View Full Version : Garmin Fenix 3

11-14-2016, 06:50 PM
Anyone using one of these that would care to comment on how they like it?

i went on vacation this past week, and didnt have a bike, but re-established how much i do enjoy running. i also have pretty awful swimming form, but reacquainted myself with how good a workout swimming is.

i notice that DC Rainmaker, who reviews all manner of devices chooses the fenix 3 for both running and swimming, and i think i'm going to grab one for working out this fall/winter/spring. planning on doing some running, which i tolerate better in the cold than cycling, indoor swimming and zwifting, of course.

one thing that appeals to me is the simple on-wrist mapping. lately, i pretty often find myself in unfamiliar towns for work and when i go running, i stick to simple routes so as not to get lost. with a simplified map right on my wrist, it would ease that anxiety a bit i think (i have a TERRIBLE natural sense of direction)...

thoughts on the fenix 3?

11-14-2016, 08:51 PM
I thought I read dc rainmaker liked the 920xt better for tri than the Fenix series, but I don't think 920 has the mapping features so if that gets you out having fun the fenix is pretty much in a league of its own. It most closely resembles a regular-ish watch too which is a plus if you want to wear it day to day.

Both were out of my budget so I opted for the Tom Tom multisport and have been happy with it thus far, but it doesn't have the advanced features you mentioned.

11-14-2016, 09:02 PM
just bought a fenix3 form REI yesterday. now, i am going to compare it to the garmin 610 which i had had four years ago. the 610 was terrible because it would keep losing gps reception out in the open. was it due to my possibly faulty unit? i do not know. i returned it in a week. so, for the past four years i was gps free until yesterday when i bought the fenix3 HR (with the wrist elevate HR monitoring system).

for the past one day (as if one day of experience matters at all...) the watch has been super. i have used it for 7 mile run and it never lost satellite reception. it is comfortable to wear and i am using it as my everyday watch. i like the wrist monitoring system because i am keen on knowing how my basal HR changes over time. i have a feeling that it is not as accurate/responsive to changes in HR when exercising compared to a chest strap. this is why i use a chest strap for exercising.

also, it has a ton of features. i'm sure you have read those on dcrainmaker. i really use on a fraction of those. and the ones i use that have great to use.

if this review, coming from the owner of a one day old fenix3 is relevant (it actually should not be but i am writing it anyway because i have not been this excited about a watch), then you should get this watch.

p nut
11-14-2016, 09:09 PM
Ive been using a Fenix 2 for over a year and have enjoyed it. It sometimes loses satellite reception more often than my iPhone but not too frequently. Syncs up to Strava just fine and if wanted, gets texts and other notifications as well. But battery only lasts a day with constant connection with the phone so I only sync up after a workout.

I bought it as I didn't want to carry my phone on runs, or on shorter bike rides. It serves its purpose fine.

Fenix 3 is supposed to be better in all aspects so I'd give it a go.

11-14-2016, 10:30 PM
I defer to DC Rainmaker for anything you need to know about this GPS watch. It works well for the small slice of functionality I need it for - running.

In truth, I bought it over other GPS devices because it looks OK as a wearable watch, so I can get more use out of it. I bought the Fenix 3 Sapphire because at the time I got it, that was the way to also get the metal bracelet watchband. Unlike DC Rainmaker, I don't think the metal band makes it too heavy to run with.

Along the concrete canyons of Manhattan, I don't find it gets locked in to any US or Russian GPS network any faster than any other GPS watch I've had. I don't look at the watch enough when I run to know if it loses satellite lock much while in normal use.

11-14-2016, 11:35 PM
Why not go completely off the rails and get a Samsung Gear S3 Frontier? GPS, phone, wifi, HR, texting, Spotify, Uber, etc, etc. Really, you're phone will become duplicative.

11-15-2016, 08:01 AM
Man how many miles can you run before getting lost in the jungle? I have been running for years without a GPS watch but got a basic Forerunner 230 on sale several months back, and I have been very happy with it. I have used it to run on a bike trail in the "forest" with trees and do not recall losing a GPS connection. It is so nice to run with random routes knowing exactly my mileage at any point without pre-planning a route with a known distance. If I want mapping functions, I would just use my phone, as any watch would be too small for me to deal with it.

11-15-2016, 08:27 AM
can't comment on the Fenix 3 directly but I've had the 230 for a few months and am really happy with it. I wanted something for running, trail rides and cross practice/racing. I also wanted the sleep/activity tracking and phone notifications. and I wanted a watch for those rides where I don't want to look at numbers, but do want to record the ride. I use HR when doing activities but preferred long battery life over constant HR monitoring. the wrist-based HR units have around a day or so of battery life, whereas I get almost two weeks.

the Fenix is basically all of that plus the navigation features and a fancier case (and double the price). but if it functions as well as the 230 does - which I've had very few minor issues with - then it'll be great.

