This product has been discontinued by the manufacturer. It's been replaced by the Garmin Fenix 6 Series, you may want to check out that review instead.
- What’s in the box
- Swim – Pool
- Swim – Openwater
- Bike – With Power Meter Support
- Run – With Running Dynamics, VO2Max, and Race Predictor
- Multisport Mode
- Live Tracking and Mobile Phone Uploads
- Hiking & Navigation
- Garmin VIRB Support
- Ski/Snowboard Mode
- Random notable items that didn’t fit
- Comparison Tables
- My initial thoughts on the unit
- FAQ’s - Frequently Asked Questions
- Found this review useful?
- Discussion (1112)
First Look at Garmin’s new Fenix2 Multisport & Triathlon Watch
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:
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And finally, here’s a look at the back of the 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:
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.
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…
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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:
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).
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):
% FTP, AVG BAL, AVG PWR, BAL, BAL 10S, BAL 30S, BAL 3S, IF, KILOJOULES, LAP BAL, LAP NP, LLAP NP, LLAP PWR, MAX LAP PWR, MAX PWR, NP, PDL SMOOTH, POWER, PWR 10S, PWR 30S, PWR 3S, PWR ZONE, TORQUE EFF, TSS, WATTS/KG
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.
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:
(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:
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:
Afterwards, on Garmin Connect, you’ll see the Running Dynamics metrics there. You can see them here for my half-marathon:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
You’ll also have the option to enable transition recording times as well:
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.
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.
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…).
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:
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:
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.
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 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
6) Trail Run
9) Swim > Openwater, Pool
11) Indoor > Run, Bike, Custom, Workout
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.
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/Feature||Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SE||Garmin Fenix||Suunto Ambit2||Garmin Forerunner 910XT|
|Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated April 29th, 2021 @ 5:06 am New Window|
|Price||$399||$299 (on sale)||$319||$399|
|Product Announcement Date||Feb 20, 2014||JUL 10, 2012||APR 29, 2013||OCT 4, 2011|
|Actual Availability/Shipping Date||March 2014||AUG 2012||May 2013||JAN-APR 2012|
|GPS Recording Functionality||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Data Transfer||USB/Bluetooth Smart||USB & Bluetooth Smart||USB||ANT+ Wireless|
|Waterproofing||Yes - 50m||Yes - 50m||Yes - 100m||Yes - 50m|
|Battery Life (GPS)||50 Hours||50 hours||50 hours||20 Hours|
|Recording Interval||1S to Variable||1s to variable||Variable||1s or Smart|
|Ability to download custom apps to unit/device||No||No||Yes||No|
|Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)||No||No||No||No||Connectivity||Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SE||Garmin Fenix||Suunto Ambit2||Garmin Forerunner 910XT|
|Bluetooth Smart to Phone Uploading||Yes||Yes||No||Via Wahoo Fitness Adapter|
|Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Live Tracking (streaming location to website)||Yes||Yes (as of Feb 2014)||No||No|
|Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)||No||No||No||No|
|Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)||No||No||No||No||Cycling||Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SE||Garmin Fenix||Suunto Ambit2||Garmin Forerunner 910XT|
|Designed for cycling||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Power Meter Capable||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Power Meter Configuration/Calibration Options||Yes||N/A||Yes||Yes|
|Power Meter TSS/NP/IF||Yes||N/A||No||Yes|
|Speed/Cadence Sensor Capable||Yes||Yes (full support added Sept 2013)||Yes||Yes||Running||Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SE||Garmin Fenix||Suunto Ambit2||Garmin Forerunner 910XT|
|Designed for running||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Footpod Capable (For treadmills)||Yes||Yes||Yes (internal accelerometer)||Yes|
|Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)||Yes||No||No||No|
|Run/Walk Mode||Yes (Added June 13th, 2014)||No||No||Yes||Swimming||Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SE||Garmin Fenix||Suunto Ambit2||Garmin Forerunner 910XT|
|Designed for swimming||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Openwater swimming mode||Yes||N/A||Yes||Yes|
|Lap/Indoor Distance Tracking||Yes||N/A||Yes||Yes|
|Record HR underwater||No||No||No||No|
|Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)||Yes||N/A||Yes||Yes|
|Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)||Yes||N/A||Yes||Yes|
|Indoor Drill Mode||Yes||N/A||Yes||No|
|Indoor auto-pause feature||No||N/A||No||No|
|Change pool size||Yes||N/A||Yes||Yes|
|Indoor Min/Max Pool Lengths||18m/20y to 150y/m||N/A||15m/y to 1,200m/y||20m/22y to 100y/m|
|Ability to customize data fields||Yes||N/A||Yes||Yes|
|Captures per length data - indoors||Yes||N/A||Yes||Yes|
|Indoor Alerts||Yes||N/A||No||Yes||Triathlon||Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SE||Garmin Fenix||Suunto Ambit2||Garmin Forerunner 910XT|
|Designed for triathlon||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Multisport mode||Yes||N/A||Yes||Yes||Workouts||Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SE||Garmin Fenix||Suunto Ambit2||Garmin Forerunner 910XT|
|Create/Follow custom workouts||Yes||Yes (As of Dec 6, 2013)||No||Yes|
|On-unit interval Feature||Yes||Yes (As of Dec 6, 2013)||Barely||Yes|
|Training Calendar Functionality||Yes (Added June 13th, 2014)||No||No||Yes||Functions||Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SE||Garmin Fenix||Suunto Ambit2||Garmin Forerunner 910XT|
|Virtual Partner Feature||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Virtual Racer Feature||No||No||No||Yes|
|Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)||No||No||No||No|
|Tidal Tables (Tide Information)||No||No||No||No|
|Weather Display (live data)||No||No||No||No||Navigate||Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SE||Garmin Fenix||Suunto Ambit2||Garmin Forerunner 910XT|
|Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)||No||No||No||No|
|Back to start||Yes||Yes||Yes (added Aug 30, 2013)||Yes|
|Impromptu Round Trip Route Creation||No||No||No||No|
|Download courses/routes from phone to unit||Yes||Yes||No||No||Sensors||Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SE||Garmin Fenix||Suunto Ambit2||Garmin Forerunner 910XT|
|Altimeter Type||Barometric||Barometric||Barometric, GPS (FusedAlti)||Barometric|
|Heart Rate Strap Compatible||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ANT+ Heart Rate Strap Capable||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ANT+ Speed/Cadence Capable||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ANT+ Footpod Capable||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ANT+ Power Meter Capable||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|ANT+ Remote Control||No (can control VIRB though)||Yes||No||No|
|ANT+ eBike Compatibility||No||No||No||No|
|Shimano Di2 Shifting||No||No||No|
|Bluetooth Smart HR Strap Capable||No||No||No||No|
|Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence Capable||No||No||No||No|
|Bluetooth Smart Footpod Capable||No||No||No||No|
|Bluetooth Smart Power Meter Capable||No||No||No||No|
|Temp Recording (internal sensor)||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Temp Recording (external sensor)||Yes||Yes||No||No||Software||Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SE||Garmin Fenix||Suunto Ambit2||Garmin Forerunner 910XT|
|PC Application||Garmin Express||Basecamp||Moveslink Agent||GTC/ANT Agent|
|Web Application||Garmin Connect||Garmin Connect||Movescount||Garmin Connect|
|Phone App||iOS/Android||Garmin Basecamp (iOS)||Suunto Movescount||iOS/Android|
|Ability to Export Settings||No||Yes (profiles XML)||Yes (online)||No||Purchase||Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SE||Garmin Fenix||Suunto Ambit2||Garmin Forerunner 910XT|
|Amazon||Link||Link||Link||Link||DCRainmaker||Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SE||Garmin Fenix||Suunto Ambit2||Garmin Forerunner 910XT|
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:
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.
|2014 Summer Recommendations: Running Watches|
|2014 Summer Recommendations: Triathlon Watches|
|2014 Winter Recommendations: Running Watches|
|August 2014 Garmin Sale|
|Left/Right Capable Bike Computers|
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.
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.
Re accelerometer on fenix 2, will it take over if you lose gps signal while running through tall trees or when going through a tunnel?
Yes, it converts to that. Seems to have worked fairly well thus far in my tunnels.
Is that the accelerometer on the fenix2 itself or on the HRM-run pod? Is hrm-run the default first, then watch or vice-versa? wonder which one is more accurate
Guess, this could get even more confusing if we throw a foot-pod into the mix! I take this auto-switchover from gps does not happen in fenix1 or does it?
For pace, it’s within the Fenix2 itself. The HRM-Run is providing cadence (as does the Fenix2), as well as the Running Dynamics.
Hi Ray, congratulations for your posts. I’m going to decide between ambit 2 or fenix 2. Is there any possibility in the future to have customized App’s even on fenix 2? Thanks again and have a nice WE!
No, I don’t see that happening.
Ray, Garmin has posted the Fenix 2 software.
link to www8.garmin.com…ls.jsp?id=6929
It’s just another build. They often post builds as they get close to final release, to enable testers to validate the external update process is working as expected.
Do you know what is the different between the North America and the Europe models?
I’m working on getting the exact differences. I believe it’s simply a box thing (different power adapters).
In Italy into same shop the Fenix2 is available: link to timesport24.it
link to lecco.bakeca.it
Hmm, I’m reasonably certain they’re mistaken. Since the builds, last I checked around 1AM last night, were still beta.
It’s one thing to accept orders, but I can’t see a scenario where they actually have units on-hand to give to someone.
Fenix 2 is marked as “prenotabile” on timesport24.it homepage. It means – unfortunately – “You can pre-order it”.
Hi Ray, two questions about tech.features: Fenix2 resolution=70×70, what about Ambit2? Ambit2 Minimum distance scale=0,25 Mi, what about Fenix2? Thanks again for your helpful reviews and look forward to read the in-depth review of Fenix2.
I have read that Suunto will do a great update for Ambit2, Ray do you think that them will can implement smart notification and the other news othat now the fenix2 have? It’s possible with the hardware that Ambit2 have?
No, the Ambit2 does not (neither 2S nor 2R) have a BT capable chipset in it. I’ve confirmed this.
Thanks Ray for this interesting pre-review,
I have a pratical question on fenix 2 and interval training. When you press the “lap” button does the fenix 2 gives you the corresponding time in minutes and seconds –like my old FR305– or does it also display tenths of second (like any stopwatch)
Thanks in advance for your answer!
Yup, seconds as well.
seconds and tenths of second?
Hundredths if you press pause, but only nearest second if you press lap.
can you tell me if i can use the Forerunner Bicycle Mount Kit to mounit it to my bike handlebar so i can have to wear it. thanks
I was talking about the fenix unit thanks
Yes, the Forerunner Bicycle Kit mount is what you want.
Thanks ray. You are the best.
Can Fenix2 use like cycle computer simply?
Sometimes,I want use only as checking speed ,cadence,HR without saving log data.
Yup, of course, no problems with any of that.
Is it possible to create a waypoint without physically being at the waypoint’s location? i.e.: enter a LAT/LONG or MGRS on the watch it self to create waypoints on the fly. Or do you need to use the Garmin computer software for that kind of stuff? Thanks
Yup. You’ll go to Navigate > Coordinates > Enter them.
I ordered mine from Garmin on Friday and found out they will give me $99 for the 610. I got the heart rate monitor package so I guess I can also get rid of my foot pod, good to know.
Garmin will give $99 for a 610 trade? For the fenix2 preorder? Is $99 only once they receive the 610?
Ray, can you please confirm if the Fenix 2 also provides Tides info and Jumpmaster like on the Tactix? Thank you!
Please disregard my prior post, I see it now in your review, sorry….
Ray, I want to say Thank you for your Excellent in-depth reviews! I recently purchased the Tactix based off of your Reviews and am returning it for the Fenix 2. I’ll miss the green night time display, but I’ve now preordered the Fenix 2 + HRM Run, and cannot wait!!!
Looking forward to your upcoming in-depth Review of the Fenix 2
For people in Europe, anyone any hint when will we be able to order from amazon?? I don’t mind the specific site: amazon.es amazon.co.uk or amazon.de …Ray will you update your links to amazon then in order to be able to contribute to your site?? Thanks!
The links automatically redirect for European folks to the correct store. However, Garmin hasn’t made the Fenix2 yet available to Amazon (nor any of the other international Amazon stores).
Ray, do you know if Garmin will make a version with positive display available?
I don’t really understand why they chose to go with a negative display on a device where you want to get relevant information by a quick glance.
A negative display is widely considered better looking, but harder to read. (note: hardER, not hard). Maybe there is a reason behind their choice? It would be interesting to hear.
I’m pretty sure you anwered yourself – it’s better looking.
Had a watch before with a horrible negative display and wouldn’t want to repeat the experience – but Fenix 2 seems ok. I was only considering Tactix before because I didn’t like how Fenix with positive display looked.
Just curious why negative display would be considered harder to read? I know with some of my analogue watches white on black is way easier than black on white. Even most car odometers nowadays are white on black.
I’ve asked for a bit of context on why they selected the inverted display. I definitely don’t expect to see a non-inverted variant.
I had a Suunto Core with inverted display and had to send it back as it was too hard to read (not so with the black on white Core). Of course the fenix2 is a whole different animal from the Core. I really like the inverted display vs the fenix1 black on white display, much better looking (to me).
It’s because the black area drops shadow into text, which is thin. so the text is more like gray, not white. Depends on lighting and angle of view etc. Black text on white doesn’t have this problem because the shadow dropped by the text doesn’t obscure anything – there is enough empty area around the text.
What does a negative display look like in the dark. Meaning I Ru in the dark a lot. Sure you can hit a button for backlight, but if you pass a street light or something you can usually read the display. Will that work on negative display
There’s a backlight. You can see it in one of the photos above (it’s red).
For your comparison tables:
meanwhile garmin added “Satellite Pre-Loading via Computer” for the normal/old fenix too (fw 4.11b >)
Thanks, added that in.
Does the multisport function works like the 910XT/Ambit2: pre-programmed sport sequence (swim-bike-run) and/or manual change of sport, or does it only support pre-programmed sport sequence?
You can mix and match any sports you like, custom or standard.
Okay, but let me put it this way. Do you need to preprogram the multi-soprt sequence, or can you change sport “on the fly” like you can on the 910XT by holding the Mode-button or holding the Lap-button on the Ambit2?
Here’s why I just pre ordered the fenix2.
Garmin has finally provided an everyday watch that ticks my must haves: watch to mobile phone activity upload, power meter support, Tempe sensor support, tides and phone notifications via Bluetooth.
The big clincher was browsing eBay and seeing the high prices used 910xt’s are selling for. When you add in the DCRainmaker discount at Clevertraining for the fenix2 and then see I can sell my 910xt for pretty close to the price of the fenix2, it was a easy decision.
Hi Gunnar – Thanks for the support via Clever Training, I appreciate it!
I neglected to mention that I did my pre-order thru CT. Glad to have made a decision, hoping for the best!
I went ahead & pre-ordered the F2, and I’m not one to that would normally do that. I typically like to at least wait until the release, and enough time to acquire people’s feedback.
I have a still working FR305, but it is a bit of a brick and time for an update. But I’ll hold on to it as a backup. I passed on the 220 & 620, they appear to be great running watches but I just didn’t felt like it hit enough marks for me. I mostly run, with some biking with plans to do more trail runs/races.
So I have no real need for the next the perfect next gen Tri watch. Worse case, if doesn’t work out I’ll send it back. I do wish the display was changeable, like the V800 is supposed to be. And wished that Garmin would do that, that would make it even better.
I do running, cycling and gym. Is there a way to track or to insert manually activity from indoor cycling?
And is such activity or at least cycling activity considered for the recovery time calculation? If I understand it correctly, that one was imported from the 620 which has no cycle mode.
Thanks a lot for a quick reply.
Yes, you can track indoor cycling with a speed/cadence sensor. It has a full-on cycling mode just like the FR910XT.
On the recovery time, I’ve asked for some clarification there. In the latest build I didn’t see myself getting a recovery time calc, but I need to verify that again. But I asked for clarifications on which sports do get it.
Just curious on whether you got some feedback regarding whether all types of sports are included into the recovery time (and also VO2max) calculation.
Would be for me the main reason to get a Fenix2 instead of the Forerunner 620 since I also use an Edge 810.
Only running right now is being included in those calculations (I did confirm this with the Fenix team).
That’s what I thought. It’s simply copied over from the 620. I’ll probably go for the V800 then. Thanks for following up.
Ray how many alert settings does the fenix2 have. I am wondering with the HRM run, if its possible to set hi/low thresholds on cadence. There are times in training I would really like to keep a specific cadence, just like a specific HR range. What other alerts/notifications might be programmable. Thanks
You can set run alerts on the following:
Plus, you can create workouts, which are basically a series of alerts. Typically, I prefer to create workouts.
This is awesome! I am stoked about this watch. The one little nit pick in my mind is the battery life. For 90% of current usage I suspect this is perfect. But I’m starting to get into ultras. 50miler and rim2rim2rim in the fall. We’ll see how those go for now. but would like to have full GPS tracking + HR monitoring, cadence all that.. for the full time frame for those events. Neither should take 20 hours. But I’m sort using that as a reference point. How long can the Fenix2 last with all the ant+ on. Watching for the results of a different reply where it sound you might run some type of test to see..
Ray, how do you activate the backlight on the Fenix 2? Do you short tap the power button, or can you tap the screen like the FR910XT?
Also, would you mind snapping a shot of what the screen *would* look like if one were to try to use it as an everyday watch? Is it possible that the current beta software doesn’t allow you to have the date/day displayed simultaneously with the time when using it in this fashion?
Honestly, the possibility of using it as an everyday watch is the only real temptation for me to move from my FR910XT. I travel a bit for work… this would save me the need of packing my the FR for training on the road.
Simply short tap the upper left corner – it’s a dedicated light button. You can configure how long the light remains on (including forever).
I’ll try and get a photo up of the regular day to day watch screen. The beta definitely has it in there, just simply didn’t make my cut of photos I posted (but I do have it).
Btw… for those that have asked about the inverted display, I assume they went with the white text on black background to conserve energy usage (and extend the length between charges) — at least, that was the logic used by Google when they released ICS. The red backlight is a little puzzling though… red font is known for making the eyes strain.
Red light is often used on boats and airplanes to ensure your night vision isn’t compromised.
Ray, is it possible to complete turn off the F2 such as the 910xt to save battery? Or at least shut of the screen? Thanks
Yup, simply hold the light button down, you’re then prompted to either ‘Lock’ the screen or ‘Power Off’.
Though, remember unlike the FR910XT the unit is designed to go upwards of a month with the screen on (and GPS off). Whereas the 910XT will only get about 2-2.5 days in that mode.
I am in the habit of powering down my 610 also, since the ant+ sync and just general display juice used up drains the battery. For the F2 (believe you have a typo above with FR910XT) how do you simply turn off GPS and allow the display active to achieve that one month? Thanks!
