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Garmin Fenix 7 review: next-gen boss of adventure smartwatches | Wearable technology

Garmin’s latest top-of-the-line Fenix 7 track-it-all adventure smartwatch introduces a number of new features, better GPS, longer battery life and improved tech – as well as a touchscreen to go with its buttons.

Starting at £599 ($699.99/A$1,049), it can hit £1,000 or more if you pick the largest, most fancy version. But the new luxury device does give us a preview on what the firm’s cheaper sports watches may feature later in the year.

The Fenix 7 comes in a range of sizes, weights, materials and with an optional solar-charging system, all of which have full mapping.

The new model looks like a refinement rather than a revolution away from previous Fenix designs. The 7S is the smallest, sleekest version with a 42mm case and 1.2in screen, although it is still obviously a sports watch. The standard 7 and supersized 7X are larger, chunkier beasts but are still light and comfortable to wear.

Back of the Garmin Fenix 7 showing the power port
The watch has a charging port on the back and special quick-release straps but is compatible with standard third-party bands, too. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The new touchscreen makes the Fenix feel slicker and more modern. You can tap and hold on widgets on the watch face to jump straight to things such as a graph of your heart rate, battery power settings or notifications, or swipe through menus, screens and maps. For daily smartwatch functions it works very well.

But touchscreens are unreliable during activities, don’t work well in the wet nor with gloves. Garmin has kept its excellent five-button control system and disables touch when you start most activities, to prevent accidental pauses of runs or similar.

Because of the smart way Garmin has integrated the touch system with buttons, everything can be controlled via either method or both at the same time. It is genuinely great

The transflective colour LCD screen looks the same as its predecessor – clear and easy to read in direct sunlight, with a backlight for the night. But the power-efficient technology doesn’t look as slick as OLED screens.

Profile shot of Garmin Fenix 7 on a wrist
The Fenix 7 sapphire solar, as pictured, has a 47mm-wide case with 22mm straps and stands 14.5mm tall – just fitting on my 50mm-wide wrist. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Specifications

  • Screen: 1.2, 1.3 or 1.4in transflective MIP LCD

  • Case size: 42, 47 or 51mm

  • Case thickness: 14.1 to 14.9mm

  • Band size: standard 20, 22 or 26mm quick release

  • Weight: 42 to 68g body only

  • Storage: 16 or 32GB

  • Water resistance: 100 metres (10ATM)

  • Sensors: GNSS (GPS, Glonass, Galileo, BeiDuo, QZSS), compass, thermometer, heart rate, pulse Ox

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+, wifi

Long battery life

Smartphone notifications and music control features on a Garmin Fenix 7
The Garmin Connect app controls settings, syncs and displays the mountains of data and insights the watch collects, and enables ‘smart’ features such as message notifications and music control on your phone. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The watch can be used independently of a smartphone, unlike rivals, paired via Bluetooth to an Android or iPhone, or synced with a Mac or Windows PC using the Garmin Express app and included USB cable. But the watch has wifi to sync data straight to your Garmin account, download new apps, system and map updates, too.

The Fenix 7 lasts for a very long time between charges. Connected to my phone for smart notifications, with full activity and health-tracking features active, including blood oxygen monitoring during sleep and three hours of running, the watch lasted over 15 days and nights. It should last up to 40 hours of running with GNSS or longer with some power-saving features turned on – long enough for practically any activity.

Note the smaller 7S has shorter battery life or the larger 7X lasts longer, while solar models can add up to four days extra smartwatch use or eight hours of running, too, roughly double the Fenix 6 Pro solar. It takes more than 2.5 hours to fully charge the Fenix 7 via USB, hitting 50% in an hour.

Health, fitness and tracking

Garmin Fenix 7 showing the main post-run statistics
Each activity tracks more data than most need and can be customised, including changing the information that is displayed on screen during the activity and what is recorded. Pictured are the main post-run statistics. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Fenix 7 can track practically every activity under the sun, with well over 60 activities preloaded and more available from the Connect IQ store. They cover all the sport and adventure bases, including walking, hiking and running in its various forms, most things concerning a bike, swimming and various water sports, triathlons and other multisport events, skiing, climbing, strength and gym work. And even some ball sports.

