Garmin Fenix 6 – Next generation outdoor / sports watch with solar charging glass
Garmin has released the new Fenix 6 – a family of new outdoor / sports watches that comprise the standard, pro and sapphire edition. On top of that the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar features Power Glass – a translucent solar panel that adds to the battery life.
It has never been a real secret that Garmin has been working on the fifth generation of the Fenix series. The company’s flagship is much sought-after, offering a tremendous set of features and high-quality standards. As competitors are longing for some of Garmin’s customers, the company’s success is related to keeping the competitors at distance.
I have updated the article here and there, as the rumors and wild guesswork I presented here for the last two weeks have been confirmed by Garmin. Though there have been many discussions and doubts concerning the facts presented, there is hardly anything I had to change after the official release. Lucky me…
Fenix 6 - A whole bunch of different models
The Fenix 6 product family comprises four different models: Standard, Sapphire, Pro and Pro Solar. What seems confusing at first, allows for people buying the Fenix 6 that matches their requirements best.
Garmin Fenix 6S
Following the Fenix 5 / 5 Plus naming scheme, the Fenix 6S will be the smallest device, which is suited for slimmer wrists. The screen size hasn’t changed, neither has the resolution. The Fenix 6S has a 1.2-inch display with a resolution of 240 x 240 pixels.
|Dimensions||Weight||Screen Size||Est. Price|
|Fenix 6S||42 x 42 x 13.8 mm||58 g||1.2"||599.99|
|Fenix 6S Pro||42 x 42 x 13.8 mm||61 g||1.2"||699.99|
|Fenix 6S Sapphire||42 x 42 x 13.8 mm||61 g||1.2"||799.99|
Concerning the prices, I think it won’t matter if you pay in USD, Euro or GBP. I have seen a couple of prices in different currencies that resemble the prices I have noted down here.
Garmin Fenix 6
The standard model is represented by Fenix 6. As you can see below there are four different models, that mainly differ in the materials used and features offered. The display has been increased to 1.3 inches, as has the resolution to 260 x 260 pixels.
|Dimensions||Weight||Screen Size||Est. Price|
|Fenix 6||47 x 47 x 14.7 mm||80 g||1.3"||599.99|
|Fenix 6 Pro||47 x 47 x 14.7 mm||83 g||1.3"||699.99|
|Fenix 6 Sapphire||47 x 47 x 14.7 mm||83 g||1.3"||799.99|
|Fenix 6 Sapphire Titanium||47 x 47 x 14.7 mm||72 g||1.3"|
Garmin Fenix 6X
The Fenix 6X is missing the standard model and comprises the 6X Pro, 6X Sapphire, 6X Pro Solar, and 6X Pro Solar Titanium. There has been much speculation about what term “Solar” really is about. The Fenix 6X Pro Solar is using a technology named Power Glass™ to recharge the battery while the watch is being used. The table below shows how Power Glass affects battery life.
The display now features 1.4 inches and a resolution of 280 x 280 pixels. This means that the display has been increased by 36% compared to the Fenix 5.
|Dimensions||Weight||Screen Size||Est. Price|
|Fenix 6X Pro||51 x 51 x 14.9mm||93 g||1.4"||749.99|
|Fenix 6X Sapphire||51 x 51 x 14.9mm||93 g||1.4"||849.99|
|Fenix 6X Pro Solar Titanium + Silicone wristband||51 x 51 x 14.9 mm||82 g||1.4"||999.99|
|Fenix 6X Pro Solar Titanium + Titan wristband||51 x 51 x 14.9 mm||82 g||1.4"||1145.99|
Differences between standard, pro and sapphire edition
Given this new Pro edition, everybody wants to know the exact differences. Let’s start with the easiest part. One difference between a standard watch and a sapphire watch is the material the watch glass is made of. The standard watches take benefit from tempered Gorilla Glas, while the Sapphire watches features scratch-resistent sapphire glass. In addition to materials, there are differences concerning the features:
|Internal storage||64 MB||32 GB||32 GB||32 GB|
|Deezer / Spotify||-||+||+||+|
|Watch glass||Gorilla Glass||Gorilla Glass||Sapphire Glass||Power Glass|
Essentially the standard edition is supposed to be the budget friendly version of the Fenix 6 maintaining all the essential and important features. The Pro edition has the complete list of features, while the Sapphire edition has the full set of features as well but additionally sports premium materials.
