Free 2-Day Shipping & Free Returns on Most Items! Details

Garmin fenix 5 vs fenix 5 Plus Comparison - What’s New? | PlayBetter

October 22, 2018 / Team PlayBetter

Garmin fenix 5 vs fenix 5 Plus Comparison - What’s New? | PlayBetter

Garmin recently released the fenix 5/5S/5X Plus series of multi-sport watches. This series offers updated models of their hugely popular fenix 5 watch series. There's several main differences when compared to the previously released models, so let's compare. Here's the PlayBetter guide to Garmin fenix 5 vs 5 plus watches!

Note: We've updated this post to include a feature comparison chart for fenix 5/5S/5X and fenix 5/5S/5X Plus models. Check out the chart to find which watch is best for you:

New Features In The Garmin fenix 5 Plus Series

We’ve provided an in-depth comparison table below, but we wanted to call out the new features of the Garmin fenix 5 Plus series here. Here’s what’s been added to the newer series of these popular watches:

  • Pre-loaded TOPO maps on all fenix 5 Plus watches (only available in 5x previously)
  • Fresh Look, New Bands & Colors
  • Pulse Ox & ClimbPro (5X Plus model only)
  • Music Storage
  • Garmin Pay™ contactless payments
  • Multinetwork Navigation (GPS, GLONASS + Galileo)
  • Trendline™ popularity routing
  • Scratch-resistant lens standard (previously only available in Sapphire models)
  • Wi-Fi connectivity standard (previously only available in Sapphire models)

1.) Maps & Navigation

The big advance for all fenix 5 Plus Series models is that every watch now features built-in mapping and navigation (previously on the the fenix 5X Sapphire offered maps). Beautiful full-color TOPO maps are pre-loaded onto each device to provide easy at-a-glance navigation wherever you are. It also now features Trendline popularity which allows runners and cyclists to find the most popular routes in their area!

Check out the  fenix 5S Plus Sapphire with the new maps feature:

2.) Fresh Look, New Bands & New Colors

While the general look and feel of the watches - bold & substantial yet stylish - has stayed consistent, Garmin has made a few tweaks to the design that we find refreshing. Check out the difference between the fenix 5S Sapphire Rose Gold (left) and the new fenix 5S Plus Sapphire Rose Gold (right):

Garmin fenix 5 Plus Sapphire - Solar Flare Orange

The Quickfit Band looks to have been upgraded as has the bezel around the sapphire lens. We've found this consistent with the other colors that has been translated to the upgraded version.

There are also a couple brand new colors for customers to choose from including Titanium/Spark Orange (below) in the fenix 5 Plus line:

3.) PulseOx & ClimbPro (fenix 5X 

Plus only)

This might be our favorite new feature on any of the new watches (but perhaps I'm biased because of my proximity to mountains...). PulseOx tracks the hemoglobin in your blood (seemingly via magic) and provides metrics on how well you are acclimating to high altitudes! So you'll be able to tell if you need to cool the jets or if you can push even harder!

This has to be the last ridge right? Said every hiker ever. ClimbPro provides a full incline map of whatever hike you happen to be on so you'll always be aware of just how many more ridges you have to go. Check out the screenshot here:

4.) Music & 50% Off Skullcandy

All watches in the fenix 5 Plus Series feature the ability to store music directly on your wrist. Up to 500 songs can be downloaded directly from your computer or select service (only iHeartRadio currently, unfortunately no word on when Spotify or Amazon Music will be added) and then stream via Bluetooth headphones. You'll also get 50% off Skullcandy Method bluetooth headphones when you purchase a fenix 5 Plus Series watch!

Here's the  fenix 5 Plus Silver/Black (Non-Sapphire) displaying it's music functionality:

5.) Garmin Pay

Hook your credit card up to Garmin Pay and breeze through checkout lines! All fenix 5 Plus Series models are equipped with this new functionality so you can leave your cash and wallet at home.

Here's the  fenix 5 Plus Sapphire (Black/Black Band) with it's Garmin Pay function displaying:

6.) Multinetwork Navigation (GPS, GLONASS + Galileo)

The fenix 5 Plus Series provides unmatched GPS connectivity by using multiple tracking networks (GPS, GLONASS & Galileo) to determine the users position. Once you're connected, you can be assured you won't find more accurate activity tracking in any other device.

