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First Look at Garmin’s new Fenix2 Multisport & Triathlon Watch

Garmin Fenix2 Openwater Swim

Please note: My Final Fenix2 In-Depth Review is now available and published here.

Today, Garmin announced their latest watch – the Fenix2.  This unit builds upon the first generation Fenix unit that was initially released in the summer of 2012.  At the time, that unit was heavily targeted at hikers and ultra runners.  Over the past 18 months though the unit has slowly grown closer and closer to a more traditional Garmin Forerunner, even adding in Bluetooth Smart notifications late last year.

However, while the Fenix grew to more deeply cover the running segment, it lacked some of the components needed for a triathlete – such as swimming support, or power meter support on the bike.  Further, it was missing the all important ‘multisport mode’, which allows you to quickly switch between sports – primarily in a race.  All of these areas are now covered by the Fenix2.

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let me back up briefly.  I’ve had the device for a bit of time now, and have been poking away at it on all three sports (and then some).  While the device is set to be available in March, it’s still in beta.  Thus, as I’ve been doing lately I’m waiting to do a full in-depth review later in March once I have final software for the unit and can fully test everything.  Like always, once I’m done with the unit I ship it back to Garmin and go out and get my own through normal retail channels.

Since the Fenix2 is beta, it certainly has bugs – like any other beta product.  Thus I don’t want you to think my time with it has been perfect, but I’ve been impressed with the speed to fix the outstanding issues, and in the grand scheme of things – how few issues there are compared to other products I’ve tested at this stage.

With that, let’s dive into things.

What’s in the box:

Garmin Fenix2 Boxed

Inside the Fenix2 box you’ll find a bit of a matryoshka doll design for the different pieces and parts (those, btw, are the Russian nesting dolls).

Garmin Fenix2 UnBoxed

The watch itself sits on the pedestal in the middle, while the accessories hang out in the little box to the left.  The big box to the right is simply the outer shell.

Inside that accessories box you’ll find a slew of stuff.  First up, depending on whether you buy the HR bundle or not, is the heart rate strap (more on that in a second).  Then you’ve got the charging clip, along with a separate Fenix Velcro expander strap designed for heavy winter coats.  Finally, you have some tools to change the watch straps.

Garmin Fenix2 UnBoxed Components

Here’s the much wider Fenix extender soft/Velcro straps, along with the screws and components to swap it out.  This is primarily used on winter coats, given the additional Ski/Snowboard modes.

Garmin Fenix2 UnBoxed Fabric Strap

Next of note is the HRM-RUN heart rate strap.  This is Garmin’s premium heart rate strap introduced with the Garmin FR620.  The Fenix2 supports all the same Running Dynamics features that the FR620 supports.  I’ll cover that later on in this post though.  The HRM-RUN strap is easily identified by the little runner man icon on it.

Garmin Fenix2 UnBoxed HRM-RUN

Then we’ve got the USB charging clip.  This is the same clip as the original Fenix/Tactix, and is used for charging the unit, as well as downloading from it (or to it).  You can also use your mobile phone as well.

Garmin Fenix2 UnBoxed Charging Clip

Switching gears to the watch itself, it’s a virtually identical shell as the Tactix unit, which is almost identical to the original Fenix.  The Fenix2 goes for the inverted color scheme (white text on black background), rather than the opposite in the original Fenix.

Also of note is the buttons are swapped around, changing the arrangement a bit.  In order to access the menu at any time you’ll hold down the middle left button (titled menu).  Otherwise, a quick tap acts as an up button, with the down button below it.  The light is always the light button.  On the right side you have the Start/Stop button, and then lap/back button.  This all mirrors the Garmin Forerunner button trends as well.

Garmin Fenix2 Front Face Button

And finally, here’s a look at the back of the unit.

Garmin Fenix2 Back of unit

With that, let’s go ahead and dive in – literally – and start going through the features.  Because there’s so much ground to cover, and because this isn’t a full in-depth review, I’m mostly focusing on the new functionality.  The Fenix2 retains all of the existing functionality of the original Fenix (as well as almost everything except military-focused features in the recently introduced Tactix), thus, rather than repeat those all, I’m going to just focus on the new and exciting things.  Sound good?  Good.

Swim – Pool:

Garmin Fenix2 Pool Swimming Mode

The Garmin Fenix2 introduces the ability to track swimming both indoors in a pool, as well as openwater.  Taking a look at the indoor piece first, users of the Garmin Swim and Garmin FR910XT will find things fairly similar.  To start a pool workout you’ll head into the Swim sport option, and then choose Pool.  Note that even if swimming in an outdoor pool, you’ll want to choose ‘Pool’, and not GPS.

This is because the unit (like every other swim watch on the market) uses an accelerometer to determine when you hit each length of the pool.  This is generally based on the push off the wall – either open or flip – and then the acceleration shortly thereafter.

After selecting pool, you’ll then choose the length of your pool.  You have some preset options – such as 25y or 50m, as well as the ability to customize any pool length up to 149 yards/meters.  The shortest you can configure is 18m/20y.

Once that’s done, you’re ready to swim.

Like the FR910XT, the unit supports the ability to customize the data fields.  You can create numerous data pages (more than I can count – at least 10), and are limited to three data fields per page (you can have a single data field if you’d like).  Within the option to configure the fields, you’ll find the swim section, enabling you to choose relevant swim fields.  But you’ve also got fields like lap time and the like.

Once you’ve started the timer you’ll swim just like normal.  The only advice I’d give (and I’ll cover this in more detail in my full in-depth review) is to ensure that you aren’t randomly stopping mid-lane to chat, or leaving the timer running if you go to flirt with the lifeguard.  After all, the unit bases it’s calculations on movement – and unexpected movement (like doing the YMCA song), will impact readings.

Garmin Fenix2 Pool Swimming Mode The Girl

For better or worse, the pool a few hundred meters from my house is like an open-water triathlon swim start…every time.  On average 15-20 people in a single 33.3 meter long lane.  While it makes for miserable (mostly slow) workouts, it does at least provide great testing grounds for accuracy of lap tracking in near constant speed-up/slow-down situations (such as passing someone mid-lane).

While swimming with the watch you can record interval splits (such as creating a set), for either current analysis or later analysis.  On the watch you can display status such as current interval stats, including strokes, stroke rate, time, distance, etc…

Garmin Fenix2 Pool Swimming Data Fields

Later on, upon uploading to Garmin Connect, this same information is displayed there.  Note that there are some minor oddities in the data seen below, as things are still in beta a bit (for example, even though I swam in a meter pool, it shows up as yards, making the numbers a bit complex to grasp).  Also, there’s a minor issue in that I suck at swimming.

Garmin Fenix2 Pool Swimming Data Garmin Connect

Scrolling down further, you’ll get stroke information as well as as efficiency information.  On the left side you’ll notice three intervals that I created while swimming.  One at approximately 500m, one at 150m, and one at 350m.  Roughly.

Garmin Fenix2 Pool Swimming Data Garmin Connect

Now, there are some differences between the Fenix2 and the Garmin Swim/910XT.  First off, unlike the Garmin Swim, you can’t do Drill Mode, which allowed you to set distances for sections where you were doing drills (such as kickboard) that didn’t give any useful data.  In addition, unlike the FR910XT (which doesn’t have drill mode), you can’t setup any swim alerts – such as distance or time alerts that might vibrate.  On the flip side, you have far more customization options than the Garmin Swim with the Fenix2.  And, unlike both the Swim/910XT, you can upload your workout to Garmin Connect pool-side from the app.  Note that Garmin is open however to the idea of adding both (drill and swim alerts), but nothing has been finalized there yet.  Hang tight for the final review to see if things shift.

Swim – Openwater:

Garmin Fenix2 Openwater Start Swim

Next up, heading outside into the (frigid) waters for an openwater swim.  While in Barcelona this past weekend I had the chance to get a single openwater swim in, about 75 minutes after racing the Barcelona Half-Marathon.

Unlike in pool mode, while in openwater mode the unit uses the GPS to determine distance and pace/speed, while using the internal accelerometer to determine strokes.  Combined, the functionality is exactly the same as the Garmin FR910XT while outdoors.  And ultimately, it’s the same openwater swim code chunks being ported into the Fenix2 from the FR910XT.

To start an openwater swim, you’ll head into the same menu to choose the ‘Swim’ sport, and then from there you’ll see the openwater option (shown above).  After the unit gets satellite reception, it’s ready for you to press start and actually start swimming.

While swimming, the unit will show you metrics including stroke rate (strokes per minute), pace (how fast you’re going), and distance.  Like indoors you can create lap splits as well, and, should you need to – you can also pause the unit.

Garmin Fenix2 Openwater Finish Swim

While I had a brilliantly chilly swim, there was a mix-up on which beta drop was on my unit that had which openwater swim code in it, thus – my total distance data was a bit wonky (though I was highly impressed by how nearly spot on the FR910XT, Suunto Ambit 2, and a reference swimcap FR620 were to each other – all within .03 miles).  I’ve been told I should have a new beta drop by the end of the week that should eliminate the issue I saw (since it’ll have the right code section in it), so I’ll re-test things again Monday/Tuesday when I’m in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress.

Garmin Fenix2 Openwater Flipping Cold

I’ll update this section once I have my next openwater swim there.  For those curious, I was testing with the FR910XT and Suunto Ambit on one wrist, and the Garmin Fenix2 on the other wrist.  In my swimcap, I was using a Garmin FR620.  Just to be clear, the FR620 does not measure swim related information – I’m simply using it to measure distance above the water line as a known good.

Bike – With Power Meter Support:

Garmin Fenix2 Cycling Power Meter

Moving into the next triathlon sport – cycling, the Fenix2 adds a slew of new capabilities there, primarily around power meter support.  The existing Fenix(1) and Tactix units did have a cycling mode that was upgraded after release and steadily improved upon, ultimately encompassing a fairly functional bike watch.

However, it lacked power meter support, and thus lost appeal with some triathletes and cyclists.  The Fenix2 introduces power meter support for ANT+ capable power meters, such as the PowerTap, Garmin Vector, or Quarq Cinqo (among many others like Stages, Power2Max, SRM, etc…).  In short: If it’s an ANT+ power meter, it’ll work with Garmin Fenix2.

To pair to an ANT+ power meter you’ll head into the settings menu and then into sensors and find power meter:

Garmin Fenix2 Cycling Power Meter Search

Then, you’ll let the Fenix2 find the ANT+ power meter on your bike.  Depending on the model of power meter, it’ll walk you through the appropriate calibration steps.  For example, with Garmin Vector it’ll follow the standard prescribed steps of the three major phases of configuration/setup (spinning at 70-80 RPM, static calibration, and then dynamic calibration).

Garmin Fenix2 Cycling Power Meter Calibration

In addition, the unit supports configuring both crank length (requirement for Vector), as well as wheel size.  This is all in addition to any ANT+ speed/cadence sensor support.  There, the unit supports ANT+ Speed/Cadence combo sensors, ANT+ Speed-only sensors, and ANT+ Cadence-only sensors.  It does not support any Bluetooth Smart sensors of any sort.

Once you’ve got everything all paired up you’ll probably want to configure some relevant data screens.  Certainly, for cycling that’d likely be data fields including distance, speed (either in MPH or KPH), and ascent.  For power meter users, you have a slew of new options there as well.  Here are the current power meter fields available as written in the unit (subject to change of course):


BAL = Balance, AVG = Average, FTP = Functional Threshold Power, IF = Intensity Factor, LLAP = Last Lap, PWR = Power, PDL SMOOTH = Pedal Smoothness, TORQUE EFF = Torque Efficiency, TSS = Training Stress Score

The TSS/NP/IF metrics come from TrainingPeaks, and align to what’s displayed on TrainingPeaks and Garmin Connect.  Those also roughly align to other metrics called other names by other companies.

Garmin Fenix2 Cycling Power Meter Data

Note that of course you don’t need a power meter (or any ANT+ sensor) to use bike mode with the Fenix2.  In this case, I’m merely pointing out some of the newer features.  Within my full in-depth review I’ll cover the functionality more broadly.  But just to put it in context, I used cycling mode this past weekend while bumbling around Barcelona on what were effectively beach cruiser bikes for a few hours.  Here, my map:

Garmin Fenix2 Cycling Map

(The little squiggles in the one section is where I stopped and had hot chocolate)

Like all sports within the Fenix2, you can configure up to three data fields per page, and up to dozens of pages per sport.  And, like all sports, in cycling mode you’ll save your data for upload later – either via plugging it in, or via phone.  And, you can also do Live Tracking as well (just not with ANT+ sensors recording/enabled).  But more on the Live Tracking in a bit.

Run – With Running Dynamics, VO2Max, and Race Predictor:

Garmin Fenix2 Running Start

The Fenix2 adds almost all of the features found on the new Garmin FR620 from a running dynamics and run ‘coaching’ standpoint.  The first part, what Garmin calls ‘Running Dynamics’, capture movements that are part of your running stride.  These metrics are captured via the Garmin HRM-RUN strap, which is compatible with the Fenix2.  This ANT+ heart rate strap is compatible with any ANT+ unit, but only the FR620 and Fenix2 can capture the additional running dynamics pieces that are transmitted from the heart rate strap to the watch.

Today, that includes the following metrics:

Cadence: Total steps per minute – this has previously been available on the footpod, but this brings it internal to the HR strap
Vertical Oscillation: This is measuring the ‘bounce’ in a runners torso within each step. This is vertical motion, measured in centimeters.
Ground Contact Time: How much time your foot spends touching the ground, measured in milliseconds

Now, cadence can also come from the ANT+ footpod as well.  And in addition, with the Fenix2 (like the original Fenix in a recent update), can also determine cadence from the unit without a footpod (indoors/outdoors).  Further, the Fenix2 also retains the recent change to the Fenix adding the ability to get pace & distance information from the wrist indoors without a footpod.  While I haven’t yet re-tested the Fenix2 indoors from an accuracy standpoint, I’m hesitant to assume it’ll be any more accurate than my recent tests of the Fenix indoors with the beta firmware there (which showed speed accuracy was variable).

These metrics are shown on the unit itself on a new Running Dynamics data page that you can enable.  It mirrors what you’d see on the FR620, even including the little gauge along the top, which is done with the dots, indicating where you are performance-wise:

Garmin Fenix2 Running Dynamics

Afterwards, on Garmin Connect, you’ll see the Running Dynamics metrics there.  You can see them here for my half-marathon:

Garmin Fenix2 Running Dynamics Garmin Connect

Like with the FR620, there isn’t a ton of detailed guidance yet on what to do with the data.  Some areas such as cadence are well understood – but beyond that I suspect it’s going to be some time until sport scientists have enough data from enough people to really give clear-cut messaging here.

Garmin Fenix2 Running Mid-Run

Moving beyond Running Dynamics, the unit adds additional running coaching type features, all of which are found on the FR620, and one of which is found on the FR910XT (Training Effect):

VO2Max Estimation: This utilizes information from the heart rate strap and heart rate variability (HRV) to determine a VO2Max estimation.  This is then displayed following each run.

Race Predictor: Race Predictor uses simple lookup tables to take your VO2Max combined with age/gender and determine ‘best possible’ race times.

Recovery Advisor: Recovery advisor gives you the estimated time until your next hard workout.  This counter is always available on the watch to see how much time is left.

Training Effect: Training Effect provides a score of a given workout and how impactful that workout was on your body.

To be clear on race predictor, it doesn’t take into account your actual training.  It simply does a lookup on a chart comparing your VO2Max with gender/age to known potential race results.  It’s purely a ‘best case scenario’.  I’ve found it fairly close, but not 100% on the mark.

Garmin Fenix2 Running VO2Max

Garmin Fenix2 Running Race Predictor

All of these metrics are shown on the watch, as well as uploaded to Garmin Connect.  On the watch, you can access them via the menu system at any time:

Garmin Fenix2 Running Recovery Advisor

Garmin Fenix2 Running Recovery Advisor

And later, on Garmin Connect they’re shown in a few different places.  The Training Effect score is shown on the activity itself, while the VO2Max score is shown on the dashboard.

Garmin Fenix2 Running Completion

Beyond the Running Dynamics and coaching-related features, the Fenix2 contains both workout and interval functionality, allowing you to create workouts via Garmin Connect and then download them to the unit wirelessly (or, via USB).  For example, I created this simple workout here on Garmin Connect, and then later pushed it to the Fenix2:

Garmin Fenix2 Workout Creation

Here it is on the Fenix2.  In this case, the unit will walk me through the different portions of the workout, displaying my targets for each section.

Garmin Fenix2 Workout Creation

Now, there are some items to be aware of when it comes to the FR620 (or FR910XT) and the Fenix2.  For example, the Fenix2 doesn’t contain a Virtual Racer mode like the FR910XT contains (which allows you to race against past/other efforts).  It does contain the Virtual Partner however, so you can race against a virtual pace, seeing how far ahead/behind you are with respect to time/distance.

On the Fenix2 side, the unit doesn’t allow both concurrent ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart, which means that you have to choose whether to connect an ANT+ device such as a heart rate strap, or do Bluetooth Smart driven Live Tracking.

And finally, unlike both the FR620/FR910XT, the Fenix2 is limited to 3 items per screen page.  But on the flip side, the Fenix2 can have a heck of a lot more screen pages.  And the Fenix2 has all the Running Dynamics/coaching/Bluetooth features that the FR910XT lacks.

Multisport Mode:

Garmin Fenix2 Multisport Mode

Perhaps the most critical addition for the Fenix2 is the multisport mode – at least from the perspective of a triathlete.  Without such a mode, I don’t believe a multisport watch is really…well…a multisport watch.  Multisport mode allows you to quickly shift from one sport to the next.  For example, from swim to bike to run, and to record the transition times in between them (just like you would in a race).

The Fenix2 supports the ability to customize which sports are included in your multisport mode lineup.  For example, you could do the traditional Swim/T1/Bike/T2/Run arrangement, or, you could also do Skiing/Cycling/Paddling (like some adventure races).

To configure Multisport you’ll simply head into the sport menu and then select which sports you want to use.  You can choose any sports that you’ve configured in the watch:

Garmin Fenix2 Multisport Mode Config

You’ll also have the option to enable transition recording times as well:

Garmin Fenix2 Multisport Mode Config Transitions

Once you’ve started things, it’s mostly business as normal from an activity standpoint.  The data pages will show up for each sport as you’ve previously configured them.

In order to switch between sports you’ll simply press the ‘Lap’ button (lower right).  As you do so, the unit will show you the total time, and then the individual sport you’re in.  You’ll simply continue this pattern until you’ve completed the multi-sport activity.

Note that the Fenix2 will create a single multisport .FIT file, and then upon upload to Garmin Connect, it’ll show as separate activities (Swim/Bike/Run).  Also note that the Fenix2 doesn’t have a quick-release kit for it – unlike the FR910XT, so it’s a watch that will remain on your wrist from start to finish, across all three sports.

Live Tracking and Mobile Phone Uploads:


Today, Garmin is launching a bunch of app updates and introductions.  To start, they’re updating the Android app which will enable uploads from the Garmin FR220/FR620/Fenix/Fenix2/Tactix (via Bluetooth Smart), in addition to the existing Edge 510/810 units.  On the iOS side, they’ll be releasing an update today that adds uploading support for the Fenix/Fenix2/Tactix to the already existing support for the FR220/FR620/Edge 510/Edge 810.  Beyond all that, the apps will support Vivofit as well (today as well). [Update, later in the day: Garmin has clarified that the Android update for today will not include the Fenix/Fenix2/Tactix support, that got slightly delayed, but is still planed for Q1]

I didn’t have a chance to look at the new app prior to today, but Garmin sent over a few screenshots of how things look.  I’m sure within a few hours we’ll all have a chance to dig in more deeply (remember, it may take a few hours to show globally, once it’s released today).  Above, you can see the refreshed UI for iOS, which has a much more iOS7 looking feel to it.

Garmin Fenix2 iPhone Pairing

The functionality of the Fenix2 connected with the mobile applications matches that of the Garmin FR220/FR620, which enables the following scenarios:

Live Tracking: You can transmit your current location and track history to a shared site that allows friends/family/etc to follow your progress.

Uploading of completed activities: Following an activity, the Fenix2 will automatically upload the workout using your phone to Garmin Connect.

Downloading of workouts: Fenix2 can download workouts that are created on Garmin Connect via your phone.  Those workouts can then be executed on the watch (such as zone/pace instructions)

Downloading of satellite data: This speeds up initial acquisition of the satellites, and can reduce the time to satellite acquisition to a few seconds.  Pretty cool stuff.

Notifications via Bluetooth Smart: This provides the ability on the watch get text messages, tweets, and anything else you’d like.  As long as an app notifies, the watch notifies you…instantly.

All of these items require that you have a Bluetooth Smart capable device – either iOS or Android.  On Android, that’s Android 4.3 or higher, and on iOS that’s an iPhone 4s or newer (or  3rd generation iPads or later).  Previous phones won’t work.  Do note that on the live tracking piece, you MUST have your phone on you.  It can’t be sitting at home, since the connection between the device and the phone only can span a few meters.  The phone is acting as the conduit to the internet.  For more details on how the Live Tracking piece works, check out my FR620 In-Depth Review, where I cover it in detail.

As part of my final Fenix2 In-Depth Review, I’ll validate how the revamped app works and include details on it there.

Of course, some features don’t require the app at all.  In addition to tracking and uploading of data you also have the ability to get notifications from your mobile phone for various events.  For example, anything that my iPhone sends to the notification center can be sent to the watch.  Be it a new text message notification, or a posting on Facebook.  These are configured through Bluetooth settings menu after pairing the watch via the standard Bluetooth control panel.

Garmin Fenix2 iPhone Pairing Bluetooth

Now, there is one limitation here.  The way the Fenix/Fenix2/Tactix unit is designed, the communications chipset inside of it can only connect over either Bluetooth or ANT+ at one time.  It can’t do both concurrently.  Thus if you enable Bluetooth Smart notifications, you’re effectively disabling ANT+ sensor support (i.e. heart rate straps, cycling sensors, etc…).

Garmin Fenix2 iPhone Pairing Bluetooth ANT+

When you configure notifications you have the option to specify if it’s turned on: All The Time, Only In Activities, Only When Not In Activities, or Off.

Obviously, when you turn it on depends on what you care about.  If you don’t care about ANT+ sensors, then that’s not a big tradeoff.  For me personally, sensors are a big deal, and thus, that matters to me quite a bit and is a tough tradeoff to swallow.

Ultimately, this limitation isn’t something that will be changed through software.  It’s a physical hardware limitation.

Hiking & Navigation:

Garmin Fenix2 Hiking and Navigation Mode

The Fenix2 line carries through all of the existing features of the original Fenix from a navigation and hiking standpoint – nothing has been cut or changed there.

This means you still have the ability to program in waypoints, follow tracks and other magnetic compass driven items.  You can do this via downloading courses from Garmin Connect to the unit, as well as inputting the waypoints directly on the unit.

I’ll cover this section in much more detail in the final review, but by and large nothing has changed in this area (either positive or negative), so to get an understanding of how things work you can hit up my Garmin Tactix or original Garmin Fenix reviews – since the functionality is identical there.  My Tactix review is only a few months old, so things are generally spot-on, whereas the original Fenix review is a bit older and some newer features have since been added.

Garmin VIRB Support:

Garmin Fenix2 VIRB Action Camera Control

Just a quick item to note that like the Fenix and Tactix, the Fenix2 includes the ability to control the Garmin VIRB action camera, both for video, as well as for still photos.  I covered this within my Garmin VIRB In-Depth Review, so you’ll want to swing over to that for more details for now.

Ski/Snowboard Mode:

Garmin Fenix2 Skiing and Snowboarding Mode

I previewed this when it first came out last year, but since then Garmin has been chugging away adding a number of features in this area.  Since skiing wasn’t on my plate the last few weeks, I haven’t had a chance to test it.  Nonetheless, here’s the low-down on the core features, which is known as ‘Ski-Board’ mode in the menu.

Ski Mode Run Detection: Each time you get off the lift and start to ski, it’ll automatically create a new lap within the unit.  In addition, there is a run counter, which shows you how many runs you’ve completed.

3D Speed and Distance: As I covered in my post last year, this mode takes into account the horizontal and vertical components within the speed and distance calculations – basically accounting for the drop in vertical.

Ski Mode Auto Pause: This will automatically pause the time and distance of the track file when you are sitting on a ski lift.

Ski Pages Know When On Lift: While on the lift, the unit will automatically switch to showing you stats about your last run, rather than just stats about the chair lift.

Beyond these core features they’ve also added in more ski-specific data fields, such as total vertical drop and run-specific details around max speed, vertical drop, etc….

As you noticed at the very beginning of this post, the unit includes a fabric extender strap – which is specifically designed to fit over bulkier winter jackets, typically worn while skiing or snowboarding (unless you’re in Dubai of course).

Hopefully I’ll be able to get in some slope time here in the near future to dig into this a bit more before the final in-depth review.

Random notable items that didn’t fit:

Garmin Fenix2 Skiing and Snowboarding ModeGarmin Fenix2 Night Mode

If you’re a previous user of the Fenix/Tactix watch, you may make note of a few little changes on the platform.  Most of these are minor, but definitely worthwhile point out.

1) The Layout Is Different: Astute Fenix/Tactix users will note that the layout of the buttons is different, and thus, so are some navigational aspects within the menus.  I still catch myself up a bit, but it’s not too bad – and aligns more closely with the existing Forerunner lineup than the previous Fenix lineup.

2) You can opt to ‘Resume later’ an activity: This could be useful if you’re on a multi-day hike and want to keep the same track the entire time.  This way you can basically save it, and come back to finish it some other time/day.  This is also useful if the watch happens to run out of juice (or crash), in that the watch will resume the activity (this saved me once already).

3) Custom Sports and Profiles: The only feature that has been ‘reduced’ in the watch is the ‘Profiles’ concept, which allows you to customize and create profiles endlessly.  Now, they’ve shortened it down to a bunch of pre-populated profiles with settings that make sense, as well as three fully custom profiles that you can tweak.  For example, you could make a stand-up paddle boarding profile (SUP), if you’d like.  The default included sport profiles are:

1) XS Ski
2) Ski-board
3) Mountaineer
4) Hike
5) Navigate
6) Trail Run
7) Run
8) Bike
9) Swim > Openwater, Pool
10) Workout
11) Indoor > Run, Bike, Custom, Workout
12) Multisport
13) Custom (1/2/3)

4) The backlight is red: While the backlight on the Tactix was green, the backlight on the Fenix2 is a red color, like the D2 aviation watch.

