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Garmin Fenix3 Multisport GPS Watch In-Depth Review

Fenix3-Sapphire-Sandy

The Fenix3 aims to further blend the multisport watch realm (previously dominated by the Garmin Forerunner series), with the outdoor watches (such as the Fenix1 & Fenix2, as well as outdoor handhelds).  To that end the Fenix3 is effectively a Garmin FR920XT with additional features aimed primarily at the outdoor and hiking crowd – more than the triathlon crowd.  But, the appeal to triathletes since launch as clearly been the more normal watch looking feel, versus the plastic and blocky feel of the Forerunner 920XT units.

I’ve been using the Fenix3 for quite some time, and after a month on a final production unit with final production version – I’ve got enough data and detail for the in-depth review.  Which…is what you’ll find below.   The good, the bad, and the ugly.

To be clear, I’ve been using a Fenix3 provided by Garmin to test with (final production unit).  Like always, I’ll be shipping that back to them in Kansas in the next little bit and going out and getting my own via regular retail channels.  That’s just the way I roll.

Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular athlete out there. I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background, and thus I try and be as complete as I can. But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out. Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed. So – with that intro, let’s get into things.

Unboxing & Versions:

Fenix3-Unboxing-BoxFace

There are a number of versions of the Fenix3 that have different exterior surfaces.  However, inside, all versions are identical.  Again, there is no software differences between them – instead, it’s purely the materials used on the outside.  Additionally, some Fenix3 variants are sold in bundles, which include the heart rate strap (HRM-RUN).  Let’s do a bit of a walk-through on an unboxing of one version. All versions contain the same pieces and just vary in terms of which bundle you bought.

Fenix3-Unboxing-BoxBack

First up we’ve got all the parts pulled out of the box:

Fenix3-Unboxing-Parts

You’ll see you’ve got the USB charging clip (new/different for the Fenix3), the watch itself, and the HRM-RUN heart rate strap.  Additionally, you’ve got some paperwork stuffs.

Fenix3-Unboxing-Set

Here’s a closer look at the charging clip.  It’s a new design for the Fenix3, which is a touch bit slimmer than previous designs.  It features a bit of a slide in/out locking mechanism.  Easily works to wear it while using the watch, should you want to charge on the go.

Fenix3-Unboxing-Charger

The box also includes a USB wall adapter. But fear not, you can use the unit with any USB port you’ll find on this planet:

Fenix3-Unboxing-USBAdapter

Next, is the HRM-RUN strap.  This is the strap that includes additional Running Dynamics metrics that were introduced with the FR620.  I recently wrote an entire post dedicated to the HRM-RUN strap, which you can read here.

Fenix3-Unboxing-HRM-RUN

Then there’s some quick start guide information and legal documents:

Fenix3-Unboxing-Manual

And finally, the Fenix3 unit itself:

Fenix3-Unboxing-SideBand

Fenix3-Unboxing-Front

Fenix3-Unboxing-OnBack

For those looking for a video-walkthrough of the box situation, here’s an unboxing video I did of the Fenix3 Grey Edition:

And then, another unboxing I did of the Fenix3 Sapphire.  You’ll note that in the US there isn’t yet a Fenix3 Sapphire HR bundle (in the UK there is).  However, the Sapphire edition does have one minor difference: It includes a spare set of plastic straps in case you get tired of the metal strap.   Outside of that, same-same.

Here’s an unboxing video I did of the Sapphire edition:

And, just for clarity on all the editions, here’s a photo I shoot with the Fenix3 Red/Silver Edition:

Fenix3A

With that, let’s briefly discuss some Sapphire specific notes before going through size specific comparisons.

Sapphire Edition Notables:

Fenix3-SapphireWatchFace

The Sapphire edition has a few tiny things that make it different, enough so that I’m going to very briefly cover them.  First is that the glass is different.  It’s a sapphire glass, which watchmakers sometimes use to increase scratch protection.  Now, that said, I really haven’t seen any issues with scratches on the regular unit I’ve been wearing 24×7 for months.  I’ve banged the crap out of it on surfaces and haven’t seen anything.

The second item to consider is that the Sapphire edition has metal links like numerous other high end watches.  That means that you can’t separate the two ends like a lower priced watch bands.  Further, you’ll need to resize the band by removing links.  You can do that by bringing it to any jeweler, or, you can get this $2.30 tool and do it yourself.

Fenix3-Sapphire-Link-Remover

Rather than put a bunch of pictures here, I just shot a quick video of how it works, which you can find below.

As you can see, it’s silly simple.  Seriously, I shot that video within the first few minutes of opening that bag.  It’s that simple, and, you can resize any other watch whenever you’d like.

As for deciding between the Sapphire and regular?  Well, I’ve mostly been using the regular over the Sapphire, and to that extent I’ve been happy.  The thing with the Sapphire is that it’s double the weight of the regular.  So obviously it’s gonna feel heavy.  For me personally, it takes a week or two to get used to that kinda weight on my wrist (when I’ve done it for regular wrist watches).  But, more than that, it’s really limiting if you want to mount it to a bike.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t let the scratch-resistance be the driver of that decision.  I’d honestly focus on your personal style preferences and whether or not the bike mount situation is of importance (see bike section on that).

Size & Weight Comparisons:

The Garmin Fenix3 is slightly slimmer than previous Fenix editions, which is easily seen when settled next to another unit (the Fenix3 is up front, the Fenix2 is towards the back):

Fenix3-Fenix2-Comparison

It’s slightly thicker however than the Garmin FR920XT – at least without the 920XT quick release kit applied.  Not much thicker, but a touch bit:

Fenix3-Fenix2-Comparison2

Meanwhile, looking at the front of the unit, here’s how things shake out against other watches in the category.

Left to right: Garmin FR910XT, Garmin FR920XT, Garmin Fenix3, Garmin Fenix2, Suunto Ambit3, Polar V800, Garmin FR620, Epson 810, Fitbit Surge

Fenix3-Unboxing-ComparisonSizesFenix3-Unboxing-ComparisonSizes2

Next is weight, I’ve measured two of the three models, and taken the official stats for the third model:

Fenix3 Sapphire: 175g (with 4 links removed for my wrist)
Fenix3 Sapphire with rubber strap instead: 85g (Garmin weight)
Fenix3 Grey: 82g
Fenix3 Silver/Red: 82g (Garmin weight)

This compares to the FR920XT, Ambit3, Polar V800, and Fenix2 weights as follows:

FR920XT: 61.6g
Ambit3: 86.0g
Polar V800: 80.8g
Fenix2: 85.6g

Here’s a quick pic of them on the scale:

Fenix3-Unboxing-WeightSapphire

Fenix3-Unboxing-WeightGrey

Finally, when it comes to wrist sizes, you’ll see plenty of my wrist throughout the review, but nonetheless, as a starting point here are the two editions on my wrist (which is 17cm, or about 6.5 inches):

And for The Girl’s wrist, I figured I’d include that here.  At 5’2” tall, she’s fairly petite.  Her wrist measures 14cm (or 5.5 inches).  Here’s a few shots on her wrist:

I haven’t resized the Sapphire yet for her, but once I do, I’ll include that in here.

Running:

There are numerous modes and sport profiles available within the Fenix3, all of which are highly customizable.  For this review I’ll start with running and talk about many features within the running section.  But keep in mind that virtually all of the functions (such as alerts, data page customization, etc…) are applicable to all modes.

To begin though, you’ll head outside and choose an activity type.  Technically these are now called ‘Apps’, and there’s an app for each sport (i.e. Run, Bike, Bike Indoor, etc…).  This also makes the structure more extensible to 3rd party apps as those are released.

Fenix3-Running-Start

Assuming you’ve selected a sport mode that’s GPS-enabled, such as running outdoors, the unit will start to find satellite.  The ring around the outside will slowly grow to 100%, in red first, and then green once complete.

Fenix3-Running-FindSatellite

The satellite acquisition time on the Fenix3 is based on a cached database that is updated each time you sync with your phone, computer, or WiFi.  That database enables faster acquisition so that acquisition times only take a few seconds, especially if you’re in the same spot as your last activity ended:

Fenix3-Running-SatelliteLock

As you were finding satellites you’ll have noticed that the unit would have found any ANT+ sensors that were paired.  This would show a small icon at the top for the sensor type – such as heart rate straps.

With everything all set it’s time to actually run.  At this point you’ll press the start button (the one with the red ring) and then it’ll start recording.  Your pace, distance and any other data fields you’ve configured will appear on the display:

Fenix3-Running-Fields

I’ll discuss data fields a bit later on, but you can customize them quite a bit including changing the number of metrics per page as well as the number of pages.

When it comes to pace, the Fenix3 is like the FR620, FR920XT and other recent Garmin watches that shows pace in 5-second increments, but slightly smoothed.  This is done to ensure a smoother pace metric.  Ultimately, all GPS watches have to smooth pace data in some manner.  Either they’re doing it in a visible way (i.e. 5-second increments), or in a non-visible way (smoothing the data further behind the scenes).  So the discussion on methods is somewhat academic.

Nonetheless, here’s a look at instant pace reaction times on the Fenix3 during a recent run where I was running along at a long-run pace, and then stopped for traffic for a moment, and then continued running again:

As you can see, it’s reasonably quick – even despite going under a large steel structure holding up the Parisian Metro/Subway system.

Within running (and all activities), you have a variety of functions you can enable such as Auto Lap – which automatically triggers laps on a preset interval, such as every 1-Mile or 1-Kilometer.  I tend to use this on long runs, but I don’t use it on interval runs as I manually trigger the laps instead using the lap button in the lower right corner.

Anytime a lap is triggered though the Fenix3 supports customized lap banners.  This means that you can change which metrics are shown anytime a lap is triggered.

Fenix3-DataFields-LapConfig

Next there’s other common Garmin functions like Auto Scroll and Auto Pause.  Auto Scroll will iterate through your data pages like a carousel.  Whereas Auto Pause will automatically stop and start the timer when you stop/start running.  This is more useful for city running or riding.

One new unique feature to the Fenix3 is Auto Climb.  Auto Climb works by showing a different set of data fields when you start to climb (go uphill).  This feature can be used on any profile including cycling.  The feature works by configuring a set of data pages that you want to show while climbing.

Fenix3-Running-AutoClimbMain

For example, for me I’ve configured ones with the incline as a data metric:

Fenix3-Running-AutoClimbGrade

Then, once you reach about 2-3% in incline, it’ll automatically trigger those data pages.  By default it’ll invert the data page colors, but you can just leave the colors the same if you’d like.

Fenix3-Running-AutoClimbVertConfig

Here’s a video I put together during a recent hill workout showing how it all works:

The feature of course won’t appeal to everyone, but is probably most relevant to ultra and trail runners in the mountains who are going up and down and may want to grab quick elevation related stats.

Now the Fenix3 includes the HRM-RUN Running Dynamics capabilities.  Within that, you’ll get stats like Vertical Oscillation and Ground Contact Time.  I recently wrote up a full post on the strap here, and whether or not to get it.

Fenix3-Running-Rydnamics

While running you’ll also get stats like Recovery Advice, such as whether or not you’re fully recovered.  In my experience it’s very rare to get anything other than ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’.  I feel like Garmin is trying to make everyone feel all warm and happy inside, as opposed to telling them ‘Sucky’.  Most other users who have been using these metrics for a few years now seem to get pretty similar results.

And then afterwards you’ll get Recovery Time estimates.  These estimates are geared at letting you know how much time you should wait until your next hard workout.  Of course, for multisport athletes this isn’t aimed for your next workout (of any sort), but just hard workout.  This was after a long run…so while perhaps a bit overaggressive, it’s not horribly off the mark.

Fenix3-Running-RecoveryTime

Additionally, upon completing a run you’ll get information such as any PR’s that were broken (Personal Records) – such as best mile split or longest run.  Note that by default these are only specific to this watch.

Fenix3-Running-PR-LongestRun

And finally, you’ll get a summary of your run that you can dig through and look at all the stats, both for the entire run, and each individual lap:

Fenix3-Running-HistoryMain

Fenix3-Running-LapSummary

Now, you’re not limited to outdoor running with the GPS.  Like most Garmin devices you can also use the Fenix3 indoors, such as on a treadmill.  For that you’ve basically got two options.  First is to use the built-in accelerometer within the Fenix3 to capture pace and distance.  In my experience, this works ‘ok’, but not great.

Fenix3-Running-Treadmill

The way this function works is that while you’re running outdoors it learns your paces and effectively your wrist movement.  With that knowledge, it’s important that for the highest accuracy indoors that you wear it on the same wrist as outdoors.  Most people have slight differences in how much wrist movement they have on each wrist.

Nonetheless, despite this, what I find is that certain paces are fairly accurate – but others less so.  For example when I run my long-run pace, the internally calculated pace is pretty accurate.  However, when I go into intervals, the pace tends to fluctuate a bit more – often upwards of about 10%.  This isn’t really unique to Garmin however; virtually all wrist-based pace/distance detection solutions are the same in the market today.

Fenix3-Running-Footpod

The second option for indoor pace is the ANT+ footpod.  That allows you to enter in a calibration value and get very accurate pace on a treadmill.  I talk about the footpod here in this post in uber-detail.

But, I’ve been using the footpod with the Fenix3 quite a bit on the treadmill over the past few months – all without issue.  In each one of those instances my pace nearly matches that of my treadmill (once calibrated), and the distance as well.

Ultimately, my recommendation is that if you want truly accurate pace/distance recorded while indoors – to get a footpod.  Also note that at this time there’s no method of selecting pace while outdoors from a footpod.   All pace when outdoors comes from GPS, except in scenarios where the GPS signal is lost (i.e. tunnel), in which case it falls back to the footpod (and failing that, to the wrist based detection).

Cycling:

The Fenix3 includes virtually all of the cycling functions and features found in any previous Garmin Edge device – including the Edge 1000.  The only features it lacks are turn-by-turn navigation with mapping (i.e.: Turn Left on Maple Street), Auto-Lap by position, and the Edge Remote Control support.  That said, let’s spend a few minutes walking through it.

First up is that like running, cycling has its own sport mode.  In this case either ‘Bike’ or ‘Bike Indoor’, depending on the weather I suppose.  Once you’ve selected that mode it’ll go ahead and find any relevant sensors that you’ve paired.  In my case that’s usually a power meter along with a heart rate strap, plus sometimes a speed or cadence sensor if indoors:

Fenix3-Sensors-SpeedCadence

It’ll pair with any ANT+ cycling sensors out there (see my section later on that), which includes all power meter brands except Polar/Look and their Keo Power solution.

The Fenix3 also will shortly support Cycling Dynamics, so for those Garmin Vector users, you’ll get that data as well.  In the meantime, you’ll still get all the regular left/right data.

GarminFenix3-PowerMeterData

When cycling, the functions at a foundational level are the same as running.  The only difference for most is that you now have power meter support.  This includes all of the power meter relevant fields like Training Peaks metrics such as TSS/NP/IF, and any power balance fields.

Indoors, the situation is much the same.  You can go ahead and pair to trainers such as the Wahoo KICKR or TACX Smart series trainers, which broadcast open ANT+ metrics like power, speed and cadence.

Fenix3-Cycling-KICKR

All of these metrics are then saved after the fact for uploading to Garmin Connect (and if you choose, automatic sync to sites like Strava).

GarminFenix3-PowerMeterMetrics

So what about mounting the Fenix3 to your bike?  Well, for that it’s a bit tricky.  See, the Fenix3 lacks a quick release kit, so thus it lacks any way to mount it directly using the ubiquitous Garmin quarter-turn mount that’s supported by the Edge series as well as the FR310/FR910XT/920XT watches.  This means instead if you don’t want it on your wrist you’ll need to use a little block like this rubber mount from Garmin for about $10:

Fenix3-Cycling-WatchMountingRoadBike

But, the challenge with that block is that with the Sapphire band you can’t detach it to fit through the hole.  So instead, your better bet is this also-$10 rubber block from Timex.  The challenge there though is that you can’t put that on your bike handlebars easily unless perhaps it’s a mountain bike.

So I don’t have a solution for road bikes, but for triathlon bikes you could use the Profile Designs bike computer UCM mount, and mount it from the side.  Kinda lame, but it does technically work:

Now for me personally, it’s this single item that’s probably the biggest reason I’ll probably still stick with the FR920XT as my main triathlon watch.  I don’t like looking at it on my wrist – especially in aero position.  Instead, I want it mounted on the bike.  Hopefully Garmin will look to release a quick release kit – it’s something that realistically should be simple for them to do, and basically just puts more money in their pocket anyway (since people have to spend at least $50 more for the Fenix3 over the FR920XT anyway).

Swimming:

Fenix3-Swim-Pool

The Fenix3 supports tracking of both pool and openwater swims.  For pool swims the unit will use the internal accelerometer within it to track swims.  This means that it’s looking at your movements and trying to determine what type of stroke you’re swimming as well as when you reach the end of each length of the pool.

To start a pool swim you’ll select it from the list of sports:

Fenix3-Swim-Start

Next, if it’s the first time using a pool swim it’ll ask you your pool size.  Else, it’ll remember your pool size for future swims.  If you go to a different pool that requires changing the size, you can simply select it within the settings menu:

Fenix3-Swim-PoolSize

There are preconfigured sizes for common pool lengths such as 25m, 25y, and 50m.  Additionally, you can specify and pool length between 17m/18y, and 150m/y.

Fenix3-Swim-Custom

Next, it’s time to swim.  Now when swimming with the watch you can do either a flip turn or an open turn (non-flip turn).  It’ll track either way.  The thing to keep in mind is that it’s essentially measuring acceleration and change in movement direction.  So if you stop mid-lane in the pool, it’ll confuse the unit.  Likewise if you sit at the end of the lane line for a few seconds and then do your next lap and do the YMCA song with your arms – it’ll confuse it.

Just swim, and keep swimming…and it’ll work out just fine.

Fenix3-Swim-PoolInsde

As you swim it’ll show you your pace and splits, all of which can be customized.  When you reach the end of a given portion of your workout (set), you can press the lap button to go into the rest timer.  This will separate out the different sections of the workout for you automatically.  It’ll also invert the screen so you know it’s in a paused state.

Fenix3-Swim-RestTimer

In addition the Fenix3 supports the Drill Log mode.  This mode allows you to do drills that the watch wouldn’t recognize distance on, such as kickboard drills.  For this you enter drill mode and then at the end simply tell it how far you swam:

Fenix3-Swim-Drill

Afterwards, all of this data is available on Garmin Connect and can be sliced and diced.  Note that I only swim freestyle, so I can’t really comment on accuracy of other strokes.

GarminConnectSwimData1

While Garmin Connect doesn’t allow editing of swim data, some 3rd parties like Sport Tracks do.  For example, in the above swim I had to stop mid-lane on one of my lengths, which caused a missed length.  Completely my fault (I dropped a camera out of my swim shorts), but there’s no method to fix that on Garmin Connect today.

GarminConnectSwimData2

Also note that at this time there is no method for any Garmin swim-capable watches to give you structured swim workouts.  However, interestingly Connect IQ was coded with that in mind – so it’s certainly possible we’ll see swim workout functionality come soon via that route instead.

Next, we’ve got openwater swims.  These are any swims in a lake/pond/ocean/etc… Basically any body of water big enough that GPS is logical.  Note that for outdoor pools (except the massive one in Chile), you should always use pool mode.

Fenix3-Swimming-Openwater

Once you’ve selected this mode it’ll go ahead and search for GPS just like other modes.  Interestingly, within the openwater swim mode you can actually do Live Tracking using the Garmin Connect Mobile app.  I’ve done that on a few occasions now using the Safer Swimmer buoy with my phone inside the dry compartment in it:

Fenix3-Swim-OpenwaterBuoy

The Fenix3 communicates with the phone just fine in between each stroke.  Heck, I even got a text message from The Girl during one of my openwater swims.

Next, while swimming the unit will track distance, pace and stroke information – such as it does in a pool:

Fenix3-Swim-OpenwaterMid

You can create laps as you see fit as well – for example to split apart a course.

Remember that the way openwater swim mode works is that each time your watch goes underwater it loses satellite, thus, each time it comes back up again it has to reacquire satellite in the half a second or so your wrist is above the water.  This obviously results in less accurate readings.  So what companies do is they take a bit of an average plot of where you’re going and try to figure it out, despite the reduced accuracy.  It’s usually not perfect, but it’s also usually pretty good.

I found that in all of my openwater swims that the Fenix3 was the most accurate Garmin openwater swim capable device to date that I’ve tried.  Typically I give a very slight edge to the Suunto series for openwater swim accuracy, but that doesn’t appear to be the case anymore.  They seem to probably be a wash.

Below you can see some swim tracks with the Fenix3 on my wrist, and where I put another GPS watch (typically the FR920XT on the swim buoy above the water floating next to me).  This helps me create a ‘reference’ track to compare against.

Ultimately, these are pretty good.  Here’s the exact number comparisons.

First Test: 1,194 vs 1,200yds

Swim1-FR920XTReferenceSwim1-Fenix3Track

Second Test: 1,249 vs 1,305yds

Swim2-FR920XTReferenceSwim2-Fenix3Track

Third Test: 1,475 vs 1,540yds

Swim3-FR920XTReferenceSwim3-Fenix3Track

That last one is actually really impressive track-wise, especially where I edged around the barriers, it perfectly nailed that.

Swim3-BarcelonaTrackEdge

Just as a bit of a tip, if when swimming I find it helps to start the GPS above water where you know it has a lock for the first 1-2 seconds.  That establishes a good solid ‘starting point’.  And the same is true when you exit the water – just give it a second or two to find your ending point.  Seems to help (across most GPS watches).

Multisport activities:

Fenix3-Multisport-Triathlon-Main

Being a multisport watch, the Fenix3 supports what’s known as ‘multisport’ mode.  In this mode (well, actually multiple modes), the watch will automatically transition to the next sport upon pressing the lap button.  This allows you to line-up multiple sports such as in a triathlon and get sport-specific settings and records for each segment: Swim, T1, Bike, T2, Run.

Fenix3-Multisport-Triathlon-CustomAdd

You can also create your own custom multisport profiles, using any combination of existing sports.  Unlike the Fenix2, there is no limitation on creating a fully indoor triathlon for example.

Fenix3-Multisport-Triathlon-CustomAddConfig

Within these modes you can customize whether or not to include transition data.  What’s nice about the custom modes is that it’s easy to create duathlons.  For example, I did an openwater swim/run brick two weeks ago quite easily.

Fenix3-Multisport-Triathlon-IncludeTransitions

Afterwards, on Garmin Connect the Fenix3 multisport activities will show each segment of the workout separately – but as part of a larger workout.  This new Garmin Connect feature was introduced last fall for all new multisport workouts uploaded after that date (or, re-uploaded).  You can see my short swim/run brick here:

Fenix3-MultisportActivity

And you can see how if I click for just the swim tab I get additional detail, and it removes the other portions of the activity from view:

Fenix3-MultisportActivitySwim

Additionally, you can see the same styling on a longer swim/bike/run activity I did this past fall when the weather was slightly more hospitable to that kind of workout.

Note however that the Fenix3 lacks a quick release kit, so you’ll need to basically keep it on your wrist the entire time.

Daily Activity & Sleep Tracking:

Fenix3-Activity-TrackingPhone

The Fenix3 incorporates daily 24×7 activity tracking including such metrics as steps, distance walked, calories, and sleep.  It also incorporates the Garmin inactivity/move bar, which triggers to tell you that you’ve been lazy.

This activity tracker mode then transmits that data to your smartphone app (Garmin Connect Mobile), which stores the data on the Garmin Connect site for display.  Additionally, Garmin Connect can transmit the data to partners such as MyFitnessPal.

This data is also visible on the Fenix3 through the “Wellness” widget (activity tracking widget).  It’ll show you your steps towards goal, your current goal, and your calories burned and distance walked.

Fenix3-Activity-TrackingPhone

Along the bottom you see the red ‘move’ bar.

That bar fills up when you don’t move, eventually alerting you after an hour that you need to move.  You can clear the move bar by walking roughly 100 yards:

The goal steps that are displayed each day are dynamic, based on your previous days steps and trending data.  So, the more you walk, the higher the goal goes – and the inverse is true.  It’s designed however such that a single long run on a weekend won’t totally hose up your daily goals.

GarminFenix3-StepData

Next there is calories.  Calories on the Fenix3 activity tracker are inclusive of your baseline calories (BMR), aka, the calories you need to stay alive.  That’s why if you just sit there watching Saved by the Bell re-runs, it’ll still show you burning calories.  That’s pretty much the norm for activity trackers on the market.

Fenix3-Calories

There’s also support for MyFitnessPal as well, in the event you want to track both your consumed calories as well as burned calories:

fenix3-Calories-MyFitnessPal

Finally, we look at sleep.  The Garmin Fenix3 requires you to manually trigger sleep.  This is like the rest of the Garmin units that support sleep metrics…and is honestly pretty lame.  Most other watches/trackers will automatically sense it, such as the Fitbit series.  Worse yet, is that even when you do manually enter it in, the data that Garmin displays after the fact is pretty useless.

Fenix3-Sleep

No ‘times/minutes awake’, or anything else of value.  Just a very blah-like up and down chart vaguely showing movement.

image

As far as accuracy of activity tracking in general goes, the Fenix3 measurement of steps has been inline with other activity trackers for me.  Which means that it’s generally within 5-8% of what I’m seeing on other devices I’ve been wearing at the same time such as the Fitbit Charge HR and Jawbone Move.

However, keep in mind that there is no ‘perfect’ activity tracker.  Different companies use different algorithms to try and minimize inaccuracies.  Further, different wearable locations can also impact accuracy.  For example, if I’m pushing a shopping cart with a wrist-based device such the Fitbit Charge or Fenix3, I’ll likely get reduced step counts.  This is because the accelerometer isn’t likely to be triggered due to the static position of my hand.

Companies try and counter these sorts of items – such as ensuring steps aren’t counted when you’re showering or washing the dishes.  But the reality is that sometimes they do trigger steps.

Here’s what I’d remind ya: You shouldn’t be concerned about a few hundred extra steps.  At the end of the day, you’re aiming for a goal in the 10,000+ step range – so a few hundred steps really isn’t that meaningful.   If you only walked 2,000 steps, then no, you didn’t walk enough.  And at the other end of the spectrum, if you walked 18,000 steps – then yes, you walked a lot and an extra 100 steps washing the dishes wasn’t likely the cause for that 18,000 steps.

To that end these devices are best looked at from a trending standpoint.  They help you assess whether you’re walking a lot or a little.  That’s no different between a Fitbit, a Garmin, a Polar app – or even your phone.  They all have imperfections in certain scenarios – and excel at others.

Fenix3-Navigation-Base

The Fenix series  ultimately has it’s roots in navigation – and thus to that end much of that remains the key reason that you’d buy the Fenix3 over another device such as the FR920XT.  There’s two types of navigation capabilities within the Fenix3.  The first is the basic ‘ABC’ (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass) functionality.  These features require no GPS enablement, and are otherwise running 24×7.

They’re accessible at any time by pressing the up/down buttons on the left side of the watch.  You can change the time scale for these, but by default they show historical values such as a 48-hr barometer and 4hr temperature.

The sensors that support these features (Compass, Altimeter, Barometer), can be accessed and configured within the settings and then sensors menu of the watch:

Fenix3-ABC-BarometerPlotConfig

It’s here that you can do tasks such as enable the Storm Alert, or change the plot length.  Additionally, in the case of the altimeter, you can calibrate it by manually entering in the current elevation (useful for trailheads).  Further, you can change the behavior of Auto Calibration, which controls when and how often the unit will calibrate the altimeter.  By default it’s once at the start of an activity, but you can change it to be continuous if you’d like.

