Garmin's New GPS Watch Is Made For Smaller Wrists

Garmin's fenix 3 GPS watch received high marks from us for its ruggedness, long battery life and excellent tracking features, but there was no getting around the fact that it was a large watch, far too bulky for small wrists. Garmin is looking to rectify that with the fenix 5S, which has many of the same features packed into a smaller design.

The fenix 5S is one of three new devices being introduced by Garmin. The fenix 5 and the fenix 5X round out this latest generation of go-anywhere GPS watches, which will start at $599 and be available in the first quarter of 2017.

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All three watches come with an optical heart rate monitor, daily activity tracking, 3-axis compass, barometric altimeter, and GPS and GLONASS. You also get smartphone connectivity and notifications and Connect IQ, Garmin's attempt at an app store, which lets you load additional watch faces and widgets onto the watch.

The Sapphire models (a $100 premium) are equipped with Wi-Fi, so they can sync with your account even when your phone isn't present. All are rated to 100-meter water resistance and made of stainless steel.

The fenix 5s, designed for smaller wrists, has a case diameter of 42mm, similar to smaller smartwatches, and a less industrial design than its counterparts. Owing to its smaller size, it has the shortest battery life of the group, 13 hours when using GPS — which is still pretty good.

At 47mm, the fenix 5 is more compact than the older fenix 3, but still bears a similar look to its predecessor. It will last up to 24 hours in GPS mode.

The fenix 5x is the biggest of the bunch, at 51mm, is preloaded with TOPO U.S. maps, and has features like Round Trip Run — you can tell the watch how far you'd like to go, and it will suggest routes for you. It also includes guidance cues for where to turn, and Around Me mode, which shows other points of interest nearby. Its battery life — 20 hours using GPS — is a bit shorter than that of the fenix 5.

The fenix 5 and 5S will start at $599. The fenix 5 sapphire, fenix 5S sapphire and the fenix 5x will cost $699.

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.