Garmin (type) watch recommendations

routrax

E*POWAH Master
Jun 15, 2019
382
529
Uxbridge
As the title, I'm looking for an upgrade to my fitbit versa, with a few more features, gps and altitude would be nice.
There seems to be quite a few options around, so what do you guys recommend and why?

Cheers
Steve.
 

RickBullotta

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Jun 5, 2019
1,719
1,473
USA
IMO an Apple Watch is a better option if you're an iOS phone user. More apps, more interactivity, better UX. Map-based navigation on a watch simply sucks. Too small a display. I had both a Fenix 5 and a Fenix 6 and sold them both, and am happy now with an Apple Watch 4. You can even get a cellular plan if you don't want to have to carry your phone.

If you want a navigation device, get a Garmin 530 or 830 or a Wahoo. If you want a fitness device, the Apple Watch is hard to beat, and the ability to answer calls/respond to texts without taking my phone out is a useful feature.
 

routrax

E*POWAH Master
Jun 15, 2019
382
529
Uxbridge
IMO an Apple Watch is a better option if you're an iOS phone user. More apps, more interactivity, better UX. Map-based navigation on a watch simply sucks. Too small a display. I had both a Fenix 5 and a Fenix 6 and sold them both, and am happy now with an Apple Watch 4. You can even get a cellular plan if you don't want to have to carry your phone.

If you want a navigation device, get a Garmin 530 or 830 or a Wahoo. If you want a fitness device, the Apple Watch is hard to beat, and the ability to answer calls/respond to texts without taking my phone out is a useful feature.

Definitely not an apple guy!
I'm not really after a full app experience on a watch, just some nav type functionality and ebike connectivity in a robust unit.
 

fenwick458

Active member
Oct 6, 2020
298
187
Cumbria
if you are actually interested in accurate GPS tracking and Strava segment matching, Garmin is the one to get. A few mates have had Apple watches and they are utterly useless for getting a GPS fix in the trees when you are mountain biking, and looking at their rides after it was obvious to see, looking at rides we both did together: my line would be following the trail, their line would be jutting around all over the map and a random and haphazard fashion.
I've had a FR735 for 5.5 years now and it has been brilliant. after 2.5 years the display started flickering and Garmin swapped it with a new one for me, and the new one is still going strong.
the FR735 I have has been down to £160 on sale, there is the cheaper FR235 which is pretty similar except you can't log swimming activities with it.
I'm not upto speed with the newer versions if there are any, but from my understanding a lot of the higher end fenix watches have features which are just not appealing to me. But if you want a real altimeter(not just the the GPS version), or scratch proof glass, or the ability to dress it up like a nice watch then go for a Fenix bu they are about 3 times the price
 

SwissMountainLeader

Active member
Mar 10, 2021
105
476
Switzerland
Battery life on the Apple Watch is a bit of a showstopper for a lot of outdoor usage which is why people are glued to their Garmins. Navigation using wrist devices is pretty capable generally and the Garmin models that have mapping allow OpenStreetMap derived maps to be used which I find useful. No doubt Apple will sort that battery life out in the next cycle or two. Meanwhile the Fenix and Instincts are both available with solar charging at a premium price :)
 

RickBullotta

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Jun 5, 2019
1,719
1,473
USA
Battery life on the Apple Watch is a bit of a showstopper for a lot of outdoor usage which is why people are glued to their Garmins. Navigation using wrist devices is pretty capable generally and the Garmin models that have mapping allow OpenStreetMap derived maps to be used which I find useful. No doubt Apple will sort that battery life out in the next cycle or two. Meanwhile the Fenix and Instincts are both available with solar charging at a premium price :)

agreed. that’s one disadvantage.
 

routrax

E*POWAH Master
Jun 15, 2019
382
529
Uxbridge
if you are actually interested in accurate GPS tracking and Strava segment matching, Garmin is the one to get. A few mates have had Apple watches and they are utterly useless for getting a GPS fix in the trees when you are mountain biking, and looking at their rides after it was obvious to see, looking at rides we both did together: my line would be following the trail, their line would be jutting around all over the map and a random and haphazard fashion.
I've had a FR735 for 5.5 years now and it has been brilliant. after 2.5 years the display started flickering and Garmin swapped it with a new one for me, and the new one is still going strong.
the FR735 I have has been down to £160 on sale, there is the cheaper FR235 which is pretty similar except you can't log swimming activities with it.
I'm not upto speed with the newer versions if there are any, but from my understanding a lot of the higher end fenix watches have features which are just not appealing to me. But if you want a real altimeter(not just the the GPS version), or scratch proof glass, or the ability to dress it up like a nice watch then go for a Fenix bu they are about 3 times the price

Not really interested in Strava stuff for a watch, I've got a Garmin 530 for that.
It'd be used for a bit of biking, but I'm getting back into hillwalking and scrambling so more for that kind of thing, and as a watch :)
 

routrax

E*POWAH Master
Jun 15, 2019
382
529
Uxbridge
I think @Rob Rides EMTB's is using the Fenix 6.

