It’s been over four months since I bought my Garmin fenix and wrote up my initial impressions of the watch. Having run, cycled and hiked a lot of kilometres since then, it is worth giving an update on the fenix. Garmin have released another four firmware upgrades and I am now using v3.10 firmware.
Bugs and other problems that Garmin have addressed:
- Foot pod support (for running cadence measurements) has been added
- Indoor training support has been added
- Altitude readings are more reliable, with more options for configuring the combination of barometric and GPS measurements used for tracking altitude
- The FIT history is now accessible from the main menu and has a number of bug fixes and improvements with what is tracked in the FIT file
Bugs and problems that still exist (and annoy me)
- The GPS can take several minutes to lock onto satellites. I leave it outside to get a lock, go get changed into my running gear and then grab the watch. The lock time is inconsistent and frustratingly slow, especially when compared with other GPS devices that I have.
- A number of really useful running features from the FR-60 and other Forerunner watches are still missing, such as Virtual Partner.
- The manual is still appalling.
- Garmin still don’t have a dedicated forum for the fenix, despite all the requests and forums for most (if not all) of their other sports watches.
- There is still no ANT+ or Bluetooth connectivity to a PC. There is Bluetooth connectivity to an iPhone app, and that’s it.
- Customising the watch onboard is convenient when you are in the field, compared to the Suunto Ambit which requires a PC for configuration, but the customisation is poorly documented and often counter-intuitive. I find myself wandering up and down menu lists trying to find a particular option. A good example is the group of time/date settings, which are spread across a number of different menus.
- The profile support via the Garmin Connect API is very average. Import a cycling track and it is imported as a running event. Import a running track and it is imported as an “other” event. This means that for every import of tracks, I have to edit the event types to set them correctly. Every import. How hard would it be to fix this, Garmin?
Would I recommend the fenix? If you need a sports watch with long battery life (eg. Audax rides, ultra-marathons, long day walks), then the fenix is a good choice, but I would recommend you also consider the Suunto Ambit, especially now that it has “app” functionality. Otherwise, I would seriously consider one of the alternative sports watches, such as the 910XT, that are on the market, especially if you want training features.