Fenix3-Altimeter-Cal

Fenix3-Altimeter-Cal2

Note that for compass, as well as other position-format based metrics, you can change to a wide assortment of display formats.  I’ll try and get these manually typed up, but Garmin basically covers every possible position format I’ve ever heard anyone ask for.

Next, beyond the ABC functions there’s the GPS-based navigation capabilities.  These use GPS to guide you to various points, either pre-defined or on the fly.  To start navigation you’ve got two options.  The first is to simply select ‘Navigation’ from the main menu, and then select a given type of navigation: Courses, Activities, Saved Locations, Sight ‘N Go, or Coordinates.

When you do this, it’ll ask you for further details on what you’re navigating to – such as the pre-created course name:

Fenix3-Navigation-CoursesPage

Then, it’ll give you a bit of an overview of that particular selection.  For example, in a course it’ll show you a map of the course, as well as the elevation profile. Interestingly however, that elevation profile is not available once you start the activity.

Fenix3-Navigation-CoursesMap

Then you an select ‘Do Course’ to start the navigation. At this point the unit will ask you which activity profile to use.  You can use any GPS-enabled sport to navigate, for example hiking, running, or cycling.

At this point, the unit will add the navigation-specific screens that you have to that sport profile.  These four screens can be fully customized (each with four data fields), plus the Map and Guide screens.

Fenix3-Navigation-PagesMap

And of course, it’ll start navigation once you press the Start button.  As you navigate, it’ll guide you based on a map showing progress.  You can change the zoom level of that map by holding the middle left menu button:

Fenix3-Navigation-Pan-Zoom

In my case, I had pre-created a course on Garmin Connect and downloaded it to the unit via the Garmin Connect Mobile app:

Fenix3-Navigation-Course-Smartphone

You can also use the desktop application called Garmin Basecamp, but that lacks the free base map set seen on Garmin Connect, so it’s a bit more tricky to create routes with a default Garmin Basecamp install.  Note that rather unfortunately the Fenix3 is not compatible with Basecamp Mobile.  That’s quite a bummer because Basecamp mobile was super-easy to create waypoints, whereas there’s no method on Garmin Connect to create Waypoints, only routes.  So oddly, things got slightly harder with this new version.  Hopefully Garmin will enable support for it on the Fenix3.  Ultimately in my mind if they don’t have that in place by time the Epix releases, otherwise it’ll be a super-disjointed story.

In any case, back to navigating the route.  As you’re navigating you’ll get various status on your progress related to the course.  For example if you’re on course, and how much of the course is remaining.

Fenix3-Navigation-CourseRunning3

Fenix3-Navigation-Mid-Run

If you’ve defined a given pace for the course, the unit will show that as well within the screens.  This is essentially the same functionality that’s then leveraged for the ability to follow a previous activity.

Fenix3-Navigation-CourseRunninng2

In addition to courses you can also save coordinates and route to them.  You can further save these coordinates with given names, such as ‘Start of trail’, or ‘Home’.  Or perhaps more critical place names like ‘Burger place’.  Note that the Fenix3 does not contain any sort of POI (Point of Interest) database, so you’ll have to create all your own POI’s.

Finally, note that there are actually a number of very small (but important to some) navigational differences between the Fenix3 and the past Fenix1/Fenix2.  In order to minimize the amount of updating I have to do each and every time Garmin updates/addresses these, I’ve placed them all into a massive comparison table a few sections down from here.  Please do read that section though to better understand if there’s any gaps that cause you pain.

Battery Life:

Fenix3-BatteryLife

The Fenix3 has a few different technical specs when it comes to battery life, depending on how you use it.  For example, they note on the product page that it’ll get: “50 hours in UltraTrac mode, 16 hours in GPS mode and up to 3 months in watch mode” (yet in other places on the spec pages it notes 20 hours in GPS mode).

So how does that compare in reality?  Well, it depends.  First, we’ll start with just a simple long-life battery test.  For that, I simply fully charge the unit up and plunk it on my roof and see when it dies.

Fenix3-RooftopBattery-Test

In this case, I went with 1s recording (non-UltraTrac, 1-second recording, GLONASS-off) Here’s the results there:

Fenix3-BatteryLifeGC

As you can see, it went 18 hours and 12 minutes, a bit shy of their claimed 20 hours but above their 16 hours.  We’ll call it splities.  In my case the temperatures here have been about 38°F/3°C, so you’ll see that impact battery life slightly.  Still, at 18 hours it easily covers an Ironman triathlon.

The next option you’d have is UltraTrac.  This mode reduces the GPS update frequency to save battery life.  This means you’ll get less GPS track points, as it works in a 15-20 seconds of GPS on-time, then about 45 seconds of GPS off-time pattern.  Because of this, it cuts some of the corners, because of the reduced update rate.  Now, for something like city running – it’s not really ideal.  But, if you’re doing a longer hike where you might otherwise be tight on battery, it’s probably fine.  That’s because your rate of speed is lower.

Note that with UltraTrac you DO get ANT+ data, which is a change from prior Fenix versions, where you didn’t get ANT+ data.  This data is recorded at 1-second rate.  Additionally, instant pace, temperature and cadence is also recorded at the 1-second rate, since all of that comes from the accelerometer.

But what if UltraTrac isn’t enough?  For that you can use a USB battery charging pack.  These packs allow you to charge the Fenix3 while it’s recording mid-use.  So you can simply attach it and re-charge as you complete your activity.

Fenix3-Battery-Extension-Parts

Fenix3-Battery-Extension

To get an understanding of how that works, I’ve put together this quick little video:

Finally, what about day-to-day battery life?  Well for that the unit is spec’d at 6 weeks.  But quite frankly, I wasn’t about to wait 6 weeks without plugging it in, because then I wouldn’t have had the battery juice for all my day to day GPS workouts.  Instead, let’s focus on battery life for day-to-day  activity.

Within the Fenix1/Fenix2 timeframe, the battery life was pretty good (lasted a long time) in normal day to day mode.  But, on the Fenix1/2 it was greatly shortened if you enabled Bluetooth Smart (for notifications, primarily).  Down to about 24-36 hours, on a good day.

With the Fenix3 however, you can leave Bluetooth Smart on and it’ll last quite some time.  It’s tough to get an exact real-world figure, since again the mere act of using GPS for other activities would drain things.  But we’re talking at least a week or more here.  Perhaps it’s three weeks, I just don’t have any way of knowing.  Either way, for most people you’ll need to charge it again before that point simply for use during GPS activities.

Sensor Compatibility & Sensor Pools:

Fenix3-Sensors-Pool

The Fenix3 follows in the footsteps of both the Edge 1000 and FR920XT in including the sensor pool concept.  This means that instead of having ‘bike profiles’, you just pair all your sensors into what is effectively a pool.  When those sensors turn on (such as turning your bike wheel, or putting on your HR strap), then the Fenix3 will automatically find them.

This is ideal for people with multiple bikes that may or may not forget to change the bike profile before starting the ride – as the sensors automatically pickup instead.  It’s also great if you have more than one pair of running shoes with footpods on them, or simply different heart rate straps.

To pair a sensor you’ll go into the sensors menu and add a new sensor.  You can tell it to search for everything, or you can pair a specific sensor type:

Fenix3-Sensors-Search

The Fenix3 can save numerous sensors of the same type within the pool.  For example, you can see multiple heart rate straps saved here on my unit (you can give them custom names too!):

Fenix3-Sensors-HRM

The Fenix3 supports the following sensor types:

ANT+ Heart Rate Strap
ANT+ Running Footpod
ANT+ Cycling Power Meter
ANT+ Cycling Speed-only Sensor
ANT+ Cycling Cadence-only Sensor
ANT+ Cycling Speed/Cadence Combo Sensor
ANT+ Tempe (Temperature Sensor)
ANT+ VIRB Action Camera
ANT Shimano Di2 (coming in future update)

For those that want more accurate temperature data during activities (so that it’s off your wrist, due to body heat interference), you’ll want to look into the Tempe sensor, which is made by Garmin.  This sensor lasts a year on a coin cell battery and transmits the temperature to the Fenix3.

Fenix3-Sensors-TempeDetail

Like existing Garmin products, the Fenix3 does not support any Bluetooth Smart sensors, nor other sensor technologies such as analog sensors or Polar W.I.N.D. sensors.  Nor does it support Nike+ straps or sensors.

Finally, a brief note about optical sensors (such as the Scosche or Mio products).  With using optical HR, you do run the risk that you’ll get reduced accuracy on metrics that require heart rate variability (such as Recovery Time, VO2Max, Race Predictor, and to a much more limited degree, calories).  This is because these sensors today largely ‘estimate’ heart rate variability (HRV/RR) information.  However, they are required to transmit said information according to the ANT+ heart rate specification.  So instead of transmitting nothing, they estimate it (but not measure it).

For some people, it’ll work out and their metrics would lineup against a normal chest strap. For others, the differences may be more apparent. It’s hard to know exactly how it would impact a given person. For me personally, some workouts line-up near identically, yet others are far off the mark.  Again, just a lot of variables (none of which are the fault of the Fenix3, but rather the state of optical sensor technology today).

Data Fields & Display Customization:

Fenix3-DataFields-Main

The Fenix3 includes numerous ways to customize the display within activities (as well as outside of activities).  Within activities you can display up to four pieces of data on a single page, and you can have up to 10 pages of data per activity profile (app/sport).  I honestly can’t think of a reason you’d need more than 40 pages of concurrent data.  And technically speaking, you get another few pages of data when you add in the ‘Navigation-specific’ pages.

Each of these is customized on a per-sport basis, which is handled through the settings option.  But you can also change these on the fly during the activity if you need to.  There is no method to change these via the app or online.

You can display 1, 2, 3, or 4 data fields per data page.  But, there are also different ways you can display some of those – such as the way the screen is split up.  The below little gallery shows you all the ways you can show the data:

Note that there is not an active HR graph like there has been on some previous Garmin units, however there is some Connect IQ HR graph data fields (but reaction to those is mixed from folks).

Note that widgets also show data as well when not in an activity, such as the temperature, barometer, and altitude.  These are on 24×7 and do not require necessarily GPS (though some do leverage it):

Fenix3-Widget-Config

Finally, the exact listing of all available data fields can be found within the Fenix3 manual.

GPS Accuracy:

Fenix3-GPS-Comparisons

The Fenix3 includes additional GPS related technologies (GLONASS) which can increase GPS accuracy in most situations.  In my testing of the Fenix3 over quite some time now, I’m seeing accuracy on par with the Garmin FR920XT and Suunto Ambit3 – both of which I’ve had virtually zero issues with in a wide variety of scenarios.

Now, when it comes to GPS accuracy I tend to take a fairly practical viewpoint.  I’m generally looking at how well a unit tracks compared to where I went, as well as the total distances seen between different units.  Generally speaking I’m running/riding with 2-5 other GPS devices at the same time.  I feel this is pretty important – comparing two different runs, even on the same route, will result in differences due to environmental factors and simple things like body placement.  Which, is also important to consider.  You can get different results between the left and right wrists, depending on how your body impacts GPS reception.  In most cases, it’s negligible, but in edge cases it could be more overt.

When looking at GPS accuracy and tracks on a map – you must be sure to be in satellite mode and not map mode.  Maps don’t always align with reality, while satellites are much closer.  A map might have you running in the water whereas the satellite will show you on a river path.

Finally, do recognize the limitations of consumer grade GPS, which is generally specified as +/-3M.  By default the Fenix3 does NOT have GLONASS turned on, so you’ll want to enable that via: Settings button > Settings menu item > System > GLONASS = ON.  Note it will have a slight impact on battery, but not significant.  Note however that a very small percentage of folks have seemingly seen worse accuracy with GLONASS enabled on other watches like the FR920XT.  So, if you’re having some GPS issues, try simply turning that off instead.  Finally, be sure that you have 1-second recording enabled, otherwise you’ll often see cut-corners.

All that said, I’ve seen consistently impressive results when it comes to GPS accuracy with GLONASS enabled.  Here’s a data sheet of distances recorded by two or more devices.  Obviously, with only two devices in some cases, it’s hard to know who was right – but as you can see, in almost all those cases the two devices were nearly identical.  For cases where I had a third device, I included that.

My personal testing with the Fenix3 has been in the following locales in a variety of conditions from snow to sun, rain to fog: USA, Canada, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Turkey, Spain, and the Netherlands.  For the below table however, I’ve only included activities on the final firmware versions (despite having a vast library of accurate data prior to final firmware) – and only activities where two or more devices finished their recordings (i.e. sometimes another unit would run out of battery).

Fenix3 GPS Accuracy

DescriptionFenix3Other 1Other 2
Openwater Swim 1.74mi.71mi (FR920XT Buoy)-
Openwater Swim 2.68mi.68mi (FR920XT Buoy).69mi (Ambit2 S)
Openwater Swim 3.87mi.84mi (FR920XT Buoy)-
Long Run14.64mi14.65 (Epson 810)14.87 (Polar V800)
Hill Repeats7.77mi7.816mi (Epson 810)-
Sunday Mixed City/Park Ride23.44mi23.55mi (Edge 510)23.65mi (Edge 810)
Sunday Long Run Through City14.43mi14.47mi (Epson 810)-
Evening City Run5.82mi5.84mi (FR920XT)5.85 (Polar V800)
Cycling - Sunday30.10mi30.09 (Edge 810 #1)30.16 (Edge 810 #2)
River Long Run12.5612.60 (FR920XT)12.69 (Polar V800)
(Activities below this are post-review additions)
Interval 800m Repeats7.337.28 (Fenix3 #2)7.38 (Vivoactive)
Long Run12.1512.31 (Vivoactive)-
City Sunday Run10.0210.26 (Epson 810)10.31 (Vivoactive)
Bahrain Run4.154.12 (Epson 810)-
Evening City Run5.605.62 (Epson 810)5.63 (Vivoactive)
Half-Marathon13.0413.13 (Epson 810)-
Night River Long Run12.6312.77 (Vivoactive)-
Interval 800m Repeats Les Berges7.297.35 (Vivoactive)-
Numerous indoor rides---
Numerous treadmill runs---

Note that virtually all of my activities are available on Strava, so you’re free to look at any activity.  Unfortunately Strava has yet to update the device name mapping field, so it shows these as the FR920XT.  Fear not, any file I’ve uploaded to Strava since late January has been with the Fenix3 (unless it says Garmin Edge).

Additional post-review note: I’ve been occasionally adding in activities I’ve done since publishing this review, into the table above.

Connect IQ Compatibility:

Fenix3-ConnectIQ-Pretty

The Fenix3 supports Connect IQ, which is Garmin’s new app store concept for Garmin devices.  The platform was unveiled this past fall, and contains four basic types of ‘things’:

– Watch Faces
– Data Fields
– Widgets
– Apps

At present, only Watch Faces and Data Fields are released in the Connect IQ store.  The Apps and Widgets will release tomorrow (Friday, March 6th).  Today within that store you can download various data fields and watch faces.  These include both Garmin and 3rd party made options:

Fenix3-ConnectIQ-Watchfaces

Once downloaded to your watch you can include Connect IQ data fields within any of your existing data pages:

Fenix3-ConnectIQ-DataFields

Similarly, you can change to the Connect IQ watch faces as you see fit.

The next set of things that Garmin will release tomorrow (Friday) are- Apps and Widgets – are really where the major benefits of the platform come into play.  That’s where you’ll start to see cool logic driven programs that can run on the Fenix3 and generate meaningful feedback and guidance.  For example, there’s an upcoming App that does turn-by-turn navigation on Connect IQ:

IMG_3355

Now in some cases, Garmin has selected to make widgets instead of adding base functionality into the Fenix3.  For example, in the past the Hunt & Fish, as well as Moon & Sun functionality was within the Fenix1/Fenix2 natively.  But now it’s a Connect IQ widget.  Here’s an early preview into these two widgets which will be released tomorrow – the Sunset/Sunrise, and Hunt/Fish ones. (Update: These specific widgets have been delayed slightly now, and will not release tomorrow.)

Fenix3-Widgets-MoonPhases

Fenix3-Widgets-Hunting

Finally, here’s a preview of another app coming up called Sky Watch.  This app will show you the locations of star constellations, planets, and the moon (with phases), as you move the watch around.  It’s pretty cool.  Here’s a quick video I shot of it tonight:

I’ll do a bigger follow-up post on Apps & Widgets as they start to hit the app store.  In the meantime, you can catch-up with my first post on Connect IQ where I talk through a preview of these functions.

Smartphone/Smartwatch Features Connectivity:

Fenix3-Smartphone-App

The Fenix3 like virtually all of Garmin’s new devices made in the last 2 years, can connect to the Garmin Connect Mobile app for smartphones.  The Fenix3 will leverage Bluetooth Smart to connect to your phone for uploading of workouts, downloading of courses, and the sync of notifications and other smartphone related goodness.

Unlike the Fenix1 & Fenix2 however, the Fenix3 can do all this while concurrently using ANT+.  Meaning that there’s no longer a limitation of using sensors with things like Live Tracking, as there was previously.

In addition as well, the battery drain profile for use of Bluetooth Smart notifications from your phone is much more normal now, allowing you to go quite some time before re-charging (on the Fenix1/2, it was only a day or two).  Now, you’re realistically looking at charging perhaps every 1-2 weeks depending on how much GPS activity you have for workouts.

Notifications on the Fenix3 can be enabled to buzz or beep you, and customized as to when it will do so.  For example, you can configure it to leave you alone during workouts if you want.

Fenix3-Smartphone-NotificationSettings

The notifications will appear immediately on the Fenix3 screen – often before it even shows up on your phone (it’s kinda impressive):

Fenix3-Smartphone-IncomingCall

In addition, they’ll disappear after a timeout – but can still be accessed via the notifications widget by just pressing the up/down buttons:

Fenix3-Smartphone-NotificationList

(The above phone number isn’t real, it’s just used by Google News Alerts to send notifications)

In either location you can dive into the details of a notification further:

Fenix3-Smartphone-NotifcationMain

Note that notifications are controlled by the respective phone platforms notification center.  So it’s not Garmin deciding which notifications to show – but rather how you’ve configured it on your iOS or Android device for a given app.  To get an idea of how both the inbox widgets work, as well as how notifications work, I put together a little video of it:

Beyond notifications, the Garmin Connect Mobile app will automatically upload completed workouts as soon as they are saved, assuming your phone is in-range.

Additionally, you can use the app to download courses (as I showed in the navigation section).  And the phone is also used to upload step and sleep data from the Fenix3.

Beyond these functions, you can utilize Live Tracking with the Fenix3.  This function works the same as with previous Garmin devices whereby it uses your phone’s data connection for uploading your current position and post track locations to a website that you can share with friends and family (and stalkers of your choosing).

Fenix3-Smartphone-LiveTracking

This site will also display ANT+ data from your workout as well:

Istanbul

The benefit of doing this over just a regular phone app that transmits your location is that this offloads the GPS service to your Fenix3, as opposed to the battery drain on your phone.  As anyone who has used the GPS on their phone knows – the battery drain of GPS can be huge.

Finally, the Fenix3 is the first Garmin ‘smart’ device that has managed to remember it’s marriage to my phone the entire time.  Now this may sound like an odd statement, but whether the fault of Garmin Connect Mobile (GCM) updates, iOS updates, or just the device itself – I’ve yet to have an issue where I’ve had to re-pair the Fenix3 to the GCM app.  It just works.  Day in, and day out, it notifies me for various notifications.

Bugs and other quirks:

Fenix3-LittleBugs

By and large, the Fenix3 has been pretty bug-free for me.  I have seen a handful of little quirks, most of which have already been addressed since I’ve noted (and reported) them.  I haven’t seen anything that’s systematic, nor anything that was a show-stopper.  Finally, I haven’t seen any single oddity more than once (meaning, a repeating issue).

The minor quirks I have seen on production versions of the Fenix3 include some oddities with Live Tracking here and there, such as sessions that showed odd sensor data to people following me live (but my data recorded/shown to me was perfectly fine).  Also, a discrepancy where Garmin Connect told me a course was ~14.9 miles, yet when I actually ran it, it was ~14.6 miles – nearly a third of a mile off.  It’s not clear to me if that’s a Fenix3 issue or a Garmin Connect course creator issue.  Similarly, I did see an issue where the Fenix3 wasn’t reading the estimated paces within a course file from Garmin Connect.  But again, it could be that Garmin Connect wasn’t sending them correctly.

Finally, I’ve seen one issue with reboots related to changing power meter data fields during configuration.  Garmin has confirmed/reproduced that as being fixed in the next firmware update.

I haven’t seen any GPS accuracy issues, nor have I seen any reboots beyond what I just noted.  I’ve not seen any data loss either across not just production units but any pre-production units.

Which of course this doesn’t mean you’ll see something I don’t.  I can only test what I think to test, or stumble into during day to day use across swim/bike/run/hike/etc…  In looking at other sources, such as the Garmin Forums, I don’t really see any sort of widespread issues either with people that have had the unit going on a month now.

Update #1 (May 4th 2015): Issues with trail running/riding and under-reporting of distance:

Some users are seeing issues in trails with the Fenix3 undereporting distance (cutting corners). I reached out to the Fenix product manager and Garmin PR regarding the issue.  My question/inquiry was specifically related to those seeing GPS shortages primarily in wooded areas while running/riding, most often associated with changes in direction and switchbacks. Their official quotable response to that topic area from both the PR lead for the Outdoor team, as well as the program manager for the Fenix product line is below:

“We’re aware of the customer concerns and are working towards a resolution. This is a priority for the Garmin team, and we’ll be sure to communicate to consumers once a firmware update is available to fix the issue.”

They aren’t comfortable giving a specific time frame for said firmware update at this time.

Update #2 (May 18th, 2015): Secondary update on Fenix3 shortening

I received another update, albeit a very brief one on the distance shortening, here’s the latest from Garmin (media lead, after checking directly with Fenix3 engineering team lead):

“…our engineering team has this issue at the top of their priority list. They’re moving quickly to get a fix pushed out, and I’ll be sure to let you know once I have more information on when the firmware update will be released.”

Not a whole lot more detail than before, other than to say it’s being worked.

Deciding between the Fenix3 & FR920XT (and the Fenix2):

Fenix3-FR920XT-Comparison

Since the Fenix3 has come out there’s been a lot of questions on whether to get the Fenix3 or the FR920XT.  Additionally, how precisely the Fenix3 differs from the Fenix2.  The key thing to consider is that the Fenix3 is largely built on the same software platform as the FR920XT.  Thus, they share many features.  The Fenix3 should be looked at as a superset of the FR920XT.  So, a FR920XT++.

However, there is one aspect that might sway many people towards the FR920XT: The lack of quick release kit on the Fenix3.  Given it doesn’t have one, for triathletes that’s kinda a big deal.  Additionally, some might find that because of the rectangular nature of the FR920XT screen, it allows the numbers to be a smidgen bigger versus the rounded display that cuts into some of the display area.

Shifting to past changes between the Fenix3 and the Fenix1/2, there’s a host of them – mostly minor, but for some those tiny little differences may be a big thing.  On the flip side, for many, they might not matter.  Do keep in mind that the below chart doesn’t encompass many of the ‘better known’ differences between the models (i.e. weight, sensors types like Di2, etc…).  This is really about capturing a lot of the ‘tiny’ changes between them.

Fenix3 Feature Differences

Functionality/Feature DifferencesGarmin Fenix3Garmin FR920XTGarmin Fenix2Garmin Fenix1
General: Multiple Time Zones Displayed (i.e. showing both US EST and US PST on device)Planned Connect IQ WidgetNoYesYes
General: Multiple Time Alarms (i.e. 8AM, 10AM, etc…)Initially March 2015 - now Summer 2015NoYesYes
General: Battery with Bluetooth enabled lasts a long time (more than ~24-36 hours)YesYesNoNo
General: Ability to operate dual ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart concurrentlyYesYesNoNo
General: Weather Widget (uses cellular data via Bluetooth Smart for weather data)Yesvia Connect IQNoNo
General: GLONASS for increased GPS accuracy in some situationsYesYesNoNo
General: Show exact satellite accuracy (i.e. +/- 15ft)NoNoYesYes
General: Show satellite map (display of satellite positions)NoNoYesYes
General: Daily Activity Tracker/Sleep TrackingYesYesNoNo
General: Resume later functionality (stops GPS activity, allows you to resume activity later)YesNoYes
General: Ability to use device while being chargedYesNoYesYes
General: Auto Light capabilityNoNoYesYes
General: Configurable hot key capabilityYes (added Apr 2015)NoYesYes
Navigation: Ability to display coordinates ('Where am I'/similar function)YesYesYesYes
Navigation: Can save GPS locations on watch for future navigationYesYesYesYes
Navigation: Ability to configure position formats (Datum/Spheroid/Coordinates)YesNoYesYes
Navigation: Numerous Compass Data Fields (Heading/GPS Heading/Compass Heading)YesOnly 'Heading'YesYes
Navigation: Numerous Navigation Data Fields (Dist remaining, Bearing, Course, Off Course, Lat/Long, etc…)YesMinimal FieldsYesYes
Navigation: Has 'Sight 'N Go' functionality (following compass heading)YesNoYesYes
Navigation: Has navigate to Coordinate (entered on device) functionalityYesNoYesYes
Navigation: Can navigate on/following historical activitiesYesNoYesYes
Navigation: Has 'Back to Start' navigationYesYesYesYes
Navigation: Waypoint Average functionalityNoNoYesYes
Navigation: Project Waypoint functionalityNoNoYesYes
Mapping: Can pan/zoom on track mapYesYesYesYes
Mapping: Basemap functionality (basic map loadable)NoNoYesYes
Mapping: Supports Basecamp Mobile smartphone appNoNoYesYes
Hiking: Can one-tap display Altimeter, Barometer, Compass,Temp (no GPS enablement needed)YesNoYesYes
Hiking: Can display barometer valueYesNoYesYes
Tools: Ability to share routes wirelessly between devicesNoNoYesYes
Tools: Calculate distance between two pointsNoNoYesYes
Tools: Area calculation functionalityNoNoYesYes
Tools: Man overboard functionalityNoNoYesYes
Tools: Sun & Moon functionalityPlanned Connect IQ WidgetNoYesYes
Tools: Hunt & Fish functionalityPlanned Connect IQ WidgetNoYesYes
Tools: Jumpmaster functionality (parachuting)NoNoYesYes
Sports: Autoclimb functionalityYesNoNoNo
Sports: Ability for multisport profile with indoor swimYesYesNoNo
Sports: Has quick release kit (for triathlon)NoYesNoNo
Sports: Support for sport-specific heart rate zonesYesYesNoNo
Sports: Support for multiple activity profiles (via multiple saved sensors)YesYesNoNo
Apps: Garmin Connect IQ SupportYesYesNoNo

For the bigger changes, see the below main comparison tables.  The above is like a ‘special edition’ comparison table for just this one post to try and ferret out all the little differences.

Product Comparisons:

If you’re looking for a general (but still detailed) comparison chart between the Fenix3 and other units on the market, check out the product comparison tool.  Below is just a look at the Fenix3, FR920XT, and Fenix2 – but every GPS watch product I’ve reviewed is available to mix and match and create your own comparisons here.

