Newsletter subscribe

Activity Trackers, Announcement, Editors-Choice, Featured, Fitness GPS, GPS Watch, Health & Fitness, What's New

Garmin tactix Charlie – What’s Changed

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (18 votes, average: 3.78 out of 5)
Loading...

Posted: 13/03/2018 at 2:04 PM   /   by   /   comments (0)

 

The Garmin tactix Charlie has been announced and the arrival date for Australia is April 2018. The watch will have topo lite AU/NZ maps preloaded just like the fenix 5X along with a couple of extras unique to the tactix range. If you’re a fan of the streamlined style of the Bravo, then you’ll be happy to hear Garmin have taken the same path with the new Charlie iteration.

What’s Changed from the tactix Bravo?

There have been some substantial changes both regarding hardware and software (though it still of course only comes in tactical black). I’ll list the major changes below and the full spec list comparison at the end of the article. In short, though it’s pretty much a fenix 5X with a tactical focus.

(Bravo info is in brackets)

  • Preloaded Lite Topographical Maps for Australia/NZ (Not available on the Bravo)
  • The bezel is Diamond-like Carbon coated titanium (Diamond-like Carbon coated stainless steel)
  • 240x240 display resolution (218x218p)
  • Battery life slightly shorter overall (Due to optical HR sensor and added functionality)
  • Memory 16GB (32MB)
  • Heart Rate sensor (N/A)
  • Gyroscope (N/A)
  • Preloaded Gym activity profiles and workouts (N/A)
  • Training, Planning, and analysis features: VO2 Max, Training Status/Load, Training Effect (anaerobic), etc. (N/A)
  • Heart Rate features - HR zones, HR alerts, HR calories, etc. (Yes with compatible accessories)
  • Outdoor features - around me, future elevation plot, cartography support (N/A)
  • Cycling Features - preloaded cycling profiles, etc. (Basic Cycling activity features)

It still comes with the tactix series ‘tactical-specific' features including Jumpmaster, waypoint projection, dual-position GPS formatting and preloaded tactical activity. The biggest thing to note though is that it now has topo maps. The GPS watch also features point-to-point navigation, breadcrumb trails, back to start routing and TracBack.

As the watch is a modified fenix 5X, you won’t see any of the new features from Garmin’s latest watches like the vivoactive 3 with Garmin Pay and the forerunner 645 music with onboard Bluetooth music support.

What’s unique about the Tactix

The tactix series brings with it a suite of tactical and military focused apps. The first is a Tactical mode which works exactly the same way it did on the Bravo by showing two sets of coordinates on a single screen. Jumpmaster activity has also returned - Just a warning Jumpmaster is designed for experienced skydivers particularly those in the military. Jumpmaster will have 3 jump types HAHO (High Altitude High Opening), HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) and Static (Wind speed and direction assumed to be constant.) You also have night vision mode which allows the watch to remain readable while wearing night vision goggles.

Design and Navigation

The tactix Charlie is built to be the toughest watch available in Garmin’s smartwatch arsenal. The unique use of Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) coated titanium is more resistant and durable than the fenix 5Xs’stainless steel bezel and rear. Garmin has used DLC specifically because of its lightweight properties while still retaining diamond-like crystalline structure. This is all a fancy way of saying it’s pretty tough.

*DLC is used widely in the Medical industry (Bonesaws and serrated tools) and the Gun industry but is also well known for use in watches (Rolex, Seiko).

The screen size is as large as a fenix 5X (30.4mm diameter) this is important as even on a watch face as large as this it can be quite tricky to navigate efficiently via the Topo maps. Regarding mapping the topo maps that come with the tactix Charlie is the Lite version which doesn’t allow for routing. You could technically purchase full Topo maps and install it on the device to enable full routing functionality, but that would be an additional cost.

Button Layout

The watch does not have a touchscreen but with 5 buttons, navigating is very easy. Personally, I like touchscreen watches, but even I find the touchscreen functionality can be unreliable sometimes. The dedicated buttons, particularly in the tactical environment the tactix Charlie is designed for, makes much more sense.

