453 responses

  1. Shaun
    November 3, 2013

    Hi DC Rainmaker.
    Thanks for a great blog. I notice the Fenix only supports the IOS basecamp app and has no direct compatibility with Android. Do you know if there are any plans to make the Fenix compatible with future Android devices which support Bluetooth 4.0 LE like the latest iphones?

    Thanks,
    Shaun

    Reply

    • José Afonso Santos
      December 25, 2013

      With Android you can have raw access to the full Fenix file system if you have an OTG capable android & USB cable. Good for backing up your tracks, not much else.

      Reply

  2. MrPootch
    November 3, 2013

    I was a happy Garmin customer for over 7 years. Now I start to hate Garmin! This product shouldn’t be sold. The list it long:

    – Speed is useless as it jumps up and down at constant speed
    – distance is always different fora the same course
    – takes ages to find satellites
    – keeps adding distance while standing still
    – stops in auto stop mode while walking…
    – and most interesting: Skips a second every ten seconds in GPS mode. The timing is still correct but it drives me crazy ti the the seconds go like 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10…

    Reply

    • Rainmaker
      November 3, 2013

      Many of those sound like you might want to simply do a soft reset on the unit to clear up any satellite issues. Also, have you tried calling Garmin customer support?

      As for distance – GPS tends to be accurate within 1-2%, so you’re going to see variance on the same course, no matter which unit you have.

      For auto stop, you can configure the threshold so it’s higher. It’s really designed more for running than walking, thus you’ll want to change the defaults.

      Reply

  3. MrPootch
    November 4, 2013

    Thx Ray.

    I did it all! Soft reset, contacted Garmin, got a new watch… the issues remain the same!

    You are right about the threshold for auto stop, but it also stops many times because of no satellite connection where my FR210 always had a connection… one can’t fix that.

    And the accuracy is within the 10-20% range, not within 1-2%! E.g. my standard loop of 12k can be anything from 11-13 k. The course recorded is always off the actual track I run. Into the Marathon in Frankfurt last week it showed 6k at the 5k marker…

    As mentioned the list is long: When using trackback or fit history e.g. it almost always hangs.

    Most funny “feature”: I coupled a new HR monitor. The watch told me “multiple sensors found”. And this message popped up within a split second over and over again so one couldn’t use the watch any longer without resetting it…

    Impressed with what I read in your Ambit 2 review. The video where it has satellite within no time is like a dream comes true for a Fenix user! Garmin is fooling their users as the graph indicates the connection is almost their just to drop back the next second. And again, and again…

    What about the missing seconds? Did you experience the same? Drives me crazy looking at the watch thinking it is standing still just to skip a second the next moment to make up the time again. Maybe the unit is so busy using it’s processor that it can’t display the time correctly. Not display correctly, the measuring is still correct though…

    Reply

  4. Ent
    November 11, 2013

    Top review. I have been using one for a year and found the following.

    1. Case leaks (first one sent back second one as bad)
    2. Compass accuracy so poor to be dangerous!!!!! This is common Garmin fault that hardly gets mentioned.
    3. Battery life extremely variable.
    4. Can run OSM mapping data one it that does make it handy for following tracks when bushwalking.

    Flawed unit that is a handy toy but not a tool.

    Cheers

    Reply

  5. Michael
    November 13, 2013

    I agree with your comment about Garmin needing to collaborate with it’s Forerunner team. I’m mainly a distance runner, but also like to hike and enjoy the outdoors. I owned a fēnix for about 6 months and found it so confusing in some of it’s setup, operation, and handshakes with programs like Basecamp, that I finally just sold it recently. I don’t doubt it can do a lot, but I can’t spend weeks learning it’s functions just for basic display and recording and sharing various route data. I’m also very surprised for the price technical savvy of Garmin, that it doesn’t have some features like wi-fi or a higher resolution color screen. Some of these device’s displays still look like calculators from the 1970’s. That being said, Iove that Garmin is branching out with some activity-specific devices such as the fēnix, tactix, and quatix. Great review! I can’t imagine how long it must take you to write a single one of these, and you have lists of them!

    Reply

  6. jim cyr
    November 16, 2013

    Funny, I would have assumed by now a year later that they would have added Bluetooth support for the HR strap. Which is too bad as you can see now the new devices coming out are all about bluetooth.

    Reply

  7. Chris
    November 25, 2013

    I’m a woman with a small wrist. I so wanted the Ambit 2S for Ultras, bc skiing, and paddling, hiking, exploring. Just too big and bulky and took a toll (carpal tunnel sort of symptoms) after a few weeks, so had to return it. Tried using a cloth band underneath. Sadly, still no go.

    I’m wondering whether the comfort band on the Fenix might help in enabling a more comfortable fit. I believe this band was available on a Garmin I had years ago, and that worked well.

    It would be most helpful if reviews could include comfort level for small wrists … on-the-run-over-a-span-of-time kind of use. Otherwise, wow, you sure covered it, dc. Many thanks.

    Reply

  8. Brian
    November 29, 2013

    Thanks for the great review as always. Am I not remembering though that “creating workouts” was added to the Fenix? Maybe I am just thinking of the Suunto Ambit?

    Reply

    • Rainmaker
      November 29, 2013

      No, neither unit has that functionality.

      Reply

  9. richard.h
    December 1, 2013

    may i ask does anyone know how can i export a google map kml file into a gpx file then send it into my garmin fenix in order to navigate it in my watch?

    Reply

  10. Leg
    December 5, 2013

    Hi new firmware, am I wrong or this way it starts to be interesting also for a runner?