Function/FeatureGarmin Fenix3Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin Forerunner 920XT
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated October 30th, 2016 @ 10:13 pmNew Window
Price$499$399$449
Product Announcement DateJanuary 5th, 2015Feb 20, 2014Oct 1st, 2014
Actual Availability/Shipping DateFebruary 2015March 2014Early Oct 2014
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYes
Data TransferUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFiUSB/Bluetooth SmartUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFi
WaterproofingYes - 100mYes - 50mYes - 50m
Battery Life (GPS)Up to 50hrs in GPS50 HoursUP TO 40HRS IN GPS
Recording Interval1S OR SMART1S to Variable1s or Smart
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerYesYesGreat
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreat
AlertsVibrate/Sound/VisualVibrate/Sound/VisualVibrate/Sound/Visual
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceYesNoYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)YesNoYes
Can control phone musicYesNo
Has music storage and playbackNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Fenix3Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin Forerunner 920XT
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 Fenix3Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin Forerunner 920XT
Designed for cyclingYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableYesYesYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesYesYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFYesYesYes
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceNoNo
RunningGarmin Fenix3Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin Forerunner 920XT
Designed for runningYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYesYes
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)With HRM-TRI or HRM-RUNYesWith HRM-TRI or HRM-RUN
VO2Max EstimationYesYesYes
Race PredictorYesYesYes
Recovery AdvisorYesYesYes
Run/Walk ModeYesYes (Added June 13th, 2014)Yes
SwimmingGarmin Fenix3Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin Forerunner 920XT
Designed for swimmingYesYesYes
Openwater swimming modeYesYesYes
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingYesYesYes
Record HR underwaterWITH HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIMNoWith HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM
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/M18m/20y 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 Fenix3Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin Forerunner 920XT
Designed for triathlonYesYesYes
Multisport modeYesYesYes
WorkoutsGarmin Fenix3Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin Forerunner 920XT
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureYEsYesYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityYesYes (Added June 13th, 2014)Yes
FunctionsGarmin Fenix3Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin Forerunner 920XT
Auto Start/StopYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesYesYes
Virtual Racer FeatureYesNoYes
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)YesNoYes
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataYesYesNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoYesNo
GeocachingVia GPS coordinatesYesNo
Weather Display (live data)YesNoYes
NavigateGarmin Fenix3Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin Forerunner 920XT
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YEsYesYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYesYesYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNo
Back to startYesYesYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitYesYesYes
SensorsGarmin Fenix3Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin Forerunner 920XT
Altimeter TypeBarometricBarometricBarometric
Compass TypeMagneticMagneticMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNoNo
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 ControlNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNo
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 ShiftingComing in updateNoYes
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)YesYesNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)YesYesNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsYesNoYes
SoftwareGarmin Fenix3Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin Forerunner 920XT
PC ApplicationGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/AndroidiOS/Android/Windows Phone
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Fenix3Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin Forerunner 920XT
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Fenix3Garmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEGarmin Forerunner 920XT
Review LinkLinkLinkLink

Again, remember that all products are available in the product comparison tool – so you can mix and match and create your own comparison there.  Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions:

I’ve attempted to consolidate many of the most frequently asked questions I’ve seen about the Fenix3 into the following sections.

When is the Fenix3 going to ship?

Technically it’s been shipping for about a month now.  Though, it’s probably been one of the more bungled Garmin distributions to date, full of miscommunications and misinformation (really, I haven’t seen anything this hosed up in years from the company).  While Garmin is within their previously stated “Q1 2015” range, their shipment of just a single handful of units early February has caused a lot of confusion – even within Garmin.  Unfortunately, their move has only led to disappointed consumers.  Hopefully things will get sorted out in the next few weeks with larger volumes.

Should I get the Fenix3 or FR920XT?

See the above section on that, but I think for most it’ll come down to whether you care about some of the additional navigation features, the quick release kit, and the slight differences in weight and screen sizes.

Will Garmin start selling a Fenix3 quick release kit?

I don’t know.  I think I’ve made it really clear that it’s silly they don’t – just seems like lost money left on the table for them.

These are great units, but do keep in mind there are some limitations using optical sensors with certain features of the Fenix3 (along with other Garmin/Suunto/Polar units).  These features such as recovery time, VO2Max, and to a limited degree calories – depend on accurate heart rate variability information.  With today’s technology, that transmission is often quite estimated.  See a bit more detail in my sensors section.

Does the HRM-RUN transmit pace too?

No, it does not.  Only Vertical Oscillation, Ground Contact Time, and Cadence.  The watch also calculates cadence internally.  See my HRM-RUN post for full details on the HRM-RUN strap.

Can the Fenix3 read your heart rate underwater?

No, it cannot.  No ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart strap is capable of transmitting through water.  In the case of the Suunto Ambit3, they use a cache and forward technique where it saves the data while swimming and sync’s it afterwards.  In the case of Polar and the V800 they use a legacy analog signal to transmit the data underwater.

What about the Garmin Epix, how does the Fenix3 compare to that?

Honestly, it’s too soon to know.  With the Epix seemingly on a path for an April (or even later) release, there’s just too much that’s not finalized at this point.  Ultimately the biggest difference will be that the Epix obviously supports mapping, but beyond that it remains unclear how many other differences there may be.  See my previous preview for the latest news there.

Summary:

Fenix3-Sapphire-Fenix3-Grey

For the multisport crowd who’s been looking for Garmin to come out with a multisport sport watch that’s as elegant as more classical time pieces, the Fenix3 definitely delivers there.  For the outdoor/hiking crowd, there’s been some changes from the Fenix1/2 that some won’t quite like (such as lack of basemap). Yet, there are certainly features that same crowd will be quite happy about.  So, it’s really going to be a personal preference.

When it comes to stability and functionality, given the Fenix3’s foundation of the FR920XT (which is widely seen as quite stable and solid), the watch continues in that vein.  I simply haven’t had  any major issues (and barely any minor issues) on the final production firmware.  The single biggest issue I have has nothing to do with firmware, but just really the lack of quick release kit for cycling.

When it comes to looking at other units on the market, it’s going to be incredibly tough for any other multisport or hiking GPS to compete with the Fenix3.  Feature by feature, nobody is really in the same ballpark these days.  Some are closer in certain areas (such as the Ambit3 in the multisport realm), but with Garmin Connect IQ, that gap is going to start widening very quickly tomorrow with the release of Apps & Widgets.

At this point I’ve got no issues recommending the Fenix3.  For myself personally, I’ll likely stick with the FR920XT however for most swim/bike/run ventures, purely because of the slightly thinner profile and ability to use the quick release kit.  However, should I go hiking or skiing – I’m likely to grab the Fenix3 out of the bin instead.

Thanks for reading!

Found this review useful? Or just want a good deal? Here’s how:

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

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased.  By joining the Clever Training VIP Program, you will earn 10% points on this item and 10% off (instantly) on thousands of other fitness products and accessories.  Points can be used on your very next purchase at Clever Training for anything site-wide.  You can read more about the details here.  By joining, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers.  And, since this item is more than $75, you get free 3-day (or less) US shipping as well.

Garmin Fenix3 (with or without HRM-RUN bundle) – select dropdown for different editions

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the Fenix3 or accessories (though, no discount). Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells). If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.

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

AccessoryManufacturerStreet PriceAmazon LinkClever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programClever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programB&H Photo LinkMore Info
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated May 26th, 2016 @ 5:53 pm
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1Garmin$37.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2Garmin$69.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3Garmin$50LinkLinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (with Running Dynamics) - HRM-RunGarmin$99.00LinkLinkLinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)Garmin$28.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)Garmin$45LinkLinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (GSC-10)Garmin$35.00LinkLinkLink
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)Garmin$10.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin Cadence-Only ANT+ Sensor (magnet-less)Garmin$39LinkLinkLink
Garmin Solar Charging KitGarmin$71.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin Speed & Cadence ANT+ Sensor bundle (magnet-less)Garmin$69LinkLinkLink
Garmin Speed-Only ANT+ Sensor (magnet-less)Garmin$39LinkLinkLink
Garmin Tempe External ANT+ Temperature SensorGarmin$29.00LinkLinkLink
Garmin VectorGarmin$1499LinkLinkLinkLink
Garmin/PowerMonkey Explorer Solar Charger (co-branded)Garmin/PowerMonkey$89LinkLinkN/A
Timex ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap)Timex$48.00LinkLinkN/A
Timex ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)Timex$51.00LinkN/ALink
Timex ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling SensorTimex$50.00LinkLinkLink
Timex Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)Timex$9.00LinkN/AN/A
Wahoo Blue SCv2 - Bluetooth Smart/ANT+ Speed/Cadence SensorWahoo Fitness$59LinkLinkN/A
Wahoo Fitness RPM2 (Bluetooth Smart/ANT+ Cadence Sensor)Wahoo Fitness$49LinkLinkN/A

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.

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3,122 Comments

  1. Joey

    Looks like a Garmin employee leaked this out to early for CES. Fenix 3 with optical HR sensor.
    It’s from the Fenix 3 forum run by Garmin

    link to newsroom.garmin.com

  2. Joey D

    MEDIA CONTACT:
    Maddie Estrada
    Garmin International Inc.
    Phone | 913/397-8200
    E-Mail | media.relations@garmin.com
    Garmin® introduces three new fēnix® 3 Sapphire multisport watches featuring wrist heart rate, new activity profiles and more band options
    OLATHE, Kan. /January 5, 2016/Business Wire — Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), today announced an update to the fēnix 3 multisport watches that includes Garmin Elevate wrist-based heart rate technology, additional activity profiles and new, stylish watch bands. The three new sapphire-lens options include a premium version featuring a titanium bezel and band, a version with easily interchangeable leather and nylon straps, and a version touting Garmin Elevate wrist-based heart rate. All watches are also getting a software update with new activity profiles for golf, stand up paddleboarding and rowing, as well as the latest advanced running dynamics and physiological measurements. This free update will be available to all current fēnix 3 owners, so all fēnix 3 users can download the new profiles. These watches are being announced in conjunction with the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and will be showcased at the Garmin booth, #35811.
    “As one of our most popular watches, we’re thrilled to offer new fēnix 3 devices to consumers,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. “We’re excited to bring Garmin Elevate technology to the fēnix line, and the updated leather and titanium versions will appeal to users no matter if they’re hitting the trails, the boardroom, and now even the golf course.”
    Boasting a full multisport and navigational toolset, fēnix 3 is also stylish enough to go from the trail to the office. The new genuine leather and nylon bands are easily interchangeable with no additional tools required, making switching back and forth a breeze. The premium titanium bezel and band looks sharp while also reducing weight and improving durability.
    Now featuring Garmin Elevate wrist-based heart rate technology, fēnix 3 HR users now have the freedom to measure heart rate 24/7 at the wrist. Fēnix 3 HR users can get credit for their workouts and extra effort with the Intensity Minutes. By tracking daily Intensity Minutes, users can monitor their progress against weekly aerobic activity goals recommended by leading health organizations like he American Heart Association, World Health Organization, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Depending on settings, fēnix 3 HR can get up to 40 hours of battery life in UltraTrac mode, 16 hours in GPS training mode, 3 weeks in watch mode and 2 weeks in smartwatch mode.
    Building off the previous version of advanced running dynamics like cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time; fēnix 3 users will be able to utilize more data and physiological measurements1. The new metrics include:
    • Stride Length: Measures the length of a runner’s stride in real time.
    • Ground Contact Time Balance: Measures a runner’s ground contact symmetry, which some
    runners have found to correlate with injuries or strength imbalances.
    • Vertical Ratio: The cost-benefit ratio of vertical oscillation to stride length, serving as one indictor
    of a runner’s efficiency.
    • Lactate Threshold: Estimates the level of effort at which fatigue rapidly increases in terms of a
    runner’s heart rate and pace.
    • Stress Score: Measures heart rate variability to make an assessment of a user’s overall level of
    stress.
    • Performance Condition: Provides a real-time fitness-level measurement relative to a runner’s
    average baseline, which indicates performance readiness for the day’s workout or race.
    All current fēnix 3 owners will have access to a software update that will include the updated advanced running dynamics, as well as new activity profiles for golf, SUP and rowing. With the recently updated

    Garmin Connect mobile app, users can download more than 40,000 worldwide golf courses for precise course data and use their watch as a digital scorecard. With the new SUP/Rowing mode, users can measure their paddle stroke count, stroke rate and distance per stroke to gauge their efficiency. The fēnix 3 software update will come preloaded on new units and will is available for current users to download now.
    The new fēnix 3 models will still be compatible with the Connect IQ platform for endless customization options. Through the Connect IQ store in the Garmin Connect mobile app, users can download any of the free apps, widgets, watch faces or data fields so their fēnix 3 can suit their individual needs.
    The new fēnix 3 Sapphire watches will be available in Q1 2015. The fēnix 3 HR will have a suggested retail price of $599.99, the titanium fēnix 3 Sapphire will have a suggested retail price for $799.99, and the fēnix 3 Sapphire with leather and nylon bands will have a suggested retail price of $599.99.
    Fēnix 3 is the latest solution from Garmin’s expanding outdoor segment, which focuses on developing technologies and innovations to enhance users’ outdoor experiences. Whether hiking, hunting, geocaching, golfing, dog training, or capturing it all on VIRB action cameras, Garmin outdoor devices are becoming essential tools for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. For more information about Garmin’s other outdoor products and services, go to
    link to garmin.com, http://www.garmin.blogs.com and link to twitter.com.
    For decades, Garmin has pioneered new GPS navigation and wireless devices and applications that are designed for people who live an active lifestyle. Garmin serves five primary business units, including automotive, aviation, fitness, marine, and outdoor recreation. For more information, visit Garmin’s virtual pressroom at garmin.com/newsroom, contact the Media Relations department at 913-397-8200, or follow us at facebook.com/garmin, twitter.com/garmin, or youtube.com/garmin.
    1 HRM-Run or HRM-Tri is required to get Stride Length, Ground Contact Time Balance and Vertical Ratio. A chest-strap HR monitor is required to get Lactate Threshold, Stress Score, and Performance Condition.
    About Garmin
    Garmin International Inc. is a subsidiary of Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRMN). Garmin Ltd. is incorporated in Switzerland, and its principal subsidiaries are located in the United States, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Garmin, Forerunner and fēnix are registered trademarks of Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries.
    All other brands, product names, company names, trademarks and service marks are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.
    Notice on Forward-Looking Statements:
    This release includes forward-looking statements regarding Garmin Ltd. and its business. Such statements are based on management’s current expectations. The forward-looking events and circumstances discussed in this release may not occur and actual results could differ materially as a result of known and unknown risk factors and uncertainties affecting Garmin, including, but not limited to, the risk factors listed in the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 27, 2014, filed by Garmin with the Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission file number 0-31983). A copy of such Form 10-K is available at link to garmin.com. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. Forward- looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made and Garmin undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

  3. Hide

    With the fenix storing ant+ devices in a pool and no longer offering ‘bike profiles’ is there any way to set two different ftp values – one for tri bike and one for road bike. My road position ftp is noticeably higher.
    Thank you for the great site.

  4. Somu

    Ray,

    Any update on when are they releasing new software update for Fenix 3 Supphire?

  5. Hidé

    With the new update did they move how to activate ‘sleep’ mode. When I press ‘start’ now at the steps page it gives me the weeks summary of my steps and not give me the option of turning on sleep. Thanks

    • Tony

      My guess for why this got moved is due to the ‘auto’detect for sleep mode if you have a sleep schedule set in the app. Which doesn’t capture naps or anything like that. I haven’t played with the new update, but did they add an option under the hot keys for sleep mode?

  6. Albert

    Dear DC,

    I follow your reviews for some years now and love the details and tips. Currently I use the Forerunner 620 but I look foreward to a watch without a HR-strap.
    The Fenix 3 HR seems to be the solution. I look forward to your review. Can you give me any idea when you’re going to put this watch to the test?
    Thanks for your reply.
    Albert.

  7. Rob

    I’am a road/trail runner (might start with a short triatlon) and using a Forerunner 310xt for a coupe of years… It is getting a bit old now and the strap needs to be replaced… But overall i’am very happy with the device. And from a technical standpoint I can use it for sure for another year.

    On papier the Fenix 3 HR is my ideal device… But have the impression that HR on the wrist technology (by garmin) is not mature enough yet… So save bet would to wait for the Fenix 4 HR e.g. next year.

    … Or spend the money now on a normal Fenix 3 with band and see what the future brings.

    So what would the advise of you guys/girls would be:

    – stick with 310xt for now
    – buy Fenix 3 with band
    – buy Fenix 3 HR without de band
    – wait for next gen Fenix 4 / Fenix 4 HR; which might also be in general a bit better/more stabel the the current Fenix 3

    Like to hear any thoughts!

  8. Arianna Russo

    Hey Ray,

    Was looking to purchase the Fenix 3 on Clever Training with the 10% discount but it is not working. Is there any other code I could use for that?

    Thanks,

  9. Just updated my Garmin Fenix 3 Set up Post to reflect the updates in the latest firmware: link to alananna.co.uk

    Loving my Fenix 3 more each day!

  10. Scaps

    Does the fenix 3 allow you to calibrate a power meter with a zero reset. I can’t find anything in the online manuals.
    I use the Stages power meter.

  11. Kristi Howard

    Hi-
    Just purchased the Fenix and still getting it set up. I just updated the software to the latest 6.50 version. However, even after the update, the new activities, such as rowing, still aren’t appearing under my avail activities to choose from. Any tips??

  12. Johan

    Hi Ray,
    Does adding your workouts from GC to the Fenix3 take up your free space on the device? How is this handled by the device and is it ever cleared (after like 2months) like rolling on a certain period of time when it overwrites your old workouts so you dont run out of space? If not how do I clear the calendar myself without having to completely reset the watch. I assume this will bring it back to the ‘out the box’ state.

  13. Frank Famularo

    Pleased with all the features.. Used to have Garmin Fenix , Garmin 110, Garmin 620 and Suunto ambit 2. Sold them all and only use this now…

    Great review Ray.. Long time fan..

    It be good if their are more stock and index widgits that support stocks outside usa

  14. Erica

    Hi Ray,

    I’m wondering if you can comment on how the Garmin watches determine calories burned while swimming. At the moment I don’t have a watch that supports swimming (I use the FR220 for running), so I’m adding activities manually in Garmin connect, which wants time and distance. I’ve noticed that GC figures calories burned proportional to time — distance apparently doesn’t matter, which seems wrong. Example: I create a manual activity and select lap swimming. I enter a distance of 1000 meters. If I enter a time of 30 minutes, GC tells me I’ve burned 365 calories, and if I change the time to 25 minutes, I’ve apparently burned 304 calories, even though the distance is the same (and I’m swimming harder). Do the numbers you get when you use the watch for lap swimming make more sense than this? What about other swimming watches?

    • Hi Erica

      Maybe Ray can add to this but here is my knowledge of calories calculations based on my time a few years ago working for a software developer who wrote diet and calories diary.

      Forget ever getting accurate figures for calories calculations it just is not possible and here’s why.

      There is a list of activities and their calorie count which was produced by some university the name of which escapes me but basically nearly everybody uses it to calculate calories. The problem is, from memory, only 13 categories for something like swimming. So it looks like Garmin are using that same list but it (again from memory) is divided by stroke and pool -v- outdoor swimming so there really isn’t likely to be a change in the calculations based on anything other than time.

      Now my area, running, has the same issue. Imagine me running for 30 mins at 6mph on a nice flat tarmac road cannot possibly be the same calorific expenditure as doing the same time through muddy fields in the wet and undulating but I suspect Garmin and every other site would classify them the same.

      In conclusion use calories as a VERY rough estimate as the science is very immature and inaccurate.

    • Erica

      Thanks, depicus.

      I do understand that whatever I get through GC is going to be a rough estimate, given any number of things that can vary. I wish the swimming estimate made a bit more intuitive sense though, like the rule of thumb I always hear for running (~100 cal per mile). The distance-based rule of thumb for running makes sense to me because although there will be variation based on the conditions of any given run, I’m still hauling my mass for a given distance, so 100 cal/mile should be in the ballpark. I would think that distance would be more relevant than time for swimming as well. Now I’m going to have to look for that study :)

  15. Josh

    Ray, after being less than pleased with the OHRM in the 235, I reverted back to my rock solid ambit 3 sport/rhythm + combo. I still find instant pace (fused speed) to be accurate when comparing to lap paces and also quite stable during runs. I was also an early adopter of the fenix 3 but eventually decided not to stick with it due to inaccuracies. With so many software updates since then, I have an F3 hr on order with the hopes the larger size will result in a more accurate OHRM experience, knowing full well I may need to go with the chest strap or rhythm + for intervals or even regular runs. Despite the 2-5 devices at any given time on your person, do you still consider the F3 as your go to device and do you anticipate that changing with the many new devices recently announced?

    • It’s hard to say still, it’ll depend on whether or not Garmin can work out some of the minor kinks with the optical HR in the Fenix3 that I saw in the FR235.

    • Josh

      Please allow me to narrow in my question a bit better…if you could have one watch today as it sits with current software/firmware/hardware, one only, would it be 920 or F3 (HR vs regular is irrelevant). BTW, sorry to read of the inability to increase the lease. Hopefully the cupcake biz can succeed via the internet for you guys.

    • Tommays56

      I own the 920 and F3 and the F3 wins hands down in so many ways with stability being key as the 920 updates have come at the cost of stability as it y never crashed 6 months ago

      1765 (Forerunner 920XT) SW ver: 610
      Build Type: RELEASE
      ESN: 3899710312
      Battery Voltage: 4.148000V
      12/23/15 17:56:23
      RTL
      errnum: 0x000
      r0: 0x00000000
      r1: 0x20004018
      r2: 0x20003AA8
      r3: 0x0008B0CA
      Return Address (LR): 0x0010E171:Call Stack – PSP at 0x20003AD0:
      0x0008B0BD
      0x0008B6FB
      0x0008942F
      0x0008D979
      0x001619DF
      0x0008AFAB
      0x000C7EF1
      0x000274A7
      0x0000FFFF
      0x0008D80D
      0x0008E20F
      0x000C8CA1
      0x00060001
      0x0004371B
      0x000EFF2F
      0x0010CA95
      0x001473D5
      0x00060001
      0x0004371B
      0x0000FFFF
      HWM_usb_connected = 0x00. HWM_usb_mode = 0x01.
      page addr = 0x0006BC31
      Uptime: 876149545

      1765 (Forerunner 920XT) SW ver: 610
      Build Type: RELEASE
      ESN: 3899710312
      Battery Voltage: 4.146000V
      12/23/15 22:56:46
      RTL
      errnum: 0x000
      r0: 0x00000000
      r1: 0x20004018
      r2: 0x200034E8
      r3: 0x000EA81C
      Return Address (LR): 0x0010E171:Call Stack – PSP at 0x20003510:
      0x000C8CA1
      0x000EAC51
      0x000EB2F3
      0x000EB77D
      0x00003007
      0x000EDD43
      0x00003007
      0x000EDD89
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      0x0014751F
      0x0008BA7B
      0x000EB2C7
      0x000EB8D9
      0x000ED6B9
      HWM_usb_connected = 0x00. HWM_usb_mode = 0x01.
      Uptime: 17680

      1765 (Forerunner 920XT) SW ver: 620
      Build Type: RELEASE
      ESN: 3899710312
      Battery Voltage: 4.125000V
      01/17/16 13:27:53
      UF
      PC: 0x00000000
      LR: 0x00039CD9
      SP: 0x1FFF9290
      CFSR: 0x00020000
      Return Address (LR): 0x0011039D:Call Stack – PSP at 0x1FFF9270:
      0x00039CD9
      0x0003A1CB
      0x000F0DD5
      0x0013D9EB
      0x00023609
      0x0007E185
      0x0007E185
      0x000611C1
      0x00039CD9
      0x00071C51
      0x000C9A39
      0x00071C51
      0x000C9A39
      0x00071C51
      0x000C9A39
      0x00071C51
      0x000C9A39
      0x00082055
      0x000C97AF
      0x0008239B
      HWM_usb_connected = 0x00. HWM_usb_mode = 0x01.
      page addr = 0x00060FE1
      page addr = 0x00064E2D
      page addr = 0x000611C1
      Uptime: 932699984

      At least it documents its crashes which it did again today looking at and old activity

      Then there are real things like compleat navigation on the F3 vs crippled 920 navagition

      I don’t understand why but the F3 has much better battery life and charge on the go

      It really is there flagship watch and continues to get all the good updates and effort at evolving the watch

    • Norm Goody

      I own both as well. except I owned the F3 first and finally had to buy the 920 b/c the F3 was worthless for OWS. I agree, in every other way, I prefer the F3. As a “smart watch” the 920 is almost worthless. For “apps” the F3 also wins. I even prefer the ergonomics of the buttons on the F3 much better.

      However, after dozens and dozens of open water swims with consistently missing data I finally had to give up and buy the 920 which has performed flawlessly in many, many OWS’s (except perhaps once or twice) and pool workouts.

      The 920 is also lighter and more streamlined which is better for workouts//

      I re-installed the metal band on the F3 and it is a great looking work/dress smartwatch. And with the metal band, it is so heavy that, in a pinch, it could probably be used as a weapon for self defense.

      I would definitely say that, in the end, having “both watches/options” is expensive but worthwhile IF you can and are willing to do that. If OWS are not a big issue for you (or and smart watch features are), then I would absolutely go with the F3. I love mine. But the 920 is SO much better than the 910 as a sports watch.

  16. Orlando

    HI Ray,

    Do you consider that it worths waiting for the Fenix 3 OHR to be available, or should i advance and buy the Fénix 3 Saphire or non-Saphire edition already available?
    From the review that you’ve made to FR235 and small review of Fénix3 OHR, i assume that this kind of technology, optical heart rate, will never reach a point that would replace the HR chest strap.
    What is your opinion on this?

    If i buy the non-saphire version it will costs me 409 euros, which is a discount price currently. I already have a heart rate chest strap from my FR210, so i believe that will work with Fénix 3 right? Besides that, i also read your review regarding the HRM-Run, and that the additional metrics measured are basically useless right?

    Looking forward for your comments.
    Best Regards,
    Orlando

    • I don’t know at this stage whether the F3 HR will be worth it. I know folks really want an opinion there, but ultimately I can’t deliver that opinion until I’ve had numerous workouts of varying intensities on the unit (a production unit) to determine that.

      Any swags now, are just swags. Garmin got a reasonably good distance of the way there with the FR235, but it’s not perfect. The Fenix3 would be using that as a starting point for optical HR, but it doesn’t mean it will be better (or it could somehow be worse). It’s just too early.

    • Orlando

      I understand your point. I really appreciated your effort in giving me an answer.

      I believe i will stay with the HR chest strap and buy the Fénix 3 without OHR. Anyway, here where i am, in Portugal, it means saving something like 200 euros, which is a lot.

      Best Regards,
      Orlando

    • Rob

      Same thoughts here… Can buy the Fenix 3 performer bundle for 429,- euro, the Fenix 3 HR will be 599,- euro; where I might still want/need to buy a separate HR strap to get the extra running dynamics.

      So is it the extra money for the oHR good value… Do not realy care for the Saphire screen.

  17. Cyclingfool

    Has anyone had any issues with HR dropping out after the 6.5 update? it’s worse via indoor runs than indoor cycling. I have changed out battery and cleaned HRM strap per Garmins care instructions and it appears to be working correctly. I used Zwift and watch at same time and drop outs were not in Zwift data but were from watch upload so this should rule out any strap issues? I also have lost some of the running dynamics: vertical ration and ground contact time balance. No data there at all

    • I have a Mio and wear that round my ankle for indoor cycling with Zwift and not having an issue with heart rate.

