An interesting development today at the entry level end of running watches.
Garmin’s new Forerunner 35 comes with ELEVATE (optical HR).
The feature set will not be earth shattering, I haven’t looked, but it WILL be sufficiently functional for the target market along with many of its direct competitors.
The overall aesthetics and apparent screen resolution (image above) look more than fine for its price point.
The interesting bit is that really this is quite a market-defining moment. Optical HR on the near-base model. I strongly suspect that this type of hardware-set will mark the boundaries of the running watch battle ground for the next year or so.
Surprise: It’s an activity tracker and has notifications too 🙂
Price: $199.99 in the US, £169.99 in the UK.
Comments: “Market-defining”; as I said earlier. I think the price is still a little too high for true entry level. But we will soon get down to £100/£120 or thereabouts. My suspicion is that “budget optical HR” is where the market action will lie. With the just-announced TomTom Spark3/Runner3 oHR watches offering a lot more features, including music-on-watch, then it will be interesting to see if this watch is a TomTom killer. Similarly Poalr appear to be re-muscling in on this market with the imminent Polar M200.
Also, the low end of the sports watch market is huge BUT is further being targeted on all sides from smartwatches (Apple, Sony) to smartphones (Aps eg Runtastic, Nike) as well as many other sports watch vendors (eg Polar, TomTom).
We’ll see if Garmin follow suit with cycling watches to include power meter support at the low end. Like oHR for running, power is the one fairly important missing feature at the low price end of the cycling market. Although a budget cyclist would probably not have a power meter.
Other announcement: 4k Virb – high resolution images from Garmin’s camera. That’s all you need to know unless you are in the market for one.
Image Source: Verge, originally from TomTom
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