- Garmin Fenix 5: a very complete high-end multisport watch
- Fenix Garmin 5 features
- What's new in Fenix 5 compared to Fenix 3 and comparisons
- Embedded sports: cycling, running, golf, rowing and skiing!
- Our opinion on the Garmin Fenix 5
What you will learn
- Garmin Fenix 5: a very complete high-end multisport watch
- Garmin Fenix 5 features
- Your sports performance and other gadgets available at a glance
- Advanced navigation options
- GroupTrack and LiveTrack: to follow your partners in the field or on PC!
- smart health connected bracelet
- Data recording and analysis
- Training programs
- Virtual Partner, Virtual Racer
- Autonomy and recharging during the race
- What's new in Fenix 5 compared to Fenix 3 and comparisons
- Embedded sports: cycling, running, golf, rowing and skiing!
- Our opinion on the Garmin Fenix 5
- These articles may also interest you
Garmin Fenix 5: a very complete high-end multisport watch
The Fenix range from Garmin is today the benchmark in the outdoor sports watch market. Garmin is once again strong with this latest model which should appeal to many demanding athletes.
The Garmin Fenix 5 is a high-end outdoor watch for all athletes, athletes or adventurers wishing to be assisted in their training or sporting outing and benefit from in-depth analyzes or even be guided in their outing off the beaten track. It is also very suitable for daily use with activity monitoring.
If not its price a little high, it really has everything to please. It is currently the most complete sports watch on the market. Discover our Garmin Fenix 5 review at the end of the article.
Successor of the Garmin Fenix 3, this new model brings several improvements, in particular 3 available case sizes, a longer autonomy and very interesting new features. Note that Garmin skipped a version (Fenix 4) because of the Chinese market which did not wish to distribute a watch bearing this name, the number 4 having, in Chinese, a pronunciation close to the word "dead". There will therefore be no Fenix 4!
Also discover the brand new Fenix 5 Plus, a major evolution of the Fenix 5 with color topographic maps on all models, music player, contactless payment, popular TrendLine route generator, ClimbPro journey analysis, oximeter and more.
Advanced technical characteristics
Fenix 5 has many sensors: GPS / GLONASS, optical wrist heart rate sensor (Garmin ElevateTM), barometric altimeter, 3-axis compass with gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer and ANT + connection, Bluetooth Smart and Wi-Fi (with the Sapphire version). It is designed to be smart health connected with many compatible sensors (cadence, power, foot pod, cardio belt, Stravia equipment, etc.)
It also offers numerous functions and calculations (stride analysis, VO2max calculation, effort Review, evaluation of the lactic threshold, evaluation of physical condition, estimation of running time depending on the form, etc.) and practical tools for training and activity monitoring (Virtual Racer, Virtual Partner, automatic objectives, etc.)
It offers a large number of sports including bike, running, swimming, hiking, trail and trek, the golf (40,000 routes available), the ski, rowing, indoor sports (carpets, etc.) and many others. It is also suitable for the practice of triathlon and other linked sports (swimrun, etc.)
The navigation mode allows you to follow a preloaded route, to return to its starting point or, for the 5X model, to follow a route on the map, or even to be directed to nearby centers of interest (hotel, restaurant, pharmacy, etc.). The watch can also offer a route on a road or cycle path starting from a starting point, a direction and a distance to be covered.
It can also receive emails and text messages from a Smartphone smart health connected via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
GroupTrack and LiveTrack functions allow you to follow one or more people in real time from your watch or from a PC.
A watch suitable for all wrist sizes!
New at Garmin, the Garmin Fenix 5 has been designed to fit all wrists, including thin wrists. Manufacturers usually offer several sizes of bracelets but a single size case. The particularity of this watch is that it comes in 3 sizes of cases (42 mm, 47 mm and 51 mm). Everyone will be able to find the right shoe, so to speak! Notable comfort if you have a small wrist.