    Fenix 4.01 Beta Software

    To download the beta software go to this link: ( not available via WebUpdater )
    link to www8.garmin.com…ls.jsp?id=6137

    Changes made from version 4.00 to 4.01:
    Added ability to determine speed, distance, cadence and steps in Indoor mode (when no Foot Pod is present). Enable in Setup > System > GPS Mode > Indoor. Auto calibration occurs in Normal GPS Mode when FIT Activity is set to Running
    Added a ‘Ski-Snowboard’ profile. Select this profile to enable a new alpine/downhill ski and snowboard experience
    Added support for Smart Notifications. Note: the Apple Notification Center Service (ANCS) feature requires an Apple iPhone equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology and iOS 7 or later. Enable in Setup > Bluetooth
    Added support for Interval Workouts. Enable in Setup > Menu > Add Page > Workouts
    Added support for Workouts loaded from Garmin Connect (garminconnect.com)
    Issues with this beta software may be reported to fenix@garmin.com

    Reply

  11. pston
    December 7, 2013

    I am glad for this new feature:
    to determine speed, distance, cadence and steps in Indoor mode (when no Foot Pod is present). Enable in Setup > System > GPS Mode > Indoor. Auto calibration occurs in Normal GPS Mode when FIT Activity is set to Running
    BUT…
    How do I save my Fitness data? I also have the HeartBeat strap. But although it does say it saves, no info shows up…

    Wil there be an updated MANUAL soon?
    This gets very frustrating. I am about to give up on fenix.

    PsTon

    Reply

    • Rainmaker
      December 7, 2013

      That all sounds correct.

      When you say no info shows up, do you mean on the unit, or online? Meaning, if you plug your Fenix into your computer and head over to Garmin Connect (connect.garmin.com) and click Upload, does it find activities?

      Or, within the unit, if you go into the track history, does it show up there?

      Reply

  12. Pston
    December 8, 2013

    In the unit….

    After 3 hours indoor training, for example, after pushing the stop button, i see it saves somerhing, very fast saving, split second. But reading my fitness record back on my watch it gives only a few seconds and 1 calorie instead of the hundreds I burned…

    Reply

  13. John Bergquist
    December 16, 2013

    Ray, something occured to me this weekend…any reason that the Fenix couldn’t replace the 910XT as a next multisport watch? It has all the right internals, right?

    Reply

    • Rainmaker
      December 16, 2013

      Technically likely. But realistically it’s from an entirely different product group within the company.

      Reply

  14. José Afonso Santos
    December 25, 2013

    I have been able to upload/download tracks & waypoints on the move from/to the Fenix to/from the cloud using BaseCamp mobile 2.0 iOS app running on an iPad mini retina.
    But the procedure if far from “intuitive” …
    1) get online on the iOS device (I have to use WiFi tethering from my Android smartphone because I have the wifi only version of iPad mini)
    2) pair/link the fenix and your iOS BT40 device as usual.
    3) once you see your fenix resident tracks & waypoints listed on the basecamp mobile’s “device” tab then do “edit” the one that you want to upload but the, instead of renaming it, just tap “COPY” !… No questions are asked (copy to where? with what name? etc) nor any confirmation of transfer success is given but… then you go to your “My colecction” tab and that item you just “COPY”ed is there allready !

    To load an item (track/waypoint) from your myGarmin cloud collection into the fenix you just have to “EDIT”+”COPY” that item from the “My collection” tab and it will show up on fenix “My device” tab.

    At least now I have a method to clear up the log memory of my fenix before I return home to a PC with full BaseCamp sofware.

    Reply

  15. Brian
    December 30, 2013

    Is there an auto scroll feature for data pages? I don’t see anything in the manual about it.

    Reply

  16. Brian
    December 31, 2013

    I just got my Fenix and I’d like to post a few comments:

    I upgraded from a 3+ year old 405, and my wife has a 110 and a 220 that I just got her a week ago.

    On the Fenix:

    Love:
    real buttons vs the 405s bezel
    customizable menus/settings
    Tempe sensor
    True Altimeter
    Waterpoofing and general “ruggedness” vs Forerunner series
    with the 4.02 beta update, will do “just about” (see below) everything my 405 does running-wise

    Don’t love:
    Menus are complicated, but once they’re customized it’s not so bad
    Size is fine for me but it’s huge on a woman’s wrist

    Hate:
    I knew this going in but it is extremely frustrating that the only way to wirelessly upload activities is through an iOS device with BT 4.0. Wife and I both have iPhones 4 and an iPad 2, so totally out of luck there. That’s fine for that, but why no ANT+ upload ability???? It has the internals for this obviously, so it would seem to be an easy add? It is unbelievable that this new device won’t do something as simple as my old 405 (and FR60) does so well (ANT+ upload/download). Instead I am left having to plug in everytime I upload an activity, which I am convinced will affect my battery life in the long run (constant charging of just a little bit repeatedly). Please Garmin, PLEASE add ANT+ uploads in a future update (and add it to the new 220 while you’re at it).
    DC – Could the Wahoo guys potentially add this like they did with the FR60 and 910xt?

    Thanks for the detailed review and I got both my Fenix and 220 through Clever Training. No complaints with their service, thanks!

    Reply

  17. durinVIII
    January 2, 2014

    i’m looking for something or someway or someingeneral to connect with android phone…

    Reply

    • Rainmaker
      January 2, 2014

      Unfortunately, Fenix doesn’t yet connect to Android.

      Reply

    • durinVIII
      January 7, 2014

      no, the problem is this: garmin didn’t develop nothing for android becouse thersn’t system ready for bluetooth 4 (BLE) but NOW thers a lot of devices ready!

      Reply

    • José Afonso Santos
      January 8, 2014

      Full (wired) file system access is possible on those androids that support OTG USB cables.

      link to forums.watchuseek.com

      Reply

    • Rainmaker
      January 10, 2014

      Just to clarify Durin, but you’re incorrect. The Fenix uses Bluetooth Smart to transmit to iOS devices just fine – and in fact, is even doing iOS notifications.

      On the Android side, Garmin hasn’t yet released the Android app for it. Thus, Fenix can’t connect to something that doesn’t exist.

      Reply

  18. Graziano
    January 3, 2014

    Is it possible to charge the Fenix during a long trail using a portable USB battery like this
    link to powerseed.it . During the charge the Fenix will continue to work ?

