Garmin fenix

I own several Garmin GPS units and they are all great but the one I like best is my wrist-worn Foretrex 401. The Foretrex line is pretty compact but they are still much larger than a typical wrist watch and the only way it could be better is if it was just a bit smaller. Well, it appears that Garmin agrees because they have announced the new wrist-worn fenix GPS.

The fenix (the lack of capitalization in the name is driving me nuts) is just as fully spec’d as the Foretrex 401, in fact, it is actually a bit more feature rich. It boasts lighter weight, a basemap, more onboard storage, a larger tracklog, more routes, more waypoints, a better compass, and other features over the Foretrex 401. It has more functionality packed into a smaller body.

On paper, the fenix looks pretty amazing. Check it out at

4 Responses to Garmin fenix

  1. 032125 July 27, 2012 at 21:23 #

    The big question mark is signal; does it get signal reliably through heavy canopy or in mountains? That’s where most antenna-less GPS fail, and that’s where it counts the most. I’d like to see some canopy tests.

    • Matt July 27, 2012 at 21:28 #

      No GPS unit is antenna-less. They either have internal or external antennas. The internal antenna is usually in the form of a patch antenna.

      The patch antennas and chipsets that are used in these GPS units these days have come a long way. I don’t know about the fenix’s chipset and antenna but all of my recent Garmin products have performed very well in very tight and steep hollows and dense cover. If you haven’t experienced a GPS unit with an internal antenna that was made in the few years, you will probably be amazed with the performance.

  2. Mike@AppalachianTraining July 27, 2012 at 22:24 #

    Hey Matt what is the actual battery life you are getting out of your 401 in the areas you operate in? That is a great piece of electronics, just wondering what the weight/ battery life trade offs truly are between the 401 and this one.

    • Matt July 27, 2012 at 22:33 #

      I get 12 or 13 hours with my 401. I like using it on “adventures” but it is mostly used when I run. The battery life on the fenix looks like it will smoke the 401.

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