Every fitness enthusiast will be able to tell the importance of having a smart watch cum fitness tracker. Talking about fitness trackers in sports, Garmin Fenix 3 steals the crown from its competitors in almost every department. Evolved as more than a fitness tracker, Fenix 3 is capable of tracking workout sessions, skiing, swimming and many more sports activities. In this Garmin Fenix 3 review, will help you out to understand the Garmin products in-depth. It is an ideal fitness tracker to suit all your sporting needs that will rival its competitors.
Garmin has a huge reputation that proceeds itself in the market. While, the initial run from the brand in the fitness tracker market didn’t really leave a great impression, but they have come a long way from the initiation, and Fenix 3 is the proof of their excellence. Yes, the device has its sets of flaws, but only a handful of them can come close to what Garmin is offering in this gadget.
From its design to its features, Fenix 3 watch is a perfectionist, even in comparison to the top contenders like Fitbit. The device has a huge price gap, which is way too much, than its predecessors, but considering the features, you might end up investing in this cutting-edge piece of technology. One thing is certain, that in terms of a smart watch, it does not come close to the likes of Apple, but focusing on tracking, it rescinds all the fitness based watches in the market. Whether it is worth it or not, is yet to unveil in this review.
Garmin Fenix 3 Review
Garmin Fenix 3: Design and Build
Fenix 3 sits at the top of the fitness-based trackers, even in the list of the other Garmin GPS watches. The Forerunner 920XT from Garmin pretty much sits in close competition to Fenix 3, which has a square design than a round face.
In terms of the screen, Fenix 3 is huge, with a round face dial of 16.7mm. It is an amazing gadget, flushing out the manliest feel on your wrist. Though the device isn’t exclusive to men, the looks of it incline towards male audience than the female. However, don’t get too carried away with the device size as it is comfortable enough to wear it for a longer time. It doesn’t feel like a feather as its younger brother-Vivoactive, but the proper weight does get you going without causing any discomfort. Speaking about the bulk, it may get in your way of daily tasks like typing.
The watch is built in a combination of metal and rubber. The rims and buttons have a metal design, whereas the entire casing is made from rubber. The high-quality rubber, termed as a fiber-reinforced polymer, does give a durable and elegant look to the watch. It is better than other rubber fitness bands and trackers and almost resembles like a traditional sports watch.
The glass on the display doesn’t look too impressive, neither is guaranteed to sustain heavy abuse. Just by looking at the screen, you can tell that the glass is not meant for heavy overuse. The company does employ an alternative with superior screen option and metal band, but it is better to stick to the basics, considering the sporty look of the watch. The standard strap that comes with the device is ideally meant for exercising needs. It has holes employed in the strap to give a bit of ventilation over the encircled area of the wrist.
The screen uses an LCD display, which has shown improvements from its predecessors, but certainly does not depict the richness and detailing like LG Watch Urbane or Samsung Gear. However, the amount of improvement it received in comparison to Fenix 2 is clearly visible and it will keep you visually interested to the device. The low power of the display is also one of its strengths as very less amount of battery is used even with an entire day of operation. Maybe, that is why Garmin decided to go with an LCD display rather than AMOLED screen to preserve power for other functionalities. Another concern owing to the Fenix 3 lies in the visibility of the display screen, which clearly lacks in low light. There is a built-in watch light that you can easily turn on for usage. As mentioned, Garmin seems to have incorporated safe measures to preserve the battery, hence the lighting issue. Overall, it is a great screen used for tracking all types of activities without any hassle.
Another concern owing to the Fenix 3 lies in the visibility of the display screen, which clearly lacks in low light. There is a built-in watch light that you can easily turn on for usage. As mentioned, Garmin seems to have incorporated safe measures to preserve the battery, hence the lighting issue. Overall, it is a great screen used for tracking all types of activities without any hassle.
Garmin Fenix 3: Battery & Charge
One thing that is quite becoming a trademark of the Garmin watches is the amazing battery life. Many of the other products from Garmin excel in providing extended battery life and the same is repeated here as well. No matter how hard you try to go on Fenix 3, it never seems to give up on the battery. The watch is a powerhouse of battery, which keeps on going without any need to recharge.
It has an in-built GPS navigator, so naturally one understands the strain that GPS puts on any device. However, with Fenix 3, you can have a complete 20 hours of nonstop GPS tracking, or coming to the more a common benchmark, it provides 50 hours of tracking. The overall battery life of the device lasts for about 5 days regarding regular usage. Comparing it with top brands like Fitbit and Samsung, the battery life far excels its competitors.
Garmin Fenix 3: Smartwatch Notifications
You can connect your smartphone device, both iOS and Android with the watch and receive instant notifications from message and emails. Now, it doesn’t really let you read the full messages, just a small headline, but you will get the notification with name and a short message. This is a great feature, especially if you are busy in the office, and doesn’t want to reach for your smartphone.
