Tech

First Look: Garmin Fenix 6 Pro

This multi-sport watch is jam-packed with features that make backcountry exploring a breeze.

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The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is a feature-filled watch that’s tailor-made for trail runners who like to venture deep into the backcountry. Here’s our review of the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro.

$650

Garmin Fenix 6 PRO Features

What really sets this watch apart from its peers is the sheer number of features integrated directly into the watch, with the opportunity to plug in more via the Garmin Connect app. Out of the box, the watch comes with sleep tracking, GPS mapping, menstrual cycle tracking, respiration rate, breathing exercises, temperature, barometric compass and altimeter. It also has first in its class storage space for maps, music and all your training data.  When tested side by side with other GPS watches, the data was comparably accurate, though the HR measurements were variable due to changing contact with tester’s skin (the watch doesn’t sit 100% flush on smaller wrists).

The navigational features available in the Garmin Fenix 6 really stand out. This watch lets users track back to start, ensuring you’re always able to find your way back to the trailhead. It also lets runners use turn-by-turn navigation on complex routes, create their own courses, preload maps and use an old-school compass built into the watch.

Serious athletes will also enjoy the training functions in the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro. Built-in training plans and strength training can help you self-coach and train with a bit more specificity and data. It also lets you track your weights and reps in the weight room, compare historical training data, and can be used to track your cross-training too.

The huge storage also lets users add up to 2,000 songs directly onto the watch for music on the go. Integrated Garmin Pay acts like a wallet wherever you go.

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is also fairly easy to learn to use. Though the sheer number of features do entail a bit of a learning curve, the quick-start makes it easy enough to pick up and use. Not all the features are all that useful for running, and some are buried fairly deeply within the watch.

Battery Life

This watch is also a stand-out for its battery life. Depending on which and how many features you’re using, it can last up to two weeks in smartwatch mode, and 36 hours in GPS mode. That’s plenty of time for most ultrarunners (200 milers, anyone?) and even enough for some multi-day backpacking trips. If you’re planning on bumping tunes while using this watch, heads up that it shortens the battery life to around 10 hours.  You can also switch the watch into battery-saving mode, though that makes the GPS tracking significantly less accurate.

Cons

The only significant downside to the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is its size. The watch is pretty bulky and doesn’t fit especially well on smaller wrists. The size can also make it easier to accidentally press buttons, lapping out the watch or inadvertently ending the activity. Our tester reported a bit of chafing on first use.

Who Its For

Jam-packed with features, this watch is great for the serious ultrarunner or backcountry explorer. If you like getting deep in the backcountry, and frequently find yourself on adventures that take you off the beaten path, this is the watch for you. We would not recommend a watch at this price point or with this many functions if the majority of your runs are around town, and most of your races are shorter.