/ Garmin Fenix 5 watch range. .

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Renfrew1 - on 12 Sep 2017
Just wondering if anyone has any good/bad experiences with the latest watch range? I think i'll get a good overall usage out of it but the top spec is a lot of money
kathrync - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to Renfrew1:

I have a Fenix 5s - absolutely love it. Assuming by "top spec" you mean the 5x, I can't comment on the navigation functionality as the 5s just has basic breadcrumb navigation and I rarely use it anyway. Mine gets almost daily use and so far I can find very little to fault it - except, as you say, the price!
Renfrew1 - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to kathrync:

That's good to hear! Yeah I was thinking the 5X as i'll be about New Zealand and other places next year and the maps could be a added little bonus.
GarethSL on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to kathrync:

Nice! I had a Microsoft band 2 for some time and it was brilliant apart from dying.

How is the ease of connectivity between phones and computer? One thing I struggled with when using the band was data just would not sync to my phone when I wanted it to. Any issues with the garmin?

Does it require constant updating? And how is it to use? Quick or slow?
kathrync - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to GarethSL:

The watch uses some smart bluetooth protocol to talk to an app on my phone. You can view the data either in the app or using the web page - or sync it to other services like Strava. I usually find that activity data has synced automatically within a couple of minutes of finishing an activity, and although I don't use mine as a daily wearable, when I am wearing it I find that step counts etc seem to update fairly frequently. Most of the sync failures I have experienced are faults with my phone rather than with the watch - I generally find that either restarting bluetooth or rebooting the phone fixes the issue.

Generally, I have found it pretty smooth - far far superior to the my old 310xt. Having said that, my phone invariably has an internet connection. My partner has had some issues syncing his VivoActive when he is offshore without a data connection for protracted periods so this might be worth bearing in mind.
GarethSL on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to kathrync:

Nice, thank you
Renfrew1 - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to GarethSL:

The sapphire versions have Wifi so I believe that every time you step in the house the data is updated without a bluetooth connection needed. I like that idea
yorkshireman - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to Renfrew1:

Obviously you will get the whole spectrum of experiences given a large enough sample size but FWIW here's mine.

I upgraded from a Fenix 2 to the Fenix 5 (the middle one, not the S or X) back in August. I chose that one for a number of reasons.

1. It has the longest battery life of the three
2. It's not TOO expensive
3. The screen is higher res than the 5S

So far its been pretty decent with no lost activities or software glitches. I wear it all day long as an activity tracker as well and it's good having a day-long HR analysis (although I concede it's not as accurate as a chest strap) to see if I'm over training.

I used the notifications from my phone but turned them off as it got annoying. It's useful to have WhatsApp/SMS appear on the watch during long runs though.

I thought I would miss not having a WIFI connection but as others have said the activity is normally synced to my phone, uploaded to Garmin connect and synced to Strava before I've even got my cool down finished, and I would want it syncing to the app anyway as connecting to wifi in non-home locations would be a ball ache.

Maps would be cool but I think I'd be nervous of putting all my navigation faith into the watch - the breadcrumb trail feature is good enough to use with a map for new runs.

I like the quick release bracelet too - so I can switch between a skanky running bracelet and a normal everyday one.

The battery is pretty decent - I recently ran the CCC and the watch was down to 50% by the time I hit Champex-Lac at 56km and 11 hours in so a bit less than the predicted 24 hours pro rata. I did have HR running. I topped it up for good measure for about 15 minutes and it finished the race with plenty to spare (in 22 hours).

I tested ultra-trac at home (which is meant to give around 50 hours battery) but wasn't impressed with the accuracy of the recorded GPS. The watch is meant to use the internal accelerometer to fill in the gaps but I didn't see much evidence of that. Just one test so far though.

Its much quicker at picking up a satellite signal than my old Garmin which is great when you're stood around in the freezing cold waiting for it to lock on.

Hope that helps.
kathrync - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to yorkshireman:

> I tested ultra-trac at home (which is meant to give around 50 hours battery) but wasn't impressed with the accuracy of the recorded GPS. The watch is meant to use the internal accelerometer to fill in the gaps but I didn't see much evidence of that. Just one test so far though.

Yes, I have used UltraTrac over long weekend backpacking trips. I did get three full hill days out of the watch without recharging it, but the accuracy was not great. Given that I tend to take a battery pack out with me anyway I just run the watch in normal GPS mode and recharge it now. Having said that, UltraTrac is probably better than nothing if you really do need to eke the battery life out.

Also agree on not missing the wifi option.

Dave B on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to kathrync:

Thanks all,

Useful info for me as well. I'm tempted by the standard 5, just to get on wrist HR... Tts the one thing I;d really like on my Suunto... But i do like the barometric altimeter it has, which the Suunto HR ones don't...

I still like the chest strap for bike etc.... Out of interest does anyone know whether when synching with the Suunto Bluetooth chest strap it will do the clever stuff with HR after the event for swimming???


dougair on 14 Sep 2017
In reply to kathrync: do you have the sapphire or standard 5S. I'm seriously thinking about getting one but not sure if the sapphire is worth the extra? I'm generally careful with my watches but at the same time do I want to worry about scratching it?! Also is the wifi on the sapphire more useful than using Bluetooth? Interested in thoughts. Thanks.

Dave B on 14 Sep 2017
In reply to dougair:

Broair screen protector. Had one on my suunto for months, kept it nice and clear. Can chuck it is it does get scratches. Stayed on with lots of sea swims, surf sessions etc.

Recommended on flat glass screens

Not recommended on a tomtom runner... It has curved screen, so didn't stay on at all..

