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Garmin Epix | Full review, opinion and operation

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With all the features available in the Fenix 7 series, Garmin has created a new variant with AMOLED display. The Garmin Epix (Gen 2) is basically a Garmin Fenix 7 with a higher quality display.

It has little to do with the first Epix that hit the market in 2015. Seven years later Garmin chooses this name because at that time it was its maximum exponent of what the manufacturer was capable of creating (in fact it was the model that debuted the maps for the first time), and uses the "Gen 2" simply to say that this is a completely new generation, but it is obviously not an evolution of that model.

The Epix is the first model in the Garmin Outdoor range to make use of the AMOLED display. That is its elemental difference with respect to the Fenix 7 from which this watch starts. It contains each and every one of the functions of the latest Fenixs but there are a few differences to note.

The AMOLED display is the most obvious, but that comes at a rate in terms of the autonomy of the watch. In this model there is no crystal that offers solar charging and it is not available in the different sizes of the Fenix family, only in 47mm.

After a good number of days using and understanding the Epix in terms of performance and especially battery consumption, I already have a good idea of what it is capable of offering and what compromises its display entails.

Remind you that the watch I used for the review is a press unit provided by Garmin. As usual once the review is finished I will send it back, so there is no compensation from the manufacturer for a positive review. 

And don't forget that if you like the work I do in the tests and you want to collaborate with the website, you can do it by making your purchases through the published links. Thanks for your support!

If you are more into audiovisuals, you can see the video analysis also on YouTube.

Garmin Epix Gen2

Overall - 9
Training possibilities - 9
Platform and applications - 8
Battery life - 7.5
Finishes and comfort - 9
Price/performance ratio - 7

8.3

TOTAL

Many of you have been pining for years for a GPS sports watch with an AMOLED display. It is finally a reality. The new Garmin Epix is still a Fenix 7 with a top quality screen and enjoying the same features. Of course, you must assess whether the autonomy it offers will be sufficient for your use.

User Rating: Be the first one !

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The good

  • High quality screen
  • Good autonomy with screen always on
  • Touch control for map scrolling
  • Absolutely all functions available in Fenix 7

The bad

  • Price
  • After spending 899€ on the basic model, Garmin forces us to download the map manually.
  • No LTE option
  • Without integrated microphone

News Garmin Epix 2

Although Garmin has recovered the name Epix for the new model and it is called Gen 2, the most logical thing to do is to leave its name at Garmin Epix and that's it. It has nothing to do with the original model, and nothing to do with the whole Fenix family.

The software innovations that we will find in the new Garmin Epix are the same as those presented with the Garmin Fenix 7. Not in vain both are the same watch but the Epix has a new software version. AMOLED screen.

This is the main difference between the two models, since the Fenix 7 uses the classic transflective display with good visibility in full sunlight but needs illumination when there is not so much light. Thanks to that the autonomy of the watch is superior. The AMOLED screen of the Garmin Epix is much more attractive and pleasant to look at, but it has to pay a toll in autonomy.

Another thing to note is that there is no solar charging version of the Garmin Epix. The flashlight is not present either, something logical considering that it is exclusive to the larger model (the Fenix 7X). Otherwise, both Garmin Epix and Garmin Fenix 7 are exactly the same in size (the Fenix 7, not the 7S or 7X) and features. 

Here is a list of all the new features that we will find in this model:

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  • Two versions: standard or sapphire
  • Steel bezel in standard version, titanium in sapphire version
  • 1.3″ AMOLED touch screen (same as Garmin Venu 2)
  • 5 control buttons for clock operation
  • Garmin Elevate V4 Optical Pulse Sensor, which was released with the Garmin Venu 2
  • The sensor is coated with glass instead of plastic
  • Multiband (dual-band) system on models with sapphire crystal glass
  • Possibility to change settings from the watch or, finally, also from the mobile application
  • HIIT profile for recording activity, with animated workouts and instructions. It was released with the Garmin Venu 2
  • Add sport profiles for Kiteboarding and Windsurfing
  • Versions with Gorilla Glass or sapphire crystal glass
  • Visual race forecast. The same forecast for different distances as up to now but with a graph where podrue see the trend of the last 4 weeks.
  • Stamina function, an algorithm that allows you to manage your effort during a full ride by indicating your remaining energy. Very similar to what Xert.
  • 16GB capacity on Garmin Epix, 32GB capacity on Garmin Epix with sapphire glass
  • TopoActive maps of Europe and possibility to download worldwide via WiFi. The Epix sapphire brings them already downloaded.
  • Map manager for downloading new maps directly from the watch and over WiFi
  • Ski and golf maps on the device itself
  • POI navigation screen showing the remaining distance to the points of interest you have marked on your route
  • Direct access from the watch to the Connect IQ store to update items via WiFi
  • Prices from 899€ for base version, 999€ for sapphire version

These are the most important new features. Then there are some others that we will have time to detail later, but let's say that this is the most important.

