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Fitness

Is the Garmin Fenix 6 worth it over the Forerunner 945?

There are several Fenix 6 models, but looking at the specs, the closest device would be the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro which has an RRP of £699.99 while the Forerunner 945 is £519.99.

There is clearly a significant design difference, the Fenix range does a much better job of being a casual day to day watch than the Forerunner 945.

With the Fenix range being the flagship model for Garmin’s consumer lineup is it worth it over the Forerunner 945 which is often seen as an affordable Fenix?

What’s new on the Garmin Fenix 6

While the Fenix 6 offers lots of additional features compared to its predecessor, most of these features are bringing it line with the Forerunner 945.

  • Split product line into two portions: Pro and Base. Pro has WiFi, Maps, Music, Golf Maps
  • There are three sizes of watches: 42mm (Fenix 6s), 47mm (Fenix 6), 51mm (Fenix 6X)
  • Adds solar charging to Fenix 6 Pro Solar: Termed “Power Glass”, this will increased battery life on sunnier days
  • Adds Trendline Popularity Routing Visibility (Pro): This allows you to actually see the ‘heatmaps’ on your device
  • Adds map display themes: This includes high contrast, popularity, marine, dark, and outdoor.
  • Adds new widget glances concept: Basically shrinks widgets to 1/3rd the screen size, so you can see three at once
  • Adds new PacePro feature: This replaces old-school paper race pace bands, creating pace targets for race based on grade/reverse splits/etc…
  • Adds new Power Manager feature: Gives detailed information about the impacts/tradeoffs of features on battery life
  • Adds new Power Modes feature: Allows you to create custom power/battery modes, with time remaining per activity
  • Adds new MARQ Expedition ultra-long mode: For multi-week GPS activities. Basically shuts off everything except reduced rate GPS tracking
  • Adds ski resort maps: These started on the MARQ series, with 2,000 ski resorts worldwide
  • Adds golf maps pre-loaded: Previously you had to manually load these one by one, also, more detailed golf features
  • Adds support for wrist based swimming HR: This was teased recently on the FR945 beta updates
  • Adds new ultra-low battery mode: Gets up to 80 days of battery life, but super basic watch functionality only
  • Revamped ClimbPro with new coloring: Now matches the Edge 530/830 styling
  • Increased data fields per page: Up to 8 fields on the 6X, and up to 6 fields on the 6S/6
  • Increased screen size and reduced bezel (varies by model, but up to 36% bigger screen size on the 6X
  • Reduced ‘lug to lug distance’ on Fenix 6S: This should help those with smaller wrists, more on this later
  • Reduced thickness of all devices. The 6S shrunk by 10%, the 6 by 7%, and the 6X by 15%.
  • Changed from MediaTek GPS chipset to Sony GPS Chipset: Like every other new Garmin 2019 device
  • Battery life increased: Up to 80 days in battery saver mode for 6X, and up to 120hrs in max battery mode for 6X, all before solar (see full chart below)

What does the Garmin Fenix 6 have that the Forerunner 945 does not?

There are a lot more choices with the Fenix range as always. This obviously affects the price.

  • Screen sizes for the Fenix 6 (1.3) and Fenix 6x (1.4)
  • Increase in pixels for the Fenix 6 (240 x 240) and Fenix 6x (280 x 280)
  • Increase in battery life performance and new power-management modes – the Fenix 6 Pro matches the FR945 in normal use but the extended modes offer significantly longer performance.
  • PacePro. This is grade-adjusted pace guidance throughout your activity.
  • Solar charging on the Fenix 6x Solar edition via a feature called Power Glass.

It is important to know that the standard Fenix 6 models (none-pro) lack both music and Wi-Fi.

It is also worth noting that the FR945 is due for a firmware upgrade to give it PacePro and new battery modes, two of the main features of the Fenix 6 series.

Price comparison

For the like by like comparison the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro which has an RRP of £/$599.99 while the Forerunner 945 is $599.99 & £519.

Design and weight differences

A lot of people seem to have an issue with the weight of the Fenix range, I have only used the Fenix 5S for an extended period of time, so don’t have much experience with the difference.

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro comes in at 83g while the Forerunner weights 50g, that is a 66% increase in weight, so quite a big difference.

The Fenix 6 and above now have larger screens with an increased resolution. The Fenix 6 Pro will have 1.3″ at 260 x 260 pixels vs 1.2″ at 240×240.

The overall size of the watch is almost identical, but it is the metal bezel and metal rear of the watch that will add a significant amount of weight.

