Expect an announcement for the Garmin Fenix 5 in early January 2016, perhaps coinciding with the CES trade show. Perhaps a day or two before to steal some of the thunder.
You’ve probably seen the chatter on Garmin’s own forums and elsewhere (sources below). It’s still not entirely clear if the leaked images were real as they appear to only come from one source – not me I hasten to add. Although with Garmin asking me and others to remove the images it seems a fair bet that they are real.
The same images were then left on Garmin’s forums for over a month. Sigh. And until recently were even on Ray’s site (posted by a commenter) and had been for a couple of weeks. He is, no doubt, getting a good ‘hand’s on’ right now ahead of the release.
<EDIT: screenshot removed>
The images also show a new clasp. Whilst that is NOT particularly interesting in itself, the QUICKFIT clasp IS the subject of a 2016 Garmin trademark. A real QUICKFIT clasp suggests a real Fenix 5.
Indeed there has been talk of a new Fenix for many months and it’s obvious that Garmin are going to release a Fenix 3 successor sooner or later.
However, there does not seem to be a single Fenix 5. It seems that what we will see will not be a single model but rather the Fenix 5 COLLECTION.
I would imagine Garmin have thought that they don’t dominate this part of the market enough and have gone all-out to dominate every conceivable facet worth dominating.
Good for them.
So we are going to see product forms aimed at certain markets and specific product features targeted fairly precisely towards many kind of usage. Hike, run, tri, SUP. Improved antennae, improved ELEVATE oHR, new barometric altimeter. Work use, swim use, dive use, classic time piece. Apps & comms.. All of what Garmin did before with the Fenix 3, and then the same again, but just a little better.
To be clear: The Fenix CHRONOS is not a Fenix 3. It’s specification is notably different. It either HAS the innards of the Fenix 5 … or something close to them.
Here is some speculation and some key features of the CHRONOS which I think are likely to be in the Fenix 5 – or whatever the Fenix 3 replacement is called.
- Optical HR Sensor changes
- Component thickness reduced
- Same ELEVATE sensor as used on the 735XT
- Different sensor orientation compared to Fenix3 and 735XT
- Reduced battery
- Smaller size
- Lower life at 180mAh (as CHRONOS) compared to previously at 290/300mAh. This unit taken from the Garmin 630 and so COULD deliver 13-16 hours of in-exercise use. This may only be in one specific F5 model.
- Possibility of wireless charging on some models (I doubt this, personally)
- Maintenance access via screws on the rear (diving?), not front (like CHRONOS)
- Waterproof to 100m on some models (ie a diving watch)
- Thickness of some forms reduced due to smaller oHR and battery
- New Barometric altimeter module
- New 64 colour display (RGB22) which was previously 16 colours. Presumably increased resolution, although the CHRONOS is only 218x218px like the F3. More colours sounds great but IMO EVEN better resolution is still required to make it look like a ‘watch with proper hands’…yes, even more than on the SPARTAN (320x300px)
- Touchscreen is a possibility on some models but all models appear to have a full 5-button enabled interface.
- Improved user interface/menus to work better on a round screen as well as specific new screen that are designed for round faces rather than cropped onto one.
- Faster and more capable processor to support CIQ2.1 apps.
- New Comms antennae for Bluetooth LE and ANT+. Unsure if this contains wifi capabilities for the F5.
BATTERY: Please do not get carried away with the thought that a Fenix 5 will have a greatly reduced battery life. One F5 might. But don’t forget that Suunto, a much lower-resourced company, has still managed to release two versions of the SPARTAN (with 2 more due) where the main physical difference is the battery size and battery life – of course Garmin are EASILY QUITE ABLE to do something similar with far greater resources. ie different batteries on different models.
Here are some existing CHRONOS Features:
GPS, GLONASS, ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass), smart notifications, music control, vibration alert, VIRB, find-my-phone, watch, 10ATM water depth, negative mode screen display, 25 hour ULTRATRAC battery otherwise 13 hours with GPS and 1 week as a ‘watch’, custom POI, 1000 waypoints, 30 routes, accelerometer – no need for a footpod, multisport, all tri features, all golf features, activity tracker, ski features, TRACBACK, SUP,