11-15-2016, 09:13 AM
I've had a Fenix 3 for about a year now and really like it. I've used it back country skiing, road/cross/mountain biking, running, swimming and paddle boarding. It's just a really great product. It also looks good in my opinion - something you can just wear everyday. There is some really unwearable tech - fashion wise - out there!

I don't use the mapping mostly because of the size of the watch. I used to have a Garmin Oregon handheld and could barely make that size screen work for me so take that with a grain of salt. I usually know about where I am and only use the track back when in the woods skiing mostly for orientation purposes. I also like to see where I've been once I'm home especially skiing (so I can find more powder stashes).

Don't forget the alerts and such from your phone. It's handy both during exercise and just walking around to see who's calling/texting before you have to stop and pull your phone out. I never thought I'd need such a thing but I have a habit of squeezing in a ski or bike during work hours and there are some calls I need to take.

Good luck!

11-15-2016, 09:51 AM
It's the best sports activity watch in the history of sports activity watches. I love mine and can't fault it at all. I use it for swimming, biking (road and MTB), and hiking. It can be used for so much more and will satisfy even the geekiest of data nerds. Very rugged and can handle abuse. What's not to like?

One thing - not sure I'd use it for 'on-wrist mapping.'

11-15-2016, 09:59 AM
I'll sell you mine used if you want... Fenix 3 Sapphire and I have the cloth/velcro strap, the stock rubber strap, and a never used metal link bracelet. I've got a bunch of the bike mounts for it. I've had it close to a year and a half.

Hands down it is the best fitness oriented watch IMO, it blows away most of the competition.

The thing is for me it's not very comfortable (it's a huge watch and I don't have huge wrists) to wear as a watch, and I'm super paranoid about it irritating my wrist since I've had some tendon injuries. So for the last 6 months or so I only use it on my MTB and I put it on my wrist for open water swimming (which doesn't happen very often). I have an Edge 1000 too so at this point if I'm not using it for activity tracking I kind of have the itch to move it. I've still been using the F3 on my MTB because it's massively more durable than the Edge and I don't have a good mount for the edge that works on my MTB, whereas the Fenix/Forerunner mount is absolutely rock solid.

The perceived weakness according to the owner community of the F3 is running/hiking under dense tree cover. It works fine, but if you're a hard core runner who expects perfect GPS tracks you might be disappointed. Running & Walking is just too slow to get perfect tracks out of such a teeny GPS antenna. That said there seemed to be a lot of variation in units. Mine's pretty good. I did use it for running a fair amount including in the woods. It just can't give you ultra accurate pacing information in those situations. Total non factor for biking as if you want super accurate speed information you just connect an ANT+ speedo.

Garmin has worked pretty damn hard on supporting this device. I got mine in July '15 and it was on a 2.x firmware release, I got 8.0 pushed to it last weekend. It still gets updates about once a month, and it has a ton of features now that it didn't have when I got it.

Really that's the only thing about it.. do you want to wear a huge watch. For me I either have to crank the strap down hard with it further up my arm, which isn't that comfy, or it slides down and starts impacting my ability to flex my wrist. Also I'm left handed, it has a huge button at about 2 o'clock that jabs into the head of my ulna which is why I think I find it so uncomfortable. If you wear it on your right wrist that button is a non factor since it's reversed. But I've never gotten used to trying to wear a watch on my right arm.

11-15-2016, 10:30 AM
best gps watch on the market

great if you do other things besides riding

gps hooks up pretty quickly (vs. suunto and older garmins)

11-15-2016, 05:10 PM
Fenix 3 is nice but just picked up a Garmin 920XT for $199 (without the HR strap). CDRainmaker had the price and link posted on their website. Couldn't beat the price. Not sure if price still available.

Been wearing it on runs/cycling and works great.

Something to consider at that price.

11-15-2016, 08:16 PM
I have a Suunto Ambit2 and like it. However, most of my other stuff is Garmin, so I have been thinking of the Fenix3 as well. And now on sale is quite appealing.
The ambit 3 HR is interesting looking as well, but it is my understanding that bike mounts don't work in this unit? (the HR one)

11-17-2016, 05:17 PM
Clever Training has all their Fenix 3's @ 25% off... Not sure if the DCRainMaker discount code would work in addition to that.

11-17-2016, 09:33 PM
Make sure you try one on. I use a forerunner 220 and thought I could use the fenix for everyday use but it's just too big for my taste. My friend has one and its big and he is a big guy. It's not subtle.

I wish I could put the analog face on my 220 but have to get a 230 or 235 for that.

sand fungus
11-17-2016, 11:24 PM
I use it for all sorts of activities, hiking, snowshoeing, running, biking etc. It works great for all of those activities. But as others have said it is big, like rap star big...

11-18-2016, 08:49 PM
+1 on the 920XT, does everything I want and a whole lot more. I use this for all cycling now as well. Looks like an Apple Watch, decent battery life, and 100% in the pool waterproof.