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Garmin Fenix 7 | Garmin Fenix 7 / 7S / 7X Series Full Analysis

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The Garmin Fenix 7 has been one of the most important launches of the year. Not because of the amount of novelties it has brought to the market, but because it is one of the most sought after and appreciated models by all of you.

Perhaps in this generation his arrival has been somewhat in the shadow of his brother the Garmin Epix -which is still a Fenix 7 with AMOLED screen-, any Fenix 7 model is still going to be equally appreciated mainly for its autonomy. If you want to know more about this Epix, here you have the complete analysis.

Returning to the Fenix 7, or rather to the complete Fenix 7 family, remember that it is still composed of several models depending on their size: Fenix 7S, Fenix 7 and Fenix 7X. However for this year there are changes in the different "finishes" that are available and what each of them includes, in a move by Garmin to lead us to buy the premium model of the range.

In any case, all of them include maps for route navigation, the new Stamina function or the touch screen - we even have a flashlight on the Garmin Fenix 7X! 

Make yourself comfortable because in the following lines I will tell you in detail all about the Fenix 7 family, after the Fenix 7X has been accompanying me for the last few weeks of training at a rate of 16h-18h per week.

I always like to remind you that the Fenix 7X in this review is a press unit provided by Garmin that, once my work with it is done, goes back where it came from. There is no compensation of any kind from the brands I post about on the web, which gives me the freedom to poder detail to you with the utmost candor all the good (and sometimes the bad) that any device can have.

So if you like the work I do in these tests and you want to collaborate with the website, you can do it through the published links. And don't forget to join the Telegram channel I post a lot of bargains there on a regular basis, thanks for your support!

Garmin Fenix 7

Overall operation - 9.5
Training possibilities - 9
Platform and applications - 9
Battery life - 9.5
Finish and comfort - 8.5
Price/performance ratio - 7

8.8

TOTAL

A new generation of the whole Fenix 7 family with new functions and platform. Maps available in all versions and different ways of structuring them, since now the difference between them is not at the level of maps or music, but of other types of functions.

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The good

  • All versions include navigation maps
  • The solar load is now noticeable
  • Possibility to download global maps

The bad

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  • Increasingly expensive
  • The Garmin application needs a redesign, it has too many options and they are poorly structured.
  • It is a watch with a very high starting price and you have to pay even more for certain options.

Garmin Fenix range 7, models

Within the Fenix 7 range there continue to be different versions of the same watch, but there are no longer normal and Pro versions but the difference will be in the solar charging and in the things that are included within that "finish". So there is no longer a cheaper version without maps or music playback, I guess to cover that market segment Garmin will keep the normal Garmin Fenix 6 in its catalog of models.

But there is still a specific Solar version which, like the previous models, provides solar charging. For this 2022 version, the contribution is greater, as the ring that allows the watch to be charged with solar energy is now significantly larger.

So Garmin continues to have a fairly wide Fenix 7 range with different "finishes" and sizes:

  • Standard versionThe normal version of the Fenix 7 is the equivalent of the previous Fenix 6 Pro. This version includes complete maps of the continent where you buy it and has 16GB of internal memory. Here pod After storing the maps and also music both directly and synchronizing platforms such as Spotify. It has WiFi connectivity and of course Garmin Pay. The maps are not preloaded but can be downloaded.
  • Solar VersionFenix 6: In the Fenix 6 initially only the 6X had Power Glass for solar charging, but then it came to the whole range as an additional feature. This time solar charging is present in all models of the range from the beginning and allows to increase the autonomy thanks to solar energy.
  • Sapphire Solar VersionNew in the Fenix 7, solar charging can be combined with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. It incorporates preloaded maps, 32GB of memory and multiband GNSS.
  • Titanium Sapphire Solar VersionEquivalent to the previous model but also with the use of titanium to lighten the weight and increase durability.

In terms of size, we still have three sizes, in denominations that have become classic and commonplace for everyone.