    • Cyclingfool

      I have not had any issues till after 6.5 upgrade and like i said…riding zwift and downloads from Zwift uploaded data has no HR issues via Ant+. When I also upload same workout from F3, there are drop outs. I would assume from this that watch and zwift are reading same HR strap over ant+ and watch is losing connection to ant signal. Ray….right at the edge of year warranty…any suggestions? open a ticket with Garmin support?

    • It’s hard to say. ANT+ signal dropouts can be caused by a sensor running out of battery (most common), reducing signal quality/range, or by placement of something else (body/wifi/etc…). I wish I had a good idea there, but it’s gonna be tough to know.

    • Cyclingfool

      Ray,
      I did a little looking around and fixed the running dynamics as the 6.5 upgrade apparently turned those features off. I also found that 6.5 has a firmware update for the HRM strap unit and applied the firmware update via the watch to the strap and it appears to work better now, but still having drop out issues with the watch but not when connecting to ant+ connector in laptop that is farther away than the watch from strap while using zwift or trainer road. I looked back and in GC I have always seen the pretty picture of hte F3 in the bottom right of activities at all versions till 6.5. Now it shows up with the generic shadow of a wrist gps watch and the name of the watch is rubber ducky now and not Fenix3. Has anyone had any issues with this same thing? I think either something has happened to my watch or the upgrade didn’t go as well as I thought. Is there a way to re-apply the upgrade or do you have an idea when the next update is coming out?

      Example Prior to 6.5: link to connect.garmin.com
      After 6.5 Prior to strap firmware updates> link to connect.garmin.com
      After strap update> link to connect.garmin.com

  18. Rob

    Garmin is pretty buzy with Fenix 3 formfactor models…. now a Quatrix 3 marine.

    link to garmin.blogs.com

  19. Michael L.

    A question for all of you Fenix 3 experts. When I am on a run I get a screen that looks like a steam gauge that says “Baseline +1 or Baseline +3” etc. What is that measuring and trying to tell me?

    Thanks.

    • Timster

      I know I did a run while i was fighting a cold. It was horrible and my watch said factor -4.
      Then I had a somewhat good run and it showed +1.

      I suppose it means how well you run according to your potential, based on VO2max

    • aqd4349

      I have FW 6.5 on my F3 and I do not get any recovery advisor nor performance condition metric. How do one enable it to come up like the recovery advisor used to?

    • Michael L.

      I have 6.5 as well. Recovery and V02max are turned on in settings.

    • Ted D

      It is documented in the 630 manual – Performance condition. “analyzes your pace, heart rate, and heart rate variability to make a real-time assessment of your ability to perform compared to to your average fitness level”

    • Michael L.

      Thanks. I thought it was something like that. I used a 620 for the last year and a half so when I switched to the Fenix 3 my V02Max went down 4 points. I generally get anywhere from a +1 to a +3 so maybe it will go back up in time.

    • Michael L.

      Thanks. I’ll look at that in the 630 manual.

    • Michael L.

      I told you wrong below. Go to My Stats, it and the V02Max are under that to turn on. Sorry about the mistake earlier.

    • aqd4349

      Could you share the link where to go get the 6.30 manual for F3? I looked in the Garmin support website and the most recent manual they have is dated March 2015 and has no mention of the performance condition metric.

    • Michael L.

      Here is a video on it I found after the discussion

      link to youtube.com

    • aqd4349

      Thank you!

    • aqd4349

      Does the performance condition only works when running outdoors? I just did a 7 mile treadmill run and the PC never showed up (like the old recovery notification used to do). I also added a datafield with the PC to one of the the screens on my “Run indoors” app. The datafield did show the title “Performance Cond” but the screen was blank for the duration of the run.

    • Michael L.

      You are correct, it does not work on a treadmill run. I tried it this weekend and it did not register. It did register this morning on my outside run.

  20. As multi-functional as the Fenix 3 is, there is one outdoor activity it doesn’t really cater for – geocaching. Let me explain why I feel let down.

    In spite of its useful navigation features, I am unable to input and store a series of cache locations prior to setting out on the geocaching path. I can only navigate to saved locations of places I have already been to or to one set of coordinates I enter while on the trail.

    If anyone knows how I can pre-store locations on a Fenix 3, please advise.

  21. vinod

    Planning to buy fenix 3 and will be swimming in 15 Mtr will I be able to get correct data. As it says minimum as 17Mtrs.

    • It’ll likely be off. I think a few folks have done it, but I’m not sure about longer tests in terms of accuracy in that.

    • vinod

      Thanks for your reply “It’ll likely be off”, Is it yes or no. Sorry as did not get that.

    • You can’t set below 17m, so out of the gate your distances will be off (since the lowest you can configure is 17m). Since your distances are off, then your paces will be off (because pace is simply a function of distance and time).

      So, things will be off, but what’s not so much the question. The real question is knowing that, how well it’ll track in a 15m pool vs a 17m pool. Garmin has put in the limitation not because they have some fetish hatred of small pools, but because they’ve found they can’t get good accuracy there. Typically this is because with accelerometer based swim devices, there is an element of validation/checking that occurs as you swim away from the wall. So with a shorter pool, that validation period is reduced.

      For some people, and some speeds – it’ll probably be fine. But for others, it might stumble. There really isn’t a way to predict based it’s often highly dependent on your swim style.

  22. Lauren R

    I have the Garmin 210 and 910, having many issues downloading data. My computer nor phone will recognize either hr device. So I was looking at buying the fenix 3 HR or the ambit peak 3 HR. I found the fenix 3 for $499 and the ambit peak 3 HR for $330. The reviews were very detailed but now I’m more confused about the best way to go. I am an ultra runner, primarily doing trail 50k, 50M and 100M. I got into TDS and want a solid training watch. Suggestions? Thank you so much

  23. Greg

    Ray, thanks for the great review (as usual). I have a quick question regarding the Fenix 3 in “Run” mode. It is possible, with a 5km training program to program a “beep/vibration” at the half way point ?

    Regards.

  24. drm

    First of all thanks for the great reviews. Altough the in-depth review covers lots of details, I cannot find anything about one feature I am missing with the Fenix 2 and know that it is available with the 920xt: configurable lap screens. Is it possible to configure, what is shown when hitting the lap button (particularly in run and swim modes)?
    Thanks a lot.

    • Alex

      Yes, you can (Ray mentions it on the running section).

      For example, I am currently using autolap every 1km.
      After starting the Run app, if I choose setting / current app/ alerts / autolap / Lap alert, I find to fields (Primary and Secondary Field) that I can change to my liking.
      I guess the procedure would be the same for any other alert.

    • Alex

      Yes, you can (Ray mentions it on the running section).

      For example, I am currently using autolap every 1km.
      After starting the Run app, if I choose setting / current app/ alerts / autolap / Lap alert, I find TWO fields (Primary and Secondary Field) that I can change to my liking.
      I guess the procedure would be the same for any other alert.

      (typo corrected)

    • drm

      great, thanks … must have somehow missed it scrolling through the review again. I guess, I only focussed on the Data Fields Section. If someone could confirm this for swimming as well, it would be awesome (as the swimming activity handles lap/pause differently). I know that there is a view for the rest timer, but is this also configurable?

  25. Michael L.

    GPS Accuracy question. I got my Fenix3 for Christmas so I have had it for about a month. I replaced a 620 which I found to be very accurate and consistent with its GPS. When I first got the Fenix3 it seemed to be just as accurate and I was pleased. A couple of weeks ago it started measuring short and was progressively getting worse run by run. It seemed like it was especially bad at the first of a run saying the first mile might be as much as 10% slower than runkeeper and finally over a 10 mile run being about 5% short. My 620 was always within 1% of runkeeper and most of the time it measured shorter. I GPS soaked the Fenix3 and it seems to have gotten back on track of measuring the same route about where the 620 did. My questions are
    1. Has anyone else experienced this?
    2. If so, how often have you GPS soaked to keep it accurate? I only did the 620 when I had a software change.

    Thanks.

  26. Rodney

    I was comparing the Sapphire to the regular Fenix 3 on the Garmin site and they list feature differences. Is that the case or are they basically the same except the glass?

  27. Bob Cooper

    I use my Fenix 3 to keep track of my ski runs. I use a spreadsheet to keep track of my season’s total. As of yesterday I was at 1,013,494 feet. Is there a way the fenix can keep track of season’s data. Thanks

  28. Ian

    Ray,

    Having a Fenix 3 now for the a month and having a rough time using it on my run and getting to show accurate pace and mileage, I think it would be fair for you to post that their are over 200 pages on the Garmin Forum raising questions to how well the Fenix actually performs:
    link to forums.garmin.com

    Absolutely realize all GPS are a bit all over the place but there seems to be even more evidence to show that the F3 is an outlier in terms of reliability compared to its cohorts. I realize you dont want to upset Garmin too much for obvious reasons but a report showing performance across the GPS offering range I think would be really good for your audience and would have been great to know before I bought this watch.

    Thank you,
    ian

    • tommays56

      My F3 is relatively new and Its comparable to my 920XT when used side by side the problem is we have no idea what hardware changes have happened as production evolved and what was defective enough that Garmin had to exchange the units

    • cv

      No need to make up reasons (like defective watches) for why people are finding poor GPS accuracy on the Fenix 3. http://fellrnr.com has already provided excellent data as to why. The 920xt has “middling” accuracy, and the Fenix 3 and Epix are a notch below, “poor” and “crappy” being used to describe them.

    • Adam R

      The issue is overblown. In my experience, the GPS accuracy improved significantly with an update a few months ago. Sure, it is not as good as the Ambit3 (which I also have), but I use the Fenix3 almost exclusively because GPS is good enough and the other features are generally superior. (Although, I do miss a couple of custom apps I had created for my Ambit3.) I do notice that the Fenix3 loses the track under bridges much worse than the Ambit3.

      The biggest issue with the Fenix3 is not GPS accuracy, it is instant pace – that is rubbish if you do not use a footpod. It averages over far too long a time (perhaps it needs to do so to smooth rough GPS points). Footpod solves that problem, and calibrating it (manually) is a piece of cake. Ambit3 has excellent instant pace without a foodpod due to its FusedSpeed feature.

    • I agree, I think the issue is overblown as well, especially these days.

      I think it’s also a case of when you have somewhere between 250,000-500,000 Fenix3 units in the wild, then people are just going to see stuff (just like any product). So even if one out of 100 people have a bad unit/track/whatever, that’s still 250-500 complaints. Simply scale at work here.

      So when Suunto goes and ships perhaps a few tens of thousands of units (at best), you’re going to see less stuff (but still see stuff, as Tommays56 shows below).

      Despite what the forums would have you believe (and keep in mind, only people with issues go to forums), for the channels I see, the return rates are incredibly low. It’s a metric I often look at to see if there are larger trending issues beyond just random forum data points.

      Just my two cents…

    • cv

      The fact that many on the garmin forum have had their watches replaced by customer support as “defective” and STILL have issues with the new watches received belies your two cents. Some have had 3 and 4 different watches, one no better than the last. The Fenix 3 GPS accuracy is “good enough” for many uses, but it CLEARLY suffers in certain situations as compared to the more accurate watches, like walking, woods with switchbacks, and around buildings, anything more than a couple of stories.

  29. Tommays56

    Well

    My Ambit 3 was quite challenged to keep a fix and Suunto was not able to resolve it

  30. Josh

    Question for Ray and serious runners: instant pace on my F3 stinks, lap pace is fine. I am just switching over from an Ambit 3 and would appreciate opinions on which would be best:
    Going to a footpod, but then I need to be concerned with proper calibration
    Using Lap pace
    Using avg pace

    Thank you in advance for the feedback.

    • Adam R

      Go with the footpod. Pace accuracy is much improved, and much easier to use than lap pace. Calibration is easy and only needed very occasionally. I generally find footpod accuracy to be very good even out of the box with no calibration but YMMV.

    • Ian

      Thank you, Garmin just recommended the pod as well. So clearly they recognize it and this is the way I will go but WOW and bummer, the Ambit 2 was so much easier and accurate then all of these band-aids. But Garmin’s F3 over all make/look and notifications are better….market is still open for a category killer clearly.

    • Josh

      So strap the pod to my shoe, pair it, and go? I have one but haven’t really used it before.

    • cv

      Yep, it’s that simple. I just received the Garmin footpod for my Fenix 3 today. Straight out of the box, uncalibrated, I find it matches up very closely with the distance and current pace reported by the treadmill. Another benefit of the footpod that I didn’t expect was accurate cadence numbers, as compared to using the watch alone.

    • echarlus

      I dot not find it that simple. My experience with two foot pods (garmin rc4) is the following:
      When you calibrate it, it will then display correct pace for the speed at which you calibrated it, if you vary your running speed then the pace will be incorrect.
      For example, I’ve calibrated by running 5km at 4’06″/km, when I run at 4’02″/km it show 3’59”, when I run at 3’30” it shows 3’21” and when I run at 4’55” it shows 5’10” …
      So basically you need to constantly re-compute the pace displayed on the watch by guessing how much you need to add or subtract to get the correct speed … This is really a pain and makes the device hard to use…
      As far I can tell I’m not the only one seeing this, other people have reported the same on the garmin forums…

    • tommays56

      I go for a calibration factor that gives me 5 miles on a hilly 5 mile trail loop

      While its a bit off when your short stepping steep descents it is about the best solution I have found to get good pace the greatest amount of time

    • ian

      Ok now what? Garmin is willing to exchange the watch for me (nice to see this level of support and its barely 4 weeks old) is it worth trying a new unit? i.e. this problem with live running pace might be solved unit to unit or is the group think here it is only solved with a foot pod? Thanks

    • Adam R

      That is odd. It is not based on stride length (at least not alone), so very small pace differences like you mention should still be very accurate. The calibration, as I understand it, is to take account of movement patterns that could confuse the accelerometer. For example, if you move your foot in a slight arc, rather than straight through. Those movement patterns can change at different speeds, but should not be changing for the few seconds per km pace differences you are talking about. I can (sort-of) imagine a variation between the fastest and slowest paces.

      For me, I have found a footpod with my Fenix3 is at least as accurate as GPS for paces from 5:00/km to 6:30/km. Previously, using an Ambit2 with the same footpod, I have also found that accuracy to work down to 4:10/km.

    • echarlus

      I’ve made another test on a track during the week-end and here are the results. Again I’m getting calibration factors spread all over the place which makes the footpod quite useless:
      Speed -> computed Cal factor
      3’52″/km -> 960
      4’02″/km -> 974
      4’39″/km -> 100,2
      4’42″/km -> 100,1
      4’56″/km -> 102,5

      Quite hard to get an accurate pace during a normal run session where you run at different paces ….

  31. Marko Mohoric

    Hello

    so i bought fenix 3.. replacement for my ambit3 peak.. I give it to my father.. sooo

    can anybody check my activities on connect to check my acuracy.. is it very bad or is it like everybody elses fenix 3?

    link to connect.garmin.com

    Cause i dont know owners of the fenixes i asked you…

    Best regards. Marko

  32. Josh

    Ray and others, 2nd run today with F3 silver/red bundle. Results:
    1) Tracks, pretty damn close, deviation of .04/mi over 7 miles, I’ll take it!
    2) Pace: I ran using average pace which is still taking some getting used to. In GC, the pace graph is showing times ranging from 8:45-9 and change. Splits however were 8:03-8:28, and the 8:28 was the first mile and was only slower because it took the watch about .10 mile to settle in. Most splits were 8:10 give or take a few seconds.
    3) When I spoke with Garmin yesterday, the rep said he had not heard any complaints about instant pace and he has been on the F3 team since it was released. They are however sending me a new footpod to replace the one I had that no longer works.
    Questions:
    1) When I run using footpod, will avg pace be calculated as it currently is, or will it then use footpod data? I ask because I feel confident the avg pace, as it is now, is accurate based on feel and HR (mid 140s-mid 150s).
    2) I’m not the only one who has this issue right? Ray, in your original review, specifically your instant pace demo, because you didn’t have another watch on by which to compare, do you feel the pace was accurate or lagging behind 30-40 seconds like I am seeing? I wonder if you’d be able to post a demo using a footpod and showing instant pace?

    • cv

      I’m not aware of *anyone* who has been satisfied with instant pace. link to fellrnr.com has written that NONE of the current crop of GPS watches have accurate enough GPS to provide good current pace. I suggest you take a look at his page. The guy knows his running watches. There are Connect IQ fields available that will average the current pace over a period of time. I believe you can find fields that average over 5, 10, 20 seconds and more. That might be a good solution for you. Of course, there’s the footpod solution too. I believe lap pace is provided by GPS, even when the footpod is being used. The fact that the garmin rep doesn’t know about the issues with current paces says volumes about his real knowledge and usefulness as a support resource.

    • Except that it’s simply not true that no GPS watch is good enough for pacing at instant pace. Hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of runners with GPS watches are contrary to that. Perfectly happy.

      It may be true for FellRNR, given he primarily runs on trails, where instant pacing is less ideal with GPS. But to say it’s just at all useful is silly.

      While I generally prefer lap pace because I’m trying to hit specific targets, I’ve used instant pace just fine – and most of the time in reviews when I remember I include snippets of instant pace (like this one), which again, people found just fine.

    • Mikey

      Give the limitations of GPS will there ever be a watch that has truly “instant pace”? I’m willing to bet no without some sort of predictive software, but that would only be an educated guess. The focus on “instant pace” is wholly misplaced to me. It’s probably impossible to run at a standard pace for mile after mile, feet after feet. Anyone who’s tried to run a pace at local track knows this.

      Somehow runners manages for years and years without having “instant pace”

    • cv

      link to forum.slowtwitch.com

      ‘If really want accurate current pace, don’t think you will be happy with any of them. Thats a huge complaint all the time on these boards. “

    • cv

      link to fellrnr.com says that the problem with getting accurate instant pace is that GPS watches just aren’t accurate enough. I’m pretty sure he’s not just talking about trail running. In any case, the Fenix 3, by itself, is pretty much useless for instant pace.

    • cv

      Can you explain what you mean here Ray? The way I read it, you’re saying the you use the instant pace field only when it doesn’t really matter to you what your pace is, since the instant pace on GPS is not very accurate.
      link to dcrainmaker.com

      “Instant pace is just that – your instant pace. It’s the speed the unit thinks you’re going right this second (well actually it lags about 5-7 seconds behind). The challenge with instant pace and running is that it tends to wander a bit. One second it’s displaying 7:30/mile, and the next second it’s showing 7:50/mile – even if you didn’t vary your actual pace any.

      Nonetheless, I use instant pace on the majority of my non-paced runs as a quick metric to glance at. By non-paced I mean runs where I’m not trying to hit an exact pace, but rather focusing on some other measurement (heart rate, perceived, not dying, etc…). In these cases, I don’t much care what the pace is, as long as I’m not being passed by grandma in a wheelchair.”

    • Instant pace has continued to differ in terms over the years, specifically in how it’s display.

      In my post above (5 years ago), most watches didn’t do much smoothing. Then came the age of more smoothing, mostly kicked off by the FR10. In that case, things got heavily smoothed – so much so that some folks didn’t like it (mostly advanced runners), yet other folks (less familiar with running tech) loved it.

      It’s gone see-saw back and forth on smoothing rates since then – some watches more smoothing, others less smoothing. However, the thing is – all GPS watches smooth. To what degree they do varies. Personally, I’d love to see a simple setting to allow me to adjust that.

      However, in the meantime, for me using instant pace on the Fenix3 is perfectly acceptable for road running. As far as I know, FellRNR isn’t really a road runner (which is perfectly fine). I showed instant pace in a video, and nobody that it had any issues (a year ago). In fact, everyone seemed pretty happy with that. So, to make a blanket state that nobody is happy, doesn’t really jive with reality.

      As far as trail usage goes with instant pace, that will undoubtedly vary. No disagreement there. That’s been the case forever. But again, I’m betting 95-99% of runners who buy GPS watches never run with them on a trail. So, for 95-99% of people, they don’t need a footpod and it doesn’t matter.

    • _tido_

      “Personally, I’d love to see a simple setting to allow me to adjust that”.
      i feel exactly the same. it is easy to understand that a +/-3m precision technology explains the lack of precision on 2 consecutives mesures at 14km/s, but my Cardio is still laggy during my 100m interval.

      being annoyed with the smoothing of my TomTom Runner Cardio, it is clear that i will select a watch that propose this feature (eg : rolling average time, “aggressive / slow smoothing, …)
      Polar can you hear me ;)

  33. Susan R

    I had a question about connecting to the Macbook Air. I thought I read in a few places (not here) that the mac’s USB ports do not recognize the Fenix 3. Does anyone know this to be true or not?

    Thanks!

  34. Vic

    Wow… just wanted to thank you for this COMPLETE review! It is much appreciated. I currently own the Fenix 2 and wanted to see if it was worth the upgrade.

    The key reason for upgrade for me would seem to be battery life. I want to go backpacking and have the benefit of a longer battery life. But is it worth that much money at this point… errr. Maybe have to sell the fenix 2 and use that toward the new one.

    Thanks again!

    • Kale

      I would add that the Fenix 3 is one of the only watches that you can charge WHILE it’s recording an activity. So it’s essentially unlimited in its tracking time, as long as, you have a portable power.

      link to youtube.com

    • Victor Salazar

      Yeah, thats pretty awesome. The review states that this is also possible on the Fenix2, however I do not think thats accurate. If its possible then please advise.
      GENERAL: ABILITY TO USE DEVICE WHILE BEING CHARGED

      It would be great if you could store/play some music on the Fenix 3 as well.

    • It is possible (USB charging on Fenix2 while in activity). You just need to change the charging mode in the settings.

    • Mike

      I had both Bluetooth and GPS issues with my original Fenix 3. Called Garmin and got a replacement (new device). Things are fabulous now!

      My recommendation is get it from somewhere that has new stock, like Amazon or CleverTraining.

  35. Jennifer

    Thanks for the great review, Ray. I was considering purchasing the 230/235 or the 630. But after reading all the issues people are having with the wrist based HR on the 235, the complaints about no pace alerts with the 230/235 and the issues with the touch screen on the 630, I’m now considering the Fenix 3. I currently have a 305 and before that ran with a 205. I don’t do triathlons. I just run. But I do like to make custom workouts and set pace zones, so that my watch beeps when I’m outside of the pace set. I had thought I wanted the wrist based HR, but with all the inconsistencies, I think I can just wear a strap when I run and skip the 24-7 HR. Now that the Fenix 3 has all the features of the 630, but without the touchscreen, it’s looking like what I want. Has anyone else decided on the Fenix 3 over the 230/235 or 630? I’m also wondering if the plastic strap is as comfortable on the Fenix as the one on the 230/235? Thanks.

  36. Dominick D.

    Can anyone help – My last 3 runs with the HRM-RUN I do not see GCTB (balance) data showing – the graph is there but there is zero value for both.

    Thanks!

    • Cyclingfool

      Are you missing stride length also? I have had issues with the HRM Run extra metrics since the last upgrade. I even have the new HRM Tri belt and the HRM Run and both seem to not work correctly. Sometimes part of the metrics are there and sometimes they are not. Rather random.

  37. Dominick D.

    Just vertical ratio and GCTB are both missing –

    • Dominick D.

      Also no data here –

    • Are sure that your HRM-RUN/TRI strap has had the firmware update?

      The easiest way to check is looking at the sensors menu, and then looking at the firmware version listed.

      HRM-RUN: link to www8.garmin.com
      HRM-TRI: link to www8.garmin.com

      Alternatively, just connect your watch to your computer via USB, and then use the Garmin WebUpdater. If it offers you a firmware update for the strap – the strap wasn’t updated.

    • Dominick D.

      got it! I had to remove the HRM from the sensors list, then added it back and it prompted me to update to 6.60 – thanks!

      Even when I plugged the watch into my laptop via usb it did not prompt me to update – only when I removed it from the watch then re-added it did it them prompt me to update via the F3. Thanks!!

  38. nuno

    Has anyone tried to use this watch to track cardio metrics, in a custom activity like tennis or paddle Tennis

    • Steve

      I use it for racquetball. I created and indoor cardio activity with GPS off. It tracks my HR and distance run (by cadence, but likely very inaccurate given the “running” style). Works well for me for calories and such.

  39. Kobi

    I created a new bike activity type “road”.
    I have to edit the activity type once it uploads to Garmin Connect .
    Can it be autocratically?

  40. Kobi

    great review !!! encyclopedia!!!

  41. Dean

    Hi all, this is my first post, but have been using Ray’s reviews to make my decisions for the last two years. I recently purchased a fenix 3 Sapphire and I am having an issue with the ‘auto pause’ feature, and I was wondering if anyone else is experiencing the same problem.

    I have ‘auto pause’ turned on for all of my activities and so far it has proved to be very unreliable for a watch that costs $850 in Canada. It will most often take between 10-30 to pause after stopping, often longer. When it does pause I have to move at a speed exceeding 5 km/hr for it to unpause; this is totally unusuable because in a walking or hiking situation starting to move again is not likely to be at that speed. Today I did a 7.5 km walk on a beach, but the watch only recorded 6.5 km because it took me so long to figure out why it would not restart as soon as I started moving.

    To put this deficiency in perspective, my $230 Canadian Polar M400 stops and starts almost immediately upon both situations occuring. Pretty poor performance for a watch that is basically four times the price.

    I am not sure how ‘auto pause’ functions, but could it mean my watch has a faulty accelerometer or some other problem?

    Thaks in advance for any input you might all have, and thank you for the great reviews Ray!

    Dean

    • Have you customized the auto pause, or left as defaults? Either way, double-check the Auto Pause settings. I vaguely remember someone a long while back that someone had the auto pause settings oddly in a super-low threshold that caused similar issues to what you noted. A simple reset of those, and was good to go.

  42. marc steingrand

    hello , anyone facing problems after latest software update to 6.8 , my F3 creates about 10 files a day as workouts and syncs it to GC and than to strava, .. even if I haven’t done anything during the day , it like working or running workouts.

    • Steve

      Yes. I’m having the same and I’m on. Facebook group that is speaking about it as well. It sounds like Garmin is aware and has been trying to fix but do not yet have a solution. For now I turned off auto-sync so at least I only get the burst of activities at once and are easier to delete.

  43. Matthew B.

    Hey Ray,

    Any information from your contacts at Garmin regarding the “phantom” activity issue that seems to be plaguing Fenix 3 users? I know someone from the Fenix 3 team has responded a couple times on the forums indicating it’s a Garmin Connect issue and they’re working with them, but it’s going a few weeks with issues (in the beta) and their new “stable” release introduces the issue to everyone (although it still seems hit and miss who it affects) so I would imagine this is now hitting critical issue status.

    Thanks!

  44. Michael L.

    I’ve been doing some testing on my GPS accuracy. A lot of mornings I hit the road at 4:15 AM for a 6-10 mile run. In doing that I turn on either a workout or just run and as soon as the watch tells me its ready I go. When doing that I get really bad measurement in the first quarter to one third of a mile. Sometimes that first part doesn’t even show up on my tracks. I noticed when I did my long runs with a group that this never happens as we stand around waiting to go. I started giving the watch a minute after saying it was locked before running and voila it is right on track (i.e. within 1%) with both my old 620 and runkeeper in pace. It seems to me that the lock is being noted prematurely and it really hasn’t locked the satellites until sometime after it turns green.

    • cv

      That’s a known issue. Many at the Garmin forum have noticed that. Best practices dictate that one waits at least two minutes after getting the green gps lock before starting the activity. If you start the activity immediately after getting the lock, sometimes the Fenix 3 show GPS points well away from your actual starting point, and in some cases, the watch may never completely recover, delivering a poor gps trace for the entire activity. Garmin is being optimistic when it reports the gps is ready . http://fellrnr.com reports the same behavior in many of the watches he has tested.