AMOLED display in Garmin Epix

If there's one reason you're interested in the Garmin Epix, it's undoubtedly its AMOLED display. It's the same one you can find in the Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2 Plus. At 1.3″ in size and with a resolution of 454×454 pixels the appearance of the watch changes quite a bit, especially when worn indoors.

Garmin Epix - AMOLED Display

It is not the first watch to use a screen of this type, it has already been used in other models of generalist brands in smart watches that can be used for sport from a basic aspect (Samsung, Apple or Huawei are good examples). Nor is it the first sports watch, because there's the Suunto 7 although with a Wear OS operating system and a compromised autonomy for that reason. And of course the Garmin Venu.

Garmin Epix vs Suunto 7

The Epix is indeed the first 100% endurance sport focused watch to feature this type of display. We had to wait for Garmin to have a processor and platform with low power consumption so that the toll of the AMOLED display would not be an insurmountable problem.

Autonomy is no longer an issue with the Epix. It is obviously less than the equivalent Fenix 7, but it is in very reasonable values, and I would say even good. 

In the following table I compare the range between the Epix and the 47mm Fenix 7.

 Garmin EpixGarmin Fenix 7
Smart watch mode16 days (6 days on screen always active)18 days (22 days Fenix 7 Solar)
GPS only42 hours (30 hours with screen always active)57 hours (73 hours Fenix 7 Solar)
All satellites32 hours (24 hours with screen always on)40 hours (48 hours Fenix 7 Solar)
All satellites + music10 hours (9 hours with screen always active)10 hours
All satellites + multiband20 hours (15 hours with screen always active)24 hours (26 hours Fenix 7 Solar)
GPS Expedition14 days40 days (74 days Fenix 7 Solar)

I have been using it in combination with both the always on display mode on and off. Turning the wrist increases the brightness and activates the display (for example to show the seconds). With the always-on setting the display is visible at all times but in a low power mode and at night it activates a battery saving mode that turns it off and, at the press of a button, it turns on with a basic display.

Garmin Epix - Energy saving

In the most demanding mode and with daily activities I have had to charge the watch every 4 to 5 days, which is about the performance I get from the Garmin Forerunner 745 I use right now when I'm not testing another watch. Of course it is far from the autonomy that a Fenix 7 can offer, but for comparison it is more or less what was offered by models of one or two years ago with transflective display.

And if we deactivate the screen on mode, having to turn the wrist or press a button to turn on the screen, the autonomy will be around 9 or 10 days. The watch usually responds well to the turn of the wrist, but the truth is that I prefer the first option for convenience and still offer reasonable values.

As in the Venu and in the Fenix 7 the screen is touch, so podrás operate the watch by sliding your finger across the screen. This will be especially useful when we are using maps for navigation.

By the way, it is during the use of maps where we will most poder appreciate the colors and resolution offered by an AMOLED display when compared to transflective technology.

Garmin Epix - map

But let's get down to the important stuff: how does the display look? Fantastically well regardless of the outdoor lighting. Obviously indoors or at night the quality of the display is fantastic, but in full sunlight it also looks perfect. Running in broad daylight does not represent a handicap when poder looking at the data. 

And as a curiosity I can tell you that where I have most appreciated the AMOLED screen has been in the pool. With a watch with a transflective screen it is practically impossible to see anything at a quick glance when making the turn, but as the Epix screen is very bright just a few tenths of a second to see how long it took you to complete the length or the time of the series.

Here are some images comparing how the Epix looks compared to another model with transflective display.

I start with this comparison in full sun, the best condition for a transflective display. The Epix's AMOLED screen has more than enough brightness to display perfectly, even when the sun is shining on it.

Garmin Epix - Screen Comparison

In the shaded area on a day with good light the FR745 is still in a favored environment. But here the AMOLED display starts to make a difference.

Garmin Epix - Screen Comparison

We move on to the interior. Here we already need the FR745 light on to see something on the display. To compare fairly, the Epix display is also turned on at maximum brightness (you can tell because the second hand appears on the right side of the dial).

Garmin Epix - Screen Comparison

But if we let the screens go out....

Garmin Epix - Screen Comparison

I have to be honest. Initially I've been reluctant to the AMOLED screen in a sports watch because of the impact on battery life and visibility in bright light, which is when you're going to be looking at the watch the most. But after using the Epix on a regular basis I'm going to have a hard time going back to another model with a normal display. It's very easy to get used to the jabugo and then it's hard to go back to the sliced one...

New features of Garmin Epix explained

Everything I write below applies equally to both the Epix and the Fenix 7 because both share software and functions.

Touch screen

Among the new features that have been presented with these models, perhaps what you will use the most is the touch screen. In general I'm not a big fan of this type of screen, so I'm grateful that Garmin continues to use the same traditional button configuration, with three on the left side and two on the right side.

The main button now has a kind of protection to prevent unwanted presses, e.g. during movement or when rolling up the sleeves of a jacket.

Garmin Epix - Main button

But back to the touch screen, there are times when it will be interesting to use it, for example if we want to slide menu options quickly but especially in the use of the map. 