  Dimensions Weight Screen Size Screen Resolution
Garmin Fenix 6S 42 x 42 x 13.8 mm 58 g 1.2″ 240 x 240 pixels
Garmin Fenix 6S Pro 42 x 42 x 13.8 mm 61 g 1.2″ 240 x 240 pixels
Garmin Fenix 6S Sapphire 42 x 42 x 13.8 mm 61 g 1.2″ 240 x 240 pixels
Garmin Fenix 6 47 x 47 x 14.7 mm 80 g 1.3″ 260 x 260 pixels
Garmin Fenix 6 Pro 47 x 47 x 14.7 mm 83 g 1.3″ 260 x 260 pixels
Garmin Fenix 6 Sapphire 47 x 47 x 14.7 mm 83 g 1.3″ 260 x 260 pixels
Garmin Fenix 6X Pro 51 x 51 x 14.9mm 93 g 1.4″ 260 x 260 pixels
Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire 51 x 51 x 14.9mm 93 g 1.4″ 280 x 280 pixels
Garmin Fenix 6X Solar Sapphire Titanium + Silicone wristband 51 x 51 x 14.9 mm 82 g 1.4″ 280 x 280 pixels
Garmin Fenix 6X Solar Sapphire Titanium + Titan wristband 51 x 51 x 14.9 mm 82 g 1.4″ 280 x 280 pixels
Forerunner 945 47 x 47 x 13.7 mm 50 g 1.2″ 240 x 240 pixels

Battery life

The Fenix 6 series introduces 2 new smartwatch battery modes that significantly improve battery life, how useful these are to you is another question. For me, they will be handy on holiday if/when I forget my charger, but day to day use I want access to all the health tracking features too.

  6S Basic / Pro / Sapphire 6 Basic / Pro / Sapphire 6X Pro / Sapphire 6X Sapphire Solar Forerunner 945
GPS 25 h 36 h 60 h 60 + 6 h 36h
GPS + music 6 h 10 h 15 h 15 + 1 h 10h
UltraTrac 50 h 72 h 120 h 120 + 28 h
Smartwatch mode 9 days 14 days 21 days 21 + 3 days 14 days
Exposure mode 20 days 28 days 46 days 46 + 10 days
Economy mode 34 days 48 days 80 days 80 + 40 days

Availability & Current Prices

The Forerunner is available right now for £519.99 via Wiggle, Garmin and many other retailers.

Ther Fenix 6 series is available for pre-order from Amazon

Which is the best to buy?

There is not a lot of difference between the two models, you pay a premium the improved looks of the Fenix 6 Pro, and some minor spec improvements. This comes at a cost of weight.

Serious runners/swimmers may be better off with the Forerunner just for the weight advantage. People that do multiday endurance events will likely prefer the 6X Pro. Beyond that, it will be a subjective choice.

Comparing the Fenix 6 Pro to the FR945, I think the £70 is justifiable for the premium build and better screen. Garmin has already done well with the Fenix crossing over into the casual/style market and this is obviously their aim here.

I suppose one argument could be made that the Fenix 6 Pro is a bit pointless, the looks are not that different, and the features are the same. It is the Fenix 6S with its stylish looks and smaller form or the 6X Pro with its incredible battery life that are the two watches that really differentiate the Fenix 6 series from the Forerunner 945.

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, Features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace Monitoring and Pulse Ox Sensors, Black with Black Band

  • Fit for performance with rugged, sophisticated design that features an always-on 1.3-Inch (18% Larger Than previous Fenix models) sunlight-readable display with stainless steel bezel
  • Features enhanced wrist heart rate (the data and information provided by these devices is intended to be a close estimation of your activity and metrics tracked, but may not be precisely accurate) and pulse ox (this is not a medical device and is not intended for use in the diagnosis or monitoring of any medical condition)
  • Advanced training features include pacepro for grade-adjusted pace guidance throughout your activity Plus environmentally adjusted VO2 max and training status estimates
  • Navigate the outdoors With preloaded TOPO maps, ski maps for over 2, 000 Worldwide ski Resorts, multiple global navigation satellite system (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) support and built-in sensors for 3-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter
  • Support for Garmin Pay Contactless payments (not all countries and payment networks are eligible), music storage with premium streaming service (may require a premium subscription with a third-party music provider) support, smart notifications and more

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Maikel Du

I worked in many technical fields, but I always resort to blogging which has become an addiction to me
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