Details Emerge On New Garmin, Samsung Flagship Smart Watches

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NEW YORK — Two major players in the wearable space offered details on their latest wrist-worn offerings.

Garmin International debuted a new flagship multisport GPS watch for the high end of the fitnessmonitoring market, and T-Mobile and AT&T both said they will carry Samsung’s recently announced Gear S smart watch in the fall.

In addition to GPS tracking and navigation, Garmin’s new Forerunner 920XT records detailed task-specific metrics for swimming, biking and running and displays them on a high-resolution color display.

Aimed at triathletes, the watch’s design is 15 percent lighter and 18 percent thinner than its predecessor, and features flexible, hinged watch bands for a more comfortable fit, Garmin said.

The color display has a watch mode and daily activity-tracking features, including steps, distance, calories, countdown to a personalized daily goal, audible move alert after one hour of inactivity, and sleep tracking. It also keeps users connected with smart notifications of incoming text, email, call and calendar reminders, among others, when in range of a paired Bluetooth Smart device.

For runners, the 920XT can be used with the HRMRun monitor to track cadence (total steps per minute), vertical oscillation (amount of “bounce” in a runner’s step), and ground contact time and users can see how their values compare to other runners in general. It also features a metronome with vibration and audible alerts to guide cadence training, a race predictor based on VO2 max for running, and a recovery advisor indicating how long a runner should rest before attempting another hard effort.

In the water, the 920XT offers advanced swim metrics for training in a pool or open water. Its drill logging allows athletes to log swim drills and kick sets, along with recording swim distance, pace, stroke type, stroke count and SWOLF score. It includes two rest timers to keep swimmers pushing off the wall on time, and features distance alerts to let users know a set is over, or time alerts to help them hold their pace.

For cycling, the 920XT includes a built-in altimeter for precise ascent, descent and gradient data during training. It is compatible with sensors such as speed, cadence, heart rate and power meter, and can receive GLONASS signals in addition to GPS for improved accuracy. When paired with compatible ANT+ power meters, the watch displays power data including average watts, left/right balance, power zone, and when also paired with a heart-rate monitor for training it can derive users’ VO2 max estimates for cycling to help monitor changes in fitness.

In addition, the Forerunner 920XT acts as a remote for Virb or Virb Elite action cameras.

Automatic uploads to Garmin Connect through Wi- Fi hot spots, or through the Garmin Connect app on a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone allow users to instantly upload workout data. In the mobile app users can start a LiveTrack session allowing invited family and friends to follow along in real time.

The Forerunner 920XT is available in black/blue or red/white for a suggested retail of $449 and $499 for the premium heart-rate monitor bundle.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile and AT&T said they will carry Samsung’s recently announced Gear S smart watch.

Neither offered a price or specific availability date, but AT&T said the device is currently available for preview in 125 AT&T stores across the nation. T-Mobile said it would offer the device under its Equipment Installment Plan (EIP).

Gear S features a curved display, uses the company’s Tizen OS, and features 2G/3G cellular and Wi-Fi so users can get social-network updates and send and receive texts even if they’re away from their smartphone.

Users can also connect to their smartphone via Bluetooth to make and receive calls from their wrist, and when away from the phone, they can receive 2G and 3G calls and text messages forwarded from a compatible Samsung smartphone.

The Samsung Gear S, which doubles as a music player and fitness tracker, is built on the company’s Tizen OS and downloads Samsung apps.

The smart watch and a companion Bluetooth headset, the Samsung Gear Circle, will be available globally in a phased rollout starting October.

The Gear S features a curved 2-inch 360 by 480 Super AMOLED display, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Users can switch between 3G and Bluetooth connections and automatically synchronize information when paired to a smartphone.

The watch features P67 certification for dust and water resistance, dual-core 1GHz processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB storage, multiple music and video codecs, 802.11 b/g/n, A-GPS/Glonass GPS, Bluetooth 4.1, and USB 2.0. Sensors include accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, heart-rate monitor, ambient light and barometer.


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