RR on 14 Sep 2017
In reply to Dave B:
BROTECT AirGlass Flexible Glass Protector?
Post edited at 20:49
Dave B on 14 Sep 2017
In reply to RR:

That'll be the one...
dougair on 14 Sep 2017
In reply to Dave B:
Cheers Dave.
Post edited at 23:17
Renfrew1 - on 15 Sep 2017
In reply to Dave B:

Looks good! That's the one thing i'm still stuck on as I don't intend to take it off climbing etc so i would like the screen protected. For some reason I never thought about getting a watch screen protector! Worth a thought
kathrync - on 15 Sep 2017
In reply to dougair:

> do you have the sapphire or standard 5S. I'm seriously thinking about getting one but not sure if the sapphire is worth the extra? I'm generally careful with my watches but at the same time do I want to worry about scratching it?! Also is the wifi on the sapphire more useful than using Bluetooth? Interested in thoughts. Thanks.

I have the standard. It was already more than I was intending on spending so getting the sapphire seemed like too much of an indulgence! Can't comment on the sapphire screen. I haven't scratched mine yet, but I haven't worn it climbing. For me, Bluetooth is more useful but that's because I travel a lot for work and often sync from places other than my home network so that wasn't really a consideration for me.
Kermi - on 15 Sep 2017
In reply to Renfrew1:
Hello All - I have the 5x and this is my first Garmin/GPS watch. So far I am really impressed. I don't have any experience to fall back on regarding other GPS watches or any of the previous Garmin range. I do however use the Garmin GPSMap 62st as my outdoor navigation device and a Suunto Core. There were a number of reasons I went for the 5x. Mainly I wanted a cycle GPS device and an upgraded activity tracker to replace my FitBit Flex. The 5x came along at the right time (pun?).

For serious navigation I will continue to use map and compass (and 62st) but for impromptu/"known" navigation/tracking the 5x works really well. I was wondering how they would handle zoom/pan on a small screen but I have to say they seem to have nailed it. I have plotted routes/courses with ease.

For well trodden paths (hikes/walks) I would also be very happy to just use the 5x. For cycling it is now my main navigation device and activity tracker (paired with a heart chest strap). The fenix 5x is attached to my handlebars using the Garmin handlebar watch mount.

The Live Track and Group Track also work well but for the latter you need to be with other people who have bought into Garmin products. My wife uses an Edge 820 on her bike and we find it useful when we have differing paces on our rides.

The sapphire glass is bullet proof. If you tend to be clumsy then I would definitely recommend it. I did baulk at the price but I managed to get a 10% discount at Cotswold which made an expensive watch slightly less expensive!

I have been in contact with Garmin support as there were/are 2 issues which frustrated me. I set an alarm on the watch and when I synced with Garmin Connect on the mobile the alarm was overwritten/deleted. You have to set the alarm in Garmin Connect! Hopefully they will resolve this in an app/firmware update. I had the same issue with the "Move" activity tracking setting. It need to be set on the app to stick.

Also, if you are looking for something to take into the hills there is one other 'issue'. The included TOPO maps have contour lines in North America. The European maps are missing the contour lines. This is quite a large oversight/issue for such an expensive device but it can be remedied by adding the map from 'Talky Toaster'. Hopefully Garmin will release/add the proper TOPO map at a later date for Europe.

For me I give the device (5x) a strong 8/10 and if they could resolve the Garmin Connect sync issue and the TOPO map for Europe I would go for 10/10.
Post edited at 10:37
Renfrew1 - on 15 Sep 2017
In reply to Kermi:

Brilliant to hear from someone with the 5X so thanks for your input! Out of curiosity does the 'Talky Toaster' option work well?
Kermi - on 15 Sep 2017
In reply to Renfrew1:

Yes - There is a good review here of how to update the fenix 5x with the TalkyToaster map -

https://talkytoaster.me.uk/fenix-5x-gps-watch-review/

The actual review was done by a YouTuber called "ActiveJR".

As with other Garmin devices you can enable/disable the map combinations as required. What is very nice with the 5x is that you can customise the activity profiles and change the map settings on a "per profile" basis. This means that you can disable the TOPO map if you are out at sea (paddle board/open water swimming etc) and only enable the TOPO map when in Hike/Walk mode. It saves having to manually change the settings each time you do a different activity.

neuromancer - on 15 Sep 2017
In reply to Renfrew1:

I have a sapphire 3 and no protector. Forgot I had it on and shoved it in some granite hand jams in the Alps.

The screens are bulletproof. The front casing, however, will get scratched to shit if you take it climbing.

Up to you, but I only take it alpine climbing for altitude etc.
Dauphin on 15 Sep 2017
In reply to Renfrew1:

If you are on a budget - Three Series Fenix is good value if you shop around - still getting firmware updates on mine. Best GPS watch - sports monitor I've owned.

D
JWTM - on 15 Sep 2017
In reply to Renfrew1:

I'm on a 5x and pretty impressed so far. Have used Garmin for over 10 years and this is their best by far (and a lot less buggy now they're allowing third party apps). My old 610 used to die on longer ultras if I didn't start with 100% charge (I probably should have run quicker!) but battery life on this and charge time are both really good.

Have been pleasantly surprised by the mapping quality which I thought was going to be a bit gimmicky. The steel bevel actually protects the screen quite well as it seems to be the bit that takes the scratches despite using it for all sorts outdoors (just back in from a scrambly day out above Chamonix). My only gripes would be the climb function can go a bit haywire as it appears to try to add horizontal distance to the vertical (probably an easy fix for them but not a priority) and the massive price tag...
dougair on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to kathrync:

Thanks Kathryn, good to know. I can get 10% off with AC discount but even sonthe sapphire seems a lot more. From your experience it sounds like to standard will be just fine for me. Still expensive but not so bad. Time to upgrade my Ti Observer!

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