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Garmin Fenix 3 vs 5X Plus - Battery life


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I am looking at buying a wearable GPS unit for MTB as well as other sport (Kayak)

I am a bit concerned about the battery life while using the GPS, since reports suggest that the Ultra Track function gives useless tracking accuracy.

I like the Fenix 5X Plus functions, but the charging port sits in a position which makes "charge on the fly" somewhere between extremely cumbersome and impossible, while the Fenix 3HR has a charging port which will allow connection of a power bank while using the unit.

I am not going on extremely long rides all the time, but I do want to do the Trans Elands and Trans Baviaans next year requiring 9 to 12 hours and 18 to 24 hours respectively. 

These events, and the training towards them, will make battery life a concern.

Has anyone been able to charge a Fenix 5 series "on the fly"?

Is the 5X Plus worth the extra money and hassle to charge when compared to the Fenix 3HR?

I need to

  • link to Strava
  • Navigate routes generated on the computer, on tracks and trails that are not always designated as roads on typical navigation systems.
  • Have the ability to charge during long activities or have a battery that will last more than 24 hours during GPS use, with acceptable accuracy.


Any thoughts on this or advice would be appreciated.


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If you consider not a wearable and something you can stick on the handlebars or on the Kayak, have a look at the Garmin Etrex

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Posted (edited)

Thanks guys.

The Fenix 6 Series is a bit pricey for my current available budget. 

I got a very good deal on a Fenix 3 HR and since I figured out a way to charge it on the fly using a power bank in the few instances where the extended battery life is required, I decided to go for that option. The clip-on charging adaptor can be put on the watch and then strapped back on my wrist, with the power bank in a pouch on my arm above the watch. The specs and features of the Fenix 3HR is good enough for my current needs and the unit was cheap enough (R1900😲) that I can upgrade to a 6 series later if my needs change. I would have paid up to R5k for a Fenix 5X Plus if the battery life was good enough. The charge port does not allow the charge on the fly option either, so my main events next year would have been to long for the unit.

Edited by JanvdW
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I bought a 2nd hand Fenix 5x plus about 2 months ago, its an awesome watch but the battery life is not all that great.

My previous was a Suunto Ambit 3 which lasted a lot longer on standby than the Fenix does.

That might all be down to optical HR, stress trackers etc running the whole time, it needs to be recharged every 5 odd days when used as a watch only.


I havent had a chance to do a 6+ hour event with it yet, but I recon if you disable optical HR and a bunch of the other functions then it should last for quite a while on a charge.

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