Garmin Fenix 6S Professional Evaluation: Small watch, large deal
“Garmin’s Fenix 6S Professional beefs up its health options with out shedding its concentrate on out of doors adventures.”
Altitude-savvy pacing information
Prolonged battery life
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The Fenix 6S Professional stands out as the smallest watch in Garmin’s newest Fenix 6 sequence, however don’t let the small measurement 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 PacePro metric, streaming music assist, and rock strong navigation.
All this and extra is packed into the watch’s snug 42mm body. I’ve been testing the $700 Professional 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.
Earlier than diving into the options, the most important enchancment on the Fenix 6 Sequence is the revamped interface, which nonetheless maintains Garmin’s attribute feel and appear. The brand new and improved default clock face neatly arranges all the numerous metrics like temperature, barometer, altimeter, coronary heart price, and battery life proper on the entrance display screen. The info is massive sufficient which you can simply see it however compact sufficient that it doesn’t get in the way in which 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 proportion.
The Fenix 6S Professional additionally has a brand new row-based widget interface, which is markedly totally different from the full-screen widgets in earlier Fenix fashions. As an alternative of scrolling by a number of distinct screens, the widgets are organized in rows that permit you to see the earlier and subsequent rows as you scroll. Every row offers a abstract of the information, and you may choose the row to view extra particulars. As a result of 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’ll be able to change the metrics proven and their order as desired. It’s a lot easier and extra customizable.
Delicate design tweaks for the higher
What’s inside might have modified, however bodily seems to be are largely intact on the Fenix 6S Professional. The corporate caught with its conventional 5-button design and rugged fiber-reinforced polymer casing, It seems to be and appears like a Garmin watch.
To guard 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 capable of check the long-term scratch-resistance of the show materials, however Gorilla Glass three is on low-end telephones and may shield you from the occasional rustle and tumble, nevertheless it’s nonetheless glass. Sapphire is what’s on costly watches and is a way more more durable materials. When you incessantly scuff up your watches whereas outdoor, the sapphire mannequin is price shelling out for.
The Fenix 6S Professional is the smallest watch in Garmin’s Fenix lineup, measuring 42mm for the case and weighing 61 grams. It’s slimmer and lighter than earlier Fenix watches, however it’s nonetheless a rugged watch. While you first put on the Fenix 6S, you may really feel the burden of the watch in your wrist, nevertheless it’s not so heavy that it’s burdensome; in actual fact, it’s fairly snug. I wore it operating, mountain climbing and swimming and shortly tailored to the burden. I didn’t really feel slowed down in any respect by the watch.
The buttons additionally sit almost 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. Regardless of having smaller buttons, they’re nonetheless simple to find them without having to have a look at the watch.
Pacing Like a Professional
Garmin not solely added new health options, nevertheless it additionally migrated current options, like physique battery and coaching load focus, to the 6 sequence. What you find yourself with is a well-rounded watch that does virtually every little thing.
New to the Fenix 6 Sequence is a function known as PacePro, which is a digital model of tempo bands worn by marathoners and different long-distance runners. As an alternative of manually calculating break up occasions and goal paces for every mile or lap in a course, the Garmin Join app does it for you. Better of all, the app not solely seems to be on the distance, but in addition takes into consideration elevation when figuring out your tempo and break up occasions.
PacePro was immensely helpful throughout my runs, holding me targeted on a single lap at a time.
If you find yourself able to run, you may load this PacePro information 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 might be out of your general aim. You can also see the gap remaining on the present break up. PacePro was immensely helpful throughout my runs, holding me targeted on a single lap at a time as an alternative of the whole size of my run. It additionally helped me decelerate on steep mountain runs permitting me to preserve power on the inclines and make up time on the downhills. For mountain runners who wish 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 price 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 essentially the most.
Navigation price following
Navigation is without doubt one of the robust factors for Garmin watches, and is without doubt one of the core options of the Fenix sequence. I sadly discovered the laborious method that when your Garmin Fenix 6S Professional says you might be off beam, you higher take heed to it.