    Reply

    • Afonso Santos
      January 8, 2014

      Yes it is. I tried it today.
      The GPS keeps running, the batery keeps charging, unplugging the power pack does not disrupt the track loging nor removing the watch from its craddle.
      I run the cradle cabble inside the sleeve and stashed the batery pack in an inside pocket, but wearing this combo is quite awkward and unconfortable (because of the craddle protuberances), and pressing/using the orange button becomes more dificult..

      Reply

  19. sid
    January 5, 2014

    Hy all.
    Can someone tell me what is the internal storage of Garmin 910, Suunto Ambit2, Garmin fenix?? How many workouts and how long recordings can be stored??
    I love everything about Ambit, but i read somewhere that it can record only 15h of activity with 1s gps fix?
    This is defenetly not for 2-3 day hiking trip or some ultraTrail…..The battery really dont matter, cuz you can charge it with mini AA USB charger, but memory….
    Need to make a decision soon between this watches , but I cant find any information about 910xt an Fenix?? How many hours can be recordet(1s interval)??

    60s GPS interval is useles for running….

    Reply

  20. Allan Tan
    January 5, 2014

    Hi Sid – Re. Fenix Max Storage: I have loaded up a race organiser’s 200km Alpine ultra route (sorry can’t remember what the intervals were). Memory was not a problem when uploaded as a single route, but the Fenix slowed to a terrible crawl making it impossible to follow the route (might even have been some resets/crashes). When split up into 4 files it ran ok. So, I suspect you’ll hit this laggy processing limit before you reach your storage limit. Suggest you split your tracks when hiking.

    Reply

  21. sid
    January 6, 2014

    Hy Allan, thanks for replay.
    But we are not talking about the same thing here.
    I want to know how many hours of workout can be recordet on the Fenex, before it runs out of memory?
    Lets say that you go run some ultra distance and you will be runnig for 30h. When you have gps recordnig interval set to 1second, your battery will last for about 18h. You can charge the watch on-field,during the run, no problem.
    The problem is memory.
    I own Ambit now,and the memory gets full after 16-18h….so does the battery…Even if i charge it, it has no memory left..
    I hope you understand what Im asking 😛

    Reply

    • Rainmaker
      January 6, 2014

      The unit has 20MB of memory. A typical 1hr track file is in the range of about 20-100KB. Thus, for each 1MB you’d get at worst 10 hours. So with 20*10 = 200 hours on the low end, or about 1,000hrs on teh high end. Roughly. Ambit this is not.

      Reply

  22. cesar scrambone
    January 7, 2014

    guys, is that a way to delete the fithistory from fenix all the runnings togheter? i couldt find a way… i know how to delete one to one, but i couldnt find the function to delete all of them.

    regards

    Reply

    • Rainmaker
      January 10, 2014

      You could plug it in and just delete them using the file system.

      Reply

  23. David
    January 9, 2014

    Hiya, the Fenix has been out for more than a year now and has seen several upgrades. Have the upgrades made the watch more stable or do people still experience the crashes? Thanks a lot, David.

    Reply

    • José Afonso Santos
      January 13, 2014

      The crashes I had (and still have destipe being fully firmware updated at all times) are not due to any software related problem: they are caused by excessive batery drain when the watch is logging a track at maximum rate (1hz) and then an alarm goes off triggering the vibration motor, the buzzer and the light at the same time. If I have less than 50% BAT remaining this is guaranteed to crash my watch (and cut/ruin the track log).^
      Basicaly I had to give up using altitude warnings, proximity warnings, time to sunset warnings, etc whenever I am logging a track at max resolution. It is a shame but I still love and use my fenix for most of my outdoor activities.

      Reply

  24. Brian
    January 18, 2014

    Jose – How did you configure it to turn on the light on notifications? I havent been able to do that for autolap, I am running 4.05.

    Reply

    • José Afonso Santos
      January 18, 2014

      Setup/Display/Backlight/Autolight = {Off|After Sunset|Always}

      Reply

    • Kevin Doyle
      January 20, 2014

      Does that put the backlight on permanently/permantly after sunset or just when a notification pops up?

      Reply

  25. Brian
    January 24, 2014

    Kevin – Jose’s comment suggestion worked for me. It appears to only turn the backlight on during “dark” hours “after sunset” whenever a button is pressed or if any sort of notification comes on-screen.

    Reply

    • Kevin Doyle
      January 30, 2014

      Thanks for that – i’ll try it out on my run home from work tonight.

      Reply

  26. TrailrunnerUSA
    January 25, 2014

    Hey Ray, thanks for your amazingly helpful reviews. I’m primarily a trail runner and been doing some research before buying the fenix and out of all places, your site was the most helpful in deciding what to buy. I started with a long trail running thread at Garmin and learned about your site there. Here’s my feedback on your site: link to forums.garmin.com!!!&p=250887#post250887

    I’m waiting until the Android Garmin app is released to work w/ fenix and also that Garmin confirms bt smart sensor compatibility. Was really impressed w/ your comparison matrix, I learned that Polar V800 would be an option for me if Garmin decides not support bt sensors. I’m looking forward to using your links for my future purchase.

    Reply

  27. Garfield Southall
    February 1, 2014

    Came across an annoying bug with the fenix last week. I switched on auto-lap for the first time, and then followed a route on the map screen, zoomed out to 80 yards. After a short while the scale of the map kept reducing until it was too small to follow. I use this feature a lot and it has never done this before, and the auto-lap was the only setting I changed. I’m out again tomorrow and will turn auto-lap off.

    How best do I report bugs to Garmin ?

    Thanks again for a great blog and community!

    Garfield

    Reply

    • Rainmaker
      February 1, 2014

      Generally speaking, you can report bugs with the beta firmware to fenix@garmin.com – If you’re not on the beta firmware, I suspect they’ll still take your bugs too there.

