▷ Garmin Fenix 5 Plus – Is it worth it ? Detailed Fenix 5S Plus Review Link

My somewhat biblical in scope Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Review is now live and you will have already noticed that the Fenix 5 Plus series has hit the shelves. Like me you are probably WOWED by the marketing and WOWED by the new features. But, like me, you are probably also WOWED by the price tag underneath the watch on that imaginary, internet-based shop shelf.

$1150…really?…is the the Fenix 5X plus worth that much? Let’s see.

Link to: Detailed Fenix 5S Plus DETAILED review

Or skip to the section that most interests you in this shorter post (it’s still fairly long)

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus – Pricing

Jabra Elite Active 65t Review Garmin 5S Plus

My Fenix 5S Plus with Jabra Elite Active 65t

We will come back to pricing details later.

For now, here is a simplified overview of the pricing. Dollars and Euro prices are ‘about the same‘ and I’ve rounded up the 599.99s to 600 for the sake of readability.

There is a premium for sapphire glass and a premium for titanium construction. These both come as standard on the 5X Plus.

US$ Base (Eu)US$ Sapphire/titanium£ Base£ Sapphire/titanium
Fenix 5S plus700800600700
Fenix 5 plus700800-850600700-750
Fenix 5X plus1150750
Garmin Fenix 5 plus

Best Amazon price is linked to. Prices start at Eur700/$700/£600 and might slightly in 2018. Buying from Amazon supports this site.

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Review – What’s the difference

I don’t want to dwell too much on the exact details in this article. Here is a link if you want to read about the details.

Garmin Fenix 5 PLUS Series Specifications – Comparison – 5S, 5X

Apart from the Fenix 5X Plus Pulse Oximetry sensor, the Fenix 5 Plus models are all equally featured. The differences come in the watches’ sizes and materials. The 5X Plus is bigger than the 5 Plus which is bigger than the 5S Plus. You already knew that. The bigger it is, the heavier it is and the wider the QuickFit bands. You pay more for the more durable sapphire glass and you pay more for the lighter and stronger titanium.

There are NO LONGER any confusions around differently sized screens. The 5S non-plus WAS smaller in pixels than the 5 non-plus. The new Fenix 5 Plus and the new Fenix 5S Plus have the same size screen with the same resolution.

There are no longer any confusions about a sporty Forerunner 935 that was also the same…but subtly different. There is not (yet) a replacement Forerunner 945 aka Forerunner 935 Plus. That will possibly come as soon as September with some special goodies like CDA support.

Take Out: In terms of software features: the Fenix 5 Plus series are pretty much all the same when comapred to each other

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Series – Battery Life

You might expect that the 5 Plus series has ‘better’ battery life than before. Generally it does NOT have better battery life than the Fenix 5, although the Fenix 5X Plus is the exception with highly credible battery stats, as shown below.

Smartwatch ModeGPS ModeGPS+MusicUltraTrac
Fenix 5S9 days14 hours35 hours
Fenix 52 Weeks24 hours60 hours
Fenix 5X12 days20 hours35 hours
Fenix 5S Plus7 days11  hours4.5 hours25 hours
Fenix 5 Plus12 days18 hours8 hours42 hours
Fenix 5X Plus20 days32 hours13 hours70 hours

I guess we don’t need to know why battery life is slightly worse but it will be linked to factors like: new battery; new processor; better power management components. The 4.5 hours with the 5S Plus for GPS+music is maybe a tad too low for comfort from experience with similar devices. But the 32 hours of Best GPS mode in the 5X Plus is market-leading for UltraRunners. Even looking at the 18 hours of GPS use with the Fenix 5 Plus then that’s probably enough for many people in an Ironman (18 hours will be less in reality once sensors are paired and features enabled)

Garmin Fenix 5S Plus Review

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus –  Features

It’s got a boat-load of features. Actually, I tell a lie. It’s got a CRUISE SHIP full of features. A veritable OIL TANKER of sporty goodness.

The Fenix 5 Plus Series have all the sporty stuff you need to display on-screen for almost any sport and for most outdoors activities. It can connect to pretty much any sport sensor to create a data-rich sporting experience for you. You can share that experience live with friends via your mobile phone or share your detailed stats via the excellent Garmin Connect data platform. You can plan routes and navigate with onboard maps and use your watch to pay for coffees en-route. You can listen to your favourite music tracks as you navigate with accurate GALILEO satellite positioning.

