Review: Garmin Fenix 5

WR’s tech guru, Damian Hall, tries out Garmin’s latest feature-packed sports watch


Review Garmin Fenix 5 HR

The Fenix is Garmin’s flagship premium GPS sportswatch. There was no Fenix 4, incidentally, because in Chinese it roughly translates as “fast rise to quick death”. The Fenix 5 has a battleshipload of features that can definitely help your running and navigation, plus monitor activity and sleep tracking, and ping you smart notifications. There’s so much in the device, you’ll likely not usehalf of it.

It feels big and chunky on a slim wrist. But looks reassuringly expensive, equally sporty and stylish – quick-release straps mean you can even adapt the look.

Features are excellent. Wrist-based heart-rate monitoring, though still not as accurate as a chest strap, offers a really useful guide to fatigue or overtraining. Alongside a lactate threshold test, audio updates for pace and HR and a virtual racer feature, sport analytics include Training Effect, which tells you the benefits of your last session. Training Status also indicates
if you’re getting fitter or losing your edge.

There’s room for improvement, though. V02 max is at least five points out, compared to a lab test. The battery lasts about 18 hours in GPS mode and, after that, in UltraTrac mode, the stats are a bit wild. The breadcrumbing feature tries to make you repeat a whole route, rather than take you the shortest way back to the start. And the Garmin Connect app is still less than user friendly. And it’s a LOT of money. But it’s still pretty effing awesome.

Retail Price: £499.99

Buy now at Amazon

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