• Amazon.com
  • Clever Training
  • Clever Training Europre

Hands-on with Garmin’s new Fenix3 multisport GPS watch with color screen


(Note: My Fenix3 In-Depth Review is now published and available here, go forth and enjoy all the details there instead!)

Today, Garmin announced the latest iteration of their Fenix lineup with the Fenix3 multisport GPS watch.  Described at its simplest – the Fenix3 takes the navigation and hiking functionality of Fenix2 and merges it with virtually all of the new functions found on the Garmin FR920XT watch.  Except one difference: It leaves behind the plastic look of the FR920XT and introduces everything from a metal link band to different glass options.

Let’s go ahead and dive into it!

(Note: Garmin has also announced other products today including the Garmin Epix GPS watch, the Garmin Vivoactive GPS smartwatch, and the Vivofit2 activity tracker.)

Summary of new features


As I noted above, this watch is really about a tribal merge between the functionality found on the FR920XT and the Fenix lineup.  Historically speaking the Fenix lineup has always been aligned more to the Outdoor/Hiking crowd than the runner/cyclist crowd.  While the Fenix2 changed that a fair bit in becoming a multisport watch, there were always little reminders that it wasn’t quite of the same bloodline as the Forerunner series.

That all disappears now with the Fenix3.  This watch shares more in common with the Forerunner series than the Fenix series, from the ground up.  However, it doesn’t do away with any of the Fenix family features – namely navigation related.


To keep it straight forward and to the point, here’s the run-down of all the new functionality found in the Fenix3 that weren’t present in the Fenix2:

Added WiFi connectivity: This allows you to upload workouts the moment you walk through your door.
Added concurrent Bluetooth Smart/ANT+: While the Fenix2 had limitations on using one or the other at the same time, that limitation goes away here.
100m waterproofing: This is an increase from 50m waterproofing.
New GPS antenna: The Fenix3 includes a new EXO GPS antenna which includes GLONASS support.
New color screen: This screen and user interface looks virtually identical to the FR920XT, except in the body of the rounded Fenix watch face.  It’s not HD-color like some smart watches, but it’s better than the FR620 and inline with the FR920XT.
Connect IQ support: This will enable you to download apps, watch faces and other customizations for the Fenix3…starting today for watch faces and data fields, with apps coming shortly.
Daily Activity Tracking: This will track steps, sleep, and how much couch surfing you’re really doing during the day.
Virtual Racer: This adds in the capability to race against past performance and downloaded courses.
Metronome: This audible/vibration alert was added on the FR920XT to be used for running cadence drills.
Personal Records (PR’s): This will let you know when you’ve hit your best times against standard distances like 1-mile, 5K, and other common brag-able reference markers.
Cycling Dynamics & Di2 support: These won’t be available at launch, but are being looked at for a post-launch update.
Cycling VO2Max: In addition to already supporting running VO2Max, the Fenix3 adds in support for cycling VO2Max for those with a power meter.
Multiple bike sensors: The Fenix2 didn’t support multiple bike profiles, the Fenix3 mirrors the FR920XT and allows you to pair to as many sensors as you’d like to save for automatic recognition as you change bikes.
FirstBeat HRV/RR: This data will now be included in recorded files.

Addition of Activity Profiles: Now you can create highly customized activity profiles just like on the FR920XT and Edge 510/810/1000 devices.
Multisport mode supports pool mode: Unlike the Fenix2, the Fenix3 allows you to choose the pool within a multisport event.
Alpine Ski & Snowboard Mode: While this was technically on the Fenix2, I call it out simply because very few people realized it was there.
Auto Climb Feature: This mode will automatically change your display fields when climbing. For example, you can set to show elevation, ascent, and grade fields as you start to run uphill.

Of course, what you see above might be somewhat familiar for Garmin FR920XT users.  It is in effect almost every software feature on the FR920XT coming to the Fenix3 (yup, even that Ski mode recently hit the FR920XT).  The key software differences then between the Fenix3 and the FR920XT becomes the additional more detailed navigation related functions found on the Fenix lineup that aren’t on the FR920XT.

The bands and watch materials:


Some of the biggest changes to the Fenix3 isn’t actually the software, but the hardware itself.  It simply doesn’t look like any previous Garmin device…it actually looks physically attractive.  The Fenix3 comes in three different models, which are:

Fenix3 Gray – $499/$549 with HR bundle (shown above left)
Fenix3 Silver – $499/$549 with HR bundle (shown above right)
Fenix3 Sapphire – $599, no HR included (shown above middle)

The Sapphire edition refers to the glass used on the exterior of the display, which is a harder material.  It’s become popular with watch makers of late, as it implies being stronger.  In reality, I’ve never heard of any recent non-Sapphire Garmin or Suunto high end GPS device actually having their display cracked/broken in regular (or even non-regular use).  But to each their own.

In addition to the three Fenix3 models, there’s also a slew of different band options – which allows you to mix and match the different bands seen, including the metal band option seen below normally attached to the Sapphire unit.


Product Comparison Tool:

Now, it’s probably getting a bit confusing with some of these recent models as to how the FR920XT, Fenix3 and Epix all differ.  In many ways, they’re basically the same base functionality with the material aspects of the watch and navigation capabilities being the difference.  Here’s a nifty little over-simplified visual overview of the differences that I whipped up:


But, for those of you who are more spec oriented, here’s the full rundown of specs.  Note that my charts don’t fully cover materials yet (like the glass front and band types), so this is more from a technical feature set level.

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 24th, 2017 @ 1:45 pmNew Window
Product Announcement DateOct 1st, 2014January 5th, 2015January 5th, 2015
Actual Availability/Shipping DateEarly Oct 2014February 2015May 2015
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYes
Data TransferUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFiUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFiUSB/Bluetooth Smart
WaterproofingYes - 50mYes - 100mYes - 50m
Battery Life (GPS)UP TO 40HRS IN GPSUp to 50hrs in GPSUp to 50hrs in GPS
Recording Interval1s or Smart1S OR SMART1S OR SMART
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerGreatYesYes
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreat
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceYesYesYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)YesYesYes
MusicGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Can control phone musicNoYesYes
Has music storage and playbackNoNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)YesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)YesYesYes
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Designed for cyclingYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableYesYesYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesYesYEs
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFYesYesYEs
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceNoNoNo
RunningGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Designed for runningYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYesYes
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)With HRM-TRI or HRM-RUNWith HRM-TRI or HRM-RUNWith HRM-TRI or HRM-RUN (Gen1 only, no Gen2 Running Dynamics)
VO2Max EstimationYesYesYes
Race PredictorYesYesYes
Recovery AdvisorYesYesYEs
Run/Walk ModeYesYesYes
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Designed for swimmingYesYesYes
Openwater swimming modeYesYesYes
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingYesYesYes
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYesYes
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYEsYes
Indoor Drill ModeYesYesYes
Indoor auto-pause featureNoNoNo
Change pool sizeYesYesYes
Indoor Min/Max Pool Lengths17M/18Y TO 150Y/M17M/18Y TO 150Y/M17M/18Y TO 150Y/M
Ability to customize data fieldsYesYesYes
Can change yards to metersYesYesYes
Captures per length data - indoorsYesYesYes
Indoor AlertsYesYesYes
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Designed for triathlonYesYesYes
Multisport modeYesYesYEs
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYEs
On-unit interval FeatureYesYEsYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityYesYesYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Auto Start/StopYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesYesYes
Virtual Racer FeatureYesYesYes
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)YesYesYes
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoYesYes
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoOnly with Garmin Bluechart g2 maps (extra)
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoNo
GeocachingNoVia GPS coordinatesYes (but not paperless geocaching)
Weather Display (live data)YesYesWith Connect IQ
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesYEsYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYesYesYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoYes
Back to startYesYesYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitYesYesYes
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Altimeter TypeBarometricBarometricBarometric
Compass TypeMagneticMagneticMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNoNoNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYEs
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableYesYesYEs
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNoNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNo (can control VIRB though)No (can control VIRB though)No (can control VIRB though)
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNo
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)No
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)No
Shimano Di2 ShiftingYesComing in updateNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoYesYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoYesYes
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsYesYesYes
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
PC ApplicationGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows Phone
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLinkLink
Clever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)LinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Review LinkLinkLinkLink

If you’d like to compare in other models – like the now older Fenix2, you can do that within the product comparison tool/calculator over here.

A few thoughts:


In many ways, I think the Fenix3 is cosmetically speaking what many FR920XT users have been asking for – something that doesn’t look like a plastic watch.  And no doubt, with its weight and design, it certainly delivers there.  But would-be consumers also got something they probably didn’t want: A $50 price jump over the FR920XT, or a $100 price jump over the Fenix lineup previously.

Garmin argues that the price bump is justified, saying: “Based on the comprehensive feature set and premium materials used, we had to put this at a higher price point. Fenix 3 uses stainless steel, a mineral glass or sapphire lens, and although the 920 is a great watch it’s all plastic.”

While I’m horrible at picking apart prices, I suspect that Garmin also feels that given semi-competitive offerings on the market are in the same price range, that they can probably charge more.  While I think there’s some validity to that line of thought, we’re also seeing the floor drop out below connected watch makers as so many new entrants come onboard – be it Apple or other consumer electronic makers.  Time will tell whether or not this works out for Garmin.

Still, the Fenix3 is an impressive watch.  It is basically a FR920XT with advanced navigation features and a very clean external look, and to that end it does its job very well.  While I’ve spent a bit of time toying with it, I’ll be waiting until I have a final production unit to make any final opinions on it.  But, so far, so good.

Garmin is saying that the Fenix3 will ship in Q1 2015 (so by March), though it sounds like that might be quite a bit sooner rather than later.  In any case, once I do have a final hardware and software version – expect about 3-4 weeks later for an in-depth review from me.

First though, here’s an 8-minute YouTube video I’ve put together walking through some features and allowing you to see the display quality and responsiveness a bit.

Fenix3 Video & Photo Galleries:

In addition, here’s three different galleries of Fenix3 photos I’ve shot, along with a video playlist that I’m constantly adding to.  These are all shot on final hardware units.  The videos are show mostly on final software  Thus, there may be minor differences between now and release of the final software/firmware versions.

Video Playlist: This playlist starts with the final Fenix3 unit unboxing, and then moves into how it works, before going into videos on different Fenix3 functions. The little drop-down in the upper left allows you to change the video to other videos in the playlist. Keep checking back for new ones!

First Gallery: A mixed collection of shots

Second Gallery: Comparison Shots with a variety of watches

Third Gallery: Just a lot of photos of the watch screens

This is just a boatload of photos from using the Fenix3, different sport modes, different layouts, different features and functions.

With that – thanks for reading, and feel free to drop any questions below (though to keep things tidy, try and keep this post for Fenix3 questions, and the Epix post for Epix questions).


Note: You can pre-order the Fenix3 through Clever Training today (all three versions and associated bundles), as well as various accessory bands.  The units will ship as soon as Garmin starts shipping, which is currently slated for Q1 2015.

Welcome to CES 2015! Don’t forget to check out all my CES 2015 coverage, as well as my continual updates throughout the day on Twitter.  It’s gonna be a crazy busy week!


  1. Alex

    I feel like Suunto meet its doom, no way they can make something more attractive.

    • Clint

      And while you’re on the trail looking at that Fenix crash and lose all your your data, the Suunto users will keep strolling by, working as expected. Got’cha.

    • Stephan Joos

      in my experience…the most attractive things won’t last long :-.)

    • Nuno Pinto

      Agree with you…and I own an AMBIT 3…the lack of updates, features and an android APP makes the SUUNTO a complete “not recommended”…
      Almost forget, the dreadful 5 days without MOVESCOUT…and no way to customize the watch

    • Clint


      Don’t agree with you and I own an Ambit3 Peak. Lack of updates. Really? The thing just works. I turn it on, it gets GPS lock quickly, and stays locked. I go running/cycling/trekking and stop it. It works, plain and simple. Phone notifications? Who the F cares? Apps for anything other than fitness related items? Nope, not for me. I want it on point and I want it to work. The Ambit3 does that, without fail.

      You bought it knowing the Android app was not going to be released until later, as did I. Own up to your choice.

      Oh noes, Movescount was down! Yeah, bummer. You know what though, did you actually fill the memory on your Ambit3 during that time? If not, what’s the big deal? And really, when it comes down to brass tacks, unless you’re making money off being an athlete these are just toys. Data collection toys. I admit it, I like my data and I can admit it’s a toy.

    • Dom

      The memory filling up is not necessarily a problem, since moveslink will copy the files to your hard disc anyway.
      5 days serious walking, though, would fill the memory on a 1st or 2nd gen Ambit. You would definitely need to get the data off for that.

      Not being able to modify your watch settings is a much bigger problem – given that you can’t even set up a decent interval session or switch units or display fields without Movescount, that’s a long outage. I wanted to plan a long run route on unfamiliar paths, couldn’t do it.
      I have both Garmin and Suunto gear and no strong preference for either, because they both have strengths and they both have issues.

    • KenZ

      I’m gonna have to strongly disagree with you, not based on features, but on reliability. I’m ‘only’ on an Ambit2, and it is infinitely better than the Fenix2. Why? Because I went through THREE Fenix2s, finally getting a refund in frustration. Dropped signals, watch lockups, elapsed times cycling over DURING an event, HR strap drops after about 8-9 hours, complete inability to load a simple 120 mile event track (even though it met their data requirements), lockup of the watch to work when loading a 50 mile race track, etc etc etc.

      If (and that’s a big if) Garmin units actually worked reliably, yes I’d agree the feature set is better than Suunto. But features don’t do me jack if it’s a crap shoot every time I turn it on. Garmin lost me totally, completely. Don’t care if Suunto has 1/2 the features at twice the price. I want to train, not be a professional watch troubleshooter.

    • neil rosson

      I have an old fr410 & its super reliable. i wonder if its a case of the watches being over complicated or maybe other reasons? Correct me if i’m wrong but F1 F2 610 have been pretty buggy garmin watches. I’m hoping not so with F3.

    • RL

      Wow, it sounds like Clint gets butt-hurt about his own choices pretty easily. Projecting your expectations on to others, as though, if they prioritize a different feature set differently then your response to that is “who the F cares?” To each their own. you might want to learn what that actually means rather than work so hard to feverishly justify your own purchase. If you’re happy, be happy. Stop trying to shout down others by telling them what they value is worthless.

    • Jasper

      wanted to say the same thing, but could bother the effort to reply :p

      Indeed, personal choices on feature set’s is not an argument to say “phone notification, who the F cares’.. that’s just.

      Let’s also don’t forget, as Ray mentioned a few times: People that have problems with a product (being garmin or suunto) will complain and post something like this. Far more then people with working products do…

    • Lew

      In the same vein as the other comment about “people with problems post, people who are happy go use it” I’ll comment that my experience with the 610 has been pretty solid over the past three and a half years. Perfect GPS tracks? No not always but never so whacky as to make a difference. Annoying when it goes to sleep silently as I’m waiting for a race? Yep, until I figured out that on the Clock page it will go to sleep silently but on any other page it buzzes/alerts you MANY times during a 30 second countdown. Never saw reverse charging, but always used a USB charger not a computer, unsure if that had anything to do with it. Instant pace sucked as expected, but adding a footpod cured that and it’s been good. The old HRM2 unit has been a pain during cold weather giving freaky HR readings despite using gel. Switching to the old hard strap in winter always helped. That’s more an HRM issue than a 610 issue IMHO, I’ve done two runs now with the HRM-RUN from my 920xt feeding both it and my old 610 and HR trace has been very clean.

      Anyway, just my $0.02 but for me the 610 has been pretty solid and reliable.

      Not saying there weren’t people with problematic 610s… just saying my experience has been pretty uneventful, it’s just plain worked solid. Only because in its old age

    • Olu

      @KenZ. I can tell you that after returning the F2 twice, this watch was an outlier in my Garmin experience. I’ve had excellent experiences with my Garmin devices (405, 610, 910xt, Edge 750, 800, 1000) and the 920xt has been by FAR the best experience. GPS has been frighteningly accurate. Battery life has been great. The screen is a pleasure to look at.

      The funny thing is I blew off the other stuff like notifications and the convenience of wireless uploads. Now I’m addicted to it. I also own an Ambit 2S. I will tell you, in my opinion fēnix2 < Ambit 2S << 920xt. If they use the same software code as the 920xt, the fēnix3 is going to be an amazing watch to train with AND look at.

    • Cornel

      I really wanted to like the Suunto Ambit 3, but they really messed up going bluetooth only. ANT+ and BLTE would have been the way to go. I do own quite a few ANT+ sensors. Bike speed and cadence for indoor riding. Then, correct me if I’m wrong. Can you customize the screen from the watch without a computer? If not, that’s a deal killer. Pretty much that really turned me off Suunto. I owned some of their earlier watches t3c and t4d models. Plus they charge an arm and a leg just to go to the Ambit 3 with the barometric sensor. I love the styling, but they killed it for me with those few things. Same goes for the Polar V800. Also, Garmin Connect has a strong foothold on the download side. And now that it automatically connects with Strava and Training Peaks, it makes GC that more attractive. I really, really wanted to get the Ambit 3, but it just didn’t deliver where it mattered.

    • Not Quite

      Hi Clint… Actually, my 9 month old Suunto crashed on me whilst on a trekking holiday. I was left stranded whilst my peers, non-Sunnto users cracked on without me. Suunto support gave me the brush aside and now I have no data to reference after months of preparing for my trip.

    • Dylan

      Does anyone know if the Fenix2 will get an update to include some of the new features that are on the Fenix3 and the FR920XT i.e. VO2 Max for Cycling? I know the Fenix got a big update around the time the Fenix2 came out, but wasn’t sure if they were planning something similar around the release of the Fenix 3.

    • No, I wouldn’t expect it to get that update. I could be wrong, but I just suspect not.

      With the Fenix1/2, it was basically the same hardware and near-identical code base. So they were really developing for a bunch of watches concurrently (Fenix1, Fenix2, Tactix, and the D2). So it was easier to port functionality within those.

    • Dylan

      That is unfortunate. Thanks a lot for the info though. You are the man.

