Reviews

Garmin Fenix 3, multisport and adventure GPS watch : Analysis

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Presented by surprise during the 2015 edition of the Las Vegas CES (nobody expected it so soon) on Garmin Fenix 3 comes to combine the best of the Forerunner range with the best of the Fenix range in a single watch. And to spice up the cocktail, it came with a quality of materials we don't see in the 920xt (of which many have complained about its excessive use of plastic).

Garmin has combined all the training and racing capabilities of the Forerunner 920xt with the navigation options of the Fenix 2 in one device, resulting in the watch for this test. Have they been able to combine both ranges? Is there anything wrong with the Fenix 3? These questions and many more will be answered throughout this test.

As I always like to clarify, this time the clock has been bought in store for the development of the test. It is not a press unit, but the same clock that you can buy tomorrow (if in stock, the initial distribution is being complicated by the high demand).

I hope you enjoy this comprehensive review of the Garmin Fenix 3 and that it helps you in your buying decision, or if you already have it you can get the most out of it. That's why I created these extensive tests. My intention is to do them to tell you, athlete to athlete, how technology can help you in your training. If you finally decide to buy it and want to give me a hand so I can do more tests like this, buy it at Amazon through this linkYou will get a great price and I will get a small fee that will help the development of future tests.


RATING

Operation - 9
Connectivity - 10
Design, finish and comfort - 8.5
Battery life - 9.5
Aplicaciones - 9.5
Price - 7.5

9

TOTAL

User Rating: 3.65 ( 41 votes)


The good

  • No other Garmin model has received more updates
  • A multitude of sports to be practiced, it is not just a mountain clock
  • Huge battery life
  • Garmin abandons the classic plastic feel of its watches and gives the Fenix 3 a "premium" feel
  • Compatible with a huge number of sensors

The bad

  • The model with the black bezel is easily scratched
  • It's big, not suitable for all dolls
  • The latest version of Connect IQ is not supported


Garmin Fenix 3 versions

You can buy the Garmin Fenix 3 in two different finishes: normal version and sapphire version. And within the normal version, there are two different colour options. Not only does the colour of the strap change, but also the watch bezel, the ring on the "Start-Stop" button and minor details on the dial. You can check all the differences in this assembly.

Garmin Fenix 3 02

What are the differences between the normal version and the sapphire version?
The difference is in the glass, which is mineral in the normal version and, as you suppose, sapphire in the version with that name. As a complement the sapphire edition adds a metal strap that You saw In addition to this metal strap, it includes a rubber strap just like the normal version (in black), so that you can use it for your workouts or simply when you don't want to wear the watch as much as you used to. dressIn addition, if you look at the sapphire version, the outside of the dial has a different decoration, with each of the three versions having a different dial.

What is the price difference between the normal version and the sapphire version?
There is a 100 euro difference, which may seem a lot of difference, but you have to take into account that this amount covers the glass (undoubtedly the sapphire has a higher cost) and having the metal strap, which as an accessory would cost 130 euro.

Any other differences?
Yes, the weight. The sapphire edition, with the strap with all its links, weighs 186 grams. If we change the strap and put the rubber one, it loses up to 85 grams.

Which version should I choose?
Personally, I wouldn't base my decision on the hardness of the crystal. In my experience, I've never damaged a mineral crystal without destroying the rest of the watch. That is, if I've marked the crystal, it's because I've fallen or hit a wall or rock. And it's always been more than just a scratch.

The regular edition does not have a Plexiglas crystal like a 920xt. It is real glass and as such much more durable. Also note that the sapphire, although more scratch-resistant, is easier to "pop" on a hard hit than its mineral glass counterpart.

In short, if you like the metal strap and you're going to use it, buy the sapphire edition, otherwise go for the normal edition and pay for a shrimp edition with the difference.

Unpacking

If you want the quick version, I leave the video where you can see the content and I explain everything in detail.

Heads up!

LAS MEJORES OFERTAS DE BLACK FRIDAY

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Ofertas en tecnología deportiva: Black Friday en Garmin, Polar, Suunto y más.
Chollos en Nike: 25% de descuento en TODO (o casi todo).

But don't worry, if you're a photo lover, you'll get them too, as always.

The Fenix 3 I have for the occasion is the version with an HRM-Run sensor. This is indicated by the strap on the box. By the way, it looks like an expensive whiskey. Not at all, it's not expensive whiskey, it's just an expensive watch.

Garmin-Fenix-3-004

On the back you can see some details of what it includes. We see again the HRM-Run sensor and some of the screens. On the bottom icons of what Garmin wants to highlight: Bluetooth connectivity and ANT+, its technology Connect IQThe EXO antenna or GLONASS satellite holder are some examples.Garmin-Fenix-3-005

But we're going to open the box, especially to make sure that what's inside is a watch and not the whiskey I promised you.

Garmin-Fenix-3-006

This is all you'll find. The Fenix 3 comes with a travel charger, which in the European version includes EU and UK adapters. With it you can charge your watch with the USB sync and charging cable, but you can also use your mobile phone's USB charger. In addition to the watch, chest strap and HRM-Run pulse sensor.

Garmin-Fenix-3-010

Here's the Garmin Fenix 3 after the protective sticker has been removed. It's still asleep. The bezel is made of stainless steel, while the case is made of polymer, a lightweight and resistant material. As with the Fenix 2, there are 5 buttons positioned in the same way.

It's a big watch, 51x51mm. Despite its width, it's only 16mm deep (1mm less than the Fenix 2) and weighs 82 grams in the rubber strap version. It doesn't get uncomfortable in everyday life, at least if you're used to big watches.

Garmin Fenix 3-011

On the left side of the clock you can find the illumination button and the menu navigation buttons. As you can see, it has some logos engraved, because in addition to the main function they have secondary functions. You can turn off the clock by holding the illumination button (or block the screen). If you hold the central button down you will enter the main menu, and if you press the lower button while you are in activity you will register a "lap".

Garmin Fenix 3-015

The buttons on the opposite side have nothing engraved, as they do not double their function. The large button with the red ring (only in the black strap version) is the one you will use to start or pause an activity, as well as to make selections in the main menu. The lower button is used to exit the different menus, or to go back.

The strap is fixed by a screw and counter-screw. It is easy to replace, so those who buy the sapphire version can change it quickly. And those who buy the standard version, you can replace it with any generic 26mm strap or one of those that Garmin offers as an accessory.

Garmin Fenix 3-016

Let's wake him up. The screen, in colour, is transflective technology. It uses the light received to reflect it behind the screen and give visibility to its content. So, unlike your mobile, the greater the illumination, the easier it will be to see the content on the screen. Therefore, outdoors you will have no problem seeing it. And for times when there is no lighting, you can use the clock's own. The main advantage it offers is that it can always be on without having a noticeable consumption, while the screens of other smartwatches, in the case of LCD, will have a very high consumption if they are always on.

Colour reproduction is quite good (not quite as vivid as an LCD screen), much better than the first colour screens Garmin built into the Forerunner 620Its resolution is 218×218 pixels.

Garmin Fenix 3-014

On the back you can see the synchronization and charging connection. And as indicated on the box, it is submersible up to 100 meters. You can also see the detail of the materials used, or its EXO antenna and compatibility with GPS and GLONASS.

Garmin Fenix 3-017

As with every new Garmin watch, the anchoring system for the charger changes. This time it has four "claws" that are attached to the watch, so once it is in place it will not move at all.

Garmin Fenix 3-019

The advantage of this system is that it allows you to use it while charging, even on your wrist. You can carry an external battery to power the watch if the 20 hours of 1-second recording time is not enough.

Garmin Fenix 3-018

The pulse sensor is the HRM-Run, which allows the transmission of the vertical oscillation and the time of contact with the ground to the Fenix 3. The design of the chest strap has changed, and the truth is that I found it somewhat more comfortable than the previous model.

Garmin Fenix 3-020

But let's stop staring at the clock, and let's do the initial setup. We need to start training.

Initial Setup

Before you start playing any sport, the first thing you should do, besides setting up your profile values such as weight and height, is to establish which data fields you want to have visible, on how many screens and how to represent them. The possibilities are immense, not only because of the amount of information you will be able to display, but also because of the variety of ways of displaying it.

The first thing you should know is that now the sports profiles are not such, but after the introduction of Connect IQYou can configure each one of them in Menu > Settings. Once inside, the first option presented is the data screens. You can configure up to 10 different screens, and to these you can add map screen, virtual partner and race dynamics. In each screen you can show 1, 2, 3 or 4 data and in different positions, depending on how you want to start the screen. The configuration you can do is absolute, shown in these images where you can see all the different options.

If you've done the mind operation, you'll have realized that you have a chance to show up to 40 data different. That's many But the possibility is there and nobody forces you to show them all, and this allows you to adapt to your taste in what size and order you can find the data you need for each sport. Here is the complete list of fields you can enter.

Time fieldsDistance fieldsRhythm fieldsSpeed fieldsFC fieldsHigh altitude fields
WeatherDistanceRhythmSpeedHeart rateHeight
Return timeReturn distanceAverage paceAverage speedFC MediaAverage climb
Last lap timeDistance of the last lapRhythm in returnReturn speedFC ZoneAverage drop
Average lap timeRhythm in the last lapLast lap speedTraining EffectMaximum climb
Elapsed timeMaximum speedmaximumMaximum descent
Vertical speedRHeight
% of maximum average CFTotal promotion
R averageTotal descent
FC returnReturn promotion
R per turnDescent back
maximum turnLast lap promotion
Time in zonesLast lap descent
Minimum height
Maximum height
GPS height
Glide factor
Pending
Other fieldsRunning dynamics (running)Cadence fields (running)Power fields (cycling)Power zone fields (cycling)Pedal fields (cycling)
CaloriesVertical oscillationCadencePowerPower zonePedal Fluidity
Back toAverage vertical oscillationAverage cadenceWorkTime in zonesTorque Effectiveness
SunriseReturn vertical oscillationReturn ratePower to weightBalance
NightfallGround contact timeLast lap cadenceAverage power in 3sAverage balance in 3s
Time of dayPRO CSLAverage power in 10sAverage balance in 10s
Atmospheric pressureReturn ground contact timeAverage power in 30sAverage balance in 30s
Barometric pressureCadenceAverage powerAverage balance
Average cadenceReturn powerBalance return
Return rateLast lap power
Maximum power
Maximum power of return
Advanced power fields (cycling)% fields of functional threshold power (cycling)Time fields (swimming)Distance fields (swimming)Rhythm fields (swimming)Stroke fields (swimming)
Intensity factor% of functional threshold powerWeatherDistanceAverage paceAverage stroke speed
Training stress scoreInterval timeInterval distanceInterval rhythmInterval stroke speed
Normalized powerElapsed timeThe rhythm of the last lengthLast stroke speed
Normalized power backInterval stroke type
Normalized power last lapType of last stroke
Last length strokes
Average of last stroke length
Interval/long stroke
Long fields (swimming)SWOLF fieldsResting fields (swimming)Temperature fieldsNavigation fieldsCompass Fields
LongSWOLF mediaRest TimerTemperatureRemaining distanceCourse
Long intervalsInterval SWOLFRepeat inMaximum last 24hGPS Course
SWOLF of last lengthMinimum last 24hCompass heading

And as impossible as it may seem, if within all the possibilities that you find in the tables above you have not yet found the data you are looking for, you can add another one thanks to Connect IQYou can find more information in the section below, or click on the link above for more information.

Within the configuration possibilities of each application you will find very typical options, such as "Auto Lap", "Auto Pause", automatic screen change or alerts. It is also possible to select the background color during the activity (black or white) or make the application appear in the list when selecting sports and in which position. Even rename the application or delete it completely. There is a new addition to the list of settings: "Auto Climb", which you will probably use in your mountain training. Here I give you all the details about it.

Running

With the Fenix 3 set up, you can start running now. The running application is inherited directly from the Garmin 920xtIn this section I explain all the settings you can make on the applications, since, for example for cycling, the operation would be the same.

Getting ready to start running is very simple. One touch on the "Start - Stop" button and select the application you are going to use, in this case "Running".

Garmin Fenix 3 application race

After making the selection, the watch will start searching for satellites and sensors that you have paired (pulse sensor and pedometer - optional - in this particular case). While searching for satellites the screen will have an outer red circle that will change to green when it has already obtained the signal.

