Garmin fenix 6X Pro Review

November 18, 2019
by Joachim Bardua
Home » GPS Reviews » Garmin fenix 6X Pro Review
Garmin fenix 6X Pro Review

Garmin fenix 6X Pro Review – Garmin’s most powerful multisport-smartwatch!

Six garmin fenix generations in about seven years: fenix, fenix 2, fenix 3, fenix 5, fenix 5 Plus and now the fenix 6 series! The introduction of a new fenix series is always exciting – especially to see which new functions and new technical details Garmin has realized.

From our point of view, the fenix 6 has in particular three great details:

  • Increased display size (depending on the model),
  • longer battery life in combination with the “Power Manager” and
  • the new widget display!

But that’s not all! Compared to its predecessors – the fenix 5X Plus series – there are a some more new features:

  • The fenix 6X Pro Solar with solar panel to extend battery life
  • A reduced overall height with otherwise the same dimensions
  • The bar for attaching the QuickFit wristbands is now a classic spring bar
  • Other housing materials (e.g. with DLC coating)
  • New optical heart rate monitor generation
  • Doubled internal memory with now 32 GB (except base models)
  • 2,000 instead of 1,000 storable music titles
  • Pre-installed ski map with over 2,000 ski resorts worldwide
  • Separate map designs (e.g. “Popularity” with a representation of frequently running & cycling routes)
  • PacePro
  • Improved ClimbPro
  • Up to eight data fields per training page (for the 6x, for the 6 / 6s it should be less)
  • Even more Firstbeat metrics (18 instead of 12)
  • Heart rate measurement during swimming via integrated sensor

… and some more fine details!

Garmin fenix 6X Pro – Versions

19 different versions are listed on the Garmin website for the fenix 6 series! The price range is $599,99 to $1.149,99 (RRP)!

How to choose the right one?

The first criterion could be the case size: ∅ 42 mm, ∅ 47 mm, ∅ 51 mm. Depending upon your wrist – whether tenderly or strongly – there might be a fenix for everyone. However, the design of the fenix is not exactly feminine, but rather something for male buyers.

  • 42 mm = “6S” versions
  • 47 mm = “6” versions
  • 51 mm = “6X” versions

For each of these three size variations there are several models, which differ primarily in colors, materials and scope of delivery. Note that the smaller “6S” watches have a shorter battery life than the “6” and “6X” and weigh slightly less.

  • 6S: Four price ranges ($599.99 to $899.99) with eight versions.
  • 6: Five price ranges ($599.99 to $999.99) with six versions.
  • 6X: Four price ranges ($749.99 to $1,149.99) with five versions (including solar editions).

To make the selection even more complicated: The two cheapest watches of the “6S” and “6” series are “basic” wearables with less memory (64 MB instead of 32 GB) and accordingly without music and without (pre-installed) maps as well as without Wi-Fi and because of the missing maps with slightly less navigation functions.

If you have now decided on a size and “Base” or “Non-Base”, the bezel / lens / strap materials (and thus the colors) can be the next selection criterion.

There are bezels made of stainless steel or titanium and some with a DLC coating. DLC is a fine carbon layer (DLC = diamond like carbon). According to Garmin, the DLC coating offers protection against scratches and wear.

But the lens material is much more important: there is a choice between Corning Gorilla Glass DX and sapphire crystal. An exception are the two “solar” models, in which so-called “power glass” is used (this is a power glass solar charging lens that is glued between the display and a protective Gorilla Glass DX).

Sapphire glass is considered to be particularly scratch-resistant and break-proof. The scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass DX, on the other hand, is supposed to provide optimized readability thanks to reduced surface reflections and better contrast ratios.

We can only confirm the scratch resistance of sapphire: with a fenix 5X in use since the beginning, the sapphire crystal still looks like on the first day!

When selecting our test copy, however, we opted for the “Gorilla” version. Reason: In direct comparison to the “Sapphire” version the readability is better, the display reflects in particular a little less. And this is more important to us than the better mechanical resistance!

