Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner’s Perspective

Garmin fenix 6x Pro

At first glance, this watch reminded me of a Hummer being used for grocery runs: it’s powerful and functional, but its potential is much higher than what runners typically need.

During the month-long test, my opinion of this watch changed, as did my understanding of the competition between Garmin and Polar. I will devote a separate post to comparing the products of these two brands, but for now, I want to talk about what Garmin Fenix 6x Pro offers to runners.

Before we get to the review, it’s important to understand two things: what is this watch used for and who is its target audience?

Garmin Fenix 6x Pro is an enhanced modification of their flagship watches, which means it is quite expensive. The Fenix line is designed for experienced users who already know what they want from their sports watches. Moreover, Garmin’s goal with this model is to target the ultra-distance running market, as its autonomous GPS battery life is up to 60 hours, and up to 80 (!) days in energy-saving mode. If you are a beginner who only runs to stay in shape, this watch might be needlessly confusing for you, and I would recommend getting something simpler.

Garmin Fenix 6x Pro was released in mid-2019.

For those who are new to the Garmin Fenix line of gadgets, all of these “6”, “x”, and “Pro” markings can be intimidating, so here’s a quick breakdown:

  • “6” refers to the version number of the Fenix line of watches, with the first model appearing in 2012. Curiously, there is no Fenix 4 model;
  • “x” indicates the largest screen size (51 mm). There’s also an “s” model with the smallest screen size (42 mm), and a model without the “s” marking, which has a medium-sized screen (47 mm);
  • “Pro” is a label indicating the presence of additional features in a particular modification, namely Wi-Fi, maps, and the ability to upload music. Along with “Pro”, there’s also “Sapphire” with a sapphire glass screen and “Pro Solar” with the ability to charge using solar poweri If all of this sounds overwhelming, here’s an infographic for you:
Garmin Fenix 6 line models
Garmin Fenix 6 line models. Image by DC Rainmaker


Garmin fenix 6x Pro
Garmin fenix 6x Pro

Garmin Fenix 6x Pro looks expensive, but not pretentious.

The steel bezel, the Always-On screen with good resolution and the well-drawn pixels harmonize perfectly and create a rather intimidating impression, yet it still works well with casual outfits.

The screen uses Memory-in-Pixel technology, which minimizes energy consumption when displaying static images. At the same time, the images on the screen look really high-quality, and the size is large enough to easily read all notifications.

Garmin Fenix 6x Pro

Fenix 6x Pro is quite heavy: you can really feel the 93 grams on your wrist and this weight did not bother me, for example, while sleeping, but not everything is perfect.

From a certain point, I’ve been using a bicycle as my main means of transportation around the city. Even though Ukrainian roads are getting better, some sections are still the same old Ukrainian roads famous for their ‘exceptional’ quality. When crossing even small potholes, the bicycle shakes, which causes the watch to vibrate and hit the wrist. One or two potholes are manageable, but when there’s a whole bunch of them in a row, you are forced to take your hand off the handlebar because it really hurts!

In Garmin Fenix 6x Pro, there are 5 buttons and no touchscreen. It seems to me that Garmin did a good job with the interface so that you don’t feel any inconvenience when setting it up using buttons only. For example, when you create an interval workout, the seconds displayed on the screen are multiples of 5, so you don’t have to click 30 times.

It takes some time to get used to the watch interface, but after a few days, it seems quite user-friendly. However, there are so many different features in Fenix 6x Pro that I never got the impression that I had become familiar with all of them.

As a Polar user, some of the solutions seemed very strange to me at first, and for example, I was only able to start the AT test run on the 6th attempt. But after a few days, I got used to it, and it felt really convenient.

The widgets in the Fenix 6x Pro are very cool and can be accessed by pressing the bottom left (down) button while on the main screen. There are several widgets (which can be added or removed) with general data on the first screen and more detailed data if you open them.

