Garmin – new features leak (a big one!)

Image|Pixabay @Little_FOXY

Garmin – massive new feature leak

OK, so here today we have a confirmed leak of new features coming imminently to the Garmin platform. These will inevitably be highlighted on the new Forerunner 265 and 265s AMOLED which appear to also be imminent along with a new AMOLED Forerunner 965 tri watch. This post will not discuss the new watch/Edge models (link here) and will just focus on the new features. Mainly because there are a lot of them to discuss. Let’s go…

This info is from a single reliable source. via: @JohnW – THANK YOU

2023: new Garmin, Polar, Suunto, Apple, Fitbit, Wahoo and Coros watches/bike computers. What will they be for 2023?

Account Viewers

You will soon be able to authorize your Garmin Connect connections to be read-only viewers of your account.

There will be some caveats like, for example, only selected parts of your account will be visible and if you are a Garmin beta user then the viewer must also be signed up to the same beta

Opinion: I’m not sure if this will be an especially helpful feature for coaches. Maybe it will in some limited circumstances. It’s probably more of a social feature or one to help tech support.

 

Sleeping SPO2 alarm

Watches with SpO2 capabilities (oxygen saturation) will notify you if your blood oxygen falls below the threshold while you sleep.

Opinion: I’m sceptical of the usefulness of SpO2 for athletes at altitude and I’m sceptical of it for those with medical conditions. From my experience comparing Garmin’s SpO2 readings to hospital sensors, they’re just not accurate plus if you are really ill with a truly low SpO2 then you have a serious medical condition and should not be relying on a watch. That said, there are probably a few niche uses I can’t think of.

Blood oxygen tracking vs SpO2 tracking?

Garmin is now using confusingly similar terms to describe extended periods of blood oxygen/SpO2 monitoring. I’m not going to try to decipher this but this is what Garmin says

All-Day Blood Oxygen will monitor your blood oxygen levels throughout the day. This will also turn on Blood Oxygen Sleep Tracking.
All-Day Pulse Ox will monitor your SpO2 levels throughout the day. This will also turn on Pulse Ox Sleep Tracking.

 

ECG with Afib detection

Several of the more recent higher-end Garmin watches have newly designed start buttons. These have always looked to me suspiciously like the ECG-capable button of other brands and I’ve covered that before on this site a few times over the last year and a bit. Unsurprisingly these buttons are perhaps about to be put to their proper use.

Garmin Fenix 7
Fenix 7 – note the ECG button 😉

Atrial Fibrillation (Afib) is a more serious irregular heartbeat when compared to Atrial Flutter. Garmin will soon be able to indicate but not medically diagnose the former. These heart problems can even affect fit individuals and so this has to be welcomed but, again, it’s going to be more of a one-off pseudo-diagnosis that prompts you to see a doctor for a proper investigation.

Anecdote: My Apple Watch reported that I had some degree of Afib but a proper hospital ECG showed all was good.

Garmin says

An AFib rhythm result means your heartbeat pattern appears irregular. AFib is an irregular heart rhythm caused by your heart’s upper and lower chambers not beating in sync. You should speak with your doctor if you receive an AFib rhythm result.

This ECG recording shows signs of AFib. If this is an unexpected result, you should seek medical care.

How ECG works on your Garmin

You place two fingers on the metal bezel whilst the rear of the watch touches your arm. Whilst you are sitting in a relaxed manner with your arm on a table, an electrical signal is passed from the rear of the watch up your arm across your torso and down the other arm to the bezel. I think this is called a I-lead ECG and hospital ECGs have multiple leads ie multiple electrical circuits to broaden what can be detected and diagnosed.

Note: This method of use appears to contradict my belief that the Start button will form a part of the electrical circuit…oh well!

 

New Sports Profiles

The following sports profiles appear to be newly added to Garmin Connect. I’ve not checked them all in detail but pickleball sticks in my memory as being one of the recently announced sports profiles so maybe we already have all of these; American Football, Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Boxing, Cricket, Field Hockey, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Mixed Martial Arts, Pickleball, Platform Tennis, Racquet Sports, Racquetball, Rugby, Soccer, Softball, Squash, Table Tennis, Ultimate Disc, and Volleyball.