- The Fenix 5S: suitable for thin wrists, this model, 14.5 mm thick, 42 mm in diameter and weighing 67 g, is significantly more compact and light than the Fenix 3 HR (Sapphire version). Garmin has really managed to optimize the elements for a beautiful result that should satisfy people with a thin wrist, especially women. The counterpart is a lower autonomy than the other models but all the same equivalent to that of the Fenix 3 (see our comparison below). This model also offers the same functionality as the intermediate model.
- Fenix 5: it is the intermediate model of 15.5 mm thick, 47 mm in diameter and a weight of 87 g. Its screen is wider, therefore more comfortable (30.5 mm and 240×240 pixels against 28 mm and 218×218 pixels for the 5S model) and its autonomy significantly greater than the 5S model, almost double!
- The Fenix 5X: this model is delivered with a memory of 12 Go (64 Mo for the other models) embarking a cartography (roads, cycle tracks and centers of interests) of the countries where the watch was bought (Europe, United States, etc.) , hence its larger dimensions and a relatively high weight for a watch (case 17.5 mm thick, 51 mm in diameter and a weight of 98 g).
To understand in detail the differences between the 3 models, consult our file How to choose between Garmin Fenix 5S, 5 and 5X?
A successful design for outdoor, city or office use
Thanks to an elegant design, a customizable interface and interchangeable straps without tools, the Fenix 5 is a watch that can be worn both in everyday life (city, work) as well as for sports.
It must be said that it looks good: nice metallic design, stainless steel bezel, back side in forged steel for resistance to any Review, ordinary glass or sapphire crystal scratch-resistant and resistant to all tests (basic for the model 5X, optional for 5S and 5 models. Allow € 100 more for this option), all in a polymer case.
Its high resolution 64 color screen is customizable: it can be configured to display a given design or a previously downloaded photo. The watch contains a good number of dial models and it is possible to load others from the Connect IQ store at Garmin or even display your own photos. The Fenix 5 screen has transflective technology that reflects and transmits light for good visibility even in direct sunlight, much like ink screens.
Garmin also offers a varied range of metallic, leather or silicone straps to best match the watch with its outfit (silicone for lightness when playing sports, leather or metallic for an elegant city watch). The Fenix 5 is also delivered with 2 bracelets. New compared to the Fenix 3, the strap is interchangeable for the time being and without tools thanks to QuickFit, a quick-attach system.
67, 87 or 98 g depending on the model
5S model: 42 x 42 x 14.5
Model 5: 47 x 47 x 15.5
5X model: 50 x 50 x 16.5 mm
See comparison below and recharge during the race
GPS & GLONASS
Running, cycling, swimming, triathlon, hiking, trail, trek, alpine and cross-country skiing, golf, rowing
iPhone, Android, PC. Wireless data transfer Bluetooth Smart, Wi-Fi (Sapphire model), ANT + sensors
Weather trend, thunderstorm alerts, barometer
smart health connected bracelet, breadcrumb, return direction, mapping and preloaded cycle paths (5X model), suitable for small wrists, sunrise / sunset times, 64-color screen
|Model||Watch mode||GPS mode||UltraTrac mode|
|5S||9 days||2 p.m.||35 hrs|
|5||2 weeks||24h||60 h|
|5X||12 days||8 p.m.||35 hrs|
NB: the Fenix 5 can be recharged without being stopped but it must be removed from the wrist (see our explanations in the following section).
Garmin Fenix 5 features
Your sports performance and other gadgets available at a glance
The watch offers many small, quickly accessible graphic features, widgets. The widget Weather forecast, for example, informs you about temperature and weather forecast. Thanks to the widget Performance, you can easily follow your training data (information on training and its effectiveness, training level, recovery time required, VO2max assessment). The widget My day displays a summary of your day's activities.
There are widgets displaying the number of floors climbed, managing your emails and SMS, controlling the music on your Smartphone or even displaying the position of your dog (requires a compatible tracking device).
The watch has a GPS navigation system to follow a given route by providing navigation instructions (distance, direction) in real time. The route constructed from a map must have been previously loaded from a PC. It is possible to add points of interest to visit. The watch then indicates, by an arrow, the direction to follow to follow the route. It estimates the time remaining and the approximate time of arrival.
