Garmin fenix 5x – broken by design

Some month ago I upgrade my (European) fenix3 to a (Japanese) fenix 5x, looking forward to the built-in maps as well as support for Japanese. I was about to write a great review, how content I have been with the fenix 3 and how much better the 5x is. Well, until I realized that Garmin’s engineers seem to be brain-damaged and shipping broken by design devices: Just one word: Set an alarm on the watch, and wonder …

.. because you will never wake up the next day, since the alarm was deleted due to an unattended (so-called) sync operation. Happened to me, several times, worst was when I was with clients working as guide.

So the problem is well known, see this link and this link and this link, and it is not restricted to the fenix. The origin of the problem is that Garmin is incapable of implementing a synchronization protocol. They have three sources of data: The Connect website, the Connect application on the smartphone, and the watch itself. And interestingly they only do pushes from Web to application to device, overwriting settings on the lower end. Which means, any alarm that I create on the watch will be overwritten, ie deleted, on every sync – sorry, not sync, on every forced push from the mobile.

It is a bit depressing, but I think the urgent solution is to exempt alarms from the synchronization completely, and remove them from both the connect web page and the application, until a better, a real, synchronization is implemented.

I found a work-around in one of the threads on the Garmin forum, that is: create an alarm on the web or application, better alarms for each of the times you might need it. These will be synced to the device, and can be activated/deactivated on the device without problems. But to be honest – this is not a solution I can really trust in when I need to get up in the morning.

Besides this issue, which is unfortunately rather severe a restriction for me as mountaineer and mountain guide, I really love the watch and will write a more detailed review soon.

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6 Responses

  1. Thanks! I’m happy with the 5 but I never tried the alarm.

    • Hi Frans,
      I think the problem is not confined to the 5x, should be the same on the 5, unless you never synced with a smartphone Connect app. Other than this I am also very happy!

      • Yes I am convinced you are correct, of course. It’s just that I never used my watch for an alarm. I looked up how I could do it but using my phone for that seems much easier. I also tried to find out how to use the Connect app of the web page to set an alarm but was unable to find it and thought ‘oh well never mind’ 😉 I do sync after a run or bike ride.

        • Haha, that is funny. I do not consider setting an alarm on the phone as more simple 😉 Especially when I’m mountaineering and have to keep an eye on battery life of the mobile, too!

          • I see! Yes that is a different circumstance. My iPhone is wrapped in a rubber cover with an extra battery in the back of it so normally during the day the external battery takes all the load and by the time I go to sleep and connect the charger, the phone internal battery is still at 100%.

  1. 2017/07/26

    […] Garmin fenix 5x – broken by design […]

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