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Hands-on: Garmin’s New Fenix 5 Multisport GPS Series–with mapping!


!!!Heads up – Check out the newest Fenix 6! My full Fenix 6 In-Depth Review is now available!  Click on to read it all!!!

Right on cue, Garmin has released their next edition of the Fenix series – the Fenix 5.  This follows a relatively steady annual release cadence of the Fenix series each year in January.  Last year for example we saw the Fenix 3 HR, while the previous year was the Fenix 3.  Prior to that was the Fenix 2 in the same rough timeframe.

This year the release is all about making the lineup more appealing to a broader user base.  The Fenix 3 series was already Garmin’s most successful watch series ever. While the company has never released specific Fenix 3 numbers, they have beat around the bush publically in other ways, likely putting the Fenix 3 series at over a million units sold.

One of the challenges though with the Fenix 3 series has been its appeal (or lack thereof) to those with smaller wrists – most namely: females.  While Garmin did try and appeal to that market segment with the rose-gold editions of the Fenix 3, it remained the same large size.  The Fenix 5 aims to address that with a new smaller size.

At the same time, they wanted to appeal to folks that were increasingly looking to cell phones for maps on the trails – so they tossed in mapping in the Fenix5 as well.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here – instead, let’s dive into all the feature differences down below.

Oh, one last thing.  Wondering why there’s not a Fenix4?  That’s because the phonetic pronunciation of that in Chinese roughly translates to ‘fast rise to quick death’.  Not exactly the starting point Garmin wanted to begin with.

What’s new and different:


So what’s new in the Fenix 5?  Well, the two biggest pieces would be it now has maps on the Fenix 5X edition (legit maps!), and that there are two sizes now.  Previously there was just one size with a crapton of different bands.  Now there are three sizes with an equally large crapton of bands.  But I’ll cover bands/sizes/editions in a later section below.

For now, let’s talk about all the differences – both nuanced and big.  But first I need to explain that there are three editions of the Fenix 5:

Fenix 5S: 42mm wide, women’s/smaller wrist focused – offered in regular glass and Sapphire glass
Fenix 5: 47mm wide, baseline – offered in regular glass and Sapphire glass
Fenix 5X: 51mm wide, includes mapping – only in Sapphire glass

Each of these three editions is then split into basically two categories: Sapphire and non-sapphire.  Except the 5X, which only has Sapphire.  What’s most notable though is that the non-Sapphire editions do NOT have WiFi (kinda like Garmin Fenix Chronos).  Whereas the Sapphire editions all have WiFi.

With that in mind, I’ll note each of the new features below, and whether they are specific to a given version.  If no specific version is noted, then it’s applicable to all versions.  In the below, I’m largely using the Fenix 3/Fenix 3HR as my baseline for changes.

Display: Went from 218×218 pixels to 240×240 pixels (except 5S, which stays at 218×218).
Display: Went from 16 colors on Fenix 3 to 64 colors on Fenix 5
Display: Now supports Emoji, right to left languages (Arabic and Hebrew)
Connect IQ: Fully supports CIQ 2.2.3+, as well as 64KB for Widgets, 32KB for Data Fields, and 128KB for apps
Battery: Increased battery life up to 24 hours (Fenix 5) in GPS at 1s, or 14hrs for the 5S, and 20hrs for 5X
Battery: Increased UltraTrac battery life to 75 hours (Fenix 5), with hopes of 100 hours
Gyroscope: Added Gyroscope to all models, used to increase track points in UltraTrac mode
User Interface: Slight tweaks to UI to match Fenix Chronos series
User Interface: Added new quick access controls menu, to access apps/widgets
Strava: Added Strava Live Segment support for Bike & Run
Sensors: Added Varia Vision Heads Up Display Support (all ANT+ remote displays technically)
Sensors: Added Varia Bike Lights (all ANT+ lights technically)
Sensors: Added Varia Bike Radar
Sensors: Added Shimano Di2 Shifting, ANT+ Gear Shifting Support (SRAM RED eTAP & Campagnolo EPS)
Sensors: Added ANT+ Muscle Oxygen Sensors (MOXY/BSX)
Optical HR Sensor: Revamped tech, now records 24×7 data every 1-2 seconds
Optical HR Sensor: Flattened out even more, virtually flush with back of unit
Training Data: Added FTP Estimation for cycling
Training Data: Added new Training Load functionality
Training Data: Added split of aerobic and anaerobic training effect
Training Data: Now supports Swimming PR’s (along with previously added Swim Structured Workout support)
Live Group Tracking: Added to all Fenix 5 models, à la the Edge 820 group tracking
Golf: Added TruSwing, Greenview, and Autoshot features
Other Sports Added: Mountain Biking, Treadmill and Indoor Track separated, Ski and Snowboard separated, Navigate app, and Track Me app
Navigation Functions: Added Proximity and Navigation Alerts (for distance to waypoint, and time/distance remaining to destination)
5X Only – Mapping: Includes Topo maps in package, can add your own maps if you want
5X Only – Mapping: Ability to display mapping for current position
5X Only – Mapping: Ability to create automated running/riding routes (round trip mapping
5X Only – Mapping: Can find POI’s around you (i.e. food, including Chipotle)
5X Only – Mapping: Routing engine can ingest GPX & FIT files for saved routes

Got all that?

Ok, but what’s been removed or no longer present compared to the Fenix3 series? Well, according to Garmin it’s purely one thing: WiFi on the base models (Sapphire glass models have it).


But of course, sometimes you don’t quite find out all these nuances until the product has started shipping.  I’ve seen cases in years past where even things present at CES are pulled in the final version.  Said differently: Don’t count your chickens till they hatch.

Oh – and finally, before you ask – the Garmin Fenix Chronos folks will receive all of the above updates, except mapping of course, since it simply doesn’t have the storage or processing power to handle that.

Video Explainer!

Want the low-down in one easy to watch (and easy to share) video?  No problem, I’ve distilled it all down below, complete with my best video editing skillz. Special effects included free of charge.

Was that video above not detailed enough for you?  No problem!

I’ve got even more details, in geekfest fashion.  The below video is simply a detailed walk-through of the menus on the watch.  Basically, I press and push almost everything there is to push on the watch, in one handy-dandy video.  It’s got no special effects, nor nifty transitions.  But it has plenty of details:

Update – and here’s another video I put together at ISPO, this one focused on the charging cable, since there’s been tons of questions about that.

Don’t forget that I’ll be publishing other Fenix 5 videos to YouTube as we go forward, so definitely subscribe to the channel so you don’t get left behind!

Mapping on the Fenix 5X:


Ahh yes, mapping.  Seen as the Holy Grail feature of wearables, and something that various companies have flirted with over time – but never quite got to stick.  For example, way back when we had the Motorola Motoactive contain maps.  Then there was the Leikr watch.  And then even Garmin’s own Epix watch, exactly two years ago tomorrow.  All of these have flopped for various reasons, of which all were totally unrelated to mapping.  The maps were merely a casualty along the way.

But I think the Fenix 5 will change that, largely due to the popularity of the Fenix series.  Of course, maps are only available on the Fenix 5X, which contains 16GB of storage on it.  Whereas the other Fenix 5 units lack that storage, and thus lack maps.  These maps come in the form of topographic and cycling maps (+ 40,000 golf courses), which show details not just of roads and routes, but also points of interest.


Points of interest include places like food, hotels, gas stations, tourist attractions, and more.  Food being the most relevant of course to any endurance athlete.  You can search around you, and route to them immediately.

When you route to them, you’ll get turn-by-turn instructions.  And these are legit turn by turn instructions that include the street names:


In addition to routing to saved waypoints, or on courses, you can also generate Round Trip Routes.  This is a feature we saw added to the Garmin Edge series a few years ago, allowing you to generate rides on the fly for a distance of your choosing.  That’s now added here, allowing you to generate both runs and rides.


First, you’ll enter in a given distance you want to ride/run:


Then, you’ll specify whether or not you have a direction preference (any, or North/South/East/West):


And then finally, it’ll come back with three route options for you.

Garmin-Fenix5-Course1 Garmin-Fenix5-Course2 Garmin-Fenix5-Course3

It’s pretty cool stuff.

The unit will not only show you the map and roads around you, but also elevation information about the route.


Outside of round trip routing, you can show the map whenever you’d like.  The render time can take a few seconds though, depending on where you are.  And creating of routes themselves seems to take about 20-40 seconds per route to create, which is a touch bit slower than that seen on the Edge series.  But I suppose that’s faster than Googlin’ and figuring out a route yourself.

Within the settings there’s a bunch of different mapping display options you can configure as well – such as whether to lock to roads or not, or what maps you choose.

Note that one issue here is still the lack of ability to create routes on a mobile device and send them to your watch.  Sure, you can create routes on a desktop and then transfer them via mobile phone, but you can’t create them on your phone using Garmin’s native tools.  Garmin says that things are in the works there…though, they also said that 3 years ago.

Last but not least, you can indeed transfer your own maps to the device, using the same steps as seen with the Garmin Edge series.  And you can also drag/drop any GPX/FIT file routes onto the device as well.

Bluetooth Smart Sensor Support:


Mark this date in your books: January 4th, 2017.

It’s the date hell froze over.  Or at least, some small slice of it.

As of today, the Fenix 5 series now supports Bluetooth Smart sensors, making it the first Garmin device to support any Bluetooth Smart sensors (the VIRB action cam supports legacy Bluetooth automotive sensors).

You can now add Bluetooth Smart heart rate sensors to the Fenix 5, just by scanning for external HR sensors.  For example, here’s the Polar H7 Bluetooth Smart only strap.  You can see the Bluetooth Smart ID displayed in the user interface:


Garmin says that they’re starting off with the Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate sensors first, merely because that standard is the most stable (which is true).  But that they plan to add other sensor types quickly.  For example, I’d expect to see them add the cycling cadence/speed sensor and running footpod types, since those are generally considered as pretty stable specs.  Whereas the BLE power meter continues to this day to be a @#$#@ for companies to get right on both sides of the aisle.  Even in the last two weeks I’ve seen cases where major companies (Quarq & Polar) can’t agree on how the spec should be implemented, causing consumers to be left in the middle.

The good news on the power meter front is that quite frankly there are almost no power meters that aren’t ANT+ anyway, so that’s less of an issue.  Virtually all BLE power meters are also ANT+ concurrently, thus making the issue largely moot.

Nonetheless, it’s fantastic to see Garmin go this direction, and hopefully a sign of things to come for other devices down the road.

The Fenix 5 Editions:


Trying to keep track of all the Fenix 5 versions?  Join the club.  Feel lucky you don’t have to type it all out and ensure it’s correct.  Here’s the best way to think about it.

First, choose your watch size:

Fenix 5S – 42mm: This is the smaller one, unofficially targeting women
Fenix 5 – 47mm: This is your standard issue one, officially targeting everyone
Fenix 5X – 51mm: This is the mapping one, it’s bigger to fit in more battery/storage/processing

Here’s how these three look side by side, assuming you were just using the simple silicon band (no fancy bling) – Fenix 5S, Fenix 5, and then Fenix 5X:


Next though, you need to choose whether or not you want Sapphire glass.  That drives whether or not you get WiFi.  In theory, it also might prevent your unit from getting scratches on the lens.  In reality, that’s usually not the case.

Fenix 5S: Non-Sapphire is $599, Sapphire is $699
Fenix 5: Non-Sapphire is $599, Sapphire is $699
Fenix 5X: This ONLY has Sapphire, starting at $699

Decided what size and version you want?  Ok, good.  Now you get to decide what bands you want.  Here’s how that rolls out:

Fenix 5S – $599: White bezel with white silicone band (band officially called ‘Carrara’)
Fenix 5S – $599: Silver bezel with turquoise silicone band
Fenix 5S – $599: Silver bezel with black silicone band
Fenix 5S Sapphire – $699: Black bezel with black band (+ includes a yellow silicone band)
Fenix 5S Sapphire – $699: ‘Champagne’ bezel with gray suede band (+ includes a white silicone band)
Fenix 5S Sapphire – $849: ‘Champagne’ bezel with golden color metal band (+ includes a black silicone band)
Fenix 5 – $599: Slate gray bezel with black silicone band
Fenix 5 – $599: Slate gray bezel with yellow silicone band
Fenix 5 – $599: Silver gray bezel with granite blue silicone band
Fenix 5 Sapphire – $699: Black bezel with black silicone band (+ includes a yellow silicone band)
Fenix 5 Sapphire – $849: Slate gray bezel with metal band (+ includes a black silicone band)
Fenix 5X Sapphire – $699: Slate gray bezel with black band
Fenix 5X Sapphire – $849: Slate gray bezel with metal band (+ includes a black silicone band)

Oh no no, we’re not done yet.  Finally, you need to decide if you want a bundle or not.  The bundle is only offered in the following editions, so if you want an HR strap bundle (that comes with the HRM-TRI strap), for capturing swim workout data), then you have to pick one of the two specific bundles offered (neither 5S or 5X).  Burger King this is not.

Fenix 5 – $699: Slate gray bezel with black silicone, with HRM-TRI strap
Fenix 5 Sapphire – $769: Black bezel with black band + yellow silicone band, with HRM-TRI strap

Got all that?  Good.  That makes one of us.

Now, you may be wondering about all these bands.  Officially they’re called QuickFit bands, as they are designed to pop on and off super-quick.  And indeed, they do with a single button press.  There’s virtually no risk of these popping off in an openwater swim or like, because the lever is below the band against your wrist.


The idea being you can buy extra bands of differing colors as you see fit.  And oh – these QuickFit bands are also compatible with the Garmin Fenix3 series as well.  Because I’ve gotten tired of typing out spec sheets, I’m going to go into abbreviated mode now.  The bands are as follows:

QuickFit 20 (20mm for Fenix 5S): White/Turquoise/Black/Yellow/Purple/Red Silicone – $49, Grey suede leather – $79, Champagne stainless steel – $149

QuickFit 22 (22mm for Fenix 5): Black/Granite/Yellow/Red/Blue Silicone – $49, Brown leather – $79, Stainless steel – $149

QuickFit 26 (26mm for Fenix 5X): Black/Yellow/Red/Green Silicon – $49, Brown leather – $79, Stainless steel – $149

Wondering when all this craziness will be available?  Officially it’s by the end of Q1, which is the end of March 2017.  Unofficially you never quite know. Stability felt pretty good on these units, though there were a few quirks here and there.  But I’d peg it as better than I’ve seen in the past for a release date in March.  So I think that’s reasonably realistic.

Size Comparisons!


You asked for it, it’s time to talk size between the units.  Of course, size isn’t everything – but in this case, it might well be.  The Fenix 5 is offered in three sizes, corresponding to the three models (5/5S/5X).

Now officially, here are the exact specs of the three sizes (plus the Fenix3 HR at the bottom for comparison):

Fenix 5S: 1.7” x 1.7” x 0.6” (42.0 x 42.0 x 14.5 mm) – 67g
Fenix 5: 1.9” x 1.9” x 0.6” (47.0 x 47.0 x 15.5 mm) – 87g
Fenix 5X: 2.0” x 2.0” x 0.7” (51.0 x 51.0 x 17.5 mm) – 98g
Fenix 3 HR: 2.0” x 2.0” x 0.6” (51.5 x 51.5 x 16.0 mm) – 86g

But that can be hard to conceptualize, so instead, let’s make it easier in simple text.  Note, in the below I’m specifically talking about the width of the watch (round part), not so much the depth.

Fenix 5S: Same size as Forerunner 735XT/230/235
Fenix 5: Slightly larger than the 5S, but smaller than Fenix3HR
Fenix 5X: Virtually identical to Fenix 3 HR in size (except not as deep)

Note that technically the screen on the 5S has less pixels (218×218) vs the 5/5X (240×240), but it retains the same color (64 colors).  There’s no changes in terms of contrast or display brightness between any of the watches, or compared to the Fenix 3 series.  If you liked the Fenix 3 brightness, you’ll be fine with the Fenix 5.  And if you didn’t like the Fenix 3 brightness, you probably won’t like the Fenix 5 brightness.

First up, let’s look at just the three core watches side by side:


Next, for fun, let’s add in the Fenix 3 HR as a bit of a benchmark on size.  You can see that the Fenix 5X and Fenix 3HR are identical in terms of face size.  This is why you can switch the new bands on the Fenix 5X to the Fenix 3/3HR lineup.  Whereas the Fenix 5 and Fenix 5S won’t be compatible with the older Fenix 3/3HR bands.


Now let’s get all horizontal and see how they stack up.  Here it’s super clear just how big the optical HR sensor bump is on the back of the unit.


What? You’re into optical sensor bumps.  If that’s your thing – then here’s two more pictures comparing the Fenix 5 to the Fenix 3HR optical HR sensor bump:

Slide7 Slide8

Now let’s throw them all down on the pavement and see how they shake up.  I tossed in the Fenix Chronos, FR920XT, and FR735XT in there.  Note that the FR735XT shares the same exterior shell dimensions as the FR230 and FR235.  So if you’re familiar with those watches, that should help you understand a bit.


And here’s the depth on them.  You’ll notice just how much that bump from the Fenix 3HR has been reduced with the new optical sensor design on the Fenix 5 series (or even compared to Chronos).  Keep in mind on Chornos it’s thinner in part because of the fact it has less battery.  The sensor bump is still bigger on Chronos than the Fenix 5.


Next, just two lonely watches to more clearly show just how close the Fenix 5S and FR735XT are in size.


But I hear ya – sensor bumps aren’t your thing.  Instead, it’s wrist fetishes.  No worries, I’ve got you covered.

DSC_9291 DSC_9295

DSC_9293 DSC_9297


Phew – more than you ever wanted to know probably!  One last tidbit.  Remember that the Fenix 5X is thicker than the Fenix 5/5S because of the larger battery. That larger battery is required to handle the bigger processor on the 5X, which is in turn required to handle the maps and routing functions.

Product Comparison:


I’ve added in the Garmin Fenix 5 into the product comparison database.  At present, I’ve consolidated it into a single product – inclusive of the Fenix 5, 5S & Fenix 5X, noting differences where applicable.  At some point between now and eternity I’ll split them out in the database.  In the meantime though, this allows you to compare it against the Fenix 3 series more easily.  Though even then, the product comparison tool simply doesn’t capture some of the nuances of software differences between the two models.  The reason being I try to avoid getting too crazy in minor software features in the database, else it just becomes massive to try and find the key differences in a product.

Function/FeatureGarmin Fenix3 HRGarmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated June 22nd, 2021 @ 4:17 am New Window
Product Announcement DateJan 5th, 2016Jan 4th, 2017
Actual Availability/Shipping DateFebruary 2016March 2017
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYes
Data TransferUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFiUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFi (Sapphire only)
WaterproofingYes - 100mYes - 100m
Battery Life (GPS)Up to 50hrs in GPS with optical off, about 20-25% less with optical HR onUp to 24hrs in GPS-on, up to 75hrs in UltraTrac GPS
Recording Interval1S OR SMART1S or Smart
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceYesYEs
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)YesYes
MusicGarmin Fenix3 HRGarmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)
Can control phone musicYEsYes
Has music storage and playbackNoNo
Streaming ServicesNo
PaymentsGarmin Fenix3 HRGarmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNo
ConnectivityGarmin Fenix3 HRGarmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)YesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)YesYes
Group trackingNoYes
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNo
CyclingGarmin Fenix3 HRGarmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)
Designed for cyclingYesYes
Power Meter CapableYesYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFYesYes
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceNoYes
Crash detectionNoNo
RunningGarmin Fenix3 HRGarmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)
Designed for runningYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YEsYes
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)With HRM-TRI or HRM-RUN (Not via Optical HR)WITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (NOT VIA OPTICAL HR)
Running PowerWith extra sensor
VO2Max EstimationYEsYEs
Race PredictorYesYes
Recovery AdvisorYesYes
Run/Walk ModeYEsYes
SwimmingGarmin Fenix3 HRGarmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)
Designed for swimmingYesYes
Openwater swimming modeYesYEs
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingYesYes
Record HR underwaterWITH HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM (Not with optical HR)WITH HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM (Not with optical HR)
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYes
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YEsYEs
Indoor Drill ModeYEsYes
Indoor auto-pause featureYEsNo (it'll show rest time afterwards though)
Change pool sizeYesYEs
Indoor Min/Max Pool Lengths17M/18Y TO 150Y/M14M/15Y TO 150Y/M
Ability to customize data fieldsYEsYes
Captures per length data - indoorsYEsYes
Indoor AlertsYesYes
TriathlonGarmin Fenix3 HRGarmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)
Designed for triathlonYesYes
Multisport modeYesYes
WorkoutsGarmin Fenix3 HRGarmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureYesYEs
Training Calendar FunctionalityYesYes
FunctionsGarmin Fenix3 HRGarmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)
Auto Start/StopYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesYEs
Virtual Racer FeatureYEsYes
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)YesYes
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNo
Weather Display (live data)yESYes
NavigateGarmin Fenix3 HRGarmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesYEs
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYesYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoYes (5X Only)
Back to startYesYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoYes (5X Only)
Download courses/routes from phone to unitYesYes
SensorsGarmin Fenix3 HRGarmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)
Altimeter TypeBarometricBarometric
Compass TypeMagneticMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyYesYes
SpO2 (aka Pulse Oximetry)No
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYEsYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableYEsYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableYesYes
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoYes
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoYes
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNo (can control VIRB though)No (can control VIRB though)
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNo
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)NoYes
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoYes
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapablenOYes
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoYEs
Temp Recording (internal sensor)YesYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)YesYes
SoftwareGarmin Fenix3 HRGarmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)
PC ApplicationGarmin ExpressGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows Phone
Ability to Export SettingsNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Fenix3 HRGarmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)
Competitive CyclistLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Fenix3 HRGarmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)
Review LinkLinkLink

Note that you can create your own product comparison charts between watches I’ve had time with, here in the product comparison database.



In some ways, the Fenix 5 series release is more evolutionary than revolutionary.  There’s no doubt a boatload of additions for the Fenix 5 & 5S watches, mainly software tweaks and enhancements.  Yet where it becomes more revolutionary is within the Fenix 5X lineup, which now includes maps on a wearable.  Yes, Garmin has tried this before – but never in something as small and sleek at this form factor.

Perhaps the bigger news in this though is that Garmin is now opening up to Bluetooth Smart sensors. That’s a major turning point for the company that will undoubtedly have ramifications for not just themselves, but also for various products in the cycling/running segment.  For example – will sensors like RunScribe and others soon be able to leverage Connect IQ functionality over Bluetooth Smart?  This could, if played right, open up Connect IQ to far more devices than just those on ANT+.  The possibilities are greatly expanded here.

There are some downsides though to the Fenix 5 series, most notably price.  The watch continues to climb higher and higher.  It used to be that the Fenix series was $399, then came $499 with the Fenix 3, and now it’s at $599 as the entry point for the Fenix 5 (matching the previous Fenix 3 HR initial price), with prices going up to $849 for the highest-end Fenix units.  Not only that, but WiFi connectivity used to be baseline in all Fenix 3 units, and now it’s only available at $699 and above in the Sapphire models.  Of course, all models now include optical HR sensors, whereas in the past that wasn’t the case with the less expensive options.

Last but not least, we don’t yet know how well it handles for things like GPS and barometric altimeter accuracy on final production models, as both the hardware and software won’t be finalized for at least another month or two.  As such, this isn’t a full in-depth review, since I don’t have final hardware or software to base an opinion on.  That’ll come later though – fear not.