    • Craig

      I can’t decide on the Sapphire or the normal Fenix 3, not out in the UK yet, just can’t decide, any opinions.

    • Hi Ray,

      some strange “Infos” on Fenix3 i received from Garmin:

      Visiting the f.r.e.e. outdoor exposition in Munich on friday, i came across the Garmin company booth. The guy there, he was from Garmin, not only a promoter, told me the following about the Fenix3:
      Waterproof to 50 meters (not 100). I could see it my myself since he was wearing one and i had a look at the back of the device! It was clearly written 50m!!! Was this a prototype???
      The internal storage is 8GB (not 23MB) since it will run connect IQ fully like the Epix, not partially like the 920xt with less memory. And a maps app for the Fenix3 is coming for sure! I told him that these infos are wrong and showed him the specs on the website, but he insisted receiving this info during an internal Garmin workshop/ info event, last week!!!!!!!!!!!
      Ray, can you believe this? I don’t…. but 8gb would be good news…

    • rabbit

      Some prototypes have had 50 meters on their back. The rest he told you is absolutely bullsh…,he must be drunken on the internal workshop or they were talking about a fenix 4…

    • He’s confused. The earlier prototypes were only 50m for Fenix3, the final units are 100m. As for internal storage, again, I think confused. It runs Connect IQ just as capably as Epix does. I suppose there’s a chance that Garmin has 8GB in there and is only exposing 23MB to the file system – but that seems really unlikely and sorta pointless to do since they could easily market the larger file size.

    • Ok. Thanks for this info! But i still hope there will be a maps-app and enough storage on the watch where i can install at least an open streetmap crop chart area of, let’s say 100x100km. My biking & hiking area is usually within these boundaries and installing a new chart area before different workouts should be easy! The Epix is simply too chunky on my arm…

  2. Torstein

    No Cycling VO2Max? Or is that part of the Cycling Dynamics update?

  3. Alex

    I currently use the Fenix1 as my everything watch for running, cycling og everyday.
    What I’m missing is the calender workout function I had on my 910xt which automatically showed my the workout planned for the day.
    Has that been added to the Fenix line up?

  4. Thanks for the detailled information and this hands-on!

  5. wolf

    Looks very cool, but I guess there will be no quick release mount for the bike, right? Also, will it be able to configure/calibrate Garmin Vector?

    • Yes, all units can calibrate/configure Vector.

      As for quick release, I need to get clarification there.

    • Francis C

      Thanks Ray! That was the only feature that would have made it interesting for me. I’ll happily wait for the next iteration now. However, I’ll seriously wait for both 930XT and Fenix 4 to pop out before making any decision in the next coupe of years. My only concern with a round watch is the screen real-estate. Looking at a square screen is better for me than looking at a round screen which will cut of some data space.

    • Richard D

      To comment on this, I went from a 310XT to the Fenix 2 and haven’t really missed the real-estate. I could see if you have bad eyes it could be a problem. I use 3 screens and it hasn’t really been an issue. This screen definitely seems more high-quality though…which is making me purchase happy.

  6. Goughy

    I probably shouldn’t be, but I do feel a bit gutted that this is announced when the F2 isn’t even a year old yet. So many features of love to have, and that many have been hoping for, like virtual racer etc. I certainly can’t afford to upgrade. This seemed a very short upgrade cycle from the F2.

    • Simon

      Same for me, i might sell my f2 and get this or, since i am lazy, wait for the fenix 4 🙂

    • Martin T

      Seems I’m late to the less than one year old party as well, I got mine just after summer last year looking forward to some great updates (I was hoping for Cycling VO2 Max) so this is a bit of downer for me as it has a lot of features I want.

      I could sell the F2 and buy this but how long is the shelf life going to be with the F3 given this new history.

    • William Tang

      Since I only started using my Fenix 2 only in September, I think I’ll stick with it until Fenix 4 is out. Maybe in 2016 at the current rate the new models are rolling out?

    • Curt Petrovich

      I also feel a bit of buyers remorse. A year ago I plunked down $450 for the 620. Yes, it served me well in race season. But to know for $50 bucks more today I could have a watch that does so much more with a battery that lasts more than 10 hours, is tough news. I know companies like Garmin are always improving the product. I know. I doubt I’ll make the effort to find a buyer for my 620. I’ll keep using it until it breaks down, at which time I expect Garmin implants with Retina displays will sell for around the same price.

    • Reza Chapman

      Current F2 resale values in the US are relatively good, making an upgrade feasible depending on the features you are missing. For me, the fact that F3 can be worn under a dress shirt is worth the price of upgrade.

  7. Francis C

    Can take HR while submerged? Wow. That’s interesting.

  8. Dana

    Pace from footpod while GPS is on has been permanently abandoned from Garmin’s line, it seems. Any insight as to why, when there are so many of us whose main reason for using a running watch is for accurate current pace running intervals and goal races?

  9. Robert Black

    Wow I’ve got’s to me a fenix 3, I like wearing a watch all day but normally take my sport watches off, FR610 sits high off the wrist and the TT runner is just uncomfortable after a few hours. Just in case my gorgeous wife pops by here. It’s my birthday soon!!!

  10. Matthew

    gutted. just got 920 and this is what i wanted the 920 to be. I note this has more swim features than 920. will 920 be getting updates to match? Also the find phone and music controls?

    • It has the same swim features at the FR920XT does, nothing additional there.

      None of the Epix/920XT/Fenix3 units have the phone/music controls natively, but I suspect we’ll see ConnectIQ apps for those.

    • Matthew

      thanks. the garmin site suggests Fenix has ‘swim workouts’ in the comparison tables.

      Is the fenix much larger than 920?

    • Patrick

      Exactly the sitch for me – I literally ordered my 920XT last week and received it yesterday. I’m actually considering returning it to Clever Training and exchanging for a Fenix 3 pre-order.

    • Looping back to the Swim Workouts question, here’s the answer I got from Garmin on that one:

      “With swim workouts, we made that feature possible for future Connect IQ apps.”

  11. Jasper

    So already the first question where you might know the answer and you might not be approved to answer it ;-):
    What’s the overall European price (let’s say, like Belgium? 😉 ) and when will it be available?

    I was doubting so much between Fenix 2 and Ambit 3, almost got the Ambit 3 this morning, but know it is definitely going to be the Fenix 3 😮 (although I would like a sport swatch for my upcoming short ski, 18 of January)

    Cheers !

    • I’ll double check, but it’s almost always just transposed straight to Euros (i.e. $499 = 499EUR). Availability is Q1 2015.

    • Jasper

      Oke thanks!

      Maybe I’ll try the ambit 3 peak just for the ski trip, normally there is a return period of 2 weeks at a local webshop.. See how that goes :).

  12. Dave Lusty

    While I agree this looks nicer than the 920XT the specs suggest this is the same size as the Fenix2 in which case it’s considerably thicker than the 920XT and a bit more difficult with shirts and the like. If this had been as thin as the 920 it would be very compelling indeed with those looks, especially the metal band version.

    • I haven’t had any problems with the F3 under dress shirts, fwiw.

    • Dave Lusty

      I’ve certainly never had problems under shirts but it’s definitely bulkier than the 920XT not to mention heavier. I think my point was just that there is a bigger consideration than just looking nicer which it definitely does. If it was the same thickness the extra few bucks would be the only real drawback for 920XT users. For me I think I’ll be keeping the 920XT and getting the Epix for boating/hiking even though that’s even bigger still than the Fenix 3.

      I realise it’s far from your core area, but any idea whether the Epix will support marine charts like the GPSMap devices do? I’m guessing yes, but they have locked some devices out from marine charts in the past for some reason.

    • Dave Lusty

      Actually just double checked and this (15.5mm) is thinner than the F2 (17mm) but still a little thicker than the 920 (12.7mm) so perhaps less of a consideration than I thought. The 17 down to 12.7 was a huge change which I still find really noticeable every time I swap but something in the middle may make it less noticeable.

    • For marine, the Epix supports the BlueChart g2 maps (it might support others, but I know that it at least supports those).

    • Dave Lusty

      Thanks that’s very useful to know.

    • rabbit

      So it should also support tides tables, or not?

    • Querfeldein

      Indeed, it looks very sleek from the front, but the side view is a bit disappointing. I assume it’s not much lighter either? Apart from occasionally poor GPS accuracy, my Fenix 2 doesn’t leave that much to be desired, although I would like to have the same multisport functionality in a smaller and lighter package, ideally combined with an accurate optical hear rate sensor. There isn’t any product like that on the market yet, but from my perspective, the advantages of the Fenix 3 over the Fenix 2 aren’t great enough to upgrade. Instead, I’ll wait and see what GPS enabled smart watches come out over the next year or so.

    • Simon Wharton

      For me my 920XT only just slides under the [double] cuff of my work shirts so whilst this is much more the general look of something I’d like even the extra 3mm of depth would be very noticeable.

    • Reza Chapman

      That the F3 fits under a dress shirt is welcome news. That and the Virtual Racer feature which was lacking in the F2. Can’t wait for GA.

  13. Jon Niehof

    You buried the lead! “Record HR Underwater: Yes”. Tell me more…
    So is there anything present in the 920XT that the Fenix3 doesn’t have? Presumably there won’t be QR kit support? I figure once I’m paying $450, going up to $500 to not look like crap is worth it. (Plus the nav features are nice.)

  14. Mike B

    Surprised they didn’t try to match the Ambit3 underwater HR recording though?

    • Marius

      If it could support BT Smart HR monitors, you could buy one from Suunto and successfully monitor HR underwater the Suunto-way (i.e. download stats from monitor after you get proper BT reception). I wonder if there’s plan for Fenix3 to support it in future.

    • Suunto is doing their own private thing, which isn’t open. It’s not so much a Bluetooth thing though, as it’s just them storing and forward – which would be done on ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart.

      I suspect eventually we’ll see Garmin do something in this realm.

    • Tisztul_A_Visztula

      Is there any scientific reason for Garmin not to use 5kHz channel for transmitting HR data like eg coded T31 Polar belt does? Legal reason can be excluded, because I can’t imagine that a frequency like 5Khz can be patented by anybody. 🙂

      But seriously why not 5kHz for HR underwater????

    • I suspect that it’s partially because they own a wireless company already…

    • Tisztul_A_Visztula

      You can keep on promoting ANT+ protocol of Dynastream as a general transmitting solution, even if you add another transmitting channel to your fitness products just for transmitting HR data when underwater.

      But you cannot promote ANT+ protocol of Dynastream as a solution for transmitting HR data when underwater, even if you hypnotized people.

      Garmin’s strategy is something like an Ostrich Policy saying that there is no demand from people at all for knowing HR when they swim.

    • I don’t disagree that their policy of not supporting Bluetooth Smart sensors is dumb these days. Nor have I ever said that ANT+ data is a solution for underwater HR data. But neither is Bluetooth Smart.

      That said, my point above that you seemed to misunderstand is that the underwater transmission of HR data is not available on either ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart. The fact that the Ambit3 supports it has nothing to do with Bluetooth Smart at all, it simply has to do with them caching the data and transmitting it after the fact above water. It does not show you live HR data while swimming underwater (end of story, full stop).

    • Gilles

      What about a Scosche at the same arm as the F3 ? 30cm underwater should be achievable for an ANT+ emitter, shouldn’t it ?

  15. bebaile

    Wouahh! Thanks for this first look !
    I have two questions:
    1°)What about the regular 1s battery life?
    2°)What abouth the ability to charge the device while using it (one of the caveheat of the 920xt for ultrarunners)
    Have a good show!

  16. matt

    Has to be the ugliest watch ive ever seen – and that price tag wow – there trying to be like the polar range yet at 3 times the cost more – I low you get some added features but still doesn’t mean it can be at that price – I think polar will take this market as that m400 watch is amazing and that’s an entry watch

  17. Alex Wong

    I am kinda glad I didnt pull the trigger on a 920xt just yet….. Looking forward to the in depth review. Thanks DCR!

  18. Juan

    Hello Ray

    I just bought a 920xt 🙁
    I have a question about the new F3, How many data field per screen?.


  19. Grant

    Just seen the page refresh and that it was a transposition error, still looks awesome, I’m in two minds now!

  20. rabbit

    In the first picture of the data fields for distance and speed I saw no units (meters/mph)? – isn`t it confusing, if I use some more data pages up to 4 data fields and / or autoscrolling? What do you think?

    Of course, I know, what units I have set, but it is confusing for me ..

  21. Can’t believe what I see here, looks like an Ambit 2/3 version 2.0
    Disappointing, Garmin could have come up with a fresh design.

  22. MikeDozer

    I wonder, if F3 support basic maps like F2 (uploaded via MapSource). I like form factor of F3.

    • rabbit

      As far as I know, the f3 has got no basemap anymore and you can`t use maps on it (anymore). Is it correct, Ray?

    • Jasper

      The F2 didn’t had support for maps by Garmin itself, just that you know. It would be nice though if the F3 could also do this.. Maybe the software/firmware of the F3 is different because it has a colored display, that could be an issue when you want to upload maps? But that are just thoughts and speculations… I think the hard facts would be there end of Q1, when it is released and some one tested it 🙂

    • Querfeldein

      You can use OpenStreetMaps on the Fenix 2, but you have to create and upload them manually, not through Garmin’s software. The Fenix 2 is limited to about 20MB of memory though, but for a small area (say 20km radius in a rural area, depending on the map detail), that’s good enough.

    • MikeDozer

      Not true, I upload OSM to F2 via garmin basecamp.

    • MikeDozer

      …. I mean, MapSource 🙂

    • Artivis

      I hope it does allow at least basic maps like F2 did, that and better gps accuracy would be the only reasons I would move back from Suunto A3 to Garmin. I also like the look of the F3, especially the Sapphire version with the steel strap 🙂

    • Chris Beson

      I am also interested in knowing more about the mapping on the fenix 3. Two quick questions come to mind:

      * Can you still replace/upload maps to the watch as you can with the fenix 2?

      * What is the internal storage of the fenix 3?


    • No mapping support on fënix 3 guys.

    • rabbit

      32mb, 23mb free space

    • Chris

      Sorry to hear that. Do you know if the trackback functionality is still there? I currently use that in the map view on my fenix 2, but I believe the f2 can also trackback on the navi screen and/or compass screen. Would be nice if the F3 could do that at least.


    • kyle

      it does support basecamp.

      I took a screenshot of the promo video. Basecamp is listed

      link to drive.google.com

    • As noted, no map support here due to system processing limitations.

    • Puffolino

      I wouldn’t need a full map, but hopefully it is possible to upload some hundred waypoints. In fact, it woukd be a great idea, if some LINES between two waypoints could be defined manually, this would allow to show important trails etc.

    • Steven Knapp

      So to be clear, this is a drop in functionality from The F1/F2, correct?

      The F1/F2 did not formally support maps, but did. The F3 does not formally support maps because they are not supported.

  23. Markus

    Wow, the Fenix 3 is a very nice watch.
    If the GPS accuracy (and time for a fix) really improves with the new antenna (over the Fenix 2 and also the 920xt), i’m looking forward to replace my Ambit2S (that gets instant fixes even in urban areas).
    Garmin really surprised with the Fenix 3, let’s hope it works as expected and they don’t disappoint again (as with the FR620 and Fenix 2) and as Suunto disappointed with the Ambit3 (without Ant+).

    • Brian

      One of the reasons that the Ambit gets such quick fixes is that the Moveslink software downloads satellite orbit data to the watch each time you connect. Because of that, your watch knows exactly where to look when you flip GPS on and locks onto a signal fairly quickly. If you go a week or two without connecting it to a computer and getting that download, I’ve found that the time to fix is quite a bit longer on my Ambit 2R.

    • All of the recent Garmin’s have the same satellite caching (EPO file), including the Fenix3.

  24. Eric

    There are no figures for indoor pool lengths, does that mean it’s completely variable?

  25. Antti Korttinen

    Hey, I’m ultra runner, so only one question: can it be charged while running? in Fenix2 this was possible but in new Garmin 920XT it is not. So how is it with Fenix3?

    I need 20—40 hours of continious battery life in competitions. Now I’m using Suunto Ambit 2 and the charging on the run is a big problem. My friend has Fenix2 with charging bundle and I am a bit jealous of that. Fenix 3 sounds awesome but is it?

    Antti (from Finland, home of Suunto)

    • Markus

      Cool. Didn’t know you can charge the Fenix 2. According to link to fenix3.garmin.com the Fenix 3 supports it, too!

      Up to 50hrs UltraTrack and External Power option extend battery life with a lower GPS update rate or use the watch while connected, via USB, to an external battery for longer runs.

      Amazing piece of technology…

    • Markus Salo

      Antti, this should be possible according Garmin’s website: link to fenix3.garmin.com

      …and the ability to power your fēnix 3 externally while worn on the wrist gives demanding Ultra Trail athletes more options to extend power.

    • Brian Perconti, Sr.

      So, according to your comment the fenix 3 uses the same ultratrac tech found on the 920xt — not the fixed time intervals of the fenix 2? I hope this is true and I hope I can return my 920xt.

    • Antti Korttinen

      Yes Markus, Fenix 2 you can charge on the run but I’m proud user of Suunto Ambit 2.

      The only big problem is the battery life. You can charge Ambit 2 on the run but the original charging cable is not very good for that. And I haven’t found any better solution. It would be so easy for Suunto to make one but maybe they don’t see the market for that… And that’s why I am considering Fenix 3.

    • Jimmy

      I saw the information about charging while running on the website. Now I cant find it and it seems that Garmin has removed that information.
      Does that mean that it will not charge during an activity?

    • I’ve confirmed that it to does charge during an activity (the F3). The Epix wouldn’t make much sense there due to the design of the connector being more of a side-attached design that would semi-easily fall off.

  26. Sindre

    What about sunrise/sunset times on the Fenix 3?

    • Jasper

      If it is not a base function (although I think it’s going to be), there will come an app 😉

    • Ted W

      On garmin website if you choose to COMPARE the F3 and F2 is says only the F2 has sun and moon information. I like the sunrise/sunset showing on my F2, not sure if they lump that into sun/moon info

    • Jasper

      Sunrise/sunset is a basic function on the watch (moon I don’t know), just checked with a film

    • Victor

      I was wondering that myself because I find the sunrise and sunset times so useful I have them on my facewatch and even have an alarm 1h before sunset.

