Garmin Fenix 3 vs. Garmin Fenix 5x Plus

Fenix 3
Fenix 5x Plus
 GarminFenix 3Buy NowGarminFenix 5x PlusBuy Now

Basic Info

Suggested Price$500$850

Activity & Fitness

Cycling (Bicycling)


Duration50 hours to 6 weeks20 days


Windows Phonen/a




Resolution218 x 218240 x 240
Size1.2 inches1.2 inches
TypeChroma LEDMIP


Audio Speaker


Barometer or Altimeter
Ultraviolet Sensor
Water Resistance10 ATM10 ATM




Operating Systemn/aWear OS

Comparing Fenix 5x Plus and Fenix 3

When considering two advanced smartwatches in the market, the Garmin Fenix 3 and Garmin Fenix 5x Plus are undoubtedly strong contenders. Both watches are designed with exceptional features to cater to an active lifestyle, providing valuable insights for fitness enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Choosing the correct watch to suit one’s needs is crucial, considering the investment involved and the potential long-term benefits to one’s health and fitness routines.

Garmin is a reputable brand known for its expertise in creating top-notch smartwatches, fitness trackers, and wearables. The company’s history spans over three decades, earning its place among the industry leaders with constant innovation and a keen focus on delivering quality products. In this article, we will dive deep into the design, features, user interface, and value for money of both the Garmin Fenix 3 and Garmin Fenix 5x Plus. This comprehensive comparison will enable readers to make informed decisions when choosing the right smartwatch for their needs.

Design and Build

Garmin Fenix 3

The Garmin Fenix 3 focuses on durability with its stainless steel bezel and reinforced housing. Weighing in at approximately 82 grams, it is a solid yet comfortable device to wear. The watch features a 1.2-inch color Chroma LED display with a resolution of 218 x 218 pixels, making it easy to read in various lighting conditions.

Garmin Fenix 5x Plus

Maintaining Garmin’s commitment to robust design, the Fenix 5x Plus also sports a stainless steel bezel but takes it a step further with additional options for premium materials. The watch weighs slightly more than its predecessor at 96 grams. The 1.2-inch color display employs MIP (Memory-in-Pixel) technology to ensure visibility in all lighting environments, with a slightly increased screen resolution of 240 x 240 pixels.

Comparison of design and build quality

While both the Fenix 3 and Fenix 5x Plus are designed to withstand rugged use, the latter offers more customization options in terms of materials, such as titanium or diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated bezels. Display quality is improved in the Fenix 5x Plus, thanks to the MIP screen. With a slightly larger and sharper display, the Fenix 5x Plus takes the edge in this category.

Features and Functionality

Garmin Fenix 3

Operating independently of a specific mobile operating system, the Fenix 3 covers essential fitness tracking aspects, such as calories, distance, steps, and sleep. It also includes cycling and swimming tracking, with water resistance up to 10 ATM. The multipurpose smartwatch is equipped with sensors like accelerometer, barometer, and GPS. Battery life ranges from 50 hours to 6 weeks, depending on usage patterns.

Garmin Fenix 5x Plus

The Fenix 5x Plus incorporates the Wear OS operating system for added compatibility with a wide range of apps. Fitness tracking features remain largely the same as the Fenix 3, with the addition of heart rate and oxygen tracking. The watch is still water-resistant up to 10 ATM, and its sensors include accelerometer, barometer, GPS, and more. The battery life of the Fenix 5x Plus is estimated at 20 days, with 32 hours of GPS mode use.

Comparison of features and performance

While both watches share many useful features, the Fenix 5x Plus surpasses the Fenix 3 by offering heart rate and oxygen tracking, as well as a more versatile operating system in Wear OS. These enhancements contribute to better fitness performance analysis, giving the Fenix 5x Plus the edge in terms of features and functionality.

User Interface and User Experience

Garmin Fenix 3

The Fenix 3 offers a straightforward user interface via a combination of physical buttons and its Chroma LED display. Navigation is smooth, and the watch supports basic apps and customization options. Compatibility with Android, iOS, and Windows Phone ensures accessibility for most users.

Garmin Fenix 5x Plus

With its improved MIP display, the Fenix 5x Plus enhances user experience with touchscreen functionality. Navigation is aided by physical buttons, while a range of apps and customization options are available through Wear OS. The watch is compatible with both Android and iOS devices but no longer supports Windows Phone.

Comparison of user interface and user experience

The touch-enabled screen and Wear OS platform on the Fenix 5x Plus provide a more intuitive and versatile user experience compared to the Fenix 3. While both devices offer compatibility with major smartphone platforms, the Fenix 5x Plus’s improvements, including a touch interface, give it the advantage in this category.

Price and Value

Garmin Fenix 3

At a price point of around $500, the Garmin Fenix 3 offers essential fitness tracking features and robust build quality, making it a good investment for those who prioritize durability and core functionality.

Garmin Fenix 5x Plus

With a higher price of around $850, the Fenix 5x Plus adds value by offering advanced features like heart rate and oxygen tracking, as well as improved user experience through its touchscreen and Wear OS support. The additional investment might be justifiable for those seeking more comprehensive insights into their fitness performance.

Comparison of price and value

While the Garmin Fenix 5x Plus is the more expensive option, the enhancements in fitness tracking, user experience, and display technology justify the extra investment for those who demand top-tier performance from their smartwatch. The Fenix 3, however, remains a reliable and more affordable choice for users focused on core functionality and durability.


After analyzing the differences and strengths of both the Garmin Fenix 3 and Fenix 5x Plus, it is clear that the latter offers a more advanced and versatile smartwatch experience, justifying its higher price tag. With improved display technology, fitness tracking capabilities, and a more refined user interface, the Fenix 5x Plus is the recommended choice for those who seek the best in smartwatch performance. Nevertheless, the Fenix 3 remains a reliable and cost-effective option for users who prefer a more rugged design and essential functionality.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main difference between the Garmin Fenix 3 and Fenix 5x Plus?

The primary differences between the two models are the Fenix 5x Plus’s improved display, additional heart rate and oxygen tracking, and touchscreen functionality. The Fenix 5x Plus also utilizes the Wear OS operating system, making it more versatile.

Which smartwatch has a better battery life?

The Garmin Fenix 3 has a longer battery life of up to 6 weeks in non-GPS usage, while the Fenix 5x Plus offers up to 20 days of battery life. However, with GPS-active mode, the Fenix 5x Plus has a slightly better battery life of 32 hours compared to the Fenix 3's 50 hours.

Are both smartwatches compatible with Android and iOS devices?

Yes, both the Garmin Fenix 3 and Fenix 5x Plus are compatible with Android and iOS devices, allowing users to receive notifications and connect with their smartphone’s features.

Can I track my heart rate with the Garmin Fenix 3?

No, the Garmin Fenix 3 does not have built-in heart rate tracking capabilities. This feature is only available in the Garmin Fenix 5x Plus.

Are both watches suitable for swimming?

Yes, both the Garmin Fenix 3 and Fenix 5x Plus are water-resistant up to 10 ATM and feature swim tracking functionality.

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