Garmin’s range-topping Fenix alternation has confused on. Now in its fifth incarnation, the Fenix ambit has three new watches in its band up, with the 5 Additional sitting alongside the Fenix 5S Additional and the Fenix 5X Plus. They’re still big, still adventurous but now they’re akin added blithely able-bodied featured, bringing smarch abilities to the mix.
They’re additionally still badly expensive, with amount tags that ambit from £599/$799.99/AU$1149 appropriate up to £999/$1099.99/AU$1599. That’s austere money but afresh these are austere achievement and chance tools.
There’s affluence to adulation about the latest upgrade. From aisle active to accessible baptize swimming, the sport-specific tracking accurateness are comprehensive, and there are avant-garde training and achievement actualization to clothing austere amateurs and professionals alike.
And aback you bandy in accustomed activity tracking, smarch skills, Garmin Pay, music, solid beddy-bye tracking and akin accent monitoring, you get a watch that ability – we say ability actual carefully actuality – absolve the amount tag.
To acquisition out, we put the boilerplate sized, 47mm Garmin Fenix 5 Additional azure clear titanium to the test.
The Garmin Fenix 5 Additional is out now in the UK, US and Australia, but it’s not cheap. Price-wise it ranges from £599 / $799.99 / AU$1149 to £999 / $1099.99 / AU$1599.
The differences in amount are based on a aggregate of the admeasurement you pick, the abstracts acclimated and whether or not you appetite its Pulse Ox Acclimation feature.
The Garmin Fenix 5 Additional is a asperous watch for the asperous user, the affectionate of actuality who’s aloof as at home in a canoe as they are in the arid or casting themselves off a mountain.
Multisport chance watches like this aren’t generally that appealing to attending at. If the Garmin Forerunner watches are like accepting a glassy sports car anchored in your driveway, the advantageous Fenix ambit has been abundant added like parking a catchbasin there.
However, the Fenix 5 Additional shows aloof how far Garmin has arise on the architecture front. It’s still acutely a block of watch but at the aforementioned time, you’ve got article you can abrasion all day with acute clothes, afterwards activity like you’re authoritative a annual about how SAS you are. In short, it’s a actual nice attractive and adult – if a bit big – allotment of kit.
We activated the 47mm Garmin Fenix 5 Additional azure clear titanium with Solar Flare Orange Band, which has added than a blow of the Hugo Boss about its all-embracing appearance.
There are, however, assorted models to accept from. The 42mm Fenix 5S Plus, the 47mm Fenix 5 Additional and the 51mm Fenix 5X Plus.
The accepted Fenix 5 Additional weighs in at 86g – that’s 5g added than the Suunto 9 – unless you pay a exceptional for the 10g lighter, 76g titanium version.
On the average-sized wrist of our macho tester the 47mm acquainted commensurable and manageable, admitting the smaller-wristed will about absolutely adopt the 42mm and akin that ability be a bit beefy for some.
We admired the actuality the 47mm was a little abate than the Suunto 9 and admitting there’s hardly beneath awning absolute estate, you don’t absolutely apprehension the aberration aback you’re mid-activity.
There’s a azure clear copy in all three sizes with a scratch-resistant azure lens advised to booty all the knocks and bumps. We put this through a absolute assay out amid the rocks and beach of the Bisected Chase des Sables in Fuerteventura, and the awning came aback in absolute health, admitting the titanium bezel did aces up a few accent scratches.
On cheaper versions those bezels arise in stainless animate rather than titanium and you can accept a argent or a matt atramentous finish. On the 47mm and 51mm watches the bezels are alternate accurately by bristles screws that add a appropriate bit of annual that you don’t get on the 42mm.
The 47 x 47 x 15.8mm watch face is abate than the Suunto 9, with the affectation sitting axial a baby bound and demography up 30.4mm.
There’s allowance for four stats on awning at any one time in assorted customizable layouts, admitting we acquainted three stats was enough, annihilation added and things started to get a little awkward and abridgement hierarchy. That’s still affluence though.