Here the touch screen is much more practical because you can move around the map by sliding your finger and the buttons are relegated simply to apply the zoom. In models without touch screen we had to do everything with the buttons selecting if we wanted to move horizontally, vertically, zoom ... and back to start. We gained minutes of life.

Garmin Epix - Map

Garmin has left many control options over the touch function. We can activate or deactivate the screen at any time from the quick access menu, and configure it for each of the sport profiles. By default the profiles have touch disabled.

Also 1TP11We can go to the system settings and enable or disable the touch during sleep (so that the screen does not light up if we touch it). And the same within the sleep tracking menu, which is now much more extensive than before.

Configuration from the phone

After many years asking for it, Garmin has finally introduced the configuration of profiles and settings from the mobile application. The options are perhaps a bit hidden, mainly because Garmin has been adding function after function to the application and right now it is a bit saturated with possibilities (Garmin, it is already urgent to redesign and simplify the mobile application...).

We can modify virtually all clock settings, including data display settings. The modification is immediate and it is not necessary to make a complete synchronization of the clock to apply the changes. In this aspect it is very similar to the Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL.

The option that we will be most grateful for is the possibility of modifying the sport profiles to select the data fields and the configuration of the screens, something that used to take a lot of time and button presses and that is now simplified a lot.

However, configuring the data display from the watch is now also faster thanks to the touch screen, where you can press the data field you want to change and then select from the different lists of options.

There are some things that still can't be done, like modifying or adding external sensors. This is something I miss because with the Wahoo watch it is very easy to add sensors and modify their name quickly with the app, Garmin still forces us to do it directly from the watch.

Stamina function

The new features of the Fenix 7 and Epix have also come on the software side. Stamina is a new Firstbeat algorithm that allows the watch to visually display the estimated "battery" remaining while training.

It is very similar to what other developers have created in the past, such as Xert. The advantage is that it is integrated into the watch and there is no need to pay for an additional app.

Stamina is available in running or cycling profiles and lets you know how much energy you have available to reach the finish line or complete your training. If you activate the Stamina display this is what you will see on the watch.

Garmin Epix Stamina

Garmin differentiates between actual stamina and potential stamina. The first data refers to energy remaining in the short term, at that precise moment. This is the one that appears at the top and is of greater importance.

In the central part of the screen we have the potential stamina, which represents the remaining energy in the long term.

Actual stamina can drop dramatically if we do intervals or sprints, and will rise again when recovering. Meanwhile, potential stamina will drop gradually as the training progresses.

The stamina data does not always start at 100%, it is linked to past efforts and the recovery you have had. If you do a running session and then repeat it in three hours, you will see that the stamina does not return to 100% but will start from a lower level.

In the options of this screen it allows us to set the main data with percentage as we have seen so far, but also as a function of distance or time. This is useful if you are looking to complete a certain distance or want to know how long you are going to poder endure at the current pace.

Garmin Epix Stamina

Therefore, the estimate made by the watch is that maintaining the current level of power it would be able, in theory, to travel 111 kilometers more.

If you look at the first image I have posted and this second one, 1TP11, you will see that the bar appears in red or green. When it appears in red it indicates that we are consuming energy at a faster rate than we would expect according to the potential (by increasing the rate), and if it is green it means that we are recovering. This is also accompanied by up or down arrows.

This metric has two possible uses. Firstly in a steady pace race where you can see how "your autonomy" is decreasing and see if the pace you are running will be enough to complete the training or competition you are doing. 

Graphically it will be represented as a straight line and the real stamina will always coincide with the potential stamina, because there are no punctual efforts. For example, this soft training of one hour.

Garmin Epix - Stamina

And if we compare it with a purely series training 1TP11We can see how the potential stamina is gradually decreasing, while the real stamina starts to stick to the potential but as soon as the intervals start I start digging the hole.

Garmin Epix - Stamina

You can also see how there is an inflection point in potential stamina after finishing the last interval and cooling down at a gentle pace. 

Is the metric accurate and pod would mean that when the potential stamina reaches 0% we will be finished? That's a question I can't answer at the moment. I've only had a chance to push myself hard during the 5K race prior to the Seville marathon, and that day the Epix decided it didn't feel like the optical sensor was working (initial firmware glitches...).

The rest of the days I've been testing the watch have been routine, and one thing not to do is to push yourself to the max in a workout.

It can be an interesting metric for long training days and try to overcome the mental barrier that we often put ourselves. That feeling of wanting to finish as soon as possible due to lack of energy and that the clock tells you that you still have 30% of energy left, may serve to lift your spirits and endure the training knowing that your blockage is mental and not physical.

Maps, navigation and map manager

Naturally, maps have a very high importance in the Fenix 7 and Epix range. It is the main attraction above all else and probably what the vast majority of users are most attracted to this watch.

With the new versions there are significant changes both in what is included in the watches and in the possibilities we have with these maps.

Until now, Garmin watches with maps included the map of the region where you bought the watch (Europe map for European watches, for example) and, if you wanted another area, you had to buy it from Garmin or adapt another one through OpenStreetMaps.