Виджеты в Garmin Fenix 6x Pro
Widgets in Garmin Fenix 6x Pro

This is what the “Training Status” widget looks like when selected:

Виджет Training Status в Garmin Fenix 6x Pro
Training Status widget in Garmin Fenix 6x Pro 

When it comes to connecting to external devices, everything is quite intuitive as well: go to the settings menu (long press on the middle left button), scroll down to “Sensors & Accessories”, select “Add new” and search for the device by type or “Search All Sensors”. Then, the watch simply finds the device and you select it from the list. I will write more about connecting to external devices later.


  • Screen: Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX (very strong glass, more details on its advantages) with Memory-in-pixel (MIP) technology; 
  • Display: color / Dial diameter: 35.56 mm / Resolution: 280 x 280 pixels;
  • Weight: 93 grams / Size: 51 x 51 x 14.9 mm; 
  • Bezel material: steel / Case material: fiber-reinforced polymer / Case back material: steel / Strap material: silicone; 
  • Battery: in smartwatch mode: up to 21 days, in energy saving mode: up to 80 days, in active GPS mode up to 60 hours, GPS with music – up to 15 hours, in GPS mode with maximum energy saving – up to 120 hours, in expedition mode – up to 46 days. Below I will share my battery consumption experience; 
  • Water resistance: 10 ATM;
  • Memory: 32 GB (up to 2000 songs); 
  • Sensors: Navigation – GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO / GARMIN Elevate ™ Heart Rate Monitor / Pulse Oximeter / Barometric Altimeter / Compass / Gyroscope / Accelerometer / Thermometer; 
  • Compatible with iPhone® and Android ™. Uses Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi® technologies; 
  • Safety features: LiveTrack (real-time tracking) and Incident Detection (automatic detection of emergency situations);
  • Smart functionality: Message response (Android only) / Notification viewing / Decline or accept calls / Calendar / Weather forecast / Alarm clock, timer, countdown / Music download / Music management / Find phone and watch / Ability to control GARMIN VIRB action camera / GARMIN Pay ™; 
  • Activity tracking: Step counter / Reminder to be active / Auto goals: Based on your activity, the watch sets goals for you / Sleep monitoring / Burned calories / Number of floors climbed (up and down) / Travelled route / TrueUp™ / Move IQ™ / Fitness age / Stress tracking; 
  • Workouts: Customizable workout fields / Auto pause / Interval workouts / Downloadable workout plans / Lap settings, auto lap / Customizable notifications when lap is completed / VO2 MAX / Training status (shows your readiness for workouts based on oxygen debt level, EPOC) / Load level (lets you track your optimal workout load) / Training effect (aerobic / anaerobic) / Audio guidance / Virtual partner.

Экран: Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX (очень прочное стекло, тут подробно о его преимуществах) с технологией Memory-in-pixel (MIP);

Смартфункционал: Ответ на сообщения (только Android) / Просмотр уведомлений / Отклонение или принятие звонка / Календарь / Прогноз погоды / Будильник, таймер, обратный отсчёт времени / Загрузка музыки / Управление музыкой / Поиск телефона и часов / Возможность управления экшн-камерой GARMIN VIRB / GARMIN Pay™;Отслеживание активности: счётчик шагов / Напоминалка о необходимости активности / Автоцели: на основании вашей активности, часы сами выставляют вам цели / Мониторинг сна / Сожжённые калории / Количество преодолённых этажей (вверх и вниз) / Пройденный маршрут / TrueUp™ / Move IQ™ / Фитнес-возраст / Трекинг стресса;Тренировки: Настраиваемые поля тренировки / Автопауза / Интервальные тренировки / Тренировочные планы, которые можно скачать на часы / Настройка параметров круга, автокруг / Настраиваемые уведомления по окончанию круга / VO2 MAX / Статус тренировок (показывает вашу готовность к тренировкам на основании уровня кислородного долга, EPOC) / Уровень нагрузки (позволяет отслеживать оптимальную загрузку тренировками) / Тренировочный эффект (аэробный / анаэробный) / Аудиосопровождение / Виртуальный партнёр.

Smart Functionality

Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 1

Garmin Fenix 6x Pro is really good at this!

