In today’s review, I’ll talk in more detail about the flagship of the Garmin series — a watch Fenix 6X Pro Solar.
I will answer the most popular questions on this brand of watches:
- How does solar charging work?
- How is the PowerGlass system arranged?
- Under what conditions can a watch be charged from the sun?
- What is the strength of the glass and is it comparable to the Sapphire glasses of other Fenix models?
- What other bonuses did Garmin add to the Fenix 6X Pro Solar?
- What are the main differences between other models of the Solar version?
And as always, the pros and cons of the model with the final conclusions.
I want to say special thanks to the company Navionika, my reliable Garmin partner who provided me with samples for tests and training.
The price of the watch Fenix 6X Pro \ Pro Solar.
The price of a Fenix 6X Pro Solar watch with a silicone black strap is $ 1,000.
The model is “Pro Solar — Titanium Carbon Gray DLC with Black Band”.
The watch case is a fiber-reinforced polymer with a metal back lid.
More expensive version of the “Pro Solar — Titanium with Vented Titanium Bracelet» with a titanium bracelet is being sold for 1150 dollars.
But in this model a watch case is also a fiber-reinforced polymer with a metal back cover. The difference is in performance materials.
Additionally, the Titanium version shipment includes a silicone strap.
There is a charging and informational USB cable, and instructions in a complete set in two versions.
If you buy it from an authorized representative — the warranty is included in the delivery.
Well, now, let’s get back to the watch itself.
The word «Solar» means that the watch can receive a charge from solar energy for battery power.
The idea of solar charge is not new.
For example, a Casio Pro Trek quartz watch is also equipped with solar charger.
But in these models, the solar panel was located across the entire area of the clock under
dial hands and numbers.
Garmin went further and placed the solar panel above the dial so that it did not hide the information and did not interfere with reading data from the screen.
As a result, it was kind of a small sandwich from various layers.
On the official website, in the “glass type” section Garmin simply writes “PowerGlass”.
But this is not entirely complete information.
The top cover is a protective glass — Corning Gorilla Glass DX.
Where does this information come from?
It’s very simple — you should visit the official Corning website and see for yourself.
According to Corning: “This type of glass gets good readability at the expense of better reflection of the front surface by 75% compared to standard glass and increased contrast ratio of glass by 50 percent at the same level of brightness.»
And this point will allow you to extend the battery life of your watch to some extent.
If you compare the Fenix 6 with a sapphire crystal and the Fenix 6X Pro, 6X Pro Solar — you will see the difference yourself.
Sapphire glass actually glares in the sun, and Gorilla Glass DX glass is clean and transparent at any angle.
There is a new solar screen under the protective glass that works on PowerGlass technology.
What is this Garmin PowerGlass technology?
The solar panel consists of two zones:
An opaque area is a millimeter orange border located along the entire bezel of the watch.
It gives maximum charge from the sun when exposed to sunlight.
The transparent glass that covers the entire dial is another element of solar battery. The charge from it is minimal.
Powerglass is so transparent that if you place a regular model nearby Fenix 6X Pro and 6X Pro Solar version — you will not notice the difference in color and type of watch.
Outwardly the clock Garmin 6X Pro Solar is distinguished by an orange edging of the “Start” button and the missing timeline for the entire dial.
And of course the inscription on the back of the watch case.
By the way, I’m gonna answer one more question:
Where did the serial number disappear in the models of the Fenix 6 series?
Previously, the number was always on the back of the watch.
Do not worry, the serial number was simply transferred to the side of the case, closer to strap fastening.
To get to it, you just need to take off the strap and the fixing pin, if you want to read the serial number of your watch comfortably.
The width of the strap for the Fenix 6X Pro and 6X Pro Solar is the same — 26 mm.
And this means that the watch straps of Fenix 3, 5X, 5X Plus will fit the mount Fenix 6X with no problem.
Therefore, your old straps from these models can be used in Fenix 6X Pro, 6X Pro Solar.
As you remember, in the name of the Fenix 6X watch, in addition to the word “Solar”, there is also the word «Pro.»
«Pro» indicates the maximum equipment of the sixth Fenix series.
And this is the following:
- Vector maps with the ability of routing with additional navigation
- Bluetooth music player on board with the ability to stream music to Bluetooth-connected headphones or speakers;
- WiFi to synchronize the clock «by the air.»
Letter X indicates the size of the watch.
There are the following type-sizes in the row:
- Fenix 6S (42 x 42 x 13.8 mm),
- Fenix 6 (47 x 47 x 14.7 mm),
- Fenix 6X (51 x 51 x 14.9 mm) is the largest watch case.
