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EL Tries: Garmin Fenix 5s

With the launch of Garmin's new series of watches, we put one of their snazzy and sporty timepieces to the test. Was it a yay or nay? Read on to find out.

by / Published: 3 Jul 2017

EL Tries: Garmin Fenix 5s
Photo: Garmin

Admittedly, I haven’t been as active as I should or used to be. As a full-time research student, I had the luxury of hitting the gym and hiking at any given time of the day, but now I only hit the sack. During the week, I convince myself that walking to the train station is some form of exercise. I would classify myself as more of a weekend warrior as I attempt to keep cholesterol levels at bay by running, hitting the gym and hiking on the weekends. I have never kept track of my exercise routines or hikes, so when the opportunity to test the new Garmin Fenix 5s presented itself, I volunteered as I already had a couple of hikes planned out.

As I unboxed the Fenix 5s, I was surprised with how elegant the watch was. Unlike other sports watches, the Fenix 5s wasn’t bulky and with a width of 42mm, it was ideal for smaller wrists. It’s available with regular glass and sapphire glass, and felt high-end and sporty at the same time. I spent an entire afternoon exploring the navigation and options, synching it to my mobile phone.

I quickly came to the realisation that this was a watch packed with stats and features, which both athletes and those keeping an eye on their fitness levels will find useful. As the latter, I was fascinated to read stats pertaining to my stride length, speed, cadence, and pace, as well as aerobic and anaerobic training effects. To be honest, it took me a while to fully comprehend what all the numbers were about, but I easily figured out the most important figure of ‘calories burnt’.

I went hiking with a friend at Bukit Saga and realised that we took a route connecting Ah Pek Hill as well. Thanks to the Fenix 5s we managed to map our entire trip, including our peak elevation, and this was proof as to why we missed our brunch appointment! I had left the watch running throughout the trip, including when we stopped at a waterfall and it captured moving speed, pace and time without any fiddling around.

The Fenix 5s is perfect for multi-sport usage so is great for triathletes. The battery life is impressive and I only charged it three times during the month I had it – although it must be said that it only saw lots of action during the weekends. The smart features complement integration, though you won’t be able to interact with it as it’s quite basic. For a detailed analysis of your workout, download the Garmin Connect app; it’s easier to read on a larger screen and navigating the news feed on the app is very easy.

For fitness enthusiasts, the Fenix 5s offers top value as it covers a wide range of sports including running, cycling, golf, hiking and swimming. The detailed analytics help beginners understand their body and athletes can track their progress. It will take you a couple of days to fully master the watch and the Connect app, but once you get used to it, it’s easy. At the end of my month of reviewing it, I realised it had actually encouraged me to work out more often!


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