Okay, but let me put it this way. Do you need to preprogram the multi-sport sequence, or can you change sport “on the fly” like you can on the 910XT by holding the Mode-button or holding the Lap-button on the Ambit2?
You need to pre-program the sports for that session, as done on the watch.
Thank you for the answer above, even though I had hoped for an easy way to change sports mode on the fly 🙂
Do you think that the new Garmin Connect site will have a better view for multi sport sessions? Today I can’t get any information of total time/dist., just a bunch of separate training sessions. I really like the Ambit2 and the way Movescount displays multisport sessions, but I’m a ’Garmin guy’, and have all of my previous training logs in Garmin Connect 😉
No, same as before.
When you think of the new Garmin Connect – don’t think of it as an improvement. Think of it like those Russian Dashcam videos where a person comes out and starts beating on the windows with a baseball bat. Results are similar. Most things are broken, nothing looks better, and the functionality is worse than before.
I really love your honesty 🙂
Then It’s really a hard decision, maybe I keep my Ambit2 and wait for the next gen. Fenix/Garmin Connect.
fenix2 vs v800: v800 wins for me!!!
It now seems clear, Garmin can’t get their act together on both hw & sw quality, as evidenced by high return rate of fenix1 (hw) on their own forums (majority wind up swapping defective watches) and still are plagued by glitchy / buggy sw that now even extends to their website. Has Garmin ever heard of a term called “user experience”? That seems to be their achilles’ heel.
Polar, on the other hand, seems to have their quality well under control, per Ray’s assessment:
“Polar tends to have a very solid track record of doing what they say – and doing it in a generally bug-free manner (much better than most others)”
Polar v800 will be my choice as I want a bug-free watch that just works out of the box, and not spend months as an unpaid beta tester who has spent top dollar for the privilege.
Sorry, Garmin, there’s way too much competition now for you to afford to continue on this flawed business model unless you aspire to be the next Blackberry. Garmin, get your act together, I’m embarrassed for you.
Strange…here’s where things actually stand:
Garmin HW: Likely days, or at worst weeks away from release
Polar HW: Polar stated this weekend to some that they’ve now slipped to May
Garmin SW: New GC ugly, but old GC mostly works
Polar SW: Site doesn’t exist yet for any V800 features, thus, TBD on whether it works
Just trying to provide some reality-check clarity. And as always, don’t use the forums as a barometer for anything other than tech support. Be it Apple, Polar or Garmin – happy people never post in company forums. Only people with issues. That’s why they’re there.
Thks for the sanity check, Ray. You’re 100% correct on the “happy people” posting aspect. It’s just that I was really set on buying the fenix2, but not willing to be put up with a buggy watch, so based on my research, Garmin appears to have slipped big time on quality, whereas Polar is at opposite extreme.
I much prefer a heavily delayed quality product, than an on-time piece of junk. Thks for your honesty, it’s rather refreshing! I truly see your blog, as the most authoritative in this area. Thks agan.
Ray & Kevin– thanks for your valuable input! I too struggled with trying to decide which path to take for my next GPS watch. I don’t believe that either company is w/o some faults. And using forums to make informed decisions can only cloud ones perceptions and process.
I was pretty much leaning towards the V800, until the F2 hit the arena. I’m willing to give USA Garmin a crack at my money & loyalty. Should they fail then its on to Polar or another company.
Based on Ray’s feedback and (enthusiasm of others) I changed to Garmin line (swim, edge 510, forerunner 620), but I wish I could go back in time, then I decide differently.
Swim is doing good, but both with 510 and 620 I do have issues, 620 already replaced.
I am spending too much time on debugging features and discussions with Garmin, so I will definitely not go for yet another Garmin.
Will the other brands do better?, that remains to be seen, I had no problems with Suunto, Cycleops and Polar in the past (pre-GPS era), but after bad experience with Tomtom (2 replacements) Garmin is not doing good either.
I think in this new emerging highly competitive gps environment, features-being equivalent, quality will become the new market differentiator as complexity rises and end user experience continues to rise.
Now that people have been spoiled by unparalleled simplicity in using smartphone apps, not only do they expect their external devices to tether to their central command, but also to be as easy to use as the best designed apps.
I hate to admit, but as an American, I wanted Garmin quality to be superior than others. But, sadly our values seemed to have flipped to the point that if they can get away by making lower quality watches that bring enough revenue, then why bother spending extra money on improving quality.
There’s an old Garmin forum thread where an engineer pointed out that Suunto has their factory built right next door to their HQ! Sadly, you’ll never see Garmin doing the same, as the bottom line is all they care about, and if their quality slips but their sales continue to rise, why bother?
Like everyone here, I’m still trying to decide between fenix2 and v800. I too experienced what I thought were quirks, but now realize were genuine quality issues.
Went back to the place I bought/returned my fenix1, and got some interesting feedback, their latest ship date for fenix2 is April 5th and they supposedly expect it to be better quality, as apparently they keep track of reasons for returns and then provide data back to garmin for improvement. Here’s the shocker, fenix1 turned out to be one of their most returned items!
I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, but suffice to say, this came from one of the largest and best west coast store chains, and don’t know whether the high return rate was only at that one store or throughout.
The good news is that they were confident that the fenix2 would not have anywhere near the quality issues of fenix1. So, with that in mind, I’m willing to give the fenix2 a chance, and if it turns out to be as quirky as fenix, I’ll return it and get the v800. Case closed.
Can you comment on how bad the watch can now be read with white on black?
All video and pics I recon of fenix 2 look less easily readable than the fenix 1.
I have no clue why they changed it or did not make this an option to choose.
I’ve added a section in the FAQ’s that covers it. Cheers.
I’ve read your FAQ. Does the F2 have the ability to adjust the contrast & brightness?
Yup, you can adjust both.
Great & Fantastic!! That should help on getting view on the inverted display.
I’m planning on upgrading from old fenix to fenix2 primarily because the V800 can’t touch the non-officially supported fenix maps link to gmaptool.eu
Do you think white on black + red backlight would render map readability useless? Is it possible for you to include a picture in your next detailed review with and without red backlight?
Inside the Garmin map directory that you get from the link you gave is a file called ofusne.typ, which is a Garmin TYP file. This controls the colors that you see on the map. A quick search for “Garmin TYP” turned up lots of links describing the format several tools that are supposed to be able to create them. Since the Fenix, and I assume Fenix 2, only has 4 “colors”, there isn’t that much you can do, but I’d play with the typ file until you find a color choice that works. I’m actually using a modified .typ file on mine that makes trails more prominent and roads much less so, but I don’t remember exactly where I got it. Probably a search of the Garmin forums will turn it up. But what looks good on a Fenix probably won’t on a Fenix 2.
Thks Paul, that’s very helpful. If by chance you find the modified typ file, pls post link here, as the trails not being prominent is the biggest downside of using fenix maps.
My only concern is I’m not a techie, so hopefully I’d be able to understand how to modify that file with zero programming skills.
This might be it. I found it on the watchuseek Fenix thread that I have been following, so it’s probably where I found it.
TYP files are binary files, thought, so they’re not something you can customize without programming skills or a good tool.
Meredith! Thanks for that link! I didn’t know about it and it really adds a lot more functionality. Thanks again!
Thks again, Paul. Tried it and it works great. BTW, found a couple of tools you might already know for managing BC & fenix maps, Javawa GMTK & Device Mgr. Good stuff.
Would you please advice?
On hiking,generally fenix user should stop GPS at night(sleeping in tent)?
I want one log data of gps on one hiking.
I worried the gps data become strange.
Or Should I pause or stop gps and restart next morning?
(I should marge two gpx data later if stop)
And can fenix2 be charged with mobile battery while keep on GPS is active?
On the Fenix2, there’s a resume option – which is perfect for this. I haven’t though doubled back to see if it was added in a firmware update on the Fenix1.
I need to validate if I can still use a solar/mobile battery on the Fenix2, but it did work on the Fenix1. Can’t imagine that changed.
Thanks for your reply!
I will purchase Fenix2 and check the resume option and mobile battery.
I don’t know much about it, but would the ANT+ iPhone adapter provide some type of workaround for the Fenix 2 being unable to handle Live Tracking and ANT+ at once–could the ANT+ sensor data basically be routed through the iPhone (via Garmin’s app) and then to the Fenix 2 via Bluetooth? It seems like a lot of trouble, but is it even possible for those who must have both?
Technically, sure. But honestly the Garmin iPhone adapter and associated Garmin Fit App is like an old ex-girlfriend to Garmin. Not much love there anymore.
I figured as much since I haven’t seen an updated version for the Lightning port on iPhone 5 and 5S. Thanks.
Someone had asked earlier for a photo of the regular time screen (day to day watch mode). Here ya go: link to dcrainmaker.com
The seconds are shown along the edge.
Note that it’s fully customizable. So you can add anything from sunrise/sunset to day of week, style, etc… Really cool customization (just like Fenix1).
Thanks for the image. Are you saying the seconds are the tick marks along the outer edge of the watch, no actual numbers?
Ray… thanks a lot man. Your response and accessibility, particularly considering that blogging isn’t your “job”, is unreal. Cheers, mate.
At this point, unless your battery test shows that the standby estimates are greatly exaggerated, I think I may be putting my 910 on the open market and picking one of these up.
Correct on tick marks. Though, you can certainly configure simple seconds if you’d like to.
Thank you Ray!
It is crazy considering how much time I spend reading your stuff. Can’t imagine the time and dedication that goes into making this here.
At some point you should get an award.
Not directly because of your reviews. But you are making earth a healthier place. I believe all this tech in sports makes it more enjoyable for more people and you facilitate and multiply that joy by making the right choices.
Your footprint is quiet large. You can be proud of that.
Thanks Sebastian – I appreciate it!
Thanks as usual for the great reviews but extra kudos for the replies and extra work for the comments and updates to FAQ’s (let alone writing more reviews and blogs in the meantime).
You are a retired millionaire, right!
Much appreciated, thanks.
PS I pre-ordered because of the review and comments
I have The garmin tactix and are very interested In The swim profile. Is it possible to load it from The fenix2 on to The tactix?
Not at this time. But it’s a question I asked* in a long laundry list of consolidated questions from the 600+ comments, I hope to have it back and hour now…
(*In terms of how the Tactix feature set fits into things longer term)
How is readability when you wear polarized sunglasses?
Inverted displays have a cool factor, but really seem harder and take more time read, or require a more of dead on view to see properly, as opposed to glancing a regular display at nearly any angle.
I haven’t seen/heard any issues with the Tactix (same reversed display).
Thank you, Ray!
Nice review as usual! One question… I noticed that in your last Barcelona swim data with the Fenix2 your GC is showing strokes per minute just liked you pointed in this review. While on the pool I assume it can also display stokes per length. Is that right?
Will GC only show strokes per minute on certain watches? i.e. My Garmin Swim has the spm on the watch but this field is not available in GC.
I have the 910XT, I’ll never be a pro and may only pull off 1 or so(if I’m lucky) IM, possibly with up to 10 or so 70.3’s in the mix.
Most of my triathlons are the Xterra types. I am toying with letting my Mrs. have the 910XT and buying a new unit. Would you wait for the 910XT replacement or go straight for the fenix2?
BTW, I have an Edge 510 for when I ride (MTB & Road) only, so this unit would be for hiking, running, swimming(open water & pool) and multisport or anything else I may do that would require GPS measurement. I also don’t do as much analysis as I possibly should or maybe am likely to do. I do however not wish to have more than two units in my stockpile!
Thanks for such an informative site, problem is, it makes me want to spend some money.
I don’t know what’s in a 910XT replacement, thus, it’s kinda hard to say. I would expect though that it probably follows a blend of the FR620 + the 910XT.
Ultimately, I generally recommend folks start using devices to train now, and benefiting from that, versus waiting on unknowns.
Thanks very much for all the useful info. A few questions regarding the amazing product.
Is that the GPS of Fenix 2 works as best as FR 620 (Including the speed of searching satellite, accuracy, etc.)?
And is that the general recording interval of FR 620 is better than that of Fenix 2?
Thanks a lot!
For GPS related items, I see them both as solid/equal.
For recording interval, both watches supports 1s recording.
How complicated is it to start a run compared to the FR620 or the other Forerunners (405cx)? I like the added features, but don’t want to have to click 10 times to start a run.
Steps to start a run:
1) Tap red button once
2) Scroll to Run
3) Press start (red button)
But it’s true that the Ambit2 works over 24 hours with GPS able and Fenix2 15-16 ??
The Ambit2, like the Fenix1/2 actually get pretty similar battery life. In order to get the higher battery times, they have to reduce GPS lock frequency, and thus, in effect – recording rates.
both the 610 and the 910 have 1sec recording and “smart recording” (I dont have the 610 in front of me so I forget the exact name). Anyone know the science behind the smart recording. Is it simply every XX seconds. Or something truly more “smart”.
In general, it’s every 4-7 seconds. In theory, it’s smart enough to know when you’ve made a turn and will drop a recording point – so that could be as frequent as every 1s (which, occasionally I see). But I’ve also seen it as low as every 15-20s.
I think the Fenix2 is the right one for me, am I neglecting anything else?
I swim, bike, and run very regularly but I’m not really a triathlete. I do them, and will do a few every year but I got started at an older age, kids, and so many other outdoor interests like others in the Seattle area including alpine skiing, skate skiing, backcountry, hiking, and several multi-day alpine climbs annually. I just don’t have the time to commit. Thanks Ray for the great preview and to all those that posted earlier to help me make this rather tedious decision on what to buy. I spent a ridiculous amount of time scouring this site and was just about to purchase the 910 because its one of the few that works for both indoor and outdoor swimming (which is a must-have for me) and the quick release bike mount kit was really appealing. But now the Fenix2 is about to come out. After reading the comments, I’ve realized that what I really need is a multi sport/multifunction “watch” that has most triathlon functionality, as opposed to a very event specific computer. Others tracking me on race day is a non-issue since my wife is also participating and the grandparents are maxed-out taking care of the kids to monitor how I’m doing. While losing the 910 quick release is a bummer, the Garmin bike/watch mount will still work well enough since I’m not counting seconds. Going out in the wilderness for 3-4 days seems to be possible with careful GPS usage while impossible with other many other units. And so many other ways to use it (including telling me the day, date, and time). It looks like something I could wear on my wrist everyday. I really don’t need or want multiple devices, and despite some of the drawbacks, this seems to be the one for me? Is there anything else I need to take a better look at, available in a very soon (for this season)? Thanks again for great review and comments, very helpful.
For going into the wilderness for 3-4 days I’d pack the Garmin External Battery pack or similar USB battery pack. That’ll enable you to recharge at night or even on the fly negating the need to be ultra careful with GPS usage. link to bit.ly
Just ordered mine. It will *almost* replace my 310XT (second 310XT)… I say *almost* as Garmin dropping the fitness equipment profile means I still want my 310XT to connect to my Concept II rower. Can we please have that profile support back!?!
Just a question; do we know what the Chirp support is like? What can it do?
I’d really like to be able to set an autolap every time I come into and leave the proximity of the Chirp. That’ll let me stick a chirp on a heli and then lap when I get in and get out while heli skiing.
Fingers crossed they ship mine before I leave the US for NZ again later this month.
That’s a great idea!
I can see that setting / resetting autolap from a chirp proximity would be super useful …
Hi, Sorry for my poor english I’m from Denmark but hope that you will understand my question. to start out with, thank you for a very good review both on the tactic and on the fenix 2. I bought a tactic after reading you review, but now I see that Garmin has launched the Fenix 2 with swim program. My question is, if it is possible to manually copy the swim profile from the fenix 2 to the tactix, The watches look so similar so why should it not be possible??
Hope to hear from you soon.
The Tactix at this point doesn’t have any of the backend code for the swim profile.
I have a doubt in regards on-demand vs Always on.
I know we can configure the setup for “Sensors on demand” and I assume that it only turns on when you have a datapage with a given sensor and access it, is this correct?
But this is not true with HR or the altimeter , because even without you accessing that page Fênix is records those data which I understand means the sensor are always on, is this correct?
So, my question is: What does really trigger the on-demand?
Marcos, this references to the altimeter and compass when in GPS OFF mode using the fënix as a day to day watch.
Hum , now I see! Thank you very much.
So, being the gps off, even if I leave for instance a HR data page in a WATCH profile, sensors on demand, it will only be “on” if I access the HR page as any other ABC function, is that it?
At the other hand, when GPS is on all sensors are Always on, no matter if there is or not a datapage of his, right?
My best regards,
Great site! Can you tell me if the “default” profiles can be renamed and the fields customized?
You can’t rename the default ones, but you can create up to three profiles and call them whatever you’d like.
You can customize the fields however on all profiles, to whatever you’d like.
Have you tried just diving into the Profiles directory and renaming one or creating a new one? Or isn’t there a Profiles directory any more? I’m curious how they’re managing to put the limits on when there wasn’t one before. The only weird thing I see on my Fenix 1 is a profile (the skiing profile) that I didn’t put there and doesn’t come from a file in the Profiles directory.
No more profiles directory.
Is there a watch or power saving mode, where you don’t accidentally run out of battery if forget to shut off any of the sensors?
Oops replied in the wrong place…
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 rename the default 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)
As this can be used as a day-to-day watch, can anybody tell what it’s like when wearing a business shirt (or better yet, link to a picture)? I have a 910XT and that is too bulky to fit under a business shirt.
I have the 910XT as well as a Nixon 51-30 tide watch, which would be slightly bigger than the Fenix 2. I don’t wear the 910XT as a watch, but the Nixon is a tight fit to say the least, especially if you prefer to wear your clothes a little more “tailored” to your body. I can get away with it when I’m wearing a suit or jacket. For those times when I’m only wearing a dress shirt, I tend to roll my sleeves up anyway… so it’s a moot point for me personally.
All that said, this has a much more traditional watch look to it. Even if you wore it just outside your cuff, I don’t think you’ll draw too many looks sans those who think your watch is humongous… to which you reply, “It’s not the size of the watch… it’s how well it records my swim/bike/run splits.”
And if that doesn’t get them — “But yes… it IS big.”
For me the fënix is too big to fit under the cuff of a business shirt, just sits below the cuff instead. Never had problems except when wearing a suit, often the cuff will catch on the fënix and not ride down all the way.
But if the Fenix and fenix 2 have the same hardware can they implement the negative display via software?
The screen is primarily the different part (different HW).
What other HW differences are there?
Wondering that too, is there faster processor or larger battery? is processor upgraded from F1 to be like 910xt?
As noted a few times before, they haven’t clarified what additional changes. However, I don’t see any speed increases in the new unit from a regular Fenix1.
Official Garmin reply states there is a Bluetooth HW difference between Tactix and Fenix2 that can’t be covered by a SW update:
“As it turns out, there are some hardware differences that cannot be covered by a software update. The fenix 2 has Bluetooth compatibility, which is not available in the tactix. In how far some of the other features can or will be added is unknown at this time.”
link to forums.garmin.com
Clearly, different button placements could be covered by a SW update, but a Bluetooth HW compatibility? Hmm, does Garmin have something up their sleeve?
