Enter this under your ‘Things You Don’t Have in Your 2020 Bingo Card’, Garmin has launched a new version of the Instinct lineup focused on escorts, which allows your heart rate, stress and body battery metrics to be delivered via Bluetooth Smart Three common metrics on Garmin wearables will live). Those three live data feeds can then be picked up on your PC by a new piece of Garmin software called STR3AMUP !, which in turn can be used by streaming apps like OBS or XSplit to overlaid your existing streams. While this may sound complicated from a complex streaming standpoint – it is absolutely straightforward.
At its core, it is a Garmin Instinct watch with an additional sports activity profile. One is that in theory Garmin could probably easily port to other clocks, such as when he ported the virtual running activity profile to multiple clocks earlier this year. Whether they do so remains to be seen.
The new esports version is priced at $ 299, essentially the same official retail price as a non-solar Instinct watch. However, non-solar instinct versions have been floating for the past year, mostly between $ 199 and $ 249. So we have to see if the InstinctSports variants end.
In any case, let’s just run through some quick tech spec originals, and then have a look at the new streaming software.
As mentioned earlier, the Instinct Esports version is only an existing Garmin Instinct watch with an additional Sport profile. But more specifically it is a first gen Instinct watch rather than a solar version. Certainly, solar versions have… well… solar, but they also have an updated heart rate sensor package that includes PulseOx (SpO2 readings) as well as underwater heart rate measurements. It is neither, thus, it is a first gene unit. Which is fine, for the most part there are at least differences from some power management related aspects (and thus, battery life tweaks).
In any case, here are the main specs:
– 14 day smartwatch battery life
– 16 hours in GPS-on mode for outdoor workouts
– 80 hours in esports streaming mode
– Nifty game controller icon on the watch face
– 24 × 7 activity tracking with steps / sleep / heart rate / stress
– Includes optical HR sensor, barometer, altimeter
– Bluetooth Smart Notifications
– MIL-STD 810 durability specification compliance
For regular readers of this site, you’ll notice that this is a common item found on any other Garmin instinct, except for the new accessport mode and the nifty icon. There is no music storage on the watch, so you have to play back from your phone or computer like normal. And again the new solar version (that’s not it) has different internals, notably different GPS (Sony instead of MediaTek), new optical HR sensor package, different battery drain profile (and longer battery life) Added Pulsox sensor with, of course, solar panels.
One thing of mild interest to readers here is that you might have noticed last week that through firmware updates, Garmin has added a Bluetooth heart rate for broadcast to the original instinct, which lays above the already existing ANT + broadcast . Set that semi-silent stage for what Garmin did here in terms of Bluetooth broadcasting to other metrics using its new streaming focused software (it does not support streaming software). Here, I explain.
There has never officially been a single piece of software that was made harder to sound than the STR3AMUP that was built in CONCONNT! – and yes, “!” Is actually part of the name. Clearly, STR3AMUP! Streamtup is just a play on the word, even if you are angrily trying to press your keyboard repeatedly. It is horrifying to type, or even try and remember.
And of course – I’m probably not the main target listener for spelling in lit, but, I can’t even think of a popular streaming tool or app like things 12 years old. Which 12-year-old people are buying a $ 299 smartwatch that looks like a Casio? I mean, just ask for clarity. To be clear, most streamers are not 12 years old, and they also have real money to spend on things.
In any case, my declaration of typing STR3AMUP correctly! On one hand, here’s how it should work. I should say, because I don’t have a unit yet. But essentially, you must first install STR3AMUP! Application. At what point will it start scanning via Bluetooth for the Garmin Instinct Esports Edition watch.
However you think it says that it should be in Acts Activity mode, which is simply another activity mode for running or cycling, but is more convenient for virtual run profiles where it performs data assisted Bluetooth transmission. In this case, it is propagating those matrices to receive applications.
Once paired with your computer, it will cross three main metrics on Bluetooth Smart:
1) Heart rate (BPM)
2) stress level (scale 1-100)
3) Body battery level (scale 1-100)
The heart rate is very straight forward, and will take advantage of the optical HR sensor within the clock by default. This is essentially the same thing that Garmin does for other virtual run activity profiles.
While the stress and body battery are calculated metrics, based on the firstbeat algorithm. Garmin has been using both of those matrices for years, and I think for the most part they do a great job of being in the ballpark. Stress metrics will change quite quickly in response to conditions. You can see for example my stress levels at a few different random days / points throughout the day.
