Garmin Tactix Bravo vs Fenix 5 – Features, Pros and Cons

By | April 9, 2019
Garmi Tactix Bravo vs Fenix 5

The Garmin Tactix Bravo and the Garmin Fenix 5 are like twins in many ways.

They are not identical, but they have a lot of similarities that you will want to note if you are looking at them. There are a lot of features that you can check out. Both the Garmin Tactix Bravo and the Garmin Fenix 5 are high-quality intelliwatches. The Garmin Tactix Bravo has a lot of tactical features and is made for military personnel.

If you are a civilian, there is little reason to have a lot of the features that are present and since they are not really usable, they do not seem to add to the actual quality of the unit. So, unless you are in the military we would recommend the Fenix 5. This is certainly enough of an intelliwatch without the extra things that you do not need.

A Quick Comparison of the Garmin Tactix Bravo and the Garmin Fenix 5

 

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There are a lot of things about the Garmin Tactix Bravo and the Garmin Fenix 5 that are the same. In fact, aside from not having the additional tactical features, the Garmin Fenix really seems to have everything that would be needed with an intelliwatch. It has all of the features and allows you to have what you need. However, if you are in the military the Tactix Bravo might be a better choice with all of those additional tactical options.

The App

One of the things that I personally find disappointing about both the Garmin Tactix Bravo and the Felix 5 is that the app is not updated. In fact, if you have owned a Garmin for a while, or even owned one in the past, you will immediately note that the app has not been updated. This is not true of other fitness tracker brands that seem to update their apps consistently.

The app has some features that we have decided to describe for you. The home screen actually is called the Snapshot screen on the app. This is a screen that has a black background and two large circles that clearly show your sleep and your step count. In addition, there are small blocks that show the number of active calories that you have burned, My Fitness Pal, activities that you have engaged in, floors climbed, and intensity minutes.

You are able to get additional information when you are swiping left or right. One of the things that we like about the app is that it is fully customizable and allows for you to see how many pages there, how they appear in order, and even allow for you to change things with ease. There are even icons for additional popular apps and features like a Leaderboard, Snapchat, Calendar, and News Feed.

Garmin Tactix Bravo

The Garmin Tactix Bravo has a lot of unique features that you are not going to see with other smartwatches. These features are part of what makes the allure of the unit so good. The Tactix Bravo is an upgraded version of the previously released Tactix watch that was released a few years ago.

This is a normal smartwatch that has been coated in carbon which helps to make it a more successful and higher quality watch. It is a great watch for using when you want to take on tactical endeavors like HALO jumps or GPS navigating. One of the things that are unique to this smartwatch is that it is made with military endeavors in mind.

The original Tactix was a hit and was something that people really liked. So, since the Bravo has a long line of additional features, it is sure to be an even bigger hit. You can easily see on the screen even with night vision goggles. Plus, you never have to worry about your smartwatch not keeping up with your needs. The additional features on the smartwatch include a color display, higher pixel rating, sapphire lens, transflective MIP color, 100-meter water resistance, EXO antenna, and a Connect IQ app support.

The new Tactical Mode offers you a few different features like two coordinate sets on the one screen. There are two different versions that are available with this smartwatch. These include the black nylon strap or a black silicone band. The unit continues to offer you all of the features that you would expect with a leading fitness tracker, advanced workout recordings, daily tracking and even Bluetooth remote controls for Garmin action cameras.

Use and Design

The Garmin Tactix Bravo measures 2 x 2 inches and has a thickness that is .6 inches. It is not a small smartwatch but is more like the style of the fitness watches that you would expect the military to be wearing. The smartwatch features a special sapphire color screen that is scratch resistant and has bexel optimization. The unit also has a lot of sensors and tools that make it a great choice for explorers and those who want to have a unique experience when they are out in the world.

In addition to these things, there is an EXO antenna. This allows for accurate GPS and GLONASS choices. It features to support that is backed by software that aids in aerial and land missions. There is even a special TracBack feature that can hold one thousand waypoints anywhere in the world. This allows you to navigate back to these points without a struggle.

If you have ever found a secret spot when you have been exploring the woods and have experienced the frustration of not being able to find it again, you will be thankful that you have this feature and can travel back at any time. Plus, there is a special Jumpmaster software that works with aerial jumping. This is a unique feature that you are not going to be able to find on many different fitness trackers.

The Garmin Tactix Bravo is a great choice and features PVC-coated black stainless steel buttons. They have been created to be rugged and durable. The Tactix also allows you to navigate easily through the different screens with a simple touch of these buttons. There are buttons that allow you to move in all directions as you are navigating. The following buttons are available: backlight, back, down, up, action. When you find an action that you want to use, you can simply press the action button in order to select it. Just by tapping the action button, you will get the full list of activities that are available to you.

