Monday, June 18, 2018

Garmin Fenix 5/5S/5X Plus Series and Suunto 9 GPS Watch Previews

by Jeff Valliere

Recently Suunto announced the July release of the Suunto 9 Multisport GPS watch and today, not to be upstaged, Garmin released the updated version of the Fenix series with the 5S Plus, 5 Plus and 5X Plus, which all now include maps, which were previously exclusive to the 5X, as well as a slew of additional features.

Update: See our full in depth review of the Suunto 9 Baro here
Update: see our initial hands of the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus here. Full review soon!

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Series (5S Plus, 5 Plus, 5X Plus)
$699-$1149 depending on model and options.
Available June 2018
Fenix 5 S Plus Sapphire/Titanium

This is a huge upgrade to the Fenix series, most notably adding routable topo mapping capabilities and 16GB of storage to all models instead of only just to the very largest 5X as was previously the case.

Garmin has also added to all Fenix 5 Plus models:
  • On board music storage and playback to BT headphones
  • Garmin Contactless Payments 
  • ClimbPro
  • Notification Privacy settings
  • Improvements in Bluetooth and Ant+ connectivity
  • Galileo GPS ( another constellation of satellites) through an improved chipset
  • Improved altitude accuracy based on GPS coordinates and onboard maps
  • Garmin Trendline route popularity data
Each of the 3 models will come with all of the same features and functionality (aside from  Pulse OX Pulse Oxymeter on the 5X Plus only) and will each have several options such as Sapphire glass, titanium bezels/body and varying bands, all of which are quick release.  Sizing is the same as previous versions, though the titanium versions will be lighter and the 5S Plus screen has been expanded to be the same size as the larger versions, so 1.2" on all Fenix 5 Plus, to accommodate the mapping features.
Battery life spec is quoted below. We will test to determine variations such as GPS with wrist HR and no music.
"The fēnix 5S Plus can get up to 7 days in smartwatch mode and up to 4 hours in GPS and Music mode;  the fēnix 5 Plus can get up to 10 days of battery life in smartwatch mode and 8 hours in GPS and Music mode; and the fēnix 5X Plus can get up to 20 days of battery life in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS and Music mode."

I have been wearing the 5X, which I have really appreciated immensely and find the maps to be quite helpful. This said the 5X is huge on my wrist and is a bit much as a day to day watch, so offering the mapping across all sizes is a huge deal.  I am also really looking forward to the Climbpro, improved altitude accuracy as well as Galileo satellite feeds added for increase accuracy, which should be a nice advantage given the almost exclusive vertical nature of my mountainous runs here in the Colorado Rockies.

Fenix 5S Plus

Fenix 5X Plus

Fenix 5X Plus showing Pulse OX screen

Side view of the 5 Plus Sapphire/Titanium

The ClimbPro feature looks interesting, breaking down each climb individually instead of as a long string of climbs.

Routable Mapping on all models

Official release announcement from Garmin, Monday, June 18th, 2018

Public Company Information:

