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Garmin fenix 5 - Know Your ABCs (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass)

November 7, 2018 / Team PlayBetter

Garmin fenix 5 - Know Your ABCs (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass)

With the addition of topographical maps in the upcoming fenix 5X, it’s clear Garmin is stepping up its game in terms of creating the ideal fitness watch for those who love the outdoors. And while the maps feature is only available on the fenix 5X model, the entire line of fenix 5 watches will come equipped with state-of-the-art GPS capabilities, along with altimeter, barometer and compass sensor capabilities. So, let’s get a little familiar with the ABCs of the fenix 5:  

Altimeter – In short, the built-in altimeter works to accurately determine your current elevation and adjust accordingly depending on your ascent or descent. Why is this important? Well, for starters, anyone who has had experience running (heck, even walking) on a course that dramatically changes elevation levels can attest to just how different the body reacts to varying heights. As you and the elevation climb, the air thins out, making it increasingly difficult to catch your breath. Having a solid idea of your elevation levels and knowing when your body starts to need that extra push can come in handy during training.

Barometer – This will sound similar to the functions of an altimeter, and in some aspects they are the same, but we’ll talk about the difference between the two in just a bit. With the barometer, your fenix 5 will be able to predict weather changes by showing short-term trends in air pressure. This, of course, will vary depending on your location and environment in which you’ve chosen to be, but by monitoring changes in air pressure, you might just be able to sense when that latest storm is on its way, an undoubtedly helpful tool if you’re in unfamiliar territory. Now, what’s the difference between the altimeter and barometer? Without getting to “sciency” on you here, the altimeter is used to measure changes in air pressure in conjunction with the corresponding altitude, i.e. when you’re moving around from location to location. The barometer, meanwhile, is used more for when you’re stationary and measures changes in pressure caused by the weather. This makes sense when you think about the fact that if the barometer tells you a storm is X miles away and you start moving in a single direction, that distance will obviously be different than the reading, meaning you might get a little unpleasant weather before you’re expecting it.

Compass – At the risk of some eye rolls, let’s talk about the compass. I know, most of you know exactly what a compass does and how to read one, but hey, it’s always nice to have that feature on a device. The fenix 5 lineup comes with a 3-axis electronic compass that is incredibly precise. Sure, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, but you may encounter those cloudy days or a nighttime hike, right? We’ve come a long way from following the North Star, and the compass will simply give you another layer of confidence as to where you are and where you’re headed.