      Beta firmware notes: link to www8.garmin.com

      Reply

  28. Garfield Southall
    February 9, 2014

    Hi folks,
    Here is a problem with the fenix i’ve been trying to sort for ages…
    On both my previous Foretreks I could see the distance to the next Waypoint (usually a checkpoint or similar). From here to that waypoint would be the track points that define the route. But on the fenix the NEXTDEST etc all point to the next track point, not waypoint. Any idea what’s happening here?

    Here is a snippet of a GPX file which works fine on the other devices :-

    [L] DW002
    [L] DW002

    Flag
    Waypoint

    [L] DW003
    [L] DW003

    Flag
    Waypoint

    Thanks.

    Reply

    • Garfield Southall
      February 9, 2014

      Sorry, that didn’t work with the xml tags. here it is without the

      rtept lat=”53.29704″ lon=”-2.62504″>
      name>[L] DW002 /name>
      cmt>[L] DW002 /cmt>
      desc> /desc>
      sym>Flag /sym>
      type>Waypoint /type>
      /rtept>

      rtept lat=”53.29654″ lon=”-2.62781″ /
      rtept lat=”53.29340″ lon=”-2.62805″ /
      rtept lat=”53.29105″ lon=”-2.62809″ /
      rtept lat=”53.28588″ lon=”-2.62540″ /
      rtept lat=”53.28706″ lon=”-2.62376″ /
      rtept lat=”53.28775″ lon=”-2.62149″
      name>[L] DW003 /name
      cmt>[L] DW003 /cmt
      desc> /desc
      sym>Flag /syn
      type>Waypoint /type
      /rtept

      Reply

  29. Rainmaker
    February 21, 2014

    Hi All-

    A heads up that effective immediately, the Garmin Fenix has dropped price by $100 to $299, from Clever Training. With the HR strap, it’s $349. Note that it doesn’t qualify for the 10% DCR coupon since it’s considered clearance (yes, that’s correct), however, it does qualify for free US shipping.

    Link that supports the site: link to shareasale.com

    Note that the Fenix1 does include the Bluetooth Smart integration (i.e. upload and I’ve also confirmed Live Tracking as well), as well as now the ability to get pace indoors without a foot pod. It won’t however get any of the swim/power meter features that you see on the Fenix2. It will get though any of the Fenix1/Tactix beta features converted to a production release likely around the Fenix2 release timeframe (March, roughly).

    Anyway, good deal for folks that were in the market for a Fenix watch but don’t need the swim/power meter features of the Fenix2.

    Cheers-
    Ray

    Reply

    • cody
      March 7, 2014

      So will the running dynamics part of the Fenix 2 be updated in Fenix?

      Reply

    • Rainmaker
      March 7, 2014

      No, it’s not being back ported.

      Reply

    • Bart Bouse
      March 7, 2014

      I know you share some loyalties to companies because they allow you test test products prior to launch. However, are you able to tell us if this is not being back ported based on a real and quantifiable hardware limitation or simply a marketing decision.

      Reply

    • Rainmaker
      March 7, 2014

      It’s a mix. It sounds like there are some minor hardware changes that are preventing them from going to Fenix1/Tactix. And then some are simply marketing based. Of course, there are a lot of items that are coming, such as the mobile items like Live Tracking.

      Reply

    • Patrick
      March 10, 2014

      Will the auto multisport function and the ability to build and load workouts be added to the Fenix1? I use and Edge 500 for the cycling portion of my triathlons but would like something for the overall time and for run training when my 310XT dies.

      Thanks for all the great reviews.
      Patrick

      Reply

    • Rainmaker
      March 10, 2014

      No, it won’t be coming back down to the Fenix1 (the multisport). Though, workout creation is there.

      Reply

    • Kris
      March 15, 2014

      Ray – thanks for your awesome and insightful reviews. I just purchased a Fenix a month ago, and it’s still returnable, so I’m debating getting the Fenix 2.

      What exactly is the hardware difference between the Fenix and Fenix 2? Is it faster, have more memory, etc? Or is it essentially the exact same hardware?

      Thanks!

      Reply

    • Rainmaker
      March 15, 2014

      There were two tiny hardware changes made between the Fenix1/Tactix and the Fenix2. The first, most obvious, is the button layout. The second however, was a change to the accelerometer to be able to get (more) accurate swim data than if they had stuck with the sensors in the Fenix1/Tactix.

      Reply

    • JJ Li
      March 21, 2014

      Will the Fenix 1 get the ability to acquire satellite data from bluetooth to speed up satellite lock just like with the Fenix 2?

      Reply

    • Rainmaker
      March 21, 2014

      Yes, it is in the latest Fenix1/Tactix beta.

      Reply

    • JJ Li
      March 21, 2014

      Thanks for the response.

      My main purpose is to use the Fenix to record a GPX tracklog at a 1 second interval for geotagging and documentational purposes. Is there something that the Fenix 2 can do that the Fenix 1 can’t? I read your review and it doesn’t seem like there are any hardware differences so I’m not sure whether I can justify the expense of the Fenix 2. I just want to ask before I make the purchase. I don’t want to deal with exchanges later.

      Thank you.

      Reply

    • JJ Li
      March 21, 2014

      Sorry, I just want to clarify my comment. I meant to ask for my purpose, is there something that the Fenix 2 can do that the Fenix 1 can’t?

      I know the differences in terms of sports. It would be great if you can also address any differences in terms of geocaching and tracklog.

      Thank you.

      Reply

    • Rainmaker
      March 21, 2014

      For non-sport purposes, it’s basically the same. No shifts outside of that.

      Reply

    • JJ Li
      March 21, 2014

      Awesome! Thanks for the response!

      One final thing and that is when do you think the current beta firmware will become final? Is the current beta firmware stable enough for day to day use? If I do use the latest stable firmware, then I won’t have the ability to preload the watch with satellite data.

      Reply

    • Rainmaker
      March 21, 2014

      I’d expect over the course of the next month or two they’ll finalize everything. I suspect they’ll be taking in any unexpected bugs on the Fenix2 side, and basically working to sim-update the Fenix/Fenix2/Tactix/D2/etc firmware at once on those corrections.

