Garmin's 'Varia Imaginative and prescient' headset is the Google Glass of biking

The factor about biking is that it is solely as difficult a pastime as you make it. An $eighty Huffy performs the identical primary perform as a carbon-fiber road racer costing one hundred occasions extra, simply with a lesser diploma of effectiveness. Equally, you’ll be able to go the previous-faculty means of glancing down on the biking pc mounted in your handlebars everytime you need an replace in your experience — or you may strap this tiny $four hundred monitor from Garmin to the aspect of your face and get a steady stream of telemetry knowledge with out taking your eyes off the street.

Gallery: Garmin Varia Imaginative and prescient | 5 Pictures

The Varia Imaginative and prescient is Garmin’s current addition to its ANT+ biking accent assortment, ANT+ being the proprietary wi-fi commonplace that Garmin’s numerous units leverage to share knowledge with each other. The Imaginative and prescient is a heads-up show that pairs with choose fashions within the firm’s line of biking computer systems. I examined the Varia Imaginative and prescient with the Garmin 520 pc, although it is also suitable with the flagship mannequin one thousand. There’s additionally the likelihood that different ANT+ group members will combine it with their very own bike computer systems sooner or later. Plus, in case you’re already utilizing Garmin’s Varia Rear Radar gadget, the Imaginative and prescient may also show incoming-automotive warnings along with the usual mixture of velocity, distance and efficiency metrics from the pc itself.

The system weighs a scant 1.1 ounces, lasts about eight hours on a cost and may be mounted on most any pair of sport-type sun shades utilizing a strap-on base plate that the HUD twist-locks into. The 428-by-240-pixel display mechanically reorients itself each time the gadget powers on, and it may be mounted ambidextrously on both the left or proper temple of your glasses. I did discover that placing it on the left aspect, nevertheless, utterly blocked my peripheral imaginative and prescient on that, aspect which made it troublesome to look over my shoulder for automobiles whereas overtaking different cyclists.

Additionally, the Imaginative and prescient actually does want a set of sport glasses. I initially put in it on my Ray-Ban Wayfarers and, whereas the Imaginative and prescient did work, the location and orientation of the display was lower than excellent. I imply, the display arm bends in solely about eighty levels, and there is no solution to actually angle it up or down, so if the glasses arm sits excessive in contrast with the lens itself, a part of the display is blocked by the underside fringe of the show’s mount.

Garmin's 'Varia Vision' headset is the Google Glass of cycling

The colour LED show itself is spectacular. The readability is nice, as are the brightness and the interface navigation. You management the display’s show by swiping a finger ahead and again throughout the Imaginative and prescient’s physique. Even via darkish or polarized lenses, I used to be capable of simply see the Imaginative and prescient’s readout. It’s a bit bizarre to get used to, although, as a result of when you’ve gotten each eyes open, the picture ghosts and also you wind up seeing a semi-clear knowledge display overlying actuality. That stated, it isn’t notably distracting when you acclimate.

I bumped into some minor hiccups whereas establishing the Imaginative and prescient. As with most related units, the Imaginative and prescient was an utter brat once I paired it with my biking pc. I spent a half hour alternately swearing at it and begging it to only pair already earlier than determining that the HUD wanted a firmware replace with a view to speak to the 520. I then spent one other hour monitoring down the required Garmin Join desktop software program (and the Android cellular app), making a Join account, registering units and updating firmware earlier than lastly getting the biking pc and HUD to get on talking phrases. That is plenty of work simply to get two companion units from the identical producer — and utilizing the identical pairing scheme, no much less — to do what they’re presupposed to do out of the field.

That stated, the Varia Imaginative and prescient system is sweet at what it does. I typically discover myself squinting at my biking pc throughout rides, and that concern is even worse within the morning, once I’m sporting sun shades to counter the glare of the solar. This mix of myopia, display reflection and darkish lenses could make precisely studying the pc — whereas dodging absentminded drivers and entitled hipster cyclists, natch — rather a lot more durable than it must be. However with the Varia on my face, all I have to do is wink my off eye closed for a second to see precisely how my splits are stacking up, and with out taking my eyes off the street.

Garmin's 'Varia Vision' headset is the Google Glass of cycling

As spectacular because the Imaginative and prescient is, I ought to level out that it isn’t the type of accent you toss into your buying cart whereas ready within the checkout line. The Imaginative and prescient doesn’t lend itself properly to the cease-and-go motion of metropolis commutes. Fairly, it is higher fitted to longer open-street coaching rides. It is a critical coaching software that requires a critical price range.

As talked about, the Imaginative and prescient alone will set you again $four hundred. That is greater than I paid for my forty-inch TV and is on par with what you’d pay for a subsequent-gen gaming console. What’s extra, the Imaginative and prescient is ineffective by itself; it truly is only a Bluetooth display that straps to your glasses. To ensure that it to show info, it’s a must to pair it with a $300 to $500 biking pc and mount it onto glasses that begin at round $50. You are taking a look at an preliminary startup value of $750 to $900 — which is concerning the distinction between that Huffy and a reasonably respectable street bike. Would you moderately get the perfect bike you possibly can afford, or journey the Huffy with a tiny display hooked up to your temples?

Andrew Tarantola has lived in San Francisco since 1982 and has been writing intelligent issues about know-how since 2011. When not arguing the finer factors of moveable vaporizers, flat display TVs, and army protection techniques with strangers on the Web, he enjoys tooling round his backyard, knitting, and binge watching anime.