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Wearable Tech

Garmin's latest fitness tracker is designed for active golfers

The Garmin Approach X40 is an all-day fitness tracker with heart rate, smartphone alerts and GPS for calculating distances from the green and hazards on over 40,000 golf courses worldwide.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Garmin on Friday announced a new fitness tracker for golfers that are interested in a device that can be worn both on and off the course. The $249/AU$389 (around £175) Approach X40 is a slim and lightweight band with GPS built in for calculating distances from the green and hazards like sand bunkers and ponds on over 40,000 golf courses worldwide.

It also doubles as an all-day fitness tracker for measuring things like steps, distance, calories burned, sleep and heart rate, which is measured through an optical sensor on the back and doesn't require a separate chest strap. The band can even display notifications from your iPhone or Android device.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The X40 is noticeably smaller than other golf watches, such as the TomTom Golfer and Garmin's own Approach S20. Even with its small size, Garmin was able to include quite a few features.

If you're playing on one of the golf courses in the extensive database, the band will measure distances to the front, middle and back of the green, and can be used as a digital scorecard to track individual stats like fairways hit, greens in regulation and putts per round.

There's even an AutoShot feature that Garmin claims will automatically measure the distance and location of each shot. Data is then automatically uploaded to the Garmin Connect app for post-round analysis. The band can also be paired with Garmin's TruSwing sensor, a device that is mounted directly on the club and used to measure various swing metrics, and will display the data captured by the sensor directly on the band.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

I had some time to check out the X40 in our New York office last week, although I didn't take it out to the course. The band is quite similar to Garmin's Vivosmart HR tracker that I reviewed last December. It's a tad bulky compared to a normal fitness tracker (like a Fitbit Alta or Jawbone Up2), but remarkably slim compared to other devices with GPS.

As with all of Garmin's products, you won't have to remove the band before you shower or go for a swim. It's waterproof up to 50 meters. As for battery life, you can expect to get up to 10 hours with an active GPS signal and up to five days of use as an activity tracker.

The Approach X40 will begin shipping by the end of June and will be available in black, white and frost blue.

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