Tag Archives: GPS inaccurate

Garmin Fenix 5 ‘Open Water Swim’ Distance Tracking Is A JOKE!

by Anura Guruge

Click images to ENLARGE.

From Google Maps — independent of Garmin.

My prior post from July 12, 2018.

Click image to access post.


Please refer to my July 12, 2018, post for background.

Garmin contacted me when I TWEETED about this and yesterday I sent them the information requested.

Today, I decided to check this out further and what I found totally disgusted me! The Garmin Fenix 5 ‘open swim’ distance measuring is a JOKE.

I ONLY swim the DOG-PADDLE so my Fenix 5 is always underwater. I appreciate that. But, per Garmin that is where the Fenix 5’s gyroscope kicks into help keep track of the distance.

So, this is what I found.

Invoked ‘Open Swim’ and waited until there was a GPS fix. I was basically walking up to my swimming depth while this was happening.

Then, with GPS active, pressed ‘START’, dove in and started swimming. Given it is in total 10-minutes, I must have swum 5-minutes to the swim platform. Grabbed the ladder and LIFTED my left arm, with the Fenix 5, out of the water.

The distance read 9 yards! There was no way that I had only smum 27′ (4.5 time my body length).

But, as I was holding the Fenix up, above the water, the distance started going up … LIKE CRAZY.

OK. So, that was good. The GPS was catching up.

It went … 19, 37, 50, 59, 65, 66 ….

All this time, I am totally stationary, holding onto the ladder. It is no longer funny.

So. I let go the ladder and start swimming back.

The swim back is a bit longer since I swim until there is not enough depth to swim.

Stood up. Looked at Fenix 5. It said 97 yards.

Then, immediately, 111 and then, as it had done at the swim platform, it kept on going.

I had enough. I hit STOP in disgust.

This is not funny.

Open Water Swim‘ is a BIG feature on the Fenix 5 — and it doesn’t work.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not a Garmin basher. I am actually a long-term Garmin shareholder!

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by Anura Guruge

My Garmin Fenix 5 Is VERY Inaccurate In Measuring Short-Distance Open Water Swims.

by Anura Guruge

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Two Very Different GPS tracks for what is the SAME swim everyday!

** ** ** ** ** **

As you can see from the first figure I started Open Water Swimming in our lake on July 1, 2018, and have tried to do so daily, weather and schedule permitting.

We have been at this lake for the last 11-years and my swim never varies. I start as close to head-on with the swim platform — when the water is waist deep. I then swim to the platform and back again — until I can’t swim any further because the water is too shallow. So, the top GPS track is accurate. I swim longer on the return leg — and it is possible, mainly due to wind, that my return leg is slightly ‘off course’ though I try to swim in a straight line using a marker on the beach for reference.

I have not as yet measured the distance, but I am fairly sure that the distance to/from the swim platform is more than 34 yards — per one of the readings. That would ~17 yards (51′) one-way. That would be the length of 2.5 twenty-foot boats. I know the swim is further than that.

Part of this has to be GPS accuracy. The distance here might be TOO SHORT for GPS to get a good handle. With Open Water Swimming the Fenix 5 uses GPS, the accelerometer and the gyroscope to estimate distance and movement. I noticed the other day that the distance jumped significantly after I had finished my swim and stood up.

I am not impressed.

Yet ANOTHER definicecy in the supposed ‘Leader-of-the-PackGarmin Fenix 5. Another disappointment.

Related posts:
Search ‘Garmin’.

by Anura Guruge

The Fitbit Ionic Due For A New Firmware Update; Was 5-Weeks Ago.

by Anura Guruge

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The Fitbit Ionic Firmware update, viz., which included Fitbit OS 2.0, was released March 14, 2018.

The prior firmware version, viz.,, was released February 12, 2018.

A monthly firmware rollout is now fairly standard for these types of watches, whether Fitbit or Garmin.

So, I am anticipating an update anytime now. As we know there are PLENTY of bugs, some introduced with, such as GPS inaccuracy, that have to be fixed.

I hope they get it out sooner than later, and ideally this week! Why, I only have another 10-days with the Ionic. At that point my 12-year old gets it, in place of the iWOWNFit she got for her birthday. I am getting a Garmin Forerunner 935. Was going to get the Forerunner 645, but that, alas, like the Garmin Vivoactive 3, has too many teething issues.

So, ideally I would like to have the Ionic updated and tested before I hand it over.

May 3, 2018 would be exactly 3-months of me having the Ionic. I set that has a self-imposed punishment: “keep it for 3-months, now that you got one“!

I will, of course, keep you posted.

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by Anura Guruge

My Fitbit Ionic Is Now Running Fitbit OS 2.0 With Firmware Version

by Anura Guruge

Click images to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE and read here.
Use link below to access original at Fitbit.

Click here to access original from Fitbit.

I had seen that this was on the way, and early this morning (i.e., just after midnight) I got a notification on my FitBit APP (on my Google Pixel 2) that there was a Software Update pending.

It took me 3 tries to get it to start downloading on to the Ionic.

It refused to do it over Wi-Fi and insisted on doing it over Bluetooth. Once it started it took about 20 minutes. The APP was way-out of ‘sync’ with the watch. It still kept on saying ‘downloading’ … ‘installing’ etc. when the Ionic was way past that point … restarted and ready to go.

I have NOT encountered any problems as yet.

Syncs OK, across Wi-Fi.

My day off from running. So, do not know whether the GPS inaccuracies have been fixed.

As usual I have noticed, on the Fitbit Ionic forum, that others are having problems with this firmware update also. I think I have lucked out because my Google Pixel 2 has the latest and greatest Android software that money can get.

I will keep you posted.

Related Posts:
Search ‘Fitbit’ & ‘Garmin’.

by Anura Guruge