Garmin Fenix 3 Review

The Garmin Fenix 3 is known to be an action packed multisport GPS watch. If you are all about the extreme sports, and you want a device that can track more than your morning run, then look no further than this one. The Garmin Fenix 3 GPS watch can track swimming, skiing, running and even some gym exercises. Read more for our Garmin Fenix 3 review.

Garmin Fenix 3 Review

The Garmin Fenix 3 is not a cheap multisport GPS with a RRP of $499.99, so expect it to come with a lot of extras. The question you may be asking yourself is, can it outperform its predecessor, Garmin Fenix 2?


Garmin Fenix 3

Features and Design
The predecessor was a chunkier watch, but the Garmin Fenix 3 looks like it’s been on a diet. It’s still a heftier watch but nothing like the previous model. It features a toughened lens and a new metal strap. The lens is smaller by 1cm compared to its predecessor.

The weight of the watch hasn’t changed very much. The bulk that it does have is the result of the battery. You will be happy to know that the longevity of the piece is better than ever. The Garmin Fenix 3 can last for three months in watch mode, but if you are using the GPS, you have up to 20hrs of battery time. Even more hrs. at 50 if you are using it in lower power hiking mode. Downfall, however, is when combined with the metal strap the watch becomes really heavy, but they do provide a rubber version as well.

You have up to three months of battery life unless you start using the smartphone notifications. The Garmin Fenix 3 can provide notifications for Uber, calls, texts, and SkyBet’s. The Garmin Fenix 3 has a 218 x 218 color screen and can even be seen in direct sunlight.

The Garmin can be used as an everyday watch, but many people don’t, as it can be cumbersome. If you want to, however, it can track your daily steps and even track your sleep. The sleep tracking is limited, however; it will only show you the hours in which you spent in bed.

Activity Tracking
The Fenix 3 can also track anything from train running, cycling, swimming, hiking, climbing, cross-country skiing, open water swimming, indoor workouts, skiing to the triathlon.

The Garmin Fenix 3 is very similar to the Vivoactive smartwatch. They both have GPS, smartwatch features, and multisport tracking capabilities. The Fenix 3 wins due to its breadth of data.


Garmin Fenix 3 Stats

The watch has a built-in compass, and you can track your climbing and walking progress on the watch. It allows you to see your current heading and the path that you planned to take. The best part is the watch will prevent you from going in circles while on a hike.

If you are looking to use the heart rate stats, you will need to combine the Fenix 3 with chest straps, as it can’t be tracked through the wrist.

A cool feature is the three screens that your information is displayed on when you are out on a run. The same happens for cycling as well. You can cycle through these screens by the physical buttons. Many people use the pace and distance screens the most, but there is also a screen for heart rate zones as well.

Data is displayed clearly using big numbers that are easy to read when you just have a moment to glance during a run. There are also big buttons on the side that allow you to press easily mid-stride

The Garmin Fenix 3 App
The smartphone app allows you to check out your stats once you arrive back home. It has access to the Garmin Connect mobile app that is available for Android and iOS. The Fenix 3 has one of the best apps in the business. There are also web-based versions that allow you a multitude of options. You can take your friends through challenges and earn badges, or you can plot your running routes with ease. Those are just a couple of the options available to you.

The mobile app is one of the most seamless apps available out there. Everything you need syncs quickly and there are none of those crazy limbos that you can experience with many fitness trackers. The workouts are in chronological order, and it allows you to get to your stats easily. They are always tabbed across the top so as not to be overwhelming to the eye. There isn’t a lot of analysis involved in the app so you will have to use your own experience when it comes to reading the data offered to you.

Setting up advanced workouts is easy because of the built in compass. Once you have that inputted the watch will guide you on waypoints, which are excellent when you start hitting the trails.

Smartwatch Notifications
On the updated version of the Fenix 3, there are notifications, which are great if you plan on wearing the watch all the time. When you sync it to your smartphone, you will start to see notifications flash up on the watch. You will typically get prompting with a buzz.


Garmin Fenix 3 Notifications

It’s a system that works well no matter what applications you typically use. It’s not as good as the Vivoactive because your notifications can show up on multiple screens and there is the issue of decreased screen legibility. You may at times have to hit the down button in order to read the second half of your messages.

