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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Finally stopping that crazy suffering that is ice, climbing to concentrate on great ski tours!, .
Interest: Anything that can drag me to the mountains. Backpacking is #1, followed by climbing, dayhiking and camping with family.
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Default Garmin fenix

I've been hemming and hawing over replacing a couple pieces of my long serving navigation gear. I have a Momentum VS-1 watch that needs some minor repairs, but I'd like another ABC style watch as well. My old Garmin 60 gps is pre high-sensitivity chips and though it works okay, has poor reception and accuracy compared to newer units.

I don't need a big fancy colour screen on my gps. I used a fancy unit this winter (borrowed) and found I still used the paper map. Even on larger screens, I just can't read them that well, and I hate seeing such a tiny portion of the map. Maybe it's because I learned to read a topo map about 40 years ago and I'm stubborn or whatever, but I need the bigger picture.

Enter the Garmin fenix:

http://sites.garmin.com/fenix/#begin

This appears to be what I am looking for. An ABC watch with built in gps. The name is stupid (lower case f?) but the specs look damned impressive. I wouldn't consider a rechargeable anything, but this last year we've come up with some light and effective ways to recharge devices in the field.

A few features that stand out are the number of tracking points and waypoints. Also, it has track-back, a feature I use frequently. It also has lots of training features that I can use at home. The remote temperature sensor that links through ANT appears to be super-cool. I find the temperature sensor a waste for the most part on watches as it just gives you the temperature of the micro-climate around your wrist. It also has a vibration alarm, which might help with alpine starts. Garmin's 3-axis compass is awesome. Sure, I'll have an old magnetic compass in my pack somewhere, but these new electronic units are great.

The best part? It's not made by Sunnto. They have their own version, the Ambit, but it's lacking in some of the GPS features (small storage and no trackback) and it's more money to boot. Also, I have has terrible luck with Suunto watches, and I'm not keen to buy another.

My Garmin 305, on the other hand, and all the various handhelds I've had, have worked very reliably.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 07:30 AM
Summit Master
 
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I see a wallet getting $500 lighter....
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 02:08 PM
Headed for the Mountains
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Invermere, BC, Canada.
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Sounds interesting. I'll have to look into it more
Just throwing it out there as an alternative and something I am considering is the Delorme Inreach. Its a GPS unit that has emergency beacon capability and can be paired with a smart phone via bluetooth for tracking etc. In an emergency you can actually text out details instead of the responders not knowing if you're stuck with car trouble or injured. A friend of mine has this set up and with his iphone in airplane mode, the battery lasted for a 3 day trip. The Gaia app can export kml and gpx tracks. It doesnt have the training aspect but combines a few devices.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 01:09 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: north van, bc, Canada.
Interest: hiking / camping
Posts: 1,093
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I've been wanting an ABC watch for a while. this one looks pretty cool

I like the remote temp sensor. if it graphs / records even cooler. I always wonder how cold it hit over night. leave sensor outside, wake up, look at graph (if it has one)

more info here

http://www.gpscity.ca/garmin-fenix.html
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 10-29-2012, 08:53 PM
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in the case today at mec for $400
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 10-29-2012, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Finally stopping that crazy suffering that is ice, climbing to concentrate on great ski tours!, .
Interest: Anything that can drag me to the mountains. Backpacking is #1, followed by climbing, dayhiking and camping with family.
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quote:Originally posted by smac

in the case today at mec for $400
Yeah, $399 most everywhere. But, it doesn't come with the HR strap or Tempe temperature sensor, so if you want it kitted out, you're closing in on $500. But, still less than the Suunto Ambit.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 01:05 AM
Scaling New Heights
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Hello folks,
I hope it is not frowned upon to resurrect an old post but I am curious if either of you purchased the Garmin Fenix GPS watch?

If you have, can you provide feedback regarding battery life, GPS accuracy (tree line, dense trees) and cold weather usage?

My hope is to replace my super reliable 60cx and Oregon GPS with a light-weight unit for just grabbing the coordinates (I like use paper maps), back tracking feature would be a bonus but most importantly to recharged via USB as I already carry a small battery pack for these needs and to not need to fumble with a touch-screen in the cold winter.

Shedding weight is always a plus =)
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Finally stopping that crazy suffering that is ice, climbing to concentrate on great ski tours!, .
Interest: Anything that can drag me to the mountains. Backpacking is #1, followed by climbing, dayhiking and camping with family.
Posts: 3,782
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Use mine all the time. It's a trail running/training tool at home, and my navigation tool in the mountains.

Good:

The display is great. Even my old eyes can see it almost all the time.
The GPS is very accurate. The newer high sensitivity receivers are very good. Very few signal losses.
There are tons of features and the watch is customizable.
The buttons can be locked out so you don't make changes when wearing gloves, etc.
The backlight is great, the best of any watch I've used
Battery life is good. I've used it in "ultra-track" mode on long-ish trips, with the GPS enabled for the entire day, and 4-5 days without a recharge is easy.
Buttons are easy to use.

Bad:

Like all watches, the alarm is weak. It's a bit better thanks to the vibrate mode, but still won't rouse me from a deep slumber.
Software issues have plagued the watch. I had one of the first fenix watches, and it's taken dozen of upgrades to finally get most of the bugs ironed out.
If you want to see your position on a map on a screen, the fenix ain't for you. I much prefer old-school paper maps, so the watch works well for me.
The manual blows, and online support sucks too. It's a matter of just investing time in learning how it all works.

As for recharging, I have a little portable battery "stick" with a USB connection, and from that I can recharge my iPhone once and the fenix a few times, meaning I can last weeks and weeks with the watch.

Overall, I'm very pleased.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 05:15 PM
Scaling New Heights
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Hi johngenx,
Thank you for the feedback.
What other software bugs are present? The cost of the unit is high and my expectation would be good quality with little fiddling.

The battery consumption is a shocker, a good one though! I was looking at a cheaper Timex watch but was not able to display coordinates nor would the battery life last long.

Are you able to comment on the durability of the watch? Would you say it has taken a bit of abuse? Would it survive the usual rock climbing scuffs and occasional smacks into tree trunks etc?

Thank you again for your time!
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