      Anyway, if you pause the prototype video at 1:46 you can see the F3 in watch mode showing the barometric pressure 6-hour trend, moon phase and sunset time behind the time, just like the F2 did after firmware version 3.80.

      Fenix 2 additional icons in watch mode:
      link to forums.garmin.com

      Fenix 3 Protype video at 1:42
      link to youtube.com

  27. Dom

    Ray, can you calibrate the elevation manually as on the original Fenix, or does it work the same way as the 920xt?

  28. Kristian Olsen

    They never got the sync feature to work between the Fenix 2 and my Sony Z1 Compact work. One of the main reasons for me to buy that watch. Anyways. The new watch looks nice but I’m definitely done with Garmin for now…

  29. APW


    Great review! Quick question, do you know whether the post activity summary screen is cut off due to the “seconds” ticker? This was extremely frustrating on the Fenix2 as the screen near the inner bezel was reserved. Thanks!

    • Neil

      Are you aware that the summary is scrollable on the F2? If you use the “down” button there’s a lot more info down there, not just the little bit cropped off by the outer circle. In other words, even if the display isn’t cropped on the F3, you’ll still want to be scrolling down anyway.

    • Olu

      @Neil, except for on the F2 it was slow as molasses and would freeze the watch if you went to fast. @APW. It looks like summary is done properly in F3. Information is presented within the screen without being cropped off and you scroll one page at a time.

  30. A

    Great , just bought a Fenix 2 SE. Can F3 invert the screen on the time screen or it can only do invert on the activity mode?

  31. mark roe

    can the new watches get your heart rate whilst running without using a compatible strap ?

    • eReS

      and why not?

    • MattB

      Because optical HR on the outer wrist doesn’t work well for everyone, so until they can get it nigh on 100% reliable for all it isn’t worth making it a selling point – imagine the ruckus and associated cost of returns and bad PR if 10-15% of your clients can never get the main feature of your headline product to work and never will be able to due to their wrist shape/size/skin tone. It would absolutely dwarf the current Garmin problems which from the forums I’d say affect a much smaller percentage of buyers.

    • fp

      Because that would require an sensor in the wrist, and these not only suck power, they suck in terms of accuracy, in every condition except for rest.

    • Fp – that’s not really true. It just depends on the sensor company. Some are really good, and some suck.

    • Ted W

      some suck, some good. latest expert opinion in which works best in your experience. Optical HR that is

    • 6co2000

      To me, the only one that works well is the Schosche. It s perfect every time.
      The Mio Link is just not reliable….

    • Ted W

      6c02000, that would be the Rhythm+ ? I read about that one awhile back, recall wishing that it had greater than 8hr battery life. in a perfect world there would be a optical HRM that could be used for ultra runners. I’ve just had zero long term success with any straps and techniques I’ve tried so far.

    • 6co2000

      Hey Ted, Yeah! The Schosche Rythm+. It’s fantastic!
      Ray has done a review of it sometime back but I don’t recall what’s the battery life. I just put it to charge whenever I charge the FR610. So I have never drained it entirely.
      The point is though, it is spot-on for HR and does not suffer from bouncing, moving around or other little issues that throw the Mio Link off… In fact, I have ditched the Link now…

    • Ted W

      [apologize for being off topic] but how does the rhythm+ peform in the extremes heat/sweat or very cold. do either effect its performance reliability?

    • 6co2000

      It does very well in all conditions I have used it.
      Heat, Sweat, Equatorial humidity: all perfect! I even use it for indoor rowing on my concept 2 and it stays well in place all throughout the workout.
      I don’t know about cold though as I live in Central Africa near the equator. It s never cold over here!
      On a side note, it does connect perfectly to my iPad, to my rower, to my phone, to my 610 etc. I had not paid attention to that at that time but it seems to be BT and Ant+.

      Ray, sorry for this off topic discussion…


  32. Chris

    Any word if this version will be lighter in weight than the Fenix 2?

  33. Mark Smallwood

    I might have missed something but why would you buy an 920xt over this (I know its $50 more but at this price point its not significant)

    • Jasper

      If you don’t need the extra navigation functionality I guess? Then the 920xt is less expensive and smaller 🙂

    • David

      Or if quick release is important to you, as it is to many triathletes. No sign of a quick release kit for the Fenix 3 on the Garmin website. Ray said he was seeking clarification on this, but I don’t believe Garmin has ever offered quick release for a Fenix watch.

    • Rick

      Form factor. I like how both the F2, and especially, this new F3, look over the 920 but the thickness and 80+ grams of weight is just too distracting to me while I’m running. The 920 weighs what my old 610 weighs, but is thinner. Add the slightly larger text that can be used on a rectangular screen for quick glances and that justifies it. But make no mistake, the F3 is much prettier than the 920, by leaps and bounds, in my opinion.

    • On the quick release kit, at this point there is not a quick release kit for either the Fenix3 or Epix. But, that they are open and listening to feedback from folks.

    • David

      Thanks for the reply, Ray. Researching this, and I noticed that you mentioned a couple of other products (Barfly Universal Mount, Profile Design) for mounting the Fenix 2 to a bike in your review of that watch. Obviously, not as smooth as a quick release kit, but how satisfied are with those alternative solutions? I like the Fenix 3 over the 920xt in so many ways, but the lack of a quick release is a bummer for triathletes.

  34. Paul Horsley

    Totally Peeved, My wife just brought me the Fenix 2 for my B’day.
    Does this mean we will stop getting any worthwhile updates or additional features for the Fenix 2?
    Thanks again for the quick review

  35. Daniele

    Is it heavy given it is made of metal? I don’t see any weight reference. Thanks

  36. David

    So, should those of us who recently bought a 920xt ship it back and wait for this instead? Sort of seems so, no? As long as there will be a quick release, there really doesn’t seem to be any advantage to the 920xt (as long as you can stomach the additional $50).

  37. Tom Devolder

    Any ideas on the weight of the Epix and Fenix3 in comparaison with the 920xt?

    • David

      All the specs are up on the Garmin website:

      Fenix 3: Sapphire: 3.2 oz (92 g); Silver: 2.5 oz (70 g)
      Epix: 3.0 oz (85 g)
      920xt: 2.1 oz (61 g)

    • Gunnar

      Fenix 2 spec sheet says it weighs 85g. Fenix 3 70 g.

      That’s certainly is going to be a noticeable ( and welcome) reduction in weight.

    • Marios

      Where did you guys find that 70 g number? I looked up the specs at garmin.com and it states:
      Sapphire with rubber bands: 3.0 oz (85 g); Silver/Dark: 2.9 oz (82 g)

      Here is the link:
      link to buy.garmin.com

      Ray? Which number is correct?

    • Olu

      @Marios. The 70 g was on the initial page when the watch was announced. It’s since been changed.

    • Marios

      Right! I just checked Google cache and indeed it used to be 70 g. So I guess we now have 620 at 40ish grams, 920 at 60ish and F3 at 80ish.

  38. Tadej

    Wouldn’t a huge plus and difference over the previous Fenix 2 be ConnectIQ support, meaning being more future proof ?

  39. Peter K

    Yet another 920 owner here feeling a bit miffed by the F3 announcement- especially as with returning my first 920 for the recal I’ve still got a Fenix2 which is well under a year old?! If this continues are we going to have new gadget envy every 6months?!

    May not be rushing out to buy the first batch of these or the epic, at least until after the first product recall is out of the way 😉

    first few notes on third party apps sound very promising- looking forward to that post!

  40. Dan Hermann

    Thanks, Ray. Can you elaborate on the Di2 integration? Are you talking about a Connect IQ app? Where can I find more information?



  41. Steve

    You said that it supports all of the functionality that the 920xt does but for those of us not overly-familiar with the Fenix range what does it do that the 920xt doesn’t? Looks very nice, and could see myself using it as a day-to-day watch unlike the 920xt.

    • Better navigation basically, so things like TrackBack and more capabilities when it comes to zooming in/out and around courses.

    • Steve

      So is that perhaps why the navigation options on the 920xt seem like a backward step compared to earlier Forerunners, so that it creates a differential with the Fenix 3?

    • Theo

      Does the Fenix 3 have an elevation profile view of the course that you are navigating? And does it show your current position on the profile similar to the Garmin Edge’s elevation screen? Thanks.

  42. Rich

    Awesome info as always!! Thanks. Will the new bands work with the Fenix2?

  43. Ashri S

    Sigh and I just bought F2. Would the Fenix 3 support strength training workout?

    • Virtually all Garmin watches have an indoor mode that can get calorie information via HR strap in a gym environment, including the Fenix2 and Fenix3.

  44. David Tucker

    Interesting change to the GPS chip too, btw. I wonder if that is in response to the complaints they’ve had with Fenix 2 and related devices. As a Fenix 2 owner I’m definitely drooling over this watch…but I’m also still incredibly happy with the Fenix 2 so I don’t see any big reason to even think about upgrading. Seems like a tough choice though for anyone on the Fenix or 910 at this point.

    • David Tucker

      Also, I would argue that the Fenix 2 is actually a pretty attractive looking watch in a very rugged sense. Its certainly no dress watch but it looks like something that belongs on your wrist when you’re hiking/skiing/running… (mostly in that order…)

  45. Peter

    The german Website states that only the Saphire Version is 10atm (100m) waterproof. The normal Version stays at 5 atm like the fenix2. Can you confirm this?

    • I would like to see the f3 Sapphire offered without the metal band and the option of the HRM-Run or Soft Strap Premium Heart Rate Monitor as a bundle!

  46. ting

    hey ray, did i miss out a bundle package for the sapphire version? no hrm for that model? thanks

    • Ted W

      Looking at CleverTraining and on the Garmin website, it seems to me that the sapphire is not (yet?) available in a bundle. So no HRM strap. Could this be true? No HRM with it?

    • leftride

      slightly confused about this too…Ray lists the HRM as included in the Sapphire, Garmin and CleverTraining do not, but REI does (Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire Watch + Heart Rate Monitor). Really not sure, but couldn’t resist and purchased from CleaverTraining, I guess I’ll know for sure when it arrives 🙂

    • Sorry, some confusion there. I’ve checked with the Garmin folks and the HR strap is indeed NOT included in the Sapphire edition.

    • I would like to see the f3 Sapphire offered without the metal band and the option of the HRM-Run or Soft Strap Premium Heart Rate Monitor as a bundle!

  47. nbourbaki

    Added concurrent Bluetooth Smart/ANT+

    Does this mean it will support Bluetooth and ANT+ sensors? Concurrently?

    • No, just using ANT+ sensors and a Bluetooth connection like LiveTrack.

    • Martin V

      It’s about time. Having to turn off Bluetooth just to check the temperature from my Tempe sensor is supremely annoying.

    • Jon D

      Has anyone had any luck tracking this answer down?
      I’ve asked CT a couple of days ago, but no response yet … Maybe Garmin hasn’t even been clear to the distributors as they and RM are always great at providing quick clear answers.

    • Sorry, what’s not answered? I answered it above in the comments (and also was stated in the original post).

    • Reynald

      Just “one” small question with my bad English, is it possible to use a belt Bluetoosh from another manufacturer ? With the LiveTrack on ? And finally, is it possible to your knowledge of apairer two devices for one bluetoosh HR sensor? Thank you

    • Dom

      It doesn’t support Bluetooth sensors at all. The Bluetooth is only for connecting to a mobile phone. Sensors must be ANT+.

      It will do Livetrack and ANT+ sensors at the same time (this is an improvement from the fenix 1 and 2)

  48. Matthew

    uk price (from garmin release) announced as £369.99 for watch and £399.99 for performer bundle. Undercutting the 920 on price while having more features too – surely not right?

  49. Dan

    I’m very excited about the new Fenix 3!

    A question and a comment – You indicate that the $599 Sapphire bundle comes with the HRM, though Clever Training doesn’t mention it on their order page. Before I pre-order, can you confirm that you get the HRM with that bundle?

    A note on Sapphire – It’s harder than mineral glass, so actually more succeptible to cracking/breaking, not les. Its advantage is that is more more scratch resistant… As a daily wear watch, this has value in that it will keep looking like new even after banging it against whatever gets in your way. Worth the $50 upgrade in my mind but YMMV.

  50. likepend1

    So the watch(es) will be available March. Does that also apply to your “in-depth reviews” or can we expect them a little earlier? 😀 (because i think there will be alot to of stuff to review)

    thx for your work at CES!

  51. Tomas

    Hi all!

    Would be nice to get your quick impression how Fenix 3 is compared to Ambit 3.

    I’m not a pro user so I’m more interested in WiFi features, Bluetooth, auto upload of workouts when Wifi available (like in FR620), connectivity and features when mobile phone is around (seeing phone notifications and emails on the watch; like Ambit 3).


  52. Olu

    Hi Ray,
    Another miffed 920xt user. The form factor of the fēnix3 is such much nicer then the 920xt. I’ll gladly sacrifice the weight and height as the fēnix2’s size never bothered me that much.

    Question. Are the two divisions using the exact same software now? In other words can I expect workouts, alarms, alerts…etc to work like the 920xt? Does the fēnix3 have more then a single beep? Is the vibration more vigorous then the 920xt?

    • They’re beating a bit around on the bush on whether it’s the same codebase, but the two teams are working far closer than ever before (finally).

      I’ll take out the Fenix3/FR920XT and double-check any differences in some of those things later tonight.

    • Olu

      Thanks Ray. Much appreciated!

  53. Tom

    The fenix 3 has an automatic baro/alti like suunto ambit and core?

  54. Gabriel Eguia

    Ray – would you comment on how the size &weight of the watch feels compared to the fenix 2?

    As far as those complaining they just bought so and so watch – go return it if you’re unhappy.

    Lots of the vendors feature great return policies.

    • Olu

      Yeah thanks Gabriel, but CT return policy is 60 days. So I’m SOL. I have to sell the 920xt and take a big hit.

    • Matt B


      Just as a note, it’s from ship date, not order date. So unless you got your very early from CT, they should accept the return.

    • Olu

      Oh, I guess I’m in the clear. I forgot the 920xt didn’t ship until late November, so I’m still in the return window.

    • Gabriel Eguia

      did you happen to buy it with american express? they have a return policy past the vendors.

      hoping you did!

      Olu – i’m in the return window myself for my 920xt.. i really dig the fenix 3 look but is it enough to take it back? I imagine the connect apps will be typically square thus the frustration of the fenix 2 cutting the corners down.

      decisions decisions..

    • Kiek Eng Li

      i have same feeling with you ! i dislike the edge of F2

    • Josh

      Then what do you plan to use for that interim when your 920 goes back before your F3 arrives?

    • Marios

      AmEx explicitly excludes watches from their return protection policy. Read all the exclusions here:
      link to americanexpress.com

    • Andy

      Olu, just so you know, they’ll take back a return after the 60 days and give you store credit for the full amount. I had a Suunto Ambit 2 for almost four months and they took it back no questions asked. And the store credit is good for two years. That’s how I ended up funding my Fenix 3.

    • Olu

      @Andy. That’s good to know for the future. Thanks for the information.

  55. Elliott Blackburn

    Thanks for the great writeup. I may have missed it, but did the new version bring any change to the 20MB of storage available on the Fenix 2? Curious since they found a way to cram 8GB into the Epix.

    • Jasper

      I thought it was 32mb and 23 usable… don’t remember where I read that…

    • Elliott Blackburn

      Ah, thanks, it’s right there on the website, which I should have thought to check first. I haven’t run into any issues yet with Fenix 2 storage, so I guess there’s no real reason to add much more.

  56. Florin

    Ahhhh, I made plans to buy a Fenix2 during my business trip to US in february, now I’ll go back to browsing amazon.uk for the best price and choose between the Fenix3 and Epix. That’s EPIC! Bummer.

    So, the Fenix3 seems to retain the maps loading capability with its 23MB of memory. Since I don’t have Bluetooth4 smartphone, it’s about mapping with Epix or having Fenix3 with wifi.

  57. Alex

    I love my Fenix 2, but have found the grey on black difficult to read with a quick glance on a run, in anything but perfect light.

    Does the Fenix3 improve this?

  58. mart

    It’s so god damn gorgeous that my eyes just about fell out 🙁

  59. Tomasz

    I was about to get Ambit watch because of the plastic look of 920XT. Now I need to consider the choice again 🙂

  60. Anders

    I may have missed it in the comments here, but in the webpage of Garmin they say that fenix 3 has 5 ATM (50m) as waterproof class.

  61. Rob

    Ordered my Fenix 3 Sapphire with metal band. Looking forward to it!

  62. Tyler

    Just a data point for cracked Garmin screens – I cracked and chipped the watch face on both a 610 and a 405 in everyday non-abusive use.
    Granted, both of those aren’t really newer units.
    I’m particularly disappointed in the lack of durability of the 610. First Garmin I won’t be able to re-sell when/if I upgrade, due to cracked screen, torn watch bands and tons of corrosion on the metal back.

    Nice to see the sapphire option for a watch that may take some tumbles trail running/mountain biking/climbing.

    • Fwiw, you can actually still call up on the FR610 and they’ll replace any units with corrosion on the back – no questions asked…

    • Tyler

      No kidding?

      I had no idea. I tried early on for both the defective watch band pins and the corrosion, and their customer service wouldn’t do anything for me.
      I’ll try again now that there’s more history of complaints.

  63. John K

    Ray, how does the Fenix 3 display compare to the Fenix 2 or 920? I have classic 50-54 age group eye sight and I just sold my Fenix 2 because it was hard to read.

  64. Scott E

    I know the feature list is already overloaded, yet beyond the Di2 integration was there any mention of Virb action cam control?

  65. Ted W

    another plug from an ultra runner hoping that the F3 can charge while in use like the F2, but the 920xt is a deal breaker as it cannot

    • Dan

      According to the Garmin Website, it specifically states you can charge while running.

