Garmin Fenix 3 multisport watch review
Garmin's Fenix 3 comes with a sunlight-readable 1.2inch high-res colour display
Gear > Run > Heart rate monitors

Garmin Fenix 3 multisport watch review

Better than the 920XT? Nice refined aesthetic and simply brilliant functionality

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Garmin Fenix 3 multisport watch review

We’ll whisper it… this might be better than the 920XT. Like previous versions of the Fenix, the latest incarnation features an altimeter, barometer and compass, which complement a host of impressive features seen on the 920XT. 

>>> Best heart-rate monitors review 2014

You’re given pool and open-water swim options, which record metrics like distance, pace and stroke count. On the bike, it’s ANT+ compatible so pairs with power meters like Garmin’s own Vector. Come the run, if paired with the HR run strap (bumping the package up to £399.99 – it’s worth the extra spend), you’re relayed cadence and ground contact time. 

To satiate the x-terrain crew, it also features a dedicated trail section, where it gauges your ascent performance. Like the 920XT, GPS pick-up and retention is the best out there, even on test loops shadowed by lofty buildings. GPS battery life’s mooted as 16hrs, though we managed 17hrs before recharging – just enough to make the Ironman cut-off.

Stainless steel housing on the Garmin Fenix 3Rugged stainless steel housing and buttons suggest good long-term durability

It doubles as an activity monitor, counting steps, calories burned and distance covered, which sets a fresh goal each day based on your recent activity. And you can transfer all of this information to your iOS or Android device via Bluetooth for further analysis on Garmin Connect. 

You can also upload apps from Garmin’s Connect IQ platform to customise your watch, though the choice of widgets and unique watch faces from this open platform remains limited. That will change over time and will be key in staving off the threat of Apple’s new watch.

Garmin Fenix 3 plugged into charging cradle
Use Bluetooth or the USB charging clip to transfer data. The Fenix 3 can also be personalised with apps, widgets and new watch faces, and can receive push email and SMS notifications

Triathletes might still choose the 920XT because of its slimline design – it’s 25% lighter – but, despite initial concerns, the Fenix 3 doesn’t feel bulky in use. We think its aesthetic is more refined than the 920XT, so it could be a choice of looks over weight.

Verdict: Not cheap, but a simply brilliant watch – and £20 cheaper than the 920XT, 95%


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I like the Fenix range but find the extra bulk a bit more of an issue when removing a wetsuit... hence sticking with my 920.

Mostly i miss the touch screen element of the FR620 though :(

The Prof

Garmin seem to be turning a blind eye to the problems some people are having with VERY inaccurate GPS tracking (Go to the Garmin forums and read the 140 + page's worth of evidence:

Putting me off buying mine

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