*INCOMING NEW* Garmin 955, 745, LTE, SOLAR, Vector AIR and more

Garmin Fenix 5, 5X, 5s, 935 ReviewSorry folks. I’m going to have to spoil all your gadget excitement for 2020. Normally this stuff drips out in dribs and drabs but this time we probably have a good chunk of 2020 in one fell swoop.

There are some surprises here but I think it’s mostly correct. Have a look and see what you think and then I’ll waffle for a bit afterwards.

  • Garmin Forerunner 745
  • Garmin Forerunner 955
  • Garmin 955 LTE
  • Garmin Index Scale 2
  • Garmin Edge 1030 Plus
  • Garmin Edge 130 Plus
  • Garmin Enduro MTB
  • Garmin Quatix 6 (based on Fenix 6)
  • Garmin Fenix 6S SPORT (possibly a minor cosmetic variant, possibly internal name for PRO)
  • Garmin Fenix 6 SPORT (possibly a minor cosmetic variant, possibly internal name for PRO)
  • Garmin Fenix 6 SOLAR (possibly, ie NOT the 6X solar but solar on a lower model)
  • Garmin Vector AIR – detailed external article @bicycling.com.

Sources: Felippe/Driscoll, the rumour-mill loves you both (plus others)

MID-PRICE TRI WATCH: The Forerunner 745XT has been due for a while but it looks to finally be inbound and this time with the XT suffix being dropped just like it was from the 910xt/920xt/935/Forerunner 945 series. It was the logical next device for Garmin to upgrade as the version of CIQ that it can run is super-old. However, it was never a certainty to be released at all as it shares a similar price bracket to the older and much superior Forerunner 935 model which will likely continue to fall in price and be well-discounted for sales. The new 745 will be bad news for the middle-ground, currently occupied by the Polar Vantage M and Suunto 5 (Suunto 7 if that is planned, IDK).

MORE SPORTY VARIANTS: I may have got this bit wrong, but to confuse matters further there appears to be a sporty variant planned for the Fenix 6 and Fenix 6S. Whether that just simply means a plastic strap or a lightweight, titanium casing…I don’t know (answers, below on a postcard please). The first answer was that it was the internal name for the existing PRO version 😉 so don’t get too excited on this particular one.

SOLAR TRICKLE-DOWN: Then, unsurprisingly, we see the Fenix 6 SOLAR which I’m hoping is different to the existing 6X Solar and which marks the start of the trickle-down of the SOLAR feature to other models. No surprise here at all. I guess SOLAR will be sorted out nicely on watches before being ported across to bike devices. It’s possible this could be a confusing reference to the 6x pro solar but I don’t think so.

NEW EDGEs: We’ve also only just seen a whopping upgrade to the Edge 1030’s firmware which, in itself, was enough for it to be classed as the Edge 1040. However, the Edge 1040 is not (yet) to be. Instead, there will be a Garmin Edge 1030 PLUS model, probably in time for the start of the Spring cycling season. and, along a similar vein, we will get the Edge 130 Plus rather than an Edge 140. These PLUS models are likely to include some element of revamped hardware but if the Edge 520 Plus release was anything to go by then it will likely also include an existing feature from a higher model (The Edge 520 Plus had maps included). I suspect the Edge 840/540 won’t then appear until 2021. There is an outside chance that the 1030 Plus refers to the 1030 with the firmware already released but I strongly think not.

“ENDURO” QUE?: A Garmin Enduro model is also planned which I assume is a re-imagined Edge 530 MTB bundle (a plastic cover) upgraded to a proper product for MTB/trail riders. Or it could be an ultra-running watch eg a super long-life running watch based on the Fenix. Or something else entirely different.

