Categories: FenixFenix 3Garmin

Garmin Fenix 3 – Before You Buy

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Garmin produces some of the finest GPS watches on the planet.  The Garmin Fenix 3 has generally received great reviews from many top websites and reviewers.  Even DC Rainmaker put out his full comprehensive review with only a few items to complain about.  It is easy to find good reviews on You Tube with unboxings and explanations of what devices are supposed to do, but it takes a little more work to find out where devices fall short.   We hope to list some of the areas where customers feel the Garmin Fenix 3 has not met their expectations.   This is not a true review and it is more  of a detailed list of items that owners of the Fenix 3 listed as issues with the device that they were disapproving of.

Please understand that most issues uncovered by users can and may be fixed via future firmware updates. For every critical comment, you can often find viewpoints on the opposite side of the spectrum.   The issues listed below in no way mean that the Garmin Fenix 3 will not be a device that will satisfy your own individual needs in a GPS sports watch.

Areas the Fenix 3 Falls Short

  • GPS lockdown takes about a minute.  We’ve found that this is in line with other devices, but some people are still unhappy with the time it takes to acquire a GPS signal.
  • The Fenix 3 incorporates Garmin’s first-ever EXO antenna integrated into the protective stainless steel bezel on top of the watch for use with GPS and GLONASS signals.  We don’t know if it is the new antenna or not, but users have complained about spotty GPS reception in normal and tree filled locations.  This is an issue that most GPS watches will face, but users complain online via the Garmin forums that it is a real issue on the Fenix 3.  *** Fixed ***
  • Garmin Fenix 3 owners are also complaining of a fairly serious bug that is causing the vibration motor to go off with no way of turning it off.   The motor stays on until the battery fully depletes. This can also wipe any data collected for any sessions that were underway when the bug hits.  Garmin is aware of this issue and is currently working on a fix.   *** Fixed ***
  • Users complaining that step count is inaccurate and hand movement often triggers step counting.  This is also an issue that can/will occur in most fitness tracking devices. *** Fixed ***  This has been fixed, but it is an issue that may still appear due to the sensors used in tracking steps for any device.
  • Users complaining that the sleep data provided by the Garmin Fenix 3 is very weak compared to other services like Fitbit. *** Update –  Garmin improved sleep tracking and is now incorporating Garmin Connect Insights that include sleep tracking via the Garmin Connect Apps.
  • People complaining that watch faces often reboot and wipe any daily steps counted for that day. *** Fixed in firmware version 4.0 ***
  • Garmin’s Connect IQ service is very new and very limited.   All connect IQ apps are made available for free, so it does not offer an incentive for developers to develop for a closed platform they cannot monetize.
  •  Multiple users complain that actual battery life is much less than claimed in the marketing materials.   Obviously, battery life depends on individual use cases and we suspect that many of these cases may be due to user error.  *** Fixed in Firmware version 5.0 ***
  • Smart Watch Features –  A few users claimed that non-latin characters were not showing up in the notifications.








$499 Standard Garmin Fenix 3,  $549 HRM RUN Bundle, $599 Sapphire Model



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Garmin Fenix 3 Specs



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