We received the most recent Fenix iteration at the start of 2022. It may be early days, but that shouldn’t stop us from anticipating the Garmin Fenix 8, its possible technical specifications, and its possible release date.
Over the years, the Fenix line has become a favourite among sports and outdoor enthusiasts. This is an excellent wearable with most of the features you’d want for fitness training as well as feature sets for outdoor navigation. A device for those who participate in multiple sports and want to track everything. It’s no surprise that everyone is looking forward to the next installment of the series.
Essential reading: Garmin Forerunner 955 vs Fenix 7 vs Epix 2 – which to go for?
But many are looking beyond these editions and wondering when we’ll see the Garmin Fenix 8. The competition is stiff, so it’s a fair bet that the company will set its goals high once again. There have been no leaks so far, so what follows is what one could reasonably expect based on the development of the line so far. As and when we hear more, we will update this article.
Garmin Fenix 8: Possible design and tech specs
Despite multiple generations, Garmin has kept the Fenix line’s flagship design. In recent years, the circular display and the five physical buttons have consistently made the cut. However, some changes have occurred along the way.
One of these is the addition of multiple sizes, ensuring that there is something for everyone. This is likely to continue with the next generation, with Garmin reintroducing three different-sized options.
Last year we also saw the introduction of Epix 2. The watch is nearly identical to the Fenix 7, with one notable exception: it has an AMOLED display. We expect the upcoming Forerunner 965 and 265 will be the AMOLED versions of the 955 and 255.
One thing we’d like to see with the Fenix 8 is a slimmer form factor.The device is currently quite thick. This ranges from 14.1mm to 14.9mm, depending on the size chosen. Whether we see a less chunky Fenix 8 really depends on how much it would affect battery life. A smaller physical space can fit a smaller battery.
The mid-sized Fenix 7 runs an impressive 18 days (22 days with solar) in smartwatch mode and 57 hours (73 hours with solar) with GPS switched on. The 7S and 7X also perform well on this count. Garmin is unlikely to downsize the battery capacity as it remains a very important selling point.
The same consideration applies to the possible introduction of a higher-resolution screen. Having said that, one could reasonably expect the same or a similar type of MIP display, but with more pixels squeezed in.
What we like about the current edition is the newly added touchscreen functionality. Garmin has, quite rightly, opted to retain the two physical buttons on the right and three on the left. But now you can use this in combination with the touch display to navigate the menus. Best of all, this is customizable, so you can turn the touchscreen on or off depending on your needs.Perfect.
A decision to offer just a touch screen would not have been a good one. It would not be practical because athletes would find a touchscreen difficult to use in wet weather or when swimming.
Garmin appears to be adapting a similar design across its latest crop of sports watches, so it is unlikely to stray very much from that. Why change something that works? We, therefore, don’t expect to see any drastic changes in the looks department with the Fenix 8.
In any case, expect to see different-sized models, including some premium editions. and lots of options in straps, colors, and watch faces.
And while those looking for a radically different design might be disappointed, something around the corner may pique their interest. A device called Garmin Austin will reportedly launch in the months ahead. Just like Fenix and Epix, this is classified as an outdoor watch. What exactly we get remains to be seen. A outdoorsy timepiece especially designed for women? Something with a totally different form factor? It’s anyone’s guess.
Garmin Fenix 8: Functionality we expect, would like to see
The Fenix 7 is an excellent multisport GPS watch. Cycling, open-water swimming, cross-country skiing, climbing, indoor run/bike/swim, hiking, and many other activities are possible. In addition to wrist-based heart rate monitoring, the watch offers advanced running metrics and outdoor navigation. Finally, while not the most user-friendly, the Garmin Connect software is excellent, whether using the smartphone app or the more comprehensive web dashboard.
All Fenix watches include ABC sensors to provide relevant real-time data. The altimeter provides elevation data, while the barometer predicts weather changes by displaying short-term trends in air pressure. Whether you’re moving or not, the 3-axis electronic compass keeps you on track.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
We have always been impressed with the Fenix model, and iteration number seven has brought some nice upgrades. This includes the addition of a touchscreen, a better GPS chip, and longer battery life. The gap is not huge, and these are expensive features if they are the only reason to upgrade.
While impressive in its specs, the device is by no means perfect. For example, users have reported ANT+ reception problems, so a better antenna is very likely on Fenix 8, as is a new heart rate tracking module and other sensor improvements.
More training metrics
The watch also has lots of training metrics. As far as what is coming, that is difficult to predict at this stage. Recovery was one area where Garmin has lagged in recent years as compared to the likes of Whoop, Polar, and Oura. Now it has evened up the score.
No doubt, there are additional goodies in store that will land in the years ahead. What exactly will depend on is whether or not new sensors are built into the watch. Garmin has acquired the rights to Firsbeat Analytics technology, which puts it in a prime position to keep developing these types of metrics.
Sleep tracking that actually works
One sore point right now is sleep tracking. It is the weak point of all Garmin watches.
For some reason, you need to define a window in the Garmin Connect settings during which you typically sleep. We are not sure why that is necessary in 2023 when other companies do not require you to do this. Surely it can’t be too difficult to figure out when you are in a horizontal position and not moving.
Naps? You can’t track them on a Garmin watch. That’s not good enough from a company that prides itself on being one of the best in its class. At minimum, it would be good to have the option to enter them manually.
For example, I tend to sleep 6-7 hours per night. But supplement this with an hour or two afternoon naps. As far as Garmin is concerned, I have only had one sleep session. Which throws the readiness score out of whack.
ECG sensors have been making all the headlines in recent years. It is only recently that this was enabled in the Venu 2 Plus watch. For now that remains the only Garmin timepiece with the feature.