Going in a clockwise direction the top right button will open the activity menu. The bottom right button will bring you back a menu page/it will also lap when you’re on a stopwatch or lap-based activity. The bottom left button will navigate up or down through menus. The middle left button navigates down through menus/holding it opens the watch settings menu. The top left button turns the light on or off/holding brings up the radial menu.

Battery life

The battery life for the tactix Charlie is the exact same as the fenix 5X and slightly less than the tactix Bravo – This is primarily due to the added functionality of the optical Heart Rate Monitor.

Smartwatch mode: Up to 12 days

GPS/HR mode: Up to 20 hours

UltraTrac: up to 35 hours

These are expected figures provided by Garmin in their testing conditions. A typical use would see around 5-7 days of battery life and less if you use the GPS activity and topo maps more often.

Accessories

The tactix Bravo came with a ballistic nylon strap. The tactix Charlie will come black silicone band. The NATO straps are still technically compatible, but Garmin was unable to continue to use them as the NATO straps cover the optical sensor on the heart-rate monitor. 

Being a modified fenix 5X the tactix Charlie is compatible with the fenix 5X range of Quickfit 26mm band.

The tactix Charlie is also compatible with the VIRB action cameras like the VIRB 360 and VIRB Ultra 30 cameras. The watch can link up to these cameras to display additional metrics like heart rate on the video overlays.

Other accessories include the new Xero bowsight, Garmin DriveTrack 70LMT and Garmin’s massive range of fitness sensors and accessories for cycling, running, golfing and swimming. For more information visit the store compatible accessories page here.

Summary – Should I get this instead of a fenix 5?

That’s tough. Overall this is a great watch, but it’s still only a fenix 5X with a couple of tweaks regarding design and software. The fenix 5X still retails at $999 RRP while the new tactix Charlie will have a RRP of $1099. If you’re in the military or another tactical industry I can see this being quite handy especially regarding the tactix only features for coordinates and night vision. Personally, I think the shipping with TOPO Lite is a mistake, the added functionality and benefits of TOPO full (despite the small screen) outweigh the additional cost above the fenix 5X.

Price and availability

The Garmin tactix Charlie GPS watch is set to release in Australia in April 2018 at a RRP of $1099. For an updated ETA check out this page for the most up to date information.

Pros

Cons

A powerful and capable smartwatch with a huge range of multisport features

No Garmin Pay or onboard music

Tactical apps (Jumpmaster, night vision, dual coordinates)

Expensive

Lightweight design

 

Full Spec Comparison – Garmin tactix Charlie vs tactix Bravo

General

tactix Charlie

tactix Bravo

Lens Material

domed sapphire crystal

domed sapphire crystal

Bezel Material

Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) coated titanium

diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated stainless steel with knurling texture

A case material

fibre-reinforced polymer with titanium rear cover

fibre-reinforced polymer

QuickFit™ watch band compatible

included (26 mm)

yes (26 mm)

Strap material

silicone

ballistic nylon strap

Physical size

51 x 51 x 17.5 mm

51 x 51 x 15.5 mm

Weight

90 g

92 g

Water rating

10 ATM

10 ATM

Display type

sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)

sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)

Display size

1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter

1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter

Display resolution

240 x 240 pixels

218 x 218 pixels

Colour display

Yes

Yes

Night vision mode

Yes

Yes

Battery life

Smartwatch mode: Up to 12 days

Smartwatch mode: Up to 2 weeks

GPS/HR mode: Up to 20 hours

GPS mode: Up to 20 hours

UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 35 hours

UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 50 hours

Memory/History

16 GB

32 MB

Clock Features

   

Time/date

Yes

Yes

GPS Time Sync

Yes

Yes

Automatic daylight saving time

Yes

Yes

Alarm clock

Yes

Yes

Timer

Yes

Yes

Stopwatch

Yes

Yes

Sunrise/sunset times

Yes

Yes

Sensors

   

GPS

Yes

Yes

GLONASS

Yes

Yes

Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor

Yes

 

Barometric altimeter

Yes

Yes

Compass

Yes

Yes

Gyroscope

Yes

 

Accelerometer

Yes

Yes

Thermometer

Yes

Yes

Daily Smart Features

   

Connectivity

Bluetooth® Smart, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®

Bluetooth® Smart, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®

Connect IQ™ (downloadable watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps)

