Projectors a Good Alternative to buying a Television? Reviewing the Dell Mobile Projector | M115HD

After selling all of our things when we moved from Toronto to Vancouver, we no longer had a television to watch content on. So when we recently signed our first lease in Vancouver, the idea of buying a mobile projector, instead of a regular television, came up.

I had never really thought about it before but it seemed like a really neat idea. Not only could we watch our content at home on a bigger screen but it would also allow us to bring it with us when we traveled.

There are so many portable projectors on the market at the moment, one of which is Dell’s M115HD Mobile Projector. Having just tested out one of their latest laptops, I was curious to try out their smallest projector.

OVERVIEW

With the Dell M115HD Mobile Projector being 104mm x 105.3mm x 36.5mm, it can easily fit in your purse or backpack, making it super easy to carry around. Additionally, it has a 1GB internal flash memory, meaning you can store some movies or videos on it without having to bring the media you want to watch with you. It allows you to watch media in Full HD 720p and is equipped with 450 ANSI lumens, thus making it extremely bright even in ambient-light environments. The projector’s connectivity capability allows you to plug all sorts of devices using their HDMI cable. You can also use the projector not only at home in your living room, on the ceiling in your bedroom but also on the road when you travel, you can get really creative with how you use it.

PROS

  • It comes with equipped with VGA, HDMI and USB inputs making it super easy to connect to your laptop, camera, DVD player, video game console or even mobile device. You can even watch content with a microSD card.
  • This Dell M115HD projector has a long projection life, which can provide up to 30,000 hours of projection.
  • The images are ultra colorful and bright thanks to the DLP® and BrilliantColor™ technology. You can also adjust the sharpness of the image with just the touch of a button.
  • You have the ability to project wirelessly from your laptop or even your phone using a USB dongle (sold separately unfortunately!) or WiFi Doc app (that you can download online!).

CONS:

  • Its built-in 1W speaker isn’t very loud, so we end up having to plug our external speaker to the headphone jack if we want to listen to something in a louder environment.
  • It does not have an internal system like other projectors that allows you to connect directly to sources like YouTube, etc.
  • The projector has already been out on the market for a little while so hopefully Dell will be coming out with a newer and even more powerful version soon!

RECAP

All in all, we’ve been using the projector for over two weeks and are really happy with the fact that we can now watch movies on a much bigger screen than if we would have bought a standard television. The Dell M115HD Mobile Projector can easily put it away and we can also bring it with us on our upcoming travels thanks to its practical travel case. It’s a really great alternative to those wanting to get a “home cinema” without spending all the money in the world.

For more information on the Dell M115HD Mobile Projector, go here.

Discovering the New 2018 Toyota C-HR

I had the pleasure of spending the last couple of weeks adventuring around British Columbia with Toyota‘s brand new car, the 2018 C-HR. It was the perfect vehicle for both city and nature discoveries. Its ultra-sleek and unique design combined with Toyota’s best safety features, made it a reliable and fun car to drive, in all driving conditions.

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Its two-toned colourful exterior turned heads everywhere I went. This car is without a doubt one of the coolest looking vehicles on the market with its modern design. Toyota did a great job imagining a car that stood out from the pack and pushed the envelop on a design standpoint. The vehicle’s standard 17″ alloy wheels and also diamond-cut lines, make it very pleasing to the eyes.

SAFETY 

Toyota is renown for its top of the line safety standards and features. The Toyota Safety Sense P system includes lane departure alerts, pre-collision system with pedestrian and dynamic radar cruise control, just to name a few. The vehicle also comes equipped with 10 airbags, a monitoring system that alerts you if you have low fuel or washer fluid, an ajar door, etc. Moreover, the vehicle also offers the Toyota Star Safety System that features Brake Assist, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control and more! All of these safety features gave me peace of mind while exploring through the city and mountains and allowed for the safest driving conditions.

PERFORMANCE

Performance enthusiasts will be happy to know that the C-HR contains a 144-hp, 2.0L, 4-cyl VALVEMATIC and a continuously variable transmission. You also have the ability to choose Sport mode, which transforms the vehicle in a simulated 7-speed sequential Shiftmatic transmission, making it that much more fun to drive. But with speed comes the need for a reliable breaking system, something that Toyota has not overlooked. The car’s braking system works with front and rear discs and an Anti-lock braking system, braking assist and electronic brake force distribution, which allows you to keep control of the vehicle no matter what situation may arise.