On the Fenix 5X, it's even better: the course layout is displayed on a map like on a GPS! The display is user-friendly and practical. Changes of direction are displayed by banners. All you have to do is follow the instructions to get to your destination. Too bad, however, that Garmin did not plan a touch screen that would have been more practical than the buttons to navigate.
Another practical function, the function Around Me : it displays points of interest (restaurant, hotel, store, etc.) much like on Google map.
Finally, still on the Fenix 5X, it is possible to let the watch choose a route on foot or by bike by simply giving it a direction and a maximum distance. The watch calculates and proposes a route on road or on cycle track!
The Fenix 5X maps and cycle paths are preloaded in the watch (hence the 12 GB memory, the equivalent of a very large USB key or 3 DVDs!). There is therefore no manipulation to do and no card to buy. Please note, the watch contains topographic maps relating to the continent where it was purchased (Europe, United States, etc.).
GroupTrack and LiveTrack: to follow your partners in the field or on PC!
New on the Fenix 5 and future models (see also the Quatix 5 marine watch), the function GroupTrack allows a group of athletes (up to 50) with a Garmin watch offering this function and a smart health connected smartphone to know the position of each member of the group. It is particularly useful for meeting during a bike, ski or hike trip or even meeting at a given point (curiosity to see, refreshment point, etc.).
Garmin also offers the function LiveTrack which allows someone to follow you on the internet. To do this, you need to connect your Fenix to a Smartphone smart health connected to the internet. This feature is available on all Garmin GPS watches.
smart health connected bracelet
The watch can be worn everyday, including at night. It measures your physical activity (distance traveled, effort time, intensive minutes, number of steps, calorie expenditure, number of climbs, among others) and analyzes the quality of your sleep, including the phases of sleep and wakefulness.
Data recording and analysis
The Garmin Fenix 5 records your route data (route, speed, etc.) as well as your personal records (a long list of data can be saved). You can then find this data in graphical form on your Smartphone or PC for an analysis after the trip and a display of your route on a map.
The watch performs numerous measurements and tests to support you in your training: fitness Review, evaluation of VO2max, estimation of race time according to form and VO2max, evaluation of lactic threshold, estimation of FTP, etc. . The accuracy of this data increases as the watch gets to know you. After several running sessions, she can for example estimate your time at the marathon based on your current fitness level. These data are nonetheless indicative but can be used as a benchmark for your training.
Function Training Effect 2.0 (used on other sports watches) assesses the quality of your training, in particular the time required for recovery after an outing and the TE (Training Effect) or TPE (Peak Trainign Effect) indicators. These indicators give an idea of the intensity of the training carried out. So, after a difficult outing, you will know how to recover well by correctly dosing the effort of the recovery session that will follow.
Garmin has developed an interface that allows you to build your own training plans from your PC and load them into the watch. For example a 10-week plan to prepare for a competition or even the programming of interval exercises.
Virtual Partner, Virtual Racer
These functions are really a plus at Garmin. We find them at Tom Tom's. They allow you to train against yourself or against someone else while being motivated.
Function Virtual racer allows you to run against yourself on a course already completed and available in the memory of the watch or even on a course recorded by a Garmin user (available from the site Garmin Connect). The watch then displays the differences (advance or delay) compared to the other runner. One can thus measure oneself, try to improve one's times or even compare oneself with other sportsmen with a view to preparing for a competition.
Function Virtual Partner used to define a race pace in order to maintain a speed target.
Autonomy and recharging during the race
In terms of autonomy (see our comparison table), the watch can be recharged during the race, without stopping the recording, which is an important point for fans of long-term races (ultra-trail, etc.) which can exceed the 35 to 60 hours of autonomy announced by Garmin (depending on the model and in Ultra Trac mode). The bad news is that the charging cable plugs in under the watch case but above all, vertically …. Garmin has apparently not thought of this category of sportsmen, one of whose crippling criteria for the choice of a watch is precisely that it must be able to be recharged during the race! You will therefore need to take advantage of the breaks (often short) to recharge the watch or keep it detached from your wrist in order to be able to recharge it with a battery. In comparison, recharging the Fenix 3 is more practical: it is done by a clamp that can be inserted between the wrist and the case by loosening the watch strap by a few notches.