Fenix – Yet more unannounced Garmin additions for F6 and F7

 

Device settings backup/migration

We’ve already seen how Garmin can let us copy an old device configuration to a replacement. New Changes in Garmin Connect appear to add some more met to that feature with the possibility of selective restoration of some settings and the ability to manage backups.

Specifically, these features look new when working with existing backups

  • Sync a device with the Garmin Connect app to create a full device backup. This can work over Bluetooth or WiFi with the latter being much faster.
  • Restore a device fully to match its settings and data at the time of its last sync.
  • Keep preferred settings by transferring them from one old backup to a new one
  • Keep preferred settings by transferring them between any two devices (not sure how that’s different to the previous line!)
  • Restore a new device to match the settings and data in an older backup

 

Touchscreen Adjustment to Workout Intensity

It seems that you will soon be able to quickly adjust the intensity levels when following workouts. This sounds like a useful feature. How often have you started following a somewhat ambitious workout only to struggle to achieve the goals as you were initially more fatigued than you thought? Now you can swipe up to increase the effort level or, you guessed it, swipe down for an easier effort

And there’s more.

It seems that PacePro will get a similar tweak where you can swipe up for more negative splits, swipe down for more positive splits, and skip for even splits.

Opinion: The truth will be in the using. But I’m hopeful on this one.

Index scale fat calibration

As time has passed I’ve begun to trust my Garmin Index scales less and less. It seems that whenever I gain a kilo I seem to gain it in muscle…if only that were true!

Garmin Index S2 Review | Smart Scale 2, WiFi Version 2021 Update

 

Garmin is about to add a calibration option for each body composition metric. For example, you could have a DEXA scan and then use those correct figures in Connect. These would sync to the Index scale and adjust future readings.

Opinion: Now I have to spend $/£100 on a DEXA scan!

Virtual adventures?

There is a new Adventure badge and that adventure can be a hiking adventure or a climbing adventure, actually, you can have both but only one of each.

However, it seems that you do this ‘adventure’ in the comfort of your own home with daily steps and floors climbed adding to your virtual progress on the adventure. I would imagine that there will be some famous real courses that have been virtualised so that you can do them…without really doing them.

Opinion: Harmless

Take Out

It’s good to see a range of new features here covering device admin, true sports usage, wellness, fitness and more. This continual drip feed of new stuff from Garmin is hard for any competitor to match.

I’m sure I’ll use quite a few of these features at varous times but I’m most excited byt eh ability to change intensity level when following workouts and, hopefully, whilst racing with PacePro

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37 thoughts on “Garmin – new features leak (a big one!)

  1. Body fat calibration correction, …long time asked in forums as it seemed impossible for Garmin to fix the index Scale 2. I have to change my age to 19 years everyday to get a more accurate BF% ( similar to my tanita one).
    About the profiles, I cannot understand why pickeball(or some others) has one and skating, ice skating… not.

  2. so garmin are finally tacitly admitting that their scales cannot actually determine body composition as advertised and instead getting the user to tell them what the readings should be!

    i wish the settings/data backup/migration function had been available a few days ago when i got my 2nd replacement 955 and had to set it all up again from scratch and start another 3 weeks of data collection learning.

  3. Re Restore:

    I am really curious about how effective the restore will be.

    For a long while I have been saving the whole contents of my Fenixes and Edges except for maps regularly, and when I had to restore them after some hard reset or just with the goal of a reverse to an earlier version of some ciq datafields I realized that even in case of having still the same sw version as at the time of my backup the watch had, typically the restore was just partially succesful.

