As 2022 gets underway, the most exciting news in the world of smartwatches is the integration of amoled, advanced OLED display. The Garmin Epix features amoled in addition to transflective memory in pixel display dynamics. But the Garmin Fenix 7 is also gaining quite a bit of popularity based on its advanced features. So which is better?
Both the Garmin Fenix 7 and Epix models feature new and exciting product features. The Garmin Epix has a gorgeous new display with amoled, yet the Garmin Fenix 7 may appeal to users who prioritize an increase in GPS and performance tracking features.
If you are trying to decide which of these two new models to choose from, then this is certainly the guide for you.
In this guide, we will take an in-depth look at both devices, in addition to a comparison to determine which is the most alluring based on what features stand out the most.
Watch model reviews
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Garmin fēnix 7
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Read on to find out all there is to know about the Garmin Epix and the Garmin Fenix 7.
The Garmin Epix premium active smartwatch has many new and exciting features beyond the much raved about and stunning amoled display. There is also 24/7 health and wellness monitoring, smart features, and built-in sports apps to keep you always on the move.
This multisport watch comes with Topo Active mappings, ski maps, and golf maps to keep you guided on any adventure. We love these expanded mapping features found on the 2022 Garmin models.
With the Garmin Epix watch, you can wear all-day confidence with the bright and always-on amoled display, which is a new form of OLED display for smartwatches.
You can take on the slopes with preloaded Ski View maps for 2,000 worldwide ski resorts; or golf (yes, you can golf with this model too) with Course View maps for more than 42,000 golf courses.
You can download Topo Active mapping via wi-fi connectivity for the non-sapphire (slate steel) model, which this review is based on; or get it preloaded with the Sapphire Editions (Black and Whitestone models) that also supports multi-band GNSS technology.
Maintain healthier and better well-being with the Garmin Epix all-day monitoring functionality, that provides deeper insights into your body’s energy levels, breathing, respiration, hydration, and stress. Also, there are no idle moments thanks to the 30+ preloaded sports apps and Garmin coach training plans.
Additional features include tap and go with Garmin Pay, which lets you pay effortlessly for purchases right on your Garmin Epix. With a Spotify Premium membership, you can save entire playlists directly on your wrist.
Connect this watch via Bluetooth headphones to jam seamlessly while you work out with no more lugging along with your cell phone in tow. Plus you can upload your data automatically when connect to your home or work wi-fi network.
- 1.3-inch always-on, bright amoled display
- 24/7 health and wellness monitoring features
- Built-in sports apps and Garmin coach
- Multi-band GNSS technology (*Sapphire Editions only)
- Topo Active mapping, Ski View, and Course View maps
- Added map themes and navigation sensors
- Superb battery life with up to 42 hours of GPS mode battery life
- Contactless Garmin Pay and Connect IQ Store features
- Quite expensive
Garmin Fenix 7
As we all know, there are 7 days in a week, and the Garmin Fenix 7 multisport GPS watch is built to go strong for all of them.
Featuring a big 1.4-inch display, built-in LED flashlight and Power Glass solar GPS charging lens, it offers extra-long battery life and easy access to advanced training features, sports apps, 24/7 health and wellness monitoring and more.
With the Garmin Fenix 7, you can use trusted button controls or the new touchscreen interface to access selections, and also gain performance insights and metrics, such as an optical hr sensor, fitness tracking, sports tracking, training load and training load statistics, and more that help you manage your exertion and build stamina.
The Garmin Fenix 7 allows you to optimize recovery and overall wellness by monitoring heart rate, respiration, stress, sleep and more (just keep in mind that this device is intended to give an estimation of your activity and metrics; it is not a medical aid).
Solar GPS and outdoor navigation sensors based on solar charging capabilities guide your outings off the beaten path.
And to complement your tamer days, connected features include smart notifications when connected to a compatible smart phone in smartwatch mode, music storage and Garmin Pay contactless payments in supported countries and payment networks.
