Garmin makes a huge number of smart watches aimed at tracking sports activities, but the Quatix range is designed specifically for boaters.
Its latest model is the Garmin Quatix 6 (RRP: £629), which is available in three versions. The Quatix 6 Titanium (RRP: £899) adds a titanium bracelet to the (also included) standard blue silicone strap of the Quatix 6, and the Quatix 6X Solar (RRP: £999) is the top of the range – a Quatix 6 Titanium with solar charging. To facilitate this, the watch is larger, 51mm diameter compared to the (still large) standard 47mm version.
I was slightly concerned that I might look as though I had a dinner plate strapped to my wrist but the Quatix 6 looks fine and is extremely legible. And because it’s titanium it’s remarkably light – you barely know you’re wearing it. Best of all, the Quatix 6 looks like a proper boating watch, rather than a geeky tiny tablet strapped to your wrist as so many smart watches do.
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It’s easy to swap the bracelet and strap – remove the watch, pull the spring loaded tab under the end links where the bracelet or strap connects to the watch and it disconnects. Because they’re underneath, it’s completely secure when the watch is on your wrist.
The watch itself is astonishingly customisable. There’s a huge range of dial styles, opt for different shaped hands, and then decide what you’d like the four sub dials to display. I’ve chosen day/date, barometric pressure, heart rate and temperature. In the menus you can choose the order of frequently used functions and banish ones you don’t want (they’re in a retrievable ‘bin’ so you can reinstate them if you wish).
Five buttons (three left and two right) seem complicated but even to someone with a pathological aversion to instruction manuals, it soon becomes second nature. Top left is the backlight (not needed in bright conditions, the LCD display is permanently displayed), the centre accesses the menu allowing you to scroll through displays like how many steps you’ve taken, the weather, even a compass. And once into the menu it becomes an ‘up’ button, the lower left being ‘down’. On the right, the top button is an ‘Enter’ button to allow you to delve deeper into sub menus and the bottom right a ‘back’ button to reverse back out. Simple.
The boating facilities of the Quatix 6 are excellent. Depending on what navigation equipment your boat has, you can tap into speed, depth, even steer it by altering the autopilot heading. Track your route, check on distance covered, look at tide times, control your Fusion Hi-Fi, it’s all there. You can even download and display entire navigational charts, giving you a stand-alone back up, but also useful in the tender in unfamiliar waters.
Finally, the Quatix 6 is a fully functional smart watch, so it will display emails and texts, you can choose an activity to track (so if walking for example, it will monitor your pace, distance covered, heart rate etc). Again, you can configure your Quatix 6 to display only activities you use and temporarily bin the pointless ones like running or golf until you need them. There are even street maps on it.
All of which leaves one important question – how long does the Quatix 6’s battery last between charges? With the use I’ve been giving it – about a fortnight, which is better than I expected. I started off wondering whether the Quatix 6 was the ultimate boating watch – it might just be the ultimate watch full stop.
MBY rating: 5/5