garmin fenix 3 vs fenix 3 sapphire

Garmin Fenix 3 vs. Fenix 3 Sapphire – What’s the Difference?

The Garmin Fenix 3 has become one of the most popular GPS multi-sport tracking watches available. Garmin has now released the Fenix 3 Sapphire, and many potential users are wondering: what's the difference? Read on for our review and comparison of the Garmin Fenix 3 vs Fenix 3 Sapphire.

Garmin Fenix 3 vs Sapphire version

​Both the Garmin Fenix 3 and Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire are multi-sport tracking watches with their main feature being GPS tracking. These watches can be used to track activities such as running, cycling, swimming, hiking, rowing, golf, and more. Pretty much any physical activity you can think of.

Both watches provide on-screen summaries of your activities, such as distance, time, pace, and more. These watches also connect to the Garmin Connect smartphone app, which allows you to view more detailed information and maps. You can even connect the app to social media to share your activities with family and friends.​

The Fenix 3 and Sapphire both offer other smart features such as weather updates, navigation and route backtracking, on-screen phone notifications, and a compass. The watches are nearly identical in terms of physical size, weight, screen resolution, battery life, and water resistance. So what is the advantage of the newer Sapphire version? Let's explore the differences.​

garmin fenix 3 sapphire

Fenix 3 Sapphire - best choice?

The Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire (Amazon) has one major feature that the normal Fenix 3 lacks: a sapphire lens. It's easy to see where this watch gets its name! What exactly is a sapphire lens, and how does it make the watch better?

In short, the Sapphire version of the Fenix 3 is tougher and more aesthetically pleasing than the normal model. The domed sapphire lens is a little more aesthetically pleasing with a silver accent color around the display.

Scratch Resistant Lens

Further, sapphire is simply a tough material. The Sapphire version of the Fenix 3 is more scratch-resistant and less likely to crack or even shatter than the older standard version. Because these watches are used for a variety of sporting activities, durability is an important feature. While the original Fenix 3 is somewhat tough, the added security of the sapphire lens means the Sapphire version is up for any challenge.​

fenix 3 red and black

The Sapphire version didn't only improve on functionality, but style as well. The original Fenix 3 is available in two color varieties: grey with a black band or silver with a red band. The Sapphire, on the other hand, is available in a multitude of colors and band materials.​

The Fenix 3 Sapphire (Amazon) is available in standard grey shade with a metal band; this style will match almost any outfit and is suitable for both daily wear as well as activity tracking. For the truly style-conscious, it is also available in a rose-gold color with a white band or a silver watch with a brown leather band. Finally, there is an all-titanium version, which is silver with black accents. This version looks the most like a stylish wristwatch and would be suitable for any situation.​

By adding these style and color options, the Sapphire has become more than just an activity tracker - it is a fashion statement that can be worn in any casual or professional environment. If you are someone who likes to wear your watch or activity tracker at all times, the Sapphire provides many great choices.​

It should be noted, however, that these stylish options are a bit heavier than the normal Fenix 3 - particularly the all-titanium version, which weighs in at 4.8 ounces compared to the Fenix 3's 2.9 ounces.​

Garmin Fenix 3 and Sapphire Key Features


Both the Garmin Fenix 3 and Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire are stylish and functional activity trackers with a long list of features, so they don't come cheap. You can expect to pay several hundred dollars for either watch.​

Both watches are available directly from the retailer, but discounts can be found on consumer websites such as Amazon. On average, the Sapphire version will cost about $100 more than the original Fenix 3.​

Garmin Fenix 3 vs. Fenix 3 Sapphire​ Bottom Line

When it comes to the Garmin Fenix 3 vs Fenix 3 Sapphire (Amazon), the winner is clear. While the original Fenix 3 is a powerful and popular activity tracker, the Sapphire's improved durability, visual screen enhancement, and stylish options simply can't be beat. If you don't mind forking over a little extra cash for your future GPS watch, you can't go wrong with the Sapphire.​

Fenix 3 Physical Features

Unit dimensions (WxHxD)

2.0” x 2.0” x 0.6” (5.1 x 5.1 x 0.155 cm)

Display size (WxH)

1.2” (3.1cm) diameter

Display resolution

218 x 218 pixels

Display type

Colour transflective memory-in-pixel Chroma


Silver and Grey: 2.5oz (70g)
Sapphire (with silicone band): 3.2 oz (92g)

Battery life

Up-to 6 weeks in watch mode
20h in GPS mode
50h in UltraTrac GPS mode

Product Comparison

Key Feature

Fenix 3


Sapphire HR

Sapphire lens





Up to 86g

Up to 86g

Wrist heart rate

Smart Notifications


Connect IQ


ABC Navigation

Run, Swim, Bike, Golf

Daily activity tracking


Virb Remote

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Last update on 2021-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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