Garmin Fenix 3 - satellite search

Thanks to the satellite caching function and the compatibility with the GLONASS satellite network, the search is really fast. By default the use of GLONASS satellites is deactivated, but you can activate it from the menu Settings > System > GLONASS. Activating this option will have an impact on the battery, but as a counterpart you will speed up the positioning and improve the accuracy when connecting to more satellites.

It's all set. Or not. Have you checked to see if your laces are tied properly? OK, now you can start running. Next you'll ask me how the Fenix 3's screen shows its rhythm, if it's stable when running and if it's fast in speed changes. Don't worry, I've taken another video to show you.

As a curiosity, and to see how effectively the Fenix 3 filters out rhythm, look at the distance when I start running and it's not pacing yet. Even though it's not pacing yet, the distance is increasing as I run.

As with the new Garmin models, the rhythm is displayed in multiples of 5. For some it may be a little uncomfortable, others you may be used to it. It is a slightly filtered rhythm, to avoid major jumps that used to occur in previous models that didn't filter data. But thanks to Connect IQ you can go back to the old way of displaying the rhythm with this applicationI'd love to see one someday, though, that combines GPS and cadence data, just like Suunto's FusedSpeed does, because that would be the most reliable way to display the current pace when combining GPS and cadence data.

If you have the Auto Lap feature activated, when you drive a kilometer (or the distance you have selected) a screen will appear with the information of that lap. This data can be configured from the Settings > Applications > Race > Auto Lap > Lap Alert menu

Autolap configuration

On top of the data you select you will have the lap number marked, which if it is set in kilometers will be the distance. Below are two fields that you can set with any other metrics you can select for the data fields. By default is set the lap time (what you have taken to do that distance) and the total time (the total time you have been running).

You can select any of the fields available for the screens, except for those in Connect IQ. I sincerely hope that they will also be added because it would open up a lot of possibilities. To give you an idea, you could add a Connect IQ data field with the estimated time for marathon and that the clock will tell you what your final total time will be as you complete laps, so you know when to start squeezing to reach your goal.

A new feature you find in the Fenix 3 is Auto Climb, also in the same application settings menu. This feature will automatically change the data screen to one that you can modify to give you specific data while you are climbing a slope. You can also set the screen to appear upside down to warn you of the situation (in case any of you don't realize that you are climbing a 20% slope, there are people for everything).

Auto Climb activated

The configuration is done in two different places, and it's worth explaining in detail. From the Auto Climb configuration itself you can't select what data will be displayed when the screen appears, what you select is which screen will appear. Usually you have selected screen 1 as the main screen for the flat.

Auto Climb Running Screen

And for the Auto Climb function you select any other. In my case, I reserve the last screen, screen 10. Now you must go to the data screens and configure that screen 10 with the layout and data you choose. But you will do it by exiting the Auto Climb menu. In my case I configure it with specific data according to the situation, such as the percentage of slope or the total meters ascended, as well as maintaining rhythm and heart rate data.

Fenix 3 - Auto Climb screen

Other settings you can make are to invert the colours, the vertical speed to activate the mode (which would be equivalent to the slope) and the speed of the mode change. These last two options will allow you to configure when this screen should jump, if quickly as soon as there is a small mound or better wait for the terrain to get really steep. In this video I explain it in more detail and you can see how this new function works.

Within the possible configurations you will also find the alerts. These are warnings that the Fenix 3 will present to us in case the event for which they are programmed occurs. You will be able to activate them independently for each sport mode; with the exception of the run/walk alert that, logically, you will only be able to use in the race modes. The possible alerts are the following

  • Customize
  • Heart rate
  • Running/walking
  • Rhythm
  • Weather
  • Distance
  • Cadence
  • Calories
  • Height

Therefore, they are the same alerts we can find in the Garmin 920xt, except for the altitude alert which is new for the Fenix 3.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Alert Settings

If you're wondering what "custom" alerts are, they will be messages that you can create to be activated at a certain time or distance. By default you will have alerts for drinking, eating, driving around or going home, but you can also set the message to whatever you want.

Finally I must mention the metronome, although it is not in the alert category.

phenix3-metronome

You can only find it in the running modes, as it is an aid to perform cadence exercises. The Fenix 3 will beep (or vibrate) at the frequency you indicate. You can set the target cadence and frequency of the alerts, every 2, 3, 4 or 6 steps.

In the Fenix 3 you will also find the career dynamic, which first appeared in the Garmin 620You can enable it as one more screen, or select any of them to add it separately to a data page.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Running Dynamics

And you can even play a game... how fast can you go without dismounting?

Garmin Fenix 3 - Running Dynamics

The first metric is always available, since it is obtained from the internal accelerometer of the watch, but to have vertical oscillation and ground contact time data you will need to use the HRM-Run pulse sensor. Inside there is another accelerometer to obtain this data that will send to the watch through a private channel to which only Garmin has access (it is not part of the ANT+ specification), so even if you have another device with ANT+ connectivity you will not be able to use this data.

When you are done suffering (or training), the Fenix 3 will present several screens with all the details of your training.

Garmin Fenix 3 - End of Training

And this information you can shell out again and again.

Garmin Fenix 3 - End of training, lap

Going into that lap, you can see the specific details for that lap.

Garmin Fenix 3 - End of training, lap

It will also reward you if you have achieved any personal records, such as longer distance or faster pace. By default, these records are the ones you have achieved with this watch, not the ones you had in Garmin Connect before. But you can synchronize the latter to the watch and thus keep all records at par.

Garmin Fenix 3 - record

Of course, not only will you be able to access your race data on the clock, you'll also be able to view it in Garmin Connect, in much more detail. You'll be able to compare charts, view all race dynamics data, analyze intervals and segments.

Fenix 3 - Garmin Connect

Finally, remember that you can also run indoors with the GPS turned off. Usually we could do this by buying an external accessory, a pedometer connected wirelessly via ANT+. It's still the most accurate way to measure rhythms and distances when you run without GPS, but the new watches are taking advantage of the internal accelerometer for just that.

So while you're running on a treadmill you can also tell what rhythms you're doing and from the tests I've done, quite accurately. But you have to keep in mind that what's marking your rhythms and distances is your wrist, so when you have to adjust the speed or inclination of the treadmill, or you want to drink or dry your sweat, do it with your hand where you don't have the watch. Any alteration of the normal movement when running will affect the reading that the Fenix 3 is doing.

The last training I did on a treadmill (the truth is, on the Costa del Sol we don't have much need to run indoors...), the goal was to run 6 kilometers at a stable pace of 5 min/km. Here you have the result.

Garmin Fenix 3 indoor race

In the intervals automatically marked by the auto lap you can see how both the treadmill and the Fenix 3 were in line in terms of calculating the race pace.

Garmin Fenix 3 indoor race

Difficulties can come when performing rhythm or interval change sessions. The change of speed will identify it perfectly, but in the rhythm you can find a deviation from 10%. But the data is very valid so that you can take advantage of the clock on those days when the weather is awful and you don't feel like going out.

Advanced training

One thing that Garmin has always boasted about is its advanced training. Of all the manufacturers, Kansas is the one that offers the most possibilities and bombproof reliability. Suunto has come closer with the launch of the new Ambit3 training, but they still have some fringe to touch up.

Perhaps because of this sudden pressure from the Finnish brand, Garmin has redesigned the tool to create the workouts. The functionality remains the same, but aesthetically it has taken a step forward. This is how the workouts used to look.

Garmin 920xt - Training

And this is the change that Garmin has recently made.

Training Session

It does the same thing, but the new arrangement helps quite a bit with the creation of the trainings.

In addition to being able to create your workouts (or go "digital" with your trainer) from Garmin Connect, you have access to different workout plans with very different goals. You can schedule any of them and add them to your clock calendar.

Garmin Connect Training Plans

Once you have your training prepared and synchronized with the clock, you can select it from the "Training" menu. Here you can find two submenus: "My training sessions" where you will have the generic training sessions and "Training calendar" which will be the ones you have added on a specific date.

As you progress in your training, the Fenix 3 will give you all the indications of what to do, not only the goals you have set for each phase.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Advanced Training

Also if you're off your target pace.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Advanced Training

Because Garmin has always been used to us, their training options are the most complete of all the competition. Not only when programming the workout, but also when they have to present it on the clock screen and give you the indications. You could even train the cadence, if you set it as a goal, to try to train the recommended 180 steps per minute.

Buscador de chollos

Cycling

Everything I have explained to you for running training could be replicated directly in the cycling part, because the operation is the same. Remember that you can configure the application independently, so things like displaying the speed instead of the rhythm, vary the frequency of the auto lap or configure the data fields specifically. You can also create alerts totally different from those you have configured for running.

As with the race, you can also have an indoor cycling application with the GPS turned off, but instead of getting the accelerometer data from the clock, you'll need to use an external sensor.

The factor that differentiates a good watch with cycling support is the accessories it supports. In this case, and as in the 920xt, the Garmin Fenix 3 does not disappoint and you can pair the watch with power meters and speed and/or cadence sensors. Of course also with the pulse sensor. All of them must be accessories with ANT+ connectivity, because although the Fenix 3 has Bluetooth you can only use this type of connection for data transmission to your phone, not for pairing to sensors.

The first is that if you like to wear your watch on the handlebars of your bike, you can't do so if you have a metal strap, for a very simple reason: you can't open the strap completely like you can with a rubber strap, so you're limited to wearing it on your wrist or changing the strap when you go to train.

The second is that the Fenix 3, despite having a multisport mode, is not a 100% triathlon watch. There is no quick release kit for the watch, so in competition you cannot quickly change it from the wrist to the handlebar and vice versa. So you will have to wear it on your wrist or lose some time in T1 and T2 putting and removing the watch from the handlebar.

Swimming

Swimming pool

As you know, swimming offers two possibilities: swimming in an indoor pool or an outdoor pool that we know the length of (so Mickey's pool is not an option), or do it in a river, lake, sea or turtle pond.

Swimming in the pool

I'll start with swimming in the pool, as it will be the most common way of swimming and training for the vast majority of you, so it's time to start the application of swimming in the pool (remember, there are no more sports modes, now they are applications).

Garmin Fenix 3 - Pool

The first thing it will ask you is the size of the pool. Why? Because through the internal accelerometer it counts the number of strokes and detects when you have reached the end of the length and you turn around (either by turning underwater or simply stopping and starting again). Therefore it will count the number of lengths you make, so writing down the measurement is of utmost importance. It will only ask you the first time you start the application and will save the configuration for future occasions. If you change pools you will have to select the size of the new one again from Settings > Applications > Pool Nat.

2015-04-04 10.29.11

You have the most typical pool sizes: 25 meters, 50 meters, 25 yards, 33 1/3 meters and 33 1/3 yards. If your pool does not fit into these sizes, you can configure it manually.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Customize your pool

Now it's time to start swimming. The watch display will show the data you have selected for the sport profile, such as interval time or distance. The watch will count the strokes, and can even detect the swimming style you are practicing. It is important that you limit the swimming movement, at least until you reach the end of the lane, to avoid the watch confusing movements that do not correspond to a full length. Long by long, the watch will add up distance.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Swimming screens

When you've finished a section of your workout, or you're tired and want to stop a bit (in my case this happens every half-length or so, you're sure to hold on for longer), pressing the "Lap" button will momentarily stop the workout. This will separate the workout into parts, so when you go to check it in Garmin Connect you can have the intervals independently. If instead of pressing the "Lap" button you stop the activity with the "Stop" button, you'll do exactly the same thing, but you'll miss out on this nice rest screen, which also reverses the colors so you know you're in that mode.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Swimming screens

Remember that in the case of the Garmin Fenix 3, you have no chance to have pulse data when you are swimming. Other brands have already solved this (Suunto Ambit3 and Polar V800 they do it, each in their own way), Garmin doesn't yet.

Once you have finished and after the corresponding synchronization, you will have access to all the details of your training.

Garmin Fenix 3 pool training

Also, you can see the intervals with data and complete information to check how you have been in each of the long ones (it is important that you don't do as I do and stop at the end of the street to check the clock, that then the times go up...) thanks to the time table.

Garmin Fenix 3 pool training

Or in a graphic way where it reflects the swimming style you have used, along with the time you have taken to complete the length.

Garmin Fenix 3 pool training

Swimming in open water

Garmin Fenix 3 - Open water swimming

When we talk about swimming in open water we mean any water activity that you do outside of a pool with a certain measurement. That is, swimming in a river, lake, sea or simply playing "Marco-Polo" with your kids. In this case the watch will not use the internal accelerometer to accumulate distance (because you are not doing repetitions of lengths of the same distance), although it will do so to count strokes.

