Garmin Fenix 6

Yes, you read that right, I said Fenix 6. I know, I know. Everyone else is talking about the Marq, but we did that months ago.

So, that Fenix 6. I think today confirms a few things for me which I’ve speculated on previously. Firstly is that Fenix 6 will launch in January 2020 approximately 18 months after the 5+ which was 18 months after the 5 which was 6 months after the Chronos (all timings very approximate!).

This shows that Garmin are doing what’s known as a “tick tock” release. You make big changes on one release, then refine for the next. The difference here is they also have a canary release to test the waters. Chronos gave us pretty much a Fenix 5 platform which allowed them to test things out before the 5 came along. Making it SUPER expensive means fewer users. On purpose. When you’re testing lots of new things fewer users is a good thing. Controlling the outlets is also a good thing. Limiting to high end watch shops means Garmin has a much simpler and more direct feedback mechanism away from their shouty mass market forums.

Next, that connector. I note that people are already complaining about “yet another” connector on DCRainmaker’s comments. Am I the only person who remembers that the Descent needed to use the Fenix 3 connector to be waterproofed properly? This connector looks like it solves that issue by being shallower. Queue the Fenix 6 getting rid of the specific SKU for diving and adding it to all watches as I predicted previously. That makes the new charge cable a very, very good thing. Also – isn’t that new “altimeter” hole interesting. 4 holes in a removable section of case plus what looks like a drain hole on the base of the watch.

The “altimeter” holes on the Marq. Screenshot of DCRainmakers photo at https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2019/03/garmin-marq-series-detailed-overview-hands-on.html

PulseOx – well obviously it’s through the range. My Vivosmart 4 had it ages ago.

Sony GPS. Yes. Well. This gives Garmin 9 months to either get that thing working or back out entirely without really losing face. The Sony chip is amazing on battery, but then so is my Fenix 5 Plus. But the 5+ always knows where it is, the Sony chips sometimes flip out and go all etch-a-sketch cubist with the tracks. I think Garmin will be able to get them stable, to me it does look like stability in the firmware and driver rather than a device that doesn’t work. When it works it’s really, really good. This means it’s probably a weird bug somewhere.

The price. Yes you could easily buy gold underpants for that money. They’d ruin your washing machine though and get stolen from the washing line. In reality inflation is a thing and Garmin are at the top of their game. The Chronos prepared us for the Fenix 5 price hike such that we were relieved the 5 was “so cheap” by the time it arrived. The Fenix 6 sill start at $700 for the base model because that’s in line with inflation from the Fenix 5 release. Plus a small bonus for completely outstripping the competition in every way. If Polar can charge $500 for the Vantage V why shouldn’t a Fenix 6 be $700?

The storage. 32GB seems a lot now. When the Fenix 6+ is released in mid 2021 that will feel like nothing. You can’t hold full worldwide maps AND all your Spotify on 32GB. So we know one feature of the Fenix 6 Plus already – lack of built in obsolescence.

And one final thought. We’ve not yet seen the analogue Marq yet, but we know there is one coming!

25 Comments

  1. Good read!
    I am thinking of switching from my series 4 apple watch to a fenix 5x plus but was worried that the 6 was imminent. I am getting back into my fitness regime after a few “resting” years and probably dont need all the features in the fenix but i long for a big bulky, yet smart time piece compared to that of apple. Or do you think im just wasting my money?

    • I think it’s a good move if you’re into sports. It’s a very different watch than the Apple though so see if you can try one out before buying even if just in the shop to see the screen and speed of the interface. I’d caution you though that DCRainmaker has just said there are quite a few new things coming in the next 7 weeks. I don’t think a Fenix 6 will be among them (I may be wrong!) but you never know what else is coming – for instance the Wahoo Rival is still overdue.

    • I had an Apple Watch series 4 and bought a used Fenix 5 to test the Garmin. What can I say? Sold the Apple Watch soon after. Garmin is a much better watch when you are seriously into sports. Battery, data, readability in sun light. Garmin has it all covered.

    • I am in the same situation and have been in this in the past as well. Short answer is, there is no need to upgrade, crib your enthusiasm and wait for the 6 in 2020.