Of course, there are notifications that appear on the screen immediately after you receive them. It’s rumored that on Android, you can even reply to messages. There are also call notifications and the ability to decline or answer a call. Here you have weather, an alarm clock, and a notification about upcoming events in the calendar. You probably won’t be surprised by this, since even Mi Band 5 has the same set of features 🙂

In addition to the “gentleman’s set”, Garmin Fenix 6x Pro has NFC with Garmin Pay technology (which works in Ukraine), which means that even if you forget your credit card at home, you can buy yourself a bottle of Poliana Kvasova mineral water using your watch. To use Garmin Pay, you just need to link your card in the Garmin Connect app, and then create a 4-digit password that you will enter each time before paying.

But that’s not all: with the Fenix 6x Pro, you can listen to music directly from your watch by connecting Bluetooth headphones. Let’s talk a little more about this.


Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 2

To be honest, as someone who is used to streaming services (like Apple Music and YouTube Music), downloading music to a watch seems really outdated and inconvenient. Having to think ahead about what you want to listen to, limiting your choices, and managing playlists by adding and deleting songs is a lot of work and requires a lot of attention.

That’s why I was very happy to find out that you can sync Spotify to the watch, and I even signed up for a trial subscription (which, by the way, is free).

If you use a service like Spotify, you typically need constant internet access to load tracks. But since the Garmin Fenix 6x Pro only has Wi-Fi, it works a bit differently.

You can set up Spotify through Garmin Connect by going to your Spotify account. The watch needs to be connected to Wi-Fi. In the menu (press and hold the menu button), find “Music” -> “Music Providers” -> “Spotify” and choose the option to add music or podcasts. Then you can select a playlist to download to your watch. Since Spotify is known for its great playlists, I recommend “setting it up” by listening and liking a few songs first. I really liked what it chose for me.

I never checked out Deezer since it’s essentially the same thing. But I was too lazy to bother with downloading music through a cable.

Connecting headphones

Garmin fenix 6x Pro AirPods sync
Garmin fenix 6x Pro AirPods sync

If you’re familiar with the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music review, you probably know that I had issues with connecting headphones, so I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly and easily my AirPods connected to the Fenix 6x Pro. It is important to note that with Forerunner 645 Music, I was connecting other (less popular) headphones which I no longer have, so I cannot say what caused the connection problems in that case.

To add headphones, you need to go to the main menu, scroll down to Sensors & Accessories, and select “Add new” while your headphones are in “active search” mode (for AirPods, you need to press the white button on the case and open the lid). They connect almost instantly, but the manufacturer recommends being near only one active Bluetooth device.

Maps and Navigation

Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 3
Your maps (right) and your maps on drugs (default, left)

I remind you that maps and music are the features that distinguish the Fenix 6x Pro model from Fenix 6x. Judging by how the manufacturer presents this model, the maps in the watch are designed in such a way that you can set up step-by-step navigation, just like in maps on your phone. But it’s not that simple 🙂

The thing is, if you live, for example, in Kyiv, then by default your maps on Fenix 6x Pro will look like the maps on drugs in the photo above. Don’t ask me why they don’t work “out of the box” in a flagship watch that cost several hundred dollars.

Fortunately, this can be fixed using a simple method suggested by DC Rainmaker. He suggested downloading a free map from the OpenStreetMap service and installing it on the watch. So, here’s what you need to do to make your maps work as intended:

  1. Go to the OpenStreetMap service;
  2. On the rather minimalistic page, choose ( 
  3. Choose your map type -> Routable Bicycle (Openfietsmap Lite); 
    • Choose a predefined country -> Europe -> Ukraine; 
    • Request your map or download it directly -> Download now! 
    • On the download page, select the gmapsupp format
  4. While the maps are downloading, download the Android File Transfer tool;
  5. The maps are downloaded: you need to unpack the archive and leave only the gmapsupp.img file;
  6. Close Garmin Express. If you don’t do this, Android File Transfer will not connect to the watch;
  7. Open Android File Transfer, connect the watch with a cable, and wait for the watch storage to appear in the file manager;
  8. Drag and drop the gmapsupp.img file into the Garmin folder;
  9. If you need to transfer multiple files, simply name the file gmapsupp-Ukraine.img;
  10. Disconnect the watch, the map is already on board, and you can check it by selecting the activity (upper right button) -> Maps. 