Ray, have you heard of this HW difference?
The support person is incorrect, it’s the same BT chip, and obviously, the Tactix has BT since folks are using it already with the iOS app.
I should be getting more clarification tomorrow on the exact (minor) hardware differences between Tactix and Fenix1/2. Inclusive of that, is what the strategy is for the Tactix software-wise.
I’m intrigued the reply didn’t come from std support but directly from the Fenix team’s email email@example.com
I wish it was a different BLE HW which would allow other BLE sensors and simultaneous ANT+ connectivity.
I’ll keep dreaming that maybe Fenix2 surprises us all, as it stands it’s definitely less capable than V800 in terms of allowing use of future BLE sensors.
Yeah, chipset-wise, what it has is definitely a ‘you can’t get there from here’ sort of thing. It was simply the limitation of the chipsets available for ANT+ and BLE at the time the original unit (Fenix1) went out, which these are all based on. Other companies have similar limitations (i.e. Motoactv).
Called me garmin point of trust, he told me that Garmin has delivered the first 9 pieces of fenix2, next week should have more of 22. I also said me that he already has vivofit available even if Garmin gives not yet available….
Will the Fenix 2 be able to upload to Strava just like the 610/910 will? or will you need to manually update gpx files or something?
Yup, you can simply upload straight to Strava using the files on the watch themselves – just like other Garmin devices.
Followup. With the BT mobile data upload on the F2. Will it be possibly to update to the strava mobile app (via BT I guess). You indicate upload the file straight to strava, wasnt sure if that was once the file is uploaded from F2 to a PC or something. would like to take a run. Finish it.. and then without waiting to get home to connect to a PC, be able to upload to strava that way. Not even sure how the upload on the PC works to strave, guessing it uses the ant+ drivers (at least for my 610)
From a PC, it’s straight to Strava.
From the phone, it’s to Garmin Connect, and then you can use some of the 3rd party services to get it to Strava, if you want.
link to dcrainmaker.com
Great preview, Ray! I just pre-ordered the Fenix2 from Clever Training (my 3rd CT purchase since stumbling on to this site)!
THANK YOU for feeding my addiction to sports technology (which means I should also say thank you for helping me drop 20 lbs in the last year and significantly improving control of my diabetes)!
A few random questions –
Is there potential to have my weekly training miles or swim distance displayed on the main clock akin to the Garmin Swim? (I take all the motivation I can get)
Any updates on Android app functionality? (I feel like I’m rolling the dice on this one and hoping not to get left hanging for a year as TomTom has done to Andoird users) Follow up – will Sportablet work with the Fenix2 in the interim?
Any news on when Garmin is going to ship to suppliers? (Yes, I’m overly excited)
Again, thanks for all you do.
Thanks Jonathan for the support!
1) Swim summary metrics: No word on that yet, but I’d agree, that would be cool.
2) Android: It’ll be there by release, that’s my understanding. Failing that, no later than March 31st, but it really sounded like it was rather close. SportTablet would work, since it’s just a USB mass storage device like the Edge series.
3) March, no further detail there.
Hi Jonathan!, I am also a Garmin Swim owner and Today I was thinking about the very same thing… it would be great if we could see on Fenix2’s main screen our weekly swim distance, so ++1 on that!! Are you listening GARMIN??? ;-))
I can’t believe this is just a “preview,” it’s definitely beyond words. Impressed with your dedication.
I’ve been considering buying the Fenix 2 not only for trail running but for hiking, which I do a lot. But, have the same concern as J. Stoops, about being left hanging because of being an Android user.
Took a look at your original Fenix review and liked the whole Basecamp hiking aspect as I could see myself taking advantage of that and the “Adventures” bit. But, when I looked it up at the Garmin site, I was dismayed at only seeing a recently updated Mobile Basecamp for iPhones, but zero for Android users!
This is a huge red flag for me; if they don’t consider Android users relevant enough to build equivalent apps, then it’s a definite showstopper, especially as I’m planning on buying the Samsung Galaxy S5 and have no plans on buying an iphone.
Do you know if they are working on Mobile Basecamp version for Android?
I’m pretty sure Ray was talking about the desktop Basecamp app there. The iOS Basecamp is a pale imitation. Although you can now look at Adventures in the iOS app, I’m pretty sure you can’t do anything useful with them. The Basecamp desktop app is a good way of planning routes and getting them onto your devices; the Basecamp mobile app, not so much.
They do have a Garmin Connect mobile app for both iOS and Android.
Thks Paul for your clarification. At a minimum I would just want to be able to create several waypoints really quickly from my smartphone and transfer them to watch, as it might be way too time consuming to manually enter say 5-10 waypoints directly on the watch.
On typical hiking trips, I meet with several friends and we all share what we know about the place on USGS printed maps, like safe water holes, bathrooms, spots where certain animals are “seen,” camp locations, etc.
The watch would be useless to me if I had to manually input all those waypoints into the fenix right there and then, as it’d be way too time consuming. But, if I could view something like a google maps on my phone and quickly create like 7 waypoints that I’m taking from the printed USGS maps, then it would work perfectly.
Is this something the Basecamp Mobile can do? If so, and it’s available on Android, I’ll go ahead and place my order now, as that’s exactly what I’m looking for.
basic stuff on my smartphone that can be quickly/easily transferred to the watch. Like creating
Went back to orig Fenix review and saw that the Basecamp app is actually able to do exactly what I would want use it for, but was confused by a couple of things
#1 What did Ray mean by “it’s actually even easier to do on the phone than on the Basecamp app” – Does it mean that just having a bluetooth connection to my phone allows me to create a waypoint on google maps and transfer it to the fenix without having the Basecamp app? That would be really impressive!
#2 Do the “hundreds of icons” actually all show up looking the same on the Fenix as they’re shown on the app? That would be awesome as I would just rather see the different icons and not worry about adding names like “parking” if there was a little icon of a car, and makes it a lot quicker, too
#3 Can I do this on my Android 4.3 Galaxy S3 which does have BT smart 4.0?
It’s very easy to create a waypoint on an iPhone with the Basecamp app. It looks as if, though, it uses the phone’s Location Services to locate the waypoint, so it lays down a waypoint at your current location. I don’t see any way to move it. There are hundreds of icons, but remember that Fenix is a 4 “color” devices, so a lot of the icons will be identical on the Fenix. There are enough, though, that many will be distinguishable, so you should be able to do what you want. I only have three waypoints on my Fenix, and one Garmin put there (Garmin headquarters in Kansas), but the house icon for my HOME waypoint looks more or less like a house on the Fenix. I assume that you can then send them to the Fenix (certainly you can with the desktop Basecamp), but my use of Basecamp is limited to occasionally viewing a track from my Fenix, so I don’t know for sure. Ray will probably cover that in his review next week. It’s easy enough to create a waypoint on the Fenix itself as well.
Whether or not this works when you don’t have a cell signal, I don’t know. Your phone certainly won’t be able to grab maps then.
I believe Garmin is committed to getting Garmin Connect for Android working properly, but I don’t know about Basecamp.
According to amazon. It will be release on March 31. It’s on their website
Amazon always says worst case – everything I’m seeing says March 15th, but I’m not going to hold my breath.
March 15 – woo hoo.
That means April 15 down here. The sooner the better to start fiddling (and applying updates 😉
I am glad I will still have the fr310xt to train with at the same time “in case”.
I wouldn’t enjoy relying on a brand new Fenix2 as my sole recording device for the first month or so.
Vendors have simply been told March, anything else is companies just trying to promise a date they potentially can’t deliver on, in an effort to nab your pre-order.
so this thing got the hardware, even quite similar logic (which is used for running dynamics), it’s designed like a watch one might wear all day – but it doesn’t act as an activity tracker? doh!
sorry garmin, but i’d rather invest in the much smarter atlas than getting this plus a vivofit..
Ray, is the Workouts feature significantly more polished on fenix2 than in fenix1?
On latest fenix1 4.14beta, it’s still really ugly:
#1 – Wrong Labels displayed: at a minimum, I need to differentiate 3 different workout intervals, namely SLOW, STEADY & FAST; so on GC workouts I was relying on “RECOVERY” to mean Slow, “OTHER” to mean Steady and “INTERVAL” to mean Fast; unfortunately on fenix1 those 3 step types ALL show up as RUN which ruins all my Workouts! Can’t tell when to go slow, steady or fast!
The most elegant solution would be for them to simply rename those 3 step types in GC as Slow, Steady, and Fast, but at the very least those 3 steps should be displayed on fenix1 just as they do in GC: Recovery, Other & Interval instead of displaying “RUN” for all 3 step types.
#2 – Ambiguity/Inconsistency: all fenix1 activities display “Locating Satellites” msg to let you know when to start running, but when selecting Workouts, this step is skipped and starts session immediately whether or not it has a satellite fix!
#3 – Std beep alerts are generally loud enough to be heard on fenix1, except when Workouts is running where a different set of beep sounds that are nowhere near as loud as the std beep alerts, consequently, they can’t be heard!
I could go on and on with more examples, but essentially it seems like a half-baked workout solution on fenix1 which is better than nothing; however, on the newer fenix2, I would find this completely unacceptable.
Are these 3 workout problem areas properly resolved on fenix2?
is it possible navigate with route and track in same time? It is not possible with fenix 1.
Wow, It never crossed my mind this wouldn’t be possible but the more I think about it I come to think it’s probably not that easy to do.
If it really isn’t is there at least an easy way to pause the tracking and take a look at the navigation?
It is indeed possible to track and navigate at the same time- I’ve checked with the Czech Garmin group via Facebook.
Confused by something. In the original fenix review in the battery life segment you wrote about using ultraTrak with default settings, you wrote:
default UltraTrac settings enabled, which specify on-demand internal sensor usage, GPS data points updating every minute on the display, and other ANT+ sensors types updating constantly (HR and Tempe). This would be in line with that you’d want as an ultra runner, as any less frequency on data sensors like heart rate would be pretty useless
You had 20hours in that mode. I was under the impression on prior comments above that with UltraTrak mode on, the data sensors (especially the HRM, altitude, etc) were off, and only the GPS was running. Can you clarify?
Looks like Garmin is starting to ship units
link to forums.garmin.com
Ray, any word on final feature set? I ordered one (through CT thanks!), but will be holding on to my 910xt for a while.
I should be getting some clarity on that tomorrow.
THANKS so much for all your reviews (or pre-reviews). They are AWESOME! I sold my 910xt today and pre-ordered the Fenix2 (and Tempe sensor) via Clever Training. Thanks for the discount!!!
Ray, have you tried pairing the MIO Alpha with the Garmin Fenix 2? An even better question is do you have a pre-production version of the Mio Link to try with the Fenix 2? I am envisioning the Mio Link strapped next to the Fenix 2 on the wrist and being able to get HR data while scuba diving. 🙂
I don’t believe the Mio Link is designed for depth, I think only 1M. In any case, yup, paired them no problem.
But for Mio Aplha you said “I did some of that testing within the Mio Alpha review. While it technically transmitted, I saw too much interference/variability in the HR stability while my actively swimming. While standing still at the wall underwater, it was fine.”
This is not good….
Yes, that’s correct. When you swim – you don’t typically go below 1M (3ft) in depth. When you scuba dive, you’re generally going to hit about 90ft (~30ft) for most divers.
I’m not sure what’s not good.
I want to use MIO link with the fenix2 on the same wrist but only if the HR is right….do you will do the tests?
Again (you’ve asked a variation of the same question at least one, if not twice a day for the last week or two), I’ll do a test as part of the Link in-depth review. As I’ve stated previously, I don’t expect the situation to be any better than it was when I first did the test with the Alpha. It’s the same technology, none of which has to do with ANT+ in this case, but simply the optical sensor in the Mio unit and the effect of stroking in the water.
I’m sorry for the same question
Ray, thank you for your reviews!! You are amazing!! Quick question, do you think that F2 plus vivofit can replace the polar V800 functionalities (understanding that I am interested in daily tracking as much as my ironman training)?
Yes. That combo would more than replace the Polar V800 (or “potential” V800). Im doing the same with my Moto Actv (keeping it just for the step count and as a cycling head unit), but you (and others here) make a good point… why not enable the watch to do it all. With the internal accelerometer there’s no reason it couldn’t have a pedometer mode.
Yup, I’d say that that combo is equal to a V800 (well, it exceeds it).
Great, thank you! So I am ordering both with CT. Why do think it exceeds it Ray?
What about the functionality that the V800 is promising to Help you understand your training load and recovery need? How do you avoid double tracking?
Have you any idea of the release date in the UK? I’m trying to resist the urge to buy the 620 and hold out for the Fenix 2 to replace my 910xt. I’m a runner at heart so although I love my 910xt, I’m wanting to play with the new run stats that the 620 and the fenix 2 will have. I would miss the quick release tho, so maybe I should keep the 910xt and get a 620 just for my running, as that is my first love.
Talk about undecided!!!
I had the same dilemma and opted for the Fenix 2. I think Ray sums it up nicely by saying if you run mainly on roads go for the 620, but if you run trails or have any desire to run ultras (where a battery of >8 hours is all but essential) then go for the Fenix 2.
The 620 is a fantastic watch if running, and specifically road-running, is your thing. My friend has one and it is ridiculously light and thin, fast and has many a bell and whistle. I’m still conflicted even after placing my order for the F2!
Thanks Robin. I am a road runner yes, but plan on making the move into ultras once I’ve done an ironman next year. I am leaning towards the 620 at the moment though.
Ray, What about the functionality that the V800 is promising to Help you understand your training load and recovery need? How do you avoid double tracking?
True, but Garmin has confirmed in the past few days they’ll be doing convergence of of the data in the coming months.
Today I received my garmin fenix2! very beautiful;-)
Nice! Now you can Strap on the HRM and hit start.. and let us know how long until the battery dies 🙂 And give us additional data points for battery life with gps+hrm+alt
Hi- have you the owner manual ?
@Philoustetou : Yes I do
@Ted W : I’m sorry but I haven’t the HRM strap…I have only the watch
Is it à pdf version or paper version ?
paper version, there are five manual (italian and other language).
I also found a bug with the exercise with time set that not work fine (I reported it to garmin)
Did they fix workout issues that were mentioned earlier? like not being able to know when to go steady or fast, unless you bother putting pace info, and the low interval beeps that can’t be heard, etc.. I’m dying to read Ray’s final review, so I can decide whether to order it or not!!! I’m just hoping that it works right out of the box, and not buggy like fenix 1 or else I’ll have to wait even longer for V800 to be released
In short, items 1&3 are fixed, 2 is being fixed.
And you have reason to suspect that with the few month slippage of the v800 that it would work perfectly right out of the box also? Just wondering where no concern over bugs on that brand new product as well. Surely it will have some growing pains as well..
Ray, thks, that’s encouraging. I tested some of the fenix 1 bugs that others have mentioned both here and in Garmin forum and for the most part was able to replicate them on my fenix, like the virtual pacer bug that alerts you of a running pace whilst you’re cycling and the difficulty w calibrating the watch (took me 7 times, but at last it worked), etc. So, just hoping all these to be non-issues on the new fenix 2. But, if fenix 2 is way too buggy from the get go, I’d rather wait for V800 which has more features and from your feedback would likely be a higher quality product, in terms of less bugs to deal with.
Ted W, according to Ray’s observation on his V800 preview, he stated “Polar tends to have a very solid track record of doing what they say – and doing it in a generally bug-free manner (much better than most others).”
So, if the Polar V800 slipped by a month, it’s because they don’t want to deliver an on-time buggy product, whereas Garmin tends to deliver on time at the heavy cost of delivering buggy products that may not bother their established customers as much, but may be enough to turn away brand new customers who are expecting a “just works out of the box” experience.
Even last year, Garmin was able to get away with this due to not having much competition, but now that just about everyone has jumped into the fitness bandwagon with Bluetooth Smart as a major enabler, Garmin can no longer afford to deliver buggy products at premium prices. They got to up their game, big time in the quality department or risk losing potential new customers getting a bad first impression due to one too many bugs.
Personally, aside from the buggy aspect, I’m concerned that fenix 2 will not allow me to take advantage of new bluetooth smart sensors, but just very tempted to buy the fenix 2 hoping the sensors issue could somehow be resolved
Its not my intention to be argumentative, but keep in mind that Polar is also releasing a device which is significantly more advanced and complex than anything they have done before. On top of that they have already redacted proposed features (I.e. open water swimming) and delayed release. Garmin on the other hand is merely fine tuning an existing watch and dealing with functionality they already offer in other devices (just not necessarily all in the same device). On top of all that, while your experience with a buggy Fenix 1 may have been poor, I would venture to say that Garmin’s reputation for bringing solid products to the market is as solid as any competitor (polar included). Keep in mind Im just a consumer like you and have no vested interest here. I contemplated the same decision you are facing. When polar dropped open water and delayed release I was super disappointed but thought “yep, harder than you thought to get it all in one package, right?”
My experience with Garmin has always been “ugly and as reliable and effective as anyone else out there”. And that applies to Garmin Connect as well as most of their watches. But… I’ll take an ugly watch that works over a slick one that doesn’t (see TomTom… they fooled me for a bit but good grief that thing is buggy).
Its not intent to be argumentative either. As a software engineer by professional I am very aware of the delicate balance between holding up a release and shipping something with known shortcomings. Only suggesting the very real possibility that Polar is having more difficulties then we all know. If this stuff were easy there would be more players in the industry. In the end we all just would like something that fits our needs. For some its Garmin. Maybe others Polar. If the shoe fits…..
@Stoop, @TedW could not agree more. As professionals, surely you agree that poor mgmt decisions are most definitely at the very root of Garmin’s overall ongoing quality problems.
Case in point: making the exec/mgmt decision to deliver Fenix 2 (ver 2.30) despite knowing it had a half-baked, buggy “Workouts” feature, and despite having the clear advantage over Polar in “dealing with functionality they already have”
Had this quality issue not been brought up by one of Ray’s reader, this would have stayed until enough frustrated users screamed loud enough for these bugs to be fixed; who knows perhaps by ver 4? when, already too many new users already returned their “premium” buggy watches and moved on to the Polar V800?
Take a look at Garmin’s forums, people are literally begging Garmin to fix bugs! A company the size of Garmin should not be having these types of issues, as frankly, they are very easy to resolve; as a business intelligence systems analyst, anytime I see ongoing recurring software quality problems, I immediately know the issue, it’s always the same, one of two things needing to be resolved: understaffing issues and/or reassigning employees that are not properly matched to their current jobs.
Toughest part about it, is that most times, the required change is not the poor guy leading the testing team who’s pulling 16 hr days, but rather his boss’ boss or way higher! So, in a nutshell, it’s simply a mgmt issue, as Garmin already has the most skilled /talented pool of employees in the gps industry.
