Summary: The main question I had looking at the new Fenix S5 GPS Compact Sports Watch from Garmin is ‘how much better than the current top end watches is this (in terms of justifying the price?’. Well having watched the videos, read and re-read the comments and specs, I have to say that I’m impressed. In case you were wondering, this is the evolution of the Garmin Fenix S3 (there is no 4 in the range). It is smaller, has its own apps ecosystem and is packed with trackers… and I mean packed! Add to this the new slightly smaller style and choice of colours, and you have an impressive device. You can check out the gallery for yourself over on the dedicated amazon.co.uk product page here.
Let’s start with the physical appearance, then get into the tracking / monitoring and finally the apps.
The face of this sports watch is smaller than its predecessor. For me this is small enough not to stand out as a specialist sports watch (unless you know what to look out for). The silicone strap and design of the face do look like some extra design effort has gone into this model. Previous ones look great, though these are a little ‘clunky’. You get a choice of black, white, turquoise, blue or yellow finish.
Battery power is impressive, it will last for up to 12 days on a charge without use, and has 36 hours even with the power-hungry GPS system in place. Batteries are lithium polymer, these are included, and can be changed. You get a charging cable with your watch.
I’m sure I’ll miss something out here, the list of trackers and monitors is that long. This starts with the GPS system, which is considered to be the most accurate out there. This watch can also connect to the Russian GPS (GLONASS) if required.
In addition to distance travelled and speed, there is an accurate acceleration meter – great for sports where short bursts are needed. There is an altimeter too, along with a compass and barometer. Combined with the GPS, these all work brilliantly with the internal map applications.
On the back you’ll find a heart rate monitor. While you are sleeping this watch will also monitor you.
This is the area where the Garmin Fenix 5s really stands out from the competition. It is not just how many monitors you have, or even how accurate they are. The important point is how you use them.
What Garmin has done is to integrate their monitors into activity profiles which fit the main types of sporting activity. To pick an example, swimming and trail running need different technology to accurately assess your performance. The idea is that you can measure the progress of your training, and see the improvements.
You’ll also have smart notification, integration with Strava and the Connect IQ support group and ‘Group Track’ capabilities for when you are training with friends. You can integrate with your phone or iPad via the Garmin Connect app too.
I must say I can’t wait to get my hands on one – let’s see what those who already bought one have said.
The video below is by Garmin. It will (of course) sing the praises of the new range, though it does give you a great idea of the capabilities of the Fenix S5 range:
Here is a link to the Fenix S5 Product Page at Amazon.co.uk – about half way down you’ll find a section which has all the different watches (including the new S5). This will allow you to compare their functions before you make your choice.
I’m not really surprised to see the general tone of the comments at amazon.co.uk to be along the lines of ‘best watch I ever owned’. For the price point, this is kind-of expected, right?
The smaller size came in for some separate praise, as did the better screen technology (which Garmin say is designed to fight glare and be better on the go). While some people said this is not a major advancement from the S3, there was nobody unhappy to have got the new model.
I recommend you check out the comments for yourself. Some people have gone into a lot of detail on how the different features have worked out for them.
This is not a cheap sports watch. From what I have seen and read, this is worth every penny for those who like the latest tech integrated with the latest apps.
Check out the dedicated product page at amazon.co.uk now – you can see the spec of this one, and will also find a table showing the other current models for comparison.
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