Garmin - Fenix 5S GPS Watch

Category: GPS Systems

Ok. First off, I purchased this after purchasing a Polaroid and then an Apple Watch.... thank God I returned both. Besides the hefty price tag this thing is freaking awesome. It took me months of research to determine whether I wanted to spend my money on this because I had seen so many bad reviews on this thing. LET ME TELL YOU ITS WORTH IT.

I have worn an Apple Watch for a year. Decided to look at replacing it, but did not like how big the previous Fenix series watch heads were. The 5S fits my wrist perfectly, and I absolutely love the functionality of this watch. Much easier to use than the Apple when it comes to activity tracking. I primarily use the cycle, golf, step, and altimeter functions.

And it does everything I wanted in a watch for multi sport activities plus a super accurate optical HR, which was critical. As a 5'3" female, the 5s fits my wrist perfectly and it's not too heavy for all around wearability. I like "boyfriend" size watches.

I am a big fan of garmin and the fenix 3. I got the 5s because it was a little smaller. I also liked the silver edge on the watch face. This watch looks great for personal and business. The watch is easier to view when you are running and the wrist heart rate seems better than the fenix 3. I highly recommend it; however I will say that the battery life is not as good. It is way better than an I watch, but I question if you could use this for a full ironman

I have an Apple Watch, which has it's strengths, but I should have bought the Garmin 5 first. The Garmin is easier to start and stop for open water swims (my main reason for both watches). The Garmin is more accurate with distance and swim statistics. If your main purpose for a watch is tracking your time/distance/stats then the Garmin wins hands down. If you want am extension of your iPhone on your wrist the Apple Watch wins, but I wanted to get away from that. The Garmin is a true outdoors person's watch. You can feel the the "lineage" of Garmin in their watch.

I have experiences inconsistent and inaccurate tracking of several activities. For example, when using the Pool Swim tracking, the watch is frequently off by 50-250 yards; I have less of an idea with Open Water swims how accurate it really is tracking this activity. In addition, something as simplistic as elevation changes for the device to track stairs, which it claims to do but not a motivator for me to track, also appears to have some serious flaws with the accuracy. This concerns me because it device is supposed to do so much more, but I don't have much faith in the accuracy.

Dealing with the Fenix 5S has been a frustrating experience. Garmin has sent us 3 replacements, none of which work properly. The only option now is to return the unit to REI and try a different model/brand. The 5S has fatal design flaws that Garmin obviously cannot or will not fix. The forums are full of people with issues. It’s a bummer because the hardware itself is of good tactile quality.

A big investment, but so far an amazing watch. As a woman with a smaller wrist I was worried it would be too big, but it's not bad. The all day heart rate and sleep info have been invaluable.

I bought this Garmin to replace a FitBit Surge. The Fenix 5S is a very nice looking watch and does not look like a small phone or tablet taped to your wrist. It is comfortable for someone with a relatively small wrist. My primary complaint is that the watch is trying to do much (i.e. golf?, sky diving?, etc) and ends up being more complicated to operate than it should be for the basic features that I wanted (e.g. cycling data, walking/steps, running, stair climbing, HR monitoring, etc.)

I have had a horrific experience with this product and with Garmin customer service. I have the Fenix 5S Sapphire edition. My big problem with the device is that the heart rate monitor is trash!!! When I bought this new it was $650. For that much money, it is extraordinary frustrating that the HR readings are so far off, Often by multiples of 2 or 3. I have reached out to Garmin to troubleshoot this issue and their customer support team has been nothing but condescending and unhelpful. I do not hold this against REI in any way, but Garmin has lost my business for life.

$550 for the watch, okay. Does what it’s supposed to do, okay. Twelve days after purchase the watch malfunctions out of nowhere while I’m sitting behind a desk at work. The screen just became dim then lines started flying all across the screen. The background would crash with a red pixelated screen flashing with each second that passed. It just flat out did not operate. I hadn’t had a chance to do much more than a short trail run with the watch.