Granted, I have zero experience with Polar products, but just the higher quality outcome coming from such an incredibly smaller player tells me they not only have the skills, but also the right mgmt making the right quality decisions. Large companies under severe competition, fail usually due to poor mgmt, rather than lack of skilled workers.
“… Garmin’s reputation for bringing solid products to the market is as solid as any competitor… ”
Could not agree more, but remember that performance was in a completely different environment, when they barely had competitors. Now, Apple, Samsung, Sony, etc., have joined the party. It’s no longer Goliath vs Davids (Polar, Suunto), but rather Goliath vs Davids&Goliaths! Thus, Garmin mgmt decisions alone will dictate it’s own future, as they will no longer afford to get by with poor decisions.
Despite it all, I’m sure Garmin will soon fix its internal mgmt issues, at least, that’s what I’m counting on, as I’ve decided to take the Garmin plunge and buy the Fenix 2, but that’s Garmin’s last chance, otherwise, I’ll be off to Polar land.
Ok i must be patient
@philoustetou the support page is now active and has a pdf of the quick start manual
link to support.garmin.com
The owner manual is very small…. 🙁
AAAAAAAAA no !! it isn’t the owner manual !!! is the quick start manual !!! there is only this into package !!
Yes its not available on garmin site
In Italy there are many shops that have the fenix2, but I have already found 4 bugs into the last firmware 2.30….
I’ve just checked it and It is not available yet on any of the Amazon’s Europe sites. You’re lucky to have it available in Italy!!
Two minor things to keep in mind:
1) While 2.30 is the most public firmware version, there are newer ones in beta that I suspect will be released soon.
2) If you are seeing bugs, be sure you send them to Garmin’s Fenix team e-mail address. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I was wandering if anyone knows of a release date for Australia/New Zealand?
Seems fenix 2 is heading to US and Europe but I can’t find any mention of is poor funny beings at the bottom of the world. We have satellites down here too (and electricity :-)).
Regarding availability, generally speaking it’s globally available at the same time. In this case, you can see it’s available in some Italian stores. It really comes down though to whether or not your specific retail outlet (or even Amazon.international) have pre-ordered the units.
The Fenix2 throws many stores for a bit of a loop since it technically falls under Garmin’s ‘Outdoor’ division, and not ‘Fitness’. Which, in some countries means a different Garmin account manager for that local store. Thus, if you’re looking at a running store, they may not normally talk to their Garmin Outdoor rep.
It’s not a big deal, as any Garmin distributor can order from either product line. I’d really contact the specific shop you’re looking to order from, and have them place an order.
Thanks Ray. It just seems a bit strange that garmin is selling the fenix 2 on their own website in the US and UK but not down under. Should I just be more patient and await the formal release date?
(Ps and flightless birds)
Please can you let me know the size of the fonts compared to the forerunner 910xt and can they be changed ie if you only want one or two items displayed will they be larger? My eyes are not the best as I’m over 40.
Are the calorie metrics based on the latest version of firstbeat technologies heart rate algorithm? Supposing of course, when it is being used with the heart rate monitor.
Please, yes or no about the calories 😀
Thanks ever so much. Sorry bout the double post earlier.
My understanding is that it’s using all the same calorie metrics as the FR620 does, thus things like VO2Max, etc… are the same. On my various longer ~2hr runs, the calories are within 30 calories of each other. Shorter runs are less.
Thanks for answering my question. I have ordered the F2 through Clever Training. Can’t wait till it comes!
If they use the same metrics, why the difference in calculations I wonder? Hmm?
I would think they would be identical. Which one would you say is more accurate?
I pondered it a little bit today on the run. I noticed that the FR620 doesn’t have a Lifetime athlete function for user profile, whereas the Fenix2. Thus, it may be using a slightly different variant of the algorithm.
I think altitude may also potentially play a piece in it (need to check with Garmin), because the Fenix2 barometric altimeter gives a much different picture than the GPS one on the FR620.
I’ll throw it by them for some thoughts.
On a related question; was very impressed by the accuracy aspect mentioned in the Firstbeat whitepaper on calorie calculations. Believe it or not, the fact that I saw Fenix 2 already being supported there, sort of seemed like a major advantage over the V800.
How can they already support Fenix2, if it’s not supported by their monthly more detailed analysis that I’m interested in signing up for? Perhaps, I completely misunderstood it.
Lastly, will the Fenix 2 support the recording of so called HRV, if so does it come already “on” or I’ll need to turn it on somehow. Apologies on these silly questions, as I’m brand new to Firstbeat.
Not sure I understand entirely.
Garmin has licensed calorie related items for many of their products, from Firstbeat. Which doesn’t necessarily mean the product outputs a Firstbat software compatible file with HRV in it.
When I asked if the Fenix2 was/is supporting HRV export today, I received a note that they were looking into it. For features that aren’t there today, the note would state they were listening to feedback. So, in short, hang tight there.
Thanks again for your kind attention to our myriads of questions. Really appreciate all that you do in our behalf, that is, in behalf of the athlete/fitness community :D. Nice to know there is someone to represent our interests to these corporate giants and help us wade throught the sea of fitness tech gadgetry 😀
Here’s what confuses me, according to this link Firstbeat Athlete is not a compatible device link to firstbeat.com
But, yet the Fenix 2 shows up as having Firstbeat inside here:
link to firstbeat.com
Perhaps, if it’s relevant enough, you could help clarify some of this on your upcoming review. Thks again, Ray
correction “Fenix 2 is not a compatible device”
Ray, just received this reply from Firstbeat:
Thank you for contacting Firstbeat Support.
And we apologize for the delayed answer. We just received information from Garmin that the new Fenix 2 device does not record RR data and therefore it is not compatible with Firstbeat programs.
If you have other questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact us again.
I was waiting for the official response from Firstbeat before ordering fenix2. This is a definite dealbreaker for me. Are you able to confirm this? Will the Polar V800 be able to record RR-data?
I have to admit this also a disappointment for me as well, considering it has VO2 estimation etc I had my hopes up.
I use Firstbeat with a separate HRM and Iphone and was hoping the Fenix2 would bring this back into the same reporting platform.
Sorry to go on a tangent but what’s your setup with the iPhone? You log with the HRV+ app maybe?
That’s extremely disappointing… I am looking to replace my FR 610 and Edge 500 with one unit, and the Fenix 2 initially looked the part. But I am using Firstbeat Athlete, and no HRV recording is unfortunately a dealbreaker.
Considering the Fenix 2 have all the Training Effect / Recovery options as the FR620, I find it strange it is not capable of recording HRV data.
So apparently the 620 can do it with a little modification (see thread here: link to forums.garmin.com)
That thread mentions there is a new release of FirstBeat Athlete on 3/14, so perhaps 620 and Fenix2 will be supported at that time
If I remember correctly, the FR620 doesn’t yet actually record the HRV information (I think Firstbeat was saying ‘spring’).
In any case, I generally see Firstbeat as being the last to know when it comes to what Garmin decides in these areas. Or at least, the last to be able to publicly state.
I guess I’ll hold off on F2 until Garmin tells you that it’s actually planned in the very near future.
Reading through Garmin’s latest product offerings, can’t help but think that they’ve got way too much on their plate with the new GC, GCM app, F2, Vivofit, 620, etc., why not hire a bunch of contractors to help them catch up. I mean they can certainly afford it and would help them get rid of bugs and stuff. Just saying.
After enough posting on HRV. I had to go look it up. I am truly intrigued. I would love to be able to have some data recorded and some how baselined and then plugged into some algorithm to suggest overtraining or not. As I ramp up my running for my first 50mile event, there are days where I force myself to get outside (even in this nasty winter), but I find myself wondering if its better or worse to go out. Maybe my body was just telling me to take a break that specific day. HRV data seems to indicate some type of info along those lines is possible. if the F2 did any kind of HRV or recovery or indicators about overtraining.. all the better! Here’s to hoping..
Pardon my confusion on this… when I went to their website to read more about their technology, I saw that the Fenix 2 was listed on their website as “Firstbeat inside: Training Effect, VO2max automated fitness test, recovery advisor, energy expenditure, automated adaptation”.
Is the email response essentially saying that their website is currently promoting incorrect information?
There’s FirstBeat within the unit, used for all the calculations – that’s there. However, what’s being discussed is whether or not the unit records the heart rate variability (RR beats for HRV) information to the .FIT file, so that apps like FirstBeat (desktop software) can further analyze it.
I use IOS Sweatbeat + Viiiva 4iiii HRM. Working well so far but it is one more thing I have to remember to do.
I don’t use (or even carry) my phone with me on 95% of my activities so I would rather the watch records and tracks the information for later download and reporting.
Fingers crossed that Garmin can implement it with a SW update.
Hey, that’s my exact setup 😉 I do use HRV+ from time to time too as it lets you export the raw data for analysis in Kubios, but it’s a bit of a chore. Apparently Sweetbeat will allow that in an upcoming update and seemed to have interesting things in store, like threshold calculations…not sure if that would be in a new app or the existing one though.
Does it work with 4iiii’s Viiiiva HRM?
Fenix 2 better Ambit 2?
I placed my order for the F2 through CT about a week ago, it hasn’t yet shipped. Has anyone that ordered through CT had their units ship yet?
+1, Same question from me…I can’t wait to get my hands on this watch!
Brian. Not yet. I ordered the 2nd or 3rd. Don’t worry, it’ll come!
Is there any difference between the US and European model? I’ll be traveling from the UK to the US next week, and figured I’d pick up an F2 while I’m out there.
I don’t expect there would be, but thought it best to check seeing as Garmin uses ‘North American’ and ‘European’ product labels when ordering through their website.
I confirmed that one with Garmin this week. Purely just the power adapter plug. Watch is identical. Any 99 cent adapter will turn it from US to UK. 🙂
Ray, have a silly question, “YOU HAVE ENTERED AN INVALID COUPON CODE (DCR10)” keeps coming up on Clever Training, it’s my first time buying there. What am I doing wrong?
It should currently be: DCR10MKG
Appreciate the support! And let me know if you run into snags!
Thks Ray, you absolutely deserve it. You make a huge difference with not only your unbiased, comprehensive reviews, but your follow up with all these companies resulting in better products for all of us. Looking forward to your detailed Fenix 2 review.
First review from italian user (traslate it from italy):
Buongiorno mi collego brevemente per un primo responso “sul campo”.
Avevo in programma una corsa sia su asfalto che su sentieri. Mi son bardato con polar, keymaze 700 e fenix ai polsi (per fortuna c’era solo qualche capriolo e qualche zecca a poter ridere di me ￼ ) e son partito.
Ecco le prime impressioni. A livello generale si tratta senz’altro di un ottimo strumento. Per fugare i dubbi delle varie domande, dico che:
– il tempo di fix dei satelliti è irrisorio (all’aperto, pochi secondi), molto più rapido del pur performante keymaze (che oggi ha impiegato una 30ina di secondi)
– la “modalità negativa” dello schermo è per me un ottima idea, in ogni condizione di luce, anche con sudore “impiastrocciato” sullo schermo, è molto leggibile. Forse l’unico problema è che le cifre sono effettivamente piccole (visualizzazione schermo modalità 3 campi) perchè c’è davvero troppo spazio “inutilizzato” tra una riga e l’altra, troppi pixel neri per niente: se le cifre fossero il 10-20% più grandi, comunque sarebbero ben separate e più leggibili. Ma come colpo d’occhio è comunque fenomenale.
– per quanto riguarda la parte “satellite” e la misura del percorso, garmin è un altro pianeta, il keymaze è ottimo (comunque surclassa il polar G3) ma soprattutto nei tratti di strada percorsi andata e ritorno, la linea su googleearth del garmin è molto più netta, precisa e affidabile. In termini di distanza, se nelle parti asfaltate o comunque rettilinee sia il garmin che il keymaze sono comparibili e ottimi (errori nell’ordine del 2% max su strade abbastanza dritte, mentre con curve e case, il keymaze “allarga” l’errore verso il 3-4%, mente il garmin è una spada sotto il 2%), soprattutto nei sentieri e nei tornanti, oltre che nelle inversioni a U, il Garmin è un altro pianeta, credo soprattutto grazie alla gestione software degli errori. Sono estremamente soddisfatto della misura del percorso, considerando che ho fatto sentieri in boschi, tortuosissimi, ripidi, l’errore finale, rispetto all’affidabile ciclocomputer con filo della mtb, è rimasto attorno al 3%, a confronto col 7-8% finale del Keymaze…fantastico.
– Per quanto riguarda la fascia cardio e i dati della corsa (cadenza, oscillazione verticale etc) sono ampiamente soddisfatto, siamo a livello di polar se non superiore, e altro non c’è da dire…questi dati in più per me sono una manna dal cielo per le sedute su asfalto.
– L’altimetro barometrico è di una precisione quasi disumana, già il keymaze con altimetro barometrico è un gioiello; entrambi li ho tarati alla partenza e per le quasi 2 ore di corsa, in condizioni prima di caldo umido, poi di vento fresco, la differenza tra l’altitudine segnata dai due non è mai stata più di 2metri ￼￼ e comunque, nelle discrepanze, secondo me aveva ragione il garmin (salitelle-discese che visivamente erano alte come me, venivano segnalate dal garmin come 2 m di scarto, mentre il keymaze 3 o 4. Posso dire che non credo si possa volere di meglio a riguardo. Il polar, se pur ottimo, qualche svarione di 3-4 metri ogni tanto se lo prende…ma stiamo parlando di fantascienza, io le prime camminate in montagna le facevo con l’altimetro a lancetta che dovevi picchettarlo per capire a quale 50ina di metri di quota eri…
Non ho usato le funzioni mappa/routing durante la corsa, ma con queste premesse, credo che siano il top.
E ora le note dolenti…
per me molto dolenti ogni oltre previsione. Purtroppo le (credo) uniche funzioni che a me servono sono davvero disastrose.
I principali difetti:
– per quanto riguarda la corsa, io con il polar ho strutturato gli allenamenti con dei timer successivi (tipo 12′ riscaldamento, 5 x 1′ di esercizi corsa, e 3 x (20″ allunghi-40″ recupero) come riscaldamento, e poi, in base alla giornata, ripetute o quant’altro: il polar semplicemente allo scadere degli intervalli fa un biip e io sono il più contento del mondo, tant’è che non riuscirei a correre senza da tanto le ho fatte mie. Stessa cosa l’ho impostata sul Fenix usando il garmin connect, e devo dire che è molto meglio del polar come possibilità di impostare (più frazioni, più possibilità, più memoria…più tutto). Solo che alla prova del campo…Flop galattico. Infatti, io ho impostato i timer degli intervalli, in fotocopia al polar, sul tempo (si badi bene, sul garmin connect ho messo TEMPO no pressione del tasto lap per concludere una fase), ma durante la corsa, bastava premere il lap (per prendere il tempo in un punto di interesse, lo faccio sempre dopo 1km di corsa per vedere “come sono partito” e TAC, sorpresa…premendo il Lap, termina anche la fase di riscaldamento di 12’…e così via tutte le altre: per ogni Lap premuto, via un timer perso. In pratica, come se avessi impostato la fine fase con il tasto lap e non con il timer…ciò rende di fatto inutilizzabile questa funzione per me fondamentale, come quella di prendere dei lap intermedi durante la corsa..e scegliere “o questa o quella” mi vien male. Inoltre, utilizzando questo tipo di allenamento intervallo, l’autolap non funziona e, per finire, anche se io imposto l’allenamento come “corsa”, quando lo faccio partire parte in una serie di visualizzazioni mai viste, che non hanno niente a che vedere con quelle impostate come “corsa” o “trail Running”. Purtroppo con questa premessa è impossibile usarlo al posto del Polar negli allenamenti strutturati (cioè gran parte delle corse) e non posso non usare il Polar. Una volta risolto questo bug (non da poco), allora il Garmin sotterra di gran lunga il Polar.
– per quanto riguarda la funzione “trail Running”, o corsa in montagna per gli italiani, la funzione che a me serve più, come parametro di sforzo, è la “velocità verticale”. E qui, il Fenix cade in disgrazia come qui sopra. Nonostante l’altimetro barometrico sia di una precisione sconcertante, il valore della velocità verticale è totalmente inutilizzabile: salendo su un pendio costante a una velocità costante (il buon keymaze segnava 950-1000m/h costanti, e le mie sensazioni confermavano), il Fenix saltava da 2000 a 50 a -350 a +1250 a -50 a +700 (cifre casuali ma rappresentative) ogni 2-3 secondi, facendo venir su un nervoso che metà basta. Di fatto la funzione è INUTILIZZABILE, per lo meno correndo o pedalando e arrampicando o escursionando. Poi a tavolino ho capito il perchè. Sottolineo che il keymaze da 100 euro funziona perfettamente e mi dà il valore che ho bisogno di sapere (ovvero la velocità verticale media dell’ultimo minuto, che ha senso esser conosciuta, con uno scarto e un errore davvero minimo sulle salite costanti, ovviamente sugli strappetti si perde ma a me non interessa, come a un corridore su strada non interessa sapere il tempo delle ripetute dei 400 metri corse in un percorso a ostacoli.
I problemi (e qui davvero mi son avvilito per l’errore marchiano) sono 2: pur avendo un altimetro barometrico sopraffino, chi l’ha programmato per la velocità verticale usa l’altitudine gps (me ne son reso conto quando, tornando a casa, ho acceso una attività senza gps e, mentre l’altimetro barometrico funzionava, la velocità verticale non era visualizzata) , che notoriamente è molto inaffidabile sulle piccole variazioni soprattutto nei boschi (d’altronde, se il fenix 2 è studiato per il trial running, non è che di solito si fa sulla pista di un aeroporto): infatti non mi spiegavo come fosse possibile che in salita il barometrico andava su costante mentre la velocità verticale visualizzava anche momenti di discesa ](*,) … è un grosso errore invalidante, infatti quando acquistai il keymaze proprio per avere questo dato affidabile, mi sincerai che fosse barometrico il calcolo. Secondo errore, anch’esso marchiano, è che il periodo su cui viene calcolata la velocità verticale (che si calcola in Dislivello/TPeriodo) è davvero troppo basso per essere preciso. Faccio un esempio numerico. Se la velocità verticale (parlo in salita, ma in discesa l’ordine di grandezza è quello) per un escursionista è di 400m/h, per un trail runner come me (che non sono Killian Jornet) si aggira dai 900 ai 1300 m/H. Se analizziamo nel dettaglio si tratta di circa 30cm al secondo: come possono pensare chi l’ha programmato che il Fenix riesca a percepire una variazione di quota di 30cm (e non 25 o 35, che sballerebbe il valore)???? Infatti il keymaze, intelligentemente, usa l’altimetro barometrico (con errore di 1m) e confronta l’altezza attuale con quella di circa 1 minuto prima: in questo caso il valore è molto affidabile (a 1200m/H è calcolato su 20 metri) per cui anche un incertezza di 2 metri dell’altimetro, comunque mi sballa il valore finale del 10% che è estremamente accettabile. Il Garmin deve fare altrettanto: magari per la precisione dell’altimetro barometrico può pensare di ridurre l’intervallo a 50″ o 40″ (ma secondo me sarebbe rischioso), ma mostrare una velocità verticale che cambia da -1000 a +2000 di continuo è una presa per i fondelli..scusate, ma oggi son rimasto proprio ￼ . Quindi, per il momento, non posso neanche lasciare a casa il keymaze per fare le mie ripetute e i miei allenamenti per sentieri..e quindi dato che non ho 3 polsi, indovinate chi sta a casa.