After that, all Garmin features associated with maps should work for you: nearby points, step-by-step navigation, adequate calculation of time to the point, etc.

Navigation & POI
Navigation & POI (points of interest)


Оценка времени GPS-трекинга

As the Fenix 6x Pro is designed for ultra-marathons and mountain expeditions, there are many options for power consumption settings. To access them, go to Menu->Power Manager. Here you will find the option to turn on the magical Battery Saver function, which will multiply your autonomy several times over. For example, when the battery was expected to last for 3 days in normal mode, the watch promised to last for 23 (!) days in Battery Saver mode.

With the heart rate monitor, pulse oximeter, 3-4 workouts per week, daily bike rides, and constant notifications turned on, my watch lasted for 10 days. Without the pulse oximeter (which I didn’t need), it lasted 23 days. This is more than enough for me not to be bothered by charging the gadget.

It’s really cool that the watch shows you the remaining time on the current charge before and during tracking any activity.

In addition, when the battery is low, the watch switches to an energy-saving mode, which can last for several more days.


The Garmin Connect app is an integral part of the Garmin ecosystem and a powerful tool for working with data.

There is a lot of functionality, good visualization, and very flexible customization.

Garmin Connect (App)

When using Garmin Connect, it feels like the visual part of the application could be modernized, but in practical terms, the app is excellent.

On the main screen, there are several widgets; you can adjust their number and customize them as needed:

Widgets in Garmin Connect
Widgets in Garmin Connect 

Each widget can be opened by clicking the button in the upper right corner:

Training form status in Garmin Connect
Training form status in Garmin Connect. Even if it looks confusing at first glance, don’t worry: there is a detailed help section available for each report (top right)

This is what the result of a training session looks like in the Garmin Connect app:

Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 4

At first glance, the application seems complicated; it creates the impression that you need a lot of time to make sense of all the data, however, it is pretty easy to understand and doesn’t take long.

Kudos to GARMIN Connect for a high-quality Ukrainian translation!

You can also choose Ukrainian on the watch itself! (Thanks to an attentive reader for the correction!)

Of course, you can export all your workouts to Strava. 

Garmin Connect (web)

Here, you can see how the same workout looks in GARMIN Connect on a PC:

Interestingly enough, it’s clear that different teams worked on these products, so the data is presented differently, and some functionality is not duplicated.

For example, you can only add your gear (like shoes or a bike) in the web version only. But I was surprised that I couldn’t add the initial mileage to my shoes, which are already on their last hundred or so kilometers.

Additionally, you can draw and upload routes there, as well as view the heatmap of popular routes. Based on how the route around the Rusanivsky stadium is mapped, this feature is not perfect, but it still allows you to determine where people run often.

Heatmap of popular routes in Garmin Connect
Heatmap of popular routes in Garmin Connect

Sports functionality

Sports functionality in Garmin Fenix 6x Pro
Sports functionality in Garmin Fenix 6x Pro

Fenix 6x Pro has a huge number of profiles: 7 varieties of running alone, cycling, special profiles for duathlon and triathlon, swimming, snowboarding and skiing, bouldering, parachuting, golf, yoga, as well as about 40 other types of sports and a profile with custom settings, where you can choose the tracked metrics yourself.

Types of profiles for running:

  • Outdoor running;
  • Trail running; 
  • Ultra trail; 
  • Virtual run; 
  • Treadmill running; 
  • Track running; 
  • Indoor track running.

In addition to running workouts (which we’ll discuss shortly), there is a feature for tracking strength training for gym enthusiasts (the Forerunner will automatically detect repetitions), elliptical workouts, rowing, and even yoga (I don’t know what’s to track here. Do you know?).

Running workouts

Running metrics on Garmin Fenix 6x Pro
Running metrics on Garmin Fenix 6x Pro

The workout menu appears when you press the “Start” button; after that, you choose the activity. The GPS signal is acquired instantly, and then you can start the workout.