Is this a must-have for the Fenix line? Not even remotely. However, it would be nice to have.
Other sensors are always a possibility. In fact, we seem to be close to the stage where there will be a radical shakeup of health tracking technology. A number of different companies are working on sensors that will track blood pressure, sweat, glucose, hydration, and more from the wrist in real-time and continuously.
The only question is whether the technology will be ready to integrate into the next Garmin Fenix watch. Devices with these types of next-generation sensors are expected to start shipping towards the end of 2023. Exciting times ahead for us wearable geeks!
А better smartwatch experience
It is fair to say that the current Fenix line is very limited as far as smartwatch features. Particularly if you compare the device to the likes of the Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch. Sure, you get the basics, such as notification support, music control, and storage, but it doesn’t go much beyond that.
Is that a particular problem? Probably not, as the customer base for this type of device is comprised of fitness enthusiasts. But it would be nice to get a better smartwatch experience on future Fenix generations. Things that could potentially be added include a microphone and smart assistant voice control, better and richer third-party app support, and more.
More fully integrated Garmin Pay support
Right now there is only limited Garmin Pay bank support. Hopefully the company will expand this in the future to more banks and financial institutions, across a wider range of countries
Multi-band GNSS only on Sapphire models
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Only the Fenix 7 Sapphire model (and the Epix 2 model) has multi-band GNSS support. Which is kind of an insult to owners of other Fenix 7 versions. Why?
Because the Forerunner 955 model, which was not expected to have better specs than the Fenix 7, comes with this built-in. The functionality allows for multiple frequencies from each constellation for improved positioning where obtaining a satellite signal is challenging. I have been wearing a Forerunner 955 watch for the past few weeks, and the improvements are very noticeable, both when it comes to speed of connection and GPS accuracy.
It is a certainty that this will be built into the Fenix 8 watch.
A cellular model in the next year or so? This could even be released as an interim version of Fenix 7. Perhaps a Fenix 7 LTE.
One could say that this is another feature that the typical Fenix watch user does not really require. After all, you’re not very likely to call your office while running. But it would be nice to have the option of one with proper cellular connectivity that doesn’t end with security functions. Perhaps a Fenix 8 model with cellular and one without.
Garmin Fenix 8: Potential release date
Fenix 7 was announced at the start of 2022 and made available for purchase towards the end of January. But what about the predecessor iterations in the series?
Here’s the recent release schedule.
- Garmin Fenix 3 (January 2015)
- Garmin Fenix 3 (January 2016)
- Garmin Fenix 5 (January 2017)
- Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (June 2018)
- Garmin Fenix 6 (September 2019)
- Garmin Fenix 7 (January 2022)
This shows that there has been a bit of a gap between generations six and seven. But the circumstances were not normal. The coronavirus situation in recent years, coupled with chip-shortages and an energy crisis in certain Asian countries, have not made things easy for wearable manufacturers. We actually think the Fenix 7 was scheduled to be released in 2021 but was delayed due to the situation.
As far as the next iteration in the series, we certainly do not anticipate such a large gap. The earliest Fenix 8 could potentially land is the summer of 2023, or perhaps IFA in Berlin which falls in early September. Beyond that, the next likely good release window could be IFA in Las Vegas in January 2024. For now, our money is on the next generation or an interim device being launched between September 2023 and January 2024.
Prepare to be disappointed if you decided to skip Fenix 7 because it is far too expensive for you. After all, this is a high-end watch, so the Fenix 8 is likely to be priced similarly. There is, however, hope, as evidenced by the recent launch of the Forerunner 955. When compared to its immediate predecessor, this one was unexpectedly cheap.
Nonetheless, we should see different price points for different sizes once again. Along with the standard, slightly less expensive models, there are premium and limited editions that are significantly more expensive.
Whatever the final price, the Fenix 8 will be a great choice as it will still be one of the best smartwatches for fitness fanatics. And we suspect, the legion of existing Fenix users will remain loyal to the timepiece, which has already proven its worth.
So what do you think? What would you like to see on the Fenix 8?
Q: What is the Garmin Fenix line?
A: The Fenix series is a line of Garmin watches designed for multi-sports and outdoor enthusiasts. These devices can track pretty much every sport under the sun and come with a plethora of outdoor navigation options. The latest edition in the range is the Garmin Fenix 7. It was released at the start of 2022.
Q: Is there any information available about the Garmin Fenix 8?
A: There have been no specific leaks about the Garmin Fenix 8 so far. It is probably too early for that considering it has not been long since the latest iteration saw the light of day. So all the information in this article is based on the development of the Fenix line and speculation about what features we could expect.
Q: What can we expect in terms of design and tech specs for the Garmin Fenix 8?
A: We expect the Garmin Fenix 8 will continue to have a touchscreen MIP circular display and five physical buttons. The device may have a slimmer form factor, as long as this doesn’t impact battery life. It will continue to be available in multiple sizes and will come with a battery-friendly display. The watch is likely to come with improved and perhaps some new sensors (such as blood pressure, ECG, skin temperature). We are also hoping for better sleep tracking (which keeps tabs on naps!), a better smartwatch experience and more fully integrated payment support. An LTE model is always a possibility.
Q: What is the potential release date of the Garmin Fenix 8?
A: At the time of writing this article it has been about a year since the Fenix 7 was released. So if you are looking to buy a watch in the series, you may want to go for the current version. Garmin often runs sales so you might be able to pick up a good deal. We don’t expect to see Fenix 8 (or an interim version) before the summer of 2023, at the earliest. But we should see it by January 2024.
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