Garmin Quatix 6
“Garmin's Quatix 6 is a great multi-sport watch that's easy to look at.”
- Multiple fitness sensors
- Battery life
- Build quality
- Music storage
- Day to day usability
- Only one size
- No touchscreen
Whenever a product has the words “marine” or “boat connectivity” in the description, I turn away as quickly as possible. These words are usually reserved for overpriced, niche items that are inundated with functionality I’ll never use. So when I got word the Garmin Quatix 6 would be arriving on my doorstep, my first thought was “I’m not going on a boat. How am I supposed to review it?”
Thankfully, the Quatix 6 isn’t just a boat watch. It might be the best multisport smartwatch you can buy today.
Setup and design
While the packaging says Quatix 6, it’s essentially a variant of the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro that does everything the Fenix 6 Pro does. It just has a bunch of preloaded boating features thrown in.
Starting with the basics, the Quatix 6 monitors the usual suspects: Steps, calories burned, sleep, and floors climbed. It also connects to your iPhone or Android device to receive notifications. Such features are expected these days, but the Quatix 6 steps things up with GPS, a heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, compass, thermometer, accelerometer, Pulse Ox, and gyroscope. What makes the Quatix 6 special isn’t that it has all of those sensors, but what it does with the data.
Garmin’s new interface is certainly an improvement over previous iterations. With multiple complications on the default screen, I get all the data fields I want without the face feeling cluttered.
Normally, I’m making some sort of sacrifice when picking “home” screens, but the Quatix 6’s multiple face options strike a balance betweena clean aesthetic and information available at a glance. Meanwhile, the widget loop displays a list instead of taking up the whole screen, which allows for faster scrolling. These slight changes make for an interface that is less cumbersome.
Another slight change from previous models is the battery format, which now displays in days to recharge instead of percentage full. Battery life differs drastically based on your usage mode, with Garmin providing the following quotes:
- Smartwatch mode: Up to 14 days
- GPS mode: Up to 36 hours
- GPS and music: Up to 10 hours
- Max battery GPS mode: 72 hours
- Expedition GPS activity: 28 days
- Battery-saver watch mode: 48 days
Having this kind of adjustability for battery usage is helpful when exploring, whether that be on the water or out in the wilderness.
The Garmin Quatix has a new model with built-in solar charging. This addition takes the Quatix’s already impressive list of features up a notch, improving battery life from 14 to 24 days. However, this new version starts at $1,149. It also comes with a titanium watch band.
Life on the water is the goal of the Quatix 6, and for that reason it comes preloaded with all sorts of widgets to help you transition from landlubber to sea dog in no time flat. With full connectivity of everything from your chart plotters, to autopilot control, and even Garmin’s Sail Assist, the Quatix 6 is ready to handle all your boating needs out of the box.
But like I said, the Quatix 6 is much more than a water dog — it’s a multisport pony that will up your fitness game no matter the activity.
In addition to the wilderness-navigating prowess shown by the Fenix 6S Pro in a previous review, the Quatix 6 can run you through at-home workouts including yoga, Pilates, strength training, and cardio, all with on-screen animations to guide you through the process. For the most part, these are extremely convenient and had me mixing in different workouts I normally wouldn’t have bothered looking up.
My only gripe is the noises the watch makes when switching between positions in yoga workouts. They’re shrill electronic beeps that are unwelcome when I’m trying to get my zen on.
I’m doing most of my training indoors these days, and the Quatix 6 has specific tracking for indoor cycling. Most of the time I’m looking to Zwift for my metrics, but the Quatix 6 can link up directly with my Wahoo Kickr to show power output and distance traveled without interrupting my Zwift workouts. This may seem a little redundant, but for anyone who’s headed down the rabbit hole of which apps to connect to your Strava, this is a nice addition that helps keep your data all in one spot.
If running, swimming or cycling are part of your weekly grind, the Quatix 6 will track your target pace with PacePro, provide new bike courses with Cycle Map, and monitor your swim efficiency in the pool. And if you’re into golfing, it comes preloaded with 41,000 golf courses.
To be honest, there are way too many functions to mention here, so if you’re interested in the full list, you can check it out over on the Garmin site.
The Quatix 6 can combine your activities and evaluate them using its many toold. With features like a heart rate sensor, GPS, and the Pulse Ox sensor — which estimates the amount of oxygen in your blood — the Quatix 6 can estimate your fitness level.
What I liked best about the Quatix 6, though, was the stress and body battery features. In all likelihood, this has more to do with the fact that I’m reviewing this watch during a pandemic. Still, paying more attention to my stress and energy levels was a nice change of pace.
That’s not to say I needed a watch to tell me I’m more stressed than usual, but when the Quatix 6 asked if I wanted to do a breathing exercise because it knew I was on edge, I was happy to be offered a reminder. This is a small part of the overall abilities of the Quatix 6, but for this journalist struggling to meet deadlines in a world that functions a little differently than it used to, it was a welcome addition.
The onslaught of functionality doesn’t stop at breathing exercises and sports. With 32GB of storage, the Quatix 6 can hold 2,000 songs, and since it’s Bluetooth- and Wi-Fi-compatible, you can stream from Spotify, Amazon Music, and more.
Another smart feature is Garmin Pay, which lets you set up a virtual wallet to make contactless payments.
Everything I’ve mentioned up until this point is, or can be, true of the same-priced $700 Fenix 6 Pro. The only difference is that the marine features automatically included with the Quatix 6 would need to be downloaded to the Fenix 6 Pro via the Garmin Connect app.
So why buy the Quatix 6 and not the Fenix 6 Pro? It all comes down to aesthetics.
With its “Captain Blue” silicone band, brushed stainless-steel bezel, and touches of red, the Quatix 6 gives off a far different vibe than its all-black tactical brother. Normally, I’m a fan of the all-black options, but the classy look of the Quatix 6 is a wonderful change from watches I’ve had in the past. If you’re looking to stand out even more, the Quatix 6 comes in a titanium version for $1,000, which steps things up with a sapphire crystal lens, titanium bezel and band, and a drop in weight from 83 to 72 grams.
While you may not be aware of the Quatix 6, you should be. It has all the same functionality of the Fenix 6 Pro, with a different look that’s just as classy on a boat as it is on the trail or the gym.
Is there a better alternative?
In the north of $500 price category, you’re looking at the best smartwatches available on the market, like the Apple Watch, Suunto 9 Baro, and Polar Vantage V Titan. A lot of this choice comes down to personal preference, price, and whether you’re willing to learn how different brands work.
The main strike against the Quatix 6 is the high price tag, which may kick it out of contention for a lot of people. But if you’re willing to be patient, Garmin watches go on sale quite often, more than most other brands.
How long will it last?
Garmin watches are built to be thrown around, and the Quatix 6 is no exception. If previous experience is any indication, you’ll be wearing your Quatix 6 at least three to four years, at which point something shiny and new will catch your eye long before it lets you down or is phased out. The watch comes with a one-year limited warranty.
Should you buy it?
Yes. If you can afford it, it’s arguably the most robust multisport smartwatch available today.
- Garmin fitness trackers receive steep price cuts at Best Buy
- The best cheap Fitbit alternatives for workouts
- 3 smartwatch deals you can’t afford to miss today
- Best smartwatch deals for August 2020: Samsung, Fitbit, and Apple Watch sales
- The best running headphones for 2020