The Fenix 5X by Garmin is an altimeter watch and fitness trainer. It provides some of the best descent and ascent metrics info out of all the watches we have reviewed, including the Garmin Fenix 3, a popular model that’s available at a more affordable price. The 5X is Garmin’s latest model and the best outdoor watch on our top five list. While for some, the price may be a deal breaker, those who are serious about hiking, fitness monitoring, and exploring the great outdoors will be blown away by this model’s accuracy, beautiful large display, and the breathable ergonomic design.
Overview and Features
Marketed as the next big thing in outdoor watch technology, the 5X can be an essential tool for hikers who prefer off-trail hiking.
Unlike other bulky outdoor watches, the 5X features a sleeker design. The thinner case body, smoother buttons, and the flattened heart rate sensor reduces this model’s overall weight. More importantly, the streamlined design prevents the watch from getting caught on clothing or brush, and instead gently hugs the wearer’s wrist.
The temperature feature is a nice extra, but if you want an accurate reading, you’ll need to attach the watch to your backpack strap, so your body heat will not affect the reading.
Hikers will love the GPS battery life. In Ultra-Trac mode, the battery will last up to thirty-six hours. The Ultra-Trac mode basically checks GPS location every few minutes as opposed to the GPS constantly monitoring the hiker’s location in real time. When switched to the standard GPS mode you can expect an average battery life of fifteen hours.
Barometer and Altimeter
Like other top-selling outdoor watches, this model also displays current barometric and altitude pressure. It also produces easy to read graphs that are color-coded. Changing the graphs is also simple and they can be viewed in different hourly increments including every forty-eight hours, twenty-four hours, or every four hours. The watch also includes a manual or automatic calibration feature for altitude.
The trend graph for the altimeter is truly impressive. Users will love the highs and lows plotted and the color scale.
For automatic altimeter calibration, the watch uses barometric pressure and GPS. The included auto-climb function will automatically detect and change elevation. The 5X also tracks weather patterns and a storm alert feature, so hikers and campers will always stay up to date with current weather conditions. Overall the barometric and altimeter feature collects more data than any other outdoor watch on the market.
The built-in compass is equipped with tilt-compensation that allows for manual calibration. Both magnetic declination and setting a north reference can also be done manually. Aside from the compass there are several navigational features that hikers can use with GPS.
For the fitness enthusiasts, the watch is equipped with a ton of information that will allow you to monitor your progress, including sports profiles, fitness goals, sleep tracking, move reminders, calories burned, heart rate zones, workout calendar, and interval workouts. The watch comes with built-in apps for treadmill running, trail running, triathlons, open water swimming, snowboarding, rowing, paddle boarding, and skiing.
If fitness tracking and multiple sports profiles aren’t important to you, considering the price, you may be better off choosing a basic outdoor watch such as the Suunto Core, which also has a reputation for accuracy and it’s available at a more affordable price.
The large reflective sapphire crystal display screen is scratch-resistant, bright, and easy to read in any type of lighting condition. In fact, the ultra-clear display screen features 240 x 240 pixels, which makes text incredibly easy to read.
Located on the left side of the watch are three buttons. These buttons can be adjusted based on the user’s personal preference. This is one of the easiest outdoor watches to use. Straight out of the box setting up the watch is very intuitive and simple, thanks to a variety of prompts. The interface is easy to navigate, so users can quickly set up alerts, fitness profiles, workout challenges, and keep an eye on the weather, compass, and other alerts. This is a watch that works for you and one that will set you up for success.
- Waterproof up to three hundred and thirty feet
- Equipped with a variety of sports profiles
- Fitness monitoring
- Highly accurate barometer and altimeter
- Battery life-saving mode
- While easy to use, the large selection of features can initially be overwhelming.