  2. What about the 935 replacement/upgrade?
    Thanks

    • October 2019 or later

      • 945 with Garmin Pay should be announced within the next couple weeks (possibly sooner). Will be released in “Q2” – probably May, June for wide availability.

        • … and hopefully with maps

      • It would be weird to replace a tri watch at the end of the season…. May (or the next year) seems more appropriate for me.

  3. What do you think the A03521 will be from Garmin that popped up on FCC site? NDA until April 15th, which is right around Boston time.

    • I’m currently thinking Vivosport but not looked in detail yet.

  4. This may be something to add to March Roundup… FCC via (Tawanese NCC) has released photos of the long lost Forerunner 245 / 245 music. (BTW – I’m very happy with my FR235 but would upgrade to 245M when the price drops in a few years.) A few websites have reported on it which is where I found the link below. https://fccid.io/NCC/CCAF18LP2270T3/l0Av7qe25qQ=

  5. Heard some new names of upcoming Garmin sport products:
    Forerunner 45
    Forerunner 245 Music
    Vivoactive 4S
    Venu
    Forerunner 945
    Vector Air

    • Dear god dont be lying on those vectors…. Hoping they stay at the same point so that the Vector3 goes down 🙂

  6. https://fccid.io/IPH-03525
    https://fccid.io/IPH-03525
    https://fccid.io/IPH-A3644
    https://fccid.io/IPH-03644

    The latter 2 mention ‘watch’ in the label location

    Is this the 245,245M, 945 and 945M or something else?

    • For the watches don’t forget the forerunner 45.
      Available with in red and black (band)
      Very Nice watch with “fixed” band.
      Same optical HR as the FR245.

      • will you show them on your site?

        • Nowadays i mostly wait for others to publish the specifications with pictures but unfortunately most decide not to do.
          Limited in time but i could put some of the forerunner 45 pictures on my site tonight (approx 8 hours form now)
          Won’t do the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music as they are already in the wild.
          I will wait with the new bike Cadence & Speedsensor (minor difference) which will be available with the new Edge830 and battery pack to see if others are willing to place the info.

  7. Good info, I’m wondering what the likelyhood of a Fenix 6 Cellular. I have a Fenix 3 for real training, but use my Apple watch 4 for almost everything else because it has cellular… I HATE carrying my phone when out on a long run for emergencies. I also totally despise my Apple watch for training… stupid touch screen with sweaty hands.

  8. A Garmin 935/Fenix with a bit more battery life and more than 2 CIQ fields concurrently would do me…..don’t need music or payment tech as I have a phone.

    • At this point battery life is only an issue for a very very small number of people doing ultra running so I can’t see that being a priority. Those people would almost certainly be happy with an accessible charging port and ability to charge during activity. Personally I’m usually shocked how much battery is left after activities these days! The CIQ limits could do with rising, but I suspect there is good reason for the limits.

      • Hey now. 100 milers are the ‘new marathon’… battery is key to me, and as an ultra runner, I can tell you we don’t want to be dealing with battery charging during activities, unless absolutely necessary. I’ve done that, and it’s a PITA. Hoping the new ‘less thirsty’ GPS chip increases battery life for the Fenix 6. Agree on the music. That’s a gimmick. No ultra runner I know would use their garmin watch to listen to music. Bluetooth headphones last 6 hours if you’re lucky, so it’s just not practical (as well as draining battery). Most runners don’t listen to music on the trails, and if you do – it’s a wired headphone that you can pull out of your ear easily.

        • Like I said, a very very small number of people. 100 milers are not the new marathon, they are a tiny niche sport and will continue to be such because normal people don’t have the time to train for them (and realistically, there’s no fun to be had “running” 100 miles at just above walking pace). Garmin are a business, and if they can sell 2x the number of Fenix 6 by keeping battery the same and slimming by 1mm they will do that in a heartbeat. The Marq hiking mode would work well for Ultra running though. Sorry, I know it’s not what you want to hear but I think it’s the more likely direction. Nokia used to make phones with long battery life and great call quality – there’s a small number of people who still moan at the direction mobile phones went, but there are billions of happy customers and a very wealthy Apple! 🙂

  9. Dare i say it…..could (should) the F6 come with LTE?

  10. Fenix 5X Plus is now on sale in Garmin US site ($150 usd discount). Do you think is a preamble for Fenix 6 release???

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