NASDAQ:
GRMN
KYG372601099
"We are thrilled to bring exciting new features to our most popular outdoor GPS wearable series"
OLATHE, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Garmin International, Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), today announced the fēnix 5 Plus series, its next generation of GPS multisport watches with built-in routable topographical maps, storage for music playlists, Garmin Pay™ contactless payment solution and wrist-based Pulse Oximeter 1 for altitude acclimation awareness. Like other fēnix 5 watches, the fēnix 5S Plusfēnix 5 Plus and fēnix 5X Plus are built for athletes and adventures of all sizes. These rugged yet premium crafted watches range in size from 42-51mm and all boast a bright, sunlight readable display. The fēnix 5S Plus features a 1.2-inch display, which is almost a 20% increase over the fēnix 5S, meaning users don’t have to sacrifice screen size for a watch fit for smaller wrists.
The fēnix 5X Plus is Garmin’s first wearable to offer a wrist-based Pulse Oximeter, which is especially useful for higher altitude activities.
“We are thrilled to bring exciting new features to our most popular outdoor GPS wearable series,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales. “We’ve added some of our most sought-after features like built-in mapping, music and contactless payments to each new model in the fēnix 5 Plus series, and with the introduction of the Pulse Ox feature in the fēnix 5X Plus, our customers can now have more confidence taking their adventures to even greater heights.”
Featuring wrist-based heart rate and all of the multisport and smart connectivity features of the previous fēnix 5 models, each of the watches in the Plus series will also include built-in map data optimized for at-a-glance navigation and location tracking. These maps can be used with the round-trip course creator that allows runners and cyclists to enter a distance they would like to run or ride, then select a route from a list of appropriate courses to choose from. First introduced in our premium cycling computers, the Trendline popularity routing feature will use Garmin Connect™ data to help users find and follow the best trails and running routes based on billions of miles logged by previous Garmin users. Runners can feel more comfortable knowing they’re going down a path or trail that has been previously explored by others.
The fēnix 5S Plus, fēnix 5 Plus, and fēnix 5X Plus will also offer on-device music storage, up to 500 songs, for phone-free listening. Download offline playlists from select music streaming services2 like iHeartRadio, Deezer, and more, or transfer music from a computer directly to the watch. Once the playlist is loaded, simply pair the device with compatible Bluetooth® headphones (sold separately) and start listening. All sizes of the Plus series will also include Garmin Pay, a contactless payment solution3, meaning fēnix Plus wearers can leave their cash and credit cards at home, but still be able to grab a beverage or bite after a long day on the mountain. Utilizing their Garmin Pay wallet, users have the same rewards and benefits of the physical cards, with the convenience of having them right on the wrist.
Each fēnix 5 Plus model is packed with sophisticated training features to help monitor form and performance. Users can tap into physiological metrics, running dynamics and more to track workout stats, measure progress and fine-tune form. Training status automatically evaluates recent exercise history to let users know if they’re overtraining, maintaining or peaking. The fēnix 5 Plus series are Connect IQ compatible, so users customize their watch with widgets, data fields, watch faces and apps. When paired with a compatible smartphone4, users can get call, text and email notifications right on their wrist. Additionally, users can customize the look of their watch with QuickFit® bands. Simply swap a silicone band for a leather or titanium strap, no tools necessary. New colors of the QuickFit bands have been added to the Plus series including but not limited to frost blue, seafoam, and solar flare orange.
Every fēnix 5 Plus watch features multinetwork satellite reception, now including Galileo to track in more challenging environments than GPS alone. This is particularly helpful when adventuring in places without a clear view of the sky like deep canyons or urban environments.
Constructed with premium-grade materials, the fēnix 5 Plus series is built tough for challenging environments. Available in two distinctive finishes, users can choose between a PVD-coated stainless-steel bezel with silicone watch band, or for a lighter material, a high-performing titanium bezel version with brushed titanium bracelet. Each version features a full-color Garmin Chroma Display with LED backlighting to assure sunlight readability and is water-rated to 100 meters5. The fēnix 5S Plus can get up to 7 days in smartwatch mode and up to 4 hours in GPS and Music mode;6 the fēnix 5 Plus can get up to 10 days of battery life in smartwatch mode and 8 hours in GPS and Music mode; and the fēnix 5X Plus can get up to 20 days of battery life in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS and Music mode. Users can also take advantage of the UltraTrac™ power saver mode to extend battery life even more.
Available in Q2 2018, the fēnix 5 Plus series will have suggested retail prices ranging from $699.99 to $1,149.99. To learn more, visit garmin.com/fenix.
The fēnix 5 Plus series is the latest solution from Garmin’s expanding outdoor segment, which focuses on developing technologies and innovations to enhance users’ outdoor experiences. Whether hiking, hunting, trail running, mountain biking, golfing, diving or using satellite communication, Garmin outdoor devices are becoming essential tools for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. For more information about Garmin’s other outdoor products and services, go to http://www.garmin.com/outdoorswww.garmin.blogs.com and http://twitter.com/garmin.
For decades, Garmin has pioneered new GPS navigation and wireless devices and applications that are designed for people who live an active lifestyle. Garmin serves five primary business units, including automotive, aviation, fitness, marine, and outdoor recreation. For more information, visit Garmin's virtual pressroom at garmin.com/newsroom, contact the Media Relations department at 913-397-8200, or follow us at facebook.com/garmintwitter.com/garmin, or youtube.com/garmin.

