Newsletter subscribe

Announcement, Editors-Choice, Featured, Fitness GPS, What's New

Best Garmin Smart Watches 2019

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...

Posted: 18/11/2019 at 3:38 PM   /   by   /   comments (0)

Garmin has an extensive line-up of for the fitness watch category with options depending on what you would like most from your smartwatch. It’s almost impossible to decide on a Garmin watch now considering all your options, it used to just be to look for the biggest number for the latest model, but that won’t help you anymore. Now, there are style options, feature options, accessory options and more. You could go for a minimalistic vivomove watch if you want a stylish, classic looking watch. Alternatively, you could pick the top of the line fenix 6 which comes with all the bells and whistles, it all hinges on which features you find the most attractive. I’ll try to break down the key points of each of the watches and what audience is intended for those watches.

Fenix 6 - Top of the range GPS multisport fitness watch

Price: $749-$1799 | GPS: Yes (Galileo included) | Waterproof: Yes: (100m) | Battery Life : (25 to 148 hours depending on mode) | Touchscreen: No | Backlight: Always on/Gesture Control | Music Storage: Yes | NFC Payment: Yes | HRM: Wrist-Based Optical HRM | Smartwatch Functions: Yes | Storage: 32GB - 16GB | Bluetooth/WiFi: Both | Watch Size: 51mm – 42mm | Display Size : 35mm – 30mm | Weight: 61g – 93g |

The fenix 6 is the flagship multisport fitness watch from Garmin that comes with a boatload of fitness features, training and health monitoring metrics. This is the watch for anyone who takes their training seriously and wants to get the most out of their fitness training, whether it’s in the gym or outdoors. A unique feature in the fenix 6X range are the solar models that can extend their battery life when you’re outdoors in the sun by charging via the special ‘Power Glass’ lens on the watch face.

The fenix 6 has different model variations with non-pro, pro and solar models. We have an infographic below to explain the model differences.

The standout features for me on this watch is the mapping capabilities for all sports, PacePro functionality, Garmin Pay, Music Storage and the Battery life. This is a complex watch that does require some learning to get the most out of it. Some features aren’t exactly intuitive and may require a little research to fully master. Though these issues only come about if you’re really pushing into the deep end of fitness metrics or creating specific courses and waypoints directly on the watch then trying to edit that on a desktop.

Who is this watch for?

The fenix 6 watches are designed for fitness-focused users. The sheer amount of fitness metrics, training metrics and health stats can be a little overwhelming to the average user. That said though the fenix 6 isn’t as niche as the forerunner models and comes with many smartwatch features like music storage, Garmin Pay, smartphone notifications and even topo maps for trailing running and hiking.

Forerunner 945 Athlete Focused Fitness Multisport Watch

Price: $949 | GPS: Yes (Galileo included) | Waterproof: Yes: (50m) | Battery Life : (36 to 60 hours depending on mode) | Touchscreen: No | Backlight: Always on/Gesture Control | Music Storage: Yes | NFC Payment: Yes | HRM: Wrist-Based Optical HRM | Smartphone Notifications: Yes | Music Storage: Approx. 1000 Songs | Bluetooth/WiFi: Both | Watch Size: 47mm | Display Size : 30.4mm | Weight: 50g |

 

 

The forerunner 945 like the athletes it’s aimed at is a streamlined fitness watch that cuts out the extra features, size, weight and even price of the fenix 6 models while still retaining the core fitness training features. This positions the forerunner 945 as the best watch for users focused on just the fitness side of things and not hung up on having all the ‘smart’ features of the fenix 6.

The forerunner 945 is powered with a load of sensors including a barometric altimeter, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer and wrist-based optical HRM (Heart Rate Monitor). Couple this with Garmin’s extensive depth of fitness metrics and data analysis and you can get a lot of information on how to target certain areas of your training. It will also tell you based on your training data when you should be pushing your limits in terms of training or when you need to tone it down to focus on recovering to maximise how much you gain from your training. The forerunner 945 can easily sync to your Strava account.

Who is this watch for?

The Forerunner 945 is aimed at users who are specifically focused on fitness and are interested in it competitively. These watches are designed for athletes running marathons, duathlons, triathlons, all the thlons really. This watch is for users who like to break apart their performance and understand exactly where they could improve.

Vivoactive 4 and 4s/Garmin Venu

Price: vivoactive 4 - $549 | Venu - $599 | GPS: Yes (Galileo included) | Waterproof: Yes: (50m) | Battery Life : (7 days or 5 hours depending on mode and activities) | Touchscreen: Yes | Backlight: Always on/Gesture Control | Music Storage: Yes | NFC Payment: Yes | HRM: Wrist-Based Optical HRM | Smartphone Notifications: Yes | Storage: 16GB | Bluetooth/WiFi: Both | Watch Size: 47mm | Display Size : 30.4mm – 33mm | Weight: 46.3g – 50.5g |

I’ve included the Venu and the vivoactive 4 models together as apart from the AMOLED display and battery life differences both watches have the same features and performance. These watches are focused more towards health-minded users with an interest in fitness but also enjoy the convenience of the smart features like Garmin Pay, Music controls and notifications.

