Garmin fenix 5X Plus vs fenix 5X Original – Australian Release Date

It’s here, the new fenix watch has been announced by Garmin the fenix 5X Plus. This watch is feature packed with new Preloaded Topo Maps, Pulse Oximetry, Garmin Pay and Music and much more. Some of the fenix 5X Plus Australian models are available to order today with more expected in July/August. I'll detail the full list below for pricing and expected arrival dates. As unlike the last fenix 5X series, there are multiple versions this time:


Fenix 5X Plus Black with Black Band, $1,249 AUD, Available Now, Box Contents:

  • Fenix 5X Plus, Charging/Data Cable, documentation

Fenix 5X Plus Slate Gray with Brown Leather Band, $1,299 AUD, ETA July, Box Contents:

  • Fenix 5X Plus, Spare Silicone QuickFit Band, Charging/Data cable, documentation

Fenix 5X Plus Carbon Gray DLC Titanium with DLC Titanium Band, $1,699 AUD, ETA June/July, Box Contents:

  • Fenix 5X Plus, Spare Silicone Quickfit Band, Charging/Data cable, documentation

There is a bit of price variation in the fenix 5s Plus and fenix 5 Plus models as they have sapphire and non-sapphire versions. The sapphire versions have a stronger lens as opposed to the non-sapphire versions (this is the only difference between these models unlike the previous generation). The fenix 5X Plus watches only come in sapphire versions. The other factor is the DLC titanium version of the fenix 5X Plus, the fenix 5 Plus series and Tactix Charlie are the only other Garmin watches that use the Diamond-like coating.

fenix 5X Plus Sapphire - Black
fenix 5X Plus Sapphire - Black
fenix 5X Plus Sapphire - Leather
fenix 5X Plus Sapphire - Leather
Garmin fenix 5X Plus - Titanium
fenix 5X Plus - Titanium

Fenix 5X Plus vs Fenix 5 Original

There’s a couple of major differences regarding software but only one difference for hardware (Pulse Ox). I’ll list the changes below:

Wrist Based-Pulse Ox Sensor (Provides awareness of your blood oxygen saturation levels – specially designed for use when you’re adjusting to higher altitudes) *Available only on fenix 5X Plus models

Music storage (Can now store music locally on your watch – up to 500 songs and connect to Bluetooth headphones)

Garmin Pay (Contactless Payment from Garmin available on every fenix 5 Plus model – Here’s a list of compatible banks *click the drop-down for Australian banks)

Preloaded Topo Maps (Topo maps were available on the fenix 5X original models, but this is an updated version with new routing options)

GPS, GLONASS and now GALILEO satellite constellations (This means more potential satellite connections which means faster satellite acquisition)

Trendline Popularity routing (Discover the most popular routes and trails with Garmin Connect route popularity)

There are a couple of other niche additions like a dedicated Climb app called ClimbPro. As it stands, this is a pretty significant list for a new product that isn’t an entirely new model. Though according to Garmin due to the music, NFC chip and storage requirements it’s almost a completely new model regarding internal hardware and software used.

fenix 5X Plus - Leather
fenix 5X Plus - Leather
fenix 5X - Original
fenix 5X - Original

In terms of actual hardware differences between the original fenix 5X and the fenix 5X Plus there is only one and that's the red light on the back of the wrist HRM. The red light is actually the Pulse Ox Sensor that takes about 30 seconds of standing still to measure your oxygen saturation. Other then that one difference and the obvious different bands at a glance both watches look the same.

Pulse Oximetry Details and Health Tracking

Regarding activity tracking and analysis, Garmin has all the same in-depth analysis features including VO2 max alongside Training status and Training effect. The new hardware edition that is only available on the fenix 5X Plus is the Pulse OX sensor or Pulse Oximetry sensor. The sensor is used to help measure your Oxygen Saturation level which will give you a measure of the what your body is going through at that altitude. Below is a graph showing the effects of Oxygen Saturation on the body.