|6S Basic / Pro / Sapphire||6 Basic / Pro / Sapphire||6X Pro / Sapphire||6X Pro Solar|
|GPS||25 h||36 h||60 h||60 + 6 h|
|GPS + music||6 h||10 h||15 h||15 + 1 h|
|UltraTrac||50 h||72 h||120 h||120 + 28 h|
|Smartwatch mode||9 days||14 days||21 days||21 + 3 days|
|Exposure mode||20 days||28 days||46 days||46 + 10 days|
|Economy mode||34 days||48 days||80 days||80 + 40 days|
The added values in the Fenix 6X Pro Solar column refer to the extended battery life that results from using Power Glass. And to be honest, these values are outstanding. I was expecting way less than that.
All products have an increased battery life when GPS is turned on. While it could result from a better battery, it is likelier that the Fenix 6 makes use of the Sony GPS chip that has been introduced with the Garmin MARQ.
Smaller bezels - larger screens (up to 36%)
Due to a smaller bezel, the Fenix 6 and 6X will benefit from a larger display, with the 6S sticking to a 1.2-inch screen. Depending on the model, the increase will be up to 36 percent compared to the Fenix 5 Plus.
As there is more space to fill, Garmin had to increase the resolution in order to maintain the pixel density. The Fenix 6 with its 1.3-inch display with 260 x 260 pixels resolution. The Fenix 6X depicts information using a 1.4-inch screen with 280 x 280 pixels resolution.
|Garmin Fenix||5S||5||5X||5S Plus||5 Plus||5X Plus||6S||6||6X|
|Resolution||218 x 218||240 x 240||240 x 240||240 x 240||240 x 240||240 x 240||240 x 240||260 x 260||280 x 280|
You can easily spot the different size of the bezel. Surprisingly the larger displays don’t result in larger housings – contrary, all devices shrank about a millimeter in height.
|Screen Size Comparison||Fenix 5S||Fenix 5||Fenix 5X||Fenix 6S||Fenix 6||Fenix 6X|
|Fenix 5S||0%||+ 19.0%||+ 19.0%||+ 19.0%||+39.6 %||+ 61.9%|
|Fenix 5||0%||0%||0%||+ 17.3%||+ 36.1%|
|Fenix 5X||0%||0%||+ 17.3%||+ 36.1%|
|Fenix 6S||0%||+ 17.3%||+ 36.1%|
|Fenix 6||0%||+ 15.9%|
Fenix 6 Impressions
Online retailers sometimes can’t wait the product to be officially announced, others may have leaked the product renders by accident. As most of the pictures show the same screens again and again, thus not allowing for deriving new information, the following images are just an excerpt, focussing on the wristband and housing mainly. Just click on the image below to open the gallery.
Fenix 6 images found on Amazon*
Fenix 6S Sapphire images found on Amazon*
New and noteworthy features
Taken into account that each Fenix generation was the most complex and feature-rich at the time being released, the Fenix 6 will be no different. I expect the Fenix 6 to have all the features of Garmin wearables that hit the shelves between the last Fenix release and today. Let’s start with the more advanced features, some of them being exclusive to the Fenix 6:
PacePro – Grade-adjusted pace guidance
PacePro is one of the Fenix 6’s more innovative features, though it resembles to what ambitious runners already are familiar with: pace bands. In their simpliest form pace bands are small pieces of paper that list split times, allowing for running a course at a steady pace. Garmin enhances this concept not only by providing the data electronically on the watch, but by taking elevation and your desired pacing strategy and uphill effort into account. (See details here)
Revised ELEVATE sensor
The Fenix 6 is getting the latest edition of ELEVATE, that allows for tracking your heart rate with an optical sensor that is placed on the backside of the Fenix 6. The revised version track your pulse underwater, something that has been introduced lately to the Forerunner 945 and that has not been working with the previous Fenix generation.