With the Fenix 7 and Epix this changes. First of all because depending on the model you buy the watch will come with maps or you will have to download them yourself:

  • Garmin Epix and Fenix 7 base: They have 16GB of internal memory, do not include maps and you will have to download them via WiFi.
  • Garmin Epix Sapphire and Fenix 7 Sapphire: The internal memory becomes 32GB, the map of the area where you have purchased the watch is included and you can download any other map of the area where you have purchased the watch and you can download any other map of the area where you have purchased the watch and you can download any other map of the area where you have purchased the watch. 

If you buy a basic model the first thing you will have to do is to download the map you are interested in. For that Garmin has added an option in the watch menu which is the Map Manager.

Garmin Epix - Map Manager

From here pod we can manage the maps that are loaded in the watch, or look for other maps to download. As I say until now the possibilities offered were to add one on your own or buy it and download it from Garmin. In both cases you had to connect the watch to the computer and it was not an easy process for everyone.

The Map Manager puts all this functionality directly on the watch itself. It will allow you to download TopoActive maps (which are the good ones) for any region of the world. Or delete the one you currently have to make room for a new one.

Garmin Epix - Download maps

Updates are also done through the administrator. Once you have selected a new map to download you will have to put the watch on load. The transfer is slow, and the battery consumption is high due to the constant use of WiFi, so this requirement is a must.

Garmin Epix - Download maps

If you are in a hurry and do not want to have the watch all night downloading the map you can also do it by cable through the Garmin Express application. The transfer is via USB so everything is much faster.

Garmin Epix - Download maps

Next we have the new features of "Up Ahead" which in Spanish is translated as "Más adelante". It is a new feature that gives you information about new points of interest that you have set up on your route. Obviously for them to appear someone has to tell you that they are there.

Let's get practical, I can create a route directly from Garmin Connect or from any other service and import the GPX file. For example you can use Wikiloc and load it in Garmin Connect and then add the POIs you are interested in.

Garmin Epix - Up Ahead

You are interested in adding these POIs from Garmin Connect because the selected icons will then appear on the watch display.

Garmin Epix - Up Ahead

After synchronizing the route and passing it to the 1TP11 clock we can see the points of interest that we have created. In my case as reference points I have put Tunnel, Gas Station, ECI and Lighthouse.

Garmin Epix - Up Ahead

The Further Ahead function creates an additional page on which 1TP11We can see the remaining distance to the next point of interest at the top, and then the next three points of interest.

Garmin Epix - Later

It is not a function that adds a lot of information, and you have to take into account that you have to add the POI manually, but it is an option that in some routes can be useful. For example, it allows you to enter the location of the refreshment posts in a race to know at all times what is the remaining distance to reach that point.

To finish with the navigation, let's emphasize the possibilities that the touch screen allows. The first thing to remember is that by default the touch screen is disabled in all sport profiles, so you need to first activate the option in the activity settings.

Garmin Epix - Touch Screen

With the touch screen active podrás move in a very agile way anywhere on the map, simply by sliding your finger on the screen. You can zoom with the side buttons or by tapping on the "+" and "-" on the screen, or if you double tap the screen the zoom will be enlarged. 

Place the selector point at any location on the map and hold down the screen.

Garmin Epix - Select in map

You can then create a route between your location and that point, save it as a point of interest or get coordinate and altitude information of that point.

Finally remember that we have different types of map themes. By default the generic map (Google Maps type) is active, but we can also apply other layers: nautical, high contrast, night, popularity or ski resort.

You can play with the different options it presents and see which one you like the most or the one that best suits a particular time (for example the night theme when it is dark and you don't want the screen to dazzle you).

Perhaps the popularity theme is the most practical when we are doing mountain routes, because you will see marked on the map what are the usual tracks of other users and see if the path you are going to follow is commonly used by other users.

Garmin Epix - Popularity Route

All these themes can be changed while you are doing the activity because by pressing and holding the 1TP11 menu button you can access the main menu and there the map submenu.

Connect IQ store on the watch

For the first time in Garmin there is an app store option integrated into the watch itself. From there pod we can update the applications, data fields or widgets that we have installed on the watch, and also install new functions.

The app store is accessed from the same sport profile menu (perhaps not the best location).

Garmin Epix - Application Store

At the moment it is a very basic option, as it simply shows five recommended applications which are the ones that 1TP11You will install. The rest of the applications are still accessible from the Connect IQ application on the phone.

Garmin Epix - Application Store

I can select any of them and install it. As I say it is all very basic, but it is a start and I am sure that later we will see more functions and possibilities in the App Store of the watch.

New activity summary

The activity summary receives an update. After the end of the training session there is a new display with a picture of the route plan, average pace and total time.

Garmin Epix - Activity Summary

This display is accompanied by graphs for altitude, heart rate, time in zones and training effect.

Next to them are the usual ones up to now with totals, individual laps, etc.

With these displays Garmin tries to catch up with what other manufacturers are doing, which already offered much more detailed graphics in the watch's training summaries.

Run/stand detection

There is a new feature displayed in Garmin Connect that identifies the time you have spent running or walking, and even standing still.