– Altri bug minori, secondo me, sono: le lap info: quando premo il lap durante la corsa, anche il più povero dei sportwatch mi da qualche informazione (per esempio il polar dà, nell’ordine: distanza, velocità, frequenza media, e altre cose in base ai sensori), ma almeno 6 informazioni; il povero keymaze ne da 5 (dislivello in salita, tempo parziale e totale etc)…il Fenix 2: solo il tempo del lap, lì inchiodato per 10″, e basta…per un runner è una presa in giro purtroppo.
– Altra cosa su cui lavorare, è la possibilità, con uno schermo così grande e nitido, di poter visualizzare 4 campi in una schermata invece di massimo 3: con tutte le funzioni che ha (si parla di oltre 100) vederne solo 3 e per vederne altre 3 dover schiacciare tasti, è poco. Il Keymaze stesso ne dà 4.
Per oggi questo, domani provo in bici e vi saprò dire…ma credo che non ci siano altre cose da risolvere.
Riassumendo, per me il Fenix 2 PER LE MIE NECESSITA’ è al momento inutilizzabile nel senso che non sostituisce quello che ho già, e non funziona quello che cerco, e non mi dà le cose per me fondamentali, ma credo che appena verranno risolti questi problemi (e spero che lo facciano altrimenti c’è da perdere le staffe con quel che costa), davvero sarà l’orologio che ho sempre sognato…quindi vi ringrazio se mi darete la possibilità e i link (come avete già fatto) per risolvere il tutto! A presto con nuove impressioni.
Hi Mimmo, I’m Italian too.
Please can you summarise these bugs so we can ask Ray to check with Garmin?
If you need some help into translating tell me.
Thanks for your work. The reviews are really useful. Based on your review and speculation, I waited before buying a Garmin Forerunner 620 to see whether bike cadence functionality would be added. – Am I glad I did wait. The Fenix 2 seems to do everything I would ever want to and then some. I will order mine today. . .
Ray awesome job as always on your reviews…the time you put into this is definitely appreciated. Read more of your website than I have in the past and now that I know shopping through your Amazon link supports you I will definitely be using it more! (I already by a ton of stuff from amazon anyhow!).
Also glad to see we finally get a discount somewhere…will be pre-ordering my Fenix 2 from your Clever Training Link!!
Thought I had a new question about whether or not the Fenix 2 gives calories burned info but I believe it was answered up above and it DOES give same info as say the FR410?
Also wanted to make a note of how patient you are with the same questions popping up numerous times, these forums get long and so not everyone reads their entirety and so ends up asking same q’s…THANKS SO MUCH…YOU ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED!!
Thanks for the support via Clever!
Yup, it tracks calories burned – similar to the FR410. I’ll be covering more of the details of it within the In-Depth Review, but if you’re familiar with how it works in the FR410, it’s generally in the same ballpark (uses HR).
Just placed an order on the Garmin Fenix 2 through Clever Training! I have almost never pre-ordered anything (Because I hate to wait) but this watch seems to hit it.
I LOST my Ambit 2 Sapphire last month :..( during snowboarding. The Ambit 2 sapphire scratches easily and the strap is too short for wearing on top of ski wear. I don’t get why they cannot add an extended strap kit which is likely to cost them near to nothing. The technology is all there but there waits one manufacturer to put them all together in a RIGHT way. There are so many wearables yet not one is near to perfect.
Back to the Fenix 2:
I love almost every aspect of the watch but I would say the inability to invert the display color is somewhat dumb. The Bluetooth/ANT cannot be operated simultaneously is a bit of a bummer but hey if you have your watch to broadcast lifetrack through Bluetooth connection with your phone, why Not use an app on your phone to broadcast your position much more conveniently? The BT can be kept only for syncing activities and so on otherwise you lose your sensors and drain your batteries.
I can’t wait for it to ship!
Thanks for the great reviews (Not just for this watch)
Ray, you said : “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”
but if I use for HR Smart Sensor Bluetooth WTEK link to amazon.it I can associate also the smartphone for live traking or the bluetooth accept only one device connection at a time?
Ray mentioned above in the Bike – Power meter section:
” It does not support any Bluetooth Smart sensors of any sort.”
The BLE in the Fenix2 is for comms with the phone. i.e. tracking, notifications and alerts.
Hope that helps.
But Garmin can able it also for sensor or it is a hardware limitation ?
Correct Ray has mentioned it is a hardware limitation with regard to using both at once.
Whether Garmin can turn on sensor support later I don’t think has been mentioned or the related note of multiple BLE connections to the Fenix2 even if sensor support could be turned on.
Ray mentioned that the backlight could be timer set or told to stay on. I don’t thnk a flashlight feature has been mentioned.
If it does have a”flashlight” I doubt it will work as effectively as the Fenix does because of the reversed display. Not only is most of the screen now dark but the colour that shines through when lit will be red (not white).
I suspect ok to see by but not so great as a flashlight. (good to keep night vision).
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 (to instead support sensors).
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). Especially given it would undermine their ownership of ANT+ that today provides sensors. Until a competitive product hits the market that does dual (and is truly competitive), then there’s little reason for Garmin to change.
When talking to the phone, the watch’s BLE radio is in the peripheral role. To talk to sensors, it would have to disconnect from the phone and switch to a central role, then scan for advertising sensors, grab data, disconnect, revert to the peripheral role, start advertising and then establish a connection with the phone. There are no bluetooth stacks (4.0) that currently allow this type of behavior in such a way that you wouldn’t potentially miss significant data from your sensors.
The BLE 4.1 specification provides for this, but BLE stacks that support this are not out in the market yet.
Does anyone know if Fenix 2 has the flashlight feature, like the original Fenix? Thanks
It’s probably rendered useless by the negative display
I am mostly a runner but bike about 10 miles 3 times a week ….. and looking to do some duathlons. I noticed the 620 now supports cycling mode, so here is my question.
I had the 610 before but would always forget to charge it when it got low and was constantly finding it on low battery. Would the Fenix 2 last all week if my training stayed under 15 hours uncluding biking? I am on the go like crazy and constantly throwing gear and computers in different bags and I hate going to train and my watch is dead.
I am a tech geek, and I cannot decide if losing the touch screen is worth the trade of the battery life?
Also I’m not fond of the blue trim on the 620 either … any comments on appearance and comfort?
How do you (@everyone) see chances that there will be a quick release kit for the Fenix 2?
The Forerunner 910XT got one, Fenix 1 didn’t (afaik).
Ray said it wasn’t planned. But, they should rethink it if they want to attract the tri-crowd whose not happy with the 910xt and doesn’t want to wait till next yr for the 920
My thoughts exactly!
My understanding is it’s still not planned. However, I could see that changing with enough demand.
Technically speaking, it could be designed very similar to the FR910XT one.
I was going to buy the Polar V800 but since it won’t have the swimming enabled, I’m now considering Fenix 2 for my tri training which starts in April.
Have you been able to test “open water in an outdoor pool” to see how well the stroke metrics compare for both open water and indoor swimming? I’m hoping I can reliably use both metrics to track my open water vs pool performance. Does Fenix 2 provide equivalent stroke data for both or do I have to manually convert it each time?
For any pool – indoors or outdoors – you’ll always* use pool (indoor mode). You definitely don’t want to use the GPS for any pool situation.
Indoors it provides solid stroke details, just like outdoors it provides it as well (though, slightly less accurate due to the nature of GPS in openwater).
*Except that crazy long pool in Chile.
Thks Ray. I actually wasn’t planning on using “open water” even in an outdoor olympic pool, it would simply be to gauge how accurate outdoor vs indoor stroke performance is measured, as swimming is my weakest sport and I’ll just have a few chances to train open water as opposed to a pool.
Ray – I’m not sure how much you’ve tested the watches with open water swimming so maybe you can’t answer this…
Is the GPS accuracy (and sampling frequency) good enough to calculate metrics such as distance per stroke and efficiency (seconds + strokes /per 25m) on openwater swims? Or is it just going to be all over the place?
I ask because we’re rolling out a big pool swim analysis enhancement and adding these to openwater as well is trivial. It would be interesting to do apples to apples comparison on efficiency but if the data is junk, kinda seems pointless.
It’s useful, but it depends a lot on how accurate the distance is for that particular swim. So just like the FR910XT in that regard. My latest OW swim was two weeks ago on it, and was pretty good – but they’ve since made further fixes to the OW swim side of it.
Ultimately, if the accurate is distance (which it seems to be in the ballpark, like most devices), then stroke rate will be accurate.
Ray – a short that to echo the sentiments shared on the amazing work that you do. I placed my Fēnix 2 order (to hopefully replace my 910XT) through Clever Training. I also shop via your site on Amazon. I hope they all help…..
Why during swimming not to show pulse?
The wireless signal will not transmit through water (this is true of all Ant+ and Bluetooth signals). The only signal that WILL transmit through water is the old Polar coded straps, which only work with certain Polar devices.
Is it possible to set-up specific screens/fields for Swim-Bike-Run in Multisport mode? For example, when I’m training, I may want to see more metrics during my run such as last lap pace, current pace, current cadence, average cadence, time of day (I do 99% of my training before the kids wake up, so I need to know when I may need to cut a workout short, adjust the intensity, etc.). However, for racing, I want 1 basic screen — total distance, total time, current pace.
Can I create multisport mode specific screens, or would I have to adjust my screens/fields prior to a race?
I’ve always wanted to be able to that on my 910…
Sorta. You can create separate fields for each sport. Multisport mode simply ties those sports together (along with their fields).
However, you could create separate custom sports (up to three of them), which different data fields, which would solve that problem. Or, you can just create a new data page and simply leave it on that in the regular sport mode.
I already preordered.
We can only create 3 Custom Sports? I am the type of person who love to customize the data fields and doesn’t want to be restricted by small limited numbers of screens I can see…What is the Fenix 2 like?
You can customize any of the existing sports, or create three new ones. For both cases, this includes data fields on a single page, as well as data fields on any page and adding data fields.
Also, is the HRM-Run waterproof rated? Can I wear it under my wetsuit during a race?
Yes, fully waterproofed – and no problems wearing under a wetsuit (it’s what everyone does).
This email was send to Garmin’s forum from the italian user :
Problems & Bugs with Garmin Fenix 2
Goodmorning, my name’s Alberto, I’m a Italian buyer of Garmin Fenix 2. Sorry for my english, and for very long mail.
I premise that is over 20 years that I practice some outdoor sports like running, trail running (agonistic level), cycling (agonistic level), mtb and, sometimes, hiking and climbing. I’ve always used sportwatch and cardiofrequenzimeters (a lot of them) because i’m affascinated to have an analysis of my activities, in real time and after in front of my Pc.
Recently, I’m using the polar Rs800cx, to have more informations about gps and vertical speed, a recent keymaze 700 Trail, running and cicling with both on my wrists or on the handlebars. When I saw the garmin website and i saw the Fenix 2 caratheristics and functions, i falled in love..and here I am.
In a weekend of hard use, I can say that it is a great product: Gps and maps functions are very strong, the barometric altimeter has an incredible precision, the “negative screen” is a optimum idea (used in various light conditions, with the screen covered of sweat is always the top), the over 100 function are very useful, and the general impression for hardware, look up and others are live up to expectations;
But there are also some very heavy bugs, and for this bugs, at this time I cannot use the Fenix for my workouts and i must use the polar Rs800Cx in a wrist and the Keymaze on the other to achieve what I need.
Those are the problems, and then my suggestions to solve are:
FONDAMENTAL PROBLEMS INVALIDANTING THE USE:
The most important problem for me is the bug with the vertical speed.
During mountain running, trail running, cycling (road and mtb), the vertical speed based on gps altitude and mediation on a few seconds is IMPOSSIBLE TO USE. In fact, a “normal” trail runner or cyclist, have a range of vertical speed that is about 500-1500m/h, which is about 15-40 cm per second. It is phisically impossible for an altimeter (above all if gps-based) to see accurately this variations. When you’re running in a path or cycling on a uphill at a costant vertical speed of 1000m/h (based on my experiment, supported by keymaze 700 and my “legs feelings” you can see Fenix’s vertical speed values jumping every second like this: +1400 -300 +550 -100 +1350, and this is very frustrating and annoying! Impossible to use!
My suggestion is this: to modificate the vertical speed or, if you want to mantain gps vertical speed computated on a few seconds for sports like skydiving or downhill skiing, create a new simple function with this precise criteria: (Barometric(!!!!!!!)-altimeter’s value now) minus (Barometric(!!!!!!!)-altimeter’s value 60” (1 minute) ago). This is the algoritm used by keymaze 700 trail, and it is PERFECT to use in all outdoor sports like running, trial running, cycling, hiking, climbing, ski mountaineering… I talked about it with some international athletes of skyrunning in the last trail in Trieste, and all of them according with me about it. A couple of them had the fenix 1 and they told me that they sent you some complaints about this bug. I underscore that this function is fundamental, both for uphill and for downhill (for trail runners), so the algoritme must use the precise mathematical criteria shown above. Why the 60” (1 minute)? First of all because it’s simple and intuitive for users, but the mathematical reason is that: if the barometric altimeter has an accuracy of about 1 meter, in a minute a normal runner, cyclist, sky mountaneer or hiker has a altitude variation between 8/9 – 25-30 meters uphill, and a 15-50 downhill (but the more important value for a generic workout regards uphill), so the mathemathic uncertainty of the value shown is about 5-15%: which is an accetable value! If you reduce the time under 1 minute, mathematics uncertainty “explodes” to a too high value…it is mathematically impossible to have a “sport-usable” value using other methods!!
I want to underline that vertical speed is, in (not only) my opinion, THE MOST IMPORTANT FUNCTION FOR A TRAIL RUNNER OR SKI MOUNTAINEER, paragonable to speed for a road cyclist or cronometer for a athletic-track runner… I need it please!! because at the moment i must use the Keymaze to have this value.
An other important bug is with slope (I don’t know the english name, I mean the inclination of the road) and the reason is the same of vertical speed: gps altitude mediated on a too short time: this sunday, cycling at a misurated road uphill with 8% of slope at about 12-14km/h (my own test, like a normal value for cyclists, mtb or trail running), slope value visualizated on Fenix 2 jumps every second to from +5% to +12% with random values: IMPOSSIBLE TO USE!
My suggestion is the same: use Barometric altimeter and computate the difference of values now and 100 meters ago.
So for this problems, i ask you to fix it as soon as possible because at the moment i can’t use Fenix 2 for my trail running workouts, and the warranty time is passing! 400€ stuck in a drawer…i want to cry!
Those 2 are the most problems invalidating the use of Fenix 2 (if i spent 400€ for a Fenix, it’s because i want to use precisely these additional features, if i’m happy to use only cycling speed, altimeter, simple cardio datum etc, I would buy a 30€-50€ ciclocomputer or sportwatch and retain others 350€ in my cheking account! So, please, use barometric altimeter datum!!! (the Fenix 2 barometric altimeter have a incredible precision, I tested it and I was impressed by the precision!!) (in the fenix 2 website pages of garmin, the barometric altimeter is praised for more precision in altitude variation..so, why don’t use it for vertical speed and inclination, function who require a very high precision?????In addition, trail running, mtb etc. is practiced mostly in the woods or in the mountains, where GPS reception is not optimal: Another reason to use the barometric value!
Other suggestions for a upgrade are:
when creating a workout (by desktop garmin connect), the smallest problem is that you have the choice to create only for running or cycling or other, but if I want to create a workout for trail running, the workout is opened in runnig mode (and visualization). But the biggest problem is regarding the Fenix 2 (and other garmin’s sportwatch) software: if you create a timer workout (for example, 12′ warm up, 3x (20” fast and 40” slow) etc), you CAN’T USE THE LAP FUNCTION. In garmin connect I can choose between a TIMER STAGE or Lap button Stage: if I choose Lap button stage, the Fenix behaviour is correct (i push lap and the stage terminates passing at the next), but if I choose “Timer stage”, the result is the same: i can’t use lap and maintain the timer workout. This is a problem for me (and more other users) because, for example, take a lap during a 12′ time warming (for exemple after 1km) helps you have an idea of starting speed. Furthermore, in workout mode, autolap function doesn’t work. Other case, if I program a part of workout with 20′ of fast running, and i’m running on a circuit, i need to take the lap at ever round during the 20′ fast running, and it is impossible because at the first time i take a lap, fenix aborts the 20′ fast running and passes at next step.
Every sportwatch, when you press lap button and take a lap, shows a little summary of lap for some second (polar Rs800 shows 6 parameters, Keymaze 700 4 parameters) …Fenix? 1 (one!) parameter, shows only the timer! I know that i can create a visualization page with last lap values, but if i’m having a running or cycling race and i take a lap, i can’t stay hacking away on the keys to see some value…i prefer to take a look at the watch’s screen for few seconds and continue to push hard!
Other request, if possible, implement the number of functions displayed on the screen at the same time…a maximum of 3 is not the maximum for a top level sportwatch..I think 4 views is the best choice according to screen size.
Other request, if possible: when using a timer (lap timer, chronometer, total timer etc) visualizated on the highest or lowest row of screen, after 59’59”, the visualization is only HH.MM and i can’t see seconds..it is very important to show them, perhaps reducing the writing (time, etc.) near the value.
I hope that these requests are appreciated by you, they are the result of many years of experience in the sports field, and the desire to have the best multisport watch ever.
I ask you to solve the first two problems ( fix vertical speed and inclination) as soon as possible in order to fully test and race in the Fenix 2 and possibly give other suggestions, and to be able to use the new product in place of the products that I have and that I MUST CONTINUE TO USE.
Please reply to my email ASAP, and tell me approximately how soon you can solve 2 major bugs.
If you want, I remain at your disposal to test new features, new beta-firmwares, or any request for information which may serve you.
Thank you very much for your attention!”
This is the link to the message sended to garmin’s forum, please let’s contribution all together so that garmin make changes !!! link to forums.garmin.com
I read a forum post yesterday (so, not necessarily credible) that indicated Phone Notifications for Android were still a couple months away (Q2). I’m desperately hoping Garmin will remedy this issue sooner rather than later and I’m praying this does NOT mean activity uploading will also be missing!
