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Garmin Fenix 5S vs 6S Compared

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The Fenix 6 series consists of the 6 and 6 pro, 6s and 6s pro, and 6x pro and 6x pro solar. The three sets of 6 GPS smartwatches will succeed the Fenix 5 series.

The Fenix 6 is more compact, has more fitness tracking features that makes these it a comprehensive fitness tracker as well also has battery management features that elongates it’s battery life a little longer. We’re comparing the Garmin Fenix 5S vs 6S specs and features so you know the differences.

Garmin Fenix 5S vs 6S Specs Compared

 Garmin Fenix 5SGarmin Fenix 6S
garmin fenix 5s vs 6sgarmin fenix 6s vs 5s


4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
3 out of 5 stars (3.0 / 5)
Fitness tracking:
4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
2.8 out of 5 stars (2.8 / 5)
3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)
4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)
4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)
Fitness tracking:
4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)
4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
3 out of 5 stars (3.0 / 5)
4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)


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Device nameGarmin Fenix 5SGarmin Fenix 6S
Device typeFitness/GPS smartwatchFitness/GPS smartwatch
Predessesor--Garmin Fenix 5S
SuccessorGarmin Fenix 6S--
Released dateApril, 2017August, 2019
Ideal forUnisexUnisex


Display typeTransflective memory-in-display (MIP)Transflective memory-in-display (MIP)
Display size1.1 inches1.2 inches
Screen resolution218 x 218 pixels240 x 240 pixels
Input type5 buttons (Not touchscreen)5 buttons (Not touchscreen)


Dimension42 x 42 x 15 mm42 x 42 x 13.8 mm
Weight67 grams 58 grams
Casing materialFiber-reinforced polymer with metal rear coverFiber-reinforced polymer with metal rear cover
Strap materialSilicone, suede or steel Silicone
Bezel MaterialStainless steelStainless steel
Band size20 mm20 mm
Screen protectionChemically strengthened glass or sapphire crystalCorning Gorilla Glass 3
Water resistantYes, 10ATMYes, 10ATM
Swim-proofYes, recommendedYes, recommended
Light gold/gray


Internal storage64MB64MB
Memory card slot----


BluetoothYes, and ANT+ Yes, and ANT+
(sapphire edition)


SIM slotNoNo


Email alertYesYes
SMS alertYesYes
Calls alertYesYes
Event reminderYesYes
Weather forecastYesYes
Third-party appsYesYes


Sleep trackingYesYes
Heart rate monitoringYesYes
Distance coveredYesYes
Steps climbedYesYes


Bluetooth musicNoNo


Accelerometer YesYes
Heart rate monitor (HRM)YesYes
Barometric altimeterYesYes
Gyroscope YesYes
Ambient lightYesYes
Other sensors--Pulse Oximeter
(with Acclimation)


Operating system (OS)Proprietary OS Proprietary OS


Type of batteryLithium-ionLithium-ion
Battery capacity ----
Battery lifeSmartwatch mode: Up to 9 days
GPS/HR mode: Up to 14 hours
Smartwatch: Up to 9 days
GPS: Up to 25hrs
Max Battery GPS Mode: 50hrs
Expedition GPS Activity: 20 days
Battery Saver Watch Mode: 34 days
ChargingCharging cableCharging cable
Charging timeAbout 2 hoursAbout 2 hours


Payment systemNoneGarmin pay
Compatibility Android 4.4 or later
IOS 10.0 or later
Bluetooth 4.0 or later
Check if your device is compatible
Android 4.4 or later
IOS 10.0 or later
Bluetooth 4.0 or later
Check if your device is compatible
Companion appGarmin connect IQ storeGarmin connect IQ store
Customizable watch faceYesYes
Interchangeable band Yes, 20mmYes, 20mm
Voice commandNoNo


Garmin Fenix 5SGarmin Fenix 6S
USB charging cableCharging cable
User manualUser manual


Price (last checked)About $490About $600
$800 (Sapphire edition)

What’s the Difference?

Garmin Fenix 5S vs 6S Features Compared
The difference between the Fenix 5S and 6S is that the later has a slight bigger display, comes with more activity tracking features and has a longer battery life than the Fenix 5S.

  1. Garmin Fenix 5S vs 6S: Design

  2. Just like the Fenix 5 series, the 6S has the smallest case size among the Fenix 6 lineup, which off course should look nice on women and people with smaller wrist compared to the other models with bigger and quite bulky case sizes.

    However, the 6S has a slight bigger display size than the 5S, yet same 42mm case size. This’ll allow you see more at a glance. While not forgetting that Garmin have also introduced a new widget feature that allows you add up to 6 data fields to the 6S which makes it very easy to access your favorite features.

