Garmin Fenix 5 guide: Meet the new Fenix outdoor watch family

Updated: Everything you need to know about the Fenix 5, Fenix 5S and Fenix 5X
Garmin Fenix 5 essential guide

Garmin has unveiled not one, but three successors to its multi sport GPS watch, in the shape of the Fenix 5, the Fenix 5S and the Fenix 5X.

They're still very much built with outdoor adventurers in mind, with all of the new Fenix 5 models offering long battery life, 24/7 activity tracking, mapping, Garmin's Elevate wrist based heart rate monitor and the usual array of multi sport tracking features and metrics. That means it still caters for runners, hikers, swimmers and cyclists.

Read this: Garmin Fenix 5 review

Here's a breakdown of all the key new features you can expect to see from the new Fenix 5 series.

Garmin Fenix 5

Garmin Fenix 5, Fenix 5S and Fenix 5X officially announced

Good news swimmers, all of the new Fenix watches are waterproof rated to 100 metres, so you can go for a dip without worrying that the stainless steel body will get damaged. The 47mm Fenix 5 features a more compact design in comparison to the Fenix 3 HR, and like the other models it lets you switch between leather and metal straps.

Garmin Fenix 5S

Garmin Fenix 5 guide: Meet the new Fenix outdoor watch family

The Fenix 5S is designed for female adventurers, offering a smaller 42mm sized watch that's available in silver with either white, turquoise or black silicone bands with a mineral glass lens. There's also a Fenix 5S Sapphire model that features a more outdoor-friendly scratch resistant sapphire lens and offers Wi-Fi support making it easier to sync your data.

Garmin Fenix 5X

Garmin Fenix 5 guide: Meet the new Fenix outdoor watch family

Last up is the Fenix 5X, which is the daddy of the new range. It comes in a slate grey finish and measures in at 51mm. It's also available in a sapphire lens, Wi-Fi packing model. It adds an extra layer of robustness with its stainless steel bezel and buttons along with reinforced housing to protect it from serious damage.

In terms of screen quality you can expect one of Garmin's Chroma displays with LED backlighting to ensure you have strong visibility at day and at night.

Garmin Fenix 5, 5X and 5S: Features

There's a three-axis compass on board as well as a gyroscope, barometric altimeter and thermometer. Throw in GPS and GLONASS support and that means tracking is well and truly covered. Once again, you can expect to track multiple sports profiles with unique metrics including running, swimming, rowing, skiing, golf and paddle sports.

Essential reading: Connect IQ essential guide

We've praised Garmin's smartwatch features on the Forerunner and Fenix watches in the past, and it looks like you'll get more of the same in the Fenix 5 collection so you'll be able to view call, text and email notifications on the watch display. There's Connect IQ support as well so you can add additional widgets, data fields and watch faces.

The Fenix 5X is the only watch that comes preloaded with full colour, TOPO US mapping and cycling maps, letting users decide how far they'd like to run or ride and then suggesting suitable courses with guidance available on the watch display. There's also an Around Me map mode that picks out points of interest, and you can view data overlays during tracked activity so you don't have to play around with switching screens.

Garmin Fenix 5, 5X and 5S: New metrics

Garmin Fenix 5 guide: Meet the new Fenix outdoor watch family

For the data obsessives, the Fenix 5 series has the bases covered and a whole lot more. You can still expect a host of advanced running metrics including performance condition, stress score and lactate threshold.

This time it's also delving into the professional sports tracking world to build in new hardcore fitness metrics. This includes Training Effect mode, which Garmin has upgraded to Training Effect 2.0. Powered by its analytics partner FirstBeat, this will now take into consideration both aerobic and anaerobic workouts to help better optimise your training sessions.

A new Training Load metric gives users glance at a 7-day picture of EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) data that will enable users to examine, monitor, and evaluate training programs. That EPOC testing is the same method that was used to generate the Training Effect data.


Training Status is perhaps the most interesting new addition as it integrates physiological training and performance information into a single training indicator. It takes measured fitness levels from VO2 max testing and evaluates that information to classify your performance status breaking it down into categories of, Detraining, Unproductive, Recovery, Maintaining, Productive, Peaking, and Overreaching.

Why is that useful information? Well, it allows users to understand how the combination of your training activities are influencing your current state of fitness. It will apparently require two week's worth of training history before it can start delivering this feedback.

Garmin Fenix 5, 5X and 5S: Battery life

Garmin Fenix 5 guide: Meet the new Fenix outdoor watch family

Garmin's sports watches have always been battery powerhouses in the past and it's no different with the new Fenix watches. The Fenix 5 promises two weeks of battery life in smartwatch mode and 24 hours in GPS mode. With the Fenix 5S, you can expect to get up to eight days in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS mode. Fenix 5X owners can expect to get up to 12 days battery life in smartwatch mode and 20 hours in GPS mode. All models are equipped with a power saving mode to squeeze out a few more hours of tracking.

Garmin Fenix 5
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Garmin Fenix 5, 5X and 5S: Price and release dates

The new Fenix 5, 5S and 5X are set to start shipping in Q1 2017. The Fenix 5 is priced at $599.99, The Fenix 5 Sapphire edition bumps the price up to $849.99.

The Fenix 5S is priced at $599.99 while a 5S Sapphire upgrade will cost you $849.99.

Last up is the Fenix 5X, which comes in at $699.99.


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12 Comments

  • HansM says:

    fenix is an epic watch to me personally. I am just so excited thinking of getting the fenix 5 in a few weeks. I already had the chance to try it on during CES and I can tell you it is crazy above all the fenix 5 appears to be just the perfect package - increasing the performance of the fenix 3 on screen resolution and battery life while shrinking it to a Suunto Core size is just so cool. I am also thrilled by the new Performance Widget this is a huge next step and answers my core question - do all these workouts still pay off - is my training still efficient?

    I was buying the fenx 2 with my first pay check and it was a great company throughout all kind of crazy things I tried out during the last three years. I can still recall the excitement that I felt once I putted the watch the first time on my wrist - I was almost intimidated knowing about all the cool things that this watch was capable to do - not knowing whether I would fully exploit the rich feature set eventually.

    Actually the fenix as a boldsport statement on my wrist remembered me every day of my athletic heritage and got me back to regular running, off tarmac onto the trail and eventually into ultra-trail distances and guess what this year I ran the UTMB and competed in my first three Swim-Run events. I am truly excited about where the fenix 5 will take me once I put it on my wrist...  

  • Scoobie says:

    I don't have a fenix watch but have a fenix 5 on order I want to know if you can use the metronome in swim mode? Can anyone please tell me?

  • Jonog says:

    Does anyone know when it is likely to be released in the U.K.?

    • adamhempenstall says:

      April 1st - you can now pre-order on Amazon

  • rfortierjr says:

    • The one thing I don't understand is the price of the 5x.  It comes with the sapphire maps and the maps but cost less than the other two with sapphire option. 
    • pjhenry1216 says:

      I think it's the bands. I notice some of the sapphires come in two versions, a metal band and a rubber-like band. the metal one is more expensive. it's possible that they're quoting different bands.

  • Marting says:

    Will it be possible to add european maps to 5x and delete the US maps? 

  • Marting says:

    will it be possible to add european maps to 5x and use those instead of the preinstalled US maps?

  • Necky says:

    when will I be able to buy the 5X in Europe.

  • padech says:

    Why Garmin cut the music play back feature off from Fenix 5 series while this feature is available in Fenix 3 series ? That is so painful.

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