      Many people are using the beta firmware without issue. You can revert back if need be.

      Reply

    • Robin
      March 28, 2014

      Hi Ray,
      Great review and lots of information.
      I’m trying to choose between fenix and fenix2. I’m no swimmer, I will be using it running, hiking and biking.
      Is there any difference in the interface and possibilities with iPhone (5) between fenix and fenix2?

      Thanks, Robin

      Reply

    • Rainmaker
      March 28, 2014

      The vast majority of the changes related to multisport mode and swimming. For cycling, if you’re not using a power meter there will be less differences.

      The Fenix1 will connect to the iPhone app, and will do live tracking and workload upload, but not sending of courses (or at least, it’s not supposed to).

      Reply

  30. Cory
    March 11, 2014

    Hi Ray, I’m a runner. I’m considering the FR620, Fenix, and Fenix2. I want Bluetooth upload run capability to my iPhone & iPad, a good battery life, and a waterproof watch. I don’t care about swimming, and cycling metrics. And, I’d like to have Live Tracking and Ant+ HR on at the same time.

    Is the FR620 best for just a runner? How long is it’s battery life at 1s GPS intervals? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Rainmaker
      March 11, 2014

      Given you want dual ANT+ and Live Tracking, the FR220 or FR620 are really your only choices. Both get battery life of about 10hrs. And both are really just aimed at runners, no cycling stuff yet.

      Reply

  31. Gabe Raff
    March 12, 2014

    Thanks for taking the time to answer these comments, it’s really helpful. I’m a runner, begging cyclist and doing my first triathlon in a few months. My 410 has run its course and I’m looking for an upgrade. I’m not a pro, but do love the insight and fun the gadgets provide. Basically I’m trying to decide between the 620 and the Fenix2, both are the same price. I don’t have a powermeter, but would want to use it for cycling too.

    Any advice?

    Reply

    • Rainmaker
      March 12, 2014

      If you’re doing tri’s, then the Fenix2 is a better bet, since the FR620 doesn’t have any swim metrics (pool or openwater).

      However, if you’re just going to use it for run/bike, and not with a power meter – than the FR620 with the planned spring update to bring cycling functionality might be a better option. Hard to say at this point.

      Reply

  32. Gabe Raff
    March 12, 2014

    Thanks. I’m not sure if I’ll love the tri’s or not, but seems like the Fenix 2 is the better bet. Maybe I missed it, but I don’t know if there was anything in the 620 that wasn’t in the Fenix 2, aside from the size. Am I correct? So many features to keep track of!

    Reply

    • Rainmaker
      March 12, 2014

      Check out the Fenix2 post a bit more on differences with the FR620, lots of discussion in the comments. Core item is that the FR620 can support ANT+ (sensors) and Bluetooth (thus live tracking) at the same time, whereas the Fenix2 can’t.

      Reply

  33. Kevin Muldoon
    March 12, 2014

    First off. Thanks for the great review. Over the last six months, I think I’ve read every review and comment of from this blog from the last two years.

    I actually wrote about DCRainmaker here and here as an example to inspiring bloggers on how you develop a great blog with a loyal readership :)

    I managed to pick up a mint condition Garmin Fenix last week for £130. At the time, I had been swaying between the Garmin 310XT, Garmin 910XT, Garmin 220 and Bytron Cardio 60. I jumped at the chance of getting the Fenix so cheap.

    I had problems with it the first few days with not locating a GPS signal. It kept giving the message “Updating GPS Firmware”, which made it a pain going through menus as the message would show every few seconds. I was trying to resolve the issue at 2am in the morning so didn’t want to go outside to get a signal. I resolved the issue by deleting the file in the RemoteSW folder and then running the Garmin WebInstaller program. After deleting the file, the installer told me that I had to install the file. Doing so resolved the problem, so I imagine my file had got corrupted in some way. I read somewhere else that this can be resolved by standing outside and getting a signal (something to try if you are having the same problem).

    I am currently using version 4.14 beta. The interval option works great. I added my interval routine via Garmin Connect and it transferred the training routine to the Fenix instantly via USB.

    The lack of interval training is what first discouraged me from getting the Fenix as I was mainly using it for running. The 4.01 update last year added interval training, so I think the Fenix is a great option for anyone who is looking for a versatile running or triathlon watch. I do a lot of hiking in the summer so I was pleased to get a watch that also has many hiking and navigation features such as an altimeter, compass etc.

    I have found that the vibration alert for intervals does not seem to be working. Vibration and tone alerts seem to be working fine during regular tracking, but it did not vibrate every mile when doing intervals. I have looked at all the menus and cannot see an option to add it for intervals; therefore this could be a bug. There have been over a dozen software updates over the last few months, so if this is a bug, I suspect it will be addressed in a future version (so I’m not too concerned about it).

    Today, I unfortunately experienced a big problem with the watch. Me and my friend were doing a slow-paced nine mile run. He was tracking the run using his Timex triathlon GPS watch and I was using the fenix. Everything seemed to be working perfectly, however at around 4.87 miles, it stopped tracking. I only noticed this at around mile seven when I realised it hadn’t vibrated for a while.

    I had not touched any buttons during that time. From what many people are saying online (including Ray), if the GPS signal is lost, tracking will simply stop. This would not have been as much of an issue if it beeped or vibrated when it happened. Unfortunately, it did not.

    My hope is that this is a software issue, which means that the issue can be corrected in a future update. However, comment 41 by Ray above mentions this issue and that comment was published in October 2012. This makes me wonder why it has not been fixed until now as it is a very big problem.

    So far, I have only did two runs using the watch. The interval run yesterday went perfectly. The run today seemed to track just under seven miles, though as you can see from this screenshot, the Fenix states that I ran nine miles today in nine seconds. One second miles: Can you beat that?

    Regardless, I am optimistic about this error being fixed as Garmin have been updating the beta software frequently (which another reason I was convinced to try the Fenix).