I’ll continue to add little items in here as I stumble onto them, and of course will include a more comprehensive listing if I find more, as part of the In-Depth Review.

Comparison Tables:

Before we wrap things up I’ve put together the comparison charts of all the features of the Fenix2 and original Fenix, compared to the Garmin FR910XT, and Suunto Ambit 2 (closest competitors).  You can of course create your own comparison tables using this link with any of the products I’ve previously reviewed, such as adding in the new Polar V800, which is Polar’s upcoming tri watch for April.

Function/FeatureGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin FenixSuunto Ambit2Garmin Forerunner 910XT
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 15th, 2015 @ 11:45 amNew Window
Price$399$299 (on sale)$319$399
Product Announcement DateFeb 20, 2014JUL 10, 2012APR 29, 2013OCT 4, 2011
Actual Availability/Shipping DateMarch 2014AUG 2012May 2013JAN-APR 2012
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYes
Data TransferUSB/Bluetooth SmartUSB & Bluetooth SmartUSBANT+ Wireless
WaterproofingYes - 50mYes - 50mYes - 100mYes - 50m
Battery Life (GPS)50 Hours50 hours50 hours20 Hours
Recording Interval1S to Variable1s to variableVariable1s or Smart
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerYesYes (as of Feb 2014)YesNo
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGoodGreatGreat
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoYesNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoNoNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin FenixSuunto Ambit2Garmin Forerunner 910XT
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingYesYesNoVia Wahoo Fitness Adapter
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)YesYesNoNo
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)YesYes (as of Feb 2014)NoNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin FenixSuunto Ambit2Garmin Forerunner 910XT
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableYesNoYesYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesN/AYesYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFYesN/ANoYes
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYes (full support added Sept 2013)YesYes
RunningGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin FenixSuunto Ambit2Garmin Forerunner 910XT
Designed for runningYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYesYes (internal accelerometer)Yes
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)YesNoNoNo
VO2Max EstimationYesNoYesNo
Race PredictorYesNoNoNo
Recovery AdvisorYesNoYesNo
Run/Walk ModeYes (Added June 13th, 2014)NoNoYes
SwimmingGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin FenixSuunto Ambit2Garmin Forerunner 910XT
Designed for swimmingYesNoYesYes
Openwater swimming modeYesN/AYesYes
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingYesN/AYesYes
Record HR underwaterNoNoNoNo
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesN/AYesYes
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesN/AYesYes
Indoor Drill ModeYesN/AYesNo
Indoor auto-pause featureNoN/ANoNo
Change pool sizeYesN/AYesYes
Indoor Min/Max Pool Lengths18m/20y to 150y/mN/A15m/y to 1,200m/y20m/22y to 100y/m
Ability to customize data fieldsYesN/AYesYes
Can change yards to metersYesN/AYesYes
Captures per length data - indoorsYesN/AYesYes
Indoor AlertsYesN/ANoYes
TriathlonGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin FenixSuunto Ambit2Garmin Forerunner 910XT
Designed for triathlonYesNoYesYes
Multisport modeYesN/AYesYes
WorkoutsGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin FenixSuunto Ambit2Garmin Forerunner 910XT
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYes (As of Dec 6, 2013)NoYes
On-unit interval FeatureYesYes (As of Dec 6, 2013)BarelyYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityYes (Added June 13th, 2014)NoNoYes
FunctionsGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin FenixSuunto Ambit2Garmin Forerunner 910XT
Auto Start/StopYesYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesYesNoYes
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoNoYes
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoNoNoNo
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYesNo
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataYesYesNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)YesYesNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoNoNoNo
NavigateGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin FenixSuunto Ambit2Garmin Forerunner 910XT
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesYesYesYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYesYesYesNo
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNo
Back to startYesYesYes (added Aug 30, 2013)Yes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitYesYesNoNo
SensorsGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin FenixSuunto Ambit2Garmin Forerunner 910XT
Altimeter TypeBarometricBarometricBarometric, GPS (FusedAlti)Barometric
Compass TypeMagneticMagneticMagneticGPS
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableYesNoYesYes
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoNoYes
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNoYes
ANT+ Remote ControlNo (can control VIRB though)YesNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)YesYesYesNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)YesYesNoNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsNoNoYesYes
SoftwareGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin FenixSuunto Ambit2Garmin Forerunner 910XT
PC ApplicationGarmin ExpressBasecampMoveslink AgentGTC/ANT Agent
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectMovescountGarmin Connect
Phone AppiOS/AndroidGarmin Basecamp (iOS)Suunto MovescountiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoYes (profiles XML)Yes (online)No
PurchaseGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin FenixSuunto Ambit2Garmin Forerunner 910XT
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin FenixSuunto Ambit2Garmin Forerunner 910XT
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

The tables are updated dynamically and thus if/when things change that’s represented automatically in this section.  And again, remember you can create your own charts easily here with any product you’d like.

My initial thoughts on the unit:

Garmin Fenix2 Firmware Update

Overall, the changes are a really sweet step forward for the Fenix product line.  The team behind the product has continued to evolve the original Fenix unit over the course of the past ~20 months, adding in more features than any other Garmin team I’m aware of (and that’s before today).  Today’s announcements of the Fenix2 make it quite appealing for the triathlete, ultimately putting it in the same camp now as the Ambit2…but cheaper.

There’s a few things that the Fenix2 does that the Ambit2 doesn’t – namely around Running Dynamics and Bluetooth upload/download/Live Tracking support, as well as deeper power meter support.  On the flip side, for those who like extensibility, the Ambit2 includes the Ambit App Zone, which offers tons of bite-sized apps to fill the gaps for various functions.

In many ways though, I do see the Fenix2 as a bit of a Garmin portfolio stop-gap for the season.  After all, it’s effectively taking existing hardware (with some very tiny tweaks) and extending out the functionality to match that of a combined FR910XT and FR620, as best as the existing Fenix hardware platform allows.  And, for the most part, they get about 95-98% of the way there.  Obviously, there’s an absolute crapton of navigation/hiking/skiing/mountain related features not found in the FR910XT/FR620 – so simply looking at combining those two watches isn’t accurate.  And ultimately, there are so many features that prior to today, all those features were its own watch by itself (the original Fenix).

Because the unit I have from a software standpoint isn’t quite done yet (albeit close), I’ve held off on making this any sort of full In-Depth review.  Once the final firmware is buttoned up in the March timeframe, expect a full in-depth review there.  Obviously, as part of that I’ll be focusing on all the usual items, including swim/bike/run accuracy.  Thus, I can’t quite make a final determination or recommendation on the unit until that happens.  Assuming however that everything continues to chug along nicely, then I’d say it makes for a very solid spring contender.

Until then, hopefully this bridges the gap a bit to answer questions.  Thanks for reading!

FAQ’s – Frequently Asked Questions:

Here’s my attempt at answering the most commonly asked questions that I expect to get, or see down below in the comments.  I’ll update this as time goes along.

When’s your Fenix2 In-Depth Review coming out?

Once the final software is available and I’ve been able to cover all the test scenarios (swim/bike/run/hike/etc…).  Currently Garmin is targeting March, thus, I’ll be targeting March.

When will Garmin release the Fenix2, and how much does it cost?

This is currently targeted for “March 2014”, which, could well mean mid-March or March 31st.  Remember that’s the date it’s shipped to retailers, not necessarily the date it’ll end up in your hands.  I’d be highly skeptical of any retailer that’s giving you an exact date.

The cost is $399 for the base unit, and $449 for the unit with the HRM-RUN heart rate strap.  In general, if you plan to buy the HR strap later, you’ll want to buy it upfront, since you’ll save about $30-$40 on the HRM-RUN strap.  Remember that the Running Dynamics pieces only work with the HRM-RUN.

Does the Fenix2 need a footpod for indoor/treadmill use?
No, it has a built-in accelerometer which automatically tracks pace/distance/cadence – and displays/records all those values.  In fact, it’ll also calculate cadence outdoors as well, from just the watch.

But how accurate is that method?
Other units have done this successfully (Bryton Cardio 60, Garmin FR220/FR620, Garmin Fenix/Tactix, TomTom Runner/Multisport, etc…), but it’ll be part of my full in-depth review to show comparisons with traditional sensor data on the same run.  In the case of the original Fenix and FR220/FR620 had mixed results.

How long does the battery last?

The Fenix (and Fenix2) has a few modes.  They range from 1-second capture rates to UltraTrac mode, which reduces the capture time and allows upwards of about 50hours of GPS-on time.  In GPS-off mode (regular watch mode), it can operate for many weeks.  However, in Bluetooth Smart mode the battery is significantly reduced.

Is the unit fully waterproofed?

Yes, it’s waterproofed to 50-meters.

Will the HRM-Run work with other Garmin devices, will they update the Garmin FR910XT?
At present, it only works with the FR620 and Fenix2.  All other units will just see it as a regular ANT+ HR strap without any of the new features.  I suspect over time we’ll see that expand to both other new products as well as other uses, but I do not expect to see it ported to existing older products.  At last discussion there are no plans to add support for it to the FR910XT.

I have a Garmin FR910XT, should I go and get the Fenix2?

Well, it’s probably first important to note that the Fenix2 is made by a different team/organization within Garmin than the Forerunner team.  Like going to the milk aisle vs the cereal aisle at the grocery store, even though they both play together – they’re totally different.  As such, the units have different ‘styles’ to the menu’s and how they operate.  The Fenix2 is really a much more powerful in the advanced user department if you’re navigating, but it’s also a bit more complex to operate than some of Garmin’s Forerunner watches (though, it’s definitely improved from the Fenix/Tactix).  One thing I’d look at is deciding whether or not having concurrent ANT+ and Bluetooth functionality is important to you (i.e. heart rate data while Live Tracking is enabled).

So you’re telling me that the Fenix2 isn’t the long-desired Garmin FR910XT replacement?

Correct.  Don’t expect another triathlon unit this triathlon season from Garmin.

I’m looking at the Ambit 2/2s and the Fenix2, which one should I get?

Well, that’s tough.  They both have very similar feature-sets.  The core differences is that the Ambit 2/2s supports some custom apps being loaded, while the Fenix2 has a bit more functionality when it comes to hiking and sports like skiing.  Further, the Fenix2 has Bluetooth Smart capabilities for Garmin Connect wireless uploads.

Ok, I’m purely a runner, should I get the Fenix2 or the FR620?

If you’re mainly running on pavement, I’d probably go FR620.  If however, you’re running in the woods and doing trail running or cases where a barometric altimeter matters, then going with the Fenix2 makes more sense.  Obviously, if you’re doing any sort of navigation-type scenarios, then go with the Fenix2.

Wait, what about Polar and their upcoming V800?

Polar has a very solid contender coming up, but, since it’s not yet here it’s hard for me to make a clear cut recommendation.  There’s a lot of great looking features there, but there’s an equal number of features that don’t have a specific timetable for implementation (meaning, it could be April, or it could be August or December).  Thus, I’m going to wait for that egg to hatch to decide how it fits into the competitive landscape.

Will the original Fenix see a price drop?

Yes, that should start taking effect today (Feb 20th), depending on which country you’re in.  Further details once the new pricing becomes widely available. [Update: Yes, it’s now $299, $100 off. See this post for more details on the price drop.]

But why haven’t you compared it to the Garmin FR220 or the TomTom Multisport?

Because those cost half as much, end of story.  You can however add them to the comparison charts on the product comparison tool (see sidebar).

Can you invert the screen colors?

No, the unit only offers white text on black background.  There is no way to invert the colors.

Is it harder to read the colors of the screen now?

Actually, no, not really.  It’s simply much harder to photograph them.  A lot harder.  But to the eye, no, I don’t find it really that much different (then again, I’m lucky in that I have really good eyesight).  As a personal preference, I prefer black text on white – but that may simply because I have to take picture of them.  And, on average, it takes a lot more pictures to get a good shot with white on black than black on white.

As for why Garmin made the transition – I’ve gone back and asked for a bit of comment/history there.

Does the Fenix2 connect to Bluetooth Smart sensors?

No.  While it has Bluetooth Smart in it, it’s only being leveraged to connect to the phone, and is not architected to connect to sensors.  It can only connect to ANT+ sensors, which include the following sensor types: ANT+ Cycling Power Meter, ANT+ Heart Rate, ANT+ Cycling Speed/Cadence Combo sensor, ANT+ Cycling Speed-only sensor, ANT+ Cycling Cadence-only sensor, ANT+ Tempe temperature sensor, ANT+ Chirp geocaching sensor, ANT+ Running Footpod, ANT+ enabled VIRB action camera.


Found this review useful? Or just want to save a bundle? Here’s how!

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased. You can read more about the benefits of this partnership here. You can pickup the Fenix2 through Clever Training using the link below. By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers. And, since this item is more than $75, you get free US shipping as well.

Garmin Fenix2 – with HRM-RUN & without HRM-RUN

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the unit (all colors shown after clicking through to the left) or accessories (though, no discount). Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells). If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.

As you’ve seen throughout the review there are numerous compatible accessories for the unit. I’ve consolidated them all into the below chart, with additional information (full posts) available on some of the accessories to the far right. Also, everything here is verified by me – so if it’s on the list, you’ll know it’ll work. And as you can see, I mix and match accessories based on compatibility – so if a compatible accessory is available at a lower price below, you can grab that instead.

AccessoryStreet PriceAmazon LinkClever Training - Save with the VIP programClever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated January 27th, 2018 @ 4:29 am
2014 Giveaway Extravaganza
2014 Summer Recommendations: Running Watches
2014 Summer Recommendations: Triathlon Watches
2014 Winter Recommendations: Running Watches
August 2014 Garmin Sale
Left/Right Capable Bike Computers
PowerTap G3 ANT+ Power Meter (Full Wheelset)$999 (full wheelset)LinkLink
PowerTap G3 ANT+ Power Meter (Hub)$790 (hub only)LinkLink
PowerTap Pro ANT+ Power Meter (Hub)$899LinkLink
Chirp External ANT+ Geocaching Beacon$22.00LinkN/A
Fenix Black-colored Replacement Band/Strap$18.00LinkLink
Fenix Charging/Download Cable$25.00LinkLink
Fenix Leather Replacement Band/Strap$18.00LinkLink
Fenix Olive-colored Replacement Band/Strap$18.00LinkLink
Fenix Orange-colored Replacement Band/Strap$18.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1$37.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2$69.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3$50LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (with Running Dynamics) - HRM-Run$99.00LinkLinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)$28.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)$45LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (GSC-10)$35.00LinkLink
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)$10.00LinkLink
Garmin Solar Charging Kit$71.00LinkLink
Garmin Tempe External ANT+ Temperature Sensor$29.00LinkLink
Garmin Vector$1499LinkLinkLink
Power2Max ANT+ Power Meter$970 (no cranks)N/AN/A
PowerCal ANT+ Estimated Power Meter$99LinkLink
SRAM Quarq Cinqo (Original) ANT+ Power MeterDiscontinuedLinkN/A
SRAM Quarq Elsa & RED ANT+ Power Meter$1,600 (with cranks, no chainrings)LinkLink
SRAM Quarq Riken ANT+ Power Meter$1,200 (with cranks, no chainrings)LinkLink
Stages ANT+/Bluetooth Smart Power Meter$699N/ALink

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

Finally, I’ve written up a ton of helpful guides around using most of the major fitness devices, which you may find useful in getting started with the devices. These guides are all listed on this page here.


  1. George Lin

    I can’t wait until you review this formally. I’m in the market for a new GPS watch and I was also looking at the 620.

    • KenZ

      I too am just about to buy, although I might delay my purchase (of the Ambit2) to see the full review. However, still leaning towards the Ambit for my needs. Main focus is ultrarunning, and while the Fenix was supposed to be a great watch for that, the vast majority of ultra-users’ reviews ranged from “It works, but has a ton of shortcomings” to “complete disaster of a watch.” Granted, those issues may have been fixed in firmware by now, but that’s what kept me away from the Fenix 1.

      Since I don’t care about BTLE, my main issues with the Ambit2 are:

      a) moving to Movescount. not a huge deal, but would prefer to stay on Training Peaks (and I’m not going to go through any acrobatics to get Ambit data to TP)

      b) Suunto/Ambit data point limit on uploaded routes is 1,000 points. That may sound like a lot, but on a 120 mile remote trail race… you want every darn data point you can get to stay on course.

      For me to choose the Fenix 2, it would have to do two things: prove to me that it doesn’t suck as most of the ultra reviews have for the Fenix 1, and take more than 1,000 data point track upload for route following (which I think it does).

    • I have the Suunto Ambit 2 and a Garmin Forerunner 305. I thing the Suunto is very easy to use, but it annoys me that it doesn’t work with Training Peaks. I’ll be purchasing either this new watch or the 910xt.

      Movescount isn’t awful, although, it does take some getting used to. Especially when so familiar with Garmin Connect, etc.

      I do like that you can change all your screens online and set up your watch online and then just sync the watch with the Suunto. Maybe that’s possible with the new Garmin’s, I just don’t know. I guess it’s good and bad. If you’re out hiking and realize you want to change the setup for something on your Suunto, I’m not sure if you can or if you just have to wait until you get back. The apps that you can add are pretty cool though.

    • KenZ

      Thanks, that’s good info.

    • Fab

      Hi Ray,

      Thanks for the pre review !! can’t wait for the full !!!

      I am a runner having a 310XT and a fenix, and I’m always thinking on how my screen configuration can be used the best way. May I ask you your favorites screen config (for running) with 3 (fenix/fenix2) and 4 (FR205, FR310) “cases” in each screen ?

      Thanks and keep going 😉 !

    • Dakota 6

      I’m a military commander and just bought the Tactix for military use.
      I’m frustrated with the lack of workout options that are now in the Fenix 2.

      Multisport, swimming, running profile would be so helpful for the military.

      We take physical fitness tests, 2 mile runs. Imagine knowing or at least having a scientific guess what your time will be before you even run?

      This needs to find its way into the tactix!!!

  2. Jerry

    I would love to get ski run laps and 3D speed data from activity files generated by an Edge 500 or FR220. Do you know of any apps or web sites that will examine FIT files and generate a new FIT/GPX file with ski run (as lap) and 3D speed data?

    As Garmin knows how to do this in the Fenix/Fenix2, it would be nice to see it incorporated into Garmin Connect for activities marked as resort or backcountry skiing.

  3. Claude

    Tks Ray for the preview. Maybe I missed it, but I suppose like the Fenix 1 you can see a small “track” with a course on it?

  4. frank

    Just what I have been waiting for, sold my 910xt last month betting this would be coming

  5. Lars

    “Ultimately, this limitation (only connect over either Bluetooth or ANT+ at one time) isn’t something that will be changed through software. It’s a physical hardware limitation.”
    Until this, the Fenix 2 sounded interesting. But now it’s no longer an issue.

  6. Tony

    What is the weight of the watch?

    • Adam

      I am interested in this as well. As an avid hiker and triathlete, I’m looking for the one watch to rule them all.

  7. Jason K

    Does it have the same problem of not being able to have BT and ANT functioning at the same time?

    Looks like based on the pic’s that the “crystal” is curved like the Tactix? And the lettering is white on black background like the Tactix?

    Man, I might have to sell my 910 and Tactix and get this to “simplify” my life.

    • The glass if flat, like the original Fenix, not like the Tactix. And correct, the lettering is white on black, and non-changeable.

      And no, you cannot use both BT and ANT+ at the same time.

  8. paul

    should have been a sellout except for the ant+/livetracking limitation… ill stick with my 910 and 510 for now.. great review ray

    • Warner

      Same here…Love everything about this watch from what I’ve read here but the ant+/livetracking thing is a deal breaker for me 🙁
      I’m baffled why they’ve got the two working together in the new forerunners but not in the fenix.I realise they come from different departments within Garmin but it seems like a pretty glaring omission to me…

  9. Christian Jacoby

    Very nice … the only missing feature which keeps me from getting it, is wifi capabilities like the Forerunner 620 has … I don’t want to miss that anymore …

  10. AndreLM

    Hi Ray!

    Nice preview. Seems like a great addition to Garmin line-up. On the ANT+/BT connectivity, it seems that Live Tracking will work ONLY with no ANT+ data, right?

    On the same subject, when you finish an activity, is there any automatic process to “close” the ANT+ sensors, and connect through BT for uploading, or is it a manual procedure?

    Finally, do you know if Garmin is planning to include additional upload destinations? I understand that they want us to us Garmin Connect instead of TP, but having at least e-mail or Dropbox would help a lot.


    • Live Tracking will work, but you cannot be even connected to ANT+ sensors at the time. So it’s not a case of not being able to transmit that data, it’s just that the chipset is an either/or scenario. Either Bluetooth Smart (which is what Live Tracking uses), or ANT+ (which is what sensors uses).

      As for additional upload destinations, I doubt it. I keep lobbying for it, but Garmin is preferring to trend towards locking things down rather than opening them up.

      Oh, and yes, you can configure the unit to automatically shut off BT when you go into sport mode (to enable ANT+ automatically), and vice versa.

    • Jason K

      Guess I’m confused, what’s the difference in hardware is between Fenix 1 and 2? Or is it just software?

    • Eric Lagstein


      I’m a bit confused how this effects us in the real world.

      If I’m in a race and my wife wants to track me. Will I not be able to see my powermeter data? Or Heartrate data?

      Can you give a example scenario or two that this will efffect us?

    • Luke

      If your wife is tracking you (using livetracking via your phone) then you can’t see any of the ANT+ accessories (heart rate, foot pod, speed/cadence, power meter, etc). If you’re using the ANT+ accessories then you can’t use bluetooth to give live-tracking updates to your phone (and therefore to your wife)…

    • Yup, Luke is spot on. Not only can you not see it, you can’t record it either (if Live Tracking is enabled).

    • Eric Lagstein

      Wow, that seems like a major flaw! I would never give up my HR running, or biking my HR, power and cadence. I can’t see a situation that I would ever use live tracking 🙁

      I’m also bummed about only 3 data fields. Is the screen smaller?

    • Warner

      Hi Ray, First of all thanks for your amazing reviews. They’re my go to place for sport gadget info 🙂
      Just to clarify : Are you saying that if you have Livetracking enabled you cannot save your activity afterward?
      And with Livetracking enabled you should still have your pace/speed data available through the GPS component,correct?

    • No, you can save all you want with Live Tracking. You just can’t enable any ANT+ sensors with Live Tracking enable (on the Fenix/Fenix2). The chipset only supports one or the other being turned on: Bluetooth Smart or ANT+.

      Pace/speed/distance data all comes from GPS, so no restrictions there.

    • idelacruz

      You need the Phone to do the tracking, and this means that you will use the gps of the fenix2, maybe you can use for tracking the gps of the phone. (i think the issues here is the battery).
      Of course this is an issue but not so critical for me.

    • Bart Bouse

      I guess I’m confused why you would ever turn on bluetooth during a run or ride. The Garmin Fit or Garmin Connect App appears to do live tracking from the phone without any help from any other device. Therefore, the only thing you appear to achieve by connecting the Fenix to the phone would be notifications during the run or ride. I guess one could argue the Fenix GPS might be more accurate than the phone. However, I would assume anywhere the phone GPS is not sufficient would most likely be where phone signal is poor and in this case you wouldn’t have any live tracking anyway. Obviously, you are not going to be able to live track in a national park or wilderness area. It would only work in areas with sufficient cell signal which generally means the phone GPS would be fine. If you wore bluetooth headphones you would know if you got a call. If you were not wearing headphones, you probably wouldn’t be able to answer the call quickly enough anyway because the phone would be tucked in a pouch somewhere.

  11. Aldis

    Somehow I feel sorry for Suunto after reading this. It’s going to tough to make something spectacular out of Ambit 3.

    • Gunnar

      I think if Suunto offers similar specs to the Fenix2 AND enables the user to receive Bluetooth notifications from their phone while gathering ANT+ data, they will have a winner over the Fenix2.

      Only thing that keeps me from selling my 910xt and Pebble is the fact that when I commute by bike (or I’m on a group ride for that matter) I want phone notifications on my wrist AND also gather activity data.

      My Pebble does that (minus power data of course….).

      Too bad they haven’t figured out a way for ANT+ and Bluetooth to play nice together.

      But I do like Garmin’s direction with the Fenix 2….almost there!

    • Keith

      They would have to have two antennas and two radios to do simultaneous slave and master roles with ANT+ and BLE. That would have killed the industrial design.

    • Haroldo

      I agree. Also letting you track more then one bike profile will help.

  12. I understand its not a FR910Xt replacement, but my 301Xt is on it’s last legs and I’ll need to replace it soon. Would you recommend the Fenix2 or the 910XT for my triathlon usage.

    Also, what about size/weight comparison? I miss the rolling pin pics 🙂

    • Rolling pins and related items coming in the In-Depth review. Gotta save some of the good stuff, right?

      Actually, in all honestly, it’s the same exact unit size-wise as the Tactix. So, if you check out my Garmin Tactix review from a couple months ago, it has all the major contenders on rolling pins then. 🙂

    • Tina

      I am in the same situation. Now I’m going to have a tough time making a decision!

  13. Andy

    Any idea if they intend to add ANT+ weigh scale capability to Fenix2?

  14. thundarunna

    Thanks – looks like this will get me thru the GUCR145 in May unless Garmin create an ultra marathon profile for the 620

  15. Panos

    I am a bit disappointed that Garmin won’t release a 910XT replacement this year 🙁

    • Luke

      This watch comes SO close to being the watch I’d like, but being forced to choose between ANT+ support and live tracking is a nonstarter for me.
      Too bad, because the hiking and skiing functionality would be nice!

    • Haroldo

      Whats so important about live tracking anyway?

    • Neal

      Your wife can have a cold beer and protein-laden dinner ready as soon as you walk home! All joking aside, some spouses are worry-warts and are greatly comforted of your safety by having it easily displayed on their phones/tablets/PCs/TVs/etc, especially on long 4 hr runs.

  16. Ulrich Stürzlinger

    A nice (p)review you did. I have one error to correct: the Ambit2 gives you as well as the new Fenix 2 the recovery time after each exercise. It goes even further since it keeps track by adding additional recovery time when you do another exercise lets say three hours later. So you can keep track of the remaining recovery time by opening the activity log and see the specific recovery time for each exercise by reviewing it through the log.