With that – thanks for reading!  Feel free to drop any questions down in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to try and get answers.  Same goes for requests for photos and/or videos of various features.  The two videos I uploaded above should cover the vast majority of questions (and in fact, even cover more detail than this post in some areas).  But I’m always open for other video ideas.

Pre-orders: You can now pre-order the Fenix 5 series, scheduled for delivery by the end of Q1 (aka March).  Here for the Fenix 5, the Fenix 5S, and the Fenix 5X. Doing so through the links here helps support the site and makes you awesome.  Also – Clever Training Europe/UK is available for pre-orders here.


  1. Stefan

    Hi, I really would love it, if they use the gyroscope not only in ULTRATRAC™-MODUS to sweeten up the tracks. The same technology used in normal GPS/GLONASS Mode could be great there too.

    Really exited, and can’t wait.

  2. Wilk

    Kind of a bummer that the Fenix 5 Sapphire has limited options in regard to bezel casing and band. I know you can buy other bands, but if you really like the silver casing, you’re stuck going with the non-sapphire face. Any idea if they’ll make that an option in the future?

    • Jim

      Yeah I wanted the 5 with sapphire and the slate gray bezel and black band. Didn’t see that combination either, so I chose the slate gray non-sapphire. I’m sure I’ll be happy with it, and use the saved money for a HR strap.

  3. Nir

    Which one is better Garmin Fenix Chronos or Fenix 5?
    Please help me decide. I considering waiting Fenix 5 or simply buy now Garmin Fenix Chronos.


    • From a purely technical standpoint, the Fenix5 is superior in two specific hardware ways:

      A) Has Wifi (specific models)
      B) Has higher 24×7 HR recording levels (1-2s).

      And of course, the Fenix 5X has maps, which Chronos lacks.

    • Nir

      Thank you!

    • Nir

      I found some more difference between chronos and the fenix 5:

      1. Fenix 5 has much better battery (about 2 times life time)
      2. Fenix 5 has slightly better display resolution
      3. Fenix 5 has full steel construction (as opposed to plastic cover on the back of the chronos)
      4. Fenix 5 has twice more memory (64MB vs 32MB)
      5. And fenix 5 is obviously cheaper than chronos.

      and like you mentioned:
      6. Fenix 5 (may) have Wifi
      7. Fenix 5 has 1-2 second internal for HR

      So adding all the above, even though I really like the chronos design, the Fenix 5 is cheaper and much better.

      So I’ll wait to buy the Fenix 5.

    • boudaj

      I think you are correct in all these differences exept for No 3. It seems that F5 will be constructed similarly to F3 and its case will be done from hard polymer with steel bezel only. I had F3 and now Chronos (steel-leather). I considered F3 a very nice sport watch, but Chronos is definitely another class as for design and high-quality materials.

      I can add two more differences:
      8. f5 has gyroscope which will be used in better Ultra track
      9. I am not sure if Chronos will support BT sensors (I hope yes but it is not sure)

      Other parts of SW will be the same, beta version of a new (F5 like) SW for Vhronos is already available.

  4. Justin

    Hi all,

    I’ve read mixed reviews about using a Mio Link with a Fenix for swimming. Anybody tried it with decent results ?

    The Mio Link is now a quite old product but I haven’t read about a newer / better wrist worn HR for swimming. Have I missed something?


  5. Philip Troedsson

    @DC Rainmaker: Suddenly the coupon code DCR10MHD stopped working. Do you know if it’s not valid anymore? Worked when I tried yesterday but not today when I was about to order.

    Thanks in advance.

  6. Rene

    I’m trying to wrap my head around just what the Bluetooth Smart chipset is and does in the F3 and the F5. Looking at the pure specs, the F3 has to have a Bluetooth 4.0 chipset to be able to communicate with the phone. In theory, that means that any device that implements that protocol should be compatible with the F3. However, looking at the spec sheet, it seems that there are whole categories of BLE devices that are not compatible with the F3, but are with the F5.

    Does that mean that the F3 can never (not even with a firmware update) communicate with those devices? If so, what’s the reason for that? And does that mean that I should wait for the F5 to come out, as I like to future-proof my gear as much as possible?

    P.S.: can’t seem to post? Duplicate/spam protection keeps rejecting my post….

    • Correct, the Fenix3 isn’t getting a firmware update to add Bluetooth Smart sensor support. Not sure if the reason is hardware focused or just simply drawing a line in the sand. My guess would be random line in the sand, as I’m not aware of any specific hard limitation that they should have with the chipsets in the Fenix3 and enabling BT sensor support. Though…sometimes there are oddities which could preclude things like that.

    • Rene

      Hi Ray, thanks for the reply. That leaves me with one question then: is BT sensor support something worth waiting for or jumping on with the F5, or are ANT+ sensors going to be widespread enough to make an F3 viable for the next couple of years? An F5 is about twice the price of an F3 for me right now, and I can’t find any information about where the BT Smart sensor market is headed.

      This may be a great topic for a blog post btw – unless I missed that one. :D

    • Jim

      I think it’s true that often, BT chips have various profiles right in the firmware of that chip, and these can’t be updated. Perhaps the F3 uses such a BT chip.

    • rabbit

      We will see…

      Nobody expected a fw update for the epix…

  7. Martin

    I owned the Fenix 3HR for over a year now, and it seemed to have issues with the altimeter and barometer, sometimes showing ridiculous values. When I checked on forums I read that it was a general issue that all fenix 3 watches had. It seemed to get better with the updates, but it still shows some negative values sometimes. I wonder if this bugs are finally fixed on this newest version???

    • It’s an issue with the Fenix 3 HR that was introduced around November with a firmware update. It’s not an issue with the Fenix 3, nor was an issue with the 3HR until November.

      Garmin says they’re working on a firmware update fix to address it, but they’ve been saying that for a month now. No idea why on earth it’s taking so long to undo something simple. Sigh…

    • PhilBoogie

      Their software developers are quite poor in writing software. Just look at the connect Garmin com page; it looks like it was designed in the early 1990’s.

      The better fix this negative barometer reading (how on earth did that happen) before releasing the F5 to the masses; I don’t think they’ll update the fw for the F3 after the F5 is released.

      With so many bugs one has to wonder if they even have a QA dept.

    • r.hunt

      Yes. I’m on the fence about getting a Fenix 5s or not since on paper is exactly what I want but paying £600 to play the software/update lottery is not a prospect that fills me with joy.

      And yeah, I know that if you go through the forums you will read mostly whatever’s been written by the vocal minority that goes there to complain about problems yadayadayada but it kinda feels like they’ve got a lot to improve when it comes to software expertise to justify those asking prices.

    • Jeremy

      I don’t think it’s fair to say Garmin’s software engineers are poor. I can’t imagine what goes into coding these devices. Regression happens to even the best developers and the production environment will always find the bug no matter how good you are.

    • PhilBoogie

      Then why don’t they test their own software? I mean, they introduce this new feature, a voice over with your last lap speed and other info. So, I’m listening to music through my iPhone, the music lowers and I get the info from the Garmin Connect app, but after she’s finished the music isn’t turned up to the old level.

      The developers never thought about people, cycling for hours, would be listening to music, and would like the volume to resume after they got their fitness info? I say, Garmin doesn’t have a QA department.

    • David

      I actually think that is an iOS bug. I’ve actually had lots of apps with that exact same problem. (It could still technically be a developer problem. But it is apparently an easy edge case that catches a lot of developers then.)

    • Jeremy

      All I’m saying is that it’s unfair to say the developers are “poor” without having any actual insight. I have no idea how their SDLC works, but skilled developers aren’t always at fault.

      And a large company like Garmin surely has a QA department.

      Perhaps Ray has some insight into their dev process.

    • PhilBoogie

      If that’s the case then boo on Apple. This is so simple to test, I cannot wrap my head around at the oversight on such a small thing, with a rather big impact: what if your phone is tucked away, not easily accessible?

    • David

      I agree. I don’t run with headphones anymore. But I brought this up several years ago with a running app that I was using. They did make some improvements. But it never worked 100%. More recently in other situations I have had similar issues with other random apps. But none of those bothered me enoug to contact developers.
      I’d suggest trying a couple of variations to your process and see if one works.
      1. Start “music”. Switch to Garmin app in foreground.
      2. Try putting your phone in DND mode and see if that helps. (I found email notification tones that happened at the same time as a “prompt” caused issues). This might not be a long term solution, but you could at least help point Garmin in the right direction as to what actually causes your specific issue.
      3. Close all other apps except “music” and Garmin.
      4. Try a different “music” app.

      Just to be clear, I’m with you that Garmin should fix this. (If it’s an apple bug, they need to bring that up to Apple.) But they won’t do anything if you don’t tell them about what is actually causing the issue in your use case.

    • PhilBoogie

      Excellent tips; thanks. I will give it another go. Admittedly I haven’t tried it for about a year now so it may have very well been fixed, but I just wanted to point out that in my opinion they hadn’t tested their app properly. If that was a programming error on Gamins part or Apple, I don’t care – the User Experience was poor.

  8. Justin

    Hi, the F3 could not record HR from an external wrist worn device in Pool mode. Any chance to get this fixed with the F5 ?

  9. Matt

    Are we able to use bands from previous Fenix watches on the new 5??? Are we able to use tools and remove the band pins?


    • Previous bands from the Fenix3 series will work just fine on the 5X, but not the 5/5S. The width matches on the 5X, but not the other two, which are smaller.

    • Matt

      Wow, quick response. Thanks so much. That’s great news, the 5X is what I wasaid going to get and my replacement bands from before are not going to be useless!

  10. ScottyG

    I’m confused by the dimensions of the 3HR vs 5X. The specs you write out are that the 3HR is 16mm and 5X is 17mm; however, the photos and write up appear to indicate the 5X is thinner?

    Will they ever come out with a Nylon strap?

  11. Brad Wingler

    Ray…It’s my understanding that the F3 and now Chronos and F5 series use the bezel as an exo antenna. Do you think the slightly larger bezel on the F5x will increase GPS accuracy, while the F5s will be decreased because of the smaller bezel?

  12. Patrik

    Why aren’t there any comparable data on battery life Fenix 3 vs Fenix 5? Every forums says better battery life Fenix 5 but the outcome data’s that compares aren’t the same.

    • I talk about comparable battery lengths in the specs up above. Or are you referring to something else?

      As for actual/tested battery life – it’s simply too soon for that. I’d never do battery life testing until final firmware versions, as that’s most often one of the last things companies optimize for in the development cycle.

    • Patrik

      Thanks for answering! Yes, I read that before but in the text (on the internet in general) it says better batterylife but the specs that are being compared aren’t comparable. Not the same variables. I.e “gps 50 hours Fenix 3 with optical off”..”Fenix 5 24 hours” (and that’s is with optical off/on?) and so and so. Same thing at garmins homepage. For me is 24 lesser than 50. What’s batterylife in only clockmode? In smartwatch etc etc.

    • Dom

      50 hours would be in UltraTrac mode; better battery life, poorer accuracy as it doesn’t sample as often and the GPS is switched off much of the time.
      For the spec, you’re probably best off looking at the Garmin website. Practical real-world results are another matter, but you should at least get to see relative lifetimes in the same terms. (I don’t see it broken down to optical off/on there, but, GPS in normal mode or UltraTrac mode are the strongest influences on battery life during activities).

    • David

      The device hasn’t been released. I suspect Ray has one or more for testing but you won’t get comprehensive battery specs and other details until the unit launches and the embargo on reviews is lifted.

  13. Nir Levy

    Fenix 5 (Sapphire) vs. Fenix 5x which one? The price is the same.

    I’m really not sure which one should I buy….

    I don’t care about the maps (those on my phone are much better). But the 5x has more memory and better CPU at the same price.

    What do you think?

    • David

      Fenix 5… its more reasonably sized at 47mm, the thickness of the 5X (even thicker than the F3HR) and huge 51mm size isn’t ideal for any wrist although worth it if you need the maps. You don’t need the maps so get the more manageable size.

    • Justin

      Hi, same dilemma for me. I wouldn’t use the maps much but for the same price it’s tempting. However I’m a bit scared of the extra thickness of the 5X over the F3HR which is at the limit in terms of acceptable size for me. Besides, there’s also a choice to make between the faster CPU of the 5X vs longer battery life of the 5 and someone also mentioned that the larger bezel could improve GPS accuracy.

      I guess I will just wait for them to be released and to read the great in-depth review by Ray :-))

    • Bart

      If you account for the HR sensor bump out on the Fenix 3HR I believe the Fenix 3HR is slightly thicker.

  14. hiker

    Hey Ray,

    is it possible for F5X user to switch between route-only (as in F3) and full-topo display (as in F5X) *during* the actual navigation (something like a ON/OFF switch)? The thing is there are times where full-topo would present too many data at the screen and I want to see quickly my progress on the route only.


  15. Juju

    I am disappointed that support for pairing with Ant+ fitness equipment seems to have been completely dropped for awhile now. Why? What is the rationale behind it? Does no one want it anymore? Today, I started looking around for a recent model sports watch that supports Ant+ Gym equipment. Couldn’t find any! I have a Fenxi 3 HR and use a Viiiiva Strap to connect to my Schwinn Power Console. But have had a ton of problems with the Viiiiva lately – won’t connect, disconnects half way into the ride etc etc. And surprisingly, there are almost no other bridging solutions out there.

    Ray care to comment on why support for fitness equipment seems to be going away? And where can I find a reliable watch or HRM strap to do so, if one exists.

    • The simple explanation: Nobody uses it.

      Basically, that’s it.

      The use case from Garmin’s perspective is that not even a fraction of 1% of users utilize the functionality. Mostly because a similar fraction number of devices is out there (gym equipment/etc…). Basically, almost nothing. My guess is you’re talking 1/10th of 1% at best. Of course, it totally sucks if you’re in that 1/10th. Ideally Garmin or someone else would release a Connect IQ app that would solve it.

      I think the hope is that companies instead focus on the more generic standard: ANT+ Power, ANT+ Speed, ANT+ Cadence, and just use those. Which makes it much wider adoption.

      I think the last time a wearable device came out that supported the ANT+ Gym Equipment standard was like 4-5 years ago. Which is roughly the last time any company released products that supported it.

      (Note: This is different than FE-C, totally different. FE-C still isn’t yet supported in Garmin wearables, and I agree to some degree it would make sense for it.)

    • 6co

      I agree with you… I am part of the 1/10 of 1% who uses it. For that reason even though I am using a Fenix for most of my activities, I still have 2x FR610 and 1x FR70 that I am keeping charged and connected via the USB ANT+ little dongle, just so that I can record my rowing activities on my Concept2

    • juju

      How is it that very few people use gym equipment? What am I missing here ? Is it that most gym equipment have newer bluetooth sensors and only old ones have the Ant + types?

    • It’s not that very few people use gym equipment, it’s that there’s very little gym equipment out there with ANT+ enablement in it.

      Almost none even have Bluetooth Smart either btw. Instead, most of these companies choose to implement either the super-old analog channels, or do their own thing (or nothing).

    • juju

      I wonder if its possible to retrofit an old gym equipment ( Like my Schwinn Indoor Bike which has Ant+ speed and power sensors ) with new bluetooth smart power and speed sensors ?

  16. TTP

    I think the question was asked but not answered. How does one manuipulate or navigate within the map mode, such as zoom in out and move to other areas of the mape to preview what is coming up for instance?

  17. John

    link to youtube.com

    Seriously, how ITF does Garmin not get that this watch needs to support charging while being worn on a wrist? Are none of their engineers athletes? SMH

    • Matthew B.


      While I understand your sentiment and will likely want to charge my watch on the go, there are VERY few situations in which you would need more than 18-24 hours on a charge where taking off your watching and attaching it to a pack for ~1 hour would be unacceptable. As for HR, you could literally wear a strap for the hour or something else. The use case of absolutely needing to physically wear the watch and charge has to be like 0.0001% (or even less).

    • Wilk

      Happens more than you think and there’s no other way to explain this other than it being an oversight by Garmin. These high end watches cater to a lot of ultra runners, many if which seldom finish 100M, or longer, ultras under 24 hours.

      I’m certainly 0-3

    • From my talking with them, there was significant internal discussion about the change. It wasn’t something they did by accident. There were parties on both sides of the argument, passionate ones from what I’ve gathered from multiple people.

      I fall in the camp that the single-Garmin cable idea is largely overrated, at least at the high end. I think it makes sense in cheaper products (i.e. the Vivoactive or similar). But I think at the $600+ price point, one shouldn’t try and penny pinch.

      The challenge with a angled adapter will be that the design of the Fenix 5 power cable is actually such that the ‘clip’ portion is rather deep into the cable, to ensure security. So that would need to be redesigned a fair bit. Not impossible, but also not quite as easy as a non-clipped design.

    • Matthew B.


      Doing a 100miler at 24+ hour pace, taking the watch off and attaching it to your pack for an hour (or even less depending) is definitely not insane or out there. It is annoying, but it’s not like they made it so you cannot charge and continue the activity.

    • Stefan

      I’m a bit concerned how bullet proved the contacts are. The v800 had an similar contact design at first, until they included a cap at following versions, to hold dirt away. Could there be a similar problem with this steep groove ?

      On the contrary, would have been great to change to USB-C, if they change the connector anyway.

    • I’m undecided on the contacts. I prefer flat contacts for the reasons you noted, but I’m willing to see how this shakes out.

      As for USB-C, the reasons there to avoid it would mainly be the waterproofing aspect. Even past micro-USB connectors that have billed themselves as fully waterproof have eventually shown issues over time (usually 1-2 years later). With USB-C being a relatively new standard, I’d be even more hesitant on OEM’s trying to pitch a waterproof connector.

    • Ted W

      I have to agree being an ultra runner. Sure maybe I would prefer to have it on my write while charging. The F3 would appreciably charge on the wrist quite quickly. Less that 1 hour. Not sure how long my new 5x will take if its at say 30% or 20%. But I certainly dont mind attaching it to my pack. Or even holding the watch+cable for awhile. I dont have the watch, but I personally wonder if it could be put on your wrist upside down. sure you cant read the display. bigger concern would be GPS reception. Either way. the battery life is long enough for 50k, 50m, 100k, and fast 100m folks (not me), I can (and will) live with the cable. all I can say, is at least you can charge it while in use. Some Garmin you cannot.

    • Jim

      That’s very true about USB. But in general, I don’t see the hardware changing a all before release. It’s just too late for that. So, as much as I dislike this expression – it is what it is.

    • Jim

      Is it possible to design a base the watch can snap into that would connect power to it? If so a handlebar mount could be designed that could power it from a battery while riding.

  18. Hey Folks-

    Just as a quick heads up, I published a short YouTube video yesterday explaining how the charger works in more detail. This covers charging while recording, why the charger doesn’t work while worn, as well as the strength of the charger (I made it into a lasso!).

    You can spend that two minutes here: link to youtube.com

    Anyway, just something quick I put together while at ISPO.


  19. Markus

    Higher 24/7 Recording levels means that the green light is on every 1-2 seconds ?

    • Yup. It’s roughly on constantly.

    • Markus

      How come that I saw different videos where the Heart Rate sensor is not on ? roughly all the time ? Or does it need skin contact to be activated ?

      Do you have a beta unit ?

    • It uses movement to detect whether to enable the sensor. If I were to set it on a table untouched, it’ll shut off with a few seconds and sample far less frequently. However, as soon as I pick it up, it turns back on within a second or two.

      Even the slightest bit of movement tends to wake it up, as the accelerometer and gyroscope sensors are incredibly sensitive to movement.

    • Markus

      Means it is more sensitive then vivoactive hr ? and the green light is lid more often ?

    • Yes, it’s more sensitive with the added gyroscope. Additionally, the LED is lit more often because of the new sensor hardware design.

  20. Daniel B

    When the Tactix / Tactix Bravo were released, the main differences were in profiles for jumpmasters, along with the upgraded glass, and a night vision mode (which basically just prevents the light from ever being turned on). Beyond that, it got a new (and crappy- because it gets wet and stays wet forever) band.

    Later, the profiles were added to the Fenix3 through CIQ. Sapphire glass is available in the F5, and button lock strikes me as meeting the same objectives as the NVG-mode.

    Is the Tactix Bravo getting an update? Discontinued? Any idea what Garmin plans to do with it?

  21. Colin Scott

    Great site for a newb like me.

  22. Marko Laakso

    Hello DC,

    Awesome website, thanks. Is it possible to use normal bands in Fenix 5 or do I have to buy those expensive quick fit bands?

  23. Jose

    Is there a temperature sensor in Fenix 5X?

    • Yes, all Fenix 5 units can internally measure temperature. Keep in mind it will be impacted by your body heat. Additionally, all Fenix 5 units can connect to the Tempe sensor (external pod).

  24. Brad Wingler

    Wanted to post again in case the question got lost in the comments. Ray…It’s my understanding that the F3 and now Chronos and F5 series use the bezel as an exo antenna. Do you think the slightly larger bezel on the F5x will increase GPS accuracy, while the F5s will be decreased because of the smaller bezel? Have you had a chance to test out GPS accuracy much yet, and if so on which watch? Thanks for all you do!

    • It’s too soon to tell on accuracy, since so much of accuracy has to do with things being finalized – including firmware.

      I’m not sure I’d say there’s a direct relationship between the size of the bezel and accuracy either. If anything, materials would be more my focus area.

  25. gijom

    I made up my minde and decided to pull the trigger and buy a Fenix 5 or 5S.
    So hard to decide which size I will like best though from still pictures.
    I have been looking for videos where both models are worn for better comparison but did not find a satisfying one yet.
    Well, I guess I will wait to see them in store…

  26. John H.

    I’ve owned a Fenix 3 for almost two years now and it’s worked pretty much flawlessly. No GPS issues and I’ve been extremely satisfied with it. I am interested in the 5, primarily for the new training/recovery data and can’t wait for Ray to publish his in-depth review. It’s either upgrading to the 5 – if the recovery/training load is legit and not the gimmicky/irrelevant data on current models – or invest in the Whoop – which of course I am really hoping Ray reviews soon as well, as it seems to be the Holy Grail of recovery devices at the moment.

    • Glen

      I bought the Fenix 3 a few years ago and took it back after hopeless Altimeter accuracy. I do wonder if the Fenix 5 will be better.


  27. Roastman

    Hi Ray. I wonder if you are able to advise whether the vibration on the Fenix 5 has improved over previous models? I currently have a Vivoactive HR, which is OK is most areas, but the vibration on the highest setting is often so low that I cannot feel it. The screen on the VAHR is also quite dull, so I would be keen to get your feedback on the display quality. Thanks!

    • Roastman

      I would also be keen to know if you have been able to further test the optical HRM? Any improvements over previous versions? Thanks for the great reviews. These have decided my buying choices many times!

    • The vibration alerts feel on-par with the Fenix3 series to me.

      As for optical HR accuracy, it’s something that I’ll focus on in my in-depth review once I’ve got final hardware and final software. Else, far too many things could change (either for better or worse).

