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Garmin Quatix 6 – Marine Smartwatch

Garmin Quatix 6
Garmin Quatix 6
Overall
86%
86%
  • Appearance - 90%
    90%
  • Fishability - 80%
    80%
  • Build - 95%
    95%
  • Value - 80%
    80%

Summary

The Quatix 6 is based around the rugged design of the Fenix 6 watch but with added marine capabilities built in. It has one of the most comprehensive fitness tracking packages available in a Garmin watch and boasts a wide range of connectivity features that allow you to network the watch to your Garmin boat devices so you can take control of your boat from your watch. There are numerous apps that connect to boat devices, some angling specific apps, apps for tides, navigation, and workouts. It also has one of the longest battery lifetimes in the watch range. In short, it is designed for those longer expeditions, for anglers and boaters who want a rugged, dependable watch that doesn’t need to be charged at regular intervals.

Over the past four months it has become an extension of my dog walking and fishing. I have used it to track every activity, plot fishing marks on a map, track my heart rate pushing a ladened barrow around lakes and tracked my walking in fishing situations. With a 10ATM water rating, it is perfect for most boating activities, water sports, shallow dives, and any dunking an angler is likely to give it. The battery life is fantastic and, in some cases, has surpassed those quoted by Garmin, upgrading to the Solar edition gives even more punch. If you are into your lifestyle apps, then it has loads from music to a payment system, although, I do not feel that Garmin Pay is up to scratch on this watch compared to others.

If you are after a do anything watch that has fitness tracking, some built in features anglers will love and that bonus of having a boat control centre on your wrist, it is hard to look past the Quatix 6.


As a bit of a technology geek, I’m always looking at how to bring technology into my fishing. Some anglers hate it, I love it! Smart watches however, I have a bit of a love hate relationship with. I love a proper watch and all the smart watches out there I have used just haven’t cut the mustard. The first issue is battery life, they tend to be terrible, possibly lasting a day or two, usually less with heavy use. Secondly is design. Why does every technology company out there have to make a “smart” look radical? From cars to watches “smart” seems to mean it must be boxy. Thirdly, is durability, they don’t seem to be up to the task of handling the rough and tumble of an angler’s life.

I do speak from experience here. I’ve had several watches from different manufacturers and as soon as a touch screen comes into the mix, the battery life goes south. Not only that, but the touch screen is next to useless with wet hands. As an angler, I’m constantly wet so therein lies one of the main issues with some smart watches. Did I mention constant notifications and having to flick the watch a couple of times to get the screen to show?

For the past four months I have been wearing the Garmin Quatix 6 Watch. Full disclosure time, Garmin sent me this watch on loan for four months to test out, in fact, it is going back to Garmin as soon as I type the last words on this review. Despite the rumours out there, a tackle reviewers’ life is not full of cupboards and cupboards of tackle that they’ve been handed out for free!

Products do tend to come and go, some you’re indifferent to, some you like, some you love. Most of the tackle that lands on my desk fits in the indifferent category. You see, there is very little out there in the market these days that is terrible. Most of it is built to a good standard and does the job it is designed to do perfectly adequately. The jibes come from personal preference. A few end up in the love category and the Quatix 6 is one of those and here is why.

What is the Quatix 6

The Quatix 6 is based around the rugged design of the Fenix 6 watch but with added marine capabilities built in. It has one of the most comprehensive fitness tracking packages available in a Garmin watch and boasts a wide range of connectivity features that allow you to network the watch to your Garmin boat devices so you can take control of your boat from your watch. There are numerous apps that connect to boat devices, some angling specific apps, apps for tides, navigation, and workouts. It also has one of the longest battery lifetimes in the watch range. In short, it is designed for those longer expeditions, for anglers and boaters who want a rugged, dependable watch that doesn’t need to be charged at regular intervals.

Looks and build

Thankfully, the Quatix 6 it looks like a proper watch! None of this square faced malarky, its round, it has a bezel, and it has proper crown functions too. It looks and feels like it will last forever.

