Garmin Fenix 7 – Garmin Dumps Sony! [Opinion]

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Garmin Fenix 7 – Will the Sony chips go?

Edit: Answer – Yes ! Garmin really has dumped the much-maligned, Sony GNSS chips.

Years ago I gave in on relying on Garmin for accurate pace from GPS (I use stryd). On Strava, Garmin gives me a pretty-enough picture of where I have run but down at the detail level, they have rarely been great at telling me EXACTLY where I have run or exactly how fast I was running at any given time.

Over the last few months, I have, however, been looking more closely at the GPS performance of my Fenix 6 Pro and I have been using it as a comparator device in tests. I’ve used it against other watches I’m testing right now and as far back to the 2x Apple Watch 7 models I tested in November 2021. I’ve been a little bit shocked to be reminded of the consistent poorness of the track compared to just about all the other devices and I’m still not quite sure how Garmin has gotten away with this for so long.

There HAVE been some good moments with Garmin GPS accuracy. The Forerunner 745 was great and, after some awful open-water swim performances, Garmin found the magic button a couple of years ago and started to produce the best open water swim tracks I’d seen from any device (it was on the 935 or 945, I can’t remember which, maybe the 745?).

You can Google around to see I am not alone in these observations. Although most review sites will say that Garmin’s GPS accuracy is ‘alright’, probably because they want you to buy something 😉 Anyway, it’s not alright. If you care about GPS accuracy you already knew that. You don’t have to care if you use Stryd, IMO, and the majority of Garmin users either don’t realise or don’t care in any case.

My Suspicion

I suspect that Garmin DOES care about GPS accuracy and I further suspect that a big part of the reception quality problem might be the low-powered, Sony GNSS chipset itself, rather than antenna, metal casings and the like.

From several conversations with industry players, it seems that Sony is not held in quite such high regard as it was a few years ago.

Perhaps Garmin was lured into using the first Sony chipsets because they offered significant power savings? Remember 3-4 years ago was the start of Garmin’s massive jump in battery life claims. At that time battery life for sports usage was (is?) a critical aspect of watch performance that affected both sales and customer satisfaction.

The improved battery lives that followed the introduction of Sony chips were not solely due to more power-efficient GNSS chipsets, other tech factors conspired to get battery lives to the point where Garmin effectively solved the battery life conundrum for its chosen screen tech.

Now, we have arrived at a point where it makes sense to start giving us the options to selectively lower battery lives to enable us to use other power-hungry hardware features that we value more…the obvious and clear example here is the introduction of AMOLED screens. Thus, in talks with some of the GNSS Chipset competitors like U-BLOX, it became clear that all GNSS chipset manufacturers can give us options to, essentially, boost reception quality by using more power.

Garmin Fenix 7 GNSS capabilities

My working assumption for quite some time has been that Garmin will continue to use the latest Sony (Japan) chipsets that relatively recently introduced the ability to use multiple frequencies within a given satellite constellation eg two frequencies of Galileo.

However, a few commenters on this site got me thinking (thank you!).

What Else Could be Used?

Note that Coros use the Airoha chip which gives multiple frequency support as well as multi/tri-constellation support (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS and others). It does that by consuming sensibly low levels of power. Initially, I wrongly dismissed in my mind Airoha as a niche chip company that branched out into GNSS chips. A few 10s of seconds with Mr Google led to the realisation that Airoha (Taiwan) is/was MEDIATEK.

As I hinted at above, U-BLOX (Switzerland) also have this multi-frequency/constellation capability as do Qualcomm SiRFstar (USA) and Broadcomm (USA).

Qualcomm (USA) might be the GNSS chip supplier for Apple Watch and my experience with the Apple Watch 6 (7 isn’t as good) is that Apple has the most accurate location setup for sports usage of any current watch. That said, Qualcomm’s SnapDragon processors are used in Wear OS watches and they tend to have distinctly average GPS accuracy.

To give Qualcomm more credit, their SiRFstar IV/V was perhaps the best ever chip in years gone by with Polar & Suunto. It just needed about 3 AA batteries’ worth of power for every hour of running 😉 (I exaggerate)

The Fenix 7 GNSS Chip

I have a sneaking suspicion that Garmin may be about to offer us the exact-same GNSS features that Coros already offer with the exact-same Mediatek chip. (Edit, they have)

Years ago, Garmin used to use Airoha/MediaTek as their supplier and both Garmin and Airoha/MediaTek have production facilities in Taiwan. Maybe that is another reason that Garmin could revert back to Airoha/Mediatek?

