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Garmin unveils the Fenix 6 line – now with added solar power

Surely sun mistake?

Garmin has unveiled a big update to its premium line of watches and the new Fenix 6 family comprises no fewer than 19 (yes, 19) variants. Fundamentally, all of these watches belong to one of three model ranges – 6S (42mm), 6 (47mm) and 6X (51mm) – and depending on which you choose, you’ll pay anywhere from £530 to £1000. 
That’s quite a big price gap, so let’s see how you get there. Like the Fenix 5 Plus Series, all the Fenix 6 watches feature sensors for all manner of outdoor activity tracking including GPS, an altimeter and an optical heart-rate sensor. They all have Garmin Pay, too, and support external ANT+ and Bluetooth sensors. The main differences between the variants is in the size of the watch, and the extra features you want.
By far the most interesting of these – on paper at least – is the addition of solar power on the 6X Pro Solar. Its “Power Glass” solar lens can absorb the sun’s rays to give you a battery boost, although I’m somewhat sceptical as to how necessary this is.

The 6X Solar’s 1.4in display can already be powered for 21 days in smartwatch mode, and Garmin only promises an extra three days with the solar boost. With GPS always on, the watch will last for 15 hours, but again you’ll only get an extra hour out of it with the sun’s help. Considering the extra cost involved, I’m not personally convinced that a 6-16% battery boost to an already impressive battery life is really worth it.

And now is where things get even more confusing. Where the Fenix 5 Plus range of watches all come with Music, Maps and Wi-Fi, allowing you to store routes, maps and music on the watch itself, these features don’t come as standard on the Fenix 6 range. Instead, if you want these, you’ll need the Pro variant of the aforementioned models, namely the 6 Pro, 6S Pro, 6X Pro or 6X Pro Solar. Complicated, huh?
Those features are what really set the Fenix 5 Plus head and shoulders above any of its rivals, so it’s easy to make the case that it’s worth paying the extra £70 required to upgrade from the 6 and 6S to the 6 Pro and 6S Pro respectively. Indeed, in the case of the Fenix 6 and 6S, you’d be justified in wondering who’d be prepared to spend £530 on a watch that lacks these features.
To complicate matters even further, adding a sapphire screen to your Fenix 6 (you can’t get the sapphire screen without Music, Maps and Wi-Fi) will set you back anywhere between another £100 and £150, bringing the price up to £900 in the case of the Fenix 6X Sapphire Edition. Only the 6X Pro Solar, then, is more expensive, but it lacks the sapphire watch face.
All the above watches are available to order now direct from Garmin.
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