Aside from this drawback, autonomy is good with 14 to 24 hours in GPS mode and 35 to 60 in Ultra Trac mode (depending on the model).
What's new in Fenix 5 compared to Fenix 3 and comparisons
The Fenix 5 can be seen as an improved version of the Fenix 3. The real innovation concerns the size of the boxes (3 sizes available) and the on-board mapping for the 5X model. Garmin had already tried the experiment with its Epix model (equivalent to the Fenix 3 but with integrated mapping) without obtaining the expected commercial success.
The main improvements are as follows.
At the watch level:
- 3 available housing sizes and a more compact and lighter design for the 5S model. A real plus for people with thin wrists, including many women. The width of the bracelet also varies depending on the model (20 to 26 mm compared to 26 mm for the Fenix 3).
- 64 color screen and 240 x 240 px (16 colors and 218 x 218 px for the Fenix 3). Only the 5S model keeps a screen of 218 x 218 px.
More compact and more precise optical sensor : less energy intensive, the new sensor allows more pulse measurements to be made for the same energy cost. This allowed Garmin to take more readings (every 1 to 2 seconds) and have it done 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That said, the measurements remain imprecise for the interval training: it is better to wear a chest belt for this activity. In addition, the sensor does not work in water. Garmin offers a belt dedicated to swimming or triathlon (HRM-Swim and HRM-Tri) which also includes an accelerometer for additional measurements (vertical oscillation, running cadence, ground contact time).
- Greater autonomy battery (except for 5S model)
- Gyroscope : it detects changes in direction and thus allows a more precise evaluation of the distance traveled between 2 GPS measurements. Without a gyroscope, the watch considers that you have moved in a straight line between 2 GPS measurement points when in reality, you may have zigzagged. With the gyroscope, the UltraTrac function (battery saving mode requiring less of the GPS sensor) thus becomes more reliable.
Easily interchangeable strap, without tools
- Improved connectivity : the Fenix 5 is compatible with certain Bluetooth sensors (Polar belt for example, cadence or speed sensor for cyclists). Bluetooth was available on the Fenix 3 but only for wireless data transmission to a Smartphone or PC. Attention regarding Wi-Fi: it was supported on Fenix 3, it is now only on Fenix 5 models with a sapphire crystal (therefore more expensive)!
In terms of available functions:
Cartography to find your way around and layers (5X model only) to follow a route and display centers of interest (places to eat, hotels, points to visit, etc.) with user-friendly directions to reach these points ("turn right", etc. .). It is even possible to load your own cards.
- Compatibility with Varia products ((Varia Vision screen for glasses, Varia bicycle lights, Varia radar) and Strava functionality.
- monitoring of the status, load and quality of training (Training Effect 2.0 function mentioned above).
- Function GroupTrack
- Estimated FTP (cycling) and other calculations added.
- More sports available and notable improvements for golfers.
Also read our file: Fenix 5 vs Fenix 3 HR: comparison, which one to choose?
