Bottom line: Garmin has announced the next generation of its GPS smartwatch, the Fenix 6 Series, that’s led by a flagship model with solar charging. With a starting price of $1,149.99, however, the company could struggle to move the high-end unit. Fortunately, there are lesser models that exclude solar charging starting at $599.99.
The appropriately named Fenix 6X Pro Solar Edition is the company’s first GPS watch to feature solar charging. It uses a transparent solar charging lens called Power Glass to help boost battery life – up to 24 days in smartwatch mode and 16 hours in GPS mode.
Elsewhere, you’ll find a 51mm case with a 1.4-inch sunlight-readable display that’s 36 percent larger than Fenix 5X models. It’s constructed of titanium and ships with a vented titanium band but it’s really the software features that set the Fenix 6 Series apart from traditional, non-fitness-focused smartwatches.
Garmin’s Dynamic PacePro feature helps runners stay on pace with grade-adjusted guidance while the heart rate and Pulse Ox sensors add additional insight to activities. The Body Battery Energy Monitor uses heart rate variability, stress, sleep and other metrics to gauge when you might be ready to be active or when it’s best to rest.
The ClimbPro ascent planner provides real-time information including gradient, distance and elevation gain to help with current and upcoming climbs. ABC sensors, including an altimeter for elevation data, barometer to monitor weather and three-axis electronic compass, will be immensely useful for outdoor types. Garmin has even baked in ski maps that show run names and difficulty ratings for more than 2,000 resorts around the globe and CourseView maps for more than 41,000 golf courses.
Garmin’s new GPS smartwatch starts at $599.99 for a base model although if you want all the bells and whistles that come along with the Solar Pro Edition, be prepared to shell out $1,149.99. They're available to order from today.