Introducing Garmin's Fenix 5 range

Author: Tim Lofthouse  Date Posted: 17 February 2017

The Fenix 5 range, originally released in 2017, consists of three models: 5 Plus, 5S and 5X. What's the difference between them?

Alongside Garmin’s Forerunner range, the Fenix line has evolved over the last few years into the American tech giant’s most popular family of premium multisport watches. The Fenix watch range was designed to be rugged and functional, yet still stylish enough to wear to work.

The Garmin 5 Plus HR – a multisport GPS watch with Elevate wrist-based heart rate technology, advanced fitness features and interchangeable bands. The Fenix 5S – the first female specific addition to the Fenix range, a more fitted version of the 5 with a smaller sized display. And the Fenix 5X – with TOPO Lite Australia & New Zealand mapping and other outdoor navigation features. While some may be taken-aback by the size of the Fenix 5X face, the smaller, sleeker and less ‘clunky’ design of 5 models continues to heighten the overall attractive appearance of the watch.

Garmin has not compromised the rugged nature of the Fenix range for these smoother looks. In fact, Garmin improved the structure of the watch design, sapphire lens and stainless steel bezel, making them even more resistant to the bumps and scratches which may undoubtedly come as a result of your adventures (or misadventures).

Unlike the Fenix 3 and Forerunner range, the new 'QuickFit' interchangeable band system does not require tools to swap out or replace bands, but simply clicks into place. This feature is brilliant: not only is changing bands notoriously fiddly, but you can now use your favourite fluorescent silicon band strictly for exercising, then swap it out for your classier stainless steel band on your way to work.

 The 5X also has pre-loaded maps and an 'around me' points-of-interest function to help create your adventures on the go. Garmin also tidied up their features with the customisation of pages, widgets and data fields to be much easier to manage. The Transflective LCD Display was carried over from the previous Fenix models, but now noticeably sharper and more vibrant, which improves readability in areas with lots of glare and exposure, thanks to greater screen resolution (22x22pixel increase) and the “sunlight-visible, always-on, low power, colourful display".

Additional features include the Elevate wrist-based heart rate technology for around the clock HR readings, extended battery life and built-in memory capacity (64MB compared to 32 previously, with 200 hours of track log support compared to 100), dual navigation networks (GPS and GLONASS), and a host of advanced performance metrics.

In 2018, the Fenix 5 Plus range replaced the Fenix 5 range.

The Fenix 5 Plus range brings the old 5X's 16GB of full-colour topographical maps to all three 5 Plus models, and standardises a lot of Garmin's recent features. All three 5 Plus models have the Trendline Routing feature formerly restricted to cycling computers, which lets users see what the most popular routes around are. Garmin Pay and 4GB worth of music storage lets you leave your wallet and music player at home; you can even download music playlists and then stream them from Bluetooth-enabled earphones.

Galileo GPS support has been added, which should mean faster GPS connection, while a new privacy mode lets you mute smartphone message notifications - only you know where you are when you're on the run! The new ClimbPro feature splits up individual climbs on your route so you can see elevation, grade, and distance stats for each climb. 

The Fenix 5S Plus now features a 1.2 inch display, which is almost 20% larger than the former 5S version. 

The Fenix 5X Plus comes with the new Pulse Oximeter: it can measure the volume of oxygen in your blood, a useful tool for climbers and trekkers in high-altitude areas.

All in all, the Fenix 5 Plus range boasts enough new features that it's almost a completely different watch from the 5 range. Wildfire Sports no longer carries the Fenix 5 range as it has been made obsolete by the Fenix 5 Plus range.

View the whole Garmin range