Garmin Fenix 5
If you are looking for a detailed, comprehensive tool to track your health and physical activity, the Garmin Fenix 5 is the smartwatch to choose. Although this watch tracks basic metrics like heart rate, walking distance, and sleep patterns, it goes beyond the average watch with its multitude of advanced options for tracking and navigating. Garmin has a reputation for its products’ excellence in navigation, which is one of the most helpful features that this watch offers. In addition to health and exercise tracking, the Fenix 5 has maps, a compass, and GPS functionality which could potentially save a life if someone is injured during a workout or stranded in the wilderness.
- Features a clear, full-color LCD display that can be read anywhere, with excellent visibility in a dark room or in bright sunlight
- Offers a range of tracking options for a wide variety of sports and physical activities, as well as customizable workouts and health metrics
- Can be connected to your smartphone to easily read emails, check your calendar, set alarms, and receive notifications at a glance
- Is built with stainless steel and has options for scratch-resistant glass so it will be durable and long-lasting, which makes this smartwatch a good investment
- Errors in the accuracy and tracking of the GPS and altimeter have been reported
- Band must fit snugly to the wrist or there may be errors in heart rate tracking; it may be necessary to buy a separate Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) band for a better reading
- Larger size of the watch may feel too bulky for someone with small wrists
- Magnitude of options could be overwhelming for a casual user
Design and Build Quality
The quality of this watch is unparalleled when compared to other recent smartwatch iterations. It is built to last. Garmin has taken an energetic lifestyle into consideration in their design, so the watch itself is constructed from stainless steel, and the bands are created for wear, durability, and the option to replace them at a low cost when necessary. The Fenix 5 is even water rated up to 100 meters deep. The special Sapphire edition also has a scratch-resistant lens so you never have to worry about accidentally dropping or scraping your watch.
There is a massive amount of options for what you want to see displayed on the watch. The clock function shows the time and date, of course, but also can display a timer, stopwatch, alarm clock, and sunrise/sunset times. The time will adjust based on GPS coordinates and daylight savings time as well.
If you are interested in posting your achievements, seeing how your fitness stacks up against others or tracking progress as a group, this watch has options to share and compare. The LiveTrack program gives your friends the chance to track your fitness activities in real time. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for broadcasting your progress during a race, keeping track of miles for charity, or simply making your old high school friends on Facebook jealous.
Ease of Use
If you are interested in training or exercising at the gym, it is possible to set goals and track your progress towards them. The watch will count reps and laps and has options to track other cardio and strength workouts. You can also download training plans if you are not sure where to start on your fitness journey or if you are looking for something new to try.
Runners can purchase special accessories (like the HRM-Run or the Running Dynamics Pod) and then download the (free) Running Power app to keep track of distance, pace, grade, training history, vertical oscillation, ground contact time, stride length, and more. Hikers and mountaineers can take advantage of Garmin’s advanced GPS and navigation systems, as well as the built-in compass, to ensure that they will never get lost. They can also use the altimeter for measuring elevation and the barometer and thermometer for staying a step ahead of changing weather conditions.
Cyclists can check unique statistics and have the option to purchase separate bike speed and cadence sensors. The Fenix 5 is also compatible with the Varia Rearview Radar, which alerts bikers of vehicles approaching behind, the Varia Smart Bike Lights, and the Varia Vision In-Sight Display, which shows biking stats on a device attached to your bike so it is easier to see while you are on the road.
You may be asking, but what if I am not a runner or a mountain climber? Never fear, nearly every physical activity is trackable with the Fenix 5. If you love the water, you can use this watch to track stats from your swimming, paddle boarding, or rowing workouts, and you can take comfort in knowing that it is water rated up to 100 meters deep. If you are a snow bunny instead, this watch will measure your speed, distance, and vertical drop when you go skiing or snowboarding.
Even golfers and skydivers can use preset measuring tools to assess their techniques and progress. For the most ambitious of athletes, there is even an option for tracking a multisport activity like a triathlon. This watch is also compatible with Garmin’s Alpha 100 or Astro 430, which you can use to track and train sporting dogs. And if these built-ins are still not enough for you, it is simple to create a customized activity tracker as well.
There is also an option to buy a special HRM band, which has emerged as one of the most popular accessories for this watch due to its increased accuracy. Whether you are measuring your beats per minute during workouts or for health reasons, this watch makes it easy to follow your heart.
Runners, walkers, hikers, and bikers might be interested in creating a preset course before setting out on their adventure, and the watch will then guide them along their chosen route. It will display a map, as well as your route, to make exercising simple – and safe.
If you are an off-the-beaten-path kind of person, you can set out without a preset destination. You have the options of using the built-in maps and GPS whenever you want, or you can confidently explore on your own knowing that, if necessary, there is an option to navigate back to the starting point of your activity. You then can choose to trace the same route back, or the Fenix 5 can actually calculate how to return in a straight line if you are injured, tired, or just in a hurry.
The lithium-ion battery of the Fenix 5 is charged through a USB cable, so you can give it some extra life practically anywhere. And if you are concerned about preserving the battery, you have the option to reduce the brightness of the display, pause activity tracking, limit the number of notifications from your smartphone, or turn off the Bluetooth altogether.