Hey there. I’m Brian with PlayBetter.com. I was tasked with researching the fenix 5 and letting shoppers know what lies in store for those thinking of purchasing the latest GPS watch from Garmin.
You’ve probably read countless websites and blog posts to find out just what this watch has to offer. Simply put, there are a ton of bells and whistles on this device, so many it can be overwhelming. When I first thought of how to explain why the fenix 5 is so great, I found it difficult because, to be completely honest, there are a lot of fitness trackers/watches on the market and most of them have the same features.
Of course most fitness watches these days can track your movements with GPS. Most watches sync with your cell phone to receive smart notifications. And a lot of watches boast heart rate monitoring capabilities. Big deal. If you’re like me, I wanted to know what makes the fenix 5 different from every other watch out there. After all, I’m about to drop some serious mula on a fitness watch. I had better pick the right one.
Personally, it was the fenix 5’s advanced running features that blew me away. Up until recently, I sported a couple of different FitBit bands on my runs. They were comfortable, non-invasive and did a great job of keeping track of my steps run, calories burned and distance covered.
I even tried an Apple Watch a few times, which was great for controlling my music and even delivering smart notifications right to my device. But it was the fenix 5 that truly unlocked so many running dynamics I had no idea were important to truly tracking my overall fitness levels:
1) Lactate threshold - This is my favorite feature. Through analysis of your pace and heart rate, the fenix 5 can actually estimate the point where your muscles start to rapidly fatigue. This is brilliant. In any training, it’s extremely beneficial to know when you reach the point where your body needs to begin to repair itself and it’s yet another factor that you can study and see improve over time as you get stronger.
2) Performance condition - I love this feature because it gives me a kick in the pants when I need it. After running for 6-20 minutes, the fenix 5 compares your real-time condition to your average fitness levels. Look, some days I just don’t feel like running. But I head out anyway and tell myself doing a light run is better than none at all. True, but at the same time, I did the hard part of getting started, so I might as well make the most of my time. The performance condition can let me know when I’m running behind my average level and know to step it up.
3) Vertical oscillation and ratio* - My wife always liked to joke that I looked “funny” when I run. Hey, to each their own, but it did make me wonder if I was running correctly or could at least move more efficiently. With vertical oscillation and ratio, the fenix 5 measures the degree of bounce in your running motion and gives you the benefit ratio to stride length. This helped me see just how “bouncy” my steps were and how much unnecessary energy I was churning out on my runs.
4) Stress score* - There are so many factors in today’s world that increase our stress levels, so it’s good to have an idea of where we actually stand in terms of stress. The fenix 5 will measure your heart rate variability while standing still for three minutes and give you an estimated stress level on a scale of 1 to 100. A lower score is better, and it’s great to notice just how much tension I can release during a run.
*these features require the use of a compatible heart rate chest strap, which comes with the purchase of a Performer Bundle