Electronic Products & Technology

Garmin Fenix 5 shines bright

By Chad Davis, Lead Teardown Specialist, ABI Research   

Electronics Engineering Garmin Garmin teardown teardown

ABI Research has been tearing down devices since 2011 and added wearables in 2013 once they had an established presence in the marketplace. Garmin released the Fenix 5 last year as their premier rugged GPS watch featuring a transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) color display, which brightens with sunlight intensity for greater visibility. We tore down the mid-sized Fenix 5, although smaller and larger versions are available as 5S and 5X respectively. Garmin has since released an upgraded version the Fenix 5 Plus introducing features like Garmin Pay and built-in music storage.  Here’s a look at the major electrical components that make up the Garmin Fenix 5. 

Application Processor & Memory

Maxim supplies the wearable apps processor (MAX32630) with embedded ARM Cortex M4 core w/ FPU and integrated 2MB flash and 512KB SRAM memory. External serial NOR flash is provided by Micron (512Mb) and Macronix (8Mb).


Connectivity of the Fenix 5 has WiFi, BT, and GPS broken up into three separate SoCs although WiFi and BT do share an antenna. Atmel (now owned by Microchip) supplies the WiFi 802.11b/g/n Link Controller (ATWILC1000B), Nordic provides BT LE functionality (nRF52832), and MediaTek handles GPS/GLONASS with their GNSS SoC (MT3333). Other front-end components are as follows: Maxim GPS LNA (MAX2693L), Skyworks WiFi/BT SPDT switch (SKY13351), STMicro WiFi balun filter (BALWILC1001D3), and GPS filters from Murata & Epcos (part of Qualcomm’s RF360 joint venture).



As with most wearables, the Fenix 5 is loaded with sensors. At the heart, we find ADI (Analog Devices) providing the HR sensor front end (ADPD107) with Vishay supplying the photodiode (VEMD5080X01) surrounded by three tri-LEDs. STMicro supplies two 6-axis combo sensors: accelerometer/gyro (LSM6DS3L/M) and accelerometer/e-compass (LSM303AGR). Lastly, we see the continued use by Garmin with a waterproof pressure sensor (MS5837-30BA) from MEAS (Measurement Specialties, Inc. now TE Connectivity). Notably, Garmin also used this pressure sensor in the Garmin Vivosmart 3 watch we analyzed.

Audio & Power management

Maxim provides a third component in the Garmin Fenix 5, with their wearable PMU (MAX20303) that handles charging and vibrator driving also.  The Garmin Fenix 5 is the second device we’ve noticed with the piezo buzzer uniquely mounted on the inside of the PCB shield. The buzzer along with the vibrator provide feedback to the user.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Teardowns (https://teardowniq.com/), which include high-resolution photos and x-rays, pinpoint power measurements, detailed parts lists, and block diagrams.


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