Garmin Darth Vader Legacy Saga Series review: Star Wars themed sports watch offers extensive health and fitness features

Garmin has several themed watches available for adults and children with its latest Legacy Saga Series offering a couple of Star Wars GPS sports watches for adults. The Darth Vader watch is a Vivoactive 4 with themed hardware and software.

Garmin Darth Vader Legacy Saga Series: You can run with the dark side of the Force Matt Miller discusses how Garmin's latest themed watch for adults reaches out to the Star Wars fan with Darth Vader and tie fighter inspiration. Read more: https://zd.net/2FkixlS

Over the past few months I've been running with the Garmin Vivoactive 4 and Garmin Venu, but then I saw the announcement of the Star Wars Legacy Saga Series and knew I had to get my hands on the Darth Vader 45mm model.

The Darth Vader Legacy Saga Series arrived last week and I think it may just become my new daily driver. It's essentially a Vivoactive 4 with Star Wars design elements and software features, making it something a die hard Star Wars lifelong fan like myself is sure to enjoy.

The new Garmin Legacy Saga Series launches at $399.99 in 40mm (Rey) and 45mm (Darth Vader) sizes. There is currently a $50 reduction in price, likely for the holidays, so if you are interested in this watch then you might want to pick it up soon.

See also: Garmin Vivoactive 4 review: Touchscreen, advanced health tracking, golf, music, and more

The Garmin Legacy Saga Series is priced $50 more than the comparable Vivoactive 4 so there is a small premium for the custom Star Wars design elements and software features I'll detail below. With the current sale, these Star Wars models are priced the same as the MSRP of the Vivoactive 4. If you are not a Star Wars fan, you may still like some of the design features of these models.

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Specifications

  • Display: 1.3 inch (33 mm) 260 x 260 pixels resolution transflective touch-sensitive color screen with Gorilla Glass 3 construction
  • Watch materials: Stainless steel bezel and fiber-reinforced polymer with polymer rear cover
  • Storage: About 3.6GB of internal storage for up to 500 songs and 14 days of activity data
  • Water resistance: 5 ATM
  • Bands: Standard quick-release 22mm bands. Leather and silicone bands included in the retail package.
  • Connectivity and sensors: WiFi, Bluetooth, ANT+, GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO, optical HR, pulse Ox, barometric altimeter, compass, accelerometer, thermometer
  • Battery: Rated for 6 hours in GPS training mode with music streaming and 8 days in smartwatch mode
  • Dimensions: 45.1 x 45.1 x 12.8 mm and 50.5 grams

Hardware

The Garmin Darth Vader Legacy Saga Series has a flat glass 1.3 inch display that transitions into a stainless steel bezel. There are red and gray tick marks in the glass. The bezel is advertised as being modeled after a tie fighter, on of my all-time favorite Star Wars vehicles, with ridges and flat spaces cut into the bezel material. The sides and back are constructed of heavy duty polymer material with angular ridges cut around the edge, giving it a modern look and feel.

On the back you will find a black polymer cover with an Imperial crest centered near the top with the words, "Rule the Galaxy", etched below the crest. Below the heart rate sensor you will find Star Wars, Garmin, and Darth Vader etched in their respective fonts. The standard 4-pin Garmin connection point is off to the left side of the heart rate sensor.

The display is a touch-sensitive display with two buttons on the right side. The top right button is the action button that is used for starting your activity timer, viewing the controls menu, and initializing the incident detection/notification feature. The bottom button, back, is used to return to the previous display, mark a lap, and access the watch settings, and more. From the watch face you need to press and hold on the back button to get to the settings menus.

Press and hold on the top right button to access the controls menu that includes the following by default; Garmin Pay, music player, phone connection toggle, GPS location toggle, do not disturb toggle, find my phone, stopwatch, brightness settings, lock the display, and power down. Garmin quick controls appear with color icons in a circular layout that looks similar to a Samsung Gear rotating dial.

The color display looks great outside and in direct sunlight. It's a bit dim and requires the backlight in low-level lighting, but the technology is perfect for extended battery life and fitness outside and in well-lit facilities.

Standard 22mm quick-release bands can be used on the Garmin Darth Vader so you can easily find alternatives on Amazon and switch to your heart's delight. By default, Garmin has a very nice Italian leather band mounted on the watch in the box. It has red threads on either side of the watch stitched into the leather, giving it a dark side look and feel. In addition, Garmin includes a black silicone band in the box that is a better option for your workouts.

The box has Star Wars branding on it with glossy red highlights and the words Darth Vader, Special Edition Smartwatch on the front. The Imperial logo and Rule The Galaxy words are on the back, along with other logos from partners. A standard Garmin 4-pin USB charging cable is included in the box.

Watch software

To navigate the device, you press the buttons or tap/hold/swipe on the display. Swiping up and down from the watch face will scroll you through various widgets available (active minutes, steps taken, health stats, floors climbed, last run, last activity, music player, heart rate, notifications, hydration, and more). The widgets are selected in the smartphone Garmin Connect app and synced to the watch. Swipe right to left from the watch face to access the music player.

The software on the watch is basically the same as what you find on other Garmin devices, such as the Garmin Vivoactive 4, but there are some Star Wars features that are listed below. You can visit the Connect IQ store to install watch faces, data fields, and other apps to customize the watch to your preferences.

You can use the Garmin Darth Vader watch to track running, biking, elliptical, open water or pool swimming, golfing, skiing, snowboarding, yoga, pilates, rowing, and many more focused exercises. It's actually great to see the extensive golf support that includes integration with Garmin's Approach CT10 club trackers.

