Garmin Fenix 7 Review – The Best of Garmin yet
The Fenix series has always represented the best of Garmin and the Fenix 7 is no exception. Packed full to bursting with training tools, health and fitness tracking and accurate GPS, this premium multi-sports watch has everything you could possibly need and more. But is it worth the price tag? In this article, we compare the Fenix 7 with its predecessor the Fenix 6. We tell you all you need to know, explore the improvements made by Garmin and consider the Fenix 7’s overall usability and wearability.
Garmin Fenix 7: Models, Case Sizes, Battery Life and Connectivity
The Fenix 7 is offered in three versions, with or without solar charging: -
- 7S: smallest version. 42mm case. 1.2” screen
- 7: standard version. 47mm case. 1.3” screen
- 7X: extra-large version. 51mm case. 1.4” screen
However, your choice of size isn’t just about what suits your wrist. The 7S has a shorter battery life compared with the 7X. That said, the battery life of all Fenix 7 models is the longest yet. Expect up to 40 hours of running with GNSS before the watch needs charging or longer with power-saving features turned on. Additionally, Solar models can add a further 8 hours of running (or up to 4 days of smartwatch use).
The 7X also has a great new feature: a built-in flashlight: but more about this later. Importantly, all Fenix 7 models are light and comfortable on the wrist, even the physically imposing 7X. Also, a great variety of colourways are available across all models with a choice of materials including stainless steel and titanium.
The Fenix 7 can be used independently of a smartphone, paired via Bluetooth to an iPhone or Android or synced with a PC using the Garmin Express app and USB cable. Over Wi-Fi it can sync data straight to your Garmin account and carry out updates. Charging via USB takes approx. 2.5 hours.
The most obvious upgrade to the Fenix 7 is the introduction of a Touchscreen. Easy to use, simply swipe down to reveal all your latest stats, activity, heart rate, etc. It really comes into its own when using maps. For those used to previous Fenix incarnations, the Fenix 7 retains the five physical navigation buttons (also easier to use with wet or gloved hands). You can use either the buttons or the touchscreen although during activity the watch disables touch to prevent accidental use.
The transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) display is easy to see in most lights although the energy-saving technology and blue backlight mean some of the colours aren’t as vivid compared with an OLED screen. If an OLED screen is important to you, you could consider the pricier Garmin Epix (although the pay-off for the bright screen is reduced battery life).
Health and Fitness Tracking
Fenix 7 can track practically any sport or outdoor activity. Over 60 activities are pre-loaded with more available from the Connect IQ store. Tracking modes new to Fenix 7 include Kite Surfing, Wind Surfing, Tennis and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) amongst others. However, it is for running, cycling, and swimming that the watch really proves its mettle.
The Fenix 7 has two, useful new training features you need to know about: Stamina and Up Ahead.
Stamina shows your exertion in real-time. Using metrics such as your activity, fitness, sleep, and recovery, it provides a live estimate of how much energy you have left in your tank as a percentage. This helps you to pace yourself and gauge whether you have the energy for a burst of speed.
For competitors, Up Ahead gives advanced warning of elevations and course points including water and first aid stations.
In terms of health tracking, the Fenix 7 doesn’t vary greatly compared with the Fenix 6, accurately monitoring steps, calories, sleep, women’s health, blood oxygen levels and stress (via heart rate variability). Garmin’s Body Battery system helps you understand and make sense of the data and monitors your daily energy levels.
Navigation and Location Tracking
For location tracking, the big news is that Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar models include multi-band GNSS support. This allows your watch to access multiple satellite frequencies at the same time. In use, this means it gets a satellite lock faster. Also, if a tall building or tree coverage causes a specific frequency to become obstructed, the Fenix 7 can use another frequency for location information.
Moreover, Topo Active maps are another new addition to the Fenix 7 and help keep your explorations on track. The maps are pre-loaded on the Sapphire Solar models for the region from where you purchased the watch. For other models, they can be downloaded free of charge from Garmin.com. However, something to be aware of is the amount of storage they take up (storage on the Fenix 7 varies between 16GB and 32GB).
Only available on the 7X, an integrated flashlight is a brilliant new safety feature to increase visibility on runs at night. As your arm swings backwards, it flashes red whilst it flashes white as it swings forwards. Also, an SOS mode flashes to attract attention if you fall.
When you’re not training, the Fenix 7 offers daily smart features including Smart notifications, Text response/reject phone call with text, Find my Phone, Find my Watch, Calendar and Weather to name but a few. However, something to note is that there is no voice control on the Fenix 7.
For music lovers there’s also storage for up to 2000 songs and music apps on the device plus playlists from your Spotify, Deezer or Amazon Music accounts.
Also, for contactless payment, Fenix 7 offers Garmin Pay. However, unfortunately this is not currently supported by many UK banks.
Aesthetics and Design
Although visually the Fenix 7 looks very similar to the Fenix 6, Garmin has made several refinements to the design. Firstly, for increased durability, the case lugs have been reinforced. Also, there are now guards around each button to prevent accidental pressing and damage. Furthermore, the Fenix 7 is slightly slimmer.
Depending on the model, the Fenix 7 display is either covered in Gorilla Glass DX, Power Glass, or Power Sapphire. Equipped with Power Sapphire, the Sapphire Solar model is the most scratch-resistant. Also, it has a case made from titanium (the base and solar models have a stainless-steel case). Lightweight, anti-corrosive and stronger than steel, titanium is the perfect choice for an outdoor watch, particularly one so large. Additionally, all Fenix 7 models feature 100m water resistance.
Straps are easy to change thanks to a quick-release fitting and Sapphire Solar models come with an additional strap. This adds to the versatility of the watch as you can easily swap from a leather strap for everyday wear, to a silicone strap for use when training.
Price and Which Model to Buy
£779 buys you either a Garmin Fenix 7 or 7S Sapphire Solar model depending on your choice of case size. For a stealthy look, this Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar Carbon Grey DLC Titanium model enjoys the lightweight benefits of titanium with a carbon grey DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) coating. A sporty silicone band complements the case. The Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar Mineral Blue DLC Titanium version offers a lighter aesthetic and the combination of blue DLC coated titanium case and white silicone strap gives it a fresh, nautical vibe. For smaller wrists, the Fenix 7S Sapphire Solar in Dark Bronze is particularly striking with its shale grey band.
If you can handle the 51mm case diameter, the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar is the top-of-the-range. Priced from £859 upwards, this Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar Titanium with Chestnut Leather Band comes with an additional grey silicone strap and is priced at £949. Finally, at the top of the tree and priced at £1049, the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar Carbon Grey Titanium features a vented DLC-coated titanium bracelet for maximum comfort.
Garmin Fenix 7: Verdict
There’s really no doubt that the Garmin Fenix 7 is the best Garmin watch to date. Combining rugged build quality with cutting-edge materials and tech, it has capabilities that only the most dedicated sports professionals will ever use. However, it’s not designed for use by someone who will use all its features. The good news of the Fenix 7 is that whatever you’re into, it works for you. Like tennis and Pilates? It supports your goals. Training for a triathlon? You’re good to go. Just looking to improve your overall well-being? It will encourage you to look after yourself better. Yes, it has a high price tag but when you consider all that is packed into it, this luxury smartwatch is truly a cut above.
Where to Buy a Garmin Fenix 7
Wallace Allan is an authorised Garmin dealer offering up to 48 months of interest-free finance. With a full range of the latest Garmin models in stock including the Fenix 7, our knowledgeable team are here to help. Contact us if you have any questions or if we can be of any assistance.