V2.196 – 18 Oct 2019
This post is continuously updated and normally replaced monthly. It gives you an indication of which GPS Run, Bike and Triathlon sports devices are available NOW, which are DISCONTINUED and which are likely to be superseded SOON.
This month’s edition (October) has an significantly updated section at the end on all the different kinds of tech in our devices and where they are heading.
Elsewhere on this site there is more detailed speculation on specific devices and sports tech trends but this post is a good place to start.
Skip to the section you want. If you are here for the first time and interested in ‘future sports devices’ then this entire post should be of interest.
Recent New Stuff
The full list of ‘everything, past & future‘ is towards the end of this post for each manufacturer and here are headlines from recent months:
- 2019 Highlights: Suunto 5, Coros Vertix , Garmin Forerunner 945, Forerunner 245 and another the 245M (Music), Forerunner 45 and Forerunner 45s (small), Garmin Edge 830 , Garmin Edge 530 , New Aeropod bundle and PowerPod v3, STAGES Dash x3, Wahoo ELEMNT Roam, Polar IGNITE, Sigma id.TRI, Sigma id.FREE, Huami Amazfit GTR Ticwatch PRO LTE, Garmin Instinct Coyote, Amazfit STRATOS 3, Garmin Fenix 6 (3 models, 8 variants), Casio WSD-F21HR
- Amazfit GTS, Amazfit Stratos 3, Fitbit Versa 2, Garmin Vivoactive 4 (3 models incl Venu), Garmin Vivomove 3 (3 models including Style+Sport), Apple Watch 5 (on WatchOS 6), Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2
- ANNOUNCED: Wahoo KICKR Bike, Puma SMARTWATCH, Bryton Rider 860, Rider 420, SRM X MTB pedals,
- ANNOUNCED: Garmin MARQ Commander
- ANNOUNCED: Garmin Swim 2
- IMMINENT: Mio Labs mioPOD (OK it’s not GPS…like OH1, Scosche and Tickr FIT)
October is here. September is done. The torrent of new devices from last month has been well and truly stopped. The announcements we are likely to hear now will probably not include any more serious, new sports devices. Expect accessories, platform announcements and a fitness band or two.
Black Friday subtly changes its effect each year as Amazon’s competitors try to deal with its impact. But you all know a sale is coming and so does everyone else. New models might be wise to avoid any launches in late November to mitigate Black Friday confusion (29Nov2019) and a new launch after that is just plain ‘too late for Christmas’. So expect the last date for any remaining product announcements and launches to be mid-November.
Garmin Running & Triathlon Tech for 2019
Garmin has recently delivered the Vivoactive 4 (and premium VENU version), Vivomove 3 (no GPS) and a new variant of the Instinct. As the ink was still drying on this post, another Garmin MARQ was released and the MARQ EXPEDITION renamed to MARQ ADVENTURER. Next, on 4 October, we will see Star Wars branded Vivoactive models following on from the MARVEL ones we’ve already seen….maybe something similar (film-branded) to follow later in the year?
- Vivofit + Vector 4 power meter in 2019? Maybe, probably not.
- 745 Tri Watch?…No!
- Forerunner 655. Don’t be greedy!…2020!
Keep your hopes alive for a HRM-PRO and a new running footpod/rd-pod. I’d say, again, that they are imminent but that annoys some people. Let’s, instead, just say that they will be here ‘soon’ as defined geologically.
The larger Garmin sub-brands are being extended with the addition of a PREMIUM casing version as well as NORMAL-SIZE and SMALL-SIZE casings eg Forerunner 45 and 45s, MARQ version of Fenix, Venu version of Vivoactive
Suunto, Polar & Other Sports-focussed Products
I DO NOT KNOW OF ANY NEW PRODUCTS FROM SUUNTO/POLAR. Both are good at keeping info close to hand. There are some rumours but I only expect software from both so far…
Looking at the image above, a Suunto7 as a replacement for the SPARTAN SPORT WHR is an obvious next move for Suunto but this could be in 2020. Once that has happened then we would be into new territory with whatever is going to be refreshed on the Suunto 9…do we see a Suunto 11 or a Gen 2 version of Suunto 9? I don’t know.
Polar has more options than Suunto with more models/ranges that can be extended or refreshed (V650, Vantage, A370, M200, M400). My guess would be a mass-market A380 and then another Vantage variant but that could be totally wrong and a V660 bike computer could be next, IDK.
What Polar WILL be doing is releasing the imminent V4 firmware for the Vantage series and this is a major update that puts all the really nice bits in their rightful place eg Running Power Zone Lock WILL be included. V5 firmware will follow in December as a nice Christmas present and that will likely be a more subdued release, interms of the number of features, and which is only slated so far to include Strava Live Segments (Vantage V) & Race Pace (both Vantage).
Sigma have just released the id.FREE and id.TRI sports watches. I’m planning to give those a spin sometime.
WearOS Tech – & Similar Smarts
The smart watch season has peaked with Apple announcing trivial design tweaks that warrant the newly named Apple Watch 5. Don’t worry, if you bought the AW4 just tell your friends it’s the AW5 and they really won’t know.
As DCR has pointed out (link to: dcrainmaker.com), the big news is that Apple may well have just decimated a large swathe of the market with the $200 price point for the AW3. The AW3 is simply better than most of the smartwatch competition for just about anything. Bye Bye Fitbit, you’re going bust unless you do something, sorry. The only reasons not to buy an Apple Watch 3 are: more serious sport; lack of roundness; battery; Applephobia; and wanting to look different to everyone else.