In the near future, maybe Garmin’s GNSS performance will improve and offer us more flexibility in how WE want the performance/battery saving compromise to be dealt with for our own individual sports.

Maybe

2+2=5

Edit: Garmin switches to Airoha/MediaTek for Fenix 7 & Epix 2

(Source: @Ray for the inside Garmin+Airoha confirmation)

 

 

 

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76 thoughts on “Garmin Fenix 7 – Garmin Dumps Sony! [Opinion]

  1. Couldn’t agree more- my Fenix 6’s GPS performance has been underwhelming from day 1. Yes, I am also a Stryd user and try not to zoom in when looking at completed runs.

    1. Amen brother!

      Had a run yesterday testing yet another Fenix lifehack… Running with your watch on the right inner wrist. Epic fail. Not only it is singularly uncomfortable, that position doesn’t trigger backlight properly, and the tracks look just as bad as always.

        1. Does it? Because the whole point of that contortion, if I understood it correctly, was for the antenna to at least *not* point downward. Dear, dear… I was almost run over three times last night by some psychopaths, and it was all in vain?

          There’s another lifehack. Wearing the watch facing the sky, on the narrow part of your wrist. But for Pete’s sake, even an OCD type like me who hurts inside when looking at Fenix tracks isn’t that desperate.

          1. try it with an ambit 3.
            i doubt very much that an integrated antenna is equally as effective around its entire circumference. ie it will be focussed to work better at the top (to generalise)

      1. Actually, I did many tests comparing my Fenix 6 Pro with my Forerunner 230. The F6 gps was horribly off until I started running with it on my right wrist. With nothing else changed, it became spot on. I emailed Garmin and they didn’t know why. A friend bought an F6 6 months later and his does the same thing. So now it’s become tradition to switch it over to my right wrist prior to working out. Go figure.

        1. I don’t think right hand vs left hand makes much difference for me. I get the tracks that are roughly the same. And judging by Gamrin forums, I’m not alone. I’ve run plenty of times this summer with Suunto 9 Peak on my left and F6X on my right, and S9P would produce a great track and Garmin would have me running on water and though houses.

          1. right hand left hand doesn’t alter the antennae position relative to the sky.

            it will make a difference if an obstruction like a building is on the same side as the wrist you wear your watch on. I specifically take that into account in my GPS testing.

  2. I suspect the #1 issue is going to be who can supply the chips in quantity to meet Garmin’s needs. I think they need a process node shrink (relative to the f6 generation) low powered ARM chip and a multi-band GNSS chip also low powered. I think it is going to be multi-band GPS because they already have handhelds doing that with that language.

    https://www.garmin.com/en-US/blog/outdoor/why-multi-band-qa-with-garmin-engineer-jared-bancroft/

    The back engraving I have seen says “MULTI-BAND GPS”.

    1. i’d read but forgotten about that post. Perfect. It refers specifically to MULTI BAND.
      handhelds: yes i’d seen that ages ago and that was my original reason to extrapolate that the exact same tech would make it to sports watches.
      but someone also rightly pointed out there multi band, in some people terminology, could mean multi constellation.

      but from that blog post: ” Multi-band” in garmin’s terms therefore means multi-frequency.

      Garmin are specifically claiming “Multi Band Frequency Support” in the F7

      Therefore we are DEFINITELY now talking L1/L5 by what garmin mean from multi-band

      i think they will also do multi-constellation as well (3x 4x constellations…Beidou is global as well) but that’s another matter entirely
      2+2=4…finally !

  3. I’m not so sure it’s a chip problem…I don’t know what chip the F5/FR935 used but it can be assumed it was the same chipset and performance was WAY better on the FR935 much more accurate.

    Fast forward to 2021 and the lowly FR55 is way better than the F6 Pro. In a dense urban environment it’s spectacularly different, TTFF can be 10x, 200 seconds vs 20 seconds and distance can be 9 vs 10km.
    Common problem : metal casing vs plastic casing!

    PS – and yes fully agreed on the “GPS performance is good enough” from a certain site(s)…

    1. Second that.

      Polar and Suunto and, most likely, Forerunner 945 use the same Sony chip. As does COROS Apex and Vertix, me thinks. They all consistently lay good, true to life tracks, without much corner cutting, wandering segments, and crazy offsets. Well, most of the time. I understand there are limits.

