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Garmin Fēnix 5 Watches

Garmin Fēnix 5 Watches Watch Releases

Earlier this month at CES, Garmin announced their expanded line of premium multi-sport smartwatches with the new Garmin Fēnix 5 lineup. Offering a similar format as the Fēnix 3 and the Fēnix Chronos, the Garmin Fēnix 5 iterates with multiple sizes, more options, and increased mapping abilities. While the bulk of the “wearables” market is still proving its mettle, Garmin has been steadily producing a wide range of techy sport-focused watches designed for a host of activities from hiking to running, swimming, and more.

I’ve used both the Fēnix 3 and the Fēnix Chronos and at 51.5mm and 49mm, respectively, they have always been very functional but quite large. The new Garmin Fēnix 5 lineup inlcudes the 42mm Garmin Fēnix 5S, the 47mm Garmin Fēnix 5, and the 51mm Garmin Fenix 5X. Being Fēnix models, all three versions offer fitness tracking, on-wrist heart rate monitoring, full ABC (altimeter, barometer, compass), GPS navigation, and smartphone connectivity for notifications and app integration.

Garmin Fēnix 5 Watches Watch Releases

Garmin Fēnix 5 Watches Watch Releases

The base Garmin Fēnix 5S comes in silver or white, while the “Sapphire Edition” offers champagne or black coloring along with an optional metal bracelet (presumably steel, but not specifically stated). Beyond the coloring, the Sapphire Edition adds a sapphire crystal and Wi-Fi connectivity. The Garmin Fēnix 5S’s 42mm case houses a 1.1” always-on 218 x 218 pixel color display, a rechargeable battery offering up to 9 days of battery life (less while tracking with the GPS), and a heart rate monitor.

The 47mm Garmin Fēnix 5 comes in slate grey or silver, with the Sapphire Edition adding the option of a slate grey metal bracelet or a black case. The larger case size receives a larger 1.2” display (240 x 240 pixels) and a larger battery for up to two weeks in smartphone mode.

Garmin Fēnix 5 Watches Watch Releases

Garmin Fēnix 5 Watches Watch Releases

Finally, the behemoth 51mm Garmin Fēnix 5X is available only in a Sapphire Edition in slate grey with a black silicone strap or a metal bracelet. This model retains the same screen from the Garmin Fēnix 5 but offers up to 12 days of battery in smartphone mode and ups storage space from 64 MB (on the Garmin Fēnix 5) to a beastly 12 GB. Why so much space? The Garmin Fēnix 5X offers full-color TOPO U.S. maps for more advanced route planning and GPS functionality, including cycling maps and more than 40,000 golf courses worldwide.

Software functionality for the whole Garmin Fēnix lineup offers a massive list of features, with specific functions for measuring and tracking running, cycling, swimming, golfing, skiing, hiking, climbing, triathlon, rowing, and general performance. Additionally, Garmin Fēnix watches can connect to smartphones via Bluetooth and the Garmin Connect application, allowing users to change settings, load new watch faces (digital dial layouts), and even install custom apps from the Garmin Connect IQ platform.

Garmin Fēnix 5 Watches Watch Releases

Garmin Fēnix 5 Watches Watch Releases

I’ve been using a Fēnix 3 for over a year, and the options are dizzying. If you’re really into sports and fitness or want a simple GPS tracking platform for hiking, the Garmin Fēnix platform, while not without its bugs, is really impressive. You can check out a full list of features here.

Being their premium line, pricing is also premium. The Garmin Fēnix 5S and Garmin Fēnix 5 start at US $600, rising to $850 for the Sapphire Edition with the metal bracelet. The Garmin Fēnix 5X starts at US $700, or $850 with the metal bracelet. For those who are really into their trail running, hiking, or swimming, the appeal is obvious. With the Garmin Fēnix 5 lineup, it’s encouraging to see Garmin offer a wide range of sizes, especially with the 42mm Garmin Fēnix 5S. Whether you’ve got smaller wrists or simply prefer to wear a more conservatively sized watch, these new Garmin Fēnix 5 models expand the range for a wider variety of data-obsessed fitness junkies.



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  • Shane Kleinpeter

    While 51mm seems large when you’re wearing a dress shirt or a suit, that’s not what this watch is for. When you are outdoors, that large size would be fairly irrelevant. Looks like great functionality and readability.