And anticipating the question right away:
Is it really convenient to walk and train with such a big Fenix watch 6X Pro Solar on hand?
I have a narrow wrist, and with similar large models like Fenix 3, 3HR, 5X, 5X Plus, 6X Pro I train (running, CrossFit, swimming), walk all day and sleep with the clock on the hand.
I don’t notice much discomfort for the 6X Pro Solar.
I take off the watch only if I work out with weights or box.
The larger is the case, the larger battery can be installed in that case, and consequently, the battery life of the watch is also increased.
Fenix 6X Pro Solar battery capacity:
During the disassembly of the watches, it turned out that the Fenix 6X watch battery has a capacity of 420 mAh.
Is it a lot or a little?
Given the fact that Fenix uses an economical transflective screen, energy-saving chipsets — this capacity is more than enough.
If you focus on the indicators of the charge forecast on the watch’s face, then at 100% charge, the watch will work like a smart watch:
|OPERATION TIME||Optical HR||Bluetooth connection||PulseOx||Backlight (Brightness, Timeout)|
|47 days||5%, 4 sec.|
|33 days||enabled||5%, 4 sec.|
|23 days||enabled||enabled||5%, 4 sec.|
|16 days||enabled||enabled||enabled||5%, 4 sec.|
|12 days||enabled||enabled||enabled||30%, 30 sec..|
1) when the optical sensor, Bluetooth and Pulse Oximeter are turned off with a minimum backlight in brightness and time — 47 days.
2) with the optical sensor turned on, but without Bluetooth, Pulse Oximeter and with a minimum screen backlight — 33 days.
3) with the optical sensor turned on and with Bluetooth, without a Pulse Oximeter and with a minimum screen backlight — 23 days.
4) if you turn on the optical sensor, Bluetooth, Pulse Oximeter at night, and with a minimum screen backlight — 16 days.
5) if you turn on the optical sensor, Bluetooth, Pulse Oximeter at night, and the average backlight by 30% for 30 sec — 12 days.
Let’s see what Garmin tells us on the official website about the work duration of the watch from one charge?
|Operation mode||Fenix 6S Pro Sapphire||6 Pro Sapphire||6X Pro||6X Pro Solar|
|Smartwatch||9 days||14 days||21 days||21 days + 3 days*|
|GPS||25 hours||36 hours||60 hours||60 hoursв + 6 hours**|
|GPS + music||6 hours||10 hours||15 hours||15 hours + 1 hour*|
|UltraTrac mode (Max Battery GPS Mode)||50 hours||72 hours||120 hours||120 hours + 28 hours**|
|Expedition GPS Activity||20 days||28 days||46 days||46 days + 10 days**|
|Battery Saver Watch Mode||34 days||48 days||80 days||80 days + 40 days*|
You can see the comparative graphs of the watch.
Of course, the performance of the Fenix 6X Pro Solar is impressive.
+ 3, +6, +1, +28 hours and even +10 and +40 days from solar charge.
But let’s look attentively at the little stars — comments.
* on conditions that you will wear a watch on the street + 3 hours a day on the street in
** the use of watches in conditions where the illumination will be 50,000 lux
Now let’s take a closer look at what is this magic combination of 50,000 and lux?
Lux is a unit of measure for illuminance.
You can find out what is lux via the following Wiki link — en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lux
And 50 thousand — is a lot or a little?
I’ll provide a comparative table of illumination in suites, depending on conditions:
- 100 A very cloudy day
- 200 Living Rooms
- 320 — 500 Workroom
- 400 Sunrise or sunset on a clear day.
- 1000 Cloudy day
- 4 — 5,000 Noon in December — January
- 10-25 000 Clear sunny day
- 32 — 130,000 Under the direct sun
As you can see, you can receive high illumination of 50,000 lux only in direct sunlight.
Therefore, I’ll answer one more question:
Can I charge my Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar with desk lamps, office lighting or incandescent lamps?
Unfortunately, illumination for such conditions will not be enough.
I tried all kinds of light sources, but unfortunately, I couldn’t achieve 50,000 lux illumination charge.
Question: How can you measure the light yourself?
Of course, it is better to use a professional device, such as a luxometer.
However, you can take measurements yourself using your mobile device.
Install the ‘Luxometer» application on your phone and you can easily measure illumination of the place where you are.
Of course, a mobile phone is not a professional equipment for measuring illumination, but you can approximately estimate the basic indicators of illumination for your local conditions.
And how do you know if a Fenix 6X Pro Solar watch is charging?
