Tag Archives: Vivoactive 3

I Returned My MARQ Expedition & Am Getting A Second Fenix 6 Pro — This One In Titanium.

by Anura Guruge

Putting the MARQ to bed (or at least into a box).

Click to access this post … with more pictures.

Click to access this post.

I had it for 5.6-months. When I got the MARQ I was so happy and excited and I thought I would keep it forever — and I did have a Rolex that I kept for 22-years before giving it to my son.

The MARQ software had issues. Some of it probably because I insisted on using my preferred (customized) ‘ActiFace‘ watch face rather than one supplied by Garmin. But, last night was the last straw. All of the MARQ conniption appear to happen AFTER I finish a walk — whether as a GPS activity or just walking 1,000+ steps without invoking ‘walk’. Well, last night, after my 11pm walk, the bloody thing beeped and squawked and the next thing I knew it appeared to be LOCKED. Finally worked out that it had gone into ‘battery saving mode’! Ah! I had charged it, 100%, 11-hours earlier. Battery was down to 14% and I had the Pulse OX off. Well, I wasted 30-minutes getting things back to normal and I then had to charge it again.

That was IT. I had enough.

Prior to that, at least once a week, after one of my walks I would lose ActiFace. It would take 15-minutes to get it back. There never was one guaranteed solution. Required me trying this that and the other.

Yes, IF I also did NOT have a Fenix 6 Sapphire I would not have known any better …

But, to be fair, there was a reason I had got a Fenix 6. The MARQ never felt robust. I had vision of it dying — totally, as had two Vivoactive 3s. This time around I did not want to go for 4-days without a Garmin to track my activities. So, I had decided that I am always going to have two Garmins around.

The Fenix 6 is head-and-shoulders better than the MARQ Explorer (now called the ‘Adventurer’). The software is more reliable and the display is much, much, much, much better.

Hence, why I am getting another Fenix 6. This one in Titanium. NO, I will not be wearing the orange band. Instead I will use a $22 leather band from Amazon. They look real nice on the Fenix 6.

Well, I will keep you posted.

I do keep track of my Activity Trackers.

Click to ENLARGE.

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by Anura Guruge

The New AMOLED Garmin ‘Venu’ — Delays, Issues & Concerns.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE. From U.S. ‘garmin.com’.

Folks are claiming that it is available in Australia.

Garmin AUSTRALIA does have a shorter delivery period.

Click image to access the ‘VENU Forum’ @ ‘Garmin Forums’.

ISSUE: The U.S. availability for the new Garmin VENU is still stated as being 5 — 8 weeks, the SAME it was when it was announced 4-weeks ago, on September 5, 2019. Ideally it should now be saying, worst case, 3 — 5 weeks. Yes, Garmin could change this tomorrow to say ‘1 — 3 Days’. It does happen.

The Garmin Forums, however, have had an active ‘VENU’ Forum for at least the last couple of weeks. There are some interesting posts on that Forum. There are those that claim that they already have a VENU. At least one claims he got it from Australia. As you can see, above, I checked. Plausible. But, it doesn’t make sense UNLESS Garmin is using Australia as a big beat-site.

And to add further credence, on the Forum, ‘Garmin’ has announced that they are rolling out v.3.40 of the software.

CONCERNS: There is also a post, on the Forum, from what looks like a Garmin ‘insider’ that speculates that the delay may be due to the US-China trade war and tensions. They are not sure, but there is a concern. YIKES! Not good. This could hit all of us hard.

At this rate it is going to be touch and go whether the VENU will be available for Black Friday. Maybe that is not a bad thing. You don’t really want it discounted that soon.

In terms of the availability being stuck at ‘5 to 8 weeks’, it reminds me of the infamous Vivoactive 3 roll-out exactly 2-years ago. Same scenario. Makes me nervous because I had a lot of bad luck with the Vivoactive 3.

ISSUE: Because AMOLED displays can be a drag on the battery there is a ‘low-power’ ‘always-on’ display ‘mode’ (which just shows the time) on the VENU. The ‘Fitbit Versa 2‘ has that too. Appears, however, that this always-on mode has issues. Only a few watch faces support it. ‘Crystal’, which I tried on my Garmin MARQ, being one of them. But, I also see that ‘Crystal’ and a few other watch faces are now claiming that they are permanently ON, impacting battery life, even IF they are not your chosen watch face! Yikes. That is bad. I didn’t install ‘Crystal’ on my Fenix 6 because of this.

CONCERN: Will more and more watch faces end up being permanently on because they want to support the VENU always-on display mode? That would be a shame.