      While Suunto tends to consistently to overstate the distance, Fenix is consistently undercounting. Even relative to its own raw GPS data.

      So, yeah… I think make what you want of that Sony chip, but Fenix design and algorithms is clearly a big part of the problem. And I doubt it has much to do with materials. COROS and Suunto use steel and titanium too.

    2. I’m also reasonably sure that Garmin has iterated versions of “the” Sony chip. if you check the Sony site there are actually quite a few versions of the sony gnss chip. I suspect also that they have done this iteration within the lifetime of the fenix 6, so new ones may have subtly different chips than the first ones.
      metal vs plastic – yes i think i vaguely alluded to that in the words above. But I think it is more than just a casing or antenna problem. there are issues with software from both the integrator and the manufacturer and there are possible implications of nearby components and interference, changes to heat and blocking of signals. plus whacking in more power can mean more frequent sampling etc etc.

      it’s freakin complex but companies have been doing this for decades now, so…

      PS I wasn’t referring to any specific site

    1. Like Webvan said, the plastic forerunners are doing a better job than the fenix watches in general.
      Anyhow, the FR320XT did a much better job because of the SIRF chipset.

      Let’s hope for a plastic cased epix 🙂

      1. Vertix and Apex aren’t plastic, and they are sweeping the floors with Fenix both in terms of distance/pace accuracy and tracks quality. Same goes for S9 and S9P. Not as pronounced, but still better on average.

  4. Vertix 2 has proven (and COROS themselves admitted), the multi-band GNSS is hardly a silver bullet to solve all positioning woes. The same is going to happen with Garmin multi-band GNSS. It might improve performance for some technical climbs and trails, but the most common use case of an urban road runner will remain the same. And when it comes to Fenix, that quality is subpar vs the competition or even other Garmin products.

    I was waiting for Epix2 announcement with a wallet in hand, but after several weeks with Fenix 6X back on my wrist, seeing its GPS performance is fairly discouraging.

    1. coros have said that.
      however when done fully correctly with more power i think multiband/frequency will give a step change in improvement…ie more than what we nfer from what coros say and from what they have so far delivered

      1. The keyword I suppose “with more power” (comes great respo…. GPS accuracy)

        Garmin has more hoops to jump through due to more features running concurrently, so they would have to be as cognizant of power usage as COROS. And perhaps may end up making the same choices.

  5. Interesting that Coros and Suunto aren’t generating complaints in spite of their metallic cases. Having said that one would actually have to do a side by side comparison with a Pace 2 in a dense urban environment to see exactly how they’re doing. Has someone here done that?

    Given the excellent performance of the FR55 (or FR245) in deep urban canyons where I run these days, both for TTFF (20 seconds and distance (and even tracks given the circumstances) Garmin obviously know what they’re doing with software and antennas so if the F6 is so much worse (10x TTFF sometimes), well…

    L5 should help with accuracy (distance/tracks) since multipath can be mitigateds but probably not much with TTFF.

    1. last week, by chance i ran with pace 2, ‘something else’ f7 and aw7. the pace 2 wasn’t great but not the worst. (Kingston ‘city’ centre, lots of fairly high rise stuff but not Manhattan)

      1. Interesting ! So the “‘something else’ f7” would have to be the worst then ? 🙁 Any chance you can have an FR55/FR245 the next time around ?
        I used to have a Pace 2 and I never gave GPS a second thought really, same for the FR935 or the FR235 or even the FR610. Actually since 2005 and the FR205 GPS when the SiRFStarIII was first used, performance on “watches” has been fine. It’s only when I got the F5 that it became an “issue” again with laps not matching the FR235 maps and when looking closer at the tracks in search of an explanation it quickly became clear why. I returned it and got the FR935 and…end of story.
        The problems of the F5 seem largely unresolved on the F6 but they’re only an issue when you start your run in a deep urban canyon, still why have to deal with these issues when a lowly Forerunner will always give you better GPS performance.

          1. Ha ha, they all look terrible path but that irrelevant, how was the estimated instinct pace and what was the up frequency when you change pace?

