Credit where it’s due: Garmin has managed to basically reinvent itself. Once the king of in-car GPS navigation, the company is now equally known for its sports watches and fitness trackers. Indeed, with the exception of a few low-end navigators no one cares about (go ahead and search for Garmin in our search bar), Garmin is pretty much only showing wearable devices this year. In brief, this year’s lineup runs the gamut, with prices starting at R7599 and going all the way up to R9000. Still, they all have this in common: They’re equal parts smartwatch and fitness tracker.
Let’s face it, though: For someone who spends a lot of time hiking and skiing (how much do you earn?), the Vivoactive is a wimpy little thing. If you’re the rugged, outdoorsy type, you’d be better off with something from Garmin’s Fenix series whose models have historically included an altimeter, barometer and compass. Now in its third iteration, the Fenix gets access to the same Connect IQ app store as the Vivoactive, effectively transforming it into a super-rugged smartwatch.
Also with this generation, Garmin is adding a sapphire screen option, which should be even more scratch-resistant than the standard mineral glass lens. Look for it from today starting at R7599 (or R8499 with an included heart rate monitor). The higher-end sapphire model, meanwhile, will go for R9999. A serious piece of kit, for sure. But then again, some of you are serious snowboarders.