ISSUE: I am seeing, on the Forum, sensor (e.g., barometer) and software bug issues very similar to what I saw with the initial roll-out of the Vivoactive 3. That worries me. Yes, the VENU, theoretically, is still in beta-test phase. So, maybe they will iron out these issues. But, I doubt whether they will opt for new sensors this late in the game.

CONCERN: I had two Vivoactive 3s die on me. I just don’t want to go through that with the VENU.

So, those are my issues & concerns.

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by Anura Guruge

Garmin Partners With Amazon PRIME For Music — Download Music To Your ‘M’ Watches From Prime.

by Anura Guruge

Click to access Garmin.

You need a new Garmin APP
from the Garmin ‘Connect IQ’ Store.

Click to access the APP.

This is BIG, especially IF you are already an Amazon Prime member (and I am, though I am not into music on my Garmins).

Thanks to Amazon you can even have a 30-day FREE trial — Amazon hoping to snare you into Prime.

I am NOW a believer in Prime. I wasn’t for the longest time. I always ordered enough (e.g. $25) to get free-shipping. Then, maybe, 6-years ago, maybe earlier I finally signed-up.

Now I am a Believer.

Full disclosure. I am also a long-term Amazon shareholder. SMILE.

But, I watch a fair amount of Prime Video. That, in my book, pays for itself.

Anyway, this is BIG. Worth looking into.

BIG DAY … a week from today. August 28, 2019. Fenix 6, Vivoactive 4, Venu, etc. SMILE.

Stay tuned.

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by Anura Guruge

Fenix 6 Has 1.4″ Display, Vivoactive 4 Might Do So Too — But What Is The ‘Garmin Venu’ About?

by Anura Guruge

The Garmin Venu, with a 43mm case, is YET ANOTHER watch that is supposed to debut next week — on August 28, 2019.

With two buttons it looks very much like the Vivoactive 4 — and there is a Vivoactive 4S for smaller wrists, so the Venu just can’t be just a smaller version of the VA4.

I get a feeling that it is a lower cost, i.e., $150, range competitor against Fitbit — with less sports functionality than that on a Vivoactive 3 or Vivoactive 4.

I (as a Garmin shareholder and owner) think that Garmin has TOO MANY MODELS. It is crazy. It cost real money for Garmin to introduce, maintain and support models — but it is also confusing for consumers and for retailers!

Yes, the Venu puzzles me. Do you have any ideas?

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by Anura Guruge

Why A New Garmin Vivoactive 4 — Possibly A Bigger Display As With The Fenix 6?

by Anura Guruge


Yes, we all know that Garmin (and for that matter, Fitbit) love to introduce new models, churn the base and hopefully get a few more sales.

I was surprised to hear that there was to be a Garmin Fenix 6, announced on August 28, 2019 — but then I knew that the the Forerunner 945 and the MARQ Series (and I upgraded from a Fenix 5 Plus to a MARQ Expedition) were squeezing the Fenix 5 series. Then I learnt that the Fenix 6 will have a 1.4″ display as opposed to the 1.2″ found in most Garmin watches of today.

So, this is what I am thinking. Will the Vivoactive 4 also have a 1.4″ display. I have read that its body is fractionally bigger than the current Vivoactive 3. They might be able to squeeze in that extra 0.2″. That would be a biggie.

I could be wrong, but judging from the leaked pictures on the Web, I think I see two buttons on the side. That could be good too. I owned two Vivoactive 3s. I liked the touchscreen. That was what I was used to. I thought I would never be able to use a smartwatch without a touchscreen. I was very wrong. Today, I would not get one with a touchscreen. I like the precision and speed I can get with the buttons on a Fenix or MARQ (or for that matter a Forerunner).

Yes, the Vivoactive 3, by design, doesn’t have many of the high end, esoteric functions found on the Forerunner, Fenix or MARQ. It is meant to be that way for price differentiation. They didn’t need to bring out a Vivoactive 4 to add some of these software features to the existing Vivoactive 3(M).

If you hadn’t notice the whole Vivoactive 3 Series is on sale at Garmin and at Amazon. There are actually some GOOD DEALS on Amazon right now. Go check.

I feel bad for those that bought a Vivoactive 3 in the last few months. I know it has been very popular. Now they are going to feel that they need to trade-up at some point. But, lets wait and see. To I the only justification would be a bigger and better display. That could be a game changer.

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by Anura Guruge

Garmin’s Ruggedized ‘Instinct’ Is Now Available In 3 More Cute Colors.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE.

Click to access my January 2019 review.

Garmin Instinct might very well be the right watch for YOU, if Adrenaline plays a major role in YOUR lifestyle.

