Huge Garmin Fenix Firmware Update: The Beginning of GPS Fitness Watches Becoming True Smart Watches


Yesterday, Garmin quietly rolled out a ‘beta’ update to their Fenix & Tactix lineup, which are their watches previously/primarily aimed at ultra-runners and those wanting hiking/navigational capabilities.  For Garmin, firmware updates – let alone beta ones, rarely have massive new features.  Those new features tend to be reserved for new products, ultimately trying to get you to lay out cash for a new device.

In this case though, Garmin made four significant changes to the 1.5 year old product that quite frankly I’m surprised weren’t a new product.  Here they are (they apply to both Fenix and Tactix):

Added iOS notifications to the watch: Now you get text messages, tweets, and anything else you’d like.  As long as an app notifies, the watch notifies you…instantly.

Added footpod-less treadmill mode: The unit will automatically calibrate from GPS runs, and displays pace/indoors on a treadmill…without a footpod.

Added custom workout creation/download support: This was always a big gap in the lineup, but this basically puts it in line with all of Garmin’s running watches

Added interval workout support: This allows the creation of interval workouts from the watch

Oh, and they added an update to the ski mode that they released last year.

So why is this significant?  Well, the first one is the most important – because it now represents the very first fitness watch currently on the market to display notifications.  Yes, seriously, a 1.5 year old watch is the first watch to do so.  Go figure.

Ironically, the only other watch that had semi-similar functionality was the Motorola Motoactv, which has been discontinued for quite some time now.  Proving again how far ahead of the times it was.

I’ve commented in the past that despite fitness watches gaining connectivity to the phone, they haven’t really bridged into the smart phone world yet from a complete integration standpoint.  The closest we’ve seen recently was the Magellan Echo (and its cousin the Wahoo Fitness RFLKT).

But neither of those displayed notifications from apps using the iOS notification center.  No text messages or the like.  And, if you looked at non-fitness watches like the Pebble, they did display notifications, but didn’t really do the fitness world justice (read: they sucked for fitness).

Notifications & Alerts:

Let’s just dive into it.  First, you’ll pair up the Fenix to your iPhone 4s or newer phone, just like most standard Bluetooth devices:


Once that’s done, on the Fenix, you’ll get a choice for how and when notifications should be displayed:


You can specify: Always On, While GPS On, While GPS Off, and simply Off.

Now, the next message you’ll receive is rather important (and a bit of a bummer): If you enable notifications, then by default, you disable ANT+ support. This is due to the fact that the Fenix unit’s chipset for communications only allows one of the two protocols to operate at once.  This is similar to how the Motorola Motoactv worked.  It’s a physical limitation, not a software one.


With that, you’re good to go.  If you had your phone nearby, the phone will automatically send any application notifications to your Fenix.  Below, you can see the example of an incoming text message, and how it could be used:


The case goes for incoming calls as well, which display the caller ID field, as well as the phone number.  Really cool stuff.

In playing with it this evening, the notifications popped up nearly instantly.  They came in for phone calls, texts, PayPal notifications, you name it.  If the app leveraged the notification center, they showed up.

So what about Android support?  In talking today with the Fenix team, it’s not on the immediate radar.  The challenge is that today on Android there really isn’t the same simplicity to implement that there is on iOS7.  They noted they’d have to basically go model to model to get it working, even with the improvements made on Android KitKat 4.4, it lacks the ability to push notifications over Bluetooth Smart uniformly across all devices (handset).

Of course, the bigger question I had was when is this coming to the Garmin FR220/FR620, given the chipset(s) there certainly appear to support both concurrent ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart (since you can do live tracking with ANT+ data).  When asked, I received a variant of ‘no comment’ noting that they are different platforms (hardware and software) with different challenges.  Which, is likely true.  Though, the Garmin Approach S4 (a golfing watch built on the same hardware as the FR620) does Bluetooth Smart notifications.  Thus, I think the answer is probably fairly clear…

[Update: I’ve been told by the Fenix team that while the Approach S4 physically looks like the FR620, internally it’s an entirely different beast and is much more similar internally to the Garmin Fenix discussed here, fwiw.]

Treadmill without a footpod mode:

Next, we’ve got ability to get pace and distance from the treadmill, without a footpod.  This isn’t new to Garmin products, we saw it introduced on the Garmin FR220/FR620.  And, previous to Garmin products, we saw it on the TomTom Runner as well as a few lesser known non-GPS units.

To start, you’ll need to wander outside and do a run with the GPS enabled.  When you do this, the Fenix will create a calibration table based on multiple paces.  They recommended to run approximately a mile (though more is fine), and to vary the paces that you’d normally run (meaning, go fast/slow/medium/etc…).

Each time you run with the GPS outdoors, the Fenix will update the calibration table in case you go to the treadmill next.

Meanwhile, when you do head indoors, you just set the Fenix to Indoor Mode, like you would have with a footpod (except, you don’t need one now).


With that, you start running.


For fun, I tried a nice little pyramid of paces to see how it would handle.  Here’s the result:



What’s interesting here is that it seems as though I might take a bit of time to ‘warm-up’ to whatever my normal arm-swing motion is.  In this up and down pyramid, my paces on the metric-driven Brazilian treadmill were set as follows:

00:00-1:00: 10KM/HR
1:00-2:00: 12KM/HR
2:00-3:00: 14KM/HR
3:00-4:00: 16KM/HR
4:00-5:00: 18KM/HR
5:00-6:00: 16KM/HR
6:00-7:00: 14KM/HR
7:00-8:00: 12KM/HR
8:00-9:00: 10KM/HR

For the ‘going up’ part of the pyramid, things reported rather slow and clearly off compared to actual paces.  On the way back down, things were at least a bit more uniform, but off at the higher speeds.  It did seem to get the last minute right however.  Hopefully, given it’s still beta, they’ll be able to work out the kinks.

Now, to be fair, no watch seems to be able to track me indoors from arm motion.  Be it the TomTom Runner or Multisport, the Garmin FR220, or the FR620.  Perhaps I’m just not designed right.

Obviously, this is only a 9-minute quick test, so I’d be interested in seeing how it shakes out longer term for others (since this is also only just a test of me, 100% dependent on my arm-swing motion).

Workout & Interval Support:

Last but not least, comes the addition of custom workout downloads from Garmin Connect, as well as creation of intervals on the unit itself.

For workouts, you’ll simply create them in Garmin Connect first:


And then use the ‘Send to’ option to send it to the Fenix:


On the Fenix, you’ll see the new option there after adding the ‘Workout’ page via the System settings.  Within that you have two options.  The first is to create an interval workout on the watch itself:


In this case you specify to enable a warm-up and cool-down (controlled via lap button), and then you can create the work and rest intervals using either time or distance (or manual):



Note that in the default interval mode, there are no targets however.  Meaning, you aren’t setting a target pace of 7:00/mile, it’s simply a time or distance counter.  You can specify targets however within the custom workout section below.

At this point you can start the workout and it’ll guide you through the interval structure.

The second option within the workout menu is to pull up your custom workout downloaded from Garmin Connect.


Within this you can view the workout segments.  Then, as you start the segments, it’ll notify you for each section what the goals are for the next section (i.e. a HR zones).



I didn’t have time to run through a full workout, so there may be some caveats in there, but it certainly seems like a good go at things.


I suspect (hope) this is just the beginning for this type of connectivity.  I would love to see companies in this space enable two scenarios.  First is adding notifications to watches and other devices, like what is now present on the Fenix.  Second, I’d like to see (in the case of Garmin) some sort of system whereby users who are watching Live Tracking as found on the Garmin FR220/FR620 and Edge 510/810 can send messages via that app structure to the devices.  Simply notifications through the iOS center like any other.

This could be controlled through some sort of pre-authorization gate.  Meaning that in the case of me tweeting out the live tracking link to 20,000 people, I may not want all of them sending me messages mid-run.  But perhaps a method to allow a smaller subset of authorized users in the same method that I pre-authorize e-mail addresses within the app today for being sent a live tracking link.

In any case, the changes made on the Fenix/Tactix really change the dynamic of watches in the space.  I look forward to others following suit.

Thanks for reading!

(Note: Because it’s a beta update, you won’t see it in the regular updater, you’ll need to just go directly to this link to grab it.)

Update: Per popular request, I’ve written up a quick section on selecting between the top two running watches.

Tough Choices: FR620 or Fenix?

Well, it’s a bit of a complex question.  The short answer, is that for me, and the running I do, I’ll take the FR620.  But, let me explain some of my thinking.  First, let’s look at the major advantages of both units over the other.  Note, there’s a lot more tiny differences, but these are the biggies.

Fenix over FR620:

– Barometric altimeter, significant battery (up to 55hrs of GPS-on time)
– Notifications from iOS devices (text messages, call notifications, any app that notifies, etc…)
– A ton of hiking/mountain functionality
– Full-on navigation support, waypoints, etc…
– Support for ANT+ bike speed/cadence sensor, cycling mode, also ANT+ Tempe & Chirp sensors
– Misc Non-Running Features: Sunrise/Sunset, Hunting/Fishing Modes, Jumpmaster, etc…
– More hardened feel/look

FR620 over Fenix:

– More data fields per data page (but Fenix has more data pages)
– Running Dynamics functionality
– VO2Max, Recovery Advisor and Race Estimator functionality
– Uploads via WiFi and your phone for completed activities
– Firmware updates via phone and WiFi
– Custom workout creation wirelessly via phone
– Smaller, far lighter, and I prefer the screen on the FR620 for running

Again, not exhaustive, but those are the big ticket items in my mind.

Now, here’s the simple version: If you’re a road runner primarily, I continue to say go with the FR620.  If you’re a mountain/trail/hiking type person, then go with the Fenix because of the barometric altimeter and navigational functions.  The addition of the workout and interval functionality to the Fenix makes it so that people in that second category have less hard decisions to make.

For me, while the text message functionality is really cool, it’s not worth it over the smaller form factor of the FR620.  And I think, again for me, I prefer the smaller form factor as the biggest deciding factor.

If I were in Vegas, I’d wager that we’ll eventually see iOS notifications on the FR620, and perhaps the FR220.  I truly don’t know anything here inside-information wise.  I’m just taking a guess on things and platform capabilities.

Anyway…just my two cents.


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  1. Joel Engström

    Looks like a nice upgrade for us runners. Whar do you think of buying a Fenix today. Will there be a Fenix 2 out shortly?

    • Gabriele

      One question all firmware update released for fenix is compatible for tactix?
      i made this question because i want to buy tactix only because i prefer the tactix stile but i’m not a military and a don’t use the tactix feature, i saw that until today the all update are released for both, you think that it’s the same in future?


  2. Hans

    very tine error but android kitkat is 4.4 and not 4.3

  3. Why don’t you trop to update your arm design to get more accurate data on the treadmill without footpod ? ;-)

  4. Aeio

    Can you add bike (or tri) workouts as well as runs?

  5. Brent

    The motoactv had some of the smart phone features. You could receive text, facebook etc and phone calls.

  6. Motorina

    Rats! I’d pretty much decided on upgrading my 210 to a 620, and now I’m all confused again!

  7. @Hu3ain

    The small price/size/weight penalty of a footpod is acceptable. So why add a feature that throws out pace accuracy? I suspect for many, indoor workouts are about intervals rather than a steady state run.

    Comparing the precision of a footpod to the internalized mechanism, in different running workouts or races, would be interesting. Or should we just accept it, as it becomes a standard feature on the Garmin running & multisport product lineup?


  8. Shawnv

    I would be interested in the (triathlon) race rules implications regarding the notification settings. If you are doing a race with your iPhone in your pocket (as WTC allows) with the app enabled, spectators could send you text messages which show up on your watch… Will be very difficult for authorities to police this kind of “external communications” which are not allowed.

  9. Thomas Funch

    And i just got the 620.. hmm

    DC, in your opinion, what is now the ultimate watch for an die hard runner, running in a lot of different places??

  10. asaf

    Hi Ray
    Wondering… With no accelerometer in the fenix, how arm movement is informative?

  11. In the “Treadmill without a footpod mode”, can it broadcast back the pace live to the iPhone via BLE, like a stride sensor?

  12. empewu

    Super. I was waiting for workouts / intervals for the last year (I bought fenix last October). Now this is a full running watch, and iOS notifications are cherry on the cake :-)

    Still for people deciding between 620 and fenix – not an easy choice as 620 is based on newer platform with better hardware capabilities (GPS lock, parallel ANT+ and Bluetooth support, WIFI etc).

    I suppose Garmin decided to go with upgrade as it will boost sales of fenix before Christmas, and as a price point is similar – no risk in margin cannibalization with 620. And maybe they are working on Fenix 2.0 based on new platform (pure speculation) but Christmas shopping cannot be ignored.

  13. Gunnar

    I knew I wasn’t the only waiting for a upscale fitness watch to to include phone notifications.

    Ray, maybe I didn’t understand the “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” but am I to presume these notifications will be coming to the 220/620?

    Also, the no ANT+ love while utilizing Bluetooth for phone connection is a bummer. Is it possible to now pair a Bluetooth HRM while receiving phone notifications?

    • I truly don’t know, they wouldn’t say.

