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Mr Budget Watch

Wes, also known as Mr Budget Watch: is a watch enthusiast and content creator that appreciates the art of watch-making and the impact that has had on modern-day life. He’s is an avid watch collector and fan that enjoys watches from all corners of the earth that represent his bang for the buck ethos.

Garmin Smart Watches - What Sets Their Multisport Watches Apart

Garmin Smart Watches - What Sets Their Multisport Watches Apart

A Brief Introduction To Garmin

Garmin Ltd is a multinational technology company founded in 1989 and is based in Switzerland. Most recognisable for their work in GPS technology, they quickly expanded into more areas of the industry and now create a whole host of electronics for the consumer and professional sectors. One of their most recent additions to their growing portfolio is wearable technology - a fast-growing part of an industry that shows no signs of slowing nor wavering.

Garmin's product line-up is impressive and includes their popular multisport range which is a series of smart wearables designed for those that live an adventurous lifestyle that just so happens to appreciate modern technological advances too. GPS tech is at the core of what Garmin does, and that is no exception here as they were one of the early adaptors to include this into their modern fitness/smart watches.

One other feature that sits alongside the GPS is the addition of solar charging to some models in this expansive range of wearables. Another of their recent and exciting additions is Garmin's training status feature which helps keep track of your exercise routine. This is very cool and available on a select number of their current range.

Stay On Track With GPS

As Garmin are at the forefront of GPS technology and has been for a long time, it makes perfect sense to integrate that into their consumer line of products, such as their Vivoactive 4.

GPS is not just handy for Satnavs and Smartphones that use it for navigation: it can also be utilised in numerous different ways, one of which is to track the duration of your chosen activity, whether running, cycling or something else. GPS (Global Positioning System) is a satellite-based navigation system that circles the earth twice per day and works in any weather condition, anywhere around the world.

It does this using a technique called trilateration. Trilateration is a mathematical calculation used to determine global positioning since we can't physically measure the distance. This equation uses the speed of the signal transmitted and the time it takes to reach its destination to calculate the distance it has travelled.

Distance travelled (m) = Speed (ms-1) x Time (s)

This equation, along with three GPS satellites, helps triangulate your position on earth. One satellite can pinpoint you are on the earth - the second creates an invisible line with the first that can be used to help locate you on that line.

Finally, a third satellite is utilised to complete the triangulation, and now with this new line added, an intersecting point can be determined as the signals only cross each other at a singular point - your location. What's even more amazing is that, unlike modern amenities, GPS is subscription-free and requires no setup charge - that in itself is a breath of fresh air in our current climate, and I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting more things to be this way.

A Touch Worthy Screen

Touchscreen tech has played a vital role in our lives since its introduction in 1965 and was made more mainstream by the rise of smartphones and portable tech. Touchscreens work using a series of conductive materials such as indium tin oxide. Because the glass on your screen can't carry an electric current where it's required - a thin layer of oxide is applied that can conduct a small voltage for a short amount of time.

These elements are designed to respond to an electrical conductor, such as your finger or smartphone stylus. When your finger or stylus touches the screen, an electrical circuit is complete at the exact point where your finger touches the screen.

So essentially, your body becomes part of the circuit as it absorbs part of the charge - don't worry; this isn't harmful. When pressed, the touchscreen and internals register your input as a change in capacitance, this is then converted to a command that the processor understands and thus processes your input into an action. So it's clear this technology isn't going anywhere and is likely to keep improving, becoming sharper, more accurate and easier to use.

Take the screen found in the Vivoactive 4; it's a great size 1.3" (33mm) and is a transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) type. This technology makes the screen visible in bright sunlight, as well as on darker evenings; this is ideal for those spur of the moment training sessions.

The size also makes it easy to see at a glance and gives you enough screen real estate to navigate through the menus and see all the info you need. Garmin has also been at work improving the functionality and has included a slew of features to enhance the usability of their smart wearables.

Stay Smart, Stay Connected

Well, all know that emails, texts and other notifications are a necessary part of life, and well, while you're out exercising, the last thing you need to do is pull out your phone and keep tabs on what's happening. So to combat this, Garmin has decided to include Smart Notifications into models such as their Vivomove. This feature allows you to connect your smartwatch to your phone and receive all your updates on your wrist. Garmin uses industry-standard Bluetooth to allow this to happen seamlessly.

Bluetooth has been around since 1994 and uses radio waves to transmit information between two compatible devices. Keep in mind that not all Bluetooth devices are compatible. For example, a phone with Bluetooth V3 won't work with a newer V5 enabled device. V5 will work with V4.2 though features may be limited.

So for the best usage case, make sure that your phone is recently modern and for that extra peace of mind, check if your phone is compatible. What all this means is no more slowing down mid-exercise to check your phone and no more wondering if you've missed that all-important email or Amazon delivery as it's right there with you within easy reach.

To make use of this great addition, you need to be sure that you have a smartphone that's either iOS 13 or higher or Android 7.0 and above.

