Fenix 5 & 5s RECALL ? – Would you do that if you were Garmin right now?

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Garmin Fenix 5X 5 5S Forerunner 935 ReviewI was a little shocked to read this post on the Fenix 5/5S forum from STRYD who say they cannot at present recommend the Fenix 5/5S (The 5X seems to work fine for me and other reports suggest the 935 is fine too)

STRYD SAY:Stryd is compatible with the Fenix 5 watch. However, as you have noticed, it is not listed as compatible on our site. We do not feel comfortable recommending the Fenix 5 to Stryd customers right now. There are sensor stability reports facing the Fenix 5 right now. We have seen reports that all ANT+ sensors including Garmin’s heart rate monitor, Garmin’s run dynamics pod, bike power meters, and Stryd consistently drop out with the Fenix 5.

Thanks @DaveCorsi for bringing this to our attention. The original is shown below, things happen with negative forum posts 😉

Screen grab – but click to the source (if Garmin have not deleted it)


STRYD asked me to point out the list of supported devices at https://www.stryd.com/#section-ecosys.


To be clear (edit) what THIS blog is saying: there is no recall on the 5/5S…I’m just asking if there should be a recall AND also, at the end of this post I will suggest what might happen.

It seems there are issues with dropouts from various ANT+ sensors. Ones that have been compatible with previous Garmin models and ones that are compatible with other ANT+ devices. It seems that manufacturers are pointing the finger of blame at one another and yet the common thread in the problems with the dropouts seems to be the Fenix 5 & 5S rather than a particular ANT+ sensor or kind of ANT+ sensor.

I’ve been using the Fenix 5X for a while and, I have to admit, have been blissfully unaware of all of these problems with the Fenix 5/5S until today. My 5X MAY only have experienced one dropout with STRYD and that was a couple of days ago EVEN IF THAT IS TRUE then the occasional dropout is no problem for me whatsoever. At the time I attributed the problem to the 5X somehow changing measurement units mid-run. (Garmin can sometimes mysteriously change the default pace/distance measurement from metric to statute/imperial during a firmware upgrade.) On reflection it might have been a sensor drop out??? although it seemed strange that power and pace permanently dropped by about 30% for the remainder of the run. It’s been good since.

I was also slightly amazed when I read reviews of the Fenix 5X from other sources. Awesome optical HR…awesome GPS…even better with GLONASS..amazing navigation. Errr. Did those people actually use the device or just take pretty pictures and read the manual? Or did they think that their Garmin affiliate revenue pay check might take a hit if people didn’t buy the latest Garmin?

However, the positive stories I heard were that the problems I found on the 5X were NOT present on other models (ie 935,5,5S). My review of the Fenix 5X (here)

(Here) are the garmin forums to see some of the other pertinent issues

And here are the bugs that DCR found

clickable, source DCR


This issue may also be surfacing with STAGES PMs as well.

I HAVE experienced this, albeit in a limited way, with the 5s. The following chart shows STRYD with a Fenix 5s, SPARTAN and 935. Only the 5s drops the connection, admittedly only twice which is probably acceptable over 90 minutes.

clickable, run from 29June2017


Here’s what I think will happen. I don’t know of course:

  • If it’s firmware fixable then clearly there will be a firmware fix! however it’s not as simple as that as, I suspect, that will involve a hit on the battery. Also; cranking up the battery and other power levels in electronic circuitry, correct me if I’m wrong, could then interfere with other internal components.
  • If DCR did not find those problems in Beta (see above) then surely it must be firmware? DCR KNOWS ABOUT THIS ISSUE AND THAT IT CAN’T BE RESOLVED I UNDERSTAND.
  • If it’s not firmware fixable then the hardware WILL be changed – SEE BELOW
  • However Garmin will not issue a recall notice, IMO. What would likely happen, IMO, is that ONLY unhappy customers would be invited to return their unit for a replacement (one with the hardware problem fixed). The old units then get refurbished and sold back to the market. ALTHOUGH EVEN THIS IS UNLIKELY BECAUSE OF THE FENIX 5 PLUS MODEL


Sensationalist? – I would imagine it is quite a sensation upgrading to one of the most expensive Garmins ever and then finding your previously working sensors not then working properly. How would YOU feel?

Edit 20 Nov: (prompted by comments below): The Fenix 5 does have sensor issues. It does have gps issues. it does have HR issues. To varying degrees I have said that all along. You can believe whomever you wish on this matter. I said in my review of the Fenix 5X that there were things I was not going to test because they clearly did not work…Garmin hadn’t bothered to test it…why should I? Check the wayback internet engine if you like. There will be a Fenix 5 replacement because Garmin have c*(&ked up – and YOU will pay for it not Garmin.