Garmin Epix - Running/walking

It is not only the statistics, a graph is also included in which poder see those details and on which you can overlay other details.

Garmin Epix - Running/walking

Technically, there is no mystery. It is enough for the watch to consult the cadence and pace data to know whether we are running, walking or standing still. It is so easy to do that the record is practically perfect (around minute 3 I stop for a few seconds at a crossroads, but it is not recorded in pace).

At first glance you may think that it is not useful for much, but as it allows us to superimpose other data it opens the door to analyze certain behaviors. For example, after finishing the last 400m interval, instead of standing, I chose to sit down (not because I was exhausted, it was just science, don't get the wrong idea).

You can see from the heart rate graph that this allowed me to lower my heart rate quite a bit more than when I was walking. Depending on what the goal of the session is, that detail can help you make decisions about how to approach the breaks.

That's for the asphalt runners. For trail 1TP11It could be useful to analyze a route that you have run twice and see if it is better to walk certain climbs and run faster afterwards, or to run the climb and not have to accelerate the pace so much in less steep areas. 

Since you have all the data at the end of the activity, this allows you to fully analyze the different phases of the training.

Garmin Epix GPS Performance

To talk about the GPS performance of the Garmin Epix you have to take into account which model you are interested in acquiring. Among the options you can opt for the normal version with 16GB of memory, or for the one with sapphire crystal and titanium bezel with 32GB of internal memory.

What is the difference? They use different GNSS chipset and only the sapphire crystal versions (as is the case with the Fenix 7) have a multiband GNSS chipset. So before I get into the analyses themselves I want to clarify what is involved in having multiband or dual-frequency reception.

Some of you may already know what this technology is, but I am sure it is a new concept for the vast majority.

Satellites transmit data at different frequencies, something like your home router. As with your Wi-Fi router, using different frequencies we can benefit in speed or distance. It's a mere example and they are two things that have nothing in common, but I hope you get the idea with that.

Dual-frequency systems allow for improved positioning in places with difficult reception such as forests, cities where the signal bounces off buildings, etc. By receiving information from more than one radio signal from each satellite, the device can differentiate between real signal and bounced signal.

GNSS dual frequency

Garmin is not the first manufacturer to use such a chipset. COROS went ahead a few months ago with its Vertix 2 and Huawei also has multiband on the Watch GT3. It will soon be a standard option for high-end models and in the medium term will be incorporated into more and more watches.

Well, having clarified how the dual frequency or multiband works, it is time to talk about the changes in the GPS configuration of the watch.

Within the satellite configuration in the system menu there are now new options, different from what we had until now. These are the different modes that 1TP11 can be configured:

  • GPS disabled
  • GPS only
  • All systems: the watch will prioritize between GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/BeiDou/QZSS depending on which one offers the best performance at the time).
  • All systems plus multiband: as above but using frequencies L1 and L5
  • UltraTrac: Very low power mode reducing the GPS update rate every few seconds. Only necessary for expeditions or multi-day adventures.

Garmin Epix - GPS Configuration

These satellite modes can be configured at the global system level, although it is then possible to select a different option specific to each of the configured sport profiles. It is smart because 1TP11We can have a basic configuration for running on asphalt in areas with good coverage (GPS only) and leave a trail profile with the option of all systems for better reception quality.

The next question you might ask yourself is: if multiband is better, why not leave it always active? And the answer is because it is an option that eats up the battery. As an example here you can see the autonomy data announced by Garmin and the comparison with respect to Garmin Fenix 7

 Garmin EpixGarmin Fenix 7
Smart watch mode16 days (6 days on screen always active)18 days (22 days Fenix 7 Solar)
GPS only42 hours (30 hours with screen always active)57 hours (73 hours Fenix 7 Solar)
All satellites32 hours (24 hours with screen always on)40 hours (48 hours Fenix 7 Solar)
All satellites + music10 hours (9 hours with screen always active)10 hours
All satellites + multiband20 hours (15 hours with screen always active)24 hours (26 hours Fenix 7 Solar)
GPS Expedition14 days40 days (74 days Fenix 7 Solar)

As you can see, switching from using all satellites to the multiband option reduces the autonomy by 35%. And as you will see later on for the moment the difference is not that significant.

A final note with regard to the dual-frequency. Just because accuracy can increase significantly doesn't mean that we're going to have absolutely perfect tracks under any circumstances. Obviously, there will still be specific errors.

Having clarified the whole issue of the dual band (and if there is something you have not understood, you have the comments to clarify doubts), it's time to go to the performance comparisons. Just like the optical sensor tests that you will see later, the GPS comparisons are done in the same way: with the watches accompanying me in my usual workouts.

Carrying both the Garmin Fenix and other models, and checking where the problems appear. I have no definite route to establish a score for the simple reason that there are other external factors that we must never forget.

Things like clouds, leaves on trees or simply the satellite position can alter the GPS results from one day to the next, which is why I prefer to do this type of comparison instead of having a predefined path and assess it from there.

