Garmin Fenix 5x – Full specs and commentary

Garmin Fenix 5x

Bad news for non-Garmin companies. The Fenix 5 has lots and lots and lots of ‘stuff’; lots of versions available now at upwards of US$600 – maxing out at US$850.

Full Fenix 5 Review (here)

Here is an overview comparison; or you can page down tot he table of comparative specs at the end of this post.

  • It never used to have proper maps – it does now!! At least at the top end of the F5 range, that is. Essentially it will work & route like your SATNAV and you can add your own maps to it.
  • It didn’t used to have many meaningful variants – it does now (check the exact features for the model you are interested in) – a small one, a normal one and an over-sized map-one.
  • The F3 screen wasn’t quite hi-res enough – it still isn’t BUT it has improved further over the Chronos/F3 (now 240×240 compared to 218×218; and the SPARTAN has 320×300). Although note that the smaller 5s is still 218×218 (Source: – that is disappointing.
  • Battery life was always pretty good – now it’s better. Although the precise battery power over and above the 300mAh of the F3 is not stated. ULTRATRAC is officially cited as up to 100 hours otherwise you may well get the official 20 hours of GPS battery life…not bad at all!
  • It used to have 16 colours – now it has 64.
  • F5 comes in slightly smaller than the older F3 sapphire: 47x47x15.5mm compared to 51.5×51.5×16.0mm
    • F5s comes is NOTABLY SMALLER than the F5 at 42.0×42.0x14.5 mm
    • This might appeal to smaller-wristed people
    • There are 3 case variants: 42mm, 47mm, 51mm (maps). ie the 5s, 5 and 5x versions.
  • F5 comes in with a slightly larger display than the older F3 sapphire: F5-30.5mm vs F3-30.4mm (27.94mm on the F5s)
  • F5 Sapphire with silicon band is 87g whereas the older F3 Sapphire/titanium with silicon band was 78.2g. The F5s with silicon band is 67g
  • It used to have just enough memory – now, overall, it’s doubled (although no doubt to cope with greater demands)
  • wifi wasn’t on the chronos…now it’s back (Sapphire only)
  • It has training effect 2.0 features (including anaerobic TE), comes with a HRM-TRI (in the appropriate version) and all that that entails with regards to multi-sports and caching.
  • It supports footpods
  • It does SUP and other new profiles
  • It has music control
  • It supports TEMPE
  • oHR – naturellement (option)
  • CIQ 2 – mais oui.
  • ANT+ – doh. But also Bluetooth sensor support. Yep, that’s right. Might take longer to support BTLE PMs
  • Slightly higher prices than the F3 but nothing any more, or less, eye-watering.
  • Trackback, ultratrac, glonass, EXO, power…yes, yes, yessity, yes, yes.

Missing: With native support of some Bluetooth sensors and native support of BSX/Moxy’s muscle oxygen data it seems strange that RUNNING POWER is not there. More intriguing than strange. I have a conspiracy but in the meantime there’ too much excitement here about the new Fenix 5 to worry about those (yet 😉 )


Garmin Fenix 5X
Best REI/Wiggle/PMC price is linked to. Prices are about Eur700/$620/£530 and will stay around that level until 2019 but sale prices will come and go. .

You can see from the comparison below that the products appear feature-similar other than the additional features at the end and some of the hardware specifications


