new Garmin Fenix & Edge firmware goodies – beta, SURPRISING/INTERESTING additions including PM5

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Garmin fenix 6 review specifications 

Garmin Fenix 6 & Garmin Edge Updates Today in beta

These new features are in beta. I wouldn’t recommend installing them unless you are willing to accept the risk. That said, Garmin‘s pre-release betas are generally better than most. You will need to install these manually and instructions are given on how to do that in the links below.

I’ll start with some of the highlights and then you can see if any of this tickles your fancy and you can then see more for your specific device..

 

Headlines

The headline to me was the support for Concept II PM5 rowing machines. This will not affect me at all but I suspect there are quite a few of you have already fallen off your seat and aren’t even reading this part of the sentence as you’ve already started the download. IE amongst a certain niche this is a highly-requested feature and I would certainly agree that the historical omission of PM5 support like this has been strange. Thank you Coros for the prompt to get Garmin moving.

  • Added support for displaying metrics from an indoor rowing machine that supports the ANT FE-C profile (e.g. Concept 2 with the PM5 module). This includes new fields for the Indoor Rowing app: Distance, Pace, Power, and Stroke Distance. Check out these images of it working from reader C.Ellisodon! FINALLY !

Then we have the addition of sport-specific power zones which will naturally cover your newfound ability to get rowing power data on your Fenix. Cross country skiing power zones? No problem. Running power zones? Err, well that almost certainly will be a problem as running power is not native to Garmin. However these power zones are not really for rowing and XC skiing, in almost-certain-fact, they are in support of the native running power that is probably coming in January along with the new Forerunners.

  • Added support for sport-specific power zones. One can now set up their power zones for XC Ski separately from that of Cycling. (Menu > User Profile > Power Zones)

I would imagine that this simple-sounding addition involves significant changes elsewhere in the Connect platform.

Then we move onto improved A-GPS/GPS-lock with better handling of ephemeris, I had noticed my Garmin was sometimes a little slow at locking on. Maybe this will fix it?

  • Improved the reliability of ephemeris downloads.

Then there are changes to auto-FTP detection (it needed it), some UX/UI improvements (always welcomed), CIQ 3.2 support, CIQ Data Field Alerts, TACX road feel control widget added, improvements to sleep…and, well I could go on. Most of the other improvements are minor but taken as a whole this is a nice step forward.

If you go through to your product-specific download page (see link below) then you can get the firmware HOWEVER you may also note some further new stuff. Namely the GPS sensor package has been upgraded in some models to v5 (you ar probably on v4.6 right now). So that’;s a whole new GPS version leap of super accuracy…maybe…perhaps…nah! BUT it might be a bit better and I already had some selected, very good results on some version of 4.x. with the Forerunner 745 which equalled the Apple Watch 6.

 

Fenix 6 series

Changes made from version 12.20 to 12.77:

  • Added support for sport specific power zones. One can now setup their power zones for XC Ski separately from that of Cycling. (Menu > User Profile > Power Zones)
  • Added support for displaying metrics from an indoor rowing machine that supports the ANT FE-C profile (e.g. Concept 2 with the PM5 module). This includes new fields for the Indoor Rowing app: Distance, Pace, Power, and Stroke Distance.
  • Added support for an updated software update flow for ANT sensors, where the user will be prompted once they have completed the activity.
  • Added support for descriptive Varia error messages.
  • Fixed an issue with Sail Race tack assist. (MARQ Captain and Quatix 6 only.)
  • Fixed an issue where the device could crash when connected to a HRM Pro with an active Livetrack session and accessing Ski activity profiles.
  • Fixed an issue where certain CIQ elements could not be uninstalled via Express.
  • Fixed an issue where the Applied Ballistics app could not be launched through the controls menu while running another app. (tactix Delta AB only).
  • Fixed an issue where the device may fail to load a considerably long activity through the history menu.
  • Fixed an issue with setting up elevation alerts at higher elevations.
  • Fixed an issue in the paring flow where the device could return to the ‘Pair with Phone?’ page instead of moving forward.
  • Fixed an issue where customers with high resting heart rate would intermittently not accrue intensity minutes.
  • Fixed an issue where the device was not recording position data when racing against a downloaded course.
  • Improved the reliability of ephemeris downloads.
  • Improved the presentation of information for alarms and timers.
  • Improved the scaling of lines when zooming in/out on the map.
  • Made several code improvements for Sleep.
  • Made several code improvements for Indoor Climb.
  • Made several code improvements for daily suggested workouts.
  • Made several improvements for Livetrack.
  • Updated the Applied Ballistics bullet database to version 1215 (tactix Delta AB only).

