Discovery of the smart health connected watch for demanding athletes: Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Review
- Garmin Fenix 5 Plus review smart health connected watch for sports
- Fenix 5 Plus design: solid, very solid
- Personal assistant functions
- The top for monitoring Fenix Plus sports activities
- Reading sound notifications during an activity
- Control music with your Fenix 5 Plus
- Sleep analysis
- Fenix 5 Plus, 5S and 5X autonomy
- Price and availability Fenix 5 Plus
- Garmin fēnix 5 Plus, Premium Multisport GPS Smartwatch, features Color Topo Maps, Heart Rate Monitoring, Music and Pay, Black with Black Band
- Features Garmin Fenix 5 Plus
- Garmin Fenix 5 smartwatch review
Garmin Fenix 5 Plus review smart health connected watch for sports
Here is the smart health connected watch specially designed for demanding athletes who want precise monitoring of their performance. The Fenix series by Garmin dominates by experience the sector of smart health connected watches specialized in monitoring sports activities. This fifth evolution of the Fenix model named 5 Plus is available in Fenix 5S Plus and Fenix 5X Plus. They have ever-larger dials, and add more advanced personal assistant functions to the sport.
The American brand brings together, in the Fenix 5 Plus, the best of its latest innovations: music (Spotify and Deezer), payment (Garmin Pay), cartography, sleep tracking everything and even stress monitoring. Advantages for all amateur and professional athletes, especially cyclists, the hikers, the golfers where the runners. The on-board mapping is probably the biggest difference with Garmin la Fenix 5.
You get a high-end watch that can justify starting at $ 698, passing with the sapphire crystal to $ 848 and exceeding 1100 $ in all options version.
Fenix 5 Plus design: solid, very solid
The look, the different versions
If it is a solid, robust watch even cut for the practice of sport, I must recognize that its current design allows it to be worn as an everyday watch. Garmin offers versions titanium case with truly scratch-resistant sapphire crystal perfect for a practice at sea or beach (sand yachting, kayaking, triathlon) or with risk of shock (squash, finally for heavyweights like me who scrape the walls to support).
It is obviously less elegant than the models of Emporio Armani, Michael Kors or Montblanc, but the addition of the 5 visible screws gives it character. And, its massive size will make it difficult to wear for thin wrists. The smallest case offered is 42mm, the middle 47mm and the really large 51mm. And, some of the sport you practice on your wrist size won’t move much.
One particular point is that the screen size does not change depending on the case, you will always have a screen of 240 x 240 p by 3.4 cm in diameter. Personally, I therefore recommend the 42 mm case, which is cheaper and lighter, unless you like the big watch look which facilitates access to the buttons since the screen is not tactile.
Displaying information on the screen
The screen is a color screen with LED backlighting and even under an incredibly bright sun in the desert sands (Fontainebleau), it remains legible even at night by illuminating it with the headlamp. Real adventurer’s watch.
There is no touch screen (the same choice as for Suunto, I do not tell you about it in this blog, because I was rather disappointed with their products and tired by their emails). But the Fenix 5 Plus has several buttons on the crown who are very responsive and easy to find in the field. Finally, this choice is very consistent for a smart health connected watch for sport and much more effective in the action of pressing the right button than on a particular area of the screen.
The functions of the buttons
- The button light turns on the backlight. Press and hold to access the shortcut menu. It is also used to activate your watch.
- The S button tart allows you to display the list of activities and to start or stop it. In the menus, it allows you to validate an entry or an option.
- The V button ack / LAP meanwhile allows you to go back, or take a lap during an activity.
Press this button to record a circuit, a rest period or a transition during a multisport activity.
Press and hold this button to display the watch face from any screen.
- From the basic screen, the U buttons p and Down allow you to navigate among widgets. In the menus, they allow you to navigate through the options (up and down).
During an activity, they scroll through the data screens.
Long press on the U button p accesses the menu.
Long press on the button Down provides access to music functions.
There is room for display up to four statistics on screen with a customizable layout. The less you put, the more readable the data.
Flip the Fenix 5 Plus over and you’ll find the Garmin optical heart rate sensor with its three green LEDs and the USB cable connector. The bump of the sensor exceeds much less than on the Suunto 9 or the Polar Vantage V. But thanks to the dome, there is always good contact with the skin without any discomfort over long distances. Yes, that leaves a small mark, but all the optical heart rate sensors too.