The following tables contain an overview of all versions and the most important differentiation criteria.

strap material: 2 details = 2 watch bands included in delivery

6S - 42 mm
42 mm    
 fenix 6Sfenix 6S ProFenix 6S Pro SapphireFenix 6S Pro Sapphire
RRP599,99699,99799,99899,99
Color (case/band)
  • White/White
  • Silver/Black
  • Black/Black
  • Rose Gold-tone/White
  • Rose Gold-tone/Powder Gray
  • Carbon Gray DLC/Black
  • Rose Gold-tone/Black
  • Light Gold-tone/Shale Gray
Weight (case only)41 g44 g44 g44 g
Size42 x 42 x 13,8 mm42 x 42 x 13,8 mm42 x 42 x 13,8 mm42 x 42 x 13,8 mm
Battery
  • GPS: up to 25 hours
  • Smartwatch: up to 9 days
  • GPS: up to 25 hours
  • Smartwatch: up to 9 days
  • GPS: up to 25 hours
  • Smartwatch: up to 9 days
  • GPS: up to 25 hours
  • Smartwatch: up to 9 days
LensGorilla Glass DXGorilla Glass DXSapphire CrystalSapphire Crystal
BezelStainless steelStainless steelStainless steel or DLC coated steelStainless steel
Watch BandQuickfit 20 mmQuickfit 20 mmQuickfit 20 mmQuickfit 20 mm
Strap MaterialSiliconeSiliconeNylon/SiliconeNylon/Silicone, Leather/Silicone
Memory64 MB32 GB32 GB32 GB
FunctionsMusic, Maps, Wi-FiMusic, Maps, Wi-FiMusic, Maps, Wi-Fi
6 - 47 mm
47 mm    
 fenix 6fenix 6 ProFenix 6 Pro SapphireFenix 6 Pro Sapphire
RRP599,99699,99799,99899,99
Color (case/band)
  • Silver/Black
  • Black/Black
  • Carbon Gray DLC/Black
  • Titanium/Ember Orange
Weight (case only)57 g60 g60 g49 g
Size47 x 47 x 14,7 mm47 x 47 x 14,7 mm47 x 47 x 14,7 mm47 x 47 x 14,7 mm
Battery
  • GPS: up to 36 hours
  • Smartwatch: up to 14 days
  • GPS: up to 36 hours
  • Smartwatch: up to 14 days
  • GPS: up to 36 hours
  • Smartwatch: up to 14 days
  • GPS: up to 36 hours
  • Smartwatch: up to 14 days
lensGorilla Glass DXGorilla Glass DXSapphire CrystalSapphire Crystal
BezelStainless steelStainless steelDLC coated steelTitanium
Watch BandQuickfit 22 mmQuickfit 22 mmQuickfit 22 mmQuickfit 22 mm
Strap MaterialSiliconeSiliconeSiliconeSilicone
Memory64 MB32 GB32 GB32 GB
FunctionsMusic, Maps, Wi-FiMusic, Maps, Wi-FiMusic, Maps, Wi-Fi
47 mm  
 Fenix 6 Pro SapphireFenix 6 Pro Sapphire
RRP899,99999,99
Color (case/band)
  • Black DLC/Red
  • Titanium/Titanium
Weight (case only)60 g49 g
Size47 x 47 x 14,7 mm47 x 47 x 14,7 mm
Battery
  • GPS: up to 36 hours
  • Smartwatch: up to 14 days
  • GPS: up to 36 hours
  • Smartwatch: up to 14 days
LensSapphire CrystalSapphire Crystal
BezelDLC coated steelTitanium
Watch BandQuickfit 22 mmQuickfit 22 mm
Strap MaterialNylon/SiliconeTitanium/Silicone
Memory32 GB32 GB
FunctionsMusic, Maps, Wi-FiMusic, Maps, Wi-Fi
6X - 51 mm
51 mm   
 fenix 6X Profenix 6X Pro Sapphirefenix 6X Pro Sapphire
RRP748,99949,99849,99
Color (case/band)
  • Black/Black
  • Black DLC/Chestnut
  • Carbon Gray DLC/Black
Weight (case only)66 g66 g60 g
Size47 x 47 x 14,7 mm47 x 47 x 14,7 mm47 x 47 x 14,7 mm
Battery
  • GPS: up to 36 hours
  • Smartwatch: up to 14 days
  • GPS: up to 36 hours
  • Smartwatch: up to 14 days
  • GPS: up to 36 hours
  • Smartwatch: up to 14 days
LensGorilla Glas DXSapphire CrystalSapphire Crystal
BezelStainless steelDLC coated steelDLC coated steel
Watch BandQuickfit 26 mmQuickfit 26 mmQuickfit 26 mm
Strap MaterialSiliconeLeather/SiliconeSilicone
Memory32 GB32 GB32 GB
FunctionsMusic, Maps, Wi-FiMusic, Maps, Wi-FiMusic, Maps, Wi-Fi
6X Solar - 51 mm
51 mm  
 fenix 6X Pro Solarfenix 6X Pro Solar
RRP999,991.149,99
Colors (case/band)
  • Titanium Carbon Gray DLC/Black
  • Titanium/Titanium
Weight (case)54 g54 g
Size47 x 47 x 14,7 mm47 x 47 x 14,7 mm
Battery
  • GPS: up to 60 + 6 hours
  • Smartwatch: up to 21 + 3 days
  • GPS: up to 60 + 6 hours
  • Smartwatch: up to 21 + 3 days
LensPower GlassPower Glass
BezelDLC coated titaniumTitanium
Watch BandQuickfit 26 mmQuickfit 26 mm
Strap MaterialSiliconeTitanium/Silicone
Memory32 GB32 GB
FunctionsMusic, Maps, Wi-FiMusic, Maps, Wi-Fi
Garmin fenix 6X Pro Review, Compass

