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The problem with exercise-focused smartwatches is that they don’t always look very stylish on the wrist. But Garmin’s new Fenix Chronos combines a slew of fitness features with the classic, luxury look of a traditional timepiece.
The watch is available in three styles: a titanium version and two stainless steel models, which come with either a metal band or a leather band. They feature a high-strength, scratch-resistant sapphire lens and a 1.2-inch always-on Chroma display with LED backlighting.
The Fenix Chronos comes with an omni-directional EXO antenna with GPS and GLONASS satellite reception, meaning it should be particularly useful for outdoor activities such as hiking and mountaineering.
When it comes to fitness features, the Chronos has the usual step, calorie, and sleep trackers. Its built-in altimeter, barometer, and compass offer specialized functions beyond just location tracking when swimming, skiing, biking, and more. With paddle sports, for example, it can count the stroke count, stroke rate, and even distance per stroke. It also comes with Garmin’s Elevate technology to give you an accurate heart rate measurement from your wrist.
Battery life can often be an issue with smartwatches. The Chronos is better than many others in this respect, offering up to 25 hours in UltraTrac mode, 13 hours in GPS mode, and up to 1 week in smartwatch mode (all depending on settings).
Connecting to Garmin’s Connect IQ store lets users download a variety of customizable watch faces, apps, widgets, and data fields. Pairing the watch with a smartphone gives you the usual call, text, and email notifications, and uploads activity data to Garmin Connect.
One caveat with the Fenix Chronos is the price. Luxury is the key word here, so the cheapest model – the stainless steel version with the leather band – is $900. Upgrading to the steel band adds another $100 to the cost, while the titanium model is $1500 - the same price as the Tag Heuer Connected, though that watch does lack many of the Chronos’ features, including GPS.