By Claire Reilly
Garmin spruiked its adventure sport credentials for the launch of its newest GPS navigation product overnight, an Altimeter, Barometer, Compass wristwatch (ABC wristwatch) with built-in GPS known as the fenix.
The event, hosted by Garmin Australasia MD Trevor Berrange, was timed with a global launch in Germany and featured a lively presentation from Australian adventurers and Garmin brand ambassadors James “Cas” Castrission and Justin “Jonesy”.
To get attendees in the mood for the unveiling of the fenix, Cas and Jonesy spoke at length about their various adventuring exploits which have seen them using Garmin products across the world, including during a 62-day, 3318-kilometre unsupported kayak paddle between Australia and New Zealand, and an unassisted trek to the South Pole.
The two Garmin spokes-adventurers also featured in a webisode series, known as the Garmin Connect Challenge, which was launched last night. The short films featured Cas and Jonesy using a variety of Garmin products (including the eTrex 10 personal GPS and Edge 200 bike computer) while they raced each other in car, kayak, bike, hike and run stages.
After the presentation and hands-on demonstrations of Garmin’s range, Berrange once more took to the stage to unveil the fenix.
“The Garmin fenix is an iconic product and it caters to the needs of adventure-loving Aussies,” said Berrange. “Garmin has a strong culture of innovation and we’re proud to be constantly shaping exciting developments in the GPS category with landmark products like the fenix.
“Building on the features of devices in our fitness and outdoor categories, fenix provides not only the strengths of an ABC wristwatch, but navigation and communication as well.”
The fenix features an altimeter that tracks altitude on ascents and descents, a 3-axis compass, and a barometer and temperature sensor with the option of connection to the external Tempe temperature sensor (available separately). It is also water resistant to 50 metres.
Users can tag up to 1,000 points of interest while bushwalking or exploring, while the ANT+ and Bluetooth capability allow for wireless unit-to-unit communication. It also features a TracBack feature that creates a “GPS bread crumb trail” that allows users to retrace their steps back to camp.
It has a 70x70 pixel black and white display and also features regular time, alarm, stopwatch and world clock readings. The fenix has a battery life of 16 hours when updating every second, or it will last for up to 60 hours in power save mode and 6 weeks in regular watch mode.
The device is available for RRP $449 and will be sold in “traditional outdoor stores” including Mountain Designs, Paddy Pallin and Anaconda, as well as selected retailers.
James "Cas" Castrission in front of a map showing the route mapped by a Garmin device during his unassisted paddle to New Zealand with Justin "Jonesy" Jones. The yellow dots represent each 24-hour period of the voyage.
The Garmin fenix unveiled at last night's launch.