Exploring the Features and Benefits of the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro: A Comprehensive Review

The Garmin Fenix line is Garmin’s premier multisport line of watches. For the Fenix 6, there are 3 size variants in the line, the 6S (small), 6 (medium), and 6X (large), with three categories: standard, Pro, which has music and maps, and Pro Solar, which has music, maps and the ability to gain extra battery life through solar panels in the display. The main difference between the standard and the Pro is the ability to store music and contour maps; the Pro also offers a bigger battery. If these 3 features are essential to you then it is definitely worth paying a little extra for the Pro variant. I personally have the 6X Pro and love it! Also to be honest, if I were to buy the watch again I would pay extra for the solar. I find that I am outdoors a lot and use the watch features that would benefit from the extra boosts of solar charging.

Now to the watch, what it does and what it doesn’t do. The watch has the ability to customize the watch face, when using the Garmin Connect app you can download additional watch faces from the app store, there are hundreds to choose from. I use the Chariot B-Shock, it shows just about everything you can think of. I get my heart rate, sunrise/sunset time, steps, total distance, battery life, winds, current weather, the date, and oh yes – the time! All of this information is on my home screen. The face also allows you to customize some of the fields, if you don’t care about sunrise/sunset or steps these can be changed to something you do care about.

Activity tracking allows you to track all aspects of your day. The watch will automatically track your sleep, steps, heart rate, and auto-sense when you begin strenuous activities such as running or biking. There is also a widget that can be added to track hydration. What does all of this tracking do for you? It is all combined to offer what Garmin calls your “body battery”. Your body battery level can give you a general idea of where your body is in terms of readiness. Your sleep, daily stress level, and hydration can help paint an accurate picture of how hard you could push yourself or if you need to take it easy. These metrics can optimize your training schedule. I mentioned stress levels, Garmin will use your average heart rate in combination with Heart Rate Variability (HRV) to determine your level of stress for the day.

With all of these continuous tracking features, one would think the watch needs to be charged nightly. Negative! The frequency of charging is tied more to the activity mode: Different modes offer different battery life lengths.

  • 21 – 24 days as a smartwatch
  • 60 – 66 hours in GPS mode
  • 15-16 hours using GPS and listening to music
  • 46 – 56 days in expedition mode (including GPS)
  • Up to 120 days in battery-saving mode

Let’s take a look at activities the watch has the ability to track and how well it does at tracking them. Probably the most prominent is running. I have used Garmin, Suunto, Polar, and Timex GPS watches for running over the past year, and I have used them on the same courses. The Polar and Timex work decently but the pace and distance didn’t update as frequently as I would have liked, I also saw some discrepancy in total distance and final average pace from Suunto and Garmin. The true battle is between Garmin and Suunto. I do have to mention I have the Suunto Ambit 3 peak so it’s a little older device. But I’ve been using it for probably 4 years now. The difference between the two watches is pretty negligible. There is a difference and the Garmin is more accurate, but it’s slight. You can also see a difference when the watch syncs to its respective application and you see your route displayed on the map. Garmin’s lines are right on the sidewalk while the Suunto will be offset in a lot of places. I love the bigger face of the Garmin too, it can show heart rate, pace, total time, split time, and time of day at one glance. It does all of this while playing music, which is nice because it allows you to leave your phone at home. Note about the music feature – you have to preload the tunes to the watch, not a huge deal, you just need to make some running playlists.

Another great running feature is the PacePro training tool. This allows you to set routes or distances and based on your performance and prior pacing offers you splits that you should be following in order to improve in the most optimal way. This carries through both on the app and on the watch during the run giving you a real-time look at how you’re doing. If you’re pushing hard then it becomes clear you can move your threshold up. If you’ve overexerted then that becomes clear that you put yourself behind where you should be.

Since the Fenix 6X pro has mapping functionality, it offers the ability to create running routes. I like to use this feature while traveling and I need a route to run. This is done through the Garmin Connect app. I just put in my starting point and desired distance, it will then map out a course! I then transfer it to the watch and off I go.

