Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Garmin Fenix 7 and epix (Gen 2) Introduction Highlights & First Thoughts

 Article by Jeff Valliere with Sam Winebaum

Today, Garmin has released the long awaited updates to it’s Fenix line with the 7 series and also added a new model, bringing back the epix, with a Gen 2 model.  

Both the Fenix 7 and the epix (Gen 2) are nearly identical in their functionality, with the major differences being the epix has a vivid, 416 x 416 Amoled display, whereas the Fenix 7 keeps the more battery efficient transflective display and has an improved solar charging option.  After watching the live release and Q and A session this morning, Sam and I would like to relay the highlights in advance of our full review.

Touch screen is now on all Fenix models and epix, while retaining the traditional 5 buttons.  

The touch screen can easily be turned on/off by simultaneously pressing 2 buttons.  Touch will be especially handy for day to day use scrolling widgets, adjusting settings, etc… but I am most excited to be able to more easily scroll, pan and zoom maps, a weakness of the Fenix 6 Pro and Forerunner 945.

Solar has been improved, with all sapphire models having power sapphire, a bonded lens with more solar surface area that produces double the amount of power as previously.

Maps are now standard on all models: worldwide Topoactive, ski areas , road and golf maps can be downloaded via WiFi for free using the new MapManager. 

Maps on the Epix are considerably higher in detail due to the 416 x 416 resolution screen vs 240 to 280 on the Fenix 7 models.

Titanium is standard on Sapphire models

The Start/Stop button now has a metal protector to prevent accidental activation and damage to the button.

The case diameters are the same  as Fenix 6 for 7s/7/7X at 42mm / 47mm and 51mm.

7X has a built-in flashlight with two LED lights shining from the top of the housing below the bezel. It  is dimmable and has a red option for visibility.  

A double tap activates it. It points down when running.  There is an option to show white on upswing, red on back swing for night visibility on roads or bike paths.  

I get the sense that this light would be a safety feature or convenience instead of something to reliably navigate.  Serves  a similar convenience purpose as the light on your smart phone.

Settings Sync:  you can now adjust settings, including data fields from both the watch and the app, which is a huge improvement in ease.

Visual race predictor - see trends over ~30 days, speed, endurance

Ski View - preloaded ski area maps have been improved with more detail including trail difficulty colors (as well as golf maps, if that is your thing).

Up Ahead - a feature where the user can set predetermined points along a course to anticipate their location, particularly handy for aid stations, drop points, etc…

Realtime Stamina: Monitor your energy levels in real time. 

It will take a few weeks for the algorithms to determine your potential stamina.  Gray below is your potential stamina, what you have "left in the tank" orange is your current stamina during the effort. So balance effort with reserves in real time and hopefully keep the bonk at bay!

Multiband GPS positioning for more accuracy in tough areas like canyons and forests.

Improved glass covered optical HR Sensor

Increased battery life for the Fenix

Epix Gen 2

The Epix Gen 2 basically has all of the wonderful features of the Fenix 7 and features a wonderfully bright and vivid Amoled display (but with no solar option). While the Amoled display uses more battery than the traditional display, from the best I can tell, the specs reported for battery life are still enough to satisfy all but the most hard core with, for example, up to 30 hours GPS mode and 6 days everyday. This is exceptional battery life compared to prior AMOLED screen watches such as Apple Watch and Suunto 7 which would struggle to get near half or even less (7 hours GPS for the Apple Watch) this battery life.


The Epix Gen 2 only comes in one size, the same as the mid size Fenix 7, with a 1.3” 416 x 416 resolution screen and 47mm case.

Amoled display and high res improve map experience.  More detail and greater range of colors and higher contrast. Remains to be seen in bright sunlight how legible this screen will be AMOLED screens are wonderful indoors as they are essentially "light bulb" lit while outside in sun they struggle to remain legible vs a trans reflective display such as on the Fenix which captures and reflects ambient light.

Power efficient.  Not as long life as Fenix, but better than most Amoled display watches and by a lot.

Golf courses, ski maps, topo maps come to life, crisp, bold, but refined and accurate.  

Graphs and workout animations really pop.

Official Garmin Comparison 7S, 7, 7X and Epix

As of January 18:  most Fenix showing shipping in 5-8 weeks, epix 4-7 days, Fenix 7X Black DLC Sapphire Solar 1-3 days. Some models available now at our partners below.

Full review hopefully soon, when we receive samples! 

Photos: Garmin 

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