Suunto introduced the AMBIT GPS/ABC watch and now Garmin has introduced their version - the fenix.
What I would like to do is invite you to join me in exploring the various aspects of the Garmin fenix as I find out about its capabilities, features, drawbacks, surprises, etc.
Since I would like to wear the fenix as an everyday watch, the first question that comes up is just how well does it do as a simple digital watch - ignoring for the moment all the other features.
Here is how it arrived today:
The contents are the watch, an AC charger/USB adapter, USB to watch cable, product safety information booklet in 12 languages, and two quick start guides - one in English and one in Spanish:
Deciding to read the booklets later, I turned the watch on, selected English as my language and opted to automatically sync time and date info with the GPS signal:
I was in my office and expected to have to go closer to a window, or even outdoors, to successfully obtain my first cold sync, but before I could even stand up, the watch had sync'd and was displaying correct time and date info:
Honestly, I was amazed. Note in the picture above that the computer display actually reads 18:30 (I was a bit too quick on the trigger taking the picture) which is the same as 6:30 PM shown on the watch. My past experience with GPS units of all types has been that if a unit is a long way from its last sync location, it requires some time to gather satellite info thus making for a longer "Cold" start. Subsequent "Warm" and "Hot" starts take less time because the unit knows generally where it is.
My first Cold start was less than a minute and subsequent Hot starts were virtually instantaneous. All indoors. I am thoroughly impressed.
Before doing anything else, I thought it would be a good idea to fully charge the watch using the supplied AC adapter. So at 6:38 PM with the watch at 52% charge, I started charging:
One hour and 32 minutes later, the watch was fully charged:
Since I like 24-hour time, I then switched the watch over to a 24-hour display:
Then I plugged the fenix into a USB port on my computer and went to the Garmin site to register it and check for any software updates.
The watch looked like this when connected:
And the Garmin site advised me that updates were indeed available:
The updates were for System software and several language options in addition to the language options already in the watch:
Details of the system updates:
The watch updating:
After a couple of minutes:
And the watch was on my wrist:
The display is very easy to read and may get even better once I have a chance to adjust the display contrast.
The stock (Polyurethane?) band is soft, comfortable and is not a dust magnet. The keeper has a lug on its underside which engages the slots in the tail end of the strap so that the keeper stays in place. Lug width is 26mm. The strap is affixed to the watch with two T10 Torx screws which screw into a metal bar in place in the end of the strap. It is a very secure setup. It appears that the metal bar in the end of the strap can easily be removed thus allowing for the easy adaptation to a NATO/Zulu type of strap. Watch for that soon.
There are many main time display options, but note in the picture above that I have chosen continuous display of Hour, Minute, Seconds, Month, Day and Date. All automatically sync'd to the GPS signal.
Other display options include variations on this theme:
And constant display of battery charge and Sunrise data:
There are many more options available - too many to show here.
It's always problematic accurately representing a backlight in a photo, but here is my attempt with the watch in semi-darkness with the backlight off and on:
The watch caseback is pretty straightforward:
It is comfortable on the wrist with no protrusions or irregular surfaces which could cause discomfort.
There are multiple alarms which can be set for one time only or to repeat daily, to alert with a tone, vibration or both. Alerts which tie into the GPS. A programmable alarm based on time until sunset. Interval timers. A countdown timer settable to the second. A stopwatch.
I've only just scratched the surface of the WATCH capabilities of the fenix, and it has every conceivable timing/time feature I can think of.
One last note for those who live in an "odd" time zone - the watch can be set to sync time/date info with the GPS signal, but you can choose to set your time zone manually.
That's all for the first installment. Next I'll start exploring some of the ABC and Fitness/training features of the fenix.
Please feel free to ask any questions or request any pictures that I have not included.
Hope you all enjoy reading about the fenix as much as I enjoy learning and writing about it.