 

Garmin Edge Series – 530, 630, 1030+

Changes made from 6.20 to 7.00:

  • CIQ:
    -Added CIQ 3.2 support.
    –Added encryption for CIQ widgets and data fields.
    -Added CIQ data field alerts.
    -Added BLE sync support for the Connect IQ app.
    -Added CIQ workout information support.
  • Indoor Training:
    -Added smart trainer widget that includes Tacx Road Feel controls.
    -Fixed issues with grade, power, and resistance controls for smart trainers.
    -Fixed course points for indoor trainer rides.
    -Added the Virtual Partner to the map page when following course or activity on indoor trainer.
    -Fixed lap banner bug on trainer grade control page.
    -Improved indoor trainer workout UX.
  • Simple Setup:
    -Added Simple Setup support. Port old activity profiles and sensors from Garmin Connect during initial setup.
  • Livetrack:
    -Added device driven Livetrack.
    -Added course sharing.
  • FTP:
    -Improved reliability of FTP auto detection.
    -Added tone to end of FTP test to notify user of completion.
    -Fixed FTP test workout preview page.
  • Fixed crash when updating sensor software.
  • Fixed issue with smart eat and drink alert prompts.
  • Fixed segment completion bugs.
  • Fixed bug in Intensity Factor calculation.
  • Fixed retaining light network disable over power cycle.
  • Added instructions for pairing a radar in the radar sensor search menu.
  • Fixed other minor UI bugs and crashes.

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Series

I don’t think Garmin shares the love with you guys…

Changes made from version 13.74 to 14.00:

  • Fixed an issue where the device could crash when editing CIQ data field/watchface settings.
  • Fixed an issue where long music titles would not display correctly on the playlist screen.

 

 

 

 

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Andy

Interesting that Garmin implemented both Concept 2 and running track beautifying just a few weeks after Coros got there first in each case.

Kai

OR: Garmin has these things lying on the shelf. Garmin will either deliver things piece-meal to keep customers feeling they get “value for money” or when a competitor forces their hand

Will

Maybe Garmin can also copy Coros’ pricing strategy 😉

pavel

Coros inevitably adopt Garmin’s strategy.

alk

pricing??? duh..

Will

It was a joke 😃

Coros are cheaper to gaon market share from new customers.

Garmin are expensive because many buy their products as they’re embedded in the eco system.

Bene

Support for ANT FE-C ones was there, they only had to reimplement it. Old watches liked FR60 had it. Mine broke a few weeks ago, so I had to use my FR945.
But it needed an alternative for customers to go before to force them to get the head out of their lower back and reimplement it.

Hope it won’t take another year to bring it to the Forerunners.

Crispin Ellisdon

I suspect there are quite a few of you have already fallen off your seat and aren’t even reading this part of the sentence as you’ve already started the download.” Yup, that was me as soon as I clocked the update on the Garmin forums yesterday! I’ve got to say it’s been implemented better than I had hoped for, with the ability to execute workouts created in Connect (the ‘Custom’ type) looking to deliver genuine improvement to my indoor rowing training (when compared to the relatively basic workouts that can be programmed on the PM5; one can’t even programme a pyramid interval session on the PM5).