Another new feature to the fenix 5 Plus watches is the ClimbPro app. On a basic level, it takes your climbs on hikes and splits them automatically so that you can see how steep, particular sections of your hike were. For shorter hikes feature isn’t so noticeable as Garmin has always had an elevation profile but for longer hikes, ClimbPro shines, showing you detailed information like the distance of the specific climb, current ascent, average gradient, vertical speed, time for climb and the climb number.

Going deeper into the health tracking potential of this watch, Garmin has recently made a serious update to their sleep tracking analysis. You can now see each phase in more detail like REM, Light, Deep and Awake phases along with how long you were in each of these phases.

Activity Tracking/Analysis

For sports tracking, Garmin hasn’t changed a great deal except for the inclusion of the Galileo satellite constellation for better satellite acquisition. Garmin has a list of preloaded sports which I’ll include below but there a whole bunch of custom sports modes you can add to your watch via the Connect App.

Trail run, Run, Hike, Bike, Bike Indoor, Open Water Swim, Triathlon, Boat, Tactical, Jumpmaster, Stair Stepper, Elliptical, Floor Climb, Yoga, Cardio, Strength, Kayak, SwimRun, Walk, Project Waypoint, TruSwing, Row Indoor, Row, SUP, XC Ski, Snowboard, Ski, Pool Swim, MTB, Climb, Indoor Track, Treadmill, Multisport, Map, Track Me, Navigate, Golf, Triathlon.

Each of these preloaded sports profiles will have dedicated data display pages for extra information about your performance. Run for example will display your distance, pace, how long you have been running. These can also be customised to show different information even multiple fields of information on the one page.

Garmin also has dedicated training status/loads, VO2 max and recovery information to help you get the maximum at of your training. The Training status will tell you whether which status phase you’re in (Detraining, Unproductive, Recovery, Maintaining, Productive, Peaking and Overreaching) your status is assessed by your VO2 Max (VO2 Max can take a while to stabilise with runs and activities needed over a 30-day period). These fitness analysis features are great to make sure that you’re not doing more harm than good when training.

Garmin Music

Unsurprisingly Garmin has added Music support to all the fenix 5 plus models. For the most part, the Music app on the Garmin watches are primarily the same – they all support the same music streaming services (Deezer and iHeartRadio) and use Garmin Express to import your owned music over. The fenix 5 Plus has a couple of extra offers on their music app then the vivoactive 3 music though. These are relatively minor but are worth mentioning. The fenix 5 Plus has audio alerts for laps, pace and heart rate alerts. The fenix 5 Plus also has the ability to add a music page to your workouts data pages which is an easy way to change music mid-workout. The vivoactive 3 music doesn’t have the option to do either of these things.

If you would like to install music on your watch, it’s a relatively simple process that I’ve gone into depth before about here. Garmin also has a nifty video about how to do it here.  In simple steps, though you just need to connect your watch to your computer then open Garmin Express. And add the music over to your watch.

Garmin Pay

Another expected feature on the fenix 5X Plus is Garmin’s wireless payment system. This was first added on the vivoactive 3 but has now been added to all the fenix 5 Plus models and the forerunner 645 Music and Non-Music versions. This is a great new feature that alongside the Music app makes it very possible to actually leave your phone at home when you’re out exercising. It is important to note that only certain banks are supported in Australia (Westpac, Commonwealth, NAB, ANZ and more (updated list here). If you have a supported card you will just need to add it to your ‘virtual wallet’. This is done via the Garmin connect app on your phone. You need to add your card information to the app and then accept the verification text you will receive. After that, you will need to set a pin that needs to be entered when accessing the payment system. Once you’ve entered that code it will work for 24 hours or until your Heart Rate is not detected. That sounds pretty morbid but what I mean is if you remove the watch from your wrist it will lock your wallet again.