My unit came with the standard blue silicone strap, which is perfect for me. I’m not a fan of bracelet straps, opting for leather or silicone when possible. The strap itself is designed with a series of ridges across its length and square holes to lock the strap in place around your wrist, there are plenty of adjustment holes so it will fit the largest to the smallest wrists. The first strap loop (closest to the bezel) has a downfacing block pin that fits into the holes in the strap, this makes sure that it can’t slip off the strap and keeps any trailing strap firmly secure.

The strap is also interchangeable with other Garmin watch straps, they are super easy to change. Each strap has a small pull mechanism on the underside, when you pull this out away from the watch and push the strap out from the watch, the strap pops off. To add a new strap, reverse the process. You can change a watch strap in seconds. Garmin call this system Quickfit and any Quickfit strap of the same size will fit the watch. So, if you do not like the blue strap and want something funky or want a change of material, it is all possible, quickly, and easily. There are straps made from silicone, nylon, leather, metal, and titanium, so you can find the best fit for you.

Garmin Quickfit

The watch itself has a fibre-reinforced polymer case which is backed by a metal rear cover which houses the charging dock and the heart rate monitor sensor. The bezel on this test unit is made from stainless steel although there is a titanium version available in the higher price points. In all honesty, this watch is super lightweight as it is, so I’m not sure anybody would notice the weight difference in the titanium model.

The watch face of the Quatix 6 is made of Guerilla Glass DX developed by US glassware company Corning. Corning has a long history in making speciality glass and its products have been used in a wide range of items from smartphones to the windows of the US Space Shuttle.

Using DX glass has several advantages. Firstly, it is very tough, a scratch resistant material that survives bumps, scrapes, and knocks with ease. For a watch that is going to be used in harsh environments, this is a must. Secondly, as this is a watch that is going to be used outdoors, DX glass reflects light more efficiently than standard glass, this is useful on bright days or in direct sunlight which boaters and anglers are going to encounter often. This allows the screen to be easily read even on the brightest days. Finally, the glass increases the display contrast ratio by 50%. In laymen’s terms, this gives the screen more contrast (easier readability) for less brightness, which reduces the battery consumption of the watch considerably.

The display itself is a memory-in-pixel LCD display. Memory-in-pixel or MIP is an energy focused technology that saves battery drain compared to other LCD displays. Unlike standard displays that are constantly refreshed, MIP displays draw pixels as they are required. They also have a high contrast which allows them to be readable without the need of a backlight, this helps to cut battery consumption by up to 80% compared to a standard LCD. The other advantage of a MIP display is its readability in sunlight. As there is no backlight and a high contrast, when coupled with the DX glass above, it makes for an easy-to-read watch, whatever the brightness outside.

The disadvantage of using this style of display is that you don’t get the vivid colours that you would on a standard LCD display. If you are used to a watch that has bright colours, then you will not get that on the Quatix 6. Colours are deliberately subdued and bland. I feel that the advantages of readability and battery life more than make up for this, I’d rather longevity and readability over pretty any day of the week. If you need to brighten the watch when its dark or at night time, there is a light button on the bezel that illuminates the whole display.

As anglers, we are usually wearing polarised sunglasses which not only protects our eyes but also allows us to see through the water glare to spot fish. This sadly, has the disadvantage that anything with an LCD screen, that hasn’t been adapted for this use, becomes hard to read when wearing them. The above technologies mean the watch can be read with ease with polarising glasses. Despite the fact I’ve been testing this watch throughout the Autumn, we did get some bright sunny days in September and November pre lockdown 3 (was it three, I’m beginning to lose count) and the watch performed perfectly.

Controlling the Quatix 6

Unlike most other smart watches on the market, the Quatix 6 does not have a touchscreen. For me, this is a big plus! We’re around water a lot when we’re fishing and touchscreens and water do not mix well, it can be impossible to use a touchscreen device with wet hands. I’ve owned a touchscreen smart watch before now and it was darn near impossible to use when fishing.