    • Roastman

      Thanks Ray

      I am not sure if the vibration on the Fenix 3 was decent, so it is hard for me to compare (the VAHR vibration is terrible – I miss it most of the time on its highest setting). Given I want to set up proper intervals, the vibration is a key feature. Tomtom does a few things better (OHR, GPS, vibration seem to be a bit better), but their native iOS app is quite poor in comparison to Garmin. Garmin is more rounded for daily activity tracking. Most serious athletes will export their activity to other apps (such as Strava etc), but I use the app a lot for general health monitoring, so I really want to stay with Garmin. I play golf as well, so the new golf features (auto swing detection etc) sound good, but this is only a minor thing for me. Given that I am using it mainly for daily fitness tracking, I am split between buying the Fenix 3 HR now, or waiting for the Fenix 5. I can get the Fenix 3 HR Sapphire for the same price as the Fenix 5 with standard glass. Being a bit prone to banging my arm on surfaces, the sapphire glass is appealing. Not sure what to do! I use the optical HR a lot, as I am quite hairy and chest straps are a pain. I know it is early days of testing for you, but for what I am using it for, would you feel it is worth me waiting for the Fenix 5? My VAHR is dead, as the touchscreen keeps locking, but I have my old Tomtom watches to use if I do wait.

    • Roastman

      Hi Ray. I think my choice between the Fenix 3 and 5 comes down to the following:
      * Is the vibration OK on both watches? I miss lots of alerts on the VAHR!
      * I know it is too early for a complete test of the OHR on the Fenix 5, but in your opinion does it seem to be comparable to the Fenix 3 HR? I assume you would have at least some indication at this point, despite firmware still being in beta
      * Does the GPS acquire fairly quickly?
      My apologies for all of the questions! Thanks again for the great information.

    • SCmom

      I can say that the GPS on the F3 acquires very fast compared to the F2. I use mine for open water swimming, hiking, SUP, etc. The F3 also maintained contact with the GPS much better than the F2 while swimming. With the F2, when my arm went underwater I would lose the signal but not as much with the F3. My courses shown were so much more accurate with the F3 too.

  28. sv3g

    I have the Epix but I’m seriously considering switching to Fenix 5x as support for the constantly crashing Epix is mediocre at best. A feature that I really like on the Epix is the ability to configure which maps stored on the watch to show. This is accessed through Settings-> Maps-> Configure Maps and can be done on the fly while doing a work-out (such as hiking). I did not see that option on the Fenix in the menus while watching your video. Do you know if there is an alternative way to configure which maps are used on the fly?

    Also, does the watch support jnx maps, such as the Birdseye sat imagery? I have a bunch of those that I’d like to reuse in the Fenix if possible.

    Thank you in advance!

  29. Andy

    Maybe already asked but… can you turn off off/on course notification on Fenix 5 while navigating planned route?


  30. Stepan

    Hi Ray, I know it depends on the final firmware but do you have any at least rough time frame in which you expect to have finished the review of Fenix 5? Thank you!

    • I would guess 2-3 weeks after I get a final unit/firmware. Depends a little bit on travel schedule and the ability to get in things like open water swims or higher altitude/mountain treks (for altimeter testing).

    • yannis

      Is it still slated for an early March release? Seems unlikely based on the fact that you still have not received a final unit and considering the fact how much time would it need to actually have them shipped to retail stores worldwide.

    • At this stage everything is on track for early March. Though, as noted somewhere else, expect availability to be very limited then, as Garmin typically slow-rolls out releases. Also expect that there will be certain SKU’s that aren’t available initially.

      As for shipping, Garmin typically ships things to me overnight with AM delivery. So…that’s not really often issue…except when French customs hoses it up. ;)

      As for retailers, Garmin virtually always does air shipping from their factory in Taiwan to Olathe (for North America), so that’s basically a 2-ish day process for them. And then distribution from there is usually same day, which varies upon what the retailer/distributor has specified when it comes to shipping to them. A retailer/distributor can upgrade their shipping preferences (including overnight), though sometimes the ball gets dropped. Either way, you’re talking factory floor to retailer to you all in the span of 4-6 days usually.

    • Stepan

      Cool and detailed answer! Thank you, Ray!

    • roastontoast@hotmail.com

      Not sure about the rest of the world, but I am in Australian and just received an email from Johnny Appleseed to advise the units will be in store on 5 March.

    • Roastman

      Apparently the formatting on the email I received confused the ETA a little…. The “5” from Fenix 5 had slipped over and made delivery date 5 March, but it is just “March”… Oh well!

    • PhilBoogie

      I thought John Appleseed was working for Apple?

  31. Monica

    Can you set heart rate zone alerts with this watch? Specifically I would like a beep or vibration when my heart rate exceeds a zone.

    • Yes, within a workout mode.

    • Monica

      Awesome, just curious, are you familiar with other watches with this capability via wrist sensor? I’m looking something small and inexpensive. I don’t care much for other features other than time and stopwatch mode. I appreciate the info, it’s hard to search for the heart rate alarm functions online.

    • R.Hunt

      The TomTom Spark will give you vibration alert when your HR goes beyond your set threshold. Alternatively, pretty sure it will also vibrate when you get out of your specified zone. Pretty cheap too these days, and both GPS and HR are quite good IMO.

  32. Steve Watkins

    Thanks for the very helpful review as always Ray! May I ask for how the dimensions of the Fenix 5X compare to the Epix. I will be very tempted to upgrade my rather buggy Epix to the Fenix 5X not that it has mapping and thus is more useful for trail running, hiking, and running in unfamiliar cities, etc. However I have girly little wrists and the distance between the pillars where the bands attach on the Epix is the longest that can possibly work for me. Side by side photos, or a comparison of these dimensions would be much appreciated! Thanks again for your great service to us multi-sport geeks! Steve

  33. Mark

    Just wondering if you receive a TXT message with picture attached, does it show the Pic on the watch or is it still just the text part?

  34. Andy B

    Hi DC,

    I got a Fenix 3 Sapphire and love it. It went into diagnostic mode a few months ago and Garmin replaced it under warranty – excellent customer service !

    My question is – i’ve been holding out for the Di2 integration – either through ANT+ or Bluetooth as this has been ‘planned’ for the Fenix 3 almost since it came out . I see the 5 has the Di2 integration, do you think the 3 will get it as planned ?



    • Hard to say. Chronos got it, via the beta update.

      I just get the feeling that Fenix3 feature updates are over (short of Garmin wanting to add something that’s focused on a new accessory for them, ala what they did for Varia lights and such). But then again, I thought Epix firmware updates were dead too.

  35. Bernard Sinnaeve

    Hi Ray,

    Does the 5x also use more battery when not using the cards functionality?

    Then a more personal question but still interested in your response! Am I correct to assume the 5 will look nicer under a suit than the 5x? What do you think looks nicer, black or grey bezel? Do you see scratches on the grey bezel more easily? Oops that’s actually 3 questions. :-)

    And last but not least, when do you think you’ll be able to lay a hand on a finalised production unit?



    • Sorry, I’m not sure I understand on the ‘cards’ functionality – can you clarify?

      The 5 fits a bit easier under a suit, simply because it’s smaller. But since the 5X is the same as the 3 in size, and many have been using the 3 under suits for two years now – I wouldn’t worry too much.

      I personally prefer the black bezel, but that’s just me. As for a final product in my hands…likely very very soon.

    • rabbit

      Hi Ray,

      I think is is talking about “maps” on the 5x.

      In my opinion the battery consumption should be lower without using the map functionality.

    • Bernard

      Sorry I was clearly very tired – meant maps… if you don’t use maps functionality, does the 5X then still have reduced battery autonomy?

      Feels like I should prob go with the 5 with black bezel!

  36. Roastman

    Ordered the Fenix 5, despite my reservations over whether the vibration feature will work OK, the GPS and OHR quality etc… Now looking forward to March, if it arrives on time.

    • Forci

      Hi Roastman,
      Where did you get the 5th March date? Do you have some news about delivery?

      Please share with us, thanks

    • Roastman

      Sadly it was just a formatting error on the order confirmation I received…. They sent out a confirmation of delivery date, but the “5” from the Fenix 5 had slipped down in front of March… Read it later when I had more time and noticed the error. So not it is just March (could be early-late March).

    • (I tweaked Roastman’s note above to better reflect his intention…hopefully this should minimize any confusion going forward. Cheers!)

    • Roastman

      Thanks Ray…. Unfortunately, there is no “edit comment” function available, or I would have fixed it after discovering the error.

  37. Sean

    I don’t care if it is marketed towards women, I think the 5S is the one I’d want to use as both a daily watch and running watch. Will wait to see how it compares in size to my current 42mm AW though.

  38. Josh

    Ray, Im a bit confused and hoping you have some insight. The 5s with the black bezel is $699. The 5 with black bezel is $769. Garmin doesn’t make an option for the 5s with black bezel performer bundle. This means someone with smaller wrists such as myself would be penalized for ordering the 5s and having to separately order the HRM Tri. However, if ordering via CT then my points could apply to the HRM Tri thereby making it about a wash, correct?

    • Correct, you can apply your points immediately after completing the initial transaction. So basically you’d ‘buy’ the HRM-TRI as a separate purchase. Plus, they just lowered down the free shipping threshold too. Now at $49.

      Thanks for the support!

    • MAGNUS

      How long as CT had the reward program in place? I just realized none of my purchases have “earned” any points/rewards.

    • April of 2016 it was implemented, due to a shift in Garmin policies.

  39. Nox

    A few questions for Ray and others who may know.

    1. Does the Fenix 5 have a curved glass screen? I’ve seen people say they couldn’t put a screen protector on the non-sapphire Fenix 3 because of a slightly curved screen. Sapphire edition is over $1000 Canadian so I’d love to be able to skip it.

    2. Will a normal Fenix 5 (47mm) fit, and HR monitor function, on my 5.5″ wrist? My Vivoactive HR looks comedically huge but works fine. (I’d prefer the bigger screen and better battery over the 5S.)

    Thanks so much! I love this site.

    • 1) The 5 is a perfectly flat screen. Not sure off-hand if the 5X/5S differs any.

      2) Hard to say honestly. My wrist is 6.5″ if it helps any (the wrist used in the photos is mine).

    • Ted W

      The F3 is flat. and i do have a screen protector on it. As an editorial note. Anyone would be a fool to drop $700+ on a rugged outdoors watch and not put a screen protectors on it. Sapphire or not. You all put screen protectors on Gorilla glass on your phones. Why not protect the sapphire. I plan to for the 5x i have on order.

      But for Ray. if you were be able to find out if the 5x is perfectly flat, and better yet, what the display crystal size it (not the displayed/addressable area of the screen, just the actual glass). Then I could know which screen protector to purchase.

      This brand is popular with F3 and F3HR owners I know.

      link to smile.amazon.com

    • So it’s interesting on the F3. I thought it was flat as well, but then I put a flat-edged object on it, and sure enough a very slight curve and light came through. In doing the same on the F5, zero light went through.

      I’ll try and find my fancy digital measuring tool…been a year or so since I last saw it.

    • SCmom

      I too have a screen protector on my non sapphire F3. Even stays on after 6-8 hours of rigorous swimming each week.

    • John H.

      I think the fools are the people who know little about the technology they are purchasing and wasting money on aftermarket items that are unnecessary.

      Regarding smart phones, I think I stopped putting a screen protector on my iPhone with the iPhone 4 back in 2010. No Apple store employee recommends them, nor uses them. I haven’t had one scratch, despite dropping it numbers times. And the vibrancy, touch responsiveness, is so much nicer.

      Regarding the F3, I’ve had 23 months now. No screen protector. I’m primarily a Mountain Ultra Runner, have fallen multiple times. Again, not one scratch. I’m not saying these things can’t happen, but I know the materials well, and know that except for the <.1% probability, I don't need those crappy after market items.

      @Ted W sounds like the guy who still wears his smartphone holstered on his hip circa 2006/2007.

    • Roastman

      I have gone with the sapphire glass version, but had already ordered screen protection from Skinomi as I expected to order the standard glass version. I will try the screen protector and if it does not impede the quality of vision (Skinomi stuff is typically very neutral in how it affects screen quality), then I will leave it on. Otherwise, I will remove it. I can understand why people want to protect them. My previous Apple Watch was sapphire glass, but when I got AW2 I went with the standard glass. The AW2 still uses (I believe) Gorilla Glass, but it got a very nice scratch on the face within a week from accidental contact with some brickwork. Not everyone is perfect or lucky, so protection is not a bad thing. Yes, a screen protector on a sapphire face is possibly overkill, as any impact hard enough to scratch sapphire is possibly also hard enough to shatter it. If it does not impede viewing, is it an issue? Clumsy people such as myself, who tend to hit the exposed brick walls inside their house or walk into things, rather than around them, can certainly justify being cautious. Labelling people as fools for protecting their investment and suggesting they are techo dinosaurs is a bit harsh.

    • Ted W

      @John, @Roastman. Maybe you guys are rich. I have a large family, and a job that doesnt afford me to take chances with accidents on a device that expensive, such that I can just replace it. $7.95 for a perfectly clear, excellent protection works for me. For me, when I’m bounding down a technical trail filled with skree at mile 82 of 100, I’m at peace knowing that while my bezel will be scratched up (and it is) my glass is as good as new (and it is). If you guys are cool with naked glass. Thats cool. We will agree to disagree. For those that would like to keep their sapphire or Crystal display looking as brand new years down the road, search out the Garmin forums (or even Rolex or Tag Heuer) and found plenty of example or scratches or fracture in normal everyday accidental contact. Then decide for yourself if you want to run naked (pun intended)

    • Roastman

      @Ted W….. If you read my comment, I was actually supportive of your comment about protecting the screen. You will see I have ordered the Skinomi protector and intend to put it on the screen. “Not everyone is perfect or lucky, so protection is not a bad thing”. I thought my comments were pretty clear.

    • Ted W

      @Roastmen. Wasnt trying to call you out, rather just ping that I was also replying to similar sentiments as you. About 1 week ago I was walking thru to garage and I smashed (as in really hard) the face of my F3 into the edge of the steel support that the garage door runs up/down. I literally paused. Took a deep breath. Said to myself. Ok. this is it. How bad is it going to be. will it be just a scratch of a complete loss. I held non-sapphire F3 up to my head (eyes still closed) and peeked out. Woah! yes I have a good scratch on either side of the bezel. but what I though was a giant scratch turned out to be a scuff that I rubbed out with my thumb. A++++ on the KlearKare protector (maybe saying military grade is a gimmic.. but I’m a believer!)

  40. Yannis

    Any update for the in-depth review?
    I am interested about the optical HR functionality while swimming.

    • Based on timing and ensuring I get enough swims, bikes, mountain time, and runs in (but especially swims and mountain time), I would expect an in-depth review around 13th-15th of March. Maybe a few days earlier, but much earlier and I lose both hot and cold mountain time that I want to test various altimeter items in. I also somewhat like to see any early items that others might see, to validate if I can repro/etc. Though, I get the feeling from numerous discussions that the beta group is quite substantial and varied for this go-around, and has been going on some time.

      You will however start seeing me publishing more videos and stuff soon. Once the final firmware hits, I’ll start publishing data related to accuracy.

      If you have ideas for things you want videos on – now’s a great time to drop suggestions down below! Thanks all!

    • Justin

      Great! Can’t wait to read your review :-) For technical aspects I’m sure you will cover it all, so maybe a small part for size comparison with a shirt/suit ? ?

    • Justin

      Hi, have you seen anywhere that the HR will work while swimming? I thought it is disabled like for the F3.

    • Tien

      Excellent. Looking forward to the in-depth review. +1 on the shirt/suit size comparison.

      In addition, I would like to get an understanding of Garmin’s business model for the QuickFit bands. Is QuickFit proprietary? Are they licensing out to others? Plans for 3rd party QuickFit bands?

      This would help me to understand what kind of band variety we’ll ultimately see in my quest for that one watch for all occasions.

    • Matthew B.

      This isn’t necessarily video related, but I’m very interested whether there will be peripheral benefits to the 5x’s faster processor/more RAM — I know there was speculation last time around (and some evidence) that when the F3’s processor was taxed with resource heavy fields/apps it actually negatively affected GPS performance (tracking/filtering/etc). Also would just be interesting to know if it overall just “feels faster” or whether it purely makes mapping possible.

    • Hiker

      Definitely would like the see the performance/responsiveness/lag_factor of F5X during outdoor navigation with maps that tend to be more (or much more :-) detailed than the “default” ones which come with device itself. E.g. the performance difference when using 50k maps, 25k maps and maybe even 10k maps, for the same area.

      Also, the “impact” of builtin gyro to positioning when hiking through low GPS signal areas (e.g. dense woods, etc.).


    • yannis

      If this question is directed to me I haven’t that’s why I asked.
      From what I have seen around the only watch that give optical HR while swimming is the Apple Watch 2 but that’s just an average estimate.
      I would like to have a continuous measurement from a dedicated sports watch and not the Apple overpriced stuff.

    • Dom

      The manual online says that it doesn’t work while swimming.. Interestingly, though, the wrist-based heart-rate disclaimer in the US says that on some products, wrist heart rate monitoring is disabled while swimming, which might suggest it’ll be enabled on others at some point.

    • Hi Ray

      Would love to see a video comparing navigation on the 5 vs the 5X. You can get decent pre-planned navigation on the 3 but you have to jump through hoops to get the route on the watch, and you have to plan in advance – is the 5 the same?

      The 5X’s advantage is having the maps installed rather than just copying a route, but a key question for me is does it offer decent enough navigation to replace a bike computer such as the Edge 1000 for example. That’s following a route, but also maybe finding coffee, or creating a new route while out (after you decide you don’t fancy that big hill after all!)



    • >> I would like to have a continuous measurement from a dedicated sports watch and not the Apple overpriced stuff.

      er… have you compared prices of the Fenix to the AW?

      Anyhow if you pair the Garmin Tri or Swim HR band (link to dcrainmaker.com) with the watch you will get a proper HR track after the swim, however that does mean wearing it in the pool and looking a bit like a dork! Fine under a wetsuit though…

      I must admit I find the HR for swimming with the AW2 useful for feeding into TP and getting a TSS, though the various apps I have tried (Swim.Com, MySwimPro.com, the built in one) that support it all have some sort of issue for me currently…



    • hiker

      I would like to know does F5X has a possibility to automatically create on-the-fly course from current location to an user selectable destination (POI/entered_location/map_crosshairs)?
      The creation of the course would take into account the trails/roads which exist on the map and use that data to build the course.

      I think this feature would be possible to implement now that “round-trip course” option does exist.


  41. Greg

    I have been very pleased with my fenix 3 hr. While I am looking forward to the 5x and the new mapping/training features, I am beyond disappointed that the 5x will not be able to store and play music. This feature is becoming (or has become) a basic standard for watches and is offered on other watches costing far less (Samsung/Tom Tom/LG/Apple). If $150 samsung gear fit can store/play music via Bluetooth, why can’t my $700 garmin 5x? While I appreciate the detailed stats and data offered by the 3 hr/5x, music playback would probably be more useful to me than knowing my vertical oscillation. I am tired of having to wear my AW at the same time just to hear music. Given the Bluetooth implementation in the 5x, is it possible that Garmin could implement this feature in this model?

    • Roastman

      I think the problem with that would be lack of available memory….

    • While the 5X has the storage, it’s unclear to me if it has the right Bluetooth chipsets to be able to execute this (or, other internal components like processing power).

      However, even if it were to have it, I strongly suspect we wouldn’t see Garmin implement it. In general they tend not to go for a ‘Fenix Feature Update 1’ type program that would make a big PR splash, but rather smaller updates that mostly go unnoticed. In 2016 at CES they did do a Fenix PR feature roll-out, but it was mostly new sport modes/etc…

      At this point, they would have lost all the PR buzz associated with having a new product with music, meaning that the thousands of articles out there would all say it doesn’t – causing consumer confusion for the majority of the market that may not read DCR.

      To be clear: I wish it either had the capability in it, or could be updated. But just giving some perspective on why from an industry standpoint it won’t likely happen. But happy to be proven wrong!

    • Dom

      Depends exactly what’s in there. If the chip only supports BTLE (probably true), then extremely unlikely you’ll get music, as audio isn’t really supported on there as yet. It will be in future, but it doesn’t follow that the chip in the 5x will be able to support the new standard.
      Should be enough memory in the 5x at least for a few hours of tunes, but I don’t see you getting them out.

    • Dom

      Started writing that before Ray posted.
      While I’m posting again anyway, more speculation: the next generation will support audio via BTLE, because it will be available then and won’t compromise battery life the way standard BT would.

    • David

      My personal opinion is that Garmin will never create a tri-watch with music playback because it would then be illegal in all USAT events. I totally understand people wanting the feature. But the current USAT rules prohibit carrying any type of music playback device. And, as annoying as it is to train with two devices, it would be more annoying to have to buy two different $600 watches (one with music and one without).
      I can see them possibly adding it to a running only watch. But I wouldn’t count on it.

    • Lee

      I am in the camp of ‘desperately’ wanting music storage to be added to new Garmin devices but am losing any hope. Fingers crossed that if and when they release a new VAHR maybe they will finally implement music storage… This has been the one feature I have been waiting for, but am now thinking of going to a wireless MP3 headphones. Sony seems to have a decent one, Sony 4GB NW-WS413. Anyone have any experience with these?

    • Greg

      As I read the USAT rule, it appears to prohibit listening to a music device during a race for safety reasons. I don’t see anything that would prohibit wearing a watch that was capable of playing music as long as you were not using it to listen to music. I have not run a triathlon, so maybe the rule is enforced that way?

    • Correct, the USAT rules have always been specifically around a listening device, not the actual playing portion.

    • PhilBoogie

      Would buying a $4 SPI-belt be a better alternative then waiting and buying a new watch?

  42. Craig

    What’s your thoughts on the sizing of the watches. I want one that isn’t going to look crazy under a suit and shirt but doesn’t look overly delicate or small. I had a Fenix3 but ended up returning it as it was just too big and looked stupid on me. Is the 5 noticeably smaller than the Fenix 3 HR and do you think the 5S looks more like a ladies watch. Currently have an apple Warch that I think is a bit small.
    Thanks !

    • David

      Craig… Ray addresses this in the comments higher up and says he is leaning towards the 5/5S as his preferred watch. Bottom line is the 5S is 42mm, that is the the same size or LARGER than any Omega or Rolex mens watch sold… it is the 5 at 47mm or 5X at 51mm (the 3 was 51mm) that was huge.

      The 5S is VERY large for a womans watch but its being hyped that way mainly because its as small as Garmin now has with all the features of the Fenix series. I’m super excited as for the 5S in black/black sapphire for myself and I’m a man who has an Omega Speedmaster Pro and other classic watches.

      To me the biggest issue is do you need the greater battery life of the 5 vs 5S? For me the answer was clearly no so I went 5S.

  43. Stefan

    Hi Ray, I’m strongly interested in the intelligence of interpreting data. Hopefully you could share some of your unique intel to garmin labs. In case you still need ideas for your test, here some ideas i would love you to dive into it.

    GPS Accuracy vs v800/FR735
    – and possible intel from gamin labs if and how gyroscope, compass, barometer … are interpreted to perfect results.

    Actual pace, and if stride- or other sensors makes any difference

    Barometer accuracy, also on flat area. not only in mountains.
    – what happens on long Runs if weather changes
    – how is distance and effort measured 2D or 3D

    Thanks a lot, anyway

  44. Fredz

    I Ray, I am looking for a navigation help to follow a preloaded trail itinerary. I dream of a system with vibration alerts when approaching an intersection, something very simple to be more focused on my run than my gadget.

    Does Fenix 5x has that kind of functionality ? And if I choose a Fenix without map, do you have an advice for a cheap handled gps with map and navigation ? I’ve tried many times with my android smartphone, but I have no alert when I choose the wrong path (perhaps someone have could recommend me an android off-road preloaded navigation application with alerts ?).

    Thank you !