      That said, I’d be really surprised if we don’t see it. If you look at the S4, it offers a bit of a ‘safe’ test platform for that functionality to get tested out. By ‘safe’, I mean that there’s not the volume of golfers out there that there is runners. And generally, golfers are far less vocal than runners when there are initial teething bugs.

      So, if I were Garmin, I’d use the S4 to flesh things out, and then once all the issues were sorted out (both technical and logic/process wise), I’d look to port it to the other fitness units.

      And as for the last question, no, no connectivity on BLE HR straps.

    • Gunnar

      Thanks Ray, the more I wake up and sip my coffee and re-read your post, the more I realize this could be one of Garmins savviest business moves.

      With the so called smart watch revolution around the corner for Garmin to utilize their platform for phone notifications is huge.

      Here’s to hopeing that a 2014 910xt replacement will have this feature.

      Thanks Ray!

  14. Niall

    So can this or something similar be added to the Edge 510/810 then? I know they use full bluetooth not the SMart varity to communicate with iOS so shouldn’t be too hard really? Then again the Garmin connect app is flaky at the best of times so adding anything new might not help that situation!

    • Ismo

      It would be very nice to get the messages from my phone shown on my 510 while riding. However, the thing keeps dropping the BT connection to the phone all the time so the messages would not reach me anyway.

    • So in looking at the ANCS (Apple Notification Center Service) developer documentation, it does require Bluetooth 4.0, whereby Bluetooth Smart is a subset of that. As noted, the Edge 510/810 doesn’t use BT4, but rather legacy Bluetooth. Thus, by extension, it couldn’t do notifications using ANCS (which is what the Fenix is using).

      There are of course other ways they could accomplish some portions of it on the Edge 510/810, but it wouldn’t be the same.

  15. Tomek

    that’s quite surprising news. I wonder if 310/910 xt will receive that sort of update (threadmill distance). It would be nice to have indoor running without footpod. I guess it’s possible to calibrate it based upon GPS distance and arm movement. It could also provide running cadence since it has accelerometer built in. Do you think it’s possible?

    • We definitely wouldn’t see any of these for the FR310XT, since it doesn’t have either an internal accelerometer nor Bluetooth.

      As for the FR910XT, it has the accelerometer, but lacks Bluetooth. I’d honestly not expect to see it get the treadmill mode (sans-footpod).

  16. Vidal

    Thanks Ray!
    Does this set the stage for enabling wireless upload to Garmin Connect at some point?

  17. a_circelli

    Also when Garmin introduced Open Water Swim in 310xt was an important update, in a 1 year old watch…. Then launched 910xt

  18. Francis

    This make my day, even my week or months. What a good move Garmin. I have been an happy Fenix owner since September last year, love the watch train with it and wear it every day, but this will even help me better on improving my run which is deeply needed for better triathlon time.

    I also looking forward to test the new ski update in the near future.

  19. Derek

    This is great to see!

    I hope some of the senior people in Garmin realise (or it is being vigorously fed back to them) that this sort of ‘updating of older models with new functions/fixes’ is what will keep me and others coming back to Garmin when we want new devices.

    Any company that is too obvious in pushing their latest and greatest device, at the expense of 12-month+ devices will just encourage me to look at the new shiny from other companies (of which there is an increasing amount) rather than stay loyal to a brand.

    This disfavour also applies (as Ray often talks about) to any kind of platform lock-in / lack of open data transfer.

    Hopefully this is a good sign for Garmin going forwards…

    D :>

  20. Erika

    Like Thomas and Motorina I was considering, about to buy, the 620. Now you’ve got me thinking about the Fenix.

    I currently use the Forerunner 405 with HR strap. The watch was bought in 2010.

    I am looking for the mile to mile feedback on pace.

    The Fr 405 virtual coach feature is nice, but I want/need the ability to store my workout and pace per mile. Id like to be able sync this data to a computer and/or phone to track trends and zone in on problem areas.

    Should I be considering the Fenix instead of the 620? Or would you have an alternative rec?


    • Chris O.

      Hi Erika … I also have a FR 405 from 2010. I have auto lap turned on to lap every mile and it gives me the information you seem to be looking for. The 405 will give a pace alert every mile and will give you laps every mile automatically. Go to Menu (via the bezel) -> Training -> Options -> Auto Lap. You can then also setup a display screen to give you your last lap (i.e. last mile) pace. I then just leave my ant+ usb stick always plugged in and as soon as I get back to the house the 405 automatically transfers and uploads my data to garmin connect using the garmin ant agent. The old garmin training center would also give you a look at just a single lap (mile) with a simple click. And for further options, you can also send the data to trainingpeaks.com Hope that helps.

  21. Paul S

    I really hate it when they put up Windows only installers that are just a wrapper around a binary file that they could just put out instead. Anyway, the reason I’m holding back upgrading my Fenix is that I saw on the Garmin forums that the ANT+ sensors don’t automatically reconnect when you switch back from Bluetooth. Since you have installed it already, is that your experience?

    • Knut


      My Tempe sensor (which is the only sensor I currently use on a regular basis) reconnects automagically after disconnecting the BT.

    • Paul S

      Thanks! I actually went ahead and installed the beta on my Fenix, and I just got done reading an email on it! Pretty slick.

      For other Mac users, download the .exe file, start up Terminal, and then “unzip fenix_D2_tactix_401Beta.exe”. In addition to some useless Windows files, it’ll create “fenix/Garmin”, and in that “GUPDATE.GCD”. Back up your Fenix, copy GUPDATE.GCD to the “Garmin” folder on your Fenix, and then disconnect the Fenix and let it reboot. The installer will run and you’ll have the beta software installed. There’s probably some way to get the built in OS X decompresser to do this via the mouse, but I didn’t bother, since I work in Terminal a large fraction of the time anyway.

    • andy from embsay

      Hi Paul – I tried your method on terminal and it says unzip: cannot find or open… – it’s on the desktop, should that work ok?


    • Paul S

      After “cd ~/Desktop” it should. unzip doesn’t know where to find the file unless you’re in the same directory (folder) or you give it a full path.

      You can also download Keka if you’re more comfortable with the usual dragging and dropping. Keka can handle the Garmin .exe file.

    • andy from embsay

      Paul – you’re a star. Sorted – thanks.

    • NYoung

      Thank you Paul S for the Mac user tip! Worked great!

  22. Neil

    Good move by Garmin. They’re getting in there with this functionality before apples imminent arrival in this area.

  23. Steve Knapp

    Major kudos to Garmin for doing this as a SW update instead of releasing a “Fenix2” with nothing but a software change. Reminds me of “old Garmin” that used to keep chartplotters and the like up to date for years.

    One issue I’ve had with the Fenix is when running intervals it seems I can’t create a lap when the timer is stopped. Neither by the press-hold of the down key nor the shortcut key I created. Curious if they caught/resolved that.

    Also be sure to run the updater a second time, last update (3.90) had some GPS firmware improvements as well.

  24. Paulo A.

    From one of your comments does the footpod-less treadmill mode require bluetooth? Not that I run much on the dreadmill but I’d love to see that feature added to the 910xt

  25. Steve Knapp

    As far as Android support, I don’t buy into their “must customize it for each device”. There are APIs to get notification status that are pretty straightforward.

    link to developer.android.com

    • Brian

      THANK YOU!! I find Garmin’s inability to support android rather annoying.

      I’d go buy one of these right now if the supported android. Pebble figured it out and it works quite well (even pebble app developers have figured out how to do it better than Pebble). I can be done. Get on with it.

      And while they are at it, it’d be nice to be able to use my Oregon 600 series unit with Android too. Just saying…

    • Eli

      I think Garmin just couldn’t figure it out so quickly gave up on it and made up the excuse hoping everyone would buy it

    • dezz

      No Android support = all the cool functions are useless for over 70% of their customers..

      Na the whole Android device by device development story is so 2012

      • 70%? Hardly. Taking worldwide Android stats isn’t relative. It includes tons of folks on cheap devices in places like Thailand that quite frankly aren’t buying the Fenix.

        As for the argument being 2012, your welcome to believe that, but given it wasn’t added to the platform until 2013… It’s really not a conspiracy there from one company, it’s virtually every major company out there has been until rather recently struggling with offering support on the platform. Sometimes in life the reality is simpler than the conspiracy.

    • dezz

      As for market share I had western europe in mind (or anywhere but US)

      Besides, from my observation the iphone crowd would be more inclined to go with Ambit line and Fenix is closer to the Android kind of mindset..
      I could be very wrong :)

      I think it came out wrong. Apart from the late implementation of BT smart, that is a legitimate point the “must customize it for each device” is obviously very questionable.

  26. -.-
    if i would have known, that this features would come to the feinx i would have bought it instead of my 910xt…

  27. Aben

    620 vs Tactix/Fenix?

    Ray thnaks for this update.

    I was about to splurge on a 620, and now considering Tactix (Fenix is just ugly and I will be wearing this everyday)

    For runners what do you lose out on the Tactix vs the 620? I will certainly LOVE the full navigation suite on the Tactix (but I have an older garmin fortrex 301 that was my backup for lack of that)

  28. Randy

    I wish Google would come out with a MOTOACTV 2.

    I love mine so much, but it’s depressing to know that development and support have stopped.

  29. David P

    Will the indoor mode record altitude changes? I’d like a profile for stair repeats at work that would mimic a distance ran with elevation gain and loss recorded.

  30. chris

    phone number left on initial pic? just a heads up

    • It’s not real. ;)

      It’s just a 3rd party text messaging service used by our CupCake shop to notify of new online orders actually. So that’s actually a different notification line than the one above it from The Girl.

  31. For those curious, I’ll write up something a bit later today and add it above or in the comments on my thoughts on FR620 vs Fenix/Tactix. Thanks all!

  32. TIm Churchill

    [quote]For the ‘going up’ part of the pyramid, things reported rather slow and clearly off compared to actual paces. On the way back down, things were at least a bit more uniform, but off at the higher speeds. It did seem to get the last minute right however. Hopefully, given it’s still beta, they’ll be able to work out the kinks.

    Now, to be fair, no watch seems to be able to track me indoors from arm motion. Be it the TomTom Runner or Multisport, the Garmin FR220, or the FR620. Perhaps I’m just not designed right.[quote]

    Phoebe from the sitcom Friends? haha

    Seriously though it seems from the way you wrote the article Garmin may be using the Fenix as a soft launchpad for the new 620/220 to have the same functions but by releasing it to the fenix model it is essentially making it available to a smaller audience to see what they think first before it gets released to the masses. Would that be a fair assumption?

  33. Montana Steve

    With the addition of the running modes and in addition to the iOS notifications going to the watch, it would be nice to have voice prompts going from the watch to the iPhone, then to my BT headphones! I hope it’s just a matter of time…

    Currently using 620 and iSmoothRun and they sync fairly closely, so I get the best of both worlds.

    Really interested to get your view on 620 vs. Tactix — big plus to have the running modes and notifications on the watch as my phone is usually zipped up in a pocket or belt.

  34. morey000

    Will the Fenix/Tactix now have the capability to provide running cadence based on just the internal accelerometer? (like the TomTom)

    Figures. I just bought the Ambit 2S last night. Which granted- has a slew of other features.

    • As of last night it did not. I don’t know if they’ll add it in the future (fwiw, the FR220/620 do it as well, as do the Bryton Cardio units).

    • Steve Knapp

      That would be a very nice feature for outdoor runs. Get cadence without needing to move the footpod over.

      Also better/continuous calibration of the footpod similar to the internal calibration would be nice.

    • ABen

      I don’t understand this, if it has accelerometer for indoor running detection then why couldn’t it detect cadence as well?? Also what’s stopping them from adding HRM run functionallity?

    • Querfeldein

      And, of course, they could probably add indoor swimming support. But since that is now the last major advantage of the FR9X line, I very much doubt they want to do that – until the 920 delivers some other killer feature, like an optical HRM.

  35. Ron Anderson

    Thanks Ray for the heads-up! Just updated my fenix software and the notification feature works flawlessly. Neat stuff for sure! Wonder how much it will affect the battery life…we shall see. Thanks again.

  36. CaptainChris

    Thanks Ray!

    Looking forward to your thoughts on FR620 vs Fenix/Tactix.

    I have a 620 on order threw my LBS and might change my mind before the forcasted 21 Dec arrival date.

  37. Juneau Jim

    I can’t figure out why I’d want notifications on my watch while I’m running. I sit in front of a computer all day long. I go running to disconnect from electronics, not to receive text messages and emails from Groupon. And in order to make this work, I need to run with a watch AND a phone. I love all the data my watch, hr strap and footpod give me and appreciate all the fantastically cool stuff that Garmin makes. But I don’t see this. What am I missing?

    Another great writeup Ray. Love your stuff.


    • Paul S

      It’s not for when you’re running. When you’re running, assuming you use the Fenix as your running watch, presumably you’re using ANT+ sensors, so you can’t have notifications on the Fenix anyway. It’s for all the rest of the time. I wear my Fenix most of the day as a watch. For those times when I get a notification and don’t want to dig my iPod Touch out of my pocket, this is perfect. I can see whether or not I have to deal with the notification right away.