Here is what DC says now:

You might even question why virtually none of the other online media have reported this. Hint: I buy my own Garmin gadgets…no freebies, no PR loan devices.

Garmin Fenix 5
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37 thoughts on “Fenix 5 & 5s RECALL ? – Would you do that if you were Garmin right now?

  1. FWIW, I haven’t had any issues with Stryd (and as a matter of fact, with any other sensors) dropouts with Fenix 5 or 935. I don’t have Di2 on my bikes, but I’ve had the watches connected to many different sensors at the same time and never had an issue.

    I use he data field though, is the experience different with the full app? And I’m not using it as footpod, which could also make a difference.

    The issue could be with some watches… Back in the day, I did have two 735XT test units. The first one worked flawlessly. The second one had issues with the Varia Radar disconnecting. Also, the Bluetooth was not very strong.

    I will also leave this comment on the Garmin forums, to see if I get a follow up from other users…

  2. I have no issues with BT on Fenix 5x. GPS much worse in compare to v800. oHR do not work for me even for tempo runs. Only for easy runs and daily tracking. A lot of bugs!

    But I do like the 5x overall. Hope they will fix bugs and improve GPS.

    1. I too have had no issue with Garmin ANT+ products including the HRM-TRI and their footpod. The real issue lies in the fact that some 3rd party products put out weaker than average signals that in the past could still be picked up well by Garmin products but the new Fenix series is less sensitive than in the past so suddenly those products aren’t working well anymore when paired to the latest and greatest Garmin.

  3. I am pretty consistently posting on Garmin’s forums, so this isn’t news to me, but I am the complete polar opposite to the issues above. I had the 5x first and NO EXTERNAL SENSORS WORKED AFTER beta 2.72 NONE, NOT ONE.

    This is was most likely one of the first to be manufactured, while the F5 I bought to replace it (and about a month and change after returning the 5x) has had not a single connection issue.

    Polar H10- works
    Year old HRM-Tri-works
    Wahoo Tickr x-works both ways
    Stryd-Works within the confines of the Garmin run (and using just the stryd data field)

    No drops whatsoever for any of these things…though if you are using the stryd via their sport app, you’re doomed. And frankly, that’s the app not the connection and they need to fix it. But truthfully, I think this whole problem is coming from when the watch was manufactured and not the line as a whole. The first watches from the line to be made might be what is the problem; which Garmin should do the right thing and replace these with a recall. Later manufactured watches (like my F5) don’t seem to be the issues. I might be completely wrong with this, but if you read their forums, the people with the watches from day one seem to be the ones bringing up the most problems.

    As for people lauding the Ohrm for accuracy…yea umm…no. My nearly three year old fitbit surge is better at getting not only a lock on my HR, but is even pretty solid with getting a good reading while doing things that have muscle inflexion involved. Garmin’s Elevate HR is abysmal. It’s tolerable at most for all-day tracking, and even then, it’s still not that great.

    C’mon Polar, step up to the plate, the pitcher is tired and you got people in scoring positions!!

    1. Yes Mr Polar show us your hand, every thing I own is Bluetooth or dual standard but with the advent of F5/FR935 I wouldn’t need to ditch any accessories. I.e. 3 milestonepod’s making a change much easier to swallow. At the very lest enable stryd pace support for the V800, seeing as it works on the M400

  4. You are right on. I sold my 5X at a small loss(to someone who doesn’t care about GPS or WHR) because of the very constant bugs in software and horrible GPS performance.. and straightup useless WHR, only to buy Spartan Sport WHR, which has been pretty solid so far, works with STRYD, synchs every time, so very happy especially with the the WHR,( though GPS inferior to Ambit 3 Peak….)

    1. garmin will fix them eventually. it’s just the amount of money is eye watering. I expect a LOT more (I bought mine…not a freebie FWIW). in fact i’m thinking of returning it and might get one near black Friday??? not sure

      1. I thinks it because the 5 line is basically the 3hr, but with the Physical power to support the added functionality….except it’s like starting at square one. This was the same situation with the 3hr over year ago and having to do it ALL OVER AGAIN with the 5 is infuriating! You’d think the multi-billion dollar company would have learned from their prior device(s) and prepare the 5 to come out near perfect, or at least address the early problems the 3hr dealt with; but they haven’t and this proves there is a trend from Garmin. Faulty at the start with a weak finish.

        I apologize for bleeding my frustration(s) over here, but the “eye watering” cost (and it’s a warranted statement) makes this all the worse because I paid $700 for a watch that has a terrible software release, asks its user base to BETA test a released product (for free), doesn’t learn from past mistakes and yet is the go-to company down the line for everyone!