TECHNOLOGY

It’s impossible to talk about the vehicle without noting some of its great tech features such as the backup camera that comes up in the electrochromic rearview mirror, the rear cross traffic alert with blind spot monitor as well as the Smart Key system, allowing you to start the car with just the push of a button. And for avid music fans like myself, the car boasts an impressive sound system and all the jacks you could need to play your favourite playlists or albums while on the road.

RECAP

All in all, my time driving around with the 2018 Toyota C-HR was very pleasant. It allowed me to discover new parts of British Columbia and drive through windy country roads, mountainous areas, the beach as well as the crowded streets of Vancouver. The C-HR is a car that has all the modern features a driver wants, a spacious interior and trunk for longer trips while never compromising safety or comfort for the driver and passengers of the car.

For more info on the 2018 Toyota C-HR, go here.

AC Hotel in Downtown Portland

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Looking for a place to stay in the heart of Portland? Look no further than the AC Hotel, located right in downtown.

This brand new modern hotel offers travellers state of the art lodging in a stylish and contemporary setting. When you check into the AC Hotel, you immediately feel at home. Everyone on staff is friendly and very helpful making the arrival process smooth and stress-free.

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The hotel lobby is equipped with a brand new office space, which allows hotel guests to stay in touch with loved ones, print out itineraries, work, etc. In the lobby, patrons will also have access to the sophisticated AC Lounge, a beautiful area that can be used to sit and read a book, catch up on work or sip on a cocktail and enjoy tapas-style snacks from local suppliers.

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Adjacent to the lobby is the AC Kitchen, the location for the hotel’s European-inspired breakfast buffet. Each morning, the hotel serves up delicious and wholesome breakfast options for guests, which also include’s coffee from Portland’s own Water Avenue Coffee.

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Each guest room at the AC Hotel in Portland has been carefully designed having in mind the guests’ comfort. All the rooms are smoke-free and offer either downtown, mountain or waterfront views. Each room features platform beds, topnotch linens, an ultramodern bathroom, complimentary high-speed internet as well as USB ports and plugs bedside. There’s also space in the room to create a satellite office for those away on business.

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The hotel carefully selected art from local Portland artists for decoration throughout the building. The sleek and European-influenced design features natural colour pallets and elements.

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Some of the city’s top attractions are just a few short minutes away. It’s easy to walk to the waterfront or to the very trendy Pearl District from the hotel. You also have access to local transit, which is just a stone’s throw away.

All in all, the AC Hotel in downtown Portland is an urban gem that allows visitors to enjoy the buzz of the city while also retreating to a quiet and luxurious room after a busy day of exploration.

For more information on the AC Hotel in downtown Portland, go here.

Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

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After having spent a great week with the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid this winter, I was thrilled to have the possibility to try out the new Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro for the very first time on my recent travels to Oregon.

The Toyota Tacoma is one of the most coveted trucks on the market, especially out in British Columbia, as this has become the go-to truck for outdoor enthusiasts in the area. With 4×2 and 4×4 models to choose from plus the option of choosing your own engine and transmission combinations, cab and bed sizes, there’s definitely a model for everyone!

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What I was immediately surprised by is the vehicle’s ability to handle the road as well as its interior comfort. Not only do you have an incredible view point from the driver’s seat but you also have access to a wide variety of accessories, that makes your drive the most pleasant. Things like the Cruise Control, Navigation, 7″ Display Screen, Bluetooth Capability, AM/FM CD with MP3/WMA Player, Audio Auxiliary Input Jack, USB Audio Input, 6 Speakers and Advanced Voice Recognition, allow you to relax while enjoying the road. They’ve also added a GoPro mount right at the top of the windshield, thus being the first to include that in the market.

The Toyota Tacoma‘s versatility is also a key feature. All 2017 Tacoma models include an independent front suspension of double-wishbone design with stabilizer bars and multi-leaf spring rear suspension. TRD SPORT models feature sport-tuned suspensions, while TRD OFF-ROAD models are equipped with Bilstein shock absorbers, so that whichever terrain you wish to venture out on, you can have full confidence that the truck will be able to handle it.