It has two meaningful improvements to Garmin’s best-in-class running tracking. The improved GNSS consistently gets a satellite lock faster outdoors and indoors, and produces much more accurate live pace estimations compared with its predecessor.

The new real-time “stamina” measurement for running and bike-based activities is a live estimate of how much energy your body has left as a percentage, based on your fitness, sleep, activity, recovery and other factors the watch tracks during your day.

Garmin Fenix 7 displaying stamina bars
The watch shows two metrics as overlapping bars: your total ‘potential’ energy at your usual pace (black) and your ‘current’ stamina (orange), which is how much energy you have left for harder than usual work, such as a burst of speed or a steep hill. Photograph: Garmin

Your potential energy goes down steadily as you run, while your current stamina shrinks faster when putting in more effort and recovers when taking it easier. If the bar hits zero it doesn’t mean you’re immediately going to shut down but it is likely you won’t have the energy for top performance.

Combined, they allow you to better pace yourself, such as if you’ve started off too fast in a race or haven’t pushed it hard enough in training. It gives you instant information of how much you have left after each interval or whether you’ve got the energy for a proper sprint finish. Afterwards, you can see a chart of your stamina against distance, pace or the other metrics the watch records.

sleep and body battery feature show on a Fenix 7 sapphire solar
The comprehensive health tracking mirrors the watch’s predecessor, the Fenix 6, including ‘heath snapshots’, all-day heart rate, stress, steps, calories, sleep and Garmin’s excellent ‘body battery’ system for interpreting it all but lacks ECG. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Observations

  • The Fenix 7X has a light that acts as a torch or as a running light at night, flashing red as your arm swings back and white as it goes forward, making you more visible to cars.

  • The sapphire solar models have an additional “multiband GPS” feature, which increases tracking accuracy around tall buildings or vegetation by locking on to the newer “L5” frequency band of GPS as well as the usual “L1” band.

  • The watch has Garmin Pay for contactless payments but few banks are supported in the UK.

a map shown on a Fenix 7 sapphire solar
The touchscreen makes navigating the highly detailed worldwide maps a lot easier and faster than previous button-only systems, which could be very tedious. A new and useful ‘up ahead’ feature shows how far and the direction to the next self-prescribed waypoint on walks or hikes. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Sustainability

The Fenix 7 is generally repairable. The battery is rated to last at least a few years of frequent charge cycles while maintaining at least 80% capacity. In lasting more than 15 days between charges, in theory, the battery would not need to be replaced for as long as 20 years. The watch does not contain any recycled materials. Garmin guarantees at least two years of security updates from release, but typically supports its devices far longer.

Garmin offers trade-in schemes for some lines and complies with WEEE and other local electronics recycling laws.

Price

The Garmin Fenix 7 comes in a variety of sizes and models, starting at £599.99 ($699.99/A$1,049) for the standard 42 or 47mm models.

Solar models cost from £689 ($799.99/A$1,199) and the top sapphire solar models cost from £779.99 ($899.99/A$1,499).

Verdict

The Fenix 7 is a powerhouse of a do-it-all, go-anywhere, track-anything adventure watch, that is very much the best in the market.

It is an excellent follow-up to the Fenix 6 line that introduces meaningful upgrades, many of which are expected to flow down into Garmin’s numerous lines of less expensive, more focused products over the next year.

The longer 15-day-plus battery life, faster performance, better GPS, a touchscreen and stamina metrics are great additions to the comprehensive tracking Garmin is known for. Most people will only use about 5% of what the watch is capable of but that 5% will be different for each person and each occasion.

The Fenix 7 is an expensive, statement purchase. If you just run or cycle it will be overkill but if you have the cash, do lots of activities or just like the idea of being able to parachute into the middle of nowhere and still find your way home, this is the watch for you.

