Since the announcement about the Garmin FR645 with music, I have had various questions from readers asking if we will see an update to the to the Fenix 5 series bringing a Garmin Fenix 5 music. Since then I have been looking into what options Garmin have to update the Fenix 5 with music based on the current hardware and software that is part of the current Fenix 5 series.
The Garmin Fenix 5 came was announced at CES 2017 in January and finally arrived in March 2017. The biggest features of the Fenix 5 series was the new training status provided by Firstbeat and the mapping on the Garmin Fenix 5x. Since the release of the Fenix 5 series people have been speculating when the next Fenix update will arrive and I have speculated on the following articles about the Fenix 6 that you may want to read also.
Essential reading: Garmin Fenix 6 release date
Essential reading: Why Garmin didn’t release the Fenix 6 at CES 2018
If you continue reading I will take you through my observations of what Garmin could do to bring Music to the Fenix 5 line up.
Which Garmin Fenix 5 could support music
Well, the first question is which Fenix 5 could support music storage and streaming. When Garmin announced the Fenix 5 series, the company announced 3 models, the Fenix 5, Fenix 5s and the Fenix 5x. The first 2 models, the Fenix 5 and 5s don’t have a great deal of device storage to store music, so I would say it would be a no straight off for them. However, the Fenix 5x has 16GB of on-device storage and some of that could be used could be used for music storage.
So whilst the Fenix 5x could support music storage, I have personally found that the storage after the Garmin OS and maps is around 2-3GB. Whilst this is more than enough to store around 200 songs, it is still not the same of the Forerunner 645 with music that can store up to 500 songs.So now we have established the Garmin Fenix 5x can support music from a storage point of view, let’s move onto the software options Garmin Fenix 5 music software update
As I have already mentioned the Forerunner 645 with music has been announced at CES 2018, so in short, Garmin has written the code and could potentially build this into a future Fenix 5x software update to bring music support. Garmin has a track record of doing this with other software updates as they did this when they released the Vivosmart 3 with strength and stress tracking and then brought these features to the Garmin Fenix 5 and FR935.
Watch this video about the Fenix 5 music support
So now we have established that the Fenix 5x could support music from a storage and software update point of view, let’s move back to hardware again, focusing on Bluetooth
Garmin Fenix 5 Bluetooth hardware to support music streaming
So before we move into this section, let’s talk about 2 Bluetooth standards that feature in most Garmin Products.
Bluetooth 4.0 features
Bluetooth classic is the common Bluetooth standard that is featured in smartphones, computers and tablets along with speakers and headphones. This is the Bluetooth standard that allows streaming of data and enables you to make a connection wirelessly to stream music from a device such as a smartphone or wearable.
This standard came about a few years ago bring low energy performance allowing the user to transmit data in short bursts. Because of the low energy and how it transmits data, this Bluetooth standard is often used in devices that don’t need to stream data with a constant connection and to transmit data in short bursts. In fitness products, this is ideal for sensors like Heartrate straps, power meters and other applications.
So what Bluetooth hard does the Fenix 5x have? It’s Bluetooth smart that only allows data to be sent in short bursts and does not allow streaming of data, whereas the Forerunner 645m has the Bluetooth classic protocol that allows streaming of data like you would between a smartphone and a pair of Bluetooth earphones and this is why you can pair Bluetooth earphones to the FR645 and listen to music.
So, in short, the Fenix 5x could not support music stream even if a software update was possible due to the Bluetooth hardware limitations with Bluetooth Smart.
Garmin Fenix 5 music support
Whilst the current Garmin Fenix 5 line up cant be enabled for Music support, this does not mean Garmin Could not introduce a new Garmin Fenix 5 music to the lineup in 2018. Garmin has a track record of bringing incremental updates to the Fenix line over the last couple of years. The Fenix 3 came out and then around 9 months later the Fenix 3 HR arrived with an optical HR sensor added.
The 2nd reason I think we will see the Fenix 5 music this year is because the Fenix 5 series is doing so well financially for Garmin that adding music to the Fenix 5 series would help boost the product lines sales further into 2018 before a release of a Fenix 6 with some major updates in 2019.
So in short, Garmin cannot bring music to the current Fenix 5 lineup due to hardware limitations with Bluetooth. However, they could bring a Fenix 5 music via a hardware update and I believe this will be between July and September 2018 based on Garmin’s release cycle.
So do you have any thoughts on a Garmin Fenix 5 music update, then leave them in the comments section below