  38. Andrew


    I was wondering if the Fenix would pick up cadence information from the HRM Run. I know it will not get all the new running dynamics but was curious about that.

    Does it record cadence from its internal sensor?

    Thank you for your time,

  39. rabbit

    The fenix is unfortunately more and more becoming a sports watch. It was launched as an outdoor watch for mountaineering an hiking- vdst and nvdst in tracks with altitude data is still not working, vartical speed is not working at the moment, you can`t see an elevation plot for a track with altitude data before you start …

    for me this update is no huge thing, new stuff instead of fixing the old stuff- no problem for me, when garmin would fix the old stuff…

  40. ekutter

    Do you have a feel for how many people use workout features vs basic navigation features on this or a watch like the 610/620? I’ve played with it, especially when I had a more rigorous training plan. But it seemed like a pain to setup and I really never found it worth it. Further, probably fewer than 1 in 20 people I know even would know what it is our how to use it. Probably only 1 in 10 know how to use the back to start or bread crumb map on their 310/910. I suspect if it wasn’t for a coach, 75% of the IM athletes I know that use these watches wouldn’t even bother uploading data.

    Related to the foot pod less indoor running, do think it will ever get as accurate as using the foot pod? What about for trail running on winding tree covered courses?

    • Hi Ekutter-

      You bring up an interesting point, and to a degree, I agree with you. If you look at utilization of the workout functionality, I think it’s a case of the vocal minority over the majority. However, I think that to some degree that’s Garmin’s fault for making it more difficult than it needed to be until this point in time. By ‘this time’, I’m primarily referring to being able to download workouts via the phone (for Edge 510/810, FR220/620). But I think that realistically Garmin needs to build that functionality that they have on Garmin Connect online, into the mobile app – that’ll cause people to use the functionality more.

      I know plenty of people that do use the interval function (the simple one), and I hear it all the time from folks when companies skip it.

      For navigational functions, I agree, I’d say it’s less than 1 in 20. Again, some of that has to do with what a fiasco it’s been on previous units to get that data on there. And that the quality of the experience is low (breadcrumb).

      As for the footpod-less indoor running, yes, eventually I think it will get there. Like any new technology it takes time and iterates quickly. Garmin is lucky with GC in that if they’re able to capture information about arm-swing variations along with GPS data, they can probably modify analytical assumptions based on large data sets more easily. That said, I’m reasonably certain that data isn’t transmitted today as part of the .FIT file.

    • Paul S

      Do we know that Garmin uses Garmin Connect to improve their devices? I’ve always thought that they have a tremendous opportunity to do that, but I’ve never seen much evidence that they do. I’ve put all of my tracks on there from cycling, hiking, and x-c skiing for years. Back when my Edge 705 was new and going through new device problems (about the same time they shut MotionBased and moved to Garmin Connect, I think), I really wondered whether they were paying attention. The 705 has a barometric altimeter, and there was no way to calibrate it. It wasn’t unusual for it to be off by up to 500 ft at the start, and I saw start to finish (same point, same altitude) variations of 100 ft or more. That kind of problem is easily detectable from a data set like Garmin Connect, yet it took months before they provided a way to calibrate the 705, and the variation of altitude start to finish never really improved. I used to turn elevation correction on on GC and then export the resulting track back to me to get better elevation profiles. And I also wonder if they have any corporate memory at all. The VIRB Elite has a barometric altimeter, and no way to calibrate it.

    • Querfeldein

      The real navigation feature of the Fenix is also very difficult to use, and involves manually replacing the Basemap file with a homemade one based on OSM. As a result, it is not very popular or even widely known among Fenix users.

      If Garmin made this more accessible, I am sure they could market it as a key advantage over the ambit watches. Sadly, they still think they are their own fiercest competitors in many ways, and don’t want to compete with their own “proper” handheld navigation devices, nor with their own “proper” fitness watches.

    • Paul S

      That’s not quite right. I don’t think the Fenix has the ability to navigate a map like an Edge or a Nuvi, whether or not you use the OSM maps or the basemap. I’ve never actually navigated with my Fenix, but as I understand it, it’s just straight lines from waypoint to waypoint. If you want to follow a twisting trail, you have to lay down the waypoints pretty thickly. Of course, if you’re navigating you probably want a real map, but it isn’t strictly necessary.

  41. Paul S

    Looks like using notifications is draining on the battery. I was down to 55% before I plugged it in just now, so about 13 hours of use. I did turn the GPS on this afternoon for 1/2 hour to make sure the upgrade didn’t affect that. Since there’s snow on the ground and more coming, I’m plugging it in to make sure it’s charged and ready in case I get to do some x-c skiing tomorrow.

    • empewu

      I got more or less the same result (half of battery gone over night), but I made a mistake of keeping my default setting with lighting. It goes on each notification, and stays on – when I run at night, I just switch lights off after I read each km tempo. I will try now with lights off – will see.

      If notification function has a big load on battery it may be difficult for Garmin to implement this for 620. Fenix has 500 mAh battery, I do not know 620 battery capacity, but 610 had 200 mAh.

  42. Peter

    I agree with Juneau Jim and ekutter in previous comments. I am a marathon runner and do like toys and technology, but a running watch must be functional and solid. I want to buy a new running watch because my Garmin 310 is a the end of its battery life after years of loyal service. My options: Garmin 620, Garmin Fenix or the Adidas Smart Run.
    The Garmin 620 is the save choice, my only flaw is that the display is smaller then on my 310.
    The Adidas has pour battery life, but 2 great built in selling points: the built-in HRM(No strap anymore!), and a Bluetooth MP3 player. Now the Garmin Fenix is also an option because the ad-in of the interval workout support. I’m still in doubt.
    Note to Rainmaker: Your reviews are great! But in my opinion the tendency in these reviews is going the wrong way, you let your personal interest and situation take the upper hand in your recommendations. Text-messages on your watch, availability of data on other platforms and connecting to a smartphone are not that important for me and the runners I know. It is a nice to have, and will hardly ever been used.

    • Montana Steve

      Peter — I disagree with your assessment. I think Ray’s reviews are quite unbiased — just a reporting of the facts. He does note that this is the first GPS watch to make a bridge with smart watch technology and for me, I think this is fantastic! Sure, you and others might find no need for it, so just don’t use it. I run mid-day for about an hour and would love to know if my boss has an urgent request, a family member has an emergency, etc. by just looking at my watch vs. digging my phone out while running.

      As I noted above, I’m currently running with a 620 and iSmoothRun on my iPhone. The truth is, information accuracy on the two matches so well that I’m not sure I need the 620. And, for example, iSR does voice prompts for changes in my workout — “One mile at eight-minute pace” or for completion of time/distance, or where I am on pace — where the 620 just buzzes. If I could only have one (current 620 @ $450 or iPhone with $5 app) I’d take the iPhone without question and will likely sell the 620 after playing with it a while longer. With iOS notifications on the 620, I could see keeping it longer. As it is, I will probably sell it and get a Tactix so I can get the now-available running modes, and will also have navigation, and all the other modes there, plus iOS notifications.

      Presumably Garmin realizes how easy it would be for Apple to add the same GPS chip Garmin uses (better accuracy and more frequent updating) and thus is protecting its turf/staying ahead of Suunto, etc. Sure, there will be those who don’t need/want this technology, but I believe iOS integration will ultimately help sell more GPS watches, which is Garmin’s ultimate objective.

      I bet Garmin has a feel for how many GPS car units they didn’t sell after the iPhone came out (including the one I didn’t buy) and this is one way to preserve or grow sales of watches.


    • Gunnar

      Completely agree with Steve.

      I think many people who are skeptics of smart watches will find themselves addicted to the phone notifications once they try it.

      I had a fenix for many months, but switched to a Pebble smart watch so I could have phone notifications. I loved the ABC features of the fenix (I work on the water) and now I’m seriously considering the fenix again now that it has these features.

    • I pretty much try to present all the information and let folks decide what features are valuable or not valuable.

      Ultimately, this is the future of running watches. If you go forward 18 months or so from now, all devices will have it. All devices will upload to the phone. If we look at the Edge 510/810, the single biggest thing I hear from folks is that they love the Bluetooth Smart phone upload. Even with all my complaints about those units, people still overlooked it and just want the upload.

      If I look at devices come down the line with phone support – TomTom just announced it, Adidas is playing the “sorta no comment but kinda comment” game implying it’s on the roadmap, given Polar has one of their employees as chair of the Bluetooth Sports/Fitness SIG, that’s coming as well I’d have to assume. Plus, all the random Kickstarter watches with it too.

      Different things are important to different people. Interesting enough, I think you’ll see that in the section I wrote above at the end (added), which I wrote last night on a flight before your post. At the end of the day, for me, text messages aren’t actually a deal-sealer compared to other functionality pieces on other units.

      Finally, as for platforms, I think it’s incredibly important, especially as companies evolve or go under. If we look at cases like the Motorola Motoactv. If it weren’t for open-file support, when that website stops working someday (and eventually, it will), then those users would be hosed. Same goes for Zeo, with it going out of business. Or Contour, with it going out of business.

      Looking at other platforms, Strava is incredibly popular. It may not be for you, but for many users, it’s huge. Garmin for example seems to be toying a bit with their API on the GC side, putting their toe in the water with what they can get away it change-wise there. For now, the changes are pretty minimal (almost non-existent), but if they cross the line, I’ll do the same thing I did with Strava in calling them out on it (which, resulted in them changing their policy). I think it’s critical that consumers have choice, because ultimately it seems that all companies either go away, or do (or attempt to do) stupid things with your data.

      Thanks for reading!

  43. Hi All-

    Just as a heads up to folks with comment notifications, I’ve updated the end of the post with my thoughts on the Fenix vs FR620.


  44. Aben

    Accelerameter ?

    We did not know till know one exists in the Fenix…..

    Fr what purpose was it used till now and why can it not be used for cadence (I assume cadence is much easier to figure out than speed)

    • I don’t think anyone’s saying it can’t be used for cadence down the road. It’s simply not there in the very first beta release.

      I suspect the accelerometer was likely a component within the 3D magnetic compass that’s in there.

  45. Leg

    About 620 vs fenix, one point for the fenix is the Tempe

  46. Jason K

    Couple notes after downloading it yesterday.

    Its a windows only file (although I see someone above noted a way to work that around for Mac users).

    The notifications work very nicely.

    I did notice a small issue re-pairing after my phone and watch were “separated”, had to turn BT on/off.

    Its a MAJOR battery drain, GPS off and watch was dead in less than 1 day.

    I’m curious where this will go next both in software and hardware, I hope the next watch will be able to communicate on BT and ANT at the same time, and that battery life will improve.

  47. matt

    With all the battery issues people are saying, I don’t know how this would work for the 620.

    • I would keep in mind that they are different platforms with different chipsets. Further, I’d also keep in mind that this is a beta release. We can look at many other examples in the sports watch arena where devices have increased battery life 2-4x over initial releases (Motoactv, getting there in Adidas watch).

      The complexity with Fenix/Tactix is there’s so many ways that battery life can be impacted by the variety of sensors it has onboard, so there’s probably going to be a fair bit of variance between how much battery life different people have based on settings people have configured (even with GPS off).

      Just my two cents…

  48. Craig

    Its a very poor effort for Android support from Garmin. The Fenix has been available for over a year, still no sign of any Android app.

    Just indefinite delays, and excuses. Yes, its true that older versions lacked support for Bluetooth Smart. But Android 4.3 seems to have pretty good support for that, and is now available on quite a few devices.
    Or there are other options for connecting, eg ANT+ or USB mass storage (with a cable).

    Or they could at least publish details of the protocols used, then we could get some third-party apps.

    I won’t be buying a Fenix or Forerunner 220 until there is an Android app available.

    • Knut

      The way I see it, the lack of Android support makes perfect sense. iOS is just so much simpler to develop for and support. Case in point, the latest figures I saw was that 74% of iOS devices are now on iOS 7 whereas a mere 1% of Android devices are running 4.4.

  49. Motorina

    You’ve missed the big advantage of the fenix over the 620: battery life. As an utrarunner, that’s huge. And now with intervals functionality, I’m tempted. Very, very tempted.

  50. Arlene

    How does it now compare to the Suunto Ambit 2? Since I’m now getting into ultra-running, I’m wondering if I should wait for the Ambit 3, or go back to a Garmin. I had some bad luck with a Garmin a couple of years ago (the thing completely stopped working in the middle of a marathon) and I swore off Garmins. But I miss the direct connection to Training Peaks.

    Also, does the Garmin HRM link with a treadmill? My Landice treadmill has a HRM workout program that receives signals from the Suunto HRM, but I’ve never been able to get a link with Garmin HRMs. Thanks much for all your reviews!

    • Knut

      The Ambit 2 and the fënix are much alike and very different at the same time. If you’re interested in the workout feature you’ll want to get the fënix as the Ambit 2 does not have support for that.

      The Suunto HRM’s are a proprietary version of ANT, Garmin HRM are ANT+ and will not be compatible with your treadmill. The Ambit 2 will be able to read the ANT+ HRM though.