The unique features to the Venu are the AMOLED display and higher resolution display (390x390 Venu | 260 x 260 vivoactive 4) other than that both watches are almost identical. They both have a huge range of fitness features and smartwatch capabilities. One important point to note is that the Venu doesn’t come with an ‘always-on display’ out of the box, but you can set the watch to be always on. The drawback being a significant reduction (approx. 40% drop) on battery life if you run the always-on display.

Both watches support Speed/Cadence Sensors for cycling, HRM straps and Running sensors (Foot pod and temperature sensor) so while you won’t get features like triathlon modes or Power sensors for cycling you will still have access to a solid range of fitness metrics and sensors.

Who is this watch for?

These watches are designed for casual fitness and health-minded users. This user is someone who runs every other day or exercises regularly and wants to keep track of their progress but isn’t interested in getting into the minutiae of fitness load plans, Oxygen Saturation and your lactate thresholds. If you hadn’t heard of those terms before reading this then the vivoactive 4 or Venu is a safe bet. The difference for targeted users comes down to style preference, the Venu’s designed for users who prefer a higher resolution vibrant display while the vivoactive has the benefit of longer battery life.

vivomove 3, vivomove Style and vivomove Luxe

Price: vivomove 3 $399 | vivomove Style $549 | vivomove Luxe $849  | GPS: No | Waterproof: Yes: (50m) | Battery Life : (7 days or 5 hours depending on mode and activities) | Touchscreen: Yes | Backlight: Always on/Gesture Control | Music Storage: No | NFC Payment: Yes | HRM: Wrist-Based Optical HRM | Smartphone Notifications: Yes | Bluetooth/WiFi: Bluetooth | Watch Size: 39mm - 44mm | Weight: 38.6g – 46.1g |

 

 

The vivomove 3 is the latest iteration in the vivomove series and the follow up to Garmin’s extremely popular vivomove HR model. There are now two sizes within the vivomove lineup the vivomove 3s at 39mm bezel diameter and the vivomove 3 at 44mm. There are also the vivomove style and luxe models which sit in between at a 42mm diameter.

These watches are uniquely designed to look like a classic wristwatch but with a hidden display that gives you daily health tracking metrics like stress level, steps, calories burned, sleep, heart rate and more. You can also receive notifications from your phone that will vibrate your watch and display the first part of the message.

As an added note, the vivomove 3 Style and Luxe versions come with additional colour data screen displays and offer Garmin Pay functionality along with different bezel styles.

Who is this watch for?

The vivomove 3 is designed for users who want a slim subtle watch without the big bezel of some of these other models and that look of a classic watch but still want basic health/fitness tracking and smart notifications on their wrist.

Garmin Instinct

Price: $399 RRP| GPS: Yes (Galileo Included) | Waterproof: Yes: (100m) | Battery Life : (14 days  – 16 hours depending on mode and activities) | Touchscreen: No | Backlight: Always on/Gesture Control |  HRM: Wrist-Based Optical HRM | Smartphone Notifications: Yes | Bluetooth/WiFi: Bluetooth | Watch Size: 44mm | Weight: 39g |

The Garmin instinct is the most ‘tactical’ watch on this list. It has less focus on fitness/health and typical smartwatch features and is designed more with utility in mind. It has more battery life modes and can use UltraTrac mode which gives you up to 40 hours of battery with GPS active. It also comes rated to Military Standard for shock, thermal, dust and water resistance (MIL-STD-810G).

The instinct is also compatible with the Garmin Explore App which allows you to prepare your tracks/routes ahead of time and then route to those waypoints via the watch.

Who is this watch for?

This watch is for a niche audience who want solid GPS functionality on their wrist for an attractive price at $399 RRP. It has excellent outdoor features perfect for trail runners, hikers. It also the functionality for waypoint projection, area calculation, storm alerts (using the barometric altimeter if properly calibrated) and a plethora of navigation features and sensors.

Forerunner 45

Price: $299 | GPS: No | Waterproof: Yes: (50m) | Battery Life : (7 days or 5 hours depending on mode and activities) | Touchscreen: Yes | Backlight: Always on/Gesture Control | Music Storage: No (Music Controls Only via Smartphone Music) | HRM: Wrist-Based Optical HRM | Smartphone Notifications: Yes | Bluetooth/WiFi: Bluetooth | Watch Size: 39mm - 44mm | Weight: 38.6g – 46.1g |

This watch is the best budget ‘athlete’ watch on this list. The Forerunner 45 skips on a lot of the smart features for a pure focus on fitness and health metrics. It has GPS functionality for tracking your runs as well as a wrist-based heart rate monitor to supplement your training data. It’s a lightweight watch to minimise the impact it has on your running and it does allow for basic smartphone text message notifications as well as the ability to control your music (stored on your phone).

Who is this watch for?

This watch is for serious fitness runners who want to be able to get the most out their runs and training. Also at this price it’s a lot easier to justify an additional fitness sensor like a Heart Rate Monitor chest strap or foot pod sensor (cadence training and accurate speed, distance and stride length) or bike speed sensor.