Garmin 1030 plus has expanded its audience by leveraging the features of the Fenix 5 to appeal to trail runners and other trail enthusiasts.
This watch is unique in that it’s one of only a few devices within this size category. It can function as a fitness watch just fine with activity profiles you find on many other watches. Still, it can also be used as a full-fledged navigation device with maps and many of the features we see on Garmin’s Edge cycling computers. Garmin uses what it calls “UltraTrac mode” to extend the battery life of this watch for up to 50 hours, but like most watches running mapping software, you won’t get more than 16 hours in UltraTrac with GPS on. If you want to record your activities and use the watch as a day-to-day fitness tracker, we found it lasted around eight days in smartwatch mode.
Garmin Fenix 5x Plus Features
- Excellent mapping and navigation capabilities. Astonishing barometric altimeter accuracy.
- Variety of sport profiles and sports to choose from. Wireless music playback control via Bluetooth (currently limited, but Garmin will open it up soon).
- Optional mapping and navigation without a SIM card. Garmin Pay works well and is accepted nearly everywhere you can swipe/tap a credit card (basically every major retailer these days).
- Still, a tremendous day-to-day fitness watch with smart notifications when connected to your phone over Bluetooth. Satellite pre-caching is lovely, and the satellite acquisition is fast in most places.
- 4 GB of storage for music tracks.
- Battery life is okay using UltraTrac, but it’s more suited for running without the mapping features enabled (48-hours). The price is a bit high but worth the price, in my opinion.
This is the first Garmin consumer-focused watch with barometric altimeter accuracy. We tested this feature and found it within about 10 ft (3 m) of our handheld altimeter over a 5 mile (8 km) route on varied terrain. The more traditional GPS altitude was usually off by more than 100 ft (30 m), which we would expect.
This watch brings some unique features to the Garmin lineup with a price tag of $700USD, but it also comes with a premium cost of entry.
We tested this watch for several weeks and found it to be an excellent performer. The performance doesn’t quite match that of Garmin’s cycling-specific watches, such as the Edge 1030, but it’s on par with other top-notch fitness watches.
Keep reading to find out why we like this watch so much and what areas of improvement we’d like to see in future versions.
Fenix 5x Plus Review
You can tell the new Fenix 5x plus gps is a massive step forward in technology; it’s not cheap coming in at £599 or $699, but if you are into cycling or any outdoor pursuit, it is worth every penny. I have owned all the previous models, and this would be my preferred watch; cycling or running has everything I need.
The significant change over the Fenix 5 is the mapping and navigation; previously, you only had a primary breadcrumb trail to follow, whereas now you can load upcycle trails into the Fenix and follow the Garmin. Routable maps onto your wrist are unique! You can also load topo maps and follow tracks. I don’t think you can leave your Garmin Fenix 5X Plus at home as it’s still an excellent watch for day-to-day training, and the battery life is massive (50 hours in power-saving mode).