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Questions about Garmin Fenix watches

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  • Questions about Garmin Fenix watches

    I do a lot of hiking and I use my Garmin GPSMAP 64s handheld unit to map my route, create WayPoints, Routes, Tracks, as a compass, and check on elevation and distance. I have the Garmin BaseCamp software on my computer that I use to create GPX files. I also purchased the US Northeast map separately from Garmin and have it loaded in my handheld unit. All of this works great.

    Now I am looking to purchase a GPS watch to also use for hiking and I am looking at the Garmin Fenix 5. I have a few questions.
    • Does anyone know when the Fenix 5X might come out?
    • I know that the Fenix 5 does not come with a TOPO map like the 5X does, but can I load a TOPO map onto the 5 after I get it? Can I use my US Northeast map that I purchased from Garmin on it?
    • I've never used a Garmin watch for hiking before. Can it do most of the things that a handheld unit can do? (waypoints, load GPX files, routes, tracks, etc.)
    • Can I connect a Garmin watch to my Garmin BaseCamp software on my PC?
    Reference: https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/552982

  • #2
    Marty, if this wasn't your second post here, I'd swear it was written by a Garmin marketing bot to draw eyeballs to its site. Oh look, a new Fenix watch, click here!


    Check out ​DCRainMaker's comprehensive review of the Fenix 5 series: https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2017/03/...5x-review.html
    ​Then read the 679+ comments that have been posted so far ...

    ​PS
    Only the 5X supports (Garmin) maps and Amazon indicated its currently only available as a "pre-order". MSRP is $699.99. Contact Garmin directly for the shipping date.





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    • #3
      LOL... I have absolutely no affiliation with Garmin. I just have heard from many hikers that the Garmin Fenix series is phenomenal and I have my eyes set on it, but wanted to do more research first.

      I have read some articles and watched some YouTube videos, but I haven't across DCRainMaker's review yet. I will check this out, thanks.

      PS
      Only the 5X supports (Garmin) maps and Amazon indicated its currently only available as a "pre-order". MSRP is $699.99. Contact Garmin directly for the shipping date.
      So does this mean that I can use my Garmin US Northeast map that I purchased separately from Garmin's website for about $90, on the Fenix 5X?

      That would pretty much seal it for me. I would just have to wait for the 5X and forget about the regular 5. Kind of what I figured. I have been hawking the 5X on Amazon lately and I am getting tired of seeing "pre-order". When is it going to be available?!?!

      Anyway, thanks for the info.

      Edit: I just realized that I already had one of DCRainMaker's videos open in my browser, I just haven't watched it yet. That's funny. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnLhcawaE5M

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      • #4
        You say "phenomenal" yet when it was first released, it was a certifiable dud. Garmin discussion forums are choked with posts about the Fenix 3's sub-par GPS accuracy. Garmin attempted to fix it with firmware updates (many, many updates) and managed to improve it significantly but not to the liking of longstanding Garmin users (especially runners) who concluded it was a hardware flaw (with the antenna).

        ​The 5X enters new territory with the ability to display maps. If I was going to drop $700+ on a watch (yeah, no) ... I think I'd want to see that function in action first. Call me cynical but, going on Garmin's past performance, map-handling might not work as smoothly as you'd like until several firmware versions from now. Let us know how phenomenally it works.
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        • #5
          Hmm alright.. are there any other watches you'd recommend looking at? Suunto maybe?

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          • #6
            Suunto's Ambit 3 Peak has a very good reputation for GPS accuracy. HOWEVER, feature-wise, it's not a Fenix 3 (let alone a Fenix 5). Forget about maps on the wrist, apps, watchfaces, etc. I don't own one but did a lot of homework when I was in the market for a sports watch. In the end, I bought nothing. I switched from using an old Garmin Rino 530 HCx to Locus Map on my Android phone.

            PS
            ​Here's a forum for discussing Suunto's watches: http://forums.watchuseek.com/f233/
            You'll notice the thread for the new Suunto Spartan Ultra is now 404 pages long ... and it's not all love letters.
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            • #7
              It sounds like you're really not a fan of GPS watches! I have a friend who used a Garmin watch to do the entire Bob Marshall Traverse and he had no issues with it at all. He posted his GPS tracks afterward. Obviously the GPS was working. So, I don't know what to think. If GPS watches are so bad, how come a lot of people do just fine with them and they post the route that they took afterward as proof basically?

              Anyway, thanks a lot for the info and the links, and I'll let you know what I wind up doing!

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              • #8
                I'm not sure what your example is intended to prove. I can travel around the world and even the cheapest GPS watch will record a track. Of course, I'll probably have to recharge it umpteen times ... unless I went "around the world" aboard the International Space Station.

                ​Runners are the principal consumers of GPS sports watches and serious runners demand accuracy. When you're running the same route frequently, you don't want your watch telling you it's a significantly different length each time you run it. That's why it was runners who were the first to report the Fenix 3's mediocre accuracy (and precision). They weren't whistling in the wind either because they were comparing the Fenix line to older Garmin GPS watches which were noted for their accuracy. (I've got a link to a comparative chart somewhere and will post it if I find it.)

                ​Unless you're into ultra-marathons, most runners don't need long battery life (but it is appreciated). However, hikers do need a device that can run for 10 hours or more. Garmin and Suunto have that nailed with 20+ hours. Where they still have they're work cut out is stability. Read the forums. Suunto just can't seem to nail Bluetooth stability. Garmin has its own problems. Then there's the heart-rate sensor ...

                ​Currently both Garmin and Suunto use proprietary operating systems for their watches. Should Android Wear 2.0 take off, expect to see a broader range (both in price and features) of watches hit the market. By running a common OS, they provide a bigger market for app developers.

                ​All to say, good GPS watches are still spendy, fiddly things that don't quite meet all their marketing pronouncements. Some things work well, others just OK, and yet others not so much.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for all of your input. I appreciate it!

                  Originally posted by Trail Boss
                  I'm not sure what your example is intended to prove. I can travel around the world and even the cheapest GPS watch will record a track.
                  My example was in response to the following:

                  Originally posted by Trail Boss
                  I don't own one but did a lot of homework when I was in the market for a sports watch. In the end, I bought nothing.
                  You never advised me to not buy a GPS watch, but with your statement, it makes it seem like a GPS watch is simply not worthwhile. So I was providing an example that shows the opposite. In other words, you were not attempting to dissuade me from purchasing a GPS watch, but you were not advocating it either. So I was just giving an example of how even though a GPS watch's accuracy may not be absolutely perfect, they're still a great tool to use - despite you making the judgement that it was not a worthwhile purchase for you.

                  Your posts and comments were very "negative" regarding GPS watches, so my example was just providing a positive side.

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                • #10
                  If you were on the ISS, the GPS wouldn't give you proper coordinates.


                  “Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” - Ed Viesturs

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