To do this, there is a special indicator on the watch dial in the form of lightning and empty sectors.
If the watch is 100% charged, the solar charge indicator is grayed out.
If the battery capacity has decreased and the watch requires charging, the indicator will change color to orange.
When the illumination increases, the charge indicator will begin to fill with sectors. When the illumination reaches 40-50 000 lux — all segments of the solar indicator will be completely filled.
Thus, 1 filled sector gives approximately 10% of the reference illumination at which charging begins.
Therefore, one filled sector shows an illumination of about 5,000 Lux. (50,000 / 10 = 5,000)
Please note that the watch dial indicator has a slight delay to save battery power and responds to changes in lighting with a delay.
If you want to see the real picture of solar charging, it is better do with the special widget — “Solar charge intensity”.
The widget quickly processes the change in illumination and builds a graph of the received solar energy in 6 hours.
Another option is to install a special «Battery Gauge» widget.
With it, you can analyze the graph of the charge and discharge of the battery.
How to use this tool, I told in my review — «Garmin Watch Battery Discharge — How to Find and Fix«. (sorry, Russian language article)
And one more important point!
The solar battery in a Fenix 6X Pro Solar watch is not the main tool for continuous charging of a watch.
It’s quite the opposite.
Its task is to reduce the current discharge of the watch and maintain the battery level.
To fully charge the watch, it is better to use a USB cable.
Let’s do a little test.
For the purity of the experiment, we’ll turn on the optical heart rate sensors and Bluetooth.
We’ll leave the watch in the bright sun for 4 hours and check the battery level before and after the test changes.
At an average illumination of about 30-40,000 lux, the watch could not get a lot of charge, however, the battery consumption became equal = 0.
That is, this illumination was able to compensate for the energy for the operation of additional sensors and protocols.
Question: And what factors will improve the charging of the Fenix 6X Pro Solar watch?
- First of all, the watch should be located directly perpendicular to the sun’s rays, so that you catch the maximum light flux from the sun.
- In sunny weather, it is better to wear a watch on your hand so that the solar panel “sees” the sun and charging starts. Do not hide the watch under the sleeve.
Another interesting point!
In the office, I could not charge the watch through a double-glazed window with anti-solar coating.
Protective solar spraying has cut about 20-25,000 lux. However, ordinary glass on the balcony made it possible to get a maximum charge on the watch of 70,000 lux.
If the clock should always be in the sun, then another reasonable question arises:
At what temperatures can the Fenix 6X Pro Solar watch be charged?
According to the instructions:
The operating temperature range of the watch is from -20 to +45 degrees Celsius.
The range for solar charging (in direct sunlight) is from 0 to +60 degrees Celsius. The watch is protected against overheating. If the internal temperature exceeds the limit (+60 degrees), charging will be stopped.
What is the strength of Corning Gorilla Glass DX compared to the Sapphire glasses of other Fenix models?
I have been using Fenix watches for a long time and always bought them with sapphire crystal. This type of glass allows avoiding minor scratches and scuffs. For over the 5 years of operation I could not scratch the glass of the watch.
On the other hand, Corning Gorilla Glass DX can boast of excellent transparency and readability of the dial.
Unfortunately, my review budget does not allow hard crash tests of glass of all watches.
I can only say about myself that for 2 months of daily training, running, swimming and operating the watch, I did not notice any scratches or abrasions on the 6X Pro Solar glass.
After constant use of the 6X Pro Solar, where Corning Gorilla Glass DX is used, it led me to one conclusion: reading information through Sapphire crystal is harder.
Additional reflections of the glass made a little discomfort.
And I’m preempting your next question: How solid is the solar titanium watch case?
Titanium reduces the weight of the watch case, but this does not mean that it is 100% scratch resistant.
Owners of watches with a titanium case can themselves confirm that such watches (for example, Chronos or MARQ) received scratches for this material.
That is why Garmin uses new materials in its premium MARQ models.
For example, a ceramic bezel with titanium watch case MARQ Captain.
What bonuses did Garmin add to the Fenix 6X Pro Solar?
What are the main differences compared to other models of the sixth series?
If you assemble all the models of the Fenix 6 series, I’d like to point out the following differences between the models regarding the Fenix 6X Pro Solar watch in addition to solar charging and battery.
For Fenix 6X, the largest screen resolution in the 6 series is 280 x 280 pixels. By the way, the Fenix 6X Pro watch got the same resolution (without the Solar option).
But if you place all the models side by side, you will not notice a striking difference in screen resolution.