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  • Garmin Fenix 7S42mm diameter, 20mm wide strap, 1.2″ screen and 240×240 pixels resolution. Up to 37 hours of autonomy with GPS 1 second without using other systems or multiband.
  • Garmin Fenix 747mm diameter, 22mm strap, 1.3″ screen and 260×260 resolution. The autonomy increases to a maximum of 57 hours.
  • Garmin Fenix 7XThe watch is 51mm in diameter and has a 26mm strap for a 1.4″ screen with a resolution of 280×280 pixels. The autonomy reaches 89 hours and, in this case, there is no normal version. Only Pro, Sapphire and Solar.

For the Garmin Fenix 7X, which is the version I will be using for this review, there is no non-Solar version, the base is including solar charging and from there you can add the sapphire crystal and titanium finish.

What's New Garmin Fenix 7

In a way, the Garmin Fenix 7 is the new model in the Garmin range renewal. The Fenix 6 came to the market after the Fenix 7. Garmin Forerunner 945 so it used its new features as a base. On this occasion it is the Fenix 7 the first of all these renovations, below I detail all the new features that podemos find in the new Fenix 7:

  • Touch screen on all versions. The five control buttons are maintained
  • Aesthetic changes in the watch. Now the upper screws are moved to the external part where the strap anchor, leaving a cleaner and less bulky bezel.
  • Garmin Elevate V4 Optical Pulse Sensor, which was released with the Garmin Venu 2
  • Multiband (dual-band) system on sapphire crystal versions
  • LED flashlight on the Garmin Fenix 7X
  • 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
  • Greater autonomy in all models, and also greater impact of solar charging on the models that support it.
  • Largest solar surface area in all Fenix 7 Solar
  • Solar models can have sapphire glass, previously they were exclusively PowerGlass. The regular Garmin Fenix 7 uses Gorilla Glass.
  • Military durability certification MIL-STD-810
  • 316L SS stainless steel certification
  • 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.
  • TopoActive maps of Europe and possibility of downloading worldwide via WiFi
  • 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 699€.

As usual with Garmin, there are no huge changes with respect to the previous model, but there are small innovations here and there that, as a whole, end up making up an interesting overall package.

Details of all new products in the Garmin Fenix 7 range

This time I will omit all the basics of the Garmin Fenix 7. I think it is already a very well known model for all of you and if you have had contact with any Garmin model in the last... a lot of years? you will already be totally familiar with menus, interface and other aspects of the watch.

So I'll spare you reading it, and I'll spare myself writing it, to go straight to the main course and see what these new features have come to the new Fenix 7 range.

Touch screen

Of all the new features present in the new range perhaps what you will use or notice the most will be the touch screen. I personally do not like touch screens on watches and I am more in favor of using the buttons, but I have to admit that there are times when it will be very comfortable.

The button layout of the Fenix 7 remains exactly the same as before: two on the right side and three on the left side. However, the main button now has a kind of protection that prevents accidental presses, for example when turning the wrist or rolling up the sleeves of your jacket.

Garmin Fenix 7X - Main button protection

Back to the touch screen, as I said there are situations where you will appreciate poder using it. Especially when you are using the map.

In this case the touch screen is much more practical because it will allow us to move around the map by simply sliding our finger on the screen, leaving the buttons for poder zooming. 

Previously in the Fenix 6 everything had to be done through the buttons, selecting if we wanted to move horizontally, vertically or zoom. And once we were in a place close to what we wanted to do, back to the same thing: horizontal, vertical, zoom...

With the touch screen all this is much faster.

Garmin Fenix 7X - Navigation Map

And within the watch options it allows us to adjust everything the way we want. We can enable or disable the touchscreen at any time from the quick access menu, as well as configure the touchscreen for each of the sport profiles that, by default, have the touchscreen disabled.

Or you can also go into the system settings and enable or disable the touch during sleep (recommendation, disable it if you don't want a brush on the screen to turn on a headlight in the middle of the night).

Configuration from the phone

After a lot of years of many users asking for it, Garmin has finally introduced the configuration of profiles and settings from 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 image gallery corresponds to the Garmin Epix, but in the case of the Fenix 7 everything is identical.

What you will appreciate most is the ability to modify sport profiles. Now selecting data fields and how to configure the displays will be a matter of minutes because podrás do everything directly with the speed of the cell phone, and not by pressing buttons on the watch.

