Garmin Fenix 5X, Approx £750
This is currently Garmin’s top spec watch and at around the £750 mark is the most expensive watch I’m testing. The Fenix 5X definitely has triathletes in mind with its functionality, but there’s plenty that can be useful for hunters too. This is the only Garmin watch with preloaded maps and it is larger than some others in the range. It also has a sapphire display to resist scratches and all round feels like a quality item.
It didn’t take long to get used to this watch, I never found myself wanting to look anything up in the instructions – pretty amazing given the number of features and menus this thing has. It’s pretty customizable, with a few standard faces to choose from and even the possibility to choose a background picture of your own if you so wish.
The screen is on at all times and clear in broad daylight, then backlit when scrolling through the menus and at the touch of a button. It differs to a phone screen and is much better watch for it. The resolution isn’t quite that of a retina display but it’s still good.
The map functions of the The Fenix 5X are excellent and in much better detail than Google Maps. It shows woodland areas, ponds, roads, rivers, railway lines etc., and is similar to having an Ordnance Survey map on your wrist (this is quite useful for pub crawls too as it shows points of interest).
In the countryside, it can be difficult to know whether you’re on a footpath or a farmer’s track but this watch has managed to gather most of that data up and display it well. If you’re unsure of your surroundings this would certainly be a huge help.
While a heart rate monitor is certainly not essential when shooting, it can be interesting to see how high your heart rate goes when you see that big buck.
For a big watch, the Fenix 5X is is surprisingly comfortable, but it’s not subtle and sits proud on the wrist. I’m also not usually a fan of rubber straps, but this feels like a high quality, durable watch. The straps are also easily replaceable, so unlike other watches if something happens it’s not a big deal, just pop the old straps off and on with a new one.
While, the watch does requires patience to load up the GPS, this is the same across the board for all these watches. It’s also important to note the battery life. With 2 weeks on normal use and around 100 hours on GPS mode this is pretty epic; plenty in the tank!