So that’s going to hit Fitbit very hard. Fitbit are very focussed on the Versa…and that’s about it. As far as I can see they are a one-trick pony. And it’s not a very good trick. BTW: They’re not focussing on the Ionic
Fossil on the other hand have a more cunning strategy. I don’t mention them here much and many of you reading this probably won’t have considered them. Fossil are cranking out lots of similar watches that are co-branded with other ‘leading’ consumer brand names. Normally this is ‘just’ another fashion watch like the recent Michael KORS version. But they are gradually edging towards brands that are more sports focussed like Puma. Even better, they are not bothering too much about the underlying tech…they leave that to Google & Qualcomm to sort out with WearOS. Whilst this is a LOT better approach than that from Fitbit, IMHO, it’s still akin to having lots of Shetland Ponies dancing around in a circus ring rather than just that single pony I mentioned earlier. But, hey, people like circuses (FAO: Animal rights people – I don’t BTW, leave me alone 😉 )
Next we have the smartphone manufacturers who have branched out with their linked smartwatches. First the each had one watch then, maybe, a watch and a band but now many have several, similar watches, one of which could be a sports-focussed watch. For now, SAMSUNG are the standout company here. Whilst they might not have the best watch products in the world they DO have a good smartphone customer base to justify them investing in watches. You would have thought we would hear more from Sony here than we do here.
Elsewhere, the Chinese (Korean, etc) brands are attacking the traditional markets from numerous angles including
- Making the stuff I talk about here for better known brands!
- Releasing cheap tat0
- Having some pretty awesome phone tech and challenger watch tech – eg Huawei (Note to CEO: must be nicer to Americans). The extremely rare, lesser-spotted, dual-band Galileo sports watch may well first come from Huawei rather than Garmin…just sayin’.
Apologies to Korea, Taiwan and Japan…I know you’re not China.
Casio have just started shipping the WSD-F21. I’m hoping to get my hands on one but it took me a year to get hold of the WSD-F30, so don’t expect anything too soon. Casio run WearOS on the WSD watches and they even do it with a non-Snapdragon processor, apparently.
Google have long been rumoured to be releasing a new PIXEL watch. It probably won’t be a sports watch on WearOS, although could be used for that purpose. Now I’m not so sure they will release one at all and, instead, Google could be working hard on various aspects of developing and selling watch tech (like next-gen e-ink-screens).
Garmin is clearly dominant in this sector and Wahoo are clearly the main challenger brand. I’d just love to see some market share change info (answers below on a postcard please).
The Edge 530/830 models will be the thorn in every competitors side for the next two years. There might even be an Edge 140 and an Edge 1040 to annoy competitors even further. But these watches are more than just ‘highly featured’, if you think about it they are the hub of an extensive & integrated sports tech support system. Note to competitors: try building one of those from scratch, it’s even harder than building a half-decent bikenav. (Wahoo are trying of course)
We’ve seen Wahoo branching out in all sorts of ways in a relatively high-risk strategy based partly on acquisition but underpinned with a good brand and some generally good tech (that I love). They probably won’t release a radically new ELEMNT, I would rather suspect that we would see a refreshed ELEMNT and/or a refreshed BOLT – both in 2020. Along with the ROAM those three models cover most of the bike computer bases that need covering (small+larger+nav), so it’s just a case of iterating those 3 models over time.
Bryton, Sigma, Lezyne, CatEye, Polar and other smaller bike computer companies all approach bike computers from subtly different angles but all share LOW PRICE POINTS amongst their unique selling points. Most of those that I’ve just listed are also VERY functionally rich as well. The Sigma Rox 12 is a great device, it’s no secret I like Wahoo and I like Hammerhead’s Karoo too.
List of All GPS Sports Watches & Bike Computers
This is my opinion of current & future devices across the GPS running/cycling market. Updates to this will be issued as and when information emerges which may include rumours, although please note that any information provided to me under NDA by manufacturers will not appear here and I won’t talk about it as I always honour agreements I make either written or verbal. So there will be a few more surprises over and above all of this 😉 I have at least a reasonable level of confidence that watches predicted for the future are broadly correct – timings and functionality may NOT be what I expect. Please let me know of errors or omissions. At the end of the table is a discussion about current issues and sports tech trends. Thank you. Enjoy.
Garmin – Current and Rumoured Models
🔴 = Discontinued or effectively discontinued and replaced
🔵 = Expected Future Model or ‘very recent’.