  4. if you are finding that 1kg increase in total mass is interpreted as 1kg increase in muscle mass then having a baseline starting point is worthless as your body fat measurements will never increase no matter how much you slack off, eat and turn to flab… the scales are clearly not capable of measuring body composition so all this does is to enable a long-winded way of entering your own body composition values, which will then be altered in some random way by the scales

  5. So when is garmin 965 expected to release? Do you know if LTE will be coming along to 965 or Fénix series?

    1. i will publish precise info like that when i have it.
      my guess is that 265/265s is very soon, maybe even this week. less likely (but still likely) is a simultaneous launch of the 965
      lte-i’m not sure what money garmin makes from lte, i suspect not so much.so i cant see it coming to 965 or f7 other than yet another experimental/market test type model. f8 is different maybe on that.

  6. Btw it was good that you mentioned hiking, too.

    Right now apart from “all activities” there are 6 types of activities in the filter of GC mobile including multisport activities.

    So does Garmin think that considering all the activities of the whole users base there are more multisport activities which can be called multisports than hiking????

    Years ago I decided to delete my hike apps and to use only walk apps to record not just the really short walks, but longer, on foot activities also, either they can be called hiking or trekking.

    One of the reason was this filter.

    The other aspect was VO2max. Garmin decided to include walk, but not hike when a VO2max number is calculated. But I dont get what the point is in it?

    If it is that during hiking/trekking the terrain is rougher and your speed is distorted how the heck Garmin dares to calculate VO2max for trail running?

    Maybe there is a sort of vicious cycle, Garmin made the usage of Hike more unfavourable, too many people decided to use Walk instead, and finally Garmin felt that its decision was confirmed not to list Hike as one of the most common human activities.

    But I do think that there are more people with a Garmin on their hand who in the weekends head towards the forests around the bigger cities or go in the countryside than who practice multisports.

    Poor Hike! :-)))

    Your thoughts? Did I overlook something?

    1. Zoltan, you overlooked something: hiking and especially trekking is often done with a lot of additional weight in a backpack, walking and trailrunning not so often.
      Regarding VO2Max and trailrunning with a backpack there was once a discussion in the Garmin Forums, but the question was about 12kg! additional weights and the discussion was therefore useless.

      1. Thanks Bene for pointing to the extra weight, which I totally forgot, because I always managed my hiking in a different way, I never had an extra burden of more than 3-4 kg even on some multi-day hikes. These multi-days were just 2-3 days.

        But nevertheless even if my point about VO2max was false, I still think that “feather-weight” or “light-weight” one day hike in the forest is more common than multisport activities, so I still dont find a reasonable argument why Hike is not among the 6 most common types in the filter of GC.

        Do you have a good explanation for it, too?

        It’s no shame if one learns. 🙂

  7. I had the 945 and the 945 LTE and I will not hesitate to buy the 965 if they release it in an amoled version. I have always preferred the 9×5 series because of the maps and its lightness. I have great expectations!

  8. I miss times back 2018 when Polar announced upcoming features for year. Now buying Polar is a big guess what features will come or if they abandon certain watch

  9. Dc rainmaker in the comments of his video recently stated that the fenix 7 doesn’t seem to have the hardware for ECG.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeSN5MMeWlE

    On reddit someone posted that a rep told him the 965/265 would be released in November.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/Garmin/comments/xfxywt/265965_anyone_heard_anything_about_this_sounds/

    Could the upcoming release in jan be a an updated fenix 7 or fenix 8 with ECG & LTE and then in November the updated 965/265 with ECG & LTE.

    Also the leaked images of the 265 has the similar start button as the 7.

    1. we shall see 😉
      i think LTE is a read herring. I can see an LTE version of an existing model being released eg like 745lte although to be fair that had loads of other extra new bits in it as well. More than lte would need to be added
      i also thing ECG falls into the same boat as a red herring in and of itself. it will be just one of the new things added.

      ECG is a feature that needs FDA approval. I’ll have to dig up the post but garmin were doing tests on this AGES ago. thus i think ecg will simply be a software enablement of an existing hardware bit…like how i describe the ECG-like start button on several models (as noted in the post the method of usage that’s been leaked is different to what i thought and negates my suppositions somewhat)

      ecg and lte are smart features rather than sports features per see. ecg is no longer a premium feature and the 265 would/should get it.

      so
      1. i don’t see an F7 LTE coming up in the next month (I could be wrong)
      2. everything points to 265/265s coming soon. may be as soon as this week tho i would still normally expect mar/apr
      3. i cant see how a lowly sales rep already has a device that is not ready for imminent release.

