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Garmin's latest smartwatch is for athletes with deep pockets

Engadget Engadget 25/08/2016 Billy Steele
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Garmin is no stranger to the smartwatch game and now the company is adding another timepiece to its lineup. The Fenix Chronos is Garmin's high-end wearable that offers "a full multi-sport and navigational toolset," if you're willing to pay big bucks. First, the Fenix Chronos comes in either titanium or steel to complete the refined look. The company says that these materials offer a design that can make easily the switch from hiking and biking on a trail to attending a dressy event that evening. Both versions have a scratch-resistant sapphire lens and a 1.2-inch Chroma display with LED backlighting for high visibility at all times.

Garmin's ConnectIQ app store is at work here once again, bringing the company's add-ons to the new wearable. That downloadable content includes apps, widgets, watch faces and data fields. When paired with a smartphone, the Fenix Chronos will display incoming call, text and email alerts on the watch face and uploads any collected activity data to Garmin Connect. Speaking of tracking, the Fenix Choronos employs an omni-directional EXOTM antenna with GPS and GLONASS satellite reception. In order words, the location tech here works better in "challenging environments" than regular ol' GPS. The new model also houses Garmin's Elevate tech for heart rate tracking on your wrist.

In addition to GPS guidance and pulse monitoring, the Fenix Chronos can track daily activity like steps taken, calories burned, steps climbed and sleep. Built-in altimeter, barometer and compass will help users keep track of location and more during activities like running, biking, swimming, rowing, golf and more. In terms of battery life, Garmin touts 25 hours in UltraTrac battery-saver mode, 13 hours in GPS mode and one full week in smartwatch mode. Of course, the company says that the exact performance depends on the settings of the device while it's in use.

There's good and bad news in terms of availability. The good news is the Fenix Chronos is available now. The bad news is the most affordable model is $900. For that sum, you'll get the steel housing with a leather band. If you swap out the leather band for a stainless steel band, you'll have to pay $100 more. Finally the top-end titanium model with a matching band will set you back $1,500. That's an awful lot to pay for a smartwatch when there are plenty of options in the $300-$500 range. The titanium model is one of the highest-priced we've seen as it equals TAG Heuer's Connected smartwatch. If Garmin's high-end wearable caught your eye, be prepared to empty that piggy bank in order to get one for your wrist.

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