Best Garmin Fenix 5 Review 2018 – Best Fitness Smartwatch

Garmin Fenix 5 has been atop the list of the best multisport GPS Smartwatches for fitness, adventure and style for a long time and I thought it’s worth the review. Let’s see the features that places Fenix 5 Smartwatch among the premium multisport GPS watches with Elevate wrist heart rate technology.

Garmin Fenix 5 is built for adventure with a rugged design that features stainless steel bezel, outstanding readability on the run and advanced running dynamics.

Just like any other Garmin Fenix smart watches, the Fenix 5 Sapphire premium black with black band smartwatch is compact, rugged and will support any form of workout in just any place.

Garmin Fenix 5

Garmin Fenix 5 is covered with a built-in activity profiles and performance metrics in addition to smart notifications sapphire edition plus extra silicone QuickFit band. It also features Wi-Fi capability for automatic activity uploading.

Read Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire Review – Multisport Fitness GPS Smartwatch

Garmin Fenix 5 Comparison

The Garmin Fenix 5 is 47mm while the Fenix 5S is smaller. It about 42mm designed for petite wrists while focusing on a female adventure. I assume that S may mean small. The Fenix 3HR has a Sapphire lens by default, you may prefer scratch-resistant sapphire lens for your Fenix 5.

This is a huge difference between these versions. Garmin Fenix 5 is preload with TOPO US mapping, routable cycling maps plus other navigation features, default WIFI packing modes and sapphire lens.

Garmin Fenix 5
Fenix 5S
Garmin Fenix 5
Fenix 5
Garmin Fenix 5
Fenix 5S Sapphire
Garmin Fenix 5
Fenix 5 Sapphire
Garmin Fenix 5
Fenix 5X Sapphire
Watch face size 42 mm47 mm42 mm47 mm51 mm
Display size, resolution1.1" (218 x 218)1.2" (240 x 240)1.1" (218 x 218) 1.2" (240 x 240)1.2" (240 x 240)
Elevate wrist-based heart rate
Smart notifications
10 ATM water rating (100 meters)
Built-in altimeter, barometer, 3-axis compass
Bluetooth Low Energy, ANT+
Scratch-resistant sapphire lens
Wi-Fi enabled
Preloaded topographic and cycling maps

Garmin Fenix 5 Extra Core Features

The premium multisport Garmin 5 Fenix is a GPS watch with Elevate wrist heart rate technology. It comes Fit for adventure with a rugged design that features stainless steel bezel, rear case and buttons.

Fenix 5 offers you a key stats at your fingertips with the performance widget that shows you progress and effects of your workouts.

Garmin Fenix 5

Connected features include smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect online fitness community and personalisation through free watch faces and apps from the Connect IQ store.

In addition to these features, Garmin Fenix 5 comes equipped with outdoor sensors, which included GPS, GLONASS satellite reception and 3-axis compass with gyroscope and barometric altimeter.

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Remarkable Readability on the Run

Fenix 5 has a bright, high-resolution, full-colour Garmin Chroma display with LED backlighting which assures greater readability in all the ambient conditions.

Its Transflective technology reflects and transmits light at the same time thereby enabling the face of the watch to become even readable under intense sunlight. Sapphire editions feature a scratch-resistant sapphire lens plus Wi-Fi-enabled to enable your smart watch to connect your wireless network and automatically send activity uploads for sharing on Garmin Connect.

Sapphire editions feature a scratch-resistant sapphire lens plus Wi-Fi-enabled to enable your smart watch to connect your wireless network and automatically send activity uploads for sharing on Garmin Connect.

Advanced Running Dynamics

With Garmin Fenix 5, you can take your adventure further with running data. Garmin training features taps into the extended physiological metrics and advanced running dynamics that can help you improve your form and general performance. This may include Lactate threshold, Cadence, Stride length and a Performance condition.

Garmin Fenix 5

Generally, the entire makeups of the Garmin Fenix smart watches are amazing. In fact, the Garmin Fenix is perfect for enthusiasts and those who love swimming, skiing, hiking, triathlon, running, snowboarding and snow-skiing.

It is a great and best GPS Smartwatch suitable for lovers of golf, boating, track and field cycling, hunting, fishing and snowmobiling camping and all forms of exercise and fitness activities.

