Garmin Fenix 6 – everything you need to know about it

Garmin launched their Garmin Fenix 6, the new generation of multi-sport watch in August 2019 with new features, as an update to the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus.

Perhaps you are here to find out if Fenix 6 worth the upgrade especially if you have a Garmin Fenix 5. The answer is, well, it depends. If you want to upgrade to the latest Garmin Fenix, click here to buy Garmin Fenix 6. You can choose the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro, and you can buy it here.

Garmin Fenix 6 sync with your smartphone using the Garmin Connect application. Garmin Connect displays your overall Heart rate throughout the day, your Stress Level, your steps, Body Battery, Calorie intake. You can edit My Day to show you which cards you would like to see on your Garmin Connect daily cards. Read our Garmin Connect review here.

What is new in the Garmin Fenix 6 series

  • Three sizes: 42mm for Fenix 6S, 47mm for Fenix 6 and 51mm for Fenix 6X.
  • Reduced thickness, smaller bezels and increased screen size.
  • Better battery life. Up to 120hrs for Fenix 6X in normal mode and up to 80 days in battery saver mode.
  • Increased data fields during activity. Show up to 6 fields for Fenix 6S and Fenix 6 and up to 8 fields for Fenix 6X.
  • Solar charging for Fenix 6 Pro Solar.
  • New PacePro feature.
  • Updated Power Manager feature, providing detailed information regarding battery usage.
  • New Power Modes feature which allows you to create custom battery modes. This provides you information regarding the remaining time when starting an activity.
  • Ultra-low battery mode, providing up to 80 days of battery life, limiting drastically the watch functions.
  • Update Ski resort maps with 2000 ski resorts worldwide.
  • Pre-loaded golf maps with more detailed golf features.
  • Wrist-based swimming HR, which is available on the Garmin FR945 as well.
  • Body battery function, showing you estimated body energy levels based on various information. Read more details about body battery on garmin.com
  • Added PulseOX (pulse oximeter). PulseOX was available only on Fenix 5X Plus.
  • Added Respiration Rate.
  • New training load focus stats, providing workout benefits.
  • Added heat acclimation for workouts in environments where the temperature is above 22ºC (72ºF).
  • Added altitude acclimation for workouts when the altitude is above 800 m (2625 ft.).
  • Incident detection which notifies the contacts you set in Garmin Connect when it detects an incident during an outdoor activity like run, walk, hike or bike activity.
  • Safety assistance – by pressing three times a button to send help alert (a message with your location) to chosen contacts.
  • New GPS chipset (Sony) with great accuracy.

Garmin Fenix 6 Technical details

Starting with Fenix 6 series we have two main models, the Base model, and the Pro model.
The Fenix 6 pro model has all features including WiFi, music, maps, while the main model comes without them.

The most compact smartwatch from Fenix 6 series is Garmin Fenix 6S which has a 42mm case but it has a smaller battery capacity hence a shorter battery life while the largest version, Garmin Fenix 6X has a 51mm case with the largest battery capacity.
Fenix 6S is suitable for a woman’s wrist while Fenix 6 and Fenix 6X are suitable mostly for men as fit better on a bigger wrist.

If we compare the 5 series with the new 6 series, the Garmin Fenix 5 is followed now by the Garmin Fenix 6 while the Plus version from Garmin Fenix 5 became now the Fenix 6 Pro.

You cannot answer calls directly on Garmin Fenix 6, however, you are able to reject or answer the call which will continue on your phone or headphone. You can reply to text messages using your preset messages template (which can be configured in Garmin Connect).

Garmin Fenix 6 Unboxing

The Fenix 6 series boxes are identically for all devices, Fenix 6S, Fenix 6, Fenix 6 Pro and Fenix 6X. You will find the charging cable (which is the same as the one used on Fenix 5 series) and the manual.
If you would like to see Garmin Fenix 6 manual you can find it online on the Garmin official website.

Garmin Fenix 6 Design and display

At a first sight the design is not very different than Fenix 5 Plus series.

With the display being larger you can now fit eight activity measurements instead of six, allowing you to see more data on screen without having to scroll down through the menu. Having a better resolution means that the screen will be sharper and easier to read.

If you are wondering if Garmin Fenix 6 has a touch screen, the answer is no, you will rely on physical buttons. Garmin implemented a touch screen on Garmin Vivoactive series.

The display uses transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) designed to be sunlight-visible, exactly like the previous version Garmin Fenix 5 Plus. In dark environments, the display is lighted using a LED backlight but the best view is outside.

Garmin Fenix 6 Battery

There are big battery improvements compared to Fenix 5 generation as Garmin implemented new battery management tools that let you disable or change various things to preserve battery.
There is in the menu a section called Power Management mode where you can adjust options and maximize your battery power consumption.

