If you have read our other smartwatch reviews, you know we are big fans of Garmin sports watches. We like smartwatches that focus on different things than your smartphone already can do, and can do this without needing your phone. Google Wear and Apple smartwatches are just too limited for us. They just copy your smartphone, and each time you really want to do something, you need your phone anyway.
Garmin focuses on sports and outdoor usage, and it delivers here. It still shows you your notifications from your smartphone, and that is enough for us.
This review focusses on the difference with the Fenix 5 series.
So is the 6 any better than the 5 series? Yes!
The display is noticeably better. Sharper and brighter. No complaints about the display anymore here. We really like the transflective displays Garmin uses. We don’t want to walk with a bright light on our wrist all the time as is the case with most other smartwatches.
Software is far more easy to use. The mini-widgets are genius. There is some more functionality also, but the difference is small. We don’t know how much of this will come to the 5 series. Our experience is that Garmin usually keeps the new nice stuff only for the new watches. Watchfaces are gorgeous and offer so much information that you almost never need to press a button to view what you want to know. But pay attention to our image on top: the minutes are in white, and can not be changed. Garmin always shows this exact watchface with the minutes displaying in red, but this can not be set actually. I contacted their helpdesk about it, but after a dozen mails I just gave up. They did not understand the problem. Their helpdesk is terrible. Maybe they will correct it with an update.
There were some small bugs, but all of it was corrected with an update, except for the watchface color issue described above.
Maps are better than on the 5 series. More details and small roads are visible once you zoom in. Navigation works flawlessly.
Garmin Pay is a blessing. It just works! Add your cards, press a button and pay. Selecting the correct card is easy, and the payment process is lightning fast.
Although the differences are small, they are big enough for us to make the 6 series feel like a whole other watch compared to the 5 series.
Is there nothing wrong? Well, the watch comes with a black rubber strap, and it really makes the watch look like a tool. If you want to wear this watch all day long, you better invest in another wristband to make it look a bit nicer. We think it looks great on a green rubber strap.
If you are in doubt to pay extra for the solar charging: don’t bother. It does not really charges the watch, not even in full sunlight. It can just slow down battery usage a bit. This will only make a (small) difference if you plan on going for a hike that will take more than a week without any possibility for normal charging on the way.
We are happy we did the upgrade. Our Fenix 5 series will not be used anymore!
After about 6 months of wearing this watch daily, all sensors stopped working after swimming in very cold water of about 6°C. The watch should be able to handle this perfectly, however. All other functions kept working, but GPS, compass, barometer, altimeter, temperature and heart-rate sensor stopped working. No water seemed to have gotten inside.
I brought the watch back to our supplier (A.S. Adventure) and they replaced the watch immediately with a new one. Very good service from them. The new watch seems to function fine. We already went swimming a couple of times in similar conditions in very cold seawater and had no problems anymore.