Crispin Ellisdon

Funny you should say that, as I can offer you this already https://forums.garmin.com/outdoor-recreation/outdoor-recreation/f/fenix-6-series/244070/indoor-row-connecting-to-concept2-fe-c-as-trainer/1169630#1169630 (text and pictures; although I’ll admit the screen grab to illustrate my pyramid workout is a bit pants, so happy to provide again if you want it).

Crispin Ellisdon

Sadly with the ‘Custom’ type of workout, there isn’t an option for an intensity target of power zone, just: Pace, Speed, Cadence, Heart Rate Zone or Custom Heart Rate Zone. I’ll have to test the cadence one soon, to see if that equates to stroke rate; there’s quite a few rowing workouts that involve varying stroke rate, particularly for longer rows (10,000m or more).

I’m happy to capture a picture with PM5 and Fenix next to each other showing similar data or something like that (presumably you can email me from my supporter account details). I’ll just need to make sure my pain cave background is suitably blurred out; I’ve basically taken over my daughter’s bedroom whilst she’s at university and she’d go ballistic if she knew! (luckily for me, she’s not an avid follower of your site 😉 )

Crispin Ellisdon

Just ‘Cycling’ and ‘XC Ski’ showing as options under Power Zones in the watch’s settings (no apparent option to add more types). So I assume it was just XC Ski power zones that were added in this beta.

Crispin Ellisdon

I’ll also add up front (following my post on the other deleted then resurrected reviewer rantathon post) that I’m not so likely to fit the ‘good reviewer code’ as your good self. Over the years I’ve only really invested my time and money in the Garmin ecosystem for sports tech, so inevitably I can’t be objective and compare to Coros/Suunto/Polar/etc., as I simply have little direct experience of them. The other side of that coin is that I’m very familiar with Garminland and enjoy working with others on the Garmin forums to get the most out of our kit.

Nick K

Simpsons… er, COROS did it first!

Crispin Ellisdon

Arguably Garmin did it first over 10 years ago with the FR70 and FR310XT watches 😉 …then they frustratingly stopped doing it shortly after that, until now!

[Whether ‘forgetting’ how to make watches talk to Concept 2 rowers was anything to do with Garmin Connect development staff declining the move from California to Kansas in 2010, only Garmin will know https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2010/03/garmin-connect-development-team-tossed.html ]

inSyt

Trackmode, native Concept 2 support, wonder if Garmin is working on wrist based running support…

Also looks like Garmin (sport watch division) sees Coros as their biggest threat in the near future.

Cosmo

Do you think they will roll down power on the wrist on the fenix 6 line when they launch the new forerunner series ?

Cosmo

Great, just got my F6 Pro and I don’t plan to upgrade too soon but I would still love to use running power at some point.. Thx for getting back to me 🙂

Will

Does your crystal ball also say whether run power structured workouts will be enabled by all watches that can currently do bike power workouts?

Will

245 / 645 / 945 for example

Will

Wrist power seems the more likely – it’s very easily adopted by the user, adding pods is quite niche.

So it’s looking like a 955 with wrist power will come in Jan? £600 sounds right? Think I’ll hold on to my 920 and 635, they work well and my running performance it’s limited by my watches 🙂

Will

BTW looks like the 645 gets Connect IQ 3.2 today.
Do you know what that potentially means regarding features – maybe some of the new 245/645 features?

https://forums.garmin.com/sports-fitness/running-multisport/f/forerunner-645-645-m/246563/software-version-7-00—forerunner-645-music—phased-rollout-20

John Kissane

I’d assume not going by what Garmin told DCR.

7183.Screenshot at 2020-08-24 11-01-15.png
John Kissane

Yup it was new features I meant, sorry didn’t make that clear.

Francisco

Awesome news for the Concept 2.
I have kept an old FR70 and two old FR610s for rowing only. Both FR610s have an issue with the touchscreen now, and the FR70 is hardly readable, but this is all I had to track directly off the PM5.
What great news this is that is it coming back! I can throw away the old watches now!

Francisco

This is coming to the Fenix 3:-)?