    In the UK, the price of the Fenix has dropped to around £250 (without an HRM). In the USA, the price is a more affordable $299. It’s a great price for a watch that can do running, hiking, cycling, mountaineering, fishing, skydiving and much more. It is comfortable to wear, has solid battery life and has a lot of great features. It is also easy to start and stop tracks and autolap etc.

    Thanks again for the review Ray. Keep up the good work :)

    I will try and keep you all updated about the issue of the GPS signal being dropped. If any current Fenix owners have the same problem, please leave a comment (particularly if you have a solution!!).

    Kevin

    Reply

    • Kevin Muldoon
      March 18, 2014

      Here’s an update for anyone who finds themselves in the same situation as me.

      I contacted Garmin regarding the issue and they responded fairly quickly. Replies have been a bit slower since then. Ultimately, their solution is for me to reinstall version 4.00.

      It appears to be software related. Can you send us the system.xml file from your unit located in the Garmin folder?

      Thanks,

      Fenix Team

      I sent them the system.xml file. They replied:

      The system.xml appears to show that it was possibly not software related. Could you help describe how often you find the watch in this state where the GPS has stopped? I think what happened was that the unit hit a low power shutdown. We have seen this before if users have any alerts setup that use the tone/vibrate feature. Do you notice this error when the watch is only at 50% or lower? Also do you notice any unexpected battery drain?

      Thanks,

      Fenix Team

      Obviously, a reply like this is a little frustrating after taking the time to write a long detailed reply that explained what had occurred.

      In my reply, I stressed that battery was at 99% when I left the house and it didn’t drop below 84% during the run. I also confirmed that no buttons were pressed.

      I was using the vibrate and tone feature to alert me every mile that had passed. I pointed out that if the vibrate feature can mess it up during a ninety minute run, their estimate of fifteen hours of battery is misleading. Still, I don’t think that the vibrate feature has anything to do with this issue whatsoever.

      Hi Kevin,

      Sorry for your difficulties. If you would like to get back to the latest production version please download the .zip file at the link below.

      Once you’ve downloaded the .zip file, unzip the GUPDATE.GCD file to the \Garmin directory of your fenix. Remove from the charge clip, allow it to restart and the update will be validated and then load.

      link to dropbox.com

      You may be asked warned about backdating to a version less than what is on your device; however, you can proceed through this by choosing ‘YES’.

      Fenix Team

      In the end, Garmin have told me just to revert back to version 4.00. To be honest, I half expected that they would tell me to do that from the start. However, I get the impression that they aren’t listening to beta testers.

      Additionally, I don’t know how they jumped directly from the position that it was not software related to the position that I need to downgrade back to version 4.00.

      I’m a bit annoyed that downgrading is the only solution. Downgrading means no support for intervals, no support for any other workouts, no possibility of iOS notifications etc. The interval training I had set up on Garmin Connect can no longer be sent to the device. I am now presented with the “Device does not support Workouts” error message.

      Without interval training, I do not believe Garmin is a suitable running watch. It is very limited now. Unfortunately, I strained my hamstring last week. So not only can I not run before my first marathon (which is frustrating enough!), I cannot test the watch to see if it is working correctly.

      If there are other Garmin Fenix users that have experienced problems with losing a GPS signal, I would love to hear how you resolved the issue and whether it was a hardware or software issue (because Garmin are contradicting themselves on this).

      Kevin

      Reply

  34. Bart
    March 18, 2014

    I have a Fenix running 4.14b. Clearly there are several issues with the beta software as can be confirmed by searching the Garmin forums. The only issues I have recently experienced are the inability to come anywhere near accurate indoor distance calculation without a foot pod and the hugely inaccurate calorie count indoors with a foot pod. My serious concern at this point is the Fenix is a dead product. There is absolutely no incentive for Garmin to further develop or fix the Fenix. It doesn’t appear that they care to anger Fenix owners and it makes them no money whatsoever to further develop it. Their sole focus, from the Garmin group, will be on the Fenix 2. Evidence of Garmin’s overall lack of care for customers using older non-current products is available on the Garmin forums as well. For instance, the new Garmin Connect has nearly rendered useless several models including the 205, 305, 405, etc. My opinion is that, because of the increased pressure on fitness watches from new entrants in the market and smart phones, Garmin’s stategy to survive in this market is to render useless in the fashion of Microsoft and Apple their old products. Unfortunately, we will never see the success and longevity from any other Garmin product like we did from the 305, the very watch that spawned a revolution as well as DC Rainmaker.

    Reply

    • Kevin Muldoon
      March 19, 2014

      I haven’t tried the indoor tracking as yet.

      Unfortunately, I have to agree with you that it looks like Garmin is not going to support the Fenix much longer due to the release of the Fenix 2. I hope we are wrong. Companies need to realise that if they support a product, customers will continue to support that brand.

      There is a small glimmer of hope that they will continue to sell Fenix as the entry level product to the Fenix range. This would hopefully mean more beta updates and, fingers crossed, a stable production release that adds the additional features introduced in the beta software.

      Reply

    • Rainmaker
      March 19, 2014

      I don’t know, everything that they’re doing seems the opposite of what you’re saying.

      They’ve released beta versions for the Fenix1 of new features, they’ve opened up an e-mail address to triage issues on those features. They’re still doing it, this week in fact, despite the fact that a new product is there.

      In fact, if I look at every sport watch ever made in the history of GPS devices from any company – no team has added more features post-release than the Fenix1 team. If you look at my review above (which was updated last summer), it’s already far out of date for new features that are there. Let alone comparing it to things that were added in the first year.

      If you want to blame Garmin for not updating other products (plenty to pick from), I’m there with ya. But, one really can’t say that on the Fenix side. Because there’s overwhelming evidence to the contrary. And remember, look at the review, I was the harshest critic there was when it came to the Fenix originally.

      Their plan is to take these features from beta to stable production over the coming weeks and months, on the Fenix1. (Said in that I just got off a call with the team 10 minutes ago).

