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A day with the Garmin Fenix 6X, and I can’t feel my arms anymore

I’ll start this off with a disclaimer: I’m not one for hard workouts, and I’ve kinda let my fitness go ever since I left high school just over 10 years ago. Recently however, I’ve started to consider the long-term ramifications of my current lifestyle, and I’ve began to put some thought into improving my general fitness.

Consequently, I’ve started off with some light cycling (on the road, not in one of those fitness classes), and my colleagues and I have made some ambitious plans to scale Mount Kinabalu sometime next year. So when Garmin reached out with an invite to their first ever Wellness Getaway at Glamz at Genting, I was pretty excited to see how my newfound fitness aspirations would cope with a gruelling “retreat” of working out.

The Garmin Fenix 6X

My partner for the retreat was the Garmin Fenix 6X—the premium, fitness-centric smartwatch that retails in Malaysia for RM4,199. I’ll be honest: it looks absolutely beautiful. I’m a huge fan of big, rugged watches, and Garmin says that the 51mm watch has been tested to “U.S. military standards” for thermal, shock, and water resistance.

This, of course, was the main reason for the retreat—a chance to put the Fenix 6X through its paces. The first thing to understand is that the Fenix 6X isn’t the same kind of smartwatch that something like the Apple Watch is, for example. And the first, and most telling sign here of its classification as a serious outdoors activity tracker? Its display.

It has a 1.4″ display that pushes a 280 x 280 resolution—and it isn’t a touchscreen. A representative from Garmin says that this is to ensure that the watch can be used in even the harshest of conditions. Think about trying to use a touchscreen while skiing, or while your hands are muddy from a hike, and that particular decision makes a lot more sense when you take the target audience for the Garmin Fenix 6X into account.

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That’s not the only thing unique about the Fenix 6X’s display. It isn’t a backlit OLED display like those on many mainstream smartwatches today, and instead utilises sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) technology. In English, that basically means that it relies on external lighting to illuminate in well-lit environments, while there’s an old-school backlight for darker situations.

It isn’t the most beautiful display to look at per se, but it certainly does its job more than competently. In daylight, figures and text are clear and legible, and I’m guessing that this particular display contributes to the superb battery life of up to 21 days in smartwatch mode that Garmin promises.

Regularly using the fitness functions of the Fenix 6X, whilst keeping continuous heart rate monitoring on, the Fenix 6X had a battery reading of 87% at the end of the two-day retreat. Decent enough, if you consider that I was perpetually fiddling around and testing out features on the watch, while I had GPS set in UltraTrac mode—this turns off the GPS periodically to extend battery life.

There’s a rather comprehensive Power Manager application on the Fenix, which gives you battery estimates of different modes and sensor settings, including a Battery Saver mode that has an estimate of up to 64 days on a single charge.

Day 1: HIIT and yoga

Besides the healthy food options and the reasonably luxurious tents that we were put up in (yes, glamping with air-conditioning and a queen-sized bed), we had quite the itinerary for the two days. One we were all set up, we had a 1-hour session of high-intensity interval training (HIIT)—for the uninitiated, a session to push our heart rates through the roof.

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This being my first time attempting to complete such a workout, I approached this with some uncertainty. I won’t go into great detail, but it was a pretty gruelling experience for me. Two days later, my arms still carry a horrible ache from that particular session.

The face of exhaustion

Starting a workout on the Fenix 6X is a pretty straightforward process—once you get used to the button navigation system of the watch, that is. There are a total of 5 physical buttons on the sides of the watch, and you have widgets and shortcuts for easy access.

Once I started a “cardio” workout by pressing the top-right button (you can also customise a list of preferred workouts here), the timer begins. Depending on the workout chosen, the watch will display additional information to help you track your activity. For example, starting a “run” workout will display your pace, distance covered, as well as a timer and your present heart rate.

For the HIIT session, I selected “cardio” as my workout. The Fenix 6X doesn’t just function as a tracker, but as a pseudo-coach on your wrist as well. I started a workout, and the watch tracked a warm-up session, before moving on to separate sets. Each set was preceded by a “rest” period, although I’ll admit that I couldn’t keep up with my Garmin coach after the 3rd or 4th set.

We were also taken through a yoga session later that night, which I also found to be pretty taxing. According to our instructor, the session was supposed bring our heart rates down, and not a lot of calories would be burned. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case with me, but I’ll admit that it had more to do with my own (in)flexibility, rather than through any fault of the instructor. You can view my workout summaries below:

I didn’t make it, but…

Day 2 began with a morning hike at 7:30 in the morning—which I could not make. I was looking forward to using the built-in altimeter and compass (it also has a barometer) during the hike, but the previous day’s exercises had totally taken it out of me.

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To be honest with you, two days with the Garmin Fenix 6X was nowhere near long enough to fully explore the vast range of features that the smartwatch possesses. But my first impressions thus far? A no-nonsense smartwatch that is seriously packed with functionality, that’s clearly made for the serious sportsman.

And clearly, that isn’t me… yet. But for now, I’ll continue to work towards better fitness. In the meantime, I’ll also be getting to know the Garmin Fenix 6X more comprehensively, so do come back to SoyaCincau.com for a breakdown of what separates the Garmin Fenix 6X from the multitude of mainstream smartwatches out there.

The Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire is available for RM4,199, while the range-topping Fenix 6X Pro Solar is priced at RM4,699. Meanwhile, the Garmin Fenix 6 and the Fenix 6s both retail for RM2,999, with sapphire glass versions retailing for RM3,950. To find out more, head over to Garmin’s official site or head over to their official stores on Lazada and Shopee.