TRI TECH SWEETNESS: Then we have the Forerunner 955 tri watch. The main feature on this will be buttons that have been tested by more than just one person and which work properly 😉 (just kidding…no I’m not). The end of the post, below, goes through the new sorts of features that will be added to high-end Garmin devices. So, this new 955 is REALLY annoying as it’s going to be very expensive and I’m going to have to buy one. More annoyingly, it looks like Garmin are producing a new Fenix/945 every year to keep the shareholders happy. [larger screen, faster processor, LTE]

TRI TECH SWEETNESS v2 and LTE trickle-down: But then we see the 955 LTE. I have NO IDEA why the 955 deserves to be the first Fenix device with LTE…but there we go. It is what it is. Maybe I just don’t have the Fenix 6/7 model info yet which shows which of those variants LTE will be on? Perhaps the 955LTE will test out some of these features before being put into potentially more serious usage in more dangerous environments? I’m also not entirely sure how readily the 955 will have the potential number of users to make cellular connectivity worthwhile (I believe there is some degree of configuration required for different global cellular networks…that statement could be wrong)

FORERUNNER 655: …nowhere to be seen in the latest rumours but still expected in 2020

FENIX 7: The Fenix is clearly tending towards an annual revamp/iteration. So the Fenix 7 is going to happen in Jan 2021 at THE LATEST and maybe before Xmas 2020. Same argument for the Vivoactive 5. The Kerching models.

C’mon folks…you’ve got to have an opinion on this lot !!! Comments below please 😉


Garmin Deals @ Amazon – lots of them…

Garmin Deals – 945/Fenix/Edge/More latest pre-Black Friday discounts at PowerMeter USA

Garmin Deals – 945/Fenix/Edge/More latest pre-Black Friday discounts at Wiggle UK EU

November 2019: Sports Watch Update: All new & current Bike/Run/Tri/Fitness Models with GPS. Rumors + replacement dates for Garmin, Polar, Suunto, Wahoo, Fitbit

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55 thoughts on “*INCOMING NEW* Garmin 955, 745, LTE, SOLAR, Vector AIR and more

  1. I don’t mind yearly revisions, but if they start doing this they need to back port some of the new software changes to older models, like Apple do. Garmin have a reputation of insisting if you want the new features, you need to buy the latest model. They can’t expect people to keep upgrading every year when these things cost a fortune.

    1. there is some truth in that
      But don’t forget that, for example, the edge 1030 has a slew of features as outlined in the article above.
      some features ARE applied to other older models but, for sure, not all

    2. If you kept a close watch (pun intended) on the Fenix series, you’d know they already do this. I’ve had tons of post-release features added to mine. So much so, that an original-revision user manual would be utterly useless at this point. It’s a good thing they update that as well.

    1. this is going to create an annual problem
      I bought a new bike yesterday as well (more info on that to follow). I had to come up with a VERY convoluted reason why i had to have it (am now up to 6 of my own and need to apply the n-2=happy relationship model)

  2. I always had Fenix watches and then jumped the Forerunner 945 ship. It was (beside the MARQs) the first Modell to get the new features and is now the last when it comes to software fixes.

    The same will happen to the 955: It gets LTE with a lot of bugs, some fixes and when the Fenix 7 drops 6 months later, you are glad when you can use it to track your runs (outdoor AND indoor).

    I really regret buying the 945 and think, the next watch I will buy from Garmin will need to be a Fenix 7 with OLED and 7 days worth of battery in full smartwatch mode.

    I also can’t recommend buying the Index 2 if its also as bad in connecting like the first one was for YEARS. I know a lot of owners who (like me) really like the scale, but hated to bend NTP querries to other servers. Coming from Withings (before it was Nokia), I was also used to be able to weight myself in on hot days before and after runs and get both weighting’s solved.
    As long as they don’t start changing Garmin Connect to support such basic functionalities, they don’t need to invest only one cent into a Index Two: It won’t sell any better and what new metrics could there be to support it?

    I think, there a no big excitement justified, only a little. Its mostly taking care of the lineup.

  3. I love new tech and I am happy to buy a new Forerunner 9*5 every year as long as the upgrade makes any sense. I mean I train with the watch twice a day every day so I think I deserve once a year to give myself this as a gift and pay the difference between the new one and selling the old one and enjoy it.

        1. I had a Newton…the Aero-pod/power-pod’s long forgotten about older brother. It was a super nifty device, and great for dipping my toes into powermeters. It still remains the best powermeter in terms of portability between bikes (except perhaps the ultra-faulty powercal) including all the pedal based options. I think their dynamic power-smoothing algorithm was an innovation that hasn’t been matched by anyone else in the industry, but was a really awesome feature (the more steady your power the longer it smoothed the number, but if you hammered or stopped peddling it would react immediately!).

