Review of Garmin Fenix 5S / 5 / 5X smartwatches
Garmin Fenix 5 is an excellent sports watch with GPS, offering ultra-modern multi-sports options.
The new Garmin watch family has advanced smartwatch features and user-friendly Connect IQ capabilities – an open platform for third-party applications.
We offer a full review of the Garmin series, which includes three modified models: Fenix 5, Fenix 5S and Fenix 5X. As you can see from the titles, the devices offer three sizes – basic, small and large. You can compare key functions and specifications, as well as familiarize yourself with the characteristics and features of each version of the publication.
What’s new in Garmin Fenix 5 watches
In fact, Garmin Phoenix 5 is just a minor upgrade of the previous Fenix 3 HR sports watches, which were already so powerful that the company only had to make minor changes. Size and design are the main areas that have undergone a transformation. Plus, the entire line uses the Garmin Connect IQ app store to earn the title of the most personalized widescreen sports watch.
It’s worth emphasizing that Garmin Fenix watches, which do not have sapphire glass, also do not have Wi-Fi, while in the Sapphire releases there is a Wi-Fi module.
Fenix 3 HR may have been one of the best multi-sport watches since 2016, but the Fenix 5 series has been enhanced with the best features. The ruler F 5 has a smoother and more casual style than F 3 HR. Even the huge 5X has the sophistication of traditional watches, without neglecting the strength of the sports gadget.
Available in a variety of sizes and styles, the models of the new series are ideal for both men and women who seek comprehensive support in all aspects of their active work.
If there is no possibility of touch input, there are five physical buttons on the watch case: two on one side and three on the other.
You can assign 2 menu buttons as shortcut functions in a single second press to quickly trigger functions such as a stopwatch, find my location and so on.
Watch straps are replaceable and compatible with the Garmin Quick Fit range of belts, so you can easily change the metal bracelet to silicon.
The Fenix 5 family has a 64-color screen compared to the 16-color Fenix 3. Despite the fact that this may not affect your decision, this fact gives the device a distinct advantage.
The display of the new edition has the ability to display brighter colors. At first glance, you may not notice this, because they are used very economically: the effect will be clearly visible on the screens of the heart rate zone and the menu.
Thanks to the transition to a new resolution of 240 x 240 (from the old 218 x 218), the clock offers a very clear display of content optimized for an effective user experience, and a simpler menu for access. By the way, the smallest model Fenix 5S remained with a resolution of 218 x 218.
The sensor with the Elevate heart rate monitor in the new Garmin watches is now almost flush with the case on the back side, while the optical sensor in the F 3 HR gave the device a little thickness. Fenix 5 is significantly thinner and lighter than the previous iteration of the company, and although still massive, not so bulky.
Compared with its predecessor, the heart rate sensor of the fifth Fenix also tracks the pulse 24/7, but updates the information more often: every 1-2 seconds. All data is displayed on the timeline in the mobile Garmin Connect application on iOS / Android / Windows Phone, and also via the Internet via a web browser.
The accuracy of the heart rate monitor in F5 is high and comparable to the performance of chest straps, which are designed specifically for athletes who want to get the most accurate data on the heart.
A very convenient addition to the largest model of the series – Fenix 5X – was the addition of cards at the clock. This allows, for example, to automatically calculate suitable routes based on a pre-programmed distance.
If you have planned a run for a certain area, you will be offered several new courses, so that each time it is not so boring to cross the route. Before you go to the road, you can start the navigation in hours or get a step by step instruction.
Fenix 5 is a reliable fitness tracker, top clock with GPS navigation, which have a lot of built-in sensors, really providing a comprehensive experience of use. Consider the main functions of the device.
The watch has the ability to track a lot of sports activities:
- indoor track
- camping trip
- a bike
- bicycle simulator
- swimming in the pool
- swimming in the open air
- cross-country skiing
For each of the sports activities, the clock records various indicators. For example, speed and distance data, as well as VO2 MAX and heart rate data are collected for runners. With the help of additional accessories Fenix 5 can also track cadence, step length, “bounce” in motion and much more.
