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GPS sports watches have become a firm favorite of athletes, fitness enthusiasts and all those who love the great outdoors. Whether you like hiking, swimming, cycling, trail running or backcountry skiing, having a GPS watch is an essential commodity. Advances in technology have created GPS sports watches that offer tons of features which make outdoor recreational sporting and fitness activities fun and safe to participate in.
Garmin is a household name in the sports watch niche with a vast catalog of products all of which combine elegant designs with impressive features. Garmin prides itself on creating GPS watches with intuitive add-ons like altimeters, barometers, temperature sensors, and heart rate (HR) monitors just to name a few.
UPDATE – New version available: Remember to check out the newer Garmin Fenix 3 HR for the upgraded version with built-in heart rate sensor! And the latest and much better Garmin Fenix 5.
|Garmin fenix 3 GPS Watch, Gray||$179.98|
Now, on with the rest of my Garmin Fenix 3 review. If you have further questions, scroll down and ask in the commenting section.
The Fenix 3 GPS watch is Garmin’s bold attempt to create a cross-platform watch that combines the multisport functionality of the Forerunner series with the outdoor watch design of the Fenix predecessors (Fenix 1 & 2). This third iteration of the Fenix line is noticeably more elegant than its predecessors with a sleek metal band which is also easily detachable. It is in many ways an improvement on the earlier Fenix versions as well as being more technologically advanced than the Forerunner series.
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Garmin has always been known for including a wide array of useful sensors in their watches and the Fenix 3 is no exception. Despite weighing in at only 82g it is packed full of sensors like accelerometers, GPS, temperature sensor, digital compass, and a barometric altimeter just to name a few. It features a Chroma Display with backlight function. You also have a timeout functionality to preserve battery life.
The Garmin Fenix 3 has both digital and analog time features depending on user preference. The design of this watch also features large buttons around the screen which vastly improves the user experience. Even when your fingers feel a bit numb from being out in the cold, or are in gloves, you will have no trouble pressing the buttons on the watch.
- GPS Connectivity. The Garmin Fenix comes fully loaded with both GPS and GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) capability. GLONASS is the Russian version of GPS and is touted as being significantly more accurate in the Northern Hemisphere. Users have the option of switching between GPS and GLONASS.The built-in “EXO antenna” ensures instantaneous GPS/GLONASS connection. The GPS/GLONASS mode of the Fenix 3 is super intuitive, with lots of features including an “auto-climb” feature which automatically comes into effect once the watch detects a change in the user’s elevation.
- Wifi Enabled. Wirelessly connect with the Garmin Connect. This means faster upload and syncing of data with the Garmin Connect App. This feature is especially useful when in remote locations where cell service might be an issue such as mountain ranges, hiking trails etc.
- Activity Tracker. The Activity Tracker feature on the Fenix 3 helps you track your progress while skiing, swimming, running, cycling etc. These activities have their own distinct mode within the Activity Tracker Feature. It also allows you to monitor your sleep pattern with the sleep analysis mode which tells you periods of movement and rest during your sleep.It also has a move alert mode that reminds you to get back on the move if you’ve been stationary for too long.
- IQ Store connectivity. The IQ store houses all the cool Garmin apps that can be downloaded for use on compatible Garmin watches. The Fenix 3 has the Garmin Connect feature which links it with the IQ store where you can download apps and also download some beautifully designed watch faces. What is more, these apps and watch faces are absolutely free of charge.
- Color Display. The Garmin Fenix 3 has a colorful 218 x 218-pixel screen which produces crisp, clear data display on a screen with highly intuitive menus. The display and layout of data on the screen are simple, yet elegant ensuring great customer satisfaction. Despite the high-quality color display, it does not drain the battery. Garmin uses top-of-the-line e-ink LCD display technology which has high battery economy. The color display feature of the Fenix 3 also boasts a transflective design which means your watch screen remains visible even in direct sunlight. You can customize the display to show split screens where multiple easy to read data fields are shown at once.
- Smart Notifications. Never have to miss an important mobile notification again because you couldn’t hear your phone ring. The Fenix 3 combines smart notification with vibration alert to keep you up to date with all your mobile correspondences. Pair your Fenix 3 with your smartphone and it will display texts, emails, and other phone alerts on the go.
- Sensors. The Garmin Fenix 3 is a cornucopia of advanced sensors that deliver premium quality functionality. Electronic compass, barometric altimeter and temperature sensors are just some of the nifty sensors on this versatile watch. It also has an HR monitor.
- Battery Life. The Fenix 3 has a long-lasting, rechargeable 300 mAh lithium-ion battery. While in GPS mode, it can last up to 20 hours, and 50 hours if it is in UltraTrac mode. When not in any of the track modes and it is just being used as a normal watch, the battery can last up to 2 weeks.
Multiple Tracking Functionality
When it comes to cross-platform functionality, the Garmin watch catalog has always delivered stellar products. The Fenix 3 has multiple tracking functionalities across different activities. Some of the tracking capabilities of the Fenix 3 are as follows:
- Running: Apart from Distance and Pace, the Fenix 3 can track Recovery Time and Trails.
- Skiing: Distance, Descent, Speed, and even Number of runs.
- Climbing: Weather, Elevation.
- Cycling: Speed and Distance. It also has sensors to measure Bike Power and Cadence.
- Swimming: While swimming, the Fenix 3 not only tracks Distance and Pace, it also tracks Stroke rate, Stroke count and it can also identify different Stroke types.
