The Fenix 6 is Garmin’s top-tier smartwatch, changing the Fenix 5 Plus and goes to enchantment to the extra devoted sporting fanatics, those that do extra train than the remainder of us put collectively.
Thankfully, it brings some very welcome updates, reminiscent of a slimmer and lighter chassis, optimised battery administration and tweaked onboard options.
Before we delve into the main points, potential patrons ought to know a factor or two in regards to the totally different flavours the Fenix 6 is accessible in. It is available in a variety of skews: There’s the usual Fenix 6 mannequin which has a 47mm case and prices from £599. Then below that is the marginally extra compact 6S that touts a 42mm case and barely decrease battery life. There’s additionally a Pro model of those fashions obtainable, which provides music compatibility, maps and Wi-Fi connectivity. Finally, there’s the extra highly effective 6X which has a barely higher battery alongside music, Wi-Fi, maps as normal.
And if cash is not any object, there’s the 6X Pro Solar model; the mannequin which boasts an excellent mild all-titanium physique and model new Solar panels for an additional enhance in battery life.
For the previous month, we’ve been utilizing the Fenix 6 the Pro Sapphire version, which sits on the upper-middle finish of the vary and has entry to the main options, alongside a a lot harder, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal display.
DESIGN: A TEENY BIT LESS BULKY
If you’re fully unfamiliar with the Fenix vary, there’s little doubt you’re conscious it isn’t aimed on the similar type of individuals that may purchase an Apple Watch, for instance. And positively not one thing you’d wish to put on to a cocktail party with a tux or good frock.
The Fenix sequence was as a substitute designed to be strong and stand up to the tough parts of the nice outside – it’s meant to get muddy, bashed round, plunged below water and survive excessive temperatures. And the Fenix 6 is the very best Garmin has ever produced for doing so.
It’s under no circumstances smooth or fairly – it maybe even appears to be like somewhat monstrous for these with slender wrists. But ultimately – for those who use it the best way it’s meant – you’ll come to adore it for this very cause.
If you’re pondering “what’s new?” properly, you’ll most likely not even discover the design updates within the Fenix 6 over its predecessor the 5S Plus. Changes are minimal and can solely make a giant distinction to those that personal one a a lot older system.
The Fenix 6 boasts the identical clunky design that the sequence is well-known for however there was a couple of tweaks made. For starters, it’s nonetheless 1.1mm slimmer, measuring 14.7mm thick, which is down from 15.8mm. Alright, this isn’t noticeably slimmer on the wrist however it does really feel barely lighter – weighing 7g lower than final 12 months’s equal mannequin. This is a a lot welcome enchancment for such a chunky smartwatch. Unlike Garmin’s extra consumer-friendly smartwatch, the Vivoactive 3 Music, the Fenix 6 is managed totally utilizing buttons as a substitute of a touchscreen, which is purposely designed so it may be higher operated in moist and windy environments, particularly underwater.
It additionally means you’ll be able to count on it to final a hell of loads longer between prices. In phrases of operation, button management works properly, eradicating any unintentional instructions which may occur with clumsy thumbs.
SCREEN: BIGGER, BRIGHTER, BETTER
The largest design improve is all in regards to the Fenix 6 display. The show is now 17 p.c bigger than that seen on the 5 Plus, leaping from a 1.2in, 240×240 decision show to a bigger 1.3in, 260×260 providing.
It won’t sound like loads, however it does make a distinction; textual content is displayed a lot cleaner with fewer seen pixels. It additionally implies that data is barely simpler to see than earlier than – displaying extra knowledge fields. For occasion, round the usual watch face you’ll have the ability to match eight of your present exercise measurements over the earlier six which means you’ll be able to merely look on the knowledge you wish to see with out having to scroll by countless menus.
Again, there’s purposely no contact compatibility, which the Fenix would most likely by no means combine as a result of goal of this watch being a severe outside exercise tracker. If you’re acquainted with Garmin gadgets, you’ll know that show brightness could be a difficulty as a consequence of there being no backlit AMOLED display as seen on many different gadgets. Instead, the agency makes use of a transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) display, which depends on exterior lights to light up when in properly lit conditionals, and an LED mild backlight (in true ‘90s Casio watch model) when not. This works an absolute dream on the Fenix 6. In the noon solar of a hike up the Alps, as an example, the show was illuminated completely with all data reminiscent of coronary heart charge and elevation knowledge being proven in crystal clear element.
FRESH FEATURES: EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK
Before we even contact on a number of the countless capabilities of the Fenix 6, we should always begin with a disclaimer: there isn’t any method you’ll be able to check all of the performance in a multi-sport smartwatch like this within the time we’ve had it.
There’s extra layers to this factor than an onion. However, we now have examined an important deal and are nonetheless having fun with discovering and studying extra by the day. This is the fantastic thing about such a posh system just like the Fenix 6 and does considerably justify its hefty worth level.
Regardless, we’ll discuss a few of our favourites to make this as straight-forward as potential.
One of probably the most notable updates is to the Fenix 6’s coronary heart charge sensor. Previously, you needed to buy a further chest strap to trace your coronary heart charge whereas swimming. However, Garmin have managed to tweak the sensor so it may well now measure coronary heart charge underwater. There’s no possible way of testing how properly this works except you examine the center charge monitoring recorded by the watch after which put on a seperate watch on the similar time related to chest monitor, which we didn’t have, however it does appear to work the identical method underwater because it does out.
