Home Technology Garmin launches new solar-powered running watches

Garmin launches new solar-powered running watches

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When it comes to GPS running watches, one of the things I look for most is battery life. It might not matter to many, but if you’ve ever needed to participate in an event that runs longer than 12 hours, you’ll know that most smartwatches are not going to help and you need to look at the more specialised devices. Garmin is one of those companies that caters for this crowd, and its about to make things even more attractive with a new range of multi-sport watches that include solar charging technology, which could increase their battery life significantly.

The Instinct, Fenix 6, Fenix 6S and Tactix Delta adventure will all be getting new solar editions, along with new exercise modes including surf, mountain biking and climbing activities which should appeal to those ultra and adventure athletes out there. Something which Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales, reveals people have been wanting:

Garmin’s multisport GPS watches are the choice for athletes and adventurers willing to push themselves through the next mile or over the next mountain. Using our solar capabilities, the new Instinct, Fenix 6 and 6S, and Tactix Delta solar watches provide extraordinary battery life and give customers the ability to follow their passion to the sunset and further. In addition to the solar charging capabilities, these editions are full of updated and unique features. From new camouflage design patterns to surfing activity profiles, there is something for everyone

An outline of the new models is below:

Instinct Solar

Designed more for the adventurer more than the sportsman who needs live GPS tracking, the Instinct Solar boasts the best battery life of the bunch with up to 24 days in smartwatch mode indoors and more than 50 days with sufficient solar exposure. When used with expedition mode (which only periodically pings a satellite) and combined with enough sunlight, Garmin says the smartwatch provides increased GPS functionality while still delivering over two months of battery life.

Garmin is also catering for surfers and military people with two additional watches in this range. A Surf Edition that features specialised features such as tide data and a dedicated surfing activity to help boardriders make the most of the waves that are available. Along with a new Tactical Edition that includes such features as night-vision goggle compatibility and Stealth mode

In addition to Instinct’s already robust outdoor activity and health tracking, it now also includes Pulse Ox to gauge how well an individual’s body is absorbing oxygen and Body Battery to optimise body energy reserves through health monitoring metrics. These last features being pretty useful to other sports as well, so something which I wouldn’t be surprised could make its way to other models in the near future.

Fenix 6 Series – Solar Editions 

The popular Fenix watches are considered to be Garmin’s top-of-the range models for sportsmen. This new model now features Garmin’s Power Glass solar charging lens and a customisable Power Manager mode. This enables the watch harness to use the power of the sun to stay on and remain performance-ready for weeks, so users will have more on-wrist time to perform their activities, training features, onboard mapping, and music streaming. It can operate up to 16 days with sufficient solar exposure.  

Tactix Delta – Solar Edition  

Built to military standards, the new Tactix Delta – Solar Edition will see the outdoor robustness finally combined with a battery life to match, lasting up to 24 days with sufficient solar exposure. New features coming to the watch include stealth mode, which disables location sharing and wireless connectivity, and a kill switch to wipe all user memory. All pretty much useless for the rest of us, but cool to have if you want to feel important. The rest of the regular features including mapping, music, advanced training and regular spots modes are available through the watch too.

It’s good to see Garmin developing their solar capabilities and this will only serve to make their watches even more useful to the extreme people who need them. The target market for that is admittedly limited for now, but with the world in the middle of a pandemic, getting a longer battery life may be critical if things really go bad and those vaccines turn everyone into zombies.

Last Updated: July 13, 2020

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