The Garmin Fenix 5S is a aptness watch we don’t wish to take off

March 30, 2017 - running watch

It turns out that a hulk multisport watch doesn’t have to be a hulk multisport watch.

Case in point: a new Garmin Fenix 5. Garmin has taken a big, aggressive, we Am A Serious Outdoors Person line of Fenix multisport watches and shrunk it into something that looks a small reduction obtrusive. It was also designed with women in mind. (Yay!) The Fenix 5 indication has a 47mm face, compared with a 51mm face of a Fenix 3; and a Fenix 5S, directed during women and anyone with smaller wrists, has a 42mm face. The Fenix 5X is a usually one in this array that has confirmed a large size, due to a modernized mapping features.

Almost some-more critical than stretch is a fact that a Fenix 5 knows what it is and what it’s ostensible to do. It’s not a smartwatch posing as a aptness watch, and it’s not a aptness watch that has co-opted a app platforms and battery-sucking touchscreen displays of smartwatches. It’s a aptness tracking watch with all of a things that we would design from a high-end Garmin.

This all sounds great! The tummy punch comes when we cruise a price: a Fenix 5 starts during $599, and usually goes adult when we pierce into a Sapphire potion models. That’s some-more than Garmin’s Forerunner regulating watches, some-more than a triathlon watches, some-more than Polar’s multisport V800 watch, some-more than Suunto’s Spartan Sport watch, some-more than… okay, we get a idea. The Fenix 5 is a unequivocally costly competition watch. For that price, you’d wish to to lane each activity underneath a sun. Fortunately, it flattering most does that.

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

For a past month I’ve been wearing a Fenix 5S during both workouts and day-to-day life. It’s comparatively small and light, weighing in during usually 2.4 ounces with a silicone band, a lightest of all a Fenix models. The indication we have is white; it also comes in black and teal. Over time a watch physique and silicone tag have started to demeanour dingy, so I’d suggest removing another tone unless we have your heart set on a white watch.

For people meddlesome in a Fenix 5: a 5 and a 5S record a accurate same activities, incompatible usually in size, arrangement resolution, and battery life. (See pic above for a stretch comparison; a 5S is on a left.) Not surprisingly, a Fenix 5S’s smaller stretch equates to shorter battery life. The Fenix 5S is ostensible to final 9 days on a allot in smartwatch mode, and adult to 14 hours in GPS mode; a Fenix 5, on a other hand, will final dual weeks in customary mode and 24 hours in GPS mode. In my knowledge a Fenix 5S lasted closer to a week in smartwatch mode; joined with unchanging GPS workouts, we was looking during charging it around each 5 days.

The 5S has a turn face, a fiber-reinforced polymer body, and a immaculate steel bezel. It’s still sincerely thick, with a distended underside and flashing immature heart rate sensors, though it’s not utterly a sight that is a LG Watch Sport.

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

The symbol on a top right brings we to competition options; a bottom right symbol brings we behind a step in a watch interface and lets we symbol laps. On a left side of a face, there’s a backlight symbol and dual some-more buttons that act as both adult / down buttons and shortcuts to information pages (showing things like daily step count, calories burned, internal weather, altitude, and new notifications). TL;DR: these buttons take time to learn, even with symbol identifiers etched on a bezel.

The 1.1-inch arrangement is a same multicolor, transflective arrangement you’ll find on other newer Garmin watches, though it’s value observant that a Fenix 5S didn’t get a fortitude upgrade. The 5S has a fortitude of 218 x 218 pixels, while a 5 and 5X now have a somewhat aloft fortitude of 240 x 240 pixels.

Okay, so we can see it in sunlight, and there’s not most creation around a display. Let’s speak about what it indeed does. It has GPS, Glonass, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, an altimeter, a barometer, a compass, and built-in heart rate sensors. It annals running, route running, treadmill running, hiking, climbing, cycling, indoor cycling, towering biking, pool swims, open H2O swims, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, triathlons, mount adult paddleboarding, strength training, and more. Also: sleeping.

If your competition isn’t listed as an option, we can emanate a new one — notation by notation regulating a watch’s buttons, that is about as fun as entering in a cue regulating a TV remote — and allot GPS to it. we did a bulk of my Fenix 5S contrast during a weeklong tour to Montana, when we was snowshoeing, downhill skiing, and spasmodic doing other workouts, and we was means to customize a GPS-enabled “Snowshoe” option. The watch’s barometric altimeter also came in accessible that week when we satisfied that a hitch of nausea and crispness of exhale was expected a outcome of climbing past 8,400 feet. Amateur, am we right?

