Garmin Fenix

The Garmin Fenix is not the newest GPS watch around, but it still is a highly versatile device. It records a track logs and sensor data. And it has Bluetooth LE, for uploading tracks to Garmin Connect, and for displaying notifications from a smartphone. Yesterday’s technology is perfect for today.

With navigation, a base map, altimeter, barometer and compass, plus support for ANT+ sensors (heartrate, foot pod, bike speed/cadence and temperature)
Uploading tracks to a cloud service is not necessary. When connected to the USB cable, the Fenix becomes a USB mass storage device, and saved tracks are available for copying to any platform. Tracks are stored as GPX files, and tracks+ fitness data combined is stored in .FIT files.

FIT files can be converted to spreadsheets with the FIT-to-CSV converter, available in the FIT SDK, on the ThisIsAnt.com downloads page. The CSV’s can be processed with any spreadsheet application. Analysis and graphing take a bit more work than uploading to a webservice, but the analysis is fully customizable.

An important concept for Garmin fitness devices is the activity (running, biking, mountaineering, etc). Activity profiles contain data pages with the types of data that are displayed on the watch during an activity (speed, heartrate, GPS accuracy, and many more). The Fenix stores activity profiles as XML files on the storage that can be accessed via USB, and you can edit them even with a text editor; see: The Unofficial guide to Garmin Fenix profiles NB: the newer Fenix 2 and 3 don’t allow this.

It is possible to use custom maps on the Fenix.

One note about the Bluetooth LE implementation on the Fenix: it drains the battery in a day. Also, BLE cannot be used together with ANT+.

Independent operations rating: 3 out of 3 stars. This sports watch CAN work without cloud services. It CAN work 100% offline. No downloading or installing software necessary for normal operations.

Independent operations rating: 3 out of 3 stars. This sports watch CAN work without cloud services. It CAN work 100% offline. No downloading or installing software necessary for normal operations.

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