*New for 2016* Fenix 3 goes Optical with oHRM

Fenix 3 optical HRM
Fenix 3 optical HRM

Note: Garmin Fenix 3 Review is <HERE>.

It looks likely that Garmin’s leaked newsfeed and gpspower.net shows a FENIX 3 with inbuilt OPTICAL HRM. The optical HRM looks pretty identical to the one in the vivosmart HR – ie with the ELEVATE technology. I like some of the watch faces in the image below, not sure if they are new ones or not. Some of the straps are new too.

The press release, below, indicates new sports profiles eg for rowing.

Nice bit of product differentiation with slightly new forms to keep the Garmin shareholders happy, eeking a little bit extra revenue with these premium aesthetic forms.

I’m hoping for good things with the accuracy of the oHRM. It should be at least pretty good.

One issue with optical for an adventure watch is that in winter you can’t have the oHRM working when the watch is outside your overcoat (another issue is variable accuracy from person to person.

I can’t for the life of me understand why the watch faces on the Fenix3 look good when similar/same ones on the 920XT look awful. The great thing with the Fenix is that at least you won’t be embarrassed to wear it and it is functionally richer then almost any other garmin sports watch. Shame about the bugs (see Garmin Fenix 3 support forum eg GPS accuracy).

As we’ve all been acknowledging…the sports gadget world is going optical.

CREDIT: Thanks Boris L for the heads-up to the leaked info

EDIT: This has now been officially announced





Here’s the PRE-Press Release


(NASDAQ: GRMN), today announced an update to the fēnix 3 multisport watches that includes Garmin  Elevate wrist-based heart rate technology, additional activity profiles and new, stylish watch bands. The  three new sapphire-lens options include a premium version featuring a titanium bezel and band, a version  with easily interchangeable leather and nylon straps, and a version touting Garmin Elevate wrist-based
heart rate. All watches are also getting a software update with new activity profiles for golf, stand up  paddleboarding and rowing, as well as the latest advanced running dynamics and physiological  measurements. This free update will be available to all current fēnix 3 owners, so all fēnix 3 users can  download the new profiles. These watches are being announced in conjunction with the Consumer  Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and will be showcased at the Garmin booth, #35811.
“As one of our most popular watches, we’re thrilled to offer new fēnix 3 devices to consumers,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. “We’re excited to bring Garmin Elevate technology to the fēnix line, and the updated leather and titanium versions will appeal to users no matter if they’re hitting the trails, the boardroom, and now even the golf course.”

Boasting a full multisport and navigational toolset, fēnix 3 is also stylish enough to go from the trail to the office. The new genuine leather and nylon bands are easily interchangeable with no additional tools required, making switching back and forth a breeze. The premium titanium bezel and band looks sharp while also reducing weight and improving durability.
Now featuring Garmin Elevate wrist-based heart rate technology, fēnix 3 HR users now have the freedom to measure heart rate 24/7 at the wrist. Fēnix 3 HR users can get credit for their workouts and extra effort with the Intensity Minutes. By tracking daily Intensity Minutes, users can monitor their progress against weekly aerobic activity goals recommended by leading health organizations like he American Heart
Association, World Health Organization, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Depending on settings, fēnix 3 HR can get up to 40 hours of battery life in UltraTrac mode, 16 hours in GPS training mode, 3 weeks in watch mode and 2 weeks in smartwatch mode.
Building off the previous version of advanced running dynamics like cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time; fēnix 3 users will be able to utilize more data and physiological measurements1. The new metrics include:
• Stride Length: Measures the length of a runner’s stride in real time.
• Ground Contact Time Balance: Measures a runner’s ground contact symmetry, which some runners have found to correlate with injuries or strength imbalances.
• Vertical Ratio: The cost-benefit ratio of vertical oscillation to stride length, serving as one indictor of a runner’s efficiency.
• Lactate Threshold: Estimates the level of effort at which fatigue rapidly increases in terms of a runner’s heart rate and pace.
• Stress Score: Measures heart rate variability to make an assessment of a user’s overall level of stress.
• Performance Condition: Provides a real-time fitness-level measurement relative to a runner’s average baseline, which indicates performance readiness for the day’s workout or race.

