Garmin Fenix 6S Professional hands-on assessment: Small watch, huge deal
“Garmin’s Fenix 6S Professional beefs up its health options with out shedding its deal with outside adventures.”
Altitude-savvy pacing information
Prolonged battery life
The Fenix 6S Professional often is the smallest watch in Garmin’s new Fenix 6 sequence, however don’t let the small dimension idiot you. The GPS watch is as rugged and full-featured as its larger brethren. It has a pulse oximeter for measuring oxygen ranges in your physique, a helpful new PacePro metric, music, and 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 Collection 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 charge, and battery life proper on the entrance display screen. The info is massive sufficient that you could simply see it however compact sufficient that it doesn’t get in the best way 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 must cost, which, to me, is considerably extra helpful than a share.
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 a substitute of scrolling by a number of distinct screens, the widgets are organized in rows that can help you see the earlier and subsequent rows as you scroll. Every row offers a abstract of the information, and you’ll choose the row to view extra particulars. As a result of the Fenix is an outdoors-focused watch, the widgets embrace climate, sundown/dawn instances, a digital compass, in addition to conventional health metrics.
Don’t just like the defaults? You may 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 appears to be like are largely intact on the Fenix 6S Professional. The corporate caught with its conventional 5-button design and rugged fiber-reinforced polymer casing, It appears to be like and seems 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 take a look at the long-term scratch-resistance of the show materials, however Gorilla Glass three is on low-end telephones and may defend you from the occasional rustle and tumble, however it’s nonetheless glass. Sapphire is what’s on costly watches and is a way more harder materials. If you happen to often scuff up your watches whereas outside, 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. If you first put on the Fenix 6S, you may really feel the load of the watch in your wrist, however it’s not so heavy that it’s burdensome; the truth is, it’s fairly snug. I wore it working, climbing and swimming and rapidly tailored to the load. I didn’t really feel slowed down in any respect by the watch.
The buttons additionally sit practically 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 have been fairly actually painful. Regardless of having smaller buttons, they’re nonetheless simple to find them while not having to have a look at the watch.
Pacing Like a Professional
Garmin not solely added new health options, however it additionally migrated present options, like physique battery and coaching load focus, to the 6 sequence. What you find yourself with is a well-rounded watch that does nearly the whole lot.
New to the Fenix 6 Collection is a function referred to as PacePro, which is a digital model of tempo bands worn by marathoners and different long-distance runners. As a substitute of manually calculating cut up instances 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 appears to be like on the distance, but in addition takes into consideration elevation when figuring out your tempo and cut up instances.
PacePro was immensely helpful throughout my runs, retaining me centered on a single lap at a time.
When you find yourself able to run, you may load this PacePro information and use it to observe your tempo in real-time. The show will present your goal cut up tempo, your present cut up tempo, and the way far off you’re out of your total objective. You can also see the gap remaining on the present cut up. PacePro was immensely helpful throughout my runs, retaining me centered on a single lap at a time as an alternative of the whole size of my run.
The Fenix 6S carried out flawlessly on my first few trial runs. I in contrast it to a Forerunner 945 and the Coros Apex, and all of the important metrics — coronary heart charge monitoring, GPS distance, and tempo — have been spot on throughout the board. Like most Garmin watches, there may be an abundance of information screens, and you’ll customise them to view the metrics you want essentially the most.
Garmin packs a ton of power-hungry options into its Fenix sequence, however the firm someway manages to ship cheap battery life in its watches. The Fenix 6S Professional lasted over every week in smartwatch mode and a strong six days when exercising day-after-day for an hour. To assist customers handle battery life extra successfully, Garmin now shows the battery meter as the times remaining as an alternative of a share. As a substitute of guessing when to cost, I used to be capable of plan my charging round my coaching and racing schedule.
Garmin additionally added battery modes that can help you swap energy settings on the fly once 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 p.c battery remaining thanks to those diminished energy modes.
Value and availability
Garmin’s Fenix 6S Professional is offered now on Garmin’s web site and different on-line retailers equivalent to Finest Purchase and Amazon. The 6S Professional is likely 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 the direction of outside adventurers and have outdoor-centric options and a rugged design. Consequently, they are typically dearer than the Forerunners and different comparable fitness-focused smartwatches.
Garmin’s new Fenix 6S Professional often is the smallest mannequin within the Fenix sequence, however don’t let that dissuade you. It’s as rugged and nearly as full-featured as its larger brethren. It has a compact design, refined interface, and helpful new options that make it enticing to people searching for a health watch with a powerful outside focus.
The one knock I’ve towards it’s its weight. At 58 grams, It’s noticeably heavier than similar-sized GPS watches just like the Coros Apex (50g) or the Garmin Forerunner 245 (38.5g). If most of your actions contain working, then you might wish to commerce a number of the outdoor-specific options of the Fenix for the lighter profile of the Forerunner 245. Likewise, triathletes who run, bike and swim could also be higher served by the Coros Apex.