The annual Consumer Electronics show is this week and Garmin has announced a slew of new releases which we’ll talk about in the coming days. Without a doubt, the one that has caught the most attention is the new fēnix 5 series which was announced earlier this week. A popular brand in Garmin’s fitness wearables line, the new fēnix 5 is making a splash as the first time Garmin has released the same watch in multiple sizes. The series includes the fēnix 5, fēnix 5S, and fēnix 5X, all of which should be available in the next few months.
From what it looks like, the fēnix 5 and fēnix 5S are essentially the same, with only a few millimeters difference in watch face size. The fēnix 5X is a little bigger than the fēnix 5 and comes with a handful of additional features (and a slightly bigger price tag). However, we’ll take a look at what all of the fēnix watches have in common first.
Garmin fēnix 5 Series Features
All three of the watches in the new fēnix Series 5 watches have:
- A full multisport toolset for hiking, running, swimming, biking, etc
- Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate technology
- 3-axis compass
- Barometric altimeter
- GPS and GLONASS support
- Water rated to 100 meters
- Daily activity tracking
- Compatible with Garmin Connect IQ
- Compatible with Face-It app
- Smartphone compatability to show calls, texts, and emails
- UltraTrac power saver mode to extend battery
- A performance widget to show training status, training load, etc
- QuickFit bands for easy customization
As you can see, it’s got all of the kinds of features you’d expect from a Garmin wearable, and I was especially pleased to see the GPS and GLONASS compatibility, which will make it more useful for hiking (although I know most hikers would actually prefer a handheld to a watch). The 3-axis compass, gyroscope, and barometric altimeter will help make it more useful for athletes looking to measure distance, speed, elevation, and all that sort of stuff, and just like the fēnix 3 device that was debuted in 2015, the fēnix Series 5 has plenty of cool smartwatch capabilities as well.
The thing that makes this announcement stand out, however, is the fēnix 5S which is, as Garmin so delicately put it “small and comfortable for petite wrists.” The face of the watch measures 42mm and the press release section talking about fēnix 5S waxes at length about how stylish and comfortable it is, with plenty of customization in the bands for the “female adventurer.” The accessories come in a variety of colors, presumably to appeal to the female crowd. Although Garmin is laughingly careful not to label it as a model designed for women, it’s definitely designed for women.
“After years in the wearables market, Garmin knows that athletes and adventurers come in all sizes, which is why we have designed the new line of fēnix 5 watches to fit every wrist and every workout,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales in a press statement. “This is the first time Garmin has created a variety of sizes for one product so now users don’t have to choose between getting the features they want and wearing a watch that fits.”
This watch is basically the watch that everyone expected Garmin to release this year and while the fēnix 5 is slightly larger than the 5S at 47mm, it has all of the exact same features. Both this device and the fēnix 5S are available in Sapphire, which include not only a scratch-resistant sapphire glass on the watch face, but also Wifi capabilities for easier data transfer. The regular devices feature mineral glass and do not have Wifi capabilities. Otherwise, this watch is sort of middle-of-the-road.
Definitely more robust of the three, the fēnix 5X is the largest of the three devices launched, at 51mm, and it has some additional features to make up for the $100 price tag difference. In addition to all of the above features mentioned, the fēnix 5X is preloaded with TOPO US mapping, routable cycling maps, and the ability to help users select a route and navigate both to and from their homes.
In addition to providing route information, the fēnix 5X will give users directions about upcoming turns on easy-to-read banners across the watch face. While I’ve never found staring at your wrist while running particularly appealing, it does provide simple navigation for cyclists or help getting back home if you need it. Additionally, users can enter how far they’d like to run or ride, and the watch will suggest routes. There is also a cool Around Me feature with waypoints, POIs, and other map objects to help users orient themselves.
At the time of writing, the devices haven’t been released, and there isn’t a solid release date. The press release says the first quarter of this year, and at the CES Garmin reportedly said “5-7 weeks” so I’d expect the watches to hit the market sometime in late February or early March at the latest.
The fēnix 5 and fēnix 5S are expected to retail for $599.99. The sapphire fēnix 5, sapphire fēnix 5S, and the fēnix 5X are expected to retail for $699.99.