Overall the fenix 5X Plus is an amazing addition the fenix 5 lineup, I’m still surprised it wasn’t just called a fenix 6. Now that the fenix series watches have music and payment methods it brings them onto parity with other big brand smartwatches like AppleWatch and Fitbit. Garmin does go beyond what those brands are offering though with more in-depth information, fitness analytics and training guides.

Garmin fenix 5X Plus Sapphire - Black with Black Band - Other versions available from drop-down along with compatible sensors and accessories.

Full Specification Breakdown for fenix 5X Plus

Lens Material domed sapphire crystal
Bezel Material stainless steel or titanium
Case material fiber-reinforced polymer with metal rear cover
QuickFit™ watch band compatible included (26 mm)
Strap material silicone, suede or steel
Physical size 51 x 51 x 17.5 mm
Weight 96 g
Titanium version: 87 g
Water rating 10 ATM
Display type sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Display size 1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter
Display resolution 240 x 240 pixels
Color display Yes
Battery life Smartwatch: Up to 20 days
GPS: Up to 32 hours
GPS and Music: Up to 13 hours
UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 70 hours
Memory/History 16 GB
Clock Features
Time/date Yes
GPS Time Sync Yes
Automatic daylight saving time Yes
Alarm clock Yes
Timer Yes
Stopwatch Yes
Sunrise/sunset times Yes
Galileo Yes
Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor Yes
Barometric altimeter Yes
Compass Yes
Gyroscope Yes
Accelerometer Yes
Thermometer Yes
Pulse Ox yes (with Acclimation)
Daily Smart Features
Connectivity Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®
Connect IQ™ (downloadable watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps) Yes
Smart notifications Yes
Text response/reject phone call with text (Android™ only) Yes
Calendar Yes
Weather Yes
Controls smartphone music Yes
Plays and controls watch music Yes
Music Storage Up to 500 songs
Find My Phone Yes
Find My Watch Yes
VIRB® Camera Remote Yes
Smartphone compatibility iPhone®, Android™
Compatible with Garmin Connect™ Mobile Yes
Garmin Pay™ Yes
Activity Tracking Features
Step counter Yes
Move bar (displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it) Yes
Auto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal) Yes
Sleep monitoring (monitors total sleep and periods of movement or restful sleep) Yes
Calories burned Yes
Floors climbed Yes
Distance traveled Yes
Intensity minutes Yes
TrueUp™ Yes
Move IQ™ Yes
Fitness Age yes (in app)
All-day Stress Tracking Yes
Fitness Equipment/Gym
Preloaded gym activity profiles Strength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing and Yoga
Cardio workouts Yes
Strength workouts Yes
Automatic rep counting Yes
Training, Planning and Analysis Features
GPS speed and distance Yes
Customizable data pages Yes
Customizable activity profiles Yes
Auto Pause® Yes
Interval training Yes
Advanced workouts Yes
Downloadable training plans Yes
Auto Lap® Yes
Manual lap Yes
Configurable lap alerts Yes
V02 max Yes
Training Status (lets you see if you’re training effectively by tracking your training history and fitness level trend.) Yes
Training Load (your total training load for the last 7 days calculated from estimated EPOC) Yes
Training Effect (aerobic) Yes
Training Effect (anaerobic) Yes
Customizable alerts Yes
Audio prompts Yes
Finish time Yes
Virtual Partner Yes
Race an Activity Yes
Auto multisport activities Yes
Manual multisport activities Yes
Course guidance Yes
Segments (Live, Garmin) Yes
Strava features (Beacon, live segments) Yes
LiveTrack Yes
Group LiveTrack Yes
Round-trip course creator (running/cycling) Yes
Trendline™ Popularity Routing Yes
Touch and/or button lock Yes
Hot keys Yes
Auto scroll Yes
Activity history on watch Yes
Heart Rate Features
HR zones Yes
HR alerts Yes
HR calories Yes
% HR max Yes
% HRR Yes
Recovery time Yes
Auto max HR Yes