          2. the path isn’t irrelavent as, along with accelerometer data on some watches, the distance covered feed into instant pace.
            i cant recall the instant pace on that occasion but they probably all would have been out by a fair bit…hat’s why I use stryd for my own personal stuff

    2. I did a fair share of runs with COROS (Apex Pro, Vertix, and Vertix 2) and Garmin watches over the past 18 months, and while COROS (anybody for that matter) is hardly perfect all the time, they have been head and shoulders above all Garmin, with the exception of Forerunner 945 LTE and Venu 2, both of which lay really good tracks.

      Fenix 6 Pro, 6X Pro, 6X Solar Ti, Enduro… They all display same GPS issues.

        1. Stryd works perfectly fine as a footpod. You can configure a calibration factor, and set distance from either GPS or Stryd. No special setting for pace. I only use Stryd as distance source on a treadmill with a regular Run profile, since COROS doesn’t support structured workouts outside run/track. Outdoors i prefer to rely on COROS GPS, though I suspect it would fallback on Stryd for things like tunnels and overpasses. Instant pace seems to be generally fairly stable (COROS seems to be not updating it all the time though) and legitimate, no drastic jumps.

          On running power side, it’s miles ahead of Garmin. You get literally all Stryd metrics as data fields, all of them are captured automatically across all running activities regardless of being added to the screen, and automatically sync’ed to Stryd Power Center. You can configure your critical power to properly set power zones, and COROS fully supports structured workouts with power, their own stuff as well as imports from sources like Training Peaks.

          Actually, Stryd functionality is the same across their entire range.

        2. Re: FR945 specifically… It’s really accurate for me Stryd or no Stryd.

          Don’t think it has anything special Stryd-wise compared to rest of the Garmin line, same for Vertix 2 vs the rest of the COROS family.

          Typically when I run Vertix 2 and FR945, both connected to Stryd, both have same calibration factor (though Garmin allow auto-calibration), I end up with very similar tracks and very close distances. 4 out of 5 times you won’t be able to tell which one is which. Sometimes FR945 is better, sometimes V2. With Fenix, it was no contest most of the time.

          1. Thanks for your thorough reply. I may be buying a Coros Vertix 2, but hestitating due to the fact that Coros lack PacePro function as Garmin. It is very handy to set a pace on races. Do you think this functionality will arrive to Vertix 2 via firmware upgrade?

          2. if enough people shout then I would say Coros are now in the class of company that listens and responds fairly quickly.

          3. @ James, I can’t say what COROS would do. They usually surprise. That said, any pacing — be it RacePro or even a basic Race Pace — is currently missing. Perhaps, they are cooking something.

            As far as Race Pro is concerned… Last year it stopped working after a mile into a marathon race for me on FR945 (worked fine in previous races with F6X and training). So, between this thing apparently not being 100% reliable and really dependent on the correct route, I’m less hyped about it now.

            Check out Suunto’s Ghost Runner. It’s kind of Race Pace on steroids. If COROS implements something like that, I’d personally be very happy.

  6. My Garmin Instinct isn’t as accurate as it should be. I use All Trails that can be synced with Connect. All Trails seems to do the job. I don’t know the sats they are affiliated with, however All Trails seems to be a good secondary app.

  7. I can speak for other devices as a V2s owner; but didn’t the venue 2 line up get new Sony hardware that some of your YouTuber friends claim to make it the best GPS in a garmin watch & put it on par with apple watch 6(since the 7 was out then)? 945 lte also has the same GPS chip too.

    1. latest=best isn’t always true
      usually a decent bit of testing of NEWLY released GPS watches shows less than good performance that the manufacturer (Garmin especially) tweaks and improves over time.

  8. I’m an off-track adventurer I’m remote Tasmania. My Ambit 3 has been the most accurate watch to date. I need solid accuracy to know which side of a rocky outcrop to be on in low vis. I never really had a problem with this watch. The f6xpro features are tremendous but the accuracy is missing. When I first started mentioning this I was shouted at, downvoted and ridiculed. I don’t *need* that level of accuracy to stay safe, but it sure saves me a lot of time simply going the right way.

  9. Im using delta tactix solar AB and believe me it’s best gps.
    I had every Samsung watch before till frontier and switch to garmin was the best choice but not financially;)

  10. The most accurate GPS I’ve ever seen was on my good old FR 735xt. That was just incredibly good! That’s why I’ve struggled a very long time to switch to the Fenix series. In the end I did roughly one year ago as I couldn’t stand to wait any longer for a potential Fenix 7 that was always expected to come but never did. I’ve ended up with a MARQ Driver that I really love from the look and feel and is relatively close to a Fenix 6 pro from the technically perspective. GPS is not great (which was clear to me before buying it) but it’s OK and I especially have no major deviation regarding total distance of a run in my locations. But I do not run cities with tall buildings all the time so it’s a rather easy task for any GPS watch. I still own the 735xt and use it from time to time. Still one of the best Garmins ever.