Now the GPS will take the lead in measuring distances, and I'll remind you how it works when you're in the water. Every time you take a stroke and put your watch in the water, it will lose the GPS signal (because it can't penetrate underwater). Therefore, the GPS will constantly lose and recover its signal, which significantly reduces its accuracy. This is where the algorithm programmed by each brand for its watches comes into play, in which it creates the "track" that you've been following and, with it, the distance covered, based on the location points that it memorizes. In this case, the accuracy is much lower than that offered while you're running (around 10%), but it still provides fairly approximate distance information.

I thought that by this time of the year I could have already done some open water swimming test, but the reality is that it seems that we are back to winter and the water temperature in the Alboran Sea does not invite to get wet, not even the feet (13º today). But as soon as possible I will do some tests so that you have real data and you can check in an accurate way how it does the monitoring in open water. Stay tuned in the next weeks, because I will update the entry to reflect it.

Multi-sport and triathlon mode

We have already seen that with the Fenix 3 we can run, cycle or swim, but we also have a specific application for triathlon and another for multisport. The first one is already pre-configured to perform the most typical multidisciplinary sport of swimming/cycling/running, while the multisport mode can be configured with the sports you want and in an easy and fast way. You only need to add a new application.

Fenix 3 - Add application

You select the multisport mode

Fenix 3 multisport

You set the name to a predetermined one (triathlon, duathlon or block) or you customize it as you wish to specify the hardness of the sport (beach/bar/walk).

Fenix 3 multisport name

Then you select the sports you want to include in the mode, with a maximum of five (you can do pentathlon, but you can't do heptathlon anymore), and in the order you want them to appear

Fenix 3 - Sport choice for multisport

And you select if you want the transition times to be counted.

Fenix 3 - Configure transitions

You will start the activity with the start button as usual, and by pressing the lap button you will go from the first sport to the first transition (if you have selected to have transitions saved).

Transition Fenix 3

You will continue to advance through the different sports you have selected with the same lap button, until you have finally finished the competition. Always with the same button.

Many times we think that we won't need a multisport mode. "Why, if I only compete in one mode", you might think. But surely, more than one and more than two do combined training. You start running, then you swim. Or vice versa. Or you start doing fixed bar and then dance (especially on Saturday nights...). Well, here there is also room for multisport mode, because instead of having 4 or 5 activities in a day that you have to access one by one, you can have just one activity with all the details separated.

For example, the following combined training: running, gym and swimming. With transition times between activities (in my case, time in the changing room and time in the swimming pool with my child). You will have a first page with the total of the activity.

Fenix 3 - Multi-sport training

You can click on each of the sports above, where you'll have access to all the activities separately, to analyze how you've performed in each sport. Transition times will also include speed and heart rate. I'm sure these multi-sport workouts will appeal to you more than they did before, when you simply tracked each activity separately (and ended up with four or five different files).

Navigation

Garmin Fenix 3 - Sailing

Navigation is one of the main selling points in the Fenix range, so the third version couldn't be less so. Although the Garmin Fenix 3 is virtually identical in most of its options to the Garmin 920xtNot only because of the ability to move around on routes, but also because of the integrated sensors, which are basic to any mountain clock (and which I will discuss in more detail in the next section).

The first thing you'll want to do is create your navigation routes. You can create a route through Garmin Connect After saving it, you can receive it on the clock at your next sync.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Create a navigation route in Connect

But it's not the only option. It's also compatible with the desktop application Garmin BaseCampIts operation is somewhat more complicated, but it offers greater possibilities for creation. In addition, through this utility you can import routes from friends or downloaded from the Internet.

Garmin BaseCamp

Once you have your route loaded on the clock, you can access it from the main menu. The navigation menu offers you different options:

  • Routes: Navigate a route that you have created.
  • Activities: Re-navigate a route that you have previously done.
  • Saved Locations: Points of interest stored in the watch memory.
  • Sight N' Go: Navigation by compass.
  • Coordinates: Navigation to a set of coordinates that you enter.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Navigation menu

Before you start navigation, you will be able to see the details of your route, such as the map or elevation profile.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Lifting Profile

At this point you can select "Go" and decide which of the sports profiles you have created will be used for navigation.

After you start, specific navigation screens will be added that you can select and configure. You can have up to four pages with four data each, as well as the map if you have also activated it. All this will be added to the sport application that you will use to navigate.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Navigation Map

The map does not have a fixed zoom. You can zoom in or out and scroll.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Zoom map

The moment you start sailing, the Fenix 3 will show you all the details of your route, both through an arrow marking the way.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Navigation Arrow

Like through the map, in which you will see your situation on the route and thus know where your detour will be.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Mapping Navigation

Unlike the Fenix 2, the Fenix 3 does not allow you to install mapping, either officially or through the community, so if your navigation needs a higher map level you will have to go one step higher in the Garmin range and go to Epixwhich does allow for this feature.

Integrated sensors and external sensors

Garmin Fenix 3

Like its predecessors, the Garmin Fenix 3, like a good adventure watch, is a GPS + ABC watch. This means that, in addition to GPS, it has an altimeter, barometer and magnetic compass. It also has an internal temperature sensor, although the records it shows will be altered by body heat when worn on the wrist.

Garmin Fenix3 temperature

If you want to have precise information about the temperature there is an external accessory, Garmin TempeIt has the shape of a "footpod" and its internal battery allows it to run for over a year.

Garmin Tempe

The compass is magnetic, which means that it is not based on GPS data and therefore you don't have to be moving in any particular direction for it to show you the way, so if you get lost at any point, you can stop and turn until you find the right way.

Garmin Fenix3 compass

The altimeter will not only give you altitude data when you synchronize your activity, or through a data field that you can select on some data screen, it also has a widget on the main carousel with altitude information for the last 4 hours.

Garmin Fenix3 - Altitude

But you have to take into account how it works. You get the altitude through the air pressure data. So it is very possible that today you are sitting at 830m above sea level and tomorrow, in the same place, you get 805m. Why? Because it does not measure altitude as such, it measures the pressure, and from this it calculates the altitude. The higher the altitude, the lower the air pressure. As you know, the air pressure is not constant, and it varies with changes in temperature or weather. You should not take it as an absolute measure, but as a reference. However, it is the most effective way to count accumulated ascents or descents.

Similarly, you also have a widget with barometer information. You can configure it so that the graph shows the results of the last 6, 12, 24 or 48 hours, as well as program a storm warning if there are sharp variations in air pressure.

Garmin Fenix3 - Barometer

In addition to all the sensors that we can find integrated in the clock itself, but we can connect others through ANT+.

Although the Garmin Fenix 3 is compatible with Bluetooth devices, you can only connect sensors via ANT+. The BT Smart connection is only valid for data transmission.

Just like in the 920xtIf you have several sensors of the same type, you can connect them to the clock, and save them all so that you can use one or the other indistinctly. You can even change the name to make it easier to connect to them. This is very practical if you have several pulse sensors, for example the HRM-Run and an optical sensor such as Mio LinkOr you can have more than one bike, and each bike has a speed/cadence sensor, so you don't have to search again each time you change bikes or sensors, just turn on the one you're going to use with the Garmin Fenix 3.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Pulse Sensors

If you have several paired sensors with you, for example two pulse sensors or two cadence sensors (imagine you lend one of your bikes and you carry the other next to it), the Fenix 3 will allow you to select which one you want to pair up with. When the watch detects two sensors of the same type it will allow you to choose which one you want to use.

Matching the sensors is very simple, just go to the Configuration menu > Sensors > Add New and select the type of sensor you want to add, or do a general search.

Garmin Fenix3 - Sensor Matching

There are plenty of sensors with ANT+ support, not just the original Garmin ones. Being an open system, any brand can make a device with this kind of connectivity. In fact, most often you find that the new sensors incorporate dual and simultaneous connectivity for Bluetooth Smart and ANT+. These are the sensors you can pair with the Fenix 3.

  • Pulse sensor
  • Pedometer
  • Speed and/or cadence sensor
  • Power sensor
  • Garmin Tempe

VO2Max, recovery control and race forecast

Like the other high-end Garmin models that I have been analyzingThe Fenix 3 incorporates VO2Max calculation functions, race forecast from this data and a recovery control. And it all comes thanks to the collaboration of the Americans with the Finnish company Firstbeat. They are in charge of creating the algorithm to calculate not only this advanced data, but also the calculation of calories or training effectiveness.

  • VO2Max: This value is an estimate of what you can get with a dedicated stress test. So, as an estimate, don't take it literally either. It's a way of classifying your body's ability to transport oxygen to your muscles. The more oxygen you transport, the better your running performance. As with the Garmin 920xtThe oxygen consumption data will be provided for cycling as well, but you must have a power meter on your bike.
    phenix3-vo2max

 

  • Career prognosis: With the VO2Max data and comparing it with other athletes with similar data (VO2max, age, height, etc) the Fenix 3 will give you target times that, in theory, you could reach. Of course, it would be training for that particular distance, because if you are a runner who trains for good times in 5k races and you do not train for a marathon, it will be difficult for you to achieve those rhythms without specific preparation.
    Garmin Fenix 3 - Race Forecast

 

  • Recovery control: It is divided into two parts. Firstly, the Fenix 3 will tell you your recovery status from the last training so you will know what your recovery has been since your last training. It will give you a message 10 minutes after you start your training, and it will get this recovery data according to your pulse rate variation (HRV) and therefore determine your state of exhaustion.
    Garmin Fenix 3 - Recovery Status
    When you complete your training (and also by going to the menu My statistics > Recovery control) you will have an estimate of the time you will need to recover from your previous training. Please note that this data is only updated for running training, so if you set a 200 km cycling or 5 km swimming training, no matter how hard you finish your recovery time it will not be affected.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Recovery Time

Activity monitor

The Garmin Fenix 3 follows the latest trend and also incorporates the activity monitor among its many available options. It will track all of your daily activity and provide you with data on distance, steps and calories consumed. It will also track your sleep and incorporate the sleep mode, which will alert you when you have not moved for a while, so you can get up and get your body moving.

Everything is reflected in the activity "widget", which you can access by pressing the bottom scroll button once.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Activity Monitor

As you can see in the picture, there is a step target set. You have two options, either set it manually to a certain number of steps or, in the way I find most interesting, leave it in automatic mode so that it sets the target dynamically. It starts at 5,000 steps per day and will be adjusted based on your activity over the past few days. The more steps you take, the higher the target for the next day. But a long-distance workout on a single day will not change the data significantly, the increase is progressive.

The steps counted should not be taken as a scientific fact, it is an approximation and is calculated through movement. This is true for the Fenix 3 and any other activity monitor. It is a simple approach, because especially with monitors that go on the wrist, repetitive movements of your arm can increase the total number despite being seated. So do not take it as an absolute figure, but as a reference. If your daily goal is 10,000 steps and you have done 9,900, it is not a question of going out until you have completed 10,000, the idea is to stay active.

All this data will be synchronized firstly to your mobile phone (which will always be connected to the clock if you wish) and finally to the website, where you can access to see the complete summary of your activity. You will simply have to select the "Steps" menu to access all the details of the current day and previous days.

This is the main screen you will find when you access this section. At the top you will find the total report of the day, and a breakdown of the hours with the most activity.

Garmin Connect Activity Monitor

At the bottom you can select the different tabs, which will offer you various information, such as the breakdown of steps for each of the activities, along with the calories consumed in each of them. Note that the total calories include those of basal metabolism (the expenditure of energy you do simply by being alive).

Garmin Connect Activity Monitor

You can also break it down by activity levels. Here you realize certain things, like that despite having taken approximately 16,500 steps and covered 21.9 kilometers, I have nevertheless remained 83% of my time at rest or just sitting. How much time was wasted...

Garmin Connect Activity Monitor

The only thing left to talk about is sleep detection. As a novelty, Garmin has changed the way it works, not specifically for the Fenix 3, but globally for all devices that have this feature (Vivofit, Vivofit2, VivoactiveFR15, 920xt and the Epix This is something I noticed when doing the image capture, as I didn't used to activate the night mode and suddenly found that I was taking the data automatically. However, it is still possible to activate the mode manually.

