Before there were wristwatches, people in the army used to carry pocket watches. The story was that the idea for the wristwatch came about when a German naval officer needed to know the time but could pull out his pocket watch since both his hands were busy.
Today we have the Garmin tactix Delta, a smartwatch designed to be rugged and meet the military standard MIL-STD-80. A watch that meets this standard should be able to withstand a "broad range of environmental conditions that include: low pressure for altitude testing; exposure to high and low temperatures plus temperature shock (both operating and in storage); rain (including wind blown and freezing rain); humidity, fungus, salt fog for rust testing; sand and dust exposure; explosive atmosphere; leakage; acceleration; shock and transport shock; gunfire vibration; and random vibration" (Wikipedia).
If you encounter such conditions or if you're a soldier on the field, the tactix Delta might just be the smartwatch for you. Other than meeting the military standard, below are the tactical features of the Delta:
- Night vision capability allows you to switch between day and night view with a screen that can be read with night vision goggles.
- For the paratrooper, a Jumpmaster mode calculates high-altitude release points according to military guidelines and helps navigate to the objective.
- See both universal transverse mercator (UTM) and military grid reference system (MGRS) on the same screen.
- Stealth mode that disables GPS, wireless connectivity, and communication.
- A kill switch to wipe the device off all user memory.
- Set and save remote geo positions to be used later for navigation.
Just because you're a soldier, doesn't mean soldiering is all you do. Below are the non-tactical features of the tactix Delta:
- Multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo).
- Altimeter for elevation data, barometer to monitor weather and 3-axis electronic compass.
- Save power so that it can last for weeks with Expedition mode, an ultralow-powered GPS reference.
- View run names and difficulty ratings for 2,000 worldwide ski resorts.
- Use ClimbPro ascent planner on downloaded courses to see real-time information on your current and upcoming climbs, including gradient, distance and elevation gain.
- Full-color CourseView maps for more than 41,000 golf courses around the world.
- Turn-by-turn directions for following a route or course.
- Get suggested routes that will bring you back to your starting point.
- Preloaded activity profiles for trail running, swimming, running, biking, hiking, rowing, skiing, golfing and more.
- Animated cardio, strength, yoga and Pilates workouts you can view on the watch screen.
- Track performance metrics including running dynamics, heat- and altitude-adjusted VO2 max, recovery advisor and more.
- PacePro to help you keep on pace with grade-adjusted guidance on your run.
- Heart rate monitor
- Pulse Ox sensor gauges how well your body is absorbing oxygen for altitude acclimation and sleep apnea detection (like Withing's ScanWatch).
- Body energy monitor tells you when to be active and when you may need rest.
- Pair with Android or iOS devices to get notifications
- Store up to 2,000 songs or stream from Spotify, Deezer or Amazon Music and listen through bluetooth headsets
- Garmin Pay contactless payments
- Send location to your emergency contacts manually or automatically when the watch detects you are in danger
The Garmin tactix Delta is designed for soldiers but it also has features not related to the military. But there may be too many of them for the average soldier (even for civilians) to ever use. Instead of having all these features which seem to be all over the place, Garmin should focus on the ones that matter. Take away the golf and ski features, for example, or make them optional. The tactical aren't that many anyway and may not be useful for all soldiers.