There are certain sports, such as running, walking and cycling, which the clock will automatically recognize. And it is used for this not GPS, but accelerometer data. View additional information about each of the activities you can through the mobile application.
Undoubtedly, if you want to get the most accurate data, it is recommended to use sports modes before a certain training, as automatic recognition of exercises is mainly intended for capturing casual walks, fast driving around the city, etc.
Also standard indicators are collected, such as steps, calories, steps, distance traveled and sleep quality. The device will remind the user to move if it is too long in the inactive state.
Golfers can track the yardage, distance and shots used per round, and use a digital counting card.
Swimmers can monitor the effectiveness of swimming, the number of pools, heart rate, etc.
Protection against water
Having a rugged stainless steel case and reliable construction, the watch is waterproof to 100 m (10 ATM), which allows to use them both in the pool and in the water in the open air – a river or a lake.
Garmin has added a number of smartwatch features, such as notifications, calendar and even weather information. There is also a choice of dials.
The menu system in the clock is huge and complex. Despite the presence of five buttons (most of which have short and retentive methods of interaction), it is not always easy to reach the desired destination or remember the route to it. This is partially eliminated by defining information screens in the form of widgets that are easily scrolled by buttons.
Preloaded widgets cover:
- The calendar
- Music Management
- My day
- Measuring measures
- Intensity of minutes
- Heart Rate
- Last sport activity
- ABC – displays information about altimeters, barometers and compass.
- Sensor information-Displays information from the internal sensor or the connected ANT + sensor.
- VIRB Controls
- Last Activity
- Golf – displays information about golf for your last round.
- Number of steps
- Tracking of dogs. Displays information about your dog’s whereabouts when you have a compatible tracking device
Family Fenix 5 performs a whole arsenal of functions that include a professional sports watch. In one device, the functionality of categories and types of hours is concentrated, such as:
- Fitness-clock with advanced features of the fitness tracker, including round-the-clock monitoring of the heart rate
- Running with technical functions especially for advanced runners, for example, Lactate Threshold & Recovery Analysis
- For Triathlon with special Triathlon mode for swimming, cycling and running
- For swimming with detailed metrics, including assessment of SWOLF
- For golf with the ability to download golf cards from thousands of species
- For a snowboard with automatic detection of the time of ascent and descent
- For kayaks and SUP-boards, providing feedback on speed and distance, plus a counter of movement, speed and distance
- For mountaineering with data on the speed of ascent and descent along the vertical
- For a landmark with point navigation (all models), plus a detailed OS-based map (only Fenix 5X)
Fenix 5 supports standard notification centers on your iPhone or Android smartphone, so almost any application can launch its alerts.
They appear on the clock display, and you can view them “as is” or click on the button for more information. You can also delete them, and everything that has been cleared will also be deleted from your smartphone. You can open and view missed notifications via the widget.
The ability to use Wi-Fi is only available in the Sapphire (Sapphire) models, so in general, these versions are more expensive. Wi-Fi is needed for faster loading of training data directly into Garmin Connect, as well as for synchronizing data, such as updates. But really – it’s not much faster than Bluetooth Smart.
All three types of watches include GPS and GLONASS for measuring pace, distance, speed and other indicators during training, cycling and performing various other types of activities.
GLONASS is the equivalent of a positioning system in Russia, and access to it provides an accurate definition of your location.
In addition, the devices also include a compass, an altimeter and a barometer. This allows you to correctly determine the direction, height and pressure during hiking and traveling.
According to Garmin, the battery lasts up to two weeks in smartwatch mode and up to 24 hours in GPS mode. However, it often happens that under different conditions of the device (with some additional functions activated) the battery life time is much reduced.
When it comes to sports and fitness, Garmin Fenix 5 does more work than most of us will ever need. The functions of smartwatch and activity tracking are used day to day. In addition, the clock is massive, with a complex menu system, so you always need to monitor the battery level.