But remember that we also have a touch screen, so if you want to do it directly on the watch it will also be faster than before because you can press the data you want to change and then select the chosen option from the list of different options.

There are things that are not yet possible to do from the app, such as adding or modifying external sensors. In my case I miss it because I make quite a lot of use of external sensors and it is very handy on the Wahoo watch when selecting the different names, Garmin still forces you to do it directly from the watch. But I'm sure it's something that will end up being available.

Autonomy and solar charging

There are new features in the versions that include a solar charging panel. The most notable is that the panel size is now larger, and the reality is that solar charging is now much more noticeable in overall battery life.

This is not only due to the larger panel size. Obviously with a larger size of the charging panel the pod watch will be able to take better advantage of the sunlight.

Garmin Fenix 7X - Solar charge

It is also a direct consequence of a better efficiency of the watch, which leads to a longer total autonomy regardless of whether we make use of solar charging or not.

That is, as the watch stays on longer between charges (because its efficiency is better), it has more opportunity to charge thanks to sunlight, and therefore the total autonomy is longer compared to the Garmin Fenix 6 Solar.

The technology that Garmin uses is called Power Glass. The watch crystal is able to transform sunlight into energy. There is a ring on the outside of the display that will absorb 100% of the light received. It is similar to the photoelectric cells in a calculator.

Garmin Fenix 7X - Solar charge

This is not the only area that takes advantage of solar energy. Underneath the screen there is another solar panel that logically receives less light (because it is covered by the screen), but its size is much larger. This panel only transforms 10% of the energy, but as its size is much larger than the small external ring, the contribution it makes is also important.

With some watch faces you will always poder visualize how long you have been taking advantage of the solar charge, as it will be displayed directly on the time display.

Garmin Fenix 7X - Solar charge

In addition, we have a solar intensity widget that we can access at any time and see the incidence of the sun in the last few hours.

Garmin Fenix 7X - Solar charge

In the widget we have a small sun at the top that indicates on a scale of 1 to 10 the intensity of sunlight, as well as displaying it in Lux values.

Let's talk about battery performance, which in the end is what really matters. How many hours of additional use does solar charging give us? I leave you this table below with the official data provided by Garmin.

Autonomy Garmin Fenix 7

As you can see the battery increase in the case of the Solar models is significant in any of the models. Obviously, as I indicated before, the larger the battery we start from, the more it will add for the simple reason that it can spend more time in the sun.

The solar usage data is estimated for 3 hours of sunshine per day, so if you spend more time training or just being in full sun in the summer, the final data will be higher.

Built-in flashlight (exclusive Fenix 7X)

Garmin Fenix 7X - Flashlight

The integrated flashlight is the differential function inside the Fenix 7X. At first it may seem like an absurd or filler function, but once it is put to use we begin to appreciate it more and more, especially since it has several types of use and is not limited to simply providing light.

This flashlight is located on the front of the watch, and with it turned off it is not easy to identify that this is what it is.

Garmin Fenix 7X - Flashlight

It consists of a total of three LEDs: two white and one red. The white LEDs can be dimmed, while the red LED has a fixed intensity.

There are several modes of use:

  • Normal flashlight, when you want a light source at any time of the day. It can be activated from the quick access menu or by pressing the upper left button twice (the Light button, obviously). We can adjust the intensity of the light emitted.

Garmin Fenix 7X - Flashlight

  • Flashes or pulses, designed to be seen while you are doing a sporting activity. This function is activated or deactivated within the options of each sport and allows you to configure it as short, long, fast or pulse blinking. And a fifth option in which it tries, depending on the cadence, to show white light when the arm goes forward and red light when it goes backward. In my tests the truth is that I have not succeeded....

    And as a positive point, it is also possible to configure it to start automatically whenever we use that sport profile or only between sunset and sunrise.
  • Finally there is an SOS function that will flash with the international MORSE code of... exactly, SOS. It will appear in case of falls or incident detection.

As for the intensity of the light itself, the truth is that in the brightest mode it illuminates quite a lot, similar to how a cell phone can illuminate thanks to the flash. Perfectly usable if you are running at night in poorly lit areas and want to see where you are running. 