As with different high-end Garmin watches such because the Forerunner line-up – the Fenix 6 comes built-in with a pulse oximeter, branded by Garmin as ‘Pulse Ox4’. This permits customers to see how properly their physique is absorbing oxygen. There’s additionally stress monitoring, incident detection, which sends an automatic SMS and electronic mail together with your title and GPS location to your emergency contacts, and the brand new Elevate HR sensor, which makes use of Garmin’s personal proprietary optical-based coronary heart charge sensor know-how. Great for individuals who take into account relaxation time simply as vital because the exercise itself, Garmin’s Recovery instruments are – after all – current on the Fenix 6, working in the identical method as they did on the Fenix 5 Plus, to assist relaxation and assist forestall damage.
This works by repeatedly monitoring your coronary heart and providing you with a mean resting coronary heart charge (RHR) for the week. This is particularly useful for recognizing an irregular elevation in RHR, which might be a great signal you need to most likely relax for a bit. As with the Apple Watch four and Apple Watch 5, there’s additionally an irregular coronary heart charge exercise alert – one other signal you’re most likely overdoing it.
ACTIVITY TRACKING: NO NONSENSE
As for sports activities monitoring, the identical multitude of actions can be found as you’d count on from a tool like this, from the extra normal working, swimming and biking to the extra sudden SUP, snowboarding and yoga. Everything we examined labored exceptionally properly, even when doing indoor exercises reminiscent of an F45 health class.
Tracking cardio throughout this excessive depth exercise proved a nice expertise (not that we may absolutely admire this throughout, thoughts). We favored that the Fenix 6 doesn’t really feel too heavy or cumbersome on the wrists whereas leaping onto packing containers or swinging kettlebells, and as a result of placement of the buttons we weren’t in a lot hazard of by chance altering any settings or monitoring choices throughout a heavy exercise.
Altitude knowledge through the mountaineering monitoring function, for instance, appeared to work a deal with, too. We took the Fenix 6 on a hike within the Alps, simply exterior the village of Courmayeur. We tracked an anticipated 50-minute slog to a restaurant on the highest of an enormous hill often known as Refuge Elena. At the top of the session, outcomes got here again at 44 minutes with a recorded most elevation of two,063 metres, which was fairly spot on because the Refuge’s data level mentioned it stands at an altitude of two,062 meters.
Using GPS was a doddle, activating nearly immediately after hitting the beginning exercise monitoring button, with a “GPS related” message popping up after a couple of seconds.
SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE: ENDLESS BATTERY LIFE (KIND OF)
The Fenix 6 doesn’t convey any drastically new software program options over the earlier mannequin however slightly a variety of tweaks and changes which all go in the direction of a way more intuitive interface.
One of the most important adjustments is the recent association of Widgets. They’ve now been grouped into extra digestible chunks, which you’ll entry by hitting the Up button on the house display so that you’re not overwhelmed by data and you will discover issues simpler.
There’s a giant deal with energy administration and battery transparency within the Fenix 6, too, in order that customers can higher perceive how lengthy the watch will final earlier than needing a re-juice. Instead of presenting a remaining battery p.c quantity, the smartwatch now displays the remaining utilization in time. For occasion, if there may be 10 p.c of the battery left, it would show this in days or hours. The finest bit? This will change in real-time, relying on how you utilize the watch, lowering the remaining time for those who’re demanding extra from the battery.
Garmin claims you need to get 14 days of use out of the Fenix 6 when in common smartwatch mode earlier than it wants a recharge. We discovered this to be roughly correct, however it’s onerous to correctly measure it, because it actually relies on what you do. For occasion, utilizing the watch’s GPS performance repeatedly on – say – an extremely marathon, complete battery life will plummet right down to a predicted 36 hours. However, we haven’t been doing a lot steady working you’ll be able to lengthen this to 28 days if it’s put in expedition GPS exercise mode or perhaps a whopping 48 days within the new battery saver mode.
As for charging – that’s comparatively quick, too, taking lower than three hours to fill the battery from fully flat.
APP AND SMARTWATCH FEATURES: EVERYTHING YOU’D EXPECT…AND MORE
As with most smartwatches, all of the hard-earned sweat is calculated after which saved through knowledge inside a companion software, on this case, the Garmin Connect app. Anyone conscious of what this app appeared like a couple of years in the past will know the way far it has come by way of look and value; it’s much more polished nowadays, and loads simpler to make use of, thank goodness.
It logs working, biking and swimming stats, your heart-rate graph for the final 4 hours, current notifications and the climate multi functional beautiful summarised welcome display, with the accompanying knowledge laid out coherently in blocks, making it very intuitive.
When reviewing a exercise, you’ll be offered with three rings representing time, distance, and energy burned, together with tempo and elevation knowledge beneath and a map of your route on the backside (if GPS was used all through). From right here, you’ll be able to have a fair nearer look into your stats (reminiscent of VO2 max insights) if you need an actual deep dive, however these are solely offered to you if swipe throughout to them, guaranteeing you’re not overwhelmed with knowledge. With assist for notifications, vibrate alerts and step counts as properly, the Fenix 6 additionally offers you the foundations of a extra way of life smartwatch whereas concentrating extra on the intense health aspect of issues.
FENIX 6 VERDICT
The Fenix 6 needs to be probably the greatest smartwatches in the marketplace in the present day. Sure, it doesn’t look as smooth because the Apple Watch, however that’s not the concept right here.
Anyone who is really into their health will greater than admire the countless options that Fenix 6 has to supply and the way it’s capable of deal with every little thing you throw at it – now with higher energy choices and person interface that make it a lot simpler to make use of. It is, certainly, the very best health smartwatch cash should buy.
It’s only a nice disgrace you want numerous it to get one. But must you purchase one? Well, for those who already personal a Fenix 5 or later, it’s most likely not definitely worth the improve. Nevertheless, those that don’t have already got a devoted smartwatch and are getting extra severe about health and trying to improve their smartwatch sport can’t go improper with Garmin’s newest launch.