​Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Tips and tricks to make the most of your sports watch

Hacks, shortcuts and apps to power up your Garmin
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To say Garmin is going all-out with its Fenix 3 would be an understatement. Since realising this larger GPS wearable was popular, Garmin has created a Fenix 3 HR, Fenix 3 Sapphire and Fenix 3 Chronos. All have been crammed with features to make getting more for your buck easier than ever.

The challenge, aside from all the exercise you should be doing with a watch of this ability, is finding all it can offer. But fear not, you can leave the difficult menu fiddling to us so you can focus on the training.

We've compiled all the best tips and tricks for the Fenix 3 HR, so you can keep training fun and make sure you're using the watch get the ultimate performance out of yourself.

Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Hot keys

​Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Tips and tricks to make the most of your sports watch

When you're up to your waist in mud, panting for your life and aiming for a new personal best, the last thing you want to do is drill down into the menus on your watch. Hot keys to the rescue.

The Garmin Fenix 3 HR lets you assign certain functions to its physical buttons. This works for pressing and holding of the Start and Down keys, with a possible function for each. For example you could press and hold the Down button to save your location, turn on Bluetooth, lock the device, start a stopwatch, activate Wi-Fi, set MOB (man overboard) or save a dual grid waypoint.

Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Quick time access

​Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Tips and tricks to make the most of your sports watch

When you're in the middle of an activity and you realise that you don't have a clue what the time, is you'd be forgiven for getting angry trying to find it.

Read this: Our in depth Garmin Fenix 3 HR review

If you've not got the time set as a screen within your active data fields you might find it a pain to access. There's a simple fix.

Press and hold the Down button while in activity mode and this will take you directly to the time screen. Then you simply press the Back button and you're taken back into the activity screen, where everything is still recording.

Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Get Strava on your wrist

If you're a keen cyclist you'll probably already be using Strava regularly. Now that team competition can be found within the Fenix 3 HR too.

The Strava Life Suffer Score app is available in the Garmin Connect IQ Store. This appears as a data field on the watch. It uses your heart rate zone times with total activity effort for this Suffer Score, which is nice and easy to compare your efforts on a level playing field with others.

Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Upload your own waypoint route

​Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Tips and tricks to make the most of your sports watch

Going out and exploring is great but when you want to follow a specific route, that's bespoke to you, it can be more difficult. Luckily Garmin Fenix 3 HR supports waypoint guidance and can store up to 1,000. There are two decent options for creating routes.

The first is to plan a route and head out marking those waypoints as you go so it'll be saved for future runs. Then you can be guided using an arrow that will point you accurately between waypoints and even give distances to that point so you can judge turns accurately.

The second is to download the dwMap app in the Connect IQ Store that allows you to input waypoints on a map so you can follow that path in the real world when you head out. This is great for new areas where you've not mapped waypoints before.

Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Find your way home

​Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Tips and tricks to make the most of your sports watch

You should never get lost as long as you're using the Fenix 3 HR with GPS turned on. This is thanks to the TracBack feature that should make exploring new areas less daunting.

During an activity select Stop then in the menu go to TracBack, and the watch will not only take you back to your start point but will follow the exact route you came along. The screen can display a path so you can see how far and which way you're headed to your start point.

Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Customise your watch

By using the Garmin Connect IQ store you can download new watch faces, specialised training widgets for sensor data at glance, data field manipulation and more.

Watch faces can offer data at a glance all the time, so if you want heart rate right there, that's an option. Need to know how many steps you've taken? There's a face for that too. Mad about checking battery level? There are even cool colourful options to make this obvious every time you look at the watch.

Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Play games

Avoid associating your Fenix with pain by playing a game on there every now and then. Download the Donkey.BAS app to get a simple version of the first PC game from 1981.

This lets you use the Select button to tap to avoid hitting donkeys as your virtual car drives along a pixelated road. It's super simple which, as you'd expect, also makes it super addictive. You have been warned.

Another fun game is the aptly named Gravity Game which uses the watch's motion sensors to let you virtually guide a ball into a hole by tilting the watch face. Great fun.

Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Display changes while active

​Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Tips and tricks to make the most of your sports watch

If you've already started an activity like a big cycle then the last thing you want to do is end that recording to change displays. Perhaps you want to have sunset time on your screens but forgot to add that before starting the activity. This is how to change data screens during an activity.

Press and hold the Up button for the menu access, then select Settings and you'll see a new category option called Current App. Select this and you can mess with all your data screens to add, remove or simply change what's displayed – all without affecting your active data recording.

Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Find your car

Using the free Find My Car app from the Connect IQ Store you can use your Fenix 3 HR to keep track of your car's location and help you find your way back.

The app needs to be opened as you leave your car, a bit like setting a waypoint. Then when you come to look for your wheels, the app can be used to guide you, with an arrow and distance displayed on the screen.

TAGGED Garmin Sport

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Luke is an AOP Award-winning and APA Award-nominated journalist with over ten years' of experience in technology writing.

He works for The Metro, IdealHome, The Guardian, The Sun, Daily Mirror, Wired, BBC Focus, T3, Stuff, Tech Radar, Recombu, Trusted Reviews and more. 

Luke spent time at the world's best-selling gadget magazine, in charge of news, reviews, and presenting videos for Stuff.tv. 

He was news editor at Pocket-Lint where he sourced, wrote and edited daily tech news features and reviews.

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