- Stylish design that’s the right size for smaller wrists
- Built-in wrist heart rate monitor and solid activity tracking features
- Advanced features for running, cycling, swimming, golf and outdoor activities
- Robust smartwatch features
- Easy to use with great battery life
- No Wi-Fi or sapphire display unless you upgrade
The fenix 5S is the best sport watch for women in 2017. No question.
Besides perhaps the Apple Watch Series 2, the fenix 5S has to be the only quality GPS watch out there for women. Sure, other watches exist that have women as their target market, but they either exclusively look like a sport watch or a smart watch or they outright suck. If you’re a women looking for a GPS watch, I think the fenix 5S has to be the watch for you. Sure, it’s very price (probably way too pricey), but you don’t have much else to choose from. The fenix 5S is packed to the brim with features, which is great, but we’d love to see a more affordable GPS watch that keeps the aesthetics of the fenix 5S and at least some of the functionality.
In any case, you should check out our fenix 5 review, as that has 90% of the information for this watch since they’re basically the same besides the design and battery life. As such, let’s start there.
We like the fenix 5S design
As far as design goes, we think the Garmin fenix 5S looks really great. It is elegant yet sporty and does not dominate even petite wrists. You could easily wear this to the office or on a 10 mile run. And speaking of a 10 mile run, I’m sure you know this, but for the best results with that wrist heart rate monitor, you’ll want to wear the watch 1-2 finger widths above your wrist bone. The wrist heart rate monitor otherwise will not be accurate. It’s honestly not a great sensor to begin with. It’s good for running, but not much else. For swimming and dynamic activities you’ll want to check out other Garmin HRMs.
At any rate, sticking with design, the fenix 5S has interchangeable QuickFit bands, which are pretty great although if you buy other colors, those are $50 a pop, which dents the wallet a little considering you’ve already dropped $600 on the watch (or $700+ if you went with the sapphire unit). Our one concern, sapphire or not, is the bezel, which is already getting some scuffs. It seems to be a slightly softer metal that gets scratched more easily than the rest of the case. Not a huge deal, but something to take note of. Additionally, the fenix 5S has a surprisingly small display relative to other watches. The bezels are quite large. We’d love to have a larger display, but we understand that you have to put the antenna and drivers somewhere.
Fenix 5 devices track everything
Make sure you check out our full Garmin fenix 5 write-up for more detail. For now, however, the fenix 5S tracks the following sports:
1. Running (indoor/out) — route, distance, pace/speed, calories, cadence, timing info, heart rate (also ground contact time, vertical oscillation, GTC balance, stride length, and vertical ratio while wearing either the HRM-Tri or HRM-Run)
2. Cycling (indoor/out) — route, distance, speed, calories, timing info, heart rate (also speed/cadence with the sensor and power info with a power meter)
3. Swimming (pool/open water) — distance, stroke count, stroke rate, interval data, SWOLF score (also HR with HRM-Tri or HRM-Swim)
5. Golf — distance to front, middle, and back of the green plus distance of each shot and a scorecard
6. Hiking, Trail Running, and Climbing — big thing added here is altitude info
7. Skiing, Snowboarding — 3D distance and pace added
8. Stand Up Paddleboarding, rowing (indoor/out)
9. Strength, Cardio
10. Jumpmaster, Tactical
And here’s where we have to cover battery life. It’s all going to depend on you and your daily activity. If you do a lot of running with GPS & GLONASS switched on plus the WHRM and bluetooth, well that’s going to drain battery life. If you’re just mostly active but not engaging GPS everyday then you should expect about 5+ days of battery life on a single charge (proprietary charging cable). Also, you can track a sport while the watch is charging, but you won’t be able to wear it. Now, if you opt for UltraTrac mode (mostly for ultra marathons and long treks) you can conserve battery, but it does have a less frequent GPS sample, which reduces GPS accuracy. However, Garmin did add a gyroscope that helps to fill in the dark spots in data. It works fine, but still not as good as GPS proper.
So that’s most of the big stuff. It also has certain smartwatch features, which are really nice and activity tracking, but nothing that you probably haven’t seen before.
We really like the fenix 5S. We think anyone that’s crazy active or that wants a really elegant watch will be all over it. There are downsides to this watch, of course, but it is mostly a really good product.