Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
Is a $2000 activity-tracker the best smart watch?
- Monitors absolutely everything
- One week battery life
- Looks great
Garmin provides form and function with this very powerful and stylish, does it all fitness tracker-based smartwatch. It's very expensive, but you get what you pay for.
Price$ 2,000.00 (AUD)
We won’t lie, we didn’t like the Fenix Chronos when we first tried it on. Despite the snug fit, pressing the function buttons at the side kept pulling hair out of our arm and we kept forgetting which button did what – watches with their buttons is the one area we expect to have to read the manual to work out what’s going on. On top of that the low-contrast screen seemed hard to look at and we wondered how long it would be before we could stop wearing it. Boy were we wrong.
The Fenix Chronos is Garmin’s top-end, luxury, fitness-tracking smartwatch designed for corporate types who take their business as seriously as their workouts. It’s available in steel with a steel strap (186g), titanium (112g) plus steel with a leather band (94g). All have the same 30mm display while the watch itself measures a masculine 49mm.
Design and Features
Our review model was the top-end titanium model which sported a link wristband where the links were held together with a toughened rubber on the inside. This meant that it would securely stay in one place on your wrist without strangling your circulation, limiting wrist movement or looking cheap. The rippled-design of the rubber meant that it didn’t make our wrist sweat and cause irritation as with other sports bands. It’s a very good design and means that the heart-rate monitor at the base was consistently able to produce accurate readings, even under heavy motion.
Indeed without looking at the screen the whole watch does look like it belongs in the c-suite. The five buttons turn out to be useful and intuitive. The top left is always the light. The two below it are up and down, on the top right is select and below that is back. Too easy.
The (sapphire crystal) scratch-resistant screen itself is a low rent-looking LCD. But the contrast is enough to still easily see it in bright light and a quick press of the light button illuminates everything very well.
There’s no touch screen but we didn't miss it. Touchscreens can go badly wrong in sweaty/rainy/damp/swimming pool environments so having big buttons on the side actually proved more useful.
The number of features, sensors and monitors that are built in is mind boggling and they are used to measure, well, everything.
There’s GPS, compass, accelerometer, barometer, altimeter and a heart-rate monitor. These record everything from steps taken to tracking a route of a run or a hike, swimming strokes, stairs climbed and descended, golf rounds and your sleep.
When Bluetooth paired with the Garmin Connect app on the smartphone, it will also display basic notifications alarms and the weather.Read more: MyFitnessPal review: The best calorie calculator app
The notifications are basic and there’s not much potential to interact with them – this is no Apple Watch and there isn’t an app store to add games and other features. But this is where the Fenix Chronos also proves attractive – there’s still no killer app for the Apple Watch whereas Garmin’s device knows exactly what it is and who it's for… it does fitness better than anything else, it has a few useful notifications and it looks good too. Compare this to Android-based Smart Watches: we still don’t see a reason to buy those.
There’s vibration alert and the ability to Find My Phone. Full specs can be viewed here.
This is the killer feature. Usually smartwatches need to be charged every day – two if you’re lucky. This puts them in a very-high maintenance bracket that gets very old very fast. The Fenix Chronos lasts for a full week – a bit less if you’re constantly using the GPS, but it’s solidly about a week which includes constant, accurate heart rate monitoring. This means that sleep can be constantly tracked and all measurements, including heart rate, run 24/7. The hassle level for charging is completely nullified and enhanced further by the watch taking less than an hour to fully charge. The charging clip is one of the best methods we’ve used and you can watch the charged-percentage points go up quickly – knowing it will take a good while for them to come back down again. As such there’s no problem taking it off and charging when you’re at your desk for a while (you only need to remember once a week) and if you have let it run low before a half-marathon, it won’t take long to be ready again.
Garmin rates battery life during activity at 25-hours in ‘Ultratrac’ mode and 13 hours when full GPS tracking.
Ultimately, this feature sets it above most other smartwatches and is the one that made us keep coming back to it.
Next Support apps, Missing Features and Conclusion
Join the newsletter!
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Apple iPhone X
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Toys for Boys
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Bose SoundLink Micro
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Xbox One X
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 TCL X2 review: QLED escapes the premium market
- 2 Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- 3 Acer Spin 5 review: Value for money but conditions apply
- 4 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 5 Sony LF-S50G review: Google Assistant and then some
Latest News Articles
- Garmin Announces New Vivofit 4
- Garmin Introduces the Forerunner 645 Music GPS Running Watch
- CES 2018: BLOCKS shows off their modular smartwatch
- Technogym Introduces Apple Watch Compatibility
- Apple Watch Series 3 reviews: The good, the bad, and the ugly
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- CES 2018: Belkin go big on wearables accessories
- Amazon Alexa and Echo set for Febuary launch
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTProject Manager | 12mth ContractOther
- FTAndroid DeveloperQLD
- FTSenior Infrastructure Delivery ManagerOther
- FTNatural/ADABAS ProgrammerOther
- CCRegulatory Project ManagerNSW
- CCTechnical Business AnalystVIC
- FTManager, Data QualityOther
- CCUser Experience DesignerSA
- CCIncident/Service ManagerNSW
- FTNetwork EngineerNSW
- CCSenior Technical Specialist ? Middleware LeadVIC
- FTClient Delivery DirectorACT
- FTSenior Solution Architect - Data CentreACT
- FTScrum MasterOther
- CCBusiness Analyst - Business Process Improvement - Six Sigma Black BeltVIC
- FTIntegration SpecialistACT
- FTService Desk Operators (Part Time and Full Time)SA
- FTReporting AnalystQLD
- FTNetwork Security EngineerOther
- FTFrontend DeveloperOther
- FTSenior Digital DeveloperVIC
- CCJunior to Mid-level Developer - BrisbaneACT
- TPDelivery ManagerACT
- TPSystem AnalystACT
- FTProject ManagerACT