Here again Garmin does not do half measures. The range of bracelets adapts to wrists from 163 to 249 mm and you have the choice between silicone, leather and metal. The change is very simple without compromising the security of the fixing thanks to the QuickFit system. One of the musts in the design of mechanism. There are many additional models online and even Milanese mesh bracelets.
For me, the natural choice is the silicone bracelet more suited to the practice of a sport, it is particularly comfortable and treated against allergies. If you choose leather, don’t play sports with I ruined a bracelet like that.
In addition to the customization of the interface to excess
You can personalize your Fenix Plus by changing the bracelet, but also by downloading free content in the Connect IQ store. You can change the wallpaper, add data fields, and download apps and widgets that let you access information at a glance.
IOS and Android applications and PC or Mac software (update August 27, 2019)
But if you don’t have a mobile, you can also use the Garmin Express software version for Mac or PC to configure your Fenix 5 plus.
From the Garmin Connect app on your mobile, you access:
- Displaying your daily health data on your My Day page.
- Analysis of your activities and their associated statistics.
- The creation of personalized training and courses.
- Synchronization with other apps like MyFitnessPal and Strava.
- The display of your personal step, distance and pace records.
- Reward badges for your achievements.
- Comparisons with other Garmin Connect users with Insights.
- Support for Garmin devices and their functions.
Personal assistant functions
Many features are built into Garmin’s Fenix 5 Plus by pairing it with the free Garmin Connect Mobile app for iOS or Android devices via Bluetooth connection. Some of these functions require the installation of the Garmin Connect Mobile application on the smart health connected smartphone.
- Telephone notifications : displays notifications from your smartphone, you view your messages on the dial of your Fenix 5 plus.
- View notifications.
- Receive an incoming phone call.
- Reply to a text message.
- LiveTrack allows your friends and family to follow your runs and workouts in real time. You can invite subscribers by email or on social media. They will be able to view your data in real time on a Garmin Connect tracking page.
- Activity downloads on Garmin Connect, this automatically sends your activity to your Garmin Connect Mobile account as soon as it is saved.
- Connect IQ allows you to extend the functionality of your device using new watch faces, widgets, apps and data fields.
- Updates software, classic to simply take advantage of updates to the software integrated into your watch.
- Weather forecast, you see the current weather conditions and forecasts.
- Additional sensors to pair compatible Bluetooth sensors, such as the heart rate monitoring.
- Find my phone. Identical to what an Apple Watch offers, your phone rings your phone to find it
- find my watch. Conversely from your smartphone you can ring your Fenix plus. One of the “Find My Car” applications even allows you to find your car (or any place you have indicated).
- Contactless payment with Garmin Pay. Currently limited in France to qsome banking partners and only if you have a MasterCard:
- Arkéa Private Banking
- Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne
- Crédit Mutuel du Massif Central
- Crédit Mutuel du Sud-Ouest
How to activate the Bluetooth functions on your Fenix 5 Plus
- Hold the MENU button.
- Select Settings> Smart Notifications Phone> Status> On.
- Start by choosing “When active”. Select a notification preference. Then a sound preference.
- Then select “Out of activity”. Repeat the selection of a notification preference and select a sound preference.
- You can also in “Confidentiality” and choose a confidentiality preference.
- Finally, select “Timeout”. You can define the duration of display on the alert screen in the event of a new notification.
How to manage types of notifications
You can use your compatible smartphone to manage the notifications that appear on your Fenix 5 Plus:
- If you are using a smartphone running iOS (Apple), use the notification settings on your smartphone to select the items to display on your Fenix 5 Plus.
- If you’re using an Android smartphone, from the Garmin Connect Mobile app, select: Settings> Smart notifications.
The top for monitoring Fenix Plus sports activities
You can use your device for sports activities, whether indoor or outdoor. When you start an activity, the device displays and records sensor data. You can save and share activities with the Garmin Connect community.
For sports monitoring, the Fenix 5 Plus is loaded with sensors: GPS, GLONASS, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, thermometer, barometer, optical heart rate sensor and compatibility with Galileo. Finally, for the most demanding, on the Fenix 5X Plus, adding an oximeter.