For the Live Tracking with simultaneous sensor connectivity conversation – I just don’t need that functionality, but Garmin should think about changing the way they market that feature. It’s really an activity-specific feature for hikers or outdoor enthusiasts who will not be using a HRM or other sensors. It’s certainly a nice feature for those folks but it means nothing to me. Activity uploads via phone though, that’s a huge deal. I work in an office where I cannot install garmin connect. My phone and tablet (both Android) are my connection to the outside world. I hit the pool, treadmill, or bike on the way to the office and having the ability to get that data to the web for review as soon as I hit the locker room is crucial.
Pedometer – I’ve seen that the V800 will also function as an activity tracker. Suunto has added an app that will also count and upload daily steps. Given that the accelerometer continues to function throughout the day, and that lifestyle metrics such as step count and calories burned are going to be integrated in the web environment thanks to the data merge with Vivofit, Garmin should certainly look at adding the necessary code to allow for a pedometer mode. It’s highly unlikely that such a feature would infringe on Vivofit sales since few folks will want to wear two wrist devices, yet it’s a simple step that will make you that much more appealing to the consumers seeking an “all-in-one” device! I understand it’s not a feature everyone will use, and that it will negatively impact battery consumption (though not significantly, it’s not a feature that would require sensor connection or BT), but that’s why it should be a feature you can turn on or off. If you browse the slowtwitch and beginner triathlete forums, you’ll see nearly every detractor saying they’ll be waiting for the V800 and nearly every single one of them mentions the daily activity monitoring features.
Where did you read that? apparently, it’s true as Garmin has decided to leave their Android users hanging until June! I, for one refuse to accept that, and if Android is not supported by the time the V800 is released, I’m switching over to Polar. Could you include a link to this forums?
Like you, I only care about uploading, nothing else!
Q2 doesnt necessary mean June. Its the entire April 1 – June period. Understand some frustration Pete. This is complex stuff that Garmin is putting on. If they delayed the watch (Just like Polar has done) folks would be complaining about that as well. Dont think for a minute that just because Polar delayed the release of V800 it will be flawless upon its debut. Thats not how software/hardware slips work. A slip occurs not because of minor bugs, it slips because major functionality is not complete, or there are significant stability issues. Every software company in the work expects some field issue to arise. Working in the Software engineering industry for 20+ years I know. Believe me, you have no idea how much crap LTE equipment vendors have to do to overcomes “bugs” in every Apple iPhone device released just so they will work for ATT/VzW/Sprint/Tmobile.
Patience is a virtue. I’m pleased to see rapid firmware update for the Fenix. When is the last time something was fixed on a Forerunner Series 🙂
I just got my shipping confirmation from the Garmin website, it will arrive tomorrow, a few hours after I leave for a ski trip 🙁
And now the manual has arrived 🙂
link to static.garmincdn.com
Only 26 pages….ambit2 manual have 156 pages….
Mimmo can you tell my where in Italy did you buy your watch?
hi ! yes here link to ebay.it
Thank you for the link.
Stop. Resume. Resume Later. Question (after glancing over the owner manual). If during an activity (say an ultra), you hit stop. At the point you hit stop is the recorded data saved yet? Or must you hit the Save option. is it saved if you hit the Resume later option? Thinking about how to maximum battery life for a 16-20+ event. But the event will have some stops in it. So I could attach USB charger. Just wondering what button options to use during the stops. The manual isnt so clear on the different behaviors for resume. resume later. and save.
The data is being continually saved, so even if the unit has some failure, the data is there and available for resume (an improvement, and a feature I’ve tested). This is true even if you run out of juice.
When you hit the ‘Resume Later’ option, it turns off GPS and then makes it available as an option when you go to start an activity to Resume that activity.
So in your case, I’d hit resume later, then connect the battery pack while on the breaks, and then disconnect the battery pack when you want to resume.
Fenix 1 could be placed in tracking mode while connected to a mobile USB-charger, will that work on the Fenix 2 as well?
Yes, that works.
Pardon my ignorance. But when you say placed into tracking mode. What specifically does that mean. Would the HRM run still be used and reporting data to be saved? Can you walk through how during an activity you would connected a USB charger while the device is still working/recording/monitoring. I read somewhere that not just any USB charger would work as it might but the device into some USB connectivity mode. Thanks!
I assumed he meant in a recording state.
In general, with a USB charger and Fenix, you need to ensure it’s not a computer – which would flip it to mass storage mode. Rather, it’s just a standard electrical charging USB port (like from a portable charger, solar, etc…).
Any chance to find out if “Resume Later” option would be added to Fenix1? It could help very much with the battery life – let’s just say I’m hiking and frequently stopping for taking photos, for a lunch or simply for taking a breath. Now I can push “Activity Paused” or “Stop GPS”. In the first case, GPS is still running, Fenix is desperately trying to maintain satellite fix while I’m enjoing my meal in the restaurant. In the second case I have several saved tracks/activities.
Just had a quick look through the manual, and it seems there is only one place to set the HR zones (User Profile), and no way to set power zones. Is this correct?
On my FR 610 I can specify different HR zones for running and cycling, and on my Edge 500 I can specify power zones. I would think this should be possible on the Fenix2 as well, as it support multiple sports and power meters?
On the Fenix2, you set power zones within the sensors menu. Menu > Settings > Sensors > Power > Power Zones.
But what about HR Zones? Are you limited to one per sensor? Or can you have different HR Zones for different sports?
I only see one generic HR zone set across everything.
So no separate HR zones for Biking and Running? For a watch catering to triathletes that’s silly.
Add this to the must haves to get this watch right.
I’ve never heard of someone having separate HR zones based on discipline. What’s the philosophy behind that? Or what would be the application? For training or for racing?Note- I’m still relatively new to triathlon so I don’t doubt there’s a lot I don’t know… I’ve just never thought of doing differing zones for different sports… I mean isn’t HR a reflection of exertion regardless of activity?
For each sport the max HR differs therefore the zones.
Roughly we can say that Cycling has a running HR – 5 bps and swimming another -5.
So let´s say you have a 175 max HR tested for running you could “estimate” 170 for Cycling and 165 for swimming.
I use Fenix1 and have different HR zones set for different profiles. In my case for Cycling profile and for Walking profile (my custom made), just checked. So I suppose it will be the same for Fenix2, right?
HR zones can vary greatly depending on muscular fitness in every sport. In general if HR zones for biking are 5-10bpm lower then running. This is true of both racing and training. However if you specialize is a sport (i.e. you’re a cyclist or swimmer), it’s possible that your HR zones will be similar to your running HR zones (which are usually the highest).
Marcos & Olu,
Thanks for filling me in!
Would you (please) add the side by side dimensional comparison photos with the 620 and 910XT? The longer battery life is really interesting for Ultra Marathons but still doesn’t get the 24 – 28 Hr coverage for a 100 Mile trail event. If I have to carry a USB battery anyway to charge along the way, i’m curious how much extra weight and size I’ll have swinging on my wrist when compared to the 620. Thank You very much for all the great details you post (always my first info source).
I’ll include them within the full in-depth review, currently slated for next week.
Woot! So that means that you have a “production version?” Give us an appetizer. anything new or unexpected from the beta version you were using (of course if you were getting beta firmware updates, your preview eval might have firmware newer than the production model).
At the moment, I’m working with the same physical unit as before, but with newer-than-production firmware.
The only difference between the physical unit I currently have, and the production one is a slight change to the button mechanics to eliminate an oddity they saw.
Have swim alerts (time or distance), made the cut yet?
Not at this time. Like many requests, they are still being considered. To be clear, the Fenix team has taken a ton of requests in, and continues to add items based on comments. Right now it’s simply a prioritization game. I made it clear that I think Swim Alerts (and to a slightly lesser degree) would be the #1 software-defined feature that I would like to see make the cut.
@TheGarminFenix2Wizards big brothering this thread (as you should be) –
I also vote for Swim Alerts!
I may not utilize differing heart rate zones yet (thanks to the contributors who filled me in on that btw), but even I will benefit from alerts with my morning swim. If I remember correctly, this has been considered a major miss by Suunto owners.
Here is an email i just got from Clever Training!
Thank you for your order with Clever Training for the Garmin Fenix 2. This item has recently been released from Garmin and shipments will soon begin to arrive to our warehouse. As units continue to arrive we will begin processing all pre-orders based on the date in which your pre-order was placed. Once your order is processed we will notify you with tracking information for your convenience to the email address you provided at checkout.
We realize you must be very anxious to receive the new product and anticipate fulfilling all orders by Late March as stated on our website.
Clever Training Team
Me too! Though I think it has only elevated my anticipation! I wonder if they sent that email because they’ve been inundated with inquiries or simply as a courtesy. I’ve nearly emailed them or called them for a status update on several occasions but have managed to leave it be thus far.
Any words on hardware differences between tactix and fenix 2?
Please include the vibration swimming Alerts. I would appreciate not having to look at the watch to figure out if I have gone far enough to take my break etc. Thus ruining my stroke rhythm, form, etc. Part of the reason I am wanting a higher end watch is to mindlessly swim with out having to count how many laps I have yet to do to finish a set or the entire swim.
Thanks for all your reviews and responses it has helped me make a tough choice on a first time fitness watch.
Great website, congratulations. I have neem following your site for few years now.
I have a question about the Fenix 2 in relation to the navigation features. Is it possible to navigate while running? This is very usefult when doing orienteering races in open mountain, and the Ambit allows you to do this.
Ray – Do you know if there are any plans to roll out ANT+ transfer to either the Fenix or Fenix2? I saw in your vivofit post that it allows ANT+ transfer so it appears that protocol isn’t fully dead (yet).
There are no plans that I’m aware of.
though it will likely work with Sportablet/Uploader which utilizes Ant+ upload (the Fenix 1 does)
The Fenix1 doesn’t use ANT+ upload, just USB upload (+ BT with the beta). The SportTablet/Uploader requires a USB connection on Android to do it.
Since you have an in with Garmin, can you please talk to them about a way to really improve their charging cradle? They should lop off the long cable tail, put a micro USB receptacle on the clip, and then you could charge the device with any micro USB cable you would like, and have one less long cable to carry. They can even throw in a cheap micro USB cable so people can charge right out of the box.
I think every one struggles with the number of cables and chargers we have to carry with us on the road. I imagine the Forerunner and Fenix users are very much in this camp. Well, the charging cradle for the watch is just another big dongle with a cord coming out of it, for no good reason. Right now, I solve this by carrying one micro USB cable, one USB charger, and a micro USB -> lightning adapter. If the charging cradle had a micro USB receptacle in it, I could save on carrying one more cable.
At this point, I am reduced to buying a micro USB extender cable on Amazon and then performing surgery on my charging cradle to make it work. When I get this set up on my Fenix, I will send in photos.
Seriously, think about it – this would make everyone’s life better. Can you recommend this to them?
(As someone who just spent/wasted an hour trying to track down all the right charging cables for all the right units to put on the rollers for the Fenix2 size comparisons, I feel your pain).
That said, the singular reason why they aren’t doing that is that it’s incredibly difficult to waterproof a MicroUSB connector to a 50m rating. It’s easy to do IPX7, but beyond that, nobody to my knowledge has done that.
Might be speaking out of turn, but what I suspect Tom was saying is that on the charging clip/cable that attaches to the F2. Instead of having a fixed long cable on it, provide just the charging clip itself. the charging clip would have the micro USB connector on it. Dont believe he suggesting micro USB on the watch. Again. Could be wrong. in which case, I will just close my mouth 🙂
Not on the watch – that would be great, but I know it would be tough. I mean on the cradle.
Instead of a cradle with a built-in USB cord (USB-A plug), a cradle with a micro USB receptacle (micro-B receptacle) integrated into the plastic body of the cradle, and a separate USB cable with a micro USB plug (USB-A plug to micro-B plug). Then you only need to carry one micro USB cable for all of your devices.
You can see what I mean by looking at the plug types here:
link to en.wikipedia.org
Sorry, yes, I agree, this would be logical. Adidas did this actually on their GPS unit.
Great – will you pass this on to them?
For now, I am going to lop off the tail and wire one up myself (want me to make you one?) but it would be a whole lot nicer if this could be corrected at the factory level. I can even see this as an aftermarket option for $5 or something like that, if they are worried that people might be too confused with the plugs.
++1 here here — I wholeheartedly agree – big time!!
Makes tons of sense.
my question: was the battery life vastly improved?
I didn’t get Fenix 1 because of the fact the battery would last from 8 hours to 20 hours acording to your review, far from the 50 hours advertised (with gps mode).
And btw, I’m very disapointed they went this way (multi-sports, swiming, garmin 620 – 910 features etc..) and not on improving on navigation and battery life for a pure hiking / ultra / trail running / mountain bike target. I’m not saying it’s bad to have a watch will all that, but it means they didn’t develop the other aspects that would be more relevant: battery life – navigation improvements. This target is not really interested in cadence or vertical oscilation for example. Even classic measures like pace sometimes dont make much sense in trail running, because terrain changes so much, but I agree its important to have a watch that allows you train (lets say, in city, track etc) and also when you hit the trails.
From the looks of it, they just blended and mixed the concept too much, instead of making the Fenix a different watch. They should make specialized watches for specific targets. my opinion…
Lou, I think the watch you’re talking about will exist in the future, but it’ll have to be a “new” watch (meaning new hardware). What they’ve done with the Fenix2, what you referred to as “mixing concepts” is really just maxing out what they can do with the hardware in hand.
It may not appeal to everyone but for me… I really want a watch that can do it all. I use 3 separate devices to train for triathlon, 2 devices when doing a race, rarely do I wear one as a day to day watch, and I don’t wear any of them while snowboarding because I don’t trust those devices to resist the elements. I think this is a band-aid release for those who are dreaming of the next-gen navigation-outdoor adventure watch. But for the fitness industry it’s a significant leap forward (bringing many of the next gen 620 features to the multisport crowd where very few companies have released anything comparable to the 910xt which has been around for quite a while considering the tech industry.
Anyway, I say all that just to say, while it’s not the “next big thing” for you, doesn’t mean that device isn’t in the works. And re-releasing the Fenix as the Fenix2, maxing out the capabilities and generating interest across a wider population, was a wickedly good business move… not to mention the timing… Polar announces their first foray into the real multi-sport device niche, and Garmin swoops in and offers a device, a month ahead of Polar, that addresses some of the crucial elements missing from the 910xt (mobile uploading, phone notifications, and functional as a day to day watch).
In my mind that’s a solid move on their part and only strengthens their position in the market and they’re ability to continue development on “the next big thing” for you and me.
Well stated — J.Stoops!!
Plus there will always be something better around the next corner at some point in time. I’m hoping that the F2 will serve me well for a good while, before I need to jump on the next best thing.
Thanks for the comment J.Stoops. I understand what you are saying, but I think the features I’d like to see aren’t really a step forward (except eventual navigation bug improvements i guess) but rather doing simple usefull things in very reliable way.
a 920xt is probably in the making and it would seem like the ideal platform for thriatletes and to add a tons of metrics. That would bring the 620 features to the multisport. I have a 610 unit that I love, for my running and cycling. But when 620 came out, it missed one of the features I love the most on the 610: navigation. It’s just a simple arrow pointing to a waypoint you stored (like your house or car)… but it provides to be of the most imporance even in the city when doing long runs, just wandering about.
The fact they launched the 620 without this but included a ton of marketing gimick metrics that have very limited usefullness in the long run (but might be very motivating for people starting), simply didn’t made sense and killed the 620 line for me. I mean, even in the city, if you are doing long runs and just wandering about, it’s great to know how far your are from home and wich way to head to it!
I use an old Garmin 60cx gps hand held unit for my MTB and sometimes on the trails if i carry a camelback of some sort. It’s not practical at all for running, but it has simple AA bateries and it’s waterproof and that’s what I’ve used on my “adventures”.
Besides, i think the best would be to find a way to change batteries on the go, like you do on cameras. This would also solve what is for me the worst thing about gps watches (or smartphones): their bateries degrade and last less and less, until you have to buy a new one. cheers!
Yep I hate non-replaceable batteries too. In many smartphones it’s not easy to change the battery even for service shops, they are disposable devices. Fortunately there are still some good smartphones with replaceable battery. It’s worse regarding watches.
The Fenix 2 looks like a great watch! Thanks for the review. I currently use an Ambit 2. I am on the fence for either a Polar v800 for its underwater heart monitoring capabilities, activity monitoring, and coaching capabilites; or, the Fenix 2 for its navigational capabilities and cell phone integration features.
The only hesitation I have with the Fenix 2 is my bad experiences with the original Fenix. The first one had problems with crashing all the time, the second one can from the factory in somekind of QC test mode that neither I nor the store could get out of, the third one fogged up after snorkling to about 30 feet, the forth one just would shutdown everytime I went into a slot canyon hiking and the paint flaked off. Hence, went to the Suunto Ambit 2. Nice watch, much better quality than the first generation fenix. Still, I liked all the outdoor features of the fenix and find the Ambit 2 navigation a bit wanting, and now that Fenix 2 has all the training capabilities of an Ambit, I am really tempted.
How has the quality been of the Aquatix and Tactix? Have the quality issues been worked out of the Fenix line?
If so, I may try again and if funds permits also get the Polar v800.
I am sitting here with a 620 in hand and a pre-ordered Fenix 2 soon to arrive. As I post my 620 on ebay to pay for my Fenix 2, I can’t help but wonder – given the accelerometer present in the 620, and the Ant+ and Bluetooth capabilities of this much lighter watch, what is stopping garmin from a firmware update that would allow the 620 to track strokes in swimming and hook up to a power meter. Additionally, it would seem that the BT connectivity would at some point allow phone updates to be sent directly to the phone.
While I doubt garmin would do this (ultimately providing several watches with lots of crossover in capabilities) I can’t help but wonder if at some point I will regret selling my 620…
CleverTraining is showing the Fenix 2 In Stock now – Watch only, not the bundle… Hopefully they’ll get the bundles in soon too since that’s what I ordered!
Jot hit an email from clever training that my bundle Fenix2 will be ship out today.
Just got an email from clever training that my bundle Fenix2 will be ship out today.
Just noticed in description on Clever Training that Fenix 2 has “curved glass”. So, is it the same glass as on Tactix after all or it’s flat?
Just curious, what was your order date?
I was hoping someone asked that. I ordered a bundle on February 20 and I didn’t get an email today
I ordered it the morning that it was announced
I didn’t order till 3/3 so I guess I’ll have to wait a bit more.
Just a quick update for those ordering from Clever Training.
All base-unit’s were shipped today. There is currently a small quantity of stock of base units available to ship.
On the bundles, they got only a handful in today, with a large number coming in Monday, and then again another large number later in the week. If one were to order now, it’d be about 2 weeks until everything is cleared out (worse case). As always, first in/first out.
And also – thanks for the support of the blog via Clever Training – appreciate it! Enjoy the new toys…err…training devices. 🙂
Oh, on the glass piece….
I don’t have a Tactix at the moment. It was sent back to Garmin and I realized I forgot to order my replacement. In any case, the Fenix2 that I have feels flat to me. However, if I put a credit card on it, there’s the slightest of curve on it – barely noticeable. But, I remember the Tactix being much more pronounced – significant really (I know this because it as a @#$@# to photograph).
