Garmin Fenix 5 – What killer feature would you like for 2017?

NB: Chronos not F5

I guess I’m fairly happy with the Fenix 3. For me it does most of what I need. Perhaps the GPS could be improved slightly  – it’s largely OK when I use it.

We’ve speculated on some likely features for the Fenix 5  based on what has already been added to the CHRONOS and on some revelations and leaks by others. NB The leaked images are not guaranteed to be real, there may be no F5 🙁

The killer feature I would like on a top-end Fenix 5 would be improved battery life. Just a little bit more and, like with the Spartan ULTRA, I wouldn’t necessarily mind that increased battery life coming from a physically bigger unit.

What I would love to see, AND that I think a lot of people would benefit from, would be something along the following lines:

Simple, Partially-Existing Scenario on F3

  • Ability to set a ‘home’ GPS location with a known altitude. Whenever the watch is at home (+/- 5m), elevation is automatically set/calibrated to the exact level. Ideal for starting a run/ride from home.
  • This could even be automatically executed ‘silently’ on a periodic basis, whilst at home, to help on runs/rides that do not start at home but that start at a similar time to the last silent home-calibration.

Better Scenario

  • Ability to define multiple, personal POIs eg on Garmin Connect. Garmin connect would then use SRTM (or similar) to deliver a GPS point against the POI. As in the simple scenario altitude will be reset when a POI is encountered. Maybe you would manually define 20, or so, points that you regularly cross – or, on an ad-hoc, basis you would define some for a coming route you know you are going to take.

Even Better Scenario

  • Perhaps something similar could be built as POIs through the start- and end-points of STRAVA segments?
  • Even if altitude information is in a segment or route or course, it would still require a trigger on the watch that physically sets the altitude on the watch so that it affects both displayed altitude and stored altitude in the FIT file
  • Compass declination could also be set automatically based on the POI/home location too.
  • Maybe a CIQ app (eg the DWMAP app) could add something similar to this?
  • Perhaps a whole street map full of roads, trails augmented with GPS points could be a bit too much to ask over an above what we already have.

Maybe there are sports products out there that can already do this?

I would have thought this approach could improve the accuracy of the interpretation of the reading from BOTH barometric-based and GPS-based altimeters.

Thoughts on this suggestion or any you have too.

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29 thoughts on “Garmin Fenix 5 – What killer feature would you like for 2017?

  1. a) a brighter display (white to be white and not only middle-grey),
    b) no GPS spikes (post-run analyzis shows quite often zigzags),
    c) less pwr consumption or bigger/better battery (less charinging is always – always!? – a good choice) and
    d) ANT-FE support (so I finally could connect my concept machines to my Fenix)

  2. To be able to tweak the recording rate according to how much battery life you need.
    Imagine you want to run a 24 hr race. You need more battery life than in standard GPS mode but less than in Ultra Trac mode. So you want the watch to record as often as possible in those 24 hrs to give you as much data as possible for the battery life.
    Does that make sense?!

    1. that makes sense. so with an algorithm it could decide on 5/4/3/2/1 second recording based on distance or time left. iUltraTrac where I=intelligent. do you do stuff with merrel? was contacted by their PR recently, not my kind of thing but could be yours?

  3. personally, I’m hoping they have a smaller/lighter model. Closer to that of the 630. I’d be happy with (almost prefer) a plastic case. I wouldn’t need more battery, but not less. Size/Weight is the main reason I won’t get a Fenix3.

    Including some level of trail maps would be great. Even if it is just the ability to have multiple tracks “always” show on the map page, like the Edge or Epix. I don’t care about following courses. Real maps would be good, but secondary.

  4. Maybe the option to take data from a map and show other marked trails within a certain radius of the chosen route, would allow some degree of rerouting, exploring side trails etc.

  5. Would like to have working optical HR also in swimming mode, even if peaks are not recorded.
    Second nice thing would be to have more measurements on same screen. I can read small text easily but when I switch pages while running it is too easy to accidentaly press pause at least with suunto.

    1. I think only polar formally support oHR in swim so far. how many bits of data? you can have 4 (6 eventually with the Spartan). I suppose there are some custom CIQ fields that have more than that, they would work on the F5. garmin should eb able to make better use of the round screen tho (Epson added a nice extra HR display at the top of one of their watches)

  6. bling, smaller
    bin the wifi
    battery obviously
    turn by turn nav…not ncessarily map-based, maybe cahced map?
    better power metrics and fec traininer compat

  7. I pray for a bigger battery than the Fenix 3. My Suunto Ambit Peak gets 200hr battery life. For my multiday backpacking trips its awesome. I wish the Fenix series would get atleast 100hrs. Also I dont know if this is still the case, maybe someone can chime in but when i first got the Fenix 3 the altimeter was way off. I had to send it back and get another one, and same issue. Apparently it was just the software and I never checked into to see if Garmin fixed it. I had to send it back and keep using my Ambit watch because the altimeter was always right on the money.