    • Juan-Antonio Garcia

      Agree, out in the trails, who cares about how it fits in a shirt and suit! What i want is good visibility and ease of use.

  • Until they can integrate solar charging into these sorts of watches they’re not terribly useful. “Up to 20 hours in GPS mode” keeps in in firmly the toy category and not something practicall for anything beyond an afternoon stroll.

    • Juan-Antonio Garcia

      Depends, if you go into the jungle for weeks on, yes it it useless. But if you exercise daily, either run, bike, mtb, swim, hike, ski, etc. they are very useful. Have used them in camping trips of 3-4 days without a problem. Every new versions comes with more features (and sadly price increase, had the original, the 2, and now currently the 3), so they sure are a great daily tool. Will be looking forward for the 5X

    • BJ314

      Have you ever used a GPS enabled Garmin? I can guarantee that no matter what the rating is, you’ll get way more than 20 hours of charging.

      Besides, Garmin watches are for active people. Unless you climbing a mountain, there are few activities that require active GPS for more than 20 hrs straight.

      For those of us who use it while hiking, running, biking etc. Garmin is the gold standard. And while I’d love a solar-powered Garmin, its not necessary.

      For those clamoring about screen size – it’s meant to be functional while engaging in physical activity. You need to be able to read while you’re jumping, running, etc.

      I’ll always keep a Garmin in my watch box.

      • SuperStrapper

        Yes, I was gifted a GPS rangefinder golf watch by garmin. Someone very thoughtfully combined my love of golf and watches. Unfortunately, I can’t wear a watch while I golf. But I didn’t want to disregard such a well thought out gift, so I just strap it to my golf bag. The yardage readings are fast and accurate, and I think it’s a great tool.

        Unfortunately, I only get to use it one of of about every 10 rounds, because the battery only lasts for half a day. And then when I get home I have to remember to take it off the bag and plug it in. I rarely do that, so then next time I play I see it dead on the bag and have not time to charge it (charging is quite slow).

        It’s a good idea inadequately executed, as far as I’m concerned.

        • Juan-Antonio Garcia

          Mmm, that is strange, I use mine everyday for different activities using the GPS and HR sensor plus synching, and charge it every 3rd or 4th day. Maybe you got a lemon (which happens even in the best families).

      • I guess when I’m in the woods, when I really need GPS, it’s for more than a day. At least overnight, usually two or three days. The last thing I want to be thinking about is “is my watch going to run out of juice?” What if you are out of cellular range (and your phone isn’t dead too…)?
        The big screen is a plus, for sure, but if I need a map I’m going to pull out a USGS 7.5-minute topo anyway.
        It looks like a decent tool for the weekend warrior stuff (you sure don’t want to miss a text), but falls short of anything useful for actual “adventure.”

        • Juan-Antonio Garcia

          I guess when you are in the woods you are not flying at more than 3-4 mph, so no need to have the GPS to record at 1 ping per second, you can put in UltraTac mode where the ping can be set at an interval of 30 to 60 seconds. I have used it for 4-5 days with no problem. Of course I stopped the tracking when I reach my spot and have to pitch my tent, etc.
          The normal ping setting is best for Skiing, MT biking, trail running, etc.

          • Excellent point. I wasn’t aware of that setting. A ping every 60seconds and battery life of 4-5 days would indeed be more than enough.

    • Wozn2

      You need to be looking at your GPS all day, every day?

      Have you ever thought of using a map…

      • Well, that’s kind of my point. A map and compass is still the best for wilderness navigation, and will remain so as long as one has to carefully conserve battery power in one’s wrist gizmo.

  • The Fractious Boogur T. Wang

    Expanding the definition of a “tool watch.”

  • Word Merchant

    I really like this. I am a bit of a slob and generally avoid the outdoors and exercise so clearly I’m not part of the target audience, but this watch looks great and if I want a new toy, it’ll be this. Totally agree with Michael Kinney re solar charging.

  • Ulysses31

    I’m liking the 5 and 5X models. They look genuinely stylish. I can forgive the large size because these are after all designed to be operated via a screen. They could probably have fitted a larger screen in there though, without that chapter ring. I wonder how accurate these are for tracking compared with a typical smartphone GPS? My phone GPs tends to become erratic when there is a lot of starting and stopping.

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