Garmin Fenix 5 Review

Garmin is company that specializes in the use of GPS navigation technology in aviation, marine and sport fields and has established itself as a pioneering company in the industry of wearable technology. If you are a cyclist, a swimmer, a runner, or just someone who regularly exercises, then you might benefit from a high end sports watch like the new Fenix 5. Garmins Fenix series has always been a high end line with a lot of extra bells and whistles, but does the Fenix 5 live up to its predecessor’s reputation? Lets take a look at this new offering from Garmin and determine if it deserves its high price.

What To Look For In A Multisport GPS Watch

Different customers have different needs and each customer has his own criteria of when it comes to sports watches. Generally speaking, most people tend to prioritize things like high GPS accuracy, great battery life, and the number of unique activities that a device can track. Screen brightness and viewing angle are an important and often overlooked category, especially since most sport watches will be utilized for outdoor activities. Build quality and aesthetics are also an important consideration. A perfect watch would be one which encompasses all these qualities along with an affordable price.

Garmin Fenix 5 overview:

Fenix 5 is Garmin’s successor to the Fenix 3 (which is still a good option even by todays standards). The Fenix 5 series includes three flagship devices: Fenix 5x, Fenix 5 and Fenix 5s with Fenix 5x being the largest and Fenix 5s the smallest. For this review, I will restrict myself to the medium sized 47mm Fenix 5. Garmin has saw fit to offer their device in a few different unique styles this time around: regular or sapphire glass. The sapphire glass edition is about $850 while regular glass is $587. Both are made of stainless steel and weigh roughly 85 grams.

As a person with a relatively small wrist, I still find the devices quite large and bulky. Those with relatively large wrist will find it suitable for everyday use particularly because Garmin has made it notably lighter than its predecessor. The 240 x 240 screen resolution is also a slight bump to the the 218 x 218 resolution of the Fenix 3 HR. The Fenix 5 is also water resistant up to 10 ATM, which roughly corresponds to 100 meters. It is equipped with two navigation systems (GPS and GLONASS), a barometric altimeter, a 3-axis compass with a gyroscope, an accelerator, a thermometer and of course a heart rate monitor.

In addition to serving as a GPS watch, it is also an excellent activity tracker. Armed with an impressive collection of sensors, it can tell you how many steps you have walked, how many floors you have climbed, how many calories you burnt, the total distance you covered in a day or during a run, and so on. Moreover it allows you to assign a daily step goal and helps you achieve it by sending you alerts at regular intervals. It can also estimate your total training load for a week, track your activity and fitness trends and tells you if you are training effectively via a built in training coach. The Fenix 5 can also be paired with your smartphone so that you don’t miss notifications even while training. Garmin has pulled out all the stops and tried to put all everything you could possibly need in one single device.


It tracks nearly all possible physical activities. It can track most popular sports with decent accuracy

Well built and slimmer and lighter than its predecessor, you probably will not have many problems wearing it all day.

The battery life is very impressive. Lasts for two weeks as a watch (I.e. with both GPS and HR monitor turned off) or up to 24 hours of GPS and HR tracking.


The accuracy of the optical HR monitor and its response to changes are a little bit below expectations for such a premium watch.

The screen brightness without the back light is quite boor and the resolution isn’t that impressive.

At $587, it might be a bit too expensive for some.

It looks big on small wrists.


Garmins Fenix 5 is an all in one device that is basically the end all be all of sports watches and I highly recommend it If money is not a big issue to you. However, if you have a limited budget and only need a watch to do specific tasks like count your steps every day, then you should search for a simpler and cheaper activity tracker as you will not use even half of the features of the Fenix 5.

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Alex Fischer