    Cheers Ulrich

  17. Dan

    Hello Ray,

    I’ve noticed many ABC watches are switching to inverse displays (such as the fenix 2) . Do you have any concerns with readability, or any opnions between the fenix and the fenix 2 display types? In feature I like about the Sunnto ambit 2 is that you can toggle the inverse display. Is that in the feature mix for Gamrin?

    Best Wishes, Dan

  18. a_circelli

    “No 910 xt replacement this season”… maybe it’s a good news, because in this fenix2 there aren’t really software or hardware news… and so next year garmin ‘ll come with a lot if new stuff…. I hope

  19. Koen

    I’ve seem to missed it, but why would someone choose the FR620 over this watch? Is it only from a live tracking and size standpoint?

    • Ilan

      I am also wondering this. It seems like the only running function missing from the Fenix2 is the run/walk feature. Other than that, the Fenix2 adds much more functionality over the FR620 for the same price.

      I must say, however, that I strongly dislike the red color for the backlight on the Fenix2. Any chance Garmin might change that?

    • Size mainly, and the ability to transmit ANT+ sensors while running (and eventually cycling).

    • ekutter

      For me its size. The 620 is great as an every day watch. At nearly twice the weight, this is bigger and heavier than I would want for that.

    • the wifi upload is a big improvement in the FR 620 and it’s lacking in the Fenix 2

    • Josh M

      There’s the WiFi as well…

      I’m interested in the red backlight. I run in the dark with my lamp off if there’s enough light to see by, and the red would like be much better at not destroying night vision (compared to the whitish of the 910xt)

    • Damien Hart

      I have a fenix and a 620. The 620 chipset can do ant and BLE concurrently. I don’t get why they didn’t put this chipset in the fenix 2? It would be almost perfect then. Add wifi and it would be perfect!

    • Because the Fenix2 shares the same chipset as the Fenix1, which pre-dates the FR620.

    • Mimmo

      I think that the new Garmin 910XT model will have the same chipset of FR620….

    • Damien Hart

      Yeah I get that. I just think they missed a big opportunity in not having the 620 chipset.

      I, for one, would pay a hefty sum for a unit that solves for all my fitness and outdoor needs.

  20. Chris

    I must agree with the other commenters, this watch looked killer until the nonsense about non-concurrent ANT+/BT. I was even lamenting my 620 purchase until that point, now I’m just hoping Garmin will add the cycling mode to the 620 soon, and perhaps even BT notifications?

    I believe this is the first time you’ve officially stated there will be no 910 replacement this year, correct? Makes sense, as the Fenix2 is likely now one of it’s biggest competitors (along with Ambit2 or V800).

  21. Francis

    Hi Ray, being a current owner of Fenix I was wondering if they will at least complete there work on the current beta firmware and release to the current Fenix user base, as a triathlete, I will love to see indoor and outdoor swim tracking, but I doubt they will do it, but could you ask them if they will at least complete the current beta and release it to current Fenix owner?


    • Yes, they confirmed they will be taking those beta release features and putting them into production releases for existing Fenix/Tactix users.

    • Luke

      Ray, could you elaborate here?
      I don’t know the Fenix that well, but if the Fenix 1 is going to get the current beta you’re working with what is the benefit of the Fenix 2?

    • Daniel

      Luke, I think we won’t know the answer to that until we see what exactly is in the non-beta firmware release for the fenix (4.1?) I anticipate you’ll see a lack of the training features in the fenix1 firmware update, much like the subtle training differences between the FR610 and 620. Overall I think it’s going to be minor differences between the two. Sort of like the difference between the iPhone 5 and 5s. Enough for most people to upgrade? Probably not. But is it a better option for first-time buyers.

    • Anything that’s currently in beta for the Fenix1/Tactix (i.e. the releases starting back in December) will get a full production release (inclusive of those beta features). Obviously, it won’t get swimming/power meters/running dynamics and other Fenix2 specific features.

    • Hej, I tried the bontrager speed-only sensor on my fenix and couldn’t get a signal. dD you have an idea if the cadence-only sensors will get supported for the fenix1 aswell? Regards!

    • Hmm, I’ll find out, good question.

    • Francis

      Thanks Ray, so I guess we can expect release of this production firmware at about the same time that the Fenix 2 will ship, I assume the Fenix 1 firmware is the same firmware as Fenix 2 with just some feature stripped.

      Thanks always enjoy reading you.

    • Hej Ray, any News about the cadence only stuff? (;

    • Tomorrow for clarification on what exactly gets back-ported.

  22. Simon

    Thanks for the review Ray. This has the potential to be a really interesting product as it seems to take care of all activites well enough for most keen enthusiasts. As an owner of multiple devices (forerunner 410, swim, fenix & edge 800), this could be the point that 1 device finally ticks all the boxes, for what I want to do at my level, so I can get rid of the rest. (if the 910 had ski modes then it would do it too)
    The only major gap I see from my current kit list is the big 10 variable display and mapping/navigation of my edge.
    I wish I hadn’t just ordered a FR620…

  23. Beau

    Please tell me it displays a map grid in MGRS. If it does, It’s mine.

    • Rico Lee

      I, as a fenix 1 user, suspect it does as DCR mentioned that fenix 2 retain all features available on fenix (at ver.4.00 firmware). Besides long/lat reading, it supports a host of grid reference formats as well, UTM/UPS, MGRS, British OS grid–to name a few. My fenix x 2 are both set to display MGRS grid reference so I can locate myself without a glitch when using Hong Kong’s 1:20,000 topographic map 🙂

  24. Thank you for this review and the Q/A at the bottom. Especially about the 910xt replacement. I’m still rocking the Forerunner 305 and need an update as this puppy is on it’s way out!

  25. Nicklesmn

    I scrolled thru all the pictures just to make sure, but couldn’t find a default ” time of day” view; thanks for all the great reviews!!!

  26. Jay

    Thanks for the review. I just placed my preorder with clever training.

  27. Steve

    “Downloading of satellite data: This speeds up initial acquisition of the satellites”

    Why is this needed? – I remember having to do that on an old Tom Tom, but iPhone and Edge 510 use GPS and GLONASS for super quick satellite locking. Why don’t all Garmin devices use the same, I noticed that GLONASS is missing from VIRB Elite and it is noticeably slower to lock and maintains a less accurate GPS lock than my EDGE 510.

    • Steve

      Even Garmin recognises GLONASS is good, but does not implement in all devices??

      link to support.garmin.com

    • David Corsi

      My guess is chipset cost, size and effect on battery currently limits GLOSNASS compatiblity to devices larger than a watch such as the Edge series (and even then it is only in the 510). It clearly is better but until it becomes the default for chipset makers to bake in GLOSNASS captability it likely won’t be in our watches and smaller devices.

  28. So I take it you believe there is still a replacement coming for the 910xt just not this season?

  29. Fran

    I was drooling at the headline, but after reading the preview, I wish the watch would have a Drill mode like the Swim has, and same goes for wifi connectivity. I still have some doubts and questions:

    Do you have to manually swap ANT/BT to upload an activity on site after it is finished?

    What about data readability, especially on the bike? Being forced to wear this on my wrist, I doubt it will be functional to keep an eye on power/HR/cadence… I definitely will not be changing screens in a sprint distance bike leg.

    …let’s wait for next year 910XT replacement.

    • It can automatically be set to turn off ANT+ and turn on BT upon completion of an activity.

      No issues with readability. It just is harder to photograph.

      As for swim drill mode, that’s on the ‘potential’ list. If they see enough requests for it, it might get added.

  30. dvorcsakl

    Ohh, i testing a fenix. Good watch, but no multisport.
    I see the ambit2, beautiful watch, but the export for connect.garmin is complex, and not can “new lap” the Suunto App (required my workouts).
    I ordered 910, but the 910 is ugly, and not wear-to-day watch.

    But now see the new news, comming fenix2, canceled order 910 and wait.

    I run Silverstone halfmarathon with iPhone+RunKeeper, but I hope running London Marathon with fenix2!

    Ray, thx the good news!

    (from Hungary)

  31. DC_rainmaker, you’re the best product reviewer/blogger/athlete tester ever !! you made me read a Fenix2 review even if I already own an Ambit2 and don’t plan to buy a new watch anytime soon (couple of years !)

  32. Kiwi Kev

    Hi Ray, same as JF am also looking to upgrade 310XT, would you go with 910xt now or wait for this? Given mainly tri usage and very limited mountain usage (a small bit of snowboarding).

    • Hi Kiwi – See the FAQ section at the end for my thoughts on the tri landscape. Ultimately, the FR910XT/Fenix2 are so similar, that it comes down to a bunch of tiny things like how many data fields are displayed, etc…

  33. Glen

    Where is the rolling pin?

  34. CaptainChris

    Thanks Ray!

    You said: “Moving beyond Running Dynamics, the unit adds additional running coaching type features, three of which are found on the FR620, and one of which is found on the FR910XT (Training Effect)”

    My 620 gives me training effect numbers. Am I missing something?

    I wish the Garmin teams worked closer, it seems like some/most of the features on this watch would be simple to add to the 620.

    I am just starting to play with triathlons and need a watch… These things are evolving so quickly the right choice might be to wait…

    • Luke

      I’m going peacemeal for now.
      Have a 620 that I use for running but am slowly getting into triathlons this season. Nothing seemed to fit my needs so I have my 620, a swim, and an edge 500.
      By no means is this a perfect setup, but it is the best of both (well, all 3) worlds with only a little bit of annoyance with switching devices.
      I’ll need to figure out what to do with the forerunner on the bike leg, though. It’ll probably just stay with my running shoes and I’ll have imperfect transition data…

  35. Mick

    Good news that Garmin is pushing the competition. I am currently looking at the Suunto Ambit2 but cannot decide to buy or wait. Looking at the Fenix2’s additional features, it really gets close to Suunto. Now I need some help.
    I primarily do 3 sports: cycling, occasional swimming and sailing. Sailing is very rarely mentioned in any review, however beside the usual GPS-based functions to record the route and track speed/time/pace having a “back to start” and “navigate to POI” are gorgeous features for a race sailor. Not only for a longer-term sailing race, but also for the classic “olympic triangle” racecourses where you have a lot of boats competing and after going round the racemark buoy it’s vital to know how far you have turned away from the line towards the next mark.. For this, so far the Ambit2 seemed to have the better function with the navigation screen where you have the size-changing arrow showing you where your waypoint is and how much you still have to turn for it. Also through the apps you can easily set up the watch to e.g. show your speed in knots instead of miles or km’s whic is nice (although not crucial, km/h or mph are just as fine to determine how much you’ve lost at a turn).
    In both watches, the barometer is a very useful companion on the water helping to predict the wether and launch a storm alert either by the watch or by your brain. 🙂
    So, for swimming, and predicting the weather, both are great. For sailing I would be better covered with Suunto.
    If choosing Suunto, there would be a couple of things though I would be really missing from Garmin’s features:
    1. Custom trainings with different intervals following each other as I want (instead of doing just exact similar rest-go-rest-go etaps over and over)
    2. Custom alerts e.g. for pace of speed – although there should be som HR alert in Suunto as well, but couldn’t yet find any review that covers how it works in reality) – what I need is to set a pace/speed/HR zone and the watch to alert me, maybe even simultanously, if I’m out of these pre-set zones.
    3. Virtual racer against previous own records (however the Fenix2 does not seem to have it either)
    4. Bluetooth Smart connectivity: this is really great to have a connection to the smartphone. Garmin has just nailed it.

    Now that you know my headaches, finally my 3 questions:
    – I wonder if you know wether Suunto has plans to add such funtionalities to e.g. their upcoming Ambit3 (I’m thinking of Bluetooth here, as obviously the Ambit2 hardware is not capable of it anyway) or as a firmware update to the Ambit2 (e.g. for virtual racer, pace/speed/hr zones, customizable trainings/intervals).
    – Is an Ambit3 expected this spring, or is Suunto done its facelift-homework with the Ambit2R?
    – Can Garmin be expected to introduce Virtual Racer mode to the Fenix2?

    Finally, and it’s only a a suggestion: when writing your (very good and inormative) in-depth reviews, it may be worth to drop a few lines with sailing racers in mind, as outdoor sports are not only done on the ground. 🙂

    Thanks for your comments and for all the great reviews so far!

    • Mick

      …mea culpa about the last sentence, I realize that open water swimming is always covered, so the “on the ground” notice was not appropriate. Just wanted to point out race sailing as yet another usage possibility with a potentially large user base. I should have written “not only in the water, but also on the water”. 🙂

    • frank d

      Speaking of sailing, I’m a little bit in a similar situation and have considered the same top watches.

      I am mostly interested in tracking some non-swimming water sports as well, and haven’t found the perfect watch yet.

      I prefer things like windsurfing, kitesurfing, and when there’s no wind kayaking and paddleboarding; over solely swimming, biking and running. I’m not looking at participating in competitions around the core 3. I just want to be more informed about my activity level and see how my body is doing, know when to cut back and keep going a bit more, based on speed and heart rate. Knowing how far you ventured out onto open water (time to turn back), what your instant speed is, if you get some good laps in you get to see what your top speed was (always been curious about that), know how much distance all those laps add up to.

      I understand a basic watch isn’t going to cut it, and it really looks like the Fenix 2 comes close to my ideal watch, ticking a lot of boxes.

      But I also would like the watch to:

      + function as an ordinary activity tracker (time to burn some extra calories before the week is over)

      + have 4 pieces of data on screen (heart rate, instant speed, distance and time)
      Many watches have two or three and require you to tap through to see other information.

      With some sports you simply cannot easily or safely bring your two hands together to push buttons to change screens. And if you are out in the winter, gloves prevent you from pressing buttons too.

      So, I’m with you hoping for more product releases that push into a broader sports market. Maybe leave out some of the specific training stuff and replace it with room for custom sport profiles and data screens.

  36. Sven

    Great review as always. One thing that wasn’t entirely clear though… While I think the live tracking is absolutely awesome for family when competing in say an IronMan, does it only work when interfacing with a phone, i.e. there is no ability to do this straight from the Fenix2 to the “cloud”? If so, that really limits race applicability. Thanks!

  37. Woody

    With this new release are we going to see a price drop in the 910?

  38. Chris

    Thanks for the pre-view. Two questions:

    1) If set to 1 second recording intervalls, what will the battery life be? That is the generally recommended setting for recording, will that last through a beginners (read: very slow) long distance tri?

    2) Does the recovery recommendation take into account different sport types or is it limited to running? Because as a multi-sport watch, I might swim one day, bike the next and then run the day after. Is the Fenix2 going to look at all those for this feature, or just looking at the run and assuming I had two days rest before that? Your post sounds like it is running only, but of course that would make that feature pretty much useless for anyone doing more than running

  39. Nice work as usual, Ray.

    One question: How many bike profiles can the Fenix2 store?


  40. PeterG

    Geesh, with all the accelerometers, gyroscopes and other MEMS functions needed for swimming, too bad they didn’t integrate the Daily Activity functions like the polar V800. Seems to me easy from Garmin side and it would put this strongly in front of the V800 (unless there are some electrical or mechanical limitations I am not aware of …)

  41. Mick

    …by the way, extending my questions above: I have read your great preview about Polar’s upcoming V800 as well and there you have mentioned that they will have navigation functions in the watch.
    Again, putting a race sailors hat on, do you know how this navigation would look like? Meaning, could it be used for “as the crow flies” back to start, or to a waypoint navigation with a 3D compass shown on the screen like in the case of Suunto Ambit2 and Garmin Fenix2?
    Thanks again!

  42. Walid

    Hmm. I was looking to exchange my 610 for 910XT or hold out until their update, but this is very tempting. I wanted to keep my ANT+ footpod and bike sensors, so this is great for that (was worried 920XT will remove support like 620), but I rely quite a bit on run/walk for faster times in races and I sorta want to keep that. I hope there is a software update to enable that on this, then I’ll gladly get this.

  43. Nicky

    Hi Ray, maybe my question is a little bit off-topic, but a few months ago in your mio Alpha review you told me you were expecting most high end devices having optical HR built in in the watches. As I see now Polar and Garmin releasing 2 of those devices, my question is: Do you still expect those major companies introduce the optical HR in their devices anytime soon (2014-2015)?
    Thanks for your feedback

    • I’m expecting it from watches, but I do not expect it yet from the big name companies this year (Garmin/Polar/Suunto). I expect it from just about everyone else though.

  44. Tim

    Bummed about:
    -non-simultaneous ANT+ and BT
    -only 3 data fields on a screen. I tend to have 4 on my main screen and rarely switch to other screens. Even though multiple screens are available.

    -lack of wifi connectivity
    -lack of drill mode (for now, maybe forever)

    If the ANT and BT was able to be done simultaneously I probably would have planned to buy it at release (even though I’d guess my use of live tracking would be limited).

    Happy to see (wish they’d come to the 910xt, where applicable):
    -Internal accelerometer based cadence and treadmill running
    -Run Dynamics make it to another watch
    -Temperature recording (internal and tempe support)
    -Potentially longer battery life, I’m curious what a Fenix or Fenix2 gets with a 910xt side-by-side (same sensors and recording rate)

  45. Daniel

    I can’t wait for the GC connect mobile update!!! That was probably my favorite part of this preview (that has been my ONLY gripe with the fenix1)

    • Chris

      Same here – looks like I’ll finally be pulling the trigger on a Nexus 5 purchase to replace my aging, non Bluetooth Smart Galaxy Nexus.

  46. Brian

    Hey Ray, thanks for the info. I am excited about the Fenix2 and like many felt this was what I have been waiting for until the issues with the ANT+/BT. My question is does the 4iiii’s Viiiiva ANT+ to Bluetooth Smart Bridge & Heart Rate Strap resolve that problem? Can we have the watch in BT mode and still make sure and get all the data we need except of course for the running dynamics from the HRM-Run strap?

    • Matthias

      Initially I was thinking the same (as a Viiiiva owner) but obviously this will not work:

      Does the Fenix2 connect to Bluetooth Smart sensors?

    • No, it currently doesn’t connect to BT sensors. In talking with them, this would take a pretty substantial re-write of the codebase, based on the mode that the BT chip currently leverages to talk to the phone. I don’t expect to see them introduce BT sensor support in the Fenix product line (or for that matter, anytime soon in any product).

    • Tom

      If the watch can send ANT+ data (big if, I didn’t notice anything saying it could send, just receive) then possibly it could communicate with a phone through a ANT+ dongle or Viiiva bridge? (From a hardware standpoint, obviously software doesn’t support right now)

      I’m surprised by the number of commenters upset about the lack of live streaming w/ sensor use – didn’t realize that many people used it. To me the bigger issue is loss of alert functionality. Presumably there are lots of (future) possibilities there like having turn by turn directions sent from the phone.

    • It doesn’t send ANT+, only receives it.

    • Mauricio

      Can you let Garmin know this is a big deal for some of us with BT Smart sensors who are looking into replacing our “old” devices? I would’ve placed an order already if it was not for this small detail.

      Thanks for your work on this site, Ray.

    • Realistically, I don’t expect to see it happen. Either for this product, or in general.

      For this product, in talking with them – it’d be a pretty big code base shift. But honestly, that’s secondary to the fact that they still own ANT+, and as such, they’re going to continue to drive accessories in that market. Just a business reality there until some form of critical mass happens on competitive products to force them to support the two standards (ANT+ and BLE).

      Right now, no such competitive product exists.

    • Haroldo

      Can you blame them? I wouldn’t shoot myself on the foot.

  47. Matt


    Great preview. Just wanted to clarify, the 620 does show training effect.

    Also, how does the weight compare to the fenix 1 and 620?

  48. Jonatan

    Hey Ray! Great walk through on the device!

    I think there are a few questions open that may be missing an answer (Or maybe I just didn’t get it hahaha):

    1: Is it actually possible that the new HR strap will detect running pace while indoors (i.e. on a treadmill), or woill it be necessary to also use the footpod?

    2: Since the fenix is supposed to be more robust, does this mean some components failure common in the 910XT would be minimized (barometric altimeter, for example). I mean, I would expect this watch to endure much harsher conditions as the previous Forerunner.

    Finally, a quick suggestion for Garmin’s team: Garmin Connect should support the ability to track the use of equipment, actually that’s the only reason I use SportTracks and would be a really nice feature I don’t think very hard to implement.

    As always, great to find out about all new in fitness devices from your write-ups! Thanks!

    • 1) The new HR strap doesn’t detect pace, just cadence. However, the unit itself does determine pace and cadence indoors based on arm swing.

      2) The Fenix2 hardware is essentially the same as the original Fenix, which is definitely a more hardened unit than the FR910XT.

      I’d agree, equipment tracking would be nice – and help to make it more competitive with the likes of many applications.

  49. luis

    Hi Ray, do you know when is the pace/cadence functionality is going to be enabled in the 910xt? Is it matter of software only?

    • I would not expect to see that functionality on the FR910XT. In general, I wouldn’t expect to see any functionality improvements on the FR910XT.

    • David

      What about bug fixes for the 910XT? I saw “someone” post on a Garmin forum that you said the 910XT development team was pulled to work on the Fenix. Now that this is out, is there ever a chance that Garmin will fix data corruption issues or courses?

    • I don’t know what the plan is there. I’ll poke around.

    • Jason K

      With a foot pod you get cadence info on the 910xt. And not sure what you mean about pace but with foot pod indoors you get pace and obviously outdoors GPS gives you pace.

  50. Jon

    I am not aware of your level of interaction with Garmin – but do you have any sense of why they would release this and not match the functionality with the Tactix which has less than 3 months on the market?

    I would have thought (based on release dates) a Fenix 2 / Tactix functionality pairing rather that a Fenix / Tactix pairing. Pretty disappointing really.

  51. scott buchanan

    Updated Android App not showing on Google Play or as having an update available in app!

    Am looking forward to FINALLY being able to transfer my FR620 runs direct from my phone a Galaxy S4

    As a Fenix 1 user the screen on the Fenix 2 looks much better is it different?

  52. Steve

    Thanks for all of the info…very helpful. 3 quick questions.

    1) The screen pixel density looks the same as the Fenix 1, is this correct? If so, disappointing given Ambit’s gorgeous screen.

    2) Is the watch quicker to respond when you push buttons and switch between menus? The Fenix 1 is like an old computer trying to run Windows 8…very slow and laggy.

    3) Is the chipset identical on the Fenix 1 and Fenix 2 and can we expect any improvement on GPS accuracy?

    Thanks, Steve

    • herdingcats

      I’d like a response from Rainmaker on this one too. BTW Rainmaker, I love your reviews. I very much enjoy my fenix, though Steve brings up very good questions. I was thinking about updating to the tactix, but the fenix2 may be just the thing.

    • Strange, I thought I had posted here, not sure where it went to…

      1) Yes, appears the same.
      2) Yes, still basically slow for some functions (primarily saves). The menu’s are fairly quick though.
      3) I believe they are. I’ll see if I can find out.

  53. Curious if my HR strap and cadence sensor from my Forefunner 305 will work with this. I’m sure you have explained it in technological terms, but I’m not sure I follow. Thanks for the help!

  54. Jordan Trump

    Very helpful review, Ray. I’m still on the fence if I will move to the Fenix 2 from my 910XT. Obviously I know I’m spending money I don’t need to spend on somewhat marginal improvements, but I like to stay on the cutting edge. I am looking for an exceptional running watch that can also be used on my ElliptiGO and hopefully control my Virb. For now, this looks like the best option, with some sacrifices. Since I don’t need swim features, I’m not sure if this is the best watch out there for me right now, or if I should hold out another year or so for a “910XT replacement”. I am definitely very interested in the running dynamics and long battery life (I’m hoping to do a 24 hr ride in June).

    Do you think it would make sense to move to the Fenix 2 for my purposes?

  55. Paul S

    1) Is the on board storage any bigger than the ~ 26 Mb of the Fenix?
    2) Do the maps still work, or have they closed that off?

    • Same size, and while I haven’t got to testing maps yet, I’m not seeing any indication it’s broken/changed (they’ve been pretty insistent that the only ‘downgrade’ depending on how you look at it is the limiting of the custom profiles (I like the new cleaner profiles, and 3 custom is still fine with me).

    • Bert

      So if I understand correctly, then this watch would have the ability of adding some basic topographic indicators? That would be a huge plus for me! I currently use my 910XT for loading and disovering new routes, and while the breadcrumb trail on the empty background does work, it is also quite limited and slow.

      It would be cool if you could go into this in more detail during your review of the production unit 🙂

    • Querfeldein

      Not that I’m looking to replace my Fenix any time soon, but the internal memory is one are where I thought an improvement would have been most noticeable, and easy to achieve. The fact that they did not increase it suggests that Garmin still is reluctant to let the Fenix compete with their handheld GPS units (and, of course, there are no Garmin maps suitable for the Fenix). Perhaps when the handheld GPS are completely cannibalised by waterproof phones will Garmin let us have a few days worth of maps on our wrists.

    • Paul S

      I would think that is highly unlikely. I’ve never heard of a phone that gets 18-20 hours battery life with the GPS on continuously, not to mention recording any sensors. I’ve also never heard of a phone that uses regular or rechargeable replaceable batteries, but that may just be me and my limited experience with smartphones. My old 60CSx runs 18 hours on a pair of AA’s, and you can find those anywhere.

      I was surprised myself about the lack of increase in storage in the Fenix 2. But I suspect Garmin will hold off on a mapping wrist worn device until they can find a color screen small enough and that will have enough resolution to show a map well and that won’t grossly reduce the battery life that’s already limited by the small size of a wrist worn device.

  56. cj

    A bit off topic, but has Timex bowed out completely from this particular field? Garmin seems to be going from strength to strength and Timex seems to have fizzled out after their Global Trainer.

  57. Coco

    When using the Fenix2 as a day-to-day watch (which was not possible with 910XT) how long is the battery life time?

    • Paul S

      For the Fenix, the answer is weeks. So long that you don’t even worry about it. Personally I use mine as a GPS and therefore hook it up and recharge it long before it ever runs out of battery in watch mode, even in the summer when I only use the Fenix GPS once a week or less.

      Turn Notifications on, though, and the story changes. Then you have to recharge it daily.

    • Tyler

      You can use the 910 as an everyday watch. Simply set up the ‘other’ sport with 1 display page showing only time of day. Then set GPS to off.

    • Aside from it looking a bit oversized (being polite), it only lasts about 50 hours, and doesn’t show the day of week, date, etc…

  58. Brian

    Sure hope that the beta features get rolled out to the Fenix 1, I just bought the dang thing in late December. Ugh.

