Garmin Fenix 5 Plus buyers guide

Garmin Fenix 5x Plus vs Fenix 5 Plus vs Fenix 5s Plus buyers guide

If you are coming to this article you are already aware that the Fenix 5 Plus series has been released and you are probably trying to figure out which Garmin Fenix 5 Plus is right for you. If so, then continue to understand the key differences between the Fenix 5x Plus vs Fenix 5 Plus vs Fenix 5s Plus in this buyers guide.

As with last years model, Garmin released 3 versions of the Fenix 5 Plus and like in last years Fenix 5, each model offered unique features catered to different types of fitness people.

If you prefer you can also watch this video

Fenix 5x Plus vs Fenix 5 Plus vs Fenix 5s Plus – Key features across the range


All 3 models feature the same 1.2inch screen with 240 x 240 pixel and this is a change from last year as the Fenix 5s had a 1.1inch 218 x 218-pixel screen. Garmin has probably done this to support the mapping feature across the range.

Pre-installed TopoActive maps

Pre-installed TopoActive mapping on the entire Fenix 5 Plus series, with map data optimised for easy navigation and tracking. This is welcome need as if you wanted to maps, you need to opt for the Fenix 5x, but the size didn’t appeal to all.

Please remember that the maps supplied are based on the region your device is purchased. So for instance, if you by the Fenix 5 Plus in the UK, it will have UK and Europe TopoActive maps and likewise, if you bought in the US.Fenix 5x Plus mapping

Fitness tracking

All 3 models across the range all feature the same fitness tracking features and Firstbeat technology. You don’t get anything different in terms of tracking, so not a lot to chose between the Fenix 5 Plus series in this area.Fenix 5 Plus firstbeat features


Again, All 3 models in the Fenix 5 Plus range support Bluetooth and ANT+. So you can pair your compatible sensors and headphones with the device you choose to buy

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Turn by turn navigation

Because you get the maps across the Fenix 5 Plus series, you will also get the turn by turn navigation for the first time on the Fenix 5s and the Fenix 5 Plus.

Trendline Popularity Routing

Trendline was originally featured on the Edge 1030 and now its made its way to the Fenix 5 Plus series. You can use billions of miles of Garmin Connect data to help you find and track the best trails and routes for cyclists and runners. I found this ok when using it with the Edge 1030, so looking forward to giving this a full test on the Fenix 5 Plus


The Fenix 5 Plus features ClimbPro, a new feature that allows trail runners and cyclists who like to train in hilly areas, gain a better awareness of their environment and their performance during climbs. ClimbPro analyses the elevation profile of a course and detects all relevant climb sections. During the ride or race, the athlete knows, at any time, how far he or she is from the next climb and how hard the climb will be.

Garmin Pay

All models of the Fenix 5 Plus series are ready for Garmin Pay – the contactless payment solution allows you to conveniently pay with your watch so you can leave cash and cards at home. Garmin just needs to work on rolling out the payment system to more banks in the UK and Europe.


Garmin has included multi-satellite network capable of tracking using GPS, GLONASS and for the first in a Garmin Fitness watch, Galileo. This is another feature I am looking forward to testing out.

Music storage

The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus series will allow you to store 500 songs, pair Bluetooth headphones and sync with music streaming services from Deezer and iHeartRadio. The series will work in the same way as the Forerunner 645 music and the Vivoactive 3 Music.

Key differences between Fenix 5x Plus vs Fenix 5 Plus vs Fenix 5s Plus

Ok, now the main features that are the same across the Fenix 5 Plus series, let’s look at the key differences between the Fenix 5 Plus series in order to help you make a better decision on which Fenix 5 Plus is right for you.Fenix 5 Plus music storage

Below is a table of the Fenix 5 Plus, along with features that have a difference, after the comparison table lets dig into the detail of what these key differences mean to you.

FeatureFenix 5s PlusFenix 5 PlusFenix 5x Plus
Case Size42mm47mm51mm
Watch size42 x 42 x 15.4 mm47 x 47 x 15.8 mm51 x 51 x 17.5 mm
Bezel MaterialStainless steelStainless steel or TitaniumStainless steel or Titanium
  • Stainless steel: 65g
  • Stainless steel: 86 g
  • Titanium version: 76 g
  • Stainless steel:96 g
  • Titanium version: 87 g
DLC versionNoYesYes
Screen materialdomed chemically strengthened glass or sapphire crystaldomed chemically strengthened glass or sapphire crystalSapphire Screen only
Band size21mm Quickfit22mm Quickfit26mm Quickfit
  • Smartwatch: Up to 7 days
  • GPS: Up to 11 hours
  • GPS and Music: Up to 4.5 hours
  • UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 25 hours
  • Smartwatch: Up to 12 days
  • GPS: Up to 18 hours
  • GPS and Music: Up to 8 hours
  • UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 42 hours
  • Smartwatch: Up to 20 days
  • GPS: Up to 32 hours
  • GPS and Music: Up to 13 hours
  • UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 70 hours
Pulse OXNoNoYes

Fenix 5x Plus vs Fenix 5 Plus vs Fenix 5s Plus – pricing

Pricing is a key decision when making a buying decision and its no different in the Fenix 5 Plus line up. Across the range, you have a choice of 15 versions all with different versions.