    • Matt B

      The Fenix 3 can charge while an activity is running – they specifically mention that on the Garmin site. link to fenix3.garmin.com

    • Ted W

      Thanks Dan and Matt for the replied. after I posted my comment, I refreshed the feed here and saw the same link. I am SOLD. I’ve been pleased with the fenix 2. Not had the issues many, but I i’ve only used a fraction of the capabilities. I dont need the multisport, but I love BT upload, and I want/need long battery life as I I progress into 100mile Ultra’s this year. Any improvements with Satellite/GPS are welcomed. I wonder if/when/how someone can quantify GPS improvedment with the new antenna and the GLONASS support.Want to understand more on the benefits of sapphire though.

  66. Interesting, but I’m actually still more likely to go with the 920. I like the bigger screen – round just doesn’t work as well for readable data fields – and one thing that I’ve always appreciated about the 910 is that it is more single purpose. I have a nice Citizen watch that I wear for daily use that looks better, to me at least, than any of the smart watches do; I want my multisport watch to be a good fitness device rather than trying to be a one-size-fits-all compromise solution.

    Besides, the last thing I want to do after sweating for 4 hours is to keep the same watch on 🙂

    • Adam

      I totally agree about the one-size-fits-all solution; I have loads of regular watches for different occasions, but I want my sports watch to be good at one thing: tracking sports.

      That said, I’d definitely go for this over the 920XT, because that thing was ugly, not to mention the increased functionality of the F3. I take your point about round displays, but as long as the resolution is high enough (which it certainly looks from the photos) it should be able to display 4 fields clearly enough. My FR610 is still going strong and that’s absolutely fine with 4 fields.

    • Gabriel Eguia

      adam – i had a fenix 2 and the display sucked to use when running infact in most things for glanceable data. i had a hell of a time during my bike rides and runs with it.

      i’d caution you to just assume the new color screen will resolve this. Ray (DC rainmaker) should be able to provide better insight on this though.

      then again the 620 is round and he prefered that over the 920xt for running.

      but seriously my 920xt is so ugly.. why did you have to go with the blue and black garmin?! i wear it often for the step counting on top of my regular training so aesthetics mean something..

  67. Pedro

    If I preorder when will my credit card be charged?

    • Matt B

      If you order from Clever Training, yes, they will charge your card as soon as you order (NOT when it ships).

    • Bachoo

      Nothing like giving them a free loan. I don’t appreciate this business practice and until they change I won’t buy from them.

  68. Olu

    Another person curious about the inversion scheme. Is it always white text on black except menus and rest screens? Also what does the activity bar look like? Can it be active on the watch face like the 920?

    • Matt B

      I second this question (specifically the steps/inactive bar on the watch face)!

      Although, I suppose it could be brough via ConnectIQ if it isn’t in there by default.

    • Within any sport mode you can choose white on black, or black on white. Your choice. Each sport mode (technically now called apps) allows you to customize it.

      On the watch faces, I don’t see it within the default ones, but I know that the Connect IQ interface can show it on the watch face. So effectively yes for steps.

  69. Heather

    So what if any advantage do you have with having wifi on a watch besides syncing/uploading workout data? Are there any other applications of this functionality? Trying to decide between Fenix3 and Epix.

  70. LJ

    I literally ordered a 920xt over the weekend, but emailed CT to change over to the Fenix3. Does it track steps, as the 920xt did?

  71. Brian

    Hi Ray,

    Any improvement on processor speeds over the F2? The very slow processor on the F2 is really my only complaint on the F2, takes so long to save a run, view details, and sometimes even just to boot up takes over a minute.


    • Ted W

      Hopefully a 920xt user can share. if its the same software, I would think it should be the same. memory read/write performance in such a device it often more software than hardware related. not always, but often. I wonder, what does the summary (after a run) look like in the F3/920xt. the F2 has the HORRIBLE text/scrolling file. I would much rather see a snapshot summary and have to enter into a specific lap for more details on that lap.

    • Bob Croucher

      Ditto on this one. I really hate the delays for saving, and recalling on the Fenix2, though I love the rest of the watch. The 310, 910, 920 can all recall a workout and scroll through the splits instantly. The Fenix2 is slug slow and painful. It’s so bad that I’ll usually use my phone or a computer to look over my splits. I feel like the watch is a low memory capacity device with a flash drive used to give it extra storage. Loading from storage to the watch memory is slow. The triathlon watches seem much more responsive. How’s the Fenix3?

    • It’s just as fast as the FR920XT – which is much quicker than the Fenix2.

    • Bob Croucher

      Thanks. I can’t imagine the hours you pour into your blog !!! I really appreciate it.

  72. Ryan

    Nice. No word on updates to the Quatix (or the Tactix and D2 for that matter). It would be really slick if Garmin made the unique features of those watches into Connect IQ apps, eliminating the silly software distinction of otherwise identical hardware.

  73. Kevin

    Any chance the new F3 bands will work with the F2? I’d love to swap to the red band for a bit of a pop of color.

    • Dave lusty

      There was already a red band on the Fenix2, as well as grey, orange, green I think. Red might have been special edition though like the f2SE watch that featured it.

    • Yes, all Fenix1/2, Quatix, and D2 bands are interchangeable with the Fenix3.

      Epix bands are different however and not interchangeable.

  74. Victor

    I’m a happy F2 owner, but the F3 adds just what I was missing:
    – better display
    – support for Connect iQ (Tempo is already my calendar app of choice)
    – concurrent BT and ANT+ (wifi is just a nice plus)
    – better battery life when smart notifications are enabled
    – activity/sleep tracking

    I just joined the Clever Training VIP program and pre-ordered it with my 10% discount code. Thanks!

    • Thanks Victor for the support via Clever Training, I appreciate it. Enjoy!

    • Srinivas

      Where do you see that fenix 3 has
      – “better battery life when smart notifications are enabled”?

      I also have a fenix 2 and if does have better batter life with GPS turned off (and all other sensors ON. Btw, I only intend to use bluetooth and once in a while ant+ HRM), I am planning to get fenix 3.

      Thanks in advance.

    • Victor

      No actual data, I just came to that conclusion from what the 920 battery life is compared to the fenix 2.

      920 users in the Garmin forums report 3-5 days with notifications ON and light GPS use. Wifi and GLONASS seem to be more way power thirsty than BT. Also, notifications on the 920xt require keeping the Connect phone app running in the background, unlike the F2.

      All that probably means that both watches have different smart watch implementations and that maybe the phone app helps reducing battery consumption from BT notifications.

      So, no, no actual figures, just part wishful thinking and part realization that battery life in smart watch mode can’t get any worse than what we get on the fenix 2.

    • Srinivas

      *Thanks for the reply”

    • Jesse

      Just ordered my fenix 3 through clever training but didn’t know I could get a 10% discount? Can I still get this?


    • Victor

      Since CT charges your card when you pre-order and not when it ships, you may have to cancel the pre-order, join the VIP program and then use your personal discount code to place a new order.

      Contact them, perhaps they can refund you the 10% after you buy the VIP membership. vipsupport@clevertraining.com or 844-399-6440

      Here’s the link to join the program.
      link to clevertraining.com

      Buy the VIP membership first, don’t worry about the Feburary delivery time. Less than an hour later you’ll receive an email with a description of the benefits and your personal 10% discount code, which you can then use when you pre-order the watch.

    • Christian J

      For the 920xt, what I see is a battery life around 6 weeks when only using as a smart watch with a daily connection time of about 9-10 hours. I doubt the fenix can beat that – but I hope that it will perform better compared to the fenix 2 which had only a day of battery life when connected.

  75. Scott Buchanan

    Maybe a qestion for another day but surely Garmin are going to be horribly cannibalizing sales from within its own ranges with the F3.

    Will be getting an F3 for sure.

    • Lew

      Certainly a thought, however considering Garmin’s MANY car GPS products it seems they’re not bothered with significant overlap.

    • Adam

      There’s only so many ways you can spin the same technology, there will always be significant overlap between product lines. This time last year, the fenix 2 trod all over the 620 and then the 920xt trod all over that.

      I think Garmin absolutely do the right thing, by putting as many features as they reasonably can into each product. They could have easily marketed the 620 as a pure runners watch (e.g. no cycling mode) or have stripped back the fenix 2 support for advanced running metrics etc and focused on the outdoor activities angle. This would make their product lines look more compartmentalised (e.g. 620 as the running specific watch, fenix as the outdoor activities watch, 920xt for triathlon) but ultimately stiff the buyers out of features that the products could easily support for the sake of ‘branding’.

      Even more of the barriers are going to come down with Connect IQ, so I can see a shift away from the emphasis being on software features, towards form-factor and hardware features being the critical buying decisions. It’ll be interesting to see how that affects Garmin’s branding.

  76. Newt

    Any updates on how it handles notifications from phone?

  77. Do you have any actual dimensions or comparison pictures between the 920xt and the Fenix3 that you could share? I’m sold on the Fenix3 for my “everything” watch, but I’m pretty curious about the size differences and weight differences. Even the 910xt comparison would be nice.
    Thanks DCRainmaker! Great review as usual!

    • Matt B

      Physical dimensions 1.9” x 1.9” x 0.7” (4.9 x 4.9 x 1.7 cm)
      Display size, WxH 1.2” (3.1 cm) diameter
      Weight 3.0 oz (85.0 g)

      Fenix 3:
      Physical dimensions 2.0” x 2.0” x 0.6” (51.5 x 51.5 x 15.5 mm)
      Display size, WxH 1.2” (31 mm)
      Weight Sapphire: 3.2 oz (92 g); Silver: 2.5 oz (70 g)

      Physical dimensions 1.9” x 2.2” x 0.5” (48 x 55 x 12.7 mm)
      Display size, WxH 1.1″ x 0.8″ (2.9 x 2.1 cm)
      Weight 2.1 oz (61 g)

    • Matt B

      Also, 910XT:

      Physical dimensions 2.1″ x 2.4″ x 0.6″ (54 x 61 x 15 mm)
      Display size, WxH 1.3″ x 0.8″ (33 x 20 mm)
      Weight 2.5 oz (72 g)

    • Thanks Matt B! That seals the deal for me!

    • Ted W

      What the dummies version of why someone would drop $50 for the sapphire? Is the display durability worth it? I cant say I’ve scratch the surface or prior garmins. Is the $50 for the metal band? seems like you could just get it for the other watch options if you wanted. Guess its $129 on the website though. Is the 3.2oz assuming that the metal band is installed? I like the F2 band. And I understand the sapphire comes with a 2nd but no info on that on the Garmin website

    • Matt B

      Purely the strength of the Sapphire screen and metal band (from a practical standpoint). I’m sure some would buy just to have “top of the line” though.

    • for me personally, I broke my 910xt beyond repair (literally..today) where the band attaches to the watch. The little plastic piece that holds the band pins in place broke off. So for roughly the same price, it’s worth it to me to get an “all metal” watch on the rare chance I drop it on my unforgiving tile in the bathroom. I’m not interested in the sapphire lense or metal band, but assuming the rest is equal, it should prove to be more durable than a 920xt for someone like me.

    • Lew

      It’s interesting that the 920xt and Fenix2 specs claim the same length (within 1mm) but Ray’s photos show something very different: link to dcrainmaker.com
      (see the Everything you wanted to know article link to dcrainmaker.com )

      I like the feature set, but when I looked at the Fenix2 in the store it was a lot bigger than I’d prefer for a wear-all-day watch, and the Fenix3 is 2.5mm longer, albeit 1.5mm thinner.

    • Ted W

      I would pay $50 for the extra display strength. I dont want a metal band. The F2 band is great in all conditions, wet, dry, hot, cold. Not sure I want a metal band on a watch during a 100mile Ultra. The deal breaker is that the HRM is an additional $99 itseems. I could salvage the strap from my F2, but I intended to sell my F2+HRM strap as a combo. So that puts the sapphire at $699 without tax I think. No way..

    • Martin R.

      I do not think it is an “all metal” watch. The piece you broke on your 910xt looks like is made of plastic on the Fenix 3 as well. I think only the bezel and the “lower” part are made of stainless steel. Correct me, if I am wrong.

    • MH

      I’m not sure if Sapphire glass is worth it. After 2 years of use and many unintended run-ins with trees, lampposts, pavement, rocks and whatnot, the bezel of my Suunto Ambit 1 was damaged all around, but there were only a few very tiny scratches on the glass (non-sapphire). The Ambit 1 had a raised edge around the glass, which protected it well, but my old T6c had no raised edge, and the mineral glass on it wasn’t scratched too badly either (same treatment, also 2 years). So I think that I’ll go for the F3 Gray.

    • Craig

      You’ll be paying more than $50 for Sapphire if you need the HRM which costs $99 from Amazon and doesn’t look like it’s uincluded with the sapphire model.

    • I am leaning towards the f3 Sapphire for better screen protection. As I not only trail run, but would wear the device while working, mtn biking, backpacking and competing in OCRs.

      I have worn fr610s in OCRs, the face has gotten scratched, to the point that I purchased another fr610 as the scratched screen was bothersome.

      But, I am not sure what the fr610 lens is made of.

  78. Jared

    Is there a real reason for not supporting bluetooth sensors?

  79. neil rosson

    Looks like Garmin have listened, very decent looking watches.

    • Scott Buchanan

      Seems to be an increasingly common theme of late…. “Garmin have listened”
      Seemed like not too long ago Garmin was regularly releasing products that just weren’t ready and expecting paying customers to be unpaid beta testers. I’m particularly looking at the Edge 810 for me but I hear the 510 was just as bad. Although the FR620 GPS tracks were never terrible ( they weren’t great either) for me they were for others and again the forums lit up with angry users. I seem to remember a while back the Ray did a Garmin visit and spoke to a person of note at Garmin ( a VP?) who from memory appeared to least acknowledge QC issues etc. Not sure if this was Garmin’s face saving way of saying ‘Yup we took our eyes off the ball but we’re now on it’ as there seemed to me to be an increasing anger towards Garmin that was in danger of spilling over into an “Anything but Garmin” mindset that you could see in the forums and speaking to people.

      I bought an Edge 1000 just before Christmas and its been fantastic…. does what it says on the tin. Although you have to plug it in to a computer to update/populate it GRRRRRRRR. Looking at the new Fenix 3 it seems to answer a number of requests for a more normal looking watch….. didn’t see any requests for a continuation of the humvee led styling. I think that Garmin is going to be rewarded for this by having a monster best seller on its hands in the F3. I’ll be buying one!

      Another oft used Garmin tactic they’ve been very fond of using is the stoney silence. For YEARS and I really do mean years! people asked for kit tracking features. Garmin reaction “stoney silence” Then a month or so ago the feature just turned up.

      I like this new listening and acting Garmin long may it continue!

      Anyway my thoughts.

  80. Arnold

    Hi Ray,

    I own a F2 and love the functionality. However, since I am 51 years old, screen visibility for me is key. This is why I don’t like the inverted screen of the F2. Would I have known that Garmin was coming up with the F2 SE with normal black on white screen, I would have waited and bought that one.

    Is the F3 screenwise better for me? Can the screen settings be inverted for instance?

    Hope to hear!

  81. David

    Hi Ray-

    Would love to see a front and side view comparison with the 920xt. Thanks for all you do!

  82. Martin

    I also would like to know if the new bands are supported by previous Fenix watches. I would assume so…

  83. Gabriel Eguia

    wow the fenix 3 makes my 920xt look like a toy lol

    if only garmin released the 920xt in all black 🙂

  84. andrejs

    The main reason I switched to Ambit is because how flaky the software was on the Fenix. I wonder if they’re rushing this unit once again?

    Also, does the F3 look more like a Suunto than a Garmin to anyone else?

  85. Rob

    Your article mentions the Sapphire version is bundled with the HR monitor. On Clever Training it doesn’t mention HR at the $599 price point (and has no other option). If I order the Sapphire version through Clever Training will it or will it not include the HR monitor? Thanks in advance for the clarification!

  86. Matthieu

    Wow! That’s incredible news!
    From a technical point of view, does the “watch OS” are the same on FR920, F3 and Epix or it’s just equivalent “OS” which can run equivalents apps? (like Watch OS and Android Wear ?)

    • Matthieu

      Well. Sorry I just find other information in the Epix review. So if I well understand Connect IQ is the all new high-end Garmin’s devices OS, with apps compatible on all this new devices except special apps like Maps for Epix for example?

  87. Marlon Perez

    Does the Fenix3 support more than 1 bike profile in this revision?

  88. Andrej

    I’m so glad I didn’t get the 920XT. Will be waiting anxiously for this.

  89. Raynald

    Hi Ray,

    Am I selling my Fr620 to get the new Fenix 3? Can it support other sports than the usual 3? Can I create a badminton, tennis profile for instance? I love my Forerunner 620 because I’m a runner before anything else but it’s anoying to change my strap and us an iPhone app when I do other sports… What do you guys think I should do? 🙂

    If any of you already purchased it, what colour did you choose?


  90. amadeus303

    Is the analog watch face also available on the non-sapphire version? I know it could be remedied with a 3rd party app, but wondering if it’s available out of the box…

  91. Milo

    I have a two quick queries, hopefully you can help me with:
    (1) Can the altimeter be calibrated manually? (important for mountaineering)
    (2) Can the watch act as a gps log on a long trip (i.e. turning on gps every 12 or 24h just to record the position, thus allowing the battery to last 3-4 weeks)? That would be awesome…

    Thank you for your kind help.

    • 1) Yes, you can manually calibrate the altimeter on the Fenix3, as well as Epix.
      2) Not really. You can go into UltraTrac mode, or use the charging cable to keep it going while concurrently recording.

  92. Ted W

    Has anyone noticed that the F3 has a 300 mAh battery while the F2 has a 500 mAh battery? and yet the specs both claim 50hrs ultra trac and upto 20 in GPS mode? truely believable? is the processor and sensors that much more efficient?

    • Matt B

      I can’t speak to the technical changes between the platforms, but I do know the more recent Garmin watches (220/620/920XT) have had significant power efficiency improvements which leads me to think this is quite plausible.

  93. Newt

    is there a reason the DCR10JKW coupon wont work for fenix 3 for clever training? Is it not eligible? just curious

  94. Alex

    That looks stunning, I always loved the Fenix concept but thought they were a little agricultural. This raises the bar, though still too massive for my tiny little man wrists.