By default, the three workout screens display the information shown in the photo:

  • Heart rate 
  • Distance 
  • Time 
  • Pace 
  • Lap distance 
  • Lap time 
  • Lap pace
  • Clock

Customization is one main selling points of Garmin gadgets. Using the menu in the watch itself (Menu->Activities & Apps->Your activity->Settings->Data Screens), you can add 7 more preset screens (map, heart rate distribution, running dynamics, virtual partner, music management, compass, elevation gain) to these three screens by default. You can also select a completely customized screen that displays 1 to 7 metrics. The default screens can also be edited, so if you are used to seeing certain data during your workout, you can add it yourself however you want.

This is what the results of a running workout look like:

Running workout summary on Garmin Fenix 6x Pro
Running workout summary on Garmin Fenix 6x Pro

And here’s what the results look like if you want to learn more about what you just did:

Detailed running workout statistics on Garmin Fenix 6x Pro
Detailed running workout statistics on Garmin Fenix 6x Pro

Strength training

Strength training with Garmin Fenix 6x Pro
Strength training with Garmin Fenix 6x Pro 

Since I also do strength training in addition to running workouts, I was interested in what Garmin has to offer in this area. And the offer is pretty good!

When choosing strength training, you can do a pre-installed workout; all the information about it can be accessed on the watch by selecting “View”. I really liked the visualization, the workouts are simple but effective.

I exercise outdoors, so I chose the “Free” mode, which allows me to track any strength training.

Heart rate monitor (Garmin Fenix 6x Pro VS Polar H10)

Garmin Fenix 6x Pro VS Polar H10
Garmin Fenix 6x Pro VS Polar H10

Garmin Fenix 6x Pro is equipped with GARMIN Elevate™ technology (more details on it here). Its main feature is the data processing algorithm, which eliminates background noise that appears due to temperature, vibrations, distance from the sensor to the skin, sweat, and even the person’s posture.

Photoplethysmographic (wrist) heart rate monitor in Garmin Fenix 6x Pro
Photoplethysmographic (wrist) heart rate monitor in Garmin Fenix 6x Pro

The heart rate monitor blinks faster when you start the activity or when the monitor detects it automatically.

I should note that the accuracy of photoplethysmographic heart rate monitors is influenced by many factors, so the data can vary. Howver, in most sports watches, the data does not differ significantly from chest heart rate monitors, and serious deviations in values were observed only in fitness gadgets by non-sports brands.

The green lamps of the GARMIN Elevate™ heart rate monitor look quite modest, but how did it compare to the Polar H10 chest strap?

Typically, everything is quite simple during a recovery workout: the monitor tends work more accurately when your heart rate is stable and low. Here’s what a recovery workout looks like:

Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 5
Comparison of heart rate monitors in Garmin Fenix 6x Pro (purple graph) and Polar H10 (yellow graph). Recovery workout, 24 minutes; average heart rate according to Garmin – 147, according to Polar – 145.

For some reason, the readings from Fenix 6x Pro got a little erratic towards the end of the workout, but overall the data is accurate and there is no significant difference between the average heart rates.

From the point of view of heart rate tracking, interval training is a more interesting challenge. You can see that I didn’t start the workout simultaneously on both devices, hence the delay in the data from Garmin.

Сравнение пульсометров в Garmin Fenix 6x Pro и Polar H10
Comparison of heart rate monitors in Garmin Fenix 6x Pro (purple graph) and Polar H10 (yellow graph). Interval workout (around 30 minutes); the average heart rate for Garmin was 149 and 152 for Polar. 

The watch distorted the data slightly on some intervals, but the differences between average heart rates are insignificant.

Personally, I could use this watch without a chest strap. At the very least, it showed a serviceable result in the conditions I tested it in.

Garmin Fenix 6x Pro can be connected to a heart rate sensor using Bluetooth or the ANT+ protocol.

Although I only had a Polar sensor, the Garmin watch was understanding enough to connect to it and collect data directly from the chest strap without any complaints.

