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Garmin’s new Fenix 5 Plus series adds music, payment, SO2 sensor and more

By Alvin Soon - on 20 Jun 2018, 3:15pm

Garmin’s new Fenix 5 Plus series adds music, payment, SO2 sensor and more

Garmin has announced new versions of its high-end smartwatch series. Confusingly, instead of naming this year’s models the Fenix 6 series, Garmin has tacked on a ‘Plus’ moniker to each of them. The Fenix 5 Plus series adds new features like offline music play, Garmin Pay, maps, an SO2 sensor, and more.

Like the previous Fenix 5 series, features, size, and weight differ from each of the three Fenix 5 Plus watches. The Fenix 5S Plus is the smallest model with a 42mm face, but its display is now 20 percent larger than the Fenix 5S.

The Fenix 5S Plus is the smallest model with a case size of 42mm.

The Fenix 5 Plus has a case size of 47mm, and the Fenix 5X Plus is the largest at 51mm. Each comes with options for face material, watch color, band type, and band style, so the prices vary. The Fenix 5S Plus and 5 Plus, for example, range from US$799.99 to US$849.99. The 5X Plus starts at US$849.99 and ends at US$1,149.99.

The Fenix 5 Plus is the middle-sized model with a case size of 47mm.

New Features

All the smartwatches in the Fenix 5 Plus series come with color maps, Garmin Pay, and offline music. Before, only the Fenix 5X had maps. Color maps, however, are region specific. If you buy a Fenix 5 Plus from North America, for example, you’ll get North American maps out of the box. You’ll have to pay for more region maps. Every one of the Fenix 5 Plus watches supports multi-network satellite reception; GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo.

Garmin Pay was introduced in the Vivoactive 3, and it works here with banks like OCBC. Offline music lets you download music to the watch and stream it through Bluetooth. The new Fenix 5 Plus watches also get iHeartRadio/Deezer offline sync, but no Spotify.

The Fenix 5X Plus is the largest model. It comes with the longest battery life and is the only one to have the new SO2 sensor.

The Fenix 5X Plus gets a new Pulse OX Acclimation feature, which is a sensor to measure pulse oxygen saturation levels, or SO2. There are quite a few possible uses for this measurement; which shows how oxygen is being distributed throughout the body. The Fenix 5X Plus uses it to provide percentage values of how saturated your blood is with oxygen, which will decrease as you go higher up in altitude. The Fenix 5X Plus also comes with a ClimbPro page to provide real-time information on current and upcoming climbs.

All the new watches also carry over features from the previous generation. These include quick-release bands, water resistance, and smartphone alerts. Features I found useful from last year’s Garmin 5 series were Training Load and Training Status, which are also in this year’s models. 

Training Load will adapt to you over time and estimate whether you’ve been training under optimal load, or whether you’ve been over- or under-training. Training Status is even more direct, it’ll tell you whether your current regime is ‘productive’ or ‘unproductive.’ The watch can even give you advice for recovery. If you had a particularly heavy day and your vitals are flagging, it can suggest you take more time off than usual.

Training Status lets you know if your current program is increasing your fitness or not.

The Fenix 5 Plus series, like their predecessors, also get exceptional battery life:-

  • The 5S Plus is rated for up to 7 days in smartwatch mode and up to 4 hours in GPS and Music mode.
  • The 5 Plus can get up to 10 days of battery life in smartwatch mode and 8 hours in GPS and Music mode.
  • The Fenix 5X Plus can get up to 20 days in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS and Music mode.

We’ve heard that the new Garmin Fenix 5 will be coming to Singapore soon. Stay tuned for updates on its local availability and prices.