  59. JR

    “The Fenix2 goes for the inverted color scheme (white text on black background)”.

    Do you think there may be an option added to have the screen “Black text on white background”. I have found the white text very difficult to ready in any light (worse if running). I have had to return several watches because it is so difficult to read the screen. Did you find the sceen difficult to read in its current format? P.S. I have 20/20 vision.

    • Walter

      JR, I also have vision 20/20. I’m looking for a new gps-watch. I’m interested in the TomTom Multisport, Suunto Ambit 2 and the new Fenix 2. Have you tested the TomTom or the Suunto Ambit 2 ? Looks to me these 2 watches (TomTom and the Suunto) have the best screen. May I ask which watches you returned for the bad reading screen ?

    • JR

      I returned the Suunto Core All Black and the Freestyle Men’s FS85012 Mariner Sailing watch. Both were very difficult to read the white text screen, but the Core All Back was the worst.

    • Hi All-

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

      Link that supports the site: link to shareasale.com

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

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


  60. Deal killer for me. So close to being head and shoulders above the rest, but can’t justify upgrading from FR910xt due to this limitation.

  61. Laurent

    Good morning the fénix 2 will have function space R-R?

  62. Tom

    Looks like I’ll either be waiting for this or grabbing a discounted Fenix based on when my 405 gives up.

  63. ice

    How about the battery lifetime as a “causal wirst watch”?
    I mean, this is an expensive watch with a stilish, elegant case. So you can properly use it as your regular watch.
    How long would the battery last if I don’t use the gps?
    If I go 1 week away for business travel…do I need to bring the recharging clip?
    RC-3 from Polar declare 40-60 days of battery lifetime without gps
    what about this Fenix2?
    like 30 time check with back light every day
    2-3 alarm clock

  64. Tom


    I am looking for a GPS watch with advanced navigation features along with basic run and swim functionality. My key uses would be whitewater kayaking/rafting and backpacking, while I’d also use the run and swim functions for weekly logging.

    For river use, what I am trying to find out is if I can follow a preloaded track and receive an alarm (loud chime plus vibration) when I’m approaching a certain waypoint. This would be very useful to be running a river, hear or feel the alarm, and then glance at the watch to a message like “x rapid approaching in half a mile, eddy out on right to scout” or “arriving at y campsite in half a mile on left.” I’d like to be able to use these kinds of tracks from others as well as create and share my own.

    Another very useful feature in “river mode” would be for the watch to constantly be showing a countdown to the next waypoint and any custom information entered for that waypoint. That way I I could glance at the watch during a moment of calm without having to take my hand from my paddle to push any buttons and see a screen saying something like “1.2 miles to Rainey Falls. Scout on left from trail.”

    I’ve been looking at the Ambit2 and waiting to see what the new Fenix could do, and need to determine if this watch can do what I’m looking for natively or if I’m better off with an app on an Ambit. Which watch do you think is better for my use case?


    P.S. Garmin: please do add swim alerts and drill mode; also support for custom smaller pools- lots of hotels have pools between 10 and 20 yards.

  65. Oof. No ANT and Bluetooth at the same time is a deal killer for me for sure. Still, nice advancements in watches for sure.

  66. zkaizen

    A nice first look of Fenix2. Just waiting if Suunto releases an Ambit 3, if not the V800 is looking like the best triathlon/ multi sport watch so far. I like the polar HR monitoring in the water.

  67. Eli

    Any change to the amount of memory in the unit?

  68. Boris

    “I’ve held off on making this any sort of full In-Depth review.”… rrright… This is excellent work already as usual… and the watch looks terrific. Much better than the 620 on a daily basis. Although it looks quite tough I will ask the same question as everybody else : what’s its weight? Thx again for the blog.

  69. Marcio Manique

    Hi Ray,

    There are several complaints regarding Garmin calorie calculation, mainly when Indoor running or cross training (including spinning). Looks like this is not taking in consideration the heart rate and based on it after several minutes or hours of activity the calorie count is super low.
    Have you tested it Indoor? Any insight how calories will be calculated?

    Just recently I sent to Garmin a side by side table to prove that calories calculation has been way off, rally lower than should be, including the 620 that has been way off in calories count.

  70. Mirek_

    Thanks for the review. Good features, great design. Btw it has nice screws on the back. Could you please, you know, just peek a little inside, at the battery mainly? 🙂

    • It’s not really designed to be user-serviceable, so I’m going to refrain from breaking it open and thus impacting the waterproofing…since I plan to do some waterproof related tests.

  71. 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.

  72. Ted

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for another awesome first look! I just purchased the FR620 (thanks for the discount on clever!) but am wondering if this might be the better choice. From your review and comments it looks like the fenix2 has all the same features as the 620 (with the exception of non concurrent ant+ and blue tooth) for the same price but the fenix2 packs way more features. You mentioned road v.trail workouts but it seems to me the fenix2 should be just as good on pavement. Are there any features other than blue tooth and ant+ at the same time that would make the 620 a better choice? Do you think garmin will continue to add more running specific features to the 620 in the future? Either way I might just have to stick with the 620 since I don’t know if I can wait till March.Thanks again for the great first look!!

  73. Alfie

    Hi Ray,

    Great Preview! One item that seemed confusing though and you should probably re-word this is the following paragraph:

    “On the FR620 side, the unit doesn’t allow both concurrent ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart, which means that you have to choose whether to connect an ANT+ device such as a heart rate strap, or do Bluetooth Smart driven Live Tracking.”

    So it makes it seem like the FR620 cannot do both which confused me at first. I think you meant to say the Fennix2 doesn’t do both as in your FR620 you clearly show that it does both BTS and Ant+.

    Thank you for all of your great work and excellent stories!

  74. Hey All-

    Just one quick FYI/update: There was some minor confusion, and Garmin has clarified that the Android update for today will not include the Fenix/Fenix2/Tactix support, that got slightly delayed, but is still planed for Q1. The iOS update does include it, and the Android update for today does include the FR220/FR620/Vivofit, just not quite yet Fenix/Tactix while they work out a few final things.


    • Jon

      Has anyone gotten the new Garmin Connect iOS app to connect with the Tactix 4.0.5 beta firmware?

    • Paul S

      I think I have my Fenix running 4.05 connected to my iPhone 5c, but I’m not quite sure. I didn’t know exactly what to do, so I put my Fenix in “Share Data->BaseCamp” mode, and then tried adding device. It’s now in my device list with the right serial number, but I can’t seem to do anything with it in the app that shows it’s connected. However, this morning I cleaned off my Fenix because it was running out of space, and removed all of the GPX track files and all but the last 3 .fit files. Those three activities (and nothing else) now show in my activities list in the app, so I think it’s actually working. There doesn’t seem to be any way to get the Connect app to grab activities off the Garmin Connect web site, though, but it’s possible it got them from there instead. I used the new Garmin Express 3.0 to sync my Fenix to the web site earlier today.

    • Mike Richie

      I don’t know if anyone from Garmin might be monitoring this but I’m not sure everything is working yet. I downloaded the Garmin Connect App on my iPhone 5 and logged into my account. The last 3 activities show up on my dashboard, but when I go to All Activities it just says “Go to Getting Started (https://… ) and choose your Garmin Device…” When I do that, it already is set up, as it has been for years. Adding a manual activity from that screen on the phone seems to post to the web site, however. Also the new Garmin Express it asks me to download does not seem to be working with my FR60 for uploading data, luckily the Garmin Ant Agent still works 🙂

    • Fab

      I did try yesterday with fenix and 4.0.5, it failed.

      But I saw this morning they add a new beta with support for the new app. Not tried it yet.
      link to www8.garmin.com


    • simon

      in reply to Mike Richie – I have the same issue with the garmin connect app. Only downloads the last 3 activities.

      basically I can’t see how this is any kind of improvement – especially as they broke connections from 3rd party apps too.

    • Fab

      Ok just tried upgrade to 4.11 beta and pairing : it has worked the first time only ;-(

      After that I did try to restart, and at the “loading map” step the screen goes blank :-/
      Seems the watch is not completely off, but I can’t do anything.

      Don’t know what to do, I sent an email to fenix@garmin.com, waiting for the answer.

    • Daniel

      Sucks, but glad to hear I am not the only one. Mine was completely useless after the FW4.11 install. Don’t even know how I’ll be able to reset it since it won’t stay on long enough to register on my computer.

    • Fab

      Same for me Daniel 😉

      Can you please update here if you find something ?

      On my side, I had a chance to boot it again, by pushing dozen of times the power button, then plugging on my Mac it as soon as it start.

      Then I’ve been able to use it, but as soon as I stop it, it can’t start it again !

      After all, it’s a beta, there’s always a risk 😉
      Luckily is still have my old 310XT for this weekend runs !

    • Daniel

      Talked to Garmin. They ran through a bunch of housekeeping things with me to try and get it started. In the end, gave me an RMA number to send it in and get it swapped out. Still bricked at the moment, but huge props to Garmin Customer Support for helping with a beta release!!

    • Fab

      I’ve just saved mine partially following Juro’s instructions (post #183) :

      – started plugged on USB
      – removed all TCX and GPX
      – eject
      – restart

      now the watch seems fine, restarting withtout issue.

      Will try to record some FIT file…

    • Fab

      Works like a charm now with 4.11 !
      Recorded an activity, uploaded it without any issue…

      Good luck for yours!

    • Daniel

      Awesome Fab! I couldn’t even turn mine on in any way, shape, or form to try that suggestion.

  75. Mike Richie

    Just checked on Amazon.com and the original Garmin Fenix is listed at 299.93. (although the list price is still 399, but I don’t think it was discounted before today). The new swim features, more durable construction and the other performance features still seem to be worth the extra money (particularly with the new strap).

    Ray, do you know if the processor speed and memory have been improved as well. It looks like the new features may require one or both of these. Finally, I don’t really understand:

    The way the chipset was designed, it wasn’t structured for low-power usage required for a 24×7 activity monitor.

    If the original Fenix can do 50 hours with GPS running in extended mode and the watch can go for weeks without activity tracking, how bad could it be to just use the accelerometer. I would think adding Vivofit capabilities would keep it competitive with the new Polar V800 watch. (even if you need to charge it more often) Just sayin.

    • I don’t believe either has, as it certainly doesn’t feel any faster (still slow on saves).

      Ultimately, different chips are designed for different low power modes. Don’t misunderstand, Garmin would have loved to get that into the unit, they just can’t make it happen.

    • Mike Richie

      What I was saying, is that in low recording mode on the GPS, with all sensors working and recording (including the accelerometer) it can go for 50 hours. That would be the bottom I would think, if you turned off the GPS completely – and even if you had to recharge every couple of days, the vivoFit capabilities would still be attractive and competitive with Polar (and I suspect other new watches). I mean, maybe there are other reasons why they can’t do it, but it couldn’t just be the battery problem.

  76. What great timing! Thanks for the preview.

    My current watch has died and I needed a good running watch that could do 24h for an ultra. This is, I think, the new king of the hill for 50-100 mile running events.

    A Dash for the ears and one of these on the wrist and I’ll never leave the trails…..

  77. Tim

    Great work Ray! Quick question: you have the satellite reception rated higher on this than the original Fenix – is that purely software-based?

    Also, it’s worth noting that the red backlight is an improvement, rather than just a difference (so you don’t go blind at night … seeing is important).

    • It’s purely software based right now with doing the pre-caching (it even beat my wife’s FR620 tonight!). I’m getting clarification from Garmin already on if we’ll see that piece updated to the Fenix/Tactix units.

    • Tim

      Wouldn’t that be nice! I’ve already noticed big improvements over the course of several updates.

    • Fab

      And here it is : link to www8.garmin.com

      “Added support for Garmin Connect Mobile app ( automatic uploads, LiveTrack, faster GPS from downloaded satellite data file )”

      Cheers and thanks Ray for the preview !

    • Empewu

      I can confirm satellite position caching works in original Fenix with beta firmware 4.11. Just tested – I synced Fenix in the morning, drove 200km and switched GPS on. It acquired position within less then 1 sec. Awesome.

    • Steve Knapp

      I’m not sure what they changed, but 4.12 on my Fenix1 locked so fast I didn’t see the “waiting” screen. I thought it was broken and had to check the GPS signal/accuracy screens.

      I don’t know how it could/would have precached anything for me either.

  78. John Friesen

    Thanks for the excellent preview Ray! I pre-ordered as well. It will be my first GPS watch. I have a Garmin Edge 810 I use for cycling, but am currently training for a half marathon as well, and want to do a couple of triathalons next year.

  79. Olu

    Thanks for an excellent pre-review. This was a very nice surprise and will probably replace my 910xt in the future. I run, swim, and ride to unplug. Getting iPhone notifications would be awful, so to me BT/ANT issue is a blessing.

    However I have one complaint. You always mention that the accelerometer notices the sudden changes in speed/direction during swim turns to determine a lap. This isn’t the case. On dry land I can stand (or sit) and mimic a freestyle stroke for 15-20 seconds. If I pause for a few seconds start the arm motion again it will change laps. I believe lap changes are recorded by change in stroke pattern then actual acceleration (which for swimming is pretty small). This is also why changing stroke mid lap, or pausing mid lap can create a false lap.

    Last question. I really need indoor swim time and distance alerts. (Especially when I’m swimming long sets). Where can I request this feature be added?

    • It’s technically a combination of the two, but most folks misunderstand the acceleration piece. I often hear from folks that don’t understand why it doesn’t pick up laps. Upon further examination they keep stroke virtually constant but then don’t push off at all (sometimes, those folks believe that pushing off is against the rules). Eventually, if you stop stroking altogether, it’ll figure you stopped, but if that gap is short enough, it won’t pick it up.

      As for swim alerts/etc… simply noting it here is probably good for now.

  80. Mary

    Thanks for the preview! Could we get a pic of the watch on The Girl’s wrist during the full review?

    • Yup, absolutely. We were actually talking about it tonight. I think I have pics of her wrist and the Fenix and Tactix in those respective reviews – it’s the same watch shell (minus the glass differences).

    • Mike Richie

      Isn’t that her swimming up above?

    • True it is. Sorry, was thinking standard out of pool wrist shots.

    • Mackie

      Does The Girl have any thoughts or opinions on how it fit her wrist? I’m totally stoked that I could make a Stand Up Paddle profile and run with a watch that has a lot of the features of the 620, except I have small wrists and the watch face looks huge so I’m cautious about a bad fit.

    • Being the small female that she is, she generally doesn’t like the Fenix2/Tactix watches for her, simply because she’s small. She doesn’t mind the look of them, but she simply finds them too heavy and bulky for her small wrists.

  81. Paul

    I have two questions:

    1) Will the original Fenix also now have the ability to connect to Android 4.3 phones for smart notificiations as well when the new update is released? In your earlier post on the beta firmware you mentioned that notifications were only supported for iOS devices.

    2) I just recently purchased the original Fenix model for the navigation features and daily-wear watch features and battery life that were not present in the 910xt, unaware that a new model was being released. Are there any unique features that the Fenix2 supports that I don’t already have by having both the Forerunner and the Fenix?

    • 1) Yes, it will, you can grab the beta (another one released last night) here: link to www8.garmin.com

      Android is coming shortly. It was supposed to be yesterday, but got a late-breaking push to the next update of the app, no later then the end of March (Q1), but likely sooner by the sounds of it.

      2) Outside of Live Tracking, no.

  82. ekutter

    What a disappointment. The Fenix is a trail running / hiking watch. Garmin already has a great triathlon watch in the 910. I would have much rather seen improvements to trail running and hiking features, along with a slimmed down body. Not sure why a triathlete would chose this over the 910. Is this really a product many people have been clamoring for? The real time tracking won’t help most ultra-runners and hikers as there is often no cell service, not to mention trail running I won’t be carrying my phone with me.

  83. Sean

    I just bought a 620 a week ago, (it’s on its way from Clever Training) and now I’m kicking myself. This watch looks more like something I could wear every day and not look like I’m wearing my running watch to work. I currently have a 305 that has worked flawlessly for years, but I wanted something new, because I’m running my first half-marathon in April. If I had only waited a week to order the 620!

    Maybe I’ll give the 620 to my wife…

  84. Jakob

    Thanks for the great pre-view! I actually just bought the original Fenix on Saturday (less than a week ago). Do you expect the Fenix to be updated with all the new features as well? If there aren’t any functional hardware differences (except for the new screen etc) this could be expected right? I could return my watch, get a refund and buy the Fenix 2, but I actually like the original Fenix look better – however, I’d like the multisport and swimming functionality.

    Again, thanks for the great review!

    • No, it won’t get all the new features (swim/multisport mode/power meter). It will get the beta features (already has), including Live Tracking and most of the mobile phone functionality. Plus it has indoor pace/distance mode without a footpod.

  85. Aben

    I still think there is confusion on 620 vs Fenix2 for runners. What does 620 have that Fenix2 does not (other way around clearly many features….)

    1. Wifi
    2. touch screen
    3. 4 data points in screen
    4. BTL/ANT+ concurrently*
    5. ???

    Specifically any changes to training programs etc?

    *Happy for someone to explain the need for this, If you are running with a phone anyway can’t the phone just update location from it’s own GPS? (bit of a battery hog…)

  86. RNOTinMan

    If it can’t do what the Swim does ( read Drills, Garmin) as well and accurately, I will stick with my Swim and trusty orange blob, aka 310xt. Anxious for your in depth, tho I think you can only add a rolling pin, tell about bat life. Please let us know about drill mode. Merci.

  87. Hi Ray, Nice work and thanks again for the bleeding edge run down.
    A couple of quick questions.

    You mention in the FAQ:
    “So you’re telling me that the Fenix2 isn’t the long-desired Garmin FR910XT replacement?
    Correct. Don’t expect another triathlon unit this triathlon season from Garmin.”

    I am not so up on triathlon seasons, especially north of the equator, does this mean not before April/May or not this 2014 year. I guess what I am really looking for clarity on is if you still think there may be a 910xt replacement in April/May.

    Does the FR620 do ANT+ and bluetooth live tracking at the same time (unlike this new Fenix2) and would you expect the 910XT to do ANT+ and Live Tracking.

    Would you expect the 910XT replacement to be able to do either or both ANT+ and BLE sensor and perhaps simultaneously???

    Appreciate you thoughts.

    Regards Mark

    • I define the triathlon season as approx late March (inclusive of now, pre-season) till September. There are of course some events in October/Nov/Dec in warmer parts of the US (inclusive of Hawaii), but for 99% of people in the Northern Hemisphere, the tri season ends in September.

      The FR620 does do dual ANT+ & live tracking. I’d expect any successor watches beyond the Fenix2 to do the same. The Fenix is simply re-using existing Fenix1 hardware, thus where the limitation comes from.

  88. Fareed

    Again great work Ray. Now I’m tempted to upgrade to Fenix 2 (from Fenix) except that the missus will definitely nag about buying another sport watches.

    In the FAQ, you stated that current Fenix has the ability to track pace/distance etc. in indoor training without any need for a footpod. How is that possible? I have been using Fenix for almost a year now (indoor/outdoor run) and I haven’t come across this feature yet?

    ….”Does the Fenix2 need a footpod for indoor/treadmill use?
    No, it has a built-in accelerometer which automatically tracks pace/distance/cadence – and displays/records all those values. In fact, it’ll also calculate cadence outdoors as well, from just the watch.

    But how accurate is that method?
    Other units have done this successfully (Bryton Cardio 60, Garmin FR220/FR620, Garmin Fenix/Tactix, TomTom Runner/Multisport, etc…), but it’ll be part of my full in-depth review to show comparisons with traditional sensor data on the same run. In the case of the original Fenix and FR220/FR620 had mixed results.”…..

    Can you tell me how to setup this feature? You are da man….

    • On which watch? On the FR220/FR620, you simply run indoors with the GPS off. On the Fenix/Tactix, you’ll need to grab the Fenix/Tactix 4.05 beta firmware.

    • Fareed

      Thanks Ray. I’ll wait for the official 4.05 firmware for Fenix. Heard there are bugs still being worked out. Any chances they will port the Fenix 2 negative display to Fenix 1?

    • Mirek_

      No chance. This is not possible to do by firmware, the display is different. Well, largely the same but polarizing film is turned physically by 90 degrees.

  89. Messy

    Thanks for the great pre-view!
    Does not the altimeter of Fenix2 use the GPS at all?
    The function such as FUSEDALTI of Ambit2 is attractive.

    • Paul S

      Fenix has an altimeter mode called “Auto Cal.” When it’s set that way, it seems to use the GPS altimeter to “nudge” the altitude that the barometric altimeter shows so that they’re never too far apart. You can also have data fields that show the “GPS altitude”, so you always have access to the GPS altimeter if you want. The more accurate barometric altimeter is what you see for “altitude”, though. You can calibrate the barometric altimeter manually, but since I turned on Auto Cal., I haven’t felt the need.

  90. Sam Lewis

    Hello well like your reviews 1 question can the buttons be locked out so don’t start/stop by accident
    Cheers sam lewis

  91. Steve

    It beats me why one would want Live Tracking from the watch via the phone. Since you always need a phone to enable Live Tracking, you can also enable it, through a number of apps (such as Endomondo) directly from the phone and have it running independently.

    What is the benefit of sending the Live Tracking data from the watch via the phone and not directly from the phone?

    • dan

      This method does not use the GPS of the phone. Using numbers I’m completely making up, this reduces phone-battery-drain by nearly 2/3. Using just your phone to live track you’ll be able to share your location for a couple hours, using a garmin watch you’ll be able to for 1/4 the day.

  92. Neil

    I dont understand why garmin seem to be dropping the ability to link to fitness equipment.
    I got a fr610 primarily because it will link.
    Good review, looking forward to the in-depth one in March.

  93. Matthew

    Looks great but another vote here for pool lengths <18 metres as my local pool is only 15m!

    Is there a practial reason why this couldnt be shortened to 5 like the Suunto?

  94. Thank you for the deep hands-on. Looks like you got some more minutes with the fenix 2 then we do at pocketnavigation.de 😉 Your german readers can find a our first review of the garmin fenix 2 here link to pocketnavigation.de


  95. Daniel

    Whelp, just bricked my fenix installing the 4.11 beta. Followed the directions to a T. Unit validated the install and everything went normally, but it seemed like some of the new features weren’t showing up so I turned the unit off to restart it. It started to turn back on, got to the “importing workouts” notice, then it turned itself off and now will not respond to any buttons. Wont turn on when plugged into the computer or anything. Totally blank screen. Battery was at 97% before disconnecting from computer. Awesome…

    • Juro

      Don’t panic.
      1.) download 4.00 from link to gawisp.com
      2.) rename downloaded file to GUPDATE.GCD
      3.) plug in your fenix to your PC
      4.) hold the power button for approx 30 secs and release
      5.) your fenix will restart in drive mode
      6.) load GUPDATE.GCD with the 4.00 version to the Garmin folder
      7.) restart

      alternative solution is
      6b) delete all GPX and FIT files
      7b) restart (a couple of times) and keep 4.11

    • Daniel

      Thanks. But unfortunately the fenix won’t stay on long enough to register in my computer. I can turn it on, it will start up like normal, say “importing workouts” then just shut down. After that it won’t respond to buttons for a good 10-15 minutes and it doesn’t show up in my computer.

    • Hey guys – if you’re having original Fenix/Tactix problems on the beta firmware, definitely ensure you are sending a note to the beta e-mail address. Also, for beta comments (non-Fenix2), it might be best to move those over to this post: link to dcrainmaker.com

  96. Lee

    Hi Ray, thanks a lot for the info! Did your wetsuit pass over the watch easily when taking it off after your Barcelona swim?

  97. Nigel

    Brilliant pre-view. I was dead set on buying the Polar V800, but this Fenix2 looks like a good contender.

    Will the Fenix2 include Recovery Heart Rate? If so, will that get recorded in the new Garmin Connect site?

  98. Jon

    This is very exciting to me since I do a lot of hiking as well, and the idea of a capable multisport watch with a bit more of the running features from the 620 plus some good backcountry stuff is a tempting replacement for my 310.

    Garmin, you need to do something about the swimming drill mode and a decent transition-friendly bike mount to make the sale, though.

  99. Liam

    I simply don’t understand what Garmin is doing with the Fenix, and don’t understand why this watch exists as a ‘multi-sport’ watch. Not sure why there is a Fenix line…at ALL, for that matter. The 910XT has everything a triathlete will ever need, and it seems to me if Garmin is going to release a next-gen 910 true multi-sport, this watch only cannibalizes their own sales. Really goofy if you ask me.

    • Because sometimes people aren’t just triathletes….

      Sometimes they’re hikers, going trekking in a mountain, or doing other sports. Obviously, the FR910XT doesn’t have everything a triathlete will ever need, as if it did, people wouldn’t be looking at other units (i.e. the V800 from Polar), or people wouldn’t in general be excited about this (minus the BT/ANT limitation).

      There’s no such thing as cannibalizing sales when they’re the same price. It’s still money into Garmin, and that’s all that matters to them.

    • Tim

      Fenix, Fenix2, Tactix, D2, Quatix … I don’t think the Fenix line has been a failure – somebody must be buying them.

      FWIW, I got the Fenix for multisport use because it had the Nav functions – there may be options for triathlon use exclusively, but the Fenix line is way more versatile (i’ve used it for trail running, hiking, kayaking, fishing … and probably a few other things I’ve since forgotten about).

    • Bart Bouse

      Ray hit this square in the head. I’m not a triathlete. But the Fenix or Fenix2 fills an awesome niche. For instance, I go on vacation to Yellowstone and take my road bike, I want to run, bike, hike, and maybe canoe into the backcountry. This is awesome because I can take one device and do it all instead of a 305/310/910, an ABC watch, and a handheld GPS. Of course, an iphone with several apps will now do all or most of this as well and your’e taking your iphone anyway. My point, why take three or four gizmos when one will do. That’s actually my typical vacation, if I can get my wife and kids to agree.

    • Paul S

      There’s good cell reception in Yellowstone?

    • Bill

      Not everybody is a triathlete, or even a runner. I gave that up when arthritis caught up with my knees. GPS, compass and other functions can still be useful for finding my way around outdoor events or a strange city or finding my car in the mall parking lot. But I feel silly having to buy all these “fitness-tracking” functions to get what I need. The ANT+ tech could be useful too, if it connected to anything but athletic accessories. Yeah, it does the VIRB camera–which is meant to be used by athletes. How about a link to the X10 home control system?

      I’m happy that all the superhealthy folks can get these tools, but how about a GPS watch for lazy people?