The awning is a full-color transflective Garmin Chroma Affectation with LED backlighting and akin in abundantly ablaze sunshine in the arid coffer of Fuerteventura we begin it accessible to read. We additionally acclimated it on a night date for active in the aphotic application a arch bake afterwards any botheration at all.
The accurateness isn’t as aciculate as you’ll acquisition on article like the Apple Watch 4 but the abandoned time this becomes a absolute activity is application some of the mapping features. And afresh again, the Apple Watch 4 won’t booty the adamantine knocks this will.
There’s no touchscreen actuality like you get with Suunto’s flagship watch, instead the Fenix is controlled application bristles ancillary ons that are accurately acknowledging and accessible abundant to acquisition on the move. Is it missed? It’s actual abundant a abstract activity but touchscreen controls aren’t that accessible to use aback you’re bouldering up a bluff ancillary or dispatch bottomward a abundance trail, so we weren’t that bothered.
We would accept admired to be able to bash the maps to accomplish added of the Fenix’s new full-color topographic routable aeronautics but contrarily we weren’t that fussed. Some bodies ability adopt to accept the advantage for abyssal column activity. If that’s you, this will irk you.
The silicone straps ambit for wrist sizes from 163-249mm and you can accept from silicone, covering and metal. It’s abominably simple to about-face the straps, with apparently the best blow apparatus we’ve apparent on a sports watch.
The silicone band we activated was altogether adequate for continued periods (we ran the continued date of the Bisected Chase des Sables for 11 hours with no trouble).
Flip the Fenix over and there’s the accepted Garmin Elevate-powered optical affection amount sensor with three blooming LEDs sitting in the centermost of the domed brownish back.
The sensor bang – yes that is the abstruse appellation – protrudes far beneath than on the Suunto 9 or the Polar Vantage V, but because of the arch there’s still acceptable acquaintance with the bark afterwards any ache on best runs. Yes it leaves a little mark, but so do all optical affection amount sensors.
Next to the optical sensor you accept the Garmin allegation dock, a four-pin activity that clips close aback you put it on allegation and comes with a cable that’s beneath beefy than some.
When it comes to sensors, on the aeronautics front, the Fenix 5 Additional packs a three-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter as able-bodied as multi-satellite (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) adequacy to clue in added arduous environments than GPS alone. Added on the accurateness later.
There’s additionally an accelerometer for tracking calm active and activities, such as backbone training, additional a thermometer, accessible if you’re blame extremes.
There’s 16GB of anamnesis for your music and conditioning history, admitting with the auto-sync over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth syncing if that’s patchy, you’re absurd to advance the limits.
For the swimmers, triathletes and baptize sports enthusiasts, the Fenix is water-resistant to 10ATM, so basin and accessible baptize pond are covered but diving to any abundant base about is not recommended.
Fenix watches are about as absolute as it comes. Running, swimming, cycling and of advance triathlon are axial to the affection set, and those are anniversary alluringly able-bodied catered for, but you can additionally bandy in hiking, climbing, abundance biking, skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, actor paddleboarding, rowing, kayaking and akin golf.
Outside of those moments area you’re indulging your authentic activity passion, there’s beddy-bye tracking, accent monitoring, accepted activity tracking, including steps, move alerts, flights climbed and fettle age appraisal (ours said we had the fettle age of an ‘excellent 20-year-old’).
But the Fenix absolutely comes to activity aback you get moving.
Road, aisle and treadmill active are all served with their own activity modes and one activity we adulation about the Fenix was how abundantly accessible it is to abuse the stats that affectation on the watch during your session, from the watch itself.
It takes aberrant to rejig the blueprint of anniversary screen, to baddest the cardinal of stats (1-4) and what those are from pace, speed, affection rate, ascent, vertical speed, ability and many, abounding more. You can additionally actualize your own activity modes to adjustment the charge to dabble pre-race.
All the accepted run actuality is there with distance, pace, acceleration etc. Aback it came to GPS accurateness as we mentioned beforehand the Fenix 5 Additional supports GPS, GLONASS and Galileo and we begin it to be actual reliable.
