Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Running watch for all occasions

Garmin Fenix 3 HR
Garmin Fenix 3 HR

The Garmin Fenix 3 HR is not just a fitness watch with a built-in wrist-based heart rate monitor (HRM). It could be the only watch you need.

It can track your runs and record workout statistics when you are swimming, cycling, skiing or doing the triathlon.

It is also a fitness tracker and doubles as a smartwatch to display notifications when paired with your smartphone (Android and iOS).

It even has a built-in altimeter, barometer and compass to provide real-time information on your surroundings.

Furthermore, its rugged good looks mean that you can wear it from the gym to the boardroom. It is the best-looking watch in this roundup.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $899

    WATER RESISTANCE: 100m

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth and ANT+

    WEIGHT: 88g

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 5/5

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

It has a sleek gunmetal stainless steel bezel and 1.2-inch display (218 x 218 pixels) with sapphire glass to protect it. The silicone strap is comfortable to wear.

There are three buttons on the left and two on the right. Pressing the middle and bottom buttons on the left toggles through the digital compass, calendar, barometer, altimeter, thermometer, fitness tracking and notifications panels.

To get to the workout page, hit the top button on the right. To scroll up and down to select the workout, use the middle and bottom buttons on the left side. To start, press the top-right button again. This layout does get confusing at times, and it took me a while to get used to it.

The watch took up to 30sec to lock on to GPS signals from the streets of my HDB estate - longer than the other two watches. It took 10sec to do so on the open running track.

However, its distance tracking was spot-on. The watch gave me readings that correspond to the actual distance of both my track and street running routes.

In terms of heart-rate monitoring, it differed by up to 8 beats per minute at times, when compared with the readings of the Wahoo Bluetooth HR chest-strap HRM. But most of the time, readings were pretty close.

As a fitness tracker, it is not as accurate. I found its step tracking inconsistent, with readings deviating by up to 7 per cent from readings recorded by my calibrated Fitbit Charge HR.

Sleep tracking is automatic and consistent, although it has a penchant for adding an hour to my sleep data every day.

Battery life is quite good. When connected to my smartphone constantly, it lasted nearly four days before it has to be recharged.

Trevor Tan

•Verdict: If you have the moolah, the Garmin Fenix 3 HR is the GPS running watch to get with its accurate run tracking. Plus, it is a great-looking watch that you can wear all the time.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2016, with the headline 'Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Running watch for all occasions'. Print Edition | Subscribe