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Garmin debuts three new high-end Fenix multisport watches

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Garmin on Wednesday announced the next iteration in its Fenix line of high-end athletic watches. The company unveiled the Fenix 5 and Fenix 5X, as well as the Fenix 5S, the first high-end Garmin watch designed specifically for females.

All three watches include GPS and GLONASS to measure pace, distance, speed and other metrics when running, biking and performing a variety of other activities. The watches also feature an optical heart-rate sensor, all-day fitness tracking (steps, calories burned, active minutes and sleep), and the ability to show notifications from an iPhone or Android phone.

The Fenix line is known for its long battery life and rugged design. The watches are waterproof down to 100 meters (10ATM) and feature a durable stainless steel bezel. All three models will also last more than a week with normal usage.

Other features include a three-axis compass, gyroscope, barometric altimeter, along with a wide variety of sport profiles, including running, biking, swimming, hiking, triathlons, climbing, skiing, rowing and paddle boarding. These are also the first Garmin watches to support the company's new QuickFit release system, which lets users quickly swap out watch bands without needing a special tool.

The watches felt great on my wrist. All of them feature a new optical heart-rate sensor that barely protrudes from the back, which makes them a lot more comfortable to wear. With the exception of the Fenix 5X, I also didn't find them to be too bulky or heavy. Read on to learn more about the difference between the Fenix 5S, Fenix 5 and Fenix 5X.

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All of the Fenix 5 watches support Garmin's new QuickFit release system, which allows you to swap straps without needing a special tool.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Fenix 5S

The Fenix 5S is a smaller version of the watch designed for women and petite wrists, but delivering the same high-end Fenix performance. The watch measures 42mm in diameter and has a smoother face than other Fenix models. It will last up to 8 days with normal usage, or up to 13 hours with heart rate tracking and an active GPS signal.

The Fenix 5S will be available by March for $600 (£550, AU$$950). The watch comes in silver with either a white, turquoise or black silicone band and a mineral glass display. There's also a second model that adds Wi-Fi and replaces the mineral glass display with a scratch-resistant sapphire one. The Fenix 5S Sapphire will be available for $700 (£650, AU$$1,050) and comes with an extra silicone QuickFit band.

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The Fenix 5S is designed for smaller wrists.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Fenix 5

The Fenix 5 measures 47mm in diameter and has a more compact design than the Fenix 3 ($352.23 at Amazon.com) HR. The watch will also last up to two weeks with normal usage, or up to 20 hours with heart-rate tracking and an active GPS signal, which is a 4-hour improvement over last year's model.

The Fenix 5 will be available by March for $600 (£550, AU$$950). Like the Fenix 5S, there will be a second model that adds Wi-Fi and replaces the mineral glass display with a durable sapphire one. The Fenix 5 Sapphire will be available for $700 (£650, AU$$1,050) and also comes with an extra silicone QuickFit band.

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The Fenix 5 is slightly larger and features a more rugged look.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Fenix 5X

In addition to a larger size (51mm in diameter), the Fenix 5X includes features not found in the other models. It comes preloaded with topographic US maps, routable cycling maps for turn-by-turn navigation, and other features like Round Trip Run and Round Trip Ride, which can suggest routes based on how far you would like to run or ride. Another feature, called Around Me, allows users to see different points of interest, waypoints and other map objects within in their range.

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The Fenix 5X is the largest of the three watches and includes built-in maps.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Garmin has said that the Fenix 5X will last up to 12 days with normal usage, or up to 20 hours with heart-rate tracking and an active GPS signal. The watch also comes with Wi-Fi and a scratch-resistant sapphire lens standard.

The Fenix 5X will be available by March for $700 (£650, AU$$1,050).

Check out all of CNET's coverage of CES 2017.

Discuss Garmin Fenix 5

Quick Specifications See All

  • Size 1.2 inch
  • Product type GPS Sport watch
  • Features GPS enabled
    Heart rate sensor
    Smart notifications
    Wireless sync
    Compass
    Gyroscope
    Altimeter
    Barometer
    Changeable bands
    Waterproof
    Sleep monitor
    VO2 Max estimate
    Swim metrics
    AutoShot round analyzer
    Always-on display
    Silent alarms
    Music control
    Camera remote
    Stroke identifications
    Digital scorecard
  • Protection 10ATM waterproof
  • Body Material Stainless steel
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