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

That’s a thing that creates a Fenix a Fenix: it doesn’t usually lane your sport, it gives we a crazy volume of granular information around that. Since I’m not a super rival curtain or cyclist, simply removing an accurate reading on outside stretch and gait are adequate for me, along with carrying an easy approach to change information screens while I’m operative out. The 5S delivered that, nonetheless it tended to give regressive readings on non-GPS indoor runs compared with what a treadmill recorded.

Also, while accurate heart rate readings tend to be rough on a wristwatch, in my examination tests on a spin bike, a Fenix 5S generally matched or was within a few beats per notation of a reading from a Polar chest strap. Garmin says it also upped a sampling rate for non-workout heart rate readings on a Fenix 5, that means it’s now reading a information some-more frequently via a day, and in speculation should offer improved readings.

But there are copiousness of other facilities that aptness freaks go nuts for. The new Fenix breaks your workouts down into aerobic vs. anaerobic training zones when you’re done, that is a new feature. Like other competition watches, it gives we a VO2 max estimation; it will also now tell we your stream training standing — possibly you’re overdoing it or possibly we should sight as common — as good as your training bucket over a longer duration of time. You can emanate interlude workouts, and bucket them onto a watch. You can customize a watch’s multisport mode to have it lane fundamentally anything we want.

The one area where we regretfully didn’t get to exam a Fenix 5S was in a pool or ocean, due to a teenager damage that’s done swimming unfeasible. But it is waterproof rated adult to 100 meters, and is ostensible to record lengths, distance, pace, cadence count, and calories burned.

Photo by Lauren Goode / The Verge

As for a flaws, a Fenix 5S has all of a same downsides as prior Garmin competition watches — like a inability to correlate most with notifications, or a less-than-awesome mobile app. This is both maddening, given that Garmin has had years to work on a app and “smart” features, and also excusable when we remember what a demonstrate purpose of a device like this is.

It’s not that a Garmin Connect mobile app is terrible; it runs on roughly all smartphones. And it does openly share information with other renouned health and aptness apps. But there’s small about Garmin Connect that draws me to open it on a unchanging basement aside from syncing a watch. At a finish of a day it still feels like a super-detailed desktop dashboard that’s been dense into a mobile app. There are 10 — 10! — opposite Snapshot pages in a app to appropriate through, arrangement things like daily steps, specific workouts, your weight, your power minutes, and more.

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

The some-more prescriptive recommendation is possibly buried in a app, or happens on a watch itself. For example: there’s an Insights choice in a app that will review your workouts with other Garmin users in your age and gender group, though in sequence to get truly engaging info (like “You tend to record fewer stairs on Fridays” or “You nap 6 hours during a week though 9 on weekends”) we need to go a step over that, drumming on a small “View All Insights” option. Occasionally, a mobile app will send an alert: “You are relocating some-more than a standard Monday.”

While a watch itself gives copiousness of superintendence after heated workouts, it lacks refinement when it comes to day-to-day activity alerts. “Move!” a watchface says when you’ve been sedentary for too long, moving on your wrist. “Move bar cleared!” it says when we get adult and pierce around. Garmin does not chop words. For whatever reason, notwithstanding a crowd of sensors, a watch could not tell a disproportion between sitting down for an hour and holding a yoga category for a same volume of time. “Move!” it would tell me in a center of class.

And for people who caring about onboard music: a Fenix 5 watches still don’t have this. You can control your song from a watch, though we can’t bucket it adult onto a watch itself and run phone-free.

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

The watch also froze adult wholly during one outing, while we was snowshoeing by Yellowstone National Park, and really, unequivocally wanted to record a activity. Exactly 23 mins in, a watch stopped working, with an incoming Slack presentation solidified on a screen. (Guess a watch doesn’t like removing work alerts on vacation, either.) It usually worked again after a tough reset. Garmin pronounced it competence have been an early program glitch, given I’ve been contrast a preproduction watch. I’m prone to trust that was a case, since we didn’t knowledge any other issues after that.

Despite all that, this new Garmin unequivocally good could be a 2017 multisport GPS watch to beat. At $600, this is not a Fitbit or even an Apple Watch; it’s a joining watch. And generally speaking, it’s still a thick, heavy-duty competition watch. But a Fenix’s smaller stretch now allows it to be a small bit some-more aspirational. Someone competence buy this watch not since they’ve already arrived during their aptness peak, though since they wish to. And they competence usually wear it each day, too.

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