Each sport has a predefined profile:
- running, trail, treadmill, track
- bicycle, mountain bike, exercise bike
- swimming in the pool or at sea
- walking, hiking
- triathlon, multisports, swimrun
- downhill skiing, background, snowboard
- Paddle, rowing, indoor rower, kayak
- yoga, cardio, stepper, elliptical trainer
- jumpmaster, tactical
And if you can’t find yours, you can create your own profile using the 12 available activity analysis algorithms:
- Training status
- Training load
- Lactic threshold
- Functional threshold power (FTP)
- Performance condition
- Training effect 2.0: aerobic and anaerobic
- Recovery time
- Stress Review
- Stress and recovery
- Calories burned
- Alarm, It is possible to configure alarms based on the heart rate range, depending on the pace, pace, distance traveled, duration of training, calories as well as alarms to alternate walking and running. Here for example an alarm based on heart rate zones
The new sports for the Fenix 5 Plus
- Climbpro : this innovative function, dedicated to ascents, provides you with real-time information on the ascents in progress and to come from your preloaded activity, during the long activities of trail running, the mountain biking where the road course.
- Geolocation with GPS and GLONASS compatibility and Galileo satellite reception, to connect even in the harshest environments.
- Thealtimeter Integrated provides altitude data to accurately track activities involving altitude changes, such as hiking or mountain biking.
- Pulse oximeter. The Fenix 5X Plus measures the level of oxygen in your blood. This information lets you know how your body gets used to the altitude during your activities and adventures in the high mountains. If you open the Pulse Oximeter widget when you’re not active, your device measures your blood oxygenation and your altitude. The altitude profile tells you how the pulse oximeter readings have changed over altitude.
On your device, your pulse oximeter readings are displayed as an oxygen percentage and a colored graph. In your Garmin Connect account, you can view other details about the pulse oximeter readings, including a trend over several days.
Fenix 5 Plus for swimming but not diving
With a standard of 10 atm, it is suitable for sports swimming and diving. It allows you to count the number of lengths performed, the intervals and to measure arm movements (one movement corresponds to a complete cycle of the arm on which you carry the device).
The Fenix identifies your type of swim for pool swimming at the end of a length. The swim types, or styles appear when you view the interval history. You can also select the type of swimming in a custom data field.
The Swolf in addition. Your Swolf score is the sum of the time and the number of movements it takes you to complete a length. For example, 30 seconds and 15 movements correspond to a Swolf score of 45. For swimming in the sea, lake or river (open water), the swolf is calculated over a distance of 25 meters. The Swolf score measures the effectiveness of swimming and, like in golf, the lower your score, the better you perform.
The open water swimming profile allows you to use the watch’s GPS to measure the distance traveled at sea or in lake. The GPS signal is processed specifically by an algorithm to make the track consistent with your movements.
The ideal watch for running
The Fenix Plus integrates a running profile which again offers a multitude of data to analyze your races. You will find standard functions such as distance and pace analysis with the internal GPS, altitude with the altimeter, and running pace thanks to the internal accelerometer. As well as the optical cardio to permanently measure your heart rate for which you can set alerts.
The running profile also allows the use of automatic functions (auto laps, automatic pause, distance alerts, time, calories and many more).
Also perfect for triathlon
As it has the capacity to independently analyze the 3 sports, the triathlon profile of the Fenix 5 Plus combines the 3 sports profiles of open water swimming (modifiable in pool profile), cycling and running. We can note the addition of a new screen displaying the total time of the multisport sequence as well as the possibility or not of including the transitions.
More original, the smart health connected watch for golf, skiing or climbing
The Fenix 5 plus is also equipped with more specific profiles to meet the practice of many outdoor sports, but also fitness activities.
- Golf and the use of the TruSwing sensor. This function displays the recorded swing data. But also, indications on your course, the distance from the hole, the obstacles present. This allows you to manage your secure shots on par 4 or 5 with the display of distances to layups and doglegs.
- Mountain sports, ascent, hiking but also alpine skiing, cross-country skiing or snowboarding.
- In addition to swimming, SUP, kayaking and rowing and paddle boarding are easily manageable.
The Fenix 5 plus is also suitable for monitoring indoor sports activities. The GPS function is then deactivated.