I’ll see if one of my local stores here has a Tactix I can pickup to show the differences. Or, perhaps my memory is failing already…
I thought it was just my failing eye sight, but I thought the picture of the fenix2 on Ray’s wrist (exiting the beach with wet suit) looked like curved glass…..
I just returned tactix today and got the fenix 2. The glass on both looked the same to me. Slightly curved.
I took a macro of the fenix2 glass curve if anyone’s interested. I didn’t take one of the tactix when I had it however they looked pretty much same to me. Image link link to z.ckw.me
Thanks! Very nice. Quite curved, no experience with Tactix of course but I can’t imagine it’s more curved. Should be the same glass.
Lots of you guys in the states look to be getting your Fenix 2s imminently- anyone in the UK even found somewhere to order/pre order yet??? or even an estimate of UK availability date?!?!
Also Ray, for us not US folk does using the amazon links and then changing to the UK amazon site still benefit you and your site?? happy to help if we can over here!
ignore the last bit- found the UK link at the top of the page- just need it to show up on amazon now!!
Great! I appreciate the support!
I know order from CT helps. Does order from Amazon help as well, or just not as much? love my prime on amazon and the return policy. maybe return policy same on CT, havent checked.
Oh, I appreciate via either method! As one who uses Amazon Prime almost daily, I definitely understand!
Hey Garmin, just wanted to be another voice saying I want this watch but with the 620’s screen and ability to live track and use HRM at the same time. My $400 will be yours. : )
what is the effective battery life if you are using it like a 910XT, ie with HR and power sensors? Someone told me that the Fenix with sensors on only had about 7 hours of battery life. Basically, I want to know if this can hold up for an Ironman race, and given I have to turn it on 3 hours before race start, I need 13- 14 hours
Between 15-16 hours.
That’s more than double the 620, right?
The FR620 is 10hrs, sometimes a touch bit more if your lucky.
OK, I thought that was just specs in a perfect world, and some people were not getting 10 hours.
So the current downside for Tri folks is, not being able hit the full IM cut-off time (I don’t do IM, so not a problem). Sure seems like smart-recording would be a nice option.
I’ve seen a few posts from one or two folks who have done some ‘Garden tests’ with the FR620 on a slew of different scenarios, and I thought one or two were in the mid-10’s.
It’s actually not a recording issue though, the smart vs 1-second recording has virtually no impact on battery life, just storage (which isn’t an issue either). It’s GPS enablement that kills battery.
I like what Suunto has done here with three GPS update different modes: 1s, 5s, 60s, the 5S gets them about a 50% boost on battery life, and would be perfect for the run portion of an IM for most folks who need that last few hours.
And by extension, the big question is how much of a boost in battery from 1s to 5s with UltraTrak on for the 5s with the F2. I believe the HRMrun is still operating in UltraTrak, not sure about altitude though, reading different replies above.
I agree a 5s option would be pretty sweet. Would help the ultra causes as also.
Ray, I’m new here. Will your Fenix 2 review include stuff about the Basecamp app to assist with hiking? I posted some questions, but you might not see them as they’re way deep above. My main concern is will my Galaxy S3 work with it?
Yes, I’ll be covering the Basecamp pieces in the review.
Hi, I tried pairing fenix 2 with my S4 (Android version 4.3) and it is not picking up the watch. I followed all instructions and I see the “Ready. Pair from Bluetooth settings on mobile device”. And when I turn on the bluetooth on the S4, it don’t see the watch on the available device list. I have the Garmin Connect mobile installed, Just to make sure that there’s nothing wrong with the watch, I did a 4mi run this morning, it pairs with my footpod, detects the satellites above… Is there anything that I missed for it not to pair?
Thanks for any advice! Ramon
The Android app doesn’t quite yet support the Fenix/Fenix2/Tactix. I asked a bit earlier this morning for clarification to validate it’s still on track for “March”.
Thanks Ray! So for now how do I upload the data on the fenix 2?
I mean upload from fenix 2 to garmin connect. Thanks!
USB via computer and Garmin Express. Or, steal a friends iDevice.
One more thing, is there a way to test the bluetooth function working on the fenix2? I just want to make sure what I got is not broken. Thanks
Not without an iDevice. If you can find a friend with one, simply have them download the Garmin Connect Mobile app, and you’ll be able to validate from there.
Hi Ray. trying to decide V800 or Fenix 2, will it include rr-recording (hrv) and recovery heart rate?
At present it does not. It is however something they are considering, dependent on feedback.
Thks Ray. struggling as V800 seems much stronger hr related, but Fenix 2 has swim metrics, so maybe I wait until V800 is released. Good reviews!
So I had my 620 since november and I really like the watch, but unfortunately I’ve had issues with bluetooth livetracking from day 1. Constant disconnects and if i’m lucky, reconnects. I’ve updated each firmware with issues still. Have master reset and still issues. I’m on my 2nd 620 and did a run today, I was pessimistic at first but after the first 1.5 miles, I didn’t have any issues with it disconnect. Finally thought I had it fixed. Then wham, at mile 1.7 it disconnect. It disconnected and reconnected 15 times for the 8.2 mile run. I had 7 disconnects between 1.7 and 3.4 miles. After 3.4 miles, it didn’t reconnect again until mile 4.2. There were times where it reconnected after I stopped it at a red light, only for it to disconnect the minute I started moving again and hit start. There was even a point when I was running that it connected and then proceeded to disconnect while the “phone connect” batter was still on the screen.
And if you’re wondering, no it’s not the phone. I’ve used 2 friends’ 220s with no issue on multiple runs up to 16 miles with no issues.
Looks like I’ll be exchanging for the Fenix 2, it can’t use ant+ and bt at the same time (which was a dealbreaker for me), but considering my luck with the bt on the 620, it doesn’t really matter.
Hi! Newbie here and I would like to ask about the HRM-Run strap which is included on the Performer Bundle. Are they the same as the one included on the 910xt? Please advice because im considering buying the watch-only package which is already on-stock on CT. Thanks and more power to you dcrainmaker.
the HRM-run strap is not the same as the HR strap for the 910xt. If you want the extra running dynamics (cadence, vertical oscillation, ground contact time), you need to buy the package with the HRM-run strap. If you only want HR information and recovery time, then you can use an older HRM strap.
A question that may be answered in the full review, cadence/pace. I have the foot pod from my recently sold 910xt. I’ve ordered the Fenix 2 bundle with HRM. Would I get more accurate cadence (and pace indoors) if I use the foot pod or the HRM and watch only? I don’t mind keeping the foot pod if it’ll provide more accurate data. But if it’s going to be the same or better without the foot pod I’ll look into selling it.
Thanks for all the great reviews!
If it’s anything like the 620, keep the footpod. I’ve found the 620 alone on the TM is ok with your “normal” pace. Whenever I tried to do a tempo on the TM it was way off and had me going slower. With the footpod, it was much more accurate. So I’d say keep it.
Cadence accuracy-wise is a wash, I find that fine (even on the FR620), it’s accurate there.
Pace…is interesting. They’ve actually made some progress on the Fenix2 there. I’ve got one final round of testing on treadmills to do on Monday to see how the progress is going.
Hi Ray, Amazing site and review! I have had a read through and I wondered can the pre fetching of satalite data be done on a PC with a USB cable or is it garmin connect mobile only? If it can be done via pc , I don’t understand how with my fenix 1 (i assume its the same between fenix 1 and 2) and the garmin connect web application. Many thanks and keep up the good work! Mat
Yes, you can pre-fetch with Garmin Express & a USB cable, with the Fenix1/Fenix2. In the case of the Fenix1, you do need to be on the beta firmware.
i’ve read on forums that people have real troubles with garmin swim detecting styles (other than front crawl / freestyle) aspecialy during medley. would you please test fenix2 ability to distinguish swimming styles specificly during medley?
Thanks for all the reviews! Some amazing work you do here.
This really depends on stroke technique. Here are a couple of swims that included IM.
link to connect.garmin.com
Intervals 13, 14, 15, and 16 were 200 IMs swum solo. After the 1st one it seemed to be dead on. (click the arrow to see each length)
link to connect.garmin.com
intervals 22, 24, 25, 26, 27 were 100 IMs in the middle of swim practice with a few swimmers per lane.
Less accurate and mixes up my fly and freestyle and back and breaststroke a few times.
In general I find the more laps you do in one stroke (and the slower you go), the more accurate. Accuracy decreases with shorter distances, increased speed (?worse form) and having other people in the lane.
Reviewing the non-freestyle swim stroke piece is going to be tough. Mostly, because I can’t even pretend to swim those other strokes. So, my testing would probably result in the unit just labeling those strokes as: WTF.
if if got right, it seems that style recognition is a personal thing. if my personal style fits what garmin taught the watch, than i’m fine. but if my movement is somehow different, than the watch will have troubles recognizing it properly.
may be garmin should incorporate a learning phase. i mean that the watch will record me swimming specific style and would learn from the recording how my fly/back/breaststroke/crawl moves like
The Suunto Ambit 2 has pool stroke teaching mode. You can pick the four different strokes, swim a length and is (supposedly) learns.
But here is the weird thing.. because of the new trend of quick-start manuals – you won’t know this when first buying the watch – it’s buried on page 86 of a 157 page instruction manual, only available as a PDF download if you go looking for it. In fact, in Ray’s in depth review, it wasn’t covered at all except in the comments. Best I can tell.. even Ray completely missed it?? (apologies if I’m reading the blog wrong)
So there is quite an impression that the watch is “broken” coming out of the box. Which is what I thought. Until I taught it my stroke, and now it’s better.
Funny side note. When you go to select the teaching mode on Ambit 2, after clicking about 6 buttons to get to the mode the watch shows a brief message “Only taught swim strokes will be detected”. NOW YOU TELL ME?? After I’ve somehow discovered this option, gone to page 86 of 157 page instruction manual, sitting in the pool, shivering and fiddling with buttons, gone into the teaching mode on the watch?
I dunno Suunto… maybe that should pop up the first time you do a pool workout and haven’t taught it your stroke? Nope.. it just happily records everything as breaststroke. LOL.
And worse.. a firmware update will lose all the strokes you’ve taught it. Sigh…
If you’re interested, pop over to the Ambit 2 review, and do a search for “teach” in the browser and just scroll through the comments.
Just picked up my Fenix 2 and loving it, but have a swim question. I’m having a tough time getting my “pace” to appear on the screen when in the pool. I have the sata fields set to 3 and chose the middle data field as “pace.” I assumed that would be “pace per 100?” But nothing seems to be showing up. Occasionally, I get a 28:xx pace, so I assume it’s calculating moving pace. Is there any way to set the swim pace to display pace per 100 on the watch?
Thanks for your great info!
Hmm, it sounds like you may have added from the regular pace fields (i.e. running), and not actually the swimming pace fields. Scroll down a bit more on data field selection. You should definitely see a little 100yds/m thing in there, like you see in the photo in the post.
I’ve just ordered a Fenix 2 from Clever Training for delivery to the UK. The product page on the site says ‘IN STOCK’, dispatched in 1 business day. I’ve just looked at the site home page and it says available to ‘Pre-order’. Contradiction.
They’re not answering emails. Do they actually have this watch in stock? Is this watch widely available in the US now?
Thanks for the support. It’s in-stock for base units, but back-ordered for bundle units. When you select the model from the Fenix2 page, it’ll switch to showing the correct state for whichever was selected.
It’s not yet widely available in the US, really only for retailers that pre-ordered it. If you just sent them an e-mail today, it’s the weekend (or last night), so there might be a slight delay there. If you sent them it more than a day ago, drop me a note and I can have them take a look to validate it didn’t get caught in spam on one side or the other.
I also ordered mine from Clever Training (gotta support this amazing site!), and I had to change my shipping info. I called them the other day, and they were great on the phone – super helpful, and no wait to speak to someone. Try giving them a call.
I ordered the bundle Feb 20th and got a shipping notification today.
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.
Mystery solved! For me that’s good news as I ordered the watch only.
Ray, any chance the Fenix 2 team could add a minimalist, sort of elegant, smaller font for the “Time clock” display? for those of us trying to get away wearing it at stuffy office environments
Just a smaller font with Time-only and no seconds/date/icons displays might do the trick. Think a black sharpie could get rid of the red ring? Thanks for helping us out in getting valuable feedback to the Garmin teams.
You can actually go to a smaller font for the clock. And, you can remove the icons/etc…
I can confirm, you can mostly do this on fenix1, except you can’t get rid of the seconds bit
Sweet! Thks Ray, that and your final review were the only things holding off my purchase.
One last quick question, someone posted earlier, a link for Fenix maps link to gmaptool.eu Will those work with the inverted display?
Fred, those are brilliant fenix maps, do they work through the basecamp app?
They work in the Basecamp desktop app. You install them like any other maps, and then you can choose to use them in Basecamp. For the most part, you won’t want to, though. They look awful on a large color screen. They’re tailored to the small 4 “color” screen of the Fenix.
The Basecamp iOS app seems to use the same maps as Apple Map, which are from Tom Tom. You don’t see the OSM Fenix maps there.
I am planning to buy a new watch and I have a few issues to clarify before making my decision.
1º. I share with Fred Snyder the concern for the Fenix 2 screen quality (70 x 70) and its inverted display eficiency. The Ambits and the coming V800 have much better resolution (128 x 128) and I wonder how much it will affect Fenix 2 use, specially when navigating.
2º. I am also concern about the performance of the navigation capabilities of the V800. Will they be similar to those of the Fenix 2 and the Ambits?
3º. As you can see, Bluetooth connectivity is not a priority for me, and I tend to value Ambit 2R for its price and for its specific features for runners. However, I cannot avoid wondering if there is an Ambit 3 coming in the near future and if it would incorporate BT connectivity and vibration alarm.
Dear Ray, any comment on these issues will be appreciated. And I thank you in advance.
One more thing. Are your in depth reviews of Suunto Ambit 2R and Garmin Fenix 2 expected for the next week?
1) Hmm, I’ve never seen much of a impact on screen quality comparing the three units. Perhaps because ultimately all three are black and white and still set a bit in the text-based world rather than something more flexible.
2) No, the V800 will not contain anywhere near the navigational capabilities of the Ambit or Fenix lines. At least, not anytime soon. I think it’s probably best to really think of the V800 as the Polar RC3 + Waterproofing + Activity Monitor + some form of BT connectivity. If you put it in that perspective, it’s easier to understand what the planned feature set is.
Both the Ambit 2R and Fenix2 reviews are slated for this week. At least barring a pigeon stealing the Fenix2 sitting on my roof for the night doing battery tests, anyway. But, it’s fairly well tied down.
Couldn’t stop laughing on the pigeon stealing the Fenix 2, imagine the mileage he’ll get
What a fantastic website – so so interesting reading your reviews. You are doing a sterling job as we say in the UK.
Anyways, I have just put my order in for the Fenix 2 and will be having it shipped out to the UK. I made an enquiry a few days back with Clever Training and mentioned the discount code from your website, and they were very acknowledging in their response less than 24 hours later. Anyways, they confirmed they had a number of pre-orders for the Performance bundle that are waiting to be fulfilled. After these are fulfilled, they anticipate to have available units at the end of March. Hope this helps.
What is your opinion about Fenix 2 in relation to Fenix 1 in terms of bugs, freezings, unexpected reactions, lapses of concentration, absent-mindedness, duty unaccomplisments… —stealing pigeons do not count as bugs.
It’s very solid at this point. There isn’t a bug left that I’ve found and sent to them that hasn’t been fixed. And I’ve also funneled a lot of bugs over that I’ve combed the Garmin forums for and could replicate. They’ve also been going through posts as well on their own, as I’ve had a few requests to be on the lookout for specific hard to track down ones.
Are there bugs I haven’t seen? Probably. No developer is perfect. But I’m impressed, especially with the latest Fenix2 builds. I think the layout changes have helped a bit. Perhaps because they align more to the Forerunner series, so it’s more natural to me. But it just ‘flows’ better now. I was doing some stuff today on the Fenix1 for various comparisons/shots/etc… and was reminded of how weird the flow is there by comparison.
As far as slowness goes, the unit does have a few areas it follows the Fenix1/Tactix in. Specifically the transfer of workouts via Bluetooth (forever), and the saving of workouts (slow). Some of the other freezes they’ve fixed, even in the last few days.
Impressive, so if you were to run in an indoor treadmill, would just the fenix2 yield the same cadence/pace accuracy as a footpod? or would you also need the hrm-run to achieve same results as with a footpod?
Cadence, yes. Pace accuracy, it’s getting better. I’ve got some treadmill runs tomorrow/Tuesday to see where things stand since the last time I looked 1-2 weeks ago.
On your upcoming fenix2 review, could you demystify cadence/pace accuracy in 3 scenarios: fenix2 only vs fenix2 w/ hrm-run vs fenix2 w/ footpod. It would help me decide whether to buy the new hrm-run (as already have hrm3) or use my old footpod. I understand cadence, but VO and GCT seems like fluff. could there be any more useful benefits in the pipeline for hrm-run, like maybe functions that can be enabled in the future?
oops meant buy an old footpod
Sorry on my multiple posts, still trying to decide if I should consider the Polar V800 or get the fenix2, and either buy hrm-run or a footpod for best treadmill cadence/pace accuracy.
Received mine yesterday and have to admit that I am quite impressed with the amount of functionality built into the unit. Construction is quite solid. Really like the dark background. Really easy to see the text during the day.
Going to begin training with it tomorrow during my 10K and 500 yard swim sessions. Looking forward to it.
Being an owner of the Tactix as well, I can state that the button logic and repurpose is quite a smart move. Definitely easier to cater to the training versus trail / outdoors functions.
Hi Ray, I love your site! I wanted to ask you maybe you’ve encountered this on your fenix2 but looks like a bug – I did a trail half marathon (hilly with over 2,000 ft total climbing) race this morning and when the race is about to start, pressed the start and the watch started locating the satellites and within a few seconds I saw the “Press Start” dialog box and I thought “wow, its fast in locating the satellites!” Ok, so during the race, I noticed that I was doing 3min miles!! 🙂 “What’s going on?!?” I didn’t stop to adjust or reset it and just raced along. At the end of the race, I did a total of 25+ miles on a half marathon! Awesome!!! I do believe this is something of a bug that Garmin needs to look at. Also, since I have set the Auto Pause on, there’s maybe a few instances that the watch auto paused even when I was going on a fast downhill. I guess another bug they need to look at.
Thanks for any insight you can provide on this.
It sounds like for whatever reason it had a bad satellite fix in that initial minute or two, thus causing the big gap where it was playing catchup. I haven’t seen that with the Fenix2 yet.
In general, one thing I almost always do on GPS units across the board from any company is ensure that the current pace field shows as close to 00:00 as possible before I start.