Yes

Yes

Smart notifications

Yes

Yes

Calendar

Yes

Yes

Weather

Yes

Yes

Controls smartphone music

Yes

Yes

Find My Phone

Yes

Yes

Find My Watch

Yes

Yes

VIRB® Camera Remote

Yes

Yes

Smartphone compatibility

iPhone®, Android™

iPhone®, Android™

Compatible with Garmin Connect™ Mobile

   

Activity Tracking Features

   

Step counter

Yes

Yes

Move bar (displays on the device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it)

Yes

Yes

Auto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal)

Yes

Yes

Sleep monitoring (monitors total sleep and periods of movement or restful sleep)

Yes

Yes

Calories burned

Yes

Yes

Floors climbed

Yes

Yes

Distance travelled

Yes

Yes

Intensity minutes

Yes

Yes

TrueUp™

Yes

Yes

Move IQ™

Yes

 

Fitness Age

yes (in the app)

 

Fitness Equipment/Gym

   

Preloaded gym activity profiles

Strength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing and Yoga

Indoor Rowing

Cardio workouts

Yes

 

Strength workouts

Yes

 

Automatic rep counting

Yes

 

Training, Planning and Analysis Features

   

GPS speed and distance

Yes

Yes

Customizable data pages

Yes

Yes

Customizable activity profiles

Yes

Yes

Auto Pause®

Yes

Yes

Interval training

Yes

Yes

Advanced workouts

Yes

Yes

Downloadable training plans

Yes

Yes

Auto Lap®

Yes

Yes

Manual lap

Yes

Yes

Configurable lap alerts

Yes

Yes

V02 max

Yes

yes (with compatible accessory)

Training Status (lets you see if you’re training effectively by tracking your training history and fitness level trend.)

Yes

 

Training Load (your total training load for the last 7 days calculated from estimated EPOC)

Yes

 

Training Effect (aerobic)

Yes

Yes

Training Effect (anaerobic)

Yes

 

Customizable alerts

Yes

Yes

Audio prompts

Yes

Yes

Finish time

Yes

Yes

Virtual Partner

Yes

Yes

Race an Activity

Yes

Yes

Auto multisport activities

Yes

Yes

Manual multisport activities

Yes

Yes

Course guidance

Yes

Yes

Segments (Live, Garmin)

Yes

 

Strava features (Beacon, live segments)

Yes

 

LiveTrack

Yes

Yes

Group LiveTrack

Yes

 

Round-trip course creator (running/cycling)

Yes

 

Touch and/or button lock

Yes

Yes

Hotkeys

Yes

Yes

Auto scroll

Yes

Yes

Activity history on watch

Yes

Yes

Heart Rate Features

Yes

Yes

HR zones

Yes

yes (with compatible accessory)

HR alerts

Yes

yes (with compatible accessory)

HR calories

Yes

yes (with compatible accessory)

% HR max

Yes

yes (with compatible accessory)

% HRR

Yes

yes (with compatible accessory)

Recovery time

Yes

yes (with compatible accessory)

Auto max HR

Yes

yes (with compatible accessory)

HRV stress test (measures your heart rate variability while standing still, for 3 minutes, to provide you with an estimated stress level; the scale of this is 1 to 100; low scores indicate lower stress levels)

yes (with compatible accessory)

yes (with compatible accessory)

Records heart rate while swimming

yes (with HRM-Tri™ and HRM-Swim™)

yes (with HRM-Tri™ or HRM-Swim™)

HR Broadcast (broadcasts HR data over ANT+™ to paired devices)

Yes

 

Running Features

Yes

Yes

Preloaded run profiles

Running, Treadmill Running, Trail Running

Running, Treadmill Running, Trail Running

GPS-based distance, time and pace

Yes

Yes

Running dynamics

yes (with compatible accessory)

yes (with compatible accessory)

Vertical oscillation and ratio (the degree of 'bounce' in your running motion and the cost-benefit ratio with stride length)

yes (with compatible accessory)

yes (with compatible accessory)

Ground contact time and balance (shows how much time, in the running motion, your foot is on the ground rather than in flight and lets you check your running symmetry)

yes (with compatible accessory)

yes (with compatible accessory)

