I’m not too sure if e-athletes is a real word yet, but perhaps this story will start the trend. Garmin has announced the Garmin Instinct eSports Edition—a version of their Instinct smartwatch specifically designed for gamers. In addition to the usual range of health and fitness functions that you get on the regular Instinct, you also get a dedicated eSports tracking function that monitors your heart rate and stress during gaming sessions, along with long-term analysis (of your health, not your skills).
What’s also interesting is the new STR3AMUP! streaming tool for PCs. Gamers often stream their gameplay over platforms such as Twitch, and with Garmin’s new tool, you’ll be able to livestream your biometric data to your audience. So the next time you’re going through a particularly nerve-wracking moment during a live game, your viewers are going to know how you feel—down to your heart rate.
“Elite athletes around the world depend on Garmin products to monitor and improve their performance. With the Instinct Esports Edition, esports athletes can tap into that same technology to track and examine how their body responds to intense competition.”– Dan Bartel, Garmin VP of sales
The Instinct eSports Edition also comes in a new “bold and aggressive look” for gamers, although it retains an almost-identical look to the regular Instinct smartwatch (and even the Instinct Solar). You also get military-grade durability via MIL-STD 810 certifications, with the watch having been tested for thermal, shock, and water resistance.
Battery life is a strength, with Garmin promising up to 80 hours of battery life in eSports mode and up to 14 days in smartwatch mode. You also get an impressive 10ATM rating, which means that the Instinct eSports Edition should be able to withstand pressures equivalent to a depth of 100 metres. This means that you can take the watch swimming, while you also get most of Garmin’s suite of health tracking.
This includes stress tracking, advanced sleep monitoring, over 30 sports apps, and the popular Body Battery Energy Monitor. Up front, you’re looking at a 0.9″x0.9″ transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) display, which should offer decent viewing angles and good visibility under sunlight. Perhaps an OLED display would’ve been a better choice for an indoor sport-focused smartwatch like this, but most of Garmin’s smartwatches use MIP display for their various benefits.
If you’re keen, the Garmin Instinct eSports Edition is available for an official price of USD 299 (~RM1,245). We don’t have any official word from Garmin Malaysia on local availability just yet, but the standard Garmin Instinct retails in Malaysia for RM1,299, so we do expect to see an identical (or similar, at least) price tag for the eSports Edition.
So, what do you think? eSports has been growing as a sport for a long, long time now, and it’s only natural that fitness smartwatch-makers get on board. Personally, I’ve not seen another eSports-focused smartwatch thus far, but I certainly appreciate what Garmin is trying to do here. Perhaps more eSports-centric features and an OLED display would have been better, but it’s still a step in the right direction.