Garmin Fenix 2 Review

The Fenix 2, Garmin’s take on wearable computing has a distinct sports style. Some may question whether I’m the right man to be reviewing it at all.

Garmin Fenix 2: On the plus side

They might have a point. I’m hardly the world’s most fitness-obsessed technology journalist, and the Fenix 2 sells itself incredibly heavily on being a fitness watch. It’ll pair with any number of fitness monitors — heart rate sensors, foot pods, geocaching beacons, temperature monitors and the like — to give a more rounded view of your fitness activities.
To give you an idea, the default start/stop menu for sports activities lists, in order, XC Ski, Ski-Board, Mountaineer, Hike, Navigate, Trail Run, Run, Bike, Swim, Workout, Indoor, Multisport and Custom tracking profiles. Or in other words, if you can’t find your sport of choice in the Fenix 2’s menu structures, you’re not really trying hard enough.

Bicycle... Bicycle... I want to ride my... (etc)
I want to ride my… (etc)

The Fenix 2 is itself a chunky device which befits its sports status. There’s no touchscreen on offer, as is the case with many other wearables. Instead, button controls on the sides navigate the Fenix 2’s many menus and functions, which also cover compass, altitude, temperature and barometer at a basic level. Garmin’s connect app allows you to pair the Fenix 2 with a smartphone to fully collate your workout data, although it will also appear on the watch after each workout.
I’ve been testing the Fenix 2 against my usual workout routine — such as it is — which involves cycling and walking pairing up a Pebble Smartwatch with the Runkeeper application. Runkeeper works acceptably most of the time, but it’s easily blown away by the Fenix 2 in terms of data presented at the end of each workout, as well as ease of use, simply because I can pause workouts directly from the watch rather than fishing around in a pocket or bag for my smartphone.

One genuine high point, from a wearables point of view is that the Fenix 2 has exceptionally good battery life. This is often a sticking point for wearables such as the Samsung Gear Fit. If you’re just using the Fenix 2 as a watch — and for most buyers they probably won’t be running triathlons 24/7 — it’ll easily last more than a week between charges. If you’re making heavy use of the GPS for training purposes it can drain quite a bit faster than that, but it’s excellent for long range use if you don’t want to carry its charger around.
Next Page: Garmin Fenix 2: On the minus side

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