      Just my two cents….

      Reply

    • Kevin Muldoon
      March 19, 2014

      Though were these updates not necessary because the device was so buggy in the first place? Every single review of the Fenix says the same thing about it being a good looking device that fails because of it being buggy.

      So one way to look at it is that the Fenix team have supported it a lot post-release. Another would be that these beta releases are simply addressing problems that should have been addressed before the watch was even released. From what I have read, Garmin used their customers as beta testers in man ways.

      I am, however, very encouraged to hear that they are hoping to make these features stable within the coming weeks. I am happy to wait a few months if it means that the features will be added later.

      Once concern I do have is the warranty. The watch only has a one year warranty. In the space of two emails I was told that it was not a software problem and then told the complete opposite. It’s all well for me to wait a few months and see if the next stable release fixes the problem the watch currently has; but what if I find out the watch actually has a hardware problem. Do Garmin have a reputation for taking faulty products back after the warranty has expired?

      I appreciate the update about the the next stable release. Here’s hoping it fixes the problems that people are having with the watch. Apart from the issue I had with the signal being lost, I love the watch :)

      Reply

    • Martin
      March 22, 2014

      Garmin replaced my 205 not once, but twice outside of the warranty period. The fact that they support their products so well is why I didn’t look at another brand when upgrading(just bought the Fenix 1 b/c of the price drop).

      Reply

    • Kevin Muldoon
      March 27, 2014

      I’m currently talking to the UK repair team as the Fenix beta team didn’t reply to my email.

      I have not been able to track a run correctly over the last few weeks. Yesterday it tracked a one mile run as two miles and today my three mile run was tracked as twenty nine miles – and apparently it only took me sixteen seconds.

      On my run today, the watch automatically switched off and on over thirty times. They still believe that it is software related, but I’m not so sure.

      They promised me yesterday that they would call me this morning, but did not. They did, however, send me an automatic email reply acknowledging the fact that I send them my files to look at. I’ll need to chase them up tomorrow. Support seems like it is good, but I am disappointed with how the watch is so buggy (even more so after downgrading to 4.00).

      Just upgraded to 4.15. Will try that tomorrow and see if that tracks my run correctly.

      Reply

  35. Joe
    March 28, 2014

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the great review, and all your reviews. Because of your reviews, I’ve bought. . .well, let’s not talk about how much I’ve bought.

    I had a question regarding my newly acquired Garmin Fenix 2. Is it the same size/shape as the Fenix 1? I’m wondering if screen protectors and charging cradles from the Fenix 1 would work for the Fenix 2.

    Thanks!

    Joe

    Reply

    • Rainmaker
      March 28, 2014

      Yup, externally the cases are identical. The screen is slightly curved on the Fenix2 though, so that might be troublesome to the screen protector. But chargers/etc I use interchangeably.

      Thanks for the comments, I appreciate it!

      Reply

  36. richard
    April 2, 2014

    dc rainmaker i m wondering if u can answer my qustion…I have installed garmin express into my pc , but i just couln’t use the ” link to connect” function for some unknown reason, so that i couldn’t set garmin express to automatically upload activity from my fenix to GC … i am wondering is there any another software that will automatically uoload activity from garmin device to GC( beside Garmin Express) ??

    Reply

    • Rainmaker
      April 2, 2014

      Hmm, that’s odd. I’d have to defer to Garmin support on that one, as I’m not super deep on troubleshooting Garmin Express since it’s fairly new (and, kinda fidgety). But, they’ve been iterating versions pretty quickly, I believe one last came out Friday.

      There’s no other automated means besides that (you can manually upload of course), or use the older Garmin Communicator web plugin.

      Reply

    • eden
      April 5, 2014

      mine is automatically uploading., check your anti-virus maybe its blocking ur watch to be read by your pc. and check also ur setting in GE.
      may i ask what is ur software version?
      mine is still in 2.10 but there is a 4.00. how can i update it to 4.00?
      dc rainmaker, can u help?

      Reply

    • Rainmaker
      April 5, 2014

      It should work on either version. I’d definitely recommend contacting Garmin Support.

      Reply

  37. Max
    April 12, 2014

    Hello Rainmaker, before you buy Garmin fenix and tempe sensor, I have a technical question:
    the software rounds up or truncates the decimal ?

    1- Rounds up
    Example
    Basecamp shows 15.4°C – display shows 15°C
    basecamp shows 15.5°C – display shows 16°C

    2- Truncates
    Example
    basecamp shows 15.9°C – display shows 15°C

    I hope it’s understandable

    Thanks

    Reply

  38. Richard
    April 12, 2014

    question regarding fenix 1 memory :

    When I connected my fenix 1 to the computer, the pc said there is about 24Mb available space in my watch…but on the other hand , I read your review on fenix 1 that suggest there is only about 20Mb free space in the watch
    ….so which one is true?… 24Mb or 20Mb? If 20 Mb is true ..What will happen when I used all that 20Mb in my watch? Will it continue recording activities normally ?

    Another question I want to know is about the ‘low memory signal’ in fenix 1…when exactly will the ‘ low memory signal ‘ appear ?…my watch has about 4Mb left (out of 24Mb) on the watch…but the message didn’t appear , is this a bug ? should I send my watch back ?

    Thx for reading my questions…hopefully Rainmaker, u can give me some advice ….

    Reply

    • Rainmaker
      April 14, 2014

      They may have changed things around a bit since my initial review on how space is optimized.

      As for low memory, I don’t remember ever hitting a low-memory point to be honest, so I can’t much comment on when exactly it fires. Thus, it may fire at 1MB left vs 4MB or some other number.

      The Fenix will warn you when memory is full than you need to delete some activities to continue recording. If you use Garmin Express, it’ll automatically copy all the activities to Garmin Connect, so you have a backup there.

