A look at the range of GPS watches from Garmin
Thu 7th February 2019
In this extract from the 19th GPS Training Podcast we chat over the varies GPS watch options available from Garmin.
If you have any questions about any of the watches discussed please do get in touch.
Garmin GPS Watches - more here (link opens in new window)
Garmin GPS Watches - more here (link opens in new window so you can look at the watch products as you listen to the chat)
Jon: Next thing we've got on the GPS Training Podcast is a look at Garmin GPS watches, the options and differences. I've got a special guest, we've got Tom on from Garmin. So welcome Tom.
Jon: Tom is gonna go through the different options. The reason for this is we've got a number of different options from Garmin, we've got now the Garmin Instinct range and then we've got the Fenix range, but it's not quite as simple because there's lots of different options.
Jon: I thought that we could bring Tom on the podcast and we can go over the different pricing, the different options, and the different materials, I suppose, that these watches are made out of. So we'll look at watches from £269 right up to £750 aren't we?
Jon: So Tom, if you are on watching us Facebook, you'll be able to see us hold up. If not, we'll just have to describe what we're seeing.
Jon: Starter point from Garmin is the Garmin Instinct watch, isn't it, Tom?
Jon: We discuss this on the last month's podcast, because you know Andy was all in love with his Garmin Instinct watch and he still is.
Jon: Garmin Instinct, can you tell us a little bit about them and then we'll move.
Tom: Yeah. The Garmin Instinct is our entry level multi-sport watch designed for outdoors and fitness-based activities. Within here, you've got all your usual smart applications that Garmin offer, text, email, phone call, and you've got your activity tracking. But you've also got the suite of fitness features, so run, bike, trail run, walking, skiing, snowboarding, yoga, they're all in there. Then you've got the navigation stuff as well so it'll give you a good reference, you can follow a route, you can track back the way you came.
Jon: Of course, Tom. Is it not a course and then a route on an outdoor handheld unit.
Tom: And actual physical watch-wise, it's not quite the same premium materials that you'll get on the Fenix, but you've still got the heart rate sensor on the back of the watch to get your constant heart rate throughout the day.
Jon: So with these watches, Tom, then what we can do is we can create a GPX file so, in Garmin Basecamp, we can just create a GPX file and just transfer it onto your watches and it just navigate us like a outdoor GPS unit, too?
Tom: Absolutely, so it'll give you that arrow, distance to each point, between the points, you can create that GPX file with Basecamp or you can do it on Garmin Connect or any of the other mapping suites that you may have. And it works with the Garmin Explorer, as well, so you can download the topo map in there for Europe and use that on your iPad now or phone to plan the course and wirelessly send it to your watch.
Jon: Fantastic. So then these, these entry-level, the Instinct, black and white screens?
Tom: Yeah, black and white screen, which is obviously the other difference between this and a Fenix model. The black and white screens, I think, are quite clear. so great in the sunlight as well because you don't have that differences of color so it's very standout.
Jon: And no maps on these?
Tom: No maps on these ones, no.
Jon: So we're talking about, it also measures your daily activities and the steps you've taken, heart rate, sleep?
Tom: Yes, so it tracks your sleep throughout the day and floors climbed, all throughout the day. And it'll gives you a stress score, as well.
Jon: A stress score, that's exactly what I want. And that will just sync with the Connect app on your smartphone?
Tom: Yeah, all your data goes in there.
Jon: Brilliant. So Instinct, £269.99, available in two colors, there's the graphite and also the flame red. We're in a bit of a dual, because Tom came in today and says he can't believe how well the flame red is selling. You thought we'd sell a lot more graphite, but the flame red's been doing very, very well, both for ourselves and for Garmin.
Jon: So we jump into the Fenix range of GPS units, Fenix 5 Plus and then the 5S Plus. So this is now, we're talking up to £595.00. So a reasonable increase from the Instinct, 595 for the 5 Plus, and the 5S. So what's the main differences, jumping initially from the Instinct and then the different between those two models?
Tom: So physical hardware-wise, this one's made out of the premium materials. So you've got the metal bezel on the top and the stainless steel back. You've also got the fact that the watch straps on the Fenix range are all interchangeable. You can swap them for different colors easily. Or different types. You've got leather, metal, all sorts of different watch straps available. So actually physical hardware differences. When it comes to internals, on the navigation side, you've now got mapping on both of these watches, and that's the topo map, active mapping for western Europe. On this one, now it'll show you a location on the map and it'll guide you to a location [crosstalk 00:04:33] paths of right of ways or roads.
