Garmin Fenix 6 review

By Detector | 30 October 2019



The Fenix 6 is Garmin’s top-tier smartwatch, replacing the Fenix 5 Plus and is going to enchantment to the greater dedicated carrying enthusiasts, these who do more exercising than the rest of us put together.

Thankfully, it brings some very welcome updates, such as a slimmer and lighter chassis, optimised battery administration and tweaked onboard features.

Before we delve into the details, workable consumers have to know a issue or two about the special flavours the Fenix 6 is available in. It comes in a number of skews: There’s the popular Fenix 6 mannequin which has a 47mm case and prices from £599. Then beneath this is the slightly extra compact 6S that touts a 42mm case and slightly decrease battery life. There’s additionally a Pro version of these models available, which adds track compatibility, maps and Wi-Fi connectivity. Finally, there’s the greater powerful 6X which has a barely higher battery alongside music, Wi-Fi, maps as standard.

And if cash is no object, there’s the 6X Pro Solar version; the model which boasts a splendid mild all-titanium physique and brand new Solar panels for an extra improve in battery life.

For the previous month, we’ve been using the Fenix 6 the Pro Sapphire edition, which sits on the upper-middle stop of the vary and has get right of entry to to the most important features, alongside a plenty tougher, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal screen.

DESIGN: A TEENY BIT LESS BULKY

If you’re definitely unfamiliar with the Fenix range, there’s no doubt you’re conscious it’s no longer aimed at the equal kind of humans that would buy an Apple Watch, for example. And absolutely now not some thing you’d favor to wear to a dinner birthday celebration with a tux or fantastic frock.

The Fenix sequence was once as an alternative designed to be strong and withstand the harsh factors of the first-rate outdoors - it’s intended to get muddy, bashed around, plunged underneath water and live on intense temperatures. And the Fenix 6 is the satisfactory Garmin has ever produced for doing so.

It’s by no capacity sleek or rather - it possibly even appears a little enormous for those with slender wrists. But sooner or later - if you use it the way it’s meant - you’ll come to love it for this very reason.

If you’re wondering “what’s new?” well, you’ll likely no longer even observe the sketch updates in the Fenix 6 over its predecessor the 5S Plus. Changes are minimal and will solely make a big distinction to those who personal one a plenty older device.

The Fenix 6 boasts the identical clunky layout that the sequence is nicely regarded for but there has been a few tweaks made. For starters, it’s still 1.1mm slimmer, measuring 14.7mm thick, which is down from 15.8mm. Alright, this isn’t quite slimmer on the wrist but it does sense slightly lighter – weighing 7g less than remaining year’s equivalent model. This is a much welcome improvement for such a chunky smartwatch. Unlike Garmin’s extra consumer-friendly smartwatch, the Vivoactive three Music, the Fenix 6 is controlled completely using buttons rather of a touchscreen, which is purposely designed so it can be better operated in moist and windy environments, in particular underwater.

It additionally capacity you can count on it to final a hell of a lot longer between charges. In phrases of operation, button control works well, eradicating any unintended instructions that might occur with clumsy thumbs.

SCREEN: BIGGER, BRIGHTER, BETTER

The biggest design improve is all about the Fenix 6 screen. The show is now 17 percent larger than that considered on the 5 Plus, leaping from a 1.2in, 240×240 decision show to a larger 1.3in, 260×260 offering.

It may now not sound like a lot, but it does make a difference; text is displayed plenty cleaner with fewer visible pixels. It also capacity that data is slightly simpler to see than before - showing more facts fields. For instance, round the trendy watch face you’ll be in a position to match eight of your current pastime measurements over the preceding six meaning you can actually glance at the statistics you desire to see without having to scroll thru infinite menus.

Again, there’s purposely no contact compatibility, which the Fenix would in all likelihood in no way combine due to the motive of this watch being a serious outdoors activity tracker. If you’re acquainted with Garmin devices, you’ll understand that display brightness can be an difficulty due to there being no backlit AMOLED screen as viewed on many different devices. Instead, the firm makes use of a transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) screen, which depends on external lights to illuminate when in properly lit conditionals, and an LED mild backlight (in genuine ‘90s Casio watch style) when not. This works an absolute dream on the Fenix 6. In the midday sun of a hike up the Alps, for instance, the show used to be illuminated perfectly with all records such as heart fee and elevation information being proven in crystal clear detail.

FRESH FEATURES: EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK

Before we even touch on some of the countless abilities of the Fenix 6, we should start with a disclaimer: there is no way you can take a look at all the functionality in a multi-sport smartwatch like this in the time we’ve had it.

There’s extra layers to this issue than an onion. However, we have tested a wonderful deal and are nevertheless playing discovering and getting to know extra by the day. This is the beauty of such a complicated device like the Fenix 6 and does really justify its hefty charge point.

Regardless, we’ll speak about some of our favourites to make this as straight-forward as possible.

One of the most high-quality updates is to the Fenix 6’s coronary heart charge sensor. Previously, you had to buy an extra chest strap to song your coronary heart charge while swimming. However, Garmin have managed to tweak the sensor so it can now measure coronary heart price underwater. There’s no real way of checking out how well this works unless you evaluate the coronary heart rate tracking recorded by means of the watch and then put on a seperate watch at the identical time related to chest monitor, which we didn’t have, however it does seem to work the equal way underwater as it does out.