- The Garmin Fenix 7 is a long-running solar powered (solar sapphire edition) multisport GPS watch with always-on display enabled 1.4-inch display and new ultra tough athletic design uses the sun’s energy to extend battery life
- A built-in LED flash light keeps you going after dark
- Trusted button controls that work in any environment are matched with a highly responsive touchscreen display interface for quick, convenient access to selections
- Take your training to the next level with endurance and real-time stamina tracking, training status, advanced performance metrics and 30+ built-in sports apps
- Get 24/7 health and wellness monitoring with wrist-based heart rate, Pulse Ox (not available in all countries), stress and enhanced sleep tracking (this device is intended to give an estimation of your activity and metrics; it is not a medical device)
- Navigate the outdoors with built-in sensors for the 3-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter
- Supports multi-GNSS satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) for GPS accuracy
- Check out preloaded maps for thousands of golf courses and ski resorts worldwide and download Topo Active maps for any region to keep your explorations on track
- Enjoy everyday lifestyle connectivity features similar to the Apple Watch Series, including smart notifications when connected to a compatible smartphone, music storage and Garmin Pay contactless payment solutions in supported countries and payment networks
- Features up to 28 days of battery life while indoors or up to 37 days of battery life when solar charging in battery saver watch mode
- Solar expedition GPS technology display technology with the solar sapphire edition
- Most high end Garmin watches are expensive and this model is no exception
- Solar expedition GPS technology on the Garmin Fenix 7 Garmin watch requires a bit of sorting out due to all the different solar sapphire models
Both the Garmin Fenix 7 and the Garmin Epix are expensive models right out of the gate. The Garmin Fenix 7 base unit starts at $699 and climbs up to well over $1000, depending on which of the numerous Fenix 7 models you choose from.
In the case of the Epix, the price starts at $899 and caps at $999. A large reason for the high price tag on both devices is due to the January 2022 releases of both models. But the innovative brand new features and display are also a large factor for these high prices, as we will discuss in detail below.
The best way to test the overall design of both of these watches is to take them for a run. After testing both, the build of both watches is virtually the same. Both the Fenix 7 and Epix gen 2 are similar in weight as well, but I do have to say that the screen variations are what really stands out when pounding the streets.
The Epix sapphire screen is absolutely stunning, and this is true of the basic Epix as well. It’s also striking how you consider all of the different conditions, whether light or dark out, the screen remains bright and luminous. This is due in large part to the amoled which pops out unlike any Garmin watch screen we have seen before.
The Fenix 7 design scheme is oddly similar, yet the luminosity of the brightness of the screen is quite apparent if you sit the watches side-by-side. The Fenix 7 is of course a lovely watch to look at with a very clear and large design, but it cannot compare to the design scheme of the Epix.
In terms of overall display differences, both the Garmin Fenix 7 and the Garmin Epix have near identical appearances in terms of size and visual aesthetics.
In terms of always on or not, Garmin claims the Fenix 7 is an always on model. So no matter what you are doing, 24/7/365, the screen always stays the same.
With the Epix, there are a variety of different stages this model goes through. There are two core options that you can choose on Epix: you can do always on, which means the screen is always on at different brightness levels depending on what you’re doing, or you can have gesture-based. Gesture-based means that the display fluctuates between off and on.
Both watches now feature a range of hybrid controls with the classic Garmin 5-button setup in addition to touchscreen dynamics and longer battery life on both models.
Garmin Epix amoled display
The Garmin Epix has amoled display, which is the same type of display dynamics used to a lesser degree in the Venu Series. The Epix display has one impressive screen size at a crisp 1.3 inch amoled display.
Garmin Fenix 7 display
With the Fenix 7, there is a transflective MIPS technology for the display. Sounds flashy but this is in-fact the same type of display that we have seen on high end Garmin models for years.
The Fenix 7 comes in three screen sizes at 1.2 inches at 240 x 240, 1.3 inches at 260 x 260 pixels, and 1.4 inches at 280 x 280 pixels with various sapphire display and solar sapphire models.
Features, GPS dynamics
In terms of overall features, both watches carry essentially the same suite of training and racing recovery and general daily health tracking tools.
The same maps and navigation are also featured on both watches when in smartwatch mode, which is unique when considering all Garmin watches have predominantly had different navigation features.
New features include stamina tracking, upper head root following, visual race predictor, and safety features such as health snapshot and so much more, all of which are similar across both the Fenix 7 and Epix models.