  100. Zeno

    Hi Ray,
    I have a question on the function of the barometric altimeter, I own a 910xt and for the altimeter I’m very unhappy: sometimes it works fine, some other times the altimeter is set (autamatically) wrong, so I have the elevation curve but it’s all moved up or down of several hundred meters. Doing backcountry skiing I need an accurate elecation measurement and not only the sum of the meters made uphil etc. Did you have the chance to check if the Fenix works fine under this point of view?

    Thanks a lot!

  101. Doug

    Hi Ray, Excellent review as always, especially the titbit on the Fenix2 vs. 910xt replacement.

    A bit of a random question but do you test the device’s timer/clock/stopwatch accuracy?

    I was using my 910xt for HR tracking against a hotel gym bike and as I was hitting lap between efforts I didn’t really notice until the end when the 910 had about 30 seconds for the last effort but the gym bike said it was complete (both devices started at the same time)! Later when I tested the 910 timer against the iPhone over 10mins they were bang-on but it made me wonder if all timers were equal…

    • Hmm, usually start/stop my units at exactly the same time (or within 1s) on my runs. I haven’t seen any issues there with that sort of variation, especially after multi-hour workouts. It sounds like your unit might be a bit off.

  102. Daniel

    Ray, Do you think they will add a daily activity tracking feature like thePolar V800?

  103. Anton

    So, if the Fenix2 is identical to the original Fenix hardware wise, what is stopping you to install the Fenix2 firmware on the Fenix1?

    • Most companies, Garmin included, do hardware checks to validate that the shipped hardware matches the software it’s designed for. That includes things like serial numbers baked into the unit.

    • Anton

      If the Fenix2 is essentially only a big SW update with a minor cosmetic update on the surface, I think that Garmin is taking a risky path by not letting the Fenix1 users make use of it.
      People will go bonkers, just like when the Ambit 1 users felt “robbed” when Ambit2 was released. At least Suunto had HW limitations to blame that on back then.

    • Harish Lakshman

      Ray – Are you sure the Fenix 2 does not have the Run/ Walk alert feature? Seems odd they would leave just that running feature out.

    • Empewu

      I would have nothing against Garmin charging original Fenix owners small fee for firmware upgrade with significant new functionality.

    • It’s actually interesting that Garmin hasn’t gone that way (in general). I’ve gotta believe at some point that’s in the cards, like most companies – from airline to online services.

      As for ticking off Fenix1 owners like Ambit1 owners, I just haven’t seen that. In looking at the 231 comments posted here, the 50+ comments on my FB post of it, and a ton of Twitter comments, I’ve actually seen nobody angry.

      I think the key difference between this and the Suunto mess is that it was basically 12 months after the first device (versus 19-20 on this), and – most importantly – Suunto had made very specific claims that owners would get continual upgrades on the watch. When they released the new watch, they then stated that ‘there would be no further updates’. Big difference.

    • Anton

      Good idea about charging a small fee for upgrading the Fenix1. I’d definately use such an offer.

      I still think the strategy is a bit weird. Imagine Apple releasing an iPhone with iOS8, only to release an identical phone a couple of years later offering iOS9, and not upgrading the older one. People would definately question that.

      Oh well, I don’t bother too much anyway as the Fenix has grown into a fitness watch from being prety much a pure outdoors watch. Perhaps Garmin should have named the Fenix2 differently, just like the Tactix.

    • Luke

      I actually like this notion.
      I have the FR 620 and love it, but don’t like the lack of swimming functionality (I wear it swimming just as a stopwatch and it randomly does record some “cadence” but the graphs look all silly).
      I bit the bullet and bought the Garmin Swim (Ray, if you come out with a “Hands On Garmin Swim 2” anytime soon I’ll have a good cry), but I would have been totally happy to pay something ($20, I donno) for the updated firmware for indoor / outdoor swimming (and probably for biking also).
      Not knowing anything about the available space in the watch for storing this code I don’t know how possible that is, but it would be a nice addition I wouldn’t begrudge them.

    • The Garmin Swim is one of those peculiar but successful (and awesome) products that I’m not sure Garmin actually knows what to do with long term. I think it’s like that scene in Ice Age with the squirrel and dragging the oversize acorn around.

      I don’t expect any new Garmin Swim anytime soon.

    • PeterG

      Gotto agree the Swim is awesome and it really strange to see Garmin doesn’t know what to do with it. On the marketing and advertising side, there is almost nothing, and looking at the number of swimmers who I talk to and who don’t know about the product, and after discovering about it, go out and make the purchase, seems like Garmin is counting on word of mouth.

      Why need a Swim 2? What more could be improved? The current product is perfect ; long battery life, simple to use, simply works, synchronizes without any hassle, … Maybe that’s the problem Garmin is having, … in a world where everyone is waiting the next iphone, with features they don’t need or won’t use, here is a product with everything you need, that works exactly like it should without any complexity or bells and whistles.

    • On the Swim side, I’d say the addition of Bluetooth for phone sync (ala Fenix2/FR220/FR620). Beyond that, there’s not much else I’d honestly want from it.

  104. David

    Hey guys, do I get it right that the virtual partner feature is inferior to (less intelligent than) the virtual racer and that it basically only takes into account the total distance, total time and calculates an average pace against which you run? I run a 5k track which has some slopes and is made up of easier and harder parts – its the racer that would be best for me, right?

    Are there any advantages of the virtual pacer/partner? Is there a reason why none of the latest watches have the racer (not even the 620, the Suunto 2R)?Is it something that may be easily implemented into the watch in the future? What am I missing?

    Thanks, David.

    • It’s primarily because the Virtual Racer functionality (against a previous course/race), is actually a bit trickier than you think, since you have to compare point in time against a previous effort – versus simply comparing end-state time.

  105. Haroldo

    Hi Ray

    Great post. I am shopping for a new GPS watch (mine is still the FR305). Based on this preliminary review alone I think I’ve found the new watch I was looking for.
    Do you have information on battery life while using it as a day to day watch?
    But most importantly battery life during a race?
    sorry, if you wrote it in the post I probably missed it.

    I am planning my first IM70.3 I am pretty sure the battery life will last enough for me to complete the whole thing. But just asking because I am so slow I don’t want it to run out.

  106. Frank Varisco

    This sound like a versatile unit. If this had come out before the 620 I’d be all-in give that I run, trail-run and do Tris.

    I’m disappointed to see that Garmin wants to lock down and standardize on Ant+ when Bluetooth seems to be the way that much of sports-competition technologies are going.

  107. Fab

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the pre review !! can’t wait for the full !!!

    I am a runner having a 310XT and a fenix, and I’m always thinking on how my screen configuration can be used the best way. May I ask you your favorites screen config (for running) with 3 (fenix/fenix2) and 4 (FR205, FR310) “cases” in each screen ?

    Thanks and keep going 😉 !

  108. Woody

    Can this watch have just up to 3 fields on a screen? 910 4?

  109. Peter

    Hi Ray,
    Any word or ‘gut feeling’ on when we’re likely to be able to get our hands on this on our side of the pond? UK specifically?
    Shame it’s not a 910 upgrade but the additional activities/ features seem to be good compensation!

  110. jolaca

    Hi, I was about to order a 910xt for a reasonable price but then I saw this new article from Ray, ahead as always of all the other tech sites. I’m thrilled about the new fenix 2 as I love hiking, swimming, skiing and want to start running. Thus, this is perfect for me.
    BTW, just to show different people do have different opinions: I couldn’t care less about live tracking and the not simultaneous BT/ant+ connection, he,he,I’m too bad an athlete to want to broadcast any of my races:-)) .
    On the other hand, I think is great to be able to upload my sessions from my mobile and to be able to setup some kind of auto switch between ant+ to bt when I finish an activity in order to upload or receive mobile notifications again. Great!

    So I’m really into it, I’ll have to sell my garmin swim, anyone interested? 🙂
    BTW, another vote for distance alerts and drills while in swimming mode.

    • Haroldo

      Same here on the Swim alerts and drills on the swim mode.
      Also don’t care about broadcasting my slowness to the world. Although I understand those who do (given how fast they are).
      I am so excited about this watch I really don’t care too much about the slow chip compared to the FR620. Seems perfect for the next year.

  111. Gio

    Ray, does the fenix2 have auto lap by position/ location?

  112. Olu

    Hello Ray, I’ve got another question. How do you get the .fit files onto your computer with the Fenix 2? With the iPhone integration, it sounds like the files are uploaded through the phone to GC. Can you still go old school and use the ant dongle to download files to your computer and then up to GC? If there are no computer files will I need to export files from GC and then upload them to Training Peaks and Strava?


    • Paul S

      Ray’s unpacking photo shows the charging clip, which is actually a USB connector. Attach the Fenix to it, and it mounts as a disk on the desktop just most other modern Garmin device. From there, I usually manually upload the .fit file off the Fenix directly to GC or the other software that I use. (I generally avoid using the Garmin Communicator plugin, but you can do it that way as well.) With the release of Garmin Express 3 a few days ago you can also set things up so that new activities are uploaded automatically to GC when you plug the Fenix in. And, once the 4.11 and Connect app problems are sorted out, you should be able to use the Connect app to upload to GC. The Fenix doesn’t use the ANT+ dongle.

    • Olu

      Thanks Paul, that’s good to know.

      FYI my most ‘modern’ Garmin devices (910xt and 610) only charge with the USB connector. My ‘old’ Garmin Edge 800 actually mounts as a hard drive.

      I’ve downloaded the new Garmin Express application and will have to play around with it more.

    • I’d be very hesitant to recommend folks download Garmin Express right now if you have an ANT+ transfer device (910XT/610/310XT/etc…). The current build doesn’t keep a copy of the data on your computer, only straight to Garmin Connect. They confirmed last night that’s going to be fixed, but, it’s a huge issue if you use sites like Training Peaks and many other desktop apps.

      (Not to side track this discussion, I’ll cover it in my Week in Review post likely later today)

    • ekutter

      They seem to be moving towards the USB data connection model even with the forunner line. The 620 uses the USB charging cable to mount as a drive just like the Edge and Fenix devices. Ant+ stick uploads aren’t even supported on the 620.

    • Except that they added WiFi and BT to the FR620… In general, they’ve said they’d like to keep it both as flexible, but also stable as possible. WiFi + USB + BT is about as flexible and stable as you can get. They had many issues supporting ANTFS transfers over the years.

    • Anders F

      I should have read your post yesterday… I have installed the new Express (I use a 910XT) and now it seams to be impossible to import new training sessions into Firstbeat Athlete. It is of course possible to download TCX-files from Garmin Connect and import to different on-line services but Athlete does not accept TCX files. What to do?
      – possible to convert TCX to FIT?
      – do you know the time plan for a new version on Garmin Express ( that saves files on the computer)?

    • Grab the new version released yesterday (Saturday), it now spits out the .FIT files afterwards like before.

  113. Kevin Wagoner

    My Garmin collection is getting old and in some cases near end of life. I love my Garmin 500 cycling computer (first Garmin purchase). My Garmin 610 running watch has been a staple. The Garmin Swim watch (hardly used) is cool. When I saw this post I immediately thought about putting all 3 up for sale for a small investment toward the Fenix 2. However the Q&A gave me some pause. I’m confused on why this watch would not be an awesome replacement for my three devices. There seems to be very little downside compared to the 3 devices I mention above.

    • If you have the Swim/500/610, the only downside I could think of would be potential lack of Swim Drill mode (but, I have a funny feeling there…), lack of Virtual Racer (also potential, but I don’t see that happening immediately). Beyond that, yeah, it’s all way upside.

    • Kevin Wagoner

      Thanks for the added comparison. I sent my 610 into Garmin and they will credit $99 toward the Finex2 (with hearth rate strap). Should be awesome.

    • Ted W

      Probably will preorder mine through clever training, but I’m curious how to got the $99 from Garmin. I couldnt find anything on their site. Did you speak with someone at customer service about an Upgrade?

  114. Graziano

    So you still consider the Ambit II the best in class for Trail/Ultra Running ?
    Or is the Fenix 2 at the same/better level of Ambit 2 for Trail/Ultra Running ?

    Thank you

  115. Fun Bobby

    Hmmm was about to purchase 910xt for new tri season. This throws spanner in works. Any idea of a UK release date for fenix 2 please?

    • For the most part, Garmin releases globally at the same time (at least to major US/AUS/NZ/EUR), so March. In fact, a person in Belgium was the very first Vivofit users this past week to report getting one.

    • Fun Bobby

      thanks any update on polar v800 release date? decision quandary

    • I haven’t heard anything to the contrary. But generally speaking, companies tend to wait till the last minute to keep people from buying other products (not cool, just explaining the realities).

  116. Dave

    Great review Ray, I wish I had waited now before buying the 220 as the Fenix 2 swim mode is perfect for the few swims I do. Along with the more general better day to day and hiking specific features etc.

    The major disappointment is the news above on activity tracking not being possible. The Vivofit isn’t an option in my opinion as it duplicates everything in connect.

    On the vivofit comments you mentioned that garmin were working on a single activity tracker and gps unit. I really hoped the fenix2 was it. As we can see from a lot of the comments above, a great number of people want that.

    The comments on the Vivofit review showed that people were willing to combine the vivofit and their gps unit, but connect messes up then.

    Garmin are a great company sometimes but others they just can’t seem to see the woods for trees. Can’t fit the functionality in to the watch, so they know you need two products, but don’t support them in the software. Crazy!

    The polar v800 seems like the way to go? But it is missing some of the features also.

    Are these companies at risk of being overtaken by smart watches from big brands combined with smartphone? They likely won’t work as well, but will have better user experiences and not so many silly differences caused by bad organization of development teams.?

    • Paul S

      I think you’re missing the point, and Ray’s said this often enough: Vivofit isn’t for you. Vivofit isn’t for people who already own an HRM and a better device. I understand the desire to record the other 23 hours; it’s why I bought a Withings Pulse. But you’re going to be filling the other 23 hours with lousy numbers based on a measurement that isn’t well correlated with the numbers you really want to know. And there’s commercial pressure to shade those numbers up.

      All I hope is that they don’t screw up GC so that it’s unusable for my purposes. But in the case you’re worried about, the fix is simple (in pseudo code “if(better_numbers_available())ignore_vivofit();) so I’m sure they’ll get around to it when they get a chance.

    • This is an insightful comment. If a bit off topic for a Fenix review. But I’ll go further. We typically think of people falling into one of two camps for their fitness: a) health, wellness, weight loss [activity trackers], b) performance, racing, competing [gps watches]. Most people are in one camp or the other.

      SportTracks sits firmly in the (b) camp so we’ve sortof ignored the activity tracker market. But we do hear requests from users to incorporate this. So it’s something we will be tackling soon. The most common scenario – “I want to wear a tracker year round… except for the few months during training season, where I switch to using a GPS watch, and the tracker sits on a shelf”. So it’s less about incorporating the data for one 24 hour period, for example, more about seeing a year snapshot of training, and incorporating those mixed data collection modes.

      The challenge with what you describe – excluding periods where you have “better data” – is that some of the activity trackers report data at too high a level of granularity. For example, you might only get daily data totals thru the API. It’s impossible to “remove” the 40 minute run you did. Unless you just peanut-butter your activity tracker stats over 24 hours and take out a chunk that is 40/1440th of the total. (which we may end up doing, LOL). Hourly stats are better, there is still some guessing.

      The future is coming where both of these are incorporated into one wrist-like-device. So the reporting and data analysis is something that needs to be tackled sooner or later.

    • My earlier comments were that all the major companies are looking to go towards integrated units – be it Polar, Garmin, etc… It’s just the way the landscape is shaping up. I don’t know if future Fenix/910XT’s, etc.. will have it, but I’d be blown away if they don’t.

      The ironic part about the current Vivofit decision for duplicity is that they’ve actually already solved the hard part – the duplicate data logic – as they fixed it for the corporate wellness side and the new API. It just hasn’t been incorporated into the consumer Garmin Connect side. Again though, they’re 2-3 days into a release, so I’m willing to let things stabilize. If at the end of the day, that’s the only thing ‘wrong’ with the unit from day 1 (aside from the lack of alarm), I’d say that’s a pretty good job overall. Keep in mind the competition – Polar – doesn’t remove duplicate data. As noted above, this is really just the beginning for the company on fitness trackers.

    • Dave M

      Yep, Paul S, Perhaps vivofit isn’t for me, because it’s not implemented well! And garmin have no other device that tracks steps or sleep over longer periods. Are you missing that point on purpose?

      It’s not about ‘better numbers’, like most people who are active, they just want an overall view as well as their good numbers. Some people have active jobs, are on their feet a lot or just want to track their sleep. This fits in well with coaching needs and recovery planning. In a wholistic system.

      Most people who own a high end unit, would just like these features included in it.

      Since Garmin are only late to the activity tracker market, they haven’t got that.

      So failing that people have bought activity trackers seperatley, but that forces them to another ecosystem. When Garmin launched one, most people would go for it as it will work in the connect ecosystem. Only to find out that it doesn’t really. The fact that that vivofit is pocketable, rather than using the band so can easily be worn at same time as your other garmin unit would be hopeful here. Why not link the vivofit to the gps unit itself so only the one data set is finally uploaded for instance.

      I don’t see it as tricky as the above to implement either, there are a pile of ways around it.

      They have had similar problems with links to scale manufacturers and blood pressure monitors, oximetry etc. haphazard changing support methods between devices and no big picture thinking.

      It has all led to them leaving a massive opening in the market for the big players to fill with consumer smart watches with health features. Which will then corner the market and possibly slowly each away at their leadership position, which they are giving away. Similar to how they took it from timex and polar over last 10 years.

      Samsung will launch 2nd gen watch on Monday, apple will follow this year. Both will have various activity tracking and health features, apples will link with their iOS ecosystem and via that with scales, BP monitors, oximetry meters etc etc

      Garmin need to up their game to stay ahead.

    • Paul S

      Vivofit counts steps, maybe accurately, maybe not (Ray, among others, will tell us). It also measures HR, but I’ll leave that aside. When you have your HR belt on, you have something better than a VIvofit with you anyway, like your Fenix 2. So how does it get distance? By (number of steps) x (average stride length of a human male 6’1″ in my case). What are the error bars on that number? And calories? (number of steps) x (average calorie burn per step). Again, the error bars? Here’s a set of numbers from today’s road ride (it’s warm enough today): 593, 786, 870, 1109, 1116. Those are the calorie counts from my Fenix (which I took because I installed 4.12 last night), my Edge 800, from RunKeeper after it recalculated, from RubiTrack 3, and from Ascent (the last two Mac OS X software that I use to store tracks). The last four are all computed from exactly the same GPS/ANT+ track, the one from my Edge 800. Which one is right? What they tell me is that the error bars on calorie numbers are enormous, and it’s very unlikely a step counter can do better than a device that measures HR and speed and cadence.

      So what you’re after you can’t get from a step counter any better than you can get by just doing some Google searches for some ballpark numbers. If they ever do put out an integrated device, i hope they allow leaving out the bovine exhaust numbers produced from step counting.

      As for business opportunities, I’ll let Garmin worry about them. They know their markets much better than I do. I’ve heard the rumors about Apple’s watch. If someone, including Garmin, comes out with a device that measures some actually useful numbers, I’ll get one. in my case, I’d be interested in continuous heart rate, blood pressure (I have high blood pressure), and skin temperature, and whatever else can be measured in a non-invasive manner.

    • Totally agree with Paul S.

      Fitbit / Jawbone / Vivofit are transitionary. Vivofit is late to the party but will pull millions over it’s life (I was astounded to hear Fitbit’s revenue numbers). Garmin is doing great, and this is a smart move.

      We believe smartwatches are a non-starter. Less and less people wear watches each year, and when they do it’s for fashion, not function. Maybe this will change, but tech seems to be trending more towards the computer in your pocket than on your wrist.

      If anything, wearables will leapfrog a watch format. Google glass is not the answer, but the 2nd gen tech will be. I’d rather see iGlass than iWatch. If this is the direction Apple is going… meh. It’s been done. No doubt Apple will still make billions on their branding of it (it’s WHITE!).

      The future is something more like this:

      link to liveathos.com

      But the implementation and execution has to be perfect. Under Armour’s acquisition of Map My Run looks REEEEEALY interesting for this reason. You pair a massive social tracking website with a multi-billion dollar apparel company…

      The university nearby has a very large textile department and I can tell you with certainty “smart fabrics” are on the horizon.

    • Olu

      Without hooking yourself up to some pretty expensive equipment it is IMPOSSIBLE to know how many calories you’re burning. Using HR, cadence, size, sex, age will still just give you an estimate of calories burned (To answer your question, a power meter would be the most accurate), Even if you did get ‘accurate’ numbers, different people will burn those calories differently. Take into account post exercise burn and there’s an even bigger variation.

      The important thing is CONSISTENCY. If you’re going to use Run Keeper’s numbers, then use them. If you find you’re gaining or losing weight then adjust your BMR calories or use a different system to calculate your exercise calories.

      For me the Jawbone system gives me an idea of my sleep and activity levels outside of my workouts. I link it with Strava and it is smart enough to use the Strava calorie numbers over those calculated by the Jawbone while still keeping number of steps counted.

    • Mirek_

      I don’t think blood pressure will be ever possible to measure continuously and non-invasively – without your hand falling off 🙂 unfortunately. Would like that too. Heart rate is trivial, I don’t even call it measurement, it’s only a counter 🙂

    • Fabian Gruber

      Hi Aaron,

      Nice to read your thoughts on activity measuring. I am not an athlete but quite interested in the whole quantified self/measure to manager idea.

      My Profile:
      I use a Garmin Forerunner for all sport activities since 2009 and have a body fat scale (non-wireless) since 2010. I also occasionally track complete calorie intake with an iPhone app (mynetdiary, similar in function to myfitnesspal).

      After long considerations I bought a Basis B1 for activity training earlier this year. I wear the Basis for 24h – shower and sport activity. All sport activities are uploaded to SportTracks 3.1 (oldschool offline version).

      I do have an excel “health vault” and once per week I export my Garmin data via CSV export, Export the diet data via Excel report function. Weight and body fat data I key every morning into the phone app. And (still lacking an API), the Basis key data (resting heartrate, calorie estimate, steps and sleep) I key once per week in manually.

      In Excel I then play around and can for example calculate calorie deficits matching non-activity and activity calories with calorie intake…

      I think that while what I do is still pretty nerdy, the quantified self movement seems to have a shot to go somewhat mainstream. For me that only sounds logically: in times of great uncertainty, people seem to focus more on taking active control over things that are in their reach.

      I am pretty sure that the market for tracking devices and software will increase. What I do now in Excel could be really done by an App: match a configurable import tool for csv, excel, html data with pre-programmed visualization and useful functions….

      It would be cool to have one device that could match all the needs, but even more important for me would be one piece of software bringing all together. SportTracks was for a long time such a software, because an awesome community would always come up with apps to incorporate new things. But with the shift to mobi the PC version really seems to be frozen.

    • It’s great you got this all working together and now have a consistent workflow, but I’d wager 99% of the people with activity trackers have zero interest in all that work.

      We’ll be pulling in the Garmin vivofit info, also looking at the fitbit API, and if you’re open to changing logging apps for nutrition I know myfitnesspal has an API which we will be integrating with later this year.

      All your data could then be pulled into your SportTracks PC logbook seamlessly without much (if any) excel/export nonsense – in a data analysis package you’re already used to.

      That said… from a user perspective we really see a schism in the metrics space where performance minded athletes (those we target) lean to the training load performance model, rather than calorie counting.

    • Paul S

      That doesn’t surprise me, since training load can be measured (keeping in mind things like Ray’s comment in his recent “5 random things” post about power meter calibration), and calorie counts are just (more or less poor) estimates of a number that’s bounded but unknowable outside a physiology lab.

      I’m curious about the other end, though. I’ve read that the way they measure how many calories a given food provides is to take a sample and burn it in a calorimeter. Is that right? That would seem to me to work OK for white rice, but not so well for shredded wheat. Do they try to take into account the difference between human digestion (which, aside from certain Mexican or Thai dishes, isn’t an open flame) and the method they use to obtain the calorie numbers?

      As Olu has said above, though, what you really need to do is watch the number you can measure, your weight. If it goes up (or down) systematically, then the calorie numbers you’re relying on are wrong .

    • As with anything, they ultimately have to model an average. If you eat a 1,200 calorie burrito and immediately barf it up – yeah, you’re not getting 1,200 calories.

      Honestly a lot of people in this niche – doing 40, 60+ miles a week or spending 6 hours in the saddle – they’re not terribly worried about intake. I had a friend training for a marathon two years ago doing 90 miles weeks – he struggled to maintain weight from the pure time & effort of eating so many calories. It seems like when he wasn’t running or sleeping, he was eating. And going out to a restaurant where he would order an appetizer, a huge entrée, and then eat half of his wife’s was…. humorous.

      Personally I’ve never had a problem maintaining weight…. le sigh.

  117. Yonadav

    Any idea if the battery will last for an Ironman with a power meter recording every second on the bike segment?

    • Hmm, I’ll have to do some testing there. Probably not till sometime later next week at the earliest, because of both travel schedule and training/trip schedule. Basically, I need a 17-hour block where I’m neither working out with it, nor travelling. Unfortunately, the earliest that happens would be next weekend.

      But there I can hook it up to the ANT+ simulator and run through it (with GPS on constantly..got a new toy to help those kinda tests there too).

    • Jason K

      I can say with the Tacix in continuous GPS on a hike I got about 20+ hours of tracking over a weekend (i.e. at night watch on GPS off) so I would be shocked if you didn’t get at least 17 hours of GPS and ANT tracking for an Ironman.

    • Ted W

      Looking forward to the results of the ANT+ simulator. Would also love to see some hard (simulated) data on how long the Fenix2 perform with HRM connected, maybe power meter for bike. Would like to know if Fenix2 can last 20+ with at least HRM run connected and sampling every sec. (Ithinking about using this for Ultra’s) Love the responsiveness to comments. Thanks Ray!

    • Ok, just kicked of a test with 1s recording of GPS + HR. Will see how long it goes.

    • For those curious. At the 70% remaining marker, it had just crossed through 4hrs and 10mins (GPS+HR @ 1s). So putting it somewhere in the 12-13hr marker.

      Obviously, I’ll circle back if that’s the case to the Fenix team on recommendations for IM configurations.