I already reviewed it in detail a few months ago. So, I am not going to rehash that.

Just wanted to make sure you knew about the new colors. The yellow and bright blue are certainly eye-catching. I do like the yellow.

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by Anura Guruge

Is The Ruggedized ‘Garmin Instinct’ The Right Activity-Tracker For You?

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE.

Amazon listing.

Garmin Instinct might very well be the right watch for YOU, if Adrenaline plays a major role in YOUR lifestyle.

The Garmin Instinct is a distinctive, semi-high-end, affordable sport/smart watch.

It is designed to withstand a lot of physical and climatic abuse. It complies to U.S. military standard 810G (MIL-STD-810). Hence, it is meant to cope with substantial amounts of: impact shock, vibration, temperature fluctuations, air/water pressure variation, surface contamination etc. It also has a 10 ATM (i.e., 100-meter depth) water rating, and includes open water swimming as one of the 30+ sport activities it can track.

It is basically combat-ready when it comes to wrist-wearables!

If adventure, risk, rough-and-tumble, adrenaline and fitness are part of your lifestyle, the Instinct could very well be the right Garmin watch for you – irrespective of gender.

With the Instinct, Garmin is trying to thread a very fine needle amongst its ever-increasing portfolio of feature-rich sport/smart watches. Cut to the chase, the visually-distinctive, dual-dial Instinct slots in above the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and below the Garmin Fenix 5. Its competitive US $299 (MSRP) reflects this.

Hence, why I refer to it as affordable and semi-high-end. Garmin had to be careful here because it does market a tactical (i.e., a toughened) version of the Fenix 5X – the US $650 (MSRP) ‘tactix Charlie’. It appears that it Garmin was successful in this, and hit the desired sweet-spot smack-on.

Click to ENLARGE. Amazon listing.

The Major Pros-and-Cons

Major Pros

1.   Ruggedized to withstand above average levels of shock & stress.

2.   Exceptional navigational capabilities, with GPS, GLONASS & Galileo support, including ‘TrackBack’, breadcrumb trails on courses (downloaded from Garmin Connect), 3-axis compass, support for ‘Garmin Explore’, and one-button, immediate-access to GPS coordinates, altitude and compass.

3.   Wrist-based optical heart rate monitoring.

4.   Sleep monitoring with REM & Deep Sleep analysis.

5.   Support for over 30 outdoor sport activities including: hiking, climbing, snowboarding, skiing, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking etc.

6.   Smart notifications (with limited TXT responses when paired to an Android phone), live tracking and GroupTrack.

7.   10 ATM water rating with support for monitoring open water swimming.

8.   Sunrise/Sunset times.

9.   Distinctive, easy-to-read, sunlight-visible monochrome display with button-driven access (appropriate for a tactical watch such as this).

10.   Better battery life on par with the Fenix 5 and as such better than that of a Vivoactive 3.

Major Cons

1.   Not customizable with downloadable watch faces, widgets, data fields and APPs – i.e., it is not supported by Garmin Connect IQ.

2.   No maps.

3.   No VO2 Max nor training metrics.

4.   No gyroscope despite support for open water swimming.

5.    Does not support golf.

6.   No on-board music, though you can control music on your phone with a supplied widget.

7.   No Garmin Pay.

8.   Smaller, lower-resolution display.

Lack Of Connect IQ Support In Perspective

This, ironically, has become the most talked about aspect of the Instinct. It is incongruous, but it is definitely not as bad as it first looks. It is actually a non-issue in the end.

The Instinct does come pre-loaded with twelve highly-customizable watch faces plus the standard widget repertoire found on a Vivoactive 3, e.g., ABC (altimeter/barometer/compass), Calendar, Alt. time zone, heart rate, weather, My day, last sport, sunrise/sunset etc. And as with a Vivoactive 3 or Fenix 5 you can customize your widget loop, i.e., the order in which they appear (or not). So, in reality you will not be stuck with one fixed watch face and no widgets.

The issue here is the inability to avail oneself to third-party watch faces and widgets. To be fair to Garmin, many of the watch faces, widgets and APPs currently available on Connect IQ might not have worked on the Instinct given its unique dual-dial display. This makes sense. That said, one should not expect that Garmin might activate IQ support at a later date, with a new version of firmware. If you are considering getting an Instinct it is best to assume that this watch is meant to operate outside of IQ.

The Instinct, however, has unstinted support on both Garmin Connect and Garmin Explore. So, it is a smartwatch on par with the Vivoactive 3, and, furthermore, you do have the ability to create and download your desired trails to the watch. So, it is definitely a connected, smartwatch. Do not lose sight of that.