    • MH

      Little woman’s wrists here – I have always worn big Casio ABC watches or sports watches for everyday use. The big watch has become a “signature style item”. For me the flexibility of the strap is the most critical element. Size doesn’t matter 🙂

      The Ambit 1 had a stiff rubber strap that didn’t want to follow the contour of my wrist, it was not extremely comfortable. The Fenix 1 sticks out more, but the strap is very flexible, and it is a much better fit. I hardly notice it’s there.

      When worn every day the Fenix scratches easily, the Ambit didn’t (accidental high-impact encounters with rock or concrete surfaces excepted). So I’m real happy to see a Fenix in an Ambit-like body with mineral glass. Can’t wait for Ray’s in-depth review..

    • Ted W

      and yet the sapphire is not available in a bundle. I have no need of a metal band, done even want one. but I do want the HRM and the sapphire crystal

    • Gabriel Eguia

      oh your Precious?!

    • Marios

      On the same boat. I want the HRM and Sapphire … Maybe they will add another SKU?

  95. Joel Mulligan

    Is there any chance at the navigation features and on the run charging of the fenix3 coming to the 920xt?

    At the moment I am very disappointed in having purchased an early 920xt and going through the recall drama only to be told that it has effectively been superceded already.

    Honestly, why would you purchase 920xt over a fenix3? Less durable, less waterproof and of course navigation is quite poor by itself let alone in comparison to the fenix series.

    • Joel Mulligan

      And now I get it. It is effectively a three tiered system. 920XT is base, Fenix3 is mid and Epix is top.

      That sucks. A lot. Absolutely would have gone with either the epix or the fenix3 if they had been announced concurrently. It is a bit of a dirty act of have brought such a major structural change to the way the line up works and leave consumers thinking that it was business as usual with the “base” model.

      I am sure there are a lot of people who are going to be thinking they were effectively tricked into buying the 920xt over the fenix3, at least among early adopters.

  96. Newt

    Any way to get the Sapphire with the red band, non HRM bundle for $549?? I dont want the metal band or HRM

    • Newt

      Just to add ive never had a sapphire glass watch, ive used a bunch of suuntos and never had a problem so not sure its worth the extra $$??

  97. Paul Stansel

    Is the HRM band the same between all these models? I have the 620 HRM and I assume it can still be used for everything?

  98. MAGNUS

    Recently got rid of my Fenix2 because I wanted the color screen on the 920. I do like the bigger screen, but if the new 3 is slimmer than the 2, I’d happily return the 920 and ordering the Fenix3.

    • MAGNUS

      I know functionality should be the primary reason for this type of purchase but the new look is exactly what I’ve been looking/waiting for.

    • Gabriel Eguia

      Magnus – didn’t you find glancing at the fenix 2 screen difficult compared to the 920xt?

      it doesn’t appear that the screen size is any bigger on the fenix 3 thus we’re going to have the same issue. granted now we can finally change the white to black and black to write – ie Fenix 2 SE

    • Olu

      Issues with the fēnix2 screen were due to poor pixel density (70 x 70 pixels) and poor inversion. The square screen is better for squeezing text in, but based on the measurements posted above the fēnix3 has more area then the 920xt 7.5cm squared vs 6.1cm squared and pixel density appears to be the same.

      I think we’ll be fine.

    • MAGNUS

      It was difficult to read the F2 screen especially when using four fields. At least for me due to my being severely blind. Using only two/three fields wasn’t bad ar all.. Going to the 920 I must say its much easier to see/read.

      I wasn’t even considering pixel density as mentioned by Olu, but either way, I managed just fine with the F2 so I would have been ok going back. I prefer the “larger” text but will compromise for the aesthetics of the F3.

      I got rid of the F2 before I got the 920 so I couldn’t do a side by side but I am headed to CES Wednesday so I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the F3 before placing an order.

      Ray – can you say how much thicker/thinner the F3 vs F2?

    • Gabriel Eguia

      Magnus please keep us updated.

      Even with “good eyes” 4 fields on the F2 were difficult to use.

      hopefully ray can chime in if he feels that the fenix 3 usability is on par with the 920xt during running, biking, etc.

      In the pool i noticed with the fenix 3 i’d have to hold it closer to my face – the 920xt the text is nice and big. perhaps that’s something that can’t be resolved (text size) due to the form factor of the fenix 3.

    • MAGNUS

      I’ve been up going on 22 hrs so my apologies if my post seems all over the place.

      I only had a few minutes to see the F3 but I did get a chance to compare to the F2 and 920. As far as thickness goes, it’s roughly right in between the F2 and 920. (Will post a links to a few pics tomorrow morning).

      As far as text readability, the F3 was set up with only 3 fields but was definitely much easier to read than the F2. I plan to stop by Garmin again tomorrow so I’ll add the additional field for another comparison… I took my glasses off (I don’t workout with glasses or contacts) but still found the text legible.

      I will still think the 920 is much easier to read, but going back to my previous statement, I will gladly give up some clarity for the aesthetics of the F3.

    • MAGNUS

      Finally home and able to recharge my laptop. Here are some pics for anyone interested in how the Fenix compares to the 920xt.

      Discalimer: I was in a bit of hurry and used my iPhone to snap these quickly.

      920 vs Fenix 2
      link to imgur.com

      920 vs Fenix 3 Gray
      link to imgur.com

      920 vs Fenix 3 Red
      link to imgur.com

      920 vs Fenix 3 Red (on wrist)
      link to imgur.com
      link to imgur.com

      920 vs Fenix 3 Three Data Fields
      link to imgur.com

      920 vs Fenix 3 Four Data Fields
      link to imgur.com

    • rickNP

      Magnus, thanks for taking the time to compare and post those pictures!

  99. Charlie

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the great review. Will the sapphire version have a rubber strap like the rest of the F3? Because I feel having a rubber strap is more secure than the metal band.

    • amadeus303

      Charlie, according to the Garmin and CT site, a rubber strap is included in the box with the Sapphire edition.

    • Gabriel Eguia

      wow that watch is purdy –

      thanks for sharing. the gps data doesn’t look quite accurate though if i understood german he may have an explanation why.

    • Jasper

      The gps data is indeed off at several occasions, his explanation (or thought) is that: its a prototype.. he thinks it would almost definitely be upgraded/improved for the final version.
      He does say that the gps data is pretty good with low reception, like the eTrex 10, I think indoors (at the house)

    • Andreas

      he says the GPS data of the Fenix 3 is extremely smoothed, you can’t see change of side of the street, short off-road side trips are smoothed out, sometimes accuracy (absolute gps position) is bad too.

      batterie run time 16h, 50h in UltraTrac

  100. Brent

    Are the watch faces customizable? From the pictures it looks like the clock on the watch faces are different.

    • Jasper

      yes they are customizable, I’m not sure how far this feature is implemented (how many style’s) but it is there

  101. Frank

    I’m curious if you can start a multsport with pool swimming, this is not possible on the Fenix 2

  102. Martin R.

    Does the Fenix 3 have the same display as the 920xt? Under specs it says 218 x 218 pixels; transflective MIP color…

  103. JimG

    Well gotta say the F3 looks nice, a little better than my F2. And while the F3 has color, why couldn’t Garmin also setup a user parameter to allow positive or negative display?That way you could set it to display however it best suits you. -OR- will there another SE around the corner waiting to be release. Dang seems like such an easy thing to address.

    • Gabriel Eguia

      it should. the 920xt has this capability. no doubt the fenix 3 will.

    • Jasper

      for example the digital watch mode has positive and negative display mode… so no doubt the other modes will have it

  104. Kenneth Rasmussen

    Thanks for the hands on.

    I have some questions from garmins website:

    1: Can Fenix 3 use footpod ?
    2: Do Fenix 3 have “Courses” complete against previous activities like 920XT ?
    3: Do Fenix 3 have autolap function ?
    4: Do Fenix 3 have autoscroll function ?
    5: Do Fenix 3 have time/distance alerts ?

    • 1) Yes
      2) Yes
      3) Yes
      4) Yes
      5) Yes

      All of those are included in the comparison tables too. 😉

    • Kenneth Rasmussen

      Yes in your comparison table but not on garmin website

    • Thomas Ahlström

      You mentioned autolap but does the watch support autolap by position? I have the fenix 2 and it’s not a feature and I miss it.

    • Bona

      I would also like to know if auto lap by position is supported. My old Edge 605 has it. It’s really useful if you don’t know the lap’s length beforehand.

    • Jasper

      that one is allready answered (once) and asked a few times: “January 7, 2015 at 10:04 pm #393

      No, it does not.” by Ray.

    • Daniel

      According to Garmin:
      link to buy.garmin.com
      2 & 3 – isn’t supported by Fenix

      Can you please check also following (920 yes, fenix no by garmin):
      Time/distance alert
      Customizable screen(s)
      Power meter compatible
      Shock Resistant
      History – what amount/hours of data fenix store.

      Thank you and appreciate all your work!!!

    • Laurent

      Hi David,

      Well, at least for autolap the video posted by Ray shows the Fenix 3 has it. I went through it again and it’s at 2:34.

      Curious that garmin site doesn’t mention it.

    • Time/Distance: Yes
      Customizable Screens: Yes
      Power Meter: Yes
      Shock Resistant: Depends on how big a shock…

      I’ll get the exact storage size a bit later today when I have my charging cable handy.

  105. Oscar

    Hi Ray,

    Would you be able to do a comparison of the charging contacts on the F3 and the F2? I currently have an F2, and the metal contacts height is flush with the back of the watch, and I have since discovered that the metal causes a reaction with my skin. I can sort of tell from your screenshots that on the F3 the metal contacts seem to be recessed, if so this would definitely be a benefit for people like me whose skin reacts with the metal. Cheers

  106. Manuel

    According to Garmin’s website the Fenix 2 sports a 500 mAh lithium-ion battery and the new Fenix 3 just a 300 mAh:(

    Would this be to save real estate or is there new battery technology in the Fenix 3?

  107. Jonathan

    Is the F3 flush on the bottom? It looks like it would stick up from your wrist like the FR15 does? I like how flush the 920xt is with the wrist as opposed to the FR15. Wanting to know if this would be the same as the 920 or the 15? Thanks

  108. Chris W

    Ray – From the reviews I am reading that people are going to look for the Fenix 3 over the 920XT…what are your thoughts?

    I am open for anyones thoughts on this.

  109. Mick Fitz

    I’m a weekend hack who has a go at surfing, mountain biking, trail runing and swimming (ocean + pool). I’d grab one of these if they added the ability to check world wide tides. I think only the Ambit does this todate, through an app.

  110. kyle

    Does it have support for basecamp? I know the F2 can upload via mapsource

  111. Nay Tun

    I am wondering whether epix or fenix 3 has Multisport Tri- that support the lap swimming. My fenix 2 sucks in my tri competitions as I do swimming in 50m pool. Emailed to fenix team and complaints in fenix 2 forum but no response.

  112. kyle

    I am a hiker/camper and I know the epix is more geared toward me but I just love the look of the fenix 3. I dont know how much id use color maps anyway, knowing the altitude and having a waypoint is good enough for me. But do you think the Connect IQ will have apps that show maps for the fenix 3?

    • I think you’ll see some Connect IQ apps attempt to do maps, but I suspect it’ll be a subpar experience (which honestly might just be fine for certain use cases).

  113. Martin

    Any idea if the Fenix 3’s UltraTrac mode is different from the Fenix 2?

    In UltraTrac mode the Fenix 2 was almost unusable – ANT+ sensors were disabled, distances were hopelessly inaccurate (sometimes off by 50%), GPS elevation readings were disabled (so no altimeter auto-calibration), and the watch was prone to frequent crashes if the GPS recording interval was too short. Hopefully the Fenix 3 will fix these issues.

    • It works like the FR920XT, so it supports ANT+ sensors, and is a bit more variable. Distances of course will always be off with UltraTrac since it’s designed to shut off GPS.

  114. Ann

    Thanks for the preview.

    Has Garmin finally fixed the hw issue that the 910 has with the barometric pressure sensor in their new lineup: Fenix3 and 920? (I’ve had to send back my 910 three times in the past 2 years to be replaced with a refurbished unit because the barometer readings went whacky…getting 25,000 ft readings at sea level.)

    • I haven’t seen that be an issue in anyting other than the FR910XT (which, btw, you can fix 80% of the time by dunking it in warm soapy water for about 10-15 mins to resolve the salt that clogs the hole).

  115. Ann

    (Btw, I tried cleaning the 910 baro holes with warm soapy water and it did not solve the problem for me.)

    • Oops, just saw. And the toothbrush trick too?

    • Forrest

      This is a bummer to hear about. I’ve had a Suunto Core for a year; I’ve always got very good altitude measurements from it and I’ve never cleaned the sensor (although I wear it in the shower). It just works. I’m considering an upgrade to the Fenix 3 but hoping for reliable ele data.

    • Note that the 920XT and Fenix3 are entirely different beasts from a HW standpoint than the FR910XT. Comparing the physical hardware between those two would kinda be like comparing Apples to Pears.

  116. Ventura

    A new model while the Fenix 2 isn’t even a year old yet. Is Garmin thinking of giving us the opportunity to upgrade cheaply if the watch is within warrant?

  117. Andy

    Well… now I don’t know what to do. Since it doesn’t look like they added enough storage capacity, it doesn’t look like this will be able to be used for golf (like the new vivosmart2), which I was really hoping would be possible with the addition of apps.

  118. Ben

    I wish Garmin would add storage for MP3 and music playback capability as well BT headset support. This is for my the only missing feature to buy one (which has HRM support).

    • Ben

      Anyone know if this feature will be arriving in upcoming models?

    • Bobby

      Same here. If it had music, it would be perfect. Seems like a no-brainer, but without it I’ll wait for something else.

    • neil rosson

      I really don’t understand the need for this on a premium sports watch. Just adding complexity for the sake of it imo. Why not just get a separate mp3 player, you would not need to mess with you watch for volume or to change tracks, would have more storage, better battery, better sound quality as you could use a jack plug & are not exactly costly these days.

    • amadeus303

      I agree… and I think the inclusion of that would only eat up precious “bandwidth” that would potentially slow down other core processes. It’s not like you can use music in a race setting either.

      That said, I could reason the inclusion of A2DP BT for something like the Epix where turn by turn directions could be broadcast to BT headphones… or perhaps general compass directions when following a breadcrumb trail back to start on the Fenix3.

  119. MK LEUNG

    Nice quick review. Waiting your in depth review of Fenix 3
    2 things I really wanna know
    1. Is Fenix 3 support charging during workout?
    (It is really disappoint that 920 do not support this which 910 can. As a ultra Trail runner , on the going charging is cool for long race over 30hrs) Hope both 920 and Fenix 3 support this function
    2. Some say Fenix 2 is laggy during working, how about this new watch.


  120. Very excited!

    Joined the VIP program and pre-ordered through CT! Finally, looks like Garmin has listened to the feedback from users and included a desired feature set in an attractive package.

    Thanks for all of the CES coverage!

  121. Scott

    I held off upgrading from my Suunto Ambit 2 to 3 because of the lack of vibration.

    How does this compare to the Ambit 2, does the Fenix 3 have MGRS for navigating, this is a must for me.
    Also sunset and sunrise.

    Mapping, as long as it’s the equivalent or better than Ambit 2 then I’m happy.

    And one feature I loved on the Ambit 2 was the ability to keep on tracking with loss of signal, i.e. if you run under a bridge or Mountain biking under tree canopies, the Ambit 2 would estimate where you are and pickup when gps signal was again picked up. Thus on the website when reviewing your run you would not see any breaks.

  122. Hi
    yesterday I ordered them online the fenix3 do you know when they going to ship it
    All the best

    • Lew

      Probably before the end of March since Ray wrote: “Garmin is saying that the Fenix3 will ship in Q1 2015 (so by March), though it sounds like that might be quite a bit sooner rather than later.”

    • Stuart

      My pre-order from REI said that it would ship within 30 days. Sorry Ray – would have ordered from CT but I had some REI gift certificates to use that helped to offset the cost.

  123. windynut

    this is a good looking device, even as a stand alone watch.
    what is the battery life-runtime in watch only function ?
    how customisable is the watch display – will it show a 24 hour dial with 12 at the top, even better with a shading differentiation for ‘daylight’ and ‘night time’ hours. better still, could it display local sunrise/set times ?
    Having just bought a 920xt I now have to find a way to ‘trade up’

    thank you Ray for your excellent reviews.

    • Jasper

      battery life in watch only function is up to 6 weeks according to garmin site (in smart watch mode).
      Watch display is quite customizable, from what I’ve seen on videos. Sunrise is already mentioned that it is a basic function of the watch mode. Other customizable things, like the daylight with different shadings could get an app for it, no ? (If it isn’t a function that’s going to be build in)..

  124. Maxim

    Hi Ray,
    According to Garmin web site, Fenix3 supports geocaching (and I’m sure Jumpmaster mode as well). However it is unlikely to receive tidal tables.

  125. Gabriel B

    Ray, thanks for keeping us updated and for this particular review which now replaces my choice for the 920XT. I also just pre-ordered one from CT a few minutes ago!

  126. Maria

    So, with this watch, if I just keep wearing it, I won’t need the vivofit anymore?

  127. Kompoj

    Does it have support weight training or strength training?

  128. Matt

    Thanks for the great preview Ray. Ticks all boxes for me that kept me from ordering a 920XT: Design, track zoom, more navigation capabilities. Very tempted to pre-order.

  129. Terence

    Ray, thanks for the update/review. Do you know if Garmin Connect will be able to reconcile b/t using two devices as an activity tracker? For example, I currently have a vivofit that I wear daily with a mechanical watch. However, if I were to use the F3 for other a run or just every now and then as a day to day watch, would Garmin connect be able to reconcile b/t the two devices as an activity tracker?

    Thanks for all of the work and great reviews.

    • Terence

      In hindsight, probably an unfair question to ask at the moment. However, in your in-depth testing, would you mind testing for this (assuming it’s not a outright “no” answer)?

      Got one via CT. Thanks again!

    • No, currently you must specify a single activity tracker device within Garmin Connect. There’s some talk about changing that and allowing multiple devices, but for today you have to pick which one is the ‘one’.