Thanks Ray. I noticed this issue after I updated the sofware to 2.3. I did a run before updating and it was accurate based on my 910xt
Is there a way to rollback to the previous software? Thanks
Hi Ray, is it confirmed that FUNCTIONS: TIDAL TABLES (TIDE INFORMATION) will not be supported? I would think that for a multi sport watch that does open water swimming would have that Key and useful Function information available for swimming, windsurfing, surfing, etc, the types of activities that goes with open water sports for us whom reside on the coast. Any possibility of it being incorporated in a firmware release?
Agree with Vincent on Tide tables, would that work in the UK?
It’s not in there from what I see (was only Tactix, and only North America).
Thks Ray for your kind reply
Ray, when using basecamp app, noticed that when selecting waypoints, they don’t necessarily show up properly on my F1, but rather as small dots. Has that been fixed in F2? Looking forward to your full review to help me decide whether to upgrade. Cheers.
Ray, looked up Basecamp icon names, and here are some icons that either show up as “small dots or more like a tiny square” like bike trail, shopping center, drinking water, water source, shower, animal tracks, crossing, mine
Some show up as “flags” like Tracback Point, Circle with X, hunting area
Do you see these icon display issues on fenix2?
BTW, is Garmin considering selling fenix maps, like hiking / amusement park type which could include trails, waypoints, city tours, etc?
Ray, are you seeing any vo2max / recovery / internal accelerometer calibration type issues for different activities on the fenix2, like on the 620 link to forums.garmin.com or is it a non-issue because it has it’s own dedicated running/cycling profiles? What if you created a custom driving profile, could it interfere with either running or cycling’s vo2max/recovery/accelerometer auto-calibrate calculations?
It’s sidestepped on the Fenix2 because only the ‘Run’ profile enables those features. So when using other activities, you simply use other profiles that don’t impact the those features.
So, if I created a 2nd cycling custom activity and a 2nd run, then only the 2nd run one would impact it. Good to know, as I’m tempted to buy fenix2. It’s crazy, the more I read your blog, the more I tend to buy. So, on f2 there’s no vo2max or recovery calculations for cycling and swimming? or would that be released in a future release?
Correct, VO2Max and related are only for running. I don’t know if/when they plan to add that later.
How about training effect?
I can understand VO2 calculations are running-specific but training effect and recovery should be general. It’s been like that in Suuntos since training effect was introduced.
Wow I’m truly amazed at the number of special request/needs that people are wanting out of the F2 or any sport watch for that matter. Which if all could be done would be adding a lot of complexity to a watch. I for one would very elated, if a watch would work as it was designed and bug free. And I’m sure with use, I would be thinking/dreaming of various nice to have features.
Does Fenix 2 have the same capability as the FR620/220 to receive firmware updates via Bluetooth Smart from the phone?
Has anyone’s Fenix 2 got shipped yet? I ordered from clevertraining and they said they have begun shipping days ago and will ship accorder to pre-order dates.
*anxiously waiting* 🙂
I ordered the full bundle Feb 20th and got a shipping notification on the 15th.
I ordered on March 7. I guess I have to wait longer. Grats!
I ordered on 26 Feb and got a shipping notification a few hours ago. Not long now, people!
How com it does not work with tanita body weight scale? WTF????
The Fenix line has never supported the scale. And Garmin has stepped away from adding support for ANT+ scales starting last fall (with the FR220/620) into new watches. I suspect the low adoption rate of those scales is the reason why.
I thought of buying an ANT+/BT scale but it doesn’t really serve much for the price. Its just BMI and weight…
I’ve had 48 hours to utilize (play with) my new fenix2. Here are some quick observations:
-having owned the original fenix I can concur with Ray that (so far) this unit is much less buggy.
-the user interface is much easier to navigate than the original unit. Seems like the fenix team did their homework and got this right.
-I really like the red backlight. I did a 2 hour pre dawn commute to work by bike and the backlight was great. Perfectly readable without compromising your night vision.
-I did have an issue with uploading my workout to my iPhone. I had to unpair the watch from my phone and re connect it. But this was with firmware version 2.20. I have since installed version 2.30 which supposedly fixes the Bluetooth uploading problem.
-one minor bug I’ve noticed is if you pair your fenix2 with a Tempe sensor and then go back to regular watch mode and scroll through your sensor data (barometer, altimeter etc.) you will see an error in the temperature field stating that temperature data is unavailable because the Tempe sensor is not connected. I needed to deactivate Bluetooth and access the Tempe sensor setting, turn off the Tempe sensor and then the internal temperature sensor on the watch started working.
-battery life. For my first full day with the watch I took it off the charger at 5 am. Had Bluetooth activated for phone notifications. I then did a 1 hour 52 min. Commute to work (with ANT+ HR and power) and then all day with Bluetooth connected for notifications. By 8pm I had 26% battery left on the Fenix2. I can live with that as I don’t mind charging it overnight.
Overall I’m happy. I sold my 910xt on eBay for $315 and got the fenix2 through Clevertraining.com for $359. That’s a small upgrade price for a watch that does everything I need.
@gunnar – love the post gunnar! thanks for the report… especially the battery times and troubleshooting the bt / tempe connection. with devices this complex I’ve always found that an active user community and their tips/tricks/solutions, are essential in getting the most out of any device!
I have had mine for almost a week now, I tested out the ski feature last weekend and thought it was amazing. It got my runs down perfectly and controlled my garmin virb elite with no issues at all. It also found my HRM run much faster than the 620 does.
I miss the 4 data displays from my 620, but that is pretty much the only thing I miss. I think not having a touch screen just makes everything easier, and the added weight doesn’t bug me at all. It’s also easier to read the screen on the fenix 2 in darker situations. With the 620 I had to point it towards a light at my gym to read my heart rate, don’t have to do that anymore with the fenix 2.
This is my first fenix watch, my last 3 watches have been forerunners.
I am hoping a firmware update will allow us to have 4 displays on a page even if they have to make everything a good amount smaller, but with the exception of that I am happy I bought this to replace my 620.
supposedly a current beta firmware allows for 4 data screens per display. that’s what I read on the garmin forums at least.
I probably missed this in the review.
But if the watch can’t connect to bluetooth and ant simultaneously, does that mean the smart connect (text message) feature won’t work if you are wearing an him-run?
Correct, the two are incompatible.
You mentioned earlier that this couldn’t be fixed with software it’s a hardware issue.
Do you believe Garmin might release a new HRM-run that would connect to watches through bluetooth?
On that note, would it even be possible to connect two bluetooth devices to the watch simultaneously?
I would doubt it. Ultimately, the lack of dual-support is really a bit of a legacy issue (that just happens to be on a ‘new’ unit), which is already been resolved in other units (FR220/620), as well as other devices on the market using different chipsets.
There’s no input for Resting Heart Rate (RHR) on Fenix2 manual, whereas FR620 has it. Wouldn’t the lack of an RHR input field produce a less accurate VO2max estimate in the Fenix2 than that of FR620 or 910XT?
I read on the official Garmin forum that one user has received a beta firmware with the 4 data displays on its Fenix 2. I really hope it will be available soon in an official release.
BTW, my brand new Fenix 2 still displays -47m on the altimeter even when I’m on the 6th floor of my building.
Yes, that’s correct. It’s good stuff. I’ll cover that more in my review.
As for the altimeter, depending on how you have it configured, you’ll want to ensure you had it calibrated via GPS first. Dive into the altimeter settings to check which configuration you currently have.
Doesn’t it have some type of altimeter reset to get correct altitude when you don’t have a clue? I guess that’s something only an experienced user or Ray can answer, as it’s not clearly addressed on the fenix2 manual
Can’t wait for your review! Maybe you can introduce a new Elevator Test in your review that helps up find out what settings to use for the altimeter when we’re clueless of altitude. I’m pretty confused by its usage on the manual.
Wooowa!…4 data display option a possibility on upcoming firmware release? That would pretty much take care of one of the few downsides I see with the fenix2 as compared to my old 910xt.
Apparently beta firmware 2.34 has this!
link to forums.garmin.com
Official 2.4 Firmware is out and it includes the 4 fields update.
link to forums.garmin.com!
Considering it’s a pure running watch, there is no way the 620 will get ski mode correct?
I like the feel of the 620 more but I really want the ski mode feature.
No, realistically no chance.
Watch order through CT, kudos to you and the site. 🙂
Any chance the Fenix 2 can/will/might get the jump master functionality from the Tactix?
It has it. 🙂
It can be accessed via Menu > Tools > Jumpmaster
Does the fenix2 have the ability to set up multiple profiles for indoor activities? The main reason i have stayed with the Polar RCX5 for so long is its ability to set up unlimited workout profiles. For example, i have profiles set up for using an indoor rower, versa climber and jacobs ladder. The RCX5 lets you select which sensors to associate with each activity (heart monitor, foot pod etc). Can the fenix 2 do this?
I’m mainly interested in using the Fenix/2 for mountaineering/hiking? Is the Fenix 2 much of an improvement? I’m most interested about accuracy of altitude, waypoints, speed of GPS and other nav features.
(I do run/swim/bike as well).
Thanks and always love your reviews.
I am very new to all these GPS watches and I’m actually more of a gym rat lifting than any type of triathlete, but with that being said all this technology does interest me quite a bit.
My question: If I am using this watch mainly as a cadence for my “slow” cardio and also as a GPS/daily wear watch….would you advise to go with the Fenix 2 or the Ambit 2 for a first foray into this type of device?
Apologies in advance for my lack of knowledge.
I’m very impressed with the site. Thanks for taking the time out to help me and many others decide on his or hers respective gadget.
I stumbled upon it trying to research the 620, and I have even had someone at Eastern Mountain Sports suggest I check it out before deciding.
Can’t wait to check out the fenix 2 review.
Run on brother!
Impressive site Ray, and thanks for taking the time out to help many others and me decide on a gadget.
I stumbled upon it trying to research the 620, and I have even had someone at Eastern Mountain Sports suggest I check it out before deciding.
I am really looking forward to your fenix 2 review!
Run on brother!
Woohoo I got my CT ship confirmation late this afternoon on an F2-bundle!! I ordered mine on Feb-28, late like 10pm (CDT).
Note package was sent Priority 3-day, so I should have it before the w/e.
Understanding it is either ant or bluetooth but not both at the same time, would this be a perfect candidate for the 4iiis HR strap that would enable you to enable live tracking and still use your garmin ant recording devices at the same time?
No, I don’t think so. From Ray’s comments I believe it will connect to the Viiiiva using Ant+ but NOT using BT as the BT functionality is ONLY designed for pairing with your phone/mobile device, not for sensors. Thus, it would not connect to Viiiiva’s multi-channel BT stream (the data stream that carries your HR data in addition to any repeated sensor data).
The Fenix line acts in a different BT sensor mode than would be required to be compatible with the Viiiiva.
Ray and everyone, Thanks for the input and a great site. I just found this site the other day and about to have information overload. I don’t think I asked my question correctly:
Can I purchase a 4iiiis HR and app
1. Put watch in BT mode for GC live tracking
2. make sure all ant devices are configured inside 4iiiis app
3. Record activity
4. Upload 4iiis info from all sensors to GC?
Please enlighten me if this scenario is wrong. I am expecting a “significant other” could follow me on live tracking and I could still get all my info recorded via the 4iiiis/app and uploaded to GC after emailing the file to myself from phone?(understanding that when outside gps info will track speed distance and location while in bt on watch. When in BT mode, will the watch track HR from Run strap or is that lost too? I think i read the answer is yes, but I want to confirm.
I understand I will lose the run dynamics by switching out HR for runs, but I think I could get enough info on treadmill runs via the Garmin Run HR strap to sort through. I also would basically only use the 4iiis on long cycling days or major events when wife wants to know where I am.
Again…Thanks for this great site and forum for all of us to learn a little more and make smarter choices than just whats advertised!
btw – used your link to order one from clever training. Waiting on shipped date email!!!!
Check out the Road ID app. It has tracking too, via your cell phone. It’s pretty cool. And it’ll send a text if you stop moving for more than 5 mins indicating a possible issue.
I’ll be working in Dubai for a couple of months, would the skiing work indoors? if not, is there any indoor mode that allows me to capture basic time, speed, distance?
Speed, distance, no, since the Dubai facility wouldn’t get accurate GPS indoors. However, attitude, yes, because it’s barometric altimeter.
Thks Rainmaker, if I’m lucky maybe it’s a sports complex-type roof having a fabric that lets gps signal through. BTW, saw your “follow me on twitter” post about a 12-hr wifi-enabled flight, perhaps an opportunity to test several things at once on the Fenix 2: altimeter accuracy, live-tracking, and battery duration! Have a safe flight home.
Just a heads up for those in the UK, after daily goggling and nagging of Garmin looks like Cotswold Outdoors has stock of Fenix 2s in the UK!! Just popped into local shop and they had 57 showing in their central warehouse so ordered one for collection in store hopefully in a day or two… Website says 2-3 days on online orders link to cotswoldoutdoor.com
In your full review, can you discuss if there’s any difference between the fenix/fenix2/tactix backlight as noted in this post? Thanks.
link to forums.garmin.com
The guy in that post did it wrong IMO – you shouldn’t compare bleeding on 100 % settings on all devices. Instead, you should try to match their brightness. The Tactix backlight seems to be significantly weaker on 100 % setting judging from the photo, therefore it has less bleeding.
Mirek- thanks for the reply. The “bleeding” backlight won’t really affect my decision, but it does look “cleaner” on the tactix. Will still be basing my purchase decision on ray’s review and my in-person experience with it in the store.
Funny you mentioned that. I just asked him to take a picture of the F2 with no bleed through to compare apples to apples.
It was mentioned that Smart Notifications would work through the Connect app, including upcoming support for Android. Did I read that correctly? Also, does anyone know how to view a summary of activities from the watch(Fenix/Fenix 2)? I can only see the individual tracks on my Fenix, and so I have to upload to the app just to view my weekly totals. So annoying.
Thanks for your great reviews. Do you know whether the Fenix2 supports the Tanita weight scale and body composition scanner? For some of us triathlete and other fitness enthusiasts this is a functionality of the 910xt we would not want to lose when upgrading to the Fenix2 (which would otherwise be worth it for the additional battery life/hiking/navigation as well as running functionality). If not, on behalf of this fan, could you please put in a plug for them adding this functionality? Some garmin customers (like me) bought the tanita scale based on the pitch Garmin made for its integration with them, and now find only a few garmin watches support the scale (i.e. can activate it and then transmit the health data to Garmin connect).
I just received my fenix 2 and I’m thinking about getting myself a Edge 810 for the routable maps.
What’s the best practice on utilizing these two devices when riding?
Do I pair both of them with all the ANT+ sensors (HRM, Speed/Cadence) and put them on different screens?
Would I see duplicated activities on Garmin Connect?
It is better off just use Edge 810 for cycling since it was designed specifically for this sport? Fenix2 is just redundant in this case?
Pretty much. I have an Edge 800 and a Fenix and the only time I take the Fenix with me cycling is when I’m trying something out on it, like when I’ve just installed a new update or something. Otherwise, it’s redundant, and not as good as an Edge for cycling (including mountain biking). I always throw away the track after comparing it with the track on the Edge. Otherwise, you will see duplicated activities on Garmin Connect, since they have no way of determining which is more important to you. They will certainly both pair with any ANT+ sensors you have (well, I don’t think an 810 will pair with a Tempe).
I should mention one other time when you might want to carry two devices: when you think one or both of them might fail during the track. Then having the ability to use one or the other, or to cobble together a complete track from both if they both fail, is useful. When I was running the early 4 series of betas on my Fenix, I carried and used my old Edge 705 with me while cross country skiing, because the Fenix froze up often enough that I needed the track from my reliable 705 often.
I was thinking about the same issue (using a Fenix 2 and an Edge 810). I was considering using the Fenix for tracking also my MTB rides in order to get a better calculation on recovery times, etc. However, Ray confirmed that these metrics are updated only for running on the Fenix 2. Therefore, it is probably better to use the Edge upload to Garmin Connect since it has a more accurate GPS tracking.
I haven’t used the 810 so some of these issues may have been improved over the 800. I ride with my 910xt and Edge 800 all the time. They both are paired to my HRM, Power meter, and speed sensor. I usually wear the 910 on my wrist facing inward (excellent to look at in aero position) and have 1 or 2 fields displayed. Like Paul, I’ll usually throw out the 910xt track at the end. It is good to have both tracks in case one fails. I find the 910xt to be much better for alerting me then the Edge 800. During training (and races) I have high and low power warnings. On the 800 these tones are the same and require that I look at the device. On the 910 the tones are different so it doesn’t require looking at the display. The vibration of the 910 can also alert me when it’s too loud. The beeps from the 800 are too soft even in the lightest of traffic.
Thank you, Olu and Paul. This is very helpful.
Fenix 2 Firmware/Software 2.40 just released!!!
Just received my Fenix 2 and I have to say it has the worst menus of all the sports watches I have used.
2 quick questions, the Gamin Connect app for Android is still coming this month? Is there any way to configure the pages via a website or app? I’m looking for something similar to Movescounts and the Ambit 2 page configuration tool.
BTW I just updated to 2.40 and my icon for the Garmin express changed from the Fenix 2 to a Garmin Car GPS unit???
You cannot configure pages/fields via either the website nor the app. Only on the device.
The GCM support for Android is not coming this month, I learned today it’s been delayed till “Q2 2014”.
This is utterly disappointing, I’m not willing to wait until June for Android support. In fact, if it’s no there by the time V800 is shipping, then I’ll return my fenix2 and get the V800. This is simply inexcusable. What’s their new excuse, the dog stole their code?
Received my fenix 2 yesterday and it just stopped working – the red (start/stop) button got stuck after pressed down. While the button is pressed down, all other buttons are disabled. Was going to use it this weekend… CT says I’ll have to ship this unit back before they can send me a replacement 🙁
In general, for issues with the unit, it’s much faster to deal directly with Garmin, than with a retailer. The reason is that Garmin offers what they call a ‘cross-ship’, which means that you simply give them your credit card, and they’ll place a hold until you send your broken unit back. In the meantime, they’ll same-day ship you a new unit.
Thanks for letting me know.
It is worth pointing out that the button seems to be working again after swimming with it in the pool this morning. I will probably hold on to the watch for a few more days before I return it.
Hi ray, I have a question regarding the fenix2. When using it on indoor bike trainer pairing with gsc-10 . How come I only get cadence, instead of cadence and speed? Can u please help
Did you specify a wheel size?
Thanks for the reply. It was set at auto. I have 700×23 wheel (2096) I believe auto it set at 2100
I set it up manually to 2096. And put the speed setting at “always on” still only cadence. Thanks
Do you have some other device that can pick up the GSC-10 that you can use as a test? When you put the GSC-10 into debug mode, do you get the light flash of the right color (don’t remember whether it’s red or green) when you spin the wheel?
Hey Ray, (or anyone else who knows the answer),
I just recieved my fenix 2. What is the best bluetooth setting for automatic uploads via smartphone. I’m concerned about killing the battery life if I choose “always on”.