The debate of Garmin Instinct (our review here) vs Fenix 5 Plus (our review here) can go a long way, but the choice comes down to a person’s preferences. The two watches have specific features for different functionalities. For Fenix 5 Plus, it has modes to tack cycling, running, regular skiing, climbing, hiking and trail running, among others.
Garmin Instinct, on the other hand, can track hikes, runs, rides, and any other general wanderings. If you are interested in either of the two watches and don’t know which one to select, here are some points to consider:
What’s included in Garmin Fenix 5 Plus?
When Garmin created the Fenix 5 Plus, they attempted to offer the ultimate fitness tracker. The device features additional health tracking sensors, advanced Galileo location technology, a tough design, and local music playback. These features make the Fenix 5 an excellent fitness device to have.
As a committed triathlete, climber, or ultra-marathon runner, it would take you a century to find a wrist accessory better than the Fenix 5 Plus from Garmin.
Unlike the Garmin Instinct, Fenix 5 Plus has lots of features. That is why the Fenix 5 Plus is a bit expensive. However, if you are a serious amateur or a pro-level athlete, then the price might not be a concern.
Less committed athletes can go for other devices such as the Garmin Instinct.
Design for Garmin Fenix 5 Plus
Looking at the Fenix 5 Plus, you can tell that Garmin built a highly durable device. Considering the standards of a fitness tracker, the Fenix 5 Plus is chunky. It weighs only 76g (titanium model) and 15.8mm in thickness. A tracker with such bulkiness is hard to ignore; even with a sleek black color. Fenix 5 Plus is not ideal for fashion enthusiasts as it comes in one color – black.
Overall, the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus has the same appearance as that of Garmin Instinct. The watch face is circular, which is coated using reinforced glass or Sapphire. Additionally, the tracker comes in titanium metal bezel alongside an option of leather, metal or silicon straps.
The screen is really decent, taking into consideration that that watch focuses on fitness field. The device has a resolution of 240 x 240, which is sharp enough for every user. Though the resolution isn’t as sharp as other OLED watches, its maximum brightness levels and colors are ideal for use in bright sunlight.
Interestingly, Garmin Fenix 5 Plus takes full advantage of each square millimeter of space. The company loaded the device with every sensor they could think of.
These additional features include a thermometer, gyroscope, accelerometer, barometric altimeter and a heart rate monitor. To make things even more interesting Garmin incorporated the Galileo support together with the more standard GLONASS and GPS.
As EU’s satellite positioning network, Galileo is nippier and more accurate than normal GPS.
For music lovers, the Fenix 5 Plus comes with an internal storage of 16GB. This insane storage will allow you to load local map files and your favorite music. Hence, you can listen to your loaded music as you work out.
In as much as Fenix 5 Plus comes with great features, it doesn’t have pulse ox acclimation. You’ll only find this feature in the Fenix 5X Plus tracker. Though this might not be an issue for normal athletes, it is an issue for any serious hiker.
Tracking and software
For such a device with great features, you would expect it to track every mainstream sport you would think of, is that right? Well, the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus doesn’t disappoint on that note. The watch tracks sports such as shooting, swimming, running and yachting as well.
The fitness device has a built-in heart rate tracker. Garmin takes all the top features from other watches and fixes them all in this durable wrist wear. These features include the current recovery analysis insights, activity tracking abilities, and heart rate tracking.
Battery life for Garmin Fenix 5 Plus
According to Garmin, Fenix 5 Plus has a battery life of 12 days when used as a smartwatch. Alternatively, the device can last for 18 hours when in GPS mode, 42 hours in “Ultra-Trac” and 8 hours with music and GPS.
What’s included in Garmin Instinct
Recently, Garmin has released a brand new smartwatch with GPS capabilities – the Instinct. The new release promises to blend the sophisticated analytical features with the lightweight design of the older Vivoactive watches.
The Garmin Instinct weight only 52 grams, making it lighter than Fenix 5 Plus. Granted, Garmin used cheap, light materials, with a plastic bezel and silicone strap replacing the bulky Fenix build.
Unlike Fenix 5 Plus that comes only in black, Instinct comes in red and matte black. As for the price, the Instinct comes in almost half compared to the current Fenix 5 Plus.
This device has come a long way in terms of improvements in comfort. For one, the silicone rests smoothly on your wrist; so there will be no jangling against the hand-bone. In fact, you won’t notice you are wearing a watch when you work out. You’ll remember it when it beeps to inform you that you’ve got another mile to cover.
Shedding weight from such an important device, undoubtedly, implies shedding power from it. The question, however, is whether those missing features will impact the device’s functionality. The good thing with Fenix 5 Plus is that it has greater functionalities than Garmin Instinct. These added features explain the high price of Fenix 5+.
Unlike Fenix 5+, the Garmin Instinct does not come with VO2max estimation. Also, it cannot analyze your vertical oscillation. This feature could mean a lot for hikers. But if your activity involves running or any other simple activity, then the Instinct could be ideal for you.
Additionally, the Instinct doesn’t have visual maps like Fenix 5 Plus. This absence is really a serious issue as people like to use maps when they run in new locations.
But if you are familiar with your locations, then, you don’t need the visual maps.
Apart from the lack of maps, the instinct lets you check your pace, both in a kilometer-by-kilometer and a constant session overview breakdown.
Just as Fenix 5 Plus, the Instinct has a heart-rate sensor. This will give an update of your zonal intensity and beats per minute. Once done with your activity, the Garmin Instinct will provide you a detailed analysis, inclusive of HR breakdown, cadence review, elevation change, and pace.
Just as with Fenix 5+, Instinct lets you cycle through screens using the buttons on the side. Similar to Fenix, selecting 5 buttons on Instinct can cause irritating mis-clicks and some confusion. Therefore, you should learn the functionality of every button before the buttons make you angry. Specifically, you should learn the buttons that starts and stops the recording of your activities.
The Bottom Line
For any outdoor lover, the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus can be a go-to smart fitness tracker. But, the Fenix 5+ is more expensive than Instinct. And of course, with this difference in price, the Instinct will not have the same features as the ones Fenix 5+ has.
Nonetheless, the two Garmin trackers are durable, have great appearances, screen resolution and software features for every athlete.