Related Post  Garmin Forerunner 920XT Review

The use of the notifications is dependent on whether you plan to wear your Garmin Fenix 3 all the time. It’s not effective as a smart watch, but it can come in handy of you are running on a trail, and your phone starts ringing.

Positives on the Garmin Fenix 3

  • Silicone band provides luxury feel that is soft and flexible to suit most sports
  • 2 high resolution color display provides clear display to easily show your stats
  • Compatible with a heart rate monitor allowing you to track your heart rate data without wearing
  • Features outdoor navigation like 3-axis compass, altimeter and barometer
  • Suitable for swimming with a water rated up to 10ATM/100 meters
  • Wireless connectivity allowing you to automatically sync your data with Garmin Connect
  • Rechargeable battery provides up to 16 hours in training/GPS mode, up to 50 hours in UltraTrac saver mode or up to 3 months in watch mode

Negatives on the Garmin Fenix 3

  • Although compatible with a separate heart rate monitor, Garmin should of considered integrating an optical HR monitor into the watch.
  • A little heavy to wear for long periods, especially if you’re running a marathon but is a good trade off if you’re looking for a tough rugged multisport watch


Physical dimensions2.0” x 2.0” x 0.6” (51.0 x 51.0 x 16.0 mm)
Display size, WxH1.2” (30.4 mm)
Display resolution, WxH218 x 218 pixels; transflective MIP color
Color DisplayYes
Negative mode displayYes
WeightSilver/Dark: 2.9 oz (82 g)
BatteryRechargeable 300mAh lithium-ion
Battery lifeUp to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode; up to 20 hours in GPS training mode; up to 6 weeks in watch mode
Water rating10 ATM
High-sensitivity receiverYes
Barometric altimeterYes
Electronic compassYes
Smart notifications (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone)Yes
Vibration alertYes
Music controlYes
Watch functionsTime of day (12/24h), calendar (day/date), daily alarm, stop watch, timer, sunrise/sunset alerts
Running FeaturesVirtual Pacer™ (compares current pace to target), V02 max estimate Recovery advisor, Race predictor, Running dynamics Accelerometer (calculates distance for indoor workouts, without need for a foot pod) and Personal records
Cycling FeaturesCompatible with Vector™, Multiple bike profiles, Bike speed/cadence sensor (optional)
Swimming FeaturesPool swim metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories), Stroke type identification (e.g. freestyle), Open water swim metrics (distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories), Swim workouts
Activity Tracking FeaturesStep counter, Auto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal), Move bar (displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it), Sleep monitoring (monitors total sleep and periods of movement or restful sleep)

Source: Garmin

What’s in the Box
Watch only

  • Garmin Fenix 3 watch
  • USB charging/data cable
  • AC adapter
  • User guide

Performer Bundle

  • Garmin Fenix 3 watch
  • HRM Run
  • USB charging/data cable
  • AC adapter
  • User guide

What Other People Say About the Garmin Fenix 3
Top Sports watch – “This is an awesome watch. At $500 bucks, I think the optical HR should be standard, but not interested in spending another $100 to get it. With that said I made the decision that it wasn’t necessary for me. And if I truly wanted that metric, I could always pair a chest strap which is more accurate anyway. Function is solid. It’s an awesome looking watch that certainly garners attention. People notice it almost immediately and some will even ask you about it.” – By Michael D. Moore

This is my favorite Garmin that I have ever owned – “This is my favorite Garmin that I have ever owned! I always get compliments on it! I hardly ever take it off, I have a gnarly tan line to prove it! It’s awesome that it is customizable and I am able to change the setup how I want. Great job Garmin!” By Sari

Perfect assistant for my runs – “I love this watch, it’s an awesome assistant to my physical endeavors. What can I say that hasn’t been said already, this is an over the top powerful watch for my purposes that has been an awesome extra tool in my running.” By B. Lawson

Video on Garmin Fenix 3

If you’re a multisport athlete that’s been waiting for Garmin to bring out a luxury watch, the Fenix 3 is the one to go for. Packed with many features to support swimmers, runners, hikers and bikers, this model definitely delivers.

Where to Buy the Garmin Fenix 3
At the time of writing, you can buy the base Garmin Fenix 3 model for $487.99 with free shipping directly from Amazon.

Do you own the Garmin Fenix 3 watch? Share your comments or questions with us below.