    • Rob Montgomery

      It’s really easy to change in the app though. You can wear your Vivofit in the morning, upload your steps to the app, switch your activity tracker in the app to another device, use that and upload whatever steps you take. It all adds up to the correct amount of steps. The only difference is the 2nd device will only display THAT devices steps, but online it tracks everything you uploaded. You can then switch back to the Vivofit through the app and continue on.

    • Dack

      I second the original sentiment. I would love for this to be more automatic so that when you have 2 devices that you want to use to track activity both are active and don’t need to be switched manually. I know it is a bit of a money sink but I like the 920xt for my triathlon training and the looks of the fenix 3 for trail running, hiking, and everyday watch. This is the one area that concerns me with having both.

      Ray – you mention there is some talk about this? Do you think that they would make the change?

    • Their is discussion, but the concern right now is that it’s a semi-substantial code change to Garmin Connect, both in terms of the initial code, but also the load on the system from a day to day logic trying to figure out which device you’re using and doing all the math there.

      They weren’t opposed to it, and were seemingly investigating it, but they also felt (rightly so), that stability on Garmin Connect was a higher priority issue for them short-term.

      I would note that to my knowledge no other activity tracker device on the market lets you free-wheel between devices on the same account. It’s one and done.

  130. Srinivas

    Do you know if bluetooth can be enabled all the time to receive texts, notification?

    When we enable bluetooth on fenix 2, battery drains fast < a day.

    With bluethooth 4.1+ I expect battery life to be a lot longer. Did they fix battery drain with bluetooth ON?

    • bsaunder

      I’m definitely interested in the bluetooth life of the watch. I have the Fenix 2 SE, and most all of my wants seem to be addresed with the 3. Looking forward to the in-depth review!

    • Yes, Bluetooth can be enabled all-day and the battery drain is more in-line with the 920XT than the Fenix2. The Fenix1/2 weren’t really designed for that mode, it was more shoe-horned into it. Whereas the 920XT and F3 were designed upfront for that.

  131. Yann

    Is it a joke?
    What exactly is Garmin trying to do with its customers?
    Bought a Fenix 2, sold it to get the unexpected 920XT which fixed the flaw from the fenix and now this one…
    I feel flawed, looking at Polar an Suunto now…
    And in the meantime, garmin connect (supposed to be the counterpoint for everything) is still not working properly and buggy as hell….
    Please Garmin, work less marketing and sales, and try to actually be aimed at your customers!!!

    • What’s wrong with the FR920XT? Really not seeing any complaints there.

      As for GC being down portions of yesterday, I’d remind folks that Polar was down for Friday and Saturday, and Suunto was down for an entire week over Christmas. So, everyone sucks eventually.

    • Marios

      Let me also add that during the Suunto outage there was no way for one to upload tracks to Strava (other than some cumbersome SML to GPX conversion tools). On the other hand, even if Garmin Connect is down, all the FIT files can be uploaded automatically to Strava without ever going through Garmin Connect. Much MUCH better …

  132. Patrick

    Ray could you check if this watch allows for manual altitude calibration? I’m not very happy with the way the altimeter works and acts on the 920 so I’m considering exchanging one for a fenix3 if that would solve this issue. Appreciating the nice quick “mini-reviews” of all the goodies so far!

  133. Gary P

    Hi Ray

    Thanks for a great heads up.
    I’m really tempted to sell my 920xt and get this. This seems to be all that i wanted the F2 to be.

    I have a couple of questions please:
    – Can you have the profile colour displayed on the clock screen like the 620 and 920 does?
    – On the F2 you could set the backlight to only come on at button presses IF it was after sunset. A pretty useful feature for conserving battery life. Is this present on the Fenix 3?
    – Can you customise the autolap summary screen like on the 620 and 920? I find it really useful to set 1/4 mile autolap and then the 920 shows me Lap number, Lap time, and average cadence or Average HR for the lap.
    – Does the clock have multiple alarms like the Fenix or just a single one like the 920?
    – Can you adjust the brightness of the backlight or is it just a case of on/off?

    Thanks in advance.

    • 1) Profile Color: Yes
      2) Sunset Backlight Auto mode: Getting some clarification
      3) Autolap Customize: Yes
      4) Alarms: Just one
      5) Brightness: Is adjustable in 10% increments

  134. Christoffer J

    According to this article, the Fenix 3 is supposed to have more advanced navigation features. But in the DCR comparison table all the features are the same. That’s not very helpful. What are the navigation feature differences between 920 or 910 and Fenix 3? I’d rather not go read through the Fenix 2 review at this point.

    • Christoffer J

      FWIW, submitting comment through webview in FB-app on iPad Air/iOs 8.1.1 gives an error message in the browser to check the description but the comment is still submitted. Hence my triple post.

    • Victor

      The 920 will only plot your breadcrumb track and the course, if you pre-load one for that workout. The F2, however, supports a full map on top of your current track. In other words, you see your surroundings. The map is of course limited by the screen and storage capacity.

      920 navigation
      link to dcrainmaker.com

      Fenix navigation
      link to dcrainmaker.com

      The basemap on the fenix 2 is very sparse, but you can overwrite it with more detailed versions from OpenStreetMap.

    • Chris

      Keep in mind that the basemap and ability to load other maps is now gone for the F3. I used that quite a bit, even though map pan and zoom was SLOW. Hate to see this removed for the F3.

    • Mike Richie

      Where are you getting that from?

    • It’s correct, it’s not present in the F3.

    • Kenneth Rasmussen

      Then you should look at Garmin Epix instead

  135. MH

    Thanks for the article Ray!

    I suppose a picture of the F3 on a woman’s wrist will come along with the in-depth review?

    BTW I would order from CT if it were in Europe, but shipping cost and duties/taxes, customs processing delays etc make it impractical, unfortunately.

    • Jasper

      Here the same problem as well..
      Ray any chance there is or will be an opportunity that you find a dealer/store for Europe?

    • MattB

      Ray did say he was working on a European version of his CT partnership a couple of months ago but that it was slow going, and there has been no ETA of update beyond that. I’m also trying to hold off buying until I can do so and support the site, but my local tri shop has a good offer on 920xt+HRM for £379 at the moment which is testing my resolution! I’m thinking at least if I crumble I’ll be supporting my local… and Ray will keep getting something at least through whatever random stuff I buy on Amazon!

    • Right now the hope is February…getting close!

    • MattB

      Ooh awesome, I’ll probably be able to hold out that long :). That’ll tie in nicely with my return to running hopefully, and I can make do with my Virb from Black Friday for bike rides until then. Happy days!

    • MH

      That would be just in time! Cool!

    • Jasper

      That’ll be great, then I can give myself a rather exclusive and awesome birthday present, fingers crossed!

    • Bora

      Hey Ray,
      Any update on this before I pre-order my Fenix 3 from a non-DCRainmaker supporting local shop? 🙂

    • No, nothing in the next few weeks. Thanks though for checking!

  136. Josh

    Ray, I’m curious if the vivoactive, F3, or Epix would potentially become your daily running watch or if you will stick with the 920. Initial thoughts please?

    • Undecided. Probably not Epix simply since it’s overkill for daily running. For the rest, TBD!

    • Josh

      And thanks to your handy dandy product comparison tool, I was able to see that the Vivoactive did not produce all of the same detailed running dynamics as the Fenix. That made the decision easy. By the way, it may be time to update the picture on the product comparison tool, ha ha.

  137. Maarten

    Hello Ray,

    Can the F3 also be used for Geocaching as the F2?

    • MH

      I wonder about that too:
      Because if you select criterion “paperless geocaching” on:
      link to buy.garmin.com
      Only F1 and F2(SE) show up in the selection.

      I’m not sure what defines “geocaching” on a Fenix, there is a geocaching mode/profile, but I never figured out how to use it (I put a file with chache locations as waypoints on the USB file system, go walking, and then start navigating to one of those waypoints).

  138. Thomas

    You mentioned autolap but does the watch support autolap by position? I have the fenix 2 and it’s not a feature and I miss it.

  139. Stuart Clarke

    Great review again Ray, any idea of weights especially when compared against Forerunner 220? also is bezel much bigger than forerunner?

  140. Stepan

    Oh my. I recieved the 920xt as Christmas present … .

  141. Josh

    Gray with black band bundle ordered thru CT VIP. Thanks Ray.

  142. paltorp

    This is a nice looking piece, thanks for the preview. I’m a happy F2 owner but will certainly swap to F3 when it’s been through the first couple of updates. I’m curious about backlight function at night. Living in the northern hemisphere, wintertime is quite dark and constant backlight is used in 9 out of 10 training runs.

  143. Thomas

    I wonder if they implemented autolap by position?

  144. snomile

    Thanks for the preview. Could you explain more about the track/route navigation function? If there are no basemap existing, how should we follow the track/route?

    Thanks again!

    • Routes downloaded from Garmin Connect or placed on the device via USB, so breadcrumb style. Additionally, also true of waypoints created on the device.

    • snomile

      so it just like Ambit? an arrow shows the direction? that’s bad 🙁

    • andreas

      nope it’s not just an arrow. you see the given track line you want to follow and you see your actual fine dotted line which both should ideally match while on the run …
      I used this already a lot with the forerunner 305 and it works great with fenix.
      it can get tricky though at junctions where two or more ways diverge into nearly the same direction, that’s where a underlaying map is useful.
      sad to hear that at least the basic map feature available on fenix1/2 is gone on fenix3 🙁

    • snomile

      OK , that should do the trick for me, I rarely met two ways but almost same direction, if that happened, I’ll use map on the phone. Thanks pal !

  145. Maria

    Does connect iq mean that one could hope for an app that would solve the lacking tanita weight scale support?

  146. Tosin

    Ray, just saw you on Fox, good stuff. I’ve always wondered how people on the West Coast are able to deal with wisecracked jokes at 4-5am from the East Coast. I think Rosanna was listening, but I don’t think Greg paid attention. He’s going to still go running hard tomorrow 🙂 Does this mean you are now their goto fitness expert, since you’ve been on there a couple of times?

    Side note, have you gotten a chance to play with the Charge HR and the Surge? I’m still trying to get a “beat” on how well the HR works in terms of all day monitoring for my wife. Hope you get some rest.

    • I’m always happy to help out whenever they have a question – it’s fun. But yes, also rather early. And next time I’ll actually realize that the man waving his hands behind each camera is the correct camera to look into…

      Yup, been using the Surge on every run the last two weeks (the Charge HR a bit less). HR accuracy is mixed, and seems to have a fair number of caveats in more challenging conditions (i.e. sub-freezing weather, certain intervals, etc…). GPS is sorta similar. It works well in middle of the road conditions, but struggles in the forest. All that said, I kinda like it.

  147. Paul Chapman

    Ray I see you’ve said it supports black on a white background – like F2 SE. All the photos I’ve seen are the old Fenix way! So I’m guessing they put an option to switch between the two. Look fwd to your full review, you’re busy!

    • Paul Chapman

      And I have similar q’s to Gary P’s – is the backlight function the same as F2 – i.e. can set how long (I thnk) it’s 1,5, 30 sec, always

    • Yes, the option is within the activity profiles. I’ll post some of my photos in the other way later today.

      And yup, backlight options are the same there.

  148. Brendan

    Amazing looking watch. I recall seeing an early gps watch from garmin and it was a brick on the wrist and took 5 mins (at best) to get a gps connection. Some wonderful technological advances in the last decade or so. Where next i wonder.

  149. Jeremy

    Finally a watch that has some style to be an everyday watch. I’ve been holding out on the 920xt and I’m glad. Order incoming.

  150. Ryan

    That’s a pretty hefty weight penalty on the sapphire. Does anybody have a breakdown of how much of that is the metal band vs the watch body?

    • Gary P

      The webpage states weights of 92g and 70g (or similar) so i assume 92g is the Sapphire model and 70g the other model.
      Given that the only difference is the strap and the Sapphire vs Mineral glass then surely the 22g difference is the strap? The glass can’t make much difference can it?

    • Lew

      Garmin specification for the Fenix3 says “Sapphire with rubber bands” 3.0 oz (85g); Silver/Dark: 2.9oz (82g)”

      So it would seem most of the 22g is indeed the metal band.

      Link: link to buy.garmin.com

  151. Andrew

    I’ve been waiting for Garmin to release their new models to make a choice. I think now it’s the time, however I still have something troubling my mind and I need some experts advice on this. I really want to wear this device while scuba diving. I am completely aware that it’s not intended for this purpose as it gives no software options to choose from and is not a diving computer by any means. Still, I could use its GPS functions while I’m at the surface, so it would be quite useful for me. Its new water rating states no “deep scuba diving” activity should be performed but still has a water resistance to 100m. I also know that waterproof is not really the same as water resistance. So my question is, can I wear Fenix 3 without touching any buttons while underwater up for let’s say 30m – recreational depths? Thanks in advance!

  152. Ted W

    Been reading the comments about the crystal difference in the sapphire. even though I have the F2 bundle, i want to resell the F2 as a bundle, and thus I would like an F3 bundle, but I would prefer to have the sapphire glass. I dont want/need the metal band. I see as a stand alone accessory its $129.99 on the Garmin website. Keep it and give me a HRM 🙂 That being said. I dont have my F2 in front of me, but I believe the bezel is raised above the glass, and that the glass is quite flat. The raised bezel protest the glass from most impact but direct hits. Is the F3 glass flat or curved? I wonder if a modified (e.g. cut up) smart phone protector would “hold” on the F2. The semi-rigid smart phone tempered glass protectors done show oil, smudges, they are great. if one could be fit to the F3, it might be a great workaround solution. Anyone try something like this with other Garmin watches?

    • Lew

      Zagg makes screen protectors in various generic round sizes. I believe folks used the 36mm version on the Fenix2, but best to double check the size on the actual Fenix3. Zagg link: link to zagg.com

    • Ted W

      Lew. Most excellent. I took me a bit of searching on zagg. but they have generic sizes from 30mm on up to 45mm. According to Garmin F3 size the screen is 1.2” (30.4 mm) so i would think that for $9.99 this bad boy might just work to avoid the common scratches. And for $9.99 is cheap enough to just give a try. if it affect clarity, hard to tell. link to zagg.com

    • Lew

      Careful on sizing… I’d recommend you not order based on display size. Garmin listed my 610 as a 1.0″ (25.4mm) display but it needed a 39mm round protector to cover the entire face.

    • Ted W

      Excellent. but its awesome to know the option is out there. I can safety move off the desire for a sapphire since the harder crystal (for scratch protection) was the only reason I wanted it.

    • JimG

      I know the F2 is a 36mm, so I can’t see the F3 face being much smaller than that. Certainly not 30mm.

  153. Sebastian

    Love it, I was going to pull the trigger on 920xt but will wait for Epix!

  154. Patrick Groulx

    Hi Ray! I have bought a F2 this past summer, great watch! Just wanted to know if there are any plans in the future that you know of for music storage and playing capabilties via bluetooth such as the new timex global trainer or are they going to stick with connect iq apps for that? One thing I find with my F2 in bluetooth mode is that it drains my watch battery really fast on standby for notificationsof texts so i don’t use it. Any improvements on this with the F3? Might we have to wait for the F4 for music storage/playing capabilities?

    Thank you for all your work, your the go to guy for alot of us who want to find info on new products.
    Keep up the great work!

    • Ryan

      The F3 still has a measly storage capacity of about 32MB like the F2, so unless you only want to listen to one song…

      The Epix has 8GB, so in theory it could be possible there, but Garmin would have to support A2DP, which seems unlikely.

  155. Gabriel Eguia


    Would you commenting on the screen readability between the 920xt and the fenix 3? One stronger than the other?

  156. Raynald

    Hi Ray, me again 🙂

    1 – You have the choice between FR620 and Fenix 3. What would you go with?
    2 – What is the comparable model number on the Suunto side?
    3 – Garmin Connect or Movescount?

    Thanks 🙂

  157. Dennis

    Thanks for all your great work.

    Why doesn’t Garmin understand the importance of enabling it’s watches to read heart rate in the water while swimming? I don’t understand their thinking.

    Ray, perhaps you should reassess your “designed for Swimming” category. My suggestion: if it could read HR, it should be in an additional new category such as “Heartmaker swim design” or ???

    • Victor

      It’s not a matter of Garmin purposely capping HR recording while swimming.

      HR can’t be recorded during swimming because under the ANT+ (and Bluetooth) protocol signals are transmitted at 2.4 GHz, which are too efficiently absorbed by water.

      Ray tested wearing the Mio Link ANT+ Optical HR wristband next to a 920xt a few months ago and, while there was some signal breakdowns, .

      Suunto and Wahoo’s workaround consists on buffering the HR data in the strap until it can be transmitted to the watch or phone once out of the water.

    • Victor Hooi

      I think what the OP (Dennis) is referring to is the ability to capture HR data in swimming modes. And Garmin *is* intentionally blocking this.

      On the 920XT, in Open Water mode, you can actually capture HR data whilst swimming using something like the Mio watches (Optical sensor). This is what Ray tested.

      However, in Pool Swimming mode, it doesn’t allow you to capture HR data. This is obviously intentional.

      Whether the relaxing of that restriction in Open Water mode is a mistake on Garmin’s part, or intentionally, I don’t know. However, it would be nice if Garmin just opened it up, so you could capture HR data if you wanted to (and had a compatible Optical HR sensor device).

    • Victor

      Oh, true, forgot about the pool mode distinction. You guys are right, it would indeed be nice if they developed their own sensor or left the door open for customer to use their sensor of choice.

  158. Srinivas

    I know 6 week battery life is with GPS turned off. Does that mean it has 6 week battery life is with bluetooth and notifications turned ON?

    Ray could you please confirm. Thanks in advance.

    • Jasper

      the garmin site says “6 week battery life in smart watch mode”… So I guess it is with notifications (and therefore off course bluetooth) ON…

      I also think it is “up to” 6 weeks, rather then 6 weeks… for example if you let just one notification to give an alert (just only message, not sound or vibration) that you will only receive couple of times a day, you may get 6 weeks… If you let all notifications (phone calls, text, emails, etc…) with sound and vibration your battery will drain quicker..

