OK, I get asked this a lot at the moment. A really really lot.
When will the Fenix 4 arrive?
Short answer, I don’t know. Longer answer, it’s kind of here now.
The Fenix Chronos was launched recently. I say launched, it more accurately just kind of appeared with very little information or excitement. Many of us at the time thought it was just a pretty Fenix 3 in a smaller box with a wooden case and new strap. It’s not. It turns out that the internals are mostly new and the processor is much more capable than the Fenix 3, and the memory allows it to run ConnectIQ 2 apps.
You know what this means? Chronos is Fenix 4. Probably.
We all knew that Garmin didn’t need to change much to stay ahead of the competition. They didn’t need to change anything in fact, and so we see a watch where almost nothing has changed. Same screen, same interface, same apps, same same same. But better. And more importantly, just better enough to push the Fenix 3 into legacy mode. Fenix 3 was crippled from day one with low memory. We all knew this at the time and couldn’t work out Garmin’s game. Well, now we know. Garmin knew that within two years there wouldn’t be a fancy new screen tech, or a significant bump in battery life, or smaller components. So they put too little memory in the device so that they could release an upgrade later on. Chronos isn’t overburdened itself with memory, presumably nothing major on the horizon for a while yet then, and CIQ 3 will have ever so slightly bigger memory needs…
So, the Fenix 4 then. Obviously Chronos isn’t it, it costs more than my car. It’s likely that Garmin will launch a new watch with Chronos innards and a plastic case to bring the price down. By plastic, I mean fibre reinforced stuff like the Fenix 3 back, not like the plastic plastic on the 920XT. And you won’t get a wooden box either. With a bit of luck they’ll also stick with screw on straps like the Fenix 3/2/1 rather than fancy quick release ones like the Chronos. Quick release on a sports watch? So I’ll need to gaffer tape it to my arm then to avoid it quickly releasing. No ta.
Finally, the time frame. CES 2017 would seem the obvious release date. January, just after you got a Fenix 3 for xmas 2016. There’s some debate as to whether a 930XT or 935XT will appear at the same time. My money is on a 925XT optical with 920XT insides rather than a full refresh. The 920XT is more of a tool than a toy like the 910XT before it. The Fenix 3 is now firmly in the toy before tool category, albeit a toy that functions pretty well. It’s certainly lost the adventure watch roots though even if it has gained dog tracking and beer calculator apps.