Interval Workout

Interval workout in Garmin Connect
Interval workout in Garmin Connect (web version) 

I can confidently state that the implementation of interval workouts in Garmin Fenix 6x Pro is the most convenient in practice:

  • You can create a workout both in the app and on the watch itself, and it’s quick and easy either way; 
  • There is no set warm-up or cool-down time: you simply start the workout, warm up, click the start of the segment and start running the intervals you have planned; 
  • The watch notifies you with a sound signal 5 seconds before each interval (both active and rest) starts; 
  • After each active segment, the watch shows a short report on that segment; 
  • The cooldown occurs when the last interval ends, and you can do it for as long as you want until you click the start of the next interval; 
  • A detailed report on the workout will be available both on the watch and in Garmin Connect: you will be able to see detailed data for each individual segment.

Here’s what the report looks like for each interval in the web version of Garmin Connect:

Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 6
Interval training in Garmin Connect web

And here’s what the interval training report looks like in the app:

Interval training in Garmin Connect App
Interval training in Garmin Connect App

Running Programs

Garmin Connect has really cool running programs. In the GARMIN Connect app, you can use running programs for 5 km, 10 km, and a half marathon. You can choose a goal: just run or run for a target time.

It’s really cool that this plan is personalized: it takes into account your weekly mileage, average pace, and your personal choice of coach. You can evaluate and compare their approaches by watching their introductory videos when you start the running plan.

The first “Benchmark run” is designed to evaluate your current fitness and assess how realistic your goal is. I think the latter is really cool. Each workout is accompanied by a short video that explains its essence.

Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 7
Preparatory program for a 5 km / 25-minute run in GARMIN Connect. It is synchronized with the watch, where you can see which workout awaits you today

In addition to a running program with a specific distance goal, Garmin will advise you on the intensity and duration of daily workouts (running or cycling) based on VO2Max data and training status. That is, even if you are currently running without a specific goal, the watch will offer you a “balanced” program. Balanced in quotes simply because this balance is very peculiar and involves more factors than the watch is able to track. Nevertheless, Fenix 6x Pro gave me fairly reasonable load recommendations. More on the load balance below in the “Training Load” section.

Aerobic / Anaerobic Load

Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 8

This is a curious report shown after you complete a workout. The watch determines how much time you spent in the aerobic and anaerobic zones based on data regarding your heart rate zones.

I used this data to confirm that I ran in the correct zones during different types of workouts.


Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 9

This feature evaluates your recovery time. Of course, you can make decisions based mainly on how you feel, and this feature can be used to help you reflect more carefully on your well-being.

Depending on the intensity and duration of your workouts, the Fenix 6x Pro will inform you of the best time to do your next workout.

Recovery time after an interval or tempo workout was different from the same indicator after a recovery workout.

Sleep Tracking

Garmin Fenix 6x Pro Sleep Tracking
Garmin Fenix 6x Pro Sleep Tracking

Yes, Garmin Fenix 6x Pro has sleep tracking. Based on my experience, I can say that this function is implemented well, but I still barely ever use this data when planning my workouts.

Pulse Oximeter

Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 10

The pulse oximeter allows you to assess your body’s acclimatization to hypoxic conditions (e.g., at high altitudes). During the test, I simply tracked the oxygen saturation values, but they remained normal all the time since I wasn’t sick and didn’t spend time at high altitudes with low oxygen concentration. You can configure the pulse oximeter to track all the time, only at night, or on demand. By the way, it reduces the battery life by half.

Body Battery

Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 11

Body Battery evaluates the expenditure of your resources based on activity throughout the day and the assessment of resource replenishment after sleep. The scale ranges from 0 to 100 points. Factors include heart rate, variability, activity, workouts, and sleep.

In most cases, Garmin really did assess my resources accurately enough, but I never used this data to plan anything.

The screen shows an expenditure of 80 units. This is the result of the Kyiv Euro Marathon 2021.

Training Load

Training Load

Based on data from your activity, the Fenix 6x Pro evaluates the state of your fitness:

  • Exhaustion 
  • Peak 
  • Productivity 
  • Form maintenance 
  • Recovery
  • Non-productivity 
  • Loss of form 

You can learn more about each value in the help section.