Suunto 9
$599.00 ($649.00 for HR bundle)
White or Black
Available in July

The Suunto 9 is to be the next generation multisport GPS watch moving beyond the current Spartan series and previous Ambit series.  The design looks similar to Spartan with the 3 button design and touch screen, but there are a handful of new features that have us very excited to review.

New in the Suunto 9:
  • FusedTrack, which fuses data from the barometric altimeter and movement sensors between GPS pings to improve accuracy and help conserve battery for very long events.
  • New HR sensor
  • Compatibility with Suunto's multiple mobile app. platforms
  • Easily swap-able bands
  • 24/7 continuous HR tracking
  • pre and in workout Intelligent battery tracking with a higher level of adjustability of features to most efficiently optimize battery life based on length of planned activity or as battery gets low

From Suunto:

Suunto 9

Launching June 5, the Suunto 9 is the next-generation multisport GPS watch designed for athletes who demand the best from their sports watch. Reliable, durable and accurate, Suunto 9 delivers a smart battery management system that can generate up to 120 hours with GPS.

This intelligent battery system also allows users to select the correct battery mode for their session length and calculates battery-saving settings accordingly. If your session takes longer than planned, the watch will recommend to change the battery mode when the battery gets low—all without having to exit the workout. The intelligent battery modes can also detect recurring long training sessions and trigger charge reminders well in time before your next long session.

In addition to standard activity tracking data like distance, pace, HR, etc. with best-in-class wrist-based HR from Valencell, Suunto delivers functional data like EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) and PTE (Peak Training Effect) for athletes that demand more information. Athletes can also pull training plans onto the watch to guide their daily workouts, get regular checkups on their progress across sports in an easy-to-read infographic, and use 24-hour HR monitoring to inform their rest and recovery needs. They can also monitor daily steps and calories burned, and set targets for each.

The Suunto 9 features a color touchscreen to navigate the user-friendly OS. On-screen navigation using activity-specific heat maps from the new Suunto App aids in route discovery around the world. Eighty pre-built sport modes come standard, with customizable screens providing unlimited options for in-activity views.
 Key features:
  • Intelligent battery modes allow users to select the correct battery mode for their session length and calculates battery-saving settings accordingly. If your session takes longer than planned, the watch will recommend to change the battery mode when the battery gets low—all without having to exit the workout. The intelligent battery modes can also detect recurring long training sessions and trigger charge reminders well in time before your next long session.
  • FusedTrack™ technology combines GPS and barometric data with movement sensors to improve the track and distance accuracy while conserving battery life for ultra-distance activities.
  • Activity-specific heatmaps on movescount.com can be used to find popular trails (or unpopular trails), which can be traced into routes and then downloaded to the watch for navigation on the go.
  • The Valencell PerformTek optical heart rate sensor is best in class, used by biometrics manufacturers for highly accurate HR measurement
  • The watch will also display sunrise/sunset times, and gives storm alarms when a sudden drop in air pressure occurs.

Glass: Sapphire Crystal
Bezel: Steel
Case: Polyamide
Strap: Silicone with quick release
Battery Life: Up to 120 hours with battery saving options enabled
Navigation: GPS/GLONASS
Water Resistance: 100m
Weight: 79g
Diameter: 50mm
Thickness: 15.8mm


Update: see our initial hands on impressions and testing articles
Suunto 9 here
Garmin Fenix 5 Plus here

Comments & Questions Welcome Below!
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