Activate sleep mode

In spite of the change to automatic detection (which is to be welcomed), the sleep data provided are not very useful. Only a "collection" of movements of greater or lesser intensity. As for the times indicated for bedtime and wake-up time, it is quite accurate. Although the start time marked coincides more with the time I lay in bed, which is probably what the accelerometer detects (simply by the horizontal position of the wrist and lack of movement). The real sleep time would probably start around 24h, when a peak of movement appears. However, the time of waking up practically nails it, as it is likely that at 7:40 is when I gave the first punch to the alarm clock.

Garmin Connect Sleep Monitor

As you can see, the addition of the activity monitor to training watches is primarily a marketing thing. It is clear that if you train a minimum of 4-5 days a week and run more than 50 kilometers, you don't need a device to monitor your daily activity. You already have a regular intense activity. It might make sense in inexpensive devices intended for occasional runners (one outing a week, hopefully), but in such a watch, aimed at the advanced runner, it is more a feature to fatten up a list than for any other more useful purpose.

The hardware is already there, as it uses the same motion sensor we need to measure cadence. The software is shared by all Garmin equipment with this feature. The Fenix 3 would cost the same if this option was not added.

This is a good way to measure your walking and calorie consumption. And also on days when you are not training, but there is no need to simply lie on the couch, it can be a good stimulus to "force" you to go for a walk, even if it is with the sole purpose of getting a new medal or to be above other colleagues or friends you have added to the platform.

GPS Reception

The Garmin Fenix 3 also receives compatibility with GLONASS satellites, the Russian satellite network, from the 920xt. By default this option is off, but you can activate it to improve signal reception and positioning time. You can activate it in Settings > System. However, activating this option increases battery consumption.

Garmin Fenix 3 - GLONASS

But you should know that GPS's are not accurate. Most often they don't make a 100% measurement correctly and there will always be times when, when you check the recorded track, you will see that it is marked above buildings. This will happen with every single model on the market. A GPS is not a precision measuring instrument, so we cannot give it that consideration.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Plan Garmin Fenix 3, multisport and adventure GPS watch : Analysis 1

GPS offers an accuracy, with good satellite reception, of 3 meters. This is in optimal conditions, if you run between buildings the accuracy can easily increase to 20 or 30 meters. Those routes without any logic in the plane or the instantaneous rate jumps of 2:00 min/km is due to this.

Knowing this, I haven't had any problems in these weeks of using the Garmin Fenix 3. The behavior has always been correct and I have never lost a GPS signal. Proof of this is that whenever I have run, I have done it accompanied by another device, and the final distances have always been very similar.

 Garmin Fenix 3Other clock
Slope training10.05 km 10.21 km (M400)
Training 6km intensity6.02 km6.13 km (M400)
Long print run 1 April15.03 km15.12 km (M400)
Fartlek10.85 km 10.82 km (M400)
4km + 4km8.01 km8.18 km (M400
Pants training12.01 km12.08 km (Ambit3)
Tuesday night6.37 km6.42 km (Ambit3)
Cooling1.35 km 1.29 km (Ambit3)
5km recovery5.01 km5.01 km (Ambit3)
Cooling1.29 km1.29 km (Ambit3)

Battery life

Garmin Fenix 3

With regard to the battery, the first thing that stands out about the Garmin Fenix 3 specifications is that its capacity has been drastically reduced compared to the Phoenix 2If we found a 500mAh battery in its predecessor, in the Fenix 3 it stays at only 300mAh. This is an important difference, especially considering that now the screen is in colour and with higher resolution, it has WiFI and the processor is clearly faster. All this can mean more battery consumption.

In spite of this, both Garmin models declare a duration of up to 50 hours with GPS use (in UltraTrac mode). And to be more exact, up to 20 hours in training mode. But if there is something that surprises us, it is the battery life with Bluetooth activated. In the Fenix 2, activating Bluetooth to receive notifications from the phone in the watch meant having to charge it every two or three days. Added to the fact that it was not possible to have Bluetooth and ANT+ available simultaneously, it led to the fact that, in practice, the use of Bluetooth was merely testimonial. In the case of the Fenix 3, it has changed completely.

Now the feeling is that activating the Bluetooth is only a small expense of the battery. It is difficult to measure, as there is use of GPS for training, lighting, etc. But there have been weeks when I have not had to charge it. Now it is worth having the Bluetooth on, not only for the notifications, but also for the fact of synchronizing data automatically and continuously (not only of activities, but also of satellite cache and activity monitor data). I have honestly been quite impressed, used to the use of other smart watches (such as the Motorola Moto 360) where it was usual to have to carry it every day.

As I usually do for range tests, I have loaded the Garmin Fenix 3 to 100% and started an activity with activated GPS. The configuration has been GLONASS off (as it increases the battery consumption), Bluetooth on without connecting to the device, and no ANT+ accessories connected. Having a pulse sensor connected will slightly affect the battery, but the impact is not very important.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Autonomy

Indeed, the Fenix 3 has lived up to expectations, just over 20 hours until the clock went off due to a lack of battery. When you turn it on, it still keeps the activity paused, giving you the option to save it or continue it where you left off. And this is with recording every second, if we increased the recording to "Smart" mode (UltraTrac) the duration would be even longer. But frankly, there is no need, with 20 hours of uninterrupted battery life you have more than enough capacity for almost all competitions.

Lighting

Garmin Fenix 3 - Night Lighting

In the Garmin Fenix 3 we have many options when it comes to lighting the screen. Setting up is easy, but the menu for doing so is somewhat hidden. You must go to Settings > System > Backlight.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Backlight

In addition to being able to set the brightness, you have two ways to configure it, so that the light turns on manually when you press the upper left button or turns on automatically when you press a button or receive an alert.

The second setting is to set the time the display will remain on. You can select different time periods between 8 seconds and 1 minute, although if you are used to running at night you will like the "Stay on" option better, which will leave the display illuminated until you press the button again.

More than a watch, a smartwatch

Garmin has fully understood the threat posed to them by the arrival of smart watches on the market, especially the Apple Watch and those equipped with Android Wear. These watches promise to do a thousand things, which could include specific functions for sports and running. So instead of getting defensive, they have countered with more watch-like functions, such as receiving notifications or the ability to install applications thanks to Connect IQ.

But before we go to the smart part of the clock, I want to briefly explain the classic part. Because even if I haven't told you yet, the Fenix 3 can also tell you the time. And many other things...

The first thing you can do is set an alarm by accessing the clock settings. But only one, and no repeating or selecting the days it will go off. So you won't be able to set an alarm to wake you up every day. What you will find is a stopwatch.

Fenix 3 - Chronometer

And also a countdown timer

Garmin Fenix 3 - Timer

The more adventurous part of the clock also offers you a couple of time related alerts - you can select alerts that will warn you when there are X minutes or hours left until sunrise or sunset.

Garmin Fenix3 - Alert until dawn

But let's raise the level of intelligence slightly. You can set the display for the clock in many ways. Not only does it show the time with digits or as an analog clock, but you can set any clock face from within Connect IQ.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Select clock face

There are many more options available, such as the background color, the color of the digits, the layout, additional information on the screen, etc.

In the next step of clock intelligence we find the widgets. They can be the ones that the clock brings or the ones that you install through Connect IQ. These widgets not only get data from the phone, they can also do it through the internal sensors of the clock (barometric, temperature, GPS, compass...). I have recorded this video where I explain it to you quite well.

Finally we have the notifications of the phone. This is totally controlled by the notification system of your phone, everything that appears in that list will appear in your clock. I say this so you can take into account, if there is any notification that you do not want to appear, you must set it on the phone. In that sense, in the clock you can not change any behavior about it. It should be said that if you carry the phone with you when training (in cycling is much more common than when you go running), you can configure whether you want to receive notifications on the screen and / or only be notifications of calls. In clock mode you can also change this behavior.

Garmin Fenix 3 - Active Notifications

Notifications disappear from the screen in the time frame you set, 30 seconds, 1 minute or 3 minutes; but you will still be able to access them through the widget. What you will not be able to do is interact with them. That is, you cannot delete an email, or mark a notification as read, everything will have to be done through the phone.

One somewhat uncomfortable behavior I'm finding with the Android phone connection is that the notification is recurrent. You can mark it as read, but it can happen after a while to appear on the screen again as a new notification.

But if there is a major change from the Garmin 920xt (from which comes the intelligent clock part of the Fenix 3) is the operation of Bluetooth. In the case of 920xt became simply unusable. Making the pairing through the mobile application Garmin Connect Mobile cost quite a lot of work and launched continuous errors. After getting it, as soon as the connection was lost (by turning off the clock, the phone, or by separating them from the action range of Bluetooth) the synchronization was not restored and detected the 920xt as a new device, having to perform the pairing again. That if, after the latest version of firmware for the 920xt this should be resolved.

Now it just works. I paired my phone with my watch the first day and it's stayed that way until today. I've never had to pair it again. This doesn't mean that it's worked flawlessly all this time, because there have been times when I've received notifications on my phone and the watch didn't show anything, even though it's still connected (and indicated as such in Garmin Connect Mobile). In this case I don't know who's to blame, whether it's the watch or the phone, but it's usually easily fixed by turning off the phone's Bluetooth and then turning it back on.

All this connectivity is done through Bluetooth Smart. And most impressive of all, now, unlike the Fenix 2, the impact on the battery is less. I haven't tested with the Bluetooth turned off to see what the impact on battery life was because I simply haven't seen the need to do so. And the slight improvement in range would not be worth it compared to how much performance would be lost.

The Bluetooth connection is not only used to supply information to the widgets, but also to synchronize with Garmin Connect and to receive satellite cache data. These synchronizations will be automatic when an activity is finished, or you can force a synchronization from the Bluetooth menu.

Fenix 3 - Force Sync

The Bluetooth connection is also used for live activity monitoring. Unlike the Phoenix 2In addition to transmitting GPS location data, it is also possible to send data from pulse sensors, and not only that, you can also see it on screen and count on it when synchronizing the activity.

As with previous models, the Fenix 3 also features LiveTrack functionality, which requires you to carry your phone with you as it transmits all your activity data - not just your current position, but also altitude, pace or heart rate data.

Garmin Livetrack

Connect IQ

Connect IQ is Garmin's new application platform. It represents a major effort by Garmin to not only add new features more typical of Apple or Android smartwatches, but also the ability to add new accessories and devices to the watch that previously had no ability to work together. Quickly described, Connect IQ will allow both Garmin and third-party developers to create "apps" that we can install on our watches. These can be training applications or to increase the smart possibilities of the watch.

  • Applications: Complete applications, more advanced than the simple creation of some additional screen. Here we can see how companies like Stryd can create a training application and make use of the power monitor, or mountain-specific navigation applications.
  • Widgets: Provide information obtained from other sources. A stock status widget that receives information from the phone would be a good example, or the current weather situation.
  • Customized fields: Data fields that you can add to the screens you have configured. I have one installed right now that estimates the completion time for a half marathon race. Or a beer consumption counter, so you know how much you have to run to make room for the 3 beers you will be drinking post-training with your teammates.
  • Clock dials: New screens to show the time, analog or digital.

These applications can be installed from Garmin Connect on your computer or from your phone. Just like in the application store on your phone, you only need to select what you want to install and it will appear on the clock after the next synchronization. I recommend that you read all about Connect IQ hereIn this entry I explain everything in great detail.

Connectivity

The Garmin Fenix 3 can connect in virtually any way you know how, both wired and wireless. The only thing it doesn't have is a 3G connection. Otherwise, you can sync your watch via USB cable, Bluetooth, or WiFi. But for simple convenience, you'll probably end up storing the USB cable in a drawer and taking it out once a week to charge your watch. With Bluetooth and WiFi connections, it's more than enough, and you don't even have to worry about syncing your activity when you get home from workout, the watch will do it itself.

Starting with the Bluetooth connection, you'll usually have your watch paired with your phone to receive notifications and make use of all the smart widgets. You can also use this Bluetooth connection to transmit data, synchronize workouts, receive data from satellite caches or install Connect IQ applications. The Bluetooth connection works really well, and as soon as the watch is in range with your phone it will be automatically paired (and will tell you so on screen).

Garmin Fenix 3 - Bluetooth connected

You can also force a manual synchronization at any time. For example, if you have just created a workout on your computer and want to have it on your watch right away, select send to device (in this case the Fenix 3) and then on the watch you can access the menu Settings > Bluetooth > Synchronization to force new data to be installed. The data transmission is also quite fast for a Bluetooth connection, it has nothing to do with the eternal transmissions of the Phoenix 2.

