GPS giant Garmin has jumped into the in-sight display game with Varia Vision, an attachment to sunglasses that connects with devices like GPS computers to display live data in a cyclist’s line of vision.
The $399 Varia Vision competes most directly with the $499 Recon Jet, the parent company of which was acquired by Intel last year. (UK and AU pricing was not immediately available.) However, the Recon Jet is a self-contained unit, while the new Garmin Varia Vision has no sensors built in – which means it can promise double the Recon Jet’s battery life, at eight hours.
By pairing with a bike computer like a Garmin Edge, the Varia Vision can be configured to show metrics cyclists are used to seeing, like heart rate, power, speed, time, distance and more. Also, the Varia Vision can show turn-by-turn directions, incoming text or call information from a paired smartphone, and — when paired with Garmin’s Varia rearview radar — even warnings of vehicles approaching from behind.
The Varia Vision is the third in Garmin’s Varia family, following on the Varia Smart Bike Lights and the Varia Bike Radar. Varia Vision is being launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
“We’re extremely excited to announce the next device in our line of innovative Varia cycling awareness products – the Varia Vision in-sight display,” Garmin vice president of worldwide sales Dan Bartel said in a press release. “Cyclists can now easily view their data and receive alerts during a ride without needing to take their eyes off the road ahead.”
Garmin claims the Varia Vision will have eight hours of “always-on” battery life and a touch panel that works with gloves or in the rain to move between data displays.
Varia Vision mounts to either arm of most sunglasses, and the eyepiece adjusts in angle.The unit weighs an ounce (29.7g), and Garmin claims the ambient light sensor and color display ensure readability in all conditions.
When paired with a compatible Garmin Edge bike computer, the Varia Vision can show customizable data screens plus turn-by-turn prompts including distance to turn plus street name and directional arrows.Varia Vision also has vibration alerts for performance, navigation or other prompts.
Varia Vision will be on sale in the first quarter of this year for $399. We’ll be getting one in for review, so watch this space.