    The Fenix 6S is also slimmer than the 5S which leaves it with a more attractive appearance, as well as weighing slightly less than the 5S which makes it a more comfortable wear all day long.

    The 6S is also more durable with Corning Gorilla glass 3 covering its display compared to the chemically strengthened glass of the 5S ensuring it can survive accidental knocks and scratch. Moreover, the 6S is a more rugged smartwatch with US military grade rating that ensures it can withstand shocks.

  3. Garmin Fenix 5S vs 6S: Fitness Tracking

  4. Just like all Garmin’s GPS smartwatches, the Fenix 6S and 5S are fitness focused and well equipped to offer you the most comprehensive fitness tracking experience. No doubt two of the best GPS smartwatches on the market.

    Both the Fenix 6S and 5S are well equipped to track your daily activities such as steps, calories, fitness age, distance, sleep monitoring, and all day stress tracking.

    Each of these two also feature indoor gym activities such as indoor rowing, strength training and cardio training, including in-depth training and planning analysis features that includes training load, training effect and activity history on your watch.

    With these two, you also get running features such as running, treadmill running and trail running, plus heart rate sensor that tracks your heart rate variability and capable of showing your heart rate zones, max and recovery time to help you achieve more fitness goals without breaking down.

    Both the Fenix 6S and 5S have outdoor recreational features that include hiking, climbing, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, XC skiing, stand up paddleboarding, rowing, and jumpmaster. And cycling features such as biking, indoor biking, mountain biking, triathlon, including in-depth golf and swimming features.

    However, below are new activity tracking features added to the Fenix 6S that the 5S lacks,

    Garmin Fenix 5S Garmin Fenix 6S
    Lacks pulse ox sensor and features that comes with it. The Fenix 6S comes with pulse ox which serves two functions; A. for altitude acclimation, where it can help you know when it’s not safe to continue climbing and B. sleep monitoring to help you see the quality of your sleep. The Pulse ox sensor achieves these functions by monitoring how well your body absorbs oxygen.
    Lacks incident detection. The incident detection feature introduced to the Forerunner series is also available on the Fenix 6S which can help you get help when there’s an accidental fall. It sends your location to preset emergency contacts.
    Lacks body battery energy monitor. The body battery energy monitor feature uses data from heart rate variability, stress, sleep and other data to gauge when you’re ready to be active or when you may need to rest so that you can train and achieve more without breaking down.
    Lacks wrist based swimming heart rate tracking. The Fenix 6S has the ability to track your heart rate while you swim which lets you see a better overview of your swimming activities.
    Lacks ClimbPro. The Fenix 6S allows you access ClimbPro ascent planner on downloaded courses to see real-time information on your current and upcoming climbs, including gradient, distance and elevation gain.

  5. Garmin Fenix 5S vs 6S: Battery Life

Like other watches on the Garmin multisport GPS smartwatches lineup, both the Fenix 5S and 6S have impressive battery life that’ll see you through days on a single charge. However, the Fenix 6S has a longer battery life than the 5S thanks to the new battery management feature that elongates its battery life a little longer.

The new battery saver features include the power modes which allows you create custom battery saver modes, as well as the expedition mode featured on the MARQ series – an ultralow powered GPS reference that will keep the Fenix 6S going for days.

These new battery management features will see the Fenix 6S last a little longer than the 5S which no doubt makes it a better choice for anyone involved in extreme sport activities.

Garmin Fenix 5S Garmin Fenix 6S
Smartwatch mode: Up to 9 days
GPS/HR mode: Up to 14 hours.
Smartwatch: Up to 9 days
GPS: Up to 25hrs
Max Battery GPS Mode: 50hrs
Expedition GPS Activity: 20 days
Battery Saver Watch Mode: 34 days
Garmin Fenix 5S vs 6S: Which is Better?

The Garmin Fenix 6S is clearly a better choice than the Fenix 5S. Although, these two are outstanding GPS smartwatches for comprehensive activity tracking. However, the 6S with a more attractive and decent design, more durable and rugged with more fitness tracking features and a longer battery life is a better choice than the 5S. It also has NFC chip onboard which supports Garmin pay – a contactless payment system that lets you make payment on the go from the Fenix 6S (not available in some countries.)

However, the Fenix 5S is a great choice if you’re low on budget. It’s an outstanding GPS smartwatch and one of the best on the market with an impressive battery life that lets you go long on a single charge.

Our Pick

We choose the Fenix 6S – it’s a more attractive, rugged and durable smartwatch with more fitness tracking features and a longer battery life thanks to its battery saver features.

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