        I just went for a 25mile bike ride using my hrm-tri and speed and cadence sensor. You know what the watch told me? I burned 25 calories (one for each mile!) I was z3/z4 the entire ride with an average speed of 15.1mph (max hit 36mph…downhill, very steep downhill). If it weren’t for the HR data from the tri that I could DL, that would have been the info the watch took in for the day (the Strap told a much, much different story; example said I burned 926 calories). Even then, the watch recorded 667 active calories for the day and the training effect was so nuts I literally laughed out loud (aerobic 1.2, anaerobic 1.7).

        At this point i’m with you, returning it and grabbing the polar m430 while I wait for the v800 replacement.

  5. What is the general consensus on the 935? It seems like this model has avoided most of the connectivity and accuracy issues of the 5 series. The only real complaints I see in the Garmin forums are about sticky buttons which seems to be an issue for some users.

  6. I have F5 Saphire. I have no problems at all with HRM Ant+ connectivity. I used to have few problems with my BePRO Power Meter (some dropouts), but after changing transmit power to max, I don’t see any further problems. (at least I cannot distinguish dropouts from stopping of pedaling, but I am controlling the 3s avg power almost all the time, and don’t see dropouts there)
    GPS accuracy is fair. You cannot see it on garmin connect, as there the map in zoom is full of straight lines, but on the strava I can see me riding on both sides of the street or making u-turn on a roundabout. Quite enough form me. Only the instant pace is piece of …. especially under trees

    1. good to hear with the connectivity. and good to know that the bepro boost works (I knew it was there but never tried it nor knew what hit on battery it resulted in)
      I think ‘fair’ is the problem … when the price is factored in and the gps of course affects instant pace when there is no footpod

  7. Garmin Fénix 5 and rotor 2inpower crank doesn´t work. Many of dropouts during activity. I contacted rotor and they said:

    Thank you for getting in contact with us. The 2INpower signal is one of the strongest signal comparing to all of the powermeters in the market, which you can easily can proove with your Edge 1000 and the 920XT. Please make sure your 2INpower also has te
    latest firmware version installed.

    Stryd said:
    Stryd is compatible with the Fenix 5 watch. However, as you have noticed, we do not feel comfortable recommending the Fenix 5 to Stryd customers right now. There are sensor stability reports facing the Fenix 5 right now. We have seen reports that all ANT+ sensors including Garmin’s heart rate, Garmin’s run dynamic pod, bike power meters, and Stryd consistently drop out with the Fenix 5

    Garmin Said:
    Dear Pedro,
    In regards to your query, we are quite limited as to what we can assist you with here.
    Garmin does not support Third Party Applications, Maps or Accessories, we can only provide help and support for official Garmin products.
    I appreciate this was not the answer you were looking for however I can only apologise for any inconvenience caused.

    So, Whose fault is? probably mine, i bought Garmin Fénix 5!

  8. Let me be clear, Garmin won’t be issuing a recall and won’t be changing this generation of hardware mid-stream. It is possible that a Fenix 6 someday will have a much better antenna but Garmin will never admit why they did it. The Fenix series has *always* had worse ANT+ and Bluetooth range mainly because of the metal case AND because Garmin keeps putting in smaller and less sensitive antennas. To Garmin this isn’t a problem because MOST ANT+ and Bluetooth devices still work with Fenix watches because their products and most 3rd party products put out very power signals that even the weaker antennas in the metal case of the Fenix can pickup. Stryd and Stages are just examples of products that put out WEAKER than average signals that still get picked up well by MOST watches and head units. The problem for Stryd and Stages is Garmin is the leader in the running watch & cycle computer marketplace and their products are working with Garmin’s newest watch lineup… so what will happen? Stryd 3.0 and Stages 3.0 will be made to put out a much more powerful signal so the Fenix 5 and 5S will work with them… this will be cold comfort to anyone with the existing Stryd or Stages products however…

    Straight from Stages to me:

    “Hi David,

    We are happy to help and we appreciate your feedback. I will have my development team reach out to Garmin as they have had communication in the past. That being the case, we are always looking at ways to improve our product and it’s functionality with third party head units. **We are definitely aware of the issues that some our customers that are also using Garmin devices are having and it is a priority of our development team to make improvements on our end of the system.**”

    1. wow… sorry about the typos. should read:

      “To Garmin this isn’t a problem because MOST ANT+ and Bluetooth devices still work with their Fenix watches because Garmin products and most 3rd party products put out very POWERFUL signals that even the weaker antennas in the metal case of the Fenix can pickup. Stryd and Stages are just examples of products that put out WEAKER than average signals that still get picked up well by MOST watches and head units. The problem for Stryd and Stages is Garmin is the leader in the running watch & cycle computer marketplace and their products AREN’T working with Garmin’s newest watch lineup… so what will happen?”