    • Ted W

      Thanks for the update. what does “IM” configurations mean? Something to add that I just saw today, within the watchuseek site. This thread at post #124, projected that at a 15sec interval the original fenix might land at 26 hours. The 910xt will get how long in practical used with is quick samply? link to forums.watchuseek.com

      would really love to hit a mark close to 20 hours. 1sec interval would be awesome. maybe 5sec maybe. on a winding trail run 5 sec might loose some good accuracy. or on steep incline/decline

    • IM = Ironman. Swim/Bike/Run, whereby the user could still finish within the allotted 17-hour timeframe.

    • Paul S

      Notice that the link you give shows 15s interval on UltraTrac, and doesn’t use any ANT+ sensors. If you want data from sensors rather than just GPS data, you’d better test before hand whether or not the data you record is adequate or is recorded at all.

    • Ted W

      Drat! your right. So if ultraTrak has ANT+ off. then who knows how this will fair for slower IM athlete. Will wait for Rays final results from above on the GPS+HR @ 1s. If it did end at 12-13. Wonder if samply at say 5sec would yield enough battery savings. 15s seems to long for a IM style event.

    • Paul S

      The only savings in normal mode you’re going to get by changing the recording interval is in the “disk” space the track takes, not battery time. UltraTrac saves power by turning receivers off; if you set it to 5 seconds in UltraTrac, you’re probably not saving any power at all.

      Is it really that much trouble to carry the charging clip and a spare USB battery? I’d be surprised if Ray gets much more than 12 hours, based on my own experience (in, usually, cold weather, which can cut battery time by itself).

    • Ted W

      Is it that much trouble? Good question 🙂 I dont have a USB battery. Not even sure how big/heavy it is, or what a reasonable sized one would be for a Fenix. Personally was trolling for deals on the 910xt and came across the Fenix. Like the idea and it would work for me most of the time. Honestly though, i have to big events this year (big for me). My first 50miler and a rim2rim2rim run. I would hope the 50 miler is done in under 12. So I am probably ok there. The r2r2r is most like a 14 hour to 16hour timeframe. Stops included. dont have experience with usb battery. how long to provide meaningful charge. can it stay connected and in use while charging. I’ve done 70.3 but not IM yet. would a fenix work for slower IM? does not sound like it.

    • Paul S

      I have this one. I got it as a gift for Christmas. I have no real need for it; it was on my wish list because I wanted one for emergencies. I’ve only used it while traveling, where it comes in handy as an extra USB port (my MacBook Pro has only two) if I need to charge more than two devices.

      So the Fenix battery is 500 mAh, while the Bushnell is 2200 mAh, so it should run a Fenix for roughly two days. It weighs 3.1 oz according to Amazon. And, of course, you don’t need the solar panel for your purposes. I just checked by plugging it into my Fenix, and the Fenix is showing that it’s charging but is otherwise acting normally. You can even strap on the Fenix with the clip underneath, and it’s not too annoying. So if I ever wanted the Fenix continuously running for more than 10 hours (because I’d start to worry if it dropped below 20%) that the way I’d do it.

    • Ted W

      Interesting. I was thinking just a usb battery, not something with solar panel. I can see how that could come in handy. The solar wrap mini is pretty small also. Paul you feel up for a little science experiment? Any chance you could let your Fenix discharge and then see how much charge the Fenix gains as some fixed interval. So 30min, 60min? With 220mAh, it should charge the fenix 500mAh (if thats the battery size). Curiuos how long for 25% 50% 75% 100% charging. Or any data actually.

    • Paul S

      I don’t mind doing it, but there’s one complication. We’re leaving for Disney World tomorrow (it’s only a week, it’s only a week…). I’ll have my Fenix and battery with me, and there’ll be plenty of opportunities to discharge it (just turn on Notifications), I don’t know how well I’ll be able to pay attention to it charging back up. I may have to wait until next week to do the test.

    • Ted W

      Cool! Like many. We’re all data crazed! I’m still hoping that for the FULL review, Ray will do full IM eval (gps+hrm) for battery longevity. All things being equal with the Fenix1, it doesnt look like the Fenix2 will work for slower IM folks if you want to use it for all events. That said the optimist in me says, they are trying to make the Fenix2 a much better multisport device compared to the Fenix1, Garmin would have to know that the IM crowd will be looking excitedly at the 2. And the should do whatever they can to put the Fenix2 into that crowd. I can hope. Right… 🙂

    • FYI on time test:

      Garmin has told me the Fenix2 should be able to get 16 hours of battery life with GPS on and 1s recording rates, provided strong satellite coverage.

      In my test last night on the latest beta firmware, I got 15:07:40 before it kicked into standby mode (with 13% battery remaining). The unit was in my window, which doesn’t have the strongest GPS signal, since I haven’t fully run the cabling for the repeater for these sorts of tests all the way up to the roof yet.

    • Ted W

      You wrote 15:07 before it kicked I to standby.
      Is that running in GPS only, or was it paired with the hrm run? I need to look a the fenix 1 manual. I am not familiar with what standby mode means. 13% Suggests possibly 2+ hours or total battery in whatever mode.

    • GPS + HR strap (there’s no appreciable difference between an HRM-RUN and a regular ANT+ HR strap battery-wise). There could be some difference in accelerometer measurement, but I don’t really have a good way to measure/recreate that for 15-17 hours.

      Also, note that GPS signal was less than ideal, and thus, would have strained the unit more. I’m going to try and figure out a way to get the unit on my roof for another test (harder than one might think).

    • Paul S

      I hesitate to put these here now that Fenix 2 is out and people can get some real numbers from it, but here are my battery usage numbers from my Fenix 1 that I took at Disney World. This is GPS only, no ANT+, in normal GPS mode. I was using the GPX track from the Fenix to geotag photos. In and out of buildings, so the GPS lock was frequently being lost, but the amount of time lock was lost varied in the different parks. Temperatures typical of summer in central PA, 70-80s F. The first number is the elapsed time, the second the battery percentage remaining as the Fenix showed it when I turned off tracking and shut down the GPS.

      11:48 37%
      12:37 42%
      12:12 37%

      So without ANT+ and in summertime temperatures, it looks as if 18 hours should be attainable, assuming the Fenix is reporting on the battery life correctly.

  118. matias

    nice review!

  119. J Salani

    Great…. just waiting on my REI dividend to get my Fenix and they come out with the next version…. not sure I would get full benefit out of the Tri part of it, but plan on trying my hand at a sprint tri this year. What else would I benefit from the new version or should I get the deal on the Fenix 1. I mtn bike mostly but hike, snowshoe, ski, kayak and a little bit of trail running.

    • Paul S

      Looks to me like you’d do fine with a Fenix 1. The lack of run metrics or the swim part doesn’t seem to matter to you, while the single advantage that the 1 has over the 2, the ability to create as many profiles as you want, might. (Personally, though, for mountain biking I always use my Edge 800 rather than the Fenix, but the Fenix will work fine provided you don’t want turn by turn navigation from maps.) Profiles allow you to easily customize the data fields shown and the sensor settings that you want for each activity. There are seven profiles on mine, six custom ones (so I wouldn’t be that happy with that limitation of the Fenix 2, although I’m sure I could repurpose the ones it came with). I do like the look of the Tactix/Fenix 2 watch face better, though, but since I’ve never actually used one, maybe there’s a drawback I’m unaware of.

    • J. Salani

      Thanks for the feedback…. I use my 800 on my bike as well. I want to run a bit more, but the run specific watches seemed too limited. I also hike quite a bit and like the breadcrumb trail and such. Sounds like I might be good with the Fenix 1…. but I too like the look of the black face, but have had a Suunto Vector since it first came out and have been happy with that look.

  120. matt

    This seriously looked like a great option until the lack of dual ant+ and bluetooth. I was hoping to get a watch I could wear for work too, but I like the livetracking for my long runs in the summer when it’s 100+ outside for peace of mind for the girl. Also, during the summer, it’s easy to go too hard so I use a HR monitor.

    • Olu

      Honestly, I don’t see what the big deal is. If you’re going to be carrying your phone anyway, there are many other (less power hungry) ways for a loved one to track where you are. My wife will use either Find Friends or Footprints (great app for monitoring the kiddos too) which uses almost no extra battery on the phone. Personally if I’m 3 hours away from home on a long bike and I need help, I want a phone that’s got plenty of battery power left.

    • matt

      Perhaps your experience is different, but using those tracking apps drains more battery on my phone than livetracking. GPS use on my iphone is a battery sucker more than BT smart. I understand your point, but for me, this is a dealbreaker.

  121. Cody

    Will the orange bands for the Fenix be compatible for the Fenix 2?

  122. hugh

    also on my way to MWC. do you know if garmin be exhibiting the watch at the conference. do they even have a booth.

  123. joubex

    Thanks again for this review. I have 2 questions.
    – Do you think firmware-functionality are gong to change before the offficial release of the Fenix 2? So actually should we have to wait a bit to be sure what this watch can (and can not) do?
    – What is the exact date of the release?

    • I expect to likely see a few more little things make it spec-wise (perhaps swim drills, perhaps other random tiny things). I definitely don’t expect any feature cuts. This is because retailers have already been given the sale spec list, so there’s zero chance of feature cuts (they’ll delay before cuts).

      There is no defined exact day – just ‘March 2014’. I don’t expect any delay to be honest, the team is iterating very quickly on fixes/etc…

  124. joubex

    Thanks for your opinion 🙂

  125. Tom

    Other than the firmware, how is this different from the original Fenix?

  126. Travis

    What is the strap width? I’d like to use my NATO straps that I already have in 20mm and 22mm styles.

    • Travis

      Just found the answer to my own question. It is 26mm. If you’d like to see how it looks just google Fenix on a NATO strap. It looks great. Also, here is a forum post about it. Scroll to post #7. link to forums.watchuseek.com

      Looks like this will have to be my next watch.

  127. Markell

    Excruciating choices ahead of us. Polar announces V800 with an enticing switch to BTLE. Garmin sends back the ball with an endless list of features in the Fenix2 but some bitter pills on the Ant+/BTLE either/or bit. This is good for us as customers with these manufacturers competing on product performance. So long as this is the case we can’t really back a bad horse, right?

  128. Joachim

    Hello and thanks for this interesting review.

    In terms of wrist comfort which one would you prefer?
    Ambit 2 or Fenix 2?

  129. J.Griffin

    Aside from feature sets, a watch’s display is very important as I have aging eyes (when wearing my contacts). So I have a couple of visual questions.

    1) does the Fenix2 have the capability to adjust contrast & brightness?
    2) how did you find the display readability vs. 220/620 and even the V800.

    It too bad Fenix2 the inverted display is not a changeable option, like the V800.

  130. Mario Geyer

    Did I understand correctly, you are sure that there will be no successor for the 910XT Garmin Foreunner in this year 2014?

  131. Dane

    Great review as always, also loving all the discussion.

    I am very excited about this watch as I was in the market for a multisport. I am extremely confused by Garmin though and the disparity among products and release dates and being forthcoming with things. I guess the point is they are a business and they just want to make money obviously. But dang it’s hard on the consumers.

    Two months ago I was torn between the FR220 on FR620 for my first GPS running watch. I waited and waited and finally decided to just get the FR220.

    What confuses me is the pricing. Why would anyone buy the FR620 over the Fenix2 at the same price point?

    Or I guess the real question is why would anyone buy the FR220 now? It has a slight edge in pricing and I guess to those who want a cheaper running watch that would be a reason.

    It is disappointing about the ANT+ and Bluetooth basically not being able to run at the same time. At first that didn’t bother me too much when I heard and I thought it would just help make the watch more of a full time wearable. Basically I viewed the bluetooth connectivity with the phone messaging as a way to make the watch more useful to wear all day. When not in sports mode and tied to sensors you could leverage the BT to get notices like a smart watch.

    But I am disappointed in the fact it breaks live tracking and/or sensors. That baffles me. If it wasn’t for the either / or situation with ANT+ and Bluetooth this watch would seem darn near perfect. So close it seems to having one that just does it all. It would be a dream for consumers but probably not something Garmin would really want to strive for I suppose. Why get consumers to buy one watch when you can keep them buying a couple every couple of years.

    I still think this is going to be the watch I buy. I just can’t imagine buying the 910 now for my needs. I can’t figure out why I would buy the 910xt over the fenix2?

  132. “Why would anyone buy the FR620 over the Fenix2 at the same price point?”

    A: Significantly smaller, has WiFi, can do concurrent ANT+ and BLE (live tracking and Bluetooth Smart). Personally, for me, for running, I’m likely to continue to keep using the FR620 as my primary running watch.

    “Or I guess the real question is why would anyone buy the FR220 now?”

    A: Significantly smaller, 38% cheaper, can do concurrent ANT+ and BLE. Oh, and it comes in purple – I can’t stress how important that is (I’m serious).

    “I can’t figure out why I would buy the 910xt over the fenix2?”

    A) Screen size is larger, more data fields per page, multiple bike profiles, slightly easier to use (personally, I’d probably take the Fenix2 though over the 910XT).

    • ScoobD

      Like Dane above I can’t understand how anyone would consider buying either the 620 or the 910XT with the Fenix 2 available from a feature parity/pricepoint standpoint. (the comparative advantages of the 620 (weight) seems small vs. the extra features.

      Anyways, I’m in the market for a GPS running watch and was leaning heavily towards the 220. However with this announcement I can’t understand how Garmin can pitch the 620 at the same pricepoint as the Fenix2. Any chance the 620 will receive a price cut in the near future? Or is the plan to add features to the 620 via firmware updates to add value?

    • As many a women (and men) have said before: Size matters.

      You definitely won’t see any price cut in the FR620 lineup. Feature adds? Probably. Garmin has outlined some for the spring (see my CES post with Garmin in the title).

    • ScoobD

      No, I get it, to each their own. “Why do you need a GPS watch when you’re phone has GPS?” Ugh, because I don’t want to carry a phone…

      And I prefer 220/620 to 210/610 primarily due to smaller form/factor/weight (added functionality nice). Thanks for the info, and great review site btw. If I biked or swam the Fenix 2 just seems awesome based on features/price.

  133. dape

    Thanx for the fantastic review!
    1. Is there implemented function LAP BY POSITION? (Fenix 1 does not have, FR610 has it)
    2. Readibility of the inverse display (white on black) on sun and poor light (or compare to 610/210 model)
    3 Has FR610 some functions more (except virtual racer) that Fenix2 does not have?
    Thank you!

    • 1) No autolap by position
      2) No problems with readability, just photographability.
      3) Aside from also having four data fields instead of three (max per page), and the Virtual Racer/Lap by position as noted, the Fenix2 has everything that I can think of.

  134. Chris

    Curious if you were going from 3 separate devices (Edge 500, Garmin Swim, Nike+ GPS) and have experience with wearable technology if this is the best investment. It’s the 910XT or Fenix2 in the end to choose from so which would you have for yourself? Whats the best offering in the market for multisport athletes for spring training 2014?

    Powertap G3 Ant+
    Garmin Speed/Cadence Ant+
    iPhone 5 Garmin App (Live Tracking would be nice, but not a requirement)

    • The Fenix2 is very compelling, but for a triathlete, the lack of quick-release is a bit tough, especially if you want to have it on the bike mounted out in front of you.

    • Chris

      Is it possible to connect Fenix2 and Edge500 simultaneously to ANT+ devices? That gives advanced running features of the Fenix2 with bike data out in front?

      Perhaps get a 620 for advanced running metrics and maintain the Edge500 and Garmin Swim until 910XT replacement hits the market.

    • Luke

      ANT+ can connect to a bunch (unlimited?) of different devices.
      The trouble with the Fenix2 isn’t on the ANT+ side, it is with the receiver on the Fenix (which is sort of dual BT/ANT+ but can only run one at a time).
      What you describe is exactly what I’ve decided to do: I have the 620 and the 500. When Ray pointed out that we won’t see a 910 replacement during this “triathlon season” (which he defines as ending in Sept-ish) I went ahead an pulled the trigger on the swim. Am planning on using the swim for all my pool training and using the “forerunner under the swim cap” method for my actual races.

    • Chris

      Perhaps my stop gap is 220 for the remainder of this season replacing my Nike+ and centralizing my training data into one platform (Garmin). I train the least for running as it’s traditionally my strongest discipline and can wait one more season for all the running metrics Garmin is offering in the 910XT replacement.

    • Yes, you can connect multiple watches/devices to a single ANT+ sensor.

  135. Jeff

    Does the fenix2 have a color display? In some of the shots, it looks like the “meter” around the bezel has color bands

    • No, no color display. I noticed that as well on that shot, but it was the only non-fuzzy shot I had. I’m pretty sure it was just an odd reflection.

  136. Mimmo

    Felix2 vs V800 what are the difference? And then… with felix2 Can I track my activity such as km and steps of one day ? Thx

    • Carlos

      Use Ray’s comparison tool to see difference. Don’t think Fenix 2 has an activity tracker for steps, but the V800 does.

    • muehle

      What i really like to know is, if you can pair a VIVOFIT with your FENIX2.
      So that the Recovery-functionallity on your FENIX get additional data from your day to day “workout” of the vivofit-band.

      @Ray: Anything you know about that?

    • No pairing direct from Vivofit to Fenix. Also, the Fenix doesn’t pull anything else from Garmin Connect Mobile with respect to recovery time, mostly because that’s not tracked centrally today. I’d expect that’s probably pretty low on the integration scenarios for out of the gate, unfortunately.

  137. Carlos

    Ray, thanks for all that you do. I’m perplexed, do I give Fenix 2 a chance or wait for Polar V800? Here’s my situation so far.

    After seeing awesome Garmin advertising videos, I said that’s me, so I bought the Fenix early this year. Loved everything about the watch, but was very confused by its quirks. For instance, simple things like only wanting Virtual Partner in “Running” profile, but then switching to “Cycling,” and having it beep at me for being ahead of my “Running” pace!!! This just drove me nuts.

    I liked the watch so much, I even ventured with trying to use “workouts,” but couldn’t tell whether to start running or wait for a gps fix? Was it recording or not recording the activity? Just way too confusing, too much uncertainty/inconsistency!!! plus couldn’t hear the tiny beeping sound for next intervals, etc. Very frustrating, to say the least.

    Tried hiking with it, but only managed to get “rotate” and “roll” to work and because it didn’t like my “flip,” I couldn’t calibrate the compass, so yet another quirk! which made navigating more challenging as it was pointing me slightly off in the wrong direction.

    Are you seeing these same quirks (Virtual Partner, workout ambiguity & low interval beeps, impossible to calibrate, etc) in the new Fenix 2? Is this considered normal Garmin & Polar quality? Maybe, these aren’t considered quirks for regular Garmin/Polar users? It’s my first exposure to Garmin, so I just don’t know what to think, except it’s not too user friendly.

    In the end, I figured it just wasn’t designed to be a multi-sport watch, plus I would need to get a PhD in Engineering to keep up with the steep learning curve and the gazillion quirks! lol.

    Then, came across your V800 preview and was very impressed, it looked to be designed from the get go for multi-sports training with all sorts of coaching features that the Fenix lacks, even has navigation for hiking and all sorts of useful stuff. So, after reading this, I ditched my Fenix before the 30-day return period was up.

    After happily waiting for the V800 to be released, I read your Fenix 2 preview and it now seems to be completely redesigned to be a true multi-sport watch coming close to the V800’s many features.

    I’m very tempted to giving the new Fenix 2 a chance, maybe the new multi-sport mode got rid of all the quirkiness? I run, cycle, and swim on a regular basis (but never done a tri, just do it for fun), and also hike, kayak and ski when I can, so tracking all these activities would be awesome for me and that’s why I identified with the Fenix as I’m very much an outdoor kind of guy. Never done any official races, but still train with friends, thus my attraction to the training/coaching on both watches is especially appealing.

    V800 already has everything I would want, even a built-in activity tracker, and much more, but will it have the many quirks like the original Fenix?

    At this point, I really want something that just works out of the box , where I won’t have to spend hours figuring out its quirks or calling support due to quality issues.

    Ray, based on your immense experience with this industry; in general, which brand tends to be less of a hassle to use?

    As both Fenix 2 and V800 are in essence both highly capable watches, there’s naturally a learning curve involved. Which of the two do you think would have the least quirks? Be the fastest to pick up and start using out of the box? Which one am I least likely to encounter quality issues with? Which one is designed for non-engineers? lol

    In the end, I want the least quirky watch and very willing to pay more for it! Based on your experience with both beta watches, which one has been the least quirky? Fenix 2 or V800? That’s what it’ll boil down for me. Sorry, for rambling.

    • Olu

      If the V800 delivers all it promises I think it will be a more complete solution (if you’re looking for a activity monitor as well). Personally I have too much invested in ANT+ equipment to even consider the V800. I’m not ready to invest $1000+ on a new power meter, speed sensor, HR monitor…etc

    • I think long-term, the V800 will likely be a solid contender. But, as I’ve alluded to lately, I’ve become increasingly concerned with how unclear that picture is for the short, and medium term. Specifically, what features will be present at launch on the V800 in April. Given it’s only 4.5 weeks away, they still haven’t made the units for sale – because, they have to provide listing information. Listing information that specifies which exact features will be there. Stores can’t sell without it.

      They’ve backed off a bit on some of the swim-related specs, which makes me concerned there. Again, I think by the end of the year, it’ll be a solid watch. But, I really don’t recommend buying watches for future functionality. Eight months of time is an eternity in this industry for new units coming out, especially at a time when we’re seeing an explosion of smart-phone integration as well as other sensors types (i.e. optical).

      In many ways, it’s what I often say: Buy what’s available now(ish), and start training with it. Thus, since the Fenix2 won’t be available till mid-March, you can probably wait a few more weeks beyond that if you’re highly interested in the V800, and see where it stands at that time. I’ve made it really clear to Polar (repeatedly) that for any features not included in the April release but previously listed as ‘future’, that I’m going to expect specifics on timelines. Otherwise, line-by-line, it’s going to be a tough sell.

  138. Dane

    Ray, I feel I need to get something off my chest. You sir are doing an amazing job answering questions posted here and it impresses me beyond belief. I can’t say thanks enough not only for the reviews you do but the time you take to respond to so many of us when you don’t have to.

    Your site and reviews are my top source for information on products since I started my journey into running, biking and now swimming over the past year. I have been struggling with what to purchase at times and buyers remorse and the expense of things as I try to get myself settled with the basics to train and prepare for my first Tri as it can be quite overwhelming and daunting at times.

    I am not a professional athlete and I’ll never stand on a podium but in many ways so much of this is just as important to me. As a regular working Joe consumer and weekend warrior with a limited budget and a penchant for electronics and data analysis we all struggle to get the best that we can have and that we need for the budget we have to deal with. Your site has saved me a lot of money and time and your “interactiveness” (made up words are the best!) with your fans/followers is outstanding.

    Ok, enough ass kissing, don’t want that head getting to big and not able to fit your bike helmet.

  139. Atilla Keskekler

    Always thanks a lot for your wonderful explanations, deep detailed tests and comparisons. You have done great job for us again. We always choose right ones according to our needs upon your wtirings. Thanks, thanks.

  140. herdingcats

    I love my fenix and am considering an upgrade to the fenix2 or the tactix. Before buying the fenix it became clear that some users had issues with Garmin’s waterproofing as well as a fogging of the screen that would happen from time to time. From further research I understood that new models did not have this issue anymore. So, I bought one. It’s only happened twice, but my fenix does get the fogging in the crystal. Do you know, have additional measures been taken by Garmin to address this issue in either / both the fenix2 or the tactix?

    Or asked another way, do you know if their waterproofing has improved?


    • My understanding was that was pretty well solved about 12 months ago, I haven’t heard any complaints since then.

      I can check and see if anything has changed. Unfortunately, the setup I have coming in for waterproof testing won’t arrive in time for this review.

    • herdingcats

      Please let us know if you do hear anything on this subject. If I get a fenix2 I’d like to be sure that Garmin got this addressed. This is especially true for me since I got mine well after the issue was supposed to be addressed and I still got fogging. In any case, thanks for your help on this.

  141. myrion

    Looks very promising, the only thing that annoys me is the lack of ANT+-connectivity to Wireless scales. Having my weight updated automatically on my FR610 is something I really like, and I would love to see my next watch having the same functionality.

    Any guesses whether or not this will be included in the final version?

  142. Fabian Gruber

    Thats awesome news Ray! My Forerunner 405 could slowly see a replacement/upgrade. One of the buttons get’s slowly sticky.

    Was a bit inbetween the Fenix/Tactix and the 620. I hike at least as much as I run and would love the longer battery times for longer hikes. At the same time running dynamics and the new functionality of the FR620 looked nice. Now with the Fenix 2 integrating all those new feature I have my perfect device. Will definitely get it!

  143. Wawan

    Ah … another gadget … LoL
    Any chance that Garmin will update the firmware of 910xt to have some functionalities (if not) shown in fenix2?

  144. Aben

    I am still confused about two issues.

    1. What does it matter BT/ANT+ simultaneously when if you are already running with a smartphone there are many apps that do live tracking? Many here have responded that it is a deal killer for them, what am I missing?
    2. Lack of Wifi, I really like the wifi on my 620 but since I always have a smartphone with me (except when running…) BT to phone keeps me away from the dreaded USB cable sync, can easily live w/o wifi…

    • hollyoak

      Good points, there aren’t too many Smartphone apps that do that though? Runtastic comes to mind but you can’t share by email, only FB last time I checked. I don’t think you can stream pace info from a footpod?

      On another matter, and sorry if it’s been asked before, but will the upcoming Fenix1/Tactix update provide Vo2/Race Predictor/Recovery features? They don’t seem to be dependent on the HRM-Run ?

    • Aben

      I think there are many more. See Ray’s old blog post link to dcrainmaker.com

      So why do people keep saying it’s a dealbreaker?

    • I think it’s mostly a deal-breaker for some people because people don’t want to deal with additional 3rd party apps that burn GPS time. Remember, the fundamental difference between something like the Garmin FR220/FR620 with Bluetooth Live Tracking is that the GPS is used on the Garmin device, not on the phone. Which means a multi-hour ride/run might only burn 10% of the battery. Versus the same 2-3 hour activity otherwise could burn the fair majority of the activity.

    • Matt

      yeah, ray said it there. that’s my biggest concern. I’ve used fitness apps with livetracking and on a 2 hour run my battery goes from 100% down to 20%. and yes, all my other apps are closed.

  145. Greg Hilton

    I currently have a Sunto Core that I mostly use for skiing (for altitude and keeping on eye on the pressure for weather)

    I’m interesting in getting similar functions but adding in GPS for tracking skiing, but also for occasional hikes, runs and walks.

