Garmin unveils three new GPS smartwatches

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Garmin has just unveiled three new fitness smartwatches, the Forerunner 230, 235, and 630 models.

Garmin is famous for its GPS devices, but the company has recently forayed into the wearable technology market with three new runners’ watches crammed with specialized features that help you track your performance and progress. According to a report from CNET, the watches come with an accompanying mobile app that has been updated with a wide range of new features as well.

The Forerunners 230, 235, and the high-end 630 all come stocked with GPS technology that helps measure a runner’s pace and distance. Its tracking can be paused or lapped, and can measure steps, calories burned, and time slept. Each of the watches is water resistant up to 50 meters, and can be safely worn while bathing and swimming.

Garmin has updated the watches from previous models to include functions found in the smartwatch arena. They can display notifications sent from Android or iOS devices to alert the receipt of a text, email or a call, and is connectable by Bluetooth. The watch can even control your phone’s music playlist, and can be customized with new faces, widgets and apps.

The Forerunners 230 and 235 are extremely similar, but the 235 also contains an optical heart-rate sensor. This is the second Garmin watch to include this technology, which tracks heart rate accurately and reliably. The 230 can still monitor a runner’s heart rate, but it requires an ANT+ chest strap to be connected. Though it may be uncomfortable, the strap and the sensor can track the maximum amount of oxygen you can intake, and help predict the finish time of a race. It can also provide a recommendation of how long to rest following a workout.

The battery on the 230 will last up to 16 hours in training mode, or as long as 5 weeks if it’s just being used to display notifications and track activities. The 235 can last up to 11 hours with an active satellite signal and nine days in tracking mode.

The Forerunner 630 has a high-res touchscreen that remains permanently on. It has vibration alerts and Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing users to upload their workout and activity data without connecting to their phone via Bluetooth.

The 630 doesn’t have the optical heart-rate sensor, but can also be paired with Garmin’s HRM-Run chest strap to gather data on a person’s workout. It can measure a runner’s acceleration, steps for minute, vertical oscillation, and time spent on the ground.

The watch can estimate the maximum amount of oxygen you can take in, predict the time it will take to finish a race, and monitor recovery times after a workout. When paired with the heart strap, it can also monitor lactate and stress threshold levels. The watch’s battery will last 16 hours with an active GPS signal, and four weeks while tracking activity and receiving notifications.

Garmin expects to begin shipping the watches by the fourth quarter of 2015. The prices will range from $250 to $400, and will be available in the U.K., the U.S., and Australia.

Daniel J. Brown

Daniel J. Brown (Editor-in-Chief) is a recently retired data analyst who gets a kick out of reading and writing the news. He enjoys good music, great food, and sports, with a slant towards Southern college football, basketball and professional baseball.

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