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The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro edition comes equipped with a 3.5 Litre, 6 Cylinder Engine, 6-Speed, Automatic transmission, Super Electronically Controlled Transmission (Super ECT) and Lock Up Torque Converter. For those more mechanically inclined, the truck also features Active Traction Control (A-TRAC), 4-Wheel Crawl Control, Multi-Terrain Select, Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Trailer Sway Control, One-Touch 4WD, Vehicle Stability Control, thus making it the ideal vehicle if you want to pull an RV or trailer for your expeditions.

Toyota is also renown for its top of the line safety features. The truck provides a total of 8 Airbags, Seatbelt Anchor Height Adjusters, Front Seatbelt Pre-Tensioners and Force Limiters, Assist Grip, Front Tow Hook, Active Front Headrests with Whiplash Protection just to name a few significant items.

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The truck’s roomy and cozy interior as well as its bold and stylish exterior, will make truck enthusiasts and new passengers enviable.

In summary, the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro was the ideal companion for my adventures out in Oregon. Below is a short recap video of my adventures with the truck! For more info on the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, go here.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

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If you are on the hunt for the perfect vehicle for living in British Columbia and also want to help out the environment, then you may want to consider giving the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid a test drive. This compact crossover is the ideal car for all of your BC lifestyle needs. Whether you’re an adventurous couple, a traveling single or a young family looking to explore all that BC has to offer, the RAV4 Hybrid should be your number one pick.

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With fuel prices continuing to soar, the sale of Hybrid vehicles across Canada has increased 45.2% since 2015, thus allowing consumers to save money and also help out the environment at the same time. Hybrid drivers use about 30% less fuel than regular cars, thus reducing their carbon footprint.  The switch to Hybrid is a no-brainer because it does not affect or change one’s lifestyle or habits, other than allowing them to frequent the gas station less often.

The RAV4 Hybrid is an incredibly versatile car that features some of the best innovative technology, comfort and safety features currently on the market. Some of my favourite features that come with the car are the Toyota Safety Sense P – including the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, which are very helpful for driving around busy downtown Vancouver. The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control also allows for maximum safety when going on some longer trips. The heated front seats and heated steering wheel also allows for utmost comfort while traveling in the winter time.

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The RAV4 Hybrid also has a ton of room for passengers both in the front and the back and with up to 73 cubic feet of cargo capacity, you can comfortably take your friends with you on your next sporting expedition out of the city.

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The RAV4 Hybrid offers 194 net system horsepower Hybrid Synergy Drive, built around a 2.5L four-cylinder, Atkinson Cycle engine. Some additional standout characteristics are the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control System (TRAC), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and the All Wheel Drive with Intelligence (AWD-i), which is essential when driving on wintery Canadian roads.

Moreover, you know your friends and family are safe when traveling in the RAV4 Hybrid thanks to Toyota’s excellent safety standard, which include eight airbags, a back-up camera, Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and the Vehicle Proximity Notification System, just to name a few.

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The RAV4 Hybrid‘s vibrant Electric Storm Blue colour, 18″ Aluminum Alloy Wheels, sleek black interior and sporty features allows you to ride in style all around British Columbia and wherever your adventures take you.

For more information on the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, visit https://www.toyota.ca.

Winter Getaway at Big White

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One of my favorite things about winter is being able to head to the mountain and go riding. Since this is my first winter in British Columbia, I thought what better way to get to know the area than to book a winter getaway to visit some of the best ski resorts in the area! My first destination: Big White!

So I booked my travels via the Hotels.com mobile app (you can too! check out how here!), took with me Samsung‘s latest gear – the Galaxy S7 phone plus the Gear 360 camera and hit the mountain. 