Order Now At PlayBetter (Free 2-Day Shipping, 60 Day Returns)

Garmin fenix 5 Plus

Garmin fenix 5S Plus

Garmin fenix 5X Plus


Garmin fenix 5 VS 5 Plus Series Comparison Chart

In the end, it’s hard to go wrong when you pick a Garmin fenix model as your smartwatch of choice. However, picking the right one is important, as you’ll want to make sure the version on your wrist is able to offer all of the performance features you expect. We hope this guide has been helpful. Here is a more in-depth comparison chart so you can see the features of each device side by side!

Garmin fenix 5 Garmin fenix 5S Garmin fenix 5X Sapphire Garmin fenix 5 Plus Garmin fenix 5S Plus Garmin fenix 5X Plus
Price $549.99 $549.99 $649.99 - $799.99 $799.99-$849.99 $799.99-$849.99 $849.99-$1,149.99
Colors Available Gray with Black Band Black with Black Band Black with Black Band Black with Black Band Black with Black Band Black with Black Band
  Gray with Amp Yellow Band Silver with Turquoise Band Black with Metal Band Titanium with Spark Orange Band White with Carrara White Band Titanium With Extra Black Band
  Gray with Graphite Blue Band Silver with White Band   Black with Black Leather Band Rose Gold with Carrara Band  
Shipping Free 2-Day Shipping @ PlayBetter.com Free 2-Day Shipping @ PlayBetter.com Free 2-Day Shipping @ PlayBetter.com Free 2-Day Shipping @ PlayBetter.com Free 2-Day Shipping @ PlayBetter.com Free 2-Day Shipping @ PlayBetter.com
Returns Free, 60-Day Returns @ PlayBetter.com Free, 60-Day Returns @ PlayBetter.com Free, 60-Day Returns @ PlayBetter.com Free, 60-Day Returns @ PlayBetter.com Free, 60-Day Returns @ PlayBetter.com Free, 60-Day Returns @ PlayBetter.com
What's in the Box Garmin fenix 5 Garmin fenix 5S Garmin fenix 5X Sapphire Garmin fenix 5 Plus Sapphire Garmin fenix 5S Plus Sapphire Garmin fenix 5X Plus Sapphire
  Charging/data cable Charging/data cable Charging/data cable Charging/data cable Charging/data cable Charging/data cable
  Documentation Documentation Documentation Documentation Documentation Documentation
      **The metal band version also includes an extra silicone watch band in the box** "Extra silicone QuickFit 22 watch band (Black Leather Band version and DLC Titanium Band version only)" "Extra silicone QuickFit 20 watch band (Suede Band version only)" "Extra silicone QuickFit 26 watch band (DLC Titanium Band version only)"
Physical dimensions 1.9" x 1.9" x 0.6" 1.7" x 1.7" x 0.6" 2.0" x 2.0" x 0.7" 1.9" x 1.9" x 0.6" 1.7" x 1.7" x 0.6" 2.0" x 2.0" x 0.7"
Weight 3.0 ounces 2.4 ounces 3.5 ounces 3.0 ounces 2.3 ounces 3.4 ounces
Display resolution 240x240 pixels 218x218 pixels 240x240 pixels 240x240 pixels 240x240 pixels 240x240 pixels
Advanced workouts (create custom workouts) Y Y Y Y Y Y
Race predictor Y Y Y Y Y Y
Area calculation Y Y Y Y Y Y
Auto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal) Y Y Y Y Y Y
Pool swim metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories) Y Y Y Y Y Y
GPS Enabled Y Y Y Y Y Y
Aerobic Training Effect (measures impact of an activity on your fitness) Y Y Y Y Y Y
Open water swim metrics (distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories) Y Y Y Y Y Y
Digital scorecard Y Y Y Y Y Y
Swim alerts (time/distance) Y Y Y Y Y Y
Courses Y Y Y Y Y Y
Sleep monitoring Y Y Y Y Y Y
Heart rate-based calorie computation Y Y Y Y Y Y
Measures shot distance Y Y Y Y Y Y
Interval training Y Y Y Y Y Y
Time/distance goal (triggers alarm when goal is reached) Y Y Y Y Y Y
Electronic compass Y Y Y Y Y Y
Find my phone Y Y Y Y Y Y
Connect IQ App support Y Y Y Y Y Y
EXO Antenna GPS/GLONASS Y Y Y Y Y Y
ANT+® Y Y Y Y Y Y
Bluetooth® Y Y Y Y Y Y
Auto Scroll (cycles through data pages during an activity) Y Y Y Y Y Y
Drill logging Y Y Y Y Y Y
Rest timers Y Y Y Y Y Y
Training effect (measures impact of an activity on your aerobic or anaerobic fitness) Y Y Y Y Y Y
Training load/status Y Y Y Y Y Y
Weather alerts Y Y Y Y Y Y
UltraTrac Y Y Y Y Y Y
tempe™ sensor support Y Y Y Y Y Y
TracBack Y Y Y Y Y Y
Ski Feature Y Y Y Y Y Y
Physiological measurements Y Y Y Y Y Y
SUP/Rowing Y Y Y Y Y Y
Hunt/fish calendar Y Y Y Y Y Y
Swim workouts Y Y Y Y Y Y
