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New Varia Vision offers 8-hour battery and Edge connectivity and fits any sunglasses

GPS specialist Garmin has today launched Varia Vision, which it describes as an “in-sight display” able to provide performance data, turn-by-turn directions and smart notifications.

It’s essentially a head-mounted display that can be synced to a Garmin Edge computer and fitted to regular sunglasses, weighs less than 30g, has a claimed 8-hour battery and will cost £319.99.

The Garmin Varia Vision “ makes it easier than ever for cyclists to keep focus while riding” claims the company. It’s basically a computer you wear on your face. No more turning your head to look down a stem-mounted computer, the Varia Vision provides data right in front of your eyeball.

garmin varia vision 20169.jpg

garmin varia vision 20169.jpg

The idea of a heads-up display isn’t a new one. The Recon Jet Black, which we reviewed last year, offers a similar hands-free heads-up display, allowing you to see how fast and far you are cycling without taking your eye off the road. It wasn’t without its problems, being bulky,  expensive and short on battery life. There’s also the aborted Google Glass project (a new version is in development) which offered similar heads-up data but was met with a lukewarm reception.

garmin varia vision 20161.jpg

garmin varia vision 20161.jpg

The Varia Vision provides a colour screen and has an integrated ambient light sensor. The arm of the device is fully adjustable and it can be mounted on either side of the face. It’s light, weighing a claimed 29.7g. It can be connected to any compatible Edge computer (using Bluetooth) to provide all the data you could want, and the data screens can be customised.

Garmin claims an 8-hour battery life for its new Varia Vision. The device, which can be mounted to most sunglasses (and makes it much more flexible than the Recon Jet because you can use your favourite glasses), features a touch panel to change between the different modes. The touch panel can be operated with gloves and in the rain.

garmin varia vision 20166.jpg

garmin varia vision 20166.jpg

The Varia Vision can also be connected to Garmin’s Varia review radar so you can see vehicles approaching from behind, without having to look over your shoulder.

“We’re extremely excited to announce the next device in our line of innovative Varia cycling awareness products – the Varia Vision in-sight display,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. “Cyclists can now easily view their data and receive alerts during a ride without needing to take their eyes off the road ahead.”

garmin varia vision 20168.jpg

garmin varia vision 20168.jpg

Google Glass wasn’t the success its company hoped it would be, but could Garmin’s attempt at making a sports-orientated heads-up display be met with a warmer reception? We’ve yet to get our hands on a set to see how it works and if it has the potential to genuinely work.

Game-changing or an unnecessary gimmick? 

More at http://explore.garmin.com/en-US/edge/#varia

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

11 comments

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LarryDavidJr [378 posts] 1 year ago
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Don't know about 'game changing' but I certainly wouldn't say no to it if I had the spare cash.

Ideally though we need something like this that works on generic ANT+ data, or, dare I say it, has some sort of open source platform.

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hawkinspeter [1142 posts] 1 year ago
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That does look interesting. I like the idea of a rear view (and I've only just fitted an Italian Road Bike mirror to my handlebar), but at that price I think I'll let other people be the early adopters.

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mrmo [2096 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

as some one who wears glasses, that would anoy the f*** out of me, 30grams may not sound much but it would be enough for the glasses to be constantly lopsided. 

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Ghisallo [38 posts] 1 year ago
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I hope they're rugged enough to withstand bouncing down the road when you accidentally drop them while cleaning muck off your glasses. Better add waterproof as a requirement too. I'm sure they are appealing to cyclists who don't sweat.

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Krazyfrenchkanuck [26 posts] 1 year ago
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As a bonus, you get a deadly dead angle.

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dassie [130 posts] 1 year ago
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Krazyfrenchkanuck wrote:

As a bonus, you get a deadly dead angle.

 

I was wondering about a potential peripheral vision blindspot too...

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kevinmorice [146 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

And built by garmin software engineers, so likely to work about 1 time in 3 if you give them half an hour to think about starting up. 

Even if they did work, imagine putting a sticking plaster on your sunglasses that cut out that much of your peripheral vision all the time. Is that quick glance down at your stem really such a chore?

 

Gimmick hardly covers it.

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ontheroad [14 posts] 1 year ago
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Re peripheral vision - according to the video it can be mounted on the other side for those of us who ride on the left. 

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bikeandy61 [538 posts] 1 year ago
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I like my Jawbone glasses but prefer the better peripheral vision of Radars. The full frame (Jawbones) does cause vision obstruction IME. The last thing I want is to stick a solid blob in to my visual field.

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JonD [493 posts] 1 year ago
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As a recumbent rider - looking all the way behind isn't easy when reclined - I have a take-a-look mirror on my glasses, which gives a blind spot (tho possibly a little further out). Vision area isn't much of a problem, you get used to it - the main gotcher is looking to the right at some miniroundabouts, you just have to rotate your head a little more for a clear view. Tho the mirror has the benefit of a rearward view even when facing ahead, so you get earlier warning of some stuff about to appear in peripheral vision anyway.

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Dante256 [27 posts] 1 year ago
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The Recon Jet and co really forget about prescription glasses wearers. It's great to see a company remembering us glasses wearers! After all, we are very few in number!

But for this price, I really think we should have been looking at a stand alone unit, including GPS 

I've uploaded a 2400word review on TitaniumGeek.com giving an idea of the limitations, as well as the benefits!

http://www.titaniumgeek.com/gear-reviews/garmin-varia-vision-review/ 

(still over priced!)