Garmin’s ‘Varia vision’ headset is the Google Glass of cycling

The thing approximately biking is that it is simplest as complicated a interest as you are making it. An $eighty Huffy performs the same fundamental function as a carbon-fiber street racer costing 100 times extra, simply with a lesser degree of effectiveness. in addition, you could go the antique-faculty way of glancing down on the cycling laptop established on your handlebars whenever you want an replace for your journey — or you can strap this tiny $400 monitor from Garmin to the aspect of your face and get a continuous flow of telemetry facts without taking your eyes off the street.

Gallery: Garmin Varia vision | five images

The Varia imaginative and prescient is Garmin’s latest addition to its ANT+ biking accessory series, ANT+ being the proprietary wireless widespread that Garmin’s numerous gadgets leverage to percentage records with each other. The imaginative and prescient is a heads-up display that pairs with select fashions in the organisation’s line of cycling computers. I examined the Varia vision with the Garmin 520 pc, even though it’s also like minded with the flagship model a thousand. there’s also the possibility that different ANT+ network contributors will combine it with their personal motorbike computers within the destiny. Plus, if you’re already the use of Garmin’s Varia Rear Radar tool, the imaginative and prescient may also display incoming-car warnings further to the usual blend of velocity, distance and overall performance metrics from the pc itself.

The tool weighs a scant 1.1 oz., lasts approximately eight hours on a charge and can be hooked up on most any pair of game-fashion sunglasses using a strap-on base plate that the HUD twist-locks into. The 428-by-240-pixel screen mechanically reorients itself whenever the device powers on, and it could be mounted ambidextrously on both the left or right temple of your glasses. I did find that setting it on the left side, however, absolutely blocked my peripheral imaginative and prescient on that, side which made it hard to look over my shoulder for cars even as overtaking different cyclists.

additionally, the vision sincerely does want a fixed of game glasses. I to begin with hooked up it on my Ray-Ban Wayfarers and, at the same time as the imaginative and prescient did paintings, the location and orientation of the display screen became less than perfect. I mean, the display screen arm bends in only about eighty ranges, and there is no way to truely perspective it up or down, so if the glasses arm sits excessive compared with the lens itself, part of the display is blocked with the aid of the bottom edge of the display’s mount.

The shade LED display itself is magnificent. The readability is terrific, as are the brightness and the interface navigation. You manage the display screen’s show through swiping a finger ahead and returned across the imaginative and prescient’s frame. Even thru dark or polarized lenses, i was able to easily see the imaginative and prescient’s readout. it’s miles a bit weird to get used to, though, due to the fact if you have both eyes open, the picture ghosts and also you wind up seeing a semi-obvious records screen overlying truth. That said, it is now not specially distracting when you acclimate.

I bumped into some minor hiccups while putting in place the imaginative and prescient. As with maximum connected devices, the imaginative and prescient became an utter brat when I paired it with my cycling pc. I spent a 1/2 hour alternately swearing at it and begging it to simply pair already before identifying that the HUD wanted a firmware update in order to speak to the 520. I then spent every other hour tracking down the vital Garmin connect laptop software (and the Android cellular app), creating a join account, registering devices and updating firmware before sooner or later getting the biking laptop and HUD to get on speakme phrases. it is a whole lot of work simply to get associate gadgets from the identical manufacturer — and using the same pairing scheme, no much less — to do what they’re speculated to do out of the field.

That stated, the Varia imaginative and prescient machine is good at what it does. I frequently discover myself squinting at my biking pc in the course of rides, and that trouble is even worse inside the morning, when i’m sporting shades to counter the glare of the solar. This mixture of myopia, display mirrored image and dark lenses can make correctly reading the pc — whilst dodging absentminded drivers and entitled hipster cyclists, natch — plenty tougher than it ought to be. however with the Varia on my face, all I want to do is wink my off eye closed for a 2nd to peer exactly how my splits are stacking up, and without taking my eyes off the street.

As outstanding because the vision is, I must factor out that it is not the sort of accessory you toss into your shopping cart like a kit Kat bar or an difficulty of humans. it’s a extreme schooling device that calls for a severe finances. Nor does the imaginative and prescient lend itself nicely to the prevent-and-go action of city commutes. alternatively, it’s better applicable for longer open-road schooling rides.

As noted, the imaginative and prescient alone will set you back $four hundred. that is extra than I paid for my 40-inch television and is on par with what you’d pay for a subsequent-gen gaming console. what is greater, the imaginative and prescient is useless through itself; it truely is only a Bluetooth screen that straps for your glasses. in order for it to display records, you have to pair it with a $three hundred to $500 cycling pc and mount it onto glasses that start at around $50. you’re looking at an preliminary startup cost of $750 to $900 — which is ready the difference among that Huffy and a pretty respectable street motorbike. could you as a substitute get the first-rate motorbike you may afford, or trip the Huffy with a tiny display screen attached on your temples?