Watches made for sporting/fitness purposes are one of the hottest items in the outdoor industry. Whether you're simply tracking how many steps in a day or intend to make full use of the miniature GPS on your wrist, they can be darn handy devices to have along. Garmin makes some of the finest GPS watches in the business, and I recently had the opportunity to test out their new fenix 5X during a Colorado elk hunt. Here are five things you need to know.
1. It’s packed with features. The fenix 5X is loaded with features that should impress any hunter. It comes loaded with full-color TOPO U.S. mapping, GPS and GLONASS capability to track in more challenging environments than GPS alone, as well as a 3-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter.
2. It doubles as a fitness watch. Fitbit and its competing products are all the rage at the moment. If you’re packing a fenix 5X, though, you won’t have to strap anything else to you wrist. The 5X features wrist-based heart rate monitoring. It also counts steps and monitors your sleep. The watch uses your heart rate to provide calories burned information, too, making it handy if you’re looking to shed a few pounds or maintain your current physical shape.
3. The mapping is fantastic. The fenix 5X features full-color TOPO U.S. mapping that comes preloaded. Better, the map data is optimized for at-a-glance navigation and location tracking. If you’re going off the grid, that’s fine, too. Each model in the fenix 5X series providence comprehensive navigation and tracking to guide you on and off the beaten path, plus ABC (altimeter, barometer and compass) sensor capabilities.
4. It can connect to your smartphone. Owners of the fenix 5X can download the free Garmin Connect Mobile application and sync their watch with a smartphone. The app allows you to keep an even more detailed eye on fitness features, mapping and more. Below is the heart rate chart from Tuesday, Oct. 17. You'll note that my heart rate peaked at 159 beats per minute, a little after 6 p.m. It probably won't surprise you that it's about that time that I killed a bull elk.
5. It's built to last. The fenix 5X has a rugged design that features a stainless steel bezel, buttons and rear case. I’m a clumsy sort of guy, and have routinely banged the watch against trees, doors and anything else that’s gotten in my way. It has hazarded such treatment without issue. The battery life is nice, too—it’ll last up to 12 days in smartwatch mode, and up to 20 hours in GPS mode.