Pros: tracks everything under the sun, very long battery life, optional solar charging, cross-platform phone notifications, Garmin Pay, full offline mapping, offline Spotify, Bluetooth, wifi, 100m water resistance, real buttons, accurate GPS/GNSS, choice of materials.

Cons: expensive, big, limited Garmin Pay bank support, limited smartwatch features compared with Apple Watch/Galaxy Watch, no voice control, screen basic compared to OLED.

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Congratulations, Privacy Just Took A Great Leap Out the Window!

Your Data Is Being Used Without Your Permission And Knowledge

The Voice Of EU | In the heart of technological innovation, the collision between intellectual property rights and the development of cutting-edge AI technologies has sparked a significant legal battle. The New York Times has taken legal action against OpenAI and Microsoft, filing a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court. This legal maneuver aims to address concerns surrounding the unauthorized use of the Times’ content for the training of AI models, alleging copyright infringements that could potentially result in billions of dollars in damages.

READ: HOW YOUR DATA IS BEING USED TO TRAIN A.I.

This legal tussle underlines the escalating tension between technological advancements and the protection of intellectual property. The crux of the lawsuit revolves around OpenAI and Microsoft allegedly utilizing the Times’ proprietary content to advance their own AI technology, directly competing with the publication’s services. The lawsuit suggests that this unauthorized utilization threatens the Times’ ability to offer its distinctive service and impacts its AI innovation, creating a competitive landscape that challenges the publication’s proprietary content.

Amidst the growing digital landscape, media organizations like the Times are confronting a myriad of challenges. The migration of readers to online platforms has significantly impacted traditional media, and the advent of artificial intelligence technology has added another layer of complexity. The legal dispute brings to the forefront the contentious practice of AI companies scraping copyrighted information from online sources, including articles from media organizations, to train their generative AI chatbots. This strategy has attracted substantial investments, rapidly transforming the AI landscape.

Exhibit presented by the New York Times’ legal team of ChatGPT replicating a article after being prompted

The lawsuit highlights instances where OpenAI’s technology, specifically GPT-4, replicated significant portions of Times articles, including in-depth investigative reports. These outputs, alleged by the Times to contain verbatim excerpts from their content, raise concerns about the ethical and legal boundaries of using copyrighted material for AI model training without proper authorization or compensation.

The legal action taken by the Times follows attempts to engage in discussions with Microsoft and OpenAI, aiming to address concerns about the use of its intellectual property. Despite these efforts, negotiations failed to reach a resolution that would ensure fair compensation for the use of the Times’ content while promoting responsible AI development that benefits society.

In the midst of this legal battle, the broader questions surrounding the responsible and ethical utilization of copyrighted material in advancing technological innovations come to the forefront.

The dispute between the Times, OpenAI, and Microsoft serves as a significant case study in navigating the intricate intersection of technological progress and safeguarding intellectual property rights in the digital age.


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Culture

‘The Bill Gates Problem’ – The Case Against World’s Richest Man

The Case Against World’s Richest Man

When Clinton assumed the presidency of the United States, there was eager anticipation from the Chinese, not for Clinton himself, but for Bill Gates. This was during the late 1990s, a period when the internet was still in its nascent stages, and the digital boom of the early 2000s had not yet reached its peak. The enigmatic persona that captivated the attention of the burgeoning Asian powerhouse is now portrayed in “The Bill Gates Problem” as a “domineering, brusque figure” whose demeanor is likened to “a cauldron of passions that freely erupts.” According to a former employee cited in the book, Gates was perceived as “a complete and utter jerk to people 70% of the time,” while the remaining 30% saw him as a “harmless, enjoyable, exceptionally intelligent nerd.”

The 1990s were also the decade of the conflict between Microsoft and the now defunct Netscape browser, which challenged what was already being openly described as the former’s monopolistic practices. Gates was investigated and accused in Congress for such practices; he ultimately won the battle, but the case harmed his reputation, and in 2000 he resigned as CEO of his company. From there he undertook an expansion of the foundation that he had established with his wife and to which he has dedicated his main efforts in the last two decades. In 2006, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation received the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation.