Throughout 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. Fortunately, Garmin’s watches not solely have route following, however additionally they have onboard topo maps. I fired up the maps, discovered my location and used the navigation to search out my method again to the trailhead.
Garmin has extra navigation options than most smartwatches and one function that stands out is Climb Professional. Climb Professional analyzes a preloaded course and makes use of elevation information to interrupt down the hike into particular person climbs. It’s the Garmin model of “Are we there but?” for mountaineering. As you enter a piece with a climb, Climb Professional shows precious details about the ascent forward of you.
Understanding how far and the way steep you need to push is crucial, particularly if you’re reaching the restrict of your endurance. I attempt not to have a look at it until I completely have to as because it a relentless reminder of how a lot additional you need to toil to succeed in the highest. Like it or hate it, Climb Professional works as marketed and is one the numerous further options that units the 6S Professional other than its competitors.
Well being and wellness for the win
Regardless that the Fenix 6S Professional is an journey watch, it doesn’t imply the watch ignores the wellness aspect of being outdoor and bodily lively. You’ve all the key 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 every 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 price metric might be essentially the most fascinating because it estimates your breaths per minute utilizing your coronary heart price information. Like so many metrics, your respiration price displays your health — the decrease your respiratory price, the higher your health degree. Respiration price is commonly utilized by athletes throughout a exercise to gauge how laborious they’re working and the way shortly they recuperate from an exercise. Earlier than you get too excited and throw your chest strap out the window, this metric sadly is disabled whereas exercising. You continue to want a chest strap to measure respiration throughout an exercise.
Watch-based respiration price is a brand new metric for Garmin, and it present promise. I didn’t bodily rely my bodily breaths per minute however I did discover that my estimated respiration price each awake and asleep precisely mirrored my normal health degree. As Garmin accrues respiration information and begins analyzing this information, it’ll be fascinating see how this metric evolves in future watches.
Garmin packs a ton of power-hungry options into its Fenix sequence, however the firm one way or the other manages to ship affordable battery life in its watches. The Fenix 6S Professional lasted over per week in smartwatch mode and a strong six days when exercising every single 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 proportion. As an alternative of charging each night time simply in case, I used to be capable of plan my charging round my coaching and racing schedule.
Garmin additionally added battery modes that permit you to change energy settings on the fly while you want extra battery life. Greater than as soon as, I let my battery drain throughout testing and was capable of eke out a 10Okay run with lower than 5 % battery remaining thanks to those decreased energy modes.
Worth and availability
Garmin’s Fenix 6S Professional is obtainable now on Garmin’s web site and different on-line retailers reminiscent of Greatest Purchase and Amazon. The 6S Professional is without doubt one of the cheaper fashions within the Fenix 6 sequence, however it’s nonetheless pricey with a beginning price ticket of $700. Fenix watches are geared in direction of out of doors adventurers and have outdoor-centric options and a rugged design. Because of this, they are typically dearer than the Forerunners and different comparable fitness-focused smartwatches.
Garmin’s new Fenix 6S Professional stands out as the smallest mannequin within the Fenix sequence, however don’t let that dissuade you. It’s as rugged and virtually as full-featured as its large brother, the Fenix 6X Professional. The 6S Professional 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 Professional could also be probably the greatest outdoor journey watches in the marketplace, nevertheless it’s not with out its flaws. While you begin comparability procuring, the very first thing you’ll discover in regards to the 6S Professional is the $700 price ticket. For $100 much less, you may snag the $600 Suunto 9 Baro. This outdoor endurance watch presents a slick touchscreen interface and power-saving battery modes that ship excellent battery life.
One other knock in opposition to the Fenix 6S Professional is its weight. At 58 grams, it’s noticeably heavier than similar-sized GPS watches. Runners might wish to commerce a number 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 nicely previous their launch. I anticipate the Fenix 6S Professional to final no less than three to 4 years beneath regular utilization. You’ll doubtless wish to improve to a flashy new watch earlier than the Fenix 6S Professional fails.
Must you purchase it?
If you would like a small watch that’s packed filled with outdoor-focused options, then look no additional than Garmin’s Fenix 6S Professional. It’s price each penny.