Since beginning of this year, I own a Garmin Fitness watch. First, I purchased a Garmin Vivoactive 3 but I always glanced at the much more expensive Quatix 5 because of its longer battery life, the sailing features and namely the feature to show boat data on the watch. Apart from that, the touch screen of the Vivoactive 3 was always difficult to operate in wet conditions.
So, I sold my Vivoactive 3 on Ebay and bought a Quatix 5.
First of all, a short word on having a fitness watch: For me personally this is something that motivates me to do sports and I find it interesting to look at and analyze my fitness-related data (so does Garmin I bet but data security in this context is a different story – in the end all data is stored on Garmin servers).
The watch itself is sturdy and despite its size comfortable to wear. The long battery life-time of roughly ten days in my case is a huge relief over the battery life of the Vivoactive 3 which I had to charge roughly every fourth day. The watch has roughly the same fitness functions as the Vivoactive 3 but is missing the circuit training feature – I rather would like to use this but in the end can live without it.
This week I had a check-up at my doctors and was doing a cardio test: Heart beat frequency displayed by the watch was exactly like the rate of my heart beat displayed by the professional setup. So, this works nicely.
Now to the sailing features:
The watch has some sailing-related features that are only available to the Quatix (but I guess principally they should work on the Fenix 5 as well). These are:
- Displays distance and burn-time to start-line (which I seldomly use but works okay)
- Barometer with graph (which I use)
- Compass (sometimes helpful)
- Immediate access to MOB positioning (which I HOPEFULLY use seldomly use but I find this very nice)
- Tracking (I use my chart plotter for this)
- Tack assistant (have not used this yet)
- Autopilot control (only works with a Garmin setup and I have B&G)
- Control of the fusion audio system (which I also don’t have)
But now to the main reason for buying the watch in the first place: Displaying sensor data. In short: What a disappointment!
I do not have a Garmin chart plotter that connects with the watch natively but a B&G setup. So, I had to buy the Garmin GNT10 wireless interface to connect to the watch via the so-called ANT-protocol. The watch connects immediately to the interface via the installable GNT-10 app but quite some of the data is displayed not at all or wrongly. This is especially bad as this affects the True Wind Data which you obviously need for race sailing. This is what I got:
|AWA||Apparent Wind Angle||Works correctly|
|AWS||Apparent Wind Speed||Works correctly|
|Boat SPD||Boat speed||Works correctly|
|COG||Course over ground||Works correctly|
|Depth||Depth||Does not show any value|
|Dist next||Distance to next waypoint||Principally correct but rounds to the nautical mile|
|Heading OT||Heading||Wrong values displayed|
|Sea Temp||Sea temperature||I don’t have such a sensor so I do not know|
|SOG||Speed over ground||Works correctly|
|TWA||True wind angle||Wrong values displayed|
|TWS||True wind speed||Wrong values displayed|
|XTE||Cross Track Error||Works correctly|
Obvious to say, this makes the watch useless for ambitious regatta sailors in the current state of the software (the version I had to use was 1.30)!
Overall conclusion: I will keep the watch for its fitness features but sent back the useless interface. In principle, Garmin has a very good product in place – but why the main selling point of the watch is not supported for non-Garmin setups (and thus 80% of the market) totally escapes me. Especially, because if Garmin added a remote-autopilot feature that supports other autopilots apart from Garmin’s, this would be a killer product!
But please correct the wrongly displayed data first … this cannot be so difficult.