Garmin Fenix 3: Everything you need to know about the new sports wearable

The full lowdown on Garmin's latest heavy hitting multi-sport smartwatch
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Garmin's smartwatches have always been sports watch first, everyday watch second, but with the arrival of the Fenix 3, back in January at CES 2015, it's clear Garmin wants its devices to be the only things strapped to your wrists.

Essential reading: Best running watches

In our hands on review of the Fenix 3 we described it as having the same dizzying array of sports as its predecessor – running, cycling, indoor training, swimming – and new additions including open water swimming and triathlon."

It's a device that combines a wealth of fitness and activity features into a slick looking smartwatch-esque design.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about the Garmin Fenix 3 including the all-important price and release date information.

Garmin Fenix 3: Design and display


A quick peek at the Garmin Fenix 3 and you'd be forgiven for thinking you were looking at an Android Wear smartwatch. Where its predecessor featured a basic digital watch face, the Fenix 3 adds a technicolour, always-on, display to the mix.

It's a 1.2-inch, 218 x 218 Chroma display that's designed to be daylight readable, but while the ppi count is not as impressive as a regular LCD you'd find on an Android Wear watch, it should be more practical for athletes. If you were hoping for a touchscreen, you'll be disappointed as this hasn't been included on the Fenix 3 but is a feature of the Epix and Vivoactive.

The size of the Fenix 3, while still big if you're classing it as a smartwatch, is slimmer than its older brother with a 15mm thickness. The standard edition weighs 82g, it's an extra 3g if you go for the awesome looking sapphire one.

What's the difference: Garmin Fenix 2 v Garmin Fenix 3

That's right, like the Apple Watch, there's a Fenix 3 edition boasting a dark stainless steel bezel along with a scratch resistant domed sapphire glass lens, strong link stainless steel wristband and a user replaceable black rubber wristband.

For standard models, it's available in silver or grey with red or black bands.

Garmin Fenix 3: Activity features

The Fenix 3 doesn't scrimp on any sports watch capabilities with GPS, GLONASS, compass, barometer and altimeter all on board. The satellite connectivity is thanks to the new EXO antenna, a receiver that is built right into the protective stainless steel bezel of the watch.

Functionality includes tracking walking, running, biking and swimming as before, as well as skiing and snowboarding support too, making the Fenix 3 even more of a sports all-rounder. The extended feature list includes a 'breadcrumb' trail to help hikers return to their starting point without getting completely lost.

Trail runners will be pleased with the new UltraTrack mode, which extends GPS usage up to 50 hours from the 300mAh lithium-ion battery, and the usual ingredients such as auto-calibration for the altimeter and compass are on board too.

Essential guide: Garmin Vivoactive launch date, features and more

The Fenix 3 will vibrate on the hour to remind you to get up and move around - handy for everyday activity - but also includes lots of specialist features such as stroke count for swimmers, recovery time calculation and VO2 max plus LiveTrack for collaborative training sessions.

This do-it-all smartwatch doesn't quite have everything. To track your heart rate and calculate recovery time, the Fenix 3 will need to be paired with Garmin's HRM strap which can be bundled with any of the new line-up for an extra $50. It's a strange omission but Garmin seems content with its device ecosystem working together.

Garmin Fenix 3: Connect IQ apps


As with the Fenix 2, the Fenix 3 supports basic notifications from iPhone or Android on-screen. But now Garmin is announcing third party apps, in the manner of Pebble, such as Accuweather (air quality, pollen count), Tempo for calendars and iSki for those all-important slope conditions.

It might be late to going it alone with third party apps but with the right mixture of sports apps and everyday apps, Garmin could be onto a winner with its new Connect IQ platform.

Garmin Fenix 3: Price and release date

The Fenix 3 is available in silver or grey with red or black bands and prices will start at , or you can splash out on the sapphire model for .

We'll be publishing our full Garmin Fenix 3 review as soon as we've had an opportunity to fully test one.

How we test


Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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