Synchronization completed

The second option for wireless synchronization is via WiFi. After completing an activity and for a period of time the Fenix 3 will search for stored WiFi networks. How long will it take? I honestly have no idea, because with both connections activated, when I get home and take a shower, when I look at the phone I already have a notice that the activity has been synchronized with Strava (which also does it automatically).

Garmin Fenix 3 - WiFi

You don't even need to connect the clock to your computer to update, as the Fenix 3 downloads the update file to the clock memory via WiFi and alerts you with an on-screen message that an update is available.

To set up wireless networks, all you will need is the USB cable. Networks cannot be added from the Fenix 3 - imagine entering a 20-digit key from the clock... - for that you have to do it in the initial setup through Garmin Express (which you download from here) Incidentally, it has recently received a complete redesign.

You can add nearby networks by simply selecting from the list, or you can add any other network that you know its SSID and password from.

Fenix 3 add WiFi network

My opinion

Garmin Fenix 3

Garmin has made a tremendous leap in quality with the Fenix 3, and not only for the adventure and mountain watch wearer sector, but in general for all sportsmen and women. I don't think there can be anyone who is not satisfied with this watch on their wrist, no matter what sport they practice. Only the most demanding triathletes will be faced with the problem of a lack of a "quick release". But everything has a price, and the one that marks the label of the Fenix 3 is not exactly low.

I have been testing the Fenix 3 thoroughly for over a month now and have had no problems in mentioning it, just a few sporadic hang-ups when notified (two, to be exact), and the blocking of the communications module making it impossible to connect to ANT+ sensors. In both cases this was resolved after restarting the clock. During the activity the operation has always been flawless. And even though it is based largely on the Garmin 920xtIt is also a great solution to Bluetooth connectivity problems.

I think that the arrival of this Garmin in the market will be a hard blow for the competition, at least in the high range. No other brand can surpass this device in terms of possibilities, options or general quality of materials. And I also don't see them capable of bringing out a product that is up to scratch in the short or medium term. But it's not just the competition that has a problem, Garmin has a problem too. And that is that when they bring out a replacement they are going to have to overcome it, and it's not going to be easy.

The Fenix 3 is a full-fledged punch on the table.

Did you like the test?

I hope this test has helped you. To be honest, it takes many hours to do such a detailed analysis. Training, photos, writing the article, new photos... it's a long and demanding process.

If you are encouraged by the purchase of the device, you can do it in the links belowThis way it will cost you the same or cheaper than the official price, and I get a small commission that will help with the purchase of new devices for further testing.

If you liked this review and you want to help me, write what you think in the comments. It will help me to know your opinion, in case I have left something out or you think there is something I should have taken into account and I have not indicated anything about. Ask your doubts if there is something that has not been clear. In short, I am just a runner like you who details the use of the watch from the point of view of a new user.

Show this post to your friends and share it on social networks, I'm sure if they are looking for a training watch they will thank you.

Buy Garmin Fenix 3

There are three different options to buy the Garmin Fenix 3. And each of them is split, because you can buy just the watch or in kit are the pulse sensor HRM-Run. So you can buy it in gray with black strap, silver with red strap or sapphire with metal strap.

Below are links to some very good offers. Buying through them will help you maintain the website and my work.

Also, these are the prices you can find on Amazon

Garmin - Gps Watch Phoenix 3 Sapphire Hrm
Price: --
2 new from 490,00 €   0 Second hand
Amazon logo

RATING

Operation - 9
Connectivity - 10
Design, finish and comfort - 8.5
Battery life - 9.5
Aplicaciones - 9.5
Price - 7.5

9

TOTAL

User Rating: 3.65 ( 41 votes)

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486 Comments

  1. The first one!!!

    Fantastic proof, as always.

    Piece of watch... Hey, what if you draw this one instead of Suunto? Hahaha

    Thanks for the proof, pity the economy.

  2. What a job of analysis! Very, very complete! Thank you for sharing such an extensive review.
    The truth is that I didn't know whether to opt for this watch, but at the end of an analysis this complete, I have it very clear.
    The truth is that I'm an excellent potter, and a great fan of sports.
    And at first thought, I thought this piece of watch would be too big for me.
    Después de valorarlo mejor, me dí cuenta que sería una gran oportunidad, para probar cosas nuevas (montaña) y sacarle el máximo partido.
    Currently I do Body Building, Running, Swimming, and little else; we go through the basics.
    But now I have the opportunity to spend this summer in the Pyrenees, and it will be a great opportunity to experience monitoring at the highest level.
    I'm an Apple fan, and I was about to fall for the Apple Watch because of ecosystem issues and stuff, but my sports side told me that I would fall short. And for the same price I'll take the sapphire Fenix 3.
    Greetings, and thank you for clearing up the mess!

    1. If you want to use it mainly for sport, I don't think you're wrong to choose the Fenix 3 over the Apple Watch.

      I'm sure you'll enjoy Garmin in the Pyrenees very much.

  3. Interesting and complete test of the Garmin Fenix 3... until now I had read tests only in English or Italian.
    Thank you very much!

  4. IMPRESSIVE analysis as always, now comes the million dollar question, if my use is going to be mainly for trail running and some triathlon now in summer which one do I take, the Suunto Ambit3 Peak or the Garmin Fenix 3? hehe hard decision, thank you very much!

      1. Which one would you choose? In the mountains I've seen that they are practically tied, as far as triathlon is concerned, which one would be better?

        1. I would say the opposite in triathlon they are practically tied, but in the mountains I see Garmin better.

          In the end it depends on your tastes. Suunto is more robust, but with less frills. Garmin on the other hand offers more possibilities, but is exposed to more problems on the software level. It's like MS-DOS and Windows

  5. Thank you very much for the complete analysis, it's the best I've seen and read so far. The truth is that I loved the watch before reading the analysis, but after that I'm sure I'll buy it. Best regards and keep it up with the excellent blog

      1. Hello again, I have the watch in my hands and it's a great one. I keep re-reading the review to learn things. I wanted to ask you a question, and it's if you know how to put in the normal screen with the time in digital I get the battery indication alone, but I would like to know if you can put the percentage in number next to the battery icon. Thanks in advance!

        1. In order to do that you'd have to check what sphere options are available through Garmin IQ. I'm sure there are some that include it.

  6. Thank you very much for this fantastic test that clears up any doubts about buying or not buying this impressive "jalopy".

    On the other hand I have asked Cotswold Outdoor if the HRM band that comes with the sapphire was the "run" (I was surprised not to see the review in the detail of the product) and they have answered that it comes with the basic band that we already know has less functionalities.

    I'm mentioning it in case anyone has the same doubt or you weren't aware of it.

    This is the answer:

    The Fenix 3 Sapphire Performer currently comes with the basic Garmin heart rate monitor. I hope this helps, if you have any other questions at all then please don't hesitate to get back in touch.

    1. Thank you

      I get the impression that the person who answered that email doesn't know much about the product...

      The Fenix 3 can only come with the HRM Run sensor, there is no version with the standard sensor. The "Performer bundle" is the pack that includes the sensor.
      In fact I know several people who have bought it, both normal sapphire cone edition, and have received the sensor accordingly.

      No doubt about it. The only sensor you can get is the HRM-Run

  7. Simply, impressive review!!!
    My most sincere congratulations on how thorough and detailed you have been. I think you have left nothing to comment on or prove.
    I was looking for a detailed review and, above all, based on real use, with tests made on the wrist of the person who then has to write it. No videos repeating the features that can be read on the Garmin website or copy&paste of the specifications without previous testing.
    So far, the best I have found was the dcrainmaker website, undoubtedly a world icon in this type of articles. And I must say that your analysis is not inferior to that of the other website. In fact, I think I would even keep this one.

    Just a hitch. Right now I couldn't quite afford this financial outlay and because of you I'm going to be forced to do it 😉

    One hug and keep it up. It'll be a pleasure to keep reading your reviews.

    1. David, thank you so much for the comparison and for putting me on a par with Ray Maker. It's an honor!

      I'm sorry about you having to break the piggy. But totally, you know you only live once...

  8. Impressed by the analysis, the best one I've read, including foreigners. I bought it 3 weeks ago and you've shown me things I didn't know. As David says, I'll take yours too, in front of the "brilliant" dcrainmaker.
    Reference analysis for the doubtful potential buyers.
    Thank you!

    1. Thank you Pablo, I say the same to you as to David. A real honor. I'm glad you discovered new functions, now you can definitely put the manual in the box, you won't need it

  9. Purchase made!!
    If I had any doubts, the analysis cleared them up for me. Great post and blog, I'll follow your progress.
    I bought the watch in Cotswold with the code you provided, if you get anything for it, better than better!

    Thank you very much, a greeting.

    1. I am convinced that it is my ideal watch right now but I don't trust that page very much. Has anyone already bought it from this page? Do you know if they charge customs fees for shipping to Spain?

      1. They are the main distributor of Garmin in Europe, so there is no problem with the watch.

        The purchase is made from the UK, so there are no customs, it is purchase within Europe.

    2. Alfonso, can you tell me when you have bought and what pack you have bought?
      Which I don't clear up with the £
      Thank you

        1. Thank you and congratulations for the work and with the great quality that you do, you have a faithful follower.
          Let's go for the marathon!

          1. Hi Eduardo, I bought the Fenix3 in Cotswold on Sunday with your code and everything correct but I didn't receive any mail, it is possible that I wrote it down wrong, thinking about that option, how can I know anything?
            I only have the purchase reference number.

            Thank you

          2. All right, yesterday afternoon I got it.
            I also got a reply from the customer service department in the e-mail.
            Thank you for everything.
            Greetings

  10. Hi, Eduardo,

    Thank you very much for all the information. I decided to get this watch and I bought it at Costwold with the code. If it helps, I'm glad.

    Greetings!

    1. Good morning, could you do me a favor and send me the promotional code you used to see if I can use it again, I can't find it anywhere.
      Thank you very much in advance.

  11. Congratulations and thanks for the analysis. So extensive and with such good photos. A doubt that comes to me soon... Does this type of screen spend more with white, black background or is it indifferent?

  12. A priori, the navigation and tracking of a track is what has more room for improvement. The problem is the limitation of memory and that you do not want to step on the Epix. Can waypoints be added to the path? They could be included within the gpx file itself to be imported. That is another, I have not seen the way to import tracks as Garmin Connetc routes. Neither from the web nor from BaseCamp ...

    1. In BaseCamp you can do that and much more: import routes, edit them, create points... But it allows you to do so many things that are not easy to manage.

      You can also import routes from wikiloc if you connect the clock to the computer and instead of downloading the route you indicate to sync it to the Garmin device

      1. Thank you for responding. The advantage of creating routes directly in Garmin Connect is that they are stored in "the cloud". At any time, from your mobile, you can pass a route to the GPS.

        And above all, the ease of drawing a route that automatically adjusts to the streets and paths on Google Maps, by clicking on the origin and destination. This is something that cannot be done with BaseCamp, above all because you depend on the vector maps that you have installed.

  13. Hello Eduardo, 20 days ago I bought my Fenix 3 Sapphire (Colombia) and really have served me much of the publications of this reference, the use I give it focuses more on navigation, at first I had limitations with the calculation of areas but this was overcome with recent updates, really a piece of watch, I thank you for the information

  14. Hola. Muy buena la prueba. Pero no me ha quedado claro si el reloj viene para. Marcar la velocidad en km /. H. Y la velocidad media. Ya que el uso que le voy a dar seria para ciclismo. O por el contrario hay que comprar el sensor a parte. Comprare el reloj en Amazon.

    1. Hi, Maxi.

      When you cycle you can set the clock to show the speed in KM/h, getting data through GPS. But also, if you want, you can connect it to an external sensor for more accuracy. But it is not at all necessary and I think for the vast majority it is perfectly valid as it is.

  15. Muchas gracias. Por contestar tan rápido. Eduardo. , exactamente lo que me gustaría saber si cuando vas en. Bici y paras el reloj tiene esa función que también se para por que si no la velocidad media no sale bien. Eso me pasa con el polar rc3 gps que tengo ahora que para que pare tienes que comprar a parte el sensor de velocidad por que si no la velocidad no es real. Por eso te pregunto si el fenix lo tiene solo con el gps y no es necesario el sensor Para que sea exacta muchas gracias. Ya veo que el fenix no tiene nada que ver con el polar.

