Hey runners, hikers, swimmers and cyclists, start saving up because the new Garmin Fenix 5 has been released!
Oh, wait a minute, what happened with Garmin Fenix 4, you may ask? Well, it confused me in the first place, too. There was another line of Fenix watches but it wasn’t called Fenix 4. That’s why in this review I will compare Fenix 5 with its predecessor – the Fenix 3HR. Let’s see what we can expect from this latest Garmin multisport GPS watch.
Garmin Fenix 5 Release Date
On Jan 4th 2017, Garmin officially announced Fenix 5, Fenix 5S and Fenix 5X. These multisport GPS watches were available within a few weeks of the announcement. You can order them now on Amazon.
Review Garmin Fenix 5 Design
At first glance, Fenix 5 doesn’t look much different from Fenix 3. It keeps the classic round face, stainless steel bezel, silicone band and 5 physical buttons on the side of the device. With Connect IQ supported, you can customize the watch face with any photo from your smartphone.
The difference is the new Fēnix 5 models are available in a variety of colors and finishes, with more accessory bands available. You can choose the default silicone band or swap to a leather or metal with no tools needed.
The Fenix 5 is 47mm and the Fēnix 5S is smaller- 42mm designed for petite wrists, focusing on female adventurers (S here maybe stands for Small). While the Fenix 3 HR has sapphire lens by default ($550), you will need to pay extra $250 if you want to have scratch-resistant sapphire lens for your Fenix 5 ($850 in total). This makes a huge difference between these 2 versions. For Fenix 5X, which is preloaded with TOPO US mapping, routable cycling maps and other navigation features, the sapphire lens and WIFI packing modes are default and the price is $700.
Review Garmin Fenix 5 Features
Review Garmin Fenix 5 Features – Pros
It’s water resistant to 10 ATM (100 meters), the same as Fenix 3HR. This guarantees you can take it for swimming and even dipping without any worries.
Outstanding features offered by the Fenix 3HR are included in the Fenix 5: counting number of steps per minute, vertical oscillation and ratio, stride length, monitoring sleep, stress test, lactate threshold and so on.
Built-in navigation sensors include GPS and GLONASS capability to track in more challenging environments than GPS alone, as well as 3-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter. For GPS technology tracking routes, no brand can out-muscle Garmin.
With the Fenix 5X (and only Fenix 5X), topo maps are included in the package. If you want, you can add your own maps. This feature allows you to display mapping for current position, find POI’s around you (i.e. food) and ingest GPX & FIT files for saved routes.
You are able to view call, text and email notifications on the watch display. You can add additional widgets into the data field as well.
Heart rate monitor
Elevate wrist heart rate technology measures heart rate at the wrist, providing you with the information about the number of calories burned and quantify the intensity of your fitness activities.
Advanced features compared with Fenix 3HR
I have to admit that it’s very hard to find what features Fenix 5 have been added when compared to Fenix 3HR. The biggest change seems to be the Preloaded Map which is only available in the Fenix 5X. Additionally, the built-in memory was upgraded from 32 MB to 12 GB.
Other small features integrated are: Round Trip Ride, Training Effect 2.0 (measures impact of an activity on your aerobic & anaerobic fitness), Training Load and Training Status.
However, please note that WIFI which is default in Fenix 3HR, is no longer on the Fenix 5. Now it is only available with the sapphire Fenix 5 models.
Review Garmin Fenix 5 Features – Cons
No MP3 player possibility
Though internal memory of Fenix 5 has been upgraded to 12GB, you will still need to rely on a MP3 player or a cellphone to store and play music. It would be epic if Garmin Fenix 5 was equipped with a music playback function.
Garmin Fenix 5 Battery life
Battery life on Garmin Fenix 5 is reported to be 2 weeks in smartwatch mode and 24 hours in GPS mode. This is much better than the Fenix 3HR, which is 16 hours in GPS training mode. But many people still desire want a battery life of more than 24 hours for GPS mode.
Battery life on the Fenix 5S is less than the Fenix 5 offers, delivering up to eight days in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS mode.
Fenix 5X can last up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode (depending on settings), up to 24 hours in GPS mode, and up to 100 hours in UltraTrac battery saver mode (better than the 40 hours offered in UltraTrac mode of Fenix 3HR)
Garmin Fenix 5 Review Conclusion
Of course, it’s since it’s just been released, it is too soon to make any conclusion. However, with all the information Garmin has provides so far, I don’t see many changes in the Fenix 5 as compared with the Fenix 3HR. Surely there would be more reviews when this line of products are available in the market. Stay tuned for more updates!
I ordered a Fenix 5 thanks to your review. Just need to charge it twice a month, great!
Glad to help, Kavana 😉
Im at a crossroads …. I play golf and was looking at the Approach S6 , however I’ve been reading up on the Fenix 5 and absolutely love the fact it does everything , so when I’m not playing i can still use it for everyday life . My question is … what does the Approach S6 do that the Fenix 5 cant ? Are they both just as accurate re GPS distancing and can i combine multiple apps with the Golf .ie , distance walked , calories , steps etc
Sorry Jon for late response.
As I’ve looked into the Approach S6, it offers more features to assist playing golf than Fenix 5, such as custom targets, full vector map, pinpointer, swing tempo. Whereas Fenix 5 has some useful features for everyday life, such as V02 max and fitness age.
I haven’t had a chance to test GPS of those 2. But because Garmin was originally a GPS device provider, their GPS function might be the most reliable in the market.