Another activity I use is biking, nothing too special with this, it will do all of the same functions as running just give additional data points, such as cadence, and display units in either miles or kilometers and miles per hour. I’ve started favoring my watch over my bike speedometer so I can keep an accurate picture of my body battery. The watch will auto-detect that I’m working out or doing something strenuous, but it just may not record the activity as biking, thus I won’t be able to go back and review the workout.

If you’re a big hiker or a member of the military, the Garmin Fenix 6X pro is an excellent expedition companion! The watch offers both Lat/Long and MGRS coordinates. This helps if you have a point destination, you can plug in the coordinates and the watch will navigate you. It also has an onboard compass for general navigation. Another great navigation feature is the “track me” function. This acts like a breadcrumb trail. You can hike out and then follow the same route back, ensuring you don’t get lost. Or it will just track you and save the route for review or a future hike. One use for this is if you lose a piece of equipment and it’s not discovered until later. You can follow the exact route and hopefully find what may have been dropped; I have first-hand experience with this, and we found it! 

Also for military members are a couple of tactical functions. One is labeled “Tactical Mode”. There’s nothing really tactical about it except that it will display dual coordinates, I set it to lat/long on top and MGRS on the bottom. You can customize this as well, depending on the map you’re using you may need a different coordinate system. The other military function is Jump Master. This is useful for both free fall and static line. If you are a jump master then you will appreciate this function. You plug in your DIP, HARP, Wind, and ALT and the watch will assist in making sure your hit your DIP. Not sure what I’m talking about? Desired Impact Point, or land on the “X”. Static line is really less important because your only 1100 ft up and pretty much fall straight down.

I mentioned running and biking, but what about water activities?? The watch is rated to a depth of 100m so it can absolutely be used for water sports. When recording swimming as an activity, the watch will measure your stroke and give your all sorts of relevant swimming information. I’m not a swimmer so it’s not really something I’m interested it. I did it once just to see what it recorded. A shortfall of the watch, in my opinion, is scuba diving. I do enjoy diving and the watch has all of the sensors as the Descent line, but it quits recording depth after 15m. I don’t know why Garmin would put this software block in but they did. This is an intentional software function to not display depth past and the only good reason I can think of is so divers have to opt for the more expensive Descent watch line. Which if you are an avid diver that would be a great watch too since it’s basically a Fenix with a beefier case and scuba functionality.

Lift weights? Crossfit? There are activity recordings for that as well! During lifting sessions you can tell the watch what activity you’re doing, how much weight, and how many repetitions are performed. This is a great way to log lifts and track progression. For the Crossfitters, it’s recorded as HIIT, High-Intensity Interval Training, and it’s more for heart rate, reps, and rounds. I have used it during Crossfit training but have found this mode more intrusive than it was worth. I now mainly just his go so I can see my heart rate as I’m working out.

Are you a golfer? There is the golfing activity. Now, this is a really cool activity function. I am not a golfer but I do golf. What I loved about using the watch as my companion is it came preloaded with just about every golf course in the US. When starting the day, it told me how far from my current location the hole was away. This allowed me to pick the appropriate club; there was no guessing and eliminated the need to carry a range finder. It also tracked my strokes so I didn’t have to worry about a scorecard. The golf courses are also displayed on the watch face so if I couldn’t see the flag, I could look at the course on my watch and see the layout. This is extremely useful. I’m not getting an invitation to the PGA tour any time soon but using the Garmin Fenix 6X pro as my golf watch definitely helped me on the course.

Overall, the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro is an awesome watch with a lot of technology and a lot of battery. I would recommend the Fenix 6 Pro line to anyone who is interested in a multisport watch. I am a bigger guy so I like the added size of the “X”. If you have a smaller wrist then I would recommend the 6 or the 6S for size. But if you don’t mind the extra size, the 6X is worth it for the extra battery alone. I would also recommend the Pro line for the map functionality alone. Like I mentioned at the beginning, if I were to buy my watch again I would go for the solar just to get every bit of extra juice!

Leave a Comment