Comparison between Fenix 5S, 5, 5X and Fenix 3 models
|Characteristics||Fenix 5S||Fenix 5||Fenix 5X||Fenix 3 HR|
|Weight(1)||67 to 69 g||85 to 87 g||98g||70 to 86 g(2)|
|Case diameter||42 mm||47 mm||51 mm||51 mm|
|Screen diameter||27.9mm||30.5mm||30.5mm||30.4 mm|
|Bracelet||20 mm||22 mm||26 mm||26 mm|
|Bracelet material||Silicone, suede or steel||Silicone or steel||Silicone or steel||Polyurethane thermoplastic|
|Resolution (px)||218 x 218 px||240 x 240 px||240 x 240 px||218 x 218 px|
|Number of colors||64||64||64||16|
|Memory||64 MB||64 MB||12 GB||32 MB|
|Autonomy(3)||9 d / 2 p.m. / 35 h||2 weeks / 24h / 60h||12d / 20h / 35h||3 weeks / 4 / 40h|
|Optical HR sensor||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Recorded tracks||200 h||200 h||100 tracks or 10,000 points||30 tracks|
1 : Weight with silicone strap. For Fenix 5, the sapphire crystal (anti-scratch) weighs 2g more than ordinary glass
2 : 70 g for the basic version, 86 g for the Sapphire version
3 : Autonomy in smart health watch / GPS / UltraTrac mode (economy mode)
Embedded sports: cycling, running, golf, rowing and skiing!
The Fenix 5 is suitable for the practice of many sports: cycling, swimming, running, trail, hiking, cycling, skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, rowing, stand-up paddle, golf, climbing, rower, jumpmaster, etc. .
It is a real multisport watch in the sense that it manages the transition from one sport to another at the touch of a button. To do this, simply select a profile (Triathlon or SwimRun for example) or define a new one.
This watch also allows you to define workouts and load them into the watch. For example a 3-week training for the marathon, interval training, etc.
Note that for triathlon or running enthusiasts (including long outings such as the marathon, ultra-marathon, ultra-trail or the Ironman), Garmin offers the Forerunner 935, a watch dedicated to these light activities and of great autonomy. It is neither more nor less than a lighter Fenix 5 (case and glasses are made of plastic), thinner, more autonomous and less expensive. On the same principle, Garmin designed the Quatix 5, a multisport marine watch dedicated to the sea, paddle sports and even fishing.
Whether outdoors (running, trail) or indoors (treadmill), the Fenix 5 can do it and even very well. In addition to conventional measurements (distance, duration, pace, recording of the course, heart rate, etc.), it provides many other useful indications for the runner's training (cadence, vertical oscillation and contact time on the ground of each foot, average stride length, ground contact time balance, vertical ratio, estimation of physical condition, VO2 max, lactic threshold, etc.). Some measurements require a compatible sensor (belt HRM-Run, HRM-Tri or Running Dynamics Pod for example). It also knows how to predict the race time (race prediction function) according to physical condition (VO2max) compared to the average physical condition of the runner: for example the duration to be expected for a marathon!
Indoor, the watch uses its accelerometer to estimate the distance traveled. Over time, she learns to adjust her measurements for optimal accuracy.
The watch can indicate power, information on pedaling (velocity, efficiency, balance, fluidity, etc.) and various information such as time spent in dancer for example. She can assess your FTP (with optional accessory).
With the 5X model, let the round trip generator offer you a route on road or cycle path from a distance to be covered! The Fenix 5X indeed has topographic maps in color and cycle paths of Europe and guides you like with a GPS! The 3 models also display the altitude profile.
For swimmers, in the pool or at sea, the Fenix offers classic metrics (distance covered, pace, number of movements, number of lengths, SWOLF efficiency) and training aid tools (recording of exercises for example) and follow-up. It records your records, detects the type of swimming (backstroke, crawl, breaststroke, butterfly). She can measure your pulse and estimate calories burned by wearing a belt HRM-Swim or HRM-Tri. The distance is measured with GPS at sea or on the basis of the number of lengths in the pool.
The watch has a certain number of predefined profiles, including triathlon. It is possible to define new profiles with up to 5 activities each.
For measuring heart rate during swimming, you will need a belt HRM-Swim or HRM-Tri. The HRM-Tri belt has an accelerometer for measuring and analyzing your stride: cadence, stride length, ground contact time and right / left balance, vertical oscillation and vertical ratio. It is compatible with most Garmin watches (see the list of compatible watches on the Garmin site).
Also read our file: Best GPS 2020 watches for triathlon.
