The Garmin Fenix 6 series features some of the most advanced fitness tracker models on the market. The manufacturer already bets on offering watches and bracelets with many features for monitoring health and physical activity, and the Fenix 6 Pro Solar is one of the most advanced models of the brand.
With oxygenation, heart rate monitor and numerous options for tracking physical activity, this watch is one of the best watches for athletes or those who exercise a lot, especially outdoors. In addition, its solar charging helps to extend battery life even further.
But is this watch worth the money? In this review, I’ve laid out the main pros and cons of the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar and helped you better understand if it’s right for you.
Design and Construction
The Garmin Fenix6 Pro Solar features a circular case design and is available in two sizes: 42mm and 47mm. Here, I received the largest unit, which is 47mm.
This watch has a very premium finish with a diamond-like carbon coated titanium case. This results in a very heavy wearable, weighing in at 72 grams if added to the silicone strap that comes with the kit. There is even a stainless steel version that is 85 grams heavier.
All this finishing can cause some discomfort during use, as you feel the watch a lot on your wrist. So, if you want a more comfortable exercise machine, choosing the Garmin Fenix6 Pro Solar might not be a good idea.
As there are no touchscreen controls, all navigation is done via physical buttons. For this, the wearable has five buttons – three on the left and two on the right. On the back are sensors for physical tracking and a connector for charging – more details will be provided later.
Finally, the straps are replaceable, but you need to be mindful of the specific shape of the model to purchase compatible accessories for the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar.
The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar has a 1.3-inch color screen with a resolution of 260 x 260 pixels. Unfortunately, the screen isn’t very advanced and there are no touch controls, but it does provide a good picture and lets you customize the watch face displayed as your home screen.
In the app, users can choose from several options, including analog and digital models, with many free options in the catalog.
However, the lighting is a little different than what we see on regular smartwatches. That’s because the screen doesn’t automatically turn on when you lift your wrist. You always have to press the light key. It should look good during the day as the panel captures ambient light to display information clearly, but if you want to see the time at night it’s difficult.
A positive point is the panel with the Power Glass 1.4 lens, which allows charging with solar energy – hence the name of the device. But I’ll get to that later.
Configuration and Performance
Like other Garmin watches and bands, the Fenix 6 Pro Solar lacks on-screen touch controls, so all device navigation is done via physical buttons scattered around the case. Understanding and getting used to this can be a little difficult at first, especially if you’re used to a regular smartwatch.
In addition to this negative part, the watch has several interesting features. In it, users can set alarms, timers, alarms and even reply to messages received on their phone – with pre-programmed texts, however.
Fenix6 Pro Solar also supports playing music on Spotify or other streaming services. That way, you don’t need to carry your smartphone to go for a walk, as it also has built-in GPS. To do this, you will need to connect a bluetooth headset to the watch as it does not have a speaker.
While navigation is a little tricky – because it’s not a touchscreen – switching between screens is quick, with apps and widgets opening almost instantly, with no delay between pressing a button and executing a function.
Its biggest advantage is solar charging. With the Power Glass 1.4 lens, Garmin promises longer watch battery life. However, you’ll need to spend a lot of time in the sun to start charging, so it’s only really beneficial for people who do a lot of outdoor activities.
The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar has multiple ways to track physical activity, from the most basic (like walking, running, or cycling) to the most specific (like rock climbing, ultramarathon, trail running, or track and field).
Here, I found the exercise tracking to be very accurate, and I used the watch to track more walks and runs. Wearables display a lot of important data about your route, such as heart rate, kilometers per minute, distance, active time and calories burned per activity.
Also, as the model has built-in GPS, it will show the route taken even if the wearable is not paired with a smartphone while on the road. Another interesting point is that it identifies the ascent and shows the distance and the number of minimum and maximum elevations.
All of this data can be tracked in the Garmin Connect app, where users can check the capabilities of virtually any device, as well as their personal history.
In addition, the watch offers a “Body Battery” meter, which identifies when the wearer wakes up and what activities they are doing to find out how much “charge” their body has left. With this, he can also estimate how much rest time he needs to recover his energies before walking again.
Other accessories include a pedometer, blood oxygen saturation (spO2) meter, heart rate, sleep monitor and stress level.
Garmin doesn’t say which generation of Bluetooth the Fenix 6 Pro Solar is, but connecting the device to your phone is quick and easy. To do this, you need to download the Garmin Connect app, which manages not only the app, but also the various models of the brand’s fitness trackers.
After the initial connection is established, the smartphone automatically recognizes the watch when one watch is within range of the other and Bluetooth is turned on.
In addition to Bluetooth, the Fenix 6 Pro Solar also has built-in Wi-Fi, which makes it more smartphone-independent. Of course, you still need to establish the initial connection, but it is not necessary to keep both connected all the time.
Wi-Fi also lets you download music from streaming services for offline playback, so you can go for a walk without leaving your phone at home with just your watch and Bluetooth headphones.
Another important connection on the Garmin Fenix6 Pro Solar is the GPS. With it, the user is more independent from the smartphone and can go out and do outdoor activities, and even then the entire journey is recorded in the app.
Finally, there is an NFC tag for contactless payments. However, the feature is currently limited to Banco BTG Pactual credit card customers.
Battery and Charging
According to Garmin, the Fenix 6 Pro Solar’s battery can last up to 14 days in smartwatch mode – that is, with notifications and communications always on – and this autonomy can reach up to 16 days. Solar charging.
When it comes to solar charging, it’s important to make it clear what it does. First, the watch needs to be exposed to sunlight for an extended period of time before it starts to “capture” energy for charging. However, this charge is pretty low anyway.
That said, you’ll hardly see the watch’s battery increase when you’re taking a long walk in the sun. What it really does is extend battery life a little bit. That said, it is likely to emit much slower than conventional models.
As for durability, a full charge lasted about 5 days. But I need to point out that I leave everything on, like 24/7 oxygen, heart rate monitors, and phone notification alerts. Also, it has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on most of the time.
As for “normal” charging, the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar comes with its own charger, exclusive to the brand’s watch. As we have seen in common smartwatch models, the accessory is not magnetic. Instead, it connects to the bottom of the box via a standard connector.
With that, the caveat is, if you lose your charger, you’ll need to buy a new one as you can’t use wireless charging or a regular USB cable.
An all-in-one premium watch for athletes
The Garmin Fenix6 Pro Solar is one of the most advanced fitness trackers on the market and is way ahead of the competition in health and fitness tracking features. Its sensors accurately capture every movement and make it the perfect companion for athletes looking for more advanced tracking technology.
Its battery is another positive aspect of this accessory, and it gets even better with solar charging, which lasts longer if you do a lot of outdoor activities like walking, running or cycling.
One downside, however, is the lack of a touchscreen. If you’re used to models with touch-screen controls, this might get in the way a bit. But if you’re used to this style of fitness tracker, it’s no big deal.
But it’s important to be clear about your target audience: it’s not a clock for people who exercise every now and then and are looking for more communication resources. Instead, it is more suitable for athletes or people who do a lot of hiking, running and hiking, i.e. people who spend a lot of time in these settings.
Otherwise, it is not worth paying more than 8000 reais for a device that does not serve you optimally. In these cases, betting on a “normal” smartwatch (such as a model made by Apple, Samsung, Amazfit or Huawei) will pay off more.