    • L3vi

      Tat is the opposite truth for both of knut’s answers:
      AMBIT 2 has more workout features than the FENIX, especially with the updates, also it is a lot more stable
      Having trained 1200h this year I can tell you that the AMBIT 2 never did anything to me, however the FENIX is over after 6months with loads of problems unfixed, also with plastic screen versus mineral glass on the AMBIT 2 and Sapphire on the AMBIT 2 Sapp
      Also AMBIT 2 comes straight with and ANT+ HR monitor
      (The funky things like these text messages and VIRB control and so on has nothing to do with training, just fuss)

    • No, Knut is correct.

      The Ambit (1/2/2s) has no custom workout capability, and has a barely functional interval capability. That remains a fact as of December 8th.

      Where the Ambit shines, is that it can bridge into more sports (swimming for example), and has semi-OK power support.

    • Querfeldein

      The main difference, if you run on trails, is the navigation – I tried the Ambit 2, but exchanged it for a Fenix, as it allows me to upload a map that covers any race I might run, including foot paths (this depends on the completeness of OSM in your area). Very handy when your course isn’t well signposted.

  51. caspar

    A workaround for the need to choose between BT and Ant would be to use an Ant+ dongle on the phone with and app that captures ANT+ sensors and has live tracking. A coach could then track and send messages that would be pushed to the watch by BT

  52. kotare

    Another big plus of the fenix over the 620 is the ability to use profiles on the fenix. I own both watches and this is the (now second after iOS notifications) thing I miss most on the 620. Groupings of settings per activity makes things so much easier.

  53. L3vi

    Being an outdoor shop trail department leader, I can tell you a lot about the Fenix.
    We never ever had that much of complaint and returns on a watch ever.
    Regular complaints:
    -fogging screen (plastic face vs Suunto Ambit2 mineral glass / Ambit 2 Sapp Sapphire glass)
    -dying battery ( as the watch advances forward in life, the battery starts lasting less and less, then about 600h of use, it starts losing about 10% a day with no training – I went through 1200h training this year, so last month it happened to me too)
    -if you train regularly enough, you will encounter at least once a week that the watch dies on you during a workout (not cause of battery, but software crash)
    -software of the watch is so slow that to call back a 3h , 35splits workout can take up to 3min, you add HR data it gets even slower
    -Loading GPX files from an outside software like basecamp or mapmyride can crash the watch too, easily
    -You only realise how slow the watch is when you start comparing to ambit 2
    -GPS satellite search can take up to 5min in times (I mean this is a regular issue with the fenix, however FR620/220 jumps on the GPS super fast)
    -the watch can get into some crash cycles, so after turning off for instance the off sign remains on the screen for 5 to 10minutes with no response to buttons or charger
    -watch not always start charging from outside USB chargers like samsung or apple or any, and sometimes it discharges before start charging, interestingly
    (I could read over a few more return forms to tell you more about the flaws of the fenix, but I think no need for it. However the 620 with the oscillation, cadence and ground contact features is one of the greatest watch ever.)

    • rabbit

      I agree with you. Bought my first fenix in November 2012- meanwhile I have had 3 rma and my fourth fenix (software crash /fogging / battery problem+fogging again)
      but over all: I love the fenix – but I am angry because I bought the watch for hiking and mountaineering- meanwhile, it seems that garmin is only testing every new fitness/indoor feature on the fenix – nothing against it, but there are a lot of things to to for hiking/mountaineering features (nvdst/vdst; elevation plot, vertical speed…)

    • Paul S

      I agree with most of what you say. I’m on my second Fenix, replaced by Garmin via RMA under warranty. The first one died after a swim (of all places, at Disneyworld in the tank at Epcot, during a tour you can take. Didn’t take it off because it was “waterproof to 50 m”, and they keep you on the surface on this tour.). Before that I had the “fog behind the glass” problem, and a crash here or there.

      I can’t blame Garmin much for the battery problem. I’m on my third iPod Touch, and I’ve replaced the two previous because of declining battery life. (Ordinarily I like to use things until they break.) Rechargeable batteries that get used heavily don’t last forever. My iPod Touch (now about a year old, so it has about a year to go) routinely gives me daily low battery warnings because I use it pretty heavily. I charge it every day.

      Someone’s already mentioned profiles, which are very neat and useful if you’re doing more than one type of activity. Switch a profile, and you switch the sensors it looks for and the data pages it shows. But the one thing that I like most about the Fenix was a surprise, since I had despaired of ever finding a wrist mounted device for skiing with this feature and finally broke down and bought the Fenix without knowing about this. Maps. Honest to god maps. Not great on the tiny screen, but good enough so you know where you are and what’s coming up. Are there any other wrist worn devices that do this? (And I don’t mean an Edge mounted on a wrist, but something that looks like it belongs there.) Because the Fenix definitely has problems, but this one thing means a lot to me. If Garmin comes out with Fenix 2 with full, rather than unintentional, support for maps (even better, contour maps) I’d buy one. Especially if it has a color screen. Even better if it has user replaceable batteries.

    • BZ

      Are these problems also found in the Tactix?

    • I wouldn’t say most are normal, for either Fenix or Tactix. Fenix did have some waterproofing issues earlier on, but they stopped all production last December until that was fixed.

  54. Juro

    The firmware drains battery even without using BT and the indoor footpod-less mode (~25% per day). Any thoughts about how do “downgrade” to official 4.00?

    • Juro

      OK, for those interested, after a bit of hit-and-miss play with the URLs I have found the link to the latest “non-beta” firmware 4.00: link to www8.garmin.com

      Save file as x:/Garmin/gupdate.gcd where x: is the drive of your fenix and restart the device. I’m now back on 4.00.


    • Craig

      Older firmware versions are available here: link to gawisp.com

    • Ron Anderson

      Had the same problem after about three days of no issues. Full charge would not last a day, even with IOS notifications turned off. Back to 4.00, wait for Garmin to work the bugs out. And I did lose all settings with the 4.00.

    • Paul S

      That’s interesting. Because of the battery drain, I turned notifications off yesterday and charged the Fenix up to 100%. 24 hours later, the charge reads 99%, which is normal drain using it just as a watch. So whatever is going on doesn’t affect all of them.

      Incidentally, is 4.0 actually the official software version? I though I was on 3.9 when the beta came along.

    • Ron Anderson

      I think there was an additional update right before or after the beta.

      Changes made from version 3.70 to 4.00:
      ◦Added project waypoint application. Setup > Menu to add.
      ◦Improved virtual partner.
      ◦Improved more and most intervals for the auto track method.

  55. Like the pairing option, though disappointed that it’s bluetooth… oh well

  56. Anton

    I absolutely love how they are putting in new features on an “old” device like this. It’s definately a factor that will make me buy Garmin again. Unlike Suunto who lost me straight away with their Ambit 1 debacle which they stopped supporting after less than a year.

    It seems though as they have a bit to go before this firmware will be stable. I have had problems with getting workouts to work properly and also my fotpod stopped registering speed on the treadmill. I hope they read the emails at fenix@garmin.com because I’ve reported both issues.

  57. Palm35

    Since I have downloaded this beta version, it is no more possible to connect my fenix to the Tempe sensor.
    I have checked that the bluetooth menu is off/disabled .
    Does someone else had the same problem ?

    • Palm35

      The answer of Fenix Team :

      “There is an issue that if you turn on the Bluetooth and then turn if off again the ANT sensors will not pair again until you power cycle the watch.
      Fenix Team”

    • Paul S

      I just tried connecting to my Tempe, and it linked up right away. Bluetooth has been off since yesterday, and I don’t remember power cycling the Fenix, although hooking it up to the charging cradle may amount to the same thing.

      Do the people having battery problems have any ANT+ sensors on? Maybe it’s not switching modes on the radio properly?

  58. Eng Khai Guan

    Hi there, what is battery hours for the Felix in the GPS mode?

    • Paul S

      Depends on the mode, and on whether you believe Garmin’s claims. They have a GPS mode called “UltraTrac” mode, which records by default once per minute, and I think tries to keep the GPS off as much as possible between points. That’s supposed to last for 50 hours. I’ve tried using UltraTrac while driving, and the GPS was on continuously for about 8 hours and battery usage was consistent with that claim.

      For real usage, you want a GPS mode that records more often and leaves the GPS and any ANT+ sensors on. I believe Garmin claims something like 12 – 18 hours for that. I’ve used mine continuously for over 3 hours several times, and I can believe that maybe it might get 12. It, of course, depends somewhat on the weather, since cold weather robs battery life.

  59. empewu

    Report from the field. I have been skiing today in Soelden with fenix with 4.01 beta firmware, and I LOVE new Skiing/Snowboarding profile – tracking pauses / resumes automagically and you can see your last and total runs statistics including max and average speed (there are new, dedicated data pages)

    However watch behaves somehow erratic – it has restarted on its own (mid of lift ride), and at the end of the day it took ~30 min to save track, even if final GPX file had only 233kb and final FIT file had 29kb. Still a lot of work in front of Garmin programmers to make fenix firmware more stable.

  60. Howard

    I tried the beta, but the problem I had was that the Indoor mode no longer used the footpod to calculate the pace or distance when I was on a teadmill. It seemed that it only used the footpod for cadence. Did I miss something in the settings? I have not done any outdoor runs to calibrate the new mode that does not use the footpod.

  61. Howard

    “treadmill”, not “teadmill”. Need more coffee.

  62. Jason

    Isn’t the smartwatch option possible with ANT+? what I mean is it would solve the bleuthooth smart problem for android (or am I wrong?) as ANT+ appears more standardized then bluetooth. Besides I think garmin features ant+ hearthrate belts with their performancepackege so using bluetooth would render those useless for the time being. Or am I totally on a wrong track?

  63. Smith

    4.01 firmware installed. Experiencing the same battery drains as described above. Approx 12-13 hours use with ‘on demand’ sensors, GPS off, occasional backlight & stopwatch use. Works very well though. Not sure the trade off for battery life while using the gps is enough to make me want to use the notifications at the same time though. Can’t imagine you will get more than say 6-7 hours use with notifications, GPS and tracking on? Anyone tested this yet out in the field?

    Overall, I personally find this feature useful as the majority of my time I work on standby basis. Having the notifications turned on while say playing squash for example and my phone is in a backpack means missing a call no longer occurs.

    Other points: First time my watched has ever crashed. Never happened with other software updates but occurred during a charge two nights ago. On restarting the watch it had 100% battery but drained quickly to 51% over just a few hours then stabilised and has now resumed a normal discharge rate for standby watch use. Odd.

    Love the new skiing-snowboard profile too. Looking forward to giving this a whirl in Jan over in the alps.

    A good step forward from Garmin. I love the fenix, having previously owned the ambit too. It has (touch wood) worked perfectly for me in all scenarios and got me out of a pretty dangerous white out scenario while walking in Scotland for which I swore I would never say a bad word on garmin again (after several pints that is). For that one occasion alone, I feel it has been money well spent and look forward to garmin streamlining it further.

  64. Jonathan

    Great work! Thanks for detailing the content of the update. Do you know if they plan the Fenix to support the 3D functions of the FR620 heart rate strap?

    • They haven’t made note of any plans, but they also have ruled it out (whereas it’s been put on the ‘no plans’ list for the FR910XT). Different teams, entirely different divisions (Outdoor vs Fitness) – so ya never know.

  65. Jon

    I just received my Tactix yesterday and quickly put this beta firmware on it. I have to say I am really enjoying the “smart watch” notification features. I agree the battery life is the biggest issue/hurdle. I had my fingers crossed that I could set up a hot key to disable/enable bluetooth (and therefore notifications) but it isn’t possible….yet! I think that feature would be a great way to help users manage their usage and battery capacity.

    Personally having notifications is very situational and by no means is it required 24/7 making it as easy as a hot key to turn this on/off would be great.

  66. Guilherme

    It would be nice to have vibration alert on the workouts. I can’t hear the sound alert while listening to music!

  67. Asaf

    Did anyone encounter this bug: while running indoor and using footpod, distance stays zero, although it’s connected but once set as off, the watch counts distance via the new footpod-less algorithm. I tried to activate the footpod few times including restart, just to make sure it’s not connectivity issue and it didn’t change much. Right now, I can’t get the watch to calculate speed and distance via the footpod…

  68. Marcos Saad

    Hi Ray,

    I have a doubt regarding Training Indoor, if you can help.
    In order to choose Training Indoor like you did above in my understanding either or you need:
    a) go first to Setup->System->GPS Mode than Indoor, to be able to choose Training Indoor
    b) have a profile (i.g. Treadmill) with that setting already

    There is no “Training Indoor” unless a or b.
    Is that it or I am missing something?

    Thank you,

  69. Smith

    New beta 4.02 now available. Check the garmin forums for latest info but includes bug fixes and what appears to be a slightly better battery drain. ~20hrs apparently with Bluetooth on now as apposed to the 13-14hrs we originally have experiences. Will be interesting to see how this new beta version measures up.

  70. Ian

    Tis a cool feature, it really is…but it still leads me to the obvious and major corresponding issue with the watch-why no sync with the garmin connect app?
    as you said yourself DC “Ultimately, this is the future of running watches. If you go forward 18 months or so from now, all devices will have it. All devices will upload to the phone. If we look at the Edge 510/810, the single biggest thing I hear from folks is that they love the Bluetooth Smart phone upload. Even with all my complaints about those units, people still overlooked it and just want the upload”
    And yet no upload to the garmin connect app? it still confuses me? what am I missing?

