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Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Review – All Brains, All Brawn

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The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus, is the latest multisport watch to hit the Fenix field. With its bold and newly developed features, it gives you more insights than ever! However, it’s not only the brains behind your cycling success – it’s the brawn in your every pedal stroke!

Garmin have introduced a diverse range of multisport watches, within the Fenix Plus range. To break it down, you can choose from the Fenix 5 Plus, 5S Plus, or 5X Plus. For this test, we had the Fenix 5 Plus. Which gave us a general idea how the watch benefits its user.
Is it better than the standard Fenix 5? Let’s find out!

New Features

Garmin Pay – This new feature from Garmin, is available on most high-end watch models, including the Fenix 5 Plus. It eliminates the need to carry your wallet or phone out on training rides. Similar to the Tap and Go system on your bank card, the watch connects to the card machine, and automatically makes the transfer. Advanced GPS Maps and Tracking – By its name, the Fenix 5 Plus comes loaded with a more advanced and in-depth mapping system. With colour coded map features, you can simply glance over your watch screen and know exactly where you are.
  500 Songs – This is probably the most appreciated new feature that cyclists make use of. You can store up to 500 songs on your Fenix 5 Plus and listen to them with through wireless earphones. In short, there’s no need to carry your phone through your rough training or racing environment. Simply press play on your watch and you’re good to go.

Garmin Fenix 5 vs Garmin Fenix 5 Plus

Fenix 5 Fenix 5 Plus
14-day Battery Life 12-day Battery Life
24hr Battery in GPS Mode 19hr Battery in GPS Mode
85g Weight 87g Weight
60hr Battery in UltraTrac 8hr Battery running Music and GPS
The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus, on paper, is more advanced than the standard Fenix 5, and offers more useful features. However, the compromise comes in on battery life. Where clearly the standard Fenix 5 saves the day. You can bet on Garmin to improve the battery life of the Fenix 5 Plus as time progresses though. Fenix 5 Price: R10 199.01 Fenix 5 Plus Price: R13 999.00  

Through the Eyes of a Cyclist

As mentioned above, there were two prominent Fenix 5 Plus features that every cyclist should kiss the feet of Garmin for. (Okay, no wait. Don’t do that.) Garmin’s pay using your watch system, is certainly unique. And it made our lives easier. We didn’t have to carry cash or cards on coffee rides, leaving space for more important things – like fudge…
We also enjoyed the freedom provided by the wireless earphone connectivity. On training rides, the 500 tunes supplied endless motivation to keep us on the roll. So we’ve reiterated the “no-phone needed” idea quite a lot. But what about everyday lifestyle? Well that’s also sorted, since smart notifications via your phone, on your wrist; are all the range. The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus brings out its brain power through insightful metrics, whilst riding your bike. The built in wrist-based heart monitor, is more accurate than ever. From previous watch models we’ve tested, Garmin’s software has certainly improved greatly in this regard. All this accuracy allows us to train better.
Refined GPS and maps accelerate your adventurous spirit. By allowing you to discover new trails or roads, and keep you on the bike for longer. In the maps section, the watch features Garmin’s Trendline Popularity Routing, by determining which paths are mostly travelled by cyclists in your area. So you’ll never be alone. The cycling interval tracker that the Fenix 5 Plus supplies, is quite clever. You can pre-set your intervals in ride settings, and hit them hard on the bike. Your Vo2 Max is also a metric we found useful with this.

Connect Your Fenix 5 Plus to:

  • Varia Rear-view Radar
  • Varia Smart Bike Lights
  • Varia Vision
  • Vector 2 Pedals
  • VIRB X Action Camera
  • VIRB XE Action Camera


If you think about it, the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus introduces a more adaptable and detailed approach to your cycling. The watch is ideal for all types of riders, whether you’re a dirt kicker, or tar watt-bomber. Granted you’ll have to spend an extra 2k on the Fenix 5 Plus, versus the normal Fenix 5. But based on our experience its certainly an asset to your riding. Fenix 5 Plus Price: R13 999.00

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Bike guide

Built for: Dual Suspension Trail
Year launched: 2022