The most recent Fenix iteration made its debut in May of 2023. So not too long ago. But that shouldn’t stop us from anticipating the Garmin Fenix 8, its possible technical specifications, and release date.
Over the years, the Fenix series 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, workouts as well as feature sets for outdoor navigation. A device for those who participate in multiple sports and want to track absolutely everything.
Essential reading: Garmin Forerunner 955 vs Fenix 7 vs Epix 2 – which to go for?
Garmin has had a few interesting launches in 2023, the most recent being Venu 3 and Vivoactive 5. But many are looking beyond those 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 few rumors and zero leaks so far, so these are our predictions.
Garmin Fenix 8: Possible design and tech specs
Despite multiple generations, Garmin has kept the Fenix line’s flagship design fairly consistent. 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 size options, ensuring that there is something for everyone. This is likely to continue with the next generation, with Garmin reintroducing three different-sized options. The same choice was retained for the Fenix 7 Pro.
In 2022 we also saw the introduction of Garmin Epix Gen 2. The watch is nearly identical to the Fenix 7, with one notable exception: it has an AMOLED display.
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. So something easier on the eye.
What we like about the recent editions is the addition of 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 touch sensitive display 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.
Garmin Fenix 8: Functionality we expect, would like to see
The Fenix 7 line is an excellent multisport GPS watch. Whatever you are into, the device will be able to keep track of it. 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.
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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.
The 7 Pro, on the other hand, brought the addition of a more up to date heart rate tech, ECG sensor and a built-in flashlight. Most likely, skin temperature tracking will be added to this list in the coming months via a firmware update.
What follows are improvements we would like to see in the next iteration.
More training metrics
The Fenix 7 range has lots of training metrics. As far as what else will be added on, 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. Most recently it slapped on nap tracking and sleep coaching.
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.
New 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. Probably the one which is most likely to land in the near future is blood pressure tracking from the wrist.
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
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.
What do Garmin users want?
We recently scanned the Garmin Forums to see what the company’s user-base wants from the next iteration of the device. You can check out the article in full on this link.
Basically it boils down to even better battery life which was a very commonly mentioned feature. Additionally, users had voice prompts, better GPS accuracy, more storage space, improved display, customisable heart rate sensor, ability to send distress messages and more on their list. So a mixed bag.
What is clear is that there is ample room for improvement!
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. In the summer of 2023 we saw the Pro version. But what about the earlier 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)
- Garmin Fenix 7 Pro (May 2023)
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 new watch, a good release window for Fenix 8 could be CES in Las Vegas in January 2024. Considering there has been an interim device launched a few months ago, a more likely release date is the summer or late spring of 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.
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?
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