  16. Hi, great review. The most complete review I've ever seen. One question, do you know if it can be synchronized with the Nike+ app? I've been going for a few KM and I'm sorry to lose them XD Thanks!

    1. Hi Carlos

      You can do this with the SyncMyTracks application (you can find information about it on the same website). You can synchronize all your workouts to the Garmin website without any problem.

      1. Wow! Eduardo, thanks a lot, I'm amazed I didn't know you were so cool. I'm going to get the Garmin Fenix 3 sapphire through this site. Congratulations on the job!

  17. Hi. Do you have any idea how much battery consumption the daily activity monitor will increase?

    On the other hand, I put some useful information taken from my first days of use:

    - The Garmin Comunicator plugin no longer works in the Chrome browser and cannot be synchronized via cable with the Strava, Wikiloc, Garmin Connect websites... It's not much of a problem because everything goes automatically with the mobile and if you want to synchronize via cable, you do it with Garmin Express. You pass the activities directly from Garmin Connect to Strava and endomondo.

    - Tracks in .gpx format work perfectly if you paste them into the "Garmin/New files" folder (this folder is hidden). When you disconnect the cable, the clock itself converts them into .fit and passes them to the "courses" folder.

    - There is no way to display waypoints on the clock's map screen. If those points are directions, they do trigger notifications automatically, but only if the route has been sent to the clock through Garmin Training Center software (which is software I believe is already unattended by Garmin).

    Hopefully the release of Garmin Epix or new versions of BaseCamp will improve this last point.

    1. Francisco, thank you very much for all the advanced details you have provided.

      As for the activity monitor you don't have to worry, the battery consumption doesn't increase, and you can't check it anyway, since it can't be deactivated.

  18. Hi. I would like to report a problem I have with my new Garmin Fenix 3. I bought it at Costwold using the discount code and the price, shipping and delivery was perfect, none whatsoever.
    I received it about two weeks ago. The first week of use everything worked fine, at least as far as I could tell (bluetooth connection with the mobile, pairing with HRM card monitor, wifi configuration and use, battery charging and general clock use), but in this last week I have had several problems.
    1. I cannot pair the watch with my mobile phone (Iphone) via Bluetooth. The mobile phone does not even detect it.
    2. I am having trouble pairing the HRM heart rate monitor (some days I have had to go out without a heart rate band) and I have not been able to pair the speed and cadence meter I have installed on my bike (with my previous Garmin device it worked fine).
    3. The use of the battery (without using gps) in clock mode, even without having the bluetooth connected as it cannot be paired with the mobile, does not exceed 24 hours of autonomy.

    I have reset the device a couple of times, the first time I solved the battery and pairing problem with HRM band but it only lasted a day and a half, until I noticed the excessive battery consumption again and I couldn't pair again with ant+ sensors.
    In the second reset, which was yesterday, I solved the battery problem (it's holding for now) and I was able to pair the HRM band, I haven't had time to test with the bike's cadence meter, but in none of the two occasions I reset the Fenix 3 I was able to pair the device with the mobile via bluetooth.

    Has anything like this happened to anyone else? Any ideas on how to try to solve the problems?

    When I buy from Costwold I don't know whether to send it in for repair or how to act.

    1. Samuel, I have sometimes had a problem connecting to ANT+ accessories, but always due to blockages in the communications module. This has happened to me on two occasions. Simply switching the clock off and on again has worked without any problem.

      This blockage can lead to the limited autonomy you're talking about.

      As for the bluetooth connection, remember that you don't have to pair it from the phone's menu, but from the Garmin Connect application.

      1. Try the code AF-VOUCHCLOUD-AF, by clicking here. In that link you have the prices in euros.

        The code to be entered at the end of the purchase is AF-VOUCHCLOUD-AF, I think it is valid for today.

        1. THANK YOU VERY MUCH EDUARDO,INDEED THE CODE IS VALID BUT IT ONLY MAKES ME A SMALL DISCOUNT.IF YOU COULD SEND ME A CODE THAT YOU SENT TO MY BROTHER LUIS MIGUEL MORENO ACEDO WITH WHICH HIS WATCH COST HIM ONLY 219 EURO I WOULD BE ETERNALLY GRATEFUL.
          A GREETING AND THANK YOU IN ADVANCE.

          1. Give me the code too!

            Seriously now. The only code I have right now is that one, I think the one before was discounted by 15%, but certainly not enough to make it cost 219 Euro (that would be almost 60% off!).

            I get the impression that this may be an alibi price, or counting what he got for the sale of a previous device.

    1. better than rainmaker! now we need to analyze the epix to see why I decide, the sports I practice are: swimming, mountain biking, hiking and sometimes I run through the mountains (not compete), which would be better ? a greeting and thanks

      1. Thank you Jose

        The Epix is on the to-do list, but that list is growing quite fast lately...

        If you need to have the navigation maps, the Epix will undoubtedly give you that plus. If the maps are secondary and you are not going to use them (if the routes you can create with the Fenix are enough), I think the Fenix 3 is a better option.

        1. I am with you that the Phoenix 3 is a better choice . Congratulations on the web, A! I wanted to ask you about the garmin batteries that I have been told do not have a long life and cannot be replaced and thank you very much1

          1. Watch batteries are like those of any other device... Yes, they have a certain life span, but most likely, before this life span is over, you have switched to a higher model or your watch has broken for another reason.

          2. Hi Jose, I don't know if you still have the Fenix 3, but after two years you probably already know it, so if you can change the battery, even for a bigger one, look at my pictures.

  19. congratulations, very good work... at zitaSport blog we know what it takes to do such a detailed analysis of a product... very good work

  20. HELLO I AM A DEAF PERSON,I AM VERY INTERESTED IN FENIX 3,I HAVE A QUESTION,DOES THE ALARM CLOCK HAVE A VIBRATING FUNCTION?

  21. Great review! But I have a doubt, in the option of count steps (welfare) my fenix 3 tells me that I have burned some 2193 kcal over a distance of almost 1.7k, and I have seen that other people appear to travel almost 10k and consume the same 2000 kcal ... My question is: you have to configure something ? because I have all my data in order ... greetings! 🙂

    1. These calories include the basal consumption throughout the day, which is why it can vary so much from one person to another, even if one travels a long way. A person who is 2 metres tall and weighs 120 kg does not have the same calorie consumption as a person who is 1.55 m tall and weighs 45 kg.

      The calorie data displayed on the Activity Monitor is determined from the set height and weight.

  22. Thank you so much for the good analysis.

    I have a question about the button lock. Is there an option to configure it? I mean, can you lock the buttons so that you don't stop a workout by accident but still have the option to look at the different screens, or do you lock all the buttons and only see the screen that is currently displayed? The same applies if you can lock the button to start an activity for when you use it in your daily life and it doesn't start recording any activity.

    Thank you

    1. No, there are no settings for the button lock. They can be locked and unlocked, but there is no possibility to select what to lock and when.

      1. Gracias por la respuesta. Pero por lo que entiendo se bloquean todas no? no hay posibilidad de ver otras pantallas mientras está registrando la actividad y lo llevas bloqueado, no? o cuando lo tienes en plan reloj y bloqueado no se pueden ver otras pantallas, no?

        1. The lock prevents the touch of any button from performing its function. In order to change the screen or access any menu, it must first be unlocked.

  23. Thank you for this thorough analysis. The problem is that you made me lose 500 euros 😉
    I have a doubt that the same can solve me. I have created a multisport application (for raid that is what I practice), the fact is that I am interested in certain moments to create lap within the race to know distances and part time, however when I am in a multisport application if I press the button lap I will go to the next transition. I count on your help, thank you very much!

  24. One doubt and I hope you can help me, the "time" widget I can't make it work, I connect bluetooth in the cell phone in conjunction with open app (connected to internet obviously) and in the clock and nothing... it says waiting for data but I wait and wait and nothing happens... What will it be ?

    1. It's a bit strange, because the widget gets the data for the last location. Try to start an activity so that it does the GPS search, to see if it already starts showing the information.

      1. It worked as you said, but the next day I wanted to check the time and it didn't work... so every time I want to check the time I have to do a GPS search ? I thought it was automatically saved in the first search =/ ... Personally it is a nuisance that such an expensive watch is so complex in that simple matter...

        1. Was the clock connected to the phone at that time? Sometimes it takes a couple of minutes to update the data, but the information should appear without having to search for satellites

  25. Hello
    How can we upload tracks to the Fenix3 downloaded from Wikilock?
    Do you know any tutorials?
    Thank you

    1. From Wikiloc, when you click on download, there is an option that puts Garmin. You connect the clock with the cable to the computer and install it directly

      1. It gives us a plugin error and even downloading it doesn't leave us.
        I'll look for more on the web but I think Garmin lacks official tutorials for these things (personal opinion).

        Thank you

  26. Hello, Eduardo, I would like you to explain me how to configure the fenix 3 to make series in the athletics track.

  27. Eduardo, good I'm swimming with the fnix 3 and I do not fit much distances that exasperating can not be, for the issue that loses signal, but is that today in an official crossing of 15,000 meters has marked me 960 meters. I want to know if this is normal or must make some kind of adjustment in the clock.

    1. I assume you mean 1,500m and not 15,000m

      If they are "real" 1.5000m (except for Spanish or international championships, the measurements are made more for the ease of already arranged buoys and so on, than for reaching the perfect distance), the error is high, but there is nothing we can do.

      The only thing, before starting, is to prepare the activity (before hitting the start button) for as long as possible so that it connects with the maximum number of satellites. But once in the water, if your strokes are fast it is very difficult to keep the type.

    2. Hi, I usually swim in a 50m indoor pool.
      I have a Fenix 2 which nails the distance. I have bought a Fenix 3 and it gives mixed results, one day 900, another day 1200. I have been mailing with Garmin Ibreica for two months and I finally returned the device in exchange for a new one. This week I have started swimming with the new one and it keeps giving me the same mistakes, which is very frustrating. Does anyone have the same problem? is there a solution?

    3. Hola Fernando me pasa igual que a ti, pero en la piscina, se come los metros y en series de 400 metros me registra 225 y cosas así ,por experiencia el garmin swim el cual he tenido durante un año y medio no se equivocaba nunca, ya le he escrito a los de garmin pero al igual que a ti me preocupa que esto no se solucione

  28. Edardo, good again the distance is 1500 m sorry, but my friends are also going with garmin and more or less is squeezed to the distance said, I am concerned that it may be some defect of the clock because it has already done me several times.

  29. I was talking with Garmai Iberia and they told me that there is a problem that they are solving, they told me to reset the device again, but everything remains the same, I am very disappointed and I feel like cheating and do not want to give me a solution.

    1. I haven't had any major problems swimming with the Fenix 3. It has always measured me correctly.

      All these errors occur because when you take the end of the length you do not detect that you have turned around, make sure you exaggerate the gesture when you turn around. There should be no major problem

      1. Hi Eduardo, I bought the garmin fenix 3 and sold the one that has been a pool partner for two years (garmin swim) to unify "machines", and compared to the garmin swim the F3 for some reason does not register distances well, what I mean is that I keep swimming the same as with the swim model (exaggerating the gesture when turning) and the F3 does not register it. I guess, I hope and desire that the guys at Garmin will be studying the subject...

        1. Yes, of course it will get better over time, but for Garmin to take this into account, it is important that you report the problems, rather than through Facebook or Twitter or similar, it is best to report them on the official forum.

          In the end, what Garmin has to do is improve lap detection, but without reaching the limit that marks unrealistic laps.

          Obviously it wasn't perfect, but in all the training sessions in the pool I think I remember that only once or twice did I detect a lap that was not correct. But the 99% of the rest of the time, no problem.

          1. Exactly, I've already sent an email to Garmin Ibérica describing the problem, because the strange thing is that the strokes count perfectly, the problem comes when the watch counts the distance traveled (long) between the elapsed time, it throws rhythms of 2:44 min/100 meters , at least in my case,
            By the way, Eduardo, I congratulate you on your analysis of the F3

          2. I've already heard back from Garmin and this is what they tell me:
            Thank you for contacting Garmin Iberia.
            We have been told that we will soon receive a software update in order to solve this issue.
            Keep up to date with Garmin Express.

            I suppose that several people have already communicated this incident to Garmin, however since April or May in some forums in the United States already talk about this issue, personally I think the clock has enough technology to be at the height of GARMIN SWIM, the only thing missing is to "polish" based on updates.