All current fēnix 3 owners will have access to a software update that will include the updated advanced running dynamics, as well as new activity profiles for golf, SUP and rowing. With the recently updated Garmin Connect mobile app, users can download more than 40,000 worldwide golf courses for precise course data and use their watch as a digital scorecard. With the new SUP/Rowing mode, users can measure their paddle stroke count, stroke rate and distance per stroke to gauge their efficiency. The fēnix 3 software update will come preloaded on new units and will is available for current users to download now.

The new fēnix 3 models will still be compatible with the Connect IQ platform for endless customization options. Through the Connect IQ store in the Garmin Connect mobile app, users can download any of the free apps, widgets, watch faces or data fields so their fēnix 3 can suit their individual needs.

The new fēnix 3 Sapphire watches will be available in Q1 2015. The fēnix 3 HR will have a suggested retail price of $599.99, the titanium fēnix 3 Sapphire will have a suggested retail price for $799.99, and the fēnix 3 Sapphire with leather and nylon bands will have a suggested retail price of $599.99.

Fēnix 3 is the latest solution from Garmin’s expanding outdoor segment, which focuses on developing technologies and innovations to enhance users’ outdoor experiences. Whether hiking, hunting, geocaching, golfing, dog training, or capturing it all on VIRB action cameras, Garmin outdoor devices are becoming essential tools for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels.

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13 thoughts on “*New for 2016* Fenix 3 goes Optical with oHRM

  1. wonder whats the rational here to inlcue oHR into one of thier flagships, using my MioLink oHR it does okay until 130/140 bpm beyond that it’s just not realibale tracking compare to an traditional HR strap and reading some comments of Garmin FR 235 and 630 it seems they struggle same way with this issue …

    1. rationale is to sell more units and make more money. the technology has already been ‘proven’ on another model. I have a mio link too (which is DIFFERENT tech to the garmin) and I get slightly better accuracy than you…it seems to vary by person and maybe i’m lucky there or you are unlucky. the same variation in accuracy will probably apply to the f3 hr.

      1. yeap, but “proven” after launching three models with 2x sensor types in less as 6 months might be arguable, anyway believe people spending this amount of money have a lower tolerance level for flaws and issues, high price level means higher expectations…, just my two cents here

      2. Proven is not because it works just for you. I’ve tested the garmin 325 and it has PROVEN unstable. it just doesnt work well during intervals.

        it also doesnt always track well and i get drops.

        It’s not proven.

      3. Garmin has a good product on their hand and they’re doing an Apple off year move. Add a new function and sell it for another year. The redesign comes in next year. I really enjoy my Fenix 3 btw. Do Try out the beta firmwares if you havent already Race Leader.

    1. it’s physically different hardware with the ohrm so the weight must be different. I imagine it will be very similar. also with the different straps it will depend on which strap you are comparing.
      however the ‘form’ is the same so it will be pretty much the same dimensions/shape/size. it’s a fenix3 NOT 4.
      firmware will be as for the fenix3.(although some options related to hr may only work on the F3 HR)

      1. Thanks! I’m just about to buy the current Fenix 3 this week, and sounds like except the oHRM model they will remain the same but with new options/bundles. Will hear the official/expanded info tomorrow and then decide, I guess.

  2. The rationale is that this tech works well when one is still or moving a bit – so they add it for the daily fitness stuff. Then when out on a run use a chest strap for better results and added data like GCT and VO (oscillation). It’s a pretty solid strategy.

    1. yes. that’s how you and I would use it. however many people (eg women) can’t use chest straps and would buy this for that reason then may become disappointed at higher HRs, plus if you have a feature people will want to use it for what it is ie a HRM on a sports watch. anyway I think it’s a good development

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