    1. yeah i like the 735xt/235 watches as they were just trying to be good sports watches.

      that’s a dying breed as smart tech and physiology has corrupted their initial purpose.

      I sense a comeback for new versions of such watches that perhaps complement another smartwatch that you wear 23×7 (not 24×7 😉 ) eg apple watch for 23×7 and a sports watch just for sports pace 2, 235 that kind of thing. with the price of an apple watch band being similar to a second hand 235!! maybe its just easier changing watches

    2. I second that. out of all the garmins i’ve had over the years 735xt had the most accurate GPS. Unfortunately the battery is close to unusable now.

  11. Under what circumstances is better GPS accuracy necessary?
    For most users, they simply want the post run route to look correct on the map.
    For data focused runners, you use a footpod for accuracy.
    The need to know exactly where you are to say +/-10m is moot when most people run I feel.

    I used to hike in the Alps in the 90s. Not walking off a ridge in white-out conditions was a bonus. The early eTrex devices were good for just that, even back then. Battery life was poor, so you’d only turn it on if really needed. In good visibility you could use a map and judge where you were within 200m very quickly, that was good enough to make good navigation decisions.

    So to go back to running. Mostly you just need to know roughly where you are.
    +/-50m is good enough I’d say.
    +/-20m you’ve all the info most need, as when you then look up from your watch your eyes then tell you where the path, gate, waymark is etc.

    So at what point is GPS accuracy enough?

    Obviously I’ll always take better GPS accuracy, because why not take it when it’s offered.

    Just my 2p.

    1. Good to hear that you’re still satisfied with what you’ve got in the 90’s but I personally have a slightly different view on that. Let’s take the example of a FR 735xt vs. a Fenix 6 pro. If you are used to a certain level of GPS accuracy (so you know for sure it’s possible) with a watch that was released 6 or 7 years ago (even more?) and you paid roughly 200 EUR on and than you decide to upgrade to a much younger and much more expensive watch (700 EUR for a saphire titanium F6 pro or even more on a MARQ version), wouldn’t you expect to at least stay with more or less the same level of GPS accuracy? I totally understand the trade-off between GPS accuracy and battery consumption but I would like to decide myself. The FR 735xt lasts for 10 hours of running with best GPS settings. A marathon takes me 3:30h and while at home I have no issues charging the watch once a week. Who needs 100+ hours of GPS run time? That’s just marketing nonsense.

      Don’t get me wrong I’m totally fine with the accuracy of my watch so I’m with you regarding the question of really needing it but I also completely understand why people want and expect something that was possible in the past.

      1. 100% agree. Being charged more for less is poor service from Garmin.

        My 2014 vintage Garmin 920xt really hits the sweet spot. Right price, size, weight, quality, accuracy. Only negative, it’s CIQ1 and I’d rather have CIQ3 for my Stryd compatibly. 1st world problems and all.

        1. Yeah and like I posted above, sometimes you NEED better GPS performance, like when you’re running in a dense urban environment as I’ve been lately (I normally run along a river in the open so no big issues there apart from slightly short distance) and the F6 Pro can take minutes to get a fix vs 20/30 seconds for the FR55 and once it does accuracy is such a disaster that a 10km run will be shown as a 9km run, if you’re lucky !
          And yes you can fix the pace problem with a footpod (I sill have my old Garmin footpod now discontinued) but you’re OOL for distance.

    2. Well, apart from the fact that much cheaper watches, even in Garmin own stable, seem to be able to produce quality tracks… If you run long distances, that 50m off can accumulate to quite a number. And footpod isn’t a solution unless it’s been constantly calibrated and you run pancake flat courses. Any hills and/or trails, and footpod distance will be horrible.

    3. I totally agree with what you say for most people, indeed when I produce detailed accuracy reports that include the results of 10s and 10s of watches then only a VERY small number of people actually read them. My conclusion is that most people aren’t interested in accuracy and simply want that pretty map track in strava.

      scenarios:

      1. accurate instant pace
      2. accurate current lap pace
      3. responsively accurate when cycling fast to indicate correctly in advance of a turn
      4. to support complex and detailed navigation eg over branching forest trails
      5. if you’ve spent >£/$500 you probably expect accuracy.