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Located just 45 minutes from downtown Kelowna, Big White is a stunning resort that spans 7,355 acres and its summit reaches 2,319m in altitude. Big White is also western Canada’s largest night skiing area with 38 acres of night skiing trails. There are 15 lifts on the mountain and 118 designated trails. The longest run spans 7.2 km.  They also have a state of the art boarder/skier-cross course, the TELUS Park as well as 25 km of nordic and wilderness trails for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

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Big White also offers all the amenities and services you can imagine needing when going on a winter getaway to the mountain. The resort has 3 hotels, 25 condo/town home complexes, over 200 vacation home and luxury cabin rentals as well as a youth hostel. There are also plenty of shops and restaurants, their latest addition, the Clocktower Coffee Co serves up delicious baked goods for breakfast and hearty sandwiches at lunch.

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You can also find a ski and board school, a daycare service for the little ones as well as a multitude of other activities for the entire family such as ice climbing, a tube park, snowmobile tours, ice skating, snowshoeing, dog sledding and the list goes on. Oh yea and did I mention, free wifi throughout the resort?

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Since we were only in the area for 2 days, we wanted to maximize our time on the slopes so we stuck with snowboarding. Though a bit cold, the bluebird skies and fresh powder made for pristine riding conditions. Our super convenient electronic lift passes made it easy for us to access all of the lifts and shred through the fresh snow. The snow-covered evergreen trees and stunning views of the Okanagan Valley made for the most beautiful backdrop. A great plus was also the fact that the resort wasn’t overcrowded, which allowed for a relaxing snowboarding session.

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I highly recommend making the trek to Big White, for some epic riding! If you’re staying in Kelowna, check out the Manteo Resort, which is right on the waterfront of the Okanagan Lake.

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For more information on Big White, go here. To find accommodations in the area, go to Hotels.com or download their mobile app. Photos shot with the Samsung Galaxy S7, 360 video shot with the Samsung Gear 360.

5 Reasons to Stay at The Burrard

hdrWith a city that offers so many great accommodation options, it’s sometimes difficult to pick the right place to call home for the night. Luckily, this past year, I found a great boutique hotel in downtown Vancouver that I absolutely fell in love with called The Burrard. This converted 1956 motor hotel is located in Yaletown and has become a city favorite. I’m sharing with you today, 5 reasons why you should stay at The Burrard on your next trip to Vancouver.

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1) They are eco-friendly. With global warming being an important issue in 2017, I’m always happy when I see hotels making an effort to reduce their impact on the environment. Being in beautiful British Columbia, it only seems fitting that hotels would be more “eco-conscious” but sadly that isn’t the reality everywhere. So when I see things like compost bins with a cute instruction card being put into my room, it makes me happy!

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2) They are funny. Who knew that hotels could have a sense of humour? One of my favorite things about this hotel are their clever quotes and notes everywhere. How often do you see this kind of artwork in hotel lobbies or around? I love a hotel that doesn’t take itself too seriously but still offers topnotch service and amenities.

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3) They are centrally located. You can walk to pretty much anywhere in Vancouver within 15-30 mins when you stay at The Burrard. It’s incredibly easy to get to downtown, to run to the Seawall, to get to Kitsilano or even explore Granville Island. If you’re not into walking, they offer free cruiser bike rentals for guests staying at the hotel. And if you’re afraid of the rain (like I am!), they also complimentary umbrellas so that you can keep discovering the city without getting wet.

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4) They have a great café. Located just off the lobby of The Burrard, Elysian Coffee offers some of the city’s best coffee and healthy homemade snacks. Whether you’ve got a craving for homemade chocolate chip cookies with a hot tea or prefer a freshly-made avocado toast with a Juice Truck juice, they’ve got you covered.

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5) They have the best retro vibes. Hands down the best part about being at The Burrard is the vibe you get from the hotel. This 1950s gem has been updated but has kept its vintage charm. It’s the only hotel in the city where you’ll find a vintage-inspired courtyard oasis with palm trees and retro solair chairs. The neon sign on the side of the hotel makes it incredibly unique. The meeting room adjacent to Elysian Coffee is a retro dream and so are all the rooms. Every decoration item and piece furniture was carefully curated to fit the retro vibes of the hotel.

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Want an insider’s tip? The ultra popular comfort-food restaurant Burgoo is opening up next door in 2017!