I start the comparison with this interval workout, in which most of the time is spent on a boardwalk pacing back and forth. In this workout I have not made any changes to the settings on the watches I am testing (Garmin Epix and Garmin Instinct 2 Solar), and they have smart data recording selected in the menu. I am not using multiband on the Epix here.

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - GPS

From a bird's eye view everything looks correct, so it's time to enlarge.

This is the part of the training, calm rhythms waiting to put speed later. In this turn the best record is made by the Garmin Forerunner 745while both the Garmin Epix and the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar are slightly separated when taking the curve where the lower arrow is.

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - GPS

I've circled a point where 1TP11You can see the difference between the GPS data logging every second (red line of the FR745) with the smart logging of the Epix and Instinct 2. While the 745 rounds the curve perfectly the other two simply take a reference point and make a straight line between them. Honestly, I don't understand that in 2022 Garmin not only still has this option in the menu, but that it is the default setting.

Already in the area of the promenade, it goes back and forth constantly in the same place. All the lines are superimposed correctly, there is only one occasion when the Garmin Epix gets lost and draws the line several meters away from the real path. In the meantime the Instinct 2 performs perfectly in the 8 intervals performed there.

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - GPS

Next example. In this one I still keep the smart data recording configuration, but in the Epix I switch to multiband. The goal I was looking for in this training was specifically to "touch the noses" of the GPS reception. That is why I look for streets with complicated reception and constant turns to try to see differences in behavior between the Garmin Epix with multiband configuration and the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar and the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar. Suunto 5 Peak with your normal GPS configuration.

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - GPS

This is the most demanding part, in which I seek to wander through the starry streets of Puerto Banus. There is signal bouncing off buildings, areas with trees, areas with hardly any visibility of the sky... Within urban conditions it is one of the most complicated that podemos find.

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - GPS

In this marked area I pass through one of the narrow streets inside the harbor. Here the Epix behaves a little better than the Instinct 2 Solar and the Suunto 5 Peak, making the track a little straighter and closer to reality, but still wrong. I insist that the conditions are very difficult and I did not expect to get a good signal there either.

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - GPS

Both the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar and the Suunto 5 Peak do slightly worse, but not much worse. In fact if I hadn't told you that the Epix used the multiband configuration you probably wouldn't have noticed.

Turns leaving the complicated reception area. Here the Epix shows itself to be much better as it recovers the signal much faster (almost immediately) and draws the path followed almost perfectly. You can see how both Instinct 2 and Suunto 5 Peak are somewhat lost due to the lack of some satellites with which to triangulate the position better.

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - GPS

I continue running under a fairly tall building and make a right turn (where the parking sign on the map). Both the Instinct 2 and the Epix do really well given the difficulty, but the Suunto 5 Peak gets quite lost and has no choice but to clip the building.

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - GPS

Next area I want you to pay attention to. 

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - GPSAt this point the Garmin Epix performs well around these buildings. The Instinct 2 starts the turn well but then drifts a few meters in the first two turns. And the Suunto, for its part, does almost everything well until at the end it again loses its way and goes up the rooftops. 

The rest of the training is already out in the open and there is not much else to see. Keep in mind that I'm specifically looking for complicated places and situations, so it's normal that they all behave in a way that can be improved. What I'm looking for is the least bad behavior among all the people in the comparison.

Let's leave the asphalt aside and go into the mountains. In this training I specifically look for somewhat more difficult areas (within that I don't have any complicated canyons within reach); with forest areas, constant turns and also taking into account that the sky was very overcast and rainy, which makes reception difficult. A good test for the Epix multiband configuration.

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - GPS

At this point I have used two different paths, one for the ascent and one for the descent (marked with corresponding arrows).

If you click on the image and enlarge it you can see that the Epix track (in purple) is perfect all the way up. It conforms to the uphill track at all times. Meanwhile the Instinct 2 Solar and the FR745 make a track with a little more doubts, especially the FR745 that goes out of what is the own path followed.

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - GPS

In the downhill area I go on a small trail totally "off-trail" with many more trees. The situation repeats itself, the Epix track is cleaner than the Instinct 2 or the FR745, which move on both sides of the track.

Once again a somewhat erroneous track is repeated on the part of the FR745. The Instinct 2, without being as good as the Epix, is better suited to the turns made.

The behavior you can see at that particular point is repeated during the rest of the activity, for example at this other point where I also take different paths for the ascent or descent.

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - GPS

And if we continue further on the situation continues to repeat itself, although in this case the one that comes out a little worse is the Instinct 2, which has some points outside the correct layout.

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - GPS

But the Epix track remains superior thanks to the multiband configuration.

To sum up, everything I see regarding the Epix graphics is generally correct, no matter if I use the all satellites or multiband mode. Maybe 1TP11We could ask for more accuracy from the Epix when we are using the multiband mode, if only because of the extra power consumption, but being a new chipset it is likely that in the next months we will see improvements. 

This multiband configuration is not a panacea, but it does improve the tracks recorded in difficult conditions (in the end it is where you can make the best use of it). Obviously in areas where reception is good it does not provide much more than a configuration with lower power consumption.

