Click Images to Display.
All images from garmin.com
I had given you a head-up on the Venu a few weeks ago, but I had no idea what the specs were going to be. Now, we know.
It, other than in terms of physical size/weight, DISPLAY TYPE and battery life, is IDENTICAL to the also new Vivocative 4 — albeit the Venu $50 more expensive. See 2nd image above, from Garmin, when you do their COMPARE and ask just for the ‘differences’.
The BIG breakthrough is the AMOLED touchscreen display with a 390×390 resolution, a full 50% higher resolution than on other recent Garmins, including the new Fenix 6. That is BIG. Wow. A 50% increase in screen resolution. The watch face is Garmin’s ‘old’ 1.2″ standard (as in say Fenix 5 Plus) rather than the new 1.3″ as in Fenix 6 & VA4. Also 20mm strap, as in Fenix ‘S’ models rather than the 22mm strap.
I gather, however, that this takes a heavy toll on battery life and it is difficult to keep it in ‘Always On’ mode. Garmin’s stated battery life (above) would indicate (to I) about a 24-hour battery life with 3-4 hours of music and 1.5 hours of GPS. I could just about get by with that, but it would be frustrating.
Garmin has added a LOT of high-end functionality into the Venu & Vivoactive 4: viz., Pulse Ox, Body Battery, respiration tracking, advanced sleep monitoring, music, Garmin Pay, fall detection etc. So, that is a LOT of smartwatch for the $399 price. Much better than anything that Fitbit offers — from what I can see. I am glad. I am a longtime Garmin shareholder. SMILE.
While the Vivoactive 4 is available now, the Venu is slated for Garmin’s infamous 5-8 weeks. That is not good. I will keep an eye on that for you.
I have had 12 Fitness Trackers In The Last 2-Years.
I fully appreciate the dynamics and physics. I am NOT new to this and as you can see above I have been LUCKY enough to have(/evaluate) 12 decent (one could even say ‘high-end’) activity trackers over the last year, spanning Garmin, Fitbit, Polar and Amazfit. And I will say upfront: ‘in my opinion Garmin, especially with the likes of the Fenix 5 (Plus) is better at counting steps than a Fitbit’. But, that is kind of old news.
My wife wears a Garmin Vivosport. She has the same questions. How much of the step count is phantom?
It is inevitable. The accelerometer has to measure arm movements. It has no idea I am in the shower and standing still. It thinks I am walking. And then there was the 6-weeks when I was on crutches! Never counted my labored steps, and I was walking more than most — on the crutches — because my left hand wasn’t moving enough! Again, I understand. Just frustrating.
Why it always happens in the shower these days has to do with my latest ‘schedule’ of the last two-months. As I continue to recover from my knee surgery I have upped the mileage on my morning walk/run from ~3.5 miles to 4+ miles — always with GPS on. Given that a GPS mile equates to about 2,400 steps I am at about 9,700 — 9,800 steps when I get home. Then I get in the shower. Then I hit my GOAL. Bingo.
I did some EXTENSIVE step count record keeping with the Fitbit Inspire HR. With brushing teeth and showering I was clocking up around 400 steps in the bathroom. So, Garmin isn’t doing too bad.
Yes, I walk more than 10,000 steps MOST days. In the days I do, I am in excess of 14,000. So, the 10,000 is not my max. I also realize and tell people that what counts is the trend. Doing the same number of (or more) steps each day.
But, wanted to share this because it has got so rote — having the Garmin do its ‘GOAL’ celebration while I shower.
Oh, I average 41 floors count a day. I go past the 10 floor goal every day (as long as I am not on crutches). I usually hit that goal in the first 30-minutes of my walk/run because I live on the side of a ‘mountain’ and can’t go in any direction without doing some major elevation changes.
My Garmin ‘MARQ Expedition’ that I got in May 2019.
I have known that the Garmin Fenix 6 Series was going to be introduced on August 29, 2019, for a few weeks now. I knew it was going to have a larger (i.e., 1.3″ (& 1.4″ on ‘X’)) display than the MARQ or Fenix 5. But, until today I had not, alas, seen all the specs.
Do I need a Fenix 6? No.
Do I want a Fenix 6? Probably.
Why? Because I like to have the latest and greatest (though in this case the MARQ, with its pretty neat titanium body, is still probably the greatest).
OK. Time for full disclosure. I am SUPPOSED to get a Fenix 6 so I can evaluate it and write some reviews. That would be nice. But, that is not a given as yet.
To be honest, only one feature tickles me — right now. And that is SOLAR. But, that is not going to work on two fronts. I have always stayed clear of the ‘X’ models. I have small (‘girlie’) wrists! The ‘X’ would overwhelm it and make me look stupid (or stupider). The 47mm size, as you can see above, fits perfectly. So, the ‘X’ is out. For now that rules out Solar. Plus, I live in New Hampshire and most of my running/walking/hiking is done under tall trees. So, it is either winter when the Sun is not that high in the sky or it is not winter and the trees block most of the sunshine.
At 66 (next week) I don’t need any of the fany performance-related features. I just need time, distance, pace, HR. At my age you are just glad you still have a pulse.
I am pretty sure that all of the software features on the Fenix 6, including power management, will be available on the MARQ, Fenix 5 Plus and Forerunner 945 by November. I will try and get that confirmed.