We did accept some agrarian moments in UltraTrac mode, as you can see from the annual above, area our watch struggled with a date of the Bisected Chase des Sables that took in accessible beaches and airy trails. We were told that was 66km but our Garmin registered 73km.
Cadence is additionally tracked by the watch but conceivably one disappointment is aloof how abounding of the added active dynamics crave an added accent such as a HRM Run band or the Garmin Active Dynamics Footpod.
Things like arena acquaintance time, vertical oscillation, stride breadth and ability – all those anatomy ability metrics that we’re starting to see – charge accession device.
For top dollar you’d apprehend the Fenix to awning all bases but clashing the anew launched Polar Vantage V, ability isn’t tracked from the wrist. The metric is authentic but you’ll charge to brace a third-party ability sensors such as Stryd or to use Garmin’s own Active Dynamics pod or HRM Tri, HRM Run Sensors.
To get ability metrics to affectation for some you will charge to download a appropriate app from the Garmin Connect app store. It’s a bit of a faff but abandoned needs to be done once.
One activity aisle runners will adulation is the actuality that in aisle active and hiking mode, the watch automatically picks up aback you move from active or hiking collapsed to climbing. The awning scrolls to your ascendance stats afterwards the blow of a on, it’s a baby activity but a nice blow aback you’re accident a lung affliction up a abundance trail.
The Fenix 5 Additional additionally comes with Garmin’s Chase Predictor affection that will use your contempo run performances to appraisal your chase times for distances from 5km to the marathon.
These can be agrarian though. Our tester’s predictions came aback with 17:22 (5km), 36:02 (10km), 1:19:38 (half) and a 2:46:25 (marathon). While the bisected and 10k ability be believable the chase time would represent an 11-minute claimed best and that feels a little sharp.
The range-topping Fenix 5X Additional (51mm) watches affection Garmin’s new Pulse Ox Acclimation feature. This shows claret oxygen assimilation levels to advice adviser how you’re adjusting to college altitudes. As we activated the Fenix 5 Additional we didn’t get to sample this but it’s an absorbing affection for anyone hiking the Himalayas or accepting high.
In befitting with the Fenix heritage, this is a actual able basin and accessible baptize pond watch with a affluent affection set.
In accession to the accepted bathe metrics (lengths, distance, pace, achievement count/rate, calories) you get auto achievement detection, SWOLF bathe ability scoring and assignment logging. Affection amount is accessible admitting not via the optical sensor, you’ll charge a HRM Tri or HRM Bathe band for that.
You’ll charge to ascribe basin lengths but that’s accessible to do and the lapping accurateness thereafter is atom on. As is the achievement detection. It best up accurately aback we confused amid a advanced clamber and a stroke.
Road cycling, calm cycling and abundance biking are all catered for. To get the best out of the Fenix 5 Plus, you’re acceptable to charge some accessories though. It plays nice with Garmin’s Varia Vision active up glasses attachment, the Vector ability meters and accordant third-party ANT -enabled ability meters.
Functional Threshold Ability (FTP) is additionally logged provided you accept the appropriate accessory. As are acceleration and cadence.
Another affection of agenda for the two wheelers are the routable cycling-specific artery maps that will advice you ride and cross and hopefully break on routes that assignment for the auto you’re on.
Most watches tend to avoid the bit of training that happens aback you arch into the gym, but backbone and conditioning is such an basic allotment of any austere training plan that this has consistently seemed a huge gap.
Granted they’ll clue your affection amount during your squats and deadlifts, but few accessories accept agitated to attack to clue reps, sets and weight. The Fenix 5 Additional has.
Fire up backbone training activity approach and you can adequately calmly log your drills as you do them and clue your rest. There’s additionally an auto set approach that’s currently in beta and this attempts to clue you reps and rests afterwards any ons actuality pressed.
In our tests the Fenix begin some drills easier to clue than others, for archetype squats were logged altogether admitting bicep curls generally counted one or two over. It additionally struggled to consistently atom aback you’d chock-full for blow rather than maybe switching amid accoutrements or legs.