This feature was developed with Firstbeat, which Garmin has trusted for quite some time. In Garmin Connect, you can learn that this feature was developed based on the analysis of data from professional athletes (NHL, NBA, and others) by leading engineers from Firstbeat and physiology specialists.

The load is evaluated using the duration and intensity of workouts, while recovery time uses EPOC (excess post-exercise consumption) or the level of oxygen debt. This indicator correlates with the amount of air needed for your body to recover to its normal metabolism. The higher this value, the more intense your workout was.

Based on the data collected over a week of training, Fenix 6x Pro will provide information on the types of workouts you are missing for optimal fitness, categorizing the loads into: anaerobic, high-intensity aerobic, and low-intensity aerobic exercise.

Since I added my own heart rate zones, obtained recently from a functional diagnostic test, I completely agree with the suggestion that you see on the screen: I really need more low-intensity running.

However, I am bothered by the question of what exactly this feature is meant to prepare you for, and what criteria it uses to determine whether a workout is optimal or not.

Virtual Partner®

Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 12

Virtual Partner® служит виртуальным пейсмейкером, настройки которого вы устанавливаете сами. Для добавления виртуального партнера, вам нужно зайти в настройки активности, добавить экран Virtual Partner и установить его темп. Далее, часы будут показывать вам быстрее или медленнее вы бежите и уведомлять при изменении статуса.

Virtual Partner® serves as a virtual pacer which you have to set up yourself. To add a virtual partner, you need to go to activity settings, add a Virtual Partner screen, and set its pace. Next, the watch will show you if you’re running faster or slower than the set pace and notify you of any changes in status.

In addition, you can set a lower and upper pace limit, and the watch will notify you if either is violated.

Move IQ™

Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 13

I applaud this feature. I really miss it in other activity trackers. The thing is that most similar gadgets only take tracked activities and steps into account to “understand” your load. Since I bike to and from work twice a day, I believe that these activities should be taken into account, as even light daily cardio in the morning and in the evening can affect fitness.

Move IQ™ is a technology that automatically detects your activity based on the patterns of your movements. That is, in order to track a bike ride as part of your activity rather than a workout, you don’t need to do anything at all: Move IQ™ will automatically detect this event and include it in your daily report.

According to the manufacturer, the watch automatically detects running, walking, cycling, swimming or elliptical training, the duration of which should be at least 10 minutes.


Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 14

A very interesting feature for hikers and trail runners:

  1. Upload the route to the watch; 
  2. Enable ClimbPro in activity settings; 
  3. At the start of the activity, you get an additional screen that displays the number of climbs, the remaining distance of the current climb, the total ascent, and vertical speed. 

This report is always interesting to watch while running or hiking in the mountains. Then again, mountains are always interesting 🙂


Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 15

A very curious feature for training on a distance with a target time. Here’s how it works:

  • Select the distance;
  • Select the target time;
  • Use the “ruler” to select the pace for each kilometer on the distance;
  • Load the settings into the watch and start the PacePro training;
  • The watch tells you the optimal pace to run the next kilometer and indicates if you are overperforming or underperforming based on the plan.

Часы подсказывают вам с каким темпом оптимально бежать следующий километр и указывают на общее отставание / превосходство плана.

For example, my optimal time goal for the Kyiv Euro Marathon 2021 wasi1:48:00. I know my body: it likes to accelerate gradually, so I set the plan in such a way that I would run at a pace of 5:32/km for the first kilometer, and 4:45/km for the final kilometer. The watch smoothly increases the pace to the pace of the final kilometer for all the kilometers in between. I could have started running at 6 minutes (then the final pace would be 4:22), or I could have started at 5:07 (then I would have to maintain this pace for the entire distance, and the 1:48 plan would be completed).

I’ll write more about why things didn’t go as planned for me on the Kyiv Euro Marathon 2021 later.

VO2 Max

Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 16

Garmin uses Firstbeat technology to measure VO2Max. If you’re not new to my blog, you know that I recently went through functional testing for runners and, surprisingly, the data obtained from Fenix 6x Pro matched the data I got from the lab!