Garmin Connect compatible Y Y Y Y Y Y
Sun and moon information Y Y Y Y Y Y
Vibration alert Y Y Y Y Y Y
Virtual racer (compete against other activities) Y Y Y Y Y Y
Accelerometer (calculates distance for indoor workouts, without need for a foot pod) Y Y Y Y Y Y
GLONASS Y Y Y Y Y Y
Multiple bike profiles Y Y Y Y Y Y
Smart Notifications Y Y Y Y Y Y
Compatible with Vector Y Y Y Y Y Y
Color display Y Y Y Y Y Y
Calculates calories burned Y Y Y Y Y Y
Customizable screens Y Y Y Y Y Y
Wrist-based heart rate monitor Y Y Y Y Y Y
Automatic sync to Garmin Connect Y Y Y Y Y Y
Running dynamics Y Y Y Y Y Y
Pace alert Y Y Y Y Y Y
Virtual pacer (compares current pace to target pace) Y Y Y Y Y Y
Custom points of interest Y Y Y Y Y Y
Virtual partner (train vs. a digital athlete) Y Y Y Y Y Y
VO2 Max Estimate Y Y Y Y Y Y
Music control Y Y Y Y Y Y
Auto Multisport (lets you change between activities with push of a button) Y Y Y Y Y Y
Auto Pause® (pauses and resumes timer based on speed) Y Y Y Y Y Y
Auto Lap® (automatically starts a new lap) Y Y Y Y Y Y
Step counter Y Y Y Y Y Y
Yardage to layups/doglegs Y Y Y Y Y Y
Move bar (displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it) Y Y Y Y Y Y
Multi-sport (changes sport mode with a press of a button and/or with activity still in progress) Y Y Y Y Y Y
Barometric altimeter Y Y Y Y Y Y
Stroke type identification (e.g. freestyle) Y Y Y Y Y Y
Recovery advisor Y Y Y Y Y Y
Yardage to F/M/B (distance to front, middle and back of green) Y Y Y Y Y Y
VIRB® control Y Y Y Y Y Y
Wi-Fi® X X Y Y Y Y
Countdown timer X X X Y Y Y
SwingStrength (measures how hard you swing) X X X X X X
Custom maps compatible X X X X X X
Sapphire Lens (Scratch-Proof) X X Y Y Y Y
Golf course preview (hole by hole) X X X X X X
Autopilot remote control X X X X X X
Jumpmaster X X X Y Y Y
TempoTraining X X X Y Y Y
Automatic wireless MOB activation X X X X X X
Virtual starting line X X X X X X
Round-trip Ride X X Y Y Y Y
Lactate threshold X X Y Y Y Y
Round-trip Run X X Y X X X
Save locations (mark course points of interest for future reference) X X X X X X
PinPointer X X X X X X
Altimeter X X X Y Y Y
SwingTempo X X X X X X
Multiple time zones with Zulu/UTC X X X X X X
Manual pin positioning (tap and drag flag on green for precise yardage) X X X Y Y Y
3-axis compass with horizontal situation indicator (HSI) X X X X X X
Basemap X X X X X X
Worldwide airport database(s) X X X X X X
Pre-Loaded Cycling Maps X X Y Y Y Y
Pre-Loaded Golf Course Maps X X Y Y Y Y
Tide tables X X X X X X
Pre-Loaded Topographic Maps X X Y Y Y Y
Built-in barometer and tide tables X X X X X X
Navigation X X Y Y Y Y
Tracks stats (putts per round, greens & fairways hit, average distance) X X X Y Y Y
Touchscreen X X X X X X
Display size 1.2'' 1.1" 1.2" 1.2" 1.2" 1.2"
Water rating 10 ATM 10 ATM 10 ATM 10 ATM 10 ATM 10 ATM
Bikespeed/cadence sensor Optional Optional Optional Optional Optional Optional
Watch functions Time of day (12/24h), calendar (day/date), daily alarm, stop watch, timer, sunrise/sunset alerts Time of day (12/24h), calendar (day/date), daily alarm, stop watch, timer, sunrise/sunset alerts Time of day (12/24h), calendar (day/date), daily alarm, stop watch, timer, sunrise/sunset alerts Time of day (12/24h), calendar (day/date), daily alarm, stop watch, timer, sunrise/sunset alerts Time of day (12/24h), calendar (day/date), daily alarm, stop watch, timer, sunrise/sunset alerts Time of day (12/24h), calendar (day/date), daily alarm, stop watch, timer, sunrise/sunset alerts
Battery life Up to 2 weeks in Smartwatch mode, up to 24 hours in GPS mode and up to 75 hours in UltraTrac battery saver mode Up to 9 days in Smartwatch mode, up to 14 hours in GPS mode and up to 40 hours in UltraTrac battery saver mode Up to 12 days in Smartwatch mode, up to 20 hours in GPS mode and up to 50 hours in UltraTrac battery saver mode Up to 12 days in Smartwatch mode, up to 18 hours in GPS mode and up to 42 hours in UltraTrac battery saver mode Up to 7 days in Smartwatch mode, up to 11 hours in GPS mode and up to 25 hours in UltraTrac battery saver mode Up to 20 days in Smartwatch mode, up to 32 hours in GPS mode and up to 70 hours in UltraTrac battery saver mode