I got this watch after doing lots of research and comparing multiple watches. I read lots of articles about the "Fenix 5 series" which I thought referred to the Fenix 5s but I was wrong. Sadly this watch doesn't have the map features you may have read about. The watch does allow you to upload courses to follow but it doesn't show you on a map. There are a few drawbacks to this. The first is that you have to know the course you before actually traveling it. Leaving you at the mercy of other hikers courses. Even though I was previously using courses marked by other hikers I was always using a topo map with the course laid on top. This would allow me to use the other hikers' courses as a guide and utilize some of my own navigational skills if there were obstacles like down trees, snow cornices, or flooding to safely navigate. Which brings me to the second major drawback of having no idea where you are in relation to things. I wanted the map features to know if I was near a source of water or approaching a steep incline, or cliff band. It is nice that the watch allows you to at least upload courses but the amount of information it offers and the size of the display make it almost pointless. Personally I was looking for a watch to help track my training and enhance my navigating on adventures so I didn't have to rely on my phone. However, at this price and the features offered my phone is more useful and Sadly, I'll be returning the watch to get a cheaper tracker and a true GPS system for navigating.

I love it the size. I am a smaller person (5'6") and think this size fits much better than the Fenix 5 or 5x. It connects really well to gps/glonass and I have not had any issues with that at all. There are many 3rd party apps/widgets to add that I use also.

I have the Fenix 3 (non-HR version) and love it. It was too big for my wife so I was super excited to give her the Fenix 5s when it came out. She had an older Garmin running watch but the additional features of the Fenix made it very appealing. Upon opening the box, we weren't disappointed! It's super cool looking, the turquoise band adds a feminine flair and the polished silver accents really dress it up. Set up was very simple and adding it to her Garmin Express / Connect app was super easy.

Love this watch, Software works well, battery is not bad, and the features are awesome and accurate! The only down side is that the screen lacks contrast and brightness.

I love the always on display. The battery life. The quickness of receiving smart notifications. It has a lot of things it can do but, the heart rate is inaccurate, it only tracks sleep once per day (also inaccurate) and when I workout it does not automatically track workouts, I think the calories burned are inaccurate and when in the water the bluetooth is off and on which is annoying. It has many great features but there are cheaper devices that are more accurate fitness devices.

I was really on the fence about getting this watch becasue I have extremely tiny wrists and I was concerned that the size would get in three easy of the very activities I was trying to record. But I'm so glad I listened to the other reviews and purchased it!! It's amazing, while the size may intimidate a few, it shouldn't! I use it (so far) for running, MTB, golf and hiking and it has not failed me. I look forward to many more adventures with my fenix 5s

This watch was a HUGE waste of $900. I have wasted HOURS trying to find useful tutorials on how to use it. There is very little rhyme or reason in the order of buttons you push to get from one screen to another. I don't care about using my watch to pay for purchases, and if I am out on a trail, why do I care about "retail stores near me?" How about making it user friendly or providing a PRODUCT SPONSORED SITE for learning how to use it???

I got this watch in late May, so it's been about 6 months since my purchase. I love the aesthetics of the watch. I got the white on white and it looks great on my wrist. It's not too big, and the band material is quite comfortable. I use it daily and only take it off to charge or when I'm doing something that may stain it.

I had the Fenix 3 HR and loved it, however it was too big. I was excited to try the 5s. But, the bezel was way too big on the screen. The strap was not as long as I normally like. It fit, but I like longer straps. Plus, I was unable to get used to the two tone look of it. It was silver bezel and buttons and black everyplace else. Very strange. I just didn't like the look of it at all!!!

I bought this watch a month ago for my birthday and have worn it daily to work and such. Haven't done anything big with it yet and the top layer on the watch face quality is very cheap. It's like chipped off in 3 spots from doing nothing. Very disappointed in the quality of the face of the watch.

After a couple of months it is the best coach a working athlete could have access to 24/7 on the wrist. Set your workouts and goals and the victories are yours. Negatives are the wrist HR during agressive HIIT and MTB and the Backlighting . All wrist HR are subpar. Get a chest strap and everything is accurate. Backighting is workable and never slows me down.

Unfortunately, you can't disable Garmin Connect notifications on the Android. According to Amber at support "So just the notifications from the app to your phone? There is not really any way to do that unfortunately". There is also a bug in the software where if you put your Android phone in "Do not disturb" you still receive notifications on your device.