    • Michael L.

      Thanks. I guess it just wasn’t known to me as I never experienced it with the 620. It’s hard to stand around at 4:15 in the cold waiting for a lock :-)

    • I’ve had the watch 6 months and never had this issue, just press start as soon as I hear the beep. That being said I sync with bluetooth which downloads a list of current satellite locations for faster locks so this may be why I never have issues.

    • Michael L.

      I sync with bluetooth and wifi as well, but that isn’t preventing the problem. I’ve had the watch since Christmas and it seemed fine at first, but started doing this in late January. It may be only on some watches and not the whole batch, but the sync isn’t the reason it isn’t wandering on you.

    • cv

      I think it depends on how challenging your gps environment is. What posed less or no challenge for earlier watches now poses more of a challenge for the F3. I wholeheartedly disagree with Ray when he says that this is a tiny subset of defective watches. There are a couple of thousand posts on GPS accuracy at the Garmin forum about accuracy issues. IMO this is a far better laboratory for wringing out the strengths and problems of the watch than a single reviewer’s limited experience with the watch. Many have had their watches replaced by Garmin as “defective,’ but then go on to find the replacement watch behaves the same way. Some have had two and three replacements, all behaving similarly, significantly less accuracy than previous watches they have owned. I’ve used three Fenix 3, all behave similarly when it comes to GPS issues. Ray likes to throw out numbers like hundreds of thousands of watches being sold, yet only a few GPS complaints, but IMO that’s simply a testament to the fact that a large percentage of Fenix 3 owners aren’t GPS “power users,” don’t mind if their distances are off by 5% or more, etc.

    • Well I’ll defend Ray here as what he says is correct. There are millions of Fenix 3 watches in existence so a forum of a few hundred complaints is well within the margin of defective units. You’ll find any product has around 1% which are defective.

      Now I cannot vouch for every Fenix 3 in the same way you cannot say they are all defective but I ran mine side by side with a TomTom, iPhone and on occasions Nexus 5 for the first month and all were within the margin of error. I always double up on devices so always record twice and only once have I had a problem. Now I’m aware you’ve had a bad experience and this has clouded your judgement but the numbers just don’t stand up.

      link to support.garmin.com will give you a bit more info on pre-gps location and remember gps without this will take a few minutes to lock all the satellites.

    • Michael L.

      I agree with a lot of what you have said depicus, but my watch is always connected to the wifi in the house prior to my runs that have been a problem and I always have it bluetooth to my phone which is with me to use runkeeper. There is something happening with the Fenix 3 that wasn’t happening with the 620. I have had acceptable results only with the wait after the lock. With that I am seeing a 1 – 1.5% difference with my runkeeper which is what I typically saw with the 620 and I deem to be acceptable. If I don’t wait it is 10% off in the first mile and sometimes gives me very strange tracks which the 620 did not. There is something different that is not being fixed by the pre-load of the satellites.

    • cv

      Do me a favor, do the math and figure out what the odds are of a watch being replaced as defective by Garmin, and that the replacement watch exhibits the same “defective” behavior as the first watch. After you’ve done that, figure what the odds are of not one replacement watch, but two and sometimes three replacement watches exhibiting the same “defective” behavior. Yes, we’re on a forum, but as a group, we rack up far more mileage than Ray I’m sure, put the watch through all sorts of environments. Add to that that we we have no inherent bias. I mean bias in the technical, scientific sense. Users on the forum who relay their experience with the watch do not have revenue producing websites that are supported by, among other things, sales of the watch.

    • cv

      Michael, do what many of us have done, call Garmin. After they go through the usually litany of things to do, (reset,) you’ll probably hear that the watch needs to be replaced. Let us know how your replacement watch works. Of all the users on the forum who have had replacement watches, I don’t think I have seen one who replacement worked any better than the first. For the statisticians here, figure those odds. It’s VERY unlikely.

    • Michael L.

      cv

      I agree that there is a problem, but at least with mine I think the wait time is the work around. I’ll put up with that quirk for the couple of years I’ll have it before I go to something newer. My point of posting was to try to help someone else who may be experiencing the same issue. I like the watch even if it does have “premature indication of lockage”.

    • Michael – may be that the satellite update file on the watch has become corrupt so new updates are not being uploaded, I know I hate it when people say this but I’d try a factory reset and see if that helps.

    • Michael L.

      depicus,

      I’ll try that. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • Norm Goody

      I also had an F3 replaced. New watch had absolutely identical “errors” (defects/deficiencies) as the old one. Questionable accuracy for run but nearly worthless (i.e., completely unreliable) for open water swimming (OWS). On nearly every (70%?) OWS, I lost large segments of the swim, had no GPS track, etc. (recurrent signal drop-out). I described this problem in numerous posts.

      Bought a 920 and out of probly 40 OWS’s with it, so far, have had only 1 time where a segment (lap) did not record.

      I LOVE my F3 but it I put the metal bracelet back onto it and it is now strictly my “daily driver” formal looking smart watch for work/social. I rarely use the GPS features, anymore, (unless I have forgotten my 920- then it’s still a reasonable stand-in). It is an expensive smart watch to be sure, but the “non sport” connected smart watch features are spectacular. With the metal bracelet on, I am also confident that it could be used as an effective weapon should the need arise. (though I might need to switch wrists occ to keep my biceps equal size)

    • Ultimately, I think those that are having NO issues at all have simply gotten sick of a small number of vocal users telling them they’re idiots and that their Fenix3 ‘must’ be broken and that they just don’t realize it. It’s why people have stopped trying. Even the thread that’s supposedly dedicated to ‘accuracy issues’, about half of the posts these days are basically people showing tracks that they’re perfectly happy with and with comparisons to boot. Yet, those instantly get dismissed/overlooked. In fact, I’m not even sure the majority of the pot-stirring folks even have Fenix3’s anymore.

      I also don’t agree that somehow there’s hundreds of thousands of people having 5%-off accuracy issues. The people who buy the Fenix3 care more than that, and are far more aware that that same vocal minority gives them credit for.

      Now ironically, when I go and show a different product with accuracy issues, then instantly it’s a combination response of: “Oh, you’re just a single sample” (except, I’m not, numerous others see the same) – or “It’s growing pains, it’ll be fixed in a software update” (except, they haven’t since November). Shrug.

    • cv

      If 1 in 100 watches are defective, the odds of getting TWO defective watches are 1 in 10,000. That’s one in TEN THOUSAND. Many posters in the Garmin forum have had supposedly “defective” watches replaced by Garmin, only to find that the replacement watches are no better. Some have had even two replacement watches! Those odds would be 1 in 100,000!
      There’s no better source of GPS accuracy in these watches than fellnr. link to fellrnr.com
      I’d suggest taking a good look at these tests. He’s no ravel rouser, no ulterior motives, no bias. He does hundreds, in some cases THOUSANDS of tests on each watch. The Fenix 3 test is ongoing, but so far, the author says it appears to have no better GPS accuracy than the Epix, which according to the author, has “rather poor GPS Accuracy.”

    • Well cv it looks like you don’t understand GPS at all. GPS is inherently not accurate, Ray says +-3m I seem to remember my days working with it it was +-10m so your friend over at fellrnr is correct in saying a foot pod is more accurate for instance pace but I could spend all day poking holes in his mythology – the simple truth is, like most running metrics, they are a guide. If you want true running metrics get a stop watch and run on an indoor track.

    • cv

      “…but I could spend all day poking holes in his mythology.”

      You sound jealous.

    • david n

      The problem with fellrnr’s tests is, that he does not take into account the changing satellite constellation and tropospheric effects. The satellite constellation repeats every 24h – 2 seconds above a specific location on earth. So if you measure a run in the morning and one in the afternoon, you will have a different satellite geometry and thus the performance of the measurements can’t be compared (because you have a different satellite geometry and thus a different Dilution of Precision). Even if you manage to get the same constellation, you still can’t control the troposphere, which can heavily influence the measurements.

      The only possibility to actually assess the accuracy of GNSS watches is, to wear them all at the same time (mount them on a pipe or something) and then only compare these runs individually.

      He is measuring something – but it is not really related to the accuracy of the GNSS measurements.

    • I’ve discussed FellRNR’s methodology more times than I can count. In short, while I think he does cool stuff, I don’t agree with the basis of using a single trail running segment (over and over) as the end-all-be-all for running watches. I’d guess that about 99% of people don’t run trails, for example.

      You said: “He does hundreds, in some cases THOUSANDS of tests on each watch.”

      No, actually, he doesn’t. Understand his tests better. He simply slices up a run into tiny little segments to make it appear that it’s run thousands of times. Seriously. Go understand how the tests work. Perhaps I’ll start slicing my tests in hundreds of segments for fun, thus giving me thousands of tests quickly.

    • And…while we’re at it…it’s incorrect to think that FellRNR doesn’t take revenue from watch purchases (or shoe and everything else). Every page he has has Affiliate Links to Amazon. Nothing wrong with that (as I do as well), but to imply that somehow he doesn’t is incorrect.

      And just like him, I don’t really care what device you purchase. If you find an Ambit3 fits your better, go for it. If you find toilet paper is better, that’s fine too. Just use a link on either of our sites and we are equally happy.

    • Adam R

      I have done it both ways (just by chance, not deliberately as a test) and have never noticed any difference in nearly a year of use. Lock followed by run works perfectly well. Not quite as accurate as my Ambit 3, but easily good enough.

    • cv

      “He simply slices up a run into tiny little segments to make it appear that it’s run thousands of times.”

      Yea, I’m sure he’s trying to deceive.

      ‘Every page he has has Affiliate Links to Amazon.”

      I’ll bet he didn’t quit his day job.

    • Harald

      @cv: your personal feud gets a bit tiring after a while.

    • tommays56

      I don’t have limitless funds BUT I do have enough to compare

      1.RCX5
      2.920XT
      3.Ambit 3
      4.Fenix 3

      If you want a never faltering GPS track stick with the RCX5 and the shoulder mount receiver as it is in fact the best track BUT it acuminates distance LONG about 5% on trails with no solution and your only navigation feature is lat/lon

      I understand the F3 hate as my 920XT was a dud and source of endless grief it was finally exchanged by Garmin for a second Fenix 3 which I sold as I dont really want to own 1200 dollars worth of trail watches

      My Ambit 3 was a DUD in many trail scenarios were side by side the 920 or F3 were not affected and Suunto was not able to offer a resolution

      I only use the Fenix 3 in heavily wooded trails since November 2015 with 5.0 it has recorded tracks I can overlay with others or a topo map and I am certainly not going to get lost or have it off enough to affect the outcome of a race which would seem to meet the goal for me

      As far as support there is still and issue with VMG and a few data fields not supporting complex courses and Garmin spent a LOT OF TIME on the phone with me ,reproduced the issue on there test watch and are taking resolving it very seriously

    • Cyclingfool

      I agree Harald and I appreciate your political correctness….but I think we passed “a bit tiring” a good ways back and are in the arena of ridiculous and crazy now with cv’s argumentative banter.
      Ray, Not sure what cv’s gripe is with you, but I know the rest of us on here greatly appreciate the things you do and the information given. i personally love my F3 and the fact that Garmin is still working on issues and providing updates and features. I have had almost zero issues with my f3 and the only times i have really had GPS issues is when I take off just as GPS locks. Found that out by looking on this board and finding people with similiar issues and used the resolution that was proposed and it resolved my issues. I think “some” have forgotten that the real purpose of this site is to educate and learn as a group. Everyone can input info to help everyone else and with your ability to get production units prior to our ability to purchaseand give them a manufacturer unbiased review is a great thing….Keep on doing what you are doing and the rest of us will continue to support!!!!

    • Steve

      I agree with this comment, people coming here basin a person or product is ridiculous, if you don’t like it here don’t come here. Ray we can’t thank you enough for all you do for us, for FREE. We of course love to support you by ordering through Clever Training but lets be honest, that benefits us too with savings. I love this site and all you do THANK YOU! and also for the record I have the Fenix 3, I had a battery issue during IMLP that the battery died just shy of my finish at 12:45, but Garnmin promptly and easily replaced jt and I haves had no issues since, sure a GPS glitch here and there, but it’s GPS, not perfection. I’m also glad that Garmin continues to add value to the F3, doing more than bug fixes, adding functionality that I don’t have to pay again for. Are they perfect, no one is, but I appreciate their efforts and will continue to stick with Garmin products as long as their current support remains the same

    • Alex C.

      One more in Ray’s support.
      I enjoy this site a lot and I have always been guided in my purchases (original Tomtom multisport, Vivoactive and recently Fenix 3) thanks to Ray’s totally FREE advice.
      I live in Italy, so it is difficult to support the site through Clever Training (I only managed to with the Tomtom).
      But, as Ray provides a lot of added value, I am happy to remunerate it directly: that is why I decided to directly support the site, as I can see many other readers do.
      As for the Fenix 3, after 1.5 months I am pretty happy with its GPS (running, cycling, cross-country skiing, skiing, a couple of OWS).
      A couple of occasional initial GPS issues when taking off right after initial GPS lock, easily solved by turning the app a bit more in advance of being ready to push the GO button: e.g. before putting my skis on, before getting to the running park gate, etc.

      Keep it up Ray

    • Thanks all – glad you enjoy!

      ““He simply slices up a run into tiny little segments to make it appear that it’s run thousands of times.”

      CV: Yea, I’m sure he’s trying to deceive.”

      As for FellRNR CV, I suggest you spend some time reading up on his methodology. He’s very clear about how it works (more so than in the past). On his explainer page he goes into exactly how he slices them up. It sounds like you believe he’s now deceiving you. I personally don’t – I just simply read how it works.

      Obviously, there’s no way one could run thousands of times with the Fenix3, given it only started shipping 12 months ago. That’d be ~6 runs per day, every day. Elementary math is my BFF.

    • cv

      “As for FellRNR CV, I suggest you spend some time reading up on his methodology. He’s very clear about how it works (more so than in the past). On his explainer page he goes into exactly how he slices them up. It sounds like you believe he’s now deceiving you. I personally don’t – I just simply read how it works.”

      No, that’s not what I meant at all, but I’ll let it go. Also, I’ve read his methodology page quite thoroughly. I’d suggest your readers do the same, as it’s really the only thorough source for GPS watch accuracy around. link to fellrnr.com

    • cv

      I posted the incorrect link. Again, anyone looking to really learn to about GPS watch accuracy should take a good read though this. You’ll understand to what great length he tests these watch’s, statistical analysis and all. link to fellrnr.com

    • cv

      Here’s one extremely unlikely guy I guess. Garmin sent him a new watch because his first watch was having huge gps track deviations.

      link to forums.garmin.com

    • Harald

      only did 1.250km since May 2015 with the F3

      12 official runs (5er, 10s, 3x Marathons)
      most of them for reasons not interesting enough here tracked with my Lumia 930/950, too
      all of them officially measured courses.

      funny enough.
      my F3 seems to deviate less than 2-3% from any of the official measurements.
      Same like my phone.

      I must be an extremely lucky guy.

      so, what´s your point, cv?
      can´t find someone and somewhere else to play?

    • cv

      Well Harold, I thought my point was quite clear, but I’ll make the point crystal clear…for you. It’s not the case that these GPS farts are rare. That forum poster that I linked to, as have many forum posters, had a watch replaced by Garmin under warranty, and the replacement watch exhibits the very same GPS farts. His watch(es) is almost useless to him. I have seen some on the Garmin forum get two and even three replacement watches, one no better than the last. If these GPS defective watches are representative of a small percentage of the overall watches, then the odds of someone getting two, three, and God forbid four, are *exceedingly* low. It’s exceedingly unlikely, therefore, that these are very rare isolated incidents. The fact that you are satisfied with the performance of your watch contradicts not in the slightest way.

    • cv

      I’ll add this. Until Garmin acknowledges and finally fixes these issues, (assuming they are fixable) the only safe place to purchase a Fenix 3 is from a vendor with a very good return policy. In the US, the only place I’d recommend is REI, with it’s lifetime 100% guarantee. Otherwise it’s a real crapshoot.

    • Harald

      so, to make my point “crystalclear”, too

      you must be expert on units F3 shipped.
      so, how many units have shipped?

      and, how many different users post in the Garmin Forums with GPS issues?
      have you actually counted them?
      have you put them in relation to numbers shipped?
      have you put them in relation to numbers users, who are satisfied?

      neither fellrnr nor Ray are presenting “official GPS measurements” (ha, if that would even exist), but only their experience and their (rather small) test range. And yes, both of them have statistically not relevant test ranges – and both state that clearly.

      and some basic website/forums/Facebook statistics:
      how many satisfied users post in forums?
      how many unsatisfied users post?

      I really don´t want to continue this topic now, as it seems that you and me have quite different opinions and don´t really appreciate the other´s opinion.

      But please, stop your personal feud here in this thread.
      I would really appreciate that :)

      all the best from Hamburg
      Harald

    • cv

      This is no personal feud Harold. I’m trying to make the point that there is in fact something going on here with these watches, and it’s signifiant. Just put yourself for a moment in the shoes of those getting “defective” watches. Put yourself in the shoes of the guy whose post I just linked to, the guy whose watch is practically useless because the GPS jumps around, and now the replacement watch, on the very first run, is doing the same. The chances of getting multiple defective watches is the mathematical product of the chance of getting one single defective watch.

  45. Cyclingfool

    F3 question everyone. Does the F3 record run dynamics to garmin connect if they are not “enabled” under the run profile on the watch. I don’t see as well as I used to and have 3 fields of info in scroll and don’t want to see the run dynamics yet.(still trying to keep pace/cadence/HR and PE all straight in my head on the run) I hope to test this out later today, but thought I would ask first. Thanks for your help

    • Cyclingfool

      Sorry, Needs a better clarification. I don’t want to see the run dynamics scroll by during run but would like to see them added to the run on GC. Assuming if I disable both of these under run/data screens app section, this will be the default behavior.

  46. Anyone else having issues with Phantom Activities in Garmin Connect with the latest 6.80 firmware update?

    I have been, but have found that simply turning Move Alerts off in settings seems to fix it.
    link to alananna.co.uk

    That is until Garmin roll out a fix themselves which I’m sure they will do soon.
    Loving my Fenix 3 though and the fact that it is being updated all the time too.

    Al.

    • Tom

      i have phantoms too. about 8-17 per day an this is very very very annoying, although it just lasts about 3days (for me).

      turning off move alerts didn’t solve the problem for my, the forum suggests turning off the activity tracker.

      in the end, i hope the will correct this somehow but this must not happen in users paying 400 bucks for a sport watch.
      never had problems with my polar m400….. simple but working.

  47. Pat Shea

    Overall love the watch, but the last month or so on 70% of runs I get a gps “glitch” at some point during the run. See example here: link to strava.com at the 3.4 mile point. Any suggestions? This is with every second data recording and GLONASS Off

    • Michael L.

      I was having that kind of glitch as well about a month ago. I did two (2) things that don’t make sense to me regarding this and haven’t had it since over the last 20+ runs. I turned GPS to smart recording rather than every second and I wait 1 minute after the watch says it is locked before starting. I did a hard reset as was suggested and saw no change by doing that. I think the glitch is prevented by the wait after the watch says it is locked. The smart recording for some reason seems to stop the watch from measuring very short. I have no idea why, but that is what seems to be working for me.

    • For a start turn GLONASS on, two GPS signals should hopefully be better than one.

    • Michael L.

      I use GLONASS on as well, but really haven’t seen any difference with it on or off myself.

  48. Yap Abelardo

    Hi Ray,

    Do you know if the infinite multisport mode is possible on fenix 3 or do I have to pre program the events I want?( for example 3x swim and run ) I had 920xt last time and it allowed me to switch between sports instantly (although without transitions) and infinitely.

  49. Tim Ludwig

    I know there’s a way to move Garmin Connect workouts to Movescount but can I move all my previous workouts from Movescount to Garmin Connect? Thanks Tim

  50. cris crisostomo

    can I use fenix3 for underwater scuba diving?
    i read it can support up to 100m depth.

    thanks
    cris

    • Reda

      Hi ,
      Since some weeks my garmin fenix 3 is adding multiple fake training that i never did in my garmin connect , does anybody have an idea ?

    • Edgar Angelone

      Hi Reda: That issue is very well know, it has been reported in the forums multiple times. They call them phantom activities. Apparently Garmin fixed the issue last Friday, as far as I know. It was related to Garmin Connect, not to the watch or its firmware.
      Thank you

    • Edgar Angelone

      Hi Reda: That issue is very well known, it has been reported in the forums multiple times. They call them phantom activities. Apparently Garmin fixed the issue last Friday, as far as I know. It was related to Garmin Connect, not to the watch or its firmware.
      Thank you

    • reda

      Thank you edgard :)

  51. Rui Gonçalo

    Good afternoon, I’ve a FR220 for about 15 months and no issues at all. my question for you ray is about accuracy. Is the FR220 more accurate than Fenix 3?? i’m about to give a step forward (at leats i thing is forward)

    Is is a good change, or shoud i go to suunto 3 peak, i just want to stay with garmin because i’ve already have HR strap (standard) and speed cadence sensor both ant+

    sorry bad english
    thanks

    • Nuno Pinto

      Rui,
      Eu tive um Ambit Peak 3 durante um ano e depois decidi vender para comprar um Fenix 3 neste natal.
      Tambem estava receoso em relacao a precisao do Fenix 3, mas felizmente comigo nao tenho tido problemas. Tambem nao sou muito rigoroso…mas a coisa funciona bem para o meu uso (corrida, trail run, bike de estrada e BTT).
      Posso te dizer que nas voltas de tenho feito com a bike de estrada, levo um EDGE e o Fenix e a distancia final ‘e a mesma.
      Nas corridas (estrada e trail) em relacao a outro fenix 3 e um Tom Tom, as distancias tambem sao iguais. Agora se em 9km, 200 ou 200 metros de diferenca te incomondam, entao o GPS nao serve.
      O software da Garmin funciona muito bem em Android, o Sunnto era uma porcaria.
      Sinceramente, depois de passar para a Garmin, o Sunnto parece um relogio com 5 anos, nunca como algo de foi lancado em 2015.
      A garmin lanca muitos updates, a Suunto lanca updates muito ocasionalmente…ou seja nao fiques as espera de novas features.

    • Rui Gonçalo

      Muito obrigado pela opinião Nuno, eu também tenho um edge 810 que uso tanto para BTT como para estrada, e foi o que usei nas primeiras corridas, depois comprei o FR220 sei que nao é nenhum relogio suiço em precisao GPS mas serve-me bem, já fiz trail e corridas com ele, e nunca me deixou mal.nao ligo nenhuma a diferenças de 100m ou 200m.

      Mas como comecei a fazer natação também e gostava de ter algo mais evoluido na corrida, com as funções que o Fenix 3 tem. também sou utilizador Android (e não mudo)

      Outra das razões para manter na garmin vs Suunto sao os sensores que tenho todos ant+
      Nou comprar o NFenixx Normal sem oHR pois nao quero dar mais quase 200€ por uma funcionalidade que nao me interessa, pois teria de ter na mesma o HRM-RUN.

      Abraço e obrigado pela ajuda, já agora onde compraste??

    • André Lemos

      Vale o que vale, mas eu comprei no ebay por 389.34€ em Agosto de 2015.

    • Rui Gonçalo

      Obrigado André e a tua experiência com o Fenix???

    • Tiago Almeida

      Bom dia.

      One Buy Shop em Lisboa,perto da cidade universitária faz só o relógio por 395€. Melhor preço e o Senhor é uma simpatia. Também vou adquirir um fénix 3 na onebuyshop.

      Cumps

    • Rui Gonçalo

      Obrigado Tiago, foi onde comprei o meu FR220,
      Vais comprar o oHR ou o normal com HRM-Run

    • André Lemos

      Nada a apontar, impecável. mas não me importava de trocar pelo oHR para ao menos ir tendo o RhR.

      Já agora, o preço que eu dei foi com a faixa hrm-run. Esse negócio na “One Buy Shop” não parece grande coisa ao pé do preço que consegui no ebay (novo, na caixa)…

    • Tiago Almeida

      Vou comprar o só o relógio mesmo, depois tenciono comprar a HRM run. O fenix 3 HR que está a começar a ser vendido a bateria dura menos e pelo que tenho lido a leitura no pulso não é a mesma que a fita. Se tiver algum problema é só ir a loja, moro a cerca de 4 km da loja. Se for na net temos que ser nós a enviar se tiver problemas.

    • Rui Gonçalo

      Verdade Tiago, ter a presença de alguém e/ou espaço onde nos possamos deslocar por vezes vale a diferença. a diferença entr os modelo sem HRM-RUn sao 45€ e se comrares a banda depois sai mais caro. para alem de que sem a HRM-RUN nao temos acesso a algumas funcionalidades.

    • Andy C S

      Mais um André aqui, feliz com o seu Fénix 3 desde Julho. Na natação funciona perfeitamente mesmo, desde que o configures bem e não poupes no impulso das pernas em cada viragem :)

      Comprei o meu na Decathlon, com a HRM-RUN, quando estavam a fazer uma promoção de 10% para paypal (mas o código funcionava para pagamentos por transferência também) e o preço base já tinha desconto também. Ficou mais barato do que importado.

    • Tiago Almeida

      Já comprei o fenix 3 com a nova banda hrm run e estou maravilhado . Que grande relógio que tem o lado positivo de poder ser usado no dia a dia como relógio normal

    • Carlos Goncalves

      Boas.
      Wu tb comprei o meu na NET, em junho de 2015.
      E agora, tem sido uma cagada! o GPS de vez em quando demora tempos a apanhar sinal, outras vezes, a 600km de onde o liguei apanha em poucos segundos.

      Do que me queixo agora é o facto de numa corrida, pensar tar a fazer um tempo do caralhão, afinal aquilo estava a contar mal os km, ou seja, teoricamente fiz 14 e na teoria fiz 12..
      Este fim de semana que passou estive na meia de madrid, e ao fim de 8km, já tinha 600m de diferença para o meu primo que tem um suunto. No final deu prai 3km de diferença.

      No resto do dia andei com ele e reparei que mesmo na esplanada, estando parado, ele contava km…

      Ja contactei a GARMINIBERIASAT , estou a espera do que vão fazer. Reparei num site do facebook, que a existe pessoal a queixar-se da precisão do sinal, mas não querem que se saiba, o que se faz é mandar para reparação e enviam um novo.

  52. Dan Robac

    In the Garmin First Look article you write “FirstBeat HRV/RR: This data will now be included in recorded files.” According to Runalyze there is no HRV/RR data in the data recorded by my Fenix 3 at the moment and I did not find anything on that except in a support article on the Firstbeat website that has me copy a .fit file of theirs to the directory \GARMIN\NEWFILES. Is this the official way or some kind of hack? Will this make permanent changes to the current software on the device?

    • That’s somehow the official way, see link to the5krunner.com as well. That file will adjust your settings and enable hrv recording in fit files. Your fit files will slightly get larger but that shouldn’t be a problem.

      Though, I’m not sure if this setting can be undone. There was no need to do that so far for me.

  53. frgrant

    New forum about fenix 3! http://fenix3forum.com

  54. frgrant

    The newest forum with ssl certification added! https://fenix3forum.com

  55. Mitchell Dangremond

    DC:

    Any idea if Garmin is going to add a feature to auto turn off step tracking while swimming? It’s counting strokes while swimming which is bizarre.

    -Mitch

  56. Gerome

    Hey guys!

    Can any of you silver-bezeled fénix 3 owners (standard or sapphire) chip in (had to do it) on how their watch’s bezel and glass are holding up scratch-wise in the long term?

