While we await the release of the Fenix 7, we can look back on why the Fenix 6 remains such a solid choice as a multisport watch. Garmin has a huge, and sometimes overwhelming, selection of sports watches and fitness tracking watches. So how will you know if the Fenix 6 is the best Garmin watch for you?
We’ll provide a quick overview of the Fenix 6, how it compares to its predecessor the Fenix 5, while also looking at the multiple sports and fitness features, the safety features, and the overall design of the watch.
Quick Background of the Fenix 6
The Garmin Fenix 6 has been a long time coming, eagerly awaited by many Fenix 3 and 5 owners. Garmin seems to have listened to previous criticisms – possibly a little too much, as the watch appears to be trying to please everyone. This has resulted in a confusing array of variations that could get you stuck in analysis paralysis while trying to figure out which option suits you best.
By this we mean the Fenix 6 is now offered as the Pro and the Pro Solar versions. This review will cover the base Fenix 6 model and all of its wonderful health tracking features, assistance features, the watch’s design, and how it compares to some of Garmin’s main competitors.
Features on the Fenix 6
Health & Fitness Features
As well as daily activity monitoring, the Garmin Fenix 6 caters for almost any type of sport:
- skiing, snowboarding, and cross country skiing
- fishing, and more.
Safety & Assistance Features
GPS is one of the features on the Fenix 6 you might utilize the most. And Garmin doesn’t just use a GPS system but rather runs GNSS support, providing even more accurate mapping. The GPS is an essential feature for any active person, and it is essential for the Fenix 6’s safety and assistance features.
Garmin’s Assistance and Incident Detection are two newer ways to stay safe with your phone and watch. While your phone is connected to Garmin Connect, and while your watch is tracking certain activities, you can ensure you stay connected to loved ones in case of an emergency.
Assistance is the simpler of the two features. It simply allows you to notify emergency contacts of your exact location along with a pre-written message.
Incident Detection is a bit more in-depth and uses impact on your wrist to detect falls, trips, or possible injuries.
New to the Fenix 6
The Fenix 6 now supports optical heart rate while swimming, a feature first seen on the Forerunner 945. Another new feature is the built-in PulseOx sensor that measures blood oxygen saturation levels. This comes in handy when picking up sleep-related issues and also works at high altitudes to determine how well your body is acclimatizing, making it a potential lifesaver.
If you’re a runner, you can look forward to the new PacePro, a first-of-its-kind feature that adapts to elevation changes to keep a runner’s pacing on track. It also lets you plan your running course in advance and then guides you on your actual run. For avid marathon runners, this feature is especially invaluable as proper planning could make or break your race.
Garmin’s Power Manager
Another great feature of the Fenix 6 allows the deactivation of certain other features to preserve battery life. You’ll also get an instant estimation of the battery life in hours – a very welcome improvement on the usual percentage indicator. An extreme power-saving mode is available when you need to squeeze out the last bit of functionality.
Your typical Garmin was not made to be flashed at a black-tie event. The Fenix 6, although a bit lighter and a little less bulky, still has the same robust outdoorsy feel as its predecessors.
The casing of the Fenix 6 is only a millimeter or so slimmer than the Fenix 5, but the difference can be felt on the wrist thanks to a weight reduction of around 7g.
The Fenix 6’s display is 17% larger (now 1.3 inches) than the 5 plus, whereas the 6X boasts an increase of 36%. These increases not only assist with readability but also provides more data per screen. The slightly more expensive Sapphire edition boasts a heavy-duty screen that offers more scratch-resistance.
A wider variety of band options allows you to either add a touch of elegance or more durability, depending on whether you opt for a leather, titanium or nylon band. New rose gold, champagne, and grey casings add to the customization options. Optimization of the Garmin Elevate Optical Heart Rate Sensor means that a chest strap is no longer needed.
Garmin claims that the Fenix 6 is tested to U.S. military standards for thermal, shock and water resistance, so a few bumps and scratches shouldn’t harm this durable sports watch.
- Power Modes – customisable in-activity battery settings
- PacePro™ Pacing Strategies to assist runners, especially during races
- Underwater wrist-based heart rate monitor
- Incident detection during select activities
- PulseOx sensor’s ability to measure blood oxygen levels
- Glanceable widgets to view more data at once
- Solar power feature only available on the expensive top range model and only adds about three days to battery life.
- The more affordable Standard models don’t include WiFi connectivity, maps or music
- No touch screen
How does the Fenix 6 Compare to it’s Competition
|Feature||GARMIN FENIX |
|POLAR VANTAGE V||SUUNTO 9 BARO|
|Battery Life (GPS)||24HRS-75HRS||25HRS-148HRS (DEPENDS ON MODEL)||<40 HRS||<120 HRS|
|Download customer apps||YES||YES||NO||NO|
|Running Dynamics||With Rd Pod, HRM-TRI or HRM-Run||With Rd Pod, HRM-TRI or HRM-Run||NO||NO|
|Race Predictor||YES||YES, Plus Pacepro||NO||NO|
|Record HR Underwater||With HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM (Not with Optical-HR)||YES (With Optical HR OR HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM)||YES||YES|
|Follow GPS Track||YES||YES||NO||YES|
|Fenix 6||Amazon||View Offer|
|Fenix 6||eBay||View Offer|
|Fenix 6||Garmin||View Offer|
|Fenix 6||Target||View Offer|
It’s easy to see why the Fenix 6 is a firm favorite for keen sportspeople. It may even get a few couch potatoes dusting off their trainers to head outside to enjoy the myriad of fun functions on offer.
If however all these features are making your head spin and you’re after a little less functionality plus a little more affordability, check the Fenix 6 range and other options here.
Last Updated on January 12, 2022
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