  71. Ronald Smith

    I paired my fenix with my iPhone 5s and get notifications on the watch but now I cannot connect to BaseCamp mobile.
    If I switch off notifications and discard the fenix from the phone and then try “Scan for Devices” in BaseCamp mobile it pairs with the fenix again with a passcode (this wasn’t required previously) then immediately reverts to the “No Garmin devices are currently connected” message.
    BaseCamp is more useful to me than Notifications on the watch. How can I restore the fenix to the pre 4.02 Beta software?

  72. Eli

    New update to the beta:
    link to www8.garmin.com

    Very important:
    Issues with this beta software may be reported to fenix@garmin.com

  73. rabbit

    Are you able to send wireless a track from a compatible device to the fenix? With the 4.02 beta it doesn`t work for me.

  74. Gunnar

    I’m seeing the Tempe sensor (external pod) reading erratic (very high….200+ degrees) when paired with the watch and also paired with HRM. Doesn’t occur when only the Tempe pod is paired.

    I’m also seeing zero calorie count after work out. (using HRM strap).

    Notifications work very well. Loving that aspect.

    I’ve copied this to fenix@garmin.com


  75. Gunnar

    Doh! Wish I read the 4.02 firmware update. It takes care of my above mentioned issues…

    On to upgrade to 4.02!

  76. andy from embsay

    Slightly dim question – I’ve got the .GCD file and copied it to the Garmin folder – but then nothing happened (the file’s sat on the device) – and when I check the software on my watch it says “3.60” – should I go to 4.0 first?

    • Jon

      Did you power cycle the watch? If you did – double check that the file name is “GUPDATE.GCD” and make sure to power cycle the watch again.

      If that doesn’t work – maybe try incremental updates. Use Garmin Connect to update it to 4.0 first and then trying going to 4.02.

  77. andy from embsay

    S’ok – sorted. Power cycling required! Thanks.

  78. Leg

    Do you have the battery problems that the garmin forum users are reporting?

  79. Paul S

    Yes. The thing to do when it crashes is to get the GPS back on and start tracking again. Some of the times may be screwed up, but the distances and previous points prior to the crash will be resurrected, so the times can be fixed later. It seems to write out the current activity as it goes along into a GPX, and looks for that file if it reboots. The only trouble I had yesterday when it crashed twice during a 2 hour x-c ski is that it didn’t reconnect with my HR belt after the first crash, so I lost that. I only lost the distance of the few minutes in each case between the time it crashed and the time I noticed that it had crashed.

  80. JWM

    Going back to 4.0 now. I like the notifications, and battery drain is expected with those. But something went odd and (even with notification and ant+ off) my watch was reporting 100% 1/2 the day, then it would be dead in the morning.. unsure what it was, I’ll wait.

    I don’t think it happened until I was trying to switch back and forth between ant+ and BT notifications.


  81. Manu

    Maybe I missed something but I guess that R-R data is still missing after the update

  82. Ronald Smith

    In an earlier post I explained that I wanted to return to the 4.00 firmware because 4.01 and 4.02 stopped my fenix from connecting with BaseCamp mobile.
    Garmin Support emailed me a 4.00 GUPDATE.GCD file but I couldn’t get it to install and ended up on a wild goose chase trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. It turns out that the file was corrupt and that’s why it wouldn’t install. Once I got hold of a proper version of the file there was no problem at all, I’m now back at 4.00 and that’s what brings me to the point of this post: It seems very difficult to find firmware files other than the latest update on Garmin’s website. I eventually found the file I needed at link to gmaptool.eu but this actually links to Garmin’s site anyway. it seems to me that when Garmin make Beta firmware available they should include clear instructions on how to revert to the last official release on the download page.

  83. Daniel Jessee

    I just really wish that Garmin would add the ability to upload wirelessly to Garmin Connect Mobile, Wahoo Fitness, Strava, etc. using the watch’s innards. ANT+ and BT Smart and all we can do is a useless BaseCamp Mobile app? Come on!

  84. Beau

    I’ve noticed that indoor mode use on the fenix (regardless of new accelerometer use or footpod) does NOT record the distance or pace at all when uploaded to Strava. I’ve tried with their customer support but they think it is a garmin tcx/fit issue. Thoughts?? The files look fine in garminconnect, just not when you upload to strava. Even an attempt to upload to garmin, then download, then upload to strava doesn’t work.

  85. Brian

    Is it possible with the new update to get Cadence information to show up when running outside? I am not sure if I have my settings done correctly, but I don’t see the cadence graph in Garmin Connect on a run I just uploaded.

  86. Tim

    Awesome post & comments – both 4.02 & 4.05 work fine through my iMac on my Fenix.

    Not sure if anyone else noticed, but I was going crazy trying to change the Alert for new Notifications: the options are under “Setup >> Bluetooth >> Notifications” (NOT “Setup >> Tones >> Messages”) … seems you can set the Notification alerts independent of the regular system messages … nice!

  87. Rodrigo

    Don’t work for me. I have the latest firmware installed, but none of these appears to me. Maybe a “beta” feature? What’s you firmware ID (mine is 4.0.0)?

    • Jon

      Yes – these features are only available on the beta firmware releases (eg. 4.02, 4.05). 4.0.0 is an official release and does not have these features.

  88. Mike D

    installed 4.03 on my tactix last night around 9pm with full charge.. notifications on all the time.. woke up to 5 notifications from email on the watch and got a low battery warning on the drive in to work.. Going to attempt turning off notifications in hopes that it resolves the issue as I don’t want to lose all my settings.. Hopefully this is a software bug and not just a side effect of having a constant bluetooth connection?

    • Paul S

      It’s definitely a consequence of having a constant Bluetooth connection. If you leave notifications on, you’ll have to charge your Tactix every day. That’s why I’ve turned notifications off on my Fenix, which does return the battery life to normal.

      But why 4.03? 4.05 is out, and each iteration of the beta has improved battery life a little when notifications are on.

    • Mike D

      yah 4.05 thats what I meant sorry.. seems like a great feature, but i prefer to own a watch i don’t have to charge daily unfortunately..

  89. Stan.E

    4.05 Is still bad…. When you are using bluetooth the GPS is always ON and can’t stop it, this is the reason of low battery life. Its very good extras but we must wait official release.
    Yesterday I take my 3rd Fenix, 2 fenix with restarting problems… I hope so to fix this soon.

  90. Kevin

    Since updating to SW version 4.05, it is taking several MINUTES to get a temperature reading from the tempe unit? Are other users seeing a similar delay?

  91. rabbit

    Anybody using the new gps fw 2.90? Since I have installed it, the (track) accuracy is absolute crap – even when I give the gps receiver a 15 minutes warm up period. Anybode else these probs since the 2.90 gps fw?


  92. Gabriele

    One question all firmware update released for fenix is compatible for tactix?
    i made this question because i want to buy tactix only because i prefer the tactix stile but i’m not a military and a don’t use the tactix feature, i saw that until today the all update are released for both, you think that it’s the same in future?


  93. BZ

    I finally have the money to buy a running watch, and I’m torn between the Fenix and 620 (as many other people). I love the feature set in both watches, but for the money I am not sure which is worth it in the long run (no pun intended…). I like the battery life and extra features on the Fenix – the feel that I can get lost running or hiking and find my way back – no need to stick to familiar streets & paths. The update also makes the watch more useful for running.
    On the other hand, I also like the 620 features that are aimed at improving running. Thing is, I’m 41 and just getting back into running. I can see running a few 5k races down the line, possibly even a 1/2 marathon eventually. So I don’t really know if I need all the features of the 620. (There is something about the look of the 220 that I can’t stand – the circuitry design on the face doesn’t strike me.) But then again, the watch is newer and geared specifically for running, so I feel that it is more focused and possibly more stable than the Fenix for running/calorie/etc. data. I have nothing to base this feeling on, but… you know… it’s newer and shinier!
    So I’m torn. Get the Fenix with the cool gadget-y features, or get the 620 with its more running specific features. I also feel the Fenix is a better day-to-day watch being more durable. The 620 with its touch screen would worry me to wear most of the time. As you can see, I’m leaning more toward the Fenix, but I’d love to hear advice from anyone who bought either watch coming from the same situation as me: torn between the 620 and Fenix, and getting into running after a long hiatus. Were you happy with your ultimate decision of one over the other?

    PS – is the Tactix available at any retail stores? I see the Fenix at EMS and REI, but no Tactix to be seen anywhere!

    • Tim

      I’ve had the Fenix for about a year. and if I were to buy right now, would choose it again. While I use it primarily for running, the navigation functions are invaluable for hiking (and trail running).

      Alternative (in the trails) is to carry a 2nd (dedicated) GPS device, or use the phone: I don’t like to carry more than I have to, and I like to preserve my phone battery life as much as possible (you never know …) … plus (since I’m carrying both anyway), I have Fenix as my primary nav device and iPhone as backup (and take a map, too!).

      FWIW, while I do a fair bit of running (incl. marathon distances), I don’t get too hung up on HRM, calories, etc. data … time and distance (and not getting lost) are what’s important (to me – YMMV)

    • JWM

      I love the Fenix (for hiking and every day), but go dig up DC rainmaker’s review on the Fenix and try to decide if you really need an ultra/trailrunner watch or if a 620 ( or even older garmin, if you don’t care about running metrics as much)..

      Maybe I’m miss remembering, but I think the FR305 was a perfect mix of bread crumbs and runner functionality.. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like much as an every day watch :) It kept me from getting lost in places that I would have been lost w/o breadcrumbs..

      I’ve had some battery problems since the beta firmware.. I’m hoping that gets worked out.. I dig it much for hiking, but I’m not wow’d by the HRM support (if you like that sort of thing)

      Agree.. the 220 would probably be perfect (unless you need to not get lost), but my opinion is garmin missed the boat on the colors there..

      Good luck!

  94. Szabo Mihaly

    I am from Romania and just got few days ago my tactix.
    Seems they are a lot of problems with the 4.05 software: The Bluetooth connection is very tricky. If the tactix is paired with the iPhone, the mobile BaseCamp can’t recognize the tactix only after in settings i forget this device. Like this BaseCamp will connect but same time the new pairing procedure is requested. Every time must forget device, connect basecamp and pair. To many procedures.
    The geocaches downloaded to Tactix from PC are not visible on BaseCamp after sync.
    Many times the tactix get blocked, especially when details about geocaches are requested.
    How can i get tide info? i buy this watch for the tide info also but just after i got-it i find out this is not possible only for US.

  95. Szabo Mihaly

    Another issue i forget about 4.05:
    The bluetooth icon sometimes is on, most of the time not. Have to check the phone to see if the connection is still on.
    The battery running out after aprox 24 hours with only bluetooth notification on.

  96. sf

    Looks like it won’t be long until Garmin Connect works with Fenix! (See link)

  97. sf

    …and here’s the link…oops…

    link to forums.garmin.com

  98. Brian

    Ray – It’s unfortunate you didn’t get a chance to run through an actual workout on the device, there are some bugs with that process unfortunately.

    – I have autolap enabled on my watch for both vibration/audible alerts, however there was no audio/vibration alert when each phase of the workout transitioned to the next phase (i.e. lap 1 to 2, warmup to interval, etc). With the workouts feature on my Forerunner 405, there is a “countdown” beep series that lets you know audibly that you’re moving to the next phase of the workout. Without this audible (or vibration) alert, there is no way to know when you’re finishing/starting a new section of the workout without staring at the watch face for the entirety.

    – Similar to the above, despite having autolap set at vibration/audio, and I have “Message Notifications” set to vibrate only. Yet, when I was in the section of the workout that required a specific metric (i.e. a certain pace, or a certain HR), there was only a very light-sounding beep to indicate I was over/under where I should be on that metric. I am not sure where I would specify the type of alert this would be, on my Forerunner 405 it would indicate over/under with a distinct series of beeps for over, and a different series for under…in addition to displaying on the watch face. The Fenix only beeps and displays on the watch face, but I would like to at least be able to change that to vibration too, since the beep is so very slight as to be inaudible.

    – I have the bottom left button set as a hotkey for lap/splits, yet in Workout mode, this only resets the segment timer, which seems to have no effect on the workout (doesn’t progress to the next segment like it should). Only the “regular” lap button (i.e. holding down the bottom right button), performs this function. This is fine, but it just seems like the hotkey lap button should do this too.

    – When navigating to “My Workouts” and seeing the list of workouts, you then choose the workout and the next menu item is “Do Workout.” Choosing this option also starts the activity, this works better on the 405 where there is an extra step of pressing the normal start button to actually start the activity. This way, you can “cue up” a workout, and only started when you’re ready by pressing the usual start button.

    • Indeed, the ‘fun’ of beta software.