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Comparing Garmin Fenix 5 with Fenix 3 Functionalities

This amazing piece will help you as a race predictor, recovery advisor, running dynamics and VO2 max estimator when you use it with HRM. Use the Garmin Fenix 3 to save multiple bike profiles and ascertain your speed and / cadence sensors.

I use my Fenix 3 Sapphire to record my swimming metrics, stroke recognition, lap counter and find out my open water swim distance. I also use it to monitor my sleep and use it as step counter with auto goal setter.

There is no doubt that Garmin Fenix 3 is a mix of true performance plus super style. Get your copy of this device to discover that Fenix 3 Sapphire has these amazing high points.

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High-strength scratch-resistant domed sapphire lens

Omni-directional steel Exo antenna when paired with GLONASS and EPO – This provides faster fix and accurate position than GPS alone

Wi-Fi hot spots to automatically sync your data with Garmin Connect and update software
1.2” sunlight-visible high-resolution colour Chroma optically-bonded display

Rechargeable battery – up to 20 hours in training/GPS mode, 50 hours in UltraTrac mode plus 6 weeks in match mode – these options depend on usage.

General Features of Garmin Fenix 3

  • Time, date, alarm, timer, chronograph, pace alerts, chimes, and vibration watch functions
  • AutoLap, AutoPause, interval trainer, heart rate (with optional HRM), calorie counter, and lap fitness functions
  • Customizable display fields, compatible with connect iQ app for custom watch faces, widgets, and data fields
  • Built-in altimeter, barometer, and compass
  • Records up to 1000 customizable waypoints and locations and up to 50 routes with 10,000 track points
  • GPS multisport training watch with illuminated display
  • Works with optional HRM-run, serves as temperature sensor, heart rate monitor, bike speed/cadence sensor
  • ANT+ and Bluetooth capable with compatible devices
  • Water rated to 100 meters
  • 1.2″ x 1.2″ color (218 x 218 pixel) LCD screen

As stated earlier, it can serve as VO2 max estimator when used with optional HRM, recovery advisor, and race predictor as well as running dynamics when used with the optional HRM-Run monitor.

It is compatible with Garmin Vector pedals and optional bike speed/cadence sensors and saves multiple bike profiles.

This goes without noting that you can use it to determine the swimming metrics and stroke recognition; lap counter and open water swim distance.

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With Fenix 5 you are sure to match your style with interchangeable watchbands. Selecting QuickFit bands in your choice of premium leather, metal or silicone makes it simple to mix and match styles to go with any sport or activity. You need to tools to make the transformation. All you need to do is simply swap, click and go.

Garmin Fenix 5

Garmin Fenix 3 is one of the best brands of Fenix 3 device which exists in 3 bold models. These models include the
grey comprising the high-strength, scratch-resistant, crystal and black band and silver with a red band
Premium Sapphire model with a stainless steel band and sapphire lens

Each of these watches comes with a protective stainless steel button and bezel with reinforced housing for additional durability.

This is in addition to sunlight-visible high-resolution colour chroma display with LED backlight which allows you to access your data within any light range.

With a battery life of up to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode, Fenix 3 is water-rated to 100 meters. It also has 16 hours in GPS mode plus close to 3 months in watch mode. The battery life depends on the settings.

High-tech Fitness Metrics

There are lots of training features that come with Garmin Fenix 3. The maiden features are the VO2 max estimator which helps you to crunch data including beats per minutes, running speed, heart rate variability to aid your estimation of the upper limit of the volume of your oxygen you breathe in per minute.

This feature will also help you to track changes to your VO2 max to see your fitness gains. This will help you to compare your data with your training partners.

With the Garmin Fenix 3, you have the great features which include race predictor that helps you to estimate your ideal finish time based on your current VO2 max number plus the recovery advisor with a recovery timer and recovery check.

Features for Running Dynamics

Garmin Fenix 3 comes with inbuilt sophisticated Garmin running smart watch feedback on your running form with multiple metrics report.

When you use Fenix 3 with HRM-Run monitor, you get reports on vertical oscillation, ground contact time and cadence. These metrics are known as running dynamics. They undoubtedly affect your running economy.

Swim profile and Ski-board mode of Garmin Fenix 3 & 5

Garmin Fenix 3 is not just for running. The special feature of Fenix 3 Sapphire is designed for both skiing and swim training. This amazing Smart watch is made to help you track your pace, stroke count, distance, etc.