    • Srinivas

      Thanks for the reply.
      From Garmin’s website, “Up to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode; up to 20 hours in GPS training mode; up to 6 weeks in watch mode”

      Not – “6 weeks in smart watch mode”

      Further in overview tab, I see this:
      *”fēnix 3 is water rated 100 meters and has a battery life of up to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode, 16 hours in GPS mode and up to 3 months in watch mode (all depending on settings).” *

    • Jasper

      you probably wont read this any more, but the website explicitly states:

      Smart Syncing, smart data.

      Get smart notifications and sync your calendar.
      Remote Control your VIRB Elite action camera.
      Compatible with ANT, HRM-Run, Foot Pad.
      6 week battery life in smart watch mode.

      at the bottom of the website: link to fenix3.garmin.com
      right above the comparison of the Fenix’s watches..

  159. Joe

    Can we define HR separately for running and cycling?

  160. Howard

    I am using the Forerunner 610 and was going to upgrade to the 620 but the Fenix 3 is interesting. Other then the touch screen am I giving up anything with the Fenix 3 over the Forerunner 610. I also like the multiple screens when running are these available on the Fenix 3?

    • Lew

      Have a look at the comparison tool here on DCR and also on Garmin’s site: link to buy.garmin.com

      At present I’m pretty sure you’ll lose the ability to set the footpod as speed source; Garmin seems to have dropped that capability.
      Interestingly the Garmin comparison shows a few gaps such as AutoLap and AutoScroll, though I question the data given Ray’s comments about the feature set overlap with the 920xt.

      BTW also check the sizes. You’ll be adding nearly 2mm in thickness and 10g weight coming from a 610.

  161. Jakub

    Hi Ray,
    Thanks a lot for a preview. Fenix 3 appears to have less memory than Fenix 2. How does that affect ability to install Connect IQ apps and still have enough space for training data? Also, what is a typical size of the app in kB?

  162. amadeus303

    If my research is reliable, while the sapphire face may be more scratch resistant, the normal mineral glass face is most likely more impact resistant…so I believe the sapphire face is more of a preference versus an “upgrade”. Are there any other cosmetic differences between the normal gray watch and the sapphire version aside from the red accents on the gray watch? Ray (or maybe Fenix 2 owners) – do you guys think the normal gray is low key enough to pull off with the occasional suit? I’m trying to rationalize whether a metal band is worth $100 upfront, or $130 after purchase for the 1-2 days I have to dress up in business professional attire for executive meetings. Cost is not a limiting factor, but I don’t care to spend money that frivolously.

    I know there’s irony in that last sentence…

  163. Looks great! Is the case made out of the same resin used in the previous models? Looks like only the bezel is Steel in the three models.

  164. Pyronick

    I am thrilled but somehow also disappointed. Not with the feature set, pricing or esthetics (except for the asymmetrical Ambit front layout), but rather the fact that the beautiful Ambit frame looks better than the Epix with the more interesting feature set…

  165. Benjamin Winter

    I have the Fenix2 and I hate the tiny text alerts (HR too high/etc) so much I am getting rid of it. Does the Fenix3 or Connect IQ support larger alerts that can actually be read while running?

  166. Mariano Kamp

    Great article.

    Wondering if with the new activity profiles I now can finally use both my foot pods that are installed on two pairs of running shoes?
    So far only one foot pod could be paired at a time.

  167. Chris

    Bonjour Ray,

    est-ce que le bracelet de la “Saphire” sert bien au poignet quand on court ?
    Est-il réglable facilement et rapidement pour pouvoir le serrer ou desserrer pendant une course de trail par exemple ?
    Est-ce qu’on peut régler la valeur de l’altitude manuellement ?


  168. Luca

    Great watch! How about the display? It is like the Fenix2 or it is easy to read? I have just bought the new XT920, but this new Fenix is the watch I was looking for.

    Thank you.

  169. Ben

    Hi there Ray,

    Thanks for the article, l look forward to reading more extensive review soon.

    Quick question which probably falls within the waterproofing category, just wondering how this watch would hold up with getting dirt / mud on it? Reason i ask is that i do allot of obstacle courses like tough mudder ect and be good to have something that recorded my output during these events.

    Thank in advance

    • koenig

      I’m rather interested in this as well; I’m shopping for a multisport watch that can withstand a fair bit of abuse. The sapphire glass should do the trick but I am a wee bit worried about the buttons and grit getting into places where it should not. Any insights on this are most welcome.

  170. JSN

    I’ve seen multiple comments about the F3 no longer having a basemap. On the other hand I see indication on garmin’s site and comments here that it still will do breadcrumb track as well as show a route so is there still a ‘map’ page of some sort to show those as well as waypoints? If so Ray would it be possible to get a photo of this page with a simple route or track and a few waypoints shown?
    Thank you for all the great information.

    • It no longer has a basemap, but honestly that basemap was useless. It showed you the state lines…that’s it (unless you loaded a custom one which was kinda messy).

      Breadcrumb trail is still there though. I’ll get and/or dig up a photo and add it. Just a bit slammed right now with CES.

    • likepend1

      how the track is pictured:
      link to pocketnavigation.de
      i gues the breadcrump page will look the same!

      There is one significant difference: If you navigate to a waypoint (track) you always had (on F2) this arrow(s) on the bezel (on all screens). This is now gone. You have one single navigation screen … link to pocketnavigation.de
      (remember the photo is from a prototype … so i still hope they will change this in the final version / future updates)

  171. MattB

    A couple of technical things spring to mind.. I see from Garmin’s press release bit that the EXO antenna is made of steel, I might be reading too much in to the name, but does that mean the steel bezel is actually the antenna? Or is this the same new antenna in the 920xt? It will be interesting to see what the GPS tracks are like on release firmware.

    The other question I had was related to your reply further up regarding the Connect IQ watch OS (I realise this may be pre-empting your CIQ article somewhat, don’t want to steal your thunder from that!). Given they are moving to all new products supporting this app-based OS, does this mean that new firmware updates such as improved GPS tracking or added sport modes will be hardware agnostic? And is the new firmware essentially a bunch of preloaded apps? If so that’s a really cool idea to streamline their programming efforts!

    • Jasper

      I thought I read here that the antenna was the same as 920? correct me if I’m wrong… If this is true, then it’s hard to believe that the antenna is the bezel itself … But again, maybe I’m wrong.

    • MattB

      Just found this in the public blurb… Previously I had read only the press release blurb!

      “Principal among its design innovations, fēnix® 3 is equipped with our first-ever EXO antenna, a powerful satellite receiver fully integrated into the protective stainless steel bezel on top of the watch. EXO works as a powerful ring antenna for both GPS and GLONASS signals.”

      Should be interesting to see how this compares to the 920xt… Though for all we know, there could be a steel square ‘ring’ hidden under the 920’s plastic bezel.

    • Jasper

      Yeah, I also read it (yesterday late evening, forgot to edit it 😉 ).. Indeed how will tis compare to the 920xt?
      On that thought, I can’t find that the 920xt also has an EXO antenna…? Try to search it: ‘920xt gps antenna’ or ‘920xt EXO gps antenna’ … no real cross-reference between EXO and 920xt…?

    • Björn

      Here is the antenna solution (presumably)!
      link to worldwide.espacenet.com

  172. Raynald

    Guys this is a quick survey 🙂

    Which one would you go for?

    1) Gray and black
    2) Silver and red
    3) Saphire edition

    • Raymond B

      I am thinking I would just do the Sapphire if the glass is really nicer. Otherwise I definitely like the Gray and Black as it has the cool red points around the bezel and the red ring around the start button. Subtle but cool. I don’t care for the Red Banded one… it gets back to why I don’t wear the 920xt daily. The watch needs to be more refined and less sporty for me to wear it outside of running/sport etc.

    • Jorge

      I agree 100%. Gray and black with the red ring start button, it’s my favorite: refined and sporty at the same time.

  173. Jesus Climent

    Can you post a picture comparing the sizes of the 920xt and the Fenix3?

    I recently purchased the 920xt and now I am all jealous of the Fenix… 🙁

  174. Raymond B

    Wow… this all really makes me take pause. I really like the 920xt, but I am still in my 60 day return window. The few details that have me on the fence are:
    The fenix3 is much more acceptable as a day to day wear, whereas I won’t wear the 920 outside of running etc. I like the idea of activity tracking… but again… the 920 just does not suit me to wearing outside sport.
    How much screen area is lost with the Fenix and the round display vs. the 920’s square display? This is a big issue, I would hate to give up to much, although I dealt with my old 610 just fine.
    Lastly I really like tracking the Temp of my runs, training sessions. Yes I know GC puts the weather for the area in, but the ability to put a Tempe on my other foot is appealing. Can’t do that with the 920xt.
    Oh and last question… if money is not a factor, would you guys just do the Sapphire version for the better glass? I would probably immediately put on the rubber strap. But I kind of like the red highlights around the bezel and start button on the non Sapphire (not the one with the red band).

    • amadeus303

      If my research is reliable, while the sapphire face may be more scratch resistant, the normal mineral glass face is most likely more impact resistant…so I believe the sapphire face is more of a preference versus an “upgrade”.

    • amadeus303

      While the sapphire face may be more scratch resistant, the normal mineral glass face is most likely more impact resistant…so I believe the sapphire face is more of a preference versus an “upgrade”.

    • amadeus303

      The sapphire face may be more scratch resistant, but the mineral glass face is most likely more impact resistant. I MO, the sapphire face is more of a preference versus an “upgrade”.

    • Sean Lally

      Yeah, I’ll go with the sapphire as all my ‘regular’ watches use it and their faces don’t get scratched up. For some reason it doesn’t take me very long at all to scratch a non-sapphire watch. Fenix 1, Fenix2, Suunto Core all scratched up…

  175. Paul Chapman

    There seems to be a bit of confusion on autoscroll – I’m referring to the data pages not the summary splits file. Garmin website says no (and no auto lap, surprising) – an error on Garmin’s part? Ray says yes. Full review may reveal. Kenneth Rasmussen had same question.
    Is this the ultimate watch?!
    Ray in your review could you please see if you can charge it while in a session and not have the timer reset? Garmin site says you can, that’s why lots of people follow this site.

    • Their website is wrong, both options are present.

      And yes, it supports charging while in activity.

    • rabbit

      Pockentnavigation.de wrote in their short f3 test, that charging during an activity was not possible and the f3 went to pc mode.

    • That’s because they used a laptop. 😉 This is the same as previous Garmin devices.

      I tried in myself yesterday (again) and it continues to record just fine.

    • rabbit

      Thanks for checking again. They used a battery pack outside- may be because they used a prototyp and/or it was a fw thing. But glad to hear that it works.

  176. Hoffiz

    Also glad I did not pull the trigger on the 920xt and also looking forward to your in depth review. Thanks for this awesome Blog. I see that you usually provide links to Amazon. For which I’m guessing you have some sort of agreement. It will be nice if you can also include REI.

  177. kien

    Ray, u mentioned F3 can display 4 fields like 920xt. Can you show a screen of how that looks? Is it top down or in 4 quadrants like 920xt?

  178. Hi Ray

    Does the Fenix 3 record temperature with a built in sensor? The 920xt doesn’t of course, but the Fenix 2 did.

    Also any info on the GPS chip used in the Fenix 3? Is it the same as the 920xt which appears superior to the Fenix 2?



    • Ted W

      Can’t comment on the GPS chipset. but the question about the temperature sensor was answered in the comments above, and its generally available within the Garmin site discussing the F3. Search and you’ll find what you are looking for. or just accept a “yes” for the temperature part of the question.

    • Thanks Ted – I searched for “temperature” rather than “temp” on this page lol!

  179. graziano

    As it seems Fenix 2 was not a success if the Fenix 3 is already out :-O !.
    I hope it will cause a considerable decrease of price for Fenix 2 . In the meantime I continue to use
    my Garmin 310XT :))

    BTW great news thanks DC . What do you recommend for trail running (80%) and marathon running (20%) Fenix 2, Fenix 3 multisport or EPIX ?

  180. Nitram

    Does anybody know if some of these new watches supports segments? Thanks for info.

  181. Ted W

    So I signed up for VIP program, how long for the email to come? 30 mins has come an gone without anything, the website still lists as “processing”

    • Raynald

      What is the link where you can enrol as a VIP? And what are the benefits? thanks

    • Victor

      My “welcome to CT” and “here’s your discount code” emails were about 25 minutes apart. If it did not arrive yet, try contacting them at vipsupport@clevertraining.com or 844-399-6440

      Interestingly enough, the VIP membership order still shows as “processing” in my order history page.

    • Victor

      Here’s the link to join the program.
      link to clevertraining.com

      Buy the VIP membership first, don’t worry about the Feburary delivery time. Less than an hour later you’ll receive an email with a description of the benefits and your personal 10% discount code, which you can then use when you pre-order the watch.

    • Raynald


  182. Puffolino

    After trying to catch all information, I would say, the third version of the Fenix is nearly perfect.
    Just two things I would like to see – but there’s no real chance to get these features:

    1) some kind of map information, like viewing multiple routes (saved tracks or just point to point connections) in different colors

    2) additional data screens (who remembers the virtual partner screen from the old forerunner series? It had a distance indicator) and more information in the existing data fields (why not adding “m/s”, “°F”, “m” etc. to the displayed values in the data fields?)

  183. No info about the screen resolution ? It was quite poor on the Fenix 2, it seems much better on this one, right?

    • Jasper

      yes there is info about the screen res, i thought I saw it mentioned a few times ago and can also be found on the garmin website.

    • Scott

      From Garmins site:
      218 x 218 pixels; transflective MIP color

    • Jim Pike

      For comparison the 920XT is listed as 205 x 148 pixels

    • Lew

      As mentioned, this info is and has been at Garmin’s website for anyone to look up.

      Fenix3 display is 1.2″ (30.4mm) circular, 218×218 pixels, Effectively ~182 pixels per inch.
      Fenix2 display is 1.2″ (30.4mm) circular, 70×70 pixels. Effectively 58 pixels per inch.

      Put another way, the Fenix3 screen essentially has 9 pixels (3×3) in the space of each single Fenix2 pixel.

      By comparison the 920xt screen is 205×148 pixels on a 1.1″ x 0.8″ (29x21mm) display, giving a resolution of about 185 pixels per inch.

  184. Just a comment re Garmin’s compare feature on their web site – seems to be full of errors (Stating no power meter support, or auto-scroll for Fenix 3 for example) – better to go by Ray’s list above.

    e.g.: link to buy.garmin.com

    Nothing new of course – they had similar errors in other charts. Ray – you should license them your compare tool!!!

  185. Skenman

    Do the extra half-second markings on the sapphire model serve any purpose?

    • Bernie

      thats a WatchFace, there are numerous available, there is even an API for writing your own watch face via ConnectIQ, it’s pure software, not depending on the model…

  186. Bob B

    Completely disagree with the negative 920xt comments. I think the watch is gorgeous and love to wear it as an everyday watch in addition to sport activities. And it’s thinner and lighter than the new Fenix – for me these are important attributes that many are over looking. Can’t wait to use the 920 tomorrow in the first leg of the Dopey Challenge. 🙂

  187. Dave Caracciolo

    Will the new Fenix 3 be able to pair and store more than one heartrate strap (HRM, Scosche, etc.) like the 920?


  188. Joachim

    I like the look of the F3 but in my experience weight and thickness will define the wrist comfort.
    Therefore I still prefer the 920XT.

  189. Bernie

    Are you sure there is no Map support?
    Fenix 1 and Fenix 2 could handle OpenStreetMap maps installed via MapManage/MapInstall without a problem.
    If the Fenix 3 could not handle those maps it would be a deal breaker as I use them heavily when hiking!

    I could provide a small map file and a track within that area for testing…


    • Bernie

      heck, there was even a BaseMap installed on F1 and F2 which got updated via Garmin Express regularly… it would be such a disappointment if F3 was not able to handle maps…

    • Patrick

      I think it’s a clear no-go on the basemap as you can see in this video: link to youtube.com
      Despite it being a prototype in the video, they firmly state no map at release. They find the lack of the map disappointing and hope it would be released in the future but that’s a big maybe, especially considering the limited storage space on this watch.

      All in all not a big surprise since maps is the big selling point for the new Epix watch.

    • Bernie

      Hi Patrick,

      I watched the video and was more-or-less shocked by the white background, but maybe they didn’t zoom out, the basemap has only country borders.
      Sure there is not much space but I was able to get half of Austria on my Fenix 1 and Fenix 2, which is sufficient for hiking as I won’t cover hundreds of km in one hike.

      I see that there needs to be a distinction to the epic, but surely, 26MB vs 8GB and the possibility to render full maps instead of very coarse OpenStreetMap maps should be enough to justify those 50Eur/USD

      sadly Watch-wise the Epix is ugly 🙁


    • Patrick

      Well it’s the same white background you get on the 920xt on the plus side at least you get the ability to zoom on the Fenix. I agree with the design of the Epix, it’s very ugly and lacking wifi is also a turn off. But other than that it’s a sweet watch feature wise.

  190. Ted W

    Just pre-ordered my Grey bundle with CT VIP. Thanks Ray!

  191. Michael

    And what about battery replacement? (like suunto ambit) with F1 after 1,5 year battery capacity is …..

  192. Joseph macentee

    Thanks for your great site…
    Sold my FR620 and just got the FR920XT… I liked the size of my FR620, but I wanted to swim watch too… Looking at the Fenix 3 vs FR920XT for size and wearability… Which one?

    • Gabriel Eguia

      Joseph – having owned the fenix 2 – it’s no lightweight compared to the 920xt and certainly the FR620. The fenix 3 is slightly thinner i believe but still thicker.

      Wearability wise the 920xt is far more comfortable than the fenix 2.

      Looks wise it’s disgusting compared to the fenix 3. i wonder at what garmin meeting they decided to vote for a puke blue color over just black or grey.

      I’m awaiting confirmation from Ray – which i believe he will confirm – the 920xt provides a better user experience during training than does the fenix 3 due to the square screen providing larger text.

      even though the fenix 3 has higher res – it still will be smaller text. this is even shown in the video above.

      so all the naysayers to the 920xt may want to reconsider. yes the 920xt is fugly but is that enough to compromise the usability of your watch?

      myself im in the middle now. i can wear the fenix 3 anywhere as i did with the fenix 2 albeit bulky.