      Have you sent a note to the team (using the beta e-mail address)? I know that team (Fenix/Tactix) in particular is pretty eager about tracking down bugs…

    • Tim

      4.05 is working for me, pretty much without bugs (AFAIK!) … I’ve been using a timed Workout (10 minutes run / 1 minute walk) and it gives me kind of a Countdown Timer as I approach the end of each Interval (beeps for the last 5 secs or so … not terribly loud though, so I sometimes miss it). Also have AutoLap set for 1km Intervals and that seems to be OK, too.

      Only weird thing is that I can’t seem to set the Virtual Partner to run the Intervals (as in Fast / Slow) – I have it set for an overall average pace, so it works out over longer runs … I don’t think this is a Bug so much as a feature that hasn’t yet been enabled(??)

      Also, my Garmin Connect on my iPhone doesn’t ‘see’ my Fenix at all, although the Bluetooth Notifications work fine (I usually have this turned-off, though, due to the battery drain on my phone).

    • Paul S

      Garmin Connect on iOS has never worked with the Fenix, but that’s about to change. Garmin has said on the forums that the next Garmin Connect will work with Fenix. The only app that worked with Fenix previously was iOS BaseCamp. But with the 4.xx beta, if you’ve ever used Notifications, then BaseCamp can’t see the Fenix. You have to restart the Fenix or the iOS device or both (I’m not clear on the details) in order for them to see each other again.

    • ziki

      I’m interesting in buying the fenix now, but I must need to know what about the interval target notifications.
      Brian on January 27, 2014 at 12:17 pm #175 says:

      – I have autolap enabled on my watch for both vibration/audible alerts, however there was no audio/vibration alert when each phase of the workout transitioned to the next phase (i.e. lap 1 to 2, warmup to interval, etc). With the workouts feature on my Forerunner 405, there is a “countdown” beep series that lets you know audibly that you’re moving to the next phase of the workout. Without this audible (or vibration) alert, there is no way to know when you’re finishing/starting a new section of the workout without staring at the watch face for the entirety.

      – Similar to the above, despite having autolap set at vibration/audio, and I have “Message Notifications” set to vibrate only. Yet, when I was in the section of the workout that required a specific metric (i.e. a certain pace, or a certain HR), there was only a very light-sounding beep to indicate I was over/under where I should be on that metric. I am not sure where I would specify the type of alert this would be, on my Forerunner 405 it would indicate over/under with a distinct series of beeps for over, and a different series for under…in addition to displaying on the watch face. The Fenix only beeps and displays on the watch face, but I would like to at least be able to change that to vibration too, since the beep is so very slight as to be inaudible.

      Is this unluckily true? Or with the last official release Garmin improves this feature?
      In short words, with last update:
      Is there an audio and/or vibration notification when each phase of the workout transitioned to the next phase (step)?
      Is the notification during a workout phase with target set (e.g. pace between 4:00 and 4:30) the same (e.g. same beep frequency) when you go over or under the range set?

      Hope some one can help me. Thanks and many compliments for the in-depth and updates reviews!

  99. Brian

    Tim – Would you mind sharing your relevant settings for those workouts you described? I can’t seem to get mine to do any sort of countdown timer for workouts, but based on your comment, I wonder if I just have some setting wrong. I would love to get countdown warnings and vibration alerts set up within the workouts steps.

    • Tim

      OK, here goes … I am coaching a marathon clinic, so is based on 4:00 marathon training pace (they are doing 10 and 1s):

      On the Garmin Connect website I set up a Workout with 2 Steps:
      1. Step Type “Interval”; Duration “Time” 10:00; Target “Pace” 6:09 to 6:49*
      2. Type “Rest”; Duration “Time” 1:00; Target “No Target”
      Then set Repeat to “20 Times” (or whatever, as long as it’s longer than the whole workout)

      On my Fenix:
      Setup >> Fitness >> Auto Lap >> Distance “1.00” km … Notification “Tone”
      Setup >> Fitness >> Virtual Partner >> Pace “6:44” … Notification “None”**
      Setup >> Tones >> Messages “Tone”

      I also created a new Profile “Running2” that shows the Virtual Partner screen (IIRC it doesn’t show in the default Running profile) and a Distance / Time / Pace screen

      *Just occurred to me that it seems to be ignoring this Pace setting (using the Virtual Partner instead) << there's a bug

      **I had the Notification for the Virtual Partner turned on before, but it was annoying as hell – for the first few intervals, it kept telling me I was way ahead of the Virtual Partner (as the Virtual Partner is set for the "weighted average" of running/walking speeds) … now I just use a screen that shows my Distance, Time and Pace – I check my Pace a fair bit at first and then after the first few intervals occasionally flip to the Virtual Partner page (to check on overall progress) but mostly just leave it at the Distance / Time / Pace screen.

      … seems to work for me – hope it helps!

    • Brian

      Tim – I can’t seem to replicate the alerts you are producing. I think it’s your virtual partner that is producing the audio countdown alert, not the “workout” feature?

      Can anyone replicate what Tim is showing?

      The workout feature is useless if it doesn’t indicate when to proceed to the next step in the workout.

  100. David Hou

    I just upgrade Fenix to V4.05 and the fenix can not get GPS signal, later it freeze on boot up screen. How i can down grade to V4.00?

    • Kevin

      Hi David,
      If there is a way for you to privately send me your email address, I can send you version 4.00.
      I had troubles with my Tempe sensor working with 4.05 so Garmin sent me an earlier version of the update.

  101. Tomas

    Having issues with 4.05 – my “running” profile is not activating. I mean when I start it it does not count time and distance. Yet keeps showing my HRM and elevation. However when I click “stop GPS” activity is not saved….. I have changed profile to a “hiking” and use it for my jogging. Anyone having similar issues.
    Another bug – track transfer to endomondo or strava. Two issues there – first one: track is not visible neither by endomondo nor by strava. So I need to go manually to garmin directory on finder (I am using iOS) and then copy gpx from directory and do after “new workout” from file. Issue there is that I get different mileage on the same workout. If I look on fenx I see i.e 10km distance for workout. If I upload same file to one of above mentioned programs I get significantly less km (7 km or something).
    Same issue I get sometimes downloading track from fenix to computer – different statistics on a fenix and then on strava or endomodo.
    Any ideas how I can solve this?

    • Paul S

      The first one sounds like you’re not starting tracking. The button that controls this is under your control and can be different for each profile, so I’d check to see if maybe the “Start Track” action is tied to a different button than the one you think it is. (For example, I’ve changed mine to “long press of top right”). If you’re using Auto Start, make sure that that’s on in the running profile. When you’re not tracking, sensors display, the map works, but nothing is recorded.

      As for the second, I’d check the GPS settings and whether Auto Pause is on. If you’re using UltraTrack, for example, your points are recorded very sparsely and software that recalculates distance from scratch will be very off.

  102. Brian

    Paul S – I’m glad you brought up UltraTrac. I did a test last week of Ultra Trac mode, specifically to test out battery drain, but also just to get familiar with the feature since I’ll be doing a 12+ hour event in a few months and I want to have the process worked out beforehand.

    I set the watch to “hiking” profile (just so I wouldn’t have to reset my Running profile), and then GPS Mode to “UltraTrac” and then changed Ultratrac frequency from 01:00 to 00:15 (hoping for more frequent data capture). I connected the watch to my Tempe sensor, but not my HRM.

    I then set out and drove for 7+ hours, capturing the data along the way.

    Battery drain was minimal, I still had 50%+ charge at the end of the trip, however there was one major problem with the process: the Tempe sensor would not stay connected.

    It repeatedly dropped the sensor, and I had to constantly reconnect when I noticed it had lost it. So, for the course of the trip, you can see these spots of Temperature being recorded, but not for the duration. I am reporting this “bug” to Garmin’s support, but I’m wondering in the meantime if I simply have a setting wrong on my end.


    • Paul S

      That doesn’t surprise me. I can’t say for certain, but I think UltraTrac is a power saving mode. You can’t save power by just recording every minute and leaving everything else on. They must turn off radios in order to save power, including the ANT+ radio. So I would guess that your HRM would fare no better, and it’d be constantly dropping and reconnecting with it as well. I wish Garmin would actually document the various modes, but I don’t see that happening.

      If I were doing a 12+ hour event, I’d think I’d try a USB battery pack and the charging cradle with a normal GPS mode, and see if the Fenix would operate normally while being charged. More annoying, but if UltraTrac isn’t going to record the data you want, I don’t see any alternative.

    • Knut

      The fënix works as usual when connected to a USB battery pack, no issues. Have used that option a few times. Usually just throw the battery pack with the connected fënix in the top room of my running vest for an hour or so. But if you’re hung up on seeing your data while charging just run the cable down your sleeve. :-)

  103. Martin Landa

    Hi guys!
    I’d like to check with you my thoughts on outdoor GPS calibrating the device for indor use. IMHO I am unable to run on a treadmill the same way, as I run outdoors. My strides are way shorter (being afraid of falling down, maybe), I have higher cadency and my arms swing a bit higher, because of the railing in front of me. I am 1.84m tall (or short) and the railing on every machine sort of stands in my way. Are 3D accelerators really that good and sensitive? Does the speed of the treadmill influence the measuring?
    That being said I’d welcome the opportunity to enter manually the lenght of the run (which is of course possible right now) for the calibration purposes. That would mean recalculate the swing data to the lenght of the run. It’s easy. It’s the Nike+ way of calibrating devices. Polar uses calibrating via factor, which is also way better, than GPS calibration. IMHO having number of swings (no matter the shape and other measured stuff) and the lenght of the run should give enough “data” to produce better calculations. Nike+ is the proof of it. With Fenix I have +-2 km difference on 10 km run!


    P.S. I’d like to post this comment to Fenix Team…

  104. Jon C

    I’m interested in a Fenix but as it has been out for 18+ months I’m curious if a fenix2 is in the near future. Has anyone heard anything regarding an update to the hardware?

  105. Bart

    Any timeline yet on the Fenix being able to upload activities with the Garmin Connect ios app?

  106. Bart Bouse

    After years of using a FR305, I ventured into your website and research other reviews to attempt to upgrade. I have never had a problem with the FR305 other than killing one in the ocean. I was trying to drop pins on lobster locations while snorkeling in the Keys with the FR305 in ziplock baggies. Long story made short, don’t get within 100 feet of saltwater with an FR305 no matter how protected you think it is! After my experience, I would never put one in a swim cap as you suggest in another article. Garmin replaced it cheaply. Thanks Garmin.

    I am a more casual runner and biker now in my 40’s. I do several 5Ks and a charity bike ride or two a year. I don’t swim for exercise. I do enjoy listening to music while I exercise. I have invested in a speed/cadence ant+ sensor and ant+ footpod. I have the old Garmin heart rate monitor but hate wearing it when running. I really didn’t want to have to buy everything new. I’ve bought bluetooth headphones and attempted several apps. I’ve tried to stay with Garmin Connect after moving from SportTracks a couple years ago. I like being able to pull up my data at home, work, on the phone, on the ipad, etc. The Garmin Fit app is not very good and Garmin won’t update it. After this article, I told my wife that if I upgraded, it would be to the Fenix as I hike a few times a year as well. She bought it for me a couple days ago for Valentine’s Day. Awesome! After hours of reviews and manuals, I’m starting to get the hang of it. However, I really didn’t want to deal with this much of a learning curve.

    I bought the Garmin ant+ dongle but now have bought the Wahoo ant+dongle. These work well for treadmill workouts while traveling or at home on the my older LifeFitness treadmill. I have a BikeMate mount for my iphone on the bike and a waistpack for running. I hate the one or two armbands for iphone I’ve tried. Runkeeper seems to be the go-to app. I paid for the integration with Garmin Connect through tapiriik and it works great.

    I have an older Garmin Geko 201 for hiking and a Timex ABC watch. I think the Fenix easily replaces those two items. But, even after tinkering with the Fenix just a few days, I’m left with a few thoughts about tracking running and biking data in 2014.

    One, I already have to have a phone and I have to charge it everyday. The Runkeeper app automatically uploads to Runkeeper/Garmin Connect as soon as I complete an event. The Fenix won’t do this even if the Garmin Connect update comes out. It only appears the 620 will do this when you walk in your house. The iphone doesn’t even have to be connected to wifi. These apps are easy and the learning curve is nonexistent or minimal.

    Two, the Fenix easily replaces both a basic GPS unit like the Geko and an ABC watch in one compact unit and the battery life should be great. However, after using the Gaia GPS app on a recent 8 hour hike in the Grand Canyon, I have second thoughts on the Fenix’ usefulness. Here, again, the app is easy and the learning curve is nonexistent or minimal. I can download maps to the iphone for offline/offgrid use. I easily only used 30% of my battery on an 8 hour hike by turning off cellular data, bluetooth, and wifi. With a small rechargeable battery like the one I have from Brunton that is about the size of a cell phone, I could easily go a week to 10 days with the iphone tracking 8 hours a day, with topo maps. The Garmin Basecamp app doesn’t seem to make sense if I’m carrying my phone anyway, why not just use the Gaia GPS app. And, Garmin’s app requires a cell signal. Would have been useless deeper in the Grand Canyon and lots of places.

    Three, for running and music, not much new really beats, to an extent necessary to upgrade, for an amateur runner and biker, an FR305 and an ipod shuffle. The tiny matchbook size Apple ipod shuffle is still the single greatest music device for fitness even after all these years.

