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That being said, the Garmin Software updates have done wonders to make the Garmin fēnix™ more adept as a trail running watch, so hopefully it will become even more usable in future if the software is further upgraded (If you’ve done any Garmin software updates before, you’ll have no problems updating the Garmin fēnix™’s software). The major improvements that have been made up until the latest version, Software Version 3.20, include:

  • Ability to import Garmin Connect Courses as tracks for navigation

  • Indoor training support

  • Foot Pod support

  • Minimum and maximum speed alerts

  • ‘3D’ speed and distance reporting

You can see a list of all the improvements on the Garmin fēnix™.

However, being a gadget freak that likes all the bells and whistles there are still a few things which I like to have my GPS running watch be able to do that the Garmin fēnix™ cannot yet do at this stage:

  • Intervals

  • Workouts

  • Virtual Pacer

  • Virtual Racer

  • Autolap by position

  • Run/Walk mode

The lack of these features of course may not be a real deal breaker for some, as like I said earlier in the review one has to look at your needs and the Garmin fēnix™ is geared more towards meeting the needs of outdoor adventurers, with ultra trail runners being only a small part of that group. While I use my Garmin more as a training tool, many others are more concerned with a recording tool or navigational tool or a combination of both, which is where the Garmin fēnix™ shines.

One thing previous models of GPS sports watches lacked was the battery life to cope with ultra running, whether multi-day adventures or a 100 mile trail ultra. The Garmin fēnix™ addresses this issue by allowing the user to set a slower sampling rate, (the rate at which the fēnix™ records GPS and other data) up to one minute intervals for the GPS receiver, to allow the battery on the Garmin fēnix™ to last up to a quoted 50 hours. This is quite significant versus the 20 hours of the Garmin 910XT and on par with the Suunto Ambit at 50 hours quoted that uses similar technology to achieve its battery life.

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