Image source: Garmin

Understanding Garmin’s niche focus with the stripped-back Fenix 7 Pro

Garmin’s decision to launch a version of the Fenix 7 Pro, including the solar variant, with reduced features such as no WiFi and ECG App, while pricing it similarly to the fully-equipped models, has raised questions about the strategy behind this move. This stripped-back approach seems to diverge from the norm in the wearable tech space. After all, newer versions typically mean more features!

The Fenix 7 Pro range was introduced alongside the Epix 2 Pro range last May. The modifications over the non-Pro variants are modest. They pretty much end with longer battery life, LED flashlight comes as standard, as does multi-band GPS and built-in mapping. Also, the Pro variants have the latest Gen 5 Elevate sensor. This can track ECG and potentially has the ability to read skin temperature (this is yet to be enabled).

Stripped back Fenix 7 Pro variants

As first spotted by Notebookcheck, from a few weeks ago, a few more variants of the Fenix 7 Pro were introduced in North America. But these are stripped back models which, considering they sell at the same price point as their more capable counterparts, seems like an unusual step. There’s no WiFi or the ECG app.

Garmin Fenix 7 Pro no WiFi

The rationale behind this strategy could be rooted in targeting a specific, niche market.

There are environments where WiFi-enabled devices are not permitted due to security concerns. This includes certain high-security areas, classified environments, and locations where the ability to transmit or receive communications wirelessly poses a risk. In such scenarios, even the option to disable WiFi is not sufficient. The device must be inherently incapable of these communications. Thus, by offering a version of the Fenix 7 Pro without WiFi, Garmin is catering to a segment of consumers who require or prefer a high-end smartwatch but face restrictions regarding connectivity features.

Essential readingBest fitness trackers and health gadgets

Regarding the absence of the ECG App, this one is more difficult to understand. Perhaps the feature is in some way dependent on the WiFi signal. A logical thought might be that the decision to leave it out is influenced by regulatory challenges. But this model is exclusively sold in North America. Which means regulatory factors likely play a less significant role in this decision, considering the relatively uniform health device regulations across the region.

Catering to a specific user segment

Nevertheless, this approach reflects a broader trend in the tech industry where customisation and tailoring products to specific user requirements are becoming more prevalent. Garmin is well known for its diverse product range. Some would go as far as saying the company is overdoing it!

Nevertheless, by offering a stripped back variant of the Fenix 7 Pro the company is catering to a specific user segment. It is a strategic move to cater to a niche market with specific needs, particularly where security is paramount.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

2 thoughts on “Understanding Garmin’s niche focus with the stripped-back Fenix 7 Pro

  • The security argument doesn’t stand up when Bluetooth still exists


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