It is not only a light that allows you to be seen, it is also valid to see. Obviously it is not a dedicated headlamp nor will it be admitted as such in a competition, but it is an interesting addition at specific times, to go out for training or simply as a "backup" in case you run out of battery in the headlamp.

As I said at the beginning of this section, it is something that on paper may seem absurd, but once you have it integrated into the watch you will use it more and more and I am sure that on some occasion I will miss it when I finish working with this Garmin Fenix 7X.

Stamina function

The new features of the Fenix 7 have also arrived in the software and sports algorithms. Stamina is the latest innovation from Firstbeat and allows the watch to show us, visually, an estimate of the remaining "battery" left in our body while we are doing a workout.

It is available for running or cycling profiles and allows you to know the energy available to reach the goal or finish the training, all depending on the intensity of the exercise that will be measured through the pulse sensor (integrated or external via Bluetooth or ANT+). If you activate the Stamina display this is what you will see on the watch.

Garmin Fenix 7X - 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. For example, I have made transitions from cycling to running and, when I started to run, the Stamina that marked was the same that I had left after getting off the bike.

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 Fenix 7X - Stamina

The Stamina bar can appear in red or green. When it appears in red it indicates that we are consuming energy at a faster rate than expected according to the potential (by increasing the rate), and if it is in 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.

Garmin Fenix 7X - 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 be saying that when the potential stamina reaches 0% we are going to be finished? Well, it depends, because there is also a lot of psychological aspect. I managed to get the metric to 0% after a 4.5 hour interval bike ride. Yes, when I got to the end I was pretty chopped up, but also because I knew it was the end of the training and I was ready to go home.

Garmin Fenix 7X - StaminaBut as you can see the 0% I reached it a while before finishing, and I still had energy to keep pedaling, even if it was at low power. But if we were talking about a competition I would have had no problem to put some gas in the body and continue in the fight. 

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

Maps have a very high importance in the Fenix 7 range. It is the main reason why the vast majority of users buy this model.

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 Fenix 7X - 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.

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.

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 Fenix 7X - Download Maps

Among the new navigation features we have the "Up Ahead" function. In the menu we podemos find it as "Up Ahead". This function allows to create POIs (Point Of Interest or POI) customized in icon and location, so that we can see them while we are navigating the route.

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.

However, it is more interesting to add POIs from Garmin Connect because you can select the icons you want, and those will be the ones you see on the watch display.

Garmin Fenix 7 - List of POIs

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 Fenix 7X - Distance to POIs

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 Fenix 7X - Distance to POIs

It is not a big change when navigating routes and does not provide an exaggerated functionality, but depending on the type of routes it can be quite useful. For example, you can enter the location of the refreshment posts of a race and thus know at any time how much distance you have left to go to the next one.

Connect IQ store on the watch

Just as Google and Apple have done with their smartwatches, Garmin also wants to make the app store available on the watch itself. Having access to this app store from the watch itself opens the door for you to update apps, data fields or widgets you already have installed on the watch.

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

Garmin Fenix 7X - Application Store

Currently it is a very basic function as it is not the full store that we have here, but simply shows a number of recommended applications. For example Spotify, AccuWeather, Surfline, Komoot...

If you want any other of the available applications you will have to continue entering through the phone application. This is a first step and it is foreseeable that it will be expanded with more possibilities later on, but for the moment it is quite limited.

New activity summary

At the end of the activity we find the new activity summary. It is not entirely new but what we have are some new graphs and quick display screens.

Garmin Fenix 7X - Activity Summary

On the main screen we will find the map of the course together with the total distance, and below it the average pace and time.

If we scroll down we have access to graphs of pace, heart rate, time in zones, altitude and training effect.

Where is the data we had available until now? If you press the main button (top right) 1TP11we will have all the statistics, laps, etc.

Run/stand detection

Finally there is the automatic detection of running and walking. In Garmin Connect, after synchronizing the activity, pod will see how much time you have spent running, walking or even standing still.

Garmin Epix - Running/walking

We don't just have the total numbers, we also 1TP11Have a graph in which we have the same data overlaid with other different data, for example rate.

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.