Instead of the touchscreen, the watch is controlled by five buttons around the bezel. The main button in the top right-hand corner of the watch is the main control button and the MOB (man overboard button). One short press of the button brings up the main watch menu which gives you access to all the watch apps. Holding down the button activates the GPS, and it will give you your coordinates and as you move away from your MOB mark, the watch will start to count the distance you are away from it as well as directional arrows. Below this button is the back-up button, this brings you back to the main watch interface.

Quatix 6 MOB

On the left-hand side of the watch is the light button in the top left, this illuminates the watch face if you can’t see the watch face in the dark or in low light conditions. Also, when you hold it down, a quick menu appears which allows you to access things like music, Garmin Pay, Find My Phone and others. You can also turn the watch off here.

Under this are two further buttons the Up/Menu button and the down button. The down button is self-explanatory, it moves you down in any watch menu you are in. Also, along with the Up button it gives you access to what I am going to call a quick stats page. It shows you things such as sunset/sunrise times, your compass direction bearing, your altitude, barometric pressure, steps, heart rate, notifications, sleep time…I could go on.

Quatix 6 Quickstats

The Up/Menu button gives you access to settings when long pressed. Here you can change watch settings such as the clock face, alarms, the different sensors that you want turned on and a plethora of other control settings across the watch. This also acts as the view and settings button when you are in an app/activity. When you are in an activity you can use the Down button to scroll through various views in that activity for example if you are walking from mark to mark and are tracking it, pressing the down arrow twice will bring up the map, your location on it and an arrow will mark your direction.

You can also use the control features to setup the Quatix 6 watch face to the style and to contain the information you find useful on it. This allows you to see all this useful information at a glance. In addition to obviously the time and date, I have set mine up to show Barometric Pressure, something I use a lot in my fishing. I also have it showing the number of steps, my heart rate, battery time and the highest and lowest temperatures of the day.

Garmin Quatix 6

There are plenty of control features that are too numerous to mention here, it’s also kind of fun spending time playing around with all the buttons and settings to get everything set up to your requirements. What I would say is that it can take some getting used to figuring out what each button and menu does. Once you have got it all figured out (and it is worth persisting here) navigating around is a doddle.

The buttons are tactile but reassuringly need some force to press down, they feel well built and ready to last a very long time. The lack of touchscreen increases this watches ruggedness, makes it easy to use outside and from my OCD point of view, means I don’t have to see any fingerprint mess all over the screen. Something that would be very noticeable given the anti-reflective nature of the glass.

Quatix 6 features

The Quatix 6 is packed full of features. There are so many that I simply cannot go into them all, so I’ll focus on some key ones that anglers might be interested in.

Firstly, what sets the Quatix apart from the Fenix is that it is designed with boating in mind. When using other, compatible Garmin Chart plotters or a Garmin device paired with the GNT10 transceiver you can link your Quatix to them, giving you remote access to some of their features and data. Useful for anglers would be the Autopilot control, which allows you to monitor and control the boat from your wrist (obviously be sensible here!). But if you are steaming out a long way to a mark and it is safe to do so, you can be getting gear ready to get fishing immediately at your destination while using the watch to change heading and follow a specific GPS route.

Another good feature is waypoint marking. If you are fishing on the drift for example and you are hitting fish at various points across the drift, you can use the Quatix 6 to mark each of these waypoints from anywhere on the boat and send them back to your Chart plotter. Giving you a visual record on your Chart plotter to save and investigate the ground further on later trips.

Something else that can be useful when you are fishing away from the helm and can’t see your instruments is the stream data feature. This allows you to stream data from your devices such as the water depth, wind speed and direction and much more.

