The first step to finding a fitness smartwatch is knowing what specs and features you need. The Garmin lineup is robust as ever, especially when it comes to the fēnix watches. Keep in mind that these models aren't geared toward beginners due to all the complex features, but you'll find an assortment of premium wearables in this collection. We've listed some of the best options below to help you determine which model has what you're looking for.
- An all-around great watch: Garmin fēnix 5 Plus Sapphire
- For smaller wrists: Garmin fēnix 5S
- As big as it gets: Garmin fēnix 5X Sapphire
- Right down the middle: Garmin fēnix 6 Pro
- Small but so, so mighty: Garmin fēnix 6S Sapphire
- Larger than life: Garmin fēnix 6X Pro Solar
The Garmin fēnix 5 Plus Series brought some nifty upgrades to the table, including built-in routable topographical maps, music storage, and mobile payments. The advanced mapping delivers at-a-glance navigation and location tracking. You can choose between multiple sizes (including the regular 47mm case) and materials, the battery lasts for 12 days in smartwatch mode, 18 hours in GPS mode, and 8 hours in GPS/music mode and it's waterproof up to 100 meters.
If 47mm is too big and you're not too concerned with having all of the latest features, then you might be a fan of the Garmin fēnix 5S. This multisport GPS watch comes in a modest 42mm fiber-reinforced polymer case with a stainless steel bezel and rear cover. The fēnix 5S is from the original series, so you won't get the premium perks found on the Plus models, but you'll still get onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, built-in activity profiles, and 10 ATM water resistance. The battery will last up to 9 days in smartwatch mode and 14 hours in GPS/heart rate mode.
If you want the biggest watch possible, the 51mm Garmin fēnix 5X Sapphire might be a better choice. It comes in a fiber-reinforced polymer case with a stainless steel bezel and rear cover, but you get more battery — up to 12 days in smartwatch mode and up 20 hours in GPS/heart rate mode. The main difference between this monster and its little brother is that this model gives you full-color mapping.
A good mid-range option in the 6 Series is the Garmin fēnix 6 Pro. It's not quite as fancy (or expensive) as some of the other models in the lineup, but it gets the job done. The 47mm case comes with stainless steel, titanium, or DLC coated steel bezel. You'll enjoy a whopping two weeks of battery life in smartwatch mode and 10 hours in GPS/music mode. It's worth noting that most of the major differences between the fēnix 6 models relate to the outer appearance. They all have standard features, along with music storage, Garmin Pay, and 10 ATM water resistance.
Looking to get fancy? If so, you may feel yourself being pulled toward the 42 mm Garmin fēnix 6S Sapphire. It's small enough for dainty wrists yet still packs a powerful punch. Choose between a stainless steel or Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) coated steel bezel and multiple color options. Elsewhere, you get nine days of battery life in smartwatch mode and six hours in GPS/music mode. Some new features include maps with turn-by-turn navigation, round-trip routing, a pulse ox sensor to monitor blood oxygen saturation, and more.
Remember when we mentioned major differences? The biggest one of all is whether or not you choose a solar-powered model. The huge Garmin fēnix 6X Pro Solar is designed with Power Glass, which is a transparent solar charging lens that uses the sun's energy to extend battery life. The battery lasts for 21 days in smartwatch mode, which can be extended to 24 days with solar charging when used in the right conditions. If you spend the majority of your time exploring the outdoors, this feature just might be worth the big bucks.
Time to explore
All of the Garmin fēnix models have something slightly different to offer. Depending on what type of user you are, you just might find a perfect match here. The Garmin fēnix 5 Plus Sapphire is stacked with just about everything you could possibly need. It's the best mid-range option of the bunch and has arguably the best feature set. The new additions include full-color topographical mapping, advanced performance metrics, mobile payments, and music storage. Any of the models within the Plus Series are a big step up from the initial release of the standard 5 Series. If you don't need the more advanced perks found on the 6 models, the 5 Plus is a perfect middle ground pick.
If you want all of the juicy goodness that the 6 models offer but you'd also like a watch that can be fashionable when necessary, the Garmin fēnix 6S Sapphire was made for you. It's big enough at 42 mm without being overwhelmingly huge. The main reason to choose this model is for its high-quality design and premium materials. It can still handle your outdoor expeditions but it's attractive enough to wear for special occasions as well.
It's worth reiterating that all the fēnix 6 models share all the same features. All of them also have the standard features you'd expect plus new perks like Body Battery energy monitoring that tells you when to be active and when to rest, animated workouts, the ClimbPro feature that offers details on current and upcoming climbs, mountain biking metrics, safety features, and more.
If you're still not sure which model is right for you, consider checking out our Best Garmin Smartwatch guide. It includes several other Garmin wearables that you might find more suitable, especially if you're not looking for a super-advanced watch at this point in time.
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