Stride length (real time)

yes (with compatible accessory)

yes (with compatible accessory)

Cadence (provides real-time number of steps per minute)

Yes

Yes

Performance condition (after running 6–20 minutes, compares your real-time condition to your average fitness level)

Yes

Yes

Lactate threshold (through analysis of your pace and heart rate, estimates the point where your muscles start to rapidly fatigue)

yes (with compatible accessory)

yes (with compatible accessory)

Run workouts

Yes

Yes

Race predictor

Yes

Yes

Foot pod capable

Yes

Yes

Golfing Features

   

Yardage to F/M/B (distance to front, middle and back of green)

Yes

Yes

Yardage to layups/doglegs

Yes

Yes

Measures shot distance (calculates exact yardage for shots from anywhere on course)

Automatic

Manual

Digital scorecard

Yes

Yes

Stat tracking (strokes, putts per round, greens and fairways hit)

Yes

Yes

Garmin AutoShot™

Yes

 

Auto CourseView updates

Yes

 

Green View with manual pin position

Yes

 

Hazards and course targets

Yes

 

TruSwing™ compatible

Yes

 

Round timer/odometer

Yes

 

Outdoor Recreation Features

   

Preloaded outdoor recreation profiles

Hiking, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing, Jumpmaster, Tactical

Hiking, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing, Jumpmaster, Tactical

Point-to-point navigation

Yes

Yes

Breadcrumb trail in real time

Yes

Yes

Back to start

Yes

Yes

TracBack®

Yes

Yes

UltraTrac mode

Yes

Yes

Around Me mode

Yes

 

Elevation profile

Yes

Yes

Distance to destination

Yes

Yes

Barometric trend indicator with Storm Alert

Yes

Yes

Trail run auto climb

Yes

Yes

Vertical speed

Yes

Yes

Total ascent/descent

Yes

Yes

Future elevation plot

Yes

 

Preloaded topographical maps

Yes

 

Downloadable cartography support

Yes

 

Compatible with BaseCamp™

Yes

Yes

GPS coordinates

Yes

Yes

Projected waypoint

Yes

Yes

Sight 'N Go

Yes

Yes

Area calculation

yes (via Connect IQ™)

yes (via Connect IQ™)

Hunt/fish calendar

yes (via Connect IQ™)

yes (via Connect IQ™)

Sun and moon information

yes (via Connect IQ™)

yes (via Connect IQ™)

Dual grid coordinates

Yes

Yes

Cycling Features

   

Preloaded cycling profiles

Biking, Indoor Biking, Mountain Biking, Triathlon

Biking, Indoor Biking

Courses

Yes

Yes

Bike lap and lap maximum power (with power sensor)

Yes

Yes

Race an activity

Yes

Yes

Time/distance alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goal)

Yes

Yes

FTP (Functional Threshold Power)

yes (with compatible accessory)

yes (with compatible accessory)

Garmin Cycle Map (routable cycling-specific street map)

Yes

 

Compatible with Vector™ (power meter)

Yes

 

Power meter compatible (displays power data from compatible third-party ANT+™-enabled power meters)

Yes

Yes

Compatible with Varia Vision™ (head-mounted display)

Yes

 

Compatible with Varia™ radar (rear-facing radar)

Yes

 

Compatible with Varia™ lights

Yes

 

Speed and cadence sensor support (with sensor)

yes (ANT+® and Bluetooth® Smart sensors)

yes (ANT+® sensors)

Swimming Features

   

Preloaded swim profiles

Pool Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Swimming/Running

Pool Swimming, Open Water Swimming

Pool swim metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories)

Yes

Yes

Stroke type detection (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly)

Yes

Yes

Swim efficiency (SWOLF)

Yes

Yes

Drill logging

Yes

Yes

Pool swim workouts

Yes

Yes

Open-water swim metrics (distance, pace, stroke count/rate, stroke distance, calories)

Yes

Yes

Heart rate (real-time during rests, interval and session stats during rests, and automatic heart rate download post-swim)

yes (with HRM-Tri™ and HRM-Swim™)

yes (with HRM-Tri™ and HRM-Swim™)