  12. Exactly! That’s 1st world problems for sure. Running around with a MARQ Driver at your wrist, whereas any Fenix or Forerunner would have done the job as well and discussing GPS accuracy. OMG…

    1. I respectfully disagree.

      Inaccurate GPS means taking a wrong turn among several trails having to later backtrack, which sometimes can be hard. Happened to me more than once.

      It also means — with a typical error of 10-15 sec/mi and sometimes more — being off by, at least, 5-6 minutes in a longer races like a marathon. Given most big races are run in cities with tall buildings and overpasses, I think inaccuracies can be even greater. How’s pacing supposed to work? And please don’t say buy a footpod. I do have Stryd, but paying $200 to solve $800 watch problems is a joke.

      Much cheaper Venu 2 produces consistently excellent tracks. Is it so much to ask that watches, with prices now approaching $1000, perform accordingly?

    2. The reason I personally look into watches like Fenix or Enduro is because I want a training watch that can also be my daily driver and tracker and a pacing tool in the occasional race.

      That, and also have a battery life long enough I don’t have to worry about it before a long run and don’t pull my hair out in the middle of the vacation if lose a charging cable. Have I ever lost a cable? No. But I don’t have that much hair left, so I’m not going to try and see 😂

      Sadly, with where things stand in F6 world, Fenix leaves quite a bit to be desired as a training partner.

      1. yes, and lots of people are like you.

        but its the daily driver vs proper sports watch that is going to be a dilemma that fenix 7 wont solve. That’s why I’m getting an Epix2…although I won’t hold my breath for it to be a better smartwatch than AW7.

        1. Why would the Epix 2 be a better “sports watch” than the F7 ? Don’t they share components apart from the screen ?

          1. Mainly because of a better screen which means more data like notifications shown, better readability indoors, more sophisticated and perhaps actionable complications like Venu 2 Plus, and yes… pretty.

            On the downside, I don’t expect its battery to last longer then 3-4 days with always on display and any amount of training and offline music.

  13. I am lucky to have a Fenix with a Mediatek chip and a really good GPS accuracy (F5+). It will be a challenge for the Fenix 7 to be so significantly better that it’s worth spending 700 bucks for an upgrade.
    P.S. I don’t care about those gimmicks like body battery etc. I want to know how fast I really run, therefore GPS accuracy is key

    1. why on earth would a runner need to know how fast they run?
      crazy.
      next thing, you’ll be wanting accurate heart rate too. 😉
      you can buy a coffee with Garmin Pay? Isn’t that more important for a sports watch?

      1. Clearly, at the usual coffee stop during a ride, paying with your watch oozes class. But…an AW will do this fine, and chances are your edge 1040 won’t support Garmin pay (and it will be quite curious to pay with it :p )

    2. If you don’t give a s*** about all this, and value gps accuracy, why on earth are you sticking to a Fenix? 😉
      My Suunto S9 gives me very accurate tracks, hence pace (more so now that I’ve got a Stryd), accurate HR, accurate elevation…and serves as an arm workout weight on a daily basis too.

      1. I quite often run in unknown regions (business trips, holiday). The track navigation was the reason to buy a Fenix 1 many years ago and when I brought my current Fenix 5 plus, nobody except Garmin offered track navigation with offline maps!

  14. What you should really be writing about is when Garmin will introduce an offline version of its software to interact with the watch. Like every other manufacturer. My Fenix 6X is a thousand dollar paper weight. I spend four months a year out of cell coverage and you can’t so much as set an alarm on the watch, let alone analyze your workouts, without a data connection. The data is in the watch…..but you’re not allowed to see it unless you have a data connection. Be a responsible reviewer and warn people about this so they don’t waste their money like I did.

    1. There are various FIT viewers I gather you can use. Not tested them myself but imagine some are local drive installed software.

      Are you at sea – just out of interest?

      1. Not at sea. I spend most of the spring, summer and fall in my trailer in various spots in Northern Ontario. Always out of cell coverage. I gave up on Garmin and got a Galaxy Watch 4. It allows full control and viewing of data collected by the watch even with no data connection. Good job, Samsung! I can’t tell you how upset I am that Garmin refuses to offer that functionality. The data is in the Garmin watch, the watch is connected to my phone. Yet I can not view any of the data on my phone unless I have a data connection. I can’t interact with the watch from the app at all……even to set an alarm FFS. It’s infuriating, actually. I spent over a thousand dollars on the watch when it first came out and it’s completely useless to me.