2019: Aug 29
|Category||Links to either a review, opinion article or your local Amazon||Comments|
|Bike||Edge Explore||Current: Jul 2018’s smaller version of the Edge 1030. Most performance features removed. Good for navigation|
|Bike||Edge 1030 / 🔵
Edge 1040 (2020)
|Current, Q3-Q4.2019 will see updates to the 1030 to match the new 530/830. This could be a 1030 plus or just better firmware. This will NOT YET be the 1040.|
|Bike||Edge 20, Edge 25||Entry-level cycling computer|
|Bike||Edge 130||Entry-level cycling computer with very interesting specs. May 2018|
|Bike||🔵 Edge 140||Due 2020 or beyond|
|Bike||🔴 Edge 200, Edge 500, Edge 510||Effectively Discontinued|
|Bike||Edge 520||Still a great cycling computer but a bit slow with no maps|
|Bike||Edge 520 PLUS||Current. Updated hardware capability (CIQ3), maps and software. Replaced by faster 530|
|Bike||🔵Edge 530||Available May 2019|
|Bike||🔴 Edge 800, 810||Effectively Discontinued|
|Bike||Edge 820||Top-end, medium-sized, nav cycling computer. Replaced by 830|
|Bike||🔵Edge 830||Available May 2019|
|Bike||Edge MTB (something more than the 530 MTB bundle)||There are gaps in the market here at least two price points. It could be filled by Garmin – just like the Instinct did for budget outdoors.|
|Outdoors||🔴 Epix||Nice But Effectively Discontinued and replaced by Fenix 5X|
|Outdoors||🔴 Fenix, Fenix 2, Quatix||Effectively Discontinued, not as good as subsequent models.|
|Outdoors||🔴 Fenix 3 Fenix 3 HR + variants||Current, still great devices|
|Outdoors||Fenix 5 PLUS, 5s PLUS, 5x PLUS||Garmin’s flagship model for 2018-2019. These are notably updated Fenix 5 models. Soon to be superseded in Q4.2019 with better hardware in the Fenix 6.|
|Outdoors||Fenix 5, Fenix 5s, Fenix 5x||Garmin’s flagship model for 2017-2018. Caveat Emptor. The Plus version is the one you want to buy NOT these…|
|Outdoors||Tactix Bravo (disc), Tactix Charlie, Descent MK1, D2 Bravo, D2 Charlie, Quatix, D2 Delta (& S and PX)||‘military’/hunting, diving, aviation variants of Fenix 5|
|Outdoors||🔵 Fenix 6,
Tactix Delta, D2 Echo, Descent MK2 to follow later
|Outdoors||🔴 Fenix Chronos||Quality innards. F5s firmware. Expensive. Replaced by the MARQ.|
|Outdoors||MARQ (effectively Fenix Chronos 2)
Aviator (aero), Captain (marine), Athlete (multi-sport), Expedition (Hike/Outdoors), Driver (car).
🔵MARQ Commander 1 Oct2019.
|Announced. the MARQ range is the Fenix range in a fancy shell eg MARQ ATHLETE is simply a 945 in an expensive shell.|
The Instinct 🔵Tactical Coyote edition is now available and differs only with the NIGHT VISION and STEALTH modes, as well as the JUMPMASTER profile.
|Oct 2018 A cut-down outdoors-focussed Fenix.
August 2019 TACTICAL COYOTE edition
|Outdoors||🔵 Instinct 2||Due in 2020.
This WILL come as the Instinct is popular.
|Run||🔴 Forerunner 210, Forerunner 220, Forerunner 225||Effectively Discontinued|
|Run||🔴 Forerunner 230||Probably won’t be replaced. Effectively Discontinued.|
|Run||🔴 Forerunner 235||Replacement 245 & 245M are imminent. 235 is good|
|Run||🔴 Forerunner 235L||Apr2018’s cut-down version for the Chinese market.|
|Run||🔵 Forerunner 245 & Forerunner 245 Music||Current|
|Run||🔴Forerunner 25||Entry-level run/sports watch|
|Run||🔴 Forerunner 30||Entry-level run/sports watch|
|Run||🔴 Forerunner 35||Entry-level run/sports watch|
|Run||🔵 Forerunner 45, 45S||Current, Announced April 2019|
|Run||🔴 Forerunner 610, Forerunner 620||Effectively Discontinued but good enough|
|Run||🔴 Forerunner 630||Great device, superseded|
|Run||Forerunner 645 and 645M
Q1-Q2.2020 for the 655
|Run/Tri||Forerunner 735XT||Current, great mid-range tri watch (no barometer). it’s the last remaining CIQ2 device hence nextish to be replaced (likely Q3/4 2019 tho)|
|Run/Tri||🔵 Forerunner 745XT||Expected spring 2020|
|Run||🔴 Forerunner 910XT||Great tri watch in its day, still good enough if you can find one|
|Run||🔴Forerunner 920XT||Great tri watch…all you need really. Sometimes CHEAP|
|Run/Tri||Forerunner 935||Still a Top tri watch, no gimmicks|
|Run/Tri||🔵 Forerunner 945
Forerunner 955 – earliest September 2020. Likely 2021.
|Top Tri Watch, gimmicks|
|Fitness||🔴 Vivoactive||Effectively Discontinued|
|Fitness||Vivoactive 3||Current – a contender to Fitbit Ionic and Apple Watch 3|
|Fitness||Vivoactive 3 MUSIC, Vivoactive 3M||VA3 with music. Q2.2018|
|Fitness||Vivoactive 3 Plus Music LTE Verizon||Jan 2019|
|Fitness||🔵 Vivoactive 4 & 4S with a great AMOLED screen on the top-end VA4 called VENU.||September 2019|
|Fitness||🔴 Vivoactive HR||Great device, effectively Vivoactive 2, replaced by Vivoactive 3|
|Fitness||🔵 Vivofit 2, Vivofit 3, Vivofit 4||December 2017: supersedes VivoFit 3. Vivofit 5 due for Xmas 2019.|
|Fitness||🔴 Vivomove||Dress watch, superseded September 2017|
|Fitness||🔴 Vivomove HR||Current Sept 2017|
|Fitness||🔵 Vivomove 3 / 3s /Style / Luxe||September 2019|
|Swim||🔵 Swim 2||October 2019|
Polar, Suunto, Wahoo, Fitbit, Apple, etc – Current and Rumoured Models
|Manufacturer||Category||Links to either a review, opinion article or your local Amazon||Comments
|Amazfit (Xiaomi-Huami)||Run||Bip (#A1608)
Pace (#A1612, #A1602)
Bip Lite (#A1915)
|Amazfit (Xiaomi-Huami)||Run||Pace 2||Pace 2 is Stratos. The only difference between the Chinese (A1609 Amazfit Pace 2) and the International version (A1619 Amazfit Stratos) is the firmware.
