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Garmin’s Fenix 6 GPS watches harness solar power for long-lasting adventures

Garmin Fenix 6 series
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Garmin’s Fenix 5 series is known for its “won’t-quit” design that’ll endure even the most rugged backcountry adventures. So it is not surprising to see this same winning formula in the company’s newly announced Fenix 6 series of multisport GPS watches. The Fenix 6 series is more than just a clone of the Fenix 5. It’s equally as rugged but more refined than its predecessor with larger displays, longer battery life, and a new PacePro guidance feature that compensates for elevation. One of the most significant additions to the lineup is the flagship Fenix 6X Pro Solar which includes solar technology that allows you to charge without connecting to a power source.

The first thing you notice about the Fenix 6 series is its small bezel and brilliant sunlight-readable display that is up to 36% larger than previous Fenix models. Though it has a bigger screen, the Fenix 6 is 10 to 15% slimmer than the existing Fenix 5 series. With a choice of either a silicone band or a new nylon band, the 6 series has a comfortable fit that’ll make you forget you are wearing a rugged, multisport, adventure watch.

For those who struggle with battery life, the new Fenix 6 series has a customizable Power Manager feature which allows you to control the various settings that influence battery life. Users can view their predicted battery life and then adjust the battery modes to extend the life of the watch on the fly. If you need the maximum amount of battery life possible, Garmin’s Fenix 6X Pro Solar has a solar-charging glass lens that harvests the sun’s energy to give your battery a boost when you need it the most.

Most people who choose a Fenix watch for their mountain adventures will appreciate the new PacePro feature that takes into account the elevation of a course when determining their target pace and split times. It’s a smart version of pace bands used by marathon and long-distance runners. Runners can view their split times, their target split pace and how far they are ahead or behind their pace. There’s also an improved VO2 Max metric that adjusts for heat and altitude and a recovery advisor that helps balance your workout time with your rest time.

Fenix watches are known for their outstanding topographic maps, and now these maps have been expanded to include more than 2,000 ski resorts and 41,000 golf courses worldwide. The ski maps not only show the runs on each mountain, but they also include the run names and difficulty ratings. These details decrease the chance you’ll accidentally end up on Corbet’s Coulior when you wanted the bunny slope.

As it has done in the past, Garmin’s new Fenix 6 series is available in a variety of configurations and price points to accommodate a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts. The Fenix 6 and 6S are the base models, which drop music, maps, and Wi-Fi in exchange for a low starting price tag of $599. The $699-plus Pro models are the next step up and offer music, maps, and Wi-Fi on top of a solid user interface and slim, but durable design. The flagship is the $999 Fenix 6X Pro Solar which is the only model to include solar charging.

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Kelly Hodgkins
Kelly's been writing online for ten years, working at Gizmodo, TUAW, and BGR among others. Living near the White Mountains of…
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