HRV stress test (measures your heart rate variability while standing still, for 3 minutes, to provide you with an estimated stress level; the scale of this is 1 to 100; low scores indicate lower stress levels) yes (with compatible accessory)
Records heart rate while swimming yes (with HRM-Tri™ and HRM-Swim™)
HR Broadcast (broadcasts HR data over ANT+™ to paired devices) Yes
Running Features
Preloaded run profiles Running, Treadmill Running, Trail Running
GPS-based distance, time and pace Yes
Running dynamics yes (with compatible accessory)
Vertical oscillation and ratio (the degree of 'bounce' in your running motion and the cost-benefit ratio with stride length) yes (with compatible accessory)
Ground contact time and balance (shows how much time, in the running motion, your foot is on the ground rather than in flight and lets you check your running symmetry) yes (with compatible accessory)
Stride length (real time) yes (with compatible accessory)
Cadence (provides real-time number of steps per minute) Yes
Performance condition (after running 6–20 minutes, compares your real-time condition to your average fitness level) Yes
Lactate threshold (through analysis of your pace and heart rate, estimates the point where your muscles start to rapidly fatigue) yes (with compatible accessory)
Run workouts Yes
Race predictor Yes
Foot pod capable Yes
Golfing Features
Yardage to F/M/B (distance to front, middle and back of green) Yes
Yardage to layups/doglegs Yes
Measures shot distance (calculates exact yardage for shots from anywhere on course) Automatic
Digital scorecard Yes
Stat tracking (strokes, putts per round, greens and fairways hit) Yes
Garmin AutoShot™ Yes
Auto CourseView updates Yes
Green View with manual pin position Yes
Hazards and course targets Yes
TruSwing™ compatible Yes
Round timer/odometer Yes
Outdoor Recreation Features
Preloaded outdoor recreation profiles Hiking, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing, Kayaking, Jumpmaster, Tactical
Point-to-point navigation Yes
Bread crumb trail in real time Yes
Back to start Yes
TracBack® Yes
UltraTrac mode Yes
Around Me mode Yes
Elevation profile Yes
Distance to destination Yes
Barometric trend indicator with Storm Alert Yes
ClimbPro™ Ascent Planner Yes
Trail run auto climb Yes
Vertical speed Yes
Total ascent/descent Yes
Future elevation plot Yes
Preloaded topographical maps Yes
Downloadable cartography support Yes
Compatible with BaseCamp™ Yes
GPS coordinates Yes
Projected waypoint Yes
Sight 'N Go Yes
Area calculation yes (via Connect IQ™)
Hunt/fish calendar yes (via Connect IQ™)
Sun and moon information yes (via Connect IQ™)
Dual grid coordinates Yes
XERO™ Locations Yes
Cycling Features
Preloaded cycling profiles Biking, Indoor Biking, Mountain Biking, Triathlon
Courses Yes
Bike lap and lap maximum power (with power sensor) Yes
Race an activity Yes
Time/distance alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goal) Yes
FTP (Functional Threshold Power) yes (with compatible accessory)
Garmin Cycle Map (routable cycling-specific street map) Yes
Compatible with Vector™ (power meter) Yes
Power meter compatible (displays power data from compatible third-party ANT+™-enabled power meters) Yes
Compatible with Varia Vision™ (head-mounted display) Yes
Compatible with Varia™ radar (rear-facing radar) Yes
Compatible with Varia™ lights Yes
Speed and cadence sensor support (with sensor) yes (ANT+® and Bluetooth® Smart sensors)
Swimming Features
Preloaded swim profiles Pool Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Swimming/Running
Pool swim metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories) Yes
Stroke type detection (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly) Yes
Swim efficiency (SWOLF) Yes
Drill logging Yes
Pool swim workouts Yes
Open-water swim metrics (distance, pace, stroke count/rate, stroke distance, calories) Yes
Heart rate (real-time during rests, interval and session stats during rests, and automatic heart rate download post-swim) yes (with HRM-Tri™ and HRM-Swim™

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