Optical pulse sensor performance

The Garmin Epix uses the latest optical pulse sensor from Garmin, the Elevate v4. It is the same one that was released with the Venu 2 last year, but in this case the manufacturer has changed the type of coating on the sensor and instead of using plastic, we now have a glass that improves durability (it is common for plastic to crack).

Garmin Epix - Garmin Elevate v4

Keep in mind that a wrist heart rate monitor does not work the same way on all bodies. We're all different, and if we put things in the equation like skin tone, tattoos, body hair... the difference from person to person can be quite big.

In my tests it is not that the spectrum of users is very broad: it is me, myself and I. So what works well for me might not do it for someone else, or it might be better.

But the most important thing to keep in mind is that you have to follow some guidelines to wear the sensor. It should be tight (but not cut off your circulation), enough to keep the watch from moving freely on your wrist, leaving a separation of approximately one finger from the wrist bone. By following these details you will ensure that you get the best results that your conditions can offer.

As always I like to start with something easy, training at a steady pace and not too hard. This lays the groundwork, because if you don't perform well here the signs would already be bad.

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - Optical Sensor

There are some spikes on the part of the Polar H10 between minutes 7 and 10, but these are quickly corrected and everything continues within normality. There is not much else to comment on in these graphs and the recording from both the Epix and Instinct 2 match the data obtained from the sensor on the chest.

Measurements in training at constant paces is not something I'm too concerned about, so let's look at interval training.

We often look at data from optical sensors with disdain, blindly trusting the pulse sensors on the chest... here is an example where the chest sensor failed at two points in the training. Because indeed, they also fail.

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - Optical SensorThe initial error is quite common, as it occurs because there is still no good contact with the skin (winter, cold), the moment I start sweating the measurement is already correct. Until the last interval when for some strange reason it decides that I am about to die (it was the last one, maybe I was right...).

In any case, the Instinct 2 or Epix sensors are in full agreement at all times. If you look at the area of the intervals the behavior is as usual for optical sensors.

 

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - Optical Sensor

The sensor on the chest has a virtually instantaneous reaction time and heart rate rises and falls are recorded as they occur. Optical sensors have a slightly longer delay, because they respond to data provided by an algorithm.

Another series training. In this case only two watches are shown because the Polar Verity Sense ran out of battery power and the COROS APEX Pro decided to have a software error... Fantastic when I carry two devices to check data and both fail. 

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - Optical Sensor

Zooming in on the area of the intervals we see very similar behavior. There is a bit of a discussion in the second, with the Instinct 2 having a bit of hesitation both on the downhill and on the uphill to the third. And yet on the third it reacts to the climb faster than the Epix. 

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - Optical Sensor

At the end of the sixth interval there is also a discrepancy, with the Epix in that case not lowering the heart rate to the previous levels.

If we pass the bike, as long as there are no vibrations passing from the handlebars to the wrist there is nothing to fear.

 

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - Optical Sensor

In fact it becomes an interesting option if we want to use the watch as an external pulse sensor transmitting heart rate data to applications such as Zwift or TrainerRoad. That way you don't have to remember to wear the sensor on your chest.

However, for outdoor cycling use you will need an external pulse sensor as there is no optical sensor on the wrist that provides reliable data for our cycling activities.

But it's not all pretty, there are also days when for whatever reason the watch decides it's not going to work properly, like this workout where The Instinct 2 works perfectly on par with the Polar H10 and Polar Verity Sense, but the Epix goes on strike from practically the start.

Garmin Epix vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar - Optical SensorThis wasn't the only time I had some error regarding the optical sensor. I also did a 5K run where the sensor decided not to turn on. This second case is probably a firmware bug that Garmin will have to polish and review, but it is not a bug with respect to the optical sensor itself which has proven, both in these watches and in other models, to perform frankly well.

All in all, overall the performance is reasonably good. It is not always perfect, but as has also been demonstrated using a pulse sensor on the chest is not going to guarantee reliable 100% data either. 

Buy Garmin Epix

I hope that this in-depth review has helped you to decide if it is a valid device for you or not. All the work I do you can consult it without any cost, but if you want to support the page and by doing so the work I do, the best way to do that is to buy your new device through the links I provide .

And if you don't buy it today, remember to stop by when you do! Through these links you will not only get a competitive price and the best customer care, but also I will receive a small percentage at no additional cost to you. That's what allows me to keep offering you reviews like the one on this page.

 

Opinion Garmin Epix

Beyond the new features of both the Garmin Epix and the Fenix 7 family, in this review I wanted to focus on the usability and "mature product" feel of the Epix with its AMOLED display.

And I have to say that the experience did not disappoint me. Garmin has achieved a package that works perfectly. Firstly because it already has experience with this type of display since it launched the first Venu on the market, and secondly because it has already achieved a platform with a very low power consumption that allows to "waste" energy on an AMOLED display.

For some time now, the sports watch user has been demanding a product of this type: a very high quality display but associated with a watch that does not lose any sporting performance.

For better or worse, the Epix is still a Fenix 7 with a beautiful display. The screen has many benefits beyond aesthetics (very good visibility even in bright sunlight, higher resolution), but there is a cost in terms of shorter battery life. 