Amazfit Stratos 2 means Stratos (A1619), via KZV
|Amazfit (Xiaomi-Huami)||Fitness||Verge, Verge Lite ,
🔵 Verge 2
|Current model A1811 (Lite #A1818), as over 1 Dec 2018 now selling in the USA. Verge 2 imminent with eSIM.
GTR released Jul2019 ( A1910). Ironman version and titanium version
GTS announced Aug 2019, it’s their version of the apple watch
|Amazfit (Xiaomi-Huami)||Run/Tri||🔴STRATOS 1/2
|Current, Multisport 2018 watch. Intl versions v1 & v2 are same.
STRATOS 3 Aug 2019 – model #A1929
|Apple||Fitness||🔴Watch Series 1 (Sport),||Current, great pricing on the AW3 beware inferior hardware compared to AW4.|
|Apple||Fitness||Watch Series 4 w/Nike||Current. A notable hardware upgrade from the AW3.|
|Apple||Fitness||🔵 Watch Series 5||Sep 2019, will run on WatchOS6. Aluminium, stainless steel, titanium and ceramic versions as well as the 40mm and 44mm versions. Also a Nike co-branded version.|
|Bryton||Bike||RIDER 100, 310, 330, 410, 450h, 530E, Rider 530 T, aero 60, one, Rider 860, Rider 420||Current, 450E is top model @<$200 with all functions even 310 @<$150 supports a PM (Full model list here). Aero 60 is a fully-featured bikenav. The Sep 2019 Rider 860 and Rider 420 might see the 860 as the new top-end model.|
|Bryton||Bike||RIDER numerous other models||Effectively Discontinued|
|Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20||Current, replaced by F20/F30 announced Aug 2018|
|Pro Trek Smart WSD-F21 HR||Sep 2019. Updated F20 with oHR|
|Pro Trek Smart WSD-F30||Announced: Jan 2019, replacing WSD-F20. Expect a WSD-F40 in Jan 2020 😉|
|CatEye||Bike||STEALTH 50, Stealth EVO, STEALTH EVO, STRADA, PADRONE Smart+, Stealth evo+ CC-GL51 (2015), full spec’d Avventura
|2016 models are current (full model list here), Avventura might only be available in Japan|
|COROS||Run/Tri||Pace Pace Multisport M1||Current, Garmin 735XT lookalike|
|COROS||Run/Tri||Apex 42mm 46mm||Current Oct 2018. Highly credible endurance run and tri alternative. Competent small format is available. Jan 2019 a special edition announced for 46mm.|
|COROS||Run/Tri||Apex PRO||Q4.2019 Somewhere between Apex and Vertix|
|COROS||Outdoors||Vertix||Current May 2019. Premium case and SpO2|
|Epson||Run/Tri||🔴ProSense 17, 🔴ProSense 57, 🔴ProSense 307, 🔴ProSense 347||Discontinued|
|Fossil||Fitness WearOS||Sport||November 2018|
|Fitbit||Fitness||Blaze||Replaced by Versa|
|Fitbit||Fitness||🔴Charge, Charge 2||Discontinued|
🔵 Versa 2
|Current SE version has Fit Pay payments
Versa Lite – March 2019
Versa 2 – available 15 September 2019 with Aug 28th Announcement
|Fitbit||Fitness||Ionic||Current, September 2017|
|Fitbit||Fitness||Ionic 2||Due September 2019, maybe|
|Fitbit||Fitness||Ionic Adidas||Announced Feb 2018, has an Adidas app|
|Fitbit||Fitness||Surge||Superseded by Ionic|
|Fossil||Fitness WearOS||Puma SmartWatch
Michael Kors MKGO
Emporio Armani Smartwatch 3
|Sep 2019 (Prob same watch inside as the Fossil sport)
Sep 2019 (Prob same watch inside as the Fossil sport)
Emporio Armani Smartwatch 3
|Sport||Sport Uses 2019 Snapdragon processor. Fossil is a BIG WearOS watch producer for many sub-brands. Sport uses a new 3100 processor.|
|Geekery||Outdoors||IronCloud T1||IndieGoGo Campaign Q2/Q3.2018 look but don’t touch. Cheaper Fenix 5 wannabe. Apparently, it’s folded. Caveat Emptor.|
|Hammerhead||Bike||Karoo||Cycling Computer, first units released in Feb 2018.
My understanding is that KAROO development will be focussed on firmware improvements and not new hardware
|Huawei||Fitness WearOS||Fit, Watch 2 Sport, Watch GT Active||WearOS and a good spec. Current (Watch 2 was 2017 with an incremental 2018 update) The Fit was effectively the “Watch 1 Sport”.