If you search the forum there's various mentions of this being used with data fields and things - though it sounds like it has some imperfections too.

It's the imperfections I want to know about

The titanium one does look nice though!
1619210838728.png
 

jerry

Active member
Dec 22, 2018
257
165
Belgium
Not really interested in Strava stuff for a watch, I've got a Garmin 530 for that.
It'd be used for a bit of biking, but I'm getting back into hillwalking and scrambling so more for that kind of thing, and as a watch :)
I'd say the fenix (6) is perfectly fine for walking, navigation works well for that purpose (it doesn't for mountainbiking... small screen + wrist? nope). I liked the Apple Watch interface+integration, but could not live with daily charging.... I found myself skipping a few days here and there, and ended up not wearing it 4 days out of 5. Whereas the Garmin, I wear it all the time.
 

Tobers

Well-known member
Jun 20, 2020
140
309
England
I have a Fenix 6x. Very good.

It takes a bit of getting used to, but is very impressive once you do. Battery life is 15 days or so for me. It doesn’t have an OLED touch screen, but it does have properly responsive physical buttons that you can use with gloves, which is a win.

You can get the “ebike field nerd style” (yes, seriously) widget for it, which links to your Levo/Levo SL (and possibly others with ANT+ signalling), and you capture all the bike stats, battery %, wattage etc in with your ride recording. Very good.

I use mine for biking, hiking and all sorts of other stuff. IMHO it’s a much more ”outdoorsy” practical and rugged watch than the alternatives.
 

Tobers

Well-known member
Jun 20, 2020
140
309
England
Just re-read. You want to know about imperfections of the Fenix.

Garmin’s terminology is really confusing. You have routes, tracks, and courses. On a Garmin handheld GPS, you have a track, but on the watch its a course (I think). In fact I have no idea. Why they make this so confusing is a mystery. Sometimes I have no clue how to get a GPX onto the watch.

Garmin seem to have roughly a million mobile phone apps. You’d expect one app to do everything, but no, they have many apps. There’s Connect IQ, Connect, and Explore (that I have installed). Why? No idea. Seems like you need one to get new watch faces, and another to install those watch faces onto your watch. Why why why. Garmin Connect seems to track your daily health stats quite nicely. But Garmin Explore is used to set up maps, which you may or may not be able to sync to your watch depending on if it is a course or track or route.

I’m sure Apple’s integration is better and more logical.

The screen is not as good as an OLED screen, but that’s why the battery life is so good.

I have the 6X (larger, more battery). It’s a substantial item.

But....it’s a much more purposeful and substantial item than anything else IMHO, and is very well suited for outdoor action. I forgive it the problems above, but wish they’d sort them out.
 

Gyre

Well-known member
Subscriber
Jan 25, 2021
625
412
Pasadena, CA
As the title, I'm looking for an upgrade to my fitbit versa, with a few more features, gps and altitude would be nice.
There seems to be quite a few options around, so what do you guys recommend and why?
Battery life on these watches is lousy and the prices get astronomical quickly. If you can tolerate a proper GPS cyclecomputer, you can have the watch just handling your heart rate monitoring and maybe a couple of extra display fields. That way you could use a cheaper watch like a Vivoactive paired to the computer.
 

jerry

Active member
Dec 22, 2018
257
165
Belgium
Garmin’s terminology is really confusing. You have routes, tracks, and courses. On a Garmin handheld GPS, you have a track, but on the watch its a course (I think). In fact I have no idea. Why they make this so confusing is a mystery. Sometimes I have no clue how to get a GPX onto the watch.
I agree on that, though once you've narrowed it down to what you need and forget about all the rest, it's quite OK.
- for opening GPX (from your phone), simply click the file, and then "open with.." -> Garmin connect app, then sync. That is the second quickest method.
- the quickest (and also useful for navigation, no messing with courses, tracks, etc) is Komoot. Open GPX on Komoot on any platform (laptop, phone, whatever,..) and it syncs automatically with the Komoot app on the Fenix. It also does decent navigation, vibrating when you go off course, etc.
 

Growmac

Well-known member
Subscriber
Dec 4, 2020
374
389
Wilts, UK
Garmin certainly have far better battery life. No comparison. An Apple Watch 6 will need charged daily, and it's a poor choice if you're not Apple, but it'll reliably last the day no problem at all in my experience, although it's worth turning off the always on screen - in bright daylight it turns itself up to remain visible at great detriment to battery life.

Contrary to @fenwick458 's mates experiences above, my 6 does as good or better a job at GPS tracking than my Garmin 530. Very good trace even under dense tree cover, and uses about 3-4% battery per hour.
 

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