Some of these features you don’t have to own another Garmin device or a boat at all to use. Waypoint markers can be useful when fishing from the shore when you are roving. If you have the memory of a goldfish and sometimes have trouble navigating back to a mark, you can store it as a waypoint and the watch will take you right back there. You can also get chart data on screen which uses Bluechart G3, it allows you to see what is out in front of you by downloading the chart data for your immediate area.

When it came to my own fishing, I used the tide app a lot and as I’ve mentioned previously, the barometric pressure. The tide app allows you to download tide data from the Garmin phone app into the watch so you can check tides for your given area on the watch. It shows you the times and heights of low and high tide and a visual graph of the tide and where you are on it based on the time. I did find it genuinely useful to quickly glance at this information, it saves digging out the phone when you’re wading deep in water. The barometric pressure is something I use a lot in my angling and something that is put in every fishing diary entry, so having this information close to hand all the time, for me, is fantastic.

Garmin Quatix 6

There is a fishing app available too, it is a fish counter designed for fishing competitions. It gives you an easy way to count the fish you’ve caught and includes a return to dock timer to notify you when the competition is ending or when you need to stop fishing and get back. There is also an interval timer which can be set so that if you don’t record a fish in a set amount of time, the watch will notify you and remind you that it might be time to move on. Have I used this? Once, when I was coarse fishing and wanted to track how many fish I had caught. To be honest though, other than that, I’ve had no reason to use it. Might I use it? Possibly, if I was to fish a competition then the fish counter might be useful as would the odd nudge to move or change tactics. I’ve kept it on my watch, just in case.

The DNA of the Quatix 6 is in fitness tracking, it’s what most people use a smart watch for, so naturally, it has everything you could ever need in terms of tracking your fitness. The watch will automatically count all your steps and your heart rate. If you want to track your walk and the fitness levels of that walk, you can use the dedicated hike/walk apps and pause them as you get to each mark and fish. This gives you a visual guide of where you’ve been and the fitness you’ve racked up.

I’ve been using this quite extensively since I got it. I do love numbers and analytics, and I’ve found it useful to see just how far I walk, what kind of heart rate I get up to and my general fitness around my angling. I’ve used it along the coast, while fly fishing and, it was somewhat interesting seeing the stats of your heart rate when you’re pushing a carp barrow around a lake! It appears to add quite a bit of strain! The sleep tracker can be an interesting watch (as is the body battery stat) when you’re fishing an overnighter. You can see just how much your sleep is interrupted by the intermittent bite alarm sounds.

There are so many fitness tracking apps on here, I’ve barely touched the surface, but, if you’re going for a leisurely walk or partaking in a triathlon, it has you covered.

Lastly, it has a sat nav! If you’ve been google earthing a spot to fish and want to make sure you get it bang on the money to fish that exact spot, you can dial in the long and lat on your watch and it will guide you there. Not useful for everybody, but, if you’re a geek, love tracking or you have a terrible sense of direction, this watch could help.

Quatix 6 GPS

Yes, a lot of these features are available on your phone, but, if you’re like me and your phone is tucked up in a waterproof case, in your rucksack, having this data on your wrist makes life easier.

Life integration

Of course, a smart watch cannot just be a watch that tells the time, tracks your fitness, and helps you guide your boat. It must have some life essentials in it as well. It has smart notifications, when it is hooked up to your phone it will notify you when a text message comes in, you have a phone call, your bitcoin has just reached £100k etc. It is compatible with both Apple and Android phones. I did use it momentarily, but I hate notifications and basically everything is turned off on my phone so after I’d seen what it was all about, they were disabled on the watch too.

The Quatix 6 also has Garmin Pay, although compared to other smart watches, this is cumbersome to use so I have not used it personally. To active it you hold down the light button until the menu appears, scroll through the menu to get to Wallet, choose the card, then use the up and down buttons to enter the passcode. The whole process must have taken 20 seconds or more and I think it’s easier to dig my phone or wallet out for that kind of time. It works better on other Garmin watches with touchscreens than it does on this watch.