Watch 3 Watch GT and this was codenamed FORTUNA (GT is not WearOS anymore)
|Huawei||Fitness WearOS||Honor Magic||WearOS and a good spec, November 2018|
|Lezyne||Bike||Mini, Macro Plus GPS (Macro, Macro Easy, Micro, Micro Watch, Super Pro (Super GPS), Mega, Watch variants||MEGA announced July 2018
MACRO EASY GPS announced Jul 2019
Macro Plus & Super Pro revamped earlier models, announced Jul 2019 with FE-C
Full, current list here
|LG||Fitness WearOS||Watch Sport||Current, apparently one of the better WearOS devices – certainly spec looks the best. Watch2 has seen e-sim in China only|
|LG||Fitness WearOS||LM-W315, LM-305, LM-W325, LM-W319,||LM-W315 could be called ICONIC. With one of the other models being the ICONIC SPORT. LM-W319 could be as soon as Sep 2018 (likely this is now the W7 which is a non-sports hybrid.) but a Watch3 derivative will be 2019.|
|Mont Blanc||Fitness WearOS||Summit 2||Announced – several quite advanced sporty features|
|Fitness WearOS||Pixel Smartwatch||To be released in 2019. Unclear if a SPORT/FITNESS version will be released as well.|
|MIO/Magellan||Bike||Cyclo 605, 505HC+ others||Nice devices. The 505HC appears to now be discontinued and replaced with a slightly superior 605HC (Q2.2017). Other models include Cyclo 210 (re-announced Aug2018?), 400, 405, 405HC
Unsure of the situation in USA with sister company MAGELLAN. Who have dated ECHO/SWITCH run/bike products
|Misfit||Fitness WearOS||Vapor||WearOS. Replaced by Vapor 2|
|Misfit||Fitness WearOS||Vapor 2||WearOS. Current.|
|MiVia||Fitness||Run 350||2017 Fitbit Versa look-alike|
|Mobvoi||Fitness||Ticwatch 2 aka Ticwatch Active||2017 budget sports watch with GPS & Music|
|Mobvoi||Fitness WearOS||Ticwatch E2||2018 budget sports watch with GPS & Music, the replacement for Ticwatch E|
|Mobvoi||Fitness WearOS||Ticwatch S2||CES2019 replacement for Ticwatch S (ie S1). S=Sport|
|Mobvoi||Fitness WearOS||Ticwatch S||2017 WearOS 2.0 budget sports watch. Ticwatch E is cheaper and non-sport version. Ticwatch 2, Active and Classic are different – not WearOS. Replaced by S2.
|Mobvoi||Fitness WearOS||Ticwatch Pro
🔵 Ticwatch Pro 4G LTE
🔵 new Ticwatch Pro Jul 2019 with LTE (USA only)
|Mystery ‘big name’||Fitness WearOS||New Entrant||WearOS 2.0, Q4.2018 at earliest. Maybe a long-term project for 2019|
|Moto||Fitness WearOS||360 Sport – 2nd Gen/Sport||Current|
|New Balance||Fitness WearOS||RunIQ||WearOS. Current|
|Ordnance Survey||Bike||OS Horizon GPS
OS Velo GPS
OS Trail Bike GPS
OS Trail 2 Bike GPS (2019)
|High quality MAPS on a bikenav|
|Polar||Bike||V660||V650 refresh 2019/2020|
|Polar||Run/Tri||Vantage V||V800 replacement|
|Polar||Run/Tri||Vantage M||More run-focussed than the V model and a bit more than the M430.|
|Polar||Run/Tri||Vantage V Titanium||high-end case variant of the Vantage V
I’m not at all convinced that there will be a Vantage M – lite model. although this could theoretically replace the M200.
|Polar||Fitness||A370||A360 replacement with linked-GPS|
|Polar||Fitness||A380||I guess you could speculate that there is an A380 due but I would not be so sure that Polar (or anyone else) will pursue a premium band format.|
|Polar||Fitness||🔵 Ignite||Fitness & Running watch|
|Polar||Run||M200||Entry-level oHR running/sports watch 2016. Replacement 2019 maybe|
|Polar||Run||🔴M400||Replaced by M430 in Q1.2017|
|Polar||Run||M430||An optical M400, released. this is mostly replaced by the Vantage M, although the Vantage M has notable extra stuff kinda making it a model higher. M430 has been confirmed as remaining in the Polar product set as a full-featured running watch BUT it will not receive new functionality.|
|Polar||Bike||🔴M450||Replaced by M460 in Q1.2017|
|Polar||Bike||M460||M450 with STRAVA LIVE|
|Polar||Run WearOS||M600||STILL the best WearOS sports watch for Android|
|Polar||Bike||V650||Bike Nav Cycling device. Might get an ANT+ refresh but fine as-is|
|Polar||Run/Tri||🔴V800||Still a great multisport watch, replaced by Vantage V & Vantage M|
|Samsung||Fitness||Gear Sport||Current (Gear Fit Pro is BAND format and the Samsung Gear Fit Plus could be the 2018 version of that)|
|Samsung||Fitness||Galaxy Watch Active||Galaxy Sport is Galaxy Watch Active|
|Samsung||Fitness||🔵 Galaxy Watch Active2||July 2019|
|Sigma Sport||Bike||Rox GPS 7.0, ROX GPS 10.0, Rox GPS 11.0, Rox 12.0 Sport, id.TRI, id.FREE||Good feature set, current.