The smartwatch arrives ready to wear. It has a wide range of different pre-programmed tactical features that include jumpmaster activities, projected waypoints, and tactical activity profiles. The two modes that are most noted are with the Tactical and Jumpmaster modes. There are actually three different modes that are combined for these which include: HALO, Static, and HAHO lines. It is a great smartwatch that has been made for those who are in the military and is not really something that a civilian would need. It just has too many features that the average person would never know.

The Garmin Tactix Bravo is powered by a lithium-ion battery that is rechargeable. It is a watch that is good for twenty hours when in the GPS mode. This is unheard of timeline for a watch that has a GPS tracker in use. Most units are not going to last anywhere near this length. If you choose to use the watch in the Ultra-Trac mode it is going to last fifty hours. This is something that is again unheard of. Plus, if you are just using the smartwatch as a watch, you will be able to have the watch only mode in use for an incredible six weeks.

There is one thing that you can do if you want to be able to offer the best options with your Garmin Tactix Bravo. This is that you can easily pair the smartwatch with a fitness sensor or your smartphone. The reason that pairing is so simple is that it offers Bluetooth connectivity and onsite ANT. When you pair your smartwatch with your smartphone, you will be able to send the daily activity that you are involved in your Garmin Connect app.

The app is going to help you track your fitness and where you travel to. Plus, if you already have a favorite fitness app, like My Fitness Pal, there is a good chance that the smartwatch can be paired to it as well. This is something that will help you if you are trying to stay on a regimented diet and exercise plan or if you are tracking your normal daily activities.

Hardware

The Garmin Tactix Bravo features a lot of hardware that is going to be very popular. One of the most impressive features of this smartwatch is that it allows you to be able to wear night vision goggles and still read the smartwatch when the backlight has been enabled. This is not always the case with smartwatches and there are many that do not allow for you to read with the backlight. In addition to this, the bezel and case design are slightly different than other popular Garmin models of smartwatches. This is because it is a non-reflective. It has been carbon coated too. This is to help ensure that there are no scratches or scuffs to the design.

The Tactix Bravo actually features sapphire glass. In fact, the only version of this watch that is available has sapphire only glass. This unit features a nylon or fabric strap. The design is not that popular, but thankfully the Fenix 3 straps are interchangeable with this watch, so you can find any strap that you like and swap them out. 

Software

The software that is used by the Tactix Bravo has some unique features as well. One of the features that have been added is a tactical mode. This allows you to use two sets of coordinates on a single screen. This is something that is separate from the activity tracker and sport mode. You will not have to be active in running, swimming, or biking while you are using this unique model. In addition to the added tactical mode, there is an added Jump Starter mode. This is a special mode that allows you to have GPS coordinates as you are jumping out of an aircraft. It is a great feature with different configuration components that will help to keep you safe no matter what adventures you are taking.

Garmin Tactix Bravo Feature Breakdown

  • The Garmin Tactix Bravo features a scratch-resistant glass watch face.
  • The screen on the smartwatch is 1.2 inches.
  • It has a screen resolution of 218 x 218 pixels.
  • The pixel density sharpness is 82 PPI.
  • The unit can last for up to thirty-five days.
  • It has a built-in alarm clock.
  • It also you to set goals.
  • There is also a built-in stopwatch.
  • The box contains the smartwatch, a USB cable, AC adapter, warranty card, and user manual.
  • It offers one sensor with the accelerometer.
  • You are able to track the calories intake burned.
  • The unit features an activity and inactivity tracker.
  • You can track the distance that you are going during your workouts.
  • The unit also tracks the quality of your sleep.
  • You can see how many minutes in a day that you are active.
  • The unit features a heart rate monitor.
  • It will count how many steps you take in a day.
  • Plus, you will always know how many hours you have slept.
  • It features v4.0 Bluetooth.
  • The weight of the smartwatch is 91 grams.
  • It has a digital clock face.
  • The surface of the smartwatch is circular in shape and flat.
  • The dimensions are 49 x 49 x 1.7 mm.
  • It comes in one color, black, but two styles either a silicone or nylon band.
  • You can get notified when your timer is going off on your phone.
  • You can also receive your calendar reminders.
  • Plus, you will be able to see when you get new text messages.
  • You will be notified when any alarms go off.
  • You can even check your email through the unit.
  • The Garmin Tactix Bravo retails for $749 (Check out the latest rates here!)

Garmin Fenix 5

Before Garmin released the Fenix 5, they had actually taken a year off from designing smartwatches. The device is made to literally go anywhere and allows for any activity to be tracked. It is a smartwatch that has been meant so that you can plan to spend a lot of time in the outdoors.

