Magellan launches Echo, a fitness-app companion smartwatch

A new type of fitness watch

While there are bunch of smartwatches emerging that are aimed for the more fitness-minded, they can be clunky and problematic when syncing with fitness apps.

Alternatively, it gets hard relying on just fitness apps on your phone, as it may get hard to squint at your smartphone-toting armband while running or dangerous to pull out the handset in case of clumsy fingers causing cracked mid-workout.

Magellan has announced the Echo, which finds itself sitting somewhere between a GPS fitness smartwatch, like the TomTom Runner and Multi-Sport, and fitness trackers like the Jawbone Up and Fitbit Flex.

It has a rugged and shower proof design which comes in blue, orange or black. There's also an optional heart rate monitor accessory available too, ussing Bluetooth Low Energy technology for connection.

Echoed

The Magellan Echo works in conjunction with your smartphone apps, linking up via Bluetooth 4.0 on an iPhone, though Android compatibility is "coming soon".

It uses your phone's GPS to track distance, time, pace and elevation, as well as sync up with third-party fitness apps, like iSmoothRun, MapMyRun, Strava, Runtastic and Wahoo Fitness.

"The popularity of apps as a fitness tool is hard to deny," said Paris Basson, Brand Manager Magellan Australia/New Zealand, as the Echo works more like a companion device.

"As its name suggests, this device echoes anything your fitness app tracks."

So while the Echo is not a dedicated fitness smartwatch, you'll still need to have your phone on you when you're out and about with the Echo, but you won't need to pull your phone out as all the necessary information will be displayed on the Echo's face.

Connected fitness

The great thing is that the Echo has an open API, meaning more apps will probably become compatible with it, while the device will also get free software updates via the Magellan Active website.

As the data collected syncs up with fitness apps using Bluetooth, you won't need to connect it to a computer. When not linked to your smartphone, the device can work as just a regular watch.

You also won't need to recharge it, as it comes with a replaceable battery that Magellan says should last up to 6 months.

Magellan says that the Echo will land in store from November for $149. Bundled with the heart rate monitor, it will cost $199.

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