Technology constantly makes its way into more and more of our lives. Tech gets smaller and more efficient, allowing it to accompany us to places it couldn’t in the past. Garmin, one of the biggest names in wearable technology, particularly in the realm of the great outdoors, knows this, and continues to innovate in ways we didn’t think possible. The latest offering from the brand is the Fenix 6, a multisport watch that gives you the most effective weapon in improving your game: information.
There’s no denying it. The Fenix 6 looks rugged. A large face, wide bezel, and thick, beefy case all point to its host of capabilities. It’s not over the top though. Garmin was clever enough to keep the design as quiet as possible while still looking the part of a multisport watch. We got the Sapphire model with a 47 mm case that came out of the box with a gorgeous red nylon band, and a spare rubber strap for more rugged outings. It has a gorgeous black finish to the case, that Garmin claims to be particularly ruggedized, and made to handle the rigors it is expected to face outside. Buttons are large, easy to find without looking, and offer good feedback even through gloves, if you need them.
This watch has so much going on, I struggle to even pick a place to start discussing it. It has a 1.3-inch fully round, color display, three buttons on the left side, and another two on the right side of the case, making it look curiously like a traditional chronograph. Charging is done via a small, proprietary port on the back of the case. The watch has a bit of heft to it, tipping the scales at 83 grams, and sticks out a fair amount, being 14.7 mm thick. You do get used to it rather quickly though.
The Fenix 6 is veritable sports lab on your wrist. Heart rate and pulse ox sensors determine just how hard you’re working, GPS maps out routes and times, you even have music streaming capabilities to Bluetooth headsets right from the watch. If you’re the type, you also have maps for ski runs and golf courses all over the world.
User Experience: 4.5/5
The first thing you’ll notice upon strapping this on to your wrist is the weight. There’s quite a bit of heft to it, but not so much as to be uncomfortable. You’re going to feel this again if you take it out for a run, particularly if you’re used to something lighter, but it’s totally worth the extra grams. That large 1.3-inch display, while not a touchscreen, is quite nice. It doesn’t have smartphone resolution, but it’s not meant to. More important than the resolution is readability in sunlight, and here, the Garmin Fenix 6 shines. No matter the brightness outside, the screen remained perfectly readable, down to the notifications from my phone.
Since it lacks a touch screen, controls can be confusing at first. Navigating the menus is achieved via the use of the various buttons on the sides of the device. You then press another button to make a selection, or to bring up another set of menus to navigate. It does have a bit of a learning curve, but it all makes sense.
The Fenix 6 takes into account a whole slew of factors, from sleep, to workout distance and duration, exertion levels, pulse ox and heart rate, and even the kind of workout you’re trying, and lets you know how not just how much time you’ll probably need to recover, but a clever Body Battery metric which shows you how much you still have on tap, before you’re tapped out.
Another feature I appreciated was incident detection and tracking assistance. If you need to, you can send a message through your connected phone to a set contact. This message contains your location, and can be sent easily with the press of a button. Should you crash, there is also an option to send the message automatically, great for when you’re doing solo rides, and well worth the peace of mind.
Less critical, but undeniably handy, the Fenix 6 can control music streaming services on your phone, stream from itself, and even store tracks locally (for the Pro version of the watch). The feature is rock solid, and worked reliably for me, and I just can’t overstate how convenient it is to be able to leave your phone in the locker or even at home, and still have music for your workout. Battery life was about 10 days with my use, and while it’s advertised as being able to do longer on a single charge, I was fiddling with it so much, and using it for long stretches as my music player, that I’m very pleasantly surprised it even managed that much.
While the sticker price for this device is PHP 54,995, it’s less a fashion accessory, and more an important piece of gear, so it has to be viewed as an investment. If you’re looking to get really serious with your sport and health goals, this is a totally worthy item to add to your kit.
- Screen: 1.3 inch, 260 x 260 MIP, Sapphire Glass
- Dimensions: 47 x 47 x 14.7 mm
- Weight: 83 G
- Water rating: 10 ATM
- GPS: yes
- Storage 32 GB
- Sensors: GLONASS, Galileo, Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate monitor, Barometric altimeter Compass, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Thermometer, Pulse Ox
- Connectivity: Bluetooth (with smartphone notifications)
- Absolutely brimming with features
- Looks great
- Interface needs getting used to
- Pricey, unless you’re really serious about your sport
Not everyone needs this watch, but if you do, you’ll know it.
Also published in December 2019-January 2020 Issue
Reviewed by Ren Alcantara