Apps On Your Wrist: Garmin Upgrades Sport Watch Line

Leave your phone at home and access Strava and other apps from your wrist… that’s one premise of a to-be-released watch series announced by Garmin. Unveiled this week at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), the watches track distance, pace, cadence, and other requisite stats, but now they run on a new open platform to let software developers create custom watch apps.

The three models will be available in March. Here’s a quick breakdown.

Un-Sporty Sport Watch: You can wear the Fenix 3 all day, every day. In addition to a range of tracking for every sport from running to skiing, the watch, which starts at $500, boasts a six-week battery life (with GPS turned off). It has a “boardroom” upgrade: Styling tweaks like optional stainless steel bands and a variety of faces (including analog), that make it appropriate for the office.

Color Mapping Watch: The Epix starts at $550 and also has the new open platform and a new kind of internal GPS antenna Garmin says is stronger than ever. It is geared to backpackers and hikers, tracking distance, speed, pace, calories and more displayed on a 1.5-inch color screen. Bonus: On that big face it displays detailed maps — the watch comes with a subscription to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery and has real-time map tracking. It’s like having Google Maps on your wrist.

Touchscreen Control: The Vivoactive line ($250-$300) has a touchscreen instead of button controls. Bluetooth connectivity alerts you of phone notifications. It also tracks your runs, rides, and swim sessions via GPS. A nice add-on, the watch has a mode to trigger an alert when it sense you’ve been sitting at your desk too long.