garmin fenix 5x review

Garmin Fenix 5X Multi Activity Watch Review with Video

Emily Woodhouse Gear

Recently, I was able to borrow a new Garmin Fenix 5X to test out. Here’s the low down – and the video – of what I thought of it. I had never used or owned a smart watch before…

Garmin Fenix 5X Review: Details

The Item: Garmin Fenix 5X

The Test:

  • Walk from Coniston to base of scramble route
  • Commute to and from work x 3
  • General daily wear

Use: 1 week


  • Dreadful weather (see video)
  • Suncream (factor 50+ “for 8 hours of play”)
  • Showering
  • Scrambling

Garmin Fenix 5X Review: The Long…

Ease of use:

I am not a smart technology aficionado. My phone is still proudly brick-shaped, drop-able, indestructible and superb for playing snake.

I’ve never used a smart watch before.

However, the Garmin Fenix 5X watch was very intuitive and easy to get the hang of quickly. I received it with no instructions, so there may be some features that I have missed.

The whole thing is accessible via four buttons. The scrolling menu is accessed by pressing either the “up” or “down” button and can then be cycled through back to the clock face. The other two buttons are basically “back” and “ok”.


I’m surprised at how much the Garmin Fenix 5X can do. It’s got a lot of technology packed down into a small and not too heavy package. It’s definitely bigger than a normal wrist watch, particularly for a girl, but not grossly. A couple of people commented that it was a big watch, but only after it had been pointed out to them. I didn’t find it particularly clunky at all.

Anyway, enough of look and feel, here’s what it can actually do. Check out the video to see it all in action:

  1. Heart Rate Monitor
    There’s a big green light at the back of the watch that monitors your heart rate all the time you’re wearing it. There is a screen on the menu with a graph of the last 4 hours of your heart rate – very telling if you’ve just cycled to work and spent the rest of the time sitting at a desk! It also uses this data whilst you’re recording your exercise to tell you how long you spent in each “zone”.
  2. Altimeter
    Accessible on the menu (showing trace for last 4 hours) and records on your activities. This was pretty funny, or perhaps depressing, to look at after my ride to work. It is almost entirely downhill. Which means, on the way back…
  3. Barometer
    Didn’t use it, not sure exactly how to. I’m aware that a barometer is something that hangs on a wall and tells the weather, but just how this translated to the numbers on the watch I don’t know! Did I mention I didn’t get to see an instruction manual?
  4. GPS Sports Tracking
    Watch the video. I used the tracking function on my commute several times and it doesn’t half bring out the competitive side of you! At first I found it odd feeling like I was being constantly monitored, but soon I was racing against myself to the gates where I set lap points. The gps trace is downloadable – the watch plugs into a computer and is accessible like a camera or memory stick. There are also speed stats to play with.However, the most incredible thing for me was discovering how long my commute actually is. I’d always thought it was about 15 miles, perhaps 17 miles maximum. After several rides to and fro, it came out at a solid 21 miles. Definitely makes me feel better about how long it takes.
  5. Washable
    I didn’t get to test it out swimming but, as you’ll see from the start of the video, I was basically swimming in a cloud one day. Considering my usual watch is a £10 nearly indestructible wonder watch from Argos, it was great to be able to trust the Garmin Fenix watch in the rain.  It is waterproof to 100m, which had be well and truly covered when I accidentally forgot to take it off in my post-ride pre-work power shower. After that the novelty didn’t wear off.

Garmin Fenix 5X Review: The Short…

In a nutshell: if you’ve got the money, get one. Particularly if you don’t have a smart phone or gps unit, or get fed up of these not being purpose built for sport and outdoors. This is an epic bit of kit, built to survive whatever you throw at it. For ladies, it’s wearable and not overly chunky.

Note: This was NOT a sponsored review, although I was given the watch to test for a week. 

Do you have a smart sports watch? Think they’re worth the fuss?