With a personal fortune of $100 billion and tens of billions more in his private foundation, Gates has been one of the richest men in the world for decades, and the foundation has been the most generous organization of its kind, specializing above all in health aid, education and child nutrition, with a large presence in Africa and India among other regions of what was formerly known as the Third World. Tim Schwab, a contributor to the weekly left-wing newspaper The Nation, undertook a detailed investigation to denounce something that in truth was already known: that American foundations are largely a way for billionaires to avoid taxes.

To prove this, he thoroughly looked into the accounts and procedures of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the failures and occasional successes of its philanthropic policies, and came to the conclusion that behind this facade of help to the needy hides an operation of power. He is ruthless in his criticism, although accurate in his analysis of the growing inequality in the world. Absorbed by the revolutionary rhetoric, he laments that the Gates Foundation has remained “deadly silent” regarding movements such as Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matter, which demand social change in the face of the “excess wealth and ‘white savior’ mentality that drives Bill Gates’ philanthropic work.” He does attribute some good intentions, but his criticism is merciless, sometimes even coarse, while the absence of solutions for the problems he denounces — other than the calls for do-goodism — is frustrating.

His abilities as an investigative journalist are thus overshadowed by a somewhat naive militancy against the creative capitalism that Gates promotes and an evident intention to discredit not only his work but, above all, him. The demands he makes for transparency and the accusations of obscurity are dulled by the author himself in the pages he dedicates to Gates’ relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the famous corruptor of minors at the service of the international jet set. Gates has explained his meetings and interviews with him on countless occasions, and in no case has any type of relationship, other than their commercial relations or some confusing efforts to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, been proved. Still, Schwab raises, with no evidence whatsoever, the possibility that their relationship “could have had something to do with Epstein’s principal activities in life: sexual gratification and the exercise of power.” The book is full of this kind of opinions and speculations, to the detriment of a more serious analysis of Gates’ mistakes in the management of his foundation, the problems of shielding the intellectual property of vaccines in the hands of the pharmaceutical industries and, ultimately, the objective power that big technology companies have in global society.

He signed a collaboration agreement with the RAE to improve Microsoft’s grammar checker and was interested in the substantial unity of the Spanish language in all the countries where almost 600 million people speak it. That man was very far from the sexist, arrogant, miserable predator that Schwab portrays. Nor did we deduce — and this can be applied to the personal adventure of Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Zuckerberg, Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos — that his life’s goal was world domination, as suggested by this book. If they have achieved it, or may achieve it, it is due to the dynamics of digital civilization and the objective difficulties in governing it. The deregulation of financial capitalism, which has increased inequality among humankind, is due to the incompetence of obsolete political institutions and to leaders who care more about their own fates than those of their people. The criticism against “lame and wasteful government bureaucracies” might be part of the propaganda promoted by the world’s wealthy, but lately we have also heard it from small-scale farmers across Europe.

In conclusion, we found the book to be more entertaining than interesting. It provides a lot of information — we’re not sure if it’s entirely verified — and plenty of cheap ideology. Above all, one can see the personal crusade of the author, determined to prove that Bill Gates is a problem for democracy and that millionaire philanthropists are a bunch of swindlers. The world needs their money; maybe managed by party bureaucracies, that much is not clear. Bill Gates’ money, that is, but not Bill Gates himself.


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Conflicted History: ‘Oppenheimer’ And Its Impact On Los Alamos And New Mexico Downwinders

‘Oppenheimer’ And Its Impact On Los Alamos And New Mexico Downwinders

The Voice Of EU | In the highly anticipated blockbuster movie, “Oppenheimer,” the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man behind the first atomic bomb, is portrayed as a riveting tale of triumph and tragedy.

As the film takes center stage, it also brings to light the often-overlooked impacts on a community living downwind from the top-secret Manhattan Project testing site in southern New Mexico.

