Garmin’s Fenix 5 Plus offers NFC payments, blood oxygen readings, and GPS

garmin fenix 5 plus

Update: read our Garmin Fenix 5X Plus review for a complete look at the new fitness tracker.

The Fenix 5 GPS multisport watch was a major win for Garmin, and the Kansas company is capitalizing on its previous success with the latest iteration of its smart wearable. On Monday, June 18, Garmin introduced the Fenix 5 Plus series, heralded as the latest generation of GPS multisport watch with built-in routable topographical maps, storage for music playlists, NFC payments, and a wrist-based sensor that will let you measure your blood oxygen levels. Like the other watches in the Fenix 5 series, this latest offering promises to be ideal for “athletes and adventures of all sizes.”

Ranging in size from 42 to 51 mm, all of the new Fenix 5 Plus watches promise bright, sunlight readable displays. In total, there are three watches in the lineup: the Fenix 5S Plus, the Fenix 5 Plus, and the Fenix 5X Plus, updates to the existing 5S, 5, and Fenix 5X. The 5S Plus is significantly larger than the 5S, with a display that is 1.2 inches in diameter, a 20-percent increase over the 5S. The Fenix 5X Plus is the first wearable from Garmin to offer a Pulse Oximeter for blood oxygen measurements, which will come in handy for folks who tend to engage in high altitude activities.

“We are thrilled to bring exciting new features to our most popular outdoor GPS wearable series,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of global consumer sales. “We’ve added some of our most sought-after features like built-in mapping, music, and contactless payments to each new model in the Fenix 5 Plus series, and with the introduction of the Pulse Ox feature in the Fenix 5X Plus, our customers can now have more confidence taking their adventures to even greater heights.”

All of the watches in the new Plus series include built-in map data that should let you find your way by simply glancing at your wrist. You’ll have access to both navigation capabilities as well as location tracking — plus, Garmin’s maps can be paired with the company’s round-trip course creators that helps you input a total mileage goal, and receive a list of appropriate routes to choose from.

The Plus line also comes with Garmin’s Trendline routing feature, which leverages Garmin Connect data to help you find and follow trails and running routes based on crowdsourced miles from other Garmin users. And while you’re on your long runs or other adventures, you can stay entertained with the Plus watches’ music storage. All three wearables will allow you to store up to 500 songs, and you can download offline playlists from services including iHeartRadio and Deezer. Alternatively, you can transfer music straight from your computer to your watch.

Not only can you leave your phone at home, but you can also forget your wallet. The Plus series comes with Garmin Pay, an NFC payment solution that lets you quickly make transactions by swiping your wrist. And if you leverage your Garmin Pay wallet, you’ll be able to reap the same loyalty rewards that you’d enjoy from plastic cards, all without having to worry about carrying them around.

Of course, as a watch for athletes, the 5 Plus models monitor physiological metrics, running dynamics, and other workout stats. The Garmin smartwatches will also let you know if you’re overtraining, maintaining, or peaking in your exercise schedule. But not only is Garmin making a sports watch, the device is also a smartwatch — when you pair your watch with a compatible smartphone, you can also get all call, text, and email notifications right on your wrist.

Where can you take a Fenix 5 Plus? Just about anywhere. The wearables boast multinetwork satellite reception, which now includes Galileo to help track you in environments where GPS alone may not cut it, including canyons or other rural environments.

The new watches are available either in a PVD-coated stainless-steel bezel with silicone watch band, or a high-performing titanium bezel version with brushed titanium bracelet (which is a bit lighter). All are water-rated up to 100 meters, and have a battery life ranging from seven days to 20 days. The Fenix 5 Plus series will range in price between $700 and $1,150, and will be made available in the second quarter of 2018.

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