GPS and optical HR sensor performance

To talk about the GPS performance of the Garmin Fenix 7 you should consider which model you are interested in buying, because within the options you can opt for the version with sapphire crystal which, among other additional features, brings a different GNSS chipset.

Only the sapphire crystal versions have a multiband GNSS chipset. This is not the case for the Garmin Fenix 7X that I have had to test, so you won't see the real differences between using it or not using it here. But you can check it in the test of the Garmin Epix since the model I used for that one did have the sapphire crystal.

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 multi-band: as above but using L1 and L5 frequencies (only on models with sapphire crystal)
  • UltraTrac: Very low power mode reducing the GPS update rate every few seconds. Only necessary for expeditions or multi-day adventures.

Garmin Fenix 7X - GPS Modes

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 a battery draining option. 

Autonomy Garmin Fenix 7

As you can see, switching from using all satellites to the multiband option reduces the autonomy by approximately 35%.

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. As with 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. Wearing both the Garmin Fenix 7X and other models, and checking where the problems appear.

I do not have any defined path to establish a score for the simple reason that there are other external factors that we should never forget. Things like clouds, leaves on the trees or simply the position of the satellite can alter the GPS results from one day to the next.

This is why I prefer to make this type of comparison instead of having a predefined route and assess it from this one.

As for the optical sensor, you should keep in mind that a wrist heart rate monitor does not work the same way on every body. We are all different, and if we add into the equation things like skin tone, tattoos, body hair... the difference from person to person can be quite large.

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.

After the "disclaimer" that I do in all my reviews, let's go to the tests themselves. I will try to be brief and concise because this section is always a bit tedious both for you to read it and for me to write it. 

In this case I will take the opportunity to do the joint test with the Polar Pacer Pro, so I can take advantage of both optical pulse sensor and GPS graphs for both analyses. A matter of being efficient at work.

I always like to start comparisons with an easy pace workout, because it lays a foundation for what 1TP11We can expect from the sensor. Smooth and steady pace, any optical sensor has to be able to register that perfectly.

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Sensor Comparison

I've made several marks on the graph, so let's take it one at a time. This is a run workout after the bike, so I'm already going out with a high heart rate and dilated blood vessels. Despite that both the Fenix 7X and the Pacer Pro have an incorrect start, especially on the part of the Polar. But hey, that's relatively common and not something that worries me, as all pulse sensors (even chest sensors) need some time to work properly. And here we are talking about the first minute of training, which is usually to warm up.

At around the 8 minute mark there is a sudden stop (brief entrance to a restroom). Both the Fenix 7X and Polar H10 record the downhill and uphill correctly, but there is something confusing about the Pacer Pro. However when running again everything works perfectly.

Later it is the chest pulse sensor that suffers, with erratic behavior between the 25th and 30th minute. From that moment on, three graphs completely parallel to each other, even when I stop to drink water from a fountain on the hour. Here the Pacer Pro does not make a mistake and behaves just as well as the other sensors. 

From here to the end, just two small spikes out of place, first from the Pacer Pro and then from the Polar H10 sensor, but without much to highlight.

Below is the GPS track of this training.

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Comparison GPS

This is the initial point where I enter the bathroom. Curious about how each one behaves when it runs out of satellite reception. The Pacer Pro is the one that does the weirdest things and changes location to one a little farther away. The FR745 comes out a little dizzy until it gets back to the right direction and the Fenix 7X remains virtually unchanged.

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Comparison GPS

Note, this does not mean anything and is merely circumstantial. Possibly if another day I do the same test the result will be totally different, but it is good as a sample of how they behave in the loss of signal.

Further on I start to enter more complicated areas. Here I am running under trees, which makes signal reception difficult. In fact, the Pacer Pro gets slightly off track and goes over some buildings (mark indicated by the arrow). 

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Comparison GPS

Further on, in the S-turn indicated in the circle, the three watches behave perfectly in the face of rapid changes of direction.

This area of Puerto Banus is quite complicated for reception. Buildings, trees and a lot of signal bounce. A total of 6 tracks (3 outbound, 3 return), and despite this at all times there is a reasonable performance by the three watches. Perhaps the Pacer Pro is the one that is more off in one of the senses, but in this area I have seen much worse tracks.