  8. I would love

    1 – Ability to program structured workouts other than run/swim/cycle. I want to move various bodyweight training and other plyometrics to my Garmin. Sometimes before or after a run, I’m at a park. It seems silly to rely on a piece of paper for your exercises

    2 – A rotating bezel (or similar UI) like Samsung Wear. It would be great to quickly set a goal (distance or time), go through activities, go through history, or set quickly timer or stopwatch. Currently you have to keep pressing. It’s long and inaccurate.

    3 – Ability to self-correct GPS positioning during exercise. To my understanding, if you don’t have GPS lock, then the whole route would have errors. I want to be able to start without waiting (0 sec) and then via algorithms, the watch would know little by little positioning. In my case, it’s snowing now and I always looking like a fool waiting for GPS lock, standing still in freezing weather

    4 – Have better optical HR that would allow me to ditch chest heart rate monitor. I know the dedicated HRM companies are releasing wrist monitors good enough to read HRV. Garmin has $B.. why not? Give us something. This or other data such as oxymetry, or hydration.

    5 – I don’t know if this would be technically doable but turn by turn directions would be amazing. I saw the Lezyne super watch. Imaging using instead a Fenix for cycling (or running) and have directions

    6 – Not really a killer feature but nice : I have friends who had to get a TomTom. Fenix 3 already has bluetooth. What about adding a few Gigs of storage for music playback? Cut the connection to the phone

    I would not like

    1 – reduced battery. Read that Fenix 5 might have a smaller battery like 735xt. Doesn’t make sense. One of the reasons I got a Garmin instead of an Apple Watch is the extended battery. Who wants to charge their watch every day?

    2 – the same GPS chipset or antenna. It’s ridiculous how my $600 Fenix3HR has worse GPS than my friend’s Vivoactive HR

    1. I like your suggestions. #5 is doable but it’s a Garmin Connect problem to send the turn data from a rout. If you make the route in other software then convert the file and copy if to your watch it works well. Noone knows why Garmin gave the watches (Fenix 3 and FR920) the ability but never provided a tool to utilize it. Edge units for the bike are the same but they can read the original files without conversion from something like ridewithGPS. Supposedly because their processors are able to handle the conversion internally. I think Edge 800 and up are able to work like a car GPS and map a route from A to B without any external help. Check this link to find out how to get your turn directions.

      1. interesting read from your mytriaddiction link. It seems there are two kinds of TBT. I’d not quite appreciated your suggestion which appears to be “guided route following” with pre-determined TBT. But true TBT must surely require a map (could be a cached one for 1km to either side of your route) for if/when you go off-course.

      2. You are correct. It’s more guided rout following with TBT notifications on the watch the mapping is done with a 3rd party application for the TBT notifications. It would be nice to be able to at least load an area around your route or location with the ability to map TBT without a computer.
        On the Edge 520 you can load maps that will display on the screen but the unit doesn’t have the ability to modify or create a route to get you back on course or to a new location on the loaded maps. It can only show your loaded route in reverse or a straight line guiding you in the right direction to your start or end location. The Fenix will also point you in the direction of your route in reverse or straight line to the start or end point depending on how you tell it to navigate.

        Garmin claims TBT can be done with the Edge 820 and up. The watches are most likely limited by processor and memory. A long bike ride with TBT can take a couple of mins to load.

  9. On a Fenix 3, if you turn on the GPS, wait for a lock, then set the elevation manually, it will pick up that elevation automatically every time you turn on the GPS at that point. So your simple scenario already exists. I don’t know how it behaves if you pass through that point during a run/ride, never tested that.

  10. 1) There is nothing preventing GPS elevation being set/calibrated any time there is a connected phone in reach.

    2) Better GPS. Strike that. MUCH better GPS

    3) Stable Bluetooth. Current BT connectivity state is poor.

    4) Rotating bezel as input. Samsung nailed the user interface on this one.

  11. My wishlist :

    Smaller size.
    Improved GPS. It’s acceptable, but when considering the price should be so much better.
    Software reliability : bugs, bugs, bugs everywhere.

  12. Maps!!!! Following a gps-track is much easier if you see maps below the track, even if they are as simple as on the Fenix 1. I didn’t buy a Fenix 3 because this feature is missing.
    Track navigation is the killer feature for me. It is so helpful, e.g. for running before work on a business trip.

  13. Better antenna
    Screen improvements.. resolution and readability.. dont need OLED wowness.. but something that means i don’t need to squint when seeing what the time is
    Support for Strava Live Segments (Bike and Run)
    Better handling of notifications (inlcuding emojis) with ability to do a quick reply (from a set list of responses.. nothing fancy)
    More customisation options.. such as backlight. I like to have backlight on always during run, but have gesture control outside of activity
    Love the idea of the rotating bezel!!

    Still keep:

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