Garmin Fenix 5x vs Tactix Charlie: Detailed GPS watch comparison

Garmin Fenix 5x vs Tactix Charlie

Garmin has recently announced the release of the Tactix Charlie and just looking at the watch and specs you can see the similarities between the Fenix 5x vs the Tactix Charlie. So when you are wanting to choose a GPS fitness watch it is always a good idea to take a look at what the various choices offer.

The first thing I am going to get out of the way, is the Garmin Tactic Charlie a fitness watch? and the answer is yes, it has all the fitness features like sports profiles, optical HR sensor, training plan support and Garmin’s training status powered by Firstbeat. So you are probably wondering what is the difference between the Fenix 5x vs the Tactic Charlie and which one should I buy? If you continue to read this article I will take you through the key differences and give you my view of the Tactic Charlie vs Fenix 5x

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Fenix 5x vs Tactix Charlie – Design

  • Both are 51 x 51 x 17.5 mm
  • Fenix 5x read is stainless steel, Tactic Charlie rear is titanium
  • Fenix 5x is 98g and the Tactic Charlie is 90g

Looking at both the Tactic Charlie and the Fenix 5x, they look pretty much the same with just a couple of key differences on the front of the watch. The first difference between the Tactic charlie and the Fenix 5x is the Taxtic has UTC numbers on the bezel and the 2nd being that the right top button on the Fenix 5x has a red band around it whereas the Charlie is plain black

Garmin Fenix 5x vs Tactix Charlie design

Now moving onto the differences you cant see with your eyes, the Tactic Charlie Weighs 90g and the Fenix 5x weighs 98g, not much difference but this is down to the materials used in each GPS watch. The Tactix charlie has a bezel which is “Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) coated titanium” and the Fenix 5X is stainless steel with a black coating. Garmin has fitted the Tactix Charlie with a titanium rear cover and the Fenix 5X has stainless steel, but both the Fenix 5x and the Tactix Charlie feature stainless steel buttons.

Similar design features

Both the Fenix 5x and the Tactic Charlie feature the 26mm QuickFit bands that allow you to swap out for a variety of colours and materials. The screen on the Garmin Tactic Charlie and the Fenix 5x is the same at 1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter with 240 x 240 pixels with a domed sapphire crystal screen cover. The Fenix 5x and the Tactix Charlie also feature the same optical heart rate sensor on the rear of the watch.

Fenix 5x vs Tactix Charlie – Fitness tracking & features

  • Both have the same training profiles
  • Both support the same fitness features
  • Both feature GPS, GLONASS, ANT+ Bluetooth and Wifi

When we look at the key differences between the Fenix 5x and the Tactix charlie in terms of fitness tracking and features, this is the one area that both GPS watches share the pretty much the same feature set.

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So looking at the fitness tracking, both the Fenix 5x and the Tactic Charlie feature step, distance, calorie burned and intensity tracking. They both support the exact sports profiles for tracking things like running, cycling and swimming and many more. Garmin has marketed the Tactic Charlie towards the military type by clearly calling out the Jumpmaster and Tactical profiles, however, these can be accessed on the Fenix 5x with the same features and capability. Like the Fenix 5x, the Tactic Charlie also supports strength training and has the ability to load workouts onto the watch.

The Fenix 5x first launched with training load and training status, which is an indication of how the exercise you are doing or training plan is impacting your overall fitness performance and levels and the Tactix Charlie also supports this feature

Garmin Fenix 5x vs Tactix Charlie fitness features

In terms of connectivity on the Fenix 5x vs the Tactix Charlie, they both support GPS and GLONASS support and they both support ANT+ and Bluetooth to allow you to connect various sensors like Power meters, Heart rate monitors and other devices. They also both feature Thermometer, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass and a Barometric altimeter.

Garmin Fenix 5x vs Tactix Charlie training features

When it comes to using the Fenix 5x vs the Tactic Charlie in water, both fitness watches are rated to 10 ATM which is 100 meters and this is more than enough for swimming in a pool or open water swimming, but I would not recommend going scuba or free diving and instead look at the Descent MK1

Both GPS watches also support the Garmin Varia, vector and the various HRM monitors with full support for all the running and cycling dynamics.

The GPS watches also feature Garmin’s Elevate optical HR rate monitor on the back and this records your heart rate at 1-second internals the watch uses the HR monitor during workouts and for sleep tracking

Garmin Fenix 5x vs Tactix Charlie HR

Tactic Charlie key feature difference compared to the Fenix 5x

The only key feature difference between the Garmin Tactix Charlie and the Fenix 5x is the Charlie has a night vision mode. This is short is a feature that alters the backlight to make it easier to use with Night vision goggles. 

Fenix 5x vs Tactix Charlie – battery

  • Fenix 5x – Smartwatch mode: Up to 12 days GPS/HR mode: Up to 20 hours UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 35 hours without wrist heart rate
  • Tactix Charlie – Smartwatch mode: Up to 12 days GPS/HR mode: Up to 20 hours UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 35 hours
  • Both use the same charging port and cable design.

Both Garmin GPS watches have the same battery performance which is Smartwatch mode: Up to 12 days GPS/HR mode: Up to 20 hours UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 35 hours. Both the Fenix5x and the Tactix Charlie also use the same charging cable and port design, so its good to see Garmin sticking one charging standard.

In terms of real-world battery performance on the Tactic Charlie, I can’t really say if it does perform as Garmin advertise, however, I do use a Fenix 5x as my daily watch and this performs very well in the battery department and suspect the Tactic Charlie will do just as well.

Fenix 5x vs Tactix Charlie – maps

  • Fenix 5x – Full-colour European recreational mapping
  • Tactix Charlie – Full-color TOPO mapping
  • Both feature 16GB of storage

One of the biggest complaint when I first got the Fenix 5x was the lack of topo maps on in the UK and Europe. The PR release advertised the Fenix 5x getting full-colour topo maps and it was only after release that Garmin changed the UK & Europe to say it would get full-colour European recreational mapping in these regions.

The Garmin Tactix Charlie, however, comes preloaded with Full-color TOPO mapping in the USA and in the UK and Europe comes with Full-colour TopoActive Europe mapping. In countries like Australia, Canada, Garmin also states the Tactic Charlie will come with Full-color TOPO mapping, but we will have to wait and see once the retail stock starts to ship if this is true

Garmin Fenix 5x vs Tactix Charlie maps

Both the Fenix 5x and the Tactic Charlie comes with 16GB of internal storage, this can be used for maps, memory for workouts and pre-planned workouts. The mapping features also work in the exact same way on the Tactix Charlie and the Fenix 5x.

Whilst I welcome the move by Garmin to include Full-colour TopoActive Europe mapping in the UK and Europe, I would still always recommend installing some third party maps like described in this article as you get a lot more detail compared to the Garmin installed maps.

Fenix 5x vs Tactix Charlie – smart features

  • Both can receive calls, text, email alerts
  • No option to respond to alerts on the watch
  • Both support Garmin Connect Mobile

When it comes to the smart features, both the Tactix Charlie and the Fenix 5x support call, text, email alerts. You can also receive weather updates on both if you have it paired with a Smartphone in range.

Garmin Fenix 5x vs Tactix Charlie smart featuresGarmin Connect Mobile is supported on both the Tactix Charlie and the Fenix 5x. GCM is a powerful companion app from Garmin and gives you a wealth of data post workout and both GPS watches are fully supported with all features.

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You can also customise the watch faces on the Fenix5x and the Tactic Charlie in the exact same way and alter a variety of settings to customise either watch to your individual preference.

Fenix 5x vs Tactix Charlie – price

There is not much difference in price, the Tactic Charlie is £649.99/$749.99 and the Fenix 5x is £629/$729. I suspect the price difference is down to the map improvements and materials used. So you have to question what you are getting for the price difference other than materials used and the better maps outside of the USA.

Which should I buy between Fenix 5x and Tactix Charlie?

So looking at both watches from Garmin it really is a hard question to answer which should I buy between the Tactix Charlie and the Fenix 5x? Both GPS watches feature the exact same fitness and sports tracking features, both support the same battery performance and both support mapping and navigation, albeit the Tactix Charlie has improved mapping outside of the USA.

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You then have to look at the build and design and both the Garmin Fenix 5x and the Garmin Tactix Charlie look pretty much the same with only a few minor cosmetic differences if you really have a keen eye. The biggest differences are the things you cant see on both Garmin devices and that is the stainless steel and titanium materials used for the rear of the cases and bezels.

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When you boil all these things down and have to decide between the Garmin Fenix 5x and the Garmin Tactix Charlie, it will come down to personal preference and which material you prefer the watch to be built of. If I had a choice between the Fenix 5x and the Tactix Charlie I would go for the Fenix 5x, but that is mainly down to the fact I have one personally and use it every day and that the key difference is the maps on the Tactix Charlie and I know I can get better maps elsewhere.

Garmin Fenix 5x vs Tactix Charlie

So that’s it, that’s the end of the Garmin Fenix 5x vs Garmin Tactix Charlie detailed comparison and I hoped it helped you decide. If you have a question or want to voice your opinion on either watch, then leave a comment below and don’t forget to keep checking back for the full Garmin Tactix Charlie review coming soon.

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21 Comments on "Garmin Fenix 5x vs Tactix Charlie: Detailed GPS watch comparison"

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Great comparison. I could not see the difference between them. Garmin has released many watches that are the same recently.


Vous ne parlez pas de la compatibilité Galileo ???
Très important pour moi.


This article points out the obvious that Garmin’s lineup is pretty similar


Because I am based in the UK, I will not bother with the Fenix 5 as the maps appear to be better on the Taxtic!


Do you know how much better are these maps of europe?
Have you any details of scale?
It will be better all Europe map, or some particular countries?


I’m just before buing the Garmin, and because of maps, up to this moment I was interesting only for Fenix 5X. Just now I have dilemma.
Where can I find the third party maps for installing on the Fenix 5x?


@ Active JR
Thanks for your answers.
I’ll try to use it.
Looking at the pictures of Tactic Charlie, I wonder if maybe the heart rate sensor on the wrist is a bit more convex. Could this mean more reliable measurements of the heart rate on the wrist?
So, I think that you’re right. I’ll wait one month more, to see in Europe the difference of prices both watches.


10 Atm are 100 meter, not 50


Désolé !!!
Sur la page de présentation de la Garmin(en français) la Charlie tactic selon Garmin est compatible Galileo.
Sinon je vois mal où serait l’intérêt de cette nouvelle montre.
C’est uniquement cela qui m’intéresse dans ce modèle.
À voir si cette promesse améliorera la qualité du GPS.
Voir Garmin France.


Merci pour vos vidéos YouTube.
M’ont largement influencé dans le choix de la fenix5 x.


Sur le site français Garmin,la prochaine Tactic Charlie,supportera bien le système Galileo.
Vérifiez par vous même.

Bonjour. Je sais qu en Europe le système Galileo est déjà en service auprès de certains professionnels et universitaires, Aujourd’hui il est impossible d avoir un retour sur ces usagers,sur la qualité de positionnement Galileo par lui même. Ici,en France les medias parle beaucoup du système Galileo. Même si à ce jour tout les satellites ne sont pas encore tous en orbite,le système fonctionne. J’ai lu que les gestionnaires proposer différents prix pour beneficbé du positionnement le meilleur (1 mètre) Au EA,il n’ y a pas de raison que vous n’en profitiez pas. Au même titre que le Gps pour… Read more »