Fenix 5Fenix 5sFenix 3 SapphireFenix Chronos
$599.99 USD and Up$599.99 USD and Up$549.99 USD and Up$899.99 USD and Up
Physical & Performance
Physical dimensions1.9” x 1.9” x 0.6” (47.0 x 47.0 x 15.5 mm)1.7” x 1.7” x 0.6” (42.0 x 42.0 x 14.5 mm)2.0” x 2.0” x 0.6” (51.5 x 51.5 x 16.0 mm)1.9″ x 1.9″ x 0.6″ (49 x 49 x 15 mm)
Display size, WxH1.2” (30.5 mm) diameter1.1” (27.94 mm) diameter1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter1.2” x 1.2″ (30.4 x 30.4 mm)
Display resolution, WxH240 x 240 pixels; sunlight-visible, always-on, low power, colorful display218 x 218 pixels; sunlight-visible, always-on, low power, colorful display218 x 218 pixels; transflective MIP color; sapphire lens218 x 218 pixels; transflective MIP color; sapphire lens
Color displayYesYesYesYes
Negative mode displayYesYesYesYes
WeightWith silicone band: 3.0 oz (85.0 g); Sapphire version: 3.1 oz (87.0 g)With silicone band: 2.4 oz (67.0 g)Titanium, titanium band: 4.8 oz (134.8 g); Titanium, silicone band: 2.8 oz (78.2 g)Steel with leather band: 3.31 oz (94 g)
Gray, leather strap: 3.0 oz (84.9 g)Steel with steel band: 6.56 oz (186 g)
Black, nylon strap: 2.8 oz (79.6 g)Titanium with titanium hybrid band: 3.95 oz (112 g)
Others: with all links, 6.56 oz (186 g); With rubber bands: 3.0 oz (85 g)
BatteryRechargeable lithium-ionRechargeable lithium-ionRechargeable 300mAh lithium-ionRechargeable 180mAh lithium-ion
Battery lifeUp to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode (depending on settings), up to 24 hours in GPS mode, and up to 100 hours in UltraTrac battery saver modeUp to 8 days in smartwatch mode (depending on settings), up to 13 hours in GPS mode, and up to 50 hours in UltraTrac™ battery saver modeUp to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode; up to 20 hours in GPS training mode; up to 6 weeks in watch modeUp to 25 hours in UltraTrac mode; up to 13 hours in GPS training mode; up to 1 week in watch mode
Water Rating10 ATM10 ATM10 ATM10 ATM
High-sensitivity receiverYesYesYesYes
Barometric altimeterYesYesYesYes
Electronic compassYesYesYesYes
Smart notificationsYesYesYesYes
Vibration alertYesYesYesYes
Music controlYesYesYesYes
Find my phoneYesYesYesYes
VIRB® controlYesYesYesYes
Maps & Memory
Built-in memory64 MB; available 54 MB64 MB; available 54 MB32 MB; available 23 MB32 MB; available 23 MB
Custom POIsYesYesYesYes
Track log200 hours200 hours100 hours of activity data100 hours of activity data
Running Features
Virtual Pacer™ YesYesYesYes
V02 max estimateYesYesYesYes
Recovery advisorYesYesYesYes
Race predictorYesYesYesYes
Running dynamicsYesYesYesYes
Accelerometer YesYesYesYes
Personal recordsYesYesYesYes
Cycling Features
Compatible with Vector™YesYesYesYes
Multiple bike profilesYesYesYesYes
Bike speed/cadence sensorYes (optional)Yes (optional)Yes (optional)Yes (optional)
Performance Features
Heart rate monitorYes (wrist-based)Yes (wrist-based)Yes (Some versions)Yes (wrist-based)
Virtual Partner® (train against a digital person)YesYesYesYes
Virtual Racer™ (compete against other activities)YesYesYesYes
Courses (compete against previous activities)YesYesYesYes
Auto Pause® (pauses and resumes timer based on speed)YesYesYesYes
Auto Lap® (automatically starts a new lap)YesYesYesYes
Auto Scroll (cycles through data pages during workout)YesYesYesYes
Auto multisport (switch sport modes with 1 button press)YesYesYesYes
Advanced workouts (create custom, goal-oriented workouts)YesYesYesYes
Pace alert (triggers alarm if you vary from preset pace)YesYesYesYes
Time/distance alert (triggers alarm when you reach goal)YesYesYesYes
Interval training (set up exercise and rest intervals)YesYesYesYes
Heart rate-based calorie computationYesYesYesYes
Calculates calories burnedYesYesYesYes
Training Effect YesYesYesYes
Customizable screen(s)YesYesYesYes
Power meter compatibleYesYesYesYes
Swimming Features
Pool swim metrics YesYesYesYes
Stroke type identification YesYesYesYes
Open water swim metrics YesYesYesYes
Swim workoutsYesYesYesYes
Outdoor Features
Hunt/fish calendarYesYesYesYes
Sun and moon informationYesYesYesYes
Area calculationYesYesYesYes
Activity Tracking Features
Step counterYesYesYesYes
Auto goal YesYesYesYes
Move bar YesYesYesYes
Sleep monitoring YesYesYesYes
AdditionalConnect IQ™ app support: Yes (watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps)Connect IQ™ app support: Yes (watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps)Connect IQ™ app support: Yes (watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps)Connect IQ™ app support: Yes (watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps)
EXO™ antenna (GPS/GLONASS): YesEXO™ antenna (GPS/GLONASS): YesEXO™ antenna (GPS/GLONASS): YesEXO™ antenna (GPS/GLONASS): Yes
Wi-Fi®: Yes (Sapphire versions only)Wi-Fi®: Yes (Sapphire versions only)Wi-Fi®: Yes
ANT+®: Yes (all versions)ANT+®: Yes (all versions)ANT+®: YesANT+®: Yes
Bluetooth®: Low Energy (all versions)Bluetooth®: Low Energy (all versions)Bluetooth® 4.0 LE: YesBluetooth® 4.0 LE: Yes
Training Effect 2.0 (measures impact of an activity on your aerobic & anaerobic fitness): YesTraining Effect 2.0 (measures impact of an activity on your aerobic & anaerobic fitness): YesWeather Alerts: YesWeather Alerts: Yes
Training Load: YesTraining Load: Yes
Training Status: YesTraining Status: Yes
Lactate Threshold: YesLactate Threshold: Yes
Weather Alerts: YesWeather Alerts: Yes
UltraTrac: YesUltraTrac: YesUltraTrac: YesUltraTrac: Yes
tempe™ sensor support: Yestempe™ sensor support: Yes
TracBack: YesTracBack: YesTracBack: YesTracBack: Yes
Ski features: YesSki features: YesSki features: YesSki features: Yes
Physiological measurements: YesPhysiological measurements: YesPhysiological measurements: YesPhysiological measurements: Yes
SUP/Rowing: YesSUP/Rowing: YesSUP/Rowing: YesSUP/Rowing: Yes
Foot pod: yes (optional)Foot pod: yes (optional)Foot pod: yes (optional)Foot pod: yes (optional)

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13 thoughts on “Garmin Fenix 5x – Full specs and commentary

    1. i’m listing them in the bullet points at the start…working on it. much of the high level functions are similar. hardware is improved. a tweak here and there to a specific functional area is difficult to discern at the moment

  1. Hopefully GPS tracking will be MUCH improved over the Fenix 3. I’m not paying that kind of money for mediocre GPS performance, and the typical Garmin bugfest.

    1. the hardware probably IS compatible (I do not know for sure). The question would be to ask Garmin if they ever intend to enable that functionality via firmware. Personally I doubt it. I would envisage fenix 6 or fenix 7 for that.

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