As with different high-end Garmin watches such as the Forerunner line-up – the Fenix 6 comes integrated with a pulse oximeter, branded by using Garmin as ‘Pulse Ox4’. This approves customers to see how well their body is absorbing oxygen. There’s also stress tracking, incident detection, which sends an automatic SMS and e-mail with your title and GPS place to your emergency contacts, and the new Elevate HR sensor, which uses Garmin’s personal proprietary optical-based coronary heart rate sensor technology. Great for these who consider relaxation time just as essential as the recreation itself, Garmin’s Recovery tools are – of course - present on the Fenix 6, working in the identical way as they did on the Fenix 5 Plus, to assist rest and help prevent injury.

This works through constantly tracking your heart and giving you an average resting coronary heart rate (RHR) for the week. This is specifically available for spotting an irregular elevation in RHR, which would be a correct sign you have to in all likelihood chill out for a bit. As with the Apple Watch four and Apple Watch 5, there’s additionally an peculiar heart fee undertaking alert - another sign you’re likely overdoing it.

ACTIVITY TRACKING: NO NONSENSE

As for sports activities tracking, the equal multitude of activities are handy as you’ll assume from a system like this, from the extra preferred running, swimming and cycling to the extra surprising SUP, skiing and yoga. Everything we examined worked exceedingly well, even when doing indoor workout routines such as an F45 fitness class.

Tracking cardio for the duration of this high depth exercise proved a fantastic experience (not that we may want to completely respect this during, mind). We appreciated that the Fenix 6 doesn’t experience too heavy or cumbersome on the wrists whilst jumping onto boxes or swinging kettlebells, and due to the placement of the buttons we weren’t in a great deal risk of by accident altering any settings or monitoring choices for the duration of a heavy workout.

Altitude data by means of the trekking monitoring feature, for example, regarded to work a treat, too. We took the Fenix 6 on a hike in the Alps, simply outdoor the village of Courmayeur. We tracked an predicted 50-minute slog to a restaurant on the top of a large hill recognised as Refuge Elena. At the cease of the session, outcomes got here returned at 44 minutes with a recorded maximum elevation of 2,063 metres, which was pretty spot on as the Refuge’s records factor stated it stands at an altitude of 2,062 meters.

Using GPS was a doddle, activating nearly instantly after hitting the begin undertaking monitoring button, with a “GPS connected” message popping up after a few seconds.

SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE: ENDLESS BATTERY LIFE (KIND OF)

The Fenix 6 doesn’t convey any drastically new software program features over the previous mannequin but as a substitute a range of tweaks and changes which all go toward a much greater intuitive interface.

One of the biggest adjustments is the fresh arrangement of Widgets. They’ve now been grouped into extra digestible chunks, which you can access via hitting the Up button on the domestic screen so you’re no longer overwhelmed by way of statistics and you can discover matters easier.

There’s a big center of attention on electricity administration and battery transparency in the Fenix 6, too, so that customers can higher understand how lengthy the watch will ultimate earlier than needing a re-juice. Instead of offering a final battery percent number, the smartwatch now displays the remaining usage in time. For instance, if there is 10 percentage of the battery left, it will display this in days or hours. The great bit? This will alternate in real-time, depending on how you use the watch, lowering the last time if you’re stressful more from the battery.

Garmin claims you need to get 14 days of use out of the Fenix 6 when in regular smartwatch mode earlier than it needs a recharge. We determined this to be extra or much less accurate, however it’s hard to precise measure it, as it truely relies upon on what you do. For instance, using the watch’s GPS performance continually on – say – an extremely marathon, complete battery lifestyles will plummet down to a predicted 36 hours. However, we haven’t been doing a whole lot continuous running you can extend this to 28 days if it’s put in day trip GPS pastime mode or even a whopping 48 days in the new battery saver mode.

As for charging – that’s distinctly fast, too, taking less than three hours to fill the battery from definitely flat.

APP AND SMARTWATCH FEATURES: EVERYTHING YOU’D EXPECT…AND MORE

As with most smartwatches, all the well-deserved sweat is calculated and then saved by statistics within a companion application, in this case, the Garmin Connect app. Anyone aware of what this app appeared like a few years in the past will know how a ways it has come in terms of appearance and usability; it’s a lot more polished these days, and a lot less complicated to use, thank goodness.

It logs running, biking and swimming stats, your heart-rate diagram for the closing four hours, latest notifications and the weather all in one lovely summarised welcome screen, with the accompanying data laid out coherently in blocks, making it very intuitive.

When reviewing a workout, you’ll be introduced with three rings representing time, distance, and calories burned, alongside with tempo and elevation facts under and a map of your route at the bottom (if GPS used to be used throughout). From here, you can have an even closer seem to be into your stats (such as VO2 max insights) if you favor a real deep dive, but these are solely presented to you if swipe throughout to them, making sure you’re not overwhelmed with data. With assist for notifications, vibrate indicators and step counts as well, the Fenix 6 also gives you the foundations of a greater lifestyle smartwatch whilst concentrating more on the serious fitness side of things.

FENIX 6 VERDICT

The Fenix 6 has to be one of the first-rate smartwatches on the market today. Sure, it doesn’t seem to be as smooth as the Apple Watch, but that’s now not the notion here.

Anyone who is truly into their fitness will more than admire the infinite aspects that Fenix 6 has to provide and how it’s able to deal with the whole thing you throw at it – now with higher electricity selections and person interface that make it a great deal simpler to use. It is, besides a doubt, the fine health smartwatch money can buy.

It’s simply a exquisite shame you want a lot of it to get one. But ought to you buy one? Well, if you already own a Fenix 5 or later, it’s probable no longer really worth the upgrade. Nevertheless, these who don’t already have a devoted smartwatch and are getting extra serious about fitness and searching to improve their smartwatch recreation can’t go incorrect with Garmin’s trendy release.

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