Gear of the Year: Garmin Fenix 3 HR

Those of you who know me know that I am a gear fanatic. I wish it wasn’t quite the case, but I buy a lot of new products every year. Like: a LOT of new products.

I’m going to rationalize a bit here, but it kind of relates to the business that I in and I do try to put everything I purchase to good use. I am mostly successful in that regard. Or so I like to tell myself, anyway.

In 2016 I made two purchases that stood out among the rest: one was running related (the Garmin Fenix 3 HR noted above) and the other was for professional purposes (the Apple iPad Pro 9.7 — I will reserve this review for another day).

The Fenix purchase was borne out of my frustration with Suunto. It wasn’t the watch per se that frustrated me, but rather the Movescount website and app, both of which are/were dramatically behind the times and constantly down due for maintenance reasons.

I purchased the Fenix in July kind of on a whim while passing the Garmin store in Chicago and I have not looked back since. It’s no surprise it is the flagship in the Garmin series; it is one kick ass, well designed and well thought through product. Though slightly on the big side, it wears well on the first and it is without question my weekend go-to watch even when not working out.

The only downside to it that I can truly think of after six months of daily use, is the heart rate monitor is slightly less than optimal. But I don’t think that’s a Garmin issue so much as it is an across-the-board issue with all optical heart rate monitors. Fact is, the technology isn’t there quite yet.But I have reconciled myself to this and I find that while not perfect, it’s close enough.

With the announcement of the new Garmin Fenix 5 at CES last week, look for the Garmin Fenix 3 HR to drop significantly in price. Although the Garmin 5 looks pretty cool and has some additional functionality built into it, I think the Fenix 3 HR is still worth considering, especially if you can find it at a steep discount. If you’re serious about running (and swimming or even cross training too for that matter) and a bit of a data geek like me, I promise you won’t be disappointed. It truly does it all and kind of makes the Apple Watch pale in comparison, in my opinion (more on Apple Watch in a later post. I think I’ve finally discovered a killer application for it. I think.)

And if you wait for the Fenix 5, please share with me your thoughts, I probably will ride out the Fenix 3 through the 2017 calendar year before passing it on to Zevan, but one never knows with me……

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