    • Lew

      Joseph: Specs are on buy.garmin.com Fenix3 is bigger and heavier than 920xt. Whether that matters is a personal thing you’ll probably need to answer for yourself. Go see a Fenix2 in person, Fenix3 is 1mm thinner but otherwise of similar size.

    • Square vs round is probably personal. I haven’t found it to be any tangible difference between the two in terms of visibility during workouts.

  193. Andrée

    How much difference does the EXO antenna do? I like the idea of a bigger antenna, but does it make a difference?

    And what about GLONASS support, will that make a difference for me if I live in northern Europe?

    You’ve talked a lot about software development for these wearables, do you think Garmin will listen and put more resources into their software development? I think the question is important now when even more features come into play.


    • Niklas

      Yes! GLONASS would be a big benefit in northern europe, specially in harsh enviroment like forest. About twice as many satelites as with NAVSTAR-GPS only. Besides, GLONASS satelites turn at about 64°N, while NAVSTAR-GPS turn already at 55°N.

  194. Dean

    Already ordered the Saphire F3. Not currently a F2 User.
    I would like to start reading/learning how the F3 works, but can’t find a Manual for it. Do you happen to have an early version of a “manual” for the F3 that you can make available?

  195. Martin

    Does the Fenix 3 allow you to switch in and out of navigation mode when you’re recording another activity in the background? This is important for activities like trail-running or ski-mountaineering where you want to monitor your progress but you also want to know the distance or vertical ascent to the next waypoint.

    In its original release the Fenix 2 didn’t allow this – activity recording and navigation were mutually exclusive. Garmin patched this in later releases but they never got all the bugs out. There’s now supposed to be a “Stop Nav” function that allows you to switch back to activity tracking after you’ve started navigating but to this day it’s hit or miss whether it actually works.

  196. Jose

    Basically looks like a really expensive SUUNTO Ambit 2. It doesn’t make sense to me to go out and get a horribly expensive item that wil generate tons of data that you will never use when you can get an Ambit 2 or 3 that essentially looks the same and is half as expensive. If I ever get this it will be 2 years from now when all the “pride” has devalued and I can get it for half the price – new. Until then I will stick to my Ambit. SUUNTO hardware is also much better quality than Garmin. Buying at product launch in this market segment is just silly.

    • Olu

      Jose you nailed it on the head. For YOU it makes no sense, but for many others Suunto Ambit is lacking in many other ways (and yes I own a Suunto Ambit 2S).

      Try this with your Suunto.
      Swim workout
      Swim 4000 yards at 1:22 seconds/100 yards.
      Watch should vibrate at every 41 seconds to keep you on pace
      Watch should vibrate and alert you every 500 yards to keep track of how far you’ve gone.
      That’s a pretty typical aerobic swim workout for me. Impossible with the Suunto.

      BTW, how’s Movescount working for you?

    • Jose

      Agree, vibration would be very nice and that is definitely a value added feature. Movescount works just fine with the exception of the very aggravating outtage over the holidays. I also would like better linkage to Strava for indoor activities. However, these things are not worth an additional $250. At least to me. I race Olympic to Ironman and put in about 8 hrs/week in the offseason and 12-15/week in the season and I find the amount of data and functionality more than sufficient, for me. Like I said, I can wait a year or two from product launch and get a bug free watch that is much less expensive. Waiting to buy makes a ton of sense unless you are a pro or have tons of discretionary income.

    • David

      It is really silly buying a garmin gps at launch, this company usually sells beta products. The manual says the watch does this or that, but reality is different, many functions do not work properly. Before solving the problems of a model, they launch the next one.

    • David

      I have a 920xt. I have yet to find anything described in the manual that it does not do.

    • Olu

      I agree that Garmin products can be hit or miss at launch. I didn’t have much success with the fēnix 2. I waited on the Edge 1000 until most of the bugs were ironed out. However FR610 and the 910xt was solid out of the box.

      The 920xt has been nothing but outstanding for me (after some wi-fi teething issues). Since then no issues with wi-fi, bluetooth, or any of my ANT+ devices. GPS has always been good and with the last GPS update better then any watch I’ve owned (including the previous champion the Ambit 2S). Bluetooth notifications (which I thought I’d never use) are much cooler then I thought.

      If the fēnix3 is using the same software code as the 920xt it could be a slam dunk.

    • Olu

      @Jose: That’s exactly what I’m talking about. 5 days with no way to change watch settings or get data off of the device would drive me crazy, especially if I was deep into training. At least with the Garmin, I could take the activities off the watch and change settings if GC went down.

      A few other things, compare retail to retail prices (as deals can be had on all devices), the comparable Ambit is not ½ the price of the fēnix3. I’ve done a couple of Ironman races as well and at 10-11 hours I don’t think the low end Ambit would last me the entire race. I also couldn’t imagine doing an Ironman without time alerts for nutrition or power warning alerts that I use.

      For me, paying a few hundred dollars extra (for a race that costs $700+ to compete and a lot more in time and money to train for) is worth it. But that’s just my opinion.

    • Scott

      I;ve got an Ambit 2 and I’m considering this, for the fact of vibration alert….

      Suunto dropped the ball realising the Ambit 3 and no vibration.
      The ability to make changes directly on the F3 is great, and the reliance of needing an internet connection to get data off the for the Ambit is hard when the site goes down or your are out and about with no access to a computer for a few weeks…

      I think this Garmin looks great, higher screen resolution than the Amibit and added bonus of using standard watch bands…

      Looking at this as my next upgrade.

    • Gabriel Eguia

      Olu – how do you set up place alerts on your garmin 920xt?

      you are a quick swimmer!

    • Olu

      @Gabriel: Thanks. I was a couple of decades ago I was a collegiate swimmer. For swimming I determine the pace and set the alarm to beep every 50 yards or 100 yards to keep that pace.

      I don’t use pace alerts for running anymore so haven’t set them up on the 920xt. When I did use them (on the 910xt), I would always use a custom workout and use a lap pace alert for the interval. To set them up on the 920xt go to Run > Activity Settings > Alerts > Add New > Pace then configure Fast Alert and Slow Alert. I’m not sure what pace it’s using, instant pace, lap pace, or overall pace. Try it out. It shouldn’t be too hard to see which measure it’s using.

    • Marios

      This is indeed the sad truth about Garmin 🙁 That said, I still want to give F3 a try. It’s very appealing at least on paper …

  197. Martin V

    You can’t fault Garmin with releasing the new Fenix now. Even though the Apple watch is a very different product, I’m sure that Garmin anticipates some market share loss upon it’s release.

  198. Rafael

    Thank for the preview, Ray.
    Can you say how much thicker is the F3 in comparison to the 920XT and the Polar V800?
    I guess that the F3 is not a typical triathlon watch like the 920XT or the V800 and using it during any triathlon competition will be problematic.

  199. mtnbkrrick

    How is the metal band when doing activities? Comfortable enough?

  200. Devon Q

    Although I’m only a runner at this point and have no real use for fēnix 3’s multi-sport mode, I’m still gravitated toward its feature set and aesthetics. I think Garmin really put some thought behind this one for both on and off the grind. However, as mentioned my ideal wearable would be more in the Forerunner line. When do you anticipate updates to watches like the F220/620?

    • Olu

      If running was my only discipline, I think I’d be really be tempted by the Vivoactive. Even as a triathlete I find this to be a tempting gadget.

    • Devon

      Hey Olu,

      The vívoactive looks like a nice addition by Garmin. I’ve tried to get jazzed about the specs and features, but I just can’t get down with the square design or the touch-screen aspect of the peice. Something about me wants to push down on tactile buttons when using an athletic watch. Also, I’m not completely sold that I need smart notifications, although I’m sure I’d use it more than expected as others have noted. Who knows, maybe I’ll be more impressed in person…

  201. mg

    where is the temp sensor placed within the watch/how is it not influenced significantly by the wearer’s body temp?

    • Gabriel Eguia

      it does – at least on the fenix 2 it did compared to actual ambient temperatures. – hence why i think the temp sensor is often quite inaccurate.

      I suggest getting the tempe sensor if you want more accurate temperature readings.

  202. tiramisu

    A shared codebase between the 3 devices will hopefully help what has historically been lack lustre software development. ConnectIQ opens up an API so that’s nice, depending how responsive the virtual machine that monkeyC runs on is. Non native applications may or may not be an issue in the early days of this game.

    Garmin has generally done well by us on the hardware side but been slow to respond to bugs and feature improvements on their devices. Treating these little $500 computers like disposable plates has been a good business model till now but at some point we will simply give up and run all our monitors from our android phones with open source software if Garmin/Polar/Suunto don’t step up.

    Bluetooth Audio Drivers, 128 gb micro sims, bluetooth connectable monitors, software/roms that work, rom upgrades. If they want to stay relevant they need to perform as well as my phone and maintain their advantage in fitness monitoring solutions.

    • Jasper

      You have some good arguments, but I think that a triathlete (myself not being one) caring a phone during a competition (swimming, biking, running) is not that convenient at all? (Olu, Jose, etc.. correct me if I’m wrong)
      A watch on the other hand, you put on, and that’s it.. A phone you need to carry in some sort of case/ strap around your arm (do that while swimming?) and how do you quickly look how your progress is (is vibrating enough to get the right info?)

    • Adam

      Not to mention that carrying a phone is prohibited in many races.

    • Olu

      I agree with you Jasper. Phones are not allowed in most races and far from a necessity to train well. I feel the phone is currently a crutch for all smart watches and in a couple of generations the smart watches will no longer need them. I think Garmin is approaching this the right way by building on what they are already very good at: servicing athletes from casual to professional. Adding too many features too fast and you run into the problem that Apple is now facing. I love my Apple products, but as a long time Apple user, I can tell you that as they’ve add more features to their devices, the ease of use has decreased and the number of bugs has increased.

    • Jose

      +1 to everything Olu said. At some point the smartwatches will not need the phone. Full on Dick Tracy watches are coming!

  203. Jasper

    So for the people asking about maps…

    link to youtube.com

    no it doesn’t mean fenix 3 will get maps, but turn by turn navigation..? (so maybo they do get sort of maps…)

  204. Josh

    Ray, as many others regularly comment, you do us all a great service with your work. I bought the 620 on your recommendation and eventually sold it via ebay once I had actual hands on experience with the 920 which I viewed in Kona and had hands on experience with once back home. The 920 GPS and other features have been hands down the best of the best I’ve experienced.

    So many comments above of differing opinions, but when it comes down to it your opinion is the most influential for many of us. In your 920 review you alluded to the fact this could quite possibly become your daily running watch vs the 620, and it’s clear to most of us why. Now, can the F3 trump the 920 in this respect or would keeping both on hand be a silly decision? In this case the financial aspect should not be a factor, so before I return my 920 and go watch-less for a month or so while waiting for a February (anything more specific here??) delivery of my F3, do I keep two $500 watches or can you give more description to us as far as your comfort level while running in more detail? If you felt the F3 was just as comfy as the 920 it would be easy to return the 920. Thank you again, thank you and thank you.

  205. Philip Wilhelmsson


    Since vivoactive will have an golf app, do you think the Fenix3 will have the same possibilites through the connect IQ? That would be really cool

    Thank you

    • Adam

      Yes, I’d be interested in this.

      Garmin’s support of their golf line seems to be very much on the back-burner at the moment. I’d love to see good support on the F3 and Garmin Connect.

  206. Zigi

    It’s sort of funny to see how desperately people were trying to own 920, but now they put the same effort to get rid of it and get F3… My strategy here will be – wait till F3 (and all 920 returns) will melt price of 920, buy it, and then wait till optical HR comes in the picture 🙂

    • phensel

      DITO, I think this is the best strategy ! I just bought a new Ambit2 HR for 200 € and I will wait until Fenix3 will be sold for the same price in about 1-2 years.

    • johand.

      phensel, were did you bye a new Ambit2 HR for 200 €???

  207. Thomas

    I´m trying to understand if the has manual altitude. Reed some of the post in the thread but I can´t find any answer. I think that Fenix 1 got it but not Fenix 2.

    • Patrick

      I’m wondering the same. I returned my 920xt today because I was not happy at all with how it performed with the altitude. Took over an hour to get to the correct altitude and no manual calibration killed it for me. For the rest the watch was great, but if I pony up €450 I expect all the function to work and not to be a beta-tester-keep-users-in-the-dark-on-upgrades. I didn’t want to mess around with beta software so now I’m going to wait for the Fenix 3. Hopefully Ray will give some insight on wether or not altitude can be manually calibrated.

  208. Marco Mariotti

    Hi DC,
    i’m a triathlete like you and i’m going to buy one gps sportwatch between the FR920XT and the Fenix 3.
    Can you help with the choice? Which do you think is better for our sport? Thanks a lot for the answer!

    • Gabriel Eguia

      marco – if you don’t have a bike computer and you want to use the quick release function – i’d lean with the 920xt. it also has bigger text.

      if you don’t mind some extra weight but no quick release function – also looks better – get the fenix 3.
      it’s smaller text.

  209. Mathias

    Hi Ray,

    I was wondering if it’s possible to use the wirstwatch bike mount together with the metal option? It looks like you could not open the band completly to fix it around the handle bar.


    • David

      I wondered that exact same thing, Matthias. Looks like you’d have to switch to one of the rubber bands to use it with the bike mount (the sapphire model seems to come with a rubber band in addition to the metal band).

    • Mike

      It would be great if anyone could confirm that. Metal belt looks great, but would be great to have also rubber option…

      Thanks in advance,

  210. Andrée

    Can someone please explain to me why the 920XT has 40 hours in Ultratrack mode and Fenix 3 has 50 hours BUT at training mode (without GLONASS) Fenix 3 push 20 hours while 920t push 24?

    • Andrée

      Garmin also states in the specs on their website that the Fenix 3 has 6 weeks battery life in watch mode, BUT in the overview its says “3 months in watch mode (all depending on settings)” it would be very interesting to know the different specifications for different settings, at least the major ones like notifications and such.

    • Jasper

      *correction!* they say it has 6 weeks of battery life in smart watch mode…

    • Jasper

      *correction!* they say it has 6 weeks of battery life in smart watch mode… link to garmin.com almost all the way on the bottom …
      The 3 months would be just watch mode (no sensors, bluetooth or what so ever, imo)

    • Andrée

      Thanks for the quick info Jasper. 6 weeks in smart watch mode is excellent. Now I just want to know why its a difference in regular training mode with GPS. Please let me know if you find this answer somewhere.

    • Jasper

      Np, always glad to help (if I’m right 😉 )

      That … is a good question :p, don’t have an answer (yet?, but don’t think it will show up quite soon.. I think this one is for Ray, a user of both watches and connections with Garmin)

  211. Hey Ray,

    Fantastic review as always, looking forward to the full one. I noticed on the Garmin site there is a difference in some of the functions between the fenix 3 & the fenix 3 Sapphire. It would appear, according to Garmin the fenix 3 gets “Outdoor Features” while the fenix 3 Sapphire gets “Golfing Features”.

    Seems strange to me why they wouldn’t offer both features on each watch?

    “Golfing Features”
    SwingTempo (measures backswing and downswing times as a ratio)
    TempoTraining (audible tones convey ideal 3:1 backswing to downswing ratio)
    SwingStrength™ (measures how hard you swing)

    “Outdoor Featues”
    Hunt/fish calendar
    Sun and moon information
    Area calculation

    Best wishes, Martin 🙂

    • Gary P

      Hmm, if you read the UK website what you have said is correct.
      If you read the US website there is no mention of either the Golfing features or the outdoor features.

      Make of that what you will….

    • Incidentally, the golfing features, or the hunting/fishing interest me not, just seems a curious choice to have to make if you wanted the metal strap you miss out on some stuff but can perfect your golf swing….

  212. Matthew

    UK pricing definitely showing as £369.
    link to buy.garmin.com
    Undercutting the 920 by £20 but offering more features. This seems like an odd pricing strategy. Not to mention upsetting many 920 buyers. A shame we don’t have the amazing 60 day returns policy in the UK. Not a good way to encourage brand loyalty Garmin.

  213. Midpackbiped

    Will a connect IQ Strava app allow us to bypass GC completely for uploads in the event of an outage? Seems this is a strong argument for CIQ.

  214. Dan

    The Fenix 3 is clearly the best watch Garmin has produced to date for us triathletes. Feels like the stars lined up for me:- I’ve been waiting to buy the 920xt but its not been in stock apparently due to 15,000 pre-order backlog! Sold my lovely Ambit 2 on eBay for a good price before Christmas and I’ve just been waiting patiently….and now the Fenix 3 has risen from the the ashes so to speak. It quite simply does everything I could ever wish for being a triathlete and more to the point, Connect IQ is the future, much in the same way that Suunto apps were just great for the Ambit 2. I loved my Ambit and was flinching in terms of quality downgrade of materials to the 920xt – but now I don’t have to worry. And the icing on the cake? IT’S CHEAPER!! Bring it on.

  215. David

    Ray can you post a picture of a notification “on top of” normal watch mode and a “four fields” workout mode? I’m just curious how it looks compared to the 920XT.


    • Olu

      @David. Check out this link: link to youtube.com

      At time index 7:43 you can see the 4 fields. This looks like 4 even quadrants, but I think you also use the traditional 4 way split of Garmin round watches (3 rows, middle row split into 2 columns)

    • Lew

      Nice video. For those interested, it shows (very quickly) 2×2 format at 2:31 and the 1x2x1 format at 2:32 during the field setup demonstration.

    • David

      Yes, a very nice video. But it didn’t show what the screen looks like when a phone notification comes up. (It does show the notifications screen). Does it take up the upper 1/3 of the screen? Does it display as much information as he 920 does?

  216. Brian T

    Ray, I know this may be a redundant question but I did not see anything above. Do you by chance know if there is any possibility that a future update for Fenix 2 will include the virtual pacer/racer and some of the other software features on the F3? I am a very happy F2 owner and really can’t make a change at this time. The only thing on the F3 that I would really like is the color screen but I can live without it for awhile.

  217. Gary R

    Where or who will get the Fenix3 to the public soonest? REI claims 2-1-15. I want one bad.