    • Fredz

      You make my day !
      The page starts with :
      “UPDATE Nov 2016: Garmin Connect’s course creator now supports automatic turn alerts on the Fenix 3! ”
      Is this app still useful ?

    • Dom

      I’m the author, so I think I can comment. Garmin’s website courses don’t tell you the name of the road or path you should turn down, just show an arrow pointing in vaguely the right direction. You also have no control over which junctions show alerts and you have no way to preview them. Given that the Fenix can only handle fifty course points, that’s an issue for longer routes in particular. So personally I use the Garmin creator for fairly short routes in my local area, or when I don’t have the USB cable handy, but other sites and my converter when I want more control and information. Convenience versus control.

      I’m not seeing an obvious slowdown in downloads of the app since Garmin started supporting the F3 in this way.

      Maybe the F5 will have more detailed turn alert displays, we’ll have to wait and see. The 3 can handle more than Connect gives it to work with.

    • Roelof

      This feature is on the fenix 3. You can create a course in Garmin connect and the fenix 3 will tell you by alerts when to turn and also when you stray of the path.

      You do not see a map layer just a polygon of your course. I think it works pretty well and I expect this will also be on the fenix 5 versions that don’t have a map.

  45. Roelof Koelewijn

    Any guys considering the 5s???

    Seems like a really nice size and also I like the bezel a lot because it is not showing the screws.

    • Craig c

      Yeah, I’m leaning to the 5s. I bought a 3HRM online and returned it as it looked ridiculous on me. 5s seems like it will be a good day to day watch

    • Ted W

      5x for me. I am not a giant man, average. 5’11 about 172. F3 works great on me. doesn’t look huge at all. fits under almost all of my dress shirts. can’t wait for my 5x to arrive.

    • Christian C

      Interested in the 5S as well. If it’s indeed the same size as my wife’s 735XT, this is an everyday watch I can wear while sleeping (for sleep metrics).

    • Roelof Koelewijn

      I’m thinking of getting it as an all day watch replacing my apple watch 2 as an all day watch. I wore my Fenix 3 as an all day watch for a week but it is huge so now I only use it for running.
      I like the size of the apple watch so seems to me the 5s is perfect and I can live with the smaller battery.

      But I would like the see the difference between 5 and 5s. The bezel being cleaned of the screws seems nicer on the 5s though.

    • R. Hunt.

      Yes, I think it’s the most suitable as an all day watch. Unfortunately the price of the black bezel one is plain ridiculous and I refuse to pay £600 for a watch. I’ll definitely wait also to see what happens with the rumoured FR 935

      link to appelmoessite.wordpress.com

  46. Phil

    Hi Ray.
    When reviewing the Fenix 5 can you check if it’s possible to change settings during an activity e.g. turning alerts on or off.

    • Yes, you can change all settings mid-activity. I’m not aware of anything sport-specific that you can’t change mid-activity. I can confirm though alerts can be changed just fine mid-activity.

  47. Moe Geoghegan

    Are you sure the quick fit bands will work with fenix 3

    • Fenix 5X Quick Fit bands work with the Fenix 3 units. You’ll simply leave the metal pole in the Fenix 3/3HR, which are the same width as the Fenix 5X straps. The Fenix 5/5S straps are too small (though they do technically fit, they just look awkward and slide around).

  48. Corneliu

    Amazon now lists the Fenix 5 with a release date on April 1st. Can we assume March is no longer in the cards?

    • Amazon just lists what Amazon is getting, and historically speaking, aside from Garmin.com – Amazon tends to be towards the end of the line.

      Also, most retailers will list further out dates at this point since new orders placed now certainly won’t be fulfilled in March (older orders in part I suspect). I don’t foresee a case where all Fenix 5 orders are fulfilled until May or so. Again, past trends on how Garmin fulfills are usually pretty accurate.

  49. Mike

    Any change in the screen contrast and size – has the resolution, dynamic range or diameter changed? Hard to tell from the external specs. I have a non HR F3 and get horrible rashes from the HR strap. My biggest beef on the watch itself is occasionally losing stair counts (two this week) and the screen contrast. I didnt go for the HR F3 because i hoped the next model would have a better design and better contrast on the screen. Im not feeling inspired at the moment. Also other sites seem to suggest that F5 battery performance is much worse than the F3 . Any comment on this ?
    Waiting on the final F5 version test I think.

    • David

      Mike all this is spelled out in the preview. The 3 was 51mm wide and the 5S is now 42, 5 at 47, and 5X at 51mm. The thicknesses are all different and in the preview as well as the fact all have 64 color screens (vs. 16? before) with the 5 and 5X bumping to 240×240 resolution and the 5S staying the same as the 3 at 215×215 or so? Ray has stated he feels screen contrast is about the same.

      Mid-March for a comprehensive review likely.

  50. Tate Fischer

    As always – phenomenal review and comparison, exactly what I wanted to see based on my desire to upgrade from the Fenix 3. In the first video, you mentioned that the regular Fenix 5 is “roughly the same size as in the past.” Looking at the specs it does appear smaller and lighter than the Fenix 3. My biggest complain with the Fenix 3 has been the size and weight even with a titanium or silicon band. My question – is there a noticeable difference while you are wearing the Fenix 5 versus the Fenix 3? I’m not sure spending the money for the minimal updates (sapphire to sapphire) are worth it for a 4 millimeter and 1.6 oz reduction… thoughts?

  51. Marmour

    This is a somewhat trivial concern, but could you comment on the difference between the black bezel and the slate gray bezel? I haven’t seen anyone comment on that and it’s difficult to tell from the pictures if there’s a significant difference. Thanks.

  52. Mamrour

    Perhaps a better question is, do any of the watches you featured above have the black bezel? I’m having a hard time differentiating the slate gray from black. Thanks again.

  53. Ben

    As of right now, Amazon says “Available February 21, 2017”, i.e. imminently.

    Amazon UK still says “Available 1 April 2017.”

    By the way, is the image under “PRODUCT COMPARISON” correct? That looks like the 5X, not the 5?

    • It’s safe to assume the Amazon US date is incorrect.

      The image I used in the product comparison section was more just a general F3 vs F5 type of thing, but I could see how that might be perplexing. I’ll recreate it.

    • Roastman

      Hi Ray. Just curious if you have received a production version yet? I am reading between the lines that you know that Amazon cannot have units yet, as they are still a reasonable period from releasing them?

  54. KateB

    With regards to the Round trip routing, do you know if it’s clever enough to avoid private land in the countryside?

    In other words can I turn up at a new location, set the watch to round trip and not end up trespassing on some angry farmers land?

    Thank you.

    • Round Trip Routing essentially just uses the public trail/road listings. So it’d follow roughly what you’d find on Google, etc… I don’t expect that private trails over private lands would be included, but it’s not something I’ve tested.

    • KateB

      Thank you.

      One of the main places I run/hike/scramble is full of private land, an Apiary, a Vineyard, several golf courses and loads of farms but beautifully surrounded by miles and miles of public hills, rivers & forests.

      I know the private land is there but not exactly where the borders are so I don’t want to set the round trip and set off on a headphones in, mind cleared run to realise 2 miles in I’m surrounded by Bees :)

      Thanks again.

  55. Luc

    Hi DC, It’s kind of hard to tell if the screen of the Fenix 5 would be easy to read in just normal ambient indoor light or in a slightly dark room like when watching TV. I had to return the Garmin 920XT as I found it was difficult to read and one shouldn’t have to reach across to tap the light on. I even took a picture side by side with my Garmin 500 screen, Polar S625X and my bank code device and all those screens were far easier to read by comparison to the 920XT. How does the Fenix 5 compare in readability to other devices?

  56. Matthew B.


    Any updates on the initial shipments to Clever Training? You usually know even before their Customer Service.


    • Roastman

      I suspect Ray will be quiet on telling us about shipping and when he has received a production version for a couple of reasons… Firstly, Garmin may not meet deadlines. Secondly, as soon as we know he has a “real” version of the watch, we will all be firing a million questions at him before he has the opportunity to test it. Ray may even have the production version now ;)
      I am not saying I would not also be in the queue asking questions! As my other watch is dead, I am hanging out for the 5X, but would buy the 3HR if I knew there would be a delay on them arriving. I miss having a Garmin fitness watch on my arm, so it would be great if Garmin gave some clarity on delivery dates. If they aren’t arriving for a couple of months, I would prefer to know, as the 3HR is still a very good watch. I am only looking at the 5X because of some slightly newer tech.

    • Clever is currently hearing mid-March for their first shipments. As with always on Garmin, retailers don’t really know how many units they’ll get until the day the shipment departs Garmin (even REI’s and Best Buy’s of the world). Still, Clever Training is providing weekly order volume to Garmin at Garmin’s request, in an effort to try and fulfill as many backorders as possible on week one.

      Keep in mind though, as noted earlier that Garmin doesn’t expect to have all 13 SKU’s (models) available on week one. I don’t know which will SKU’s will arrive first, and honestly, I’m not sure Garmin knows either yet – that’s likely part of the demand gauging piece.

      Finally, as for a review, I’d say that’s still on target for mid-March, assuming final firmware in the next 1-2 weeks.

  57. Hey folks – just as a heads up I’ve just dropped a monster Fenix 5 Unboxing video here: link to youtube.com

    I cover the unboxing of the Fenix 5, Fenix 5 S, and Fenix 5 X. All of these being production hardware models, albeit still with release candidate software.


    • Jeremy

      Great video as always. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas!

      I read an article yesterday which stated the Garmin release for the F5 is being delayed unti mid-April. Any weight to that, or is it pure speculation?

    • Clever training (UK) is showing Early March for the 5 and 5S, but they are not listing the 5X so I wonder if that one is coming along later in April?

    • Hi Jeremy-

      No basis for April for initial shipments. Everything I hear remains for mid-March.


      For UK, that’s because Garmin is ‘keeping’ the 5X for specialty brick and mortar stores for now. They do funky stuff in the UK/EUR market. :-/

      Thanks for the support!

    • MARVA

      This video is the first time I’ve noticed that the white banded watch has a white case, not all silver. I’m glad I saw this, because this changes how I think about the one I want!

    • Yeah, it looks really clean – especially with that suede band. The Girl very much digs wearing it (as a few of you noticed on my ‘5 Random Things I Did This Weekend’ post last week: link to dcrainmaker.com)

    • Marva

      I ordered the white one, but now I’m worried about it getting dingy. My vivofit3 white band didn’t get unsightly, but I had a fitbit band that did. It was impossible to clean!

    • Bill

      Good news for mid-March, any idea whether CleverTraining UK are going to be offering some performer packs with the HRM-Tri ?

    • They’re offering everything Garmin UK/Europe allows them to offer. The options are a bit different in Europe (no logical reason why). :-/


  58. Hi Ray,

    Great review as normal :)

    Could you expand a bit on what is meant by SHIMANO DI2 SHIFTING support? I’m assuming it is just logging your gear changes so you can view them on DI2Stats.com (or does Garmin Connect support that now?); or is there something else it offers?



  59. Arnes

    Your reviews are awsome, keep up the good work.
    Could you please repeate the pics with watches on the wrist but this time, with your arm on the desk and camera on the stand so there is same distance from your hand on every pic…

  60. Sheryl Romeo

    5s aesthetic question. I love the metal band but really do not feel the need for the sapphire or wifi. I can order the the black/silver non-sapphire and then order the champagne band separately with clever training points from ordering the watch and save some money. I noticed that you have some bands in your stockpile as I watched the unboxing video. Not sure if you have a black/silver fenix though. Here’s my question if you can answer it – is the champagne metal watch band noticeably differently colored than the silver in the black/silver? Thx

    • Yup, you could order that.

      Let me get some clearer pictures tomorrow and see what I’ve got. The pile is down at the office and it was on my to-do list today to go through them and get shots. Didn’t quite happen.

    • Sheryl Romeo

      Thanks, Ray. Does “the Girl” get tired of hearing how terrific you are from strangers? You really do a fab service for so many of us. (Does “the Girl” mind being referred to as “the Girl?)

    • I think she got tired of hearing about it about a decade ago. ;)

      But, she’s perfectly happy with The Girl nickname.

  61. marc steingrand

    great as usal i guess need to upgrade when it comes out

  62. Brad Wingler

    Does the 5x come with a second band? And if so is there a rhyme or reason as to which extra band they include? I ordered the 5x, but am wondering if it will come with 2 bands or one?

    • John

      Fenix 5X Sapphire – $699: Slate gray bezel with black band
      Fenix 5X Sapphire – $849: Slate gray bezel with metal band (+ includes a black silicone band)

    • Bob

      From the “In the box” tab Garmin says that the metal band version comes with an extra silicone band. Nothing is mentioned regarding the non-metal versions.

  63. John

    On buy.garmin.com the fenix 5 (47 mm), slate gray, no sapphire, has a red ring on upper right button and a red triangle over the “12” when it is has the black band, but the same watch, still 47 mm, slate gray, no sapphire, with amp yellow band, is missing the red color. But isn’t the only difference the band? Or is it two editions of f5 (47mm), no sapphire., slate gray, one with red and one without? I think maybe the picture is showing wrong because of some photoshopping, and in reality the black sapphire version is the only 47 mm without red. Right?

  64. John

    Does the Chronos-bands fit the Fenix 5 (47 mm)? It looks like they have the same “bandwidth”.

  65. Carl

    I have seen that you can pre-order 5, 5s in china for english version.
    but not 5x.

  66. Andrew

    Hello Ray,

    Do you know if fenix 5 series will retain the “Resume Later” function as an option when an activity is paused?

    Thank you

  67. Barry O

    Does the spec sheet state if the bluetooth/BLE is the newer version 5 or the older version 4.x?

    The Fenix 3 BLE chip only supported version 4.x. The manufacturer of the Fenix 3 BLE chip has since started manufacturing a version 5 BLE chip.

  68. Steve

    Thanks for the great preview Ray! Can you (or another reader) please provide a sizer comparison (photo and dimensions, ideally) between the F5X and the Epix? I am seriously considering upgrading from Epix to F5X, and size matters….

    Thanks, Steve

  69. DeeBoxx

    If you can guide me in this that would be greatly appreciated. I am now traveling into the market for a “smarter” watch. I wanted to know in your Opinion is it better to get the 5x or the 3HR? I normally wear two different devices and the Apple watch is not a good answer for me. I have been using a Fitbit ChargeHR for the past year and half and it works great except its not as durable as i would like. I live in Hawaii and right now there is a pretty solid deal on the 3HR with a extra free aluminum band that but I’m not sure if i should just wait for the 5x?

  70. Phil

    Regarding the Fenix 5X. I wonder if Garmin will update the maps as new roads are built.

  71. kate

    First of all I love your reviews. It seems Garmin have provided everything with this release except the Rose Gold version of the 5X. Females also want this top end tech gear. Rose Gold sold out in AU and had continual wait lists to purchase. But then we heard there was a new and improved version about to hit the streets so put off buying. Given there is no option but to go with the “unofficial 5S targeting women” style to get the white I have a question. Does 5S (think white with Cararra band) have the texts from your android phone or do you have to purchase the 5S Sapphire to get this feature? We’re still waiting in Australia for the 5S to come on sale with only pre orders being available… Let me know, Thanks Kate

    • I think the main reason being that elsewhere in the world the Rose Gold Fenix3 didn’t really sell all that well, in large part because it’s ‘large’. The 5X is the same size of course.

      That said, the white with the suede bands looks really nice (5S) on The Girl’s wrist.

      As for Australia, I think it’s a lot like Europe in that each sub does their own thing, most of the time being wonky. For example, you mention the F3 being touch to find in rose gold, that should be a breeze for any distributor to order these days. I haven’t heard of any backages there at all in…a year or so. :-/

  72. Nox

    Would you be able to add photos of the 3 models on your partner’s wrist? I seem to recall seeing you mention she’s got a 5.5″ wrist, so it would be really helpful for us ladies who want the 5 or 5X but aren’t sure about size.


  73. David

    Ray: since you now have testers of each type are you seeing any difference in clarity/contrast between the 5S and 5 screens? I know the resolution is different but the colors are the same but I’m wondering about clarity. I have a 5S on order from Clever since nearly the beginning but some new shots of the 5 next to the 3 have shown up at: link to loebeshop.dk that make it look like the 5 has a significant advantage vs the 3 side by side. I’m wondering if that carries over to the 5S?


    • No tangible difference.

      I can say that the photos at that link do look pretty heavily edited though.

      I usually edit photos for consistency (i.e. white balance across a set), or to deal with shadows/etc, but nothing quite that extreme. My goal is to mimic what my eyes see.

    • David

      I agree Ray, the backgrounds are changed and its sharpened / brightened quite a bit but then again I’m not sure the edits are different when the watches are side by side and boy do they look different from the 3. No matter, if the 5S looks as good as the 5 in terms of sharpness/brightness that’s all I need to hear… we all could magically use an always on Apple Watch Series 2 like screen but that isn’t in the cards, I’d just like to get the best Garmin can give this go around. Still looking forward to my Clever Training 5S to be delivered, I ordered 2 days after the announcement and Clever offering preorders not sure if that will get my black/black sapphire 5S delivered in March…

  74. John

    Does anyone know if the Fenix 5 will support unicode notifications? I get texts in Japanese that I would like to be able to see.

  75. Darryl

    Not a long distance runner by any means maybe a few miles here and there, bicyclists or hiker but I am looking to replace wearing two watches “Fitbit” and regular watch for work. With all that the 5x comes with including a big price tag, is it better to get a 3HR?

    I’m totally new to Garmin and I saw the 5X first not knowing about the 3HR but now I’m not sure if all I need is the 3HR. My Fitbit gives me call notifications and the normal fitness info and the HR monitor. Just not able to swim with it. Not a big hiker and I live on an island so I’m sure I can’t get that lost!! Mapping not a big deal. Does the 3HR have any amount of storage like the 5X? Also what is he purspose of that much storage?

    Ray I know you have probably commented on this already numerous times

    • James L

      Darryl – I went through the same sort of thing that you are trying to assess last year before I bought my F3HR. I like the fact that all of the information that a Fitbit and apps on my iPhone gave me are available in one place. I think that the technology of these watches while not perfect, it is the current state of the art. Like you, I do a lot of different activities, and all of them are captured to varying degrees of detail by the F3HR. The storage that you are wondering about is for the “apps” that can be added (see the Garmin website) as well as storing the various activities that you do. In fact, periodically, Garmin recommends that you remove some of the activities from the watch. Ray did a great review of the F3HR that you can find on this website. If I was you, I’d read that and the comments that follow his review to determine if you want the latest in the F5 series or if the F3 would work for you.

  76. Ben

    An update on timing: Garmin’s Hong Kong distributor (where I live) has opened pre-orders for two 5S SKUs and one 5 SKU, for collection on 13 March.

  77. Michael Brokaw

    Hi, first off, you rock! Do you have any suggestions for getting the best price? I would typically look to order from REI to get the dividend, but I want a new 5x, asap and reading through the lines the best chance is to preorder one through clever training now. Any tips for where to get the best price? Clever training with the VIP code etc?

    • Within the US, pricing is MAP controlled (Minimum Advertised Price), and Garmin strictly enforces MAP with retailers, especially for products this new.

      About the only way to save anything on the Fenix5 series is via members-only programs like REI or the CT VIP program. Either way – I appreciate the support!

  78. Jakob

    Current pace/speed display has never been accurate. I don’t know if they use exponential decay averaging, but that method is terrible with GPS. GPS seems to be accurate within about a meter radius. To measure pace, you need two position measurements. If those two points are too close together, then the resulting pace is terrible, even after averaging several pace samples. Better would be to take two points about 30 to 50 meters apart and don’t do any averaging. IOW, every second, take the current GPS measurement and the one 30 meters behind to calculate the current pace. Note, 30 meters behind, not 30 seconds behind.

    The reason that I think this is better is that GPS accuracy does not degrade by distance covered. The error in a distance measurement gets less the longer the distance is, as a fraction of the distance. Exponential decay averaging cannot take advantage of this property.

  79. It looks amazing but I have three feature requests I’ve spoken to Garmin about and they still don’t want to listen.

    1) Garmin App should sync with watch and store the data even when no internet is available — For long hikes with no phone reception, this is useful e.g. PCT, AT, CDT, Grand Canadian Trail, etc.

    — You can get around this by using USB-OTG.

    2) Garmin 5X should be able to use the entirety of its data to store GPS logs. Some people might not care too much about maps but they might like the added storage.

    — This might already be possible, I am not sure.

    3) There should be an option to output GPX files instead of .fit files.

    — You can get around this by exporting the files using the Garmin website.

    None of these points would make or break a sale for me but they would be a nice extra.

    • 1) It would be handy from a visualization standpoint, but I’m not sure it’s really needed from a data standpoint. Meaning, the Fenix3 for example has 21MB of space. A .FIT file records at an average rate of 60-100KB per hour (100KB/hr with tons of sensors). So that gives you 210 hours of recording time. I don’t think there’s anywhere in the US you can hike for 210 hours and still not be in cell service at some point. But again, I agree on being able to see tracks without cell coverage.

      2) It does this already.

      3) I believe this is done to save space.

    • Thank you, I appreciate the reply. I’m particularly happy about the second point because that’s quite useful.

      I use my watch to create GPX tracklogs I merge with photographs, so it’d simply make the process a little quicker but it’s definitely not a deal breaker. If the phone app could import .fit files without the internet, then it could probably process the files and export them as GPX tracklogs. However, 99% of the people buying these watches won’t care.

    • PhilBoogie

      Count me in that 1% of people: I use the GPX files for photos as well. Simply sync the clocks and I’m off. Works great!

  80. Jorge

    Hi every body

    Some body know if i can have HR in water with the H7 Polar Band ??
    I have read from our good host, for run or bike is no problem.



  81. Richard

    Just curious: is there a field for Last Lap Average Heart Rate in the Fenix 5 (non-final, i know) firmware you have on your watches?

  82. Thomas

    Thanks for the great overview!

    Does anyone know if I still get access to all training metrics when using a Bluetooth HR strap instead of the Garmin one? I’d prefer using a BT one for better compatibility with other devices but it would be bad if that makes some features unavailable.


  83. Mikael K.

    Hi, Ray!

    On all the pictures on Garmins website the Black Fenix 5 with yellow band (white triangle on top of 12 o’clock, and the none-red start button) the watch body looks grey instead of black. But when I look att your photo it looks black.

    Is it just the rendering on Garmins website that is misleading?


  84. Hi!!!
    I’m so interested in the fenix 5
    I practice thriatlon and now I’m using a v800 and 920xt.
    I’m so happy, and the few things that the garmin doesn’t have, the polar has it.
    Now I’m thinking to sell both and take the fenix, to use as a diary watch (not actually) to notification and 24 tracking my activity, and to training and competitions.
    What it’s the aprox battery life??
    Do you recommend me this watch?
    I also thinking to buy a Apple Watch series 2 and keep the others to training and competitions.. What do you think??

  85. Brad Wingler

    Hey Ray,

    Any idea if Garmin would ever come out with a firmware update to include more data fields on an activity? I love the SSU having 7! Any idea why they limit their view to 4? Thanks for any help/thoughts!