- Golfing: Download courses from the app and view them on the display.
Garmin Fenix 3 GSP watch product video
One of the official product videos:
Pros and Cons
What we like and what we don’t like with the Garmin Fenix 3:
|Pros +||Cons –|
The Fenix 3 comes in a conventional 3-piece box. Once you open the box, you will find the watch, the charging clip, and the power adapter. The watch should fit snuggly into the charging clip. If you don’t want to use the regular charger, you can use any odd USB cable to charge your Fenix 3 watch.
Compared to other brands like the Suunto Ambit3, the Fenix 3 has some overwhelming advantages such as an auto-calibrating compass, Better Screen Display, ANT+, and Android compatible. The Fenix 3 is also significantly lighter than most other watch brands.
In terms of functionality, it is right up there with the best. The 5 button system does make the learning curve a little steep but with a little bit of patience you can master the setup and acquire dexterity in switching between modes and tabs.
So why would you buy this activity tracker watch? Because the Fenix 3 is full of nice features, is comfortable to wear, being lightweight and the price is affordable.
Where can I buy Garmin Fenix 3?
The fitness tracker is easily purchased on my favorite and trustworthy online store, Amazon, both in Europe and US. It has a product rating with 4,5 of 5 stars based on reviews from customers:
- Chroma display - 1.2” sunlight-visible high-resolution color Chroma optically-bonded display.Quick fit watch band compatible: 0.8Inch(26 mm)
- Water rating - water rated up to 10ATM/ 100 Meters1; suitable for swimming. Case Material: fiber-reinforced polymer
- Exo antenna - Omni-directional Steel exo antenna, when paired with GLONASS and epo, provides an even faster fix and accurate position than GPS alone
- Wireless connectivity- utilize one or more Wi-Fi Hot spots to automatically sync your data with Garmin connect and update software (when in range)
- Battery life - rechargeable battery; up to 20 hours in training/GPS mode, 50 hours in UltraTrac mode, and 6 weeks in watch mode (depends on settings)
Always click the button to check recently updated price and additional info and reviews.
More info & Questions
I’m curious to know more about your own experiences with this fitness tracker if you own it yourself. Anything good and bad. If you have other questions or concerns, write them down in the comment section at the bottom. Here are a few examples of what other Amazon buyers have to say about this activity tracker:
“Exactly what I wanted on a all-in-one watch” by Wei
“Great looks and functionality – Running, biking, activity tracking” by KAZ3030
“Garmin is GREAT!” by N. Gonzalez
Interesting topic: Top 10 Fitness Trackers
Here are the most important tech specs:
|Name||Garmin fēnix 3|
|Type||Multisport Fitness Watch|
|Weight||2,9 oz (82 g)|
|Dimension||51,0 x 51,0 x 16,0 mm|
|Size||One size fits all|
|Interface||Color Chroma display|
|Resolution||218 x 218 pixels|
|Battery Type||Recharchable 300 mAh lithium ion|
|Battery Life||GPS mode: Up to 20 hours, UltraTrac mode: Up to 50 hours, Watch mode 6 weeks|
|Charge Time||About 2 hours|
|Water-Proof (depth)||Yes, 10ATM|
|Sensors||EXO antenna, GPS, GLONASS, Barometric altimeter, 3 axis Compass, Accelerometer, ANT+|
|Memory||32 MB (23 available)|
|Heart Rate and Zones||Yes (with HR sensor)|
|24/7 (All day)||Yes|
|Find my device||Yes|
|Wireless or USB||Wireless|
|Sync Method||Bluetooth Smart, Wifi|
|Mobile App||Garmin Connect|
|Maintenace & FAQ:|
|Manual (PDF)||Product manual in PDF|
Great watch! My son hinted that he would like a good watch for Christmas. He is currently enrolled in the fire fighter academy, and I think that this would be the perfect watch for a gift. He is very active, plus it has the GPS and an alarm. I think this is a great choice! The reviews on Amazon prove it is a good watch, and the price is really not bad considering all the features that come with it. Thank you!
Hi! Thanks for the comment and the interest in Garmin Fenix 3. It is a great gift for an active person like your son. Also check out the Fenix 5! Andreas
This Garmin Fenix 3 sounds really cool. I remember that I used to have a Garmin GPS device which I used a lot before cell phones became the main popular device. You are right about accuracy, because GPS devices often have accuracy issued. GLONASS sounds very cool if it has accuracy down to minute streets and blocks, because that is how easy it is to get lost when you navigate in a foreign area. It also has a lot of nice smart watch functions to check my body temperature and stuff. I can use this watch and go hiking without getting lost. By the way, why does it allow swap between GLONASS and GPS? Wouldn’t it be better to stick to GLONASS alone?
Hi, Win! I think the combination of using both the positions systems is a good idea. There is no clear advantage of using one over the other, but by using both of them it reduces battery time.
GPS is as you probably know the Unites States’ global positions system, while the GLONASS is made by the Russian Federation. GPS has slightly more satellites than GLONASS which are operated from a lower orbit.
I’m currently looking for a Garmin which would be ideal for hiking because I’m an avid hiker. Do you think that this one fits the bill? I was wondering if you think that this one is best or is there another type of Garmin which would be more suited to hiking. Thanks!
Hi! It depends on your budget. Garmin Fenix 5 is fantastic for hiking as well. A bit more expensive thou. Andreas