Fenix 2: Part 1 (Nick)

So, it has been about a month since I started running/riding with my Garmin Fenix2 and it is about time that I put up a review and post about it.

I have been running with the Nike+ GPS watch for the past 2 years and it has served me well, but as I start to participate in other sports, it just wasn’t going to cut it.  It was at this point that I decided I needed to look into a multi-sport watch.  After doing a bit of research (thank you DCRainmaker), I found a few suitable options, but based somewhat on form factor, I chose the Fenix2.  I was lucky enough to catch it before it was completely sold out.  I ordered mine from Amazon, but did not order the bundle with the HRM.  Given that it will track Cadence, Ground Contact, Vertical Oscillation and VO2 with the HRM, I did order one separately.  It arrived just prior to my trip to Germany and I was able to have it set up and ready to go before the trip.

My first impressions after getting it set up:

Compared to the Nike watch, the Fenix2 connects to sensors and satellites very quickly.  It was not an uncommon experience for me to be standing in front of my house waving my arms around hoping that a different position would allow the Nike watch to find the satellites.  Sometimes this would last several minutes, and sometimes I would bite the bullet and just start running in hopes that it would connect within a few minutes of starting my run.  This is a huge benefit that I see to the Garmin, the watch connects to the satellites within seconds and I believe that it is their expertise in the field that helps this.  Other first impressions on the Fenix2 are that the watch control dynamics are sometimes confusing.  There are a lot of options to choose from and it can be difficult at first to figure out what each of them does.  The watch is comfortable for my arm, and having read complaints about the size, I was surprised to find that it was not much larger than my Nike watch.

Comparison to Nike+ GPS Watch:

Just a quick comparison of data shows that the Fenix2 often tracks a bit off the path and Nike tends to be on the path.  I believe that the Nike software snaps the runner to known paths when the data is uploaded.  On a one mile test run, the Fenix2 showed slightly lower distance, however very close to within the margin of error.

Data collection is far greater on the Fenix2, but certainly that is a function of the watch and not a comment on how the watch functions.  The size and form factor of the watch are comparable to the Nike watch, as I stated before, but one thing that I really like is that I can display more than one data set on a page.  There is no reason to scroll through to find different data.  This is a huge benefit over the Nike watch, which I found myself constantly scrolling through to find the data I was looking for.

There is a replaceable band on the Fenix2, but this is more of a convenience/fashion choice than a necessity.

Functionality:

The watch and Garmin Connect software perform well.  The first thing that I love, and I have already mentioned, is that data is visible on a single screen.  User defined screens come in quite handy as I am currently concerned with my cadence and heart rate and the watch allows me to put those on the same screen.  This negates the need to flip through to see different data sets.   I would say that there is almost too much data visible during the run to fully track all of them while running.  One of the things that isn’t necessary to flip through for is the Training Partner.  Instead, I have set a pace that I have run and the watch will alert me when I am ahead or behind that pace.

It is the mass amount of data that I truly love without having a million things to connect.  Cadence, heart rate, vertical oscillation, elevation, ground contact, and temperature are just some of the things that can be tracked, but it extends beyond that.  For instance on my bike, I have added a speed and cadence sensor which are certainly helpful to me as I start cycling.  The watch also tracks barometric pressure and temperature on a normal basis as it functions as a watch.

Vertical Oscillation

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 7.40.57 PM

Cadence

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 7.40.49 PM

Ground Contact Time

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 7.41.05 PM

Temperature

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 7.41.11 PM

Heart Rate

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 7.40.43 PM

Elevation

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 7.40.34 PM

Pace

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 7.40.24 PM

 

Initial Conclusions

Overall I am impressed with the watch and love the data that it provides.  I intend to do a more thorough check between the Nike and Garmin watches during a long run, as of now I have just done this on a 1 mile run.  I will follow this review up in the following weeks with more information.