My early X-Mas gift to my partner. She recently got into doing long distance open ocean SUP. Enjoys the ability to track her distance on the Pacific ocean due to the GPS capabilities. Now she is taking her fitness into land and enjoys the distance land distance she can track and look back on her accomplishments. Great for fitness tracking : )

Bought this thinking multi-functions would help simplify my life....then I looked at the instruction manual written in tiny little font and realized instructions alone would complicate my life even more and trying to operate a watch more complicated than a fighter jet was just too much. A return did simplify my life!

I’ve had this watch for a few months now and I love it!! I’ve had several gps watches over the years and this is by far my favorite! The size is great and not too bulky! The features and functionality are the best! It’s not cheap but if you love reviewing all the data and stats from your workouts then this is the watch for you!

I love to wear this watch (it looks less like a “runner’s watch” but it’s design still isn’t the most subtle), and its running settings are good (Pretty much exactly like the 735xt) but it’s just not worth $600, when there’s still limitations such as having to have your phone near you for most of the widgets such as weather

I have been using this device for 9 months and the heart rate sensor green light has stopped functioning so the watch will not read heart rate. I could be dead, but I'm not. I have tried all the available options for resetting the watch and updating to current versions. Nothing has worked.

This watch is awesome! I love that it looks like a watch, not just a chunk of metal that does things attached to my little wrist. At a quick glance without touching it, I can check the time. The 5S is great for smaller waisted folks, doesn't take over. The watch has the ability to track everything you would want and it links it with all the metric numbers a number person could want. The numbers are then displayed in the Garmin Connect app (in detail) on your phone and computer and less detail on your watch. It really is cool. The more I wear it, the more I am enamored with it. I gave it 4 stars because I feel it fails with the music capability. When I work out and train I want to cut the phone out of the picture. I would like it if this watch had the ability to store even 1 or 2 gigs of music so I could use bluetooth headphones and run away. The watch can direct your music through your phone using bluetooth, but you have to have the phone within 30 feet. Not my favorite feature. But overall this watch is proving to be really great and a lot fun!

This watch’s GPS is completely unreliable in Chicago. I have tried to get help from Garmin several times, only to be told that it can’t be expected to work well around water....

I bought this as a gift for my wife. She has a heart condition and needs to monitor her medical issues.

perfect size and perfect fit for my wrist. all the wonderful features packed into a beautiful watch. i love it. only complaint i would have is that i wish it was black with slate gray not the silver. its still nice though.

This Fenix has all the same great features and is smaller for those not wanting to have a massive watch on the wrist. This Fenix is classy and can be worn with business casual. I am very happy with the purchase.

I upgraded from the 235 to this Felix 5s. It’s great and looks awesome on a small wrist, since it’s smaller. The watch face is very delicate and the silver rim gets scratched really easily.

I've had 2 Garmin 630 Forerunners. I loved the watch but some functions, such as lactic threshold and VO2 max never worked right. Also, both watches broke within a year. I decided not to try another Forerunner and went with the new Fenix 5 after reading reviews. Everything that was new and perhaps not quite working in my Forerunner function well in the Fenix. As an endurance athlete, it no longer says my VO2 max is "very poor". Also, you can race a virtual partner without having to download a training plan (and then still often having it not work.) This watch has wrist based heart rate monitoring that I expected to dislike. The watch is much thinner and lighter so you don't notice it and the heart rate is surprisingly accurate. Plus, you can still pair it with a strap. As it now tracks skiing, you don't have to pull a glove off every time you want to play with the watch that Way. I was tempted to get the Fenix with wifi, but this one automatically uploads to Garmin Connect anyway, there is no fighting to get it to sync. Besides, how after are you without a phone anyway? Have local network, have upload/download ability.

Absolutely love this watch. I wish Garmin’s watch app had a few more features but the watch itself works really well. Battery life is great.

This watch is freaking amazing!! King of all fitness watches



Does this watch have golf course gps

The Fenix watches show golf metrics. Golf courses need to be downloaded from the Garmin Connect Mobile app.


Is this watch compatible with inReach?

​No, the Fenix watches are not compatible with the inReach Satellite Communicators.