        1. yours is a rare, but valid, use case
          as Will says, use the cable to connect the phone to a laptop. then use local PC software on the laptop. I would have used sporttracks 3.1 for that but now it’s discontinued, maybe something like runalyze will work, IDK.
          not sure how you would get the data onto the phone to use a phone app. SD card on an old phone with a laptop with the same sd slot. there’s probably an easier way but i don’t review that kind of stuff.

    2. That’s a pretty rare constraint but yes, it’s an annoyance. However you can set Alarms DIRECTLY from the watch ! Long press left middle button and “clocks”, there you go.

    3. So, you spend time without cell phone coverage or no internet at all?

      Because if you have internet, wired or wireless via a laptop, all you need is a data cable and Garmin Express to sync your watch with the server. But even off the grid, you can still offload workouts via cable to any device that supports USB mass storage, from PC to Android phones.

      As people below mentioned, you don’t need any data connection to setup your alarm function. You can get to it either via middle button long press > clocks or by setting up a shortcut that would go directly to alarms. Ditto for preset timers. You can always get accurate local time via GPS sync. All physiology, including weight and heart zones, can be setup directly on the watch.

      I mean… I agree wholeheartedly the app should be fully functional offline, and Garmin got bitten badly for that when their servers were attacked a year ago. Hopefully, they’ll see the light of day one day.

  15. Before the Sony, Garmin used MTK 3333AV for years and accuracy was still bad. Personally I don’t think Sony is worse or MTK is better. They’re similar or F6X Pro is a bit better than my 5X. And it consumed power like hell. In my first long ride my Fenix 6X Pro consumed %9 of battery in three hours, while my Fenix 5X consumed around %10 hourly. Forerunner watches or others with same chipsets were better. So I think it has some metal casing disadvantage or sth. like that. They may be using some different algoritms but I don’t know how different they can be. And old Fenix’es continued to draw GPS lines even when you wait at the same location. Forums and groups were still full of posts commenting how bad MTK chipset is…So I don’t really miss MTK chipsets but I can accept a new one if it consumes less than Sony and performs better than all previous Garmin’s.

    1. I don’t know what issues may have existed years ago but my FR 735xt with the MTK chip was unbelievable good in terms of GPS accuracy. I’ve never again seen anything like this. Everything with the Sony chip was far away from that level.

      And I don’t buy the “metal casing disadvantage” as a major reason to explain the Fenix GPS issues anymore. I own a MARQ Driver for roughly one year which is more or less only a nice looking early Fenix 6 Pro. Compared to the Fenix there is even significantly more metal (titanium) and only a very tiny plastic ring around this watch. And GPS is at least at the same accuracy level as other Fenix 6 of my friends, even slightly better I would say.

      1. Forerunner 735xt had the same MTK chipset which was found in older Fenix’es. However, Fenix’es were criticized for accuracy issues. That’s why I think metal casing makes the things harder. In Garmin forums there were people covering the watch with copper wires and saying they get good results etc… 🙂
        In Fenix 5 Plus and Fenix 6 series Garmin puts the antenna on the bezel, probably sticking it to the bezel like a tape instead of the antenna modules in older Fenix’es. However, it didn’t make the accuracy great…

        1. Yep, same observations between the FR935 (or FR235) and the Fenix 5 : good GPS performance vs “challenged” GPS performance

      2. I too, long for a GPS watch on par with my former 735xt. Been using the Fenix 5 plus which is an absolute disaster in terms of GPS accuracy compared to the 735xt. Stryd is no good either if your running form varies at different paces – I have conclusive proof of this in one of my runs and ended up returning it.

        Recently bought the 945LTE which seems to be a step in the right direction (still not as good as the 735xt though)… but debating on returning it and waiting for the 955 since the dual-band and new chips look promising. Has anyone done any in depth testing on the GPS accuracy of the new F7?

  16. There is already a review on DC Rainmaker. Seems that GPS is not bad but also not the holy grail of GOC accuracy either. Maybe it takes a while to fully utilize the new possibilities. Or maybe it’s not the solution people have been hoping for…

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