    Please include what version of the watch you have (standard or sapphire), how long you have had it for, how rough are you treating it, and how bad/visible/bothersome the blemishes seem to you.

    Grey version owners feel free to share your experiences as well.

    Thanks a lot!

    • Nuno Pinto

      Exactly the reason I went for the silver and red band version…no scratch (at least visible).
      Sapphire is useless for me…I do trail and mountain bike, on the rain and muddy conditions. I prefer to have a plastic cover for the glass ( similar to the ones we use on the mobile phones screen) that I can replace whenever is scratched….
      Even if I had bought the sapphire, I would use the screen protection….

    • Fernando Lordelo

      Same here. I also use the screen protector, which is pretty much invisible until ir gets scratched. So I just exchange for a brand new one and the watch is like day 1. Paid about EUR 8.00 for a pack of 16 protectors on eBay.

      On the other hand, I bought the gray model. Use it 24×7 since May 2015 and I don’t have a single scratch on the bezel so far. I try to be as careful as I can but once in a while it hits a wall here of there.

      Hope that helps!

    • Jeff Kohn

      Not really answering your question because I have the gray bezel (sapphire), but I’ve only owned this watch since x-mas and I’m blown away by the wear. I wear the watch everywhere, but I’m not a hard core athlete right now. All indoor trainer rides and occasional commutes. So, this is just normal wearing bumps. Notice the scratch right above the bluetooth icon on the indestructible glass. Notice the wear on the bezel between 11 and 12. I may contact garmin and see what they say. It’s only month 4!

    • Steve

      I’m on my second sapphire, the first had battery issues. The glass is spotless, the bezel has some detect able marks on it, nothing to major but if you look you can see them. I wear my watch all day everyday, taking off just to sleep/charge. I do try and treat it very carefully because I’m weird when it comes to blemishes, they bother me more than they should. With that being said it has taken a few hard knocks on door jams and such and other than the little stuff it show it has held up pretty well, well enough that mu OCD lets me still wear it, lol.

    • Norm Goody

      DITTO. exact same experience as Steve. I do take it off when doing mechanical work where it might bang on metal. Crystal is scratch free. A few very minor blemishes on case but I really try to be careful around metal, fences, etc.

    • Gerome

      Thank you for your replies!

      Wow! I’m blown away by your post, Jeff! Was it raining diamonds or rubies over there? The scratch on your display seems extremely suspect, I’ll tell you that! Where did you buy the watch from? Was the watch relatively cheap/with a massive discount from a new and/or shady seller? Did the watch come in a factory sealed box with certificate of authenticity? Do you believe it is the genuine Sapphire model and not a fugazi, i. e., standard version in the Sapphire version’s box? It could be a manufacturing error: some poor overworked underpaid person put the wrong glass in! I mean take a look at this vid: youtu[dot]be/FiqMYWTDACU?t=2m26s and tell me what you think! I’d sure be worried if I were you!

      Steve, do you have the grey-bezeled metal band or the silver-bezeled leather band version of the watch?

      Thanks!

    • Gerome

      What version you have, Norm?

    • Jeff Kohn

      I bought from Dicks in a factory sealed box. I still have the box. Now your making me wonder weather they sent the wrong box, although it came with a metal band and I think only the sapphire comes with a metal band. Assuming its sapphire and it hasn’t rained diamonds (lol), I think I have a warranty to issue on my hands.

    • Jeff Kohn

      I need to eat some crow. After much spit shining, the “scratch” came out of the glass, so sapphire is still hanging in there. I’m still really unhappy with the bezel. In addition to the 11-12 bezel scratch, also have a scratch at around 5. Now, the glass matters more than anything, but the bezel wear I would expect more in the 2 year range, not 4 month range.

  57. Gerome

    What version you have, Norm?

    • Norm Goody

      same as Steve. F3 Sapphire. Love everything about it except the GPS (see my multiple previous posts re problems with open water swim function/accuracy). I placed the metal bracelet back on it and wear my F3 everyday- except when I forget to take off my 920 after a workout (no longer use the F3 as my “tri watch”. gave up and bought a 920). However, b/c I am often using my hands around wire/metal (animal care with fences, auto repair, home repair projects) I am careful to try and take it off before I do those things so I don’t risk scratching it up.

    • Gerome

      Haha!

      The problem with that is that I don’t know which version Steve has! Catch-22!

      I know you guys have the Sapphire version but which one? Grey, Silver, Rose Gold, some other one?

      Thanks a lot!

  58. Gerome

    Hey guys!

    I don’t wish to be taken for a spammer, but I asked a question on the Garmin Foot Pod page (post #472) here on DCR a few days ago, but that page seems pretty much dead at this point, so I decided to repost the question here, hoping some of you might answer it:

    From Ray’s Q&A:

    Q: When using the foot pod outdoors, will I still get the satellite image of my run?
    A: Yes, as long as you don’t disable GPS, the satellite image will still appear. If you disable GPS however (by answering ‘Yes’ to ‘Are you indoors now?’), then you will not get a route map.

    Q: Is lap distance/pace recorded when using the foot pod?
    A: Yup, all the same data is recorded. The only thing not included is a map of where you went, and in the case of GPS-dependent watches – elevation data isn’t included.

    1. I find the above two answers somewhat unclear and conflicting: If you don’t disable GPS, do you get a map (as per answer 1) or not (hinted at by answer 2)?

    2. Can I set the Garmin fénix 3 to record cadence, ground contact time, vertical oscillation, ground contact time balance, stride length, and vertical ratio from the HRM-Run/Tri, running pace and distance traveled from the Garmin foot pod, and still get a route map with elevation data from the watch’s GPS?

    3. Would you recommend getting a foot pod to complement the Garmin fénix 3 if one desires best pace/distance traveled accuracy?

    Thank you very much!

    • 1) These two don’t conflict if you’re just using the display pace from the footpod. So basically it overrides what the GPS pace is, and shows you footpod pace.

      2) Yes. Assuming you have all that, and set pace to come from footpod, life is good.

      3) I personally don’t, unless you’re running trails. But for road running, I just don’t see variances in pace. I shot a video, though the sound came out horrible due to wind, will re-shoot it again on Sunday or Monday. But shows pretty even pace with F3 (F3 HR in this case) at steady-state, and quick reaction on both stopped to interval pace, increasing pace in interval, and stopping.

    • Gerome

      Thank you for the tireless effort you put into DCR – you are the best source for fitness gadgets on the entire internet for sure! I would assume (I could be and hope I am wrong) you don’t get paid for this anywhere near as much as the Garmin support folks do, but you’re insurmountably more helpful and prompt with your replies!

      Sorry to be a pain and hang on every word you say (lol @ Tina Turner reference), but:

      “Note that with the FR920XT/FR620, it will not show footpod pace as long as GPS is found. If however you go into a tunnel, then it will failover to the footpod or WDR pace/distance. This is a departure from older watches like the FR610/910XT/310XT which allowed you to specify the ‘Speed Source’ and have that be used. ”

      “[T]he Fenix3 is effectively a Garmin FR920XT with additional features aimed primarily at the outdoor and hiking crowd”

      The above two quotes of yours deeply worry me when put together. Will the fénix 3 allow me to set its Speed Source to Foot Pod AND use the watch’s GPS at the same time, as well, or not?

      Have you tried it out or could you try it out?

      Because from what you said, I inferred that it is NOT POSSIBLE to set the Speed Source on the 920XT (which shares most of its framework with the fénix 3) to Foot Pod when GPS is found, hence all this confusion I’m amid.

      Thank you in advance for clearing it up for me!

    • The reason they conflict is that the Fenix3 firmware update that enabled setting the footpod as the pace sensor was added later.

      Specifically, in firmware update 4.60:

      link to www8.garmin.com

      Enjoy!

    • Gerome

      Wow!

      Thank you for this piece of super useful information, Ray – I really appreciate it!

      I’ve looked up the change histories for the 920XT (link to www8.garmin.com) and the epix (link to www8.garmin.com), and on the 920XT page it says that from version 6.10 Garmin “[a]dded support for using a footpod as the speed source while running.” (maybe worth updating your FAQ?), so I guess the 920XT is able to record pace from the foot pod, but is it able to record distance from the foot pod as well when the 920XT’s GPS is active? On the fénix 3 change history it explicitly says “Added ability to configure foot pod speed and distance” but the 920XT’s change history only mentions speed as quoted above. I know it’s probably a silly question, but one can never be too sure!

      What’s not such a silly question, however, is whether you can set the epix to record pace/distance from the foot pod, as there is absolutely zero mention of it in the Garmin epix’s change history! Could someone try it out, please? I’m still on the fence about which model I’m going to get!

      Thanks a trillion!

    • Gerome

      P. S.: When I asked whether you could set the Garmin epix to record pace/distance from the foot pod, I meant when epix’s GPS is active, obviously (i. e., not during an indoor activity).

    • For the Epix one, it may be best to ask on that preview post. I didn’t bring one with me on my current trip – but someone likely has one handy on the Epix post that can validate it’s in the firmware there.

    • Gerome

      OK, I made the post over at the epix page. Thanks!

      Going back to the fénix 3 (firmware version 6.80 [current as of this post]) when used outdoors with GPS active, can you mix and match the pace/speed and distance traveled sources, i. e., both pace/speed and distance traveled from the GPS (default), pace/speed from the foot pod and distance traveled from the GPS, both pace/speed and distance traveled from the foot pod?

      Can you mix and match the pace/speed and distance traveled sources as described above on the FR920XT?

      Thanks!

  59. David

    Hello Ray.

    I saw In your review a scratch at Fenix gray body (attached picture). I would like to ask you, whether you (or somebody else) has experience with scratches on bodies at both units (gray and silver). Where it is less visible? I am interesting in grey unit, but I am afraid that when metal ring around glass will be scratched it will be more visible against silver (I am not sure what is under that grey color). Maybe you can post some picture if you have. Thank you very much.

    • Gerome

      Hi David!

      This has been debated extensively on this very post, so why don’t you go ahead and search for keywords “bezel”, “scratch”, etc., or scroll up the comments section? Some of the answers you’re looking for are literally 15 posts above yours from a few days ago.

      Ray hit his watch against a concrete wall, which explains the 12 o’clock chip on its bezel. Some say that the silver watch’s bezel is a lot more scratch resistant, since it’s not coated (but more on that later): it’s made from very high quality forged 316 stainless steel; on the gray version, there’s a thin PVD coating on the stainless steel which gives it its dark color, but that tends to rub off relatively easily, many people report.

      I attached a picture of the Silver version of the watch that has a giant scratch smack in the middle of its mineral glass, so that’s pretty disappointing to see, as well. If you think the Sapphire version helps in this respect, well… in theory it should, but read Jeff’s post #2885 which may give you a freshly rotten perspective on the matter.

      If you wish to look at more scratched bezels, head over to link to forums.garmin.com and enjoy the view there!

    • Gerome

      Oh, I almost forgot…

      So you wanna buy a Sapphire Silver, hoping to avoid bezel and glass scratches? Well then take at look at this baby’s 12-13 o’clock and 6 o’clock glory and have a ponder on what that means to you (it’s not the Sapphire version, but the bezel is exactly the same).

      In the end, it’s pretty disappointing to see such a premier watch be so flimsy, in my opinion!

      All said and done, it seems that you really have two choices: (1) either step up to the plate and take the scratches like a man – take them for what they truly are: notches of your burliness that demand respect from everybody, exactly as the manufacturer intended them to be or (2) get a different watch that doesn’t scratch (all Garmin watches do)!

      I keed, I keed…

      There – EXISTS – a pretty sure-fire way to avoid scratching your new fénix 3 after all: don’t take it out of the box it came from!

      I hope that helped!

    • Gerome

      Note: I accidentally mixed up the pictures: post #2903 shows 12-13 o’clock and 6 o’clock bezel damage and post #2904 shows mineral glass damage.

    • Gerome

      I also forgot to mention that the picture in post #2903 has a nasty scratch (literally) right next to the 12 o’clock mark!

      Take it for what it is.

    • David

      Thank you Gerome, you gave me exact information which I wished to have. And sorry for the spam – I didn’t check comments, you are true. I do not need sapphire glass, for sure I will damage it as mineral – I am person who hitting every door handle and furniture with his watch, so I am looking forward for a lot of scratches :). I think silver one is right choose for me.

    • Fernando Lordelo

      David, if you feel like you’re gonna scratch your glass, you should consider getting those screen protectors. I use them myself and they’re awesome, pretty much invisible (like on a cell phone) and you just exchange for a new one once I gets a major scratch. A pack of 12 or 18 pieces is very cheap on eBay (I paid something less than Eur10 for one of these packs). Hope that helps!

    • Gerome

      Shame there are no bezel protectors, eh?

    • Fernando Lordelo

      Coudn’t agree more Gerome!
      But my own gray bezel is holding strong after 10 months of 24×7 use, without a single visible scratch. I am a careful person but once in a while my Fenix3 hits a wall/door here and there.

    • Lars

      Gerome, there is. Incredibly ugly i.m.h.o, but there is:
      link to bikespot.es

    • David

      Yes Fernando, I am usualy using screen protector. But bezel (black color) at my normal daily watches looked after 1 year of use like war veteran. And bezel at Fenix 3 has nice, but not ideal shape – easy to damage that sharp projection/ledge (I do not know right english word). Therefore I asked how looks scratchef gray Fenix.

    • Gerome

      Thanks for the find, Lars!

      You’re a star :D

  60. marc steingrand

    hello Ray or anybody on this topic.
    I have a question and I am not sure if its best fit here but here it goes
    I have a F3 and the P1 and all works well , but when i look at my average wattages i found out it counts as well the zero watt to the average, whch i think is not realy correct ( probably depending on the point of view) but anyway does anybody of you ho to exclude the zero watt values from average calculations, same thing is within trainingpeaks,

    thanks for your help

  61. David

    So, I just received a new fenix 3. And I was curious about your comment in the review related to the various plots on the sensor widgets:
    “You can change the time scale for these, but by default they show historical values such as a 48-hr barometer and 4hr temperature.”
    As far as I can tell, you can only actually adjust the time scale on the barometer. The altimeter and temperature are fixed at 4 hours. If I’m wrong, can you tell me where to change them. To adjust the barometer, you go into Settings->Sensors->Barometer->Plot. But there is no plot option in the altimeter sensor menu. And the temperature does not even have a sensor menu. And if you have a Tempe sensor enabled, you don’t get a temperature plot.

    Thanks
    David

  62. Seth

    Any idea why the Fenix 3 doesn’t support connectivity with Schwinn spinning bikes and why V02 max and recovery can’t be determined with cycling. My old Forerunner saved the data from my indoor workouts on a Schwinn spinning bike.

    • Garmin has gone away from supporting the Gym Equipment profile that was found on older units (they stopped adding it about 2.5 or so years ago).

      As for VO2Max, they require a power meter for cycling, likely to get better accuracy.

  63. Luigi

    I read all the comments about issues with the display, like the visible backlight bleed in the lower corner or the light difference between the mineral and sapphire glass, but I’m still unsure as I don’t want to spend around 400€ for a GREAT watch (everything you ever wanted/dreamed of) but with an AWFUL color display (sort of early post cold war era). I’ve a VicoActive, which is quite good for functionality, but not so good for the display too: so, in comparison, the display quality of the Fenix 3 is almost the same? Or is it a bit/a lot better? And, with the risk of being a little OT but for the sake of completeness, what about the 920XT?

  64. Staszek

    Hello Guys,

    Can anyone tell me how to disable virtual partner page/screen when I’m navigating an activity ?
    The virtual partner by default can be enabled/disabled individually for each application in it’s settings, BUT everytime when i try to navigate one of the activites i got a VP page/screen + navigation pages (but those i can customize which is great) I tend to simplify the number of pages and this additional page is a thing which most often is not necessary for me, would be great if there would be some setting i.e. in navigation settings where the navigation pages can be customized to disable it.

    BR

    Staszek

    • Skeptic_Orango

      I upgrated to Android 6.0 and for syncing my training sessions I need to turn on the GPS on the phone.
      Does that mean that for having phone’s notifications you need to leave the geo-positioning always on?
      I have a fenix2 I’d like to upgrade to fenix3 also for having smart notifications, but if this is the case I’m not that sure anymore.
      Please somebody out there let me know.
      Thx

  65. Skeptic_Orango

    I upgrated to Android 6.0 and for syncing my training sessions I need to turn on the GPS on the phone.
    Does that mean that for having phone’s notifications you need to leave the geo-positioning always on?
    I have a fenix2 I’d like to upgrade to fenix3 also for having smart notifications, but if this is the case I’m not that sure anymore.
    Please somebody out there let me know.
    Thx

    • Gerome

      Hey Orango!

      That sounds ridiculous, to be honest: don’t you mean ” …for syncing my training sessions I need to turn on Bluetooth/Wi-Fi on the phone…” (because that’s all you should really need)?

      When you said you needed to turn on GPS (lol!) on the phone to sync your training sessions, were you talking about the fénix 2 or fénix 3?

      Also, what phone do you have, because that’s not standard behavior right there!?

    • Skeptic_Orango

      Hey Gerome,
      I Have a fenix2 but in fact it is a general new requirement for all devices pairing to Android 6.0 marshmallow if you use bluetooth.

      see:
      link to support.garmin.com

      anyhow I deduce from your answer that with fenix3 I could pair using wifi and GPS in this case it is probably not needed.

      Can you confirm?

      Thank you very much for your prompt answer………. ridiculousness is nice don’t you think?

    • Dom

      I’ve found that having coarse location services on is enough, and that doesn’t really cost you any power, as it’s getting location from whichever of cells, BT and WiFi which you have on in the first place. Notifications work pretty well, and I only ever have the phone GPS on if I’m actively using maps on it. (The reason underlying the change is that Google reckon apps using BT could be doing location on the quiet using a look-up table, and that the permissions for such apps should reflect it, AIUI).

    • FYI, I just upgraded to Android 6, and indeed when I connected (an Edge, not the Fenix 3), it asked me to enable location. I ignored the warning (swiped it away), and Connect proceeded to connect and sync with the Edge.

      I suspect somebody was overzealous or misread the API docs.

  66. Mike

    Just bought a fenix 3. It was great until today when it shut off for about 10 minutes, inexplicably. Woke up tonight to the watch screen black. Holding and pressing some buttons I heard a beep, but no Garmin logo. Fenix 3 not charging (or not displaying if it is) when in the cradle. Any hints to help a brother out?

  67. Mark McElligott

    Great read and very helpful. 1 swim about 4 miles a week and tend to use the lap during rest times. My problem is that during the rest time I would like to switch between my swim recordings and the time. Please advice how I can do this?

  68. ShawnZ

    Been using my G-Fenix 3 HR for a couple weeks now mostly in the indoor modes. I searched high/low and could not find an app., or any setting for indoor climb or a setting for an indoor stair climber workout.

    Any recommendations on a setting as I want to mostly track the cardio part of the workout more than steps.

  69. Steve

    Be careful with the metal band on your Fenix 3. Mine broke today in the middle of the bike leg in the first Triathlon since purchasing the F3 four months ago. Granted it was a particularly rough stretch of road , but I expect more.

    I felt it slip off so I looked down and back and saw it tumbling down the pavement. I did a quick turn around to go back to retrieve it. It cost me several seconds and 2 positions but I guess I am thankful it is not at the bottom of a lake.

    I am off to call Garmin to see what they have to say about it.

  70. Steve

    Be careful with the metal band on your Fenix 3. Mine broke today in the middle of the bike leg in the first Triathlon since purchasing the F3 four months ago. Granted it was a particularly rough stretch of road , but I expect more.

    I felt it slip off so I looked down and back and saw it tumbling down the pavement. I did a quick turn around to go back to retrieve it. It cost me several seconds and 2 positions but I guess I am thankful it is not at the bottom of a lake.

    I am off to call Garmin to see what they have to say about it.

  71. I’ve given the Fenix 3 a month, and as much as I love its construction and the UX on the watch, I’ve decided to go back to my Ambit 3. I just can’t cope with its consistently bad gps data, which is its core functionality.

    When Suunto released the Vertical a couple months ago and saw their new line continues with LCD displays I was like… “Wow, Suunto is done, time to consider other watches”. So I did get the Fenix 3.

    The watch is gorgeous and makes the Ambit feel 10 years old, but the GPS accuracy is just not comparable in any way, and that’s the main purpose of a watch like this. For somebody that gets the Fenix and it’s their first GPS watch, it might be somewhat ‘ok’ and might not even be bothered with the irregularity of the paths on the map, but if you’ve used a Suunto, it’s just very frustrating to see how the gps tracks consistently has some glitches here and there with the Fenix. I’ve been very frustrated seeing how the data of my new watch was just worse over and over.

    With my Suunto I could do repeats and the lines would be plotted pretty much perfectly on top of each other. I’m sad to say that this is not happening with the Fenix. I’ve tried it all: the 1s tracking, glonass… but nothing. The data is not bad enough to say it’s a faulty watch, but it’s just inconsistent in a way that I’ve not experienced with my Ambit.

    Also, a big thing that Garmin has yet to nail is an equivalent of Suunto’s Fusespeed. Looking at a pace graph in Garmin Connect is just a raw GPS data with pretty much no smoothing at all, which makes analyzing the numbers useless. Movescount sucks in many ways, but Suunto is getting the core features right. A pace graph is true to how your run was.

    I’m sad about the experience. I really hoped Garmin would get it right, but IMO Suunto is still doing the core functionality way better than Garmin.

    • Norm Goody

      100% agree. GPS accuracy was OK for run but worthless for open water swim as I usually lost 30-90% of the swim with no data points. I even tried returning watch for new one but had identical results. Since I di like the watch so much, my solution was to buy a 920 to use exclusively as my sport watch and put the metal band back on the F3 and it is my everyday watch which looks nice enough for work or social. The F3 has features (like timer) that the 920 doesn’t and that I use frequently. I am very happy with it in that role and rarely use the GPS in day-to-day stuff anymore. Will still use it when traveling and I only bring one watch. Even tho the F3 is quite expensive, it’s still less expensive than a “fancy” dress watch (like an Omega or Breitling) and I think it looks better, anyway.

    • James

      Did you end up going back to the Ambit 3? I currently have had the Ambit 3 since Thanksgiving and have had tons of problems with it. Mostly, the runs don’t get uploaded into Movescount and I have to contact Suunto Support to have them fix the issue. So often times it’s a week before I can see my data and it’s annoying having to contact them every time.

      I’m seriously considering returning the Ambit 3 and going to the Fenix 3.

    • I did. No regrets so far. My problem was the GPS accuracy. Other than that the Garmin is amazing. And the sync over wifi pretty neat. You could set up one of the keys to sync via wifi on a long press to just update a run once getting home.

      In my case, I wonder if the weather here is somewhat more challenging for GPS than in other places. I live in Stockholm and we rarely have clear skies. I don’t know if the particular weather really affects much vs other cities. Maybe I just got a ‘not so good’ unit… All I know is that the Ambit has been more accurate for me. I’ve seen great tracks from the Fenix, but unfortunately it wasn’t on mines. I consistently got crappy data like in the img below (I was running on the path by the west side of the river).

      The Fenix might work for you. Still, it looks like you’ve got a bad Ambit. I’d ask for a replacement. I’ve had no problems with Movescount. Your issue doesn’t seem to be something that should happen repeatedly. I’ve never seen that myself.

  72. Matthew

    Hi All,

    Has anyone else had serious gps issues with the fenix 3. I have only had this for a week now and the data I am receiving back is so inaccurate that it makes the watch useless.

    I have change the settings to 1 sec data recording and GLONASS but didn’t make any difference to accuracy.

    • Dean

      I have had the same problems. The watch is entirely useless. It posts to Strava and people likely get the impression that I was intoxicated. My $125 Nike Sport Watch with GPS is far more accurate. Anyways, I contacted Garmin and they will replace it, hopefully the new one is better.

    • Frank Young

      Mine seems to be rock solid. link to connect.garmin.com I’ve done this same fairly heavily wooded 6.3 mile run three times in the last two weeks. Comes out 6.30 miles every time and the out bound and return paths match up nicely. This morning, most of my return trip was in the pouring rain and I still got a good track.

  73. Tony

    I’ve had the Fenix 3 since around Black Friday and love it. Recently I got the Garmin Bike speed/cadence sensor combo. Everything works great in bike mode. One thing I don’t understand/perhaps I set something up wrong is when doing other activities (swimming or running are the two I’ve done so far) why does the fenix look for the bike sensors.
    I understand the concept of the ‘sensor pool’ and why it makes alot of sense, but I dont get why it looks for an obviously sport specific sensor during a swim for instance. If it was a HR strap ok I could get that. Perhaps i set something up wrong when pairing it.
    This doesn’t affect any of my work outs, the only reason I bring it up is because it seems to be draining my battery faster than previously without the sensors (im guessing it is constantly searching now instead of being off previously). It would make sense that specific sensors wouldnt be searched for during specific activity types, or give the user the option to chose if some aren’t searched for. Since I only have the 2 sensors and no HR strap, I would then expect the fenix to not search for ANT+ sensors at all during non-bike activities.
    Sorry if this has been posted and answered before. Any info on if i did something wrong or if Garmin is looking into this as a firmware update would be great. Thanks Ray and the DCR Community!
    -Tony

    • Frank Young

      I’ve got a bunch of sensors (2 tempes, 2 footpods, 1 gsc1, HRM-RUN, HRM3, HRM-TRI and HRM-SWIM and those are just the Garmin ones. Based on the little blinking or non-blinking icons that show up on the top third of the screen after you choose but before you start any and every activity, it looks for at least one of each type regardless of whether they are appropriate for the activity chosen. If it finds two or more of any one type at one time (two foot pods for instance) it makes you choose one or the other. Pretty smart.

      Just because the f3 detects something does not mean it will use it. It will not use your foot pod when you are on your bike or your speed and cadence sensor when you are running.

      Where things get sketchy is in custom activities. I have one called sailing. If I do not actively turn foot pod support off for this activity, even if there is no foot pod present) I get really goofy speed information. I would like the ability to tell it what to look for and/or ignore in custom, activities.

      My understanding is that Ant + sensor support draws very little power. I have not had any big battery drain issues until today. I fully charged it last night and logged no activities today and it dropped to 28% in 24 hours. I just installed the latest firmware in the last few days and figured maybe that was the culprit. I intend to keep an eye on it.

    • Tony

      Thanks for the response Frank. Maybe what I am seeing isn’t the sensors draining the battery as you suggest, but the firmware. I do think I updated around the time I added the sensors. So perhaps I thought it was the sensors when it was something else.

      Ill keep an eye out on battery drain and see if I notice anything during and not during activities.

    • Frank Young

      FWIW I took mine off the charger at 6 this am and ran for an hour using foot pod and HRM-RUN. Then I took it off and left it on my desk. 12 hours later she is at 92% battery. I don’t think the firmware (6.90) is doing anything wrong (at least with respect to the battery).

  74. Jeff Kohn

    I also seem to have a problem with the latest firmware. Updated twice on friday, then charged on saturday, no activities this weekend, then dead on Sunday. If this keeps up, I’ll move to the beta version for a little while.

  75. James

    Are people still dealing with GPS accuracy issues with this the Fenix 3?

    I have am Ambit 3 Peak and am on my last straw with Suunto. I have random runs/races which don’t get uploaded into Movescount and it requires me to have to contact Suunto Support and provide the date/times of the runs so they can upload them manually for me. This most recent time, I have to set up a remote session for them to try and fix the issue. This happens far too frequently and is a major inconvenience and renders the watch useless since you HAVE to use Movescount to grab your data.

