Garmin Fenix 5 range launches with cues from Apple Watch


After nearly two years of waiting, Garmin has rebooted one of its most popular running watches, with the release of the Fenix 5 range.

In a change of pace the brand has unveiled three versions of the Fenix 5 to include a more rugged variant and one designed for ‘female athletes’, alongside the standard edition.

The main model is, predictably, the focal point of the range, and packs in similar features to the previous Fenix 3. However, the design is smaller at 47mm - and anyone that’s used the current gargantuan model will relish the smaller size.

In fact, it’s the design that’s gained the biggest upgrade here, with the Fenix 5 (like all the models in this new range) offering Garmin’s new QuickFit bands, allowing users to easily change straps between work-friendly and sports mode, in a similar manner to the Apple Watch range.

Left to right: the Fenix 5S, Fenix 5X and Fenix 5

Left to right: the Fenix 5S, Fenix 5X and Fenix 5

In terms of inner functionality, the Fenix 5 is very similar to the 3, with the same range of sports profiles from running to cycling to skiing, as well as a barometer, 3-axis accelerometer and gyroscope to fully understand your motion.

Sadly, there’s no word on cross-training interval tracking, a key function still missing from Garmin devices.

It also comes with a new performance widget that will offer a new set of training features, which will give you information on your training stats such as the current status, load and training effect, paired with the integrated heart rate monitor underneath.

The Garmin Fenix 5X is a similar device in terms of function but ups the rugged-ity with a larger and more bezel-full 51mm frame. It also comes pre-loaded with maps from European Topo, which will allow you to see where you are on the larger display alongside mysterious ‘innovative navigation features’.

The Fenix 5S displayed on a 'slender wrist'

The Fenix 5S displayed on a 'slender wrist'

Finally, the Fenix 5S is designed to offer a ‘focus on female athletes’ - although it’s still 42mm in size, which is the equivalent of many normal-sized smartwatches. However it does include all the same features as the larger brothers (mapping aside) despite being more compact.

Garmin is clearly looking to push its wrist-based gadgetry further into the smartwatch space, with step and sleep tracking augmented with more apps from its ConnectIQ store. 

Users can now install the Uber app to find out when their taxi is arriving right from the watch, with a countdown showing you what’s happening. This is a big move out of the fitness market for apps on the Garmin store, clearly highlighting that the brand wants to make its devices a more holistic watch.

The issue comes when looking at the price - it’s rather high. The Fenix 5 and Fenix 5S will cost £499.99 (around $600 / AU$850); the Fenix 5 Sapphire, the Fenix 5S Sapphire will cost you £589.99 (around $725 / AU$1000) and the Fenix 5X Sapphire will have a suggested retail price of £629.99 (around $650 / AU$900). 

If you add in some strap accessories, then the Fenix 5 Sapphire with metal band selection will retail at £729.99 ($900 / AU$1250) and the Fenix 5S Sapphire with grey suede band will retail at £599.99 (around $750 / AU$1000).

The Fenix 5 range release date has been set for Q1 2017, so you’ll be able to spend an eye-wateringly large amount of money on a fitness watch by the end of March.

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