This isn’t an accessible activity to do and we’re afflicted that Garmin had a go. With a bit of change this could about-face into an acutely advantageous apparatus and could assuredly pave the way for guided backbone training affairs as allotment of those all-embracing schedules, rather than a agenda box that artlessly says ‘Strength and conditioning’.
If you’re a aggressive abecedarian or austere pro, tracking what you do while you’re accepting a diaphoresis on is abandoned bisected the battle. Rest, accretion and managing your training agenda for optimum after-effects and basal abrasion accident is a huge deal.
As with the Polar Vantage V, Garmin offers absurd abutment here. For a alpha it advance your affection amount continuously and provides a nice blueprint of your BPM from the aftermost four hours, acquainted your aerial and low.
Dig added with the tap of a on and you get your boilerplate comatose affection amount (RHR) over the week. Absolutely advantageous for spotting an almighty animated RHR, a assurance it ability be acute to booty a blow day.
As with the Apple Watch 4, there’s additionally the advantage to accept an active blaze if the Fenix spots aberrant affection amount activity.
Training Cachet advance your training history to acquaint you whether you’re hitting the mark with your efforts. At a glance you can see your fettle progression – whether Productive, Maintaining or Detraining – and training amount forth with the all-embracing status.
Tap one added and the Training Amount awning converts all your training application into a cardinal that represents your absolute appulse from the accomplished 7 canicule and afresh additionally tells you if this is optimal or you’re at accident of overreaching.
To abutment this there’s a accessible speedometer appearance indicator that moves from dejected to red to appearance you aback you’re closing in on accomplishing too much, or you’ve been demography it too easy.
You additionally get accretion time recommendations in hours. These can be hardly ambagious because a 20 hour accretion time doesn’t beggarly don’t alternation for 20 hours, that’s aloof how continued it will booty your anatomy to absolutely balance from your best contempo session.
What is advantageous admitting is a allotment of condoning argument that tells you what activity to take, for example, alternation as accepted or accede a rest.
There’s a VO2 Max appraisal too. We’re abandoned advertence this so we can accommodate the actuality ours came in at 59, which according to Garmin is superior. And that’s 100% accurate.
As with the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, the Fenix 5 Additional offers phone-free music with abundant accumulator for up to 500 songs or lots of podcasts. You can beck these absolute from the watch to your Bluetooth headphones.
To get music assimilate your watch you’ll charge to amount it application the Garmin Express desktop tool. It’s appealing accessible to do but we’d adulation to be able to additionally do it from our phone.
You can additionally use the watch to ascendancy music on a commutual smartphone. Admitting the authentic ally are acutely limited. Rumors of Deezer authoritative its way assimilate the watch don’t arise to accept arise accurate and aback we asked Garmin if it was authentic they couldn’t acquaint us either way.
Spotify has additionally been appear for the Fenix 5 Plus, and you can download the app to the watch at some date soon. We’ll be abiding to amend this analysis aback we’ve approved it out properly.
Being able to footfall out of your abode and go for a run, ride or whatever afterwards accustomed phone, banknote and keys is article we’ve capital for a continued time and Garmin Pay brings this a footfall afterpiece on the company’s devices.
In approach it will accommodate simple contactless payments for that canteen of baptize or column ride coffee, but the absoluteness is that it’s apparently added advantageous in the US rather than the UK and Australia due to the bound cardinal of banks who are active up in those countries.
We didn’t get to analysis it because our HSBC account, for example, wasn’t authentic at the time of testing. If you appetite to see if your coffer is supported, you can do so here.
Another affection that’s fast acceptable a basic on Garmin’s active watches, you can brace your Fenix with your smartphone and get pestered by admission alerts for all your WhatsApp messages, Instagram alerts, emails and buzz calls.
The capital botheration we accept with this is you can’t adapt which alerts arise through on the watch. It’s either aggregate on, aggregate off, or you’ll charge to dabble with your active settings for anniversary app on the phone.
So, for example, you can’t aloof say ‘Give me WhatsApp letters abandoned while I aisle run.’ The end aftereffect is the interruptions are acceptable to drive you to about-face this off.
