Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Review: Small watch, big deal

Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Review: Small watch, big deal

“Garmin’s Fenix 6S Pro beefs up its fitness features without losing its focus on outdoor adventures.”

Slimmed-down design

Altitude-savvy pacing knowledge

Extended battery life

Easy-to-use interface

The Fenix 6S Pro often is the smallest watch in Garmin’s newest Fenix 6 collection, however don’t let the small dimension idiot you. The GPS watch is as rugged and full-featured as its larger siblings. It has a pulse oximeter for measuring oxygen ranges in your physique, a helpful new TempoPro metric, streaming music assist, and rock strong navigation.

All this and extra is packed into the watch’s comfy 42mm body. I’ve been testing the $700 Pro model of the Fenix 6S, which incorporates music, maps, and Wi-Fi, to see the way it compares to earlier Fenix fashions and the competitors.

Revamped interface

Before diving into the options, the largest enchancment on the Fenix 6 Series is the revamped interface, which nonetheless maintains Garmin’s attribute feel and appear. The new and improved default clock face neatly arranges all the numerous metrics like temperature, barometer, altimeter, coronary heart charge, and battery life proper on the entrance display. The knowledge is massive sufficient you could simply see it however compact sufficient that it doesn’t get in the best way of the time and date.

I just like the look a lot that, for the primary time, I haven’t felt an urge to alter the clock face from the default setting. I just like the little tweak to the battery meter, too. It now shows the variety of days left earlier than you need to cost, which, to me, is considerably extra helpful than a share.

The Fenix 6S Pro additionally has a brand new row-based widget interface, which is markedly totally different from the full-screen widgets in earlier Fenix fashions. Instead of scrolling via a number of distinct screens, the widgets are organized in rows that can help you see the earlier and subsequent rows as you scroll.  Each row supplies a abstract of the information, and you may choose the row to view extra particulars. Because the Fenix is an outdoors-focused watch, the widgets embody climate, sundown/dawn occasions, a digital compass, in addition to conventional health metrics.

Don’t just like the defaults? You can change the metrics proven and their order as desired. It’s a lot easier and extra customizable.

Subtle design tweaks for the higher

What’s inside might have modified, however bodily appears to be like are largely intact on the Fenix 6S Pro. The firm caught with its conventional 5-button design and rugged fiber-reinforced polymer casing, It appears to be like and seems like a Garmin watch.

To defend the show, Garmin did away with the chemically-strengthened glass materials and changed it with Gorilla Glass three, however you now can select between Gorilla Glass three or the dearer sapphire crystal for his or her show lens materials. I’ve not been in a position to check the long-term scratch-resistance of the show materials, however Gorilla Glass three is on low-end telephones and may defend you from the occasional rustle and tumble, but it surely’s nonetheless glass. Sapphire is what’s on costly watches and is a way more harder materials. If you incessantly scuff up your watches whereas outdoor, the sapphire mannequin is price shelling out for.

The Fenix 6S Pro is the smallest watch in Garmin’s Fenix lineup, measuring 42mm for the case and weighing 61 grams. It is slimmer and lighter than earlier Fenix watches, however it’s nonetheless a rugged watch. When you first put on the Fenix 6S, you’ll be able to really feel the burden of the watch in your wrist, but it surely’s not so heavy that it’s burdensome; in actual fact, it’s fairly comfy. I wore it operating, climbing and swimming and rapidly tailored to the burden. I didn’t really feel slowed down in any respect by the watch.

The buttons additionally sit practically flush with the casing, and I didn’t have points with them digging into my wrist. It’s a pleasant change from earlier Fenix fashions, the place the outsized buttons had been fairly actually painful. Despite having smaller buttons, they’re nonetheless simple to find them without having to have a look at the watch.

Pacing Like a Pro

Garmin not solely added new health options, but it surely additionally migrated present options, like physique battery and coaching load focus, to the 6 collection. What you find yourself with is a well-rounded watch that does virtually every thing.

New to the Fenix 6 Series is a function known as TempoPro, which is a digital model of tempo bands worn by marathoners and different long-distance runners. Instead of manually calculating break up occasions and goal paces for every mile or lap in a course, the Garmin Connect app does it for you. Best of all, the app not solely appears to be like on the distance, but in addition takes into consideration elevation when figuring out your tempo and break up occasions.

TempoPro was immensely helpful throughout my runs, holding me centered on a single lap at a time.

When you’re able to run, you’ll be able to load this TempoPro knowledge and use it to watch your tempo in real-time. The show will present your goal break up tempo, your present break up tempo, and the way far off you’re out of your general purpose. You can also see the space remaining on the present break up. TempoPro was immensely helpful throughout my runs, holding me centered on a single lap at a time as an alternative of the overall size of my run. It additionally helped me decelerate on steep mountain runs permitting me to preserve vitality on the inclines and make up time on the downhills. For mountain runners who need to take the guess work out of pacing, this function is a godsend.

The Fenix 6S carried out flawlessly all through my testing. I in contrast it to a Forerunner 945 and the Coros Apex, and all of the important metrics — coronary heart charge monitoring, GPS distance, and tempo — had been spot on throughout the board. Like most Garmin watches, there’s an abundance of knowledge screens, and you may customise them to view the metrics you want probably the most.

