Today’s fitness tracker world is crowded with options and different prices and features that can get you overwhelmed, but professional runners and outdoor adventurers know that you can not rely on a regular smartwatch or fitness tracker you need a truly outdoor sports watch and that’s what the Garmin Fenix 3 has to offer.

The improved version of the Garmin Fenix 2, the Fenix 3 is the most ambitious model from Garmin, comparing with the 2 version the new Fenix 3 has more features, functions and activity modes plus a faster GPS and a new color screen.

When it comes to smartphone notifications the tracker doesn’t offer a  wide range, but the key on this watch is to track at the highest level your vital signs for the outdoors adventures as well the fitness metrics for your inside workouts.

Garmin Fenix 3 HR review: Design

The Garmin Fenix 3 is one of the highest end trackers from the company just like the sports watch lineup. When it comes to design comes with a square-faced style that reminds us of the popular Forerunner 920XT.

Looks like the watch that a truly outdoors guys can be wearing, or even like a military watch, is sturdy and with visible screws and metallic finishes on the sides, although is a really attractive GPS watch.

Even for a big body watch is super comfortable to wear and is not heavy to carry.

This tracker is for the best companion for the outdoors, with special modes for hiking, running, skiing as well as cycling and swimming.

The Fenix 3 has a wide and easy to read screen that is even larger than the one in the Forerunner 920XT and Fenix 2, with a watch face that protrudes 16.7mm from your wrist.

Garmin Fenix 3 HR Review: Tracking Features

In terms of multi-sport tracking, there’s close to no competition with the high-end features that the Fenix 3 boost.

The Fenix 3 is able to track deep breath, running, swimming, cycling, hiking, paddleboarding, skiing, golf, rowing, hunting, fishing, gym workouts and even more!.

The tracker also allows you to choose what do you want to have at a glance on the screen which makes it super versatile.

But if that wasn’t already enough the Fenix 3 also comes packed with a variety of sensors like heart rate monitor, motion sensors, electronic compass, barometric altimeter, ANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi just to name a few!.

You have also built in metrics such as the sunset times, that based on your location, will let you know when the sunset is about to set so you can put together your tent before the night arrives.

This watch is the most impressive when it comes to features and functions, but it also has a great software that is improving all the time and is going to have even more new functions on the future. Another advantage is the app ecosystem, that is all the time improving and adding more apps!.

With the ability to change your screen as you wish you can set up your different scenarios in the best way depending on what activity are you planning to do. Let’s say that you wish to go for a run, or row you can put the most relevant information on the screen so you get the best tracking information for that moment. So you will have a personalized device depending on your training at the time.

You can even get extra Connect IQ Store apps that cram in more data fields so you can see even more stats on your wrist!.


To get notifications you will have to sync your phone with the smartwatch by connecting via Bluetooth, just like any other tracker, and having in mind that this action doesn’t take any battery juice from the devices is a win-win situation.

But the difference with the Garmin watches is that you will also need to turn on your location services on your phone to be able to get notifications on your wrist, and having the location on, can affect your battery life giving you less juice on your phone, which is not great.

So once you are in sync with your smartphone you will have access to calls, read text messages, and even WhatsApp’s. A cool feature when it comes to notifications is the ability to switch them off whenever you want, so in case you don’t wanna be interrupted during exercises you can be on “The Zone” without a problem.

Garmin Fenix 3 HR review: App

When it comes to App Garmin has been using the same Connect app across all their trackers. They also include the Connect IQ Store, that is already a well build environment where you can find a wide range of cool and useful apps created by Garmin and users as well. So you will have a reliable ecosystem of apps to track and analyze your health and fitness.

When browsing the App you can find at the beginning all the data of your latest workouts, activity and sleep analysis. Scrolling down you can see an in-depth analysis of your heart rate spikes in relation to altitude or cadence, for example. It’s also really easy to use and understand to check the exact metric that you are looking for.

Battery life

Garmin claims that the Fenix 3 can go up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode, 40 hours in UltraTrac training mode and a full 20 hours of constant GPS recording at 1-second intervals, which is pretty good having in mind that the GPS takes a good chunk of the battery juice.

The battery Life on this tracker, when compared with his direct rival the Polar V800, or any other tracker in the market is quite amazing, there’s no competition to match the Fenix 2 stamina.

To charge the tracker you need to just place it in a clip-on frame that then plugs into a USB adapter.

Garmin gives some advice for having the most from your battery life like:

  • Reduce the backlight timeout (Backlight Settings).
  • Reduce the backlight brightness.
  • Use UltraTrac GPS mode for your activity (UltraTrac).
  • Turn off Bluetooth® wireless technology when you are not using connected features

You can read more tips Here.

Should I buy it?

If you want the best outdoor companion or an excellent optical heart rate tracker the answer is YES. On the downside, the watch is on big and bulky but it feels comfortable to wear and is not heavy either.

With high-end tracking features and functionalities is hard that you can find a better tracker on the market. For us is the closest to the perfect GPS smartwatch ever made.

The Fenix 3 is the perfect watch also for pro athletes or people that wish to track their workouts at the highest level. With an excellent battery life and a great app ecosystem and UI made this tracker the best performer on the market in 2019.


Garmin Fenix 3
  • Battery
  • Display
  • Performance
  • Software
  • Design


Close to the perfect GPS tracker with all the best features that you will need, durable, accurate and full of sensors

On the downside, it can be slightly too heavy and large for some people and the Garmin app can be overwhelming with too many stats and functions

All in all, this is an excellent GPS watch, a capable smartwatch alternative with worry-free battery and looks good. With an accurate heart rate tracker that will give you even better stats and data.
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