Garmin fenix 6X Pro Review – Technology

Let’s start with the display. One of the most remarkable new features is – with the same case dimensions compared to fenix 5 – the larger display area (except for the “6S”), which is especially great when reading the map; the maximum possible number of data fields has increased as well.

The “6” has grown from 1.2″ (30.4 mm) to a diameter of 1.3″ (33.02 mm), and the “6X” from 1.2″ (30.4 mm) to 1.4″ (35.56 mm) – an increase of 18% and 36%, respectively.

The general readability of the MIP display is great even under difficult light conditions – a clear advantage over sports watches with AMOLED displays, such as the Garmin Venu.

The next highlight is the increased battery life. Garmin provides the following information for the 6X Pro:

  • Smartwatch: Up to 21 days
  • GPS: Up to 60 hours
  • GPS and Music: Up to 15 hours
  • Maximum Battery GPS Mode: Up to 120 hours
  • Expedition GPS Activity: Up to 46 days (track points are recorded at hourly intervals)
  • Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 80 days

We didn’t measure the runtimes in our Garmin fenix 6X Pro review because there are too many different parameters. But the fenix 6X Pro seems to last forever; tours of several days are possible without charging.

For configuration the so called “Power Manager” is available. There is a “Battery Saver” mode for adjusting the settings for everyday use and several “Power Modes” for activities. You can add new power modes and assign them to your activities! Particularly helpful is the information on the savings effects. Examples: Only “GPS” brings +3 hours compared to “GPS + GLONASS”, disconnecting the phone takes +2 hours and switching off the heart rate monitor +14 hours.

Connectivity, the fenix 6X Pro offers:

  • ANT+: Connecting to devices and sensors
  • Bluetooth Smart: Pair with smartphones, connecting to headphones, devices and sensors
  • NFC: Contactless payment (Garmin Pay)
  • USB: Data exchange with computers and for charging
  • Wi-Fi: Data exchange over a network (e.g. for a data upload to Garmin Connect)

fenix 6X Pro – Which devices and sensors can be connected via ANT+ or Bluetooth?

