On January 18th the Garmin Fenix 7 and Epix 2 will launch. Despite the number 2 in its name, the latter is the new kid on the block. But who is it meant for?
There have been lots of leaks and rumours in the past few weeks on upcoming Garmin watches. The company has not officially confirmed or denied any of them, although it has teased an international product launch event to be held at 15:00 GMT (10am EST) on Tuesday, January 18th. Not that we needed a teaser. Some Garmin regional outlets such as the ones from Israel and Norway had already posted information about a launch happening on that day.
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Of course, Garmin has not revealed what new products it will unveil. It never does ahead of time. But it is pretty safe to assume that we will see the next iteration in the Fenix range, along with Epix 2. There have been too many leaks to expect otherwise. Not to mention the FCC filings.
The Fenix already has a loyal following. But what about Epix 2? Garmin Forerunners are for meant for runners, the Fenix range is a robust outdoorsy watch for those into multi-sports. Who is the Epix 2 aimed at?
A Garmin Fenix with an AMOLED display
Simply put, Epix 2 will be pretty much the same as Fenix 7. The important difference will be the inclusion of an AMOLED display instead of a transflective screen.
Garmin already has a watch with an AMOLED display – the Venu. The range actually received a new addition a couple of weeks ago that came in the form of Venu 2 Plus. The main upgrades are the addition of a third physical button, microphone and speaker. These are used to access the voice assistant.
The relationship between Fenix 7 and Epix 2 will be similar to that of Vivoactive and Venu. Pretty much the same functionality, the important difference being the quality of display.
The mid-range (47mm) Fenix 7 will come with a touch display measuring 1.3 inches. The Epix 2 will be the same sized and also touch enabled. But its resolution at 416 x 416 pixels will be much higher than the 260 x 260 pixels of the Fenix. Those that prefer the five physical buttons will be happy to know both watches will continue to work with them. Reportedly, you’ll even be able to switch off the touch functionality.
The AMOLED display has the advantage of being brighter, more high-res, it has a higher speed of rendering, so it is easier to read. That should go a long way with athletes whose eyes are getting worse with age or just those that want a prettier display.
The caveat is that while these types of screens are great for indoors, they can be hard to see outdoors, in bright sunshine. Having said that there are claims that Epix 2 will have good readability even in these conditions. Nevertheless it is unlikely to match the readability in direct sunlight of the memory-in-pixel display of the Fenix.
A target for Epix 2 will be those that want a Venu but don’t want to give up rich features of the Fenix range. So don’t be surprised if you suddenly see some of the Venu crowd selling their watches in order to buy Epix 2. We suspect female athletes are also going to appreciate the more fashionable Epix 2. Although with a 47mm diameter, the watch is going to be pretty large.
The sacrifice is battery life
But its not all good news. A fancy screen has consequences that come in the form of shorter battery life. One way around this is to switch off the always-on option. If you can tolerate your watch display sometimes going blank and waking up only when you tap on it – you’ll get decent battery life.
The regular Fenix 7 will have 18 days of battery juice in smartwatch mode. With GPS this falls to 57 hours. The Epix 2, on the other hand, will run for 16 days in smartwatch mode and 42 hours in GPS mode. But that’s with the always-on option switched off. You are unlikely to get a week in smartwatch mode with an AMOLED display that never goes dark. In fact, you can expect to get around six days – which is still not bad.
Garmin seems to be dipping their toes in water with Epix 2. For that reason it is rumoured there will only be a single size. The Fenix 7 is expected to come in a regular, X and S variant. It will also have a solar option.
Finally, there is the question of price. Whatever you choose, Epix 2 or Fenix 7, you’ll have to part with a large chunk of cash. You’re looking at around $900 for the first. The Fenix 7 will start at around 700 euros and go up from there depending on the size you choose, whether you want solar, titanium build, etc.
Update (18/1/2022). You can buy the Fenix 7 and Epix 2 watches on Amazon (links: Fenix 7, Epix 2) and Garmin’s website. Check out our detailed comparison on how Garmin Fenix 7, Epix 2 and Fenix 6 compare.
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