Garmin Fenix 5s

8.7
8.7 score
[Editors rating (8.7)] = Runners101 score (8.7)/10


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Editor rating: 8.7 / 10
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Garmin Fenix 5s Review Facts

The Fenix 5s watch is one of Garmin’s most expensive smartwatch model, and its hefty price tag is a result of its top of the line features. It’s made from a combination of silicon, steel, sapphire crystal (premium version only) and fiber-reinforced polymer which make it sturdy, water-resistant, and comfortable. Like other GPS watches, the Fenix 5s has all of the basic features such as a timer, alarm clock, stopwatch, and real time GPS tracking. Some more advanced functions of the watch include physiological measurements for running, swimming, cycling, and other outdoor recreation, wifi connectivity, a built in barometer, and many more. There are numerous ways to customize it, including different wristbands, watch colors and faces, and the option to buy a more upscale, premium version. Garmin also has a mobile store where you can download fitness or personalization apps directly on your watch. With all of these features, is the Fenix 5s worth it?

Pros

Multiple colors and sizes for bigger and smaller wrists

LED backlighting = easily visible display

Special feature sets for multiple sports

Compatible with all smartphones

Stylish

Great for outdoor recreation

Cons

Extremely expensive

Occasional GPS and metric inaccuracy

Not scratch resistant

Software can freeze

Signal Strength

Signal Strength

Like the Fenix 3, the Fenix 5s has a combination of GPS and GLONASS satellite technology, creating a solid and reliable signal strength. This makes it possible for the watch to track your location in real time, regardless of how remote of an environment you’re in. Unfortunately, many customers have reported occasional GPS inaccuracy with this product. However, the majority have reported no problems and it appears that nearly all GPS watches have experienced similar issues. The great signal strength of this watch also lets the user connect to wifi, making it simple to check notifications or access the internet.
Size/Weight

Size/Weight

Depending on the band you choose (silicone vs. steel), the watch weighs either 85 or 156 grams. The steel model is obviously the heavier of the two, however, both of these weights are fairly average in the GPS watch market. Most users have been really happy with how the watch looks and feels on the wrist as it is not as big and bulky as similar products. Additionally, the band of the watch is roughly the same width as the clock face.
Heart Rate Monitoring

Heart Rate Monitoring

Perhaps the biggest appeal of the Fenix 5s is its built-in heart rate monitoring technology, which numerous other GPS watches typically lack or require purchasing a heart rate monitor separately from the watch. You don’t have to wear a chest strap in order to measure heart rate- the watch tracks it automatically when worn. The device also acts as a step counter, sleep tracker, recovery time, and calories burned. Several other features like HRV stress testing are available when paired with a compatible accessory.
Mobile Device Pairing

Mobile Device Pairing

This product pairs quickly and efficiently with all major smartphone types, including iOS, Android, and Windows. By pairing the watch to a mobile device and downloading the Garmin Face It app, the user can customize their watch face using any photo from their phone. Connecting the two devices also allows you to receive notifications pertaining to the watch itself or your mobile phone which is a handy feature.
Sport Modes

Sport Modes

While this watch has a multitude of sport modes, it is probably the best choice for golfers, cyclists, swimmers, and runners. This is because it has some of the most in-depth features for each of these sports. Basic swim metrics and preloaded swim files are available for swimmers; shot yardage, stat tracking, and a digital scorecard for golf; running dynamics and physiological measurements for runners; and courses, interval training, and courses for cyclists. Aside from these, the Fenix 5s has preloaded outdoor recreation profiles for hiking, climbing, rowing, and skiing along with a few other obscure sports.
Notifications

Notifications

Like most GPS watches, the Fenix 5s can display notifications right on the watch face which is great for when you’re too busy or your hands are too full to pull out your phone and check. These alerts include both fitness app notifications as well as emails, text messages, and phone calls that your mobile device receives as well. Thanks to the combination of GPS and GLONASS satellite technology, alerts come through the watch quickly and appropriately.
Apps and Widgets

Apps and Widgets

The Garmin Connect IQ store has a huge variety of apps and widgets to choose from. This includes both personalization and fitness apps that are of little or no cost to the user. Many of the fitness ones help you improve your workout by tracking fat loss, providing different and new exercises to add to your training regimen, or showing you nearby routes and maps. Widgets include weather forecasting, battery life display, stopwatch, compass, and much more. The selection offered in Garmin’s store is on par with other brand’s app stores, such as Suunto’s.
Personalization

Personalization

Since many GPS watches are similar in price and design, customers often wonder why they should purchase one model over another. Fenix’s vast selection of different wristbands and watch colors make it quite the competitor amongst other watches, especially for those who care about customizing their device to their liking. Amazon sells the watch in hues ranging from turquoise to champagne, so there is something for everyone. Moreover, you can also choose any photo for your watch face display or choose one from Garmin’s app store.
Metrics and Analytics

Metrics and Analytics

When it comes to metrics and analytics, this watch is one of the best. Not only does it have the aforementioned heart rate monitoring capability, it has the ability to provide advanced feedback regarding biomechanical measures when paired with Garmin’s Running Dynamics Pod. Wearing this watch gives you a detailed measure of your general fitness level, physiological aspects, and advice on how to improve upon your current routine through careful analysis. Additionally, the Fenix 5s can plan advanced workouts or routes, use GPS to measure speed and distance, and even comes with downloadable training plans.
Real Time Data Tracking

Real Time Data Tracking

Real time data tracking is one of the Fenix 5s’ most effective and useful functions. Distance traveled, floors climbed, intensity minutes, steps counted, calories burned, and several other metabolic measures are automatically tracked via the watch’s software. At the same time, the watch can analyze your workout technique and provides feedback to help you improve your form. Biomechanical measurements such as vertical ratio and stride length in addition to other nuanced details are key in what makes this model so unique. It can also help direct the user to any location they so desire in case they are lost.
Key Features

Key Features

• Outdoor sensors including satellite reception, barometer, and gyroscope
• Hundreds of personalization possibilities
• Built-in heart rate monitoring
• Water resistant in up to 100 meters
• Numerous multi-sport modes
• Access to Garmin Connect IQ app store
• Biomechanical measures
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Garmin most definitely did not hold back on quality when crafting this elite GPS watch. The only potential negatives about this product apart from the high price are few and far between based on user feedback. With pre-installed heart rate monitoring, high definition watch face display, hundreds of apps, various multi-sport modes, and ease of customization, it’s hard to find much to complain about. At the end of the day, the style, durability, and usefulness of the Fenix 5s make it the optimum choice for any smartwatch user.