Always Be Able To Pay

Admit it; we've all been there and gone out and forgotten our card; it happens to the best of us. So to combat this, the folks at Garmin decided to do us all a favour and introduce Garmin Pay. This form of wireless payment is available on models in their Fenix range, including the Fenix 7s and other ranges including the Venu.

Like many other contactless payment systems, Garmin has opted to use Near Field Communication or NFC for short. NFC is an evolution of the older RFID technology that has been around for many years.

Both technologies use inductive coupling for data transfer. This data transfer is achieved using magnetic fields which are generated by passing an electrical current through a coil. When an NFC enabled device such as Garmins wearables comes into contact with a contactless payment system, the two can communicate and carry out a secure transaction, in this case, is a physical purchase.

To further help us out, Garmin has partnered with all the big banks, as well as Mastercard and Visa, so that you can connect your supported card to the Garmin Pay wallet. This is awesome as now you can pay for everyday items and still enjoy all the benefits of your physical cards without having them with you all the time. Just be sure to check out Garmin's list of participating banks to make sure yours is listed.

No One Left Behind

Group track is another innovative feature found on a few select Garmin models, such as their Fenix 6 and Tactix. This feature is extremely helpful as it allows you to keep track of other riders in your group using LiveTrack. How does this work? Essentially, on compatible wearables that use this feature, you can add members to your group; once added, you can track their location from your smartwatch so that no one is left behind or gets lost.

With this feature, you can keep an eye on their location using the mini-map that shows the first initial of their Garmin name and a coloured shape so that it's easy to spot each person. Another great addition to this feature is that the groups' location is updated every 15 to 30 seconds as long as Bluetooth and a cellular connection are present.

Staying In The Know

Pulse oximetry, or pulse ox for short, is a noninvasive way to keep tabs on your blood oxygen saturation. Keeping track of this is very important as during intense activity this can fluctuate.

It's also beneficial to know if you have any underlying health issues that can impact your blood's oxygen level though still enjoy exercise. Because of this, Garmin has included an array of red and infrared sensors in models such as their Instinct 2S.

These sensors work in tandem to gauge an approximation of your blood's oxygen level and provide you with a blood oxygen level. Generally speaking, this value should be 95% or higher in most environments though things such as increased altitude, activity and health can affect this.

Keep in mind that these are medical devices and if you have any concerns, please speak to a qualified health care professional. All this is very helpful as you're always in the know and armed with information that can let you know when you're pushing things a little too hard.

A Portable Personal Trainer

GPS is not only an incredible technology in its own right, but the clever folks at Garmin have found another way to make use of this feature. Garmin's GPS technology found in some of their wearables works in tandem with their Training Status feature.

This edition is available in select models like their Venu 2S: and is essentially a digital trainer that keeps tabs on your progress as you pursue your fitness goals and work to improve your fitness level. Not only that, but the feature also helps you to plan future training so you can keep pushing towards your goal. All this is possible as Garmin uses your data from the V02 estimate, training load and heat and altitude performance.

V02 is the maximum volume of oxygen you can consume per minute per kilo of body weight at your maximum performance. Garmin's training load feature is a little more complex and requires the sum excess of the post-exercise oxygen consumption.

This is essentially the amount of oxygen required to bring your body back to its normal resting level of metabolic function. Finally, there's the heat and altitude performance; this uses environmental factors such as temperature and altitude.

This is important as the data gathered here can be used to tailor your workout regime to help you reach your goals and mean you're in charge of keeping that healthy momentum to your fitness goals. Plus it won't yell at you if you need a quick break.

Harnessing The Sun's Power

As all these clever things require power, this does tend to have an impact on longevity and battery life as a result, which coincidentally just so happens to be one of the biggest problems to overcome with wearable technology. So the team at Garmin have decided to include solar tech into models like their Tactix Delta to help combat this and improve the usability factor of their products.

In essence, Garmin's solar technology harnesses the power of the sun. But how does it work? Well, by utilising an ingenious array of solar charging lenses, the smartwatch can capture the energy radiated by the sun. This technology is a photovoltaic cell that is a non-mechanical device that converts the sunlight directly into electricity using semiconductor materials that absorb the photons emitted by the sun.

Once captured, this process creates an electrical charge that flows in response to an electrical field in the cell, thus making usable energy. This energy (electricity), is then directed to the internal battery to keep it topped up whilst you are out and about. All this cleverness means that Garmin's solar enabled watches last longer, thus leading to fewer trips to the outlet to keep it topped up.

Keep in mind that this is not the primary source of power and will still require charging, just a little less frequently depending on usage outdoors. If you need any tips on how to maximise the benefit of this feature, check out Garmin's handy tips here.

To Wrap Up

Why Garmin? With over three decades of experience in the field, Garmin has a vast wealth of experience and knowledge. Not only does this help make their watches stand out, but also helps them to remain affordable whilst pushing the sector to new levels.

Not only that, but they offer different wearables for different occasions and activities such as swimming, diving, golfing, hiking, sailing and more.

So no matter what you enjoy, they should have something for you. With the advances discussed above, features they've introduced and their massive range, their wearable tech is only going to keep improving and advancing, making their offerings that much more appealing to fitness enthusiasts, those into sports and tech enthusiasts alike.

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