The Fenix 5 will delight golfers with new functions, compared to the Fenix 3. It knows how to calculate the distances to the green (start, middle, end) and layups / doglegs as well as the shooting distance. It gives various statistics (shots reaching the green and the fairway, average shooting distance, etc.). It indicates the obstacles and targets of the course. It also gives a detailed view of the green with manual positioning of the hole. It is compatible with the TruSwing systemTM. Finally, the 5X model has 40,000 golf courses in memory.
Hiking and adventure
Garmin offers a GPS navigation system on its watch. It records your route data (map), creates a breadcrumb trail with the possibility of retracing your steps (Trackback) or following a given route (points saved beforehand). The 5X model allows you to navigate from the preloaded maps and let yourself be guided. During the route, you can also save points of interest to find them later on a map. The watch can also display the altitude profile. She knows how to indicate the difference in elevation traveled, the rate of climb, etc.
The on-board barometer and thermometer make it possible to predict changes in weather. The watch also gives access to weather forecasts and sunrise and sunset times. The compass and altimeter complete the walker's tools.
For long-distance hikers or followers of the ultra trail, the Fenix 5 has ultraTrack mode: this function saves the battery by recording less data. It is thus possible to walk from 35 to 60 hours depending on the model (indicative values provided by Garmin). The precision of navigation is optimized thanks to the gyroscope integrated into the watch.
Read also our file: Best GPS altimeter watches 2020 for hiking.
The watch offers metrics for other sports such as ski where she can count the number of descents and of course the distance traveled, orrowing or it counts this time the number of strokes and the frequency of strokes. Garmin has added new sports to its Fenix 5 or proposed new metrics or functions for existing sports.
Our opinion on the Garmin Fenix 5
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The Garmin Fenix 5 is in our opinion the most complete outdoor sports watch on the market today. It is elegant, very complete and very well thought out. Aside from its relatively high price (not less than € 599 all the same for the cheapest model), you can't really make the wrong choice by buying this model. If you only practice one sport, it is good to look at other watches that are less complete but more specific to the activity that will be more compact, light and cheaper while offering similar functions. Garmin offers for example the Forerunner range for runners including very good models for triathletes (see our file of the best 2020 cardio GPS watches for running and best 2020 GPS cardio watches for triathlon).
Garmin is strong by offering several case sizes and a reduced weight and thickness in passing for its special model "fine cuffs". This should satisfy many women who found the multisport models particularly bulky.
The cartography on board the Fenix 5X is also a small revolution, even if this function was already offered on the Epix. It remains to be seen in use if the comfort of use is sufficient on a watch.
We appreciated the improved autonomy on the 5 and 5X models but are disappointed by the charging system (vertical connection under the case) which does not allow the watch to be recharged during the activity if it is kept on the wrist (while the recharging can be done without stopping the recording). On the design side, we liked the chic aspect of the watch, its easily interchangeable strap and a more comfortable screen (size, number of pixels and number of colors) than on the previous model. We may regret the absence of a touch screen (especially for the 5X model) and, for athletes who like to listen to music while training, an on-board mp3 player like for the Tom Tom Runner 3 or the Forerunner 645 Music.
The most advanced athletes will appreciate this new model for the improvements made to certain activities (golf and cycling in particular, compatibility with Varia products, etc.) and the number of metrics offered. Even if some data remains very approximate (VO2max, lactic threshold, estimation of the race time for example), the advanced values give an idea and especially a benchmark for a possible comparison on the training sessions to come, measure your progress or even improve your motivation .
- Very complete, impressive number of measurements
- 3 case sizes (compact model, lighter and suitable for thin wrists)
- Map including cycle paths and over 40,000 golf courses (5X model)
- Adapted to the practice of triathlon
- Neat and chic design for a daily and intuitive watch
- Built-in mp3 player
- Recharge the watch on the side or possibly with pliers to be able to do so without having to remove the watch
These articles may also interest you
Fenix 5 Plus review: the cream of sports GPS watches
Differences between Garmin Fenix 5S, 5 and 5X. Which model to choose?
Fenix 5 vs Forerunner 935: which one to choose?