It is good for running trails and taking trips through the woods. Plus, it is a great way to monitor physical activity regardless of what that activity might be. While this watch might not be the most affordable option, it is the very best GPS positioning that you can find.

A Look at the Rugged Design

One of the features that people really appreciate about the Garmin Fenix 5 is that it has a rugged design that was made for the outdoors. This is a smartwatch that can literally take years of abuse and will keep on ticking. There are five screws that hold the beveled black bezel face in place.

There are several additional design features that were made to ensure that this watch is something that will continue to be usable for a long time. There are five circular buttons which are located with three on the left side and two on the right side. In addition, the watch has a 1.2-inch display. In addition to these features, there is an inner bezel that goes around the screen along with the outer bezel. When you place these together, they actually measure almost a half of an inch.

You should note that there is not a touchscreen feature on the Fenix 5. In fact, you get to choose features and make changes with a series of buttons that are on the side of the display. While it is not as easy to use as the touchscreens are, it is something that is going to be a more sensible option. This is one of those smartwatches that is built tough, offers 100 meters of water resistance, and has a lot of different features that that other units do not have.

Display

The display on the Fenix 5 is a full-color display. It has a transflective surface that allows you to utilize the sunlight to help you be able to see a brighter screen. Reading the display is easy in all of the different situations. This means that you can see the screen both outdoors in direct sunlight and at night in your own home. The backlight will allow you to see in the dark. This means that you can use the watch all of the time and in any environment.

Activity Tracking

The activity tracking options are something that helps the Fenix 5 to be tough. There is a wide range of activities that you will be able to use the smartwatch to track. You can monitor running just as easily as you can record the metrics from climbing, hiking, golfing, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, stand up paddleboarding, snowboarding, rowing, and swimming.

The Fenix 5 offers the activity tracking that you are going to need regardless of what activities you are involved in. In addition to all of these things, you can even track your GPS coordinates while you are jumping from an airplane.

One special feature that is highly useful when you are trekking through uncharted areas is a breadcrumb feature. This feature allows you to find your way back to all of the places where you have been. You can use this for a wide variety of different purposes and literally can discover a wide range of activities that will allow you to track what is happening.

The Garmin Fenix 5 for Runners

Runners will love the features that the Garmin Fenix 5 has. These are the perfect features to be used during races and while training for the race. One of the things that we noted as we tested this watch was that it has one of the most accurate GPS trackers that we have used. In fact, when we used it to run a 13.1-mile USATF (USA Track and Field) certified course, it actually measured the run at 13.16 miles which is far more accurate than even the tracking that was used when building the course.

In addition to accuracy, you will be able to track a V)2 max score which is a special score of your personal fitness level. It will help you to intensify your training and can even help to predict the type of race time that you will have. This is something that includes a feature where you can see how fast you’d be able to run a marathon, half marathon, 10K, or 5K.

This feature is really great for those who are trying to improve their performance in racing and for those who are new to running and want to know where they stand.

Another feature that is really great for runners is that you are able to use a special feature that will help you to have a training effect. This is a feature that you can use for the anaerobic and aerobic activity. So, when you are running and you receive a score of 5, it is the best possible score that you can get.

Sometimes you might find that you will score a 5 in one area and a lower score in another area. It will even share with you when you are pushing your body too far and when you are overreaching which will help you to be able to have a secure and stable run.

Finally, you will want to note that a training status screen actually will show you how productive you have been when exercising and will offer you a nice sense of the overall fitness level that you are at. You might even find that you can steadily decrease the activity that you are doing overall. In addition, you might see that there is a detraining message. When you are done running, you can elevate your plots, show yourself splits and even detrain yourself. There is a wide range of different screens that you are going to be able to cycle through which will offer you an accurate look at how you run, how you can improve your running, and what you can do to ensure that you are making the improvements in the right way.

One thing that I noted as a runner is that there were some issues that I was not as excited about. One of these was the heart rate monitor. If you use an additional accessory or a chest strap monitor, you will find that the heart rate monitor is very accurate. However, if you are relying on the accuracy of the smartwatch itself there are a few things that were disappointing.

One of these is that it does not seem to pick up as quickly to the changes that happen as you are working out. I noticed a few things when I compared the two and wore them for the same run. The chest strap unit (I chose to use the Polar H7 chest strap.) measured my heart rate average at 159 bpm and the maximum heart rate was 178 bpm. However, when I compared this to the Fenix 5, the Fenix 5 had measured my average heart rate at 161 bpm and the maximum heart rate was at 181 bpm.