            Esperemos que lleguen pronto !!!!!

  30. Well, first congratulations on all the reviews are very useful for those of us who are just starting out.
    I am very interested in the Phoenix 3 but there is one thing that makes me doubt between the f3 and the polar v800 and that is the accuracy of the gps, I will use it to do my training with running series which I usually do in a football field or athletics track, the case is that I do series based on distance traveled so I needed the gps to be as accurate as possible and I understand that the gps of the f3 is much worse than the polar v800. My question is: is there too much difference? (Because aesthetically I dress more the f3 as I see more complete when creating training and vibration)

    1. Some Fenix 3 users have had problems with GPS in wooded areas and with complicated reception (I personally have not had these problems, since in my area such routes are not abundant).

      These issues have been resolved with the latest firmware and GPS update from a few weeks ago, and the word on the Garmin forums is that it has improved quite a bit on those tricky sites.

      To run in a football field or on a track you will have no problem with either, as you will always be out in the open.

      With either one you'll be satisfied.

      1. Eduardo, one last question about the Phoenix 3. I have to do a test that consists of doing 1.5 km in 5 minutes. Do you know if the Phoenix has an option that you tell it the distance to run (1.5 km in this case) and analyzing your running rhythm it tells you how long you are going to do it? That is, I say "I'm going to do 1.5 km" and you start running and the clock tells you you are going to 5 km / h and you have been 250 meters at that pace you will reach 1.5 km with a time of 5.10″ and so I know that I have to raise the pace a little until the clock tells me that I will do it in 5 minutes.

  31. Spectacular description. Congratulations on the job, it was worth it for those of us who thought of this model.
    I have some doubts that you might comment in the article and I didn't see it right.. Is it possible to run on a treadmill and have it count the kilometers like other models? And how much is it worth paying for sapphire crystal?
    It's wonderful to include widgets in the clock, a practical toy.

    Thanks again for the article.

    1. Another doubt I have is when I save a waypoint, I can access that waypoint from anywhere else on a different day, or I must be in the same running session for the clock to indicate distance and direction to the waypoint.

      Thank you.

  32. Good. In principle congratulations for the analysis, very complete and detailed. It was one of the reasons why I bought the FENIX 3. And my question is...after a few weeks I have realized that the START button of the FENIX 3 (upper right button) is the only button that turns me, that is, the other buttons are held with two fingers and you turn them and they stay still, the only movement they make is inwards and outwards when you press it. But the START button apart from inwards and outwards also turns if you move it...is it normal or is mine broken?

    I await your response. Greetings.

      1. Thank you very much for your quick answer Eduardo..I noticed it today and it was already a bit scratched haha.

        And keep it up, you're working on the tests.

  33. Congratulations on the article!
    I wonder if when you are sailing, the fenix3 warns you in some way (beep, vibration, etc) of a deviation in the trajectory, that is, if it warns you before any turn.

    Thank you very much!

    1. There is no point-to-point navigation, like a car navigation system might be, because the clock is not able to define whether what you have in front of you is a turn at an intersection or just a curve in the road.

      The navigation is by route, you see your situation on the screen next to the route you have to follow, what if it warns you is when you get out of the way of the route, and a new warning when you enter the route again.

  34. Eduardo, honestly, spectacular.

    I've been reading reviews that you've written all afternoon, I started with the one on Polar v800 which is the watch that I was originally reading about... I ended up reading about watches that I didn't even have in mind!
    I compete in swimming, road biking, running and also do some bodybuilding. To save some money I was thinking of going for the Polar v800, but after reading this review... And reading what you said before about "you only live once"... Maybe it's worth choosing the Garmin phoenix 3 than not paying 100 euros less and spend a few years watching the Polar v800 thinking nostalgically about the phoenix 3 hahaha Do you think the same?

    Thank you very much for the reviews and for the touch of humor you give them.

    1. Victor, thank you very much for your words. And blessed patience you've had to read so many tests...

      If past experiences have taught me anything, it's that, if that 100 euros doesn't make you a big effort, buy the one you really like.

      I guarantee that you will be very happy with either of them, but the slightest problem you don't like will make you regret it. On the other hand, if you buy "the whim", everything will seem nicer to you.

      I don't think the Fenix 3 will implement the ability to receive pulse information underwater. It could do it with an optical sensor placed next to the watch, but it's something that won't have reliability at 100% so I doubt Garmin will risk offering it.

      Personally and especially for your use, the V800 is a much better choice than the Fenix 2.

      1. Thank you very much for everything once again!
        I bought the Phoenix 3, since a few years ago I'm loading it and configuring it to my liking! Tomorrow I'll be able to try it out in open water as well as for running!
        I'll tell you about the experience!

  35. It's a spectacular article. You can tell how much love it's made with. After reading it I decided to buy a Fenix 3 that has been on my wrist for less than an hour. The first problem I found was that I couldn't synchronize it with my phone via bluetooth. It's an iphone 4S but I also tried it with my wife's iphone 6 and it doesn't work. Can you think of a solution? Thanks a lot.

    1. Clock and phone pairing has to be done from the Garmin Connect application, not from the phone settings, so you have to download the application and then do the clock search.

  36. Good afternoon, Eduardo,

    First of all, I want to congratulate you for the impressive review; it's by far the best I've seen in several weeks that I've been looking for a device of this kind, you can tell that you've spent a lot of time and put a lot of love into it.
    The truth is that this is the first time I am going to buy a device of this style, until now I have led a fairly sedentary life due to various problems and now at 28 years of age it is my turn to start doing sport if I want to maintain a dignified life 😀
    Since I have little willpower for these things, I believe that such a device can help and motivate me to exercise and work harder every day.
    Of all the ones I've seen so far and thanks to your review I'm practically decided to buy this model but I have several doubts that I would like, if it's not a bother, you could clarify, because so far I have not found a device (compatible with my mobile) that meets what I'm looking for (24h monitoring, smart notifications, heart rate and multisport, especially swimming).
    Regarding the 24h monitoring I see that the device complies without problems, but my doubts go more towards intelligent notifications and swimming.
    About the smart notifications, until now, all the devices I had looked, had compatibility problems with Android, in many cases, like Polar V800, they give a list of compatible mobiles but even these are not able to send notifications to the mobile, the ones I have seen usually work only with iOS.
    From what I see the Garmin F3 seems compatible with any Android device when sending notifications through its app, but I would like to know, if you have this information, if it really is compatible with any Android, or what requirements it needs, I have a BQ Aquaris E5 4G and I would like to know that I will not have problems with this.
    About swimming, the truth is that I'm a little disappointed, since it's going to be the sport that I practice the most and from comments of other colleagues, it gives quite a few problems when it comes to measurements, would you know if these problems are already solved or will be solved in the short term? From what I see they were working to solve it...
    On the other hand, I also didn't like the fact that it doesn't save heart rate data during swimming and from what you say, it's not something that they're going to implement in the future. Is there a way to fix this? I mean, is it possible to get another tape, like from Suunto, that saves this data? Or is there some other way to record the heart rate while you're swimming?

    Would you recommend perhaps another device that would meet these details?

    I'm sorry for having written so much, but buying it would be a big effort for me and I want to take advantage of it and make the most of it.

    Again, thank you for your review, I'm sure both experts and newcomers like me are very grateful for all the information you provide, it's nice to be able to get so much information before buying a product.

    Thank you very much for your help,

    Greetings

    1. The Fenix 3 needs an Android with a firmware version 4.3 or higher and that has Bluetooth Smart. Your BQ meets both conditions, so you will have no problem.

      I personally have not had any problems with measuring in the pool, but it is also true that I have not had any problems with any other watch (except for an occasional uncounted lap, 1% of the time), I suppose it will be because of the way I do the lap.

      Garmin yesterday introduced two new pulse sensors, the Garmin HRM-Tri and Garmin HRM-SwimThey still have to launch the update for the watches that will be compatible (the Fenix 3 will be), so when they do we will know how it works.

      Thank you for your words.

      1. Good afternoon, Eduardo,

        Sorry I'm late, but I've been out and about a lot and I couldn't answer before.

        Thank you very much for your answer, it has helped me a lot and I have decided to buy it.

        Thank you also for the information on the new pulse sensors, as they have been key to my decision, but I have a couple of doubts. From what I have seen from your review, the difference between the HRM-Swim and the HRM-Tri is that the Swim is suitable for indoor pools (which I need) while the Tri is not, right? Would there be any other relevant difference?

        On the other hand, if I buy the HRM-Tri + HRM-Swim pack there is no point in buying the watch with the HRM-Run, right? I mean the HRM-Tri replaces the HRM-Run perfectly, right?

        And finally, due to health problems, I would be interested in monitoring my heart rate 24 hours a day. Is this possible with one of these bands or do you recommend me to use another option that is more comfortable and that suits the fenix 3?

        Thanks again 🙂

        1. Inside the water both sensors work the same. What changes is the tape (slightly wider and with more anti-slip material in the Swim) and that the sensor of the HRM-Tri has internal accelerometers that allow you to have race dynamics data. Both can be used in the pool without any problem.

          If you are going to buy the HRM-Tri, it does not really make sense to buy the watch in a pack with the pulse sensor, as you will have two almost identical sensors.

          In order to monitor the FC on a continuous basis, today, what I would recommend most is Fitbit Charge HRWith the Fenix 3 you could do that, but it's not a watch that's designed for that, and the battery consumption is quite high. Of course, you can always wear an activity without GPS being activated, but that's not the most comfortable thing.

    2. Good afternoon Diego, about twenty minutes ago I shared in the forum the problems that the F3 had in swimming (for those of us who had spent the garmin swim was worrying), my surprise was that today I have registered the training in a real way, that is to say that I have not skipped any length or excess of meters or anything strange, and for the record that some of the trainings I did them with paddles that modify somewhat the dynamics of swimming, just as in open water I measured a distance of 1000 mts where I know for sure that there are. To my understanding it could be either the last update (4.0) or that the internal sensors are adapted to the user.
      With this I comment you that if you are determined do not doubt it, it is very good watch and you will enjoy with it, in addition this has just begun!

      1. Good afternoon, Juan,

        Sorry I'm late in answering.

        Thank you very much for your answer and your help, I finally decided to buy it and more after Eduardo told me about the option of the HRM-Swim band which was the only lack I saw in it.
        Now we have to wait to save some money to be able to buy it, I'm selling everything I can to enjoy it as soon as possible, I'm anxious hehe.

        Thanks again 🙂

  37. Hello, and congratulations on the test, which is a great help.

    I'd like to ask you a few questions:

    1) Is it possible to configure the screens of each application from the computer or the mobile phone, or is it mandatory to do it from the clock (something more annoying)?

    2) If you don't want to see your phone's notifications on the clock, and all you want to do is upload your workouts to Connect/Strava in a simple way, what's better, using bluetooth or wifi, and leaving them always connected or only when it's time to sync?

    3) The files with the training sessions you have already done, where are they stored and with what extensions? one gpx file and another with the most physiological data as other brands do, or all in the same file? I am interested in taking them to manage them with another program, but I can't find them.

    4) I have the configuration that comes standard with the software updated to version 4.0, and the battery doesn't last me a bit. Or rather, it has a strange duration, because a 3h workout only consumes me a 10-12%, but leaving it still on the table for 2h makes me go down more than a 30%. In fact I have had it for a week and I'm already on my third charge. Any idea why that might be?

    If you can answer them, it would be a great help to me. Thanks for your time, a greeting from Galicia.

    1. You can only make the settings from the clock itself.

      You can leave the bluetooth on, and disable the notifications from the clock.

      You can download synchronised files from Garmin Connect, or connect the watch via USB to your computer and access it like a hard drive.

      That battery consumption is not normal at all. Try doing a complete reset, because the clock is capable of holding up for a week perfectly.

  38. Good night.

    I have only one question.... A watch of this caliber and with that connectivity.... Doesn't have enough memory to carry music you can hear while you're out running?

    1. Memory is not a problem, more could be included, of course, but playing music would affect performance, battery life, processor needs, cooling, etc.

  39. Hi, I'm preparing a marathon and when I put personalized trainings I don't specify the time per laps, it counts all the training as one lap. That is, if I do 8k I don't specify km1 to 5:00 km2 to 4.57... it puts me lap 1 8km to 5:03... can you solve this?

