Day 3 with the Garmin Fenix 3

It has been 2 days since my original Garmin Fenix 3 Review and I’m still finding my way around the functions. After getting the watch on Thursday (setting it up on Thursday evening), running on Friday, then flying to England on Saturday (daytime flight, which raised the question about a “flight mode” given the connectivity options on the watch, but with no answer I turned off the bluetooth as that seemed to be the only option I had – the plane managed fine), today was my second chance for a run.

After posting on the Garmin forums and a look at the GPS accuracy, I changed the recording mode from “smart” to “every second”, and I also turned on GLONASS.

The GPS picked up the signal quickly again, saying it was ready before I’d even opened the door. There was no hanging around this time before starting my run, which is perhaps why the first half mile does not appear to have had a good lock and makes it look like I was running on the opposite side of the road – I knew something wasn’t right when I looked at the screen a quarter mile in and it had me running slower than a 9 minute pace when the effort was clearly faster than 8 (maybe even closer to 7) at that point. My suspicion was confirmed when it suddenly jumped to around a 6 min/mile page presumably to correct itself. The route was an out and back, running on the same sidewalk with the exception of running along the A1198 where the map shows that it clearly picked up the side of the road I was running along. Full details here on Garmin Connect. Apparently with a faster pace my cadence may be a little higher, and my stride was longer – we’ll see how this tracks over time with various runs.

The return (tracking to the left) was accurate, but early issues meant the start of the run was not accurately recorded.

The return (tracking to the left) was accurate, but early issues meant the start of the run was not accurately recorded.

By contrast the route along the A1198 was accurately recorded both ways.

By contrast the route along the A1198 was very accurately recorded both ways.

I did not bring the rubber strap on this trip, so ran with the metal strap (I have the Sapphire model). It was a little looser than I would have liked so I may take another link out when I get back to the US where my link removal tools are, but then I worry it will be a little tight for day to day comfort.

A note on battery life: 2 runs (just over 3 miles and 5 miles respectively), one with every second GPS with GLONASS turned on, 2.5 days since charged and approximately 1 day with bluetooth turned off (on the plane and overnight) and now the battery is at 75% which I think is pretty impressive. The clock face I am using also has a seconds hand (the standard one) and this was noted as something that would use more battery.

One thing to note is that I need to be more careful about the notification settings from my phone. Someone in the US sent me a text message when it was the middle of the night here in the UK. My phone was on silent, but the watch vibrated when the message came in and woke me up. I turned off the bluetooth because it was the quickest way I could think to deal with it in my sleepy state.

My latest update at 3 months of ownership can be found by clicking here.

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16 Responses to Day 3 with the Garmin Fenix 3

  1. Pingback: Garmin Fenix 3 Review - Running In NJ

  2. Stephanie says:

    You could get used to setting the phone to do not disturb mode, which should I presume then stop the alerts in that mode 🙂

    • runnj says:

      True, I had that set up until recently, but my schedule has been off lately and I was missing calls because of it, so turned it off again.

  3. kermit262 says:

    Nice write-up and still gives me confidence to order the Felix 3. DC Rainmaker has suggested to wait a minute or so after the watch acquires a signal, just to be sure that it has a sold signal. In my experience with the 920XT, I’ve confirmed this. Looks like you have now too.

    • runnj says:

      Yep, I did rush out without looking to see if it was settled. I am very happy with it and it seems to be working well for my use. I’m also coming from a pretty old piece of tech, so improvement was inevitable.

  4. Martin R. says:

    Thanks for the review and the follow-up! I own the 920xt and I also noticed that sometimes a start of an activity is not as accurate as it should be. Should I wait for the pace to appear and then start an activity or is there another way to improve the satellite/GPS lock?

    • runnj says:

      It seems like waiting for it to settle is the only way with the Fenix 3. There are no options to show GPS accuracy, but some earlier watches had data fields for that according to someone on the Garmin forums. Not sure if the 920xt is one of those.

      • Kermit262 says:

        The 920XT also did not have the ability to display signal strength / satellite acquisition, although my ancient Forerunner 305 did. Strange that Garmin has decided to remove this feature from their revent devices.

  5. kermit262 says:

    @runnj I saw your most recent run in the Garmin forums (https://connect.garmin.com/activity/699541162). A little disappointed in the accuracy/tracking of the Fenix 3 on this one. Hopefully it just had a bad day. As an aside, I think you need to adjust your Max HR. You were at 110% – that should have put you in the hospital or left you on the side of the road. 😉 BTW nice run.

    • runnj says:

      Thanks. Yeah, I haven’t adjusted any HR stuff. I never looked at that data before so still working it out. I keep meaning to look and see if there is just a blip. If it just spikes it could be ignored as a reading error.

      I was surprised at how far off it was. I knew something wasn’t right going up the hill where my pace was way lower than it should have been.

      • kermit262 says:

        Ahh – you’re right about the blip (looking at your HR chart). I had the same thing happen to me on one of my runs with the 920XT – for whatever reason, it spiked at the beginning of my run, when it should have been the lowest. Only happened once but it threw me off the rest of the run.

        Regarding accuracy – did you wait awhile after getting the GPS signal lock before running? I’m guessing you did but it’s worth asking. One of the forum posters suggests looking at the instant pace data screen before starting your run, and make sure it records “-:-:-” (or 0.0) before starting your run.

        • runnj says:

          Yes, I have been waiting. I actually did some dynamic stretches with it on, then checked it settled down after before starting today.

  6. Robert says:

    I am noticing that the Pace shown on my watch is not the exact pace, but rounded to the nearest 5 seconds, such as 9:45 or 9:50, but never in between. Is there a way around this?

    • runnj says:

      I rarely look closely at my pace when I’m running so hadn’t really noticed, but now that you have said it I think that must be correct. GPS accuracy really would be unlikely to give anything accurate enough in terms of pace to really give you anything worth the 5 second difference, plus you’ll find it would be constantly changing. When I have looked at it I did notice that it was more consistently showing the same speed. I actually like that. You might want to ask on the Garmin forums.

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