    • Jeroen V

      1. Garmin should indeed implement that …
      2. You can already use Connect IQ data fields to have more than 4 data fields ( I have 5 + battery indicator and time on my VAHR)

  86. Richard

    Here is something to read while we’re waiting for shipment – The official Garmin Fenix 5X User Manual…released overnight:

    link to static.garmin.com


  87. Bill


    How is your testing going? I’m beginning to wonder now that we are officially in week 8 of the announcement if there are any issues with any of the 5s’? When Apple, and Google announce that users can rely on a release in 5 to 8 weeks we would think that they would meet or exceed expectations. However, when the date comes and goes this to me can sometimes mean there are problems that a manufacturer does not want to make public. Just curious if the device is truly performing equally if not better than the 3HR. Because if it does not then I’m not wanting to drop over half a grand on one. What do you think?

    • The date range was always “Q1”, which extends through March. Everything I see indicates they’ll be hitting that timeframe for initial shipments.

      So far testing continues to go well. Assuming they finalize the firmware here shortly, I’ll likely drop my in-depth review in mid-March.

    • Bill

      Thank Ray.

      The basis for my statement was in direct reference to Garmin’s information pages for the devices. It says 5 to 8 weeks. But, if its actually Q1 then perhaps the device will be fine.

      The fact that your testing is going well give me comfort. Thank you for a timely response and for all you do. I really enjoy your site. It is quite awesome.


  88. Sameer

    Hey Ray wondering if you got to compare the Heart Rate accuracy of the Fenix5x compared to the Fenix 3HR?

    • I’ll cover accuracy as part of my in-depth review. Given things are still beta, I want to see if things shift in the final builds (in either direction).

      That said, there’s nothing of major concern at the moment relative to the 3HR.

  89. Craig c

    Hi Ray,
    Wonder if you could clear up something on sizing. You mention the 5s is the same size as the 735 but based on the sizes on the website it is a bit smaller in terms of diameter, and the 5 model is actually closer in diameter. Does the 5 seem much bigger. My wife has a 735 and I quite like that size so just wonder what feels closer. Many Thanks !!

    • No, the site is wrong then.

      Check out the pics above to see what I mean (or the video). The 5S and 735XT are virtually identical. The 5 is bigger.

      The Girl has been using the 5S for a bit now, and I the 5. She’s mostly good with the 5S (still a touch bit big because of the stud design), but I’m good with the 5. When I use the 5X, it feels massive now…despite the fact that it’s just the same diameter as the 3 was.

    • Paul_S

      So with that being said, I take it you prefer the 5 over the 5x. I am still trying to decide between the 2. The maps being more of a novelty than anything ( atleast I think ), And I really like the black on black with the 5.

    • Craig Crawford

      Thanks for the reply, much appreciated !!

    • Steve

      Now that you have used the 5 for some time, how’s the bezel holding up scratch resistant wise? F3 was terrible. Tactix Bravo was much better. Chronos (steel version) seems very solid as well. Thanks for any insight you can offer.

  90. Patrik

    I am little bit confused on the coloring for the fenix 5. On some pictures the center triangle on the watch face and button to the right are red but on others they are all black/grey. It appears that the sapphire version is all black/grey but also the non sapphire version with yellow band? Do you have any clarification on this?

  91. Josh


    I believe I know the answer but would greatly appreciate your confirmation. After much debate between models Ive ordered the 5 black/black sapphire bundle from CT. The order said expected late march, and I believe in the past that this means any orders placed when CT website shows “end Mar” should still be fulfilled within that time frame versus trickling out into April. Im curious if that still remains the case or if you expect anything otherwise. Thanks for everything you do.

  92. Matthew B.


    I know it’s not finalized firmware yet, but have you seen GPS/HR performance variances between the 5S, 5, and 5X?

  93. Kyle


    How does the F5 handle “disagreements” on HR between the optical sensor and a chest strap? Such as a good reading via optical, but a static-caused spike on the chest strap. Or cadence lock vs a normal reading via chest strap?

  94. Matthew B.

    The Fenix 5 (and 3HR) will disable optical HR if you have a strap attached.

  95. Rudy

    Does anybody have an argument for purchasing the 735 over the Fenix series (including the 5S, for those who fancy the size) other than price? Having said that, I do think that the price is a strong argument, especially for electronics.

  96. okrunner

    I have the Fenix 3 Hr and used your comparison sheet to look at the differences between it and the 5. Under group tracking you show that the 3 Hr does not have group tracking, which is true. However, other devices with group tracking, ie. the 820 can clearly see me if I have live tracking on with a phone with me. I assume this is consistent with any Garmin device capable of live tracking and has more to do with the phone than the device. Let me know if I am wrong with any of those assumptions. All that said, how has your experience been with the group tracking and strava live segments on the 5? It seems alot to cram into the screen of the 5.

  97. Tomcp


    You used to have an Amazon affiliate link. Can’t seem to find it. I’d like to purchase 5x via Amazon, but want to make sure you get “a taste”.


  98. Jon Mirakul

    Europeans still have to wait to pre-order 5X model. Till when? :-(

  99. Nikolay

    I am thinking is it a good idea to have only one device like Fenix 5 for cycling, running, activity tracking and swimming. Currently I have Fenix 2 and Edge 500 which I am selling and having only Fenix 5 seems a good idea to simplify the devices. But maybe Edge 820 and Fenix 3 will do more for the same money…

    • Paul S.

      In general, watches make lousy cycling devices. If you wear it on your wrist, you can’t see it. If you mount it on the handlebars, it’s not nearly as easy to see as an Edge, and you can’t put as many fields on it at once. Personally I’d definitely go with the 820 and the Fenix 3, especially since, if things go as usual for a new Garmin device, the 5 will be buggy for the next 6 months. I have an Epix and an Edge 1000, and I never use the Epix for cycling by itself.

    • Nikolay

      Indeed, I have the same concern – small display and only 4 data fields on the fenix. I sold my 500 already and for sometime will use my Fenix 2 on the bike handlebar to see if I can accept it as a cycling computer.

  100. Yanny Pang

    Guys, I am curious to know if the Fenix 5 is paired with say a Mio Fuse will it keep the data? I use a Mio Fuse while swimming for a Fenix 3 but cannot keep the HR data. Since the F5 will not record HR data while swimming unless you have a strap, it would be good to get it with a paired wrist device.

  101. Keld

    Very excited about this Watch. Hope they make a titanium edition.

  102. Crazy Price

    £770 RRP for the 5X and no bundled HR strap? I would be coming from another brand so an additional £70 for a basic HR strap or £150 for the tri version.


    • PhilBoogie

      I think they’ve taken a look at Apple and said: “That works, let’s do that as well”.

    • Dom

      That is with the obscenely expensive metal strap, though; it’s £630 with a silicone strap. Still not cheap, agreed, and I disapprove of not having an HRM bundle at those prices – feels like gouging an extra £20 from customers who’ve paid a lot of money already.

  103. Justin

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the early videos. I understand that the production firmware has not been released yet, am I right ? Then why not make a video on the different F5 sizes ? Especially with a shirt on to see how it fits… That would be awesome.


    • Correct, there isn’t yet a final firmware version.

      I’m working on putting together a sizing one. I’ve been wanting to do it with The Girl, so I can show them on two different wrists. Just finding the time where both of us can do a shoot together with the little one is a bit tricky. Soon hopefully!

      In the meantime, here’s a running pace video I put up yesterday: link to youtube.com

  104. Justin

    Hi Yanny.

    As far as I understand the F5 will as well not record HR data for wirst worn / optical HR devices in Pool mode. This has something to do with how the data is coded, so it doesn’t seem that an easy fix is possible and I speculate that they won’t develop this until they consider they can produce reliable HR data under water. In Open water mode it should be possible though.

    I was also quite disappointed about that, but we may have to wait for the F6 to have this supported…

  105. Brian Brewer

    Looks like new Firmware just dropped on 3/3/2017 – Version 2.30.
    Is this the release firmware you are looking to see before final testing?

  106. Robert Harvey

    My experiences with Fexix3 HR were all around bad. While the sensor picked up the HR through the skin above my wrist, any significant amount of arm movement would drive the SEnsor crazy, making the device useless for high intensity events. Has the HR monitir system on the Fenix 5 improved such that it is worth buying?

    • Roastman

      I was intending to wait for the Fenix 5, but the death of my VAHR made my decision for me. I purchased the Fenix 3 HR Sapphire, thinking that the bulk of the watch on my small wrist would mean poor heart rate accuracy and an uncomfortable fit. So far, I have been pleasantly surprised on both fronts. The watch is surprisingly comfortable when worn snugly and heart rate performance seems excellent. I know it is the same sensor as my old VAHR, but for some reason it seems to function better than than device. More testing will be necessary, but I am very happy so far. It was also ridiculously cheap, as Johnny Appleseed have dramatically dropped the price on this model. There was not enough in the new model for me to pay an additional $350 for the Sapphire model in the Fenix 5.

    • Diego

      Where did you purchase?

    • Roastman

      Johnny Appleseed in Brisbane. James (one of the sales team) was very helpful. I have since been back to buy the chest strap and foot pod for my treadmill runs, although after calibrating the watch with an outdoor run, the distance on the treadmill was within 5% of the watch. The footpod will provide the most accurate measurement on the treadmill. After playing with the OHRM, I am reasonably happy with some very minor variation from what is really happening with my heart rate. However, I suspect that while it is reasonable for running, it may be less than perfect for gym activities, so the chest strap is essential. Johnny Appleseed had the Fenix 3 HR Sapphire and HRM-RUN 4 for $752 on their website. James did a little better than the website price on the watch for me, but I came back later to grab the extras.

  107. So, if I understand correctly, both the 5 and 5X have the same display size, yet the 5X is larger in overall size. Does that mean that only the bezel is larger on the 5X?

    If so, then I don’t see a reason for the 5X, unless one really wants wrist-based mapping. But at 30.5mm diameter and with cumbersome controls, this will be worse than hand-held devices, so only used for emergency? Interesting…

    • Paul S.

      There are a lot of situations where your hands are full and using a handheld would be annoying. For example , I use my Epix when cross country skiing (hands are filled with poles) and hiking with the dog (one hand connected to a not always well behaved dog). It’s way easier to consult my Epix than to use my handheld in those situations.

  108. Jim

    Will 5x have any topo map capabilities or can topo maps be loaded on it. I am an avid MTB biker and wilderness hunter and this would be a game changer for me

    • Paul S.

      You can certainly load topo maps on the Epix, and I can’t imagine that the 5X will be any different. The Epix doesn’t do relief shading to visually bring out the terrain, but the contour lines are easily visible. The map is surprisingly visible for such a small screen on the Epix, and again I have no reason to think that the 5X will be worse.

  109. KateB

    I’m going to get the 5X but I really want to use a Zulu/Nato strap with it.

    With a 26mm strap, do you think I could cut/punch out a hole for the HR sensor without losing the straps integrity?


    • Richard

      @Katy, there are a couple of options:
      – cut a hole in a one-piece ZULU strap. 3-ring Zulu straps have a single layer running under the watch, whereas 5-ring NATO straps have two layers underneath. This thread has a picture: link to forums.garmin.com

      – buy a two-piece NATO/ZULU strap – which fits onto the watch pins like any normal straps, and has no layers running underneath. Be aware though that this ‘fixes’ the watch buckle into a single position, whereas the one-piece varieties allow the buckle to be rotated around your wrist out of the way.

      At least, this is my understanding. During this terrible waiting time for my 5X, I’ve been researching and purchasing straps as preparation for the Big Day.

    • KateB

      It’s the one piece I’m after, I was just concerned that after I have cut the holes out it will weaken the strap to such an extent that it defeats the purpose of a Zulu in the first place.

      Thank you.

  110. Rene

    Does the fenix 5 also support audio alerts for running?

    • Bob190

      Probably the same as other Garmin products, like the Forerunner 235. The answer is yes as long as you carry your phone with you/. I have my 235 setup for pace and hr updates every lap which is set for a .25 mile.

  111. Gixr.thou

    G’day Ray,

    I just found out (Garmin support) that the Australian Fenix 5X only comes loaded with the TOPO lite maps that are NOT routable. If we want to use the routing abilities of the 5X we need to purchase alternate maps or upload OSM maps. You would think it would at least get routable cycling maps included. In OZ full TOPO (Routable) is AU$199 and routable cycling (basically OSM) is AU$69. Bit annoying after paying AU$999 for the watch itself not to be able to use such a major selling feature out of the box.

    Have you heard any different? Is it true that the US get routable cycling as well as TOPO lite?


    • Striff

      Would this also mean that Round-Trip-Routing would also not work?
      The main reason I would consider the 5X, if it only comes with non-routable lite maps and can’t do Round-Trip-Routing then I know I won’t be buying this model.

    • gixr.thou

      I can only assume that with no routable maps preloaded that features like Round-Trip routing won’t work.

      I more annoyed that I pre-ordered based on the info on the Australian website that states that it comes loaded with TOPO lite AND a routable cycling map yet now I find out that it will only have the TOPO lite. Hopefully Garmin give Australian customers free downloads of the routable cycling maps seeing as they advertised it would have it. (It’s only AU$69, they can afford it)

      We’ll have to wait and see I guess.

    • rabbit

      On the austrailian garmin homepage I found in the specs:

      “Maps: Preloaded topographic and cycling maps”

    • Roastman

      I gave up on waiting and grabbed the Fenix 3 HR from Johnny Appleseed in Brisbane at a very good price. I have been without a Garmin watch for a while, as my VAHR touch screen died. I did not want to wait.

      The Fenix 3 HR is great in most respects. Surprisingly comfortable, even on my rather small wrists. The features are great. I will reserve judgement on the optical heart rate, which had about four really weird spikes/drops during my run. I did experience this initially with the VAHR but found a good position on my arm to stop the fluctuations. Hopefully I can resolve the issue with the F3HR in the same manner, as I would hate to think I should have waited for the other model. If the optical heart rate works OK, there is really nothing in the new model I need, as the F3HR is otherwise brilliant.

    • Gixr.thou

      Good to know I’m not the only one to notice this. We will have to wait and see what they do, other than change the website.

      If that’s all they do I have a time stamped screen capture of this information. I’m sure a multinational with such a good reputation for customer service will ultimately do the right thing by its customers.

    • Andrew M

      Take a screenshot of the specs – could be useful if you want a refund later. Under Australian consumer law, you can get redress if it doesn’t do what the specs say.

    • Roastman

      As a quick follow-up to this, I can note a little bit of disappointment with the optical heart rate monitor on the Fenix 3 HR. My old Tomtom watch (and even my now dead Garmin Vivoactive HR) was far more stable, as the Garmin has experienced some quite dramatic (albeit temporary) spikes and drops during the two runs I have used it on. I have the watch positioned quite high on my arm and very snug, which is what I needed to get the VAHR to provide acceptable results. Despite this, there are some very noticeable glitches in HR recording. As the F3HR has the same sensor as the VAHR, I thought it would be at least as good as that unit, but it appears not. Hopefully for those considering the F5, there may be improvements in the new sensor. The rest of the watch is brilliant, but I will be buying a chest strap, which I have not needed previously. If I had time to wait for the new model, I would certainly be recommending people wait, unless of course there is no improvement in the new model. The spikes are only brief, but enough to annoy me when it triggers high/low heart rate alarms that I have set for my training. I am reasonably confident my heart rate does not drop from 160+ to 100 in a couple of seconds!

    • Striff

      Interestingly, going to Garmin’s AU site
      link to buy.garmin.com

      Select 51mm (5x) the option to include maps is availabe, at the cost of $50.

      Then click on the ?-mark, it comes up with the following:

      Preloaded with TOPO U.S. mapping, routable cycling maps, guidance cues, points of interest, data overlays, GroupTrack and more.


  112. Gavin

    Amazon UK is now stating a release date of 16th March (previously stated April) for the 5 and 5s.

    Hopefully Clever Training UK get their stock at the same time (or sooner) as that’s where I’ve pre-ordered from!

    • Gavin

      Clever Training UK have updated their page from expected early March to expected early April!! :- (

    • Matthew B.

      That’s almost surely not a delay of current orders but just a “if you place a NEW order now, you will get it early April.”

    • Gavin

      I gave them a call.

      At the moment they’ve said that is the revised date for previous orders.
      They’re supposed to be double checking and confirming that.

    • Richard Black

      …and still nothing about the 5X shipping dates from the UK retailers. So frustrating. As far as I tell, these are the five stores offering the 5X on pre-order – and none has any shipping information:

      [Garmin UK has no pre-ordering yet]

      1. Up & Running -> link to upandrunning.co.uk

      2. Handtec -> link to handtec.co.uk

      3. Blacks -> link to blacks.co.uk

      4. Cotswolds Outdoors link to cotswoldoutdoor.com

      5. Ultimate Outdoors link to ultimateoutdoors.com


    • The site shows status for *new* orders, not existing orders.

      For existing orders, you get updates via e-mail (I think they just started weekly updates last week).

    • Gavin

      Hi Ray

      Fingers crossed that’s correct!

      I’ve not received an email update so far.

    • Michaelis

      I’ve ordered the 5X through CT, and they don’t have a specific date, but they are indicating end of March. Wondering if that is just a generous padding of dates, and if the week of 3/13 (next week) is the more realistic timeframe.

    • Gavin

      I just received the update email from Clever Training that I assume you referred to:

      “We just wanted to send you our weekly courtesy update concerning your Pre-Order of the Garmin Fenix 5. We are still on track to begin receiving the Fenix 5 units the end of March. We will continue to have weekly updates as we get closer to that time frame regarding order fulfillment dates”

      They’ve stated they’re on track for them receiving the watch end of March, when their UK website stated early March???

  113. Greg Hilton

    I see from reading the Garmin forums that the Fenix 5 (including the S??) has a more readable font?

    Can you comment on readability vs the 735XT Ray? I’m hitting 50 in 2 months time and find it hard to read the screen running at night following a workout on the 735XT, so was wondering if the 5S (or the 5 if necessary) would make the screen easier to read?

  114. Matthew B.

    Any word on whether the firmware released today (2.4) is the final/release version?

    link to www8.garmin.com


  115. I have ordered the Fenix 5x. I have a few more questions, some of these have been posted on the garmin forums but I’m interested in them.

    Will it come with screwdrivers to unscrew the bolts for the straps?
    Can you display your heart rate on the front face of the watch? This doesn’t matter too much but I’m curious nonetheless.
    If you bind a button to save location, then save your location and name it “home”; can you later build a route to “home”?
    Does the Fenix 5x have a bigger battery than the Fenix 5? I notice on the Garmin website it says the battery life isn’t as good, but I assume if you don’t use the map features, you can get similar results.
    What do you think of a feature to delete .FIT files on the watch that’ve been uploaded to the Garmin website? I think this would be safer if your phone kept a copy of the .FIT files but if it gave you the choice whether to delete or not after uploading, then it might be suitable.

    • – It does not come with screwdrivers, since it has the new QuickFit system.
      – Looking at the default watch faces, I don’t see an option to select HR in the customizer. However, i could be missing it. And I’m sure CIQ can do it.
      – Yes, you can route to saved points.
      – It has a bigger battery, but that’s consumed by a more powerful processor, and even then it ends up worse.
      – The unit doesn’t delete any .FIT files till you run out of space. Which honestly, you’re never going to do. I did the math on just the regular 5 series, and you could hike for months at 8-10 hours a day and still not run out (recording every second). In the 5X, you’d be able to go for about 32 years of 10 hours a day. Roughly, storage-wise. Perhaps a little less depending on maps used (that assumes 12GB of usable).

      I believe the watch will likely die before that point. Or, depending on your age…maybe you first. ;)

    • Thank you for the helpful response. Not to sound argumentative but are you 100% sure you can use all the storage for .FIT files? On the Garmin site at the moment, it says “Track log 10,000 points; 100 saved tracks.” That’s still 100 days worth of hikes (theoretically more as you could pause it while sleeping and continue using the same track log the next day) so it’s more than enough but I’m curious more than anything. It has me wondering if there is an operating system limitation.

    • I know you can use it for storage, no issues there.

      I think the 10,000 points 100 saved tracks is legacy wording that’s existed forever. My bet is that nobody has bothered to update the wording. In fact, the wording for ‘tracks’ doesn’t even exist in the Fenix realm – but rather is a holdover from the wording on the handheld side of things.

    • Cool! Yeah I’ve seen a few errors on their website before, so it certainly wouldn’t be the first time. It does sound like legacy wording. A faster processor could potentially mean a slightly more accurate GPS, so I think this watch is more than just the maps feature, which helps me validate my purchase :). I look forward to it arriving, and thanks again for all the information.

    • PhilBoogie

      After a workout, when I hit the ‘Save’ button it looks like it’s writing the data to the NAND, from the RAM. I would therefore assume the max workout is limited to the amount of RAM, not the amount of NAND.

  116. Gixr Thou

    G’day Ray,

    Will/does the Fenix 5X sync maps via BaseCamp?

    Cheers from Oz ?

  117. Sameer

    Do you think when released, will it be quicker to get via Clever Training or Amazon?

    • Gavin

      Amazon state 16th March for a couple of the 5 and 5s models.
      CT are now quoting end of March for the same models, even though that’s different to what was stated when ordered. I wonder how accurate Amazons dates are, maybe Ray knows who gets preferential treatment (CT or Amazon)??

    • Using history only as an indicator – I’m not aware (to my memory) of any time where Amazon was ‘first’ when it came to Garmin devices. I don’t think it’s ever happened.

      Historically, Clever Training & REI are first (unless Best Buy has an exclusive on something). As to whether REI or CT is exactly first usually depends on whatever backroom deals have occurred that we aren’t privy too. I’m not hearing of any ‘deals’ this time around, so I suspect we’ll see both companies get initial shipments at the same time.

      I don’t know if that’s next week or the week after, or when. But I’d place it as very very soon. I also don’t know if the firmware from yesterday will be considered production. I asked for some clarification from them, and they concurrently asked if I had any outstanding issues that weren’t actively being tracked.

      If I get word that this is the final firmware, then I *may* be able to squeak out the review by the end of next week (I was hoping it would be a few days earlier). Else at worst early the next week. Just a few things I want to properly validate on the final firmware. There have been very minimal firmware changes in the last few weeks, so I see little reason to amass large amounts of new data beyond validating nothing has broken (since I’ve been using it for months). Just my two cents.

    • Gavin

      Thanks for all the information Ray.

    • Kyle

      Ray, I’m looking forward to the Ultra-Trac battery life test on the roof. Did you ever get clarification if turning off the OHR would boost the watch over 75hrs?

    • I haven’t done so yet, mostly because usually long-battery life tests are the very last thing I do (final firmware, etc…). Also, it would require me to take that unit out of commission for 3-4 days, so…less ideal at the moment.

      I did do a 8-9 hour ride a few days ago on the regular 5 though, so I’ve got some good data there to go off of, at least from an extrapolation standpoint.

  118. Kyle

    Just chatted with REI , they have a ship date of April 7th. On the 5 and 5x

    • Morgan

      From Rei on 3/9
      Kat: Thank you for contacting REI, my name is Kat.
      Morgan H: hi Kat! When will the garmin 5x be available for pre order? I see the 5 and 5s are now on your site.
      Kat: That is a great question! Let me check with my Product Team.
      Kat: I was able to check with my Product Team. We are expecting to get the 5x in the future but do not have a specific time frame.

    • Eduardo Fiallos

      I got the same thing from REI chat session this morning as well. Based on an earlier comment in the thread (#1198), it appears that the 5X SKUs are the ones not available on day 1 (for REI at least).

    • Kyle

      Disappointing. Looks like everyone will be early April now. The 5x seems to be the one that is going to be a few weeks later from all the reports from retailers

    • ano

      Here in Croatia (EU) local dealers are set to offer F5X in early April also,

  119. Sameer

    Thanks again Ray, I still don’t see the 5x for preorder on REI. Waiting for my dividend.