If You Need A Tactical Watch

It is an open secret that with the Instinct Garmin is trying to muscle into the Casio ‘G-Shock’ watch market. The dual-dial watch face, akin to that pioneered by Casio on their original ‘G’-watches of the 1980s, was a telling clue.

Casio still markets an impressive array of daunting-looking G-Shock watches – but they, even at the $750 high-end, lack fitness/sleep, sport and smart features. So, with an Instinct you get a toned-down ‘G-shock’ with semi-high-end Garmin functionality. That is basically the deal: a Casio G-Shock with quite a bit of Fenix 5 capability. That is quite the combination. Quite the hybrid.

Garmin has a short promotional video for the Instinct (above). It features a motorbike-riding fireman who gallantly fights an active forest fire. It shows him clearing away smoldering trees, oblivious to the heat and smoke, using an ax and chainsaw — woodchips flying everywhere, and coating his sweaty wrists. The camera lingers on the Instinct as he bears down on the burning logs with the trusty chainsaw. This to illustrate that the Instinct can cope with vibration, heat, smoke and shock with undue equanimity. If you can relate to such a scenario (and there is also a female firefighter in the video), then the Instinct is the watch for you. As I said in the title: ‘if adrenalin figures in your lifestyle’.

Given its target market, and competitive price-point, some of the ‘major cons’ listed above become irrelevant! This is meant to be a rugged, practical work watch – not a dress watch for the boardroom or a ballroom. That also explains the omission of golf. Once you appreciate that, everything about the Instinct makes perfect sense.

The Bottom Line

Think of the Instinct as an affordable, ruggedized (MIL-STD-810) semi-Fenix 5. The navigational and sport capabilities of a Fenix 5, in a toughened, distinctive case at a price point similar to that of a Vivoactive 3. The Impact is indubitably feature-rich, and the lack of Connect IQ support is by no means a showstopper.

The key words that distinguish the Impact are: durability, navigation, 10 ATM, heart rate, sleep, fitness, distinctiveness, notifications and price. Mull those over as a part of your decision-making process. It is a capable, compelling Garmin watch at a competitive price – a Casio G-Shock with trademark Garmin features.

When it comes to Garmin wearables we are, of late, blessed with choice. There appears to be a compelling Garmin for every price point, every stylistic choice and every need. In this context, the Instinct is the affordable, ruggedized tactical watch that will always try to get you home despite the physical and atmospheric abuse it has undergone. A $300 Garmin for the Indiana Jones and his lady sidekick.

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by Anura Guruge

Garmin Adds ‘Abnormal Heart Rate’ Reporting To Its Major Wearables.

by Anura Guruge

Click to access full post on the OFFICIAL Garmin blog.

Click to ENLARGE and read here. From the Garmin Fenix 5 Forum.

This, from what I have read, for a much sought after feature on Apple Watches. Some were buying Apple JUST for this feature and you may even have read a few stories about folks crediting the Apple Watch of saving their lives by notifying them of abnormal heart rates.

So, Garmin had no option but to respond and it is good that they have done so now … ahead of the new wave of watches that are supposed to be announced by the likes of Samsung over the next few months.

Right now this abnormal heart rate feature is available on: Forerunner 645(M) & 935, Vivoactive 3(M), Vivosmart 3, Vivomove HR and Vivosport.

It has, as you can see from the second image, on the latest beta software for the Fenix 5.

It is not a feature that interests me but I know that many of you will be thrilled. So, go for it. All the best.

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by Anura Guruge

Garmin Fenix 5, Firmware Version 9.20: Stress Level Monitoring Notices More ‘Restful’ Periods.

by Anura Guruge

 Click to ENLARGE.

I was real curious about this new ‘fix’ since I had definitely noticed that my new (i.e., 40-day old) Fenix 5 didn’t show as much restful periods during the day as had my two Vivoactive 3s.

So, this was my first full day with 9.20 and the readings are noticeably different, more like what I was used to with the Vivoactive 3s.

Yet again, I will monitor this and let you know.

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by Anura Guruge

Garmin Fenix 5, Firmware Version 9.20: ‘REM’ Sleep Monitoring.

by Anura Guruge

 Click to ENLARGE.

Night of June 20, 2018 — 1st night after 9.20 update.

Well, it is showing something. Not sure whether it is right, BUT there is definitely REM in there. Not sure how I can check its veracity short of wearing another monitor — and to be fair, I don’t really care. As you can see I don’t get that much sleep BUT I do sleep better than a baby!

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by Anura Guruge