My VO2Max is really 53 at this moment! Firstbeat uses your physiological data and the correlation between speed and heart rate to determine VO2Max. If you want to read more about this, here’s the whitepaper on this technology.

Stress Level

Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 17

Fenix 6x Pro measures stress based on heart rate variability, a metric that reflects the imbalance of the nervous system. I wrote about it in detail in this post.

When using it, I did notice that on days when I felt more stressed, the Fenix 6x Pro showed an increase in stress levels. I described the situation with stress in detail in the post about Vivoactive 3. There, I talked about how accurately the watch measured my stress level when I was on my way to the ICE Trail race.

Safety Systems: LiveTrack and Incident Detection

Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 18

The LiveTrack system allows you to share your location with selected users (via email) during your workout. You can set up this feature to activate automatically so that someone can track every one of your activities.

The incident detection feature allows you to send an SOS signal with your location to a list of contacts by pressing and holding the “Light” button.

Routes / Return to Start

Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 19

If you run trails, you know that navigation is important for long distances. With Fenix 6x Pro, you can upload a route via Garmin Connect on both the mobile and desktop versions. You can also draw a route yourself in the desktop version.

I liked the visualization of climbs, descents, and remaining distance, but I never figured out how to set up Turn-by-Turn navigation and or navigation using actual topographic maps, so it looked like it does in the photo. You can figure out the direction without any problems, but the map visualization is far from great.

Usually, you can download a route for a specific race from the race organizer’s website. Then, you can open it in Garmin Connect and send the route to your Fenix 6x Pro. Select a specific activity and hold down the activity settings button (UP), then choose Courses, where you will see a list of all available routes. The watch will guide you to the route using the compass.

Garmin Fenix 6x PRO Review from a Runner's Perspective 20
Uploading a Route to Garmin Connect  

In addition to navigating a pre-set route, you can also choose to return to your starting point. Note that the activity must be tracked for this to work.

Garmin Fenix 6x Pro at Kyiv Euro Marathon 2021

Garmin Fenix 6x Pro at Kyiv Euro Marathon 2021
Kyiv Euro Marathon 2021

I never would have written about this separately if not for one “but.”

On April 25, I participated in the Kyiv Euro Marathon 2021 half-marathon and wanted to conduct my final test of Garmin Fenix 6x Pro there. The plan was to use PacePro, which I wrote about earlier, and as usual, my thoughts were slightly muddled at the start. This prevented me from waiting for the GPS signal; instead, I immediately pressed “Start” after passing through the gates.

During the first kilometers, I was surprised by the pace of 4 minutes / kilometer, since I clearly didn’t feel like I was there yet. A couple of kilometers later, I looked at my watch and saw a pace of 8 minutes / kilometer, and I definitely felt like I was running faster than that. This information puzzled me, but I didn’t concentrate on it. When my watch showed me that I had run a half-marathon, even though there were still about 5 kilometers left, I realized that something was wrong.

As a result, according to the Fenix 6x Pro, I ran 26.34 kilometers in 1:46:21. In fact, I ran a half-marathon (I’m fairly confident it really was one considering the AIMS certification) in 1:46:02.

According to the watch, I ran some sections (a section is a kilometer) at a pace of 1:50 per kilometer, while others were at 8:30 per kilometer. After the run, the watch’s altimeter showed -8612 meters, and the barometer was completely off. A reboot helped, and everything fell into place, but it was disappointing nonetheless.


If we consider the Garmin Fenix 6x Pro from the perspective of a runner, it is a powerful tool with potential that clearly goes beyond road races and recreational running workouts. This model has no competition in Polar’s lineup, but competitors by Suunto are likely to appear. Either way, Garmin watches and Fenix 6x Pro specifically are suitable for a wide audience, as they can handle a wide range of tasks: tracking almost any fitness activity, basic race preparation, tracking and assistance in ultra-distance races thanks to excellent autonomy and navigation, smart features, and also assistance in hiking (which is often used by mountain runners). This is a great tool for users who know what they want from sports watches.

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