Smartwatch and fitness bands are one of the biggest ongoing trends right now, and with the overwhelming number of choices available out there, it only becomes more difficult to pick the right one for yourself. This process is made even more difficult, now that fitness bands and smartwatches are either trying to imitate each other, or trying to come together as one. Do you go with the most popular? Or the one that’s the most affordable? Or do you pick a watch that particularly suits your needs? Amid this confusion of which one to pick, I received the recently launched Garmin Fenix 5S for a review.
I spent some time with the smartwatch, and I feel that if not the best, this watch is definitely one of the best ones out there. And to prove that to you, let’s run through the little observations I made through my experience with the watch, in which I have been wearing it during both workouts and day-to-day life.
How it looks and feels
To begin with, the watch I received dons a white detachable silicon strap, and a white body with a silver color rim. It’s compact and light, weighing in at just 68 grams. It has a 42mm face, and is mostly aimed at women and anyone with smaller wrists. The watch has a round face, a fiber-reinforced polymer body, and a stainless steel bezel. It’s still fairly thick, with a swollen underside and flashing green heart rate sensors. It comes sans a touch screen, with the very least amount of innovation around the display. But yes, it is clear enough for it to be visible with bright sunlight on your head.
You see five buttons around the watch body: three on the left and two on the right. The button on the upper right brings you to the sport options; the bottom right button brings you back a step in the watch interface and lets you mark laps. On the left side of the face, there’s a backlight button and two more buttons that act as both up / down buttons and shortcuts to data pages (showing things like daily step count, calories burned, local weather, altitude, and recent notifications). Simply put, you’ll take a while before you get used to the buttons, even with the button identifiers etched on the bezel.
More important than size is the fact that the Fenix 5S knows what it is and what it’s supposed to do. It’s not a smartwatch posing as a fitness watch, and it’s not a fitness watch that has co-opted the app platforms and battery-sucking touchscreen displays of smartwatches. It’s a fitness tracking watch with all of the stuff that you would expect from a high-end Garmin (which means excellent GPS).
The GPS won’t disappoint you
Garmin has built its reputation on the back of its excellent GPS equipment and navigation technology, and that can be seen in this watch too. I used the watch for a bunch of GPS-enabled workouts and it gave me pretty accurate results. I chose different routes for my run each day, to really test the accuracy of the feature, and it did not disappoint me.