  • Headphones (BT)
  • Heart Rate (ANT+ / BT)
  • Speed / Cadence (combined, single, ANT+ / BT)
  • Power Meter (ANT+ / BT)
  • Running Sensor (ANT+ / BT)
  • VIRB Action Camera (ANT+)
  • Temperature (ANT+)
  • Shimano Di2 (ANT+)
  • Gear Shifters (ANT+)
  • VARIA Lights & Radar (ANT+)
  • External Display Mode (for Edge Computers, ANT+)
  • RD Pod (Garmin Running Dynamics Pod, ANT+)
  • Muscle Oxygen (ANT+)
  • XERO Laser Locations (ANT+)
  • Garmin inReach (ANT+)

We tried playing music with a Jabra Elite 65t. Sometimes there are short interruptions at the connection. Reason: The fenix is on the left arm, the Bluetooth receiver in the right ear. There are no problems with the fenix on the right arm!

Garmin fenix 6X Pro – GPS receiver

We tested the accuracy of the GPS receiver extensively on several outdoor tours. In summary, it can be said that the fenix 6X Pro provides slightly more accurate recordings than the fenix 5X. The (track-)deviations are mostly within the “usual” range of 5 to 10 meters while hiking and running.

It should also be noted that wearables are “naturally” unfavorably placed for an optimal GPS reception (the GPS antenna often points outwards and not skywards, shadowing by the body, a dynamic system through arm movements). Factors that have to be taken into account when discussing about GPS accuracy, as the sports watches – as our test shows – are in principle able to deliver first-class recordings. When dealing with “Wearables & GPS”, the impression also arises that a technical limit has been reached.

Garmin fenix 6 – Integrated heart rate sensor

When reviewing integrated optical heart rate sensors – no matter from which manufacturer the smartwatch is – the same results are always apparent (even with the fenix 6X):

With warm outside temperatures, wearing the smartwatch a little further up the wrist, a load intensity that is as even as possible and even & rhythmic arm movements (e.g. when running), very good results can be achieved analogous to a heart rate chest strap. With cold hands, a slipping around of the watch (e.g. triggered by tight cuffs of the clothing), varying intensity, irregular movements of the arm (e.g. hiking with ski sticks) the heart rate readings can be very inaccurate.

Two examples (green: fenix 5X with Garmin HRM-Run heart rate belt; red: fenix 6X Pro internal sensor)

The first examples of a short running unit: During the run the main impression was “doing everything right”, e.g. movement, gloves, tight fit … but there is still no perfect match. With some spikes it is good to see that the internal sensor records the data with a slight delay.

2nd example from speed hiking: In the first part is a strong mismatch but also a very good consistency. After a short stop in the middle of the track, the heart rate of the internal sensor remains trapped 15 to 20 beats below the heart rate belt (possibly because of the use of ski poles).

Some more examples: Apple Watch Series 5 GPS & Heart Rate Review

 

Running, fenix 6x vs. fenix 5x HRM-Run
Speedhiking, fenix 6x vs. fenix 5x HRM-Run

Garmin fenix 6X Pro Review – Menu, Configuration

We noticed small and big improvements in the menu. In the main menu, the settings menu opens now almost automatically when scrolling down, previously a button click was necessary. Speaking of the buttons, they now have a pleasant pressure point compared to the fenix 5X.

Three widgets on one page

Three widgets on one page

But much more interesting is the widgets area. When scrolling up or down, the new fenix generation shows three widgets on each page with the most important informations of each widget. Example, you get a quick overview of the weather, altitude, direction, sunrise and sunset (right image).

For detailed information each widget can be opened, on different pages there are lots of data and diagrams. Due to the variety of information, the overview is quickly lost. We recommend to activate only the most important and frequently used widgets – after all, there are 33 widgets to choose from! Many statistical data can be viewed better and more clearly in the Garmin Connect Smartphone App.

Configuration, every novice should be aware that the fenix 6 needs a lot of training time! On the one hand to understand the functions, on the other hand to adjust the settings.

Garmin fenix 6X Pro Review – Smartphone Apps

The Garmin Connect App is most important. The connection to the fenix and the initial setup is fast and reliable, Garmin has optimized a lot over the years. Furthermore, the connection to our smartphone used during the Garmin fenix 6X Pro review is extremely reliable. The app offers numerous functions, including the convenient transfer of tracks to the fenix or for setting up the fenix. So it’s definitely worth going through all the details of the app.