          That said, It was super finicky, relied on a near-perfect 10 minute calibration ride, output is based on static imputs (my weight can be vastly different wearing a pack or not), and needed to be plugged into a computer to make any adjustments (there was no phone app to make adjustments on the fly). It was an awesome device when it worked well (which it did on occasion), but more often than not it reported either wildly inaccurate numbers or just simply 0 watts.

          If Garmin can address some of these issues, I will be very interested in their Vector Air.

  4. Ugh… much of the appeal of top tier Edge units (800, 1000, 1030) was that they’d get new software features from their younger lower tier siblings right until the hardware increment arrives. Squeezing a short-lived facelift in between generations (the 520 Plus hardly had a year to the 530) kind of ruins that. Note that this is not so much of an issue for the lower tiers because those never got that many post-release features anyways.

    PS: and please, k5r, head over to https://www.trustpilot.com/review/www.powermeter24.com and ask yourself if whatever affiliate income you get from powermeter24.com it’s truly worth the affiliation.

    1. ok ty for that i had had a couple of people say the same thing before and i will now revisit it.
      i was sort of going to anyway (for another reason) but this has prompted me into action.

  5. most surprise is the Garmin Index Scale 2, all old Garmin Index Scale 1 owners get a free replacement, cause this scale goes toally wrong?

  6. Just take my money now Garmin! The 955 LTE, Index 2 scale, 1030 Plus, Vectors and Vector airs are on my 2020 wish (scratch that—more like preorder) list. I like to alternate new bike years and new tech years so my significant other doesn’t catch on. My UPS/FedEx guy already knows where to put the special deliveries now too

  7. I think that a yearly release of a new 700€ watch will just p$%s off customers.
    For that price point you want some exclusiveness for some time, right?

    And than there is still the stigma of releasing gadgets with beta firmware.
    I don’t know if Garmin nowadays releases bug free products tho.
    But if a 600€ plus watch needs like half a year of firmware updates, I think,
    people are even less happy about a new watch every year.

    On the other hand that might mean more and newer second hand garmins devices on
    online auction platforms for people not willing to raise a mortgage on the house
    for a new sports watch.

  8. Intrigued by the Enduro possibilities. Perhaps more of a Zumo variant than an Edge variant. They sponsor an Enduro team, but then again they sponsor many things. Prepared to face the horror of huge bezels, even if it doesn’t bring solar deeper into their product lines.

    If they were to do an SPD-compatible power meter I don’t know they would necessarily force it under the Vector product name.

      1. It’s not like the start from scratch with each new release. They’ve been doing this stuff for years. Yet every time they launch something new it is riddled with bugs. Do they really learn nothing from previous generations? You would like to think the whole development process was finely honed and every release would be a delight. Sadly it’s the opposite. Just look at the Garmin forum for comments on the 6 series. It’s a mess.

        I’m retired now, but worked in IT for 20 years. I don’t recall every releasing such flaky systems into production. Test, test, test, sign off, etc.. It is hard to believe that testing these products at Garmin is very thorough. Oh, and the screens and backlights on the 6 series. Horrendous variation in consistency. I’ve read of people returning 3, 4, even 5 watches in order to find one that is acceptable. Garmin was replacing them. Now they say that it’s normal and are refusing to replace. Not at £650+ per watch it isn’t.

        I actually bought a 6X Pro and returned it unopened (early serial number and high risk of bad display) because I just don’t believe the hardware is ready, never mind the software, which is easier to fix. As a 5X+ owner the biggest single attraction of the 6X is the large display, but with washed out contrast and blue backlights on numerous examples I think I’ll pass.

        As for the solar versions, well the additional benefit is pretty lame. The main solar part is a tiny ring and still there is wasted real estate on the watch face. Why not turn every part of the display other than the data display area into a solar panel. Then solar performance might actually be worth something.

        And it ires me that with every release the GPS performance seems to go backwards. I know you and I share similar thoughts on the Polar V800. That should be the benchmark to be beaten, yet 5 years later most watches, even at double the price, can’t match it.