Rox 12.0 Sport June 2018 looks like a massive leap forward for the company. Highly competent bikenav
id.TRI is a veryinteresting budget TRI offering
Full list of Sigma products here
|Sony||Fitness WearOS||Smartwatch 3 SWR50||WearOS. Current|
|SoWatch||Fitness||SoWatch||IndieGogo – Sports and other stuff|
|Skagen||Fitness WearOS||Falster 2||With GPS added, this now counts as a sports watch. It aims to be seen as the prettiest WearOS|
|Pioneer||BIKENAV||CA600||Cycling Computer, looks nice. OSM, ANT+, power
Full list here
|SRM||Bike||PowerControl 7 (PC7)||Cycling Computer|
|SRM||Bike||PowerControl 8 (PC8)||Cycling Computer|
|Stages||Bike||Dash (L10)||Cycling Computer. cheap and well-featured|
|Stages||Bike||Dash L50, M50||New models for release Q1-2.2019|
|Suunto||Various||Ambit 3 variants (Peak, run, Sport…)||Still great devices. In many ways superior.|
|Suunto||Various||Ambit 4||The SPARTAN TRAINER is the replacement to the AMBIT3, at least in terms of looks.|
|Suunto||Various||🔴 Ambit/Ambit 2||Effectively Discontinued|
|Suunto||Run/Tri||SPARTAN Sport||Current, OK to buy now|
|Suunto||Run/Tri||SPARTAN Sport with oHR (WHR)||Current|
|Suunto||Outdoors||Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro||Current|
|Suunto||Run/Tri||SPARTAN Trainer||New outdoor variants in Jan 2018, superseded in 2019 with Suunto 5|
|Suunto||Outdoors||SPARTAN Ultra||Current, OK to buy now. Suunto 9 is an effective replacement|
|Suunto||Fitness||Suunto 3 Fitness||Current. A low-end model with interesting specs. GPS only from paired and carried smartphone.|
|Suunto||Fitness||Suunto 9||Current. High-end Spartan ULTRA replacement|
|Suunto||Fitness||Suunto 8,7,6,4,2,1||Replacement for Suunto Spartan Sport perhaps? There seems to be a thing with odd numbers going on (I DO NOT KNOW AND WOULD NOT SAY if Suunto 7 will be next but it seems logical S9 could also be refreshed with new hardware and adaptive training and sleep)|
|Suunto||Run/Tri||🔵 Suunto 5||Good mid-range tri watch. Replacement for SPARTAN Trainer|
|TomTom||Outdoors||🔴 Adventurer||Still a great watch. But it looks like TomTom sports division is closed down.|
|TomTom||Run||🔴 Runner 3, Spark 3||Still a great watch. But it looks like TomTom sports division is closed down. Still firmware updates as of 8 May 2018|
|TomTom||Run||🔴 Spark, Runner, Runner 2||Effectively Discontinued, there was never a Spark 2|
|Withings||Fitness||Move & Move ECG||CES2019, Sweet Fitness ecosystem|
|Withings||Fitness||Steel HR Sport||Current|
|Wahoo Fitness||Bike||ELEMNT||A great cycling computer, due a refresh|
|Wahoo Fitness||Bike||ELEMNT BOLT||A great cycling computer, due a refresh|
|Wahoo Fitness||Bike||ELEMNT ROAM||Colour version of a super-sized Bolt with navigation|
|Wahoo Fitness||Bike||ELEMNT MINI||Cut down cycling computer no GPS, no power compatibility, Wahoo-only sensors. , due a refresh|
|XPLOVA/Acer||Bike||X3 EVO||Current, FYI they are releasing a turbo trainer Q3.2019|
|XPLOVA/Acer||Bike||🔴X5||Superseded by X5 EVO|
|XPLOVA/Acer||Bike||X5 EVO||Current, refreshed model. onboard video, guess there’ll be an X6 next…|
|XS||Fitness||XS 4 Smartwatch||Indiegogo – Watch, phone, everything.|
- There are many other low-priced brands, several of which are visual rip-offs of the main brands’ models.
- Some low-priced brands include: PARNERME, UWEAR, GoLife, GooPhone, Reabeam, igSPORT
- There are probably also some Kickstarter and Indegogo type new models planned. My broad opinion is that if this is the first sports watch from a company with no track record then you will lose your money. Spend a little bit extra and instead get a real product now.
- If you’ve found a brand that I’ve not listed above and the price looks too good to be true…there’s probably a reason. Just go for the brands above…eg Lezyne are cheap and perfectly good bike computers that support complex usage.
What have I missed? Are there others?
Note: information that has become available about accessories is NOT included (too many of them). There are also too many Power Meter variants for me to keep track of. I have more than a passing interest in PMs for triathlon disciplines but I don’t keep an eye on the whole market – the document I keep up-to-date on PM is my guide to the best power meter. I’m generally going to exclude wrist bands from the lists above, like the Vivokids v2, although some bands have sneaked in there already.
All Firmware Updates
- Suunto Spartan is here: link to Suunto.com
- Suunto 5 is here: link to Suunto.com
- Suunto 9 is here: link to Suunto.com
- Polar updates are here: link to Polar.com
- Garmin updates are ALL here in one awesome place: link to gpsinformation.net
- Elemnt Updates are here: link to wahoofitness.com
- Fitbit updates are here: link to Fitbit.com
- Hammerhead Karoo is here: link to Hammerhead.io
- Lezyne is here: link to Lezyne.com
- WatchOS 5 is here: link to Apple.com
- WatchOS 6 is here: link to Apple.com
- Stages DASH is here: stagesdash.com
- Sigma Rox 12 here: sigmasport.com
- io Cyclo: mio.com
Please let me know of any I’ve missed
Sports Watch Tech Trends?
The big trend is ‘not here guv’….the smart money is now in MEDICAL-WEARABLE tech rather than sports wearable tech.
These are the major tech trends for sports devices as I see them. You will find that there are general thrusts forwards in watch tech which are lagging slightly behind smartphone tech and there are also sports-specific innovations that can likely only ever really happen on watches. Some of the trends are technical trends eg for a ‘LTE’ but then the technical trend itself also enables new services to be provided on it eg LTE will support instantaneous location-based functionality
Apple Watch/WearOS and others already have high resolution screens but no ‘proper’ sports watches do…yet.
AMOLED is coming to a sports watch near you. Garmin’s VENU is the start and it will end with AMOLED-like tech on VERY MANY sports watches. You might have to wait up to 4 more years though for it to be widespread.
WiFi will get ever faster but that won’t really impact sports devices too much.
Bluetooth and ANT+ will keep doing their thing and Bluetooth will eventually win despite not being as good for sports. Fortunately, that will be in MANY years time. So no need to worry yet.