Fenix 5s Plus

  • Non-Sapphire White with Sea Foam Band – $699 / £599
  • Non-sapphire Silver with Black Band – $699 / £599
  • Sapphire, White with Carrera White Band -$849.99 / £749
  • Sapphire, Black with Black Band $799.99 / £699
  • Sapphire, White with Gray Suede Band $849.99 / £749
  • Sapphire, Rose Gold-tone with Carrara White Band – $849.99
  • Sapphire, White with Rose Gold-tone Metal Band – £899

Fenix 5 Plus

  • Garmin Fenix 5 Plus non-sapphire pricing $699 / £599
  • Sapphire, Black with Black Band – $799 / £699
  • Sapphire, Carbon Gray DLC Titanium with DLC Titanium Band – $1099 / £949
  • Sapphire, Titanium with Solar Flare Orange Band – $849 / £749
  • Sapphire, Black with Black Leather Band – $849 / £749

Fenix 5x Plus

  • Sapphire, Black with Black Band – $849 / £749
  • Sapphire, Slate Grey with Brown Leather Band – £749
  • Sapphire, Carbon Gray DLC Titanium with DLC Titanium Band – $1149 / £999

As you can see the price differences are vast and some would say go beyond the normal price they are willing to pay for a fitness wearable.

Fenix 5x Plus vs Fenix 5 Plus vs Fenix 5s Plus – Design

Each Fenix 5 Plus offers different designs with a clear difference starting with the sizes, the Fenix 5s Plus is 42mm, the Fenix 5 Plus is 47mm and the Fenix 5x Plus is a whopping 51mm, meaning the Fenix 5x is the most chunky out of the 3 Plus models. All models feature Quickfit bands but in different sizes ranging from 21mm right to 26mm on the Fenix 5x Plus.

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When it comes to the screen, You also get the option of the Sapphire screen across the entire range, but the Fenix 5x Plus only features a sapphire option.

In terms of materials used in each model, they all feature fibre-reinforeced polymer cases and stainless steel bezels and back plate. However, the Fenix 5 Plus and the Fenix 5x Plus offer a titanium option along with a DLC version. The DLC part is a diamond-like coating to provide it more resistant to scratches and knocks.

Just one point to note on the titanium versions, the Fenix 5 Plus has 2 versions of the Titanium option with one being Diamond-like coated (DLC) and the other not, the easy way to tell (apart from it being in the Description) is that the Silver titanium with Orange flare band is the non-DLC version.

In terms of weight, the Fenix 5s Plus is the lightest at 65g, with the Fenix 5 Plus coming in at 86g for the Stainless steel and 76g for the Titanium version. Lastly, the beefy Fenix 5x Plus is 96g for the Stainless steel and 87g for the titanium version.

Battery differences between Fenix 5 Plus vs Fenix 5x Plus vs Fenix 5s Plus

The battery life on the Fenix 5 Plus series is another key difference with different ranges in performance and time your Garmin wearable will stay juiced before needing a charge.

Battery life has been hotly discussed on the Garmin forums and how each one performs, however, you will notice the Fenix 5s Plus and the Fenix 5 Plus have taken a reduction in battery compared to the previous models, whereas the Fenix 5x Plus has seen a significant increase.

So starting with the Fenix 5s Plus battery life.

  • Smartwatch: Up to 7 days
  • GPS: Up to 11 hours
  • GPS and Music: Up to 4.5 hours
  • UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 25 hours

The battery life is still good when you compare to other fitness watches, but it may be not enough for some.

Now let us take a look at the Fenix 5 Plus battery life.

  • Smartwatch: Up to 12 days
  • GPS: Up to 18 hours
  • GPS and Music: Up to 8 hours
  • UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 42 hours

Slightly down on last years non-plus model, but still a good battery performance and it also performed well in real work testing.

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Finally for the Fenix 5x Plus battery life

  • Smartwatch: Up to 20 days
  • GPS: Up to 32 hours
  • GPS and Music: Up to 13 hours
  • UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 70 hours

The Fenix 5x Plus has an impressive battery life with improvements in all areas. Based on my real-world testing, it is pretty much in line and it’s impressive.

