Goodbye Chest Straps, Garmin's Fenix 3 Multisport GPS Watch Gains a Heart Rate Monitor

By Andrew Liszewski on at

If swimming, surfing, biking, snowboarding, running, and hiking sound like the average weekend for you, Garmin’s fēnix 3 is the multisport GPS watch that just might sell you on the merits of wearing a smartwatch — especially now that there’s a version with a heart rate monitor built-in.

Instead of jumping to version 4, Garmin is revealing some worthwhile updates to its fēnix 3 multisport watch at CES this year, including a new model called the $600 (UK pricing TBC) fēnix 3 HR that includes the company’s optical heart rate technology so that athletes monitoring their vitals no longer need to wear a cumbersome chest strap while they train.

Goodbye Chest Straps, Garmin's Fenix 3 Multisport GPS Watch Gains a Heart Rate Monitor

The other new versions of the fēnix 3 watches being introduced this year include a premium $800 model on the right featuring a light but incredibly strong and durable titanium strap and bezel, and a $600 version, on the left, that you can wear with leather and nylon bands for a more casual look.

Garmin has also announced a new software update for the fēnix 3, compatible with the original versions of the multisport watch introduced last year, that adds additional metrics tracking including:

Stride Length: Measures the length of a runner’s stride in real time.

Ground Contact Time Balance: Measures a runner’s ground contact symmetry, which some runners have found to correlate with injuries or strength imbalances.

Vertical Ratio: The cost-benefit ratio of vertical oscillation to stride length, serving as one indictor of a runner’s efficiency.

Lactate Threshold: Estimates the level of effort at which fatigue rapidly increases in terms of a runner’s heart rate and pace.

Stress Score: Measures heart rate variability to make an assessment of a user’s overall level of stress.

Performance Condition: Provides a real-time fitness-level measurement relative to a runner’s average baseline, which indicates performance readiness for the day’s workout or race.

The update also includes new activity profiles for stand up paddleboarding, rowing, and golf, and through the Garmin Connect mobile app running on a smartphone, users can access and download more than 40,000 different courses around the world turning their smartwatch into a wristworn score card. [Garmin]

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