    • Michaelis

      Looks like REI has online pre-orders for just the Fenix 5 (I’m not yet able to find the 5S or the 5X at REI), and they say will ship in 30 days.

      link to rei.com

    • Jeffro

      Doyle: Thank you for contacting REI, my name is Doyle.
      Doyle: Hi Jeff
      Jeff Hendricks: Hi doyle. When will the garmin fenix 5x be available for pre order on rei.com? All I see now is non saphire versions of 5 and 5 s available for pre order.
      Doyle: We have not received a firm date from Garmin so not sure when pre orders will be available
      Jeff Hendricks: Same for saphire version of 5?
      Doyle: Correct

  120. Carl

    Hong Kong is selling English version of 5x in the market.

  121. Gavin

    Had several emails from Clever Training UK, expectations are definitely end of march for original orders

  122. jaumeng

    Awesome reviews !!
    I would like to know if Fenix 5x has display on always and bread crumb? (similar to TomTom Spark3). Thinking of changing mine to F5x. Cheers.

    • Yes, the display is always on. And the 5X can display breadcrumb trails too, though honestly the reason you pay extra for the 5X is the leg mapping that can be displayed below it.

    • jaumeng

      Thank you.
      TT Spark costs $449 and F5x selling at $1,100.
      How often and in what situation we use the map compared to bread crumb for finding our way back when we are lost ?
      Worth for me to change ? Cheers.

  123. rabbit

    Found a first test report (only in German) of the Fenix 5x in a German navigation forum with lots of pics:

    link to pocketnavigation.de

    • Roastman

      Hi Ray…. According to this report, the optical HRM is improved over the F3HR. I know you are still testing, but has this been your experience also? I am bit disappointed, as I have purchased the F3HR, as I was initially told the F5 was not landing until April. As my old watch had died, I did not want to wait that long for a replacement. However, the F3HR wrist based heart rate is a bit average, in comparison my old Tomtom watch. I have got it as good as it can be, by wearing it extremely high and tight, but it is very uncomfortable to wear in this manner. It is also quite uncomfortable as a daily watch, as if you want all day heart rate, it seems to be a very snug fit to get useful data. I did not notice the sensor bump on the previous watch, but it is annoying me on the F3HR (actually making the arm sore, if I wear it tight enough to get a reasonably accurate reading all day). Your comment would be appreciated.

    • The sensor bump is nearly non-existent on the F5, so I’d be surprised if you notice it there.

      As far as optical HR sensor accuracy goes, I’m finding it on par with the Fenix3 HR for workouts (assuming all updates). It’s definitely improved compared the Fenix 3 HR when it first came out. I find in general the Garmin units have a tougher time in cycling (outdoors), but are mostly good in running. Swimming isn’t enabled on the Fenix 5 at the time for optical HR.

      For day to day (24×7) it’s far improved – absolutely.

    • Roastman

      Thanks Ray

      As always, a great source of knowledge. Shame I had to get a watch in a hurry and rushed out to get the F3HR. As I really want the all day heart rate and optical HRM during a run to be as good as it can be, I may sadly be losing some money on flicking the F3HR and ordering a Fenix 5. While I can live with the chest strap during rowing and weights etc, I really want the optical HR to be mostly good during a run and the F3HR is not working well for me at the moment. Not sure if it is just a bad watch, as the Vivoactive HR was mostly fine for me (after I learned to wear it quite high and snug). Due to the lower weight of the VAHR, I also did not need to wear it quite as tight as the F3HR, to stop it moving around. That is probably why the sensor bump is proving to be such an uncomfortable beast. If all day heart rate was not important to me, I could loosen it off and simply tighten it for workouts, but I really want this as my daily watch as well.

  124. FLGIRL

    REI REsponse today on 5s:

    The Garmin Fenix 5S Multisport GPS Heart Rate Monitor Watch has an estimated delivery date of April 13, 2017. The item will be shipped as soon as it becomes available. Please keep in mind that this is an estimated time frame and is subject to change.

  125. Pitbull

    I have contacted rei by chat everyday the last week about the 5x. I have been told early April, mid to late April, we have no firm date from Garmin, Garmin has not sent the specifications, keep checking rei.com, should be available to pre order in the next few weeks etc etc. If I didn’t have a rei gift card for the purchase I would have ordered from clever training. Rei has been totally clueless and depending upon who at rei you talk to a different answer will be given. They always claim to be talking to the product team.

  126. Johnny


    I have a question about a subject that is basically a game changer for me if I’ll buy this watch or not. I would like to know if you can pick a random location on the map and then the watch to guide you to it by turn by turn navigation? For example, let’s say I’m trailrunning on the trail I’ve preuploaded onto the watch. But in the middle of the run, I decide I want to prolong the run and go to random cabin 2 miles away. Can I select that cabin on the watch’s map in the middle of the forest and will the watch guide me to it, then guide me from the cabin back to my existing trail?

    I would be very happy if you could answer this for me, can’t seem to find this info anywhere.


  127. Johnny

    Sorry pressed submit too soon with my first comment. Basically what I’ve managed to tell from your review is that a watch can guide you to a random location you come up with in the middle of your run. But you only mention POIs – that you can only select random POIs in vicinity to which the watch can guide me. What I’m wondering is can you actually lock in a random spot in the middle of the forest/street/whatever to which the watch can guide you.

    This is very very important for me, as I said, if the watch can do that I will buy it, if not then it has no use for me.

    Thank you very much for your answer.


  128. Stefan

    Hi Ray, can you already say something about gps accuracy against the different f5 models?
    Thanks Stefan

    • I haven’t seen any differences between the three models in terms of GPS performance. All seem equal to me.

      In terms of overall GPS accuracy, I’m not seeing anything of concern at this point. Everything seems pretty normal to me. Sometimes it’s exceptional, and sometimes it’s just normal. Most of my recent running has been in cities (which is challenging), however I also have done a fair bit trail running earlier in the beta cycle and then tons of cycling and openwater swimming.

  129. Phil

    Hi Ray & followers
    It would be a nice touch if Garmin gave you the option to turn mapping off on the Fenix 5X and in turn slow the clock speed of the processor to extend battery life. I’m sure this is possible through a firmware update.
    Can’t wait for the in depth review.

  130. John f

    On a chat with Rei on 3/12 they representative claims they will not be carrying the 5X at all this year. Do you think this is true? I have heard many other dates and time frames depending upon who at Rei you talk to.

    Rei: Thank you for contacting REI, my name is Vicky.
    Rei: Thank you for waiting.
    Rei: How may I help you?
    me : Do you know when I will be able to pre order a fenix 5 X?
    Rei: I can check.
    Rei: It is ready to pre-order now.
    Rei: We are expecting the first shipment march 22, 2017.
    me: I don’t see the 5X on your website? I see the 5 and 5s only?
    Rei: Oh, maybe I made a mistake.
    Rei: I will look again.
    Rei: Thank you for waiting.
    Rei: I am sorry, we will not be carrying the 5X style.
    me: At all ever?
    Rei: I don’t know about forever, but not this year.
    me: Ok thanks for the info
    Rei: You’re welcome.

    • Nah, I think it’s just a customer service rep making things up. Par for the course across many industries. Albeit slightly unusual for REI reps, which are usually brighter bulbs.

  131. Matthew B.


    Have you seen the altimeter issues like in the F3HR?

  132. Chris C.

    Fun fact, This past weekend March 10 – 12 the Washington DC Marathon had a Garmin booth. You will never guess what they were selling at the booth and seemingly did not sell out. Lines after lines of people picking up watches. They only has 5s and 5X for sale… Prices were rounded to the 100’s plus DC tax so deals were not made. (This is all reported to a good friend who was there AND BOUGHT ONE (Hes dead to me)). The rep was very open that retail shipments are already on the move.

    • BobV190

      I guess I am naive, but I always thought pre-ordering a product meant that you were first in line to receive such product when it was finally available for sale.

      I would think (and I could be wrong), that Garmin authorizes retailers to take pre-orders. And I would have thought that would mean that Garmin would ship available stock to satisify those pre-orders prior to making the item available for walk-up sale at retailers.

      Been hearing quite a bit of tales like yours about how some running shops, and the marathon you mention have been receiving “limited” quantities of the Fenix 5 for sale.

      Kind of makes me a mad given I put in a pre-order well over a month ago and still don’t even have a ship date.

    • Mikey

      I gotta get my race packet for the LA Marathon this Friday. If Garmin has a booth and they have the 5X. It’s mine!

    • This is the way Garmin’s always done it – which…I agree, it wonky.

      Part of the problem is that there is no ‘central’ management of those pre-orders. They have retailers who are authorized to sell, and those retailers in turn take pre-orders. From there the retailers inform Garmin about total pre-orders made, and Garmin attempts to fulfill them.

      But because Garmin slow-rolls their product roll-outs (to protect against early manufacturing issues), it means that on Day 0 of shipping, there isn’t enough product. Nor on Day 10, 20, or even 45 in many cases.

      If you compare to Apple, they’re able to ‘control’ the entire inventory channel for new products, so it’s easier. When you then compare to something like Nintendo with the Switch, it’s much the same as Garmin (except they can scale bigger) in that they have boatloads of retailers to deal with – but they’re still short on day 1.

    • Kyle

      still doesn’t explain why a small site like HRM USA had a few Fenix 5 in stock and nobody else did. There is someone that has a tracking # from them and scheduled to be delivered for Friday. Makes zero sense

    • Kyle

      I called HRM and they said they received 3 of each model. They wont receive anymore until the end of April

    • acousticbiker

      Uh, that’s me from the Garmin forum. While HRMUSA probably is a smaller retailer, I did order it very early

    • FWIW I confirmed that Clever Training also received units today, and shipped out accordingly. Obviously, not enough to fulfill all backorders, which is as expected.

    • Gavin

      I did a live chat with Clever Training about an hour ago and the person I spoke with said they had not received a despatch notice from Garmin yet??

    • David

      Ray: any word on the 5S, I haven’t heard a word about this trickle to various retailers having anything other than the 5 and 5X, I have a day 2 order of the 5S sapphire black/black with CT using your VIP. Thanks…

    • They might not have received the memo yet or something. I talked to the person who oversees it – so pretty confident they received some today.

      I’ll check on 5S/5X specifics. Thanks for the support!

    • Gavin

      My Fenix 5 has just been despatched from Clever Training UK for delivery tomorrow!!!!

    • Jason

      Any word on the US CT orders? I ordered a 5 Sapphire.


    • First batch came in Monday and shipped out Monday. I believe they plan to send out an update on Wednesday on shipping.

    • Michael Coyne

      Damn. I was hoping to wait till your full review came out before pre-ordering but still be in the first batch or two shipped. I want it ASAP but can’t get myself to part with the money till you give us all the juicy details like you always do.

      No rush though – take as much time as you need, especially if it results in more of said details.

    • Ted W

      I did not receive a shipment notice, only that CT US has received some, and expect more. I preordered the 5X. Still waiting patiently. I my new HR strap (since I want the advance running metrics) and my existing strap will be sold with the exiting F3

  133. Marc

    Ray – 2 questions:

    First is the 5X top heavy ? the silicone strap doesn’t have much weight to it and won’t balance a heavy watch, does it roll or bounce around a lot when you wear it, or do you need to over tighten the strap ?

    Second – wifi, why is it useful ? Bluetooth would seem to answer most connectivity purposes, why do I want wifi and is it the kind like on some devices where the device acts as the network or does it just connect to your existing wifi network ?

    • I don’t find it too top heavy. Or at least, any more top heavy than the Fenix3 HR was. I almost exclusively use it with the silicone strap.

      WiFi is useful for syncing…and that’s about it. It connects to your existing network. Mostly just a convenience thing when arriving home.

    • Robbie

      Do you prefer the size and weight of the 5 over the 5x?

    • Yes, though, I’m more of a small-watch kinda guy than a big-watch kinda guy.

  134. Roastman

    Hi Ray. What are your thoughts on the 5S for a guy? Too small? The F3HR is really big on my wrist and I am thinking that may be why the optical heart rate sensor is struggling (more than the VAHR did)?

  135. Kipp

    5X, mapping without touchscreen. Curious how the user experience is on the 5X mapping using buttons for navigating maps? I am leaning towards the 5 and waiting on mapping for a future Fenix iteration.

    • Nir

      You are probably right, the UI would probably be awful. You can have much better UI on your phone.

      But since I like the bigger bezel (I like big watches) and since the price is the same – I’ll go with the 5x.

  136. Kelly O'Bryan

    Hey Ray…know you’re a busy man but will you have a more in depth review of the 5x and 5 out soon ? I’m going insane trying to choose between the two. Thanks much !

  137. Flo Loferer

    Hello Ray,

    one question regarding These Points:
    Training Data: Added new Training Load functionality
    Training Data: Added split of aerobic and anaerobic training effect

    Do you think this date will make it also into Garmin Connect? Have you heard anything about an update for Garmin Connect beside the selling start of the Fenix 5.

    As far as I know at the Moment there is no data in Garmin Connect for development of Training load etc (but Suunto and Polar have it).

    Thanks a lot for your Reply.
    kr Florian

    • I’ve heard some chatter on it, but I don’t know specifics of if/when it’ll show up either on GCM or GC. I agree – it absolutely needs to be there.

  138. Richard Owen

    I have been stalking this post for a while now and have decided to upgrade my 920XT for a Fenix 5 / 5S as it’s become my everyday watch. Basically I gave up wearing a separate fitness tracker with a fancy analogue watch for simplicity, and to collect steps for my Vitality plan.

    The problem with the 920XT is that it just looks a bit geeky for some occasions and doesn’t always fit with fancy shirts. My question is really whether the 5 or 5S is going to be the best watch for everyday use? The 5S sacrifices a lot of battery life but I prefer the bezel. It it really that much smaller and thinner as it is still a big watch by normal standards.

    I can order online from Thursday but I doubt there will be many shops that have both in stock for months for me to actually check (and the cash is burning a hole in my wallet)

  139. Rob

    Thanks for the review. I am wondering how well the 5 can display four pieces of data compaired to the 3 and the 735. And what the actual/real screen sizes are, none are 1.2″. By real I mean the bit of the screen that changes, excluding the fixed dark coloured ring. Are the fonts on the 5 thicker than the 3? The reason I ask is that I am very short sighted, but would like to display four values at once, I guess I have been spoilt by the wonderfully big 310xt. It kind of looks like, from the above pictures that the real screen size of the 5 is smaller than the 3. It would be really helpful to know how many mm across the bit of the screen you can turn white is.

  140. Michael Coyne

    AFA quick release bike mounts go, couldn’t you flip one of the bands around to use the quick-release mechanism of the bands for that? Maybe with some string or something loosely attached in a slipknot to prevent accidental loss during the swim, or some tape over it as a safety flap? Or would it even be secure like that on it’s own?

  141. John

    It may not be a worthy upgrade if you have the Fenix3 already, but what about do you think about people who have the VAHR? I play tennis and go to the gym regularly and have the VAHR. The VAHR is good, but it’s kind of ugly. Also, any idea how the indoor treadmill feature works? Thanks Ray.

    • MARVA

      I was definitely looking forward to replacing my ugly VAHR. But then I got to thinking about how smooth the touchscreen works. The Fenix 5 will not have touch screen, right? Has anyone thought how clunky moving through menus might be? I know it is on the Forerunner 35. Won’t the Fenix 5 be just like that?

    • John

      That is one other knock against the 5 series. Clicking seems a bit more difficult than swiping through certain screens. I would imagine that is the case for notifications also. Although, the VAHR is not like a standard smartwatch, where it’s optimized to swipe through your social media notifications either. None of the Garmin watches are that great for notifications. If they built an Apple Watch 2 type watch with color e-ink for long battery life, a touch screen and a rotating crown, that would be an interesting idea. That is not Garmin’s focus though.

  142. Eliran

    Hi Ray
    First, thanks for the great review.
    I really want to have the mapping, so the 5X looks like a great option. But advanced running features are a MUST.
    I’m not sure if the 5X (or 5,5S) has all the running features same as the 735 (pace alert, customized lap screen, race an activity etc.).
    According to Garmin compare products tool, it doesn’t, but maybe i’m missing something.

  143. Tommi

    I pre-ordered Fenix 5 Slate Grey on Feb 13 from Clever Training UK, and it seems to have shipped yesterday.

    • Gavin

      Same for me. Mine is out for delivery.

    • Henrik

      Did not receive despatch notification yet. Ordered 5S from CT 02/02. Seems like they’ve got more regular 5’s..

    • Brad

      I ordered F5x from CT USA on 1/27/17 and have not received any word yet.

    • Brian

      I ordered mine from USA CT on 1/4 right after Ray’s post. Still waiting to hear word from them on shipment.

    • Tommi

      Hi, I did not receive a dispatch note either. Logged into my CT account to have a look at the order status.

    • Gavin

      I didn’t receive a despatch email either.
      The first I knew about it was receiving a notification from the courier company, with no reference to CT.
      Logged into my CT account and saw the status had been updated.
      I’ve received an email from CT asking me to review the F5 before it was delivered.
      Still no despatch or order update email though…

    • NedX

      Yes, it’s funny. I have also received a request to review the F5, but no dispatch notification nor a notification from a shipping service yet. I was curious, so I called CT UK and they confirmed that it was dispatched today. Annoyingly, I cannot check the order status as I did not register when placing the order.

    • Stepan

      Hi, I preordered on CT UK in mid February and after checking my account at Clever Training UK today I found out that my order of Fenix 5 and 5S was shipped today. Haven’t received any email from CT either but there is a tracking number at the CT website. Now both me and my wife can’t wait! :-)

    • Gavin

      I’ve got my F5 now (from CT UK). Only played about with it (setting it up and a very short run) but very happy with my choice so far.
      I was concerned about the size as I have small wrists and when I took it out of the box it looked BIG. But I’m already used to the size of it and it doesn’t look ridiculous.

    • Gixr.Thou

      I pre-order here in Australia on the 21/1 and contacted Garmin AU today to see what they had as a timeline as where I pre-order is stating mid April. Garmin AU said they aren’t expecting any in the country until the 10th of April.

    • Roastman

      Hi Gixr.Thou

      Which model did you order? According to local retailers, they are still saying late March.

    • GIxr.Thou

      I ordered the 5X but when asking Garmin AU this morning I only asked about the 5 series as a whole. I wasn’t specific.

      The retailer I ordered through has stated expected delivery of 14/4/2017. The original expected date when I placed the pre-order was the 20/3/2017.

      When I was on the phone to Garmin AU at the end of last month about mapping details I enquired when they expected to see any Fenix 5 units in Australia and their original date was 10/3/2017. Obviously dates have been shifted back for all of Australia.

    • Roastman


  144. jaumeng

    Hi. I only started using fitness watch in the last quarter of 2016. After reading some reviews and mildly budget constraint, I bought TT Spark 2 and very well pleased with the music capability except sync problem (now been fixed) and some BT earphones compatibility.
    The thing is when I googled search last year, the Fenix model hardly pop up in the search but a lot of Garmin Forerunner models. And this year with the launching of Fenix 5 then suddenly there are a lot of pop up reviews of Fenix 3. I wondered why ? I read reviews and find that Fenix 3 is a good fitness watch.

  145. kenneth williamson

    I have been trying to find out if there is a watch that gives a straight foreward grid reference..you would nt beleive how difficult this info is to get..WELL IS THERE

  146. murray

    when can we expect rays in depth review, any time i’m guessing???

    • Roastman

      Hi Ray

      One of my main concerns would be the straps. I stupidly rushed out and purchased the Fenix 3 HR, as my VAHR had died and I did not want to wait for the Fenix 5. However, the strap is really messing up my arm. Because the optical HRM works poorly unless it is really snug on my arm, the only method of ensuring I get all day heart rate (which is one of the reasons for getting a Fenix), is to have the strap quite firm. While the sensor bump irritated me for the first few days, I am not finding the clasp itself is causing most of the issues. It is really cutting in to my skin. Are the straps on the Fenix 5 any better, or basically the same? If so, would you have any suggestions on how to get around this issue please? As much as I would regret throwing away money on a basically new F3HR, wearing it is getting really uncomfortable. I have not experienced this with the VAHR, Tomtom etc. The optical heart rate not being as good as Tomtom is part of the problem, the heavy watch itself increases the need to keep the watch firm, but the main issue for me is the design of the clasp.

  147. Gavin

    For those that wanted a photo of an F5 with a work shirt (hope this helps):

    • Patrick

      Looks great. Is that the silver w/ blue strap? If you’ve had the 3HR, how do they compare with regard to size when worn as a daily watch?

    • Gavin

      It’s slate grey with black strap.
      This is the first Fenix I’ve owned so can’t compare.
      I find it comfortable and don’t think it looks out of place in the office environment I work in.
      I recently bought an Apple Watch 2 that I returned as the fitness side was only ok. I much prefer wearing the F5 as it looks more like a normal watch and will be wearing this most of the time instead of a couple of good “normal” watches.

    • Patrick

      Thanks for the feedback, Gavin. I also own an Apple Watch, but don’t use it for non-running and cycling activities. I have a Garmin 735, but I’d prefer a fenix for days when I wear the Garmin all day (travel, etc.).

      At this point I’m debating between the 5 and 5S, and the silver bezel or sapphire glass.

  148. Kyle

    Just a heads up, REI started shipping pre orders and have them available on their site. Order today and get early next week. I’d order but I want the 5x which is nowhere to be found yet

  149. mssbr

    FYI on REI (US) orders

    I just placed my pre-order for the standard black/slate gray F5 with REI earlier today and chatted with their customer service immediately after. They are saying my order will ship on March 30th.

    They also confirmed they are shipping pre-orders in the order they receive them, so anyone who ordered from REI sooner than I can expect the same or better ship date.

    • Kyle

      The slate/grey is available to order right now. If I order right now I can pick up at my store on Tuesday. The other 5 models are still “pre-order” so those might ship on the 30th

    • mssbr

      Huh that is quite strange…I just ordered the slate/gray regular ol’ 5 model (not the 5S or 5X) an hour ago and it was listed as pre-order. Sure enough, i just went back and added another slate/gray F5 to my cart and it’s no longer listed as “pre-order” and says shipping on March 22!

      Sounds like I need to have another chat with REI cust service :)

    • mssbr

      Ok just spoke with REI again and it seems the standard F5 slate/black device will start shipping very soon, as early as March 22 or late as March 30 (in my case). They said these are all purely estimates though and they can’t give me a solid date, but either way it sounds like they are beginning to ship next week.

      One thing is for sure though, orders are being shipped in the order they are received so get yours in ASAP if you want it in the next week or two!

    • Kyle

      I remember hearing that exact same thing from REI when the Fenix 3 came out. Then they had stock on their site ready for shipment while people with pre-orders(myself) hadn’t heard anything. So I canceled my preorder and ordered and received it next day. Happened to multiple people, just go back and read the comments on the Fenix 3 review page.

    • mssbr

      Very interesting! If that was the case with the Fenix3 then I can only imagine it was a mistake on their part that they’ve hopefully since corrected. The shipping differences may also have been due to geographical location… if you go add the F5 slate/black to your cart right now and select In-store pickup, your estimated pickup date varies wildly depending on which store/part of the country you select.

      Either way, I love REI and will give them the benefit of the doubt. And, as excited as I am to get the watch, I’m not going to be losing any sleep if I have to (God forbid) wait another week. My current Garmin is working just fine (knock on wood!)