Tech Talk: Huawei Nova Plus

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One of the things I love most is documenting my travels, as I’m sure you may have noticed if you’ve been following my adventures on this website these past couple of years. Whether it’s through photographs, videos or via social media, I love sharing with everyone some of my travel finds, activities, encounters, etc. Because I’m always on the go, I don’t always bring along my camera so having a reliable phone that I can use not only as a means of communication but also as my main camera is a huge plus. I was therefore incredibly excited to take the Nova Plus on my most recent road trip up the California coast.

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Big Sur, California shot with the Huawei Nova Plus.

Huawei‘s latest release, the Nova Plus smartphone, an incredible device that features some of the best technology currently on the market at a low price point.

One of my favorite features on the Nova Plus is the exceptional 16-megapixel rear camera that allow for some of the highest definition photo and video captures. The photos and videos produced with the phone are sharp and vibrant.  The phone’s long battery life enables you to take thousands of photos and countless videos without having to run and charge the device. Furthermore, the phone’s internal photo editing parameters and software, allows me to edit my photos directly on the phone without having to pass them through other app before sharing.

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The Nova Plus shoots perfect contrast on gloomy days in San Francisco.

It also allows you to shoot in 4K, which has become the new industry standard for videos. Moreover, the internal OIS image stabilization system allows for pristine photos and videos. Plus, the camera allows for wide-aperture photography and quick photo taking, so you don’t ever miss out on any action, which is a huge deal for me since I’m always being so active. The camera also fares incredibly well in low light settings.

Additionally, the phone’s 5.5inch display screen and 1920×1080 resolution screen allows for great viewing capacity. The phone’s size and curved edges also makes it easy to hold in the palm of your hand when taking photos. Plus, the new 2.5D glass material allows for a greater sense of depth and most importantly improved scratch resistance, which is a must when traveling non-stop.

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The vibrant colours of a sunset shot with the Nova Plus.

The Nova Plus’ high-performance 14nm processor allows me to upload and share the content that I shot while on the road at very high speeds, without consuming ridiculous amounts of power.

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Each photo shot with the phone is so crisp, almost making you feel like you’re there!

All in all, it has been a great asset to have with me on the road these past couple of weeks. I’m thoroughly impressed by the content quality that I have been able to produce with the Nova Plus. I will be sharing a few videos in the coming weeks all shot with the new Nova Plus. Stay tuned!

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For more information on the Huawei Nova Plus, go here.

Polar M600

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I love trying out new technology that make my workouts more informative and exciting.

I recently had the opportunity to try out the new Polar M600. This GPS Sports Watch is an Android Wear™ smartwatch that is perfect for those leading an active life. Its cool sleek design makes it the perfect watch for your workouts and also every day life. The watch is waterproof and combines both practicality and power.

Though I do not have an android phone, the Android Wear app is easy to download directly from the Apple store thus making the watch set up super simple. Through Google, it allows me to sync my phone up with my watch, so that I can get notifications directly to my watch.

I also downloaded the Polar Flow app, which allowed me to track my activities from my watch on my phone. The app enables me to track my workouts, set daily goals, etc.

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I tested out the Polar M600 on a few test workouts to see how it would fare compared to other watches I have tried in the past. The first feature that I immediately loved was the wrist-based heart rate monitor. In just a few seconds, the watch calculates your heart rate using your radial pulse and keeps feeding you that info throughout your workout. This is great information to have when training or running, as you can get accurate information about your level of exertion throughout.

The integrated GPS is also a huge plus. It allows you to accurately track your speed, distance and route, making it a big plus when running in new terrain and also to keep score of your speed improvements, etc.

Another watch feature that I particularly like is the activity tracker that computes steps, calories and sleep information. The watch’s activity guide gives you practical guidance and info that can help you reach your daily, weekly and monthly goals.

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I also loved the motivating feedback you get right after a training session with the Training Benefit feature. It is always uplifting to get real feedback immediately after finishing a workout that will tell you what you’ve improved on, the real benefits from the workout, etc.

The watch also offers Running Programs, which is perfect for anyone wanting to train for an upcoming race. The running programs offered range from 9-15 weeks with easy-to-follow instructions, supportive exercises, etc.

I couldn’t talk about this watch without mentioning battery life. The one inconvenient that usually comes with these watches is how long the battery lasts. Surprisingly, even while connected to the Android app, the battery can last for up to 2 days without needing a charge.

