An ultra runner's review of Garmin Fenix 5 plus

There are many sports watches available for various activities. On top of calorie counting, heart-rate monitoring and step-counting for my daily exercises, I need a GPS watch that helps me during hikes and trail runs, especially when I run ultramarathon races. I need a watch that is easy to use with accurate mapping and good battery life. After using it for 9 months including a number of ultramarathon races, here's my review on Garmin Fenix 5 plus, mainly from an ultra runner's point of view.


I run all distances and recently ran a 41 mile race. I downloaded the GPX file via my connect app (which was easy) and set off to run. The colour screen mapping is easy to see and I was able to zoom to suit my needs. I was also able to see what lies ahead with on-map distances to the end of each section of route.


I was amazed with how accurate the mapping was. The watch let me know every turn

I needed to take to get me confidently through my race. However - I did take a wrong turn but my friendly Fenix 5 plus soon got me back on course. This is easy to follow as the Fenix 5 plus simply tells me that I was off course and to turn back.

BATTERY LIFE My race took 8 hours to complete, I occasionally fiddled with data along the way and finished with 47% battery remaining. I have yet to try this watch on a 100 mile race. I am not sure if it would last races that are in excess of 24 hours but an option would be to take a charger and lightweight battery for the race.


  • Altitude Indication: The altitude function seems to work pretty well which can be motivating during climbs.

  • Breadcrumb Trails: The option to save locations is useful. Once when I went for a hike I got lost so I simply turned on my map so I could see which route to get back safely.

  • Music Play: Sportify is supported on this watch and is easy to setup. I don't use it as it seems to drain battery quickly whilst playing music.

  • Watch Faces: Many cool watch faces to choose from with various data display.

  • Always-On Display: I have set my watch to light up when I bring it to my face in the dark. This is a nice simple but helpful touch.

The only negative for me is that it doesn't support my bank for payments through my Fenix 5 plus. Apparently the only hight street bank that works with Garmin Pay is Santander.

Overall I am very happy with my purchase and I have owned it for 9 months without any issues. Build quality is good, it is a weighty watch but built to last.

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Matthew Knight Retreats

Stoke Rochford | Peak District | Athens

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