  150. William

    FYI for those interested in the 5x shipping times: My 1/4/2017 5x order with Clever Training (USA) shipped today.

    • Ted w

      @William you pre-ordered 1/4 for F5x from CT usa
      I ordered same on 1/9. I got email yesterday saying shipments are arrivin and I will receive notice once dispatched. I am 5 days behind you. when did you get your dispatch email?

      guests I need to start prepping my F3 for resale

    • Kyle

      I got 5x on order from CT also. I have a bad feeling the 5x will be alot slower to trickle out.

  151. Marmour

    I preordered my Fenix 5 Sapphire from Amazon on February 20th and, based on Ray’s comments about Amazon, I’m not expecting it to come till April or (God forbid) May. Has anyone received an update from Amazon?

  152. Ivan

    I got my 5 from Cotswold outdoors yesterday.

  153. Dan

    Amazon US is updating their stock now. Not that I’ve been checking daily or anything . . . The 5S White with Carrara White Band I ordered January 29 is set to be delivered March 24 with new orders said to be in stock March 28. The 5 Slate Gray with Black Band is set to be in stock March 23. No update for the 5X.

  154. Brian

    I ordered my 5X from CT USA on 1/4 and hour after Ray’s post and mine has not shipped yet. My only update has been the email from CT Wednesday night about expecting more units next week available. Going to do another online chat today to check the status.

  155. Chris B

    So hungry for a 5x in-depth review. Must be patient :-)

  156. Frank

    Me to!
    Waiting on :
    1. The indepht review – to kill the pain for waiting ….. :)
    2. The F5X – with steel band.

    Greetings from the Netherlands

  157. Eduardo Fiallos

    REI has moved one step closer to stocking the 5X:
    link to rei.com

    As of mid-day on 3/17, it shows as “coming soon” and to “check back soon”. Can’t actually order it just yet.

    • Eduardo Fiallos

      And they are now available for preorder. My estimated arrival date is 4/23. :)

    • Kyle

      I dunno about pre-order…..I just placed my order and its shipping out Monday with an arrival date of 3/23

    • Chris B

      Yep, just ordered the 5x from REI. March 23rd delivery date.

    • Marc

      rei.com has them arriving to you on March 23 (The Fenix 5X) as per the web site

      game on!

    • Ted W

      Soon and Very Soon (hopefully) for the 5x Preorder from CT. Feels so similar to the preorder of the F3. they started to trickle out.. and everyone wondered “where’s mine.. where’s mine..”

    • Eduardo Fiallos

      I used the wrong word. It isn’t a preorder. You are correct.

    • Gavin

      We’re all more excited than children at Christmas!!!

    • Chris B

      I’m just as likely to return it within a few months given my F3 experiences with accuracy in the mountains and I’m still excited. :-)

    • Brad

      I’m the same way. My F3 is no good on the trails. Although early reports from Fellrnr are the Goan is good, but wrist hrm is terrible.

    • Ted W

      @Brad. The “Goan” ?? personally I take some of Fellrnr with a grain of salt. not to say its right or wrong. but I can run the same trail and be spot on 9 times. and the 10th time I get GPS hiccup and there is this wild spur shown in the track.

    • Brad

      Haha darn autocorrect…GPS, not GOAN. Where I run I was always consistently loses my gps reception, then it would transport me miles away, then get back on track and do this all over again. I’d run with friends who had the Ambit 3 and I would lose up to and over a mile or more compared to them after 15 miles.

    • Bill

      I ordered mine from REI as well—-I’m traveling to Frankfurt on the expected delivery date (March 23rd), but it says I should be able to pick up from my local REI on March 22nd!

  158. Mikey

    Got my Fenix 5x at the LA Marathon Health and Fitness Expo. $700 flat no tax. Also cancelled my Clever Training preorder.

  159. Blake

    Does anyone know if/when REI plans to carry the Fenix 5 Sapphire/Wifi version? I see just today that they have the non-wifi version available, as well as the 5x.

  160. mssbr

    Quick update from my above post. Just got my shipping confirmation from REI – shipped this afternoon and expected to be on my doorstep on or before Wednesday 3/22!!! Ordered the slate/black standard F5 btw


  161. Ben

    Mine got delivered by Cotswold Outdoors on Fri… but I’m working in Dubai at the moment and won’t be back in the U.K until the end off April

    • Zapped previous message.

      I’ve got no problems with criticisms, if you make them in a constructive way. But throwing a bunch of swearing together isn’t such a way.

  162. DaveP

    Mine is ready to collect from Cotswold Outdoor (I got 15% discount). Pity I can’t get there until Monday.

    • Ben

      I got the same discount too, along with some cashback so it was a real bargain. Somewhat surprised with the early delivery because the website stated mid to end of April

    • Znook

      Hmm that’s strange, I had a 15% discount too but when I tried to order it it reverted to 10%. Contacted CO and they that was because the max. was 10% on Garmin products due to Garmin’s orders.

  163. Norm

    The Edge 520 provides:
    – VO2 Max estimate
    – Recovery Advisor
    – FTP

    The Fenix 5 provides all of the above, plus:
    – Performance condition
    – Stress score
    – Lactate Threshold

    If I use my Edge 520 for cycling and the Fenix for everything else, will the data (power meter, HR strap, speed, cadence, GPS) from the ride be used to provide/augment those additional FirstBeat metrics that the Fenix 5 provides?

    • It won’t ‘flow back’ to the Edge 520 if that’s what you’re asking. No such connectivity yet on Garmin devices. Wish there was.

    • Richard Black

      re Cycling with sensors, Edge520 and Fenix 5…

      I guess you’d need to un-pair the sensors from the Edge, and then pair with the Fenix 5 – then the F5 will record the data and calc the new metrics set, yes?

      Or, if you did record using the Edge, you might consider using a third-party service to calculate extra metrics after the ride – something like XERT does. XERT has a few calculating data fields in Garmin Connect IQ – you might check them out too.


    • Paul S.

      No need for that. ANT+ sensors can pair with any number of head units, so both the 5 and the 520 can use them simultaneously.

    • Norm

      I’m interested in this scenario:

      1. The info (HR, power, speed, cadence, etc) is gathered by the Edge 520.
      2. The Edge uploads all this stuff, via Garmin Connect on the iPhone.
      3. The Fenix 5 downloads all this stuff, via Garmin Connect (from phone or internet) and uses the data to calculate the Performance Condition, Stress Score and Lactate Threshold. All the other values (VO2 MAX, Recovery Advisor, FTP) should be “carried over” to the Fenix for convenient display.

      Today, there seems to be some limited TrueUp (Garmin’s marketing term) between the Garmin 235 and the data from the Edge.

      I’m trying to understand whether this will be continued for even greater integration. For those of us using multiple devices for different types of activity (in my case, cycling, hiking, gym workouts) we want to use the best device for each activity.

      One of the respondents (below) suggests pairing the Fenix and Edge to the same sensors but that’s likely to “double up” on the results, right?

  164. Adam Crits

    the current chronos offerings are still based on fenix 3, right? any word from garmin if/when chronos will be based on the 5 and if so 5 or 5x?

  165. Eugenio

    Ray, great job with reviewing this (and all other products). I just bought my fenix 5 sapphire with a Tri band. Used it today and it’s great, I don’t understand one of the metrics, the average stride length appears as 4.42m (which is impossible) while all the data in the chart shows around 1m. Have you had any issues with this in your testing? My firmware version is 2.4.
    Thank you,

    • I just looked a few activities and it shows my stride length at a reasonable 1.25m (Fenix5) and 1.23m (Fenix3) on the same run.

      These were slightly older runs (I’ve been skiing all week), so it was 2.3 firmware. Double check your user profile info though and ensure the height is correct.

    • Gavin

      I just checked my stride length for the 3 runs I’ve done with my F5:

    • Eugenio

      Interesting, everything seems to be fine except for the average, the chart has a nice scatter with what seems to be correct stride length but the average is way off.

    • Ricardo

      Hi Ray, can you make a comparation with one hr band with fenix 5 optical hr sensor to give me a conclusion ?

    • Eugenio

      I figured it out. when I paired the TRI band it also paired the Polar stride sensor so somehow that got the data all messed up, I ran a Half Marathon today and the stride length is good now. Only complain would be the GPS reception in NYC is not great so a lot of bad readings which make it look like I ran much more than the Half.

    • Andrew M

      4.42 FEET = 1.35 meters, which would be in the realistic range – just wondering if there is a mix-up in units?

  166. Anna

    Hey guys.

    I currently have a Polar M400, but want to upgrade to one of the Fenix’s. I’d like the Fenix 5 or 5S, but I don’t know if I really think it’s worth the price. The Fenix 3 is huge for my arm, but it’s something I’d get used to. I like the 5S, but things like having quite some less battery time is a negative for me.

    This is for anyone that wishes to answer… Is it worth the price difference between Fenix 3 and 5? And is it really worth the price difference between regular glass and Sapphire?


    • Gavin

      Hi Anna
      I’ve gone from nothing to the F5 so can’t compare to anything else (I did own an Apple Watch 2 for a couple of weeks, but wasn’t that happy with the fitness side of it).
      I have a small wrist and find the F5 looks fine.
      The difference between the F3 and the F5 may come down to the larger size (do you intent to wear it as you every day Watch? If not size is properly less important) and whether you want a wrist based HR monitor.
      I’ve locked away two very expensive watches as I enjoy the F5 so much!

    • Gavin

      Sorry for the predictive text errors in my reply!!

    • Anna

      Hi Gavin,

      Thanks for answering. Yes, I intend to wear it as a every day watch. Did you end up getting the Sapphire or regular glass version?

    • Anna

      Gavin; and oh, yes, I want a wrist-based HR (which can be found in the Fenix 3 HR too).

    • Gavin

      I got the non sapphire model. From what I’ve read (mainly on here) I won’t be missing much by not having wifi and I hope the glass will have enough scratch resistance for me (I’m usually careful and look after things).

      I believe the HR bump is a lot smaller on the new versions, certainly looks it in the photos on here and I think it records your heart rate more frequently (I may be wrong on that part!). I also assume that may make it more accurate as a general HR tracker as it’s taking data more frequently??

  167. David

    Hi Ray – thanks as always for the trove of information and insight.

    Curious if you know how these watches are constructed – specifically, are the screws in the bezel functional, or just aesthetic? On the 5s, is the bezel screwed on or glued?


    • Richard

      bezels. On the Fenix 3’s it is possible to purchase replacement bezels – I would guess the same construction is used on the fives. The screws must work like screws.

      link to ebay.co.uk

  168. rommel

    Hi Guys,

    I have an Epix that was bought 2x years ago. Is it ok to buy/upgrade to this Fenix 5X?


  169. James

    Any word on whether Garmin will allow running power data in run mode on the Fenix 5 vs needing to use cycling mode for power data on all previous devices?

  170. I am keen to know if the Fenix 5 would be a suitable replacement for the Edge 520, it seems to be just as feature rich?

    Also is the sapphire glass worth it? how ‘bad’ is the standard glass? I read it’s easier to read?

  171. Kipp

    For those lucky Fenix owners that have the new 5 series in hand. Please share your initial thoughts with the rest of us. Good? Great? Buyers recourse? Favorite features, etc… Thanks in advance.

    • Mikey

      Just ran the LA Marathon with a 5x. Impressions? No real difference to me than the Fenix 3hr other than the maps and such. Which is a really cool feature I might add. But really it just works the way it should.

    • Ted W

      @Mikey. Maps and such. which is a really cool feature. can you describe what makes it cool for you? how did you use those maps?

    • Matthew B.

      Overall, love my 5 so far, but my first GPS and optical HR experience were definitely sub par. Going to give it a few runs to test out a few things, let it “learn” me. I owned an F3 and F3HR (as well as other Garmin optical watches), so I am familiar with both aspects, but I have a feeling it will actually get better (unlike the F3/F3HR which had many, many issues).

      I LOVE the live Strava segments for running on the watch, very cool. Also, hoping “Training Load” turns out to be not a gimmick.

    • Would you guys say the 5’s HR reading is more accurate than the 3HR?

    • Mikey

      A few times I checked to see where I was at on the course. There was no reason to heavily look at the maps during the run since you follow the crowd. I figure when I get back on the trails it’ll be very useful to see where I’m at with a map. I think my basic neighborhood runs won’t require the use of maps unless I’m really going somewhere new or running a new long run route for pit stops. It’s probably a “nice to have” feature for me but I could just get by with a 3HR or a 5. My favorite feature of the watch is that its freakin’ fast. It’s very responsive and smooth. It seems like EVERYTHING about the watch is customizable too. I think Garmin did a REALLY good just with the 5 series.

    • Matthew B.


      My first run had a poor HR showing (strap was tight enough, let it get an extended lock prior to the run), but 1 sample is a terrible data set so I will reserve judgement until I have a lot of runs with it.

    • Thanks Matthew,
      I was hoping for better news than that! Though I’m also looking for OHR data, so here’s to hoping thats better after a few runs :)

    • Does Live segments need to the Pro Strava? What issues did you have the HR? mine has been pretty good so far, probably equal to my 3HR.

  172. Roelof Koelewijn

    My Black/silver 5s has arrived and it is looking good!

    link to flic.kr
    link to flic.kr

    • Michael Coyne

      Wow, is that with the backlight completely cranked? Looks super bright compared to the other videos I’ve seen with garmin displays…

    • Roelof Koelewijn

      No this is only at 20%

    • Leon

      Hmm, that does not look as good as I hoped for.

      I was hoping that the watch still looks like a analogue watch in the dark but the black light is screwing up the watch face imo.
      I also know it’s a choice between battery life and screen performance so in the end I do agree with the choice of having better battery life.
      Size looks good indeed, but I think the watch looks a lot better in day light.

    • David

      Maybe this is obvious but the backlight is NOT on all the time and in most dim room lighting I can still easily see the time on most Fenix watchfaces so the bright lit up Fenix in the photo isn’t what you’ll be seeing all the time. Further it looks brighter & more dramatic in the photo because cameras have difficulty properly exposing for both bright and dark backgrounds, in this photo to get more detail from the dark background it has overexposed the backlight.

    • Roelof Koelewijn

      I agree, the back lights screwed up by the camera off it looks much better in real life stuff but if you want to back best sex life then you should buy an apple

    • Leon

      Ok clear , I already thought/suspected that the camera had a major influence. One small related question; is back light automatically triggered (and therefore always on in dark environment)? And if so, what about sleeping time?

    • Roelof Koelewijn

      You can set the backlight to go on on wrist movement after sunset.

    • Roelof Koelewijn

      Here is one with the backlight off

    • Roelof Koelewijn

      Very sorry! I typed this reply using voice assist. I meant to say: If you want the best backlight (not sex life!), you can have this with an apple watch.

    • Brian Tu

      One of the comments below suggests that the 5S bezel and buttons feel cheap. I’m on the fence about ordering the 5S (since I have a smaller wrist) or the 5 (for better battery life). If what the other person said is true…then I might lean more toward the 5. What are your feelings on the bezel and buttons?

  173. Kyle

    Ray, How is the 5x scoring lowering in the “Tree Benchmark” connect IQ app? I thought you said the 5x has a better processor?

    link to apps.garmin.com

    • Kyle

      lower than the 5, i forgot to say. The 5x model is supposed to be more processing power than the regular 5

    • Not sure. I’ll have to do some digging. Could be a flawed way to test, or could be that the processing power is being reserved for mapping and not CIQ, or could be something else entirely.

      Having come from the IT realm, I’m always leary of benchmarking tests, because there’s usually some element of bias in them that manifests itself in funny ways. Sometimes they’re great, and other times it’s chasing benchmarks for the sake of chasing benchmarks.

    • Eric

      Maybe relevant (from the app support thread, referring to Edge devices): “Some of the difference could be that this is not only looking at CPU performance, but also graphics performance.”

      Source: link to forums.garmin.com

    • Kyle

      I get the Edge devices would be faster but it still doesnt explain why the regular Fenix 5 is scoring better than the 5x in cpu power

    • Michael Coyne

      Yes, but like Ray said, there may be many other things going on in the background which affect this. For example, the 5x may have significant background processes going on which prevent this benchmark from properly measuring its actual power/potential.

  174. Rodrigo

    I received my Fenix 5S this weekend. I like the size of the watch. I find it masculine enough. In fact, I wish it was thinner. But now I understand why Garmin has been saying that the Fenix 5S is for women. The silicone bands shipped with the watch are way too small. And I don’t have large wrists! Because of the small bands the watch won’t fit most men (including myself). I contacted Garmin support and they said that there are currently no plans to make a larger band available. It is very unfortunate. It amazes me how a company like Garmin can make such a mistake. Bottom line: the Fenix 5S is indeed for women (and men with very small wrists). Not because of the small size of the watch but because of how small the silicone bands are.

    • Michael Coyne

      Did they say what the maximum wrist circumference for the 5s is? If not, can you lay it flat and measure from the clasp to last notch to let us know?

    • Rodrigo

      Take a closer look at the picture with all the Fenix models, the FR 920XT and the FR 735XT next to each other. Note how small/shorter the band of the Fenix 5S is compared to those of the Fenix 5 and of the FR 735XT. I have the FR 735XT and I can tell you the band is quite a bit larger/longer.
      Garmin didn’t mention anything about maximum wrist circumference and there is nothing mentioned in the packaging. But I guess a lot of men who choose to buy the watch will be disappointed to find out that the band is too small. It is a shame.

    • Greg Hilton

      5s strap looks two notches “shorter” in Rays picture. My 735XT has 11 notches left after being done up!

      link to media.dcrainmaker.com

    • Rodrigo

      The band of the FR 735XT is more like 4 notches longer. And for me the last 2 notches are worthless since the watch doesn’t fit comfortably if you are using them.
      Anyway, my wrists are perhaps larger than I think they are. But I don’t think that is the case. My wife’s Fitbit Alta small size fits me. :-)

    • Roelof Koelewijn

      For me it is long enough on the 5s

    • Greg Hilton

      What does the 735xt look like on your wrist, Rodrigo? This is my 735xt

    • Rodrigo

      Fenix 5S

    • Rodrigo

      FR 735XT

    • Michael Coyne

      Thanks for the pictures – your first comment scared me a lot more than I should’ve been.

      That looks to be on the smaller side, but tolerable. I think I would be fine with even letting it out another notch I think so long as the tip-holder part could still hold the tip reliably.

      Is it just uncomfortable because the tip-holder has to be so close to the clasp making its bump more noticeable, or… ? Otherwise I fail to see what’s wrong in that picture…

    • Michael Coyne

      Although I didn’t think about if you wanted to wear it higher on your wrist…

    • Rodrigo

      In my view (which is obviously subjective), I’m left with only 1 notch to play with. So, wearing the watch over a jacket, for example, doesn’t seem to be an option for me. And again, I think my wrist is relatevily small.
      A person’s wrist experiences size changes during the day depending on various factors (e.g hydration level, temperature, etc.). So, ideally you want some safety margin in a watch’s band.
      Regardless of whether the band of the 5S will be too small for most men or not, I think it is clear that Garmin assumes that men who will choose the 5S have smaller wrists than those who will choose the 5 and 5X. I think Garmin is wrong. But hey… again, that’s just my perspective.

    • Bob

      You make a good point about the small size of the 5s band. I’ve worn my Fenix 3 over my jacket sleeve many times, or even around my ankle when trying to get my steps in mowing the lawn. The short strap is a real limitation and an odd oversight in my opinion.

    • JR

      I certainly wouldn’t say it’s too small for men, especially for the typical endurance athlete.

    • JR

      If you want to wear it over your coach, then you could just get a nato strap. Most people probably won’t want to use natos because they block the HR sensor, but if you’re already over clothing, then it doesn’t matter.

    • rabbit

      Yearh, for that I bought a long nato strap which I can easy and quick put through the bars without using a screwdriver- garmin should release a fabric wrist strap with quick release…but I thing, I wouldn’t buy it for 49€, the nato strap was about 18€…

  175. Rodrigo

    Fenix 5S

    • Leon

      I still don’t see the problem here.

      Yes, you have less margin than the reference watch (735xt), but it still fits right? And you even have some notches left (I would say one, if you want to secure the strap properly)?

    • John

      Why would Garmin not have different length straps? There are guys who are interested in the Fenix 5 in a smaller form factor. That looks like a tight fit for a normal wrist size guy. The 5S would be the only one I could handle in the new 5 lineup.

  176. Roelof Koelewijn

    Here is a size comparison of 5s and my fenix 3

  177. smr@d

    Do you know if the fenix 5x (or any of the other ones) supports WAAS/EGNOS? The Epix did, but the garmin website does not specify this for the fenix.


  178. I did my first cycle with a power meter and the Fenix 5 and the times in zone graph is way out. It has me in Z3 for 3 minutes and the other 50 mins were in zone 2 despite my average power being the top of zone 3. I checked other rides with the Edge 520 and they are all spot on. I don’t understand why the metrics are correct yet the times in zone are so badly out.

    • Greg Hilton

      Did you set/send the same power meter zones on the watch as the edges via Garmin connect?

    • Greg, I worked it out, thanks to Strava. The Fenix had my FTP much higher than it is. It adjusted it to what it should be after the cycle but the graphs are based on the initial (incorrect value). Sorry for the confusion.

      Anyone else thinking the Fenix 5 could replace an Edge device? A single device for all activities? Sadly TE graph in Garmin Connect only seem to show running :(


    • Until the fenix can be remotely controlled like the Edge devices can, it will have a hard time replacing them, since taking your hands off the handlebar during biking is dangerous (more so than the lack of attention due to looking at whatever device).

    • Michael Coyne

      What do you use for that? I thought the Fenix 5 being compatible with Di2 shifting made it compatible? Or are you talking about this? link to amazon.com

      If the latter, I would imagine that would only be a problem for road bikes since you’d want to mount the screen of whatever device you’re using at the front of your aerobars (where you should have your hands, as well as some shifters, brakes, etc for safety anyways), and at that point you could just mount the watch between your hands and easily press the buttons with your hands. That’s what I intend to do, or just wear the watch on the inside of my wrist so the buttons are accessible by just reaching over with my thumb (this also makes watch screens much more visible while in aero position, although still not as good as a mount).

    • Yes, I was talking about that remote.

      For my road bike, I don’t have (and don’t intend to get) aerobars, so both for it and for mountain bikes the edge remote is a superb solution for start/stop or switching between data pages. I’d like a single device as well, but the Edge also has much bigger display and thus bigger data fields, so I can take a quick glance, whereas with the Fenix one has to squint which takes more time. The Edge has the edge, for now at least :)

  179. Greg

    My 5x just shipped from Amazon US. Should have it tomorrow.

  180. Simon.noz

    Keep your comments coming, those who have rec’d their G5

  181. Loving the new screen, it really is stunning.

    • KateB

      Lovely looking watch, is that silver or slate grey?

    • Michael Coyne

      That’s either a 5x (no bezel/housing options, only band options for those), or a slate grey 5. You can tell by the bit of orange on the bezel and the plastic housing – a silver bezel 5 has orange from the 0 to the 15 second mark and a more grey plastic housing.

      And no, I have not spent hours pouring over the picture viewer lamenting that you can’t mix/match the orange/white bezel mark patterns, plastic housing colors, and bezel options. Lol. I really wish there was a regular 5 with silver bezel, no orange marks, and black plastic housing.

      The black 5s (which is exactly that) looks amazing to me, but I can’t justify paying more for less battery just over looks. :/

    • KateB


      I never noticed the orange from 0-15 on the silver 5.