    Four, these apps and smartphones will kill most or all the business for these fitness devices in a very short period. The easy learning curve, voice prompts, live tracking, automatic uploads, data at your fingertips, etc. Swimming and triathletes excluded, maybe. My daughter has started running and biking. I set her up a Runkeeper app on her iphone 4s. I told her I would buy her a pair of bluetooth headphones. I see no reason she needs more for the forseeable future. I can’t even think of a good reason for her to go through the learning curve and uploading of data of my old FR305.

    Fifth, I think the Mio Link may revolutionize my heart rate experience. I want one. Can I buy yours? Everything else has been evolutionary since the FR305 and not with much success. Although, I thought the Motoactv looked to be revolutionary. Never bought one and now it’s dead.

    Ok, Ray, tell me I’m wrong within the confines of how I use this equipment, i.e., not a triathlete nor ultradistance. Tell me what gadget I’m missing that would truly revolutionize my experience. P.S. I have a daily watch costing several times what the Fenix does and have no inclination about getting texts on my wrist. This would be about as appealing as a bluetooth headset hanging out my ear talking to myself while walking in Wal-Mart. Way to geeky!

  107. Jim

    I upgraded my Fenix to 4.05, And bluetooth is on but it seems i’m not getting notifications on my watch when text messages arrive. The first time I tried this, it did see one missed call though. But that was it. Is there something I missed out in the setup/sync’ing process?

    • Tim

      Have you turned on SETUP >> BLUETOOTH >> NOTIFICATIONS ? … It is different than the SETUP >> TONES >> MESSAGES … took me about 3 days to figure that one out.

  108. Bart Bouse

    Well, OK! Last night I tried to pull the Fenix manual off the Garmin site and saw “Fenix2” in the drop down menu. Should have known something was up. Then today, your blog, “First Look at Garmin’s new Fenix2 Multisport & Triathlon Watch.” As I mentioned above, I just got the Fenix from my wife for Valentine’s Day. Can’t take a gift from your wife back, can you? Looks like the Fenix2 addresses the “learning curve” issues I was having in using the Fenix for running, biking, etc. I now see why you didn’t respond for three days. I guess this means we aren’t friends and I need to quit reading your site. Ha. If I had just stopped reading on Feb. 15th I’d be the happy owner of a Fenix for at least another couple months. Ray, surely you could have sent me a private email telling me it was coming. Well, I understand. The Fenix2 just might be the revolution I was looking for. Unfortunately, it’s been six years since I bought my first FR305 until I got the Fenix. Maybe six years from now I can try the Fenix2 or whatever new Garmin gizmo may break my heart then. I’m depressed.

    • Sorry! I’d be willing to be she’d understand if you asked to swap out. :)

    • Bart Bouse

      I’m hoping to get the 4.11 beta software to work. This would put it closely in line with the Fenix2 from what I understand. Maybe Garmin will even open it up further since it appears that the Fenix2 is the exact same hardware. Thanks for the reviews as always.

    • Paul S

      4.11 has been pulled, and the beta web page now has the 4.05 release again. Lots of complaints in the forums of people bricking their Fenix. Apparently it had something to do with existing gpx tracks and waypoints, because some people reported that they fixed the problem by clearing their Fenix of tracks and waypoints and then rebooting. I was lucky, I guess, that I cleared my Fenix of gpx tracks yesterday and I only have three waypoints on it. 4.11 is working on mine, but I’m looking forward to 4.12.

    • Bart Bouse

      Yes, I was one of those complaining. Mine bricked last night. Fooled with it for a couple hours. I saved 4.11 on the computer so I may try it again after deleting tracks and waypoints. I consider myself more computer and tech savvy than 90% of the public and this thing is a real pain. I’d rather be running, even on a treadmill, than fooling with these things. I love technology that just works but don’t have time for gizmos that waste time. I’m beginning to believe I really don’t need wireless uploads, running without a foot pod, etc, etc, etc, if the time it takes to mess with it takes time away from work, kids, exercising. The idea is to make life easier. Back to the FR305, it just works.

  109. Martin Landa

    Garmin Connect for iOS updated!

  110. Kevin

    Yep, downloaded the update, already running the 4.05 beta, and guess what, seems like although the fenix is listed in the app as a device, the connect app can’t see the watch, even though bluetooth notifications work fine. Was actually in the daft situation of seeing twitter updates coming through on the fenix whilst the garmin connect app is telling me it can’t see the watch! Anyone heard anything official from Garmin?

  111. Jon

    Beta firmware 4.11 is now up – link to www8.garmin.com

  112. Kevin Doyle

    Well, after installing the new firmware and much messing about I eventually managed to upload an activity from my fenix to Garmin Connect via my phone! When it worked, it was fine. Getting there was the problem. Had to un-install Garmin Connect app and re0install from scratch via iTunes. Also had too delete all previous activities and waypoints off my fenix just to get the watch to boot consistantly and not lock out with the new firmware installed. Then problems with the bluetooth connection to the Connect app – note I say the app as notifications worked fine in the background! After unpairing the watch from my iphone, re-starting both my phone and watch and then connecting up again, finally got it to work and consistanly re-connect to the app, when I turned bluetooth on and off on the watch. I know it’s beta software and you expect niggles….just not basic functionality problems…..certainly appears that the firmware release, even in beta, was minimally tested……

  113. Kevin Doyle

    On re-reading, just realised that the above sounds a little negative – it’s more fustration that it doesn’t just work out the box! ;-) I’d say on the plus side, the satellite pick up when you turn on gps seems alot quicker than before, so it looks like that improvement works. Not had a chance to see how good the ant+ changes have made things – i was getting issues connecting to my tempe sensor before.

  114. Just as a heads up – as some noted, 4.11 was pulled. In talking with Garmin, they pulled it after some users ran into the same issue. They expect an updated version addressing said issue to be back up shortly. Possibly later tonight, but also might slide till early next week.

  115. Tim

    OK, so I upgraded to 4.12, but I can’t seem to download Courses from Garmin Connect:

    Looks like it is placing a .FIT file in the GPX directory, and it says it’s importing when it reboots, but then there’s no corresponding Track … looking in the GPX directory it looks like it has created a .gpx file, but it’s only 1 KB (so obviously some kind of error).

    Anyone else having this issue?

    • Bart

      I was having the same issue under 4.05 and 4.11

    • Tim

      Was it working before? I just started using Connect … Also, from the iPhone app it gives me an error message: “A Garmin device is connected that does not support courses.” … Hmmmmm

    • Bart

      I got my Fenix on Feb. 14 and immediately updated to 4.05. So, don’t know if it would have worked before. I have an iphone 4 and haven’t attempted to connect with it as it does not have bluetooth 4.0.

    • Bart

      I can upload a course created by hand on Garmin Connect with 4.12 but I cannot upload a course created from a previous run on my FR305 or the Fenix. Maybe there is something I don’t understand about this.

    • Tim

      Weird … my problem is exactly the opposite(!?!): I can download from the Activities screen (completed workouts), but not the Courses screen (routes planned on the site).

    • Tim

      Looks like it’s been resolved now (4.13) – I can download a Course / Track from the Connect website! :)

  116. Bart

    My first short treadmill run with the Fenix without footpod using 4.12 beta. I finally gave up at 3.15 miles on the treadmill when the Fenix was reporting 3.87 miles. I have a decent Lifefitness treadmill that is usually only a few hundredths of a mile off the reading from my FR305 with footpod or the Garmin Fit app with footpod. Any ideas how to get better results?

    • Bart Bouse

      Uploaded the results to Garmin Connect. The time listed as Greenwich mean time and the calorie count was 1646 for a 3.5 mile run. Garmin has got to get their act together. This is ridiculous. How can the 7 year old FR305 do things so simply and the Fenix be so bad?

    • Personally, I wouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. That’s a lot of ice cream and cookies you’ve been given permission to eat, given how little work you did.

    • Bart Bouse

      Very good point. The problem is my $20 scales from Wal-Mart don’t seem to correspondingly agree.

    • JWM

      you going to believe $20 scale, or a high zoot fenix? come on !


  117. Kristian Sørum

    Is it worth buying the new fenix 2 on full price vs the old one on half price?

    • It really just comes down to how much you value the multisport and swim/bike power meter functions. Otherwise, they’re pretty similar. If you have no use for that, then I’d just grab the Fenix1.

  118. Fab

    Hi there,

    After a first try with 4.11, I had startup issue freeze, but solved, then I try 4.12, and got a general freeze after 1h40 of ride last sunday. Now I’m afraid as I’m running the Paris half marathon this sunday, don’t want to loose any data.

    What do you recommend between upgrading to last 4.13 (no freeze issue has been corrected if I look at link to www8.garmin.com) or downgrade to last stable 4.0 ?

    Also, talking about the last stable 4.0, garmin tells on link to www8.garmin.com that Garmin Express is needed to install (no file provided for download) but Garmin Express installed on my Mac tells is not compatible with fenix…. any tips ? ;-)

    Thanks !!

    • I’d recommend first reaching out to the Garmin Fenix beta e-mail address, then probably downgrading for Sunday, but wait till at least Saturday morning so the Fenix team can ask for any data so they can try and fix it.

    • Tim

      I did a 2:52 run last Sunday using 4.12 with no issues (I had the Brick issue on 4.11) … I’ve been using my Mac and installing Beta updates directly (per the PC instructions)

    • Paul S

      It does seem to be a flaw in Express and the process as a whole that you can’t revert to the latest production version if you use the beta. They should at least warn more forcefully that you can’t go back.

  119. Greg Hilton

    Out of interest how do you keep an eye out for new Garmin normal and BETA releases?

    Is there a subscription list Garmin run I can sign up to or anything??

  120. Vincent

    Ray, will it Brick my Tactix if I install version 2.26?

    • Knut

      Vincent, since your Tactix is not a fënix 2 it’s not advisable to try to load it. It would surprise me a lot if Garmin will allow it to work properly. My take is that you’ll most likely end up with a (rather light) paperweight. A secondary concern is that you’ll likely violate the EULA for that particular piece of software.

  121. Vincent

    Thank you Knut for the reply; I was just curious since the Tactix is newer and appears almost a mirror image of one another, and I didn’t know if the only hardware differences is the new button placement? I test many Blackberry Beta’s, but although all different BB10 phones, the Beta’s pretty much works regardless screen size or with/without qwerty. I was hoping the same for the Fenix 2 Beta ant the Tactix, because I really like the Green NVG backlight and overall design. I have installed Beta 4.13 and already am seeing all around improvements, and all the Garmin updates are reminding me of Blackberry Continued efforts; I think both are competing for Market share and an overall refined user experience! Great to see, keep it up!

  122. Kevin Doyle

    Ray, any idea as to whether there’s any plans to add the HRM-Run compatibility too the fenix in a firmware release or will it be kept as an exclusive on the Fenix 2? I can understand why they would hold it back but from my point of view, I’m not going to buy a fenix 2 just for this functionality (unless my unit breaks) but I would buy an HRM-Run unit if they added the function to the fenix……..

  123. Leg

    Hi do you think they’ll add the 4 data fields also in the fenix as they did with fenix2?

  124. Bobby

    How can I have bluetooth on (so I can use the garmin connect iphone app) but leave notifications off? It’s not working like I would expect and I don’t see an option to turn notifications off after I’ve connected bluetooth.

    • Tim

      Did you see my Feb. 20 post?

      Have you turned on SETUP >> BLUETOOTH >> NOTIFICATIONS ? … It is different than the SETUP >> TONES >> MESSAGES … took me about 3 days to figure that one out.

    • Bobby

      Thanks Tim, but I’m after something slightly different. I’ll clarify. I want to have bluetooth on so that I can sync with garmin connect. At the same time, I want to turn off the feature where notifications from my iphone are forwarded to the fenix.

      As a separate question, can I get sms notifications on the fenix without seeing the contents of the SMS (for privacy reasons)?

    • Tim

      Not sure if there’s a specific function for it (sync for Connect only?), but I would just leave BT off to save battery most of the time and then turn it on when I wanted to Sync … otherwise, try playing with your phone settings, I guess.

      As for the second question, I don’t think so, but I could be wrong … maybe experiment with the Notifications settings on your phone, but there’s nothing that I am aware-of.

  125. Marcos Saad

    Hi Ray,

    I hope you can help me out here.
    I’ve downloaded fw 4.17b to my Fenix1 in order to use the treadmill without a footpod feature but I´m confused in how doing it.
    When on Running profile there is no option for Training Indoor but GPS Start…
    Do I´ve to create a Treadmill (or stationary cycle) profile with GPS Mode set to indoor in order to be able to use that feature?
    So following that, will I have to create all pages for when Training Indoor is chosen? Because pages differ when tracking, navigating and training indoor…
    Thank you,

    My best regards,

    • Hi Marcos-

      Yup to all. It’s actually one of the main reasons in the Fenix2 they’ve done away with separate modes for some of this stuff, so it’s a bit more streamlined.

    • Marcos Saad

      Thank you very much!

    • Marcos Saad


      One more doubt:

      In order to use the footpod-less treadmill feature I assume that I doesn’t care if “ANT Sensor -> Foot Pod ” is set to “OFF” , right?