The Garmin Fenix 5 for Skiers

As someone who casually skis. I never honestly thought that I would use a fitness tracker to measure my skiing. When I saw that this smartwatch was actually noted for being able to work for skiers, I decided to check it out the next time that I went skiing. Even as an I was high in altitude, I noted that the fitness tracker was still working well. When I was done, I would be able to look at all of my runs and could easily see where I had struggled or where I could have improved. While I was never someone who thought that I would use a fitness tracker for skiing, the Fenix 5 made me a believer and completely changed my mind.

Smartwatch Features

The Fenix is often labeled as a smartwatch because it has the same features as a smartwatch. However, some techies might argue with you. We choose to continue to call it a smartwatch as many other reviewers and many companies call it. However, please note that some might argue that it is a fitness tracker device and not technically a smartwatch.

The smartwatch features that are available allow for you to track the weather, access appointments on a calendar, receive text notifications, and even receive call notifications. There is nothing that you are going to miss when you are using this and you are certainly not going to find a smartwatch that offers you as many options as you are getting with the Garmin Fenix 5.

Battery Life

In my mind, the best thing about all of the Garmin GPS wearable devices is that they have amazing battery life. If you are just using it in passive mode where it functions as a basic activity tracker and smartwatch, you will find that it is going to last you a considerable amount of time. It is important to note that even with the GPS mode turned on, the Fenix 5 will last for over twenty-four hours.

Many GPS wearable devices only last a few hours and it is the rate to see one that will last the entire day. In addition to this, you should note that the battery life with the GPS capabilities turned off is over two weeks. This means that you can literally wear it and rarely will you have to worry about taking the time to charge the unit.

Garmin Fenix 5 Feature Breakdown

  • The Garmin Fenix 5 has a scratch-resistant glass.
  • The screen is 1.2 inches in size.
  • It features a resolution of 240 x 240 pixels.
  • The pixel density sharpness is 283 PPI.
  • The battery on the Fenix 5 will last for up to 14 days.
  • It has an alarm clock.
  • There is goal setting features.
  • You can set reminders.
  • The unit features a stopwatch.
  • The box comes with the smartwatch, charging cable, warranty card, and user manual.
  • There is a speaker on the Garmin Fenix 5.
  • It has a gyro sensor.
  • It has an accelerometer sensor.
  • The activity tracker allows you to track calories intake burned.
  • You can follow your activity vs your inactivity.
  • The fitness tracker keeps track of distance.
  • It will share information with you about your sleep quality.
  • You can easily see the active minutes that you have in a day.
  • It features a heart rate monitor.
  • The Garmin Fenix 5 will track your steps.
  • It will also track the hours that you are sleeping.
  • The Garmin Fenix 5 has a built-in navigation system that offers you points of interest (also known as POIs), turn by turn directions and easy navigation to ensure that you are always getting where you want to go.
  • The unit features a v4.0 and BLE Bluetooth connection.
  • It has several smartphone remote features built in as well.
  • It will allow you to use to find my phone.
  • You can easily control the music on your phone.
  • It even features a camera shutter control.
  • The body is manufactured from stainless steel.
  • The watch weighs 85 grams.
  • The strap is made from silicon.
  • The clock face is analog.
  • The shape is circular and the surface of the smartwatch is curved.
  • It measures 47 x 47 x 15.5 mm.
  • It is available in four colors: black, white, limelight, and blue.
  • It is compatible with both Android operating systems and Apple’s iOS.
  • There is a timer.
  • It has a notification for incoming calls.
  • You can get reminders from your calendar.
  • You can see your text messages.
  • It has a great alarm system.
  • You can check the weather with ease.
  • You can even check your emails.
  • There is 64 MB of internal memory.
  • The unit is priced at $599 (Check out the latest rates here!)

Our Decision

Deciding whether we were bigger fans of the Garmin Fenix 5 or the Garmin Tactix Bravo was something that was hard to determine. There are a wide variety of different reasons for that. In fact, the Garmin Fenix 5 has all of the features that you need for traditional training, running, skiing, and even swimming.

There are so many advanced features and things for you to discover that we are certain that this smartwatch will make you happy. The GPS coordinates are good as well and the features are clear and easy to use. It is a straightforward design that allows for ease of use by all users.

he Garmin Tactix Bravo is also a great smartwatch. However, the design of this smartwatch is more tactical and would be better for military members than civilians. You are paying quite a bit more to purchase the Tactix Bravo and the additional features are not ones that most avid outdoorsmen would even use. This means that you are basically paying extra for features that you are not likely to use.

So, our recommendation is for you to choose the Garmin Fenix 5 if you are deciding between these two models. This model actually has a number of additional features that are preferred by the average user. It is a great smartwatch that is going to help you to understand what is going on with your body and help you to get into the best shape of your life!

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