Garmin Fenix 5 Review: Fenix Reborn

Garmin Fenix 5

The Garmin Fenix 5 is the long-awaited successor to the Fenix 3 HR, and now comes in three sizes. The smaller Fenix 5S has a 42mm diameter suitable for smaller wrists, while the Fenix 5X is for large wrists with a 51mm diameter case.

The regular Fenix 5 has a sapphire crystal glass face and a 47mm case. It looks bulky but feels comfortable for all-day wear; the silicone strap doesn’t feel sticky, while the back doesn’t feel cold. The buckle loop won’t slip off the strap easily while the QuickFit Bands make swapping straps extremely easy.

The Fenix 5 can capture loads of activity data: it has GPS, GLONASS, accelerometer, gyroscope, barometric altimeter, compass, and a heart-rate monitor built-in. It even connects to Wi-Fi. It records all forms of running, cycling and swimming, and also activities like golfing, skiing, snowboarding, rowing, and paddleboarding. You can define multisport activity by selecting multiple activity profiles. Additionally, the Fenix 5X comes preloaded with topographic maps, routable cycling maps, and over 40,000 golf courses globally, thanks to a generous 12 gigabytes of storage.

Instead of a touchscreen, you use five buttons. Once past the initial learning curve, you will be delighted by the amount of data presented: besides the usual fare, the watch also captures VO2 Max, analyses aerobic and anaerobic fitness effects, and can recommend recovery hours before next training. With water resistance of up to 100 metres you can practically wear it anywhere. The Fenix 5 also supports ANT+ devices so that you can connect monitoring sensors for more precise measurements. The vibration is strong so I never miss any alerts, while the audible beeps are useful during high intensity workouts.

As a smartwatch, the Fenix 5 can do better. The display is relatively dull while notifications are cumbersome to scroll through and you cannot respond directly from the watch. Still, the Garmin Connect IQ app store lets you customise the watch with watch faces, widgets, and data fields where needed. Most impressively, the watch requires only a full charge every two weeks.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Garmin Fenix 5 is a powerful watch to track a wide range of sport activities, though it might be an overkill for users who won’t use the full extent of its features. Despite its size, the Fenix 5 scores high on comfort and encourages me to wear the watch at all times to track my every step.

Price S$899 (S$999 w/ sapphire glass & Wi-Fi)