Tom: On the fitness side of things, you have our top-end training features. So it'll give you things like recover advisor after you've done a run, it'll give you a VOT score, so it's our more top-end training features. And then other features-wise, you've also got Garmin Music on these now, so they'll pair with Spotify or Deezer, and you can stream and store music on the watches [inaudible 00:04:59] a set of Bluetooth headphones.
Jon: And podcasts, as well.
Tom: Podcasts as well, absolutely. You get GPS training podcasts straight on there.
Jon: Right on the watch. Bluetooth headsets or something like that and you don't need your phone. Just all there on that one unit. 5S and 5, what's the difference there?
Tom: So the only difference is the size. So the 5S is slightly smaller. You can see the difference there. And the only trade-off for that is battery life. So you go down from 12 days to 7 days on a watch, and 19 hours to 11 hours in performance, that's in GPS mode, so a great difference.
Jon: So we have good sales on those because they're £595.00, it's like that nice, it's not too expensive but you get all of the features that we've seen in the Fenix and that's progressed over the years into the market leader, really, hasn't it?
Jon: So we then jump into something called Sapphire. So we jump up to the Fenix 5 Plus Sapphire, don't we, so what's the Sapphire?
Tom: So a Sapphire is a upgraded Plus screen on the watch. So the screen itself is a Sapphire glass screen, much tougher. So it's better if you're using it a lot on a daily basis as it is more premium materials.
Jon: Premium material on that Sapphire. And then anything else?
Tom: Just purely ...
Jon: So we jump from £595.00 to £694.00 solely for that Sapphire screen, don't we? Then my favorite is the Fenix Plus Sapphire with a Titanium Solar Flare Orange.
Tom: So this one is now a Titanium-back and ringed on the front. So slightly different material in the metal. You also come with the Solar Flare strap.
Jon: Solar Flare's bright orange for people who really want to look good.
Tom: Yeah, if they can't see on the podcast.
Jon: ... it's bright orange strap and it is a crackin' GPS ... it looks superb.
Tom: Yeah, it looks really cool.
Jon: Doesn't it, really? And then finally, we jump right up to the Fenix 5 Plus Sapphire, the Black and Black Plus, so this is a 5x, rather than a 5, isn't it?
Tom: Yeah, so the X means it's an ever so slightly bigger watch body and you go up from 47 millimeters to 51 millimeters. For all that you get better battery life, so you now go up to 33 hours fully running the GPS, about 20 days in the watch mode, in the smartwatch mode. And the other feature difference is we've put on there something called Pulse Ox, which can monitor your blood oxygen saturation from the wrist. And from that it can tell you how well you're performing at altitude and how we'll you're acclimatized, so it's all about acclimatization.
Jon: Brilliant. So that's really for your mountaineers.
Tom: Mountaineers, yeah, expedition-led. Or people who want that extended battery life.
Jon: I was just gonna say we've sold quite a few of them and the people are buying it because of that extended battery life. So I'll start off from the top and then we'll work back down. So we'll draw on Tomas, just because the Garmin Fenix 5x Plus Sapphire, that's a black and black band on it, and that's the one that'll measure your oxygen levels and also has that improved battery life. We've then got the one slightly below it, it's the same price, still 744.99, we've got the Fenix 5 Plus Sapphire with the Titanium and Solar Flare Orange, so that's got the different body to it, the Titanium and Sapphire screen. The one below it is the Fenix 5 Plus, which is a Sapphire. So again that's got the Sapphire screen on it, again, which is the better quality screen. And then we go down to the Fenix 5S Plus and the 5S Plus ... sorry, 5S Plus which is the one which is the standard one, really, isn't it? And then down at the bottom is the Garmin Instinct, and that comes in at 269.99. It's more of a rubbery feel. A smaller watch altogether.
Jon: I know Andy actually swapped his Fenix and went down, he decided he wanted an Instinct because he felt it was just smaller.
Tom: Yeah, and lighter, as well.
Jon: And light as well. So that's the Garmin range of watches. So thanks, Tom, for joining me on the podcast and going through that and again, if people want to know more about the watches, you can just go to our website which is gpstraining.co.uk, click on GPS store, then Garmin GPS watch on the left-hand side and you can view all the watches we've been discussing in the podcast.