2016: New Sports Watches by Garmin, Suunto, Polar, Wahoo ?

It all started here

It all started here

I have no inside information. My speculations about new watches for next year would include those below. Have I missed any?

You can sort of work it out from the recent price discounting of existing models and the time since the last new model. Of course ‘sort of’ working it out can prove to be totally wrong 🙂

Garmin could go the way of new versions of existing models as I suggest, below, AND/OR another route would be for them to upgrade the running/triathlon watches with OPTICAL HR. The former would make more money IMO. Whichever way you look at it we should expect AT LEAST A COUPLE OF significant product announcements in 2016.

The other manufacturers have fewer options than Garmin as they have a much narrower product range. So they can incrementally update one or all of their models or, slightly contradictorily, being smaller they have the freedom and limited resources to come up with a ‘new thing’ – as we have seen perfectly with the WAHOO ELEMNT.

Here goes, there’s more detail in the links if you are really bored and need something, anything!, to read:

  • Garmin Swim 2
    • Why? It’s been a while.
    • Why? Functionality would be a precursor to that in the 930XT
    • Likelihood? 20% Early 2016. Too small a market?
  • Garmin 925XT (920 with optical)
    • Why? £££
    • Likelihood? 30% 2016 ‘sometime’
  • Garmin 930XT
    • Why? £££
    • Likelihood? 90% 2016 ‘sometime’, otherwise 2017
  • Garmin 935XT
    • Why? £££
    • Likelihood? 10% 2016 ‘sometime’. Increased likelihood in subsequent years.
  • Garmin Edge 820
    • Why? £££ and it’s been a while since the 810.
    • Why? 2015 Discounting of Edge 520 and Edge 810. Responding to the WAHOO ELEMNT
    • Likelihood? 60% Early 2016, otherwise 2017
  • Garmin Fenix 4
    • Why? £££
    • Why? Will track 930XT release even though a different development team.
    • Likelihood? 10% Early 2016 (90% 2017)
  • Garmin 635 (optical 630)
    • Why? £££
    • Likelihood? 50% not sure about 2016 tho.
  • Polar V8** (update to V800)
    • Why? 2015 Discounting
    • Likelihood? 40% sometimes 2016, 80% 2017
  • Polar V6** (update to V650)
    • Why? 2015 Discounting
    • Likelihood? 40% sometimes 2016
  • Polar optical
    • Polar could build on the opticals from the A360 and opticalify existing watches. I don’t think that will happen. I think it will be new optical watches for them.
  • Suunto Ambit 4
    • Likelihood? 75%
    • Why? Because I want one 🙂
  • Wahoo ELEMNT
    • Why? Already announced!
    • Likelihood 100% Mar 2016.
  • TomTom
    • I suspect some more announcements will follow in 2016 after the successful Runner 2/SPARK launch. (Golfer 2 happened).

The SAD THING with many of these watches is that: a. they won’t make us any better; b. they won’t really give us much new training metrics/data; and c. they will just really be better, slicker and prettier bits of hardware. Indeed how can they make us better? surely it would only be by more insight into our training eg muscle oxygen, lactate, HRV, biomechanics – and those metrics might be too niche for most of us.

12 thoughts on “2016: New Sports Watches by Garmin, Suunto, Polar, Wahoo ?

      • Unless there a NDA member I can’t see it having ant+. Although that would be the most awesome thing they could do IMO. https://www.thisisant.com/business/opportunities/current-ant-members
        Another thing for me would be a more traditional round watch face. I love optical but on the watch is not a deal breaker for me as I have my scosche’s which are coming into their own now winters setting in, i can wear my watch above my jacket. And still get hr data. All these people complaining about lack of optical obviously don’t train in sub zero temperatures. That’s just horses for courses. But i do hope when it comes they don’t disable the means to connect to a external monitor. One last wish would be to have wrist cadence so I can play with the likes of milestone pods and runscribe.

      • I’m thinking colour screen, Strava integration, ability to easily change straps, running power from the start. You’ve probably seen that I agree with CES 2016 for the Polar. Definitely don’t agree with a 2016 Fenix 4 – that was CES 2015 so I reckon a CES 2017 for that with the 930XT being late summer 2016. Any predictions on features or timings please pop them in my comments sections, there’s a bunch of work to do before the site is finished 🙂

        • it’s tricky. there are some that seem obvious that turn out to happen and then those that seem obvious but don’t !! Polar may fall into the latter. hope not. look at the a360 optical. maybe they will introduce optical models rather than a new set of replacements??

        • Can’t agree more about the fenix 4, the fenix 2 was so diabolical it forced them into a hole to get the 3 out a little over a year later. Garmin otherwise seem to generally stick to a 18 – 24 month schedule.

      • My thoughts on the V900 as a next in line to the V800 will be a watch for the outdoor adventure market rather than taking from the V800 market.

        Battery life is way ahead of what is needed for a triathlon watch (beats 920xt hands down on multisport functions) but the features lag behind true outdoor watches like Fenix3 and Ambit etc.

        Introduce a track back function, follow a track, altimeter, barometer & compass and all of a sudden Polar will compete properly with the big boys for the ultra and adventure market.

          • I think Polar see themselves as an ‘Apple’ operating without a competitor. Their system is closed with only a tentative handshake with Strava recently.

            Interesting to watch the developments.

          • Maybe as a cherry rather than an Apple 🙂 smaller and less dominant!!! yep it is possible to extract data from FLOW eg syncmytracks app has doen for longer than the strava link. but I think that’s about it.

  1. Re the sad thing, your bang on right I didn’t need my v800 but it does have a longer battery life than my m400. Yet I never run further than 13.1 miles. It had me covered but did require charging every other day. I personally think the most important aspect to improving running is a high cadence. So what would I recommend to a non geek? Probably a forerunner 15 and a cheap Seiko metronome. Moving up a step I’d go with a M400 or FR230 and matching foot pod. That way you’ll be able to follow advanced workouts, and get a bit more data like live cadence during the run. Will I follow my own advice? Probaly not, in the last two years I’ve had a Magellan switch, fr10, fr610 TomTom runner and suunto ambit 2, then in march I got my m400 and found happiness with Polar’s products. Yes I’ll buy it but not on launch day, maybe 4 or 5 firmware updates down the road.

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