Fenix 6 has a resolution of 260 x 260 pixels.
Fenix 6s has a resolution of 240 x 240 pixels.
The Fenix 6X Pro Solar model on a 1.4-inch (35.56 mm) screen allows placing much more information.
And that’s a fact!
On the screen you can add 8 date fields for sports activity.
Compared to the Fenix 6S with a 1.2-inch (30.4 mm) screen and the Fenix 6 with a 1.3-inch (33.02 mm) screen, all the numbers and letters are larger.
This is another big plus for those with impaired eyesight.
Weight of the watch
The larger is the model, the more it weights. All models are being delivered with a silicone strap, so I’ll talk about the total weight (strap + watch).
For the Fenix 6X Pro Solar with a titanium case, it’s 82 grams.
For Fenix 6: the weight of a watch with a titanium case is 72 grams.
And the lightest model in the lineup is the Fenix 6S with a weight of 61 grams.
Watch performance when working with Connect IQ application catalog.
As always, I ran a benchmark test using the Tree Benchmark app.
The test uses fractal recursive calculations, read / write operations, and graphic rendering.
I would like to note that the test measures the speed of work on the Connect IQ platform (virtual machine), and it does not have to correspond to the overall performance of the watch.
This information is useful for applications, widgets, data fields that “spin” in the watch.
And what is common in the models of the Fenix 6 series?
Note that I’m talking about the PRO version.
These are maps, music, Wi-Fi for data synchronization.
Everything else is already in the Fenix 6 model: built-in sensors and protocol support (optical heart rate sensor, Pulse Oximeter, Compass, Barometric altimeter, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Thermometer, 3 types of satellite navigation support (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo), a set of sports activities.
Water resistant class — 10 atmospheres for all watches, 32 GB of memory for downloading maps.
I talked about these options in more detail in my review of the Fenix 6S, 6 series.
As for recording the track in the watch, Fenix 6X Pro Solar tried to compare the work in three GPS modes in the city compared to the Forerunner 945 (so far the best model for track recording quality at the moment).
In this case, the only option for Solar was the GPS only mode, using 2 recording modes at the same time (GPS + Galileo, GPS + GLONASS) improved the situation with recording a track in the city.
Outside the city, in open areas, track recording accuracy is better. There were no surprises.
What did I like about the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar?
PROS of Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar:
- The ability to use direct solar energy for the discharge compensation of the watch and the battery charge in sunny conditions.
- More capacious battery in relation to the models of the Fenix 6S, 6 series.
- Large screen with a 35.56 mm diameter with a resolution of 280 x 280 pixels. Suitable for people who want to see large letters and numbers on the dial.
- Updated interface with new metrics (I talked about it in the previous Fenix 6 models review).
- Ability to fine-tune power consumption by disabling unnecessary sensors or modes. This option works for all types of watches of a series 6.
- The width of the Garmin QuickFit 26mm strap has been preserved. Therefore, if you change the model Fenix 3, Fenix 3HR, Fenix 5X, Fenix 5X Plus to the 6th model, then all your straps will be compatible for the new model. This is useful if you have impaired eyesight.
- The use of titanium parts of the case allows reducing the weight of the watch compared to the Fenix 6X Pro model (82 grams versus 92 grams).
CONS of Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar:
- High price. Not every athlete and tourist can afford a smart gadget for $ 1,000 or more.
- Charging the watch from the sun only works in direct bright sunlight. Charging the watch indoors or from a light bulb will not work.
- Quite overall watch case. This is a more men’s watch by design and style. The size of the watch doesn’t bother me personally, although I have a thin wrist, the watch does not interfere with me during training and in everyday use.
Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar is suitable for those who prioritize high watch autonomy and go on long trips.
Given the fact that charging from the sun works in bright sunshine, do not expect the watch to charge by itself if you sit in the office all day.
The physics of processes cannot be fooled. You can reduce the discharge of the watch and increase the duration of work only on the street, on hikes, in the mountains, or simply on a sunny lawn.
The Solar option will work only if you are outdoors for a long time and if there are a large number of clear sunny days in your latitudes.
My viewers and readers asked me: what watch model will I take for myself?
Initially, I leaned toward the Fenix 6 Pro Sapphire.
However, after a long continuous operation and close acquaintance with the Fenix 6X Pro Solar watch, I’d rather chose this model.
All that I wanted to get from this watch I received. Long autonomy, screen size, additional options! 🙂
That’s all for now!
Please let me know if you are interested in English version of my reviews. It was first attempt to share my experience in English.
This is project Prostobzor, until next time.