The fenix 6 can be reloaded with apps, data fields, watch faces and widgets from the Garmin Connect IQ Store. It is recommended to install the separate Garmin Connect IQ Store App on your smartphone. For outdoor users, the Garmin Explore app is also of interest, which can be used to synchronize routes, waypoints and tracks from the Explore portal with the fenix.

Garmin fenix 6X Pro Review, Altimeter Data Fields

Garmin fenix 6X Pro – Outdoor Functions

On everyday life, fitness, sports or outdoor, the fenix 6X Pro offers all imaginable functions about which a detailed book could be written.

Our Garmin fenix 6X Pro review shows: The multisport watch can be used for navigation in many ways. Our favorite function is using courses (e.g. imported tracks) in conjunction with the ClimbPro feature. In addition, the fenix is also capable of turn-by-turn navigation, i.e. the automatic calculation of a route on the map’s route network, for example to a POI or any other point on the map.

Other important functions are “Back to Start” (using “TracBack” or a route back to the starting point of an activity), “Around Me” (displaying and selecting POIs in the vicinity), “Round-Trip Course” (calculating up to three circuits), entering coordinates or following a recorded activity from the log.

Navigation with a course, several data fields & some statistics after saving the activity (including Firstbeat metrics)

Ski and golf maps are preinstalled, as well as a TopoActive map, which is a good basis for navigating with courses. Different map themes are new; you can choose between

  • Resort Ski,
  • Popularity,
  • Dark,
  • High Contrast,
  • and Marine.

Further maps can be installed, recommended are for example the Garmin Alpenvereinskarten (especially for Germany and Austria), which are available as a download product.

“Popularity”: Frequently used trails and routes are shown in color on the map. They are based on user data collected in Garmin Connect (“Heatmap” principle). In order to be able to use this information for navigation, “Popularity Routing” must be activated in the settings (available for the following activity types: road cycling, mixed surface cycling, gravel cycling, mountain biking, running & walking, hiking, mountaineering).

Whether popular paths and roads are really included in the routing is difficult to judge on the display, which is too small for this purpose, because moving and zooming the map is quite tedious.

As far as the outdoor functions are concerned, it is important to mention that the barometric altimeter of the fenix can be calibrated not only by auto-calibration, manual input of altitude or GPS altitude, but now also by means of a DEM (digital elevation model). This seems to be very accurate – at least for us – and is therefore a good alternative to calibrating with GPS altitude.

Map Themes:

  • None (Standard) (red = activity recording)
  • High Contrast
  • Dark
  • Popularity (violet = frequently used trails)

Garmin fenix 6X Pro Review – Summary

With the fenix 6X ProAmazon - Garmin fenix 6 (Amazon), Garmin has raised the bar again for multisport smartwatches! The reviewed 6X Pro is a fascinating piece of technology with an immense range of functions.

Especially impressive are the large display, the battery life and – from an outdoor point of view – the complete navigation functions in combination with the possibility to use various topographic maps.

In addition, there are all sorts of training, tracking and analysis features that should make the heart of every athlete with an affinity for technology beat faster. Apart from that, the fenix 6X Pro is also an excellent smartwatch for everyday use. Only for collecting data during sleep – at least the tested 6X – seems to be a bit too big … a Garmin Venu might be the better choice.

Your Rating: 1 Stern2 Sterne3 Sterne4 Sterne5 Sterne (6 GPS-Fans, ∅ Score: 86.67 %)

Rate the Garmin fenix 6X Pro!

To answer a frequently asked question: Should I upgrade from a fenix 3 or fenix 5 to the new generation?

Not necessarily – with the predecessors you can still master every outdoor tour! Unless you are sucked in by GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)!

Pros

L
Powerful range of functions
L
Battery life
L
Display size and readability
L

Connectivity (devices, sensors)

Cons

K
Complex setup
K
Heart rate not always accurate
K
Expensive

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