Can I listen to music on Spotify with bluetooth headphones with this watch? I would like to leave my phone at home on runs but still have music.

This watch doesn't have music capabilities. However, we offer a very similar watch that does and can be accessed by opening the following link:


Does the Garmin Fenix 5S have a pay feature?

​This watch isn't compatible with Garmin Pay.


It says the size is medium. How many mm is the face? 

​The face is 42mm. Medium refers to the wrist strap size.


How do I add hockey to the garmin 5s? I see skating on my phone, but I cant get it on my watch as an option.

This watch does not have any hockey specific features natively. We recommend contacting Garmin directly for information about apps that may track the metrics you need.


Can you upload activities to Strava with the Fenix 5S wirelessly?  Or do you need to connect it to a computer to transfer data after each activity? 

You can upload data to Strava wirelessly from the watch. You will also need to download Garmin Connect and authorize Strava from there.


I've seen mentioned a couple times that the Fenix 5X has built in topo maps, but does the 5S support loading topo maps? Or is it limited to only breadcrumb style navigation?


Sapphire crystal?

​This is the non-sapphire version of the Fenix 5S GPS Watch. You can find the Fenix 5S Sapphire GPS Watch in the link below:


Does this watch provide water temperature while in the water? ? Thanks!

​While wearing the watch, this watch is not able to read the temperature of the water.


Does this watch have Full-color TOPO mapping preloaded with map data optimized for at-a-glance navigation and location tracking?

​While this watch does have navigation features (point-to-point navigation, bread crumbs, etc.), it does not have a pre-loaded color TOPO map.


Can his watch keep track of dive times while free diving ? 

This watch is not recommended for free diving. The 5 ATM rating from Garmin makes this watch suitable for activities such as swimming or snorkeling. The Garmin Descent Mk1 Dive Watch is a better choice for scuba and free diving.


What is the case size of the M?

​The case size is 42 mm for the 5S.


Does this watch have Bluetooth? If so, can the Bluetooth be turned off?

Yes, the Fenix 5 has Bluetooth and it can be turned off.


I'd like a GPS for long hikes. Does this watch show elevation gain?

Yes, this watch does show elevation gains thanks to the barometric pressure based altimeter.


How accurate is the altimeter? It is said to have a pressure-based altimeter, which sounds odd considering it's a GPS watch and that GPS would probably be more accurate...?

The altimeter is very accurate. The advantage of a barometric pressure based altimeter is that it does not need to rely on satellites for accuracy. Most GPS-based altimeters require at least 3 satellites to take an accurate elevation reading. If you have poor line of sight between the device and the sky, a GPS altimeter can be very inaccurate.


I need to buy a watch to use for Paddle on the ocean. It must have way points, check points and show in the screen the rout i must follow to get point. Wich Garmin do you recommend? Tks

​This watch will allow you to create waypoints, show you where you are in relation to any particular point, and help you to navigate to that point.


Can you put in latitude and longitude and it will take you to it?

Latitude and longitude can be entered into the watch. From there you can navigate to the desired coordinates.


What is the max elevation this watch will record up to? I've seen several other watches that will only go up to approx 10,000 ft, is this one better?

​The Fenix 5 will record elevation up to 30,000 feet.


Does REI carry the smaller 42mm size watch?

​This item is the 42mm size.


What are the navigation functions like on this device? Does it support the Garmin feature of plotting a course in Garmin Connect and sending it to your watch for directions during a run?

The navigation features on this watch are fantastic. You are able to create a course/route in Garmin Connect and transfer it to the watch. While navigating the route/course, the watch will show your current position and then it will show your planned route. It will notify you anytime you need to change direction. Keep in mind that the Fenix 5S will only show breadcrumb style navigation. The Fenix 5X is the only model that has actual maps loaded onto the device.


Would this be a good option for thru hiking the AT?

​This watch is a great option for thru-hiking on the AT. If you looking for built-in topo maps, you might also consider the Fenix 5X model.


I am looking for a good watch for backpacking. Would this be my best bet? 

