The Garmin Fenix 3 is considered the ultimate backcountry companion. This multisport watch is ahead of its time and it’s one that definitely worked its way to the top of our list thanks to the wide range of features, sapphire display, and the built-in heart rate monitor.
Basically, if you live to hike, camp, swim or run, this watch is going to be hard to pass up.
Overview and Features
This watch offers some features that you’ll commonly find on a smartwatch, such as message notifications, the ability to control the music on your smartphone, a calendar and a VIRB action camera. If you want to download custom widgets and apps, you can use Garmin Connect. The watch syncs via USB and Bluetooth to Garmin Connect where all your data is stored.
Runners will love the ability to track their speed, pace, distance, route, run times, cadence, calories burned, heart rate, vertical oscillation, and ground contact time.
Cyclists can also take advantage of many of the fitness tracking features including heart rate, cadence, timing, distance covered, and route.
There are also fitness tracking features specifically designed for swimmers, so they can track stroke count, distance, stroke rate, heart rate and interval data.
The watch is equipped with Ultra-Trac mode, GLONASS, and GPS. It’s water resistant up to three hundred and thirty feet and can also be paired with ANT sensors.
This watch features a new large backlit Chroma color display, so reading important data is a breeze in any type of lighting condition. The sapphire display consists of extra-tough glass, so you know the watch is sturdy enough to handle the great outdoors.
Even if you use GPS frequently, the watch still offers a decent battery life. On average, when using Bluetooth or GPS the battery life will drop only about six percent an hour. This means, if you constantly use the watch non-stop you’re looking at fifteen hours per charge. The battery life can be stretched to fifty hours using the low power Ultra-Trac mode, which works by pinging for a GPS location every sixty seconds instead of every single second. When the watch is switched to watch-only or standby mode the battery life shoots up to three months per charge.
When it comes to navigation, this watch truly shines. Hikers can access barometer and altimeter, or the compass quickly and easily, even with the GPS shut off.
Hikers can set up waypoints and navigate back to these set points, so They won’t have to worry about following a map or using their smartphone. Waypoints can be set even before hitting the trail so hikers can see what they’ll run into along the way. The watch will even guide the hiker in the event they veer off course.
The interface is very clean looking and makes it easy to quickly access and review stats. The Garmin Connect app is excellent, allowing users to review past data and upload new data within seconds. There are many options to choose from in terms of data tracking, especially for sports options. Hikers who are interested in a more basic watch and one with a heavier emphasis on hiking may benefit from buying a simpler model, such as the Suunto Core outdoor watch.
Even More Sport Options
As we’ve mentioned, the watch is a true multitasker when it comes to collecting data during an activity, but we didn’t touch on every sport the watch specializes in. Aside from running, swimming, and hiking, you can expertly track stats for activities such as triathlons, skiing, snowboarding, mountain climbing, indoor running, indoor swimming, and indoor cycling.
As an example, for indoor swimming, the watch will use the accelerometer to determine the type of stroke you’re using and when you’re turning around. Many swimmers reported that this feature is very accurate, just as long as the swimmer sticks to a predictable course.
When placed in the triathlon mode the watch works be switching between different types of activities such as cycling, swimming, and running, once the lap button has been pressed. The watch also gives you the option of setting up your own multisport profile.
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Fitness tracking options
- Water resistant
- Faster than average GPS locking
- Backlit Chroma color display screen
- Smartphone notifications
- Compared to other watches in this price range, the battery life is very low.
- In bright light, the display screen can be difficult to read