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Fenix 5S reviewed: Exactly what you’d expect from a $600 Garmin sport watch

Video shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link)

Not many companies try to do what Garmin does with the Fenix line of fitness watches. While Apple and Google have their own general-purpose smartwatches priced around $300 (neither of which comes close to the Fenix's tracking abilities), Garmin and a handful of other companies make super-expensive fitness watches that are meant for the most active among us.

The new $599 Fenix 5S is one of the models in the new Fenix 5 line that promises premium design and style. It also has the most advanced tracking abilities—with onboard GPS, GLONASS, barometer, altimeter, heart rate monitor, and other sensors—and it delivers a full smartwatch experience with Garmin's own UI, widgets, notifications, and app store. No matter how you look at it, $600 is a lot to spend on a fitness tracker. But if money is no object and you need the most capable tracker you can get, the 5S may be for you.

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Garmin’s new Fenix 5 multisport tracker will finally fit my small wrist

Enlarge (credit: Garmin)

LAS VEGAS—Garmin has updated its Fenix line of high-end multisport watches annually for the past few years, and 2017's update will be welcomed by all those with smaller wrists (myself included). This week Garmin announced the new Fenix 5 line of fitness watches, including the Fenix 5, 5S, and 5X, all of which were redesigned to be more compact than the existing Fenix watches. The new offerings should be easier for women and people with smaller wrists to wear.

Garmin's Fenix line combines the widest feature set with arguably the most inoffensive design out of Garmin's wearable family. However, Fenix watches are big watches—so big that whenever I put one on, the gigantic face weighed down my wrist and the metal band would leave a gap so large around my wrist my index finger could fit through it. The company is tackling that issue with the Fenix 5 line (no, there were no Fenix 4 models, you're not missing anything), which measure 42mm (Fenix 5S), 47mm (Fenix 5), and 51mm (Fenix 5X).

The Fenix 5X may be the size of a typical Fenix 3 HR, but the other two models are made to be compact and take up less wrist real estate. They all come in a variety of colors and finishes, and they all have sapphire versions that use scratch-resistant lenses. All of the watches are waterproof up to 100 meters and can be interchanged between leather, metal, and silicone bands depending on how you're wearing them.

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