Multiple Bluetooth connections will start to be created on devices eg Polar H10 has 2x BLE connections and multiple ANT+ connections. eg Wahoo’s KICKR18 now has 3x BLE connections in the latest firmware (not KICKR17 grrr)
LTE/Cellular connectivity is where most innovation will take place and several smartwatch makers, along with Garmin, have dabbled with this on smart watches. I’m expecting this to become more prevalent from 2020 onwards on SPORTS watches.
Payment Tech /NFC
This works well on the devices I’ve used that support it (Garmin, Fitbit, Apple, others). The difficulty is commercial and not technical.
Commercial agreements need to be negotiated and supported by EVERY bank. This is a ridiculous (but necessary) situation. And once a proper payments system like PAYPAL/STRIPE realises this they will spread their tentacles from the net and smartphones to provide a ubiquitous service that smart watches can use in any currency, anywhere.
Music Services: Garmin has commercially ‘nailed’ music whilst exercising by enabling the integration of AMAZON music, Spotify and Deezer. When I say ‘nailed’ I mean that their offering has a potentially wide appeal as it supports multiple services with the ability to relatively easily add others. Audible, Apple Music and Google Play Music still need to be added to Garmin.
Geographic constraints: All music services are constrained by regional licencing differences.
None of the vendors’ offerings work as generic streaming services. Instead, they use Bluetooth phone connections or domestic WiFi to cache your tracks from streaming services. Once LTE/ Cellular connectivity is supported over larger populations we might see proper/live streaming, although the current way of working suits me.
High definition playback is NOT supported from any smartwatch that I know eg AptX HD. AFAIK they all use normal-quality CODECS and have other audio-tech constraints which mean that your running with music capability can sound GOOD but not EXCELLENT. And your sports watch cannot stream a high-quality music signal to high-quality Bluetooth speakers at home – over Wifi it might be possible (IDK).
GNSS Tech – GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, GPS III
Support for multiple GNSS constellations just means that you can use more satellites. That means that you will only have an increased likelihood of getting +/-5m accuracy
To get that elusively-accurate GPS running track other things need to fall into place.
- Some of the constellations already support multiple frequencies (bands) of transmissions. If receivers use two of these frequencies (dual band) then that can eliminate one of the major errors on the signal travelling through the atmosphere. Dual-band Galileo might deliver that and is used in some smartphones now. This can, in theory, give +/-1m accuracy (GPS + Galileo is NOT dual-band per se, Galileo has 3 bands, not all of which are used)
- HOWEVER, the aerial needs to be up to the job. A watch aerial typically just points up. But a better aerial might also point down and towards building so that it can know if it receives a bounced signal or a direct signal. The bounced signal always travels further and currently, these confuse your watch and makes it think you are a few metres away from where you really are.
- It’s possible that some sort of ground-based station can correct positional errors (Google: SBAS) and maybe combining with urban WiFi networks or nationwide cellular masts can deliver better accuracy here too in urban areas #Maybe
- GPS III 3 sounds one better than GPS 2. But all these things, above, need to fall into place first.
- Dual-band GNSS IS live on several smartphones and SBAS is used on sports watches eg Polar VANTAGE
Optical HR Tech
We are just about there with oHR delivering resting HRV. Or at least it’s possible. This then means that all vendors should be able to deliver a good SLEEP offering.
Beyond that, I can’t see anyone consistently delivering oHR accuracy to, say, +/-3% for >90% of athletes using existing tech.
ie I suspect some mythical new tech is needed, although I think it’s called a chest strap.
In my mind, Garmin has mostly nailed this with Digital Elevation Maps (DEM) ie a map that has the known elevations of every square metre of the earth (or whatever the actual resolution).
Couple that with algorithms that fine-tune by barometric-altimetry and GPS-altimetry and we’re there. Well, unless you’re on a steep cliff face or in a built-up area. But it’s great for nearly all of us, nearly all of the time.
The problem is the cost and complexity of doing this for a smaller company. #BarrierToEntry. Those that care sufficiently about elevation (some cyclists) will probably just buy a Garmin, so is it worth new entrants trying to implement maps and DEM? If you implement maps you probably will wnat to implement routing and that is HARD.
I said elsewhere that Garmin has reached “peak battery” I don’t know how they’ve done it. Coros is pretty good too. Either way, their batteries last for a LONG time. WAY longer than almost any of us need them to. OK, so the reality is that the battery lives are not as good as advertised once you start connecting all your sensors and navigating, getting lost and playing music but the battery life problem seems to have a workable end-game in sight.
Solar tech will spread through Garmin’s ranges down to cheaper watches and across to bike computers. Others amongst us will just take a battery pack. It’s tricky to see who else will try to seriously implement Solar tech, is there any point in a smartwatch company boosting their day-long battery life by a few 10s of minutes? Possibly not.
Consequently now is the time to start introducing lots of battery-eating functions again! #Sigh !! (Yes I’ll use them too!)
Wireless charging and shared charging between devices might come to a watch near you. Or not. Charging based on body heat will probably also spread more widely (eg Matrix Gemini TEG)
Many running watch vendors have half-decent support for audio feedback during workouts. If you listen to music you may find yourself inadvertently ALSO hearing your 1km lap times when you were least expecting it. Of course, audio feedback is already more extensive than just lap times but, perhaps, audio features are not used by runners THAT widely.
Audio alerts DO ‘sound’ (aha, pun) a bit amateurish but, actually, I reckon they’re quite useful when you are going flat out you don’t want to have to raise your wrist or glance down at your segment progress on your bike computer. Well, I don’t do that. It seems that ‘just going for it’ might be the best way for a PB after all! However, I wouldn’t mind be selectively nagged during a one-minute STRAVA segment PB attempt…I mean, err, audio-coached.