An Introduction to the fenix 5 Series

Before we cover the newer 5 Plus series in more detail, let’s walk through the standard series one step at a time. For starters, we’ll address the Garmin fenix 5. This is a powerful smartwatch with an incredible list of capabilities, including:

  • 24/7 fitness monitoring
  • A variety of sports supported, such as running, swimming, golf, skiing, and more
  • Detailed statistics to help users improve their performance
  • Includes barometric altimeter, 3-axis compass, and gyroscope
  • Compatible with Garmin Connect
  • Wrist-based heart rate monitor

To be sure, the list above is just a partial accounting of everything that can be measured and monitored with this impressive device.

Order Now At PlayBetter (Free 2-Day Shipping, 60 Day Returns)

fenix 5S and 5X Variations

The standard fenix 5 is going to be the right pick for many buyers. If you don’t feel that the standard model is quite right for what you need, the Garmin fenix 5S or the 5X might be a better fit.

  • Garmin fenix 5S. The fenix 5S is a model that is marketed with female buyers in mind, as it is a bit smaller than the original. While it does have a smaller body, it offers everything that you get with the fenix 5, so there is no need to worry about losing performance.
  • Garmin fenix 5X. The Fenix 5X is marginally larger than the Fenix 5. However, size is not the only difference here. Pre-loaded navigation, as well as TOPO maps are included with the Fenix 5X Sapphire model.

Order Now At PlayBetter (Free 2-Day Shipping, 60 Day Returns)

Garmin fenix 5S

Garmin fenix 5X Sapphire

Garmin fenix 5 Plus Models Add New Features

It should be clear by now that the Garmin fenix 5 smartwatch is an incredible device. The 5S and 5X variants allow buyers to pick the model that is perfectly suited for their tastes. But what about the newer fenix 5 Plus series? Each of the three watches we’ve discussed so far is available in the Plus model, which adds even more capability to this already powerful product.

When comparing Garmin fenix 5 vs 5 Plus models, you’ll find these standout features in the newer models:

  • TOPO maps across the board. You no longer need to select the 5X version to have access to preloaded TOPO maps, as all Fenix 5 Plus models include this feature
  • Music. Plus models are able to deliver music to your ears through Bluetooth headphones (not included with the watch). You can load songs you own onto the device, or you can purchase a streaming subscription
  • Garmin Pay. To simplify your life on the go, you can now use Garmin Pay with your Fenix 5 Plus series watch, allowing you to make purchases anywhere that accepts such payments
  • Round Trip Options. When you start to get tired of your usual bike or running route, ask your Fenix 5 Plus watch to develop a new route for you. This function is called Round-Tip Run or Round-Trip Bike, and it is a welcome addition
  • Pulse Ox. This new feature is unique to the 5X Plus model. Pulse Ox provides a wrist-based blood oxygen saturation sensor, offering an alternative to typical finger-clip devices. This data is great for those who would like to know how their body is adapting to higher altitudes.
  • Premium Lenses & Wi-Fi. Previously, these features were only available in the higher-end fenix 5 Sapphire models. They are now standard across the 5 Plus series.