Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gear Review / First Impressions: Garmin Fenix 2 Multisport Watch

First and foremost, I'd like to say that this review is not going to be a massively in depth review that details every nook and cranny of this watch.  There's simply no need to do that as it can all be found at Ray's blog - here. The DRRAINMAKER review.  He does an outstanding job, as always, of detailing out basically every feature, comparing it to other watches, and going so mind-numbingly in depth on a product that by the time you're done with the review - your work day is over and it's time to go home and you've accomplished nothing all day.  Thanks Ray.  =)

No, this review is going to be more about the watch in general, my impressions of it, how I've used it so far, how I think it will work for me, and some tidbits that I haven't seen on other blogs.


The first thing you notice about this watch right out of the box is that this isn't your typical triathlon / multisport watch.  Right off the bat, everything about this watch screams "Grow a beard, move to Siberia, live off the land, become a lumberjack, and run 75 miles a day!".  Aside from the picture of the ultra runner running straight up a mountain (quite literally), the watch itself is just extremely rugged and, excuse my French, badass.

The watch has an incredibly solid feel to it - and feels like it could take quite a beating and keep on ticking.

The unit comes with a heart rate monitor, some extra tools and goodies to replace parts on the watch strap, a charger, and an instruction booklet.
The watch, again, looks badass and has an extremely rugged feel.
View from the side which has the Start/Stop button (Red) and the Back button (black).
View from the other side with the Light, Menu/scroll up, scoll down buttons.

The strap on the watch gives a very "military grade" feel.

The back of the watch is solid - and the charging port is very easy to hook up.


The watch has a variety of multisport options which include trail running, running, swimming (indoor and outdoor), cycling (indoor and outdoor), navigation, climbing, and hiking - as well as some other modes that I'll never use (XC Ski, Ski/Board, etc).  You can go to the blog I mentioned above to get the run down on each of these modes - but I'll delve into how I've used the watch thus far.

As soon as the watch was out of the box - it was on my wrist and taken for a run.  Keep in mind, this was at 9 PM or so and I hadn't read the instruction manual (but I did read Ray's blog - which basically equates to the same thing).  So I turned the unit on - set it to Run - and off I went.

The first thing I notice is that the watch is a bit robust.  Not as much as the Garmin 310xt (which I previously used) or the 910xt - but the Fenix2 comes off as more of a "bigger watch".  It isn't a VCR on your wrist though - which is exactly what the other two triathlon offerings from Garmin were.

The buttons were extremely easy to access and the backlight was awesome for being able to see your progress during your workout.  In extremely dim lighting - it made the watch completely visible and easy to read.

The backlight on the watch is a thing of beauty.

After the run, I scrolled through the watch to check out what kind of data it records or doesn't record - and was quite surprised with the amount of running metrics it gives.  It uses the same platform as the Garmin 620 running watch - so you get cadence without a footpod, a detailed map of your route, and all of the normal stuff (distance, pace, elevation, speed, etc).

I have yet to upload any of my workouts to the computer - and I'll either update this post (or make a second review that's a bit more detailed on my thoughts).  Like I said before - I just don't see the need to get to into it with DCRainmaker having such a complete and thorough review.

I like the "circle timer" that gives you the progress when you bring up an old activity.

Example of the running metrics provided.

I've also used it for cycling and indoor swimming (but haven't taken any pictures of the device in those applications yet).  I will be putting it through its paces via open water swim next week.  With indoor swimming - the watch works basically just like the 910xt and Garmin Swim - giving all the swimming metrics you would ever want.  I didn't find much fault with that.  I'll be comparing the watch to my 310xt and a Garmin 220 (using one or the other in my swim cap) when I open water swim with it next week.  I'll put some of the results of those in a new post sometime in the future.

So far - this watch is nothing but positives (which one exception - which I'll note later).  I'm very happy with it and I think it's a complete multisport watch that surpasses the 910xt in nearly every way and can be considered one of the better running-only watches as well (it's somewhat slightly bulky profile is the only thing that holds it back in that regard).

Giving you an idea of the bulk of the watch.  Bigger than your typical running watch - but not the VCR that the 310/910 is.

Giving you an idea of the how the backlight illuminates things at night.

With that said, I have found one major flaw (for me) - and that is the lack of a quick release. I'm sure this will be remedied in the future (I don't see why one couldn't be made for this watch) but the lack of a quick release makes this watch difficult to use for cycling in a multisport environment.  One option that I've considered doing is stashing my phone in my flat kit on the bike and using the watch as a "live tracker" while on the bike (and using my bike computer for power data, etc).  This would allow me to swim with the watch and run with the watch without ever taking it off my wrist.  I haven't really decided yet.

So, in a quick summary - I like the watch.  A lot.  A whole lot.  I think it's the best watch for triathlon out there - especially if it gets a quick release.  

To conclude - here's a picture of my son dressed as a Ninja Turtle. =)

No comments:

Post a Comment