    Is the shortlist of “ski enabled” watches just this and the origional Fenix?

    • Correct, only two Garmin ones that I’m aware of. And really, only ones with that functionality at all, outside of something like the Recon HUD units.

    • Luke

      Correct me if I’m wrong (won’t be the first time…), but the Fenix/F2 skiing functionality is only auto-lapping when you hit a chair lift and tracking the number of runs, right?
      In other words, next month when I take my FR620 skiing if I turn off auto-lap it’ll just record one massive “run” which I can later edit on Garmin Connect to read as resort skiing. I’m sure this will mess up some caloric info, and that Garmin will think I’m the best runner ever, but it should still record distance elevation etc, right?
      As an aside, an add-on like this is exactly what I’d pay $20 (or something) for. I’m probably not ever going to “need” the Fenix/F2, but I’d be happy to pay $20 (or something) for this random bit of useless but cool functionality on my FR620.

    • This is where the Ambit 2 really shines (in theory), and (almost) watches like the Magellan Echo. Since there is an API people can hack to do things like this, and likely it wouldn’t cost you anything.

      I’m surprised it’s not highlighted much more as a fundamental difference between Garmin and Suunto tech. Then again, I’ve never actually installed any Suunto apps… so maybe it’s more of a theory than practice thing.

      We’ve chatted about the air-guitar workout app we’re going to write. 🙂

    • Correct, only the F1/F2. If you just take out the FR620, and don’t do any manual lapping, it’ll simply do a gigantic run. Setting it to resort skiing is mostly just a categorization thing. It doesn’t really do anything beyond that such as magically making it a ski activity with runs data, etc… Same metrics otherwise.

  146. Lars Bergmann


    Great review. I just want to let you know that the Fenix 2 will be available in the end of spring or during summer time. That’s according to an e-mail I’ve just received from Garmin Thus there’s no fixed release date at the moment.

  147. Somar77

    Do you think the fenix2 will be able to hold battery for a full im?

  148. Glajda

    On paper Fenix 2 looks perfect to me.

    I was deciding between Ambit 1 and Fenix a year and a half ago and eventually went with the Ambit, mainly because of Training effect.

    I see now Fenix 2 has training effect along with some other advanced metrics, and, very important to me: connection to Android phones. Sometimes I really can’t or won’t lug a laptop with me, but I always have my smartphone. Two days skiing and you’re pretty much done with space on the Ambit.

    So these functions along with Suunto’s inability to fix some basic issues (software based) really have me looking into Garmin’s direction…

    I’m a bit worried, though, as I’m reading a lot of people had problems with the Fenix, i.e. lockups, freezing, resetting, fogging and so on. Is this a common problem with Garmins or just with the Fenix? Or is this just an impression because only negative things go to the forums while happy users are out there using the watches?

    Should we expect the same bugs with the Fenix2, as it is the same hardware?

    Because all the features in the world don’t matter if your watch freezes and you have no data…

    • I’d definitely be sure to look at when the date of any comments are. Meaning, if they’re very old, it may have been resolved.

      One thing I like about the Fenix2 is the updated ‘resume’ algorithms, which do cover crashes and no data loss (test that already). Actually kinda cool. We saw that added as well into the FR220/FR620 units (not resume post-crash, but no loss of data).

    • Paul S

      I own 6 Garmin devices, 2 of which were bought upon release, and one, the Fenix, within a few months of release. If a Garmin device has been out for a few months, I’ve had very little trouble with them. I don’t remember having any trouble with the Fenix so far as the software goes; I had the fogging problem and then finally it leaked, so I had it replaced. The only software problems I had with the Fenix were recently using the 4.x series of beta (4.05 fixed the problems), and I carried my Edge 705 (which I got upon release and did give me problems) with me during that time because I knew I was running beta software on the Fenix. Even with the new devices, within about six months of release all of the software problems go away (although my VIRB did freeze on me for the first time in a long while 7 seconds after I started it this weekend).

      I would guess, since Fenix 2 has the same hardware as the Fenix aside from the watch face, and the software is basically running on Fenix 1 already, that it’ll give you few problems.

      But don’t forget, Garmin software also has problems, so I wouldn’t expect that Android app to be working perfectly from the beginning. The iOS Connect app was basically unusable for months because of crashing. The recent release has solved that, but there are still problems (it shows only your last 3 activities), and connecting to Fenix via Bluetooth with 4.12 has been unreliable.

      I’m glad to see Ray say that the resume algorithms have been updated. I lost half of a track trying to control my VIRB from my Fenix 8 days ago. The VIRB stopped, but so did tracking on the Fenix, and when I started it again, it started tracking from that point, and the data from the first half was lost. Fortunately, I still had the entire track on the VIRB.

    • No loss of data for 620? Then, how did this guy lose his entire Tokyo marathon data from his 620?

      link to forums.garmin.com

    • Sounds like his unit was all assortment of messed up given all the other problems he was having before that run (seems like calling support sooner might have been ideal). Can’t speak to every single watch in every single persons hands, but I can speak to having runs early on during beta builds crash, and still having data – which was kinda nice.

    • Frank

      Just checked this out, and you were right Ray!!! It turns out, he was able to recover his marathon race. It somehow didn’t sync, and he had to extract it via usb-pc connection.

      This is indeed rather impressive in terms of increasing Garmin’s reliability features! Here’s his good news post.

      link to forums.garmin.com

    • Frank

      Would the recovered file have been erased if he ticked the box on Garmin Express “Erase data on this device after successfully syncing”?

      If so, Express guys should make sure that such a great recovery feature is not inadvertently undone by their syncing software.

      I guess, I’ll never tick that box in the future to be on the safe side.

    • Technically yes, but the definition of ‘successful’ might vary slightly in this situation – hard to say. That checkbox is generally evil (and has been in various forms of Garmin uploading software for years now).

  149. Jeff

    I travel a lot for work, so sometimes I’m running in a new area thats unfamiliar. The navigation aspect(if I were to create a course beforehand) would be absolutely key. Also, when skiing, being able to see your stats would be fantastic.

    However, lack of concurrent ANT+/BTLE is really a deal killer for me. I currently have a FR610, and will hold off until the next gen of this unit can do both at the same time.

  150. Mimmo

    I think that polar with v800 had a nice idea to track the daily activities, I’m surprises that garmin did not put this in the fenix and fenix2 since the hardware allows him…

  151. Marcos Saad


    Do you know the reasons for Fenix2 display change?
    How do the negative and the regular display compare?

    Thank you,

  152. Joe Wagner

    I bought a Tactix a couple of weeks ago because I much prefer the white on black. In looking at your pictures, the contrast looks a little better on the Fenix 2 than on the Tactix. Can you comment on the readability of the Fenix 2 and Tactix held side by side? I am still within the return window for my Tactix and am considering returning it for the Fenix 2.

    • It’s the same. It’s just that it’s slightly easier to take a picture on the Fenix2 than the Tactix, because the glass isn’t bubbled on the Fenix2.

      That said, if I had a Tactix that was within the return window, I know what I’d do.

      (I don’t btw, know what Garmin’s plans are for the Tactix…it’s on my growing list of things to ask, sometime this week when I finish digging myself out of the this comment hole I’ve dug for myself.)

    • Joe Wagner

      Fortunately REI has a very generous return policy. I’m going to return the Tactix and get the Fenix 2 when it comes out. The Tactix is a bad-ass looking watch but I’ll save $50 and a few ounces in the process.

    • Mirek_

      Ahhh I’m disappointed, I thought the glass is the same. But I think I can live with it…

    • Jason K

      Thankfully I bought my Tactix from REI and they have a generous return policy so its a bit of a “no brainer” to “exchange it for the F2…..although I wish I know if they had a plan for the Tactix before pulling the trigger as I do also have the 910xt so there is really no reason I HAVE to upgrade except for the fact it doesn’t cost me anything and gives me the additional run metrics.

  153. Hi Ray,

    if this was just a preview I can’t wait for a full review! Really nice job!

    Does F2 support beat per beat HR data storage that could be used for HRV analysis? I saw this is used in VO2max computation, but is it available as a separate measurement? Are there any HRV tools available directly from Garmin? Were there any problems with GPS signal in a deep forest with tall trees and hills around?

    My old HTC Desire HD smartphone was absolutely useless in the forest, iPhone 5 on the other hand works flawlessly. How would you compare GPS precision/signal retention of a Fenix2 to an iP5?

    Thank you very much!

    • You’ll definitely see higher level of accuracy from most dedicated devices than cell phones at this point. Phones are getting much closer, but not quite there yet.

  154. Peter

    Is there any talk of Garmin adding the ability to change settings on this device from a PC or phone app?

    I can see having all these sports and multiple pages for each being a bit laborious to initially set up!

    • Paul S

      Someone at one point had an Excel spreadsheet where you could adjust the settings on a computer and then have it write out the proper profile file format so that you could just copy it to the Fenix. Search at forums.garmin.com for details. I don’t know if it’s still maintained, though.

    • As Paul noted, that’s available for the Fenix with profiles. I haven’t poked to see how badly that breaks with Fenix2 (my guess is rather badly).

      That said, astute followers might notice some interesting magic that occurs within the new Garmin Express desktop app, as well as the Garmin Connect Mobile apps, and the relationship between said apps and enumerated devices when things are added in either location.

      They might further notice the last item on the recent Edge 510/810 firmware updates last week.

      I’m no expect, but putting all those pieces together starts to present a potentially interesting starter dough scenario.

  155. ray

    I hate to ask you the same question someone else did and so did my best scrolling through all the comments and believe this is a new question…please excuse me if it’s a repeat…

    Will my premium heart rate monitor from my FR410 work with the Fenix 2 or do I need the new strap to fully take advantage of all it’s features? …and so can i just buy the watch or should i get the Performer Bundle?

    Thanks so much for another awesome review!!

    • John Friesen

      You need the new HRM-Run to take advantage of all the new features so the bundle will be the best way to go.

  156. dape

    Ray, you mentioned about the possibility of FR920 late summer/fall. What do you expect the main differences between Fenix2 and possible 920? I suppose 920 will have the new funcionality VO2, …. But what about day 2 day watch, battery life (not 2 days only in watch mode) and navigation as fenix2 has. Just only your suppose. For whome do you suppose fenix2 and 920 will be? Thank you.

  157. Bill

    Ray, which one is the best swimming watch for now? Fenix2/910xt/Swim/Swimsense? Thank you!

    • Mimmo

      Why not Ambit2 and TomTom Miltisport ? 🙂

    • Bill

      Ambit2 is too large. I don’t know TomTom Multisport 🙂

    • Matt

      Ambit 2 is essentially the same size as the fenix 2 and definitely smaller than the 910xt. Just FYI.

    • It would really depend on where you’re swimming. For indoors, I prefer the Swim, simply because it’s tiny and has drill mode (indoor only). I don’t recommend the Swimsense at this point anymore (it’s indoor only). Indoor-wise, the 910XT has more functionality than the Fenix2, but we’ll see how that pans out.

      For outdoor, honestly, the Fenix2/FR910XT are identical software wise (well, they are), the OW code was ported from 910XT to Fenix.

  158. Mimmo

    Ray, if I want to use fenix2 with Mio Link (placed next to each other) fenix2 I will have the same problem of 910xt and I must choice between the HR data in the ‘Other’ mode, or swimming metric (stroke/distance)?

    • Thibaut

      Swimming with 910xt placed next to Mio Link work? Really? Ant+ in short distance in water work?
      same problem of 910xt and I must choice between the HR data in the ‘Other’ mode, or swimming metric (stroke/distance)?

    • Mimmo

      Rainmaker will do some test but actually there isn’y any watch that allow ANT+ device into swim profile then you must choice between HR or swimming metric…

  159. Travis

    In looking at this, for me it comes down to the Ambit 2/2S or the Fenix 2. Any thoughts on going one way or the other?

  160. Shane


    Have you had any issues with the gps dropping out when the battery is lower than 50% and did the Battery last longer than the F1.
    had ordered an ambit 2 to replace my fenix
    Sorry if this has been covered in another post

  161. idelacruz

    Nice review!
    Ray, Do you know if the north american version is the same than the european one?

  162. Cody

    I have a forerunner 110, but am either going to buy a Fenix or a Fenix 2 for running, cycling, and backpacking. What features of the Fenix 2 makes it worth buying over the newly cheaper Fenix? Will I really miss anything if I don’t swim ?

  163. Fernando

    Great review man!!! I had the Fenix and Sold it to get the Tactix. Love the “stealth” look on it and the back part of the case looks and feels more rugged. I could really use some of the new running amd multisport features on this new Fenix2 but do you think the Tactix will get this updates as well since it is a new device. I don’t know if I would like to send back the Tactix to get the F2 since i don’t like the new button displacement or the red backlight. Love the green one on the Tactix! Cheers from México!

  164. Randy

    Hi folks. Great reviews and knowledgeable comments on this site.

    I’m trying to decide whether to get the Fenix on sale, wait for the Fenix 2, or go with the Ambit 2. I’d like the watch by mid April for a race, so waiting for the Polar V800 is not an option.

    My primary activity is trail running; a long run or race for me is 4-6 hours, tho I could see doing a 12 hour race in the future. I couldn’t see doing more than that. I also do some hiking and outdoor puzzle games similar to geocaching, but the primary purpose for this watch is for trail running. I don’t swim or bike, nor do I carry a phone when I run, so those features don’t matter to me. Given that, I have a couple of questions.

    1) The three fields I’d like on my watch are elapsed time, elapsed miles, and pace for the most recent/current mile (as opposed to overall pace). Is it easy/possible to configure these watches to get pace per current mile?

    2) Is is possible to configure the watch to use a GPS sampling interval other than 1 second or 60 seconds? The Ambit 2 allows a 5 second interval, which seems like a nice tradeoff between the granularity I care about on a longer run, and making sure the battery doesn’t die. I’m hoping the Fenix line has such a feature, but I didn’t see it.

    3) I’m getting the sense that the Ambit 2 is more reliable in terms of overall operation (not crashing), stability/predictability of battery life, and is much faster at acquiring the satellites. The reliability checkbox is very important to me, and is what is holding me back on the Fenix line and leaning me towards the Ambit 2. Is there a sense that the Fenix 2 seem more reliable than the Fenix 1. Is there a sense that the Fenix 1’s reliability issues are overblown/fixed?

    4) My sticking point on the Ambit 2 is not only the price, but it seems the Fenix line has more options for downloading/manipulating the data (better websites, more open formats, more 3rd party tools, and so forth). I am also a member of a search and rescue team, and could see wearing the watch during searches. The search dogs already wear GPS collars made by Garmin, and I could see it being much easier to import the data from a Garmin watch into the Garmin software that runs the searches (team members are asked to use phones for GPS tracking, but they don’t really have the juice for this purpose). So, is there a sense that the Fenix line would win the checkbox in terms of ease using the tracking data?

    So, given my requirements, if I go with a Garmin, it seems like the Fenix 2 is overkill, unless it is more reliable or offers pace per last mile or user-defined sampling interval where the Fenix 1 may not. I’m pretty sure the Ambit 2 hits all my checkboxes, but I’d rather pay $300 than $500, and I’m concerned about the openness of the Ambit 2 data.

    Thanks in advance on for any help on these questions.

    • Paul S

      1) Elapsed time, easy, elapsed distance, easy, pace over the last mile, no. I just checked, and all I see is pace, which is just 1/speed, so it probably changes in real time.

      2) Yes, you can pretty much set it to whatever you want using either distance or time intervals. You can also set it to “auto” where it chooses its own interval depending on the track, to save space. Unless you set it to UltraTrac mode, where it actually turns off the GPS (and apparently the ANT+ radio) between samplings (and you don’t want to do that), you won’t save any power by changing the recording interval. I’ve never had mine tracking for 12 hours, but based on the battery usage I do get over shorter intervals, 12 hours is about the longest you could expect.

      3) I haven’t had crashing problems unless I was running beta software on mine. I wouldn’t expect Fenix 2 to be more reliable than Fenix 1. If it were a completely different device, as a new Garmin device I’d say the reverse, but in this case, it’ll probably be about as reliable. Fenix 1 at some point will no longer get software upgrades, I’d expect.

      4) Fenix can record in GPX or FIT format or both at the same time. Garmin software will understand FIT, while GPX is even more widely accepted. Keep in mind that the on board storage on a Fenix is about 26 Mb, and you can use about 20 of those to store tracks. You need to keep an eye on usage, especially if you’re doing something where recording the track is important.

    • Phil

      1) Re “Pace for the most recent/current mile” should not be a problem on Fenix, as it can be easily added as “Lap Pace” and be the 3rd field after elapsed time and elapsed distance. Just make sure you set up “Auto Lap” to be 1-mile so that “Lap Pace” displays your most recent mile pace.

      In fact, it even gives you more extensive options w/ fields like LLAP Pace, LLAP Dist, etc which allow you to compare your most recent mile w the mile before. (LLAP=Last Lap)

      3) Yes, the Fenix has had an unreliable past which has now stabilized for the most part. I did personally lose data in the past when it crashed on me, but lately w/ the latest non-beta firmware updates, I haven’t experienced any crashes, so far.

      On the enhanced-reliability front, only Ray can answer whether the improved “resume” algorithms he mentioned above will be a “Fenix2-only” release or whether it would be included in Fenix1, as well.

      I’d imagine Garmin would want their watches to be known for high data reliability and would want to port this type of functionality to as many of their watches as possible, as it is a major differentiation when people make Suunto/Polar/Garmin buying decisions. Ray can certainly chime in here with his knowledge.

      4) Fenix is definitely way ahead of Ambit 2 in that aspect. There’s even a Basecamp Mobile app that could theoretically help them integrate their many outdoor devices (like those GPS collars you mentioned), but they haven’t really taken advantage of that opportunity yet, as no recent updates have been released.

  165. MItch


    The big selling point of Polar V800 over Garmin Fenix 2 seems to be daily activity monitor. With the internal accelorometer of F2 could you simply turn off GPS and use this to measure daily steps/activity estimate? Is there something more functionality-wise to a daily activity monitor that I am missing?

    In your estimation how long would the F2 run with tracking on (but GPS off)?

    Thanks so much.

    • Hmm, a really long time in ANT+ recording mode only. But, it’s not really designed as an activity monitor, so you’re probably not going to get terribly accurate results there.

  166. Jeff

    Does anyone know if you can still listen to music on your phone while paired to this watch via BTLE? I use BT headphones on my iPhone, and theres no way I would forgoe that for text notifications on my wrist

    • Empewu

      You can use BT headset (tested). There is however strange bug In fenix BT Implementation – when it Is switched on it interferaces with my car built In BT mic/speakers (audi) and to be heard by other party, I have to switch off fenix’s BT when in car.

  167. Marcos C.

    I just order one can wait to see on my hands.

  168. Tom

    Awesome ! Can this unit store R-R data from the heartstrap ? I’m very hopeful that it can, since I know the VO2max calculation depends upon HRV.

  169. sf

    I’m obviously missing something. SOOO many people want live tracking as a primary feature. Tracking in an area that has cell service is obviously not for search and rescue. Nervous significant others could easily use “find my friends” app. Am I the only person who exercises and doesn’t have hundreds of people anxiously following my every step/heart beat/footstep? Have all these people checked to see if anyone out there in the internet world actually cares about their tracking? I have a funny feeling the live tracking is like Facebook…lots of people posting, but nobody really caring. Sounds cynical, but I have trouble imagining that anyone would be interested in following me real-time. Maybe my head needs to swell.

    To change gears, terrific analytical review. Great discussion thread as well. Curious how many profiles exist on the Fenix 2 in addition to the 3 customizable ones? Thanks!

    • Jeff G.

      This is actually a good point. I think on a day-to-day basis, no one is going to be using Live Tracking. However, during a race, its SUPER helpful if you have spectators. I know during the Chicago Marathon my family has had issues with the official tracking app. It will say I passed a checkpoint like 20 minutes after I passed it. So, if they have Live Tracking, it would work a lot better (in realtime), so they can actually see where I am, and plan accordingly.

      Also, I met my girlfriend in my marathon training group. On our Saturday Group Long Runs, I run 9:30/mi, and she runs 8:00/mi. She also does significantly longer distances than I do and sometimes our cutback weeks dont sync up, so we have no idea when each other is going to be finished. We usually all go out to breakfast together as a group, but it would be pretty awesome if she had Live Tracking so I have an idea of where she is, and when she will be done(especially when its below zero – too much standing around!)

      So yeah, this wouldn’t be that helpful in a daily training run, but there are a lot of situations where it could come in handy(for me, at least)

    • Sf

      Good points. Still, it sounds like your phone (which you have with you anyway) could do what want to accomplish–without needing Live Tracking. You don’t need to publish your heart rate online in order to meet up when the race is done…so turn off ANT+ when you finish the training session and you’re good to go. Or use find my friends, use the phone like a phone (I think most still have that function), or revert to smoke signals…whatever. Hardly a show-stopper, and I still don’t understand why it would be a showstopper. As I said, I must be missing something.

    • Jeff G.

      I think you’re missing the point – First off, GPS apps on things like an iPhone drain the battery like a tub(ESPECIALLY for people who have older phones with old batteries like in the iPhone 4). Also, when running, no one wants to pull out a phone and fiddle with it – heck, I dont usually even change my watch during a run. I personally would much prefer to have a small device (like a watch) that I can see at a glance, and make adjustments if needed.

      And to your point that I could just call her: well, she’s running with a group, and I know for a fact that she wouldn’t pick up if she even heard her phone ringing. Most people that I know that do carry their phones, do so in an arm band or a SPI belt, so its not that easy to take calls. Also, there is an element of concentration, and taking a phone call would serve to take a serious runner out of “the zone”.

      I think your use cases and mine are different. For me, it would make a ton of sense to have Live Tracking due to how I use my running watch, and the situations I use it in. For people who often run solo, this might not be the case. I guess that’s why they put a lot of features into these things. I can see myself using something like Live Tracking, but not a feature like Interval workouts. However, someone else might find that a deal breaker. I think its all down to how we see ourselves using the device.

    • Olu

      There are compromises with ALL the multi-sport devices currently available. If live tracking is a deal breaker, then don’t buy the watch. If it’s a compromise then think about how you’d really use it. @Jeff, I don’t see the live tracking as a necessary with the scenarios you posted above.

      1) Shorter races (5 hrs or less): Find my friends is more then enough for your family to know where you are (much better then the race tracking systems). Turn off wi-fi and other unnecessary applications and even an older iPhone will have enough battery to last through a marathon.

      2) Meeting up with your girlfriend: I’m assuming the runs are even shorter then 5 hours, so you could decide to use one of the more battery intense real time phone trackers, but I still think Find Friends app would give you an idea where she is and what her ETA is.

      For me, the only situation that I can imagine using live tracking is during a Half or Full Ironman. However, I’ve never carried a phone during either (actually I’ve never carried a phone during any race). So I won’t benefit from live tracking until the Fenix 4 which will be able to do live tracking without a cellphone. 😉

    • Fwiw, race tracking is actually less interesting to me personally than training tracking. While one can debate the merits of phone GPS vs not, for me, I just want to deal with it on the Garmin device and not a secondary app that I have to pay or setup accounts for.

      In my case, The Girl often tracks my runs when I’m in random lands and random cities. She gets piece of mind knowing she can see that I’m still moving along, or moving in roughly the locale I should be. I do the same for her when she’s out for a 2-3hr long run in a country that while we call it home, it’s still foreign. Knowing that her phone’s battery isn’t going to be dead when she gets there is important.

    • Olu

      I don’t believe the Find Friends app is an active tracking app. It only sends your position when a query is made, so it’s very battery friendly. I have an iPhone 5s. On a typical day like today, I am Find Friends available. I also use Waze and stream BT music during my commute (about one hour) and with light usage, I still have 59% battery left from last nights charge.

      The phone will be far from dead during even the longest runs. I see a Rainmaker comparo in the future. Use both methods for a 4-5 hr ride and see what drains your battery more and see which one your girl likes best.

  170. Oli

    The basic find my iPhone app that comes with the phone is not a major battery consumer unless you sit and watch someone for the whole two hours. My wife does a random check every 15mins or so. Android I believe has the native (non 3rd party app). Still cant see a valid argument for live tracking in terms of a deal breaker. Its a nice to have though.

  171. Yasha

    Love your reviews!

    I’m kind of new to the Garmin wrist-worn family, so my question may seem obvious:
    With the Fenix 2 but without either the Garmin footpod or HRM-Run (I have the regular premium strap) is it possible to track running on a treadmill? The only metric that is truly important to me at the moment is the distance and heart rate.


  172. Gillie

    I have a 910xt. I run and cycle and use the ant+ tanita scale for weighins and other measurements too. I like the idea of the 620 but then can’t do the weigh in via watch or the cycle thing either …I love the idea of the fenix 2 but then lose the weigh in! Should I buy a fenix 2 or 620 and cross fingers for the possibility of a software upgrade to include scale metrics (and riding metrics for the 620) or just buy a new withings scale separately? Then that leads me to the question – is there a site that tracks my weigh in measurements via withings (or current tanita), ride and run data all in one spot as garmin connect doesn’t support weigh in data other than manual.

    • Paul S

      One of the reasons I’m bummed that the Connect Stats app (still) isn’t working since the GC upgrade began is that it combines weight info downloaded from Withings with the tracks downloaded from Garmin Connect.

      For a few glorious months about a year ago, I think, there was a web site in Japan where you could enter your Withings credentials and pick a time period, and it would download weight data from Withings and create a .fit file that could be uploaded to GC, which would happily read it. Unfortunately, the web site went down. But if is possible, if you have programming chops, to do that. There’s already a Garmin::FIT Perl module (and the author really needs to put it in CPAN so it won’t disappear), so someone with Perl skills and the ANT+ SDK with the documents about the FIT format might be able to reproduce that. I haven’t had the time myself. Possibly someone has done the same in Python.

    • Paul S

      Oh, I should also mention RubiTrack 3, since I’ve used and liked RubiTrack from its beginning. It can also combine track data with data from Withings, including blood pressure.

    • We’ve committed to add withings sync to SportTracks.mobi this year. We’re getting a ton of requests from users. This feature already exists for our PC app, so the code is written, tested and in use for a couple years – it shouldn’t be more than a few days to add. Sometime later this spring.

      Yeah, you just enter your credentials and it sucks the data in daily without any extra steps.

      The withings scale is REALLY nice. Highly recommended.