      I’m pretty sure that’s a 5, the 5X has a larger space between the screws and the watch face.

      I’m getting a 5X and only have the option of the slate grey, so seeing this image makes me really happy as I love the silver look and this sin’t far away.

    • Bob

      Good observation on the orange markings – I hadn’t noticed that. I’m leaning toward the black sapphire 5 or 5s, which have the full black-out treatment with no color markings.

    • Richard

      It is a standard 5. The 5X has rectangular looking bezel indents for the screws, whereas the standard 5 has square bezel indents around the screws.

      10 weeks of waiting for 5X so far has caused me to spend far too many hours pouring over the “Fenix5X Internet” :(

    • Slate Grey 5.

    • That is the Slate Grey offering :)

  182. Jason

    Anyone hear when the Sapphire 5’s will be shipping? Seems like Garmin hasn’t shipped anything other than the black and grey models.

  183. Gavin

    Are people getting notifications differentiated by type as shown in the image?
    Mine is showing texts, emails and calendar notifications as the text symbol and phone calls as the phone symbol…

  184. William

    Couple of initial impressions on my recently received 5x:
    1.) Quality: Definitely a step up from the 3HR — has a more solid, quality feel to the case, buttons and display. Impressive.
    2.) Display and graphics: Noticeably clearer/sharper than the 3HR. Menu system is more polished, but different enough to have a learning curve.
    3.) Size: Feels bigger and heavier than the 3HR (even though it really isn’t). Some of this may just be the result of needing to get more used to it. On my wrist, it actually feels more comfortable.
    4.) Gripes: There’s a well-reported bug in the latest FW that causes notifications (vibration alerts) to cease after sync’d with an iOS device. With Garmin’s experience and the time they’ve had to iron our the FW bugs, this is unacceptable. One off the main reasons to have such a device is to receive notifications mid-activity. There are a myriad of other syncing issues between GCM and the device — enough to make it seem like a Beta release when it certainly isn’t… Oh well, guess that’s the curse of the early adopter.

    I’m just starting to incorporate it into my fitness routine, but so far, it performs very similar to the 3HR (as expected).

  185. Donald Barnes

    Got my 5x yesterday. Ran a short run with it today. First impressions are good…I’ve owned every Fenix model and they keep getting better and better. Love the new screen, love the feel of the smoother back against my wrist.

    Biggest change I’ve seen that I wasn’t sure about…having a custom watch face no longer causes a lag when switching away or back to it like they do on the 3 and 3HR. Used to be there was a good solid second or so that it would take and now that’s smooth as butter. I suspect it’s a faster CPU which was probably also necessary to handle mapping.


  186. Jim

    Got my Fenix 5 today! I liked the look of the Fenix 3 a little better, but this one is noticeably smaller on my wrist then the 3 and that’s nice. I don’t even notice the HR sensor, which I didn’t like on the 3HR (which is why I had 3). I can’t seem to get it to work with downloaded data fields but I’ll figure that out.

    I’m wondering this: I used my Fenix 3 NON-HR with a Scosche Rythm and like the way it worked. I paired my Rythm with the Fenix 5. I’m wondering if I leave the built in heart rate sensor enabled, if the Rythm will be given priority. It’s documented that a Garmin HR strap will be given priority, but it does not mention non-Garmin devices.

    • Donald Barnes

      I’m 99% sure that if you pair a HR monitor, that HR monitor will get priority. Doesn’t matter the brand. Otherwise, why would you pair it at all?

      But the question is why would you do that on the 5?


    • David

      Donald’s answer is correct, any paired HR monitor will be given priority.

      In answer in Donald: the Rhythm is FAR, FAR more accurate when riding a bike or lifting vs. an wrist based monitor like the internal one in the F5. That said a normal HR strap is better than them all, but putting a little band around your upper arm sure is easier and a nice middle ground. I think Ray has said it is his go to solution when not testing.

    • Michael Coyne

      Several people report higher accuracy with the Rythm than other optical sensors, possibly due to sensor differences, skin differences, or just that the Rythm can be placed in places that are unpractical for the watch (upper arm for example) – if there’s a big difference in accuracy they may want to use that.

    • Jim

      I went for my first run with the new F5 and when I selected run it said something like “external heart rate monitor detected.” (I was using the Rythm). Also, more reading in the manual said that an external ANT+ HRM will be used when detected. Made me wonder about a BT monitor, but my guess is that the manual was not edited that carefully. We’ll see.

      Thanks for the answers guys!

    • Vincent

      Maybe it’s my veins lol… but Speaking of Upper Arm for Accuracy, there may be some insight on that aspect, for my Incredible Black Fenix 5 Saphire is spot Accurate (and Securely fit) in comparison with my Garmin HRM chest strap, when placed just a couple of inches directly above my wrist. I’ve been doing this comparison with my Garmin D2 and HRM strap. DCRay, have you had similar results?

    • Michael Coyne

      Ray has said several times that the best spot for OHM’s is not at the end of your wrist, but slightly higher so there’s less hard bones and more squishy capillary filled material.

      It’s also very user dependent. For example some people produce better results on the inside of the wrist, and others on the outside. Problems with the inside of wrist are more tendons, versus on the outside of the wrist there’s more hair (if you’re particularly hairy).

      I prefer wearing watches on the inside of my wrists, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’m an inside-wrost person.

    • Donald Barnes

      I forgot about the accuracy issues, so I get that, but…

      So I have a Rhythm hiding around here somewhere. I used to use it before the 3HR came out so I could run shirtless without looking like a dork with a chest strap on. But I still used it on the wrist because it just wasn’t comfortable on my upper arm.

      As for accuracy while weight lifting, what kind of training are you doing where you *care* about accuracy in the weight room? I mean I know, it’s data and data needs to be GOOD. I get it, but only sorta. I lift a couple times per week and I found that I logged the data but never EVER looked at it. It was simply to log that I did something for historical purposes.

      I figured I was as OCD about data as anyone (I have FOUR mountain bikes with power meters) and I’ve just found that other than logging my weight room time, I have zero need for additional data in there. *shrug*

      And as far as running data, the 3HR (and now 5) are just plain “good enough.” Heck, I have to use my 5 for MTB rides on my two SRM equipped MTBs because the ELEMNT won’t talk to them (yet…sigh).



  187. Abby

    Can anyone comment on the differences between the 735xt and the Fenix 5S? I was sold on the 735xt until I saw the F5S.

    • Michael Coyne

      Using Ray’s product comparison calculator here: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Looks like the big things hardware wise are a barometric altimeter and compass instead of just using GPS for that, and the ability to use bluetooth HRM’s. Also the 5s has a gyro to help with UltraTrac and such, and therefore might have more UltraTrac battery life (or conversely higher accuracy for the same life), and it also has the new optical HRM sensor – although it seems what most people are saying is that the new one isn’t particularly more accurate (we’ll have to wait for Ray’s detailed review to see whether it is more, less, or the same accuracy). The new HRM sensor DOES let it do 24×7 HR at 1-2 second intervals though, as opposed to “smart” 24×7 recording and only doing 1s recording when actively working out.

      Otherwise battery life in GPS 1s mode is the same (14 hours for both). Going off official specs, the 5s is 2.5mm smaller in diameter, but 2.6mm thicker. The heart rate bump is much smoother/less of a bump on the 5s though. The 5s is also about 1 ounce (30 grams) heavier.

      The 5s and the 735xt don’t have a dedicated quick release for a bike mount, however the 5s does at least have the quick release bands which might work OK for that. Also that allows you to change bands more easily if you want to wear it to a nice dinner and have it look like a nicer watch.

      It’s subjective too, but I personally think the 5s is the nicest looking watch Garmin has ever put out. The Chronos may cost way more and be made of much higher quality/cost materials, but I still think it’s pretty ugly next to the 5s in terms of design and aesthetics.

      There may be some other software differences but that’s harder to track down precisely since the 735xt has gotten some updates since release and it’s harder to figure out what it has gotten with the new Connect IQ, etc.

      Hopefully that helps!

    • Michael Coyne

      Oh also I forgot to mention – the display resolutions aren’t a huge difference in terms of clarity – 218×218 on 1.1″ display for the 5s, 215×180 (flat tire style screen) on a 1.23″ display the 735xt. But the 5s has 64 colors instead of 16. That probably won’t matter a whole lot during a workout, but would probably be super noticeable for say, having a photo of a friend or family member as your watch face background.

    • Abby

      Thank you, that was very helpful. I can’t see much reason to upgrade other than aesthetics, but I might just be sold based off of that. Totally agree-such a great looking watch.

    • David

      Honestly the Fenix series really is about the aesthetics and if you get the bigger sized ones the battery life. It’s about wanting a watch that has metal parts, looks elegant, can have sapphire etc. that looks good in daily life but then excels as a do everything fitness watch. If you plan to wear your Rolexes and Omegas in everyday life and slap a Garmin on for your workout the Fenix doesn’t make a ton of sense.

    • indio22

      Yes I hadn’t realized until reading this thread, just how important it is for some people to have a racing/training watch they will wear when not racing/training. And the aesthetics in that regard. I’m not sold on that approach. I like my $200 black/grey version 920xt for racing/training. I’m not much into the daily thing of tracking when I eat, sleep or poop, lol. But if I were, I would probably get a second device more suited to daily usage, and still be ahead in terms of cost. That said, for someone chasing the “one watch to rule them all” approach, maybe the 5s or 5 models would meet the needs in some regards, for those willing to incur the cost. I have been happy so far with Garmin products, and having three different series 5 models, seems a good offering for the more upscale and atheistic concerned buyer.

    • David Williams

      Pretty sure the 735XT does have a compass… an app I use seems to work on it well with or without GPS switched on

  188. Leon

    I still find it a pity that the 5s sapphire, slate grey only comes with the metal band. No way that justifies the extra $149,-. I’m now forced to go for the black one unfortunately. Does anybody know if this will change in the future?

    • Michael Coyne

      Huh? The metal band for the 5s is champagne, and there’s no “slate grey” bezel option for the 5s, just silver, black, and champagne. Did you mean the champagne version?

      Also I would expect they will eventually sell the champagne metal band – especially for those who wanted the suede grey leather band as their first band and the white plastic housing instead of the black. However if you got it, it probably wouldn’t match the black bezel on the black option quiiite as well. Also I would expect them to sell the metal band separately with a price that basically makes it just as expensive as it would’ve been to just buy the metal band option in the first place.

      Bear in mind that all the sapphire editions do come with an extra silicone band.

    • David

      5S sapphire comes in 3 versions…

      Black bezel, black body with black rubber band.
      Champagne bezel, white body with gray suede band.
      Champagne bezel, black body with champagne metal band.

    • Leon

      Oops my bad, I meant the Fenix 5 (I was a bit tired yesterday):

      Fenix 5 Sapphire – $849: Slate gray bezel with metal band (+ includes a black silicone band).

      They don’t offer this slate grey version without the metal band, correct?

  189. MARVA

    Accidentally unsubscribed.
    Love seeing your pictures and comments.

  190. Joseph Chong


    This would be my first GPS watch if I decide to buy. But being in the military, I would love to be able to get MGRS from the watch. Does the Fenix 5 show MGRS? Also, any word on the text tactix watch after the tactix bravo?

    • Yes, it supports MGRS. I’m too lazy to type out the full list of coordinate types at the moment, but basically it’s the same as in my Fenix 1/2/3 + Tactix reviews. Garmin pretty much uses the same set across all of the outdoor-ish units.

    • Joseph Chong

      Awesome! Thanks you for the response? You have any thought on when they’ll release a new tactix? Or should I just grab a Fenix 5 since the pretty much do everything the same?

    • Joseph Chong

      Sorry, didn’t mean to throw that question mark after thanking you for responding lol really appreciated that you actually did!

  191. DerLordBS

    Ray, when is is the day of the review for the Garmin Fenix 5? I am rally excited by your reviews.

    • It’ll be out either Thursday evening or Friday morning (Paris Time).

    • Mike

      Are you doing a comparison against the Suunto Spartan Sport wrist HR, or just a separate review of that?

      Will that review also be done around the same time?

    • The Fenix 5 review is a standalone review, out either late tomorrow/early Friday.

      The Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR unit is also a standalone review, out the first week of April.

      Both reviews will include optical HR sensor data comparisons, and both reviews will also include data where one wrist had the Fenix 5 on it, and one wrist had the Spartan Wrist HR on it. All reviews have a third (or more) HR/GPS data source as well.


    • Mike

      In your initial testing, how are they comparing OHR accuracy-wise?

      Can’t wait for the review. My Fenix 5 will be here tomorrow or Friday. If Fenix 5 isnt significantly better than the Fenix 3 HR’s OHR, I’m returming it for the Suunto.

  192. Lee

    Ray, what are your thoughts on the bluetooth uploading of activities? I have the regular 5 and when uploading activities, it seams to take much longer than my 735xt did. Have you seen the uploads take longer, or do the Fenix’s generally take longer or do I need to just stop being impatient :)

    • Hmm, it’s honestly something I haven’t noticed as being slow over the last few months. I guess with background sync it tends to happen either when I walk in the door and get within range of my phone.

      Personally, it sounds like you’ve now got an excuse to The Boss to go out and buy a new phone too. ;)

  193. Sebastian

    Hey Ray,

    if you find the time, could you please test if Strava Segments are working on your fenix 5x?
    Syncing them causes mine to crash every single time. See this thread:
    link to forums.garmin.com


    • As of Monday, the last time I crossed a Strava segment I had flaged, while running I had no issues with it. Also no problem syncing new segments via normal PC/Mobile app methods.


    • Sebastian

      Thanks for the quick reply! Looking forward to reading your review…

  194. Jim

    Mine came yesterday! It’s a F5 and I did a treadmill run last night. Just for the heck of it I went for a walk across campus to see how the GPS accuracy would be. I set it to record every second. It worked fairly well, although on the first long straight leg out it shows me wandering back and forth across the road, which I definitely did not do.

    Here it is:

    link to connect.garmin.com

    • I think in general what people have seen, is that for the first few minutes after powering on the very first time (ever), it’s good to let the GPS settle a bit.

      Btw – tip on the treadmill: Ensure you get some runs in outdoors to get better accuracy. It calibrates the treadmill pacing based on outdoor pacing with GPS.

    • Jim

      Thanks Ray, I did wait for the ring to turn green, although I do realize that given more time it will collect more sat data and do a better job. I was not dissatisfied with that track.

      The treadmill run was with my uncalibrated footpod ( cal set to the default 100%).

      I’m too much of a wimp to run in 32 deg F weather but I’ll be running outside once we get above maybe ~ 50 deg. With my F3 I could not get it to auto-magically calibrate the footpod when running on the outdoor track at the high school. I’m hoping the F5 just does it!

  195. David Williams

    I’ve got both the fenix 5 and 5S for testing and choosing between them was initially difficult.

    The 5 glass version is too big for my small wrist. However in slate grey it looks high quality. The buttons are also fantastic and feel high quality.

    The 5S glass version is cheapened by the silver bezel. But the buttons really are poor quality and don’t provide the definitive feedback – they feel ‘cheap’, sadly.

    However, given the size of the 5S I will be keeping this one instead of the 5.

    The design of the 5 is better overall, which is to be expected, as it’s the main seller in the range. The 5s being the same price is scandalous, as it’s nowhere near as high quality in buttons, materials, etc.

    • gijom

      Thanks David for the precious feedback. Going for the 5 based on it. Hoping the watch will not look stupidly big on my wrist.

    • JR

      Not sure how a stainless steel bezel looks cheap. That’s what the vast majority of nice men’s watches have.

    • John

      What is wrong with the 5S buttons? Are they plastic? Less tactile?

    • Jim

      That’s interesting and good to know. As I have a small wrist, I went back and forth between the F5 and F5S and ultimately the reduced 5S battery life had me order a F5. I liked the look of my F3 a little better, it just seemed a little more rugged which I personally like. I was surprised how much smaller the F5 seems to me than the F3. The specs alone don’t really tell that whole story. The F3 seemed enormous while the F5 merely seems big.

      So far I’m very happy with my choice, and it was nice to read your comparison.

    • Joe

      For me the silver bezel is the key fact for making this watch also an every day watch (as silver/black is much easier to combine with a brown leather band than black/black).

      Having said that, I will definitely compare both watches’s buttons next to each other. I think the “cheaper” feel might be attributed to the much lighter weight as it gives less support.

    • Greg Hilton

      Have you seen the Silver with granite blue band Joe? I’m torn between that for the battery life or the 5s….

    • Brian Tu

      I’m on the fence about the 5 and 5S. Is the 5S material really that cheap feeling? Also, how much bigger on your wrist is the 5 compared to the 5S? I, too, have small wrists.

    • Michael Coyne

      I mean, the same guy was also complaining that the silver bezel really “cheapened” the watch, so he might just have way higher-end taste than me (who think it looks beautiful) and also you if you think that a silver bezel of all things doesn’t look “cheap.” I think most people looking at a fitness watch are not in the camp of a silver bezel making things “cheap.” But then some people actually do buy Rolex’s and the like for… some reason that I can’t figure out for the life of me. So what do I know…

    • Gavin

      I also have small wrists.
      I pre-ordered the F5 half expecting to return it for being too big.
      However, it almost instantly felt and looked fine and several people have told me that it doesn’t look big at all.

    • Scott

      To be honest, I thought the same thing.
      I personally think the silver bezel does not look good at all on the watch.
      Too me it looks tacky, everyone’s opinion is different but this is what I think when I see it.

      I was deciding between all three models, I would have preferred the 5 to have the same thickness band of the 5x, and the 5s to have the same thickness band of the 5.

      Personally I think the watch strap is on the 5s is too skinny and detracts from the look.

      I’m now edging towards the 5, I just can’t get over how fat the bezel is on the 5x either.

      Then I see the Suunto Spartan Ultra HR, to me the bezel / watch face is fantastic in the looks department.

    • scott

      To update on my comment, I should have said, the silver bezel on the 5s looks tacky.
      Not sure why but to me it does, looks fine on the 5 and 5x

    • Joe

      Thanks for the pic Greg. It is beautiful, but I have quite small wrists (6.5″) and the 5S has ideal size for that.

    • Gavin


      I have the F5 that I believe looks fine on my wrist which I just measured as 17cm / 6.7″

  196. Joh

    Hi Ray,

    Can you post a photo comparing the strap lengths of the 5S and the 5? Perhaps that is in your review?

    • It’s up above, in the section titled “Size Comparisons”: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • John

      I see. So, the 5S straps are significantly shorter. That is good to know. Thanks. Not sure how much of a deal breaker that is for me. It would be nice if Garmin had different length straps for it, given some guys may want the watch in a smaller form factor. I think the regular 5 would be too bulky for me.

    • Frank


      Got my F5X today.
      Does anyone has the same problem as me…

      Today i did a workout (programmed) on the tacx, but there where no alerts for low or high heart rate..

      Can anyone please test this. I think it is a bug. By the way i like the new field that is shown when you do a programmed workout.

      Greetings Frank

    • MJSOL

      I’m worried. I’m a female, but my wrists aren’t particularly small. But I don’t like bulky watches either. I hope the darn thing fits me! I’m supposed to be the target audience!

    • Marc

      Day 1 with Fenix 5X

      mine was delivered today, nice solid build, good heavy feel to buttons. watch itself is thick, makes the 235 look anorexic

      no great surprises with operation, similar to my 235 but some controls are switched/changed

      took a while of reading the manual to set it up the way I like it
      the pdf manual seems better than the html manual FYI

      setting up WiFi must be done via Garmin Express

      some settings aren’t where you expect, for example the GPS settings are under the Settings–> Activities & Apps –> Run –> Run Settings , which means perhaps you can tailor the GPS setting to the application ( Run, Walk etc)

      The Sapphire is nice and clear, seems to attract fingerprints

      The Sapphire is reflective in the light, so hard to get outdoor shots of the watch face without reflections of the phone and sky etc.

      the watch face seems small – I wish the had used all the space inside the metal bezel – instead there’s an inner black border w “Garmin” printed on it

      it took a while for the GPS to kick in – I was walking around on my way home and not stopped but eventually it found the satellites

      now all configured and ready to go

    • Jim

      I would think that if Garmin decided to offer different packages with different band lengths, in addition to different colors, the number of SKUs would just explode! The bands are very easily changed and yeah, the silicon bands are priced higher than I would like, but overall if you need an F5 with a longer band you can get accomplish that.

    • SCmom

      Agree! Would someone that has a 5S please measure the watch including the band and let us know?

  197. Choon Boon

    Hi Ray (and all the other readers), I’ve got a quick question, managed to get a 5 from a shop locally (they had shipped in a couple of extras for preorders), and was told to charge the unit for 8 hours on the first charge to prime it.

    However, I understand that with the Li-ion batteries, I would not need to do so. Do I go ahead with the priming, or would it be overcharging the unit?


    • Roastman

      Lithium ion does not have the memory effect of old nicad batteries. However, you are best to give it a full charge before using it. When it says it is fully charged, you are done! It won’t overcharge if you leave it in the charger. Charger and battery technology is a lot smarter than it once was!

    • Choon Boon

      Thanks mate, that was what I thought too, sometimes, it just the contradictory information from the shop guys that screws with your mind! Haha.

    • Jim

      When mine came it reported a charge of about 45%. I of course played with it for an hour or so then plugged it in briefly bringing it to maybe 55%. I then put it on and strangely, as the day wore on, the reported charge actually increased to about 86%. Love the perpetual motion watch!

  198. Jannik


    Thank you for the great reviews ray and interesting comments!

    Is there any official/unofficial news on wether Garmin is releasing a firmware to Fenix 5, so that it support Bluetooth Cadence/Speed censors?

    Its kinda a make or break for me, cause I dont want to change my other equipment.

    Thanks in advance

  199. mssbr

    Quick first impressions after wearing the F5 for a couple days..

    Coming from the FR 230 that I’ve worn for the past year, the F5 is obviously a monster upgrade in every way. I was a little worried about the size on my wrist, but it turned out to be a complete non-issue as it looks/feels even better than the 230 did, partly because of the higher quality materials and added weight. The speed/responsiveness of the watch is near-instant which is a big improvement over the 1-2 second per-click lag of the 230. The built-in OHR I’ve found to be spot on while at rest (have a Rhythm+ for exercising/training). The GPS tracks seem no better or worse than my 230, and distance and climb seem to be right on the mark so far with the small sample size of 2 runs. It’s important to understand the limitations of current GPS tracking technology (it’s not perfect), especially considering we’re using chips/antennae small enough to fit on your wrist (quite amazing when you think about it from a historical perspective).

    The software is probably my favorite part of the watch so far. Considering all the capabilities/possibilities, I was concerned that navigating through all of the menus and settings would be cumbersome and annoying. However, I’ve found the exact opposite to be true – navigation is FAST, and menu organization is logical and sensible. That said, there’s still a bit of information/configuration overload for me right now (in a good way) though nothing a little more time in the saddle won’t resolve.

    The F5 was a big, expensive upgrade for me over the FR230, obviously, but I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is worth every single penny. Not an ounce of buyer’s remorse here :)

    • Gavin

      I’m in a similar position to you (I’d borrowed a friends 230 rather than owned myself).

      You’ve summed up exactly how I feel about the F5 too.

      Only used it a couple of times so far for activities, but so far I really like it and very pleased with the decision to buy it. I am now using this as my everyday watch.

  200. Kipp

    Maybe & Gavin. Thanks for the user review of the F5. I am patiently waiting on my F5.