Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire

We’ve read the reviews across the web for the Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire and summarize the results below:

Universal Ranking

PeakScore: 86 (out of 100)
User Rating: 4.3 stars 
Expert Rating: 4.3 stars

Number of Ratings Reviewed: 1416

Pros & Cons

Reasons to buy:

User Reviews

  • Great battery life, even lasting up to two weeks in some cases where GPS mode wasn’t consistently used.
  • Charges very quickly.
  • Button navigation allows you to move through menus with gloves on or with wet hands.
  • Huge amount of features make the watch a bit complicated to set up, but once you do, operating the watch and moving between features is easy.
  • Easy to read the display even in bright sun.
  • Sapphire screen resists scratches and overall the watch has a very durable feel.
  • Easy to quickly swap out bands, and since attachment point faces the wrist you don’t have to worry about bands popping off in water, while running, etc.

Expert Reviews

  • New on the Fenix 5X are pre-loaded high quality topo and street maps of the entire US that are helpful for route-creation and navigating off trail.
  • Storm alarm that alerts you to changes in barometric pressure is very useful when in the backcountry or elsewhere where planning might be needed to reach shelter in time.
  • GarminConnect software allows you to build custom workouts suited to your goals and fitness level.
  • Nearly every element of the watch face is customizable, as is the background.
  • Updated charging cable will become the standard for all Garmin products moving forward, meaning fewer cables to keep track of.
  • Very easy to access widgets and functions via a button on the upper left of the display.
  • Overall very easy to use, and quick to respond when following routes or using maps to navigate.

Reasons NOT to buy:

User Reviews

  • Can read text messages and emails on screen but no function to respond.
  • Can’t customize which notifications show up when paired with a smartphone- the only options are all notifications or none.
  • Some sound interruptions when connected to Apple AirPods.
  • Customizable quick release bands don’t come in very desirable colors.

Expert Reviews

  • No ability to receive photos in text messages.
  • Some issues with point to point accuracy of heart rate monitor, especially on mountain bike rides. This could be due to jostling, making the watch sensor lose contact with the skin.
  • Large price difference between the 5/5S and 5X, where you are mainly paying for the map feature.
  • Route creation can only be done on a desktop or laptop, not from a phone.
  • GarminConnect app has a steeper learning curve than other comparable apps.
  • Soft rubber of some bands may be prone to cracking, and on long runs or bike rides the square edges of the 5 and 5X bands may dig into soft skin of arm.
  • Some people may find the watch face of the 5X to be too large in comparison to the wrist.
  • Expensive.


The Garmin Phoenix 5X Sapphire is something like a polished culmination of all the lovely features Garmin watches are known for. This watch has every function a techie-athlete could dream of (with arguably the most data fields available from any watch on the market) and on top of that is easy to use once you get the hang of it, has an incredible battery life, and is very durable. The biggest downside is the price, but if you value the pre-loaded maps and the implications this feature has for route creation and navigation, this watch is worth it.


Note: User and expert rankings were reviewed across the web. Some expert reviews include these: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.