- exercise bike or elliptical trainer,
- the indoor rower, the stepper,
The special case of bodybuilding exercises
Typically you can record sets during weight training. A series includes several repetitions of the same movement.
- From the watch face, select The first time you record a strength activity, you must indicate which wrist you are wearing your watch on.
- Press on to start the serial stopwatch.
- Start your first series. The device counts your repetitions. Your rehearsal count is displayed when you have performed at least six repetitions.TRICK : The device can only count repetitions of a single movement for each series. When you want to modify the movements, you must end the series and start a new one.
- Press on LAP to end the series. The watch displays the total number of repetitions for the series. After several seconds, the time timer is displayed.
- If necessary, hold the button MENU pressed select edit last series and change the number of repetitions.TRICK : You can also change the weight used for a series.
- When you have recovered, press LAP to start your next series.
- Repeat for each set of strength training until your activity is complete.
- After the last set, press to stop the serial stopwatch.
- Please select Record.
Reading sound notifications during an activity
David (who just started his first marathon) told me that he regretted not having audio notifications during the race, forcing him to watch his watch to adjust his pace.
With the Fenix 5 plus, you can activate audio playback of messages during your running sessions or certain other activities. The sound notifications are transmitted to your Bluetooth smart health connected headset. Notifications are read on your paired smartphone via the Garmin Connect Mobile app. When playing an audio notification, the device or smartphone audio is muted so that you can hear the notification.
- Hold the MENU button.
- Select Settings> Sound signals.
- Select an option:
• To hear a notification for each circuit, select Circuit alarm.
NOTE: The Circuit Alarm sound notification is enabled by default.
• To customize the notifications based on your pace and speed information, select Pace / speed alarm.
• To customize notifications based on your heart rate information, select Heart rate alarm.
• To hear notifications when you start and stop the stopwatch, including the Auto Pause feature, select Stopwatch related events.
• To change the language or dialect of voice guidance, select Dialect.
Control music with your Fenix 5 Plus
Garmin offers since early 2018 an integrated audio player (MP3, AAC, WAV) to listen to music with your watch without having to carry your Smartphone.
The Fenix Plus has a storage of 4 GB of memory allowing to store up to 500 musical titles. To listen to music, all you need is a Bluetooth headset or earphones. You can also send the sound to a speaker, always via Bluetooth.
The Fenix 5 Plus allows you to transfer your audio file directly from your Mac (iTunes library) or from your PC to your watch. To do this, you will need to use the free Garmin Express software and connect your watch to a USB port as if it were an external hard drive.
You can also use your watch in Wi-Fi coverage areas (or at health home), to listen directly from one of the 8 platforms music streaming compatible with Fenix 5 Plus, such as Deezer or Spotify.
From the music player screen, you have access to the standard playback options: play / pause and skip to the previous or next song.
During the night, the watch will automatically detect when you go to bed and when you wake up. During your sleep phases, it analyzes your movements and your heart rate to give you a estimate of the quality of your sleep.
There is no widget that presents this data, but it is found in the mobile app or the Garmin Connect online platform.
Fenix 5 Plus, 5S and 5X autonomy
|Model||Watch mode||GPS||GPS + music||Ultra Trac|
|5S Plus||7 days||11 a.m.||4.5 hours||25 hrs|
|Fenix 5 Plus||12 d||6 p.m.||8 a.m.||42 h|
|5X Plus||20 d||32 h||1 p.m.||70 h|
Price and availability Fenix 5 Plus
Available for sale in France, the new Garmin Fenix 5 plus is sold from $496 (without sapphire crystal – official Garmin price) up to $ 1,149 (51 MM case, sapphire crystal).
Garmin fēnix 5 Plus, Premium Multisport GPS Smartwatch, features Color Topo Maps, Heart Rate Monitoring, Music and Pay, Black with Black Band
- Premium multi sport 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
- Fit for adventure with rugged design that features stainless steel or diamond like carbon (DLC) Titanium bezel, buttons and rear case
- Easily store and play up to 500 songs on your watch, and connect with Bluetooth headphones (sold separately) for phone free listening
- Garmin Pay
- Built in navigation sensors include 3 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
Garmin Fenix 5 smartwatch review