Apple Watch vs Garmin fenix 5

Apple Watch VS Fenix 5

We’ve selected two of the hottest fitness watches on the market today. With two different approaches to fitness tracking and fitness applications, what is the best watch to help keep you fit?


Let’s start with the most obvious difference between the Garmin fenix 5 and the Apple Watch, that being the display. The differences are huge, and this sets the priorities apart as the screen in the Apple Watch is a significant battery drain. However, the screen in the Apple Watch allows information to be displayed crisper and sharper including videos & photos, maps, text messages, notifications, apps and more.

The other difference between the displays is the interaction you have. The Apple Watch is touch and Garmin simply isn’t. The fenix 5 has buttons to utilise its software which for activities like running, is far superior than a touchscreen.

Winner – Apple Watch


One of the best features with the garmin fenix 5 is the battery life. With the digitalisation of the world and everything needing re-charging frequently, it’s refreshing to have a battery in a device lasting longer than a week.

Battery life is one the biggest downsides with not only the Apple Watch, but smartwatches in general. The reason for this is the battery drain of the superior display and faster processor. With better processing power, smartwatches like the Apple Watch can operate powerful apps.

The Apple Watch is rated for 18 hours of use which requires a daily charge.

Winner – Garmin fenix 5


If you’re into apps, the Apple Watch is the clear winner. However, depending on the use case Garmin’s native apps are the best in the market. With applications for pretty much any sport and the ability to create your own apps (with data fields), if you’re an outdoor adventurer or fitness freak you will most likely prefer the Garmin fenix 5 software.

Winner – Apple Watch


The Apple Watch is targeted to a wider audience and its fitness tracking and applications are built to deliver for mainstream fitness uses. One of the standout features of the Apple Watch is the fitness rings (which I’m a fan of). The benefit of this activity tracking is the tracking takes into account everything rather than just steps; tying calories, exercise and time standing together. So if you burn most of your calories on a bike or lifting weights, your activity tracking will reflect your active lifestyle (even if you’re not recording lots of steps on a regular basis).

Where the Garmin stands out is for the hardcore user or outdoors person. Its exercise apps are the best in the industry and offer a level of customisation and data not found on any other fitness watch.

Winner – tie

Build Quality:

Although the Apple Watch has a 50 metre water resistance, it is built as a smartwatch and its priorities of design are different. For instance, you can take the Apple Watch running and swimming but you might not want to take it skiing or snowboarding for fear of damage. The fenix 5 however is far more rigid, especially if you opt for the Sapphire glass display.

Winner – Garmin fenix 5

Optical HR:

From all accounts, we believe the fenix 5 to have a superior wrist based heart rate than the Apple Watch. However, the fenix 5 isn’t perfect and if you’re after the best wrist based heart rate you should consider the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR.

Winner – Garmin fenix 5


Pricing for the Apple Watch Series 2 starts from: $529

Pricing for the Garmin fenix 5 starts from: $799

Winner – Apple Watch


Both watches are the best in the areas they focus on. Both have different designs and approaches to common uses. If you’re into your fitness and want to take it to the next level or a fitness freak the Garmin will suit you more. However, if you’re just into fitness generally and keep a keen eye on your activity the Apple Watch might be the better choice.

If you have any questions feel free to visit our Hampton VIC showroom and our team will assist you the best we can.




  1. Great review, the big thing with Apple Watch is battery life, in Full GPS mode/ Smart watch mode it will only get around 3hours where took the Fenix 5 out the other weekend in full GPS mode/ smart mode with heart rate etc and was still 20% after 11 hours… Garmin have quoted 75hours+ if you turn off all the accessory and just run ultra trac mode. Garmin much better option if you don’t want to charge your device after every activity

    • Hi Stuart, I agree about the fenix 5 battery life but I’m yet to see less than 5 hours GPS life on my Apple Watch. Were you testing using the Apple Workout app or a 3rd party app like Strava? Did you have any Bluetooth sensors paired or music running?

    • Good review. The big trouble with the Apple watch is for swimmers. The screen operation basically doesn’t work, or is certainly not effectively with a wet finger. If they fixed that, then its great. Otherwise you have no real choice but the Garmin.

    • 3 Hours wouldn’t help you trying to find your way home with Track back or Maps. Perhaps the Apple Watch is the City Dweller’s watch and the Fenix 5 the true adventurers watch.

  2. Great review!
    I’ve owned both and although they are marketed towards two different consumers, I’ve found the Fenix 5 to be the winner for my needs.

    It has the ability to replace my on the bike Garmin unit (edge 520) and gives me all the notifications the Apple did. Plus it just looks better! LOL.

    PS: Fenix 5 starts at $599 not $799.

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for your kind comments.

      I think you’re referring to US pricing. As we are based in Australia Garmin fenix 5 prices start from $799.

      • the Fenix comes in 3 models: 5, 5s, 5x. The 5 is considered the base model that is similar to last years Fenix 3. The 5s is actually smaller and came from a need for smaller watches for women, young adults, etc. The 5x is larger than any previous model with the premium features being standard and not optional.

        Its difficult to say which watch they reviewed; from the looks of it i would say the 5 with premium features, but i’m not totally sure. that being said, sine they mention is has sapphire glass it has to be an premium feature of teh 5x since sapphire glass is optional for the first 2 models and standard for the 5x.

        here is an in depth review that contains much more information:

      • also per your pricing question, they range in price from $599 for the standard Fenix 5 with no upgraded features to the Fenix 5X with all premium features. since they say it has sapphire glass it is absolutely not priced at $599 because that is either an upgraded feature or the 5x, either way it costing more than $599 😉

  3. Any highly tuned athlete is a competitive MOFO.

    Ive opted to get the fenix 5x while my buddies got the Apple Watch…theres a lot of smack talking happening and we’re looking for an app or platform which we can all compete in one place.

    Do you know of any that exists that allows us to put our money where our mouth is?

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