The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus SERIES are even pro triathlon watches. Each one in the series does everything properly, from correctly handling the rest between your swim sets to correctly taking you through Otillo or the duration of a looooong Ironman.

There are only a tiny number of things that I can struggle to think of that the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus series can’t do. Here they are: Garmin Fenix 6 for 2019.

But: IS IT WORTH IT?

What something is ‘worth’ is a relative term. Is it relative to the competition? to the cost of production? or relative to something else? Let’s see…

The Market Landscape

The market for sports watches IS changing. Probably right now the market is turning against Garmin, to an extent. I cover that here: PEAKTASTIC YEAR FOR GARMIN – 2018. However the movement against Garmin’s dominance of the market is happening AT THE LOWER END. Other than in niche use-cases, no-one is challenging Garmin in the premium space where the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus range sits.

In reality the biggest competitors to the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus are: The original Fenix 5 and apathy.

Thus Garmin have a free competitive rein to charge what they like. And by that I mean they probably don’t care a jot about the pricing of almost any other product – as far as the Fenix 5 Plus goes. What they will care about is getting the right price that can be WILLINGLY AFFORDED by a sufficiently large number of people.

This is going to be a really simple supply vs. demand issue. And that’s where it gets interesting FOR YOU.

You see, what’s happening is that Garmin have been ramping up production for a while. That’s why the stock is hitting the shelves NOW so that demand can be satisfied NOW. That didn’t happen in the same way with the Fenix 5.

Garmin Fenix 5S Plus ReviewQuite a number of resellers/shops have the chance to buy reasonable amounts of stock. With the original Fenix 5 this wasn’t the case. A shop made a large order and, maybe, didn’t quite get the full order in one go. But whatever you got. you sold. And you sold it at the RRP.

This was a KERCHING moment for many resellers who only wished they had ordered and received more. With the Fenix 5, as word spread, other retailers gradually started to order more. Economics 101 hit once there was sufficient unsold stock and then some discounting started where Garmin were unable to control the discounters.

This time around that period of KERCHINGYNESS will be shorter. There is much more stock. Probably, also, the higher prices will mean there is less demand and there may simply be less demand anyway as some Fenix 5 owners will not want to upgrade. An English Phrase is appropriate for the retailers: “Make hay while the sun shines“.

Garmin have already realised that this will happen. So you will see controlled distribution (restricted supply) to help maintain prices, where that is allowed and practical. For example, in the UK, we have seen that once again COTSWOLD have one of the ‘exclusives’ on the Fenix 5X Plus. Although Amazon.co.uk already have an ASIN/SKU number at the ready to list on their site. Watch out Cotswold!

 

Garmin Fenix 5 plus

Best Amazon price is linked to. Prices start at Eur700/$700/£600 and might slightly in 2018. Buying from Amazon supports this site.

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Review – Is it worth it?

Once again the ‘Is it worth it?‘ question will be answered, in part, by the ‘Can you afford it?‘ retort. There will be degrees of affordability in between ‘not being able to afford it’ and ‘REALLY MUST having it’.

As me, the athlete, I can afford it but I don’t really see that much more on offer to me to justify the hassle of selling my 935 and then paying a few hundred pound/dollar premium to get the Fenix 5S Plus. However, as me, the5krunner, then buying one is a business necessity.

Garmin Fenix 5X Plus

Best Amazon price is linked to. Prices start at Eur850/$850/£700 and might fall slightly in 2018. Buying from Amazon supports this site.

Reasons to upgrade

If you are moving up from any pre-Fenix 5 device then a fair amount is now there to tempt you. If, for example, you have a Fenix 3HR then you might now be finally tempted to make the move.

If you like the latest, greatest stuff then, let’s face it, you’ve already placed your order and you are just reading this either for a bit of light entertainment OR to find some way of justifying your purchase to your ‘other half’ ;-). I know you too well.!!!

I am more looking here at should the Fenix 5 owner upgrade to the Fenix 5 Plus. Some of these factors, but not all, may be the ones that tempt you.

