July 10, 2012 at 10:25 AM ET
Veteran GPS maker Garmin released a new GPS watch Tuesday aimed at outdoors enthusiasts: The Fenix is ruggedized and made with off-the-path trekking in mind. At $400, you won't find it in the bargain bin, but serious hikers may decide that it's worth the extra cash.
The new watch has a similar design to the company's previous Forerunner watches: a round LCD face with buttons around the edge. There's no touch-enabled surface like its most expensive predecessors, probably because it wasn't compatible with the scratch-resistant face and waterproofing. It'll go down to 160 feet under and should shrug off the occasional tumble or errant branch.
The interface has a new mode that places you on a graphical representation of your path, which you can set beforehand with waypoints or create as you go with a GPS breadcrumb trail. That's good news for alpine hikers who may lose track of the trail when they leave it to check out a landmark or view. And of course it has a built-in compass, barometer, and altimeter so you can be sure of your location and bearing.
You'll keep track of your trips and manage paths using Garmin's software, and should be able to beam tracks and waypoints to other Garmin devices or "select smartphones," which they decline to name.
The Fenix should be available this Fall for $400. You can pick one up online or at your favorite outdoor retailer.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. His personal website is coldewey.cc.