I believe anyone lives in active lifestyle has own fitness tracker or smart watches once. There is many brand on the market from Apple iWatch, Fitbit , Sunto and most common brand GARMIN.
I been using Fenix 3HR for few years and decide to up the game with Fenix 5X Plus adding Pulse OX and HRV stress features. Not sure on music download but I did and iTunes song loads very easily. Also already been using AfterShokz Trek Air headphone which is compatible to Fenix 5. For the most part between the Fenix 3 and Fenix 5 they seems to do similar HR reading off the wrist sensor but I use HR strap for training with my speed coach and Garmin.
GPS reading for the speed is probably huge difference compare to paddling specific Speed Coach. For SUP activity in Fenix 5 it was showing 10ft distance per stroke vs speed coach show 11.4ft for distance per stroke vs speed coach 11.4ft. Then next is comparison is SPM 38 (fenix) vs 42 (speed coach). This is typical companion difference between two devices. I’m not going list the speed comparison because this is where speed coach shines with better refresh rate on GPS.
So between iphone/andriod app , Garmin, Speedcoach which of three do you choose? smartphone app does the job and good references but nothing more. Garmin, I say you get very good results that you can count on with all the features including daily steps , notification alert and health stat 24/x7.
Wrist HR reading something I never seen as true value. It is a Good base line to follow but if you really want the correct HR value with garmin you will NEED HR straps and you do NOT need fancy Garmin’s tri straps. Garmin Run straps is perfect choice but if you are planning to use with Speed Coach Garmin HR DUAL or Wahoo TICKR will let you connect both ANT- and bluetooth simultaneously . Speed Coach 2 training pack is definitely still the crow jewel of the SUP GPS if you are serious or even like to own something that reads more accurately. Having both Garmin and Speed coach is nice. Garmin is always backup for me but it is also easy use daily mileage log. If use speed coach for mileage logging I think I will have take about 5% off because speed coach is that accurate on GPS reading compare to Garmin reading.
So with all above said great feature in Fenix 5X Plus is the Pulse OX (pulse oximetry) reading your oxygen level and HRV(stress test). HRV test which is also available in smart phone app using camera light. It is difficult to get accurate reading specially when you have to test before your HR kicks in when you wake up. HRV test in Garmin do require you to wear your HR strap. Lay for 3min and see the results instantly. It recommends to take same time of the day for better accuracy.
Far as Fenix 5 family models are little confusing with watch glass with normal Glass or Sapphire to some of the sensor and features. If you are looking own great smart watch who is into health and fitness Fenix 5x Plus is perfect investment. Garmin as makes Vivoactive HR, Forerunner model which also support SUP and Kayak as long watch support GPS (Built-in). If you are not looking smart notification or Garmin pay (similar to Apple Pay) you can certainly get other model from Garmin as well.
Probably one other big thing is the battery life. Fenix 5 has even extended the duration longer than Fenix 3. When you are paddling or working out every day 1-2hrs Fenix 5 can go without charging for easily 7days plus. Battery life will be different to individual with all the feature you set in the phone or from the smart phone app. I can certainly say that like compare to iWatch you will go for day without charging and charging time usually are 2-3hrs max from 20% or so. For example 90min for paddling running GPS it consumed about 5%. During the day 1-2%. Fenix 5 is much efficient and faster to toggle the watch compare to Fenix 3.
For the music function of the Fenix is simple. If you are planning to import such as your iTune songs you have use Garmin Express app on your desktop and connect your watch via USB. Garmin Express will read iTune playlist so by clicking the playlist you can upload in few clicks. Application will show you how much storage is left as well. With the Fenix you have option use you as remote control for your iPhone. Play, Pause, Stop, Forward, Back is available with volume adjustment. If you use as remote battery consumption will not draw much and you can access while watch is in activity mode. I have not used the loaded music while activity mode yet but I recently heard from friend who bought Fenix 5S told me that it did drain the battery. In the next week or so I need to try how much it draws. This can be great for Chattajack usage if it can last 6hrs with activity and music playing.
Here is link to Garmin 5X Plus page
Here is a link to NK Speed Coach 2 page
Here is link to Garmin Dual HRM
Here is a link to Wahoo Tickr page
If you are familiar with Garmin app for smartphone Fenix 5X plus will add Pulse OX and Stress (HRV) on dashboard. I haven’t see huge changes other than these two but when you add your new device it will automatically ask you to replace the device and keep the settings. For the most part like your profile info has sync to your watch but face watch and activity setting has to be done manually.