If you use Siri or Google Assistant or Amazon through speakers at home or in your car, then it’s not hard to see that very soon sports watches could be usefully responsive to audio commands. “OK-Google…take a lap” being a simple example on a WearOS watch that could probably happen now…or you could press the button! But what if it’s raining and your touchscreen has gone AWOL…just sayin’.
You could see group tech as ‘social sharing’ like with STRAVA. But think about groups in a different way and how their sporty experience can be augmented.
Think of Sunday cycling groups. Why shouldn’t your rear-pointing radars and lights all work together to better alert the group about oncoming cars and better alerts cars with coordinated flashing?
If you are running as a group then rather than just your position, why shouldn’t other stats be shared like heart rate or running power (w/kg) to help you spot the slackers?
Why can’t we sign our Garmin up to a race and periodically flash-upload lap stats to a centralised race portal? Widespread cellular support on our devices will help this in years to come.
Or we could just better share photos of cuddly cats 🙂 But you get the point that often innovation happens just for the sake of innovation and there are clearly many more social innovations left to be made over and above ‘cute cats’.
Solo Tech & Safety Tech
Clearly, there is a trend for gamification of solitary training where services like ZWIFT can make your treadmill experience part of a wider virtual group. That trend is obviously going to continue.
Watches currently have the ‘I’ve broken my leg alert’ and the ‘someone’s following me alert’. For certain demographics that sort of functionality will hopefully become more widely available. Why not add an extra level of locational intelligence here to prompt the watch wearer “Hey…do you really want to run down THIS street at night”…ie there could be links to police crime databases or other types of geographic databases providing other kinds of info.
I suspect the best way to come up with an idea in this realm is to see what apps already exist for smartphones and copy them…
Integration & Openness in a Connected World
There will be deeper integration of sports watches with their companion apps. Any sports service worth its salt will be open to key sources of data like Google FIT, Apple Health, Strava and Garmin Connect.
It’s relatively clear that HEALTH and activity data is becoming ever-more centralised in large, open repositories (Google, Apple). Those repositories obviously hold some sports data as well but will there ever be a time when Google/Apple are the first place we port our sports data to and then we use various other platforms to feed the source data from Google/Apple for our analyses and soacial interactions? I used to think that would happen but now I’m not so sure. STRAVA would be the most obvious platform to develop into a sports ‘data warehouse’ but they seem to be more interested in becoming the Facebook of sports rather than the Oracle of sport (Oracle made Data Warehouses back in the day).
Mapping & Navigation
My most common command to my car’s navigation is, verbally, “Navigate me home” and I want that to take into account traffic delays, which it does. Sports navigational tech tries to do a lot of REALLY clever navigation stuff but I suspect that much of what they are trying to do is for a tiny number of people. None of the sports watches can get me home in the way that I use my car/smartphone. Maybe it’s just me? My next most pressing navigation need is simply to follow a route I’ve grabbed from somewhere (say, Google maps) and, perhaps, to navigate me back on track when I get lost
Clever routing algorithms exist to get you there in the easiest, fastest and shortest ways. Yep, even elevation gain can already be taken into account when a route is planned. This first step to calculate sensible routes is HARD to do well when all the other navigational ‘must-have’ features are also factored in eg different kinds of road surfaces.
The larger sports data platforms also have the ability to route you over the most popular routes (Garmin, Google, Apple, Strava) and that ultimately relies on ‘people knowing best’ rather than ‘tech knowing best’. For most routing experiences, I suspect that POPULARITY ROUTING is all we need. Yet this is a challenge for someone like, say, Hammerhead or Suunto to implement as I suspect they don’t have the volume of data that Garmin does. So they ultimately have to either pay for it from a 3rd party or offer a service based on limited-popularity routing…a similar sceario was with Google Maps’ satellite images, which used to be free until Google started charging companies to use it to serve to you. #BarriertoEntry.
“OK Garmin, navigate me home”…soon.
Seemless Google Maps integration…maybe
Weather sensors and connectivity to weather services are generally already quite good. I was recently impressed with the MyRadar app on WearOS which graphically shows incoming weather fronts on a map on my watch. Try doing that on an Garmin screen without a smartphone connected to the net.
I want to see more forecast info offered around wind. Wind is often hidden away in a forecast. As a cyclist wind is often as important to me as rain…I try to avoid excesses of both in equal measure. Yet if I am on a STRAVA segment day then the exact wind knowledge can be rather helpful, maybe I could even receive a daily text/email/alert to alert me of favourable, predicted wind conditions on my starred segments
I suppose you can already turn on your fridge whilst running if you have the right pieces of kit and an IFTTT account. You can do a lot of of things you don’t really need to with tech.
Novel Sensor Support
This requires the ‘novel sensor’ to exist. Thus we are still waiting for sporty, PRACTICAL hydration sensors, blood pressure and blood glucose sensors to actually exist. Garmin can already connect to them BTW…CIQ
There’s probably a sports watch that can already take a photo and share it to your STRAVA feed. Xplova integrated video recording to their bikenav a few years ago along a similar vein. It’s already technically possible, there just has to be the commercial will to match whatever demand exists.
The question here is to what degree imagery capturing needs to be integrated onto a small sports device rather than being augmented instead by the athlete carrying a secondary device (drone/GoPro). If I think of the 30 or so people that I regularly follow on STRAVA (who I actually know in real life) then only one of them adds the occasional image to a ride.
Workout Data Standards
I think the FIT file format is now a de-facto standard, although communication between platforms may well use JSON or TCX. But you don’t need to know that. You’d be surprised at how many newly released devices (non-Garmin) produce FIT files with schema errors, you’d be surprised at how many of those errors exist two years later. Or maybe you wouldn’t.