Generally speaking, Garmin is unable to measure stress using optical HR sensors in high-intensity moving activities (such as running). So the fact that they are doing it here is a testament to the fact that you are going anywhere… with cycling there are low speed artefacts in terms of accelerating the surface or dealing with vibration.
After this, there is a body battery here. To use the most appropriate comparison, this is basically the street fighter style power level of your body. It increases when you sleep (or, rest enough), and goes down when you do more activities. The more intense the activity, the faster it decreases. Here is an example of some random days for me and body battery:
I find that for the most part, after a week or two of stabilization, the body battery works quite well in terms of matching my apparent position. Where I see it fall from that boat, when I’m at an extremely low level and it’s basically like ‘Look, you need to sleep two days ago, I’m leaving you now ‘. Nevertheless, it can actually be an attractive metric from a gamer’s point of view to see how it compares to skill / agility levels through a long stream (which would be 3-5 hours starting point, but Now the currents are quite normal).
In any case, you can see these metrics from top to bottom of a game:
This presentation certainly looks a lot like it uses the fundamentals left over from the Garmin VIRB action camera software, the VIRB edit. Over time the app has become the most powerful app by the FAR to overlay data from sensors on video files, including 360 videos, when Garmin also launched that camera.
New STR3AMUP! The app itself looks a lot like a VIRB edit from a style standpoint. Once you monitor the app, you will see the ability to define available statistics and thresholds. You can customize some of its elements, including styling and coloring, and then save the overlay.
From there STR3AMUP! The software creates a window that will be drawn via OBS / StreamLabs / XSplit using the window capture option.
You simply select the background for the chroma key, and will then overlay it on whatever formatting you wanted to use. Here is another screenshot that:
At that point everything is very standard streaming stuff. Although not a Mac version at this point, I suspect there won’t be a stopper for people … well folks. Most streamers use PCs, so it is logical to start there. I think if there is interest in this product line then Garmin can expand it (STR3AMUP!) To support Mac.
And yes, you can use Garmin Express on Mac (and PC) for all the normal clock functions, or Garmin Connect Mobile on iOS or Android.
In some ways, we should have seen it coming. Finally, Garmin said he actually wrote a blog post about it last summer – even specifying the exact metrics they were most useful in exporting. Those that are are the exact metrics you can stream now (except for sleep, because … well … it would be so boring).
Now, whether it’s any uptick or not – I don’t know. Probably though.
If the one thing I learned about Garmin Instinct Watch is that it is more popular than I ever thought. My original YouTube video of it is closing it at a million views. Related: I Freezed My Ass For Shooting That Video. And a herd of elk went into a nearby street.
The other thing I learned in two years since then? The main buyer for Instinct is not a hardcore athlete. Or even a software athlete. They want something that looks like a cassio, but it is not, and can do sporty things if they feel like it. And lasts more than one day, battery-wise. Other than that, it is reasonably priced.
If Garmin owns something, it is re-using the hardware in product divisions. The Garmin Fenix watch becomes a piece of hardware a Delta series watch for aviation and a Tactix series watch for the military and a Quatix series watch for boating. They do the same with pioneers for golf. And even a Forerunner 35 watch becomes an Approach S10 watch … but then acquires a new shell and the G10 becomes a handheld golfing unit. Garmin is the king of reusing hardware with cosmetic tweaks to attract a different audience, they have been doing so for a decade now.
And so is the condition of software. The new ESports mode is only a tweak for the virtual run mode. And STR3AMUP! At least visually (if not under cover), seems to lean on previous work, which Garmin has done with the VIRB edit.
So Garmin’s cost of spinning an Instinct variant with just a minor difference is super minimal, and worth a flyer. If it fails, the cost is negligible, but if it succeeds it can pull people into the Garmin brand that otherwise would not bother.
Of course – some people may not want the Instinct style watch. This is why I would love to see this profile available on other units. For example, why can’t a Phenix 6 or even a MARQ series watch provide this profile? Another game profile just like any other. Garmin says at this point STR3AMUP! The software does not work with any non-esports game versions. But I am waiting for clarity on whether we will expand that profile elsewhere. I hope so, because this is an area that frustrates Garmin consumers, when the company releases new features of watches that cost a fraction of high-end watches.
In any event, once it goes hand in hand, I’ll take it up a little more from the streaming side, which will probably end up on YouTube more than here. Or, my Super-Secret Twitch channel. So, if you haven’t subscribed to my YouTube channel, swing on it.
Until then, thanks for reading!