WTF Garmin!?!? Garmin Fenix 5 Review

7:15 PM
I've been waiting to do a review on the Garmin Fenix 5.  I don't know why, because my initial impressions I had are still true to this day.

Ironic I would gift myself in this month of March '17, as this is also the month of my 5th running 🏃 anniversary (need to write a blog). I'm excited about many of the upgrades. Disappointed in 3 things I wish Garmin would have moved to. 1) AMOLED screen. 2) Allow watch software to pause a workout, save for later, start a different workout, and resume original workout afterwards (software upgrade? 😉). 3) auto reply to messages during active workouts with prefab or custom replies. Maybe with the 6?  -Link to my original instagram post
 There were one other big omission I felt Garmin made with the Fenix 5 and that was onboard storage for music playback via bluetooth for totally cellphone free running.

Sure you sacrifice battery life, but it's a want.  All the smart watches are and lesser watches are providing that feature.  Come on Garmin, get with it.

I get it.  This is an "athletes" watch...  Uhhh...  Yeah, okay.  Keep telling yourself that Garmin.

Other pain with the Garmin Fenix 5...  WTF is with this funky ass connection that is spreading across the entire Garmin line up?  Give me wireless quick charging.  Give me a standard usb-c charge point.  Give me a set up that makes charging the device AND wearing it a possibility!  (you know like the Fenix 3)   This seemed like a set back and still is a sore point for me as I get closer to my first 100 miler, where I would like to charge and track at the same time without switching sensors off and turning on Ultra-track mode (which is good for longer distances, but the GPS track isn't as constant).  Boo Garmin! Boo!

Still, I loved my Fenix 5.  Still do.  Because I knew that it would be with me a while.

I've put over 600 running miles on it.  Love the lighter weight.  The slightly better less fuzzy display.  It's lighter in weight than the Fenix 3 and that's a huge difference for me.  And the smaller form factor was a major win!

Price is a little crazy, but I'm sold.

Then a few days ago...

Garmin announced the updates to the Vivoactive.... and son of a byotch!  WTF Garmin!?!?

OLED display that makes the dull colors of the Fenix 5 already dated display look that much more dated.

Then there is an answer to my 3rd wish for the Fenix 5, responses to incoming messages.


Garmin addressed TWO of my THREE issues with the Fenix 5 with the update Vivoactive 3!  And threw a new feature to pay for things with my watch!

So $150.00 USD less and you get a better display, contactless payments, AND the ability to reply to text messages.  Sure the battery isn't as good, but it's a smaller device.  Yet it has more features?

The newly announced VivoActive3 makes the Fenix 5 seem a whole lot less valuable all of a sudden.  If the Fenix 5 was about $50.00 to $75.00 USD less, then the pain wouldn't be so pronounced.

Garmin if you don't see where the pain is, let me explain.

Your top tier device which you released earlier this year isn't the most feature rich.  Product design and development isn't made with fairy dust and unicorn dung on planet wish-a-lot overnight.  Nope, you knew this was coming a long time ago and prior to the release of the Fenix 5.  You knew!

So Garmin willing released a half baked upgrade to the Fenix 3HR knowing what was in the pipeline just six months after the release of the Fenix 5.

This only means that Garmin is going for the cash grab and we will be faced with a Garmin Fenix 5SE or Fenix 5Pro or whateverdafuck they wanna call it in Q1 of 2018.  I'm calling it.

An updated version of the Fenix 5 is coming within the next 12 months and it will have an updated display.  It will have contactless payments.  It will have bluetooth streaming music from the watch for a truly phone free experience.  And they will charge you a unicorn horn for it.  PROUDLY.

I'm calling it.  So save your money now, because Garmin is coming to take it and we're going to give it proudly.  Sadly.

The Fenix 5 isn't a light weight.  It stays on my wrist.  My initial impressions were pretty spot on with items that would make the 5 that much more potent.  Especially the ability to pause an activity to resume later, start a new activity, finish the second activity, and then resume and finish the original activity.  That's a software item that I'm sure Garmin could implement.

That update along with the lack of OLED, lack of music storage, lack of message reply, and lack of contactless payments less painful.

So my verdict?  If you have a Garmin Fenix 3 or Garmin Fenix HR.  I would suggest you wait until Q2 of 2018 before you pull that credit card out for a Fenix 5.

If you don't need all the athletic features of the Fenix 5, consider the new vivoactive 3 (video below) and save yourself some coin.  That's my advice.

If you've already pulled the trigger on the Fenix 5, then enjoy the marginal upgrade from the Fenix 3HR and the moderate jump from the Fenix 3.

1 comment:

  1. Damn good points Ed! As a lifelong user of Garmin and I have the garmin 5 also. I agree with most of your points. And like you, with the good and the bad I really don't have any better options. I think most F5 people want their battery life rather than sacrifice it for more commercial features.

    But keep keepin Garmin on they toes!


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