Given the fitness focus of this line of watches, it also supports common workouts with available animated workouts you can download to your watch and then see animations to help you perform the exercise correctly for a safe workout. You use the Garmin Connect app to find and select workouts, including options to customize the excersises in the workouts if you desire.

Also: Garmin Forerunner 945 review: Music, mapping, payments, pulse, and incident detection

There are a large number of settings and customization options available for each type of activity. For example, in the running app you can customize up to three data screens in a layout from one to four fields with timer, distance, pace, speed, heart rate, cadence, temperature, elevation, and other fields. I recommend you spend some quality time customizing everything exactly how you want it and then be ready to tweak things as you perform your activity and find you want to view your data differently.

In addition to custom data fields for each activity, you can control alerts, auto-pause, laps, auto scroll, background and accent colors, and much more. The experience can be quick and simple using the defaults or as specific as you desire with a bit of time spent customizing the watch data fields and settings.

To get started on a run, lift up your arm, press the button, tap run, and then press the button again after GPS is connected. Press the button again to pause. If you want to continue, press the button again. Tap the green check mark on the display to end your workout. You can also tap the red trash can to delete the workout.

You also have the option to pay with Garmin Pay on the Darth Vader watch. Hold the button, select the wallet icon, enter your PIN, and then hold your watch close to the wireless reader to pay. A PIN is needed for security and is something you setup when you enter your bank information. Unfortunately, my bank still doesn't work with Garmin Pay so I haven't been able to test out this feature myself.

Smartphone software and website

Collecting the data is important, but using that data for tracking trends, improving performance, challenging friends, and identifying problem areas is also very important. Garmin offers the Garmin Connect app for iOS and Android, with a separate app now available for Garmin Connect to manage the apps, widgets, and data fields you want to install to customize your watch. The apps are very useful and provide an overwhelming amount of data.

When you first launch the smartphone app you will see the My Day screen that shows your most recent workout, heart rate, stress level, body battery, hydration, steps, floors, respiration, sleep, calories in/out, weight, yesterday's stats, stats for last 7 days, and more. Options are available to choose what is displayed and in what order.

Newer options include hydration, pulse Ox, and respiration. You can enter and track water consumption from your watch and have it synced to Garmin Connect. Respiration is also an interesting metric, but one of my favorites to view is stress. I find it interesting to see if certain events change my stress level.

Other tabs include challenges, calendar, news feed, and notifications. Tapping on the device itself gives you options for music, Garmin Pay, text responses (Android only), activities, appearance, sounds & alerts, activity tracking, and much more.

Also: Garmin Edge 530 and Varia RTL510 review: Keeping your bike commute safe and enhancing your outdoor fun

On an Android smartphone you can also fine tune your smart notifications by selecting the specific apps that will be allowed to send notifications to your Garmin Darth Vader watch. On iOS, you get whatever notifications you have enabled in the iOS settings so I personally prefer the Android smartphone experience.

The Garmin Connect website experience is very similar to what you see in the smartphone application, with even more capability to generate reports, import or export data, setup connections to other applications (such as Strava, RunKeeper, and MyFitnessPal), and more. Similar to the snapshots interface on the phone, you have a dashboard on Garmin Connect that you can customize.

I created dashboard tabs for daily activity, running, cycling, and hiking since those are my primary activities. You can then customize the view that appears in your dashboard or choose to jump to a full page view of the selected data.

Also: Garmin Venu review: Vibrant AMOLED display makes this one of the best GPS sports watches for the masses

Star Wars features

Star Wars elements can be found in the packaging, hardware, watch software, and phone software. Most of the Star Wars content is fairly subtle so the Darth Vader watch looks professional while also still having enough to keep the Star Wars fan happy. Elements include:

  • Quote (Rule the Galaxy), an Imperial crest, and Star Wars words are found on the back cover of the watch
  • Red thread and gray back on the leather band
  • Star Wars-inspired bezel on the front of the watch
  • A couple of Star Wars watch faces
  • Star Wars animations, such as jump to light speed, when you reach goals on the watch
  • Star Wars avatar options for your Garmin Connect account
  • Star Wars-themed badges can be earned after completing various activities
  • Black and red box with various Star Wars words, quotes, and symbols on the retail package

There may be some other Star Wars elements that I have not yet discovered so if you find anything else, feel free to let us know below in the comments.

Daily usage experiences and conclusion

It's nice to see Garmin focusing on the recreational athlete who likes to participate in a wide variety of exercises while also tracking details of daily life. The Garmin Darth Vader Legacy Saga Series watch is a very capable health monitor with the ability to track your sleep, stress, pulse Ox, respiration, and more as it uses this data to help you maintain a state of good health and wellness.

With the included satellite tracking, you can use this Darth Vader watch to track running, biking, swimming, skiing, and more outdoor activities while inside activity support is also very well supported. If you want to try yoga, pilates, or other workouts, you can even view animations of those on the watch and help improve your fitness level.

The Darth Vader model looks great, is very well constructed, is fairly light weight at 50 grams, and has just a few Star Wars elements that make it an attractive accessory for the Star Wars fanboy while looking quite professional. I would love to see more Star Wars watch faces in the future as these are a bit limiting with no customization and very little health/fitness data shown.

You won't find the advanced metrics found in the Forerunner series, but there are some health elements here that are not found in the Forerunner too. I'm run for health and fun and am not a professional so the advanced metrics appeal to the engineer in me, but don't have much value since I'm slow and not a competitive runner. The line of Venu/Vivoactive/Legacy Saga Series watches offers a comprehensive experience for the masses and is sure to help you achieve your fitness goals while also satisfying the desire for including Star Wars in your daily life.