AT A GLANCE: QUICK RATINGS
Heart Rate Functions
Fitness / Sport Features
Ease of Use
- Solid HR tracking in any activity including swimming
- Accurate no matter what but only offers great feedback after using HIIT programs
- Using the watch is easy but a bit tedious due to the extensive number of programmed workouts and features
- Deals with too many features while having the same battery as a more basic Fenix watch
Where To Get It
A Deep Dive Into The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus
Fitness watches come in all shapes and sizes but the folks at Garmin couldn’t care less. Their fitness watches will always look like actual watches, granted with a very rugged exterior. It’s more about what’s on the inside and how well it works in tandem with the satellites.
Who Is It For?
The Fenix 5 Plus is aimed at serious athletes, gym freaks, and real outdoor adventurers. It’s made to withstand harsh elements and fine-tuned to track everything you can think of during demanding HIIT programs.
- Features a barometer
- Comes with a wide range of preprogrammed sports and activities
- Skewed towards HIIT programs
- Good screen readability
- Tracks an insane amount of fitness metrics
- Not the cheapest watch on the block
- May not be the best choice for amateur athletes or occasional joggers
- VO2 Max only displays when running
The Fenix 5 Plus is more than popular and apparently for very good reasons. We’ve reviewed its overall performance based on our experience in this field. We’ve also looked at what’s new, what’s missing, and what should be changed before deciding just how much value for money is in this gadget.
The Fenix 5 Plus is sort of an improved version of the previous lineup. It has a bunch of extra features that make it a more viable sports watch, but it doesn’t offer the complete package. The Fenix 5 Plus doesn’t feature a pulse ox acclimator which is only present in the Fenix 5X Plus model. That being said, this is still Garmin’s flagship sports watch and fitness tracker.
Besides the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus in your choice of colors and size, you’ll also find a charging cable and documentation (owner’s manual, warranty card, product certificate, and the like) in the box.
Overview of Features
The design looks pretty much the same as its predecessor. The resolution is 240x240 which is not amazing but there’s enough room to display color maps. It’s still not enough to make reading TOPO maps enjoyable but it is possible, nonetheless.
What is a clear improvement is the actual tracking potential. If you can do something, you can probably track it with the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus. You’re no longer limited to running, swimming, cycling, you know, the basics.
The list of preprogrammed activities is truly extensive. The accuracy of the sensors is even more impressive given how many different parameters are taken into account. One reason why the metrics are more on-point than ever is the FirstBeat algorithm, designed to perform biometric calculations with high degrees of complexity.
But there’s a lot more to the Fenix 5 Plus than a complex processor and fine-tuned software. If you’re really looking for a fitness watch to wear all day long and for a variety of activities, you need something rugged. This watch can handle desert conditions just as well as ski slopes in the middle of winter. Not all the money goes towards GPS tracking and fitness sensors.
If you’re super strict about your training, then you’ll also appreciate the Training Status function. It allows you to review detailed performance charts from your previous seven days.
Sure, there are still some kinks. When trying to pack as many fitness features into the Fenix 5 Plus, Garmin overlooked some minor details. For example, VO2 max tracking only works in running mode. At times it also seems like the device can’t tell a difference between resting and running a marathon.
However, this last ‘problem’ is actually intended. The Fenix 5 Plus is mostly aimed at HIIT workout enthusiasts. Therefore, the device is a lot happier when it tracks exhausting activities which is why the results appear to be more encouraging. Still, you can play with the sensors and the programs to customize the watch to your preferred level of intensity.
Also, just because you don’t get a thumbs up from Garmin doesn’t mean you can’t put those recorded stats to good use in a third-party app. It just takes a bit more time.
The battery life is not very long considering the high price tag. But that’s because this watch uses the same battery as the XS model while running more features and sensors. At the end of the day, daily usage dictates how often you have to recharge. If you run it on full GPS tracking and fitness tracking, you probably won’t get more than 18 hours out of it.
If you’re not an iOS user,then the Fenix 5 Plus is probably the first fitness watch that comes to mind. It’s rugged, customizable, very accurate, and a great companion if you’re into HIIT training and exploring demanding outdoor trails. Is it cheap? – Not exactly. Will it blow your mind? – Probably so.