So, that is where I sit.
I doubt whether I will get rid of my MARQ.
But, I probably will try and get a Fenix 6 as well. SMILE. Evaluating and writing detailed reviews has its benefits.
So, stay tuned.
The New Garmin Fenix 6(X) [August 28, 2019], With Its Leather Strap, Reminds Me Of My MARQ Expedition.
Amazon’s PREMATURE Listing From Monday, August 12, 2019.
Amazon (if you remember)
did EXACTLY this also
with the Garmin Forerunner 945;
i.e., ‘accidentally’ listed it
weeks before it was announced.
Read about that here — if you have forgotten about that leak.
My Garmin MARQ Expedition
with the CHEAPER Garmin Leather Strap.
Yes, it is the strap that makes me think the Garmin Fenix 6 (and the usual ‘S’ and ‘X’ variants) looks like my MARQ Expedition — but part of that is that I am using the cheaper $60 Fenix 5 leather strap on my MARQ so as not to ruin the expensive MARQ strap.
But, the Fenix 6 is going to be DIFFERENT from anything else we have seen from Garmin. It is going to have a 1.4″ display — compared to the 1.2″ on prior watches of similar ilk, including the Fenix 5X Plus. That is BIG. Very BIG. I like that. But, (damn) no AMOLED again. That irks me, though I have to admit that the sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel display on my MARQ is pretty impressive and pleasing. The Fenix 6 looks like it will have this technology, just on a bigger screen.
I initially thought that the Fenix 6 would be a watered down MARQ Athlete — with a leather strap. But, having studied the Amazon picture, long and hard, the Fenix 6 does not have the MARQ bezel.
I am pretty sure that from a hardware standpoint — i.e., the all important sensors — the Fenix 6 will use what is now found in the MARQ/Forerunner 945. That should be pretty good.
The rest, from what I can see, is ALL software! That means much of it, if not all of it, will be also available on the Forerunner 945, MARQ and possibly even the Fenix 5 Plus. Garmin does that. Think back to ‘Fall Detection‘. This is good.
The new software features, viz., Grade-Adjusted Pace Monitoring and ‘environmentally adjusted’ VO2 Max, seems pretty esoteric. We have seen the other features, music, Pulse Ox, maps on other models.
I was surprised by the $950 price tag — albeit for the 6X model. That still means a Fenix 6 will probably be in the $800 — $850 range. That is premium pricing (and that coming from one who is wearing a $1,750 MARQ).
The Forerunner 945, at $600, will probably end up with all the software features — but without the BIGGER display.
I will keep you posted over the next few weeks.
Yes, I will get a Fenix 6 for evaluation. SMILE.
I will also do another post on Garmin leather straps.
Click images to ENLARGE.
I did download ‘ActiFace’ into my new (2-days old) MARQ Expedition when I happened to spot ‘Crystal’. It, in its default cool mint blue, looked cool. Also was not too busy. Stylish.
I downloaded it. It came up, no problems. Quickly customized it (as shown in top picture) via Garmin Connect. Kept it simple, just to the main fields I like. With all the widgets on the MARQ I really don’t need more than this on my watch face.
I tried some other colors. Nothing was as cool as this default blue. So, I am sticking with it. I like it. I think it looks good on the MARQ.
Click images to ENLARGE.
The Twelve (12) Trackers I Have Had In The Last 2-Years
The Packing & Box
Yes, I know I am VERY fortunate (but I did a fair amount of writing to earn this). Basically, I did NOT have to pay for it. I traded in my 7-month old (and in IMMACULATE condition) Fenix 5 Plus and called upon ‘virtual $$$s‘ I had banked away for technical & writing services rendered over a 6-month period. Though I now rarely charge folks for my writing, I still get rewarded for it. This is the most visible example.
Impressive watch — but I am not sure whether I would have paid $1,750 for it! Given that I didn’t have to part with any money, at all, at all, it feels GREAT.
The Titanium body looks good and the Italian leather strap does look pretty good.
Now this is nowhere CLOSE to the most expensive watch I have owned. I wore a Rolex, with diamonds on its face, for 26-years. This watch is 1/4 the price of the Rolex.
Garmin has tried to make it upmarket. The box it comes in is HUGE and weights a ‘ton’. The dark gray plastic box (which feels metalish) is about the same size — and looks just like — a 6V lawn mower battery. Garmin is trying to compete with the packaging of high end watches and I am not sure whether they truly succeeded. 15-years ago, I sold my EMPTY Rolex box, since I had no use for it, on eBay for $98! Doubt whether I could get $22 for the empty MARQ box.
Though the straps are 22mm Quick-Fit the black plastic strap they include in the box has ‘larger’ (nicer) wrap-around ends over the Quick-Fit mechanism.
All the screens have been jazzed up and are much more appealing though it is still the same old TIRED display from the original Fenix 5. That is definitely a negative.
It has this ‘Body Battery’ feature, oxygen saturation and fall-detection. I haven’t worn it for long enough to determine if the ‘Body Battery’ or oxygen saturation is for I. For an old guy my oxygen saturation, at 96%+, is adequate.
So, this is my first cut review/impression.
I am GLAD I got it, the WAY I did.
I will keep you posted.