This watch has features which may be useful for your backpacking adventures. Please contact us directly to discuss your intended use and we'll be happy to make recommendations:


Do I have to connect the watch to my computer to transfer data to Garmin Express?  If the watch sends the data automatically to my phone via bluetooth, can my phone then send the data wirelessly to my computer?  

​To transfer data to Garmin Express, you will have to turn your device on and connect it to your computer with a USB cable. As of June 2017, there is not a wireless option to transfer data.


Does the Fenix 5S sapphire include a charger cable?

​This does include a charging cable.


Can I set a run/walk interval on the watch? And how does it alert me when it time to do either?

This watch does have a run/walk interval feature. Alerts can be set as an audible alert or a vibration alert.


Does the heart rate monitor work in the water while exercising i.e. swimming laps?

​The Elevate wrist based heart rate monitor does not calculate heart rate under water.


How durable is the screen? I have used some other sport watches while rock climbing and the screen cracked with barely a bump to it!

This watch does have a durable screen. However, the Garmin Fenix 5S Sapphire does have a more durable screen as it has a scratch resistant lens:


Are golf courses preloaded onto this watch

Golf courses can be downloaded to the Fenix 5 from Garmin Connect.


Does this watch have Bluetooth to pair earpieces? Will it hold a music playlist like an iPod? Does the GPS distance tracker take into account elevation?

Yes, the Fenix 5 uses Bluetooth Smart for its connectivity. No, it does not store music.


I'm torn between getting the 5s and the 5s sapphire edition. What is the benefit of having Wifi? Thank you!

Wi-Fi allows you to connect to your wireless network and then it automatically sends activity uploads to Garmin connect.


I am a nurse, so the watch function (especially the second hand) is crucial !  I love being able to track my own heart rate, but I MUST be able to count someone else's too.  No reviews seem to address this basic function.  Can I wear this to work ???!

This watch does have a second hand that will meet your needs.


Does this (tracker 5s) count stairs climbed?

The Fenix 5's do not count stairs, but they do count floors. A barometer measures elevation gain, 10 feet equals one floor.


How's the glass on this -- how scratch resistant is it? I'm debating between the sapphire or not, but I really like the silver bezel, which I know isn't available on sapphire.

Both the 5S and the Sapphire models are resistant to scratching, but not scratch-proof products. The Sapphire is simply a better glass (harder), making it more scratch resistant.

Ali n Benny

Does it have a barometer?

Yes, the Fenix 5's have a barometric altimeter.


Will the 5s Black/black sapphire be available at any point? it just looks like the black version is the black/silver and only in regular? I would like the Black/black sapphire

As of April 2017, we do not plan to stock Black/Black. All available colors are on our website.


I'm considering the Fenix 5 or 5S.  Is the only difference the size & design? Are the features / firmware identical? Also, I have an Edge 520 cycling computer. Will the Fenix 5/5S connect to the Edge via ANT+ so that heart rate is recorded during a ride?

The 5s does have fewer pixels in the screen because of the smaller size, but otherwise the features and firmware are the same. Any of the Fenix 5 models can broadcast heart rate monitor data to a compatible device such as your Edge 520 computer.


When will the Fenix 5S sapphire be available?

Please contact us directly at (800) 426-4840 for more information about preorders.


Will you be selling the watch bands for the 5s?

​As of March, 2017 we do not have plans to stock additional wrist bands for the 5s. Please contact us directly for current availability information.


When will the Fenix 5X be available?

As of March 2017, the Fenix 5X is now available for preorder:


This pairs with the tri and swim Garmin HRMs as well, right? If so, how/where do you order the HRMs to go with it?

​Yes this pairs with the Swim and Tri HRM's. As of March 2017, we are not stocking those HRM straps, but they can be purchased directly from the vendor.


Will you be taking preorders for the Garmin 5s Sapphire?

​We do have plans to carry the Garmin Fenix 5S Sapphire. For availability and order information, please contact us by phone at 1 (800) 426-4840.


Does it provide current wind speed and direction?

​This watch does not calculate wind speed or direction.


Is the Sapphire Edition available and is there a second watch band color that's included with as rumored with the watch?

Saw an un boxing video of the sapphire edition that shows a secon set of staos but I am not sure if the non-sapphire edition also come with 2 sets of straps.  

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