    1. You have to activate the autolap function in the application you use for training (e.g. running). In the application settings you have to go down to the autolap function and activate it automatically at 1km

      1. Hi, regarding the problem that Ximo explains to me, I have activated the Auto-lap, which works perfectly until you use training programs (I have downloaded one of the ones that can be found on the Garmin Connect website). I think that it has no solution, since Garmin has it configured like this, and is not able to give you the time per Km. I have found the solution by synchronizing the activity with "Strava".

        1. I didn't understand comrade Ximo's question correctly. After your clarification I see what you mean.

          Indeed, when you're running a scheduled workout, autolap doesn't work in the traditional way, for one simple reason.

          Usually these trainings consist of several parts, for example 5km at a quiet pace, 3km at a strong pace, 5km at a quiet pace again, etc.

          What the clock will do is to calculate each of these training fragments, and that will be the blocks that you will be able to see. So, in the example, the 3km will know the data for that period of the training.

  40. I am a canyoning or canyoning practitioner as you prefer, you know if it is possible to use the phoenix 3 for this sport, I know that it admits up to 10 atm (100 meters). In canyoning we don't get that deep, but sometimes we get under waterfalls that fall quite hard or we jump from 10 meters high to some crystal clear water pool, that's why I am a little scared, you know if it would hold well in all these circumstances?

  41. Hi, Eduardo,
    First of all, I want to thank you for the thorough review you did. It helped me to decide to buy it.
    I have a question related to the configuration of the applications that the user himself makes, for example, the screens and the applications that are seen when one presses the button of superior drcho. To me it is happening that when I update the software, something that lately I have made every few days/weeks, the configuration that I had made is completely disconnected and the clock returns to show the configuration of origin. Does this happen to you? Is there some way to maintain the configuration of the user with the updates of the firmware?
    Thank you very much.

    1. This was due to a bug in the update to version 4.30. In fact, Garmin released the update and after detecting the bugs (of which there have been many reports on their forum), the update has been stopped.

      When you go from version 4.20 to 4.40 this doesn't happen, but those of you who have gone through version 4.30 have.

      Lo normal es que se mantenga la configuración entre actualizaciones, aunque siempre conviene hacer una copia de seguridad por si acaso (tengo previsto hacer una entrada para que sepáis como hacerlo). Y efectivamente, esta semana has tenido dos actualizaciones por el mismo motivo, porque la primera de ellas venía “con sorpresa”.

  42. Hello! First of all... Incredible review! Thanks a lot for this extensive article, now the doubt... I was going for the ambit 3 but seeing this one convinced me... To save something I thought of taking it without the hrm run tape, the doubt is... Could I use another one and pair it without problems? Right now I use a multisport tom tom and the one with the decathlon for example works perfectly with it... Would the same happen with the fenix3?
    Thank you very much and keep it up!

  43. Good night:

    Congratulations on your wisdom and knowledge.

    After seven or eight years with a Polar FT-80, I've decided to renew myself. The question, Phoenix 3 or Epix? I can't decide.

    I'm backing away, even though I like cartography and maps, the design of the Epix, the worst resolution, that doesn't have wi-fi and that the internal memory doesn't give any margin, apart from problems that I suppose it will have being a risky model because of all that it entails to have so much cartography.

    Thank you very much.

    1. When deciding, the main thing is to know how much you need the cartography. If you only want to make predefined routes with the Fenix 3 it will be perfectly sufficient.

      On the other hand, if you like to go on an adventure and get lost in the mountains for several days, you will need the Epix.

      What is certain is that, at the moment, the Epix is having some more youthful problems, and that moving through the cartography is not the most fluid experience of all.

  44. Morning,
    It's been a couple of months since I acquired the Phoenix 3 and it was largely thanks to this analysis. I've been using it ever since almost every day, and recently I realized one thing:

    I downloaded from Garmin Connect a workout that was scheduled to run a 21km. in 16 weeks. I noticed that the clock does not save all the sessions and when I go to Training > Training Calendar, it shows me only the scheduled workouts up to the week W12 D3, that is, the workouts of the last weeks before running the average do not appear to me.

    I understand that this is because memory is limited for this aspect, but I would like to know if the step to have the remaining trainings would be to reload the whole program.

    I hope I've explained myself as well as I can. Thank you.

    1. Connect the watch to the computer and delete all FIT files in the WORKOUT and SCHEDULE folders.

      About the timing of the missing ones, I have never had the case so I can't tell you for sure, but try going to the training section and give the option to reschedule the training, keeping the same end date.

  45. Gracias Eduardo por tan bien detallada informacion. Estoy en Guatemala y casi tomando la decision de comprarme un Fenix 3. Como tu dices, solo se vive una vez

  46. My Fenix 3 is taking a couple of months to locate the GPS, so I don't have to move. I feel like I'm not moving, and that's why I'm adding up more than I am doing, and my routes are not exact or similar to other participants... How can I fix this?

    * If you can tell me how to synchronize the GPS again or how to change the satellite or what to do, please send me information by email: lspicuglia@gmail.com

      1. I did that ... and I don't know that if you press a series of buttons or a sequence of them you can reset the gps and reconnect to the satellite

      2. Hello I have the same problem with my Deci 3 does not want to connect and when it does it takes too long I have reserved it but still help please mail commands_023@hotmail .com

  47. Hi! I bought a Fenix 3, I haven't received it yet, since they bring it from USA (I live in Argentina), I wanted to know if you have a way to do a performance test and tell me what is my maximum heart rate, and other data that can be useful to start training.
    I'm waiting for your answer. Thank you very much!

        1. No, the Polar M400 has a function that is a fitness test, which is an estimate of VO2max. But there is no watch that tells you the HR zones accurately.

          1. Ahhh ok ok!!! I hope I made a good purchase!!! Aesthetically it's the one I like the most about the Phoenix, I hope it's useful to start

  48. Hi Eduardo, thank you very much for this impressive review!!! I'm about to buy it thanks to your comments. However, I have the doubt about the GPS navigation. I do a lot of mountain biking and the routes are usually downloaded from Wikiloc and then I follow them on the phone with this application (wikiloc), which uses maps downloaded from google maps.
    How would the navigation be on the clock? Do you use maps? Are there problems with loading tracks from Wikiloc (I read a comment from another user with problems loading tracks)?
    A salute.

    1. Thanks, Fran.

      You don't have maps, you will see the tracks on the clock screen as you can see them in the images. There is no problem with Wikiloc's tracks, in fact they can be loaded directly from its own page.

  49. Well, great post, just one thing ..... could you tell me how to put it in clock mode so it does not consume so many batteries ? And another thing makes me follow the daily steps without the gps activated ... thank you very much

    1. The clock mode is when it shows the time, that is the standby mode where it does not consume battery

      The steps are counted by the internal accelerometer, it is the activity monitor and it does not impact the battery.

  50. Hi Raul, I have a question that I would like you to solve, I have downloaded through Connecticut iq a data field called "surf tracker"... Do you know how it works and how I can activate it to use it when I surf? Thank you very much!

  51. Hello, very good post, it has solved many doubts I have with my recent Fenix 3. Although I have one left in the inkwell. You would know what vertical speed I would have to put on the Auto Climb to activate it on slopes of around 5% or higher? the idea is that it activates from there when I do road cycling.
    Thank you!

  52. Hi Eduardo!! maybe you or someone can tell me. I already have my Fenix 3. For now I only use it for the days I do spinning and as an activity monitor. I would like to know if there is any application for the cell phone (in my case iPhone), where I can see in real time, heart rate, rhythm, and so on). Is there one that synchronizes with the clock for that function? or one that can be used with the HRM band that comes with the Fenix 3?

    1. No, there's no way to do what you're asking.

      As for the HRM tape with the phone, there are ANT+ adapters, but it is cheaper and easier to buy a Bluetooth sensor.

  53. In search of information about the Fenix 3, I found your website, great analysis.

    I wanted to know your opinion, I'm between ambit 3 and Phoenix 3, this last one is the one I like the most, (I've always been from Garmin) but the doubt comes from the crashes or failures that the Phoenix suffers.

    Thanks for everything and sorry for the inconvenience

    I already have the website added to my favorites, a greeting

    1. No, I have not had any more problems with sensors or connection cuts. What you can see more in forums are people who complain about the quality of the tracks or distances obtained with the GPS, but I can not confirm it since the data I get is almost always perfect.

      These problems occur in areas with many trees or complicated cover, something I do not find on my usual routes.

      Otherwise, for example in the Garmin 225 test you can see data on distances compared between the Fenix 3 and Ambit3 and you will see that the data indicated is very similar.

      1. Thanks a lot, Eduardo!
        Well, I don't think about it anymore because of GARMIN!
        Great, thanks for everything. I'll follow your other tests. Congratulations on your website!
        Kind regards

  54. Good Raul, when I do an interval training and I put warm up tells me to run until I press lap and there would start the intervals, but when I press lap, right button down, what the clock does is to take me backwards... never start the intervals, you would know how to solve this, thanks!

    1. The warm-up period means that you run at your own pace until you are ready for the workout itself. Therefore, you have to start the activity (and the timer). Once you have started it, when you press the lap button you will start the second part of the workout.

      1. The problem is that when I press lap (back/lap button) the watch takes me backwards in the bone so it does the back function and not the lap function.

        1. When you warm up to press lap you have not yet started the activity. You have to press the start button and it will begin. And when you finish warming up will be when pressing the button lap will begin the intervals.

  55. Hi Eduardo, first of all I want to congratulate you for the tremendous analysis you have done (and you do of all the products) since a long time ago I follow your page and I would like you to solve a doubt for me (which I have been trying to solve for more than 2 months and I can't).

    With which watch would you stay GARMIN FENIX 3 or SUUNT AMBIT3 PEAK, I am determined to buy one of the two and the truth is that I can not decide, I've seen forums and analysis and each has its good and bad things, what I read more in the forums are the complaints of users of GARMIN, by the subject of crashes, restarts, GPS problems, ... etc. However the Garmin Connect website I see it easier to handle that the Movescount, although Movescount you have everything at hand (no need for more programs)

    As you can see... I have a careful mental ruckus!! Hahaha. What would be your choice between the two devices?

    A greeting and again congratulations for the page.

    1. Hello Alvaro

      In the end, in order to simplify the choice, you can look at it in two different ways:

      - The Fenix 3 is that performance-laden watch, but with youthful errors that will require more updates and more time to get it to go fine.

      - The Ambit3, everything it does, does it really well. There are no problems or incidents. But of course, at the performance level it's well below the Garmin.

      So it all depends on what level of performance you are looking for and what your acceptance of possible slightly more erratic performances is.

      Personally, I use the Fenix 3 the most and I don't have any problems with the GPS, which is what people complain about the most. Of course, in my training I don't usually have problems with trees or buildings.

      By the way, if you like the page, remember to vote for the Journal Awards!

  56. I have a doubt about the additional data available for the main screen of the clock, symbols appear, but I can't find any information about it in the manual,

    1. No, the truth is that the manual is pretty short. That's why I have more information in the test.

      Basically there are two icons, the moon icon which indicates if it is full moon, quarter, etc. and an arrow which can go up, down or constant. This is the barometric pressure and is used to check the trend.

  57. Very good and congratulations for the amount of articles and information.
    Regarding the fenix 3 a question and regarding the last version 4.9. I have updated and what before made me automatic regarding the "dream" now we have to put the data manually.

  58. Dear. I am hesitant to buy the Ambit 3 or the Fenix 3. So I read the garmin has problem in the reception of the gps. How serious is it since it is fundamental to be able to train?. Very good description. Thank you. Greetings.

    1. I usually use the Fenix 3 and Ambit3 for my training and testing, to check GPS measurements, etc. and I have no problem with either.

      I know there are people who report GPS problems, but it's usually in heavily wooded areas or with reception problems. Garmin has released several updates to improve the signal level.

      In short, do not be guided by the quality of GPS reception in your purchase, because in both models is very similar, perhaps a little better in the Ambit3.

      1. Eduardo
        Thank you very much x your answer. I am from Argentina and I am traveling to USA. I usually run mountain marathons. I am using the Ambit 2. I think I will go for the Phoenix as it has many more features to train.
        Very good site and to be able to share the experience of each one of us.
        Hugs

  59. Hello Eduardo, I have a question, would you know if there is a possibility of adding an alarm every few minutes to an activity ... for example, I want to put one to run a marathon and let me know when I have to take a gel every 45 minutes or so and do not forget, can be done? Thank you.