Across the Fenix 7 suite of models, it is important to note that you are not getting the multiband option, which is the new high level of GPS that watches are starting to provide these days. But you are still getting all system on, which is all satellite systems and solar all satellite systems at once, which is very good.
If you are choosing the Epix, you may find that you get a bit more accuracy in line with what is typically seen with the Apple Watch Series. This is true with the regular Epix models and the Epix sapphire solar model or any sapphire glass variation.
With this in mind, the Fenix 7 is a bit more accurate than other Fenix watches such as the Fenix 6 Pro Solar.
The Fenix 7 has superb GPS, but the Epix just cliches it for me.
Perhaps the main difference between the two models comes in battery life. The Fenix 7 has 57 hours of battery life and up to 73 hours if you choose one of the solar charging editions within the Garmin Fenix line.
The Garmin Epix is a bit less with 42 hours of battery life and no available solar charging.
Which watch is best?
Determining which of these two watches is the best is always going to be subjective.
Consumers become devoted to specific watch series’ for an entire range of different reasons, which is why a more targeted focus on data management and advanced features combined with such categories as user-friendly tracking features, stress tracking features, and how these features are tailored to a wide range of user needs, can help produce a more objective comparison.
The most obvious difference between the two is the display and design, and you will immediately notice that the Epix is quite bright with a large display and stunningly clear and luminescent display design – thanks to the amoled technology.
Also of immediate note, is the differences in how the heart rate monitor displays are laid out. For example, the Epix optional heart rate belt is very smooth and tends to be much larger than that on a Fenix smartwatch, even the Fenix 7. But apart from these design differences, using either model’s heart rate sensor provides stunning accuracy.
However, when compared to the Epix, something like the Fenix 7 does tend to have a great deal of glare on the screen, especially when you are in direct sunlight.
It is also easy to read and has easy navigation through the many functions on the watch. There aren’t many additional features that you will find in the models since both are so very similar in this regard, but the Fenix 7 is also excellent for what it is. Although if we have to be hyper critical perhaps it has too many variations to choose from!
Both are also effective GPS watches and feature easy GPS navigation, with the Epix slightly edging out the Fenix 7.
Because the GPS features are very advanced, there are no Glonass or Galileo add-ons that one may come to expect with the release of a new Garmin model, so it is best to chart your outdoor activity with a clear view of the sky to avoid inaccuracy. This will prevent the GPS tracker from lagging and struggling to find a proper signal.
Once you are running or jogging, both watches will chart your route effectively. The Epix will also accurately measure your pace, timing, and overall distance and the Fenix 7 includes new features like optical HR sensing and visual race predicting.
Apart from that, the GPS features do not proceed any further. But still, if you just want the most visually appealing watch, with a decent GPS tracker, the Epix is a safe and aesthetically pleasing choice – providing you can afford the price tag!
Is the Garmin Fenix 7 a good watch?
The Fenix 7 is really and truly a great watch. This is going to be a beast of a GPS watch for most people, thanks to new features like an enhanced touchscreen, the updated heart rate sensor, the improved battery life and more.
The Fenix 7 has basically solved all of the minor complaints that were registered with something like the Fenix 6 Pro Solar, which was the more dominant watch within the Fenix Series up until the launch of the 7 models in January 2022.
Still, there are some improvements or additions that truly would have made the Fenix 7 such a groundbreaking watch similar to the Fenix 6. An LTE feature like what was seen with the high end Forerunner models.
Also, a speaker and microphone function, which is really something that is wished for with each new unit, would have been good since this is such a fabulous running watch.
How do I pair my Garmin Epix?
You will first have to make sure that you watch has been accurately paired with a smartphone in order to access all of the available features with the Epix Gen 2. Make sure you have downloaded the Garmin Connect app and be sure to bring your smartphone within 10 meters of your device.
Be sure to click settings, select Bluetooth as an option, and then choose “pair mobile device” to accurately sync your smartphone to your watch. Then open the Garmin Connect App and make sure you add everything pertaining to the Epix to your account.
If you are a triathlete, want to attempt a Grand Tour in cycling or simply want to make the most of your indoor and outdoor workouts, then these watches are probably the best on the market. Packed with cutting-edge training features and health monitoring aids to help push your performance to the next level, you won’t be disappointed when you purchase either the Garmin Epix Premium or the Garmin Fenix 7.