    Would I be better off with the Fenix 3?

    • Frank Young

      Sounds like you would. I was pretty exasperated by my Fenix 2 but love my 3. I have never had a problem with it’s GPS accuracy but perhaps my expectations are too low and I rarely run in concrete canyons. Many of my runs are out and back’s on well defined, paved multi-use trails. The tracks are plenty close for my purposes and the distances are close enought that I cannot be sure they are not spot on. They are very, very consistent from one day to the next even though I run in the shade of a pretty dense tree canopy most of the time.

      My only problems with the fenix3 involve what Ray would call “edge cases” like sensor choices when recording custom activities like sailing or nits that don’t really matter like why moving time is always a few seconds less than elapsed time when I never actually slowed down much less stopped moving.

    • James

      Hi Frank,

      Thanks for your input/feedback. I live in Montana and run 95% on trails in the mountains so it sounds I shouldn’t have any issues with the GPS with the Fenix.

      Luckily I bought my Ambit 3 from REI so I’m able to return it within a year. I think I’m going to just return it and pay the difference for the Fenix 3. I also miss having a watch that can connect via USB and show up as a drive so I can manually pull off the workouts.

      Cheers!

    • Frank Young

      This morning, I did my usual 6.3 mile out and back run. This time, I attempted to manually lap as I crossed each of the ¼ mile marks I personally painted on the pavement after multiple measurements with a surveyor’s wheel earlier this year. My expectation was that, while the whole run would clock in at the usual 6.3 miles, the individual ¼ mile segments would bounce over/under a bit.

      Two bits of human error enter this picture. While my mind was elsewhere, I missed two consecutive marks in lap 12 and one in lap 21. After I painstakingly measured this route several times with my surveyor’s wheel and painted the marks, I determined that the wheel was measuring at 99.25% of actual meaning each of my ¼ mile paint marks are about 10 feet short of actual or 1,310 feet each instead of 1,320. 1,310 divided by 1,320 is still 0.2481 miles or 0.25 in terms of the F3’s resolution limitations. 19 of 20 times when I pushed the button at the right time, the watch reported a 0.25 segment. The other time, it reported 0.26.

      The track is also dead on. Most impressively, this run was done with 50% to 100% dense forest cover, 100% overcast and fog/light mist. What’s not to like about that.

      See for yourself: link to connect.garmin.com

  76. Murti Jung

    The Fenix3 is capable of turn-by-turn navigation. Its even relatively simple to do it. Quite unbelievable that Garmin can’t add such a much missed feature more or less out of the box like Suunto does with its combination of the Suunto Ambit and their Movescount.com website. I found a similar solution posted by a German blogger and put a screencast tutorial accordingly together on Youtube. The key element is a discontinued app of Garmin called Garmin Training Center. It still can be found for downloading on the web. Works very well!

    link to youtube.com

  77. CMV

    To all fenix3 pool swimmers…
    Is it only me or is somebody else having problems with length counting since the update to FW 7.0.0.0 ?
    My watch has always been spot on or with max 1 or two missing lengths out of 60.

    Today: 64 real lengths, the fenix3 measured 48! And the other two swims since the firmware update were not much better.

    Same pool, same swimmer as before the update!

    • Mine went the other direction since update, about 30% longer. Obviously, I’m perfectly happy with getting 30% faster overnight. ;)

    • CMV

      Lucky you!
      On my side I’ve gone from slow to slower… and sometimes 6 consecutive lengths are seen as one.
      In any case it definitely seems they broke something with this update.

    • Frank Young

      I’m not sure exactly when I went on 7.0 but I think it was a while back. Mine is counting lengths perfectly. What I am doing now is 6, 25 yd. lengths every 5 minutes (swim 6 lengths in three minutes plus a bit) Then I rest until the 5 minute marks comes up and repeat. Last time: link to connect.garmin.com I did 72 lengths and they all counted correctly.

      I’ll do it again tomorrow.

  78. Johan

    How is the stroke rate counted? Mine is on ave 27. Is this for that arm or both?

    • Frank Young

      Looks to me like one count for each arm at least doing the crawl which is abut all I ever do.

      BTW my length count was spot on again yesterday. I am doing six lengths with open turns every five minutes which amounts to about 3:15 of swimming followed by a 1:45 rest. All crawl.

      I’m kind of new at the lap swimming thing. Just learned alternate breathing yesterday.

  79. Rich

    Hi,
    After 1 year of pretty much flawless use, my Fenix 3 has now developed some issues:
    a) The GPS stopped picking up satellites and doesn’t work
    b) the pace from indoor running or even outdoor running with or without footpod is way off (tells me i’m running at 5:00min/km vs actually doing about 7:00min/km.
    I’ve spoken to Garmin but they just asked me to do a hard reset and then check out the forums.
    Anyone else developing reliability issues?
    Anyone else recommend a fix for the these?

  80. Danko

    Hello all!

    I ordered my fenix 3 few days ago, and am pretty satified for now. Have only one “problem”. I am saying “problem” cause acctually am not pretty sure it is real problem :) So would appriciate if someone will tell me his/her expirience. I am asking here cause I see ppl are pretty active on this topic, and acctually didn’t find answer to my question anywhere on internet.
    So, my “problem” lies in fact that back/lap button has different feeling while pressing, than for example, light/up/down buttons (start/stop has the same, or similar feeling as back/lap). Somehow it feels like a shutter on photo camera, you can press it half way down, and then you need to press it further so button is triggered. In difference all buttons on left side function more or less like 0/1.
    Thing I was wondering is maybe they did this with purpose, so one is not pressing these two buttons on right side accidentlly while doing some sports, pressing buttons with uper side of palm, due to rotating fist.

    Happy to hear expiriences from other ppl, cause, honestly, it drives me crazy a little, until I am not sure it’s feature, but not failure ^_^

    Thanks to all in advance :)
    Danko.

    • Frank Young

      I never noticed it before but since you “primed” me to expect it, I believe I do feel a bit of tactile feedback on both buttons on the right side of the watch face that I do not feel in any of the three buttons on the left. It is not pronounced and may have something to do with the fact that I normally operate the lower two left side buttons with my thumb while using my index finger to operate the buttons on the upper laft and the right side.

      It makes some sense when you think about it as the two buttons on the right are likely to be operated while you are not looking at the watch face. A bit of tactile feedback lets you know the button has been pressed without having to look.

    • Danko

      So would you describe it as I wrote before, like half shutter button on photo cameras? like it has some “empty space” when you press button before it is triggered as a click?

      Thank on your answer. :)
      Danko

    • Frank Young

      I would reassure you that your watch is working as intended.

      The camera shutter button analogy is bad as, in that case, a half press does something. In this case, all it does I’d provide tactile feedback without effecting the intended action. You are meant to press through it not to it.

    • Danko

      Yes yes, I understand you. I compared it with camera shutter just in this way, that it feels the same under finger. Fkors it doesn’t provide same action :)

      Thanks for your answer, you convinced me pretty much ;)

  81. John

    Hello I have been using My Fenix 3 for the last few months on its own running without any issues getting full statistics including distance. I have now started cycling but all I get from a statistics time is the amount of time I am cycling no information on distance covered. Am I missing something must I adjust a setting or do I need to add something to get information on distance covered.

    • Kale

      You need to go into Settings–>App–>Bike–>GPS–>On

      Basically you need to turn the GPS on for any of the functions you use outside. It may have gotten turned off by accident.

      Hope that fixes it.

    • John

      Ya its already set to on I have three options on, off and UltraTrac even with it switched to on same issue

    • Frank Young

      Sounds like it thinks it is connected to a speed or speed and cadence sensor that is either not present or is malfunctioning. I would have thought it would have automatically defaulted to GPS in this case but maybe not.

      My fenix2 would do that to me if I went kayaking without disabling the foot pod first. Perfect track. No distance. No speed.

    • John

      No not that either its a right pain have created a case with Garmin hoping they can help

    • Frank Young

      My experience with Garmin support via email has been very poor. When a “case” has been created as a result of a phone support session—not much better. However you did it, I hope you have better luck. In any event, patience is a necessary virtue.

      In the interim:

      1. Are you using a speed or speed and cadence sensor? What make/model?
      2. While you are riding, is your F3 displaying real-time speed? Distance?
      3. After your ride, is there a track showing up in the saved activity?
      4. Will you share a link to one of these messed up activities with us?

    • John

      Thanks so much for all your help.

      No I do not Have a speed or Cadence sensor
      When Riding I get no information on distance speed etc. The only thing I get is The amount of time I am on the bike.
      No activity shown see Images attached

    • Fernando Lordelo

      Clearly the GPS is off for some reason. Maybe you’re using the “Bike indoor” app? If you’re using the proper “Bike” (outdoor) app, please check whether the GPS is on or off (Menu>Settings>Apps>Bike>GPS).
      Hope that helps!
      Regards,
      Fernando.

    • John

      No not using indoor and GPS is on I think I will remove the app and add it again

    • Frank Young

      Fernando is right. If the GPS was working you would have at least gotten a track of where you went.

      Maybe a stupid question but do you use a foot pod when you run and did you get tracks in your activities when you were running?

      When you begin a BIKE activity, is there a red circle around the watch face indicating that GPS acquisition is incomplete? Does the red circle as well as the letters GPS at the very top of the watch face turn green after GPS lock is successful?

    • John

      I seem to have a lot bigger issue than i thought I had.
      GPS search is always stuck between 0 and 5 on the clock in red.
      Not sure why but looking elsewhere seems to be a common issue.

      link to forums.garmin.com

      Did factory reset and its stuck now on the wait for GPS page
      Will try call support soon has anyone else had this issue

    • John

      Ok talked to Garmin getting a replacement watch sent out GPS is faulty probably like that for a long time looking back at my online info for runs I have lots of info on pace etc but no maps. Can’t believe I only noticed it now

  82. drm

    Hi all,

    I already read about the “resume later” feature and activities ultimately ending up as multisport and not as the same activity using this feature. This seems to be fixed. However, I recently noticed some different behaviour. Using the “resume later” on an activity I suddenly get the activity saved and finalized in a time frame of 1-2 hours after selecting “resume later”. I could not find any kind of timeout in the settings regarding this. Has anyone experienced something similar like this or any ideas, what is causing this.

    thx.

    • Julia

      Hi drm
      I had exactly the same issue with my Sapphire when I was tracking my drive as a cycle ride from southern France to the Rheinland Pfalz in Germany last month. I selected ‘Resume Later’ when I stopped overnight and found that my route had been saved instead when I tried to ‘resume’ prior to setting out the following morning. Despite my best (but limited) efforts I could not find a way to reopen the activity to tack the second part of the journey to the first. I put it down to operator error at the time as the watch was very new and I was still learning my way around it.
      I have no idea of what went wrong but am encouraged to see that it happened to someone else too. Don’t feel quite so technically bereft now :)

    • drm

      Trying to find some help on the garmin forums I found sth. that suggests it is related to the watch face, however switching from digital to analog did not do it for me. I furthermore noticed meanwhile, that sometimes it just works and sometimes it does not. The times when it does not work, it seems that at some stage the fenix just behaves as the start button was pressed (which it definitely is not), bringing back the options you have in the menu at activity end. Then, if you don’t notice by chance, you seem to run in the normal timeout that ultimately leads to the activity getting saved after 20/25 minutes.

  83. Nav

    Hey Ray, i’m trying to add the steps field (steps per lap) in a run, and i don’t see it in the list of fields amongst all the categories (time, pace, other, etc.). Any way one can do this please? This is for the Fenix3 HR.

  84. Amedeo

    Pairing bike speed/cadence sensor to F3, how does the watch manage speed and distance?
    by gps or by speed sensor?

    Can I pair only cadence and set speed and distance would be managed by the watch?

    Thanks

  85. Saptarshi Guha

    Hi
    Superb review. Thanks for all your effort. Have you done (or would you??) a swim comparison between the Garmin Swim and this (in terms of accuracy).
    I’ve compared Garmin Swim vs Vivoctive HR and the 735XT and both the latter two missed lengths compared to the Swim which was _spot_ on. The 735XT wasn’t as bad as Vivoactive HR.

    Does the Fenix use a different hardware/algorthm compared to the Vivoactive HR/735XT?

  86. Tim K

    I’m about to pull the trigger and upgrade from my 620 to the fenix 3. But I’d like to know if the fenix can track steps while mowing the grass. I borrowed my daughter’s Fitbit Zip and got 17,000 steps while mowing today. I’m wondering if the fenix will count steps while holding the onto the mower handles. This isn’t something that will keep me from getting the F3, but if it takes 17,000 steps to cut the grass, I’d like to get credit for it!

    I had no idea I would get that many steps!

    • Michael L.

      I don’t believe it will pick up the steps if your hand is on the handle.

      I went from a 620 to the Fenix 3 as well and I wear a Fitbit one on my pocket. The step count for me is very similar on the two usually within 1 to 2% except when I go grocery shopping and push the cart. The Fitbit One picks up the steps, but the Fenix 3 does not. I would imagine that it would be the same with pushing a lawnmower, but the vibration could change it.

    • 6co

      I confirm that you will not get credit for mowing the grass with the Fenix3. Been there…

  87. Thomas

    Hi,

    I’m just experiencing a strange issue and wonder if someone else might have seen it already.

    I have a fenix 3 with firmware 7.00.

    The time settings are set to “automatically”.

    Now, all worked well within the last two weeks, while I have been in Germany and Netherlands.

    Currently, I’m located at Helgoland (N54° 11′, E7° 53′).

    The strange thing is that now the fenix is one hour behind, so actually showing 16:39 instead of 17:39.

    None of the settings have been changed?!

    Any ideas?

    Regards, Thomas

    • Norm Goody

      did you check to see if “daylight savings time” was on/off? That might account for the “single hour”?
      I was just traveling through multiple time zones but my watch syncs to my phone and my phone would update with new cell signal upon landing and I could do a manual synch to change F3 immediately or it seemed to adjust itself to correct local time quite quickly (likely, when Garmin Connect on phone next re-synched).
      Either way, it performed well in that regard.

      I was impressed that I failed to pause the GPS one day at lunch (watch in “hike” mode to track our days journey) and the F3 shows that I traveled almost 2 miles while SITTING and eating lunch. Was that just GPS drift?

      I don’t know that the GPS on the F3 is any more accurate than a mechanical pedometer you wear on your belt. Other than that- I love it.

  88. Han

    It seems a bit strange that the Fenix measures altitude based on barometerpressure and not on gps, which is far more accurate. Why?

  89. Sebastian J.

    In Multisport/Triathlon mode:
    What does the option “Lap Key” do?
    I searched the internet and can only find generic non-multisport specific answers.
    Am I right to conclude that this setting is meaningless in Multiport since the lap button will ALWAYS switch to the next activity regardless of the setting?

    • It simply advanced to the next sport (swim to T1, T1 to bike, Bike to T2, and T2 to Run). That’s it.

      You can setup autolap if you’d like, to record splits within in activity. But unlike some others, you can’t use the lap key to also record laps in multisport mode.

    • Sebastian J.

      Hi Ray,
      thanks for your reply. But maybe I was not clear enough. I know what the lap button does when pressed in Multisport mode.

      The questions is related to optional setting called “Lap Key” on/off wihtin the activity menu.
      If setting the option to either on or off has no effect – why is it there? If there is an effect between on or off – what is it? I can’t find a difference.

      E.g. a smart difference would be:
      off setting: works as you described
      on setting: short press would record a new lap; long press would transfer into the next mode/transition
      ->that would be very nice since I know some people accidentally pressing the lap button to discover there is no “undo” :)

  90. JP

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for your review, it help me to take a decission to go for it!
    I have a fenix 3 that I have been using for 6 months.
    My usage so far has been quite basic, just heart rate monitor + basic GPS (no glonass, no bluetooth, no activity monitoring, etc) and with such use the battery life has been less than 9 hours
    According to your measurements, you got 18hours, I guess that duration you got is without the use of heart rate monitor.
    Do you know ow much would the battery life be reduced if HR monitor is used?

    Thanks

  91. CMV

    Lo and behold,
    the other day I swam with a Mio Velo on my wrist (right next to the Fenix3) and not only could I see my HR during the swim (nothing new there), but I could also see it on my timeline in Garmin Connect (along with 24h HR, as already reported by another reader). Nice that you can now have review swimming HR post-workout, even if still nothing shows in the activity summary.

  92. Koly

    Hello, guys! I wonder if the Fenix 3 (both HR and non-HR versions) are good to swim with in the salty water (like, in the sea). Could anyone please comment on that? Won’t the salt run the charger contacts?

    • No issues with salty sea water.

      Like any device though with electronic contacts, it’s good to occasionally give it a rinse in fresh water. In most cases you’ll eventually take a shower the same day you swam in salt water, so just wear it there to prevent any long term build-up.

  93. Caro Jardine

    Using a fenix 3. What App does one use for a general gym workout with weights, rowing , stretching etc? Have tried to customise one, but it downloads as walking!!Thanks for your time.Thanks for the great reviews, tips etc.
    From Cape Town South Africa.

  94. Vince

    I have a Forerunner 920xt. have the option to get a Fenix

  95. Nick F

    Hey Ray. Do you know if garmin have any future plans to include strava segments on fenix 3???

    Thanks for your great and complete reviews

  96. Emily C

    Hi Ray! Thanks for the notice about the sale. Great timing because I have a birthday coming up… which brings me to ask for your advice! My FR620 works just fine, and I also have the HRM-run strap but don’t wear it all the time. I love love love trail running and up here in the PNW, a lot of trails have a dense tree canopy and/or are between ridges, so my 620 has pretty atrocious accuracy. If I go for a 10 mile run in the woods, it will probably only record 9 miles on my watch. Here’s what I see as my options: 1. ask for a footpod since my watch works perfectly fine, 2. ask for a Fenix 3 since it is on sale and should have better accuracy, plus this would be my 4th Garmin or 3. ask for the Ambit3 because it’s less expensive and still pretty functional? or I guess 4. ask for something I don’t even know about?

    Thanks!

  97. Alex C.

    FYI
    Fenix 3 is on sale amazon.it at EUR285 only for today
    Sounds like a bargain to me

  98. JPT

    I have a question that I have not seen addressed, sorry if I missed it.

    Can someone tell me why this happens and how to make it stop?

    Very often, in the middle of a run, when I’m using the standard “run” app, my screen changes by itself.
    The normal screen is black letters on a clear background. The new one is white letters on black background.

    The data fields displayed are different than the ones I have. There are actually a few screens that I can scroll up and down with the usual keys.
    The information display *is* abut the activity I’m doing. You could say that I’d just adapt, but you know that’s not that easy while sprinting, dodging cars or bikes or jumping over tree stumps. You want to glance at the watch and get the info, not stare at it for a minute while furiously pressing the up down buttons until you get to a figure you recognize.

    This happens no matter which data screen is currently active. I can be looking at a typical “pace, HR, cadence” or at running dynamics. It doesn’t make a difference.

    After a while, sometimes 30 seconds, sometimes more, it goes back to my normal data screens.

    This is pretty annoying as it tends to happen when I’m monitoring something as in while doing intervals. (Murphy’s law)

    Your help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks
    JP

    • Frank Young

      I have used mine for an hour or more nearly every day for the last year and have never seen anything remotely like what you describe. Sounds like there is a micro-crack in the hardware somewhere. I would simply ring up Garmin and ask for a warranty replacement.

      If you don’t like that idea, do a master reset (Garmin will likely make you take this step first anyway). If that works, just make sure to clean out your Activity folder on the watch on a regular basis. For some illogical reason, letting FIT files build up in there increases the chances of some kind of odd software corruption that can make the watch seem to have a mind of its own. Normally that manifests itself as a mid-activity freeze and/or reboot but there is a small chance this is the root cause of your problem as well. In any event, it is an easy thing to do.

    • Dom

      That sounds like the Auto Climb cutting in; if you’re ascending steeply enough, it switches to a screen with appropriate data, inverts the screen to make it clear something has changed, and then flips back once you’re on the level again. All elements of that (including the inversion) are customizable.

      I strongly suspect it uses GPS to trigger rather than the barometric altimeter, as I see it trigger from time to time when I am clearly on the level (for instance, riding along next to a guided busway which was previously a railway line, so really not sloping up at all).

      If you want to turn this off completely, menu>settings>apps>run (or whatever you want to tweak)>Auto Climb then use the settings there to do so.

    • JPT

      @Dom

      Thank you! That’s it.

      So now my feedback is different: the auto climb sometimes kicks in when running on a flat.

      I briefly took a look at the customization possibility of the screens. It looked as if you can turn on and off the screens (and the autoclimb, of course) but I couldn’t find a way to customize those screens. I guess I’ll spend a bit more time.

      But anyway, this was a great relief. It was driving me nuts.

      Thanks
      JP

    • AJ

      Is auto-pause enabled? If the auto-pause kicks in the screen gets inverted.
      link to www8.garmin.com
      Worth a check.

  99. kyle

    Just wondering if the Altitude has been fixed via firmware? I returned my F3 last year after a month of using it and went back to my Ambit 3 because I need the Altitude to work right. I know there were talks of Garmin implementing a Alto/Bar lock to fix the issue but didnt know if they did?

  100. wu qingwei

    I have a fenix3 with firmware 7.20, I run 5k with HRM4-RUN, But I can’t get VO2MAX after running, I don’t know why.
    the activity:link to connect.garmin.cn
    when I go to menu-my stats-Vo2Max-running, the info is “run 10:00 outdoors with HR to get VO2max”

  101. Ben

    Have a chance to pick up a lightly used Fenix 3 from a co-worker for $200, would you hesitate on this and buy newer model or wait for next models? $200 seems like a deal too good to pass up, but don’t want to buy a model that has ‘core’ features that may be better on a newer model like the 230 or 235. Currently have a 3 year old 610, that works fine, not really looking to replace, but figured I’d better ask around and see if $200 on a Fenix 3 was too good pass on

    Thanks!

    • Graham R

      No clue if you took the plunge on this, but the F3 is closer to the 630 in features than the 230 – it has all the advanced running metrics and looks “nicer” (IMHO) in a work setting.

      if you don’t care about optical HR i would do it for sure!

      Since you know the person ask to take it for a run to make sure it works first :)

  102. Steve Burton

    Hi Ray.
    Many thanks for your excellent review on the Fenix3, on the strength of your recommendation I decided to upgrade from my Fenix2.
    As stated in your review “The Fenix series ultimately has it’s roots in navigation…..” or so I thought !!!
    I run trail routes and require the following information on a single data screen that I can read on the hoof.
    1) an arrow indicating the direction to the next waypoint
    2) the distance to the next waypoint
    3) any off-course variation
    4) and finally an alert when I have reached the waypoint.
    The Fenix3 shows this information clearly, but there are two serious problems.
    Firstly distances in metric are shown only in kilometres and not in metres. I live and run in Derbyshire in the UK and trail running across fields requires metres not kilometres. The second problem is a dealbreaker because the Fenix3 does not alert when you reach the waypoint.
    I have spoken to Garmin UK support who stated the following:
    1) the Fenix3 will only display in km, the support person I spoke to didn’t know the reason why. My Fenix2 does display in metres and alerts at waypoints.
    2) the Fenix3 does not alert waypoints because the product “is designed for the fitness market not the outdoor market” he was unable to explain what this meant and said that the decision to remove waypoint alerts and only display metric distances in kilometres was because the design had been “compromised” to satisfy the fitness market.
    I replied that this “compromise” was a serious failing and I would be returning my Fenix3 and therefore what Garmin product would he recommend? He suggested the Bravo??? or stick with the Fenix2 !!!!
    I found the support discussion and recommendation staggering. I’m not sure if I even believe what I was told.
    He said he was aware of your international review of the Fenix3 and he was quite happy for me to quote his statement
    My question is Ray, firstly is what I have been told correct, and secondly if it is true what the heck are Garmin playing at ???
    Many thanks in anticipation of your reply
    Steve

    • 1) Not sure on why the specific shift from meters to KM, I suppose it’s easy enough to drop/add zeros on it. Historically they’ve usually made it after some cut-off (i.e. above 999m it switches to KM).

      2) For the waypoint alerts, I don’t believe that has changed (and as you noted, last I checked was still missing). Though I haven’t followed that piece terribly closely. :(

  103. Tommays

    The watch can do turn by turn navigation and alert you to most anything you want

    Unfortunately you just can’t do this with the tools Garmin had provided and you have to make you course on a third party sight

    For reasons only Garmin knows they are pushing out turn by turn to the 735 but not other watches

  104. Paul

    First off, I wish to thank you for the wealth of knowledge that I’ve come to learn through you. Outstanding stuff and I’ve turned on many in our military community to your blog/website.

    The question I want to ask, is if I’m running/biking without the chest strap (HR function disengaged), but have bluetooth activated (with my phone w/bluetooth activated), will the real-time weather data be factored into the calories burned data for a given workout? I’m in the Tampa, Florida area where it’s really warm and humid these summer months, and I’m just wondering if that information is incorporated into my data.

    Thanks!

  105. Senthil

    Like to have update on fenix 3 and discount offers

  106. Raja

    Hi Ray,

    Is there a way to mark a lap in the Fenix 3 while the activity is paused. I would like to do that when I do interval runs and not have to see the recovery run in between intervals. I used to do it on one of my older Garmin running watches. Start>Stop>Lap Mark then again Star>Stop>Lap Mark etc…

    Thanks,

    Raja

    • Guilherme

      Did you discover the way to do that?
      I want that in the intervals, when I didn’t move, the activity pauses, but alert me when the pre set rest time over.

      Regrads

  107. Stephen

    How on earth do you change the default activity/app? ‘Trail Run’ seems to always be the default when I start a new activity, surely this can be changed? If so, I can’t find it.

    Secondly, how do you turn off sleep monitoring? Every day Connect tells me sleep time, despite never wearing the watch to bed nor telling it “I’m going to sleep” Thanks!

    • Michael L.

      Go to Settings>App>Select the app you want to move and the scroll down and find the “Move Up” or “Move Down” button and select accordingly.

    • Frank Young

      And/or, if you only use one app, just change the status of all of the ones you don’t use to Hide. Whatever you actually used last is what it defaults to when you press the Start button from the timekeeping face no matter how many apps are unhidden.

      If you don’t want any activity tracking information such as steps and sleep, go to Settings>Activity Tracking and turn it off. You can also turn it off for your fenix in the Connect application. I let it run on mine even though my Vivosmart HR is my designated activity tracker in Connect. I’m afraid if you want your steps, you are probably going to get sleep with it. Perhaps by turning off Activity Tracking for your fenix in Connect but not turning it off on your device you can have both. Just out of curiosity, I am going to try that myself.

    • Stephen

      Hmm, I had already tried moving my preferred app up/down, to the top of the list etc. Doesn’t seem to make a difference, ‘Trail Run’ falls around middle of the list, and is always the default when starting a new activity.

      Bummer about steps/sleep, I did suspect if you wanted steps you also got lumped with sleep too.

  108. anon :-)

    Fenix 4 looks REAL nice doesn’t it :-)

  109. Myron

    Hi ray.

    Is there a bike computer out there that you can send the information from your fenix 3 to the bike computer? So when riding your bike your fenix 3 stays on your wrist but your reading it from you bike computer

    Thank you in advanced

  110. AJ

    Have you tried the quick release kit yet: link to buy.garmin.com ?
    I would be very keen to know what you think of it before I invest!

    Keep up the great work.

    • Myron

      Well i have tought about the quick release kit. But you would have to attach it to the watch and it is going to make it even bulkier and the tought of doing a transition and forget the watch on the bike ( i have seen it happen ) makes me say no.