      Reply

  39. Martin
    April 18, 2014

    Ray,

    Has there been any indication by Garmin that the slow activity saving will be resolved in the Fenix 1 as it just was in the Fenix 2? Not sure if that has ever been communicated to you. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Rainmaker
      April 19, 2014

      I don’t know. However, another beta update was released yesterday, so may be worth giving a whirl. Much of the codebase is shared.

      Reply

  40. Sara B.
    April 30, 2014

    Can anyone help me find the HR graph data field set-up? I feel like I’ve looked and looked and can’t figure out how to set it up. I’m sure I’m just overlooking it…

    Thanks!

    Reply

  41. Adrian
    May 2, 2014

    Have the firmware updates to the F1 given it the ability for smartphone notifications(i.e. text, email, social) similar to the F2?

    Reply

  42. Oscar Roig
    May 10, 2014

    Hello Ray,
    I’m trying to replace my beloved FR305 with something more up to date. I only run, pavement or trails and I’m looking for something with a quick GPS lock and a long battery for running ultramarathons. Spme things like intervals and the good stuff that the 305 has would be welcome. Ideally I would go for the Fenix2 but since my budget is tight I’m looking at the Ambit 2R, which has ways to stretch the battery, or the Fenix. I wonder how the Fenix stacks up today with all the updates it has seen since based on your initial review doesn’t sound like a good deal.

    Thanks a lot and keep up the good work.

    Reply

    • Rainmaker
      May 10, 2014

      It’s made a lot of progress since my initial review. I’d actually really just look at the Tactix review, which has all the exact same features these days except tidal tables and the green backlight. Same functionality otherwise though.

      Reply

  43. Justus
    June 12, 2014

    After a ton of experience including an 18 hour run last weekend I want to share some about the Fenix pertaining to the 18 hour run.
    * I am currently on the most recent firmware.
    * I played around with ultra track some, but decided to go with normal tracking mode.
    * I left the watch set to record most often in auto mode (it recorded every second).
    * I had it set to only write .fit files. The fenix will only write 10,000 waypoints to a gpx file before it overwrites. This would not be enough for my run. .fit files are only limited by the watches overall memory availability.
    * I turned off all external ant sensors
    Observations:
    * Battery lasted for ~10.25 hours.
    * Battery meter stated ~20 percent remaining when the watch just shut off (luckily I saw it shut off, so I did not lose much time)
    * Upon shutdown I plugged the watch into a portable charger in my vest and it turned back on. It picked up at the same spot it left off, so no real data loss (was very unsure what it would do in this case and happy it saved the data)
    * Watch very quickly went from 20 to 95% charged. After 30 minutes I pulled it off the charger. Battery life dropped to 60% very quickly. I plugged it back in for a while and it was back to almost full charge and this time it only dropped to 85%. At home I fully charged it and everything appears normal. Sitting at 98% after a few days in watch (no gps) mode. My theory is that the battery meter on the watch does not work properly and it prematurely says it has more charge than it really does. I believe that once it hits 99 or 100 it is good to go, but at 95 it is not really charged.
    * At one point I lost sat reception for around 30 minutes. I was in pretty heavy tree canopy.

    Overall I am very happy with the fenix. Outside of the battery meter I feel it is just as stable as the 910xt (previous watch). The three big advantage over the 910xt are 1) ABC functionality 2) Ability to put custom maps in addition to the very blank base map it comes with (this is not an official Garmin capability, but it can be done – if interested shoot me a comment on here and I will let you know how) 3) Superior charger dock. I had issues with the 910 clip staying in place, Fenix locks on to its base, you know it is charging.

    One of the areas the 910 is better is battery life (it has a bigger battery). Ultra-track may be the solution to this. I will be testing this out more on an upcoming backpacking trip.

    I have done a lot of tinkering around with this watch, if you have any questions about it feel free to ask.

    Reply

    • Brian
      June 13, 2014

      Justus – Interesting comment, I had a similar experience with my Fenix recently on a Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim trail run, that took about 17 hours (just under!). I posted my comments in the Fenix forum at Garmin’s site, linked below:

      link to forums.garmin.com

      “Fenix vs Grand Canyon in a Rim to Rim to Rim Trail Run”

      Excerpt:

      The reason I upgraded to the Fenix (from a Garmin Forerunner 405) was mainly:

      – 100% waterproofing
      – Enhanced battery life (15+ hours versus 8+ for the 405)
      – Enhanced ANT+ support (mainly the Tempe sensor for external Temperature readings)

      All of the above would allow me to use the device to record activities that I planned as I transitioned from marathoning, and into some other type of adventures, such as ultra trail marathons, and a planned Rim to Rim to Rim running of the Grand Canyon.

      Well I got to test out the ability of the Fenix against Rim to Rim to Rim (R3) back on 5/18/14. This post will set out to score how well the Fenix handled the punishment of such an event, mostly the 15+ hour nature.

      First, the basics:

      Fenix 1, purchased 12/2013, running beta Firmware version 4.17 (the latest tested FW available as of 5/18).
      Normal GPS mode (i.e. no Ultra Trac)
      ANT+ connected: (all Garmin branded) HRM, Tempe, Footpod (later, see below)
      No Bluetooth enabled
      Full Charge over the night before
      Alerts set every mile lap, beep only (no vibration)
      Special alerts set for every 5280 ascent/descent

      Here is how it went: (continued at link above)

      Reply

  44. Mark Lennon
    June 17, 2014

    After reading all the details, it took a while to find out if you can use this for open water training in the ocean.
    After looking at the table which has what it can be do and not do.
    So it looks like you can swim open water and it will record distance?

    Great review Thanks Mark

    Reply

    • Rainmaker
      June 17, 2014

      You can use it, but you’ll need to do so in your swim cap, otherwise the distance will be off. The Fenix2 however supports openwater swimming on your wrist (as it’s more of a triathlon watch).

      Reply

  45. Karl Schuttler
    July 4, 2014

    Hi.

    I am trying to update my unit and it says not enough memory. I have nothing saved on the unit except one route.

    Any advise please.

    Reply

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