Garmin is poised to unveil a selection of smartwatches in the coming weeks, including the Fenix 7 Pro and Epix Pro 2. Both are equipped with an upgraded heart rate sensor, most likely Elevate 5. An image comparison reveal the notable size difference of the sensor as compared to the previous generation.
Mind you, the overall watch thickness appears to be unchanged – it is just the sensor diameter that is larger. Therefore, this should not be seen as a major negative.
Here’s a side-to-side look at just how much larger Elevate 5 is compared to its predecessor (via Reddit). What is also noticeable is that the overall dimensions of the watch appear to be the same.
To remind, multiple leaks and regulatory filings have revealed that Garmin is preparing to release a slew of watches in the next few weeks. This includes the Epix Pro Gen 2, Fenix 7X Pro, and Fenix 7 Pro smartwatches, along with a golf-focused Approach S70.
A major talking point is the heart rate sensor that can be seen on the watches dubbed as Pro. The tech has clearly changed as evidenced by the metallic components surrounding the optics.
Plus, the new sensor clearly occupies a larger area – not an immense change, but certainly noticeable. So what implications does this have?
More accuracy, ECG, temperature tracking?
A very likely potential enhancement is increased accuracy. The 6 green LED, 2 orange LED configuration is anticipated to provide more accurate heart rate and heart rate variability measurements. Each generation of Garmin’s sensors has resulted in improved accuracy, gradually closing the gap with heart rate chest straps.
One line of thinking is that the mysterious metallic components encircling the heart rate sensor could be there to support ECG measurements. The top-right button on the Pro models, which has been slightly reimagined, might function as the secondary metal contact for ECG readings.
Currently, only the Venu 2 Plus from Garmin’s lineup offers ECG support, a valuable feature for detecting irregular heart rhythms like atrial fibrillation (AFib). Since AFib often goes unnoticed but increases stroke risk and other heart complications, the ability to monitor heart rhythms on a watch is a significant advantage.
Skin temperature measurements?
Back in February, we revealed a new feature under development within the Garmin Connect app. It suggests that Garmin is considering the integration of wrist temperature tracking in their smartwatches. This addition would provide users with an extra tool for health monitoring. It could offer indications of fever, sleep disorders, and hormonal imbalances and more. Wrist temperature tracking can also prove beneficial for athletes, as fluctuations in body temperature could signal instances of overtraining, thereby highlighting the necessity for periods of rest and recovery.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
So temperature tracking is coming. The only question is whether the metal parts around the heart rate sensor have anything to do with it. Perhaps, perhaps not. It is a feature that has been available for some time on the likes of Fitbit and Whoop.
Finally, it is also to be expected that the new LED arrangement is more power-efficient. This could potentially help to extend the smartwatches’ battery life and improving performance. However, the extent of these power-saving benefits will remain speculative until the official release.
Of course, we are hoping for something more novel. Wouldn’t it be nice if the metal parts were there to support blood pressure monitoring or even glucose tracking? Although these possibilities seem extremely remote and are in the realm of wishful thinking, we can’t help but hold onto hope for groundbreaking advancements.
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