Garmin Fenix 5S [Black Friday Offers & Cyber Monday 2022]

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Hey, do you know what? The Garmin Fenix 5S is a GPS multisport watch that’s neither massive nor ugly. You’d think that is clearly a weird thing to celebrate, but it’s quite the accomplishment in this category. Actually, launched alongside the flagship Fenix 5 and the map-tastic, fully-loaded Fenix 5X, the 5S is angled as those that like something somewhat smaller on the wrist, with ladies in particular in mind.

That the watch can be meant to be considered a day-to-day fitness tracker, along with being truly a world-beating outdoor watch, without doubt gave Garmin another reason to create something somewhat more wearable. It still measures 42mm, so it is hardly dainty, but it’s a wrist watch you’re much less more likely to remove after a run.

It’s simply the Fenix 5 shrunk into a slightly smaller package though, meaning you’ll receive each of the same features as the center sibling, however, not the advanced mapping of the 5X. That is still designed to be considered a fully-featured sports watch, be it running, cycling, swimming or snow sports you’re after, offering the types of in-depth data we’ve come to anticipate from Garmin’s top-shelf Fenix range.

Multisport fans should browse the incoming Garmin Vivoactive 3, but how does the 5S fare in comparison? Let’s dig in.

Garmin 5S: Design and comfort


The main element differentiator from the Fenix 5 (and 5X) is size. The 5S measures 42mm, rendering it the smallest of the number and more accommodating for slender wrists. Obviously that is Garmin’s method of targeting the feminine market, however the 5S isn’t being explicitly sold as a “girl’s watch”, and as a male with small wrists, There is it an excellent fit. It is also worth remembering that the Fenix 5 is 47mm, which is bigger than average for a men’s watch anyway.

But no, 42mm isn’t really small (in Apple Watch terms, that is the size of the bigger model) and the lugs alone take up a good chunk of space. But what I really like about the 5S is that I do not have a need to remove it; it’s a comfortable watch, and beyond running serves as an able step tracker and notification device, with an always-on display that means it is flawlessly adept as a period teller. I also lent it to a lady friend for two days, and she remarked how comfortable it felt in comparison to her current running watch.

Having said that, the screen is 0.1 inch smaller compared to the one on the Fenix 5, and includes a resolution of 218 x 218, as the other two watches have already been bumped up to 240 x 240. Garmin’s focus continues to be on clarity rather than beauty, and for a good work out watch such as this that’s fine – in particular when it keeps the battery attempting to its potential. There is the 5S to be really simple to read in several lighting conditions, and it’s really got a backlight for using at night. Oh, and in the event the pictures don’t make it obvious, it’s a colour display. Just like the 5, the 5S can be purchased in regular glass and sapphire variants.

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The button setup is equivalent to the 5 here too, with two on the proper side of the facial skin for in the years ahead and backwards through menus, and three down the left for scrolling along through options, and activating the backlight. It’s taken me an urgent amount of time to access grips with the input system, and nonetheless I still find myself tapping the incorrect button once in awhile. It feels somewhat of an unintuitive system in all honesty, but you will learn it quickly enough.

The Fenix 5S includes a silicon band which can be swapped for different colours and materials, using Garmin’s ‘QuickFit’ release mechanism. Which means it isn’t a universal fitting; you will have to choose exclusively made straps if you wish to mix up your lifestyle.

Garmin Fenix 5S: Features


The 5S does a whole lot. From running to cycling to water sports and skiing – and everything among – this watch is equipped to tackle a variety of activities. And whether it’s not on the list, you can just make it yourself, either in the iphone app or by typing it from the watch letter by letter (yeah, somewhat of a pain, but once it’s saved, it’s saved).

Starting a workout is really as simple as tapping the most notable right button once and scrolling to your designated activity. You can choose which activities you want fast access to, and as I mentioned, you can just make your own. There’s an extraordinary amount of granularity when coming up with a custom activity, as Garmin enables you to add custom alerts, auto lapping, 3D distance, auto pause, metronome, and which kind of data you want displayed during – among other activities.

You can transform the settings of pre-set activities challenging above options by entering the watch menu and scrolling along to Activities & Apps. Also you can view your history of activities, diving into all of the juicy metrics. I particularly like this I could see an aerobic vs anaerobic break down of each activity.

