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Review - Garmin Fenix 5x

Review - Garmin Fenix 5x

Tue 26th September 2017

We took our first look at the new Garmin Fenix 5x watch, the big feature of this new watch is that it comes with colour maps pre-loaded for all of Europe and the ability to add more maps with its impressive 12gb storage.

Going through the menus for the first time it is clear to see this is very much a Multisport Watch, fitness / activity tracker, navigational device and smart watch all in one.

It has the standard features that we expect to see on a fitness tracker, measuring your daily steps, distances, calories, sleep pattern etc but also has a built-in wrist based heart monitor and a VO2Max Estimator feature to estimate the maximum volume of oxygen you can consume per minute, giving you an indication of your fitness level.

I found it easy to pair the watch with my smart phone using the Garmin connect app, with this app you can sync all your fitness data to review clearly on your phone, sync your trails that you have walked, cycled, ran etc and pairing the watch with your phone gives you the function to receive text message, email alerts and incoming phone call alerts from your mobile onto the screen of the watch.

The unit is full of pre-set activities such as Run, Trail Run, Hike, Bike, MTB, Swimming, Triathlon, Ski, Snowboard, Row, some indoor training options and more so very much a multi-sport watch.

I was keen to get out and try the watch for the 1st time with the full colour maps loaded for navigation, wearing the watch on my relatively small wrist I did not find it too bulky or weighty and the tough polymer strap felt comfortable and secure.

For my first test I used the unit on a cycle ride navigating to a village using the turn by turn routing function, It was quick and easy to select the Bike Activity, select Navigate and search for the village using the Cities search option which then lists in distance away from you any Cities, Towns, Villages, Hamlets etc.

From starting the Bike Activity and Navigation search the unit locked onto satellites quickly, From selecting the village I wanted to cycle to my Turn by Turn Route was quickly calculated and displayed on the map page as a magenta route to follow with clear arrows at road junctions, I had some reservations about viewing mapping on a smaller screen than the handheld devices that I am used to but I simply zoomed in so that I could see junctions at a fairly large level and this worked well for me on my cycle route.

On a turn by turn route as you get close to junctions / turn offs the units gives you both a tone and vibration alert, the vibration alert was useful as I donít always hear tone noises with the wind in my hair, the screen also changes with these turn alerts to a full screen directional arrow with a countdown of distance to the turn which is useful.

I found it easy to toggle between the map screen and selection of data boxes whilst out on the route.

Overall my first impressions are very good, this is a watch that has some great fitness, navigational and smart watch features all in the one device and with the ability to have colour mapping on your wrist for navigation is great benefit when navigating with the device.

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