A Forgotten Legacy

While the film industry and critics praise “Oppenheimer,” a sense of frustration prevails among the residents of New Mexico’s Tularosa Basin, who continue to grapple with the consequences of the Manhattan Project. Tina Cordova, a cancer survivor and founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, expresses their feelings, stating, “They invaded our lives and our lands and then they left,” referring to the scientists and military personnel who conducted secret experiments over 200 miles away from their community.

The Consortium, alongside organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists, has been striving to raise awareness about the impact of the Manhattan Project on New Mexico’s population. Advocates emphasize the necessity of acknowledging the human cost of the Trinity Test, the first atomic blast, and other nuclear weapons activities that have affected countless lives in the state.

The Ongoing Struggle for Recognition

As film enthusiasts celebrate the drama and brilliance of “Oppenheimer,” New Mexico downwinders feel overlooked by both the U.S. government and movie producers. The federal government’s compensation program for radiation exposure still does not include these affected individuals. The government’s selection of the remote and flat Trinity Test Site, without warning residents in the surrounding areas, further added to the controversy.

Living off the land, the rural population in the Tularosa Basin had no idea that the fine ash settling on their homes and fields was a result of the world’s first atomic explosion.

The government initially attempted to cover up the incident, attributing the bright light and rumble to an explosion at a munitions dump. It was only after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Japan weeks later that New Mexico residents realized the magnitude of what they had witnessed.

Tracing the Fallout

According to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, large amounts of radiation were released into the atmosphere during the Trinity Test, with fallout descending over a vast area. Some of the fallout reached as far as the Atlantic Ocean, but the greatest concentration settled approximately 30 miles from the test site.

Now I Am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.

J. Robert Oppenheimer

The consequences of this catastrophic event have affected generations of New Mexicans, who still await recognition and justice for the harm caused by nuclear weapons.

A Tale of Contrasts: Los Alamos and the Legacy of Oppenheimer

As the film’s spotlight shines on the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a contrasting narrative unfolds in Los Alamos, more than 200 miles north of the Tularosa Basin. Los Alamos stands as a symbol of Oppenheimer’s legacy, housing one of the nation’s premier national laboratories and boasting the highest percentage of people with doctorate degrees in the U.S.

Oppenheimer’s influence is evident throughout Los Alamos, with a street bearing his name and an IPA named in his honor at a local brewery. The city embraces its scientific legacy, showcasing his handwritten notes and ID card in a museum exhibit. Los Alamos National Laboratory employees played a significant role in the film, contributing as extras and engaging in enlightening discussions during breaks.

The “Oppenheimer” Movie

Director Christopher Nolan’s perspective on the Trinity Test and its profound impact is evident in his approach to “Oppenheimer.” He has described the event as an extraordinary moment in human history and expressed his desire to immerse the audience in the pivotal moment when the button was pushed. Nolan’s dedication to bringing historical accuracy and emotional depth to the screen is evident as he draws inspiration from Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.

For Nolan, Oppenheimer’s story is a potent blend of dreams and nightmares, capturing the complexity and consequences of the Manhattan Project. As the film reaches global audiences, it also offers a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the downwinders in New Mexico, whose lives were forever altered by the legacy of nuclear weapons testing.

The Oppenheimer Festival and Beyond

Los Alamos is determined to use the Oppenheimer Festival as an opportunity to educate visitors about the true stories behind the film’s events. The county’s “Project Oppenheimer” initiative, launched in early 2023, encompasses forums, documentaries, art installations, and exhibits that delve into the scientific contributions of the laboratory and the social implications of the Manhattan Project.

A special area during the festival will facilitate discussions about the movie, fostering a deeper understanding of the community’s history. The county aims to continue revisiting and discussing the legacy of the Manhattan Project, ensuring that the impact of this pivotal moment in history is never forgotten.

As “Oppenheimer” takes audiences on an emotional journey, it serves as a reminder that every historical event carries with it complex and multifaceted implications. The movie may celebrate the scientific achievements of the past, but it also illuminates the urgent need to recognize and address the human cost that persists to this day.


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