You can see now beside the battery percent, the remaining time (in hours) for your current battery level.

Garmin Fenix 6: Safety Features

While you are working out, if is detected an incident the safety assistance feature will send automatically a message to previously chosen contacts writing your location. This way it will be easier to find you.

How to turn on Incident Detection on your Garmin Fenix 6

To activate the Incident Detection function you have to follow the next steps:

  1. On your smartphone click on Garmin Connect.
  2. Press more (for iPhone press on the bottom right corner and for Android smartphone you can find the more button on the top left).
  3. Click on Contacts followed by the three dots button on the top right corner.
  4. Choose contacts from your address book or add contact details manually. Next click on the back arrow from the left corner.
  5. Click on Safety & Tracking followed by a click on Incident Detection & Assistance.
  6. Click on Add Emergency Contacts and you will see your contact list. You can select up to three emergency contacts.
  7. Incident detection will automatically activate when you’ve added emergency contacts (the contacts must be synced to the watch).

How to manually turn off Incident Detection

You can disable the Incident Detection feature manually by pressing and holding the UP button on your Garmin Fenix 6 device, pressing Settings followed by Safety and then by tap on Incident Detection.

Heat and Altitude Performance Acclimation Feature

Training at high altitude may have a positive impact on your overall fitness but you may notice a temporary VO2 max. level decline while working out on high altitudes.
Garmin Fenix 6 provides you acclimation notifications and makes automatic adjustments to your VO2 max. training status when working out when the outside temperature is above 22ºC (72ºF) and when the altitude is above 800 m (2625 ft.).
You can see details of your heat and altitude acclimation in the training status widget.

How does Heat Acclimation work?

  • Garmin Fenix 6 is compatible with Heat Acclimation and will show you notifications and adjustments to your VO2 max. when you are working out and the outside temperature is above 22ºC (72ºF).
  • This feature uses weather data from your smartphone and is working only for activities with GPS.
  • Must train for a minimum of 3 days to reach Full acclimation and the Heat adaptation will start to decline after 3 days without training.

How does Altitude Acclimation work?

  • Garmin Fenix 6 is compatible with Altitude Acclimation and will show you notifications and adjustments to your VO2 max. when you are working out at altitudes above 800 m (2625 ft.).
  • Altitude Acclimation will start to decline after 21-28 days.

Firstbeat features on Garmin Fenix 6

The Fenix 6 series have all features available from Firstbeat features, 18 advanced Firstbeat analytics which give you the insight for best health, fitness and performance.

Firstfeat features explained

  • VO2MAX Fitness Level – personalized training guidance showing your fitness level.
  • Lactate threshold – identifies your maximum level of physical activity intensity, at about 90% of your maximum heart rate.
  • Functional threshold power (FTP) – your maximum power, above which you will fatigue rapidly.
  • Training effect: Aerobic – showing aerobic benefits from your training activity.
  • Training effect: Anaerobic – display anaerobic benefits from your last training activity.
  • Real-time performance condition – showing changes in your performance level after an activity.
  • Calories burned – analyze the calories you burn so you can improve weight management
  • Training load – reports how hard you’ve been working out over the past week.
  • Training status – analyze training effectiveness. To see the status you have to record outdoor workout activities for at least a week, with HR on.
  • Training load balance – to ensure your performance goals are improving.
  • Workout labels – show you the relationship between your effort and the results you are achieving.
  • Recovery time advisor – predicts how much time is needed before your body is recovered and ready for your next intense activity.
  • Quick stress level test – show your physiological stress level on a scale from 1 to 100
  • All-day stress & recovery – show on a scale from 1 to 100 your all-day stress level to see how much time you’ve experienced stress.
  • Heat and altitude acclimatization – tracking your adaptation to heat or altitude environments.
  • Body resources – showing your body “battery level” based on physical activity, stress and recovery. Based on heart rate variability (HRV).
  • Race time predictor – predict your best time to finish a race, based on your VO2max
  • Respiration rate – based on HRV, keep track of your breathing during activity or sleep.

More details about Firstbeat features on firstbeat.com

Conclusion – Garmin Fenix 6

Garmin Fenix 6 is a big update to Garmin 5 series, received quality improvements and upgrades. The most important are: Pulse Ox for all devices (previously only Fenix 5X had Pulse Ox), PacePro, improved battery capacity and battery management, updated Firstbeat features.

If you are a Garmin Fenix 3HR or Garmin Fenix 5 user, definitely it worth the upgrade to the latest Garmin Fenix 6. If your budget is tight you might consider purchasing a Garmin Fenix 5 Plus as the prices are reduced with the 6 series launch. Buy here with a Garmin Fenix 5 Plus on Amazon.

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Featured image credits: garmin.com

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