Navigation price following

garmin fenix 6s pro review mapping

Navigation is likely one of the sturdy factors for Garmin watches, and  is likely one of the core options of the Fenix collection. I sadly realized the laborious approach that when your Garmin Fenix 6S Pro says you’re off beam, you higher take heed to it.  During a check hike, my watch advised me I used to be off beam, however I ignored it and pressed on.  Two miles later I got here to a roadside as an alternative of the summit signal. Thankfully, Garmin’s watches not solely have route following, however in addition they have onboard topo maps. I fired up the maps, discovered my location and used the navigation to search out my approach again to the trailhead.

Climb Pro is Garmin’s model of “Are we there yet?” for hikers and mountaineers.

Garmin has extra navigation options than most smartwatches and one function that stands out is Climb Pro. Climb Pro analyzes a preloaded course and makes use of elevation knowledge to interrupt down the hike into particular person climbs. It’s the Garmin model of “Are we there yet?” for mountaineering. As you enter a bit with a climb, Climb Pro shows invaluable details about the ascent forward of you. Knowing how far and the way steep you need to push is vital, particularly in case you are reaching the restrict of your endurance.  I strive not to have a look at it except I completely have to as because it a relentless reminder of how a lot additional you need to toil to succeed in the highest.  Love it or hate it, Climb Pro works as marketed and is one the numerous additional options that units the 6S Pro aside from its competitors.

Health and wellness for the win

Even although the Fenix 6S Pro is an journey watch, it doesn’t imply the watch ignores the wellness aspect of being outdoor and bodily lively. You have all the foremost metrics like sleep stage monitoring, stress monitoring, and pulse ox. In a shock transfer, Garmin launched an replace shortly after launch that added new options like day by day respiration monitoring and sweat loss monitoring throughout exercises. If these options sound acquainted, they need to. They first debuted final month within the Garmin Venu and Vivoactive four.

The respiration charge metric might be probably the most attention-grabbing because it estimates your breaths per minute utilizing your coronary heart charge knowledge. Like so many metrics, your respiration charge displays your health — the decrease your respiratory charge, the higher your health stage. Respiration charge is usually utilized by athletes throughout a exercise to gauge how laborious they’re working and the way rapidly they recuperate from an exercise. Before you get too excited and throw your chest strap out the window, this metric sadly is disabled whereas exercising. You nonetheless want a chest strap to measure respiration throughout an exercise.

Watch-based respiration charge is a brand new metric for Garmin, and it present promise.  I didn’t bodily depend my bodily breaths per minute however I did discover that my estimated respiration charge each awake and asleep precisely mirrored my normal health stage. As Garmin accrues respiration knowledge and begins analyzing this knowledge, it’ll be attention-grabbing see how this metric evolves in future watches.

Battery life

Garmin packs a ton of power-hungry options into its Fenix collection, however the firm someway manages to ship affordable battery life in its watches. The Fenix 6S Pro lasted over every week in smartwatch mode and a strong six days when exercising day by day for an hour. To assist customers handle battery life extra successfully, Garmin now shows the battery meter as days and hours remaining as an alternative of a share. Instead of charging each night time simply in case, I used to be in a position to plan my charging round my coaching and racing schedule.

Garmin additionally added battery modes that can help you swap energy settings on the fly while you want extra battery life. More than as soon as, I let my battery drain throughout testing and was in a position to eke out a 10Ok run with lower than 5 p.c battery remaining thanks to those decreased energy modes.

Price and availability

Garmin’s Fenix 6S Pro is obtainable now on Garmin’s web site and different on-line retailers corresponding to Best Buy and Amazon. The 6S Pro is likely one of the cheaper fashions within the Fenix 6 collection, however it’s nonetheless expensive with a beginning price ticket of $700. Fenix watches are geared in the direction of out of doors adventurers and have outdoor-centric options and a rugged design. As a consequence, they are usually dearer than the Forerunners and different comparable fitness-focused smartwatches.

Our Take

Garmin’s new Fenix 6S Pro often is the smallest mannequin within the Fenix collection, however don’t let that dissuade you. It is as rugged and virtually as full-featured as its big brother, the Fenix 6X Pro. The 6S Pro has a compact design, refined interface, and helpful new options that make it engaging to people in search of a health watch with a robust out of doors focus.

Is there a greater different?

The Fenix 6S Pro could also be the most effective outdoor journey watches available on the market, but it surely’s not with out its flaws. When you begin comparability buying, the very first thing you’ll discover concerning the 6S Pro is the $700 price ticket. For $100 much less, you’ll be able to snag the $600 Suunto 9 Baro. This outdoor endurance watch gives a slick touchscreen interface and power-saving battery modes that ship excellent battery life.

Another knock in opposition to the Fenix 6S Pro is its weight. At 58 grams, it’s noticeably heavier than similar-sized GPS watches. Runners might need to commerce a few of the outdoor-specific options of the Fenix for the lighter profile (38.5g) of the Forerunner 245, whereas triathletes who run, bike and swim could also be higher served by the marginally slimmer (50g) Coros Apex.

How lengthy will it final?

Garmin has a long-standing popularity for longevity in its watches. Not solely do the watches final seemingly without end, however Garmin continues to improve them effectively previous their launch. I count on the Fenix 6S Pro to final at the least three to 4 years beneath regular utilization. You’ll possible need to improve to a flashy new watch earlier than the Fenix 6S Pro fails.

Should you purchase it?

If you desire a small watch that’s packed stuffed with outdoor-focused options, then look no additional than Garmin’s Fenix 6S Pro. It’s price each penny.

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