    2. The redditor edited his comment to say he’d meant to type mid February, not mid November. Which makes a lot more sense.

      1. he he he
        thanks Dom

        as i said ‘we shall see’ 😉

        Feb makes sense. but that still poses the question of what garmin will release this week or next week? IIRC they always have a January release

  10. When do you see a successor to the F7 or Epix 2 being released? Typically we seem to get a new Fenix every year, except this got badly disrupted through Covid times. I’m ready for a new watch just unsure whether to take the plunge or if a new version of either is likely in the coming months?

    1. fenix 7 (Jan 2022), Fenix 6 (Aug 2019), 5+ (June 2018) and 5 (March 2017) were the release dates.
      So that, to me, looks like a 2-year cycle modified by covid and tweaked by a month or so here and there due to software/hardware glitches that needed sorting before launch
      So I would say Q2/Q3 of this year *IF* the F7 was effectively delayed by covid
      Of course it could be this week or next week as garmin needs to get new product out and get that share price heading in the right direction.
      I’ve said before that amoled will soon(ish) take over from non-amoled in terms of customer sales maybe f8/epix3 will NOT mark that point.
      thus i would expect only the F8 series to be released with the other version coming later (amoled, aviation, dive, etc)

  11. For me, Index is basically not better then calculating bodyfat based on bmi. Ie the worst possible methode to estimate body fat.
    I lost about 9kg in the last year and went from no vascularity to visible veins on biceps, shoulder, thights and would think i am cleanly below 20% body fat based on reference pictures, caliper methode and army/navy formula. Yet the scale tells me i am still slightly obese which is bad and even dangerous on multiple levls.
    I also found a youtube body transformation video of a guy going from 9x kg pretty fat to 9x kg pretty fit and the Index scale did not see the change at all. so for me its clear that the scale at least for some people does not measure anything.
    So im looking forward to beeing able to set a reference bodyfat value even though i doubt that this will change anything regarding the scales inability to “measure” anything usefull. But at least follow up calculations, like finess age will stop telling me to do something about my bodyfat when in reality i am pretty much in the ideal range.

  12. Thanks for sharing! Given the last couple of alpha iterations (11.19 for epix today) have mostly been bug fixes, it seems these features may be more so slated for Q2 in their quarterly cycle?

    Previous alpha cycle added the new features in the first set of iterations and then proceeded to bug fixes (which is where we seem to be now).

    Hope I’m wrong, though, as I’d love to see these feature sooner rather than later!

      1. this article is about changes to Garmin Connect. these are not necessarily linked to changes in watch software
        Connect has ALREADY changed and so these changes are immminent

  13. No Inline skating profile? Also those profiles are really useless as long as Garmin does not allow us to change them on the duplicated or created activities on the watch. At the moment you can create a new one that stores stuff as “other” only or duplicate the existing ones that will remain fixed as “running” or whatever you duplicated. Just give us the option to assign any available profile.

    Also in a few day we will have the 1 year anniversary of the “IQ widgets that don’t use location stop your GPS recording that is running in background” that’s an issued with all those 2022 Fenix 7 alikes (Fenix, Epix, Tactix, Forerunner, …).

    https://forums.garmin.com/developer/connect-iq/i/bug-reports/fenix-7-series—gps-track-recording-is-stopped-during-activity-when-a-widget-is-displayed

  14. I really hope the 265 / 965 isn’t as buggy as the 255 / 955 are. I really want to like my 255. I’ve definitely learned my lesson in buying a new watch from Garmin right when it comes out.

  15. I might be misunderstanding something, but are you saying that these new activity types (e.g. field hockey) are already ‘there’ in Garmin Connect? If so, I can’t seem to select them – either in the desktop app or on GCM (iOS).

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