    • Marcos Saad

      Tks again.

      At the other hand If I leave “Foot Pod Speed” on “Always on” instead of “indoor” mode on FITNESS CONFIG, will it still give me running cadence when outdoor and gps on overiding the speed only?

      Sorry for so many quastion but the Fenix is a monster and Garmin´s manual are so poor…

    • Marcos Saad

      Hi Ray and all,

      Regarding the footpod-less feature, as per today, with Fenox1 @ 4.17 I can say:

      1) the watch does not show cadence on “Tracking” but only on “Indoor”. This feature ( for cadence and for speed) should be automatic based on sattelite loss…

      2) GC is showing the cadence doubled. I whish I could reach 340 spm. On the watch when Indoor it shows “correct”. Speed is Always above what should be.


    • Hmm, I thought it was added a few revs back to show on both indoor and outdoor workouts.

      Also thought the doubling cadence was resolved about two revs ago.

      I’d e-mail both those issues to the Fenix beta e-mail address so they can track them down and address them.

  126. Marcos Saad

    Hi Ray,

    I have already.
    The doubling cadence is only at GC, watch and Training Peaks for instace are ok.


  127. John

    I am able to “pair” my new Fenix with my Samsung Note 3 N9005 via Bluetooth. It does that when I select share data>base camp. However, I was wondering if I can ever use my Note 3 + Fenix combo for 1) Receiving notifications on the watch 2) Sending data from the watch to the phone on any suitable app (like Garmin basecamp for Android, if they ever develop one).

    • Once Garmin release the Android version of Garmin Connect Mobile with Fenix/Tactix support, you’ll be able to. Though, it’s not clear where the line will be in features from a Fenix/Fenix2 standpoint.

  128. Marcos Saad

    Hi Ray,

    After installing 4.17 the watch loses the connection with the HR sensor too easily

    Ray, I wonder if you or one of the others are experiencing this problem:

    I went direct from 4.00 to 4.17.
    Two 5 hours MTB rides so far and I did notice that after installing 4.17 the watch loses the connection with the HR sensor too easily. Turning back to it or getting a single step away from the watch is enough to that happen.
    But not only that, when it returns it gets stuck in a given HR ( 50/52/54 in my case) for a while and then, few minutes later it gets back to normal reading.
    The battery is new and it didn´t happen before the upgrade.


  129. ziki

    I’m interesting in buying the fenix now, but I must need to know what about the interval target notifications.
    Brian on January 27, 2014 at 12:17 pm #175 says:

    – I have autolap enabled on my watch for both vibration/audible alerts, however there was no audio/vibration alert when each phase of the workout transitioned to the next phase (i.e. lap 1 to 2, warmup to interval, etc). With the workouts feature on my Forerunner 405, there is a “countdown” beep series that lets you know audibly that you’re moving to the next phase of the workout. Without this audible (or vibration) alert, there is no way to know when you’re finishing/starting a new section of the workout without staring at the watch face for the entirety.

    – Similar to the above, despite having autolap set at vibration/audio, and I have “Message Notifications” set to vibrate only. Yet, when I was in the section of the workout that required a specific metric (i.e. a certain pace, or a certain HR), there was only a very light-sounding beep to indicate I was over/under where I should be on that metric. I am not sure where I would specify the type of alert this would be, on my Forerunner 405 it would indicate over/under with a distinct series of beeps for over, and a different series for under…in addition to displaying on the watch face. The Fenix only beeps and displays on the watch face, but I would like to at least be able to change that to vibration too, since the beep is so very slight as to be inaudible.

    Is this unluckily true? Or with the last official release Garmin improves this feature?
    In short words, with last update:
    Is there an audio and/or vibration notification when each phase of the workout transitioned to the next phase (step)?
    Is the notification during a workout phase with target set (e.g. pace between 4:00 and 4:30) the same (e.g. same beep frequency) when you go over or under the range set?

    Hope some one can help me. Thanks and many compliments for the in-depth and updates reviews!

    • ziki

      As “last official release” I mean v4.40.

    • Brian

      I was the one that initially posted the comment you quoted so I thought I would circle back on your reply with an answer.

      I’m running FW4.4 on my Fenix and I can confirm that some of the issues I reported in my comment have been corrected. It will alert (mine did by vibration – no countdown) when moving from one phase of the workout to the next. And it will alert (mine does by beep) when you fall above/below the threshold for that phase, but it will NOT differentiate the alert if it’s over vs under. It’s the same beep either way, or at least from what I can tell.

      My “old” Garmin 405 still beats the pants off the Fenix when it comes to workout functionality. I won’t even bother using the Fenix for that unless it is corrected/improved.

  130. Rad

    Hi Ray,

    In your first article regarding footpod support you wrote:

    “Also of note is that you can specify whether to use the footpod or GPS for speed (indoors or outdoors). For distance, the Fenix will utilize the footpod while in indoor mode and the GPS while in GPS enabled mode. There’s not a configuration option otherwise. Additionally, it won’t automatically switch from GPS to footpod if you enter a tunnel like the other Garmin units.”

    Is it still true after last software updates for Fenix?

    Kind Regards,

    • Rad

      Moreover, what happens when footpod is set as a speed source in “always” mode, but it is not connected during outdoor workout?

      Many Regards,

  131. John

    With the new Fenix firmware (4.40 dated May 22, 2014), I am now able to pair my Note 3 9005 with a passkey (earlier paring did not need a passkey!), so some progress on that front, I am hoping for android users.

  132. Marcos Saad

    Fenix1 4.40 looses +ANT HR(I haven´t tested others) parity every time after you turn BLT on and upload an activity do IOS Garmin Connect

    Hi Ray,

    I have already sent it to fenix@garmin.com but your channel shoudl be very much better:

    Tested and confirmed several times: Fenix1 4.40 looses +ANT HR(I haven´t tested others) parity every time after you turn BLT on and upload an activity do IOS Garmin Connect no matter if you turn the BLT back off.
    Not only that. You have to turn the watch off an than on back again in order to conduct a new search otherwise it says it is connect but in reality it is not.
    After turning it on an conduct a new search everything goes back to normal until you turn the BLT on do an upload…


  133. dlg

    Running firmware 4.40, notifications from my phone work, but attempts to connect to garmin connect result in “Sync Failed” “Device connection error”. Has anyone else seen this?

    • dlg

      OK, rebooted the watch, and it synced. Went for a walk, saved the track, wouldn’t sync. rebooted the watch, it synced. sooo…. reboot the watch after every activity?

  134. andie

    Just bought the fenix (looks like “1” since it doesn’t say “2” on the box). I had a FR 305 that I loved but I do a track workout and it reads 800 elevation change. Something went haywire. With this fenix I can’t get it to connect to my device agent or my training peaks. Also, I can’t follow the first direction to get a passkey to link it to my phone. Do I need to return this for a 2?


  135. Manu

    I have now the fénix 1 for 6 months. Compared to my 410 the accuracy is lousy. Just trying to guess whether it is the Watch or the way the data is treated in Garmin Connect. It is especially bad when using it when riding the bike. It cuts a huge amont of turns and averages out all the rest

  136. Ben

    Still a shame that the Fenix2 fails to pair (work) with a compatible android device, I am more an Android user myself so its disappointing that I cant use the Fenix2 with my Android device, (especially after spending $460 AU for it.

    But its still early days so I’m hopeful that one day it will be rectified.

  137. John

    link to www8.garmin.com

    With the 4.5 firmware, does it mean I can upload directly from my Fenix to Garmin Connect via bluetooth?

    Garmin released an Android update as well today. Will try it out today…and report back.


    • Paul

      Hey, Just wondered whether you got this to work as I am having problems don’t understand how to upload my routes through to the android app from my fenix. I have both devices paired successfully through the android app but don’t know what I should be doing if anything! I am also not getting any notifications whereas this works through my iPad although as with the android app not sure how to upload through Bluetooth. Any help would be gratefully appreciated. Regards Paul

    • John


      Has not worked as yet with my Note 3. However, when I open Garmin Connect on the Note 3 after turning bluetooth on the watch, as well as on the phone, I can see that the Fenix showing as “connected” within the Garmin Connect app.

      I can also see a blue notification bar that appears at the bottom of the phone’s screen that says “Syncing with fenix.” However, there is no progress beyond this point, i.e., I am not able to export the workouts/run to the phone from the Fenix. I think it is “work in progress” and will eventually happen (hopefully soon).

    • John

      Updated to Firmware 4.70. It says “Added support for Android Smart Notifications.” But I am not able to figure out what it does.

      However, since updating to 4.50, I am able to sync my activities from the Fenix to my Note 3, although it is not seamless, meaning it sometimes fails, and sometimes take much too long!.

  138. Marcos Saad

    Hi Ray,

    On Fênix 1/4.50, do you know where to configure wheel size for getting speed when Cycling indoor?

    Thank you,

    • Paul S

      I seem to remember that it was one of those annoying hidden UI things. Try pairing with the sensor and then go back to Setup -> ANT Sensor -> Bike Spd/Cad and see if there’s now a way of inputting the wheel size manually. I haven’t done this for a long time though, so it’s definitely not 4.5 that I was using. You can always auto calibrate by riding outdoors first, but that isn’t always possible, of course.

    • Marcos Saad

      Hi Paul,

      I thought auto calibration was for running.
      I have a bike cadence/speed paired and nothing is showed at the menu unless it has to be connected. I´ll know later.
      Tks in advance.

    • Paul S

      No, the Fenix will auto calibrate via GPS any time you hook it up to a speed/cadence sensor and go out for a ride. Good thing, too, because I have GSC-10’s on two different bikes with two different wheel sizes, and the Fenix doesn’t remember per-bike settings like an Edge does.

      OK, I was right. My road bike is down here in the basement for maintenance, and I’m wearing my Fenix, so it was easy enough to walk over and pair with the GSC-10. Once you’ve paired (it says “Connected” below Bike Spd/Cad), a new menu item “Calibrate”, appears below “New Search”. You get two choices, “Auto” or “Manual”, and “Manual” takes you to a page where you use the up and down arrows to set the wheel size in mm. I hate that kind of stuff; there’s no reason that can’t just always be there.

    • Marcos Saad

      Hi Paul,

      Thank you.

  139. John

    Hi guys,

    The Fenix is finally working with Garmin Connect on my Note 3. I can upload the activities directly to the android app from the watch now! Thank you Garmin :-)

    • aarif

      Hey bro my fenix 1 have software version 5.00 and gps software version 3.30, everthing is working fine with the watch except i cannot connect it with my garmin connect app…the connection happed just once initially. Bluetooth connectivity formes occasionally but garmin connect app shows connection failled popups. Hey pls help me out over the issue…..

    • TimRules

      I get occasional Bluetooth dropouts on my original Fenix … seems to happen when switching profiles (occasionally, not always).

      At worst, you should be able to go on your phone, “remove” the device in your Bluetooth setting and then re-Pair it

  140. John


    Updated Android app on my Note 3. Now I am able to receive notifications of texts and calls on the Fenix! However, is there a way to “read” the texts on the watch? Or see who called?

    Great work Garmin! It will be difficult to live without this watch now!


  141. John

    DC and guys. The updates worked fine. I am getting all notifications for texts, Whatapp, e-mails, calls, on the Fenix now.!!!

  142. Alex

    With this update and the fact the price for Fenix 1 dropped, is it worth it to buy the Fenix 1 or the Fenix 2

    • Paul S

      I have a Fenix 1. A Fenix 1 is an outdoors watch with sports capabilities, from what I’ve read a Fenix 2 is a triathlon watch with outdoors capabilities. So do you want to use it to navigate a trail? You can do that with a Fenix 2, but it’s a little easier with the 1. Do you want run metrics? Then you have to choose the 2 (or the upcoming 3 or Epix). The 1 will likely no longer be updated by Garmin, while the 2 might still be for a little while. If you want a positive screen, the 1 has it while only the SE Fenix 2 has it. Negative screen, then choose the 2.

      So it all depends on what you want it for, and only you can decide which one best fits your needs. Either one is “worth” it if it does.

  143. Jason

    somehow it doesn’t seem to work anymore. at least I did get the workouts on my fenix1 a while ago but fails to ever since. Garmin connect just says ‘no compatible devices’. anyone have the same problems?

    • Tim

      Same issue: I called Garmin about it and they ended-up emailing me and telling me that workouts were no longer supported (interestingly, if you try it from the old Garmin Connect site, it will ‘see’ the Fenix, but give an error every time you download to it .. also you can still add the “Workouts” screen).

      I got it to work by connecting & downloading through the Connect App on my iPhone – I emailed Garmin to tell them this, but they never responded …

  144. Radek

    Yes, I do experience the same issue with sending custom workouts to the fenix I.
    I have opened the support case and waiting for the solution. So far, they claim that it is not supported feature on fenix I. Nice to hear after several month of using this :-)

  145. M aarif

    Hey guys i’m not being able to connect my fenix 1 watch to my garmin connect app. The connection happened just once but later on after deactivation of Bluetooth device of phone. I’ve tried dozens of times but i failed. Am i missing something. ..so pls help me out….