        1. yes I agree with all of what you say.
          but from your IT days, you know that the complexity in the Fenix 6x solar is significantly greater than that in the V800…it’s not an excuse, just part of an explanation

        2. Just to correct the assumption that the Fenix 6X Solar only captures power from the thin ring and not the rest of the screen, that is incorrect. In DCR’s review of the Fenix 6 series https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2019/08/garmin-fenix6-pro-solar-series-review.html he is very clear that the screen also harvests solar energy, it’s just it doesn’t collect as much as the thin ring.
          “ This thin strip has 100% photovoltaic levels, meaning, it’s receiving 100% of the sun’s goodness and turning that into solar power……. However, there’s a second solar panel you can’t see – despite being the entire display face. Under the display is another solar panel that has a 10% photovoltaic level.”

          1. What I mean is that you have the thin ring, with high rate of collection and the data display within that ring, with 10% capture rate. But outside the thin ring is a substantial no-man’s land of black nothing. I don’t know if it also captures at 10% or at 0%, but why not expand the area of the 100% ring to entirely cover the otherwise useless black outer edge of the watch face? Are they just saving something for the 6X+ or 7? Or is there some more honest reason to hold back?

          2. Given this is the very first device Garmin have applied this technology to, I’m sure they may well optimise it further (as you describe) for the next generation (whatever they call it). That said, I don’t think they’ll go all out with a wide shiny solar bezel, as that will impact the looks. The real innovation was getting solar capture from the main data bit of the screen. Personally I’d like to see the screen get much bigger still, so there is less bezel anyway.

  9. My Samsung mobile phone is paid for monthly for about 25.00 – each year I can upgrade it to the most recent model and return my old one. Why can’t Garmin offer this option ?

  10. Garmin can’t even produce Fenix 6X Solar, I won’t wait for 6 Solar in a short time. Yes, they produces some batches but then, it’s a history for months. They were going to come here in November. Now it is said they took back the batch due to some problems and say it’ll be ready in the coming months…

  11. I wonder if the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus will be the same Edge 1030 we have today but with the upgraded chip-set (GPS and processor) found in the new 530/830 models? The new chip-set doesn’t add any new features, but would make the device run faster, find a GPS signal faster and make the battery last longer. It would also make software development and testing easier for Garmin since they could start developing for one less chip-set.

  12. I think it depends on how hardcore you are and if you have to have the latest tech each year, whether you upgrade yearly. Personally think if you buy a good model it would last you a couple of years.

    I have had my FR620 since end of 2015. I am looking to upgrade as my HR Chest Strap is giving me false readings of 200+ for my runs, so something is wrong. SO as my watch is old i think its time to upgrade. I posted a message the other day regarding upgrading to a FR245, FR935 or even a higher spec model. I only use my 620 for running. I think the 245 would probably be more than ample for me. I am also considering STRYD and I also believe chest straps are more accurate, so would get one. I could potentially just buy a chest strap and wait a while longer. Even though the 935 has been out for nearly 3 years is it still better than the 245? The 745 sounds tempting.

    1. yes one of my hrm-tri’s is behaving like yours. i think something ‘goes’ internally in the strap.

      the 945 has lots more features…if that answers the question ? and it works.

      the problem with new-new watches with new tech that’s appearing for the first time is that there wILL be bugs.
      whereas a new watch using rollded-down tech from a higher model could be a good bet. hence i’m guessing the 745 might meet that criteria. we will soon seen. i’m expecting something imminently. garmin ALWAYS release something in january

  13. I’ve been using the 735x for several year and while it still mostly meets my needs I’m moving to longer distances (a full ironman in the next few years). I purchased a 945 and while the features are great it is way too big on my wrist compared to the 735. I’m hoping they come out with a triathlon watch roughly the same face size as the 735 but with features like the 945 for us females with smaller wrists. What do you think — will they meet our needs?

  14. I want the 7X to support UK OS 1:25k maps. Apple, Suunto and all other WearOS devices support this via the Viewranger App. Garmin needs to come up with it’s own solution for this before I will buy one.

  15. I know what you mean but ViewRanger OS 1:25k looks fine on Apple Watch and I tried an S2 and S4 for a few months but the S2 is painfully slow and the S4 like the S2 is just too fiddly for an outdoor hiking device in poor weather

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