The Fenix 5 Additional syncs automatically with Garmin Connect over Wi-Fi the moment you footfall aback through your advanced door. Admitting you can additionally brace it with your smartphone and accelerate your conditioning via Bluetooth, which is accessible if you’re out on a multi-day chance a continued way from home.
In our tests syncing was about fast (under a minute to alteration our latest workout) and reliable.
The Garmin Connect app and web accoutrement will no agnosticism abide to bisect assessment but from a architecture and ease-of-use angle it has arise on leaps and bound in the amplitude of a few years.
The customizable day appearance now comes with a set of graphs and archive to appearance aggregate that’s been activity on in your world. It’s absolute if occasionally cutting with affection amount (resting and high), steps, floors climbed, your accent levels and how continued you’ve spent in a rest, low, average or aerial accompaniment of Aaaaaargh.
You can additionally see your beddy-bye burst bottomward into deep, light, REM and awake. And assuredly there’s an overview of yesterday’s stats in full, including any workouts.
If you appetite to dive akin added into the stats, actualize goal-based training programs and the like, you can do all that too.
We could calmly do a abounding analysis of Garmin Connect in its own appropriate but it’s safe to say that what’s on action actuality on the web and in the Android and iOS apps is calmly one of the best accomplice accoutrement you’ll acquisition with a sports watch. It’s absolutely bigger than Suunto’s alms and on par with Polar Flow.
When it comes to array activity the Garmin Fenix 5 Additional can’t bout the 120-hour boasts of the Suunto 9. In actuality the 5 Additional doesn’t akin bout its non-Plus predecessor.
The official numbers advance you’ll get up to 12 canicule in smarch approach and 8 hours in GPS approach with music.
Without music and with the appropriate settings tweaked you should be able to extend this up to 18 hours in GPS approach (that’s bottomward from 24 on the non-Plus) and up to 42 hours (down from 60) in UltraTrac mode, admitting with lower allegiance GPS.
To put this array activity to the test, we took the Fenix 5 Additional to the 4-day multi-stage ultra-marathon, the Bisected Chase des Sables in Fuerteventura.
During the accident it coped with 17 hours of active with GPS in UltraTrac mode, additional four canicule of accepted usage, admitting we’d switched off all the acute notifications and the wrist affection rate, and it abandoned bare charging afresh afterwards six canicule in total.
There’s still abundant abstract there for best activities, provided you’re acute with your settings, but for some bodies the cut aback in array will be an issue, decidedly aback adversary accessories are blame for added activity not less.
Garmin knows what it is accomplishing aback it comes to authoritative active watches, and the Fenix 5 Additional is one of the best examples of that.
We’ve approved out the watch in some of the best acute affairs we could, but the actuality is this is a accent that can handle about all the adventures you’re attractive to bandy it into.
It’s not congenital for anybody though; and that aerial amount is abiding to put some bodies off. If not, you may appetite to additionally accede the Fenix 5X Additional and Fenix 5S Additional as able-bodied as the blow of the Garmin watch range.
This is a austere multi and chance sports watch for bodies who are actual austere about performance.
However, unless money is no article or you’re addition who swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is actively committed to alfresco adventure, we’d be adamantine apprenticed to acclaim you array out for the Fenix 5 Plus. Buying this if you’re aloof active about your burghal would be a decay of your money and this watch’s skills.
We’re broken on this one. We absolutely like this watch because it’s arranged with features, it wears well, the array activity is aloof about abounding abundant and Garmin Connect is convalescent all the time, but it’s absolutely adamantine to avoid that ample amount tag. Decidedly aback you can aces up a Suunto 9 for beneath than the cheapest Fenix 5 Additional model.
Ok, so you’ve afresh got to attack with Suunto’s generally arresting account and an app that’s boilerplate a as acceptable as Connect, but you’re accepting a cogent saving.
Is there a compromise? Maybe cutting for the cheapest end of the Fenix ambit could be a acute option, but afore you do, ask yourself some adamantine questions about how austere you are about your multisport. If you’re absolutely aloof a agent who swims already a ages there ability be a bigger option.
First reviewed: October 2018
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