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Garmin’s new Fenix 6 series of multi-sport GPS watches is here. The lineup features the first Garmin watch with a transparent solar charging lens, larger 1.4-inch sunlight readable displays, and new features that can extend battery life and more accurately track your performance. These are the watches you buy when outdoor fitness is your priority, money is no object, and adaptability to everyday life indoors is still important.
The Fenix 6X Pro Solar is the flagship device. Its “Power Glass” solar lens not only extends the watch’s 21-day battery life (in smartwatch mode) by up to three days, its display is also 36-percent larger than the largest display available in the Fenix 5 series. The solar option is only available with the larger 51mm case, however. Battery life on the 6X Pro Solar model plummets when used in always-on GPS mode, of course, dropping to about 15 hours with solar extending life by another hour or so. Life can be extended to 80 days in the battery-saver watch mode, with the solar lens adding another 40 days for a 120 day lifespan before needing a recharge.
The Fenix 6 (47mm) and 6X (51mm) models claim a trimmer and more comfortable fit from previous generations, while also offering scratch-resistant sapphire glass options and a larger 1.4-inch display on the 6X. The Fenix 6S model is a followup to the excellent Fenix 5S— Garmin’s model with a smaller 1.2-inch display and 42mm watchface that targets women and anyone desiring a less obnoxious bulge on their wrist without skimping on features.
Garmin is also introducing new QuickFit nylon bands and silicone colors with the launch of the Fenix 6 series.
On the software side, the two biggest changes since the Fenix 5 series are a new PacePro feature and more customizable power management. Garmin calls PacePro a first-of-its-kind feature that adapts for elevation changes to keep a runner’s pacing on track. The new Power Manager provides insight into how different settings and sensors affect the power draw, allowing users to disable certain features on-the-fly to maximize battery life.
On the music side, the Fenix 6 series can be configured with 32GB of on-device storage that can hold up to 2,000 songs, that’s up from 500 songs on the Fenix 5. You can also opt for Wi-Fi connectivity to enable streaming music support for Spotify, Amazon Music, and Deezer services which you can listen to over Bluetooth headphones.
All the watches feature topographic maps for trails, slopes, and golf courses; the ability to record running, cycling, swimming, hiking, and golfing sessions, among other sports; a heart-rate sensor with VO2 Max calculations; Bluetooth and ANT+ accessory connectivity; access to GPS, GLONASS and Galileo satellite systems; sleep monitoring; contactless Garmin Pay; and the ability to receive notification alerts from your iOS or Android smartphone, although Android integration is deeper.
Pricing for the new Garmin wearables starts at $599.99 for the Fenix 6 and smaller Fenix 6S. It quickly climbs to $1,149.99 for the Fenix 6X Pro Solar which is only available with the 51mm watch face and without sapphire glass, apparently — making us wonder just how scratch resistant this expensive timepiece will be. The Fenix 6S Pro Sapphire Edition with 42mm watch face costs $799.99. All but the solar watches ship immediately, with the 6X Pro Solar showing delivery in five to eight weeks.