing sunglasses.

Varia Vision displays key data from a compatible device including performance data, turn-by-turn directions, incoming smart notifications and more. When paired with the first-of-its-kind Varia rearview radar system, Varia Vision warns users of traffic approaching from behind, helping create a safer riding environment.

Varia Vision is being announced in conjunction with the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will be showcased at the Garmin booth, #35811.



“We’re extremely excited to announce the next device in our line of innovative Varia cycling awareness products – the Varia Vision in-sight display,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin Vice President of Worldwide Sales. “Cyclists can now easily view their data and receive alerts during a ride without needing to take their eyes off the road ahead.”

Featuring eight hours of battery life and a glove and wet-weather friendly touch panel to cycle between data displays, Varia Vision aims to make it easier for cyclists to keep focus while riding. Its adaptable mounting and integrated accelerometer allows it to attach on either arm of the glasses with a fully adjustable arm and eyepiece for optimum display positioning.

Garmin Varia Vision - Photo credit 2015 Ronny Kiaulehn/Garmin
Garmin Varia Vision - Photo credit 2015 Ronny Kiaulehn/Garmin

Varia Vision features a durable, weatherproof design while weighing only one ounce (29.7g for maximum comfort, and its integrated ambient light sensor and colour display aim to ensure readability in all conditions.

Riders connect Varia Vision with a compatible Garmin Edge device for integrated, customisable data screens to view performance stats and, when available, turn-by-turn prompts including distance to turn plus street name and directional arrows. Varia Vision also connects with Varia rearview radar for in-ride, in-sight visibility of vehicles approaching from behind.

Cyclists can also stay connected while on long rides with Varia Vision’s vibration alerts for performance, navigation, or cycling awareness prompts, as well as incoming smart notifications. Riders can receive alerts for incoming calls, texts and more without taking their eyes off the road.

Varia Vision in-sight display will begin shipping in Q1 and will be available for US$400/£320.

f?nix 3 Sapphire GPS sport watches
Garmin has also announced an update to the f?nix 3 multisport watch range that includes Garmin Elevate wrist-based heart rate technology, additional activity profiles and new product variations. The three new sapphire options include a premium version featuring a titanium bezel and band, a version with classic leather and nylon straps, and a version touting Garmin Elevate wrist-based heart rate.

All watches are also getting a software update with new activity profiles for golf, stand up paddle boarding, rowing, as well as the latest advanced running dynamics and physiological measurements. This free update will be available to all current f?nix 3 owners, so all f?nix 3 users can download and experience the new activity profiles.

Garmin fenix 3 multisport watch range

“As one of our most popular watches, we’re thrilled to offer new f?nix 3 models to people with an active lifestyle,” said Martin Resch, Product Manager EMEA. “We’re excited to bring Garmin Elevate technology to the f?nix line, and the updated leather and titanium versions will appeal to users whether they’re hitting the trails, the meeting room, or even the golf course.”

Featuring Garmin Elevate wrist-based heart rate technology, f?nix 3 HR users can monitor heart rate 24/7 at the wrist, giving the option to run without a heart rate strap. Its colourful gauge identifies heart rate zone and beats per minute in real time.

Building off the previous version of advanced running dynamics such as cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time; keen athletes will be able to utilise more data and physiological measurements with the new f?nix 3. The new metrics include:

  • Stride Length: Measures the length of a runner’s stride in real time.
  • Ground Contact Time Balance: Measures a runner’s ground contact symmetry, which some runners have found to correlate with injuries or strength imbalances.
  • Vertical Ratio: The cost-benefit ratio of vertical oscillation to stride length, serving as one indicator of a runner’s efficiency.
  • Lactate Threshold: Estimates the level of effort at which fatigue rapidly increases in terms of a runner’s heart rate and pace.
  • Stress Score: Measures heart rate variability to make an assessment of a user’s overall level of stress.
  • Performance Condition: Provides a real-time fitness-level measurement relative to a runner’s average baseline, which indicates performance readiness for the day’s workout or race.

The new f?nix 3 models will still be compatible with the Connect IQ platform. Through the Connect IQ store in the Garmin Connect mobile app, users can download any of the free apps, widgets, watch faces or data fields so their f?nix 3 can suit their individual needs.

The new f?nix 3 Sapphire watches will be available in Q1 2015. The f?nix 3 Sapphire HR will have an RRP of £469.99. The f?nix 3 Sapphire Titanium will have an RRP of £629.99; and the f?nix 3 Sapphire with leather and nylon straps will have a RRP of £469.99.




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