I’ve generally been using the 5S for running, which is just what a large amount of buyers will be concentrating on, and for that you have an abundance of information close at hand. For the much more serious trainers, you will discover VO2 Max – a stat that’s becoming extremely popular in fitness tech – together with recommended recovery time, and an exercise Load feature that lets you know if the amount of training you’ve been doing in the last week has been the proper amount, inadequate or too much. You will see these stats via widgets, which are easy-to-access screens you can scroll through, plus there are a good amount of downloadable custom watch faces too, displaying various metrics always.

The Fenix 5 also serves as a daily activity and sleep tracker. That is something Garmin has angled more at with the Vivosmart 3, however the 5S will track your daily steps, calories burned, floors climbed and hours slept. You may also see your heartrate during the day. Over my time using the 5S I’ve noticed my resting bpm is normally 5 bpm less than the Fitbit Alta HR reports, that i find a lttle bit curious as when I look at them both hand and hand, the 5S is normally a good jump higher for the reason that moment. I suppose various algorithms are in work to keep this in balance.

Beyond fitness and activity tracking, Garmin in addition has packed in a few limited smart features. The big one is notifications, and you will be in a position to get texts, calls, WhatsApps, email updates and more on the watch. However, the handling of notifications is quite basic, and you can’t connect to them at all on the watch.

Garmin Fenix 5S: Heartrate and GPS performance


The Fenix 5S includes the same optical heartrate monitor on the other two in the number, but you may also pair it with a chest strap if you want. I tested it alongside the Polar H7 strap, but I did so get prompts on the watch asking me easily wanted to hook up both together when it had been workout time.

Each time I’ve taken the 5S on a run, GPS locking has happening in just a matter of seconds. Now, I really do a whole lot of street running, and there are a few tall buildings in my own neighbourhood, which is probable the key reason why on some runs it showed me running right through the odd block instead of sticking with the roads – that i believe may be the Hulk’s favored sort of travel. However, generally it had no issue following my route, and when I acquired into more open streets it improved. I put it against the Polar M200, my Pixel smartphone not to mention my very own memory of my route, and There is the Fenix 5 to be solid in the GPS department, particularly impressing using its speed in locking on.

Now for heartrate – the ever tricky one. I’m in a normal running routine right now where I’m hitting a few 5ks weekly, with a few bouts of intensive training, so I want a wrist watch that can match those high-intensity peaks. I am putting the Fenix 5S against the Polar H7 chest strap, which we consider among the “gold standard” straps at this time. And for more steady running, it’s became solid.

During a run with an increase of intervals however, the watch didn’t fare quite aswell, struggling somewhat to map the fluctuations, but my average heartrate arrived spot-on with the chest strap, and only one 1 bpm higher on max HR. Within my first sprint at the five-minute mark it read my heart as dropping. As James within his overview of the Fenix 5, it took the watch up to ten minutes to hone in on the chest strap reading, therefore i guess that this is the case here. Also you can see in the graph above that it had been bouncing a little in the beginning.

I haven’t yet had the opportunity to check the 5S for cycling, but also for running it’s served me well. As I said, when the HIIT kicks in it generally does not surpass the chest strap, but overall I am impressed using what Garmin’s managed using its Elevate sensor here.

Garmin Fenix 5S: App and battery life


My biggest problem with the 5S is not actually related to the 5S itself, but with Garmin’s app; it’s desperately looking for an overhaul. It isn’t that it is lacking features, but finding the right path between them is more hassle than it requires to be. Generally, it isn’t the most intuitive software rather than feels as though a pleasure to use. It is also susceptible to freezing and sometimes outright crashing. Actually, I think it is incredibly sluggish on my Pixel.

You can push your workout data to other programs such as Strava, however that you’ll overlook viewing a few of the deeper metrics like Training Effect in the third-party apps, so that it really is determined by how “hardcore” a runner you are. If you wish to build your own workouts you will have to do this with the Connect Portal, that can be accessed on a browser or desktop app. Once you make a good work out you can tend to send it to your device, and it’ll show up beneath the workouts portion of the smartphone app.

A smaller condition does also mean a smaller battery life compared to the other two Fenix 5 watches sadly, but Garmin says to anticipate nine days in smartwatch mode and 14 hours in GPS. Balancing both, as I have already been, I’ve got around 6-7 days of power from the 5S, which is good, regardless if it is the least of the Fenix family.

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  • Built-in navigation sensors include three-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter as well as multiple satellite system (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) network capability to track in more challenging environments than GPS alone

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  • Premium smaller-sized (42 mm) multisport GPS watch with Elevate wrist heart rate technology
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  • Smaller-sized multisport GPS smartwatch that estimates heart rate at the wrist and includes color TOPO maps featuring trend line popularity routing to help you find and follow the best paths
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