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Comparison GPS

When running in clear areas and there are no signal reception problems, everything is perfect. 

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Comparison GPSChange of pace, it's time to see how it behaves with interval training, so let's go with a 15×2′.

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Sensor Comparison

The area I have pointed out is an erratic point on the part of the Fenix 7X. It lasts for a few minutes (although everyone has started the training perfectly). Later on it joins the graph of the optical sensors of the Pacer Pro and Polar Verity Sense.

As for the intervals, the performance of all the members of the comparison was frankly good at all times. 

I have simply slightly enlarged this part of the intervals where the Pacer Pro has two small slips.

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Sensor ComparisonBut during the rest of the workout both the Pacer Pro and the Fenix 7X perform great, even in the intensity ramps up and down where they match the graph of the Polar Verity Sense.

In terms of GPS there is not much to see on this occasion. For this test I added the COROS APEX Pro on the left hand. The Polar Pacer Pro was the only one I had on the right wrist, you'll soon know why I say that....

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Comparison GPS

Zooming into the track you can see that the graphs are at all times very accurate, always highlighting the line of the Polar Pacer Pro parallel to the other two, but slightly separated. And is that certainly the Pacer Pro is separated from the Garmin Fenix 7X and COROS APEX Pro, because they are in different hands ... so even that level of detail have managed to reach.

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Comparison GPS

Possibly it was a good day in terms of absence of clouds, because the area of the passage through Puerto Banús is more stable than it was in the previous training.

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Comparison GPS

Let's move on to a progressive workout in 25-minute blocks. The intensity is gradually increasing, although the workout suits me quite well because there is not much variation in heart rate between the beginning and the end despite the changes in pace.

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Sensor Comparison

At almost all times all the optical sensors (Garmin Fenix 7X, Polar Pacer Pro and Polar Verity Sense) are in total agreement with the Polar H10 chest sensor that was synchronized with the Garmin FR745. There is only some difference in the final stretch where you can see some discrepancies. So I'm going to zoom in on that part to see what's going on.

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Sensor Comparison

Around minute 55 there is a small dip by the Polar Pacer Pro, but later on it is the Polar H10 that introduces the most errors in the graph.

In this training there are two or three occasional failures on the part of the Polar Pacer Pro and the Polar H10, but no noticeable failures in the case of the Garmin Fenix 7X or the Polar Verity Sense, which speaks very highly of both models.

As for the GPS track of this training everything seems to be quite in order.

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Comparison GPS

Although the best thing to do is to zoom in to look for a punctual error and see who is the "culprit". And what we will see next is always the same culprit who has punctual deviations, first by trimming the curve and then lengthening it. For example here:

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Comparison GPS

And here:

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Comparison GPS

The offender is the Polar Pacer Pro. And it repeats somewhat similar behavior here as well.

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Comparison GPS

In his defense, he recovers quickly from the error and that they are punctual triangulation failures. But it is equally true that neither the Garmin Fenix 7X nor the Garmin Forerunner 745 make these errors.

The rest of the training? Very boring and with nothing else to highlight, the behavior is very precise by all the members of the comparison even when there are abrupt changes of direction.

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Comparison GPS

As for the barometric altimeter, for lack of having another place to show it, I do so below.

Polar Pacer Pro - Garmin Fenix 7X - Comparison barometer

Note that I have not calibrated any of the watches, and that the Fenix 7X is able to know the altitude for self-calibration thanks to its DEM maps (all about altitude, elevation and maps explained here). I am not interested in the exact height data but in the graph itself to see that there are no deviations throughout the training. And in this case they are parallel graphs.

You can see how Polar does a filtering of the data and shows a much flatter graph while the Garmin clocks make more constant peaks. That leads to differences in training on a flat surface (as is basically the case here). Perhaps it is related to the Hill Splitter function, or that the Garmin altimeter is too "volatile" to small differences in terrain.

While the Garmin has marked 62 meters and 50 meters of ascent, the Polar Pacer Pro has accumulated 30 meters. Which one is right? If I use Strava's elevation correction it shows 47 meters, if I do it on the Garmin Connect it goes to 177 meters (knowing how it calculates accumulation on the routes, it's the one I believe the least). A real mess. 