PulseOX only on the Fenix 5x Plus

PulseOX is a feature that is exclusive to the Fenix 5x plus, just like mapping was on the Fenix 5x last year. However, unlike the mapping feature that would have been useful to a large purchasing group of the Fenix range, PulseOX is not and let me explain.Fenix 5x Plus pulseox reading

Garmin has included PulseOX in the Fenix 5x Plus to be used for high altitude hiking or climbing and it is only useful when you get over very high altitudes, I am not an expert in this field so I won’t even try and get into the data on this. But in short, if you need this sensor then you will know you need it and if you googling to find out what it is then you probably don’t, unless you are going to be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro anytime soon. If you want to read more, you can here.

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus vs Fenix 5x Plus vs Fenix 5s Plus – Which one should I buy?

The decision to which Garmin Fenix 5 Plus to buy is down to what you need it for and personal taste. As you can see by reading this buyers guide, they all offer the same features in terms of sports activities, sensors, mapping, Galileo GPS,  navigation and so on. But its when it comes down to the design and battery life that is key

Why buy the Fenix 5s Plus

You should look to buy the Fenix 5s Plus if you are looking for a smaller fitness watch that is packed with the latest tech from mapping, navigation, music. You need to take into account the battery life is shorter than the other models, but being honest its better than some other fitness watches and should get you through a Marathon or Triathlon without any issue.

Why buy the Fenix 5 Plus

You should look to buy the Fenix 5 Plus if you want a watch that looks good and you want your watch to look a little bit more chunky. The Fenix 5 Plus features everything else that the other 2 does with the exception that I have called out already. You also have the option of the Silver Titanium with Orange Flare band (Which I own now) and the DLC version with the metal band if you really want to splash the cash.

Why buy the Fenix 5x Plus

In my view, this is the ultimate adventurers watch with an impressive battery life and feature set with PulseOX. But it does come with some sacrifices that its big and chunky and to some people with smaller wrists, its heavy. I do own the Fenix 5x, but I prefer the Fenix 5 Plus for its size now. In my view, you only need to this watch if you really need to the huge battery life performance or you the PulseOX sensor.

Fenix 5 vs Fenix 5 Plus

I get asked this question a lot and I think its down to personal choice and if you need all the extra features such as music storage, Garmin Pay, Trendline routing and mapping (If you don’t a Fenix 5x for the latter feature) then it could be a good upgrade, but that again is down to choice. Garmin Fenix 5x Plus vs Fenix 5 Plus vs Fenix 5s Plus

I would not, however, suggest upgrading to fix any ANT+ connectivity issues or GPS issues, I would get onto Garmin and get them to fix them ASAP and being strong with them.

So that is the end of the Fenix 5 Plus vs Fenix 5x Plus vs Fenix 5s Plus buyers guide and if you have found it useful then give us a share or a comment below, it would be appreciated, thanks for reading.

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  1. Dear JR

    Thanks for your good analysis of the F5+. Some are talking about Garmin presenting a Fenix 6 at CES 2019, some think, that with the F5+ released, it will take much longer. Whats your opinion?

    Thanks and keep up the work.

    • Hi

      I suspect it will be a little longer for the fenix 6. What else could they add to the Fenix 6 that’s not already in the Fenix 5+

      They could upgrade the batteries maybe, but that’s about it

      • I think that’s probably the best feature they could add – smaller size while keeping the same battery and feature set. Basically, can they fit the 5X+ into the 5S+ form factor?

        We are pretty much at the point where these watches do anything and everything you need them to do for a huge variety of fitness tasks, any sports not already included are pretty much a software update away. Same for any other “app” requests like different music, pay services etc.

        The main drawback, if I’m gonna drop $1k on a watch that’s capable of measuring my vital signs all day and while I sleep, is that I want it to look at least passably like a normal watch at work, then swap out the band and take it on a mountaineering trip or ultramarathon.

        The current 5x+ is comically large but is the only one with enough battery life to rely on as primary GPS navigation for a 20+ hour trip with potential whiteout conditions where you actually would need the sat nav.

        There is another crowd who want it to compete with dedicated smartwatches like the apple smartwatch and include wifi/LTE chips in it, better processor, ability to respond to texts/calls via microphone, direct music streaming from LTE etc. Personally I hope they do this in a separate product line for those who want it so as not to murder the battery life and increase the size even further. Like a Fenix 6 sport line and a Fenix 6 smart line, where one goes for expanding featureset and size and one goes for stable featureset and reducing size.

  2. Jon,
    I’m debating on the 5+ titanium with the orange versus a black 5+ or 5x+.

    Have you had any issues with the plain titanium scratching (versus your experience with your black 5x)?


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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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