With practical dependability attached to your wrist at all times, the Garmin fenix 6 Pro Solar GPS watch is a piece of gear that more than deserves the attention of adventure-seekers.
Until a few years ago, GPS watches didn’t appeal to me in the least. I had all of the functionality for hunting trips that I needed in my regular GPS.
But I started realizing that my GPS was in my backpack most of the time. This made marking waypoints and such sort of a pain in the butt and caused me to memorize spots rather than actually marking them.
And that right there is what pushed me to get my first GPS watch, a Garmin fenix 5X Plus. I ran that thing for 3 years without fail. And the benefits were clear.
So when the newer 6 Pro series came out from Garmin, there was no selling to be done. I was in. The Garmin fenix 6 Pro Solar was a welcome addition to my gear list.
Like anything, though, time would tell how it would perform in the field.
Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar Watch Overview
On the surface, it’s just a watch. But, underneath, the Garmin fenix 6 Pro Solar ($900) is jam-packed with features. We get to all of that in a bit. But first, let’s get an overview of this watch.
The fenix series of watches is Garmin’s ultimate line of multisport wearables. Adding in the solar feature was a must due to the nature of the fenix series customers. They’re hardworking athletes that never stop trying to achieve their goals, whether that’s in the gym or on the mountain.
More battery life with the aid of the sun just makes sense for these folks. It allows them to do what they love for a longer period.
The fenix 6 Pro Solar comes in three different color/band options. Slate-gray with a black band, black with a slate-gray band, or mineral blue titanium with a whitestone band. The lens material is Power Glass, and the bezel material is stainless steel or diamond-like carbon (DLC)-coated titanium.
These are color-displayed watches with 260 x 260-pixel resolution. They’ve got a water rating of 10 ATM and are said to have a battery life of 14-16 days with the solar capabilities in smartwatch (regular) mode.
In battery saver/watch mode, you can get up to 48 days of life (up to 80 days with solar). Along with that, there are 32 GB of internal memory in each watch.
Where the Garmin fenix 6 Pro Solar Shined for Me
There’s a mountain of other features this watch provides. These are just a few that stood out to me.
Right off of the bat, the biggest up for me with this new watch is the solar charging. I’m a guy who’s gone for a week or more at a time on backcountry hunts, where all service is limited. Because of that, I use my watch much more in the hills than I would at home. And because of that, battery life is always a concern to me.
I recently returned from a backcountry elk hunt in Idaho. We were packed in for 8 days with a day of driving on each end, so a 10-day trip in total. When I left my house, the Pro Solar told me I had 14 days of battery life. When I got home, I had 8 days left.
That means that I gained an extra 4 days of battery life just from being outside and the watch charging from the sun. This is a really beneficial feature in my book.
Another nifty feature I dig is the activity tracking this watch provides. I use it for everything from walking with my family and home workouts to hiking deep into the mountains. Doing so, especially with the workouts and hiking, allows me to see how I’m progressing from activity to activity.
On the hiking front, I like knowing exactly how far and how long my hike was as well. This really comes into play for me when I’m planning a trip.
Knowing that hiking into a certain backcountry camp is 4.76 miles and takes me 2 hours and 56 minutes is valuable intel for me.
I’ve gotta admit, I feel a bit James Bond-ish having a map and GPS right on my wrist. After doing so for years, and now putting this newer watch through the paces, I couldn’t imagine not having one.
Having a GPS right there on my wrist at all times just makes me a more efficient hunter and backcountry enthusiast. It’s so quick and easy to mark locations of water, campsites, or even the site of a recent harvest. These pre-loaded maps look updated compared to the older ones as well.
There’s more detail in the maps than before, which is another thing I appreciate. Navigating through the dark is also much much easier. I just pick the waypoint I want to go to, and the watch brings me right to it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Lastly, this watch will connect via Bluetooth to your other compatible Garmin devices as well as your phone.
I have my watch, inReach (GPS66i), and phone (Garmin Explore app) all connected. So, when I mark a waypoint on my watch, it syncs with the maps on both my phone and inReach. No need to re-mark anything. Messages from my inReach will also pop up as notifications on my watch.
Again, efficiency for days.
Garmin fenix 6 Pro Solar Drawbacks
After all of that goodness, is there anything actually wrong with this watch? From where I stand, not really. This is a review, though, so I’ll try my best.
There are two things I’d like to see in newer models. The first is just the evolution of more and more battery life. Having to charge my watch isn’t a deal-breaker, but the less I have to do it the better.
Also, when it comes to responding to texts, I’d like to be able to respond past that of just “quick responses.” There are several pre-loaded quick responses that one can reply with. But being able to say whatever I want would be awesome and add to the efficiency.
Other than that, this watch is killer.
As an avid backcountry hunter, efficiency is extremely important to me. And it’s really not just efficiency, but also dependability.
Some might look at something like a GPS watch and think it’s just another thing that could go wrong during your trip. However, after using them extensively, I look at a GPS watch as something that continues to go right.
Never have I had issues navigating with these Garmin watches, and never have I felt the urge to distrust them.
The Garmin fenix 6 Pro Solar holds up to the demands I’ve put in front of it. And there isn’t a doubt in my mind it’ll be on my wrist for quite some time.