      1. You are right. Buti found a solution for 2inpower power meter. If i weared my fenix 5 on my right wrist it is working well. No dropouts. I found another thing i didn`t know. My garmin 920xt also has dropout when weared on left wrist. But much less than Fenix 5 and with a small time lost. So the diference between 920xt and edge1000 is 2-3w during an 2-3h cycling activity. I tested garmin on Fenix 5 right wrist, crank side antena, and edge 1000 and the normalized power is equal.

  9. Thanks for your post on this. I bought the F5 right when it came out. None of my ANT+ sensors work properly. I have the Stages, the Powertap P1 pedals, the Stryd and also the new running dynamics pod. None of them work properly. Worst is the Stages followed by the P1s and then the Stryd. The pod used to be really bad in a way that the dynamics screens would just disappear mid-run. I have spoken to Garmin support multiple times and they always stated that there would be a firmware update. Three weeks ago, I insisted on getting a new one. Sent my F5 in and never heard back. Called Garmin last night and turns out their new ERP system shut everything down. The Garmin rep told me to be patient for at least another 3-5 weeks, i.e. no watch, no data.
    I have had multiple Garmin devices in the past and most of them had bugs in the beginning. That is ok to a certain degree. But the experience of the F5 is out of control. The only reason we buy these devices is to train properly. ANT+ is standard functionality and it must work. I have had so many cases where the F5 dropped connections mid-interval. All averages are off, no control, etc.. It really sucks. Needless to say – I am super frustrated.

  10. I have been engaged with Garmin tech support for the last 4 weeks. I have both an Edge 1000 and Fenix 5X. I have been testing them in parallel and comparing the performance files in Garmin Connect. There are significant differences. The Fenix 5X “appears” to be under reporting power with my Stages Power Meter (dropouts). I also have Shimano DI2 paired with both devices. As of three days ago, I am running beta firmware on the Fenix 5X. It appears to help, but still discrepancies of 15 to 20% for average power stats.

  11. I’ve been have more problems than you can imagine with Garmin (Fenix 3 and 5). It’s nice to see someone that’s not a shill for the company like the majority reviewers. As a whole, Garmin fails to deliver on many terms. Have you ever noticed on their YouTube, they’ve got tons of instructional videos but when it comes to swimming there are none? Yes, even know they know their devices are flakey at best when it comes to pool swims. Going from a Fenix 3 to a 5 was a nice upgrade, although I couldn’t help but wonder. Shouldn’t this interface upgrade have been applied to the Fenix 3? The navigation was horrible on the 3. However, there are still some instances where they didn’t QA the 5 watch properly. Such as, if you turn off the lap key in System but then go on a run interval workout built from the watch with a warmup and cool down it won’t work? Lol! You need to use the lap key to designate your warm up is over, therefore it’s impossible to get passed the warmup. Seriously? For the price you pay, the device should tip you off upfront telling users to change lap key setting, or even allow it to work for this one workout? One other thing, I’ve had errors with my Connect Account for over 2 weeks I’ve been unable to Create or Edit Run training workouts (Bike & Swim work). Garmin has acknowledged their is an error present and I’m not the only one.

  12. Dude you’re hyping this up. There is no bug with the fenix 5. dc rainmaker is crystal clear on this. the fault is with the sensors not the fenix 5. hrdware issues just don’t change from beta firmware to final firmware. here is what raywrote

    “Bug – Connect IQ Issues with Stryd Running Power Meter: I get constant dropouts with the Stryd footpod using their Connect IQ Data Field app. Ironically I didn’t have this earlier in beta, but it surfaced in the last 3-4 weeks. At present this appears solved in the latest un-released beta, which will likely hit shortly. At least, it was resolved in my run yesterday (for the past month it’s been broke). I’ll cross this out once things publish to production.”

    1. I used the same sensors with another garmin product and no problems. i hadsome problems with rotor powermeter, alote dropout ANT+ signal during activity, To work i used my Fenix 5 on right wrist… I sell my bike and theperson who bought my bike use Fenix 5X and no problems… 935 the same no problems with dropouts. It is a FENIX 5 problem and garmin didn´t solve it, because is a poor watch ANT+ reception, like with STRYD…so if you have fenix 5X…yes no bugs…

  13. Does this not suggest that WiFi may have been an issue in the ANT+ connectivity issues some people have been having? May explain how some seem unaffected and others have big problems. FWIW my F5 works fine with 2 ANT+ devices and the GPS tracking seems pretty good too.

    1. i heard the same theory but i dont know the answer.
      i think there are some sensors that are affected because of distance and also because of signal strength that they output. maybe your sensors did not fall foul of that.
      i suspect many people wouldn’t even notice in any case. but some, eg PM users with dropouts, definately would notice soon enough.

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