There are certain concerns related to the connection as the watch will disconnect with the phone from time to time, so you will not get any notifications. The problem with continuous disconnection varies from phone to phone. Some models like Samsung had repeated issues of disconnection, whereas Motorola had an uninterrupted connection.
Garmin Fenix 3: App Compatibility
The amount of apps that you can access with the smart watch is pretty amazing. For once, there are many apps that you can download on the device, which can range from assisting in daily activities to a handful of games. Some of the commonly associated apps are weather reports, elevation counter, multiple time zones, etc. One might wonder the confusion caused by the use of apps along with the widgets. However, there is no collision of the former content and what you will get is a smooth experience of using the best apps to your preferences.
Garmin Fenix 3: Data Syncing
The first thing that you would like to do after your workout session is to check on your numbers and Fenix 3 offers an excellent way to keep the track of the data using a Garmin Connect Mobile App. The app is compatible with smartphones, both for iOS and Android. All you need to do is connect the watch with the app and let it do the wonders of transferring the data on your app.
The Garmin Connect has a smooth interface, with excellent connectivity and usability. It has a good overall categorical display of different types of workouts so that you can easily access the stats of the one you desire. What’s more tempting is the option of connecting with friends and competing for a challenge. It is a good motivator, especially if you are trying to compete with the stats of your friends and want to come out on the top.
Garmin Fenix 3: Navigation System
We have seen many watches with built-in feature of GPS. The trademark quality of Garmin is in creating flawless GPS products, which is generally seen in its navigators. The GPS installed in the Fenix 3 has its own set of achievements. The GPS is powered by GLONASS for better results. There can be no doubts about the accuracy of the device as it has a wide array of sensors like accelerometer, barometer with an altimeter. You will not even need the phone to track the status of your marathon run or cycling tournament.
Garmin Fenix 3: Fitness Tracker
Talking about the fitness tracking, the altimeter provides a real-time data of activities like hiking. The results can take some time to update, but nothing too concerning. Unlike other trackers, each tracking activity in Fenix 3 has its own set of display, giving a great visual experience of the data you would like to preview during your workout session. It normally tracks,
- Running – Distance, VO2 Max, Pace and Recovery timer
- Cycling – Speed, Bike power, Cadence
- Swimming – Distance, Stroke count, Stroke rate, Calories, and Pace
- Trials – Climb, GPS, Weather, Altimeter, Compass
- Skiing – Distance, Speed, Total descent, Runs
In terms of display, the one we really loved was the dynamic display, which shows distance, pace and time on the screen and the display of heart beats from the data gathered by a heart rate monitor. The only disappointing thing about the device in sensors section is the lack of Heart Rate sensor. Hence, you will have to end up investing more by buying the bundle including the ANT+ Heart Rate sensor.
Garmin Fenix 3: Usability
Fenix 3 has more of a watch like features in terms of usability. The display isn’t touchscreen, rather relies on using the button parameters for its operational needs. The navigation in the device focuses on using the up and down button on the side of the watch. At first, you might get overwhelmed with the number of buttons on the watch, but once you start tweaking the device, it is an easy breeze. Comparing it with the more confusing interface of Vivoactive, it offers a convenient mode of operation.
Once you hit the start button, you can access a whole lot of activities and apps with a list menu. Once you decide on the app you want to use, just hit the start button again to begin the app. It offers a core set of the interface when compared with Apple Watch, but probably you might end up loving the simplicity of the device.
You can opt to download many sets of apps from the Connect IQ store. The store can be accessed from Garmin Connect app itself. The stores offer many different apps and watch faces for the users to indulge.
Garmin Fenix 3: Performance & Price
The Garmin Fenix 3 is highly known for its fitness tracking skills and that is where we are going to test its performance. Firstly, the inclusion of GPS with GLONASS feature is a masterstroke. It provides extremely accurate data for activities like long run and cycling. We were more than satisfied with GPS feature integrated into tracking activities.
With the amount of options available in different sporting sessions, the arsenal of built-in sensors simply makes the job even better. The data collected in speed and distances covered are very accurate. One of the disadvantages related to device falls in the lack of Heart Rate sensor. It’s probably because the company wanted the users to pay more cash for the bundle pack that includes ANT+ Heart Rate sensor. There are also a couple of other sensors like Bike sensor from the Garmin, which the users can invest for their specific sporting requirements.
Also, comparing the price with its predecessor Fenix 3, it comes at a whopping cost of $499 and that too as a standalone product. If you want a bundle with Heart Rate monitor, it will cost you around $539. The prices are quite high, hence limiting its sales to a specific class of users.
All we can say is that it is a great watch for the sports enthusiasts. It is loaded with lots of features that can rival other competitors in the market. While, it may not have appealing looks like Apple Watch or Fitbit blaze, the performance is the real reason to go for the watch. Despite its steep pricing, it is worth every penny.
Also Read This: Garmin Vivofit Review: Simple Looking Activity Tracker For All