    • jolaca

      I’ve also got a Withings WS50 and to connect with GC you can use this little app:
      link to jmfloreszazo.com

      Works as well as the link you mentioned worked. 😉

    • jolaca

      BTW Aaron congrats for your work!. I use and love ST and ST.mobi . The only downside that I find right now on ST.mobi is about swimming activities plots and graphs, not showing rest time adequately (just continuous) and thus spoiling the deatails in the graphs and also using wrong kind of units for swimming.Please improve this!!
      For ST I enjoy the ‘pool swimming’ plugin and also the one for the withings scales, it works seamlessly and then uploads to .mobi too. It’s a great program you have. 😉

    • Gillie

      Thanks all. Apologies for my multiple posts too. I was using my mobile and it kept giving me an error so i did it a couple of times and duplicated some posts!

    • jay

      ray said that Garmin will add CYCLING feature for the 620 in spring.

    • Thanks jolaca!

      We’ve just spent one month completely redesigning the detail page for pool swim analysis based on intensive feedback from users and swim coaches. We think it will amaze you. It’s going into beta testing this Tuesday to a small group. If you’d like to be included and give us a review, shoot an email over to support so they can put your account into the beta group.

  173. Gillie

    Hello there

    I have a Garmin 910xt that I use in conjunction with garmin connect. I upload my rides (MTb & road), my runs (indoor and outdoor) and my body composition via my tanita ant+ bc1000 scale and watch.

    I love the idea of buying the 620 but it doesn’t track my cycling or my weigh ins via the tanita scale. Is there any word on this being updated in the future?

    I also like the idea of buying the fenix2 but again, the weigh in let’s it down. Future Update possible at all?

    I do not mind buying the fenix2 and a new scale if I have to.

    My questions I suppose are:

    Can I upload my tanita scale measurements to a 3rd party web site, similar to garmin connect, without a watch and have that 3rd party website also take my garmin data from my rides and runs?


    Is there a watch / scale I can buy and track this data I need?


    • There’s a few 3rd party sites that will product a fake health/fitness file for/from a scale, and then allow you to upload it to Garmin Connect.

      Unfortunately, there’s not one good holistic solution today.

  174. Harmless Harm

    Ray, there seems no roadmap, and Garmin strategy looks to announce as many watches are possible (even on older platforms), with the expectation each watch does resonate certain audience.
    Somehow the strategy does work, since Garmin is considered reference in sports gadgets market. It did work for me; based on your reviews over time I have full Garmin line-up (swim/510/620). Honesty speaking I am not having that great User experience I was having with Polar and Suunto (slow response from Garmin, necessity of hardware replacements, running into various bugs).

    • The challenge is that no tech company is going to publicly give a roadmap, since it would give other competitors guidance on how to potentially beat them, and which markets they plan to target. From a business standpoint, that’s unlikely to change.

      What could change however, is a roadmap for firmware fixes to bugs, though, I think the non-Fenix groups lack the structure to really pull that off. On support, I would caution that I really encourage folks to call, and not do e-mail support. E-mail support just allows a company to languish.

    • Emanuel


      Which watch would be best for gym workouts, running, trekking and specific heart rate details?

      Thank you

  175. Michael

    Ray – my only experience with GPS is the use of a Garmin 210 and Strava iPhone app. Both work great except in cities with tall buildings (ie. Chicago and NY) where the tracking goes haywire. Will new GPS technology solve this problem, or will it likely always be something to contend with?

  176. Brandon

    I’m looking to by my first triathlon watch. I had pretty much decided on the Garmin 910 until I saw this post. Should I wait to buy the Fenix 2? Or is the 910 still going to be the gold standard for triathlon?

  177. Mimmo

    In Italy this shop have fenix2 from 3 march link to ebay.it

    • Mimmo

      I wrote to the store they said that should have them by 6 / 7 march but not many pieces (10 pieces). The seller said me that the Garmin direction have contacted him. Ray can be true ?

    • In general, I wouldn’t believe either. Still iterating through beta items (albeit quickly), but I definitely can’t see them having saleable units on Monday.

    • Mimmo

      Bhò…This is a good Garmin Point in Italy (and also good ebay seller), them said that Garmin direction assured them that will send the devices from 6 / 7 March

  178. hollyoak

    Sorry if it’s been asked before, but will the upcoming Fenix1/Tactix update provide Vo2/Race Predictor/Recovery features? They don’t seem to be dependent on the HRM-Run ? Thanks!

  179. Sander

    DC Rainmaker great preliminary review! I love your reviews. Please some advice. I might have to change my preorder regarding a Suunto Ambit 2 R. It’s about to ship in a couple of days…

    Here’s my situation. I used to mainly fitness, lot’s of different work-outs from the Les Mills system. My trusted Suunto M5 did what I wanted. I really liked the recovery advice and calorie counts. And the overview of all my workouts in MovesCount. I know I can get them to Garmin thanks to a comment on your site. I used to also run a bit and therefore i used the Endomondo App. First on Android. Now I have a Windows Phone 8.

    Now I want to get into running more, and I feel the need to see my speed and cadence on my wrist. A coach function would be great! To work to minimum of a half marathon. Maybe I’ll start riding skikes instead, if my weight causes jumpers knee again. (about 100 kg over 40 years old and some hypermobilty issues)

    I will still do indoor fitness, Les Mills work-outs and crossfit. I figured the Suunto Ambit R would be great, to last me a for say a year, buy it with hart rate strap for € 225,- wait a year and then buy a Suunto Ambit 3, for € 200,- less then the initial price.

    This summer I might start with kite-surfing. And do some hiking. And some recreational sporty cycling tours.

    1) What would be best for me? Buy the Ambit R with hartbelt for € 225,- and get a Ambit 3 for € 200,- off next summer. Or…. go right away for the Fenix 2 with heart belt? For € 325,- That’s the main question.

    I’m a person with a small budget. But this is where I spend my little money on. I already got a tracker coming up the Angel,

    link to indiegogo.com

    2) Last and diverted question. If I manage to also buy a VIRB. With all the functions of the Fenix 2, I would not have any need for the more expensive VIRB elite, right?

    Any recommendation would be highly appreciated.


    • Paul S

      I can say something about the second question, since I own a VIRB Elite. The extra money buys you two things. First, you don’t have to set the clock on a VIRB Elite, since it has a GPS and sets its clock that way. That may not seem such a big thing, but if you’ve ever geotagged photos, you know that if the clock on your camera isn’t set right, it won’t match up with the GPS track correctly. You can align the tracks and video pretty easily in VIRB Edit, but with the Elite, you don’t have to. Second, if something goes wrong with your Fenix 2, you’re going to have a backup track on the VIRB. Due to my own fumble (gloved) fingers, exactly that happened to me recently. I lost the data for 1:45 of a x-c ski, but because I had the VIRB Elite and was recording, I didn’t lose anything but the data from my Tempe (and that’s a bug; the VIRB is supposed to record temperature data from the Tempe, but doesn’t if it’s below 0 C at the moment).

  180. J.Griffin

    Seems like the only thing missing is a basic stop watch function. Not that you would need one in training or hiking, but just as a general purpose when your phone is not handy.

  181. Sander

    Thanks Paul S. About your answer regarding the VIRB or VIRB elite. I read about your experience earlier in the comments. Your experience happened on beta software right? And fumbling with cloves. If I wait for an alpha release and don’t fumble with gloves I should be fine.
    The about € 100,- euro I save buys me a 2/3 of wetsuit so I can pick up kiting (see if it is for me or not) this summer borrowing a friend’s kiting gear, says my small wallet. Do I really need only a clock function extra if that’s the price difference? If the software does easily do so for me? Or isn’t this so easy? Then it is a big difference. However, an action cam is really last priority to me, but I really liked the things added, like speed, altitude and so on. Could be fun to see how high my kite jumps get. I’ll wait what DC Rainmaker will comment.

    My main question still is, what would be best for me? Buy the Ambit R with hartbelt for € 225,- and get a Ambit 3 for € 200,- off next summer. Or…. go right away for the Fenix 2 with heart belt? For € 325,- considering my use as described 4 posts above.

    • jolaca

      Hi Sander, how can you buy the Fenix2+HRM for only 325€ instead of 450€….I guess you mean ordering from the States (i.e. clever training)? But when I have ordered in the past from the States through customs (at least here in Spain) I have to pay extra for VAT and for custom taxes plus shipping costs….Is there something or some feasible option that I am missing?? If so, please let me know: I am interested!!

    • Jason K

      Sander replied below, he ordered from HK. You can read my response to that, wouldn’t do it.

    • Paul S

      The Ambit question only you can answer, and maybe Ray is the only one who could give you advice. I’ve never owned a Suunto. Back when I was in your position, I used to ask whether I needed (for the definition of need that included some mere want) it and whether it would do the functions I wanted it to do. Maybe you don’t need the extras of a Fenix.

      I was running beta software when I lost data on my Fenix, but by that time, it was at least 4.05, which was rock solid. Garmin probably should prevent the three buttons the VIRB remote page uses to control the VIRB from also doing their normal functions, but I didn’t have to use the VIRB remote page in the first place. The first time I went skiing with the VIRB, I just reached up (mounted on my head) and slid the big switch by hand when I wanted to turn it on and off. If I had just done that, I wouldn’t have lost half the Fenix track.

      Yes, it’s straightforward to align the video and track in VIRB Edit. At the beginning, VIRB Elite was essentially a normal VIRB that crashed a lot. Whenever the VIRB Elite crashes, you might not lose the video but you do lose the GPS/ANT+ track. I think that’s still the case, it just hardly ever crashes any more. So there were lots of times where I had to use the track from my Edge 800 to add to the video. VIRB Edit makes it pretty easy to align the track with the video, but it does take time, and it’s much better when VIRB Edit simply takes both video and track from the VIRB Elite, already aligned. (Yes, I’m that lazy.) You actually don’t need a Garmin device at all to use VIRB Edit. Any gpx track should do. Whether the video from another device works with VIRB Edit seems to be something of a crapshoot from what I’ve read.

    • jolaca

      Thanks Jason, I fully agree with you.

    • Aurimas

      On the account of “trying out kitting”, do not cheap out on normal training with qualified instructor. It might cost you much more than 100 for ruined gear and bodily injuries.

  182. Mimmo

    Any rumours on Ambit 3? I read somewhere that it meant to come out in spring 2014. . .

  183. Mimmo

    Ray but when you try Fenix2 with Mio Link, if they works fine, can you inform Garmin,Suunto, Tomtom for this ? They know you….maybe change their minds…. 🙂

  184. Sander

    Somewhere in the states -/- discount + shipping costs. Taxes is something that differs per country. I once got something from Hong Kong that supposedly came in in an other European country and didn’t pay they amount I would have thought. Didn’t know anything about that. Just ordered. And being a happy customer. There’s no more I can say.

    • Jason K

      Not sure if this is a question or statement but I wouldn’t buy electronics from HK, at best it’s very likely a gray market item and wouldn’t have a US warranty, at worst it’s a knock-off.

  185. Robin Skibo-Birney

    Another sterling (pre)review!

    One question re: training/workout calendars – the comparison chart suggests that the Fenix 2 doesn’t support the publishing of Garmin training calendars and workouts to the device. I can currently do this on my 610 (which also has this marked as a non-feature in comparison table) and would ideally like to avoid the fiddly business of configuring workouts from the watch rather than the nice web interface. If you could clarify I’d greatly appreciate it.

    This isn’t a deal-breaker and I’m pleased to say I’ve already pre-ordered using your discount link. Thanks for sharing!

  186. newtriguy

    Awesome review, Ray. New to triworld and trying to decide fenix2 or v800, so far leaning more towards v800, but more attracted to garmin “ecosystem” as I do plenty skiing. My understanding so far:

    fenix2 vs v800
    1+can see myself buying vector, virb elite, edge 810, etc + the fact they all talk to ea other is ultra sweet
    2+assuming garmin is bigger than polar; can they get more resources to improve fenix2 or tapped out?
    3-doesn’t support BLE sensors (major downer), can they add this?
    4-lacks training feedback (training load, run index, jump test, training benefit, orthostastic test, etc), can they add equivalent feedback or would fenix2 be tapped out? (major deal-breaking stuff)
    5-no activity/sleep tracker so can’t give comprehensive recovery feedback (kinda major downer)
    6-race predictor “doesnt take into account actual training” can they fix that? (kinda major downer)
    7+skiing mode, 3D speed/dist, etc (major upside)
    8+swim, pool + open water w potential drill & swim alerts (major upside, v800 won’t have in april?)
    9-no underwater HR, can this be fixed?
    10+”custom sports” like being able to add sailing & kayaking that I do often enough
    11+”resume later” and data protection if crash/ battery runs out (major upside)
    12+better navigation/hiking (?)
    13-app/website nowhere near polar?
    14-only 3 data fields, can they fix that? on your cadence pic, why not split 182 into 2 more fields to get 4
    15-running dynamics, GCT, VO, how does this help me? what actionable feedback is there to improve my training?
    16-live tracking/notifications disconnects you from ant+ sensors
    17-fenix2 bigger than v800(?)
    18+910xt/fenix established past/experience vs brand new territory for v800(?)
    Total tally: fenix2 @ 8/18 & v800 @ 10/18

    For new tri people, seems like v800 is the no-brainer. Could almost live w/o lack of activity/sleep feedback, but draw the line at lack of training feedback that fenix2 won’t give me, and what it does give, running dynamics, doesn’t seem helpful. What else am I missing?

    Ray, on your final fenix2 review could you let us know if the missing training feedback could somehow be added to fenix2. I think that might be the only way I could stick w garmin, as waiting for 920xt is out of the question.

    • I’ll cover the comparisons a bit more deeply in my final Fenix2 review. However, I probably won’t dive into the Polar V800 side of it simply because Polar really hasn’t fully clarified what will be there in April vs the rest of the year.

    • Frank

      Thks Ray for sharing your knowledge. I’m in a similar camp w those 20 pt comparisons but for Ambit 2. Looking forward to your detailed fenix2 review, it’ll be key in deciding which one I’ll buy.

  187. Ted

    Like some replies, I am also interested in the battery like when “ultra trak” is not enabled. There is no GOOD GPS option for ultra runners. Not talking 100+ crowd, but the 50mile to 100mile. The 910xt will work up to about 18hours or with good GPS tracking. Let many I read the Fenix 1 was a disaster for ultra runners. If the fenix is the same hardware, will the Fenix 2 be the same disaster? I was a tri watch that also can function great for a new 50 to 100 miles trail Ultra. is it the Fenix 2?

    • Ted

      Tried looking around for the reviews of the Fenix 1 that stated why it was no a good option for Ultra runners. I though they focused on the fact that the 50hr life was only with ultra trak on. But in the other mode, no matter what sampling intervals from 1s upto ??? the battery life was the same. And was maybe 14 hours. Can’t find that info anymore. I’m a triathlete, but also getting into Ultras. Probably sticking with 50mile though. Looking for a good option as my Garmin 610 doesnt cut it.

  188. I do not understand the datafield problem
    When i run/train i need few things : HR, distance, last lap pace
    Usually i set the garmin watch to show only one data per screen, so i can read it with big figures
    When i’m looking at the charts, yes i like to see some other things, on the go not that much

    • Different people train different ways and want different data fields – that’s OK.

      For me, it’s four fields while running: Lap Dist, Lap Pace, Lap Time, Current HR.

  189. Mimmo

    New fenix beta firmware :

    Changes made from version 4.12 to 4.13:
    Improved BLE transfer speed
    Improved speed to load details page
    Fixed issue with sensors always on mode not going to low power mode

  190. Ted

    Wow. a reason to switch from Forerunner to Fenix. The knock on Garmin in the Forerunner series is that they seem to have been forgotten. Known issues appear to go unaddressed. An on this thread, it is apparent that the Fenix teams (different from the Forerunner team) is actually supporting the devices and improving them. That alone might be a reason to switch from a forerunner to Fenix. The caveat of course is if the “bug” on the forerunner is one you need. If the functionality you need works, no need to switch.

    Thoughts or views or confirmation on the above theories?

  191. Kevin

    Hi Ray,
    Just a quick question.
    I have the Edge 510 with HRM.
    Will the HRM from the 510 work with the Fenix 2 and give all the same running dynamics as he HRM Run that comes with the Fenix 2 ?

  192. Aben

    1. Does Fenix 2 handle pre loaded workouts from garmin connect
    2. When you go to garmin website it offers USA version in US and Europe version on UK site, what is the difference? I will be using the watch all over the world….

    • 1) Yes, it can do pre-loaded workouts from Garmin Connect

      2) I believe it’s simply the power adapters included, but I’ll check.

    • Aben

      thx Ray,

      Power adapters is fine (just USB…) just wanted to make sure its not limited maps (it does show a map of the midwest on the promo pix)

    • Paul S

      It won’t come with maps. Officially, Fenix doesn’t support maps, and I don’t think that’s changed with Fenix 2. Unofficially, you can put maps on it, but certainly not the whole Midwest. There’s not enough storage for that.

    • Paul S

      Well, I should qualify that. It comes with a base map which, if you set the watch at low enough resolution, you can see state/international boundaries on it. Nothing that you would normally think of as being a map, though.

    • Mimmo

      And Suunto Ambit2 have the map or is equal fenix ?

  193. frank

    1. Can Fenix2 handle a full Ironman in 1sec sampling, like the 910xt ,18+ hrs with everything on?

    2. Outside of button changes, is any of internal hw changed/optimized to match 910xt performance?

  194. frank

    3. Will they sell a quick release kit for fenix2?

  195. Ted

    Thanks for the great review Ray. Looking forward to the full review. In the meantime. If you still have the beta version can you run a little test? Can you put on 1sec sampling with HRM and just wearthe fenix 2 all day. Many of us would like to see if it can crack th 18+ hour mark with all on. 0ver 20 even better. A possible test?

  196. J.Griffin

    Fenix user forums, since GC doesn’t seem to have a Fenix group where do users go to collaborate?

  197. Sf

    How many profiles are there (aside from the 3 customizable ones) and what are they?
    Thanks Ray; your site is a great source of info.

    • The profiles included are:

      1) XS Ski
      2) Ski-board
      3) Mountaineer
      4) Hike
      5) Navigate
      6) Trail Run
      7) Run
      8) Bike
      9) Swim > Openwater, Pool
      10) Workout
      11) Indoor > Run, Bike, Custom, Workout
      12) Multisport
      13) Custom

    • Jeff G

      For workout profile, does this disable GPS? IE, can I use this while lifting at the gym and not have it go to sleep with no input after 5 mins?

    • No, workout allows you to execute a custom workout.

      Just simply put it in indoor running mode, or create a custom mode that just turns off the GPS.

    • Ted

      Never considered the workout profile. With the HRM-run. I am also interested in how the workout mode works. Example, say I’m taking an insanity class. (ie. some up/down alterate movements) but also lots of HR data. What profile for such a class might keep track of good data. HR min/avg/peak is one, and I suspect that is easy. But with the HRM-run might there be other useful data?

    • Chris

      Was curious about this too, since I do crossfit and wondered if it would be helpful there w/ all the advanced fenix 2 feedback

    • Ultimately, the movements really won’t be captured from a calorie standpoints. It’s purely HR based.

    • Sf

      Hi Ray;
      Thanks for the response.
      1:Can you tell me if the profiles can be renamed?
      2: is “XS Ski” supposed to be “XC Ski”?
      3: are the given profiles locked in stone regarding their data pages or can they be customized (as per Fenix 1)? If this is the case then the only real difference is the total number of profiles available?

      I only care because I use 3 skiing profiles (alpine, Nordic-classic, and Nordic-skating. The profile “ski” just doesn’t cut it for me (not to mention ski-board!!).

      Thanks again!

    • Chris

      Are fenix2 profiles much more comprehensive and differentiated than the minimally populated ones in fenix1? (like hiking not having elevation pages, etc)

      On fenix1, found myself spending too much time adding relevant pages on different profiles that I felt Garmin should have added as default; as It’s a lot faster/easier to delete pages than to create them from scratch.

      Kinda bummed out that you can’t change the profile names, as 3 custom profiles don’t cover all my other frequent sports/activities like Kayaking, Gym/Weightlifting, Flying, Driving, Boating, and I may not care about XS-Ski, etc.

      Do you think they may allow you to change profile names in a future F2 release? (multisport can vary quite a bit for different people)

  198. Mimmo

    This is a user’s post from a note forum, What do you think about it Ray?

    “I own and used extensively both the Fenix 1 and Ambit 2 (and Ambit 1). Now that Garmin has solved the rapid acquisition disadvantage of the Fenix (with the downloading of satellite info during sync. in 4.12 beta), there still is a big gap in satellite tracking performance between the watches. I just ran, again, a comparison of both watches inside my house. I let the watches acquire satellites and then sit for 1/2 hr. to stabilize. I then recorded the location as shown by the watches (in the Navigation page in the Ambit and GPS Tools in the Fenix). To minimize the effect of filtering, I recorded the number every 15-30min. I then computed the mean std. dev. of the recorded locations. The mean numbers were reasonably close (as expected), but the Ambit’s std. dev. was only 40% of that of the Fenix, demonstrating, what I already suspected during the extensive use of both, a much better GPS tracking performance. Not a big deal in open sky but could be huge in more challenging environments. Considering the recent FR620/220 release, I suspect that the Fenix2 performance is unlikely to improve significantly (due to a better GPS chipset or an improved antenna design).”

    • I’d say he’s chasing up a tree that seems non-useful. Look at tracks while actually doing something, not just putting it on a spot in the ground for hours. I could take any GPS watch in the drawers behind me, and they’ll all show splatter patterns. The units are designed to record while going somewhere. Within my review, I include tracks of various units against each other.

    • Chris

      On a similar note, on fenix thread in watchuseek, Suunto Ambit 2 user posted:

      “Altimeter VERY reliable. In fact I did 98 laps of a 400m track last weekend and it showed ±0m in elevation change. Right on. ”

      Is the fenix2 altimeter just as reliable?

    • My understanding is that it’s the same altimeter, so I’d be surprised if it became non-reliable.

    • Mimmo

      Instead for you who has the best altimeter/barometer between Garmin and Suunto?

    • Chris

      That was kind of my concern, as I’ve been told the Suunto altimeter is way more accurate than fenix, and that’s my major deciding factor between Ambit 2 & Fenix 2 for long mountain biking & trail runs.

    • Paul S

      Fenix is actually pretty good; in “Auto Cal.” mode, where it uses GPS altitude data to keep the barometric altimeter in line, I don’t see much to make me unhappy, and I don’t manually calibrate any more because the self-calibration works well enough.

      With Garmin devices with barometric altimeters, though, I’ve learned that +/- 40 ft is about as good as it’s going to get after an hour or so. Even on rollers, my Edge 800 will show altitude variation. The main thing is to calibrate them before an activity.

    • Chris

      Thks Paul, your +/- 40 ft accuracy is helpful re fenix altitude, i’ll keep looking to see whether Ambit is about the same or much better, as some claim.

    • Paul S

      Relative accuracy over short distances/times, of course, is much better. I think Garmin claims +/- 1 ft for the precision, and that’s probably about right. The +/- 40 occurs, for example, when I arrive back home after a ride of an hour or so and see that it’s within 40 ft of the elevation that I set when I left, or when I pass some landmark that I know the altitude of, and it shows within 40ft of the correct altitude. That’s pretty typical. Over the course of an hour, the surface pressure can change. If you look at the elevation plots on Garmin Connect, you might see a large scale “tilt” imposed on the small scale structure. Some days, though, it’s spot on.

      Suunto is limited by the same physics that Garmin is. Maybe they have a better technique to keep the altimeter calibrated. If they’re using GPS altitude, though, there’s no way that’s going to be more accurate.

    • Bart Bouse

      Kinda wonder if he is reading the data wrong. Maybe the Fenix is continuing to actively find it’s location and Ambit isn’t. That said, the only analogy that comes to my mind is looking at shotgun splatter patterns. If you look at patterns at 10 yards, it really doesn’t matter. Everything dies at 10 yards. At 40 yards, it’s an entirely different story. If you are hunting, you are shooting at things further than 10 yards. Why look at data that is useless in the real world?

  199. Aurimas

    Hi Ray,
    I had a question if Fenix2 is at all showing anything about depth when submerged? I am doing some free-diving and it would be cool to have atleast something in this department (like max depth or time underwater)… Is Ambit2 any better in this respect? Any ideas if something might come along on Ambit side in terms of Apps for that?
    In general like the aesthetics of the fenix better than Ambit and the wider support of GPS stuff as well as Sking mode.
    One extra interesting part is the possiblity to upload maps on to Fenix -> can see this in Youtube if you search for “garmin fenix maps” would be cool to see that part of things in your upcomming review as well, like how detailed are such maps in cities and if your trail charting would be layed over the map. Also it is interesting how much free space is there on the unit, Fenix1 had some 20Mb to go around would love to see more on Fenix2, maybe you could ask the guys in Garmin for that info, having good connections to them and all ;).

    • Bart Bouse

      Why would you ever contemplate using this as a dive computer of any type as your life depends on it when an inexpensive reliable proven dive computer can be had for $200 or less? I can think of plenty of ways using this thing as a dive computer could end your life. A faulty GPS means you have to remember the last Survivorman episode to get yourself out of the woods in a couple days. A faulty dive computer means your DEAD in two minutes.

    • Aurimas Jacikevicius

      You miss my point…
      First of all for free-diving you do not need a dive computer… nothing really matter there apart for time underwater and intervals. Max depth and or time is just interesting to be able to have it recorded to see how you progress and also to be able to show it off. Intended use is not a dive computer but a rugged device that can track ALL my activities.

    • Bart

      I was a little dramatic but I don’t miss the point. The point is that the Fenix or Fenix 2 seriously lack any underwater functionality. Dive computers are made for greater depths and are much more waterproof vs waterresistant. The Fenix is basically waterproofed like a cheap Timex but nothing like a dive computer or depth guage. The buttons on the Fenix(2) would be a serious detriment underwater where everything gets bumped, pulled, scraped, etc. I would also have serious concerns about the readability of the dial underwater and wouldn’t dare press the light button underwater as this usually compromises the water tight seal. Read up on dive computers and you’ll begin to understand how the Fenix would be a serious mistake here. Here’s a good cheap proven reliable option. link to leisurepro.com

  200. J.Griffin

    Well I’ve been holding back in acquiring my FR305 replacement, and so glad I did!!

    Now the $64k question is, aside from the V800 is there any other worthy options coming down the pike, this year or least before summer? I hate too many surprises.