The respiration rate has been introduced with the Garmin Forerunner 945 and is one of Firstbeat’s latest addons. Garmin is offering this feature as a data field, so that the information is accessible during activities only. From a leaked screen of the Garmin vivoactive 4 it seems as if Garmin has added the metric to the health stats widget. The same widget that shows your daily steps, burned calories, stress level and body resources.
Battery / Power modes
More than a year ago, the Suunto 9 introduced power or battery modes, that allow for switching off certain features to extend the battery life.
The Fenix 6 is going to have a power manager, that works similarly by showing how enabled/disabled features/sensors affect battery life. There are different information concerning the power modes but one of the product images shows the following:
- Max Battery
- Jacket Mode
The incident detection has been introduced with the Forerunner 945, 245 and 45 and the Fenix 6 will feature the same. Incident detection will recognize heavy stumbling or falls and can inform a list of people about the incident. As the Fenix 6 will not have LTE, this feature requires a paired smartphone with internet access.
The Fenix 6 will have preloaded maps (limited to Pro and Sapphire models only). The TOPO map comprises Europe, while the ski maps offer 2000+ resorts world-wide. Additionally you will find 40,000+ golf courses pre-installed on the Fenix 6.
- Round-trip courses
- Trendline Popularity Routing
- Ultra-low GPS mode (field tour mode – expedition)
- Stress monitoring
- SpO2 monitoring
- Body battery
- Music storage
- Offline playlists (Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Music)
- Garmin Pay
- Connect IQ 3
- Activity Tracking / GPS / GLONASS / Galileo
Features that have been rumored, but tend to remain rumors
As the first information about a next-generation Fenix emerged, there was a tremendous variety of rumors. Some of them became facts, others were proven wrong. This section sums up the features that were discussed, but given the information that we have today, are unlikely to be seen as part of a Fenix 6.
Apple, Samsung, and Withings are having products with ECG features and it would have been no surprise if Garmin added a similar feature to one of the Fenix 6 models. The curve that once was interpreted as an ECG curve refers to the solar input of one of the 6X Pro Solar models. Though there is a tiny chance left, I think we can discard this feature for the Fenix 6.
LTE - Connected without smartphone
Last year Garmin launched the vivoactive 3 Music (Verizon) that can use an integrated LTE modem to connect with Verizon. Because I haven’t seen this product on any other than the US market, I don’t think the new Fenix is going to have LTE. Except for the live tracking and incident notification, I don’t see much of an advantage. Contrary LTE is going to drain the battery.
Release Date and Prices
The Garmin Fenix 6 has been releases on August 29th and while some models already can be ordered, others will be available in 5-8 weeks. As soon as Amazon is listing the Fenix 6 again, I will add the links here. If you would like to support this website, you may consider clicking on the Amazon link and placing your order there.
- Fenix 6S – Silver with black band – Check price on Amazon*
- Fenix 6S – White with white band – Check price on Amazon*
- Fenix 6S Pro – Black with black band – Check price on Amazon*
- Fenix 6S Pro – Rose gold with white band – Check price on Amazon*
- Fenix 6S Sapphire – Black with black band – Check price on Amazon*
- Fenix 6S Sapphire – Light gold with grey leather band – Check price on Amazon*
- Fenix 6S Sapphire – Rose gold with grey band – Check price on Amazon*
- Fenix 6 – Silver with black band – Check price on Amazon*
- Fenix 6 Pro – Black with black band – Check price on Amazon*
- Fenix 6 Sapphire – Dark gray with black band – Check price on Amazon*
- Fenix 6 Sapphire – Black with red nylon band – Check price on Amazon*
- Fenix 6 Sapphire – Titanium – Check price on Amazon*
- Fenix 6 Sapphire – Titanium with orange band – Check price on Amazon*
- Fenix 6X Pro – Black with black band – Check price on Amazon*
- Fenix 6X Pro Solar – Titanium – Check price on Amazon*
- Fenix 6X Sapphire – Dark grey with black band – Check price on Amazon*
- Fenix 6X Sapphire – Black with brown leather band – Check price on Amazon*
For those who can’t wait, Amazon offers nice prices for the Fenix 5 Sapphire* and Fenix 5 Plus*.
One more thing...
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