In the end what I am left with is that it is comparable from day to day no matter what watch you use and that there are no strange deviations due to barometer error. That is the important thing.

The summary that 1TP11We can have from all these graphs and images is that the GPS, barometric altimeter and optical pulse sensor performance have been good throughout.

As I always say, the tracks are not perfect, because they will never be because of the type of technology used. But when there have been problems the watch has quickly retrieved the correct track and the pace and distance data has always been appropriate.

And for its part the summary for the optical pulse sensor section is quite similar to the GPS. There have been occasional errors, but just as there have been with other watches and even with the pulse sensor on the chest. I would have no problem in relying exclusively on this sensor, always remembering that in case of cycling you do have to opt for an external sensor.

 

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If you have any questions, remember that you have the comments section at the bottom, where I will try to answer all your questions.

Opinion Garmin Fenix 7

Really my only objection to the Fenix 7 range is the price. With each renewal Garmin increases the starting price, but perhaps that price increase is not reflected in the amount of new features.

Don't get me wrong; in general everything the Fenix 6 does, the Fenix 7 does better and faster. It's clearly a better device in every respect, but there's not too much that would make a Garmin Fenix 6 owner switch models.

There are two things that stand out: the most obvious is the new touch screen that, on a day-to-day basis, you won't need or use too much. But the moment you start handling maps, you'll wonder how you ever had that before. The second is the autonomy, which now makes solar charging a differentiating factor because it is really adding hours of battery life.

In all the time I've been using the Garmin Fenix 7X (two weeks at the time of this writing) I only charged it when I took it out of the box. And my weeks have been 15 hours of training, almost all of it with GPS use (except for pool swimming). And I still have a 30% of battery remaining.

However, I can't stop thinking about the Garmin Epixwhich I think this time is the star of this range, even if it is not under the umbrella "Fenix". If I were in the position to buy either of the two I would certainly opt for the model with AMOLED screen, because it brings improvements in the day to day and many types of training, and in my opinion the battery is more than enough for the vast majority of users.

In any case it is a decision you can make yourself: choose between battery life (Fenix 7 in any of its versions) or the "beauty" of the Garmin Epix.

And with that... thanks for reading!

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9 Comments

  1. Hello Eduardo. I loved your article. Clear and concise as usual with you. I am thinking about the Epix and I have read with great interest your opinion in relation to the phoenix because of a doubt about the use of the screen on the handlebars of the bike. In this case the Epix screen would almost always be dimmed and I do not know if it would be a nuisance to consult it, especially in my case that I look at the cadence. I don't ride very much, so I've ruled out a bike computer. Currently I have Polar Vantage and orienting it well the transflective does not give me too many problems. Hence my doubt between Fenix and Epix in this case. How do you see the issue? Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Pedro.
      Well, I haven't tried wearing the Epix on the handlebars, but it's true that maybe with a lot of ambient light and the screen dimmed it might be a little difficult to see. Anyway, if you don't ride your bike much it wouldn't be something I'd worry too much about, because in the end you're going to wear the watch for the rest of the time.

      1. Thank you very much Eduardo. You encourage me to buy it. Look, it may seem silly, but I prefer to ask. If I buy it through one of your links and I'm not convinced and I proceed to return it, does it hurt you?

  2. I would like to know the behavior of the x7solar in high mountain environments and especially in its application of ,,expedition,,,, if anyone has any data or if you have already tested it. Thanks

  3. Hello!
    First of all thank you very much for both the analysis of the Fenix 7 and the 955, I am hesitating to buy one of the two, and I do not opt for either. My main question is, how comfortable is one compared to the other? I'm thinking about the day, working with the computer, cooking, and above all, sleeping. I come from a forerunner 245, and I don't even notice it, my fear is that the Fenix 7 is too big and bothers me.
    Beyond that, any noticeable differences other than the flashlight?
    Thank you very much,

    1. If you are coming from the 245 and want something that is still just as comfortable my recommendation is the 955. At first the Fenix 7 will be big and heavy. As for the flashlight, keep in mind that it's only on the 7X, which is even bigger.

      There are hardly any differences at the software level.

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