Garmin

Finally, it allows you to sync playlists from streaming services such as Spotify. Handy if you’re a fitness type that wants music in your ears on a run or walk. Not something I do really, but naturally I had to have a play! Connecting my Apple Air pods to the watch was a doddle, simply go to the Music Settings, Add Headphones, pop the Air pods into pairing mode and hey presto, they are connected. This should be the same for any Bluetooth enabled earphones. Again, getting music on was easy enough. Connect your Spotify Account to the Garmin Phone App and then you can select which tunes to send to the watch for phone free listening. The device can store around 2,000 tunes, depending on size. So, if you like listening to tunes while fishing or walking to a mark, it is simple to setup, works well and it could be a feature you’d be interested in.

Battery life

To power the unit, the Quatix 6 has an internal, rechargeable lithium battery. This is charged via a USB cable which connects into the back of the watch. As I have mentioned previously in the review, battery life is a major issue for me with smart watches. For the most part, they are terrible. Which is why I was genuinely very pleased with how this Garmin watch performed.

Garmin Watch

Garmin state that the watch will last up to 14 days in Smartwatch mode, I’ve gotten a little bit more out of the unit than that, my record is 17 days. This includes me wearing it all day and tracking a three and half mile dog walk each day too. It doesn’t always last 17 days but with this use, it has mostly lasted the full 14 days Garmin quote for the watch in smartwatch mode. A previous smartwatch I had lasted two days on a similar daily schedule.

You can eek out the battery life by reducing the amount of time the watch syncs to the phone and by limiting the use of GPS when tracking your walks. If you’re doing a regular walk and don’t need the map/track feature, this can considerably reduce the amount of battery use.

On a boat and in a fishing situation, the Quatix 6 battery does drain quicker, but not at a rate that you need to carry around a bunch of charging blocks to keep it going. Garmin quote 36 hours in GPS mode and I’d tend to agree with that. I’ve done some long day walks and some days where I’ve been flitting in and out of tracking modes, checking tides, weather, maps, you name it and the battery life at the end of the day was perfectly acceptable. Lasting a further eight days after a full-on intensive day in the field.

The USB charging option also makes it convenient; you can charge it in the car or in the field with a battery pack if on a long session where you’re hammering the battery. It is amazing how much difference the MIP screen makes to the battery life. If you can live without the touchscreen and super vibrant display, you can get so much more use out of a smartwatch.

You can get more out of the Quatix 6 if you switch to Expedition Mode, and if you have the money to spare, then upgrading to the Solar edition gives you the added boost of using the Sun to top up the battery. This can increase the watches battery life in smartwatch mode up to 30 days!

Garmin smartphone app

What brings all this together is the Garmin app which is available for IOS and Android phones. I’m an iPhone user so can only speak from the iPhone users’ point of view. I find the Garmin App better than the inbuilt Apple Health App for tracking data. Although the Garmin App will connect and send data to the Health App if that is your preference, or you need to bring data together from multiple apps in one.

The Garmin App looks good (dark) and is simple to navigate. Giving you easy access to the sync button and a fully customised home screen where you can add and drop widgets based on what data you want to see. You can see your day stats, what you did yesterday and a seven-day total as a minimum. Your activities for the day will also show in the top of the screen.

To bring out the competitor in you, there are various badges that you can earn based on activities that you partake in. If you’re a social animal, you can connect with other Garmin users that you know and you can issue each other with challenges. I’m in a group with some friends where each week we have walking goal and a league table to compete against each other. It adds a bit of friendly rivalry and some impetus to get off your backside and go for that walk.

The app will show you all the data from each of your individual activities, whether that is a walk, a hike, a boat trip, or a fishing trip using the Fishing App. It will show you all the data relating to it and a map of where the activity too place and any tracks and way points you took or added.

There is a mountain of stuff in this app, with a health or tracking stat for pretty much everything! It is also the focal point for setting up some watch settings such as music and Garmin Pay.

