Honest Review of the Garmin Fenix 6 Series Smart Watches
The Garmin Fenix 6 is the latest in the holy grail of Garmin Outdoor fitness watches. The Fenix series for Garmin has and, with this new iteration, continues to be the gold standard for their line of multisport fitness watches. This watch is excellent for those who love metrics, outdoor activities, triathletes, cyclists, runners, and military! This watch truly packs a punch for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers and is slowly becoming a must-have outdoor accessory for fitness lovers everywhere!
Fenix 6 Models
The Fenix 6 comes in multiple different options grouped by size, with the Fenix 6 being the middle option. The base or smallest model is the Fenix 6S and the biggest model is the Fenix 6X. Pro, Pro Solar and Sapphire variants aside, the Fenix 6 models by size is as listed below.
- Fenix 6S : small or base option with 42mm case
- Fenix 6 : middle option with 47mm case
- Fenix 6X : large option with 51mm case
and it comes in either the 6S, 6S Pro, and 6S Pro Solar. The key difference with the 6S line is that it is the smallest of the Fenix 6 models. The case comes in at 42mm and provides a slightly lower battery life. The watch also offers the ability to download music straight to the watch, Wi-Fi, and a mapping capability utilizing the watch’s GPS. The base price for the 6S is $549. The Fenix 6S variants are as follows:
- Fenix 6S
- Fenix 6S Pro
- Fenix 6S Pro Solar
- Fenix 6S Sapphire
The Fenix 6 then comes in with a slightly larger case at 47mm and offers greater battery life than the 6S. The Fenix 6 also comes in a Fenix 6 Pro and Pro Solar model as well. The major difference here between the first two models is only the size of the case and slightly greater battery life. The Fenix 6 also comes in at a base price of $549. The Fenix 6 variants are as follows:
- Fenix 6
- Fenix 6 Pro
- Fenix 6 Pro Solar
- Fenix 6 Sapphire
The top-of-the-line option is the Fenix 6X Pro. Unlike the first two options, there is no 6X option; it jumps straight to the Pro version. The 6X Pro comes in with a 51mm case, offers the best battery life out of all three models, and still provides the Wi-Fi, music, and mapping functions. The 6X Pro starts at a base price of $699. The Fenix 6X Pro variants are as follows:
- Fenix 6X Pro Standard
- Fenix 6X Pro Solar
- Fenix 6X Sapphire
Within each variant, you also get a choice of case materials, colours and bands or bracelets.
Now that we got all of that cleared, let’s look at the features.
Search Garmin Fenix 6 on Amazon
The Fenix 6 Series of watches boast a robust array of over 20 preloaded sports activities, ready to start tracking your efforts as soon as you open the box! The watch tracks each activity with very high precision. Not only is the GPS accurate, but it is also strong, and with my experience using the watch over the last year, I have never once lost my GPS signal.
The watch also provides a highly accurate heart rate reading right from your wrist; this is especially useful for determining your perceived effort during exercise. Other valuable metrics like Vo2 Max, Pulse Ox2 blood oxygen levels, sleep, steps taken, respiration and overall stress throughout the day are incredibly accurate as well.
The watch provides a Body Battery used to help the wearer determine how much strain has been put on your body during your training load. This is a beneficial tool to allow the user to see the impact their training has on their body’s ability to recover. The higher your body battery rating, the more prepared your body is to train.
Arguably my favorite feature of the watch is the PacePro. If you are an avid runner or are training for your next race, this is the feature for you! The PacePro is a virtual pacer that allows the user to know if they are maintaining the pace they need to run the time they want based on the course.
The PacePro function will give you a race strategy based on your planned uphill effort and downhill splits. It will then tell you in real-time if you are maintaining the pace you need by buzzing on your wrist if you are not hitting your desired pace.
The PacePro function has been beneficial for me as it has allowed me to focus more on running than constantly looking down at my watch to make sure I am keeping the right pace.
Mapping/ Safety Features
While the mapping offered by the Fenix series of watches isn’t going to be good enough to help you find your way out of the most austere locations, it is leaps and bounds ahead of its rivals. One of the features that we love about the Fenix 6 mapping capabilities is that it allows users to switch to a map display while out on an activity. The maps have proven to be useful while hiking or out on a trail run. The map function displays major trails and roads, perfect for those just going out on training runs and hikes and not solely relying on the mapping to prevent them from getting lost.
Safety & Tracking
Another significant feature that my wife especially loves is the safety & tracking feature. The tracking feature allows the user to share a link with anyone they want, and they can follow along with your activity in real-time. I share my activity with my wife every bike ride that I go on, and she can follow along as she pleases while I ride. The Fenix 6 also allows you to input Emergency contacts. The watch will notify any designated emergency contacts if anything triggers the safety features on the watch. This feature, along with the mapping, is an excellent addition for anyone that loves to hunt or hike.
Search Garmin Fenix 6 on Amazon
If the watch were not enough of a powerhouse, Garmin Connect packs the final blow to truly make this the cream of the crop of fitness wearables. Garmin Connect comes in two forms, an online browser and a mobile app for both Apple and Android. Garmin Connect is the one-stop-shop for users to analyze all the watch’s metrics.
From the My Day screen, users will see any summary of activity conducted for that day, a current snapshot of their Training Status, their Heart Rate data for the day, Their Stress Data, all Intensity Minutes collected for the work, the current step count for the day, the number of floors climbed, amount of sleep from the night prior, and their calorie count.
It will also display summaries for the previous day as well as the last seven days. The interface is straightforward to use, and when you click on a given field, it provides further analysis into that metric spread out for the lifetime of the watch.
The Garmin Connect app lets users program their PacePro times, upload maps, change the watch face, and download music straight to the watch. There are also different cycling training programs and multiple running programs to help users train for a 5K, 10K, or Half Marathon.
Our favorite feature provided through Garmin Connect is the community. Garmin creates a network of like-minded fitness enthusiasts who can train together or even compete in specific challenges. Challenges include run challenges, step challenges, calorie burn, or even swimming and cycling challenges. Garmin will also create new challenges monthly for users to try and conquer!
Reasons to Buy this Watch
This watch is for anyone who wants to train outdoors. This watch is the top of the line for outdoor tracking and training for endurance sports. If you are into running, cycling, swimming, or triathlon, this watch is a must-have! The build is solid and sturdy, and it can and will take a beating! The accuracy of tracking is hard to beat, and the ease of use for the Garmin Connect app makes tracking progress a breeze. The watch also has a fantastic battery life that usually lasts around seven days based on how often you use its numerous features. The solar model gets up to 14 days of battery life while indoors or up to 16 days when solar charging.
Reasons Not to Buy
There is no getting around the price point. While this watch is, in our opinion, one of the best on the market, it is pretty expensive. For some, the watch is just not in your budget. If you are looking for more of a smartwatch, this is also not the watch for you. While it does offer simple notifications, it will not allow you to respond to phone calls or text messages. If you are looking for more integration with the phone, this fitness focused smartwatch may not be for you.
Search Garmin Fenix 6 on Amazon
In the end, this is a fantastic watch that we fully recommend to anyone that is currently looking to invest in a quality fitness watch. If you are an outdoor adventure seeker, in the military, or an endurance athlete, there is no better investment than the Fenix 6 series of watches.