  • For those of you looking at data accuracy then it seems that Galileo has improved GNSS (positioning) performance over GPS or GPS+GLONASS. I’m not yet fully decided on how material that improvement really is and if it matches the Suunto Spartan Sport or Polar V800. Verdict: The jury is out but it looks like they will find in favour of the Fenix 5 Plus with GALILEO. EDIT: as of 22 Jun the Fenix 5 (original) now has GALILEO in beta. That is one reason LESS to upgrade.
  • Contactless Payments – The jury is out here to. Although to be fair they’ve just been told to go back and come up with a majority verdict as they couldn’t quite ALL agree. Many people will be looking to see if their bank is supported by the Garmin payment system. If it is, then you are good to go. Here are the supported banks – link to: garmin.com. FWIW I opened a UK Starling bank account (easy) just for the purpose of Fitbit/Garmin payments.
  • The true navigators amongst you will have the Fenix 5X or Fenix 5X plus or an accurate non-Garmin equivalent. Navigation appears superficially interesting to many other people but not enough to warrant buying a device just because of it. Now that mapping is on all the Fenix 5 Plus devices it very much becomes a ‘nice to have’.
  • HOWEVER, what you may not have quite realised yet is that the map-stuff is going to get real interesting, real soon. By that I mean that Garmin’s apps are being allowed to access maps more and this will mean that there will be very many more location-based services. So your watch will guide you towards that ‘must-have’ Starbucks Latte. Oh !!! and of course you can pay for it with the Fenix without having to go via the ATM.
  • Spotify !!! – For the music lovers amongst you then you will probably be tied to your smartphone for your music-fix whilst running or whilst on your way to work. I looked in-depth at the best running watch with music and the Fenix 5 Plus WILL make its way in there when I get around to adding it.There are pros and cons here for you music lovers and they are mostly practical. YOUR preferred music service MAY not be supported but now that support for SPOTIFY IS INCLUDED many more of you will be happy. Others amongst you will simply not want to run with a smartphone and prefer a wire free and simple, battery-charging, 2-device solution of a Garmin Fenix 5 Plus with, for example, some true wireless earbuds (eg Jabra Elite Sport).
  • For those of you with an original Fenix 5/5S, that did not properly connect to some of your external ANT+ sensors, then I would remind you that you have a contract with the retailer from which you bought it and, warranty conditions aside, the product needs to be fit for the purpose that it was sold for. Personally, in my humble UK-only opinion, you should get a refund and then be able to put that towards a Fenix 5 Plus. The reality of achieving that will be more complex. Good luck. If you bought via one of my Amazon links (thank you…and sorry at the same time) but at least Amazon are pretty good about these things. Anyway, those connectivity issues should be a thing of the past with the Fenix 5 Plus all is good with connectivity FINALLY.
  • As part of the increased connectivity performance Wi-Fi sync is now on all models and this should be supported when used to stream music at home.
  • For those of you with a Fenix 5X who could not get the greatest of optical HR readings then I am unsure of the extent to which the still-heavy Fenix 5X Plus will improve matters (I’d say it will be the same). If you are unsure then, again, Amazon is a good place to try these things out (or use a chest strap or optical armband).
  • It looks like there is a new processor. This means that the interface is quicker and smoother and that the Plus series will be more likely to cope with the rigours of CIQ3 apps, maps and other demands.
  • There are a few niche, new features linked to climb stats and oxygen levels at altitude but that’s just Garmin attacking one of Suunto’s markets with the Fenix 5X Plus, so I wouldn’t worry about that too much if you don’t quite know what I’m talking about.
  • 10% discount/store credit below (USA) if you want to gor for the 5 Plus
Garmin Fenix 5S Plus Review

935 – 5S Plus – Coros Pace

 

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Summary

Garmin Fenix 5X Plus

Best Amazon price is linked to. Prices start at Eur850/$850/£700 and might fall slightly in 2018. Buying from Amazon supports this site.

There are sufficient new features to justify the price hike to the Fenix 5 Plus from the Fenix 5.

But it’s expensive.

If you can afford it and one of the new features seems at least ‘interesting’; then you know what to do.