    • AJ

      Thanks – my use would be more swapping between bikes and running on a more routine basis that T2 type pressure situations but valuable advice!

  111. David Tucker

    I’ve been a happy Fenix 2 user for about 2 1/2 years now. This is actually the longest I’ve kept any training watch since my Polar RS300x (ah, simpler times…). Anyway, while I actually am still quite happy with my Fenix 2, I’ve discovered the battery is seriously fading. There’s basically no chance that this watch will last the entire race of the JFK 50 miler I’m running in November and in 2 weeks I’ll be signing up for IMWI 2017. So it’s time for a new training partner.

    I have no need for the HR sensor since I like the completely useless metrics on the HRM-RUN and I prefer the styling of the Fenix 3 to the Forerunner 920xt. My other option is to save some cash by buying a Fenix 2 since they’re so old now. Anyone have any thoughts? I know there’s people who have complained about the GPS accuracy of the 3 but people complained about the 2 as well and I was happy with it. Which one would be considered more accurate (if at all)

    • Adam

      Since you have it one for 2 years, how has the screen held up as far as scratches go? I am saving a Fenix 3 and really don’t want to spend the extra $ for a sapphire one.

  112. Jeremy

    Would you recommend buying a used Fenix 3?

  113. Great review of the device.

    The only question I got on this post:
    >Like always, I’ll be shipping that back to them in Kansas in the next little bit and going out and getting my
    >own via regular retail channels.

    Does this mean you bought every single piece of watch shown in the comparison picture?
    link to media.dcrainmaker.com

  114. Michael L.

    I have a question about virtual partner. If you are running a workout does virtual partner show your pace versus the selected segment or the average of the segment and the proceeding ones?

    To clarify, if I have a run with a 2 mile warm up at a 10 minute pace and the first run segment is a 9 minute pace will the virtual partner indicate off of a 9 minute pace in the second segment or 9:30 which is the average of the 1st and 2nd segments?

    Thanks

  115. mart

    Usually, Lap button records a lap. But in Multisport mode, it changes the activity.

    Now, how do I record laps in the Multisport mode?

  116. Judson

    What is up with the stock “weather” widget? It constantly displays “waiting for data”. I have searched the interwebs and tried every solution. The only one that seems to work is to un-pair the watch and phone and then re-pair them. This works for a couple of hours but after a certain time it just goes back to the “waiting for data”. does anyone have a real solution? I cannot keep un-pairing and re-pairing with my phone – it gets old. Thanks.

    • Waiting for data means that it can’t connect to the Garmin Connect Mobile app (for any number of reasons). Possible causes are:

      A) The app is closed (it has to run in the background somewhere)
      B) Bluetooth is disabled on the phone (unlikely, but happens)
      C) Bluetooth is disabled on the Fenix3 (unlikely, but can happen)
      D) Bluetooth is running, the app is open, but for whatever reason the two don’t see each other: Could be a phone issue (happens frequently), an app issue, or just something else wonky
      E) Pairing is lost entirely at the phone level: Validate in BT Control panel that the phone/device show as ‘connected’ when nearby.
      F) Pairing is lost by the app: This is when the phone sees pairing, but the app doesn’t. Re-do new device option in app.

      Finally, the other thing to try is to delete the Garmin Connect app, then re-install it. Since your data is sync’d to the cloud, there’s no downside to trying that. Failing all that, then something is either amiss with your phone’s BT stack (not as infrequent as you might think, based on my rough keeping tabs on peoples problem – either at OS or hardware level), or something is amiss with the Fenix3’s stack (a reset might fix it).

    • Judson

      Thanks for the quick turn on the response Ray.
      A) I keep the app running in the background (well, at least I don’t close it in IOS),
      B & C) both the watch and phone show steady bluetooth connections,
      D) I get good sync notifications consistently when I open the app,
      E) when I check the BT menu on the phone it always show fenix 3 connected,
      F) app constantly syncs with the watch whenever it is open.

      I have un-paired both on numerous occasions with limited success. I guess I will try and start from scratch (unpair both then delete and reinstall GC and see if that helps. Last resort will be a complete factory reset on the watch.

      Merci and bonne soirée,
      Judson

    • Mart

      This answer (“Waiting for data means that it can’t connect to the Garmin Connect Mobile app”) is not 100% correct.

      It’s well documented that the watch can well be connected to the app, yet the Weather widget is still not working. The watch shows notifications, syncs etc, yet Weather is “waiting for data”.

      link to forums.garmin.com

      In my case, it’s iPhone 6s on iOS 10 GM. But the issue dates back to 2015.

    • Mart

      Btw users report that it’s not the issue of connection but rather of location, i.e. Connect app can’t get location for Weather widget.

      If it’s the connection problem, then the error is not “Waiting for data” but “Waiting for connection”.

    • Judson

      Thanks Mart.

      Also running iOS 10 GM but on iPhone 6. It clearly says “Waiting for data” and I have both a good BT connection and a good cell/wifi connection (and successful syncs between the watch and phone). Along with that my locations services for Garmin Connect are enabled.

      As I’ve said I have completed all corrective steps DCR has outlined with the exception of a complete factory reset of the watch – I just don’t feel like going through that for a function that should work properly.

      Come on Garmin.

    • Frank Young

      You could always look out of the window.

    • Mart

      You can also always check your pulse with your own two fingers on the wrist artery. Please just wire me the €400 that would have gone to Garmin otherwise.

    • Judson

      Dadgum Frank! How could have I have been so silly? I have been living my life the wrong way for years. Who needs deodorant and haircuts???

      Since I am going to wire all my money to Mart who should I send all my possessions to?

      And by the way, thanks for hanging on to you Powerbook and dialup modem so you can keep us in check.

    • Judson

      Here’s the response I got from Garmin Customer Support:

      “This is an issue with the fenix 3 model and the current version of Connect Mobile on iOS. we have an open research case and I have added you to it. We will contact you when we have a resolution.”

  117. Joseph Heffernan

    Great reviews, thank you.

    I am a road cyclist who loves the data and analytics of my activities .
    I have a Garmin Edge 510 paired with Strava Premuim , so I get lots of information from cadence , heart , speed . Elevation, segments etc .

    I really like the idea of a Fenix 3 HR , for its day to day use like heart rate , sleep & steps . I feel it would also encourage me to get more in to running and hiking to balance my activity profile .

    My questions :-

    – can the Fenix 3 HR complement the Edge 510 or will it make the Edge 510 redundant ?

    – for €599 is it too much to pay for my limited use ?

    Kind Regards
    Joe

    • David Tucker

      If you’re mainly a cyclist…I don’t think the Fenix 3 really is going to add a lot, or any value, to your life, especially at the cost. If you truly plan to get into running, then yeah, it would be great. If you think getting this will encourage you to get into running then I’d suggest saving your money.

      You’d be better off getting the FR 35 or something similar and keep cycling with your 510.

  118. Frank Young

    Performance Condition did not make it’s usual appearance at the half-mile mark or anytime after that on yesterday’s run. Anybody else seeing this? I am on 7.60.

    • Michael L.

      I’m on 7.60 as well and mine did appear this morning.

    • Frank Young

      Mine no-showed again this morning, I guess I’ll have to perform the dreaded master reset. RA and TE seem to still work fine.

    • Tony

      I’ve noticed mine appears intermittently. I ‘think’ it has only been showing up during activities once the recovery advisory expires. Again not sure this is the case but has seemed to be the pattern for me. Maybe something to look into before a master reset.

    • Frank Young

      That’s interesting. I was a few hours short of “fully recovered” this morning. having said that, I was fully recovered yesterday morning. I’ll give it another go tomorrow after full recovery and without a master reset just to see. Never really trusted the PC numbers anyway but they did have some entertainment value and I must admit that I miss them.

      The only thing I did different before they disappeared is to load a course into the watch for the first time ever. Seems unlikely that could have caused a problem but stranger things have happened.

    • Frank Young

      The hard reset worked.

  119. Carlos Tellez

    First of all, AWESOME REVIEW!!!! Thanks for all the information. I read your post to find out if the fenix 3 could read heart rate underwater. You do answer that in your review. My question is, is there any Garmin heart rate monitor that is compatible with the fenix 3 that can read my heart rate while swimming? Thanks!!!

    • Frank Young

      The HRM-SWIM and HRM-TRI are both designed to read your heart rate while swimming. I have them both and they work well. However, what they do is record and SAVE your HR while swimming and then transmit that data to your watch when it saves the swim. They do NOT transmit real-time HR data while they are submerged. They WILL transmit real-time HR data to the watch while out of the water if, for instance, you wanted to check your HR at the end of a set.

  120. Leon

    Hi.
    Can I use the Fenix 3 to track a surfski training session.

  121. Thank you for the excellent reviews! I got to this review from a link on the Fenix 3 HR page. Since that review references this one for details, it would be awesome if this page could get an updated review. How you like the apps, the fact that sleep tracking is now automatic, foot pod can be selected on GPS runs, the recent software updates, etc. Thanks again!

  122. Mohsin Malik

    Hi Dear,

    Great article enjoyed and learned many new things.
    I recently bought casio protrek 6000y. Its preety good. I just wana know that how dependable or accurate its sensors are and if there is any other watch which is much more accurate than protrek 6000y.

    I get to travel by roD quite a lot and long ones so ABC and Therm is all what i am mainky interested in but doesnt mind extra options too as far as the ABC thermo is precisely accurate.

    Thanks

  123. Paul

    Thanks for such a great review! I’ve been reading it while waiting for my fenix 3 to arrive and I’ve got even more excited about my purchase after I finished reading this review.

    I have one question about connectivity: why do I need to enable Location Services on my phone (Android 6.0.1) beside Bluetooth when connecting on bluetooth? GPS + Bluetooth will drain the battery phone faster.

    After an activity if I turn off the bluetooth on my phone the watch will say ‘connecting’. If I don’t turn off bluetooth on Fenix 3 too, it will consume watch’s battery?

  124. Omar Ibrahim

    I got my wife the vivoactive hr and myself the fenix 3 hr and I really feel like the vivoactive is the better product. definitely a better value, and I’m really thinking a better product because the fenix3 seems to have too many bells and whistles for its own good. the fenix 3 really seems much slower and less powerful than the vivoactive despite not having as many features/apps.. can anyone confirm or disprove this? are there any specs on the physical hardware? kinda bumbed out :/

  125. Manuel

    I recently bought an Fenix 3 with the HRM-run strap. I have been trying unsuccesfully to pair it with the Schwinn MPower consoles in my gym. The HRM strap works with the MPower but the watch was unable to connect.

    I have just seen in your “Product Comparisons” table this:

    ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym): No

    I’m very dissapointed, and I wonder why Garmin high-end fitness devices can’t use gym fitness equipment, when lesser ones have no trouble doing so. Will Garmin amend this?

    Regards

  126. Myron

    Hi

    Lately having an issue wile riding the bike. Problem is while riding the bike the watch gps does not give me the distance ridden. It does give me my speed but not the diatance.

    And if i go for a run it works perfectly

    Happen to 3 times already.

    Any of you encountering the same problem.

    Thanks in advanced

    Myron

    • Jeff K

      Holy crap! Same here! I thought it was user error because I’ve been messing with the fields recently. My commutes for the past weeks have all registered 0. So frustrating.

  127. Ted

    Sorry if this has been done to death already, but has there been a fix for ‘auto lap by position yet’? I’ve just noticed in the review it is not supported and of course on my new watch (doh!). I use it for cyclo cross lapping on my old 610, where pressing a button just is not an option. Is it consigned to history or is there a fix?

  128. Adam

    So is it really worth putting more money into the Sapphire model? I

    • Michael L.

      I got mine last year without the sapphire and keep a protector on it. So far with 1800 miles including a lot of trail runs, no scratches. I have heard that the real item susceptible to scratches is the bezel and that isn’t protected by the face. My experience is the extra money isn’t needed. Your mileage may vary.

  129. Omar Ibrahim

    Really can’t recommend the fenix 3 hr for anyone.. i’d rather people bought the vivoactive which has superior hardware at half the price (more than half if you’re thinking Sapphire).. even if it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the f3hr

    • Do keep in mind though that it depends a bit on the features you want. The Fenix3 HR does boatloads more in terms of things like navigation, multisport mode, etc… that the Vivoactive HR doesn’t do.

    • a

      Omar, did you have a bad experience with the Fenix 3? I have a hard time believing the Vivoactive is better than the fenix. Plus the look of vivoactive looks ridiculous. I want an everyday watch as well, so the Fenix seems to fit my needs at the moment.

    • Well if you mean the regular vivoactive (non-hr), yeah the squarish white watch is kinda funky, but if you mean the slimmer vivoactive hr in black, which is what I originally meant, I actually prefer that watch to the fenix3hr which is really kinda huge to me after you actually have it in your hands and wear it, and it’s just not really that aesthetically pleasing to me anyway, unless of course you want a watch that just looks like a regular watch.. I really think you might want to browse the Garmin forums before buying the watch just to get an idea if the bugs will bother you or not.. I bike, swim and play some sports (table tennis, basketball) so it does everything I need and more but the vivoactive hr suits me better, although I gave it to my wife and so now I’m in the market myself now since I’m trying to sell my fenix.. wearing the fenix3 while playing sports isn’t really a great experience btw.., it’s just too big and awkward, especially a contact sport, but that might not be a problem for most I guess.. it all depends on the features you want I suppose, but I just don’t think its worth $600 to wear the features the fenix3 offers..

      one more plug for the vivoactive hr’s superior hardware: the touch screen! I think the vivoactive hr was released after the fenix3 hr, (though maybe not the sapphire) so the hardware difference is understandable, but it’s just annoying to me, it’s only a few months apart I think and the watches perform and feel really different.. the real deal-breaker for me was the customization.. on the vivoactive hr if I changed the watchface there was never any performance issues.. but if i changed the watchface on the fenix3 to show a few more data fields and features, it totally slows the watch down and takes like 3-4 seconds just to scroll to a different screen from the watchface.. on top of that if you have a watchface with the HR data field, the HR is *always* wrong.. delayed by like 10+ seconds or something, so effectively useless for the most part.. meh I’m just kinda bitter I guess, mostly cuz of the price tag, oh and the moveIQ which the fenix3 just does not have at all! total surprise and disappointment there for me too.. it doesn’t even seem like that requires any extra hardware, but the watch just has so many bugs that they probably don’t want to bother adding a feature which might break the watch for a few weeks.. oh well rant over I guess.. head over to the garmin forums before you buy!

    • tommays56

      If you use the watch for its core purpose there is nothing in else in the game that can match that navigation features and ability to pace a race in any condition

    • Right, and I hope everyone looking to buy the watch understand that, through thorough reviews such as this one. But, I don’t think that the majority of buyers fall into that category. I could be wrong.

    • Tommays56

      Once your ready to drop 600 dollars on a watch I would hope your fairly serious 😀

      My first watch was a Polar RCX5 which I still use for making trail routes for others as the old style shoulder mount GPS receiver still records the best tracks

      I also purchased a 920XT and Ambit 3 which were returned as for my use they came up short for various reasons

      I guess the point being a watch that meets your needs is a drop in the bucket compared to going through 4 to 6 pairs of shoes a year and all the other kit you need to keep active on a year round basis

    • Adam

      Omar,

      Thanks for your insight. i have spent about half a year reading reviews about the Fenix, I say 90% of it is positive. Safe to say the fenix is pretty solid now. It’s funny how we are so different. For one I can’t stand anything touch screen, I’m old school I need to push things:)
      I also like the big size of the fenix and want something that looks like a watch. The vivo just looks more like a ladies watch to me. I never heard anyone use a sports watch while playing sports. i play basketball as well and would never wear a garmin.

    • Adam

      Thanks for your insight. Funny how everyone is different. For one I can’t stand anything touch screen. Been reading about the fenix everywhere for the last 6 months, I can safely say it seems like an incredible piece of equipment. I also want the look of a watch, I like the big size and it’s rugged looking. The vivio seems cool but it just looks weird to me and more like a women’s watch.

    • Funny indeed! I almost wish I could just give you the watch it seems like it would make you a much happier owner than me! I think I will have a friend put it for ebay auction if your interested.

      Strange that people don’t use a sports watch when playing sports, I feel.. it’s useful biofeedback to have while you’re playing which lets you pace yourself and log your output.

    • adam

      Well that’s a kind gesture! I have been saving for almost a year for this, and not really there yet to pull the trigger, but getting there!

  130. Danny Maulana

    Hi DC,

    Why map not showing when I use hike or climb activity but it’s show in run activity? When I check it to Connect.garmin.com, there is no map also.

    I try to export gpx file and covert it to kmz so I can open it on google earth, but again there is no map in there.

    Did I do something wrong? Please help me to fix this problem.

    Sorry for my bad english.

    Sincerely.

  131. Heribert

    Hi
    I currently have a V800 which I generally like and a Wahoo Kickr -V1 which I also like. Now I want to record my metrics on the V800 and still control the Kickr with my iPad and Wahoo fitness app. This fails because V800 does not rebroadcast data to other device like iPad and wahoo App on iPad records everything, but txt data cannot be uploaded to Polar flow. All this i did check with Polar and they confirmed it is the way v800 works. Not sure you have any idea to fix my problem.

    Why do I write it here? Because I think about moving to Garmin Felix (do not like 920xt design). The point is: can the Fenix record my metrics while I still control the kickr via the iPad? Or can the Kickr send data via ant to Fenix and receive controls via BT smart? I want to make sure this works before I do the investment.

    Your feedback ideas are highly appreciated.
    Thank you

  132. Heribert

    Hi
    I currently have a V800 which I generally like and a Wahoo Kickr -V1 which I also like. Now I want to record my metrics on the V800 and still control the Kickr with my iPad and Wahoo fitness app. This fails because V800 does not rebroadcast data to other device like iPad and wahoo App on iPad records everything, but txt data cannot be uploaded to Polar flow. All this i did check with Polar and they confirmed it is the way v800 works. Not sure you have any idea to fix my problem.

    Why do I write it here? Because I think about moving to Garmin Felix (do not like 920xt design). The point is: can the Fenix record my metrics while I still control the kickr via the iPad? Or can the Kickr send data via ant to Fenix and receive controls via BT smart? I want to make sure this works before I do the investment.

    Will Garmin bring out a new version in early 17 as the genie is already 2 y old?

    Your feedback ideas are highly appreciated.
    Thank you

    • Richard

      Herbert,

      I have a fenix 3 and a wahoo kickr v1 and use IPad and PC to control the wahoo kickrv1 while recording entire workout with fenix3 using all sensors over ant. Your workout and control of the kickr via ipad should not interfere with your polar just recording your workout(im assuming that is what you are trying to do) Are you using any apps like Zwift, Trainer Road or Sufferfest on ipad? I think the v800 should be able to “record” power on the wahoo while iPad “controls” it over bluetooth. I used to use the fit file from the fenix 3, but instead purchased a wahoo cadence speed sensor and use a VIIIIva BT/Ant HR strap. That way I have full functionality with wahoo, IPAD/PC and fenix. Everything just works. I have trainer road, Zwift, and the sufferfest app and they all use the BT connections and control the trainier and the fenix READS everything in a workout and uploads to Garmin connect. However, Zwift at the application level adds GPS mapping for its coarse and they all create .fit files that can be uploaded to Garmin Connect. I don’t own a polar device, so don’t know or even understand what issues you are fighting, but I know if you move to the garmin platfrom for indoor training on the wahoo, it is no issue at all to use ipad apps to control the kickr and use ant+ and bluetooth at the same time.

    • Heribert

      Hi Richard,
      Thank you for your comment which helps a lot. In fact I discussed this issue with Polar since autumn 2014 several times and I received the final answer just recently that the V800 simply canot do this…

      Polar customer service Finland: “Its due V800 and how it operates with bluetooth smart signals. During training session recording, V800 doesn’t sent the data to any other bluetooth smart device. During training recording, the data is shown only on V800’s display.” END

      Also the ipad does no re-broadcasting – so I just can connect either V800 to record all metrics, or the iPad to record metrics and control the Kickr… Very annoying.

      I think I will go for a fenix 3 now and sell my V800 – even if I like the design and many functions of the V800.

      Again, Thank you!
      Heribert

  133. Adam

    For people worried about scratches and not wanting to pay extra for the sapphire, they do make screen protectors, which work excellent! I see no reason to upgrade to sapphire. I wonder why Garmin even offers the sapphire version, well I do, it’s just trying to squeeze more money out of this watch.

    link to amazon.com

  134. Andras

    Hi All,

    The article states that there is no quick release kit for fenix 3. In the meantime, Garmin made one QR kit available for fenix 3.

    Please visit this link for info: link to buy.garmin.com

    Regards,
    Andras

  135. Bernd

    Hi, is it possible to access the saved locations from a computer?

  136. Rafa

    Really nice review DCR!

    Regarding the multisport option, I have added a pretty simple new activity Walk + Run (named walkrun) but I cannot choose it to do a workout which I have previously created in Garmin Connect either as “Run”, “Bike”, “Pool swim” or “Customized” type.

    Does anybody know how to do?

    Thanks,

  137. adam

    Any news about the Fenix 4? Seen some pictures floating around, which seem by an unofficial source, they look like the Suunto Spartan watch.

    link to behance.net

    • Those are not pictures of the Fenix 4 just some persons guess as to what it might look like and even if Ray had a F4 he’s be under a non disclosure so wouldn’t tell you even if he did have one.

  138. Ayw

    Hey Ray,

    Has there been any rumblings of adding Varia support to the Fenix 3? Its disappointing that the Fenix 3 nor the Fenix3 HR do not support it being their premium wearable devices?!

    Having a vibrate notification would be a great added safety feature with Varia. You can’t always hear the audio alert, and I’m not staring at my head unit 100% of the time. Adding this would fill a critical safety void with the varia.

  139. Braden

    HI DC,

    I am wanting to know whether when I am using my Fenix 3 Sapphire while running and it is recording my run am I able to go back and view the main watch face and it is still recording in the background?

    I am sure I have done this in the past or either have dreamt I have done it…?

    Cheers
    Braden

    • Gerome

      Hey Braden,

      go to Settings > Apps > Run (or any other activity) and set Lap Key to “Off”.

      When you start the activity, the BACK/LAP key will now take you to your watch face.

      You are welcome.

  140. Braden

    Thanks very much Gerome….knew it was there somewhere

    Cheers
    Braden

  141. Jim

    Can the Quatix 3 do everything the Fenix 3 can do (running indoors and outdoors, biking and so on)? I sail in the summer and if the Quatix can do all the Fenix 3 can do I’ll send back my Fenix in favor of a Quatix.

    Thanks!

  142. Simon

    Hi DCR, bought this based on your review about 18 mths ago. GPS has recently failed on it, looking around other forums seems to have been a bit of an issue.

    Garmin in HK quotes me about US$130 to fix it, but only will give a 3 mth warranty – anyone have any experience on if its a recurring issue so I should just get something else or is that likely to fix it?

  143. oscar718g

    Does anyone know if its possible to have music control on Android with live pace, distance and HR stats on the same Fenix 3 watch screen through a widget/app or watch face? I want to control music and not have to fumble through another screen or widget for live pace/distance stats while running or on the bike. Thanks in advance

  144. Howish

    Hey, bought the fenix 3 on the strength of your excellent, in depth review. Been using it weekdays on my bike commute and have logged over 2200 miles. This past month the gps stopped working completely. Soft reset, hard reset, removed 3rd party apps and fields, prayer services, nothing has worked. Called garmin and the company helpfully pointed out the warranty is expired but I could buy a new one.

    Is this the way it is – $500 for a watch that works for < 2 years? Do I have to avoid garmin or are all these types of products flimsy and unreliable?

    • Weird. I can’t remember the time I heard of a GPS watch just straight-up stop working like that.

      Did Garmin at least offer you a out of warranty repair option? I believe it’s normally in the $80 range for most GPS watches.

    • Simon

      This happened to me a month ago as well – I posted here and got no response.

      I’m out of warranty and out of region (apparently its not a worldwide warranty) and Garmin in Hong Kong quoted me circa USD130 and 4-6 week turnaround time

      Decided it was still cheaper than a completely new one so have put in for the repair

    • Howish

      Thanks Ray and Simon, sorry to hear. I’m going to do the same. 4-6 weeks… a long time.

  145. Isabella Gontijo

    That was the best explanation I had about these watches!
    You made my mind and I just had bought a new fenix 3
    Thanks

  146. Rob

    A great review DCR!
    Garmin seem to release region specific models throughout the world, do happen to know what the difference is on Fenix 3?

    Thanks, Rob

  147. Peter

    I have my fenix 3 for some time already and found several annoyances that for me personally degrade the usability so want to share them (as prior to purchase I was not aware of them):
    1 RECOVERY HR: I’m using the watch in kind of ‘non looking’ mode and expect that during workout 1st push of start starts pause and 2nd push resumes the workout. Unfortunatelly this is not the case as after 2 minutes (according to manual, randomly according to my observation) there is message about recovery HR displayed. This message can not be switched off (to my knowledge) and requires to be dismissed first, normally (if you look at display) it is not issue, however in my case of ‘non looking’ operations it is annoying as sometimes 2nd push of start resumes workout and sometimes only dismisses the recovery HR message and additional push is needed to resume workout
    2. AUTO CLIMB (there are 2 sub-issues)
    2.1. NOT REACTING AT LOW SPEEDS: By speed under cca 5 km/h the auto climb feature did not react on my watch
    2.2. RETURN SCREEN: In watch you can configure several screens (as described in the review) however for the auto climb you set what screen is auto climb and what screen return to after climbing – this is the issue. You need to select particular screen and can NOT select ‘previously displayed’ one. My use case where I hit this issue is that in the race I know that for first 30 min I want to use my screen 1, for next 2 hours it should be screen 2 and for last hour i’m using screen 3. If I want (and YES I WOULD LIKE) to use auto climb it requires lot of manual play with the buttons DURING race as the auto climb feature never returns to the screen displayed before auto climb kicks in, but to predefined screen – this is absolutelly not possible for me during race so I can not use this feature which I really appreciate and like in trainings (where I’m happy with the return screen or have timpe/place to play with buttons
    3. BATTERY LIFE: It is below my expectations (not sure if it matches specs) as I’m using it average ~3 hours a day in workout mode (HR chest sensor + GPS record each second), normally all other features like steps monitoring, sleep monitoring, notifications, bluetooth, wifi, alarms, timers etc (use really ONLY watch mode) are off and with this usage model get in average 3 days (until 10% battery), maximum was 4 days

  148. Sonja

    Hi Ray,

    My 620 broke and I want to replace it. I know that the fenix 5 is coming up. I would be glad to have the upgrade to the fenix 3. It would be just fine I think. But.. What are the odds that prices will drop the next few months? I’m particullary interested in the rosegold version. I miss my watch dearly and I don’t know if it is wise to wait now or buy it. Can you tell me if there’s a chance the prices will drop after the true release from the fenix 5?

    Thank you so much.

    Greetings,
    Sonja

    • No doubt we’ll continue to see the Fenix 3 prices drop. We’ve seen them start to drop already. I suspect by mid-late May when Garmin does their annual big-sales, we’ll probably see something solid then. At today’s prices, I don’t consider it a good value (for the F3HR) vs the newer F5.

  149. Marco

    Hello DCR,
    Quick question about the Fenix 3.
    I used to have an Ambit 2, and, aside from using it while training (running, swimming, hiking, indoor workouts, etc), I was also able to use it as an altimeter while skydiving.
    would I be able to use the Fenix 3 as such?
    Debating between this and the Ambit3 Peak…

    Thanks in advance.
    Marco

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