Garmin fenix 3 – First Look
We were delighted early this week at Highly Tuned Athletes to receive stock of the 3rd generation of the popular Garmin fenix outdoor multisport watch. All stock received has been shipped to our pre-order customers, some of which have been waiting patiently since very early January.
Sapphire units are still very highly sought after, even more so with a low yield from Garmin making the wait even longer in Australia.
The fenix 3 ships in 3 versions, the Silver (with burnt red strap), Sapphire (Stainless Steel & Rubber straps), and the Grey version. (Black rubber strap). Note the straps are newly designed and are not backward compatible with those from the fenix 1 & 2.
Function wise all 3 versions are identical, apart from the straps, the Sapphire fenix 3 includes a highly scratch resistant sapphire crystal watch face. The Silver and Grey use hardened mineral crystal, still tough, but not as tough as the Sapphire. Garmin have indeed raised the bar with the fenix 3, not only does the unit look great, it functions superbly as well, with a nice easy to use interface.
The fenix 3 weighs in at 83gms for the Silver and Grey, and 200gms for the Sapphire version with stainless steel band fitted. The body is slightly thinner (16mm) than the fenix/fenix2 and comes with a more comfortable watch band. A 51mm watch face caters for the brilliant display, long 20hr advertised battery life on GPS, and excellent functionality housing Bluetooth, Ant+, Wifi, and GPS receivers. The fenix 3 looks great on the wrist, equally at home out in the bush or in the office board room. Good news too, is that the fenix 3 can be charged during an activity, unlike the recent trend with the Forerunner series, great for those multi-day adventures.
Personally I do love the display, the fenix 3 display features a fine dot pitch full colour transreflective unit, is positive/negative reversible, and is extremely easy to read in full sunlight, one of the best out there.
The primary features of the fenix3 include true multisport compatibility, Swimming, Cycling, Running, Hiking, Skiing and most other sports you could imagine. The fenix 3 has the ability to perform intervals and programmable workout sessions, track daily activity including sleep, and provide prompts via audible or vibration alerts.This is also Garmin’s first GPS unit to be rated water resistant to 100mtrs, another mark of the great build quality of the fenix 3 product.
The user interface has been redesigned, and it is very easy to access features such as the magnetic compass, altimeter, barometer, and temperature sensors from a simple push of a button. We have also been impressed by the behaviour of the altimeter in the fenix 3, much more reliable, consistent, and accurate over previous versions, with also the ability to manually calibrate. With the fenix 3 it is also possible to pair with an external tempe temperature sensor, otherwise temperature is taken off the watch.
With full Bluetooth integration to your smart phone, uploading is a breeze via the Garmin Connect App. The App also allows smart notifications to be sent to the fenix 3, in addition weather forecast information based on position, and calendar syncing makes sure you never miss that appointment.
As a watch there is a standard Digital and Analogue display, but also the ability to download a multitude of options from Connect IQ the Garmin App store, which looking forward will allow developers to build all sorts of downloadable features into the fenix 3 and other compatible Garmin products.
Finally using the fenix 3 for what it is primarily intended for, I took the watch out for a test run around the block.
First satellite lock is always a delayed process on any new product out of the box, the unit needs to learn where on the planet it actually is, and what satellites to look for. After 3 test runs I was down to less than 20 seconds for a lock and with regular usage this will only improve. The fenix 3 uses a newly designed EXO GPS antenna, which keeps the watch profile low, and also has the added ability to use the additional Russian Glonass satellite system for extra accuracy and reliability.
The fenix 3 tracked as accurately as the FR920 that accompanied me on the run, only a few metres difference in the total, and auto split within a second every km.
Summary data was presented on the watch at the completion of the activity, and quickly uploaded via my phone to Garmin Connect when in range.
The fenix 3 also ships with the HRM run heart rate strap, which provides additional running metrics such as Ground Contact Time, Vertical Oscillation, and Cadence.
Out of the box we have been very impressed, over the next week we will be putting the fenix 3 to the real test, so stay tuned for a full review.
If you would like to purchase a fenix 3, it is imperative that you place a pre-order, as our queue for this unit is growing by the day.
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