The Apple Watch Series 6 is a great all-purpose smartwatch but the Garmin Fenix 6 has some features that cannot be beaten.
The Apple Watch Series 6 is a great smartwatch for daily use, but I seem to wear the Garmin Fenix 6 daily too. Why?
It’s a real case of “I got used to it” but at the same time, I am also more interested in the sports tracking features that the Garmin Fenix 6 has over the conveniences that the
Apple Watch Series 6 can bring.
Table of Contents
- Apple Watch Series 6 vs Garmin Fenix 6
- Convenience: messaging, emails
- Battery Life
- Fitness tracking
- Workout diversity
- Sleep tracking
- Body Battery
Apple Watch Series 6 vs Garmin Fenix 6
If you are looking for a general purpose smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 6 is for you. I say that wholeheartedly because I have found it to be an excellent smartwatch that can really save you a lot of trouble and tedium.
It’s just so well integrated with the iPhone that it can pretty much be a substitute to it for common uses.
For example, I was driving up a ski hill and had to meet a friend there. Parking was a nightmare and I had to coordinate with them as to where they were.
Instead of taking out my phone while keeping an eye on any parking spaces that opened, I just replied to incoming messages from my friend on my Apple Watch Series 6.
That’s great. You can’t do that on the Garmin Fenix 6.
But what the Garmin Fenix 6 allows you to do is to get much, much better information to help you in your workout or outdoor activity.
I have the Garmin Fenix 6 Sapphire version and the most important thing about that upgrade is the maps function.
The maps function allows me to see where I have gone and navigate more effectively in places that can look almost the same (such as a dense forest, open ocean).
Convenience: messaging, emails
If you’re an iPhone user, the only smartwatch that can send messages is really the Apple Watch Series 6.
Sure, both the Garmin Fenix 6 and the Apple Watch Series 6 have the ability to receive messages and emails, but the truth is that the Garmin’s handling of these messages are a lot poorer an experience.
For one, you only get a snippet. For two, you can’t reply (and even if you could, you could only send pre-composed replies).
So, imagine you’re out kayaking and you need to reply to a message. On the Garmin Fenix 6, you’re probably going to have to reach into your dry bag to get your phone. On the Apple Watch Series 6, you are probably going to be able to reply to your emails and text right on your Apple Watch.
When it comes to calls, don’t even think about it on the Garmin Fenix 6.
The Garmin Fenix 6 has no microphone or speaker, so there’s no hardware to support this.
However, the Apple Watch Series 6 does have the ability to take calls and make calls. Which is actually quite useful if someone important calls you while your phone is inaccessible.
Sound quality is OK for quick short calls. You’d still want your phone for anything extensive.
Here we get into an area where it’s hard to say who’s better.
On the Apple Watch, you do get Apple Maps and Google Maps. You’d probably use Apple Maps, though, because Google Maps is nothing more than a turn-by-turn direction displayer. It’s completely nerfed.
On the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro version and up come with offline maps and they are GREAT.
But it’s hard to say which I prefer because Apple Maps can help you navigate when you are driving. The Garmin Fenix 6 cannot.
Apple Maps requires a constant data connection, which for most people, means bringing your phone with you. The Garmin Fenix 6 has all the information offline.
That means that if you are going deep into the woods, you’d rather have the Garmin Fenix 6 because it’ll work even if you have no data connection.
I found my Garmin Fenix 6’s maps have been incredibly important. When you’re out in the open water, everything can start looking the same and it’s only with the maps do I realize I am far away from where I meant to be.
I have also found it to be very useful when going deep into the woods, where trails don’t immediately have markers on them to indicate the way.
There’s no competition here. The Garmin Fenix 6 wins hands-down.
That watch can last up to 10 days. It’s one of the few watches that doesn’t require daily charging.
Whereas, the Apple Watch Series 6 is much more of a typical smartwatch that requires daily charging. You could avoid charging it for one day, but then you only get half a day’s battery left.
The battery life of the Garmin Fenix 6 is enhanced because it uses ambient light to illuminate the screen, whereas the Apple Watch Series 6 uses a screen that is similar to your cellphone’s, where a constant backlight must be lit in order to make out what’s on the screen.
That means that the Garmin Fenix 6 has a really long battery life. This is really useful if you go on long expeditions because you know that it’ll be able to track your marathons or ultra-distance workouts.
The Apple Watch Series 6 is OK when it comes to fitness tracking. But the Garmin watch is better.
The Apple Watch Series 6’s most vaunted improvement over the Apple Watch Series 5 is the inclusion of a blood oxygen level meter, which the Garmin Fenix 6 had even before all the marketing and fanfare in 2020 (called the Pulse Oximeter).
Nonetheless, I’d say the Apple Watch does a better job at encouraging you to keep fit.
The Watch OS has this thing called Rings. The more movement you have throughout the day, the more times you stand per day and the more calories you burn through the day, the more your rings will get closer to forming a circle.
It’s honestly a very ingenious representation of a progress bar.
Garmin is a bit more rudimentary. It’s either a progress bar or it’s numbers (for steps and floors climbed).
If you are not the run-bike-swim type of person, you’d find that you’re more likely to find your workout on the Garmin Fenix 6 than on the Apple Watch Series 6.
For example, if you enjoy stand-up paddleboarding, you’ll find a SUP mode that gives you insight into your distance per stroke on the Garmin Fenix 6, but no such option on the Apple Watch Series 6.
In a sense, you’ll end up tracking a lot of activities as “Other” on the Apple Watch Series 6 while you’ll be more likely able to track specific workouts on the Garmin smartwatch.
Both watches can track your sleep but the Apple Watch Series 6 is better for one reason.
You sleep better with the Apple Watch Series 6 because wearing it overnight is less of an intrusion.
The Garmin watch is very big and you will feel it when you apply pressure on your wrist.
Nonetheless, you do get better information from the Garmin Fenix 6. The Apple Watch Series 6 only gives you information about when you started sleeping and when you got up, but the Garmin Connect app can analyze your sleep stages.
If you’d like to think of your body as a battery where sleep recharges it and activity depletes it, then you’d appreciate the body battery meter on the Garmin Fenix 6 series.
It’s a pretty novel way to pace yourself. There’s no such thing on the Apple watch Series 6.
To me, it’s really quite simple.
I wear the Garmin Fenix 6 often because I find that it’s just a better watch to suit my lifestyle.
I don’t wear a smartwatch to make calls, take calls or reply to emails/messages. I want a tool that can tell me more about myself and my workouts.
However, wearing the Apple Watch was a delight. It’s compact, well designed and has much better productivity features.
If you want a do-everything smartwatch, then it doesn’t get any better than the Apple Watch.