Logo Navigation-Professionell.de

Garmin fenix 6X Pro Review

November 18, 2019
Home » GPS Tests » 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 slightly better, the display reflects in particular a little less and appears a little brighter. 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 Sapphirefenix 6S 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 Sapphirefenix 6 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 Sapphirefenix 6X 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 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) and irregular movements of the arm, flexing the wrist or tensing the forearm muscles (e.g. while hiking with ski sticks) the heart rate readings can be very inaccurate.

In addition, physical characteristics of the user, the sensor firmware and the activity used for recording (e.g. run, hike) are also important.

Example 1 – Activity "Run"

During the run the main impression was "doing everything right", e.g. movement, gloves, tight fit …  all in all, the data match very well.

(1st image; red: fenix 5X with Garmin HRM-Run, green: fenix 6X, magenta: Apple Watch).

Example 2 – Activity "Hike"

The next example of a speedhike, shows a different image. The heart rate values of the Apple Watch and the fenix 5x with HRM-Run heart rate chest strap match perfectly, while the values of the fenix 6X are completely off.

This is due to the intensive use of ski poles (flexing the wrist, tensing the muscles). This result can be reproduced and occurs when the activity "hiking" or "backcountry ski" is used and should also occur during other activities.

(2nd image; red: fenix 5X with Garmin HRM-Run, green: fenix 6X, magenta: Apple Watch).

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

Update April 2020 – Problem solved – check comments below!

 

Heart rate comparison Running - Apple Watch - fenix 5x - fenix 6x
Heart rate comparison Speedhike: Apple Watch - fenix 5x - fenix 6x

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)

  • Solar-powered multisport GPS watch with large 1.4” display (36% larger than previous fēnix models) uses the sun’s energy to extend battery life and assure more on-wrist time for your off-grid activities
  • Enhanced estimated wrist heart rate and Pulse Ox to support advanced sleep monitoring and altitude acclimation at high elevations (this is not a medical device and is not intended for use in the diagnosis or monitoring of any medical condition)
  • Advanced training features include PacePro for grade-adjusted pace guidance throughout your activity plus environmentally adjusted VO2 max and training status estimates
  • Navigate the outdoors with preloaded TOPO maps, ski maps for over 2,000 worldwide ski resorts, multiple global navigation satellite system (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) support and built-in sensors for 3-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter
  • Support for Garmin Pay contactless payments (not all countries and payment networks are eligible), music storage with premium streaming service (may require subscription with third-party music provider) support, smart notifications and more
  • Internal, rechargeable lithium battery provides up to 21 days of battery life in smartwatch mode with an additional 3 days when solar charging4, and 15 hours in GPS mode with an additional hour when solar charging when used in 50,000 lux conditions.
(* = affiliate link / image source: Amazon partner program)
×
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

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 theGarmin fenix 6X Pro, 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 Garmin 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 or a fenix 6S might be the better choice.

Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace Guidance and Pulse Ox Sensors, Dark Gray with Black Band
Not available
(* = affiliate link / image source: Amazon partner program)
View on Amazon *
×
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Pros

L
Powerful range of functions
L

Stunning battery life

L
Display size and readability
L

Connectivity (devices, sensors)

Cons

K
Complex setup
K
Expensive

RELATED POSTS

8 Comments

  1. Does the Garmin Instinct have the same problem with heart rate monitoring for hikers using poles? I am considering buying a Garmin watch, and want to make the right choice!

    Reply
    • Hi,
      I have to admit that i haven’t used the Instinct for a long time … however, in this article there are examples with heart rate graphs while hiking with sticks (does not look so good for the Instinct; may be it’s better with latest firmware):
      https://www.navigation-professionell.de/en/garmin-instinct-gps-accuracy-review/

      Regarding the fenix 6x, in the last time, I have the impression that the behaviour has improved with the last updates, here is an example compared to the Apple Watch (red), the fenix 6x (blue) shows a significant deviation only at the end and some short abnormal peaks. I can’t make a final statement yet, it needs some more tests

      Cheers

      Reply
    • Found this in the Garmin forum – this corresponds to my observations (sensor 5.07 is part of the last beta update) – so we can have hope:

      8.76 Change Log Notes:

      Added support for Grit and Flow metrics to cycling profiles.
      Improved optical heart rate during hiking activities. (Requires 5.07 Sensor Hub)
      Made several improvements to Indoor Climb.
      Updated the UX layouts for steps, floors, stress, intensity minutes and pulse ox widgets.
      Updated performance, training status, body battery, respiration and calories to use the new page indicators.
      Made several other bug fixes and code improvements.

      UPDATE – new sensor hub beta software 5.07 – two examples when hiking and running with ski poles

      blue: fenix 6x optical sensor, red: Apple Watch optical sensor, magenta: fenix 5x heart rate strap

      Apple Watch vs. fenix 6x

      Heart Rate - Apple Watch - fenix 6x - fenix 5x

      Reply
  2. Hey there, great review I just purchased a Sapphire Fenix 6x. What was the watch face you have on the top of your review as it looks really clear. I have searched the IQ store but can’t find it.
    It would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Nick,

      thanks, it’s a standard watch face, looks like this before customizing the layout, background color …:

      fenix standard watch face

      Cheers

      Reply
      • Hi Joachim,

        thanks for your reply. I haven’t received the watch yet so that makes sense.

        Cheers

        Reply
  3. The totally wrong heart rate in Example 2 – Activity "Hike" makes this Garmin Fenix 6x a terrible choice. I understand the difference between measurements on the HR belt and the wrist, but here’s the question:
    Why Apple Watch can measure in Activity "Hike" the heart rate correctly (on the wrist!) and Garmin Fenix 6x not? There’s obviously something wrong with this piece of equipment, which makes it not worthy of its price.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *