The ultimate Garmin Fenix 5 Plus guide, tips and tricks

The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus series is an amazing fitness watch with lots of great features. However, you can make some tweaks and changes to get more out of the fitness watch. In this Fenix 5 Plus guide, you will get to understand how to set up up your watch for better battery life, improved mapping and the best choices for music on your wrist.

This guide is valid for the following Fenix 5 Plus devices

  • Fenix 5s Plus guide
  • Fenix 5 Plus guide
  • Fenix 5x Plus guide

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Garmin Fenix 5 plus guide to profile setupGarmin Fenix 5 Plus profile setup

Setting up the profile on the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus is very simple. If you already have a Garmin connect profile because you a Garmin fitness product its even easier. But you need to watch out for a few settings to get the best out of the data post workout.

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Height

Also, remember to check the resting heart rate and check this matches what the resting HR you have recorded. You can do this by going to

  • Settings
  • User profile
  • Heart rate

Check that you have a resting heart rate in here, use the one it is recorded or if you know what it is yourself enter it now.

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Apps and widgetsGarmin Fenix 5 Plus sports profiles

The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus comes with a load of activity profiles such as running, cycling, swimming and many more. But what several people don’t know is that the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus comes with several other profiles hidden behind a menu in the Activity profile menu

To access these other fitness profiles all you need to do is scroll all the way to the bottom of the activity menu screen and then click on the + and this will then give you other sports profiles to add.

My other tip is that you reorder the sports profiles in the order of your most used, this way you will get quick access to the most used profiles.

To reorder the activity go to the activity menu and then press the “up/Menu” button, then scroll down to “reorder”

I suggest with the widgets you have these set to the ones you use regularly. You can again add and remove these by going to

  • Settings
  • Widgets

Setting up data screens on the Fenix 5 PlusGarmin Fenix 5 Plus data screens

The Garmin Fenix 5x is very detailed when it comes to the data it presents on the screen and you can have unto 4 data points and 7 screens.

My best advice is before you go out for a run, bike ride or whatever activity you do is to set the data screens up and my top tip is to have the information you need at a glance on the first screen. So if you are on the bike or running at a pace you can quickly see the information you need quickly and if you need to look at other data when you are stopped you have the other screens all setup also.

To edit the data screens, goto the activity you want to edit. Then press the “up/Menu” button, then select the data screens menu.

How to improve battery life on the Fenix 5 PlusGarmin Fenix 5 Plus battery life

The Battery life issues on the Fenix 5 Plus have been well documented on the Garmin Forums and some of it will be down to software issues and bugs, you can look to setup up your device for optimum battery life and these are the settings I use.

Backlight settings

Backlight settings are important as the backlight and the screen is one of the biggest battery drain on the Fenix 5 Plus. To access go to Settings, System, Backlight

  • During Activity
    • Keys “on”
    • Alerts “on”
    • Gestures “on”
    • Timeout “15 secs”
    • Brightness “20%”
  • Watch mode
    • Keys “on”
    • Alerts “on”
    • Gestures “on”
    • Timeout “30 secs”
    • Brightness “40%”

Turn off mobile notifications

I turn off all mobile notifications on my Fenix 5 Plus and this is for 2 reasons, first I don’t actually like them and 2nd the constant Bluetooth ping between the smartphone and the Fenix 5 Plus will drain the battery. To turn them off simply go to.

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Turn off Wifi syncing

Turning off wifi syncing on the Fenix 5 Plus will be another battery life saver. The watch will be pinging your wifi network and if you have a connection to your smartphone then you have no real need to also sync via wifi.

Garmin fitness watch alternative: Checkout the Amazfit Stratos review

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Sensor setup

The Garmin Fenix 5x can pair to ANT+ for a variety of sensors along with Bluetooth for chest HR monitors. I have mine attached to a host of different sensors from power-meters, speed and Cadence sensors. I also use mine in the gym with equipment such as wattbikes and collect power, speed and cadence data.

The biggest tip I can give you in this area is to rename the sensor to something that you associate with that gym equipment once you have paired it. The reason being is that ANT+ sensors identify are normally just numbers and renaming it to something that easily identifies the equipment makes like easy when using multiple gym stations.

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus bandsGarmin Fenix 5 Plus guide bands

Just like the Garmin Fenix 5, with the Fenix 5 Plus you can change out the bands to a colour or a material of your choice, but just remember two things before you try to change the style.

The first tip, the Fenix 5 Plus series comes in different sizes, so don’t make the mistake of buying the wrong size band

  • Garmin Fenix 5s Plus – 20mm
  • Garmin Fenix 5 Plus – 22mm
  • Garmin Fenix 5x Plus 26mm

Remembering the right band size for your Fenix 5 Plus watch could save you money and time.

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The second tip, have a shop around and check out some of the marketplaces for OEM bands rather than paying the Garmin prices. I have personally bought some nice bands for the fraction of the price.

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus music supportGarmin Fenix 5 Plus music

One of the headline features of the Fenix 5 Plus is the ability to load music onto your watch and then remove the need to take your smartphone with you when out running or exercising.

In terms of music on your wrist options with your Garmin device, you have the following options

  • Spotify
  • iHeartRadio
  • Deezer

The outright winner for me is Spotify as you can sync playlists and Podcasts. Which you don’t get on the other services.

My top tip is to invest in a decent pair of pair Bluetooth earphones. Shop around and buy ones that fit you and work for your given activity.

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus GPS, GLONASS and now Galileo supportGarmin Fenix 5 Plus GPS accuracy

People have been complaining of the GPS accuracy of the Garmin Fenix 5 series and Garmin has now included Galileo support on the Fenix 5 Plus, but also the Fenix 5 series.

My top tip is to turn on GPS and Galileo together to increase accuracy and this needs to be done for each activity profile that supports GPS tracking. So if you set it for running and you also want it for cycling ect.

Todo this

  • When you are in the activity you want to enable for Galileo
  • Long press left menu button
  • Bike settings
  • Scroll down to GPS
  • Enable GPS and Galileo

Improve Garmin Fenix 5 Plus wrist HR accuracyGarmin Fenix 5 Plus guide HR accuracy

When it comes to the optical HR sensor on any device it is all down to how you position it and what activities you are going to be using it for. So for instance, if you are cycling or doing activities that involve a lot of wrist action then don’t expect fantastic accuracy.

However, you can help improve the accuracy of the optical HR sensor on the Fenix 5 Plus by tightening the band around your wrist before you start an activity which will reduce the amount of movement of the sensor. Then once you have finished the activity you can loosen it to what you feel is comfortable.

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Maps and NavigationGarmin Fenix 5 Plus maps

In 2017 when Garmin released the Fenix 5 series, only the Fenix 5x came with mapping, however, fast forward to 2018 and the entire Fenix 5 Plus series comes with navigation and mapping capability.

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Last year I complained about the maps on the Fenix 5x because of the lack of Topo contours on the UK and Europe. Whilst Garmin has included Active Topo maps this time, frankly, they are not great.

So if you want better maps for a fraction of the cost of what Garmin would charge you, then Follow this link to an article that shows you how to install third-party maps with contours for the fraction of the price that Garmin charge.

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Watch facesGarmin Fenix 5 Plus guide watch faces

The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus allows you to customise the watch faces with either the preloaded watch faces or from the Garmin Connect app store and you can find a good guide on the best Garmin watch faces below

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My top tip to save battery is to use a watch face that does not have much animation. So try and choose a watch face that does not have things like a seconds hand going around or constantly moving graphics. These types of animations decrease the battery life and having a watch face that is static will help with battery performance.

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Update

Whilst the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus series does have an auto-update function I have found sometimes that it does not always keep things up to date and you have to plug into a computer to get an update.

This is true in regards the map updates and I have found plugging into my computer once a week and connecting to Garmin Express I am getting regular updates and it certainly helps with performance and battery life, in the long run, to keep your Garmin devices updated.

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  1. You have a section on how to turn off notifications, but you didn’t finish the sentence. This is what you wrote “To turn them off simply go to.”

  2. How does the titanium look with different color bands? I’m a little worried about the color and it working with different band colors, like black.

  3. John, I have enjoyed a few of your vids. I have Fenix 5X plus. Can you navigate and use and activity app at same time. IE I use Nav to find a place but also wan to have all my bike stats about the ride to that place. Possible??

    • Yes you can. The map screen should already be on the bike profile. But if it’s not, you can add in settings.

      If you want to follow a route, you can upload a route and then follow it also

  4. HI there – my husband is chasing a watch that he can wear to do Kokoda but will be unable to upload the data each day to his phone – do any of the watches keep the data saved to the watch until a later date to upload?

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Jon Ratcliffe
I have a huge passion for technology having worked in the sector for over 18 years in a variety of roles. I cover Wearables, tech and smart home. My reviews and information will talk about how the product works in reality and not just what the marketing departments want you to think.

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