Garmin Fenix 5 Review – Premium Sportswatch for Serious Athletes

garmin fenix 5 review

Garmin Fenix 5 Family Review

Want a watch to track athletic activity that also looks elegant on the wrist during daily life? Unlike other options on the marketing, the Garmin Fenix 5 looks like a stunning, professional watch but also functions for activity tracking. The watch suits high-level athletes looking to make gains, set goals, and more.

The Garmin Fenix 5 product line includes three watch options – the Fenix 5, Fenix 5S, and Fenix 5X. These three watches are the core of the line and come with various band options to make a complete line of 14 variants. It is one of the most popular multi-sport tracking ranges on the market because of its features, durability, and elegance.


  • Multisport training through different applications
  • Set goals and achieve them with reminders and encouragement from the watch
  • Highly-sensitive GPS and GLONASS receiver for accuracy
  • Water rated to withstand depths of up to 100 meters (10ATM)
  • Automatic uploads to Garmin Connect for activity tracking and updates
  • Replaceable watch bands to rotate based on personal sense of style
  • A readable face in all levels of lighting, indoors and outdoors
  • A Bluetooth low energy to preserve battery-life while still staying connected
  • Pre-loaded activity profiles for sports, including paddle sports
  • Feminine band options and smaller versions to suit women


  • A higher weight than other watches on the market, with some weighing up to 86g
  • A high price point for some budgets
  • Software updates are necessary (via Garmin Connect app)

Why Purchase a Fenix 5 Sapphire?

Garmin has a standard Fenix line of products, but the Sapphire line of watches (Amazon) comes with the sapphire lens. It is different than a standard lens because it is durable and more pleasing to the eye than a standard Fenix.

The glass is domed, has a silver accent color, and is highly scratch resistant. The Fenix is a high-end watch, but the Sapphire is the top option for enthusiasts committed to quality and durability. (It also includes some functionality updates mainly screen enhancements).

Style Options in the Fenix 5 Sapphire Line

There are three watch options available in the Fenix Sapphire Line. Every Fenix in the Sapphire line comes with a stainless-steel bezel, buttons, and rear case. Here are some meaningful statistics to cover the major differences between the options.

    • Fenix 5S Sapphire: Battery life is up to 50 hours in UltraTrac battery mode, 12 hours in GPS mode, and up to 8 days in smartwatch mode. The 5S has the smallest watch face, it is 42 mm in size.
    • Fenix 5 Sapphire: The battery life is the same as the 5S Sapphire. The watch face size is 47mm.
    • Fenix 5X Sapphire: The battery life is up to 100 hours in UltraTrac battery saver mode, 24 hours in GPS mode, and up to 17 days in smartwatch mode. The 5X has the largest watch face with a 51mm size. The device comes with a preloaded topographic and cycling maps and access to more than 40,000 golf courses around the world.

Noteworthy Fenix 5 Sapphire Features

Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the Fenix Sapphire (Amazon) versus other options is the sapphire face of the watch. As mentioned, this face is more durable, stylish, and scratch-resistant. When putting a Fenix next to a Fenix Sapphire, the difference is noticeable to the untrained eye.

Tracking in Open Water

Many other watches are unable to track in open water; the Fenix Sapphire is uniquely capable in how it tracks movement and activity in open water. The watch also tracks distance, pace, stroke count, and more for swim training.

The Exo Antenna

Every Fenix watch comes with an omnidirectional antenna embedded into the watch. It combines both GPS and GLONASS (Russian satellite-based navigation system). Two networks mean increased signal strength, reception, and accuracy.

Wi-Fi Enabled

Instead of connecting when prompted, this Wi-Fi enabled product automatically sends activity updates to Garmin Connect when on a home Wi-Fi network.

Monitor Performance with the Anaerobic Training Effect

Since this product is designed specifically for athletic use, it helps monitor the body’s training and recovery periods. It evaluates exercise history and checks performance indicators for an analysis on training productively, peaking, and even overreaching. The anaerobic training effect measures your fatigue resistance, performance capacity, sprinting abilities, and even energy production.

Wrist-Based Heart Rate

Garmin’s innovation in the wrist-based heart rate tracking is better than ever with the Fenix Sapphire line of products. It tracks heart rate to track calories burned and also determine the intensity of fitness activities. Resting heart rate is accurate as well.

Connect IQ

Garmin operates an app store, Connect IQ, for customization and updates specific to a user. These apps don’t even need to pertain to health and fitness, like Uber for ride-sharing. Some popular apps include Ozmo-Track for hydration, Strava Routes, and AccuWeather.

Rise Above Your Limits with Fenix 5 Sapphire

Garmin says the Fenix Sapphire (Amazon) line helps every user “Rise Above Your Limits.” As one customer states, “Man, I love this thing!”. A typical user gets interested in the statistics made available with the Fenix Sapphire which helps increase motivation for exercise.

Although the price point of this watch is a considerable investment, the technology is made to last. The elegant look of the product means it won’t go out of style and compliments outfits for every occasion.​


Whether climbing a mountain, swimming in the ocean, or casually running in the neighborhood, this activity tracker and GPS watch is a great accessory for athletic success. Experience the striking design and strong performance of a Garmin product, labeled as a CES Innovation Award 2017 Honoree. Purchase this watch and start wearing it everywhere!​

Scroll to Top