All you need to do is to let your smart device know the size of your swimming pool and jump into your workout. Skiing board mode sets the speed, distance, vertical drop and automatic run counter.

This comes with Auto Pause for lift line. Keep in mind also that you can use Fenix as a glove-friendly remote through ANT+ for VIRB and VIRB Elite action cameras.

Garmin 5 Fenix has its amazing exercise and fitness profile revolving arond swim profiles, skiing, paddle sports, gold, etc. Fenix 5 watches offer special feature sets that aid swim training, skiing, golfing and paddle sports, including stand-up paddle boarding and rowing.

The device helps swimmers to tracks distance, pace, stroke count and more. Ski/Board mode puts speed, distance, vertical drop and an automatic run counter – with Auto Pause for the lift line.

The features designed to help paddle sports include the following: stroke count, stroke rate and even distance per stroke.

In the same way, the Golf mode gives you yardage to the front, back and middle of the green for any single course you’ve downloaded from Garmin Connect.

It also adds enhancements such as stat tracking (fairways hit, etc.), Green View, AutoShot detection and auto measure.

Navigating your way with Garmin Fenix 3

You won’t get this elsewhere. No other navigator GPS Altimeter, Barometer and Compass wristwatch can offer you the combined training function and cutting edge GPS technology.

The Fenix 3 offers a comprehensive navigation and tracking functionalities to guide you on and off beaten track. With the inbuilt sensors, you have information on weather changes, heading and elevation.

While on the go, the smart device records a GPS track log generating a “bread crumb trail.” You will also enjoy the marking of your locations such as the finish line or start line, campsite, course checkpoint, or any other point of interest in your fitness journey. You can mark up to 1,000 locations and store up about 10,000 track points and navigate them.

Garmin Fenix 3 helps you plan fun-filled adventures and trips you can share with your family and friends. You have at your disposal an amazing device comprising ANT+ and Bluetooth capabilities to share routes and locations.

The Altimeter of the Fenix 3 will provide elevation data to accurately monitor ascent and descent. While the Barometer helps you predict weather changes by showing short-term trends in air pressure. The 3-axis electronic compass keeps your bearing to gauge your movement. The auto-calibrated ABC sensors provide essential real-time data.

The Connect IQ

The Garmin Fenix 3’s Connect IQ platform for specialised software is designed to help you personalise your watch with widgets, apps, data fields and unique watch faces which revamp the look of your smart watch.

Remain Connected

You get smart notifications on your Fenix 3. These may include alerts, texts, emails, etc on your watch. The gadget receives a wireless signal from compatible Smartphone and helps to display messages and notifications while allowing you to access it anytime you need.

Pros and Cons

The Garmin Fenix 5 is an amazing piece of a fitness tracker and monitor from this first Apple Watch. I love the accurate insights, VO2 Max, functional threshold, anaerobic fitness levels and exercise effects.

Fenix 5 tells you what you are capable of doing and how best you can do it to enjoy your fitness adventure.


  • Remarkable, rugged and great design
  • 100M waterproof
  • Multisport insights and wonderful pace accuracy
  • Long battery life (>week)
  • Ability to read the screen under direct sunlight
  • Countless features and functions
  • Seamless Sync to Connect app
  • Notifications you will love
  • Lightweight
  • Easily changeable, black and yellow straps
  • Better running dynamics
  • Fabulous pool swimming data
  • Lactate threshold and HRV Stress tests


  • Software froze
  • Bland colour
  • Unavailable swimming rate under water though the unit will flawlessly download HR data after you complete your exercise.

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Final Thought on Garmin Fenix 5 multisport device

I have never regretted buying the Garmin Fenix 5 Premium Multisport GPS smart watch with Elevate writs heart rate monitor especially with its remarkable features, a rugged design featuring stainless steel bezel, outstanding readability and high-tech running features.

Designed for all sorts of outdoor and indoor workout activities – strength training, swimming, running, cycling, walking, etc, Garmin Fenix 5’s altimeter, barometer and compass are matchless with better HRM compared with others.

And, before I finally put the last dot, I would like you to consider this infographic by Visualistan on wearable tech and preventive healthcare. You need to key in if you are still left out.

Garmin Fenix 5