Garmin Epix

However, I think that the autonomy offered by the watch is valid for the vast majority of users. I have had to charge the watch every 5 days (using it with the screen always on), which is more or less what I have to do with the Forerunner 745 I use regularly. Do I need more? If I had to charge every 20 days I obviously wouldn't mind, but it's not the typical case of a smartwatch that we have to charge every night.

In all the days I've been using the Epix I haven't found moments where I've missed a transflective display. I'm sure if I used it for months I'd end up finding it, but that's something that hasn't happened at the moment.

With regard to the operation of the watch, there is nothing too surprising at this point. There are no major new features in its software, of those that you say "no podría live without this function", which is not to say that there are no interesting things.

The experience has improved in many ways. The maps are very fast, the scrolling thanks to the touch screen saves a lot of time, the multiband GNSS chipset of the sapphire version offers slightly better results... And regarding the latter I am sure it will improve with time because it is newly introduced (not only in Garmin, also COROS or any other manufacturer that includes multiband).

And to answer your last question or doubt about deciding between the Fenix 7 or the Epix, if the decision were in my hands I would definitely buy the Epix. Yes, it is expensive, but so is the Fenix 7. The performance of the Epix is very good and the battery more than meets my needs.

And with that... thanks for reading!

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13 Comments

  1. Great analysis and great watch... Almost almost almost THE unicorn... Too bad about the price, totally insurmountable at least for me 😕.
    Great job, as always!!!

  2. I was hesitating between Fenix 7 and Epix... it's going to be Epix!

    Today I ask for it!

    Thanks for the proof, fantastic work as always

  3. If you want some advice, I wouldn't go for such a display for a watch of this nature. Just look up how the Venu or Suunto 7 screens have looked. But, I insist, it's just an advice starting from the idea that it's a product with a long renewal cycle. Greetings!!!

  4. Excellent analysis as always!
    👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
    Thank you for all the work you put in and that makes it much easier for us to understand the new functions of the new models.
    👍🏼👌🏼✅

    Just an observation, although if you mention it I think it goes overlooked, the "real" screen size of the epix 2 is not the same as the fenix 7, its screen (of the epix) is smaller like that of the 6s or 7s. To me that is an important detail when deciding which model to go for.

    Thank you very much!

  5. Good evening Eduardo!
    🙋🏻♂️

    Doubts have already arisen 🤔 ...
    Between the fenix 7 and the epix 2, although they are the same physical size (including the screen).
    Is your effective, or actual, screen the same?

    I thought I understood that their real screens are different, that of the epix 2 its real screen (what is really used) is equal to that of the fenix 7s, that is, 1.2″ and that of the fenix 7 of 1.3″.

    Am I right?

    1. Again me, I already check where I had seen the data, in your article of January 18 this year, in the 1st look, details and opinion of the epix you mention (rather you write) that "the screen of the epix (1.3″) is smaller than that of the fenix 7 (1.4″)."

      And hence my doubt, since the one on the fenix is 1.3″.
      Now that you have the epix physically they are the same size screens or are they really different sizes?

      Thank you, Eduardo.

      1. Hello Sergio,

        Yes, I skated that day and put 1.4″ on the Fenix 7. The 1.4″ is the one on the 7X which yes is a bit larger, while the 7S has a 1.2″ screen.

        But importantly, the screen size of the Epix and the Fenix 7 is the same: 1.3″.

        1. Thank you very much Eduardo!

          in fact today I received the fenix 7 and I noticed that the margin between the screen and the bezel (in this case of titanium) is bigger than in the fenix 6, at first I was scared thinking that the screen was smaller, but no, the screen is the same, what is reduced with respect to the fenix 6 is the titanium bezel, now it is thinner and to my taste it gives a different touch to the watch.
          Now knowing that the screens of the epix and the Fenix 7 are the same size, I just started the return of the fenix 7 (not even configure it) and buy the epix. first time I buy with Amoled screen I hope it is to my liking, and although I have my reservations on the subject I trust your opinion and that is why I throw myself for the epix2 !

          Thank you very much Eduardo!

  6. Good morning Eduardo, first of all thank you for making it very easy for us not to fail in the choice of material with reviews without commitments to any brand. In my case I have enjoyed more than 5 years with Fenix5x, and it is still in perfect condition and working very well, but .... the truth is that I was waiting for the garmin955 to come out to see how it came and see if I took it or took the new epix .... and in the end, as you say, I decided on the jabugo. To the point, I have a couple of questions:
    In RACE, with a structured training downloaded from GC, the screen that appears by default shows the instantaneous pace, how can I edit that screen? I get along better with the average pace, in the FENIX5 I had it like that, but in this case I can't see where.
    2.- In SYSTEM>DATA RECORDING, the option VFC REGISTRATION, what does it imply to have it active or not?

    Thank you very much in advance

    slds

    Pablo

    1. It is not possible to edit the training screen, the data fields displayed are fixed.

      It allows you to record HR variability values, which pod you could take to some other application because Garmin does not show it.

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