Garmin IQ is a separate app which is used to download apps from the IQ store into your watch. You can download different watch faces, apps, and workouts. There are tons of apps and customised watch faces on IQ and you can customise to your hearts content.

It is worth pointing out here that if you can’t stump to the price of a Quatix and you’re happy to have a slightly different design and a watch that doesn’t feature the MOB button, you can download the boating apps that come pre-loaded with the Quatix into the slightly cheaper Fenix 6 watch.

Conclusion

Sadly, my time with this Garmin Quatix 6 has come to an end now. It is time to wrap her up and send her back, I’m quite sad about this. Over the past four months it has become an extension of my dog walking and fishing. I’ve used it to track every activity, plot fishing marks on a map, track my heart rate pushing a ladened barrow around lakes and tracked my walking in fishing situations. It’s staggering how many miles you can put in during a day’s fishing.

I’ve used the tides feature extensively as I have the weather information. It just makes sense and is practically easier to check the tide on your wrist when you’re wading out deep than it is to find your phone. Never mind dropping your phone in the water! Speaking of water, the watch has been under it quite a bit! Thankfully it has a water rating of 10ATM, which means it can withstand water pressures to the equivalent depth of 100m. When it has been dunked in saltwater, I’ve given it a wash in fresh, just to be on the safe side. I shower in it, do the dishes, even wear it when cleaning out the fish tank, I barely take it off. With a 10ATM rating it is good for most boating activity, water sports, shallow dives and of course, the dunking an angler will give it when releasing a fish, steadying themselves on a rock etc.

When it comes to fitness tracking, I doubt there is a watch on the market that can compete with the Quatix 6. It tracks everything and has an app for everything! If you’re a stats geek, you’ll love the data it gives you.

The lifestyle apps are OK, Garmin Pay was not the most intuitive experience ever, but it is there and if you want to use it, you can. Connecting music if that’s your thing is easy.

The battery life is fantastic, it keeps on going and with a few tweaks you get a bit more out of it than what Garmin themselves quote. Upgrading to the Solar edition gives you even more power bang for your buck and will have you running for almost a month.

If you’re after a do anything watch that has fitness tracking, some built in features anglers will love and that bonus of having a boat control centre on your wrist, it’s hard to look past the Quatix 6.

I’ve loved having it so much, I’m going to buy one myself!

Garmin Quatix 6
Overall
86%
86%
  • Appearance - 90%
    90%
  • Fishability - 80%
    80%
  • Build - 95%
    95%
  • Value - 80%
    80%

Summary

The Quatix 6 is based around the rugged design of the Fenix 6 watch but with added marine capabilities built in. It has one of the most comprehensive fitness tracking packages available in a Garmin watch and boasts a wide range of connectivity features that allow you to network the watch to your Garmin boat devices so you can take control of your boat from your watch. There are numerous apps that connect to boat devices, some angling specific apps, apps for tides, navigation, and workouts. It also has one of the longest battery lifetimes in the watch range. In short, it is designed for those longer expeditions, for anglers and boaters who want a rugged, dependable watch that doesn’t need to be charged at regular intervals.

Over the past four months it has become an extension of my dog walking and fishing. I have used it to track every activity, plot fishing marks on a map, track my heart rate pushing a ladened barrow around lakes and tracked my walking in fishing situations. With a 10ATM water rating, it is perfect for most boating activities, water sports, shallow dives, and any dunking an angler is likely to give it. The battery life is fantastic and, in some cases, has surpassed those quoted by Garmin, upgrading to the Solar edition gives even more punch. If you are into your lifestyle apps, then it has loads from music to a payment system, although, I do not feel that Garmin Pay is up to scratch on this watch compared to others.

If you are after a do anything watch that has fitness tracking, some built in features anglers will love and that bonus of having a boat control centre on your wrist, it is hard to look past the Quatix 6.