The process of charging the device is quite simple. Garmin included a proprietary cable that was different from that of the Fenix 3 HR, it plugs into the back of the Phoenix. The company hopes that this will become the determining mechanism of charging for most of its devices, so, in theory, with each new model there will be no more cables for.
Compatibility with external sensors
Garmin Fenix 5X can connect with third-party accessories, such as:
- external heart rate monitors
- speed / cadence sensors for pedaling
- power measurement sensor
- action camera VIRB
- temperature sensor Garmin Tempe
- smart glasses for cyclists Varia Vision
- The compatible hardware will allow you to display the selected indicators directly on the Fenix 5X display as a data field.
Garmin Fenix 5X is combined with chest straps via Bluetooth Smart, for example, Polar H10, as well as with ANT + equipment, which is available, for example, in the Scosche Rhythm + fitness bracelet. Own line of HR monitors Garmin, such as HRM Tri, HRM Swim and HRM Run, will allow athletes to get more accurate heart rate during training.
With HRM Tri, HRM Swim, you can record your pulse while swimming, although the data will only be synchronized after the workout. Plus, HRM Tri, and HRM Run will also provide you with advanced driving dynamics, such as vibrations, ground contact time, frequency, and so on.
Garmin also released a sensor in the form of a clip Running Dynamics Pod, which collects data and provides an improved performance for those who prefer to use a heart rate monitor on a wristwatch. The gadget connects to compatible devices of the company through ANT +.
Combinations with Garmin are unlimited.
Garmin Connect application
Garmin Connect is not only a platform used to collect Fenix 5 data, but it is also a gateway for a wide range of tools and functions for the company. Garmin Connect comes in two forms: a web service and an application for smartphones, and each one allows you to unlock a number of additional tools that can hone your workouts and help you become a better runner, cyclist or just more healthy overall.
The mobile software is used to view your activity data and analyze the exercises, and also allows you to give up training. This is not the most convenient interface, but you can view the steps, sleep, active minutes, etc. from the main screen, and also go deeper into certain workouts, getting performance data, maps and graphics.
In the version for Android smartphones and the iPhone offered a set of snapshots (Snapshots), but more information is usually hidden. To view it, you need to move the screen to the left, switching between the required metrics. Unnecessary snapshots can be optionally removed from the visual field.
The Garmin Connect mobile application allows the user to:
- control sleep
- set goals by number of steps
- use the calendar
- View and explore your data after running
- edit your activity: activity name, notes, type of exercise
- upload your data to Strava
- join the community
The web service provides much more opportunities for work. Here you can dive into more specific details of the training, create graphics, training plans and your own workouts, build routes and collect all your sports in one place.
For whom is the Fenix 5S / 5 / 5X watch?
Fenix 5X is ideal for you if you are an adventurer who likes to wander around nature. Built-in maps, long battery life and sensory warnings of storms make it an ideal partner for outdoor adventures. If you are a supporter of a triathlon – run, like cycling, swimming, and playing golf or are keen on almost any other sport, this device will suit you as well.
Fenix 5S – for those who are looking for sports watches, designed primarily for running, because they are smaller and lighter than their counterparts. This model can be chosen by women for their small wrists.
Fenix 5 will be the right choice if you need a beautiful daily clock that offers a variety of smartphone notifications, including WhatsApp, calendars and more. The key point here is that you get everything in one big package. Consequently, the price is also large: “all-in-one” will cost $ 849.
In any case, any of the models are super-cool watches, with constantly updated software and a bunch of sensors that are likely to really see you after years of activity.
Video Garmin Fenix 5
Watch Garmins Fenix 5 – it’s all in one device, which, in essence, is the top among all sports watches. We highly recommend this gadget if you are a real athlete, and money for you is not a big problem. However, if you have a limited budget and you need a clock to perform certain tasks, such as a daily count of steps, you should look for a simpler and cheaper activity tracker, since even half of the Fenix 5 functions will not be used.