If you are not yet a Fenix 5 owner of any kind then this is a great product to jump to. Even if there is a Fenix 6 in 2019 I can’t see it being as big a leap forward as the Fenix 5 Plus is compared to the Fenix 5. It’s EXTREMELY unlikely that you will get notable discounts on any of these products in 2018. Maybe $/Eu/£50 less than the RRP if you are lucky.

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I appreciate you may shop around for the cheapest deal and not buy from Amazon. If you would like to say thank you for this review then please click on the Amazon link immediately below for your next Amazon purchase of anything else OR, in the USA, the PowerMEterCity link above THAT SHOULD ALSO GIVE YOU A WHOPPING 10% STORE CREDIT. Thank you!

The following Fenix 5 Plus link goes to the lowest price at your local Amazon store and it also SHOULD go through to products sold by Amazon themselves rather than 3rd party resellers. NB You can return those bought directly from Amazon quibble-free within a month, it’s not so esay with Amazon market-place sellers.

 

Garmin Fenix 5 plus

Best Amazon price is linked to. Prices start at Eur700/$700/£600 and might slightly in 2018. Buying from Amazon supports this site.

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Will
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Will

If you do end up buying one, it would be interesting to read how you train and race with. What data fields you use and what measurable difference it gives you vs. old watches?
DCR reviews are great, but I don’t think he focuses on the training/racing angles.
Just a thought…..

Justin
Member
Justin

It’s June 2018, About a year and change removed from the release of the original Fenix 5 line, roughly 7 months away from CES 2019 and about 10 months away from a new device release window in 2019 (Late Q1, early Q2). If you have the disposable income this doesn’t matter to you. For the rest of us, this release smells a lot like an APPLE tactic where you release a new numbered device one year, and then a year later release a “midway” update, usually with the letter “X” smacked behind the number. The average consumer either: a)Is buying EVERY year’s update. Great for Apple’s bottom line short term, bad for the consumers short-term and by extension bad for Apple’s bottom line long term. b)Chooses which step they are going to settle into (buy the new device every 2 years). It just comes down if that is the base model or the mid-update. In the case of (b), if you end up rotating the mid-year refresh, you miss out on the breakthrough things with the new number update. It’s psychological warfare with the install base and this looks a lot like the same tactic. If you own the F3HR… Read more »

active JR
Guest

which one did you get?

Brian Reiter
Guest
Brian Reiter

You don’t touch on battery life. There are significant changes.

On the f5/5s plus models battery life is about 20% less than the equivalent older f5 models.

The f5x has slightly less battery longevity than the f5 due to processor overhead for the mapping feature relative to the f5. However the 5x plus has 1.65x the runtime life of the 5x recording an activity with 1sec GPS enabled: 33 hours. That’s also 1.375x longer than the battery life offered by the f5. I don’t run events that long, but it would be significant for ultramarathon events in the 100 mile range and mountaineering.

The PulseOx feature is the headline but the battery life is the non-sexy big real-world difference. The f5x plus runs 2 weeks in watch mode and 13 hours with music playback while recording GPS. It’s the only Garmin that has so much battery capacity that there is no real compromise in useful life for the music playback from earlier generations.

Josh
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Josh

Great article. Think we will see an updated HRM TRI at any point in the near future?

Matt
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Matt

Any thoughts on something cheaper with the closest amount of features?

Andrew
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Andrew

to find some way of justifying your purchase to your ‘other half’ ;-). I know you too well.!!!

Got me

Robert
Guest
Robert

Would be interested to know what you think about the comparison between the Fenix 5x and the Fenix 5 Plus.

With mapping being added to all the X models, would it not make the new base model the same as the old ‘plus’ model.

jakkradul saelim
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jakkradul saelim

Sell garmin fenix 5 plus sapphire gps 16gb black 550 pounds.

used its very new.

jakkradul saelim
Guest
jakkradul saelim

Sell garmin fenix 5 plus sapphire black red 550 pounds its very good.
used its very new.

Danny Chambers
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Danny Chambers

Does anyone know if the 5 plus watches can play Audible books or is it just music?

Race Leader
Admin

an mp3 is an mp3 is an mp3

Konstantinos
Guest
Konstantinos

I currently and for the last 3 yrs own a polar v800.
Im happy with it,but getting bored.. Should i go for a 935/fenix 5plus or wait for a v800 successor/945/fenix6?
I do crossfit for the past 6 years and occasional 10k runs.