New GPS Watch: Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire

I recently upgraded my fitness tracker. I’ve used my Garmin Vivosmart HR for 5+ years. It works fine for tracking heartrate, steps, sleeps etc., but it doesn’t have a GPS and do activity tracking that well. So I ended up ponying up the cash for a Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire GPS watch, and here’s what I think about it so far.

Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire edition with diamond-like carbon (DLC) finish

The Fenix is Garmin’s premium line of multi-sport GPS watches. They are currently up to Fenix 7 at the time of writing, so the older Fenix 6 had a healthy discount that drove my purchase. I got the 6X which is the biggest out of the Fenix 6 line. It’s bigger and bulkier, but also has the more battery life than the smaller sizes. The Sapphire refers to the fact the watch face is made using sapphire crystal, which is extremely hard and difficult to scratch. This is important since my Vivosmart became pretty scratched up the few days where I didn’t have a protective case over it, so a durable scratch-resistant surface is important.

All the specs on the back of the box

The Fenix 6X came in a box that’s similar in design to other Garmin products. All the specs are printed on the back. Inside the box you’ll find the watch, the USB charging cable, and some manuals/reading material.

Contents of the Fenix 6X box

First impressions on the Fenix 6X is that it’s definitely a beefy watch. The 1.4″ display means that the watch is really wide, and you can feel the weight at 93 grams. I was concerned about the size, but after wearing it for a while I got used to it. The construction looks robust, and I like the diamond-like carbon finish. The screen looks reasonably sharp and readable.

Fenix 6X on my wrist. Definitely a big, beefy watch

In terms of user input, the Fenix 6X is controlled by 5 buttons on the sides of the watch. It supports tracking a lot of different sports, including all the ones I’m interested like running, hiking, skiing and workout with weights. The outdoors activities have GPS tracking. In addition, the watch supports the usual fitness tracking functionalities like heartrate, sleep, steps, stairs climbs etc. It has a whole bunch of other functionalities compared to my old Vivosmart that I’ll need to spend time diving into.

So far, I’ve taken the Fenix 6X out for running and skiing, and it has done a pretty good job tracking those. For running, I’m curious about my pace/speed on different routes and actual distance ran, and the Fenix 6X finally gives me that info. The ski tracking was pretty good as well as I can now see my total distance, elevation descended, and average + top speed. Everything shows up in the Garmin Connect app, which shows all the cool info and a map of course that I ran or skied.

Garmin Connect screen showing my recent ski outing at Mt. Bachelor, with some neat info.

I’ve also used the watch to track my weight room workouts. This requires a bit more manual work since I have to start and stop the watch for each set, and then adjust the reps and weight afterward, as the watch can’t sense those things that accurately as expected. It’s still a way to do tracking via the Garmin app instead of me manually jotting down the notes somewhere though.

I’m pretty pleased with the Fenix 6X so far. I wanted enhanced activity tracking, and this is exactly what the Fenix line is designed for. The Fenix 6X is not a real smartwatch like an Apple Watch or Android smartwatches. It doesn’t have a touchscreen, and you can’t use it to call or respond to messages. Doing those functions with just 5 buttons would probably be a pain. The watch does show notifications and the weather forecast, but doesn’t even support showing Chinese characters which is a bummer.

Anyways, hope this Fenix 6X lasts for a long time. I can’t wait to use this watch to track my hiking escapades in the summer. As for the Vivosmart HR, I gave that to my mom so she can use it to track her steps.

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