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Finally, the watch is perfect not only for working out but also as a fashion accessory for every day life.

For more information on the new Polar M600 smartwatch, go here.

Photos by: Offner & Cabello by Carolina

This post was written in collaboration with Polar but all opinions are my own.

 

Garmin Fēnix 3

FullSizeRender(3)This post was a long time coming. I got the amazing Garmin Fēnix 3 watch at the beginning of 2016 and took the last couple of months to test it out before finally reviewing it. Even after a few months, I have yet to use all of its functionalities, which is pretty incredible.

I had heard great things about the Garmin watches from all of the people I train with but had never had the opportunity to test out any of their products before.

13I have set myself some pretty big personal fitness goals for 2016 and thought this would be the perfect watch to accompany me on this journey. Up until this year, I had solely been relying on the Nike app to monitor my training but wanted to take it up a notch and I definitely did with this watch.

I’ve had the chance to try out a few different types of watches in the last couple of months but this particular one is a keeper.

The reason I love it so much: it does everything! No matter where I go, or what I use it for, it is incredibly reliable, easy to use and gets me the information that I need.

IMG_2291I first started using the watch for running. When I did my first couple of races last year, I didn’t like having to always look at my phone and wait every .5 kms before getting my pace. Now with the watch, I can always keep track of my pace and how long I have to go on a specific run or during a race. The Vibration Alert tells me when I’ve completed another kilometer and the Auto Pause allows me to pause my run if ever I encounter a traffic light or need to take a break. The other downside of relying solely on your phone is that in extreme weather, the phone either overheats or freezes and shuts off. I brought the watch with me to the desert of California and to the Canadian Rockies and didn’t experience any glitches whatsoever.

6IMG_2558The 32 MB of internal memory also allows you to store several of your runs, locations and routes. You can store up to 1000 track points and navigate back to them. I could also use this function to mark a vehicle or a point of interest if I was traveling.

3Some of my favorite running features: the Virtual Pacer, the Race Predictor and also the Recovery Advisor, are key in my progression and training for upcoming races. You can also keep personal records and get a comprehensive assessment of your running dynamics.

8I also took the watch with me hiking in the Canadian Rockies. The GPS and the ABC sensors (Altimeter, Barometer and Compass) were great tools for my hike. The watch allowed me to keep track of where I was going and how far up the mountain I was.

21I also tested the watch out while snowboarding. The Altimeter was a fun little tool that allowed me to measure my elevation on the mountain. Additionally, the Ski/Board mode allowed me to calculate the vertical drop at the resort as well as automatically counted my runs during the day.

FullSizeRender15I hit the pool for the very first time in a long time with the Fēnix 3, going back to my first love, swimming. I spent my childhood in pools competing and swimming in the local swim team. I love that I was able to calculate my distance, stroke count and also my pace while I was in the pool. The watch can also be adjusted depending on the size of the pool.

910I also now take it with me during all of my workouts because I can set the watch up for interval training or multi-sport and can obtain my heart rate and calories burned after an activity.

FullSizeRenderOther watch features that I particularly like: sun and moon information, sleep monitoring, the step counter, Smart Notifications from my phone to my watch as well as Bluetooth and Wi-fi compatibility.

21If you’re looking for an additional challenge and you’re training alone, try the Virtual Partner or Virtual Racer, it will allow you to train or compete against a digital person or another activity.

22With the weather slowly but surely warming up, I’m excited to take the watch with me for a bike ride and explore its cycling features. This summer, I also want to take it SUP and rowing. I may even need to take up golfing and work on my shots.

The watch design itself is one of my favorite features. I love the rose gold and white combo, the big round color display also makes it easy to read. Surprisingly the watch isn’t too heavy either.

The battery life has been excellent during the first few months I’ve been using the watch. The battery lasts around 16 hrs when using GPS and up to several months if you only use the watch modes. You can also customize the design of your watch by going to the Connect IQ store